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GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT
IS GREAT GAIN.
MARY S PR ETTY S I G
IS GREAT GAIN.
A Vaok for little goge atn Girlo.
Iam content with what I have
Little be it or much ;
And, Lord, contentment still 1 crave,
Because thou savest such. "
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
I. BEAUTIFUL PONIES, ... ... ... ...
II. MR. PAUL JARVIE, ... ... ... ... 29
III. THE SUMMER STORM, .... ... ... ... 52
IV. A VISIT TO THE LAURELS, ... ... ... 65
V. THE MISERY OF DISCONTENT, AND THE PLEASURE OF
CONTENTMENT, ... ... ... ... 85
VI. CHANGES AND MORE CHANGES, ... ... ... 97
THE WONDERFUL LAMP, ... ... ... ... 107
GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT
IS GREAT GAIN.
"GRANDMOTHER, look! did-
you ever see anything prettier?"
Prettier than what, Mary?"
"Ah, you cannot see from
where you are sitting, grandmother; but
if you would only come here for a minute,"
said the little girl eagerly from outside the
cottage door, which stood wide open.
"You forget my rheumatism, my dear,"
replied a voice from within. Is it any-
10 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
thing worth bearing a great deal of pain
to see ? "
Mary said she was not sure about that,
and she acknowledged that for a moment
she had lost sight of her grandmother's
lameness. But they are very pretty,
though," she added; "only they will be
out of sight in a minute. There, they are
gone now;" and the little maiden went
into the cottage and resumed her straw-
plaiting, which for a time had been put
You have not told me what you have
seen, my child," said the aged woman, to
whom the effort of rising from the chair
by the fireside and hobbling across the
room would have been both difficult and
painful. Mrs. Woodman was sadlytroubled
with rheumatism, and that day in particular
the twinges it had given her were very
sharp. But they had not disturbed her
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 11
temper, which was rarely affected by
trifles, as Mary very well knew.
It was a pretty sight, grandmother,"
said the child. There were two beauti-
ful ponies, with long tails and manes;
such beautiful creatures, they were like
"And two such nice-looking children
upon them, one upon each. One was a
little girl, not so big as me; and the other
was a boy, still less. The little girl had
bright, shining hair, curling in long curls
quite over her shoulders; and they were
so handsomely dressed."
Do you mean that the curls were
handsomely dressed, Mary ? "
"0 grandmother, now you are making
fun of me," said Mary, laughing at her
own blunder. I meant that the children
were handsomely dressed. And there was
12 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
"a servant in livery riding behind them on
"a fine large horse; and everything was so
grand-looking. I wonder who they can
"Why, you know your father told us
about a new family that is come to The
Laurels to live, and that he is going there
next week to work."
"Oh yes, so he did; the gentleman's
name is Gainsford, and he is very rich. I
should not wonder if these children belong
to him, ponies and all. How silly of me
not to have remembered that before!" and
the lively maiden's fingers worked away
nimbly at their pretty delicate straw -
plaiting as she prattled on. Then, having
said all that at that moment seemed neces-
sary on the subject, she sat silently for a
time, while her grandmother went on with
her knitting. While they remain thus
silent and industrious, we may take a
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 13
glance round the cottage room, and look
out at the open door, as Mary had done,
and learn a little about its inhabitants.
It was an old-fashioned country cottage,
with a brick floor, and a wide, yawning
fireplace, which seemed almost to swallow
up a small fire-grate, where once had stood
a pair of iron rests, or dogs," at a time
when wooden logs were oftener used for
fuel than coal. The ceiling of the room
was low, and a great beam crossed it from
side to side, which was convenient for
some purposes, though a very tall man
might have been afraid of knocking his
head against it unless he stooped a little.
The window was small, and formed of
diamond-shaped panes, set in lead; but
the glass was clean and bright, and the
broad window-sill served to hold two or
three pots of healthy geraniums, then in
L ... _
14 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
Indeed everything about the cottage
room looked clean and wholesome. There
was not much furniture, and what there
was had an old-fashioned, homely look;
but the deal table, the ashen, wicker-seated
chairs, the corner cupboard with a dark
oaken door, and the walnut-wood clock-
case, all shone with considerable lustre,
except the deal table, which would not
shine certainly, but was clean and white
with scouring and scrubbing. There was
a bright fire in the grate, and on the fire
was a copper kettle, which was already
beginning to sing in readiness for the yet
distant tea or supper hour, when Mary's
father would be home from work.
Outside the cottage, a small garden
fronted the street. A larger garden was
behind the house, neatly kept in order,
having also a broad flower-border on each
side of the narrow gravel path which led
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 15
from the garden gate to the cottage door.
On one side of the garden was a carpenter
and wheelwright's yard and sheds; for,
in a small way, Mary's father was both
carpenter and wheelwright, earning just
enough money to keep his child, his
mother, and himself in comfort, but not
enough for the indulgence of many luxu-
rious habits or wishes.
And this brings us back to the cottage
room, where we left Mary and her grand-
mother. A few words about them will
"suffice, for our history is not to be entirely
confined within these cottage walls.
Mary Woodman was a neat-handed,
brisk, and generally happy little girl, about
eleven or twelve years old. Young as she
was, however, she had known trouble and
sorrow; she had been motherless more
than three years, and the remembrance of
that dear lost mother often brought tears.
16 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
to her eyes, even when in her gayest
moods. Mary would have felt more sad
and desolate but for two reasons. One of
these was that her dear grandmother, who
had lived with her father and herself ever
since her mother's death, was so kind and
affectionate, and so wise, I may add, in
training the child to good habits of thought
and action. The other reason was, she
was confident that the soul of her dear
mother was safe and happy in heaven,
with the Saviour whom she had loved and
served on earth. The thought of this
calmed the little motherless girl's grief
whenever she thought of her own loss.
" Oh," she used to say, "it is wrong and
selfish in me to wish my mother had not
died; for she is with Jesus now, and there
is no care nor sorrow in heaven, and no
more pain, grandmother; think of that."
And then, while her eyes were still wet.
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 17
with tears, she had been known to sing
softly the following verse which she had
learned, and of which she was fond:-
How happy are the saints above,
From sin and sorrow free;
With Jesus they are now at rest,
And all his glory see."
Thus much for the present about Mary
Woodman. As to her grandmother,
afflicted with rheumatism as she was, she
was a gentle, cheerful old woman. She
made her son's home very comfortable, as
you may suppose from what I have just
written; and her son-Mary's father, you
know-was exceedingly fond of her, and
attentive to her, as a son should of course
be. I may add that old Mrs. Woodman
was a thoughtful woman, and had also
received a rather superior education in her
younger days, of which she endeavoured
to give her little granddaughter the advan-
"t4age. Having said this, we may return
18 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
to the conversation, which for a minute
or two had been dropped.
"Grandmother, it must be nice to have
plenty of money," said little Mary.
Mary, dear," replied grandmother, do
you remember who it was that said or
wrote, 'When I was a child, I thought as
a child, I spake as a child'?"
That is in the Bible, I know, grand-
mother. I think-yes, I remember, it is
in one of the epistles."
"Ah, I think it is," said grandmother;
and then she went on with her knitting.
Is it so very like a child to wish to
have plenty of money, grandmother?"
It is natural and common, I believe,
for others besides children to indulge such
wishes, Mary; but this does not prove
them to be wise. Do you think it does ?"
Mary was not sure of this. After a
little thought, however, and a little argu-
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 19
ment, which I need not repeat, she acknow-
ledged that it could not be wise in any
persons to make themselves uncomfortable
and unhappy with vain wishes; and that
perhaps wishing to be rich might be a vain
Perhaps, under some circumstances, it
may be a sinful wish, Mary."
0 grandmother, do you think so ?"
said the little maiden, rather startled with
It is sinful to be discontented, is it
not ? "
I think it must be," replied Mary.
"And to be covetous?" continued
Yes, Mary was sure of this, she said,
for it would be breaking one of God's
commandments. Her grandmother then
showed how almost impossible it is for
any one to wish very strongly and ear-
20 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
nestly for any earthly advantage, without
great danger of being discontented with
what is already possessed, and thinking
covetously of the enjoyments of others.
" Especially," continued the good grand-
mother, when we envy those whom God
has blessed with riches, we certainly are
in some danger of thinking hard thoughts
of him for not doing as much for us. And
this adds ingratitude to discontent and
But, grandmother," pleaded the little
girl, I only said that it must be nice to
have plenty of money. It is not wrong
to think so, only just to fancy it; is it ?"
I would rather hear your reasons for
thinking it would be nice, Mary," said
Mary was not quite prepared for this
demand, for she was not unconscious that
she and her grandmother might have
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 21
opposite opinions on the subject. But
she was an ingenuous child, and was also
in the habit of speaking freely what she
thought; so, after a moment's hesitation,
"Well, grandmother, would it not be
pleasant to have a good large house to
live in, with plenty of handsome furni-
ture ? "
"The larger the house and the finer
the furniture, the more work in cleaning
and scouring and polishing, Mary," said
Mary blushed, for she remembered
having said, not many days before, when
she was rather tired, what a trouble it was
to keep a house clean. She soon rallied,
But then, grandmother, with a large
house and plenty of money, there would be
plenty of servants, you know," said she.
22 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
I think I heard a little girl once say
that she would almost rather do all the
work herself than have a servant to help,"
continued Mrs. Woodman.
"So I would, grandmother, if all ser-
vants were like Mrs. Gibson," replied
Mary, who understood very well what
was meant; "but I should not think they
are. I am sure Mrs. Gibson hinders
almost as much as she helps; and then,
when she does a day's work for us, she
goes away and talks about us."
"True; I am afraid she is a gossip,
and so it becomes us to be very care-
ful what we say or do in her presence.
But suppose, instead of one hindering
and talkative person, there were half-a-
"Oh, that would be very disagreeable
indeed," said the little maiden; "but-"
"But what, my dear ?"
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 23
"I was only thinking, grandmother-"
"Thinking that those who have a good
many servants know better how to manage
with them than a little girl who has only
one to help her or to hinder her about one
day in a month; is that it? "
Mary said that was what she was
"I fancy, however," continued Mary's
grandmother, that those who have many
servants have many trials with them.
But I may be mistaken; and so, what
other advantage do you think there would
be in having plenty of money' "
Mary ventured to say that it must be
nice and pleasant to have abundance of
everything good, such as rich clothes and
"Are you not warm enough, Mary ?"
asked her grandmother.
Mary said that she was; but she rather
24 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
wondered why her grandmother asked
"I hope you had plenty to eat at dinner-
time ?" continued Mrs. Woodman.
Oh yes, grandmother."
"And you enjoyed what you ate, did
you not ?"
"Yes, grandmother; it was very good."
"Do you ever remember the time, my
dear, when you suffered from want of
neat and comfortable clothing, or from
not having enough to eat ?" asked the
"No, I am sure I do not, grandmother;"
and Mary's bright eyes glistened a little.
"Then, my dear child, I do not see
how having a great deal of money would
be any great advantage in these respects.
To have enough to wear, and to eat and
drink, and health to enjoy these blessings,
is to be well off, although we are not so
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 25
rich as others. I really do not believe,"
continued grandmother, that the rich are
so much better off than the poor, so far as
these things are concerned."
The little girl pondered a little; perhaps
she was not convinced, though for a
moment she might be silenced. At last
"But there are other things, grand-
"Such as beautiful ponies, with long
tails and manes; do you mean that ? "
Mary laughed merrily. "Why, grand-
mother, how curious it is in you to find
out just the very thing I was thinking
"Not very wonderful, Mary, because
our talk began with the ponies, you know;
and it was easy for me to see that they
made a great impression on your imagina-
tion. And so it would be pleasant to have
26 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
plenty of money, in order to have a pony
"A beautiful pony to ride! Oh, it
would be nice, grandmother," and the little
girl sighed very gently, at the thought,
perhaps, of the distance there was between
such a possession and herself.
"Not so very nice, my dear child, in
a fit of rheumatism," replied the old
No, indeed; but then a soft carriage
with easy springs, and a quiet horse to
draw it. There, grandmother, you would
not despise that, I think."
No, my dear child; I hope I should
not despise it. If I had such a luxury, I
should pray to be thankful for it, as I
trust I am thankful now, Mary, for the
comfortable chair on wheels which your
father has been so kind as to make on
purpose for me, and in which he draws
BEAUTIFUL PONIES. 27
me to the house of God when I am quite
unable to walk."
"But, grandmother, a real carriage, and
a horse to draw it, how much pleasanter
that would be!"
I don't know, Mary: sometimes
horses run away, and carriages are over-
turned; and that would not be so pleasant
as jogging quietly and safely along in my
chair. But about your pony-"
"Ah, grandmother, you are only laugh-
ing at me. And it is foolish to be fancying
such things when I know that I cannot
have them," said the little girl.
"And would not be happier than you
are now, my dear, if you had."
Mary did not quite agree with this.
She could not help thinking that the two
children whom she had seen pass by on
their beautiful ponies must be happier
than a little girl who, wherever she wanted
28 BEAUTIFUL PONIES.
to go, had only her own feet to trust to.
She did not say this, however; and before
she could think of any fresh arguments in
favour of being rich, or at least of having
a little more money and a few more
luxuries than were ever likely to fall to
her lot, an interruption was put to the
conversation by the swinging of the
garden gate and the approach towards
the open door of a man with a pack on
SHAVE said that Mary Woodman
was busily plaiting straw while
S she was talking with her grand-
mother. In the part of the
country where she lived, straw-plaiting
for bonnets and hats used to be and is
now an employment by which not only
women, but even very young children,
contrive to earn money; and it is pleasant
to see the young people sitting or standing
at cottage doors on fine summer evenings,
sometimes in groups, with their fingers
nimbly engaged in this pretty occupation,
while they are chatting together or per-
30 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
haps singing some simple air in uni-
Mary was quick at this work, and she
was able to earn enough by it to provide
herself with many useful articles of cloth-
ing, although she had much besides to do
at home, especially when her grandmother
was laid aside from her active engagements
At certain times purchasers go round
to the cottages to collect the plait which
is thus made, and to provide the makers
with prepared straw for their work; and
while Mary and her grandmother were in
conversation, one of these dealers was going
his rounds and on the way to their cottage.
"Here is Mr. Jarvie," said the little
plaiter, as the traveller entered the cottage
and placed his bag on the floor. The bag
was already half full, and was more bulky
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 31
Yes, here is Paul Jarvie come at last,
my little one," said the dealer in a hearty,
pleasant voice. I suppose you expected
him before, didn't you ?"
"We thought you would have been
here last week, sir;-did we not, grand-
mother ?" said Mary.
Right, my dear; last week was my
time, and I should have been here then
but for a reason. And how is grand-
mother to-day ?" he asked respectfully,
advancing another step or two towards the
The old complaint, Mr. Jarvie," said
SMrs. Woodman; it has taken hold of
me again, you see."
"And the old remedy too, time and
patience mixed together. I never saw
anybody so patient, never;" and then
taking a seat and drawing it to the table
by Mrs. Woodman's side, the dealer
32 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
chatted to her in his cheerful way, while
Mary was getting together her little
bundles of straw-plait.
So you have new neighbours, I find,"
said he; "at The Laurels, I mean. I
met the youngsters just now on their
Do you know them, Mr. Jarvie?"
asked Mary with animation, looking up
from her sorting.
"Know them! Oh yes; and knew
their father when he was a boy. He is
not so old as I am by a year or two."
"And is he very rich ?" asked Mary,
who was sufficiently intimate with the
plait-dealer to talk freely with him, and
whose mind was dwelling upon the subject
he had reopened.
"Rich, child! Yes, they say he is
rich-has lots of money. And I suppose
it is true; but when I first knew him he
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 33
was anything but rich; a sharp, clever
fellow, though. I went to school with
Really, Mr. Jarvie."
Yes: and I remember how he used to
deal-buying and selling, and making a
profit out of the other boys in all sorts of
ways. I wonder, now, whether he would
recollect selling me a penknife for a shil-
ling, which I found out afterwards had
cost him only sixpence at a shop. I don't
suppose he would though; but I do," said
Mr. Paul Jarvie, laughing.
But was not that cheating?" asked
Ah, well, Mary, there would be dif-
ferent opinions about that. You and I
and your grandmother might think so,
perhaps, but Phil Gainsford did not.
When I charged him with having de-
ceived me, he said it was all fair dealing,
34 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
and that he would have got eighteenpence
for the knife if he could have found any-
body silly enough to give it."
I hope he did not get all his money
in that way," said Mary thoughtfully.
I can't say, indeed, my girl; I only
know that Phil was not very well off
twenty years ago when he started in bus-
iness; but he carried his sharpness into all
he did, by all accounts, and made what
some people call a good many lucky hits,
till he got from one thing to another; and
now, you see, he is able to live a gentle-
man's life, in a large house, and to put his
two children on ponies, with a servant to
ride behind them. But he has not left off
business, for all that he has made so much
Why not, Mr. Jarvie ? asked Mary.
Why not ? Well, I suppose he would
say that he has not got so much money as
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 35
he wants, and that a little more would be
very acceptable. He boasts, as they tell
me, that when his daughter marries she
shall have twenty thousand pounds, if she
has a farthing."
Twenty thousand pounds!" It almost
took Mary's breath away to think of such
a large sum.
Yes, twenty thousand pounds, my
dear. It will be a long while, I reckon,
You forget my granddaughter's plait,
Mr. Jarvie," said Mrs. Woodman quietly,
giving the chatty dealer an admonitory
look at the same time, which seemed to
tell him, almost as plain as words could
speak, that they had gossiped long enough
about these new neighbours. So, at any
rate, he understood it, for he turned the
conversation at once to business; and
after examining the several bundles, and
36 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
praising Mary's skill-which he could
honestly do, for she was one of the best
plaiters of her age in the neighbourhood
-he began to talk about the price he
So many scores, at so much a score,
and so many at so much, and so on. The
bargain was soon completed, for Mr.
Paul Jarvie was a just and honourable
man; and Mary and her grandmother
knew that they might trust to his
You will get quite rich, Mary," said
he merrily, as he chinked one shilling
after another into her hand. An hour
earlier Mary would have felt disposed to
think so too; at least, she would have
been quite contented with the amount of
her earnings; but now the case seemed
altered. "Ah," thought she to herself,
"how many scores of straw-plait must
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 37
pass through my hands before I can get
together even one single pound; and what
is a pound, after all ?" Mary's imagina-
tion was dazzled, you see, by the men-
tion of twenty thousand pounds as the
probable fortune of a child not so old as
You are very thoughtful, my dear,"
said her grandmother kindly, after Mr.
Jarvie had repacked his bag and de-
parted with it on his back, and Mary
was leaning on the window-sill unoccu-
pied, except by gazing at the light sum-
mer clouds as they slowly floated past
between the blue sky and the distant
Am I, grandmother ?" said Mary with
a little start; and then she added, "I
think I am rather tired."
Not tired of talking, are you, dear ?"
No, grandmother; at least-no, not
38 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
exactly; I was thinking-" and here
Mary stopped short.
"Yes; I could guess that. Shall I
guess again ?"
Mary left the window and seated her-
self by her grandmother's side. I wish
you would, grandmother," said she with a
little return of her sprightliness.
Were you thinking of-twenty thou..
0 grandmother, how could you have
known that ?"
"I did not know it, Mary; I only
thought it likely."
And what else was I thinking about,
grandmother ? Mary wished to put her
grandmother's shrewdness to the test, pro-
"I should not wonder if you were
thinking how much you could do if you
only had twenty thousand pounds."
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 39
"No, grandmother, you are wrong
there," exclaimed the child, clapping her
hands at the mistake; "I was thinking
that I should never have so much money
"It is not at all likely you ever will,
"I do not wish to have so much,
grandmother, for I am sure I should not
know how to spend it properly; and it
would not be right to hoard it, would
"Perhaps it will be time enough to
settle that question when the money
comes," replied grandmother; "and as I
am wrong in my last guess, suppose you
were to tell me what you were thinking,
if you do not mind doing so."
"I don't mind telling you, grand-
mother," said the little girl; and so-
and so I was thinking-that is, I am
40 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
afraid I was wishing, really wishing that
somebody would give me twenty pounds,
Really, I must say you were very
moderate then, Mary," returned her grand-
mother with a smile; for when you were
about it, you might almost as well have
wished for a much larger sum. But, my
dear child," the aged woman continued
with more seriousness, all such wishes
are worse than vain."
I think so too, grandmother; indeed,
I am sure they are," said Mary with a
sigh; for all the wishes in the world will
not alter things."
I am not sure of that, Mary. They
will not bring about the things that are
idly wished for; and it is a great mercy
that they will not. But they may-I
mean, their indulgence may-make altera-
tions which would be sad to see."
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 41
O grandmother, I cannot think what
alterations you mean."
I will tell you, my dear. In the first
place, I think there is danger of vain
wishes changing an industrious person-
a little girl, for instance-into an idle one."
Mary blushed a deep crimson. She
was conscious that while she had been
sitting at the window, and wishing for
" only twenty pounds," her hands had
She took her grandmother's hint, how-
ever, and in a few moments they were as
busily employed as they had been before
Mr. Jarvie made his appearance.
That fault is soon repaired, grand-
mother," she said pleasantly; and I hope
I shall not be like the milkmaid in the
story." I should say that Mary had not
long before been reading about a country
girl who was carrying a pail of milk on
42 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
her head, and began to think and to wish
until she forgot her load, and let it fall to
the ground, so that all the milk was spilled
I hope not, Mary," said grandmother,
smiling in her turn; but another altera-
tion likely to be made by the indulgence
of improper or vain wishes, is that of
changing contentment and cheerfulness
into fretfulness and peevishness."
I should not like that," said Mary
"No, my dear; I do not think you
would. Nor would you like a pleasant,
smiling countenance changed into an ill-
tempered, frowning one; nor a happy
home into an unhappy one."
But, grandmother, do you really think
that wishing only just wishing can
make such alterations ?" the little girl
asked with much surprise.
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 43
"Where vain and idle wishes are con-
stantly in the mind, I am sure they will,
The little girl sat silent for a while,
thinking of what her grandmother had
said. At length she opened her lips
"Grandmother," she said very ear-
nestly, I wish for something worth more
than twenty pounds. I wish your rheu-
matism could be cured."
And I am sure," replied grandmother,
"I thank you very heartily for such a
kind wish, though I am not sure that it
would be better for me if it were granted."
No, grandmother !" exclaimed Mary;
"but do you not wish so yourself some-
"Ah, my dear, you are determined to
catch me in a little trap, I think. But I
do not mind telling you that such a wish
44 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
does sometimes enter my thoughts; yet
it may be an idle and wrong wish notwith-
"Do you really think it is, grand-
If it occupies my mind, and puts out
other thoughts, and so makes me dissatis-
fied, and causes me to murmur, I am sure
it is," replied the old lady.
But, grandmother, I am sure you do
not murmur," said the little one energeti-
There is such a thing as murmuring
in the heart, Mary, when the lips do not
move; and when this is the case with me,
I know, or ought to know, that my wishes
have been rebellious."
But it would be a good thing if you
could get rid of those dreadful pains, you
My dear, that is the very thing that
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 45
I do not know," said Mary's grandmother.
" Indeed, I am sure that while God sees
fit to try me with pain, it is best for me
to be tried; and so it is best to leave it
in his kind and wise hands, and have no
wish of my own about it. Do you not
think so "
Mary could not say "No" to this,
but still she was not quite satisfied.
How can it be better for any one to
have pain and trouble to bear than to be
without them ?" she asked.
There may be many reasons, my dear,
which I am not able to explain; but I
know that they are intended for the good
of all who have to bear them, if they love
God. I know this, Mary, because the
Bible tells me so. And my heart tells
me too that God, my heavenly Father,
cannot be unkind to me, because he loves
46 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
"But, grandmother," said the little
arguer, as Mary was just then, "you try
remedies sometimes to get rid of the rheu-
"Yes, my dear. Why should I not ?"
I think you should, grandmother; of
course I do," replied Mary; but then-"
"Are you puzzled, Mary ?"
"A little," replied the child.
I think I can understand what puzzles
you, and I will try to explain. It is right,
when we are ill, to take medicines which,
by God's blessing, may make us well; or
when we are in pain, it is right to take
means to remove that pain. Then, if
God sees fit to give his blessing to those
means, we may and ought to acknowledge
his mercy with thankful hearts, and to
feel sure that it is better for us to be well
and in ease than to be ill and in pain.
We may be just as sure of this as that
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 47
pain and illness are best for us, if God
does not see fit to give effect to the means
which we employ. We ought to use all
the means in our power, Mary, and then
leave it all in his hands, and try not to
wish for anything different from that
which he pleases. Do you understand
me now, Mary ?"
Mary thought she did, a little better
than before; but she wished to know how
any one can be sure of God's love, so as
to feel that all he does, or permits to be
done or suffered, is in kindness. These
were not exactly the words the little girl
used, but they had this meaning, and her
grandmother understood her.
My dear," she said, yours is a very
important question, and I will try to an-
swer it rightly."
Mrs. Woodman waited a little when
she had said this, as though she were
48 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
thinking how best to express her meaning
so that a child could understand it. Then
she went on,-
"Sinful creatures, such as you and I
are, Mary, have no claim for any kindness
from the great and holy Being whose
laws we have broken. We are so un-
worthy of his notice as well as of his love,
that he might justly leave us to reap
according as we have sown, or he might
justly afflict us in anger in this life, as well
as punish us in the life that is to come."
Mary said she knew this-she knew it
to be in the Bible.
But you know, Mary, that our merci-
ful God has been pleased to tell us how
sinners may be reconciled to him. He
gave his dear Son from heaven to die for
their sins, and to rise again for their justi-
fication; and he gives his Holy Spirit to
create their hearts anew, and so to make.
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 49
them fit for his presence and glory and
happiness in heaven."
Mary understood this. It was no new
thing to her, as we have shown when
writing of her mother.
"And you know also, my dear child,
that the Lord Jesus Christ declares that
all who come to God the Father, believing
and trusting in him, shall be pardoned
and made part of his family-shall be
sons and daughters of the most high
"Yes, grandmother; it is all in the
Bible," Mary said.
"Well then, Mary, here is the reason
why we may be sure that all that befalls
every child of God in the world is cer-
tainly intended for good. The Bible tells
us so, and puts this question to us: 'He
that spared not his own Son, but delivered
him up for us all, how shall he not with
50 MR. PAUL JARVIE.
him also freely give us all things ?' So,
my dear, if it were better, really better,
for me to have ease than pain, I am pretty
sure I should have it-that is, if I am a
child of God, which I trust I am, through
faith in his dear Son, the Lord Jesus
Christ. And if it were better for you to
have beautiful ponies, and twenty thou-
sand pounds, or even twenty, than to
remain as you are, I think that it would
be brought about."
Mary did not carry the argument any
further. She felt that her grandmother
was right, and her thoughts travelled
away back to the time when her mother
was living, for she remembered hearing
from that dear mother's lips, in her last
illness, something very much like what
had just passed.
Perhaps Mary was too young at that
time to understand all that her mother
MR. PAUL JARVIE. 51
had said; but it came fresh to her mind
now, and the remembrance was useful to
Mary thought of something else also.
She had heard enough of her grand-
mother's history to know that, in early
life, she had been much better off than in
later years. She did not know how it had
come about that this prosperity had passed
away; but Mary did know that she had
never heard a murmuring word from her
grandmother, and she was convinced that
the reason of this was, that the aged
woman, being a Christian, could say with
the apostle Paul, "I have learned, in
whatsoever state I am, therewith to be
content. I know both how to be abased,
and I know how to abound......I can do
all things through Christ which strength-
eneth me (Phil. iv. 11-13).
Zhie uIIIIIInLr Strm.
HE conversation which Mary had
held with her grandmother was
& so far useful to her that it gave
"her mind something better to
dwell upon than beautiful ponies and fine
dresses, a large house and rich furniture,
and plenty of servants. For several days
too her grandmother was so helpless with
rheumatism that Mary had enough to do
to keep the cottage in order, and to pre-
pare meals for her father and grandmother
and herself, to say nothing of her straw-
plaiting, which indeed had almost to be
THE SUMMER STORM. 53
Mary's father was not much at home
at this time, for it was a busy time with
him, of which he was glad, as during the
previous winter he had been very much
out of work. But this gave Mary more
time for thinking to herself; and it was
well that she had better employment for
her thoughts than that of envying those
who seemed to have many more luxuries
and pleasures than had fallen to her share.
And yet it was a little provoking-at
least, it was rather trying-that almost
every day, and at about the same hour,
the two beautiful ponies, with the little
girl and boy upon them, and the servant
riding behind them, cantered by the cot-
tage while Mary was engaged in her
humble and homely duties. She could
not help thinking at these times of the
young lady's future fortune of twenty
thousand pounds, and all the grandeur
54 THE SUMMER STORM.
which would accompany it. And if she
wisely checked, or tried to check, the wish
that her father were a rich man like Mr.
Gainsford, it often came very near her
At this time too her father was work-
ing at The Laurels almost every day; and
when he returned at night, and had time
to sit down and rest after his early supper,
he very naturally talked of the alterations
which were going on there, and the many
proofs of wealth which came under his
notice; and he little thought of the
struggle which all this renewed in his
quiet little daughter's mind, to keep down
the rising of rebellious feelings which
were excited there rebellious feelings
against God, I mean, for putting such a
difference in outward possessions between
the rich folks at The Laurels and the poor
folks in her father's humble cottage.
THE SUMMER STORM. 55
And an event soon occurred which for
a time strengthened these feelings. It
happened thus. One day, when Mary was
busy as usual, a great change came over
the sky. Very suddenly the sun was hid-
den by thick black clouds, and the wind,
which a few minutes before had only been
a gentle summer breeze, rose almost to a
hurricane, so that the trees which could
be seen from the cottage were bent down
and furiously agitated by its force. The
change was so sudden and so great that
Mary was almost alarmed, and she could
not go on with her work, especially when
a very, very bright flash of lightning
almost blinded her for a moment with its
sharp brightness, as she was looking out at
the window, and then was almost directly
followed by a fearfully loud peal of thunder.
0 grandmother," exclaimed the little
maiden, what a very dreadful storm !"
56 THE SUMMER STORM.
Even Mrs. Woodman was startled.
" It is very awful and solemn," she said;
"and it would be dreadful if we did not
know who it is that causes the lightning
and thunder, and stormy wind. But
come, my dear, and sit down a little.
You look quite pale and frightened."
Mary obeyed her grandmother, and sat
down for a few minutes, covering her eyes
with her hand to prevent herself from
seeing, if it were possible, another light-
ning flash. But as no more came at that
time, she gradually gained a little courage,
and went again to the window; for now
rain had begun to fall.
I should not like to be out in this,"
said Mary; and then for the first time she
remembered that about an hour before the
two little Gainsfords had ridden by on
their ponies, attended as usual by the
servant, and had not returned.
THE SUMMER STORM. 57
grandmother, they will be caught
in it," she exclaimed; and Mary had
scarcely said this when the ponies and
their riders, with the servant on horse-
back, made their appearance in the road,
and then, after a moment's hesitation,
turned into John Woodman's yard, with
the intention, as it seemed, of taking
shelter under a shed.
Mary saw all this, and knew that,
though the shed might be a shelter for
the horse and ponies, it would not be a
comfortable place for the children.
It is only a few steps, grandmother,
through our side-gate; may I not go and
bring them here till the storm is over ? "
Mrs. Woodman very willingly allowed
her granddaughter to do this; and in a
very short time Agnes and George Gains-
ford were in the cottage, having left the
servant to take care of their ponies
58 THE SUMMER STORM.
and his horse until the storm should be
The offer was indeed very acceptable
to the young riders. They had been
alarmed, like Mary, by the sudden storm,
and especially by the lightning and thun-
der; so also had the ponies been; and
besides this, they were wet with the
shower. In a few minutes more they
would have been wet through, for they
were scarcely in the cottage before the
rain descended so heavily that the water
ran down the road in a full stream; and
then came more lightning and thunder,
though not so sharp and loud as the first.
You may be sure that Mary was as
attentive as she could be to the young
strangers, and that her grandmother strove
to allay their fears. In this she at length
partially succeeded; and while they sat
by the fire drying their wet garments, they
THE SUMMER STORM. 59
not only asked a great many questions,
but were very communicative about their
home at The Laurels, and the grand
things which were to be found there:
For my father is a rich man, you know,"
said George Gainsford, with a degree of
self-importance which amused even Mary.
"You do not know much about it,
George," said his sister; "papa means to
have a great deal more money yet."
Mary Woodman thought of the twenty
thousand pounds which this little girl was
to have as her fortune some day; and she
wondered how much more money Mr.
Gainsford wanted to make him happy.
But of course she did not utter her
thoughts, neither did Mary's grandmother
make any remarks on this little speech.
Perhaps she looked upon it as only the
thoughtless prattle of a child, which she
was not called upon to notice.
60 THE SUMMER STORM.
"I wish it would leave off raining,"
said Agnes, looking out at the window at
the wet prospect; "I do not like being
shut up here." She said this rather
haughtily, Mary fancied.
It is better than being out in it though,
Agnes," said her brother good-naturedly.
" I wonder how Thomas gets on with our
ponies;" and then he asked if that car-
penter's yard belonged to the carpenter
who had been at work at The Laurels.
Mary said, "Yes;" and also that the
carpenter was her own father.
After this they got on better, for Mary's
father had made himself agreeable to the
little fellow, by lending him tools and
doing some work for him.
"And what do you do all day long
here ?" he asked Mary.
Mary said that she had always enough
to employ her time, and showed George and
THE SUMMER STORM. 61
his sister some of her straw-plaiting, ex-
plaining that she was able sometimes to
earn two or three shillings a week at that
work if she were not very much hindered.
Only two or three shillings! Why,
that's nothing," said the boy; and Mary
could not help thinking that it was very
little, after all.
If I had to work at anything, I should
earn a little more than that," the boy
went on. "Why," he continued, papa
gives me more-"
"Your father is a rich gentleman, my
dear," said old Mrs. Woodman quietly;
" and Mary's father is only a mechanic,
"And you talk too fast, George,"
added his sister.
Being thus rebuked and rebuffed,
George Gainsford was silent for a little
while; then he walked to the window
62 THE SUMMER STORM.
and looked out, to see if the rain had
ceased. At last he said to Mary, "I
wish you had something else to show us
while we wait here. Now, if you had
been caught in the rain, and had come to
our house for shelter, we could have had
a regular good game in the play-room."
Ah," thought Mary, I see what it is
to have plenty of money;" and the good
impressions made by her grandmother's
conversations on the subject were in more
danger than before of fading quite away.
She said nothing, however, but cheer-
fully offered to show the weather-bound
guests, with her grandmother's permis-
sion, the pictures in a large Bible which
belonged to her father. This offer was
accepted; and as Mary evidently knew
more about Bible histories than either of
the Gainsfords, she soon found herself,
very much to her own surprise, explain-
THE SUMMER STORM. 63
ing the pictures with which the Bible
abounded, and where she was not quite
clear about the subject, it was easy to
appeal to her grandmother for help. So,
about half an hour passed away less wea-
rily than might have been expected, and
by that time the rain had ceased; the
wind had sunk almost as suddenly as it
rose; only distant peals of thunder were
occasionally heard; the clouds had cleared,
and the sun began to shine out as warm
and bright as ever.
"We can go now," said Agnes Gains-
ford, who had beenwatching these changes;
and her brother ran to the yard to see if
the servant had the ponies safe. In a
few minutes the two young people had
left the cottage, and were fast riding to-
wards their home; but not until they had
civilly thanked both Mrs. Woodman and
Mary for the hospitality shown to them.
64 THE SUMMER STORM.
Yes, they were gone; but they had left
behind them a little heart sadly cast down
and exercised with wishes which were felt
at the best to be vain and foolish, and
which might be rebellious and sinful.
^ lHisit tor Zhe xanrez.
HAVE now to introduce my
readers to a home in many re-
"spects different from that of
John Woodman, the village car-
penter and wheelwright.
The Laurels was the name of a large
house and pleasure-grounds outside the
village. An old gentleman had formerly
lived there; but death comes alike to the
cottage and the mansion, and a few months
earlier than this history begins, the old
gentleman died, and then the great house
was deserted and shut up.
But not for long. Another tenant was
66 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
found for it, and this tenant was Mr.
This gentleman was a very busy man.
What Mr. Jarvie had said of him was
true: he had risen from a humble station,
and even from poverty, to wealth; and
though he had gained money enough to
live in a superior house, and to surround
himself with luxuries, he yet wished for
more. Indeed it soon became known
that Mr. Gainsford had not retired from
active life, although he chose to reside in
a small country village. He had a large
business in London, and half his time was
still spent there.
One evening, when John Woodman
returned from his work at The Laurels,
he said rather suddenly,-
Mary, my girl, I have something for
Something for me, father ?"
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 67
"Yes, my dear. It is not very heavy;
it is only an invitation."
An invitation, father !"
To spend a day at The Laurels, Mary;
that is all."
O father, you are joking," said the
maiden, colouring with excitement.
No, not at all. You are wanted to
go to-morrow or the day after, if grand-
mother can spare you."
"But, father, I do not understand."
I will tell you all about it, my dear.
Mrs. Gainsford came to me to-day and said
how much obliged she was to your grand-
mother and you for taking care of little
miss and master yesterday while the storm
lasted. She said also that Miss Agnes
had taken a fancy to have you for a play-
mate for a few hours; so I think you had
better go. I mean, of course, if it suits
68 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
"Do you think Mary had better go,
John ?" asked Mrs. Woodman rather
"Yes, mother, if you can make it con-
venient, as I said. You can have Mrs.
Gibson, you know, to help about the
house while Mary is away."
I was not thinking of my convenience,
John," replied the experienced woman;
"I am only doubting whether it will be
wise on Mary's account."
Do you think not, mother ?"
"Mary has had her mind rather tried
lately," said grandmother, "with some
such thoughts as exercised the Psalmist
when he saw how some people prospered
in the world and increased in riches. And
perhaps, if she sees more of these things
than is needful just now, she may become
discontented with her lot, and wish for
what is unattainable."
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 69
"Oh, is that all, mother ?" said John
Woodman with a light laugh. Well, I
suppose we all have such thoughts and
wishes at times; but perhaps one of the
best ways of getting rid of them is to
come into closer contact with rich and
prosperous people. Now I am sure I
have seen enough, since I have been work-
ing at The Laurels, to cure me of envy,
at any rate."
His mother wished to know how that
Why, of all the people I have had to
do with in my life, I never saw a more
fidgety, discontented man than old Mr.
Gainsford. Nothing is right for him.
As to riches making any one happy, if
Mr. Gainsford is a fair sample, there never
was a greater mistake made; and in her
way his lady is as bad."
"There is nothing new in that, John,"
70 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
said Mrs. Woodman, not at all sur-
"No; there is nothing new in it per-
haps, but it seems odd. Here is Mr.
Gainsford, by all accounts rich enough to
buy The Laurels out and out, instead of
renting the estate; and yet he seems to
think that he has not got enough, nor
half enough yet. He said as much to me
one day. He said that The Laurels was
a beggarly place, after all, and that he
should not be satisfied till he had a place
like Broome Park for his own."
"Very likely, John; I dare say he still
wants a little more, like our dear Mary."
Mary looked rather confused when her
grandmother made this allusion; she knew
what it meant. Her father, however, did
not seem curious to know, for he went
on: I suppose we should all like a little
more than we have got, mother," said he.
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 71
"I think I should. Not that I should
ever care to be rich, however."
Ah, John, it is the old story, all the
world over. A little more, and a little
more; but there are not so many who
know when they have enough."
"Yes, mother, it is the old story, I
suppose, as the hymn tells us,-
'Man has a soul of vast desires;
He burns within with restless fires;
Tossed to and fro, his wishes fly
From vanity to vanity.'
But this is not exactly to the purpose,
mother. We were talking, you know,
about Mary going to play with the young
Gainsfords-at least, to spend a day at
Of course you must decide about that,
John," said grandmother; I can manage
to spare her, if you wish her to go."
Well, I think she must. It will not
do to say 'No,' because that might give
72 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
offence; and I said as much as that Mary
would be pleased to accept the invitation.
-What do you say, my girl ?"
Mary said that she would be guided by
her father and grandmother; but she could
not conceal the desire she had to make
the further acquaintance of the owners of
the beautiful ponies. She wondered, how-
ever, why they had thought of seeking
There was no further discussion be-
tween Mary's father and grandmother as
to the propriety of her accepting the invi-
tation; and on the latest day proposed
she put on her holiday attire, looking
almost like a young lady, and took her
way to The Laurels. How she spent the
day shall be told in her own words.
It was rather late in the evening when
Mary returned to her father's cottage, and
as she seemed tired and not inuch dis-
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 73
posed for conversation, very little passed
then between herself and her father and
grandmother, except that she had enjoyed
the holiday, and that Mrs. Gainsford had
been kind to her. But on the following
afternoon, when she was straw-plaiting,
with only her grandmother as a hearer,
she became more communicative.
So you enjoyed your visit yesterday,
my dear," said Mrs. Woodman.
Oh yes, grandmother; and I will tell
you all about it, if you please."
"I shall be pleased to hear whatever
you like to tell, Mary," said grandmother;
and then Mary began her history.
I shall begin at the beginning, grand-
mother," said she. And so it was about
ten o'clock when I got to The Laurels,
and the first person I saw was the servant
who rides by so often, and he told me
that Miss Agnes was in the garden, but
74 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
that, first of all, I was to go into the
breakfast-parlour to Mrs. Gainsford. So
he took me there; and oh, grandmother,
you do not know what a grand room it is,
and only a breakfast-parlour after all."
Grandmother smiled a little. I cer-
tainly do not know how grand it is," she
said, because I have never seen it. But
why do you say 'only a breakfast-par-
Because there are grander rooms than
that at The Laurels," replied Mary.
" There is the drawing-room, with such
beautiful paper on the walls, and silk win-
dow curtains, and chairs and sofas covered
with flowered silk, and a carpet so thick
Mrs. Woodman stopped her little grand-
daughter in this description. You can
tell me about the furniture another time,
Mary; that is not of much consequence,
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 75
for I can guess how the rooms are fur-
nished You were about telling me that
you saw Mrs. Gainsford in the breakfast-
"Yes, grandmother; and she was at
breakfast, too, all alone. She is a delicate
lady, and quite pale; but she had on-"
You need not describe the lady's dress,
my dear. She said something to you, I
Oh yes; and she did not seem at all
proud, as I expected she would be. She
said she was much obliged to me-of
course she meant to you, grandmother-
for taking care of Miss Agnes and Master
George while that storm lasted, and that
she was glad I could make it convenient
to pay them a longer visit in return. Then,
grandmother, she said that she had heard
of you, and understood that you were
'a good old lady ;'-these were the very
76 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
words she used, grandmother," said Mary,
with a little natural exultation.
"Never mind what the lady said about
me, my dear, because that is really of no
No, grandmother, for you are good,
whether Mrs. Gainsford says so or not,"
said Mary; "only I think it was what
she had heard about you made her willing
to have me at her house. But I did not
stay long with Mrs. Gainsford. She did
not say much more, only that she was
very poorly, and that was why she had
breakfast so late; and that she would give
a great deal of money to be quite well,
which she thought she never should be
again. And then she rang the bell for the
servant, and told him to take me to Miss
Yes, my dear; and what then ?"
"Why, then, grandmother, I was taken
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 77
into the pleasure-grounds; and there were
Agnes and George Gainsford both; and
they behaved very pleasantly, and took
me all over the gardens, and into the
green-houses and hot-houses. They are
very beautiful; and they told me they
cost their father-"
The gardens told you so, Mary ?"
No, no, grandmother; George Gains-
ford told me that the gardens would cost
his father more than a hundred pounds a
year to keep in order. But do you think
that can be true ?"
I think it quite likely to be true,
It is a great deal of money-a hun-
dred pounds," said Mary.
Yes; it seems so to us, certainly," said
That is just what Miss Agnes said,
grandmother. I said, 'What a great deal
78 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
of money that is!' and she said, Ah, I
dare say it seems so to you; but it is
not so much as papa would like to spend
on his gardens. He says they cannot be
kept in the best sort of order, as he would
like to see them, for less than two hun-
dred pounds a year; and he is too poor
to afford that.'"
So it seems, then, that Mr. Gainsford,
rich as he may be, really would like to
have a little more than he has."
"A great deal more, I should think,
grandmother; for you would scarcely think
the number of things they said they could
not have because their father was not rich
enough. I could not have thought of so
many wants if I had tried."
I dare say not, Mary. But you did
not spend all the day in roaming about
the gardens and pleasure-grounds, and
talking of these matters, I suppose ?"
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 79
Oh no, grandmother. We went on the
river in a boat with one of the men who
was at work in the garden to row the
boat; and this occupied us till dinner-
time. Then we had dinner by ourselves,
with a servant to carve for us of course."
I suppose Mr. Gainsford was not at
Not till the evening. He came home
from London then; and George Gainsford
said it would not do for his father to leave
off business, because he has not nearly
money enough to retire with, and to live
as he wants to do."
Mrs. Woodman very likely thought of
a verse in one of the Psalms, which tells
us that surely every man walketh in a
vain show; surely they are disquieted in
vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth
not who shall gather them" (Ps. xxxix. 6).
But she did not say this. She could only
80 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
hope, however, that her granddaughter's
little head would not be turned with all
that she had seen and heard at The Lau-
rels. And she doubted much whether it
were wise in Mrs. Gainsford, though it
was kindly meant, to raise the little cot-
tage girl, even for a day, to such an equal-
ity with her own children. But neither
did she say this.
Mary afterwards described to her grand-
mother what more she had seen at The
Laurels, and talked about the expensive
playthings with which the children's play-
room was filled, and which they seemed
to treat as though they were of no value,
for a great many of them were broken;
and when Mary ventured to say what a
pity it was, she was told that it did not
signify, the broken playthings being so
old that both Agnes and her brother were
tired of them.
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 81
They have books, as well as playthings,
I suppose," said Mary's grandmother.
I did not see many books, only some
picture-books in beautiful bindings, which
they showed me; and these were sadly
torn., And when I said again that this
was a pity, the young gentleman laughed,
and said that books were not of much use,
and he did not care for them. And then
his sister told him that he would have to
care for them when he went again to
And do you think your visit was very
profitable to yourself? Mrs. Woodman
asked, after Mary had given some further
account of it.
Mary was not quite sure.
Will seeing so many fine things,
and hearing of so many more, make
you dissatisfied with your own home,
82 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
I hope not, grandmother; but Mary
spoke rather hesitatingly.
"Because you were a little disposed to
envy these young people when you first
saw them, and knew who they were; do
you recollect ?"
Did I really envy them, do you think,
grandmother ? "
You were very near the brink of envy,
my dear child. Another step or two,
and you would have fallen in, I am
Mary was silent; she knew that her
grandmother was right, and could not but
be conscious how many times she had
found herself thinking discontentedly of
her own happy home and many advantages
since the beautiful ponies and their young
riders first made their appearance in the
village. No, she could not deny that she
had been very near the brink of envy;
A VISIT TO THE LAURELS. 83
and if her grandmother had said that she
had stepped into the black and foul stream,
she would scarcely have denied that either,
for Mary was a truthful girl.
"You do not answer me, my dear,"
said Mrs. Woodman, after waiting a min-
ute or two.
The child began to answer in a low
voice, I am afraid, grandmother, that-
that-" and then she stopped short, as
though she scarcely knew how to go on,
or what she had to say. And when her
grandmother looked into her face, she saw
that her eyes were full of tears.
"Do not say any more, my dear child,
if it distresses you to speak. I do not
wish you to confess to me, you know,"
said grandmother kindly.
Grandmother," said Mary in a firmer
tone, "I think you are right. I know
that I have been discontented lately, and
84 A VISIT TO THE LAURELS.
have wished-oh, for so many things I
ought not to have wished for."
That is a very brave acknowledgment,
Mary; and if you humbly and sincerely
make the same acknowledgment to God,
and seek the aid of his Holy Spirit to take
away wrong desires and implant right
feelings in your heart, you will have reason
to be glad that your weakness has been
Not much more passed at this time;
but it was afterwards seen that a good
impression had been made upon Mary's
mind by the few quiet words spoken by
'he .Jiccrltir of piconticit, mub the
j[leasure of CQontentment.
E must leave Mary Woodman and
her father's cottage for a little
S There is a verse in the Bible
which tells us that a little that a right-
eous man hath is better than the riches of
many wicked" (Ps. xxxvii. 16); and there
is another which says that they that will
be rich fall into temptation and a snare,
and into many foolish and hurtful lusts,
which drown men in destruction and per-
dition ;" and also that the love of money
is the root of all evil; which while some
coveted after, they have erred from the
faith, and pierced themselves through with
many sorrows" (1 Tim. vi. 9, 10).
Now Mr. Philip Gainsford was one of
those who are determined if possible to be
rich; and thus he fell into many tempta-
tions and snares. He did not wish nor
intend to be dishonest, if he could help it;
but he certainly did not hesitate to do
many things which more scrupulous per-
sons would have thought to be dishonest,
and therefore would not have done. I
think, for instance, that a very honest and
scrupulous school-boy would scarcely have
liked to sell a pocket-knife to an unwary
playfellow for twice as much money as
would have purchased a new one exactly
like it. And yet this trick which the boy
Gainsford played upon his school-fellow
Jarvie was only a specimen of his conduct
when he became a man. I should be
sorry to say that he obtained money by
downright cheating, but certainly he had
been all his life in the habit of taking
advantage of the ignorance or the wants
of others, in order that he himself might
And Mr. Gainsford had prospered in
the world, and increased in riches. But
it was remarked by all who knew him
that he was never satisfied. When he
had made a good bargain for himself,
which was very often indeed, he wished it
had been yet more profitable; a little more
would have pleased him better, although
by having that little more another person
might have suffered loss and injury. And
so, when his riches had so much increased
that he was able to live in a large house,
with many servants and all kinds of lux-
uries about him, so that he could even
afford to spend a hundred pounds a year
on his gardens and pleasure-grounds, he
was still as discontented as ever. He
had no real enjoyment in the good things
of life; he had no thankfulness in his
heart; he knew that others were still
richer than himself, and he had more envy
and jealousy towards them than pity or
regard for those of his fellow-creatures
who were in poverty and distress. No
wonder therefore that he was unhappy.
And being unsatisfied himself, Mr.
Gainsford was the cause of dissatisfaction
to all around him, by setting them an ex-
ample of discontent. You remember that
Mary Woodman had discernment enough
to see that both Agnes and George, as
well as their mother, seemed to be anxious
for a number of things which they could
not have, because their father was not rich
enough." She wondered at this; and she
would have wondered more if she could
have known how deep and constant this
discontent was, and how little enjoyment
was derived from those luxuries for which
she had been in danger of envying her
young companions of a day. But perhaps
her wonder would have ceased if she had
remembered that it is the blessing of the
Lord," and that alone, which. "maketh
rich" and "addeth no sorrow."
I hope my young readers will not think
this to be a dull chapter, for it is an im-
portant one; and I must add a little more
There is nothing wrong in persons ob-
taining wealth by honest means and per-
severing efforts. If such persons make a
right use of their wealth, neither hoarding
it nor selfishly spending it on themselves
and their own pleasures, without regard to
others, they are well employed; and the
power to get wealth, which they receive
from God, is a blessing to those around
them. It is only when covetousness and
selfishness and pride take possession of
the heart that wealth becomes a curse.
But when this is unhappily the case,
and the rich man boasts himself in his
riches, and despises those who are poor,
and is constantly grasping after more
money, and yet a little more, that he may
increase his own fancied importance and
enjoyments, then it is to be feared that his
wealth will indeed be a curse to him in
And when riches have been obtained
by any schemes or means which God does
not approve, we may be sure then that his
blessing will not rest upon them; and it
is better to be poor all our lives, with
God's blessing, than to be thought ever so
rich, and to have a whole house full of
money, without it.
There are many rich persons in the
"world who are contented with the good
things which God in his providence has
placed within their reach, and who are
ready to do good and to communicate to
others (Heb. xiii. 16). And there are
many poor persons who are as dissatisfied
and discontented as the rich Mr. Gains-
ford ever could be; while, on the other
hand, there are other poor persons-that
is, persons who are poor in this world,
though they are rich in faith, and heirs of
the kingdom which God hath promised to
them that love him (James ii. 5)-who, like
Mary's grandmother, are happy and thank-
ful and useful. So you see that it is not
riches or poverty that fixes the real char-
acter of any one. It is the grace of God
in the heart.
I have something else to say in this
chapter. It is highly proper and desirable
for every one to endeavour, in every honest
and honourable way, to improve his present
situation and advance his position in the
world. But true Christians will do this,
and yet keep and enjoy a contented dis-
position, being careful for nothing, but in
everything by prayer and supplication with
thanksgiving letting their requests be
made known unto God (Phil. iv. 6); and
having their conversation-their actions
and thoughts, as well as words-without
covetousness; because God has said, I
will never leave thee, nor forsake thee"
(Heb. xiii. 5). To such as these the fol-
lowing hymn, which was a great favourite
with Mrs. Woodman, is very suitable:-
Happy the man whose bliss supreme
Flows from a source on high,
And flows in one perpetual stream
When earthly springs are dry.
Contentment makes their little more,
And sweetens good possessed;
While faith foretastes the joys in store,
And makes them doubly blessed.
If Providence their comforts shroud,
And dark distresses lower,
Hope paints its rainbow on the cloud,
And grace shines through the shower.
What troubles can their hearts o'erwhelm
Who view a Saviour near,
Whose Father sits and guides the helm,
His voice forbidding fear?
Let tempests rage and billows rise,
And mortal firmness shrink,
Their anchor fastens in the skies,
Their bark no storm can sink.
God is their joy and portion'still
When earthly good retires,
And shall their hearts sustain and fill
When earth itself expires."
The alterations and improvements at
The Laurels went on gaily; so that all
through the summer and autumn John
Woodman, as well as many other me-
chanics and labourers, were fully employed.
At length, however, the work was done.
But somehow or other no one was quite
pleased. The workmen had been properly
paid, it is true; but they had served a
hard and dissatisfied master, who was
much more apt to find fault than to com-
mend; while Mr. Gainsford had so many
schemes for increasing his wealth to attend
to, that he received very little enjoyment
from the possession of his quiet and elegant
There were many who envied him, how-
ever, and many also who commended him.
It is true, it became known that Mr.
Gainsford was grasping and covetous, a
sharp man of business, and a hard creditor.
But then he was rich; and the Bible tells
us that men will praise those who do well
for themselves. So Mr. Gainsford had a
great deal of outward respect, at least,
paid to him. After a time, also, much
company was invited to The Laurels; and
our poor little Mary Woodman soon dis-
covered that she was not wanted there
again to play with Miss Agnes. Indeed,
more than once she had the mortification
of being passed by unnoticed when she was
in the village and Agnes and her brother
rode by on their beautiful ponies. It was
natural for Mary to feel this slight, which
she could not but know was intentional;
but she bore it quietly, and the pain soon
passed away. In truth, her father's cheer-
ful disposition and her grandmother's wise
and kind counsels had more influence on
Mary's mind than even she was aware;
and the time soon came when she could
see the young people from The Laurels
cantering by her cottage-home on their
beautiful ponies, without being disturbed
in her mind with envious feelings and vain
And so two or three years passed away.
In John Woodman's home there was great
peace and contentment, because there was
true piety; and the peace of God, which
passeth all understanding, kept the hearts
and minds of those who dwelt there,
through Jesus Christ, and by the bless-
ing of God's holy and gracious Spirit.
ylli~infc^ rat)b forc Thangca.
IVE years passed away, and some
changes had taken place in the
village. Mary Woodman was
"no longer a child; she had grown
to be a young woman; and she kept her
father's house in a kind of pleasant part-
nership with her grandmother.. Some one
once wrote a song beginning with,-
Youth and crabbed age
Cannot live together;"
but Mary and her grandmother lived
together in peace and concord and love.
It may be said, however, that Mrs. Wood-
98 CHANGES AND MORE CHANGES.
man's age was not crabbed or sour; and
this made the difference.
Mary also continued her occupation of
straw-plaiting, and had become particularly
expert at it. A year or two before this,
a new kind of straw had been introduced
into the country, from which very fine and
beautiful plait could be made; and Mary
was one of the first who gave her attention
to this new work. The result was that
she earned considerably more money than
she otherwise could have done. You will
remember her having wished, in rather an
idle, discontented mood, that some one
would give her twenty pounds, only
twenty." Well, this wish had never been
fulfilled, certainly; but what was much
better and more satisfactory every way,
Mary had earned enough money to be
enabled to lay by ten pounds, without
being either mean or stingy or covetous