The Baldwin Lbrari
ILj1 R Urdven.ry
j-a 'ty ,i
^91 .l. P) ^ ::?
*y ^ -
*, --^- -
S. F-' 1
IS SHE GENEROUS?
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
I. A WINTER MORNING, ... .. ... ... 7
II. THE VISIT, ... .. ... 9
III. THE SWING. ... ... 12
IV. GIVING, .. .. ... ... .. 16
V. GENEROSITY, ... ... 18
VI. PARTING SCENES, ... ... .. .. .. 22
VII. CHANGES, ... ... ... ... 27
VIII. A MOTHER AND CHILD, ... .. .. 30
IX. REPENTANCE, ... ... .. .. 34
X. A GOOD BEGINNING, ... ... 43
XI. A NEW CREATURE, ... .. ... .. 47
XII. CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE, ... ... ... .. 53
XIII. THE THREE WISHES, ... .. .. 60
A WINTER MORNING.
HEN last I took leave of my young friends it
was autumn, and we were looking forward to
Spending a merry Christmas at Flowerhill.
Those of youwho have read "Jessie Graham,"
may remember that I thought it probable my
next story for you would be of that gay and
Afortnight before Christmas came William
Temple, full of joyful expectation. The day after his ar-
rival he rode over with his uncle to see me, and to invite
Harriet and Mary to be at Flowerhill the next morning.
Soon after Mr. Dickinson and William left us, the sky was
overcast with heavy clouds, which, as evening approached,
became more and more wild and dark. I predicted a
snow-storm, and Harriet and Mary went to sleep with
little hope of being able to fulfil their engagement.
The snow-storm came, but it lasted only a few hours of
the night, and the next morning's sun rose clear and
bright. Bright indeed, dazzlingly bright, as its rays fell
on the pure, white snow with which the whole ground was
8 A WINTER MORNING.
covered, or shone through the icicles, with which every
tree was hung, making them look like glittering diamonds,
in each of which there seemed a tiny rainbow.
I had ordered the carriage at an early hour, and we had
scarcely breakfasted when the noisy rattle of the wheels
told that it was at the door. Even the horses seemed
gayer than usual, and whirled us along so rapidly, that
had not the reins been in the hands of Henry, whom I
knew to be the steadiest and most careful coachman in the
country, I should have been half frightened. William saw
us from the parlour window, and had the door open for us
as soon as we were out of the carriage. We were just
cold enough to enjoy the warm parlour; and as we drew
close to the cheerful blazing fire, Mary exclaimed, Aunt
Kitty, do you not wish it was always winter ?"
No, Mary, for I love spring flowers and summer and
Oh I had forgotten them," said Mary; "but I am
very glad there is a winter too."
So am I, Mary, very glad, and very thankful to Him
who gives us the varying pleasures which make each
This pleasant morning visit was all which I saw of the
Christmas entertainments at Flowerhill, for on my return
home, I found a carriage waiting for me, and a letter re-
questing me to come to a very dear friend, who was both
ill and in trouble, and needed a nurse and a comforter.
You may be sure that I made no delay in complying with
this request; but before I tell you anything of my visit,
I would give you some account of my friend Mrs. Arnott,
and of her daughter Florence, as she had appeared to me
about eighteen months before, when I had spent some
weeks with her mother under very different circumstances.
THE VISIT. 9
MRS. ARNOTT was younger than I, yet not so much
younger but that we had been playmates in childhood. As
we grew older we continued warm friends. When she
married, I rejoiced in her happy prospects, and found but
one thing in Mr. Arnott I would have desired to change
-he lived thirty miles from me, and this was felt as a
wide separation between friends who had been accustomed
to meet every day. I soon found that the separation was
to be much greater. Mr. Arnott liked travelling, had a
large fortune, and little to do. He took a tour with his
wife through England, Scotland, and Wales, and after-
wards decided on visiting the Continent; and having seen
whatever was of most interest in France, Switzerland, and
Germany, he went into Italy, and spent more than a year
in the city of Florence. Here their little girl was born,
and received her name in remembrance of a home which
they had found very agreeable. When Florence was
about two years old, her father and mother returned home.
They came in the autumn, and joyfully as I welcomed back
my friend, I soon began to fear that she would not be able to
spend many winters with us. Her constitution had always
been delicate, and her long abode in the soft, warm climate
of Italy seemed to have unfitted her completely for the
endurance of our rough and cold northern winters. The
first winter she went out very seldom, the second not at
all, and the third she showed symptoms of serious illness
so early, that her physician advised Mr. Arnott to take
her at once to a more southern climate. They left home,
and their delightful country place was again let for several
years, while they spent their winters at the south, and
their summers in travelling about.
In this way Mrs. Arnott seemed gradually to acquire
ru,:,i vigorous health, yet it was not till Florence was
i. i than ten years old that they returned to their own
10 THE VISIT.
home with some hope of being able to remain at it during
the whole year. As soon as they began to feel themselves
settled, Mrs. Arnott wrote to ask a visit from me, request-
ing that I would bring my nieces, Harriet Armand and
Mary Mackay, with me. She was very urgent in this
last request, saying that she hoped to benefit her little
Florence by the society of children of nearly her own age,
who had been as carefully educated as she knew Harriet
and Mary had been. I will copy for you a part of my
friend's letter, from which I gained some knowledge of.
the disposition of Florence, even before I made this visit.
You will soon see," wrote Mrs. Arnott, that my little
girl's education has been sadly neglected. By her educa-
tion, I do not mean what is ordinarily taught in schools.
Wherever we have made our home, even for a few months,
we have procured for her the best teachers we could find,
and as she is a child of quick mind, she is quite as well
informed as most children of her age. But to the educa-
tion of her heart, which I know you will think with me of
far more importance, no attention has been paid. Her
father's extreme indulgence to this only child, my feeble
health, and our roving life, have left her so unrestrained
that I begin to fear she is becoming very self-willed. Yet
her temper is naturally so amiable, and her feelings so
affectionate, she is so anxious to please those she loves, and
so grieved at the least appearance of blame from them,
that I hope it will not be difficult to correct her faults."
As I felt much interested in this little girl, and thought,
with her mother, that the association with other and more
carefully taught children might be serviceable to her, I
determined at once to accept the invitation for Harriet
and myself, and if my brother and Mrs. Mackay would
consent, for Mary too. Indeed, I hoped more advantage
for Florence from the companionship of Mary than of
Harriet. Harriet was so gentle, and would yield to her
young friend so quietly, that Florence would seldom dis-
cover from her how much she was yielding, and how un-
reasonable her own exactions were. But Mary had a
strong will, and though she had been taught that she
THE VISIT. 11
must on many occasions submit to the will of others, it
was always done with a very great effort. I was quite
sure, therefore, that Florence would know whenever Mary
yielded a point to her, and, moreover, that she would be
very plainly informed if Mary thought her demands un-
Mr. and Mrs. Mackay readily consented that Mary
should go with me, and Mary was always pleased with the
prospect of a visit, especially if the visit could be made
with Harriet and Aunt Kitty. Of my designs for the
improvement of Florence, I did not, of course, say any-
thing to either of my nieces.
Our visit was made in June, and an extremely hot
month it was that year. It was too warm to travel in
mid-day, so, rising very early, we were five miles from
home before the sun rose; and before it became uncom-
fortably warm, we arrived at a beautiful little village,
where we were to dine, rest our horses, and remain quiet
till the afternoon became cool, when fourteen miles more
of travelling would bring us to Mr. Arnott's. We ar-
rived there just about sunset. Florence was playing on
the green before the door with a little dog, which ran
jumping and barking beside her, when the carriage swept
round a turn of the road, which brought us in sight of the
Florence had travelled too much, and been, therefore,
too much accustomed to new faces, to run away from us,
even had we been strangers; and we were not strangers,
for she had seen us all in the preceding summer, when her
mother had made a visit of a few days in our neighbour-
hood ; so, instead of running away, she called out, on see-
ing us, Papa, mamma, here they come !" and opening the
gate, stood ready to receive us, with a face full of smiles.
Bed-time soon follows sunset in summer, at least for
children. Yet it came not too soon this evening for Har-
riet and Mary, who were tired with their thirty miles
travelling. But Florence thought it very unkind in them
to leave her so soon this first evening." Her entreaties
were so very urgent that they would stay a little while
12 THE SWING.
longer, that her young companions would have found some
difficulty in getting away without aid from me. Taking
Florence's hand, as she was endeavouring to hold Harriet
and Mary back from following the servant, who was going
to show them their bed, I said, "Did you hear me tell
those little girls that they must go to bed ?"
Yes," she replied; "but they have been here such a
little time, and it is so early yet; I only want them to
stay a little while longer."
"I do not doubt that they would try to oblige you,
though they are tired and sleepy; but they are accustomed
to do just as I wish them, and I wish them to go to bed
at once. You will have a long summer's day for talk and
play to-morrow, and only a short summer's night for sleep.
So now bid them good-night; and I think you had better
go too, for I shall call you up very early in the morning,
as I expect you to show me the garden and the dairy
And the fish-pond too," said Florence, the fish-pond
Is there a fish-pond too ? Well, all these will require
us to rise early. Shall I bid you good-night too ?"
"Yes; I may as well go," said she, looking around, and
seeing that Harriet and Mary were already gone.
So closed the first evening of our visit.
THE morning was cloudless, and the garden looked beau-
tiful, with its leaves and flowers glittering with dew-drops.
But I only saw it from my window, for though Harriet
and Mary, starting from sleep at the first sound of my
voice, sprang eagerly up, and dressing in haste, waited
impatiently for the tap of Florence, which was to summon
us to our morning walk, they waited in vain. Florence
THE SWING. 13
could not be awaked9 or when awake, could not be in-
duced to rise; and breakfast was announced, and we were
all seated at table, before she made her appearance. She
looked far more discontented and dull than those whom
she had disappointed. This did not surprise me, for I
knew she could not feel very well pleased with herself;
and those who are not, are seldom pleased with others.
Well, Florence," said her father, "so you have slept
so long that your friends have lost this fine morning in
waiting for you, and have seen nothing of all that you
promised last evening to show them."
Florence coloured, hung her head, and replied, in rather
a sulky tone, "I could not wake myself."
No," said Mr. Arnott, but-"
"Come, Mr. Arnott," said I, interrupting him, "the
disappointment is past. We have many other pleasures in
store for to-day,-we can afford to postpone this one ; and
I doubt not that Florence will be ready in time to-morrow.
To secure it, I will call her myself. May I, Florence ?"
She looked pleased, and replied promptly, "Yes,
I had two reasons for interrupting Mr. Arnott. One
was, I thought Florence was already so much grieved and
disappointed that it was useless to distress her further.
Another, and, perhaps, a more important reason was, that
I wished to serve this little girl by helping her to correct
her faults ; and I felt that in order to be able to do this,
it was quite necessary that she should learn to love me,
to place confidence in my kindness, and take pleasure in
my society. Now you will readily see that she would
not be likely to do any of these things, if through me she
were made to feel uncomfortably.
After breakfast, Mr. Arnott invited the children to
take a walk with him, adding, I have something to show
you, that even Florence has not seen."
"Which I have not seen What can it be? Do, papa,
tell me what it is," said Florence, coming back from the
door, which she had reached on her way for her bonnet.
You will know in a few minutes," said Mr. Arnott,
14 THE SWING.
"that is, if you will put on your bonnet and come with
me, instead of keeping us all waiting. See, Harriet and
Mary are ready," pointing to them as they now entered
Florence ran off for her bonnet, saying, however, as
she went, I will ask nursey ; if she knows, I am sure
she will tell me."
She does not know," Mr. Arnott called out.
As I love pleasant surprises, especially when children
are to enjoy the pleasure, this little mystery was quite a
temptation to join the walkers too strong for me to resist;
so before Florence came back, I was ready too, and went
off as full of curiosity and pleased expectation as any of
the party. Mr. Arnott led us through the garden into
the orchard beyond it. As we entered the garden, Flor-
ence said, "Now I know what it is, papa ; you are going
to show us a new flower."
"Indeed, I am not, Florence."
As we passed into the orchard, she suddenly exclaimed,
"Now I have it, papa, now I have it! the cherries we
were looking at the other day are ripe, and you are going
to get us some."
Her father smiled, but said nothing.
"That is it, papa, is it not 1"
"Wait a few minutes, Florence, and you will see."
"Well, I give it up now, for we have passed all the
Mr. Arnott turned towards a wood which skirted the
orchard on the north, and long before we reached it the
secret was told ; for, on the stoutest branch of a magnifi-
cent oak, which he had, by removing his fence, enclosed
within the orchard, hung a swing-a new and strongly
made swing, with a very comfortable seat. We all
quickened our pace as we came in sight of it, and many
were the exclamations of admiration and delight from the
Such a beautiful swing, under such a cool, shady tree
-how delightful !"
Florence jumped, danced, clapped her hands, and at
THE SWING. 15
length darted off, and then bounding into the swing,
called out to her father, Come, quick, quick, papa, and
After I have swung your friends, my dear."
Florence looked disappointed, and both Harriet and
Mary drew back, saying, "Oh no, sir swing Florence
Mr. Arnott saw that to persist in his politeness would
distress them; so saying, I will swing you twelve times,
Florence," he touched the swing, and away it rose, rapidly
yet steadily, through the air, higher and higher each time,
till, as Mr. Arnott counted twelve, Florence shrieked,
half with fear, and half with delight. Mr. Arnott caught
the swing as it descended, and stopped it.
"Oh, papa, is that twelve ?"
"Yes, Florence ; did you not hear me count ?"
"Well, just once more, papa."
Mr. Arnott stooped and whispered to her; she red-
dened, and getting down very slowly, said, "Now, Harriet,
you get in."
Harriet got in, and counting for herself, sprang out as
the swing descended for the twelfth time. Mary had
her turn, and looked so well pleased, that, had her father
been in Mr. Arnott's place, she would, I doubt not, have
said, like Florence, "Just once more, papa." As she came
out of it Florence again sprang in.
"Now, papa, once, only once-or twice," she added, as
her father extended his arm at her entreaty.
But after giving one toss to the swing, Mr. Arnott
turned resolutely away, saying, "You are never satisfied,
Florence; but I will not indulge you any further this
morning, for the sun is getting too warm for any of you
to be here longer. In the cool of the evening we will try
Florence looked not very well pleased, but as we all
turned towards the house, she came out and followed us.
I DO not intend to give you a history of what was done
by the children each day of our visit, for this would make
a very long story. When it was fine weather they helped
the gardener, as they said, or hindered him, as he some-
times complained ; walked in the orchard, looking for ripe
fruit-or swung ; and on a cool evening Mr. Arnott would
sometimes take them out on the river in a pretty little
sailing-boat, or drive them two or three miles in a light,
open carriage. When it rained, they overhauled Flor-
ence's toys, of which there were trunks full, or amused
themselves with her books. They seemed to agree very
well, at least we heard of no disagreements, though I
fancied, towards the latter part of our stay, that I some-
times saw a cloud on Mary's brow; but I asked no ques-
tions, and it passed off without any complaint.
One afternoon, when we had been there about a week.
as Mr. and Mrs. Arnott and I were seated in the piazza
enjoying the pleasant breeze, the children rushed in from
the garden, seeming very anxious to give us some infor-
mation, which, as each tried to speak louder than the
others, it was quite impossible for some time for us to
understand. At length, by hearing a little from each,
we made out that there were ripe strawberries in the
neighbourhood-really ripe-for the gardener had seen
them, and he said they were as large around as his
"And you want me to send for some," Mr. Arnott
began. But Oh no, papa !" "Oh no, sir !" every voice
again exclaimed ; "we want to go for them."
Go for them!-and pray, young ladies, how will you
go ?-am I to drive you ?"
"Oh no, papa; we want to walk. And Andrew "-this
was the name of Mr. Arnott's gardener-" says they will
let us go into the garden and pick them ourselves ; and
you know, mamma, Eliza can go with us and carry our
baskets," added Florence, anticipating her mother's objec-
tion to their going without some attendant to a place a
And so it was arranged ; and in a few minutes they set
out, Eliza carrying the baskets, and each taking a six-
pence to pay for her berries. It seems they had gone
only about half way, when they met a poor woman with
a sick child in her arms, sitting to rest herself in the shade
by the side of the road. The woman looked so pale and
sad that the servant, Eliza, who was a kind-hearted girl,
spoke to her, and asked what was the matter.
Sick and weary," said the poor woman.
"But how did you come to be in the road here by
yourself ?-and where are you going ?" asked Florence.
"Why you see, miss, I have been to the city, where a
great many people told me that I might make twice as
much money without slaving myself to death, as I was
doing, for the children ; and so I took this baby and
went. But the baby fell sick ; and, indeed, I think the city
air did not suit either of us, for I fell sick too, and could
not work at all ; and I longed so to get home and smell
the country air, and see the other children and friends'
faces, instead of strangers, strangers always, that, as soon
as I could walk, I set out, and at last I have got only
eight miles more to walk, for I live at M- ."
"But why do you walk ?" asked the children.
"Ah, young ladies, poor folk that have not any money
to pay for rides, must walk. As long as my money held
out I got a ride on a cart now and then for a sixpence or
"a shilling, and that was a great help ; but I have not even
"a sixpence left now to buy a bit of bread if I was ever so
In a moment Harriet's sixpence was in the poor
woman's hand ; Mary's followed. She burst into tears,
and thanked them again and again. Florence looked at
her sixpence, then at the woman, and said, "I have two
shillings at home, and that is four times as much as a six-
pence, you know ; and if you will wait here till I have got
the strawberries I am going for, you can go back with me
and I will give you that."
"Thank you, my dear young lady," said the poor crea-
ture, but I hope to get home this evening, and that I
shall not do if I stop and go back on my way ; yet," she
added, "two shillings is a great deal. I wish I were not
"Florence," cried Harriet and Mary, both at once, I
will go back for the money if you will tell me where it is,
and the poor woman can rest here till I come back."
My good woman," said Eliza, you are not fit to walk
or even to ride eight miles to-night. Now, our gardener's
wife has a spare room in her house, and she is a kind
woman, and will do everything she can to make you
comfortable ; and to-morrow morning, I dare say, the
gardener can get you a lift on some farmer's cart all the
way to M-- So now, instead of waiting here, you
had better go back at once, and Miss Florence can give
you the two shillings when she comes home."
"Yes, I will give you the two shillings," said Florence
"and that," she repeated, turning to Mary, is four times
as much as a sixpence, you know."
So it was arranged: the woman went back-the
gardener's wife accommodated her-the gardener found
a farmer going to M- the next morning, who promised
to take her on his cart; and when Florence came home she
gave her the two shillings, which, being four times as
much as a sixpence, evidently made her, in her own
opinion, and in Mary's too, four times as generous as
Harriet or herself.
A FEW days after the events related in the last chapter,
Mary came into my room to show me a basket and a
doll's dress which Florence had given her. They were
neither of them quite new, but they were not at all the
worse for wear, and Mary was quite delighted with them,
and with Florence for giving them. Aunt Kitty, I do
love Florence," said she, "she is so generous."
Is she, my dear?" said I, in a very quiet tone.
"Why yes, Aunt Kitty; do you not see what she has
given me ?-and she has a book for Harriet, a very pretty
book, which she means to give her when she is going
away. And she gives away money; you know she gave
two shillings to that poor woman the other day."
"All this, Mary, does not prove that Florence is
"Well, I do not see, Aunt Kitty, how anybody can be
more generous than to give away their playthings, and
their books, and their money."
At this moment Harriet entered the room. Mary,
from thinking that I was opposed to her in opinion, had
become very much in earnest on the subject, and she
called out, I am very glad you are come, Harriet. Only
think, Aunt Kitty does not think Florence is generous.
Now, Harriet, is she not generous-is she not very
I do not know, Mary,-sometimes she is; but I did
not think she was the other day, when she would not
give her ripe plum to that poor sick child who wanted it
Mary coloured. But, Harriet, I am sure the wooden
horse she gave him was worth more than a dozen plums."
I dare say it was, Mary, but the child did not want
Mary became now a little angry, as she was apt to do
when she could not convince those with whom she was
"Well, Harriet, I think it is very unkind in you to
'seak so of Florence, and to say she is not generous, when
she thinks so much of you."
"Stop, stop, Mary," said I; "you are now as unjust to
Harriet as you accuse her of being to Florence. She did
not say that Florence was not generous, but only that she
had not made up her mind on that subject, that she had
not seen enough to convince her that she was ; and this,
remember, was all that I said. Florence may be as
generous as you think her, but you have not told me
enough to convince me of it. When we have known her
longer we shall all be able to judge better what she is. In
the meantime, I am very glad you like her, for I am very
much interested in her myself."
"Well, Aunt Kitty, I do like her," said Mary, in a
very energetic manner, "and I am sure I shall never be
any better able to judge her than I am now."
I made no reply, and the conversation ended.
Mary did not forget it, however, nor feel quite satisfied
with its termination ; for the next morning, as I was sit-
ting in my room alone, she came in, and after moving
about a little while, seated herself by me and said, Aunt
Kitty, I want to ask you a question."
Well, my dear, what is it ? "
I want to know when you think a person is generous?"
"A person is generous, Mary, when he gives up his
own gratification or advantage foir the gratification or
advantage of another."
"Well, that was what I always thought, Aunt Kitty;
and now I am sure a little girl does that when she gives
away her books and her playthings and her money, does
she not ?"
"When a little girl becomes tired of books and play-
things, Mary, they cease to amuse her, do they not ?"
"Yes, Aunt Kitty," said Mary, "if she get tired of
them; but I never get tired of books and playthings if
they are pretty."
Perhaps you may not, my dear," I replied, but some
other little girls do, and those little girls are most apt to
do so who have the greatest number of such things.
Now, should they give away those of which they are tired
-which had ceased to amuse them-could you say they
had given up a gratification ?"
"No, Aunt Kitty," said Mary, speaking very slowly,
for she was beginning to understand my meaning.
"Then this would not be what we mean by being
No, Aunt Kitty,-but money-you know nobody gets
tired of money. Suppose a little girl gives that."
"Well, Mary, suppose she gives money, and that she
knows when giving it that some kind friend will replace
it, or, indeed, give her a yet larger sum to encourage what
he thinks a good feeling, could you say she had given
up a gratification-would this prove her to be very
As I asked this question I looked in Mary's face with
a smile. The smile she gave me in return was plainly
After waiting a moment, during which she seemed to
be thinking very deeply, she spoke again. Well, Aunt
Kitty, but suppose she is not tired of the books and play-
things, and does not expect to get the money back ?
Mary felt quite sure of her ground now, and looked
steadily in my face. "Then, Mary, she would be a
generous girl, provided she did not expect to receive in
exchange for her gift some other selfish gratification or
advantage which she valued yet more highly."
Again Mary was silent and thoughtful for a while,
then said, "Why, Aunt Kitty, I heard my father say
once, when he gave some money to help some poor sick
soldiers, that it was a great gratification to him ; did that
make him not generous?"
No, no, Mary, for that was not a sefish gratification.
That gratification was caused by the good which he knew
the money would do them; but if your father had given
it for the praise which he expected to receive for so doing,
or if he had done it to please persons from whom he
hoped afterwards to receive some other favour in return,
would he have been generous, do you think?"
"No, Aunt Kitty," said Mary promptly.
"I think, Mary, you are now beginning to understand
fully what generosity is. Remember, to be generous, you
must not only give up something, but it must be some-
thing you value-something which is a gratification or
22 PARTING SCENES.
advantage to you-and you must give it up for the grati-
fication or advantage of another. Ignorant or thought-
less people sometimes call a person generous because lie
is careless of money, and throws it away on foolish, use-
less things ; do you think him so ?"
"No, Aunt Kitty."
"And why not, my dear ?" Mary hesitated. "I have
been teaching you a useful lesson, Mary," said I, "and I
would see if you have learned it well,-tell me, then, why
you would not think such a person generous."
Because, Aunt Kitty, what he gives up is not for the
gratification or advantage of another."
"Right, my love; you have learned your lesson well,
and will, I hope, often put it in practice."
At this moment Harriet put her head into the room,
calling out, Mary, do come and see how Florence has
dressed up Rover."
Rover was the name of a dog which had been lately
given to Florence, and which was a great pet with her.
Away ran Mary-all her grave thoughts quite forgotten
for the present.
THOUGH Mrs. Arnott's health was, as I have said, so
much improved that she now hoped to be able to remain
through the winter at her own home, Mr. Arnott was
desirous that she should spend some weeks of the summer
at the warm springs of Rochelle, from the waters of which
she had always seemed to derive great benefit. Mrs.
Arnott was quite willing to do anything by which she
might hope that her health would continue to improve,
but she acknowledged to me that the idea of taking
Florence there distressed her.
Since I have been at home," she said, and have been
able to observe closely my child's habits and temper, I
PARTING SCENES. 23
see much reason to fear that she has already suffered
greatly from the careless indulgence which can scarcely
be avoided when we are always surrounded by strangers.
She is now almost eleven years old, and I feel there is no
time to be lost in endeavouring to correct the faults of
her character, and that this can only be done by a degree
of watchfulness, and of steady, yet gentle control, which
I know from experience it is impossible to exercise either
in travelling or at a crowded watering-place."
"Why should you take Florence with you ?" I asked.
"What else can I do with her "
"Send her home with me. You will not be gone, Mr.
Arnott says, more than six weeks. For an object so
important as your child's improvement, you will not, I
am sure, my dear friend, hesitate to separate yourself
from her for so short a time. You know nothing pleases
me more than to surround myself with children ; and
though I acknowledge there is no teacher like a mother,
when the choice lies between a mother at a watering-
"There is no room to hesitate," said Mrs. Arnott,
interrupting me. I should rejoice to have Florence with
you even were I to remain at home ; and if I can win her
consent, your invitation will be gladly and thankfully
accepted, for of her father's wishes I have not a doubt."
Well," said I, "you will remember that I leave you
in two days, so that you have little time to lose in
"To-morrow," said Mrs. Arnott, "to-morrow I will
speak to Florence ; then, if she give her consent, there will.
be no time for change."
The morrow came, and when I met Mr. Arnott, he
said to me in a low voice, which was unheard by any
other person, I am very much obliged to you for your
offer to relieve us and benefit our little daughter; for a
great benefit I am sure it will be to Florence to be placed
with other children, and under what I know will be your
kind and gentle yet firm influence."
Mrs. Arnott looked pale and sad, and complained of a
24 PARTING SCENES.
bad headache. As I saw her look tenderly at Florence,
and heard how her voice softened in speaking to her, I
knew what caused both her headache and her paleness.
It was the thought of parting with her child for the first
time in her life. The separation would, I knew, be very
painful to this fond mother; but I also knew that she
would willingly bear the pain to herself, for the advan-
tage which she hoped Florence would derive from it.
After breakfast, Mrs. Arnott and I passed into another
room, where we had been accustomed to spend the morn-
ing, because it was at that time of the day shaded and
cool. We had scarcely entered when the three children
passed the window near which we sat. They seemed
very merry, amusing themselves with the wonderful but
awkward efforts made by Rover to catch an elastic ball
that Florence was tossing up.
Mrs. Arnott called Florence.
What is it, mamma?" said she, scarcely stopping
from her play long enough to look around.
Come here, my daughter; I have something to say to
Florence came to the window.
"No, Florence, you must come in, I want to talk to
you a little."
For a moment Florence's countenance was clouded;
but it was only for a moment, when, laughing, she cried
out, Here, Rover, here, sir,-come in with me, Rover,
for mamma wants to talk to me, and while she is talking,
you can be playing ball,"-and she came racing in, Rover
at her heels, and Harriet and Mary following to see the
Mrs. Arnott pressed her hand to her forehead, and I
saw that all this uproar increased her headache, but it
was utterly impossible for several seconds to make the
children hear us. At length I succeeded in silencing
Harriet and Mary, and in making Florence understand
that the noise gave her mother pain, and that she had
better send Rover out.
"Does mamma's head ache ?" she said; "I am sorry
PARTING SCENES. 25
for it. But just see Rover, mamma, try to catch this ball
-just see him once-do, mamma,-that can't hurt you,
I am sure, and it is so funny."
Before I could remonstrate, or Mrs. Arnott could refuse,
if she intended to refuse, the ball was thrown. Again
Rover, who had been watching every movement of
Florence, was barking, leaping, and turning somersets in
the air ; and again the children were laughing, Florence
as loudly as ever, and Harriet and Mary with quite as
much enjoyment, though a little less noise. As I found
speaking of little use, I stepped up quietly to the merry
group, and catching the ball as it rebounded from the
floor, put a stop at once to their mirth and Rover's
"Now, my dear," said I to Florence, your mother
wants to speak a few words to you; so sit down quietly
by her while I take Rover out, for she is in too much
pain to be amused by him."
Florence looked much surprised, and for a moment not
very well pleased; but as she found that I spoke gently
and pleasantly to the dog, and praised his beauty, while
he ran good-humouredly by my side, rubbing his curly
head against me, her countenance brightened, and she
seated herself without any objection. I beckoned to
Harriet and Mary to follow me, and when we were out
of the room, I gave Rover and the ball into their charge.
Then, telling them to wait in the piazza for Florence,
and obtaining from them a promise that they would be
very quiet, I returned. I had left the door of the room
open, and as I reached it, I heard Florence say, Oh no,
mamma; I had a great deal rather go to the Springs
with you and papa." At this moment she heard my step,
and turning, looked quite confused as her eye met mine.
"Do not be ashamed, Florence," said I, that I should
have heard you. I should be sorry if you did not love
your papa and mamma well enough to prefer their com-
pany to mine ; but I hope you love them so well that you
will do cheerfully what is not quite so pleasant to your-
self, when you are told that it will please them." Florence
26 PARTING SCENES.
hung her head, looked very grave, and said nothing.
" Speak, Florence," said I, would you not be willing, for
your mother's sake, to do what might not be very pleasant
to yourself ?"
After a little hesitation, Florence, without raising her
head, said, in a dissatisfied tone, I don't see what good it
could do mamma for me to go where I do not want to go."
I would have told Florence of her mother's delicate
health, and of how much more benefit she would probably
receive from travelling if she could be free from care;
but Mrs. Arnott, seeming to think there was little hope
of influencing Florence in this way, interrupted me, say-
ing, But, my love, why should you not wish to go home
with Harriet and Mary? You know how much you
enjoyed your visit of two or three days to them last
summer,-and Harriet has since then got a pony-you
might ride on horseback if you went now."
"Will she let me ride him ?" demanded Florence, look-
ing at me with sudden animation.
I am sure she will," I replied.
"And may I carry Rover ?"
"Well, then, I will go, for I should like to ride on
horseback; and then, mamma, I will have Rover with
me, and how odd it will be to see him jumping and try-
ing to get to me on the horse, just as he tried to-day to
catch the ball;" and she laughed out, and was again all
smiles and good-humour.
The consent of Florence having been obtained, the pre-
parations for her visit were soon completed, and as we
set out before the sun had risen on the following morning,
there was, as Mrs. Arnott had said, no time for her to
change her mind.
Florence could not but love her kind and gentle mother
dearly, and I did not wonder to see the tears start as she
bade her good-bye; but Rover was to be looked after-
the wild-flowers with which the road was lined were to
be admired-the rising sun was to be seen-and amidst
all these, Florence soon forgot to be sad.
I HAVE nothing strange to tell you of our journey.
Mary's father and mother were expecting us, and we
arrived in time to take tea with them, sending the
carriage home with our trunks. After tea, I walked
home with Harriet and Florence, while Rover gam-
bolled along as gaily as if he had had no travelling that
The next morning there was no difficulty in getting
Florence up, for she was so impatient to mount the pony,
that I could scarcely persuade her to wait till I was
dressed and able to go with her and witness her first
lesson in horsemanship. Pony was so gentle that I felt
there was little danger in trusting her on him; and so
delighted was she with her new amusement, that she
rode wherever she went, and I think Harriet was only
twice on horseback during her visit, and one of these
rides was not taken for her own pleasure. They seldom
went out without me, but one morning when I was very
much engaged, Mary came over to say that her governess
having gone on a visit to a sick friend, from which she
would not return for two days, her mother had given her
permission to invite her young friends in the neighbour-
hood to spend the next day with her, and as she was
going this morning to give her invitations herself, she
wished Florence and Harriet to go with her. Florence
was quite ready to go, provided she could ride ; so pony
was saddled, and as I knew where they were going, and
felt there was really no danger in the way, I allowed
them to go without me, sending with them, however, a
servant whom I knew to be careful and discreet. Gay,
laughing, and chatting, they set out. The furthest house
to which Mary intended extending her invitations was
only three-quarters of a mile distant, yet as she had
several calls to make, I did not expect them to return
under an hour and a half, or perhaps two hours. Greatly
surprised was I, therefore, when in about half an hour
I heard tones which seemed to be very like Mary's, but
not gay and laughing, as I had last heard them. Then
came a few words from Florence, and there was no mis-
taking the fact that her voice was decidedly sulky. Mary
was already in the piazza, when, laying aside my work, I
approached the window. Harriet was not with her, nor
was Florence in sight. With some alarm I inquired,
"Where are Harriet and Florence 1"
"Florence has rode to the stable, and Harriet has gone
for the doctor," Mary replied.
"The doctor !" I exclaimed, still more alarmed ; "for
whom ? Is anything the matter with Harriet ?"
No; but Mrs. O'Donnel's baby is ill-oh so ill, Aunt
Kitty !-and Harriet has gone for the doctor, and Mar-
garet has stayed with the baby, and sent me back to beg
you to go there."
Confused as Mary's account was, it was clear enough
that aid was wanted, and without waiting to ask any
further questions I set out, taking with me such simple
medicines as I thought might be useful, if I should arrive
before the doctor. As I left the parlour Mary followed
me, and begged very earnestly to be allowed to go with
me and carry some of my phials.
"But Florence, Mary; would you leave her alone ?"
I do not believe Florence cares to have me stay with
her, Aunt Kitty; and I am sure I do not wish to stay,"
said Mary, colouring.
I remembered the angry tones I had heard, and thought
it was perhaps wisest not to leave these children together
while they were so evidently out of temper; so, returning
to the parlour, where Florence had just made her appear-
ance, I asked her if she would like to go with me.
No," she replied; I am tired."
Then, my dear, rest yourself on the sofa a while, and
when you get up, look in that closet and you will find
some peaches. Mary is going with me, but I will send
Harriet to you as soon as I see her."
"I do not want Harriet or Mary either," said Florence
I soon found that I had not left all the ill-humour
behind when I left Florence, for we were scarcely down
the steps before Mary expressed her conviction, that
"there never was such another selfish girl as Florence
"Mary," said I, I once told you that you were hasty
in pronouncing Florence to be very generous; but that
was not so blamable as your present condemnation of
her, whatever she may have done. It may be unwise to
be ready to praise so highly on the acquaintance of a few
days, but it is unamiable to blame so severely for a single
But, Aunt Kitty, it is not a single fault. I have been
thinking a long time, almost ever since you told me what
made a person generous, that Florence was not so gener-
ous as I thought at first; but I do think anybody that
would rather a poor little baby should die than lose a
ride for themselves, is very selfish, very selfish indeed,"
repeated Mary, with great emphasis. "And now, Aunt
Kitty," she continued, I will tell you how it was, and
then you will see if I am not right."
Stop, my dear Mary," said I, as she was about to
commence her story; "you are just now very angry with
Florence, and would not therefore be a fair witness in
the case. I had rather hear from some one else how it
"Why, Aunt Kitty," said Mary, with a very proud
look, "you do not think I would tell you a story, I
No, my love, I am sure you would tell me nothing
which you did not believe to be true; but anger makes
the words and looks, and even the actions of people,
appear to us very unlike what they really are. How-
ever, you have no time to tell me :.' 1!.".-, even if I
wished it, for here we are at Mrs. O'l-.._I -.
My readers may not be as unwilling as I was to hear
what Mary had to say, so I will tell them what I after-
30 A MOTHER AND CHILD.
wards heard of the morning's adventures from Margaret
and Harriet, as soon as I have given them some account
of Mrs. O'Donnel and her baby.
A MOTHER AND CHILD.
THE little cabin, for it was nothing more, in which Mrs.
O'Donnel lived, had been put up only a few months. It
was built in a little wood which skirted the road between
my house and the village, and stood so near the road that
the traveller, as he passed along, could hear the baby who
lived there crying, or the song with which his young
mother was hushing him to sleep. She was a very young
mother; and there she lived, you might almost say, with
no one but her baby; for Pat O'Donnel, her husband,
was one of the hands on board a steamboat which went
from our village to H-- every morning and returned
in the evening, and though he was always at home at
night, he was away every day except Sunday from day-
dawn till dark. He had built this cabin, and brought
his young wife and his baby son to live there, that he
might spend every night with them.
I knew nothing more of these people than I have now
told you, when the circumstances occurred which I am
about to relate, except that Mrs. O'Donnel worked very
industriously in a little garden which had been fenced
in for her near her cabin, and that on Sunday the hus-
band and wife, with their bright-eyed boy, might be
seen going to church, looking clean, and healthy, and
happy. But Harriet had become better acquainted with
the family than I, for she loved children, and could never
pass little Jem-this was the name of the baby-without
a smile or a pleasant word; and the child soon learned to
know her, and when she came near would jump and
spring in his mother's arms, give her back smile for smile,
A MOTHER AND CHILD. 31
and since he could not talk yet, would crow to her words.
The mother was pleased with the notice taken of her boy,
and whenever we passed the house, would bring him to
the low fence nearest the road, and with a courtesy, and
" How d'e do, ma'am ?" to me, would hold him to Harriet
to kiss, sometimes putting in his hand a bunch of flowers
for his young friend, who seldom left home to walk in
that direction without taking some present for him.
Even when setting out with Mary to deliver her invita-
tions little Jem had not been forgotten; and when I saw
Harriet saving the largest of two peaches I had given
her, and putting it in a little basket which she carried in
her hand, I well knew that it would go no further than
to Mrs. O'Donnel's cabin. Accordingly, when she came
in sight of it, she quickened her pace, saying to her com-
panions, I want to stop at Mrs. O'Donnel's a minute, so
I will run on; and if you do not go too fast, I will be
with you again before you have passed there."
Before she reached the house, she called out for little
Jem, and wondered that neither his laugh nor his mother's
pleasant voice answered her. She would have thought
they were not at home, but the door was open, and Mrs.
O'Donnel was too careful to leave it so when she was far
away. Unlatching the little gate which opened on the
road, she crossed the yard and entered the house. There
sat Mrs. O'Donnel, her hands clasped in an agony of grief,
and tears washing her face, and falling unheeded on that
of the poor boy, who lay extended on her lap, no longer
laughing and crowing, but pale and still, with his eyes
Harriet's exclamation of, "What is the matter, Mrs.
O'Donnel ?" roused the poor mother, who, looking up,
said, Oh, miss, and glad am I you're come, for my poor
baby loved you, and you're just in time to see him die."
Oh, I hope not, Mrs. O'Donnel!" said Harriet. He
will not die. Do you think he will ?" she added, more
doubtingly, as again she looked in his pale face, and kneel-
ing down by him, took the little hand which lay so feebly
by his side.
32 A MOTHER AND CHILD.
"And indeed, miss, I fear he will die," said the poor
woman. "All yesterday I saw lie was not well, and
grieved was I to see Pat going this morning, and leaving
me with him all alone. But Pat laughed at me for a
coward, and when I heard him laugh, I took heart, and
thought it was all my foolishness ; but ah, miss, it isn't
laughing he'll be when lie comes home the night;" and
at the thought of her husband's sorrow Mrs. O'Donnel
sobbed aloud. Soon recovering herself, she continued:
"I saw Pat off, and when lie was out of sight I came
back, and looked at my baby as lie lay asleep. It was
daylight then, and I saw lie had a beautiful colour. Now
I know the colour was just the fever burning him up, but
then I thought lie was better; and I was so glad that I
couldn't help singing, though I did it softly for fear of
waking him; and little was the work I did, going back
again and again to the bed to see my pretty baby looking
so well. And at last I stooped down to kiss him, and
whether I woke him, miss, I don't know, but all at once
he opened his eyes wide and stared at me, and he doubled
his fists and stretched himself out, and made such a noise
in the throat, that it was dying I thought he was just
then; and I screamed and cried, but there was nobody to
hear me; and soon he stopped making the noise, and shut
his eyes again, and ever since he has lain still, just like
Any one who has seen a child in convulsions will know
what had been the matter with little Jem; but Harriet
knew nothing about it, and you may suppose her dismay,
when, as she was looking at her little play-fellow, a spasm
crossed his face, his head was thrown back, his limbs
stiffened, and that distressing noise in the throat was
again heard. The mother shrieked, and Harriet, rushing
to the door, screamed to Margaret, who, with Florence
and Mary, was waiting in the road for her, that little
Jem was dying. Margaret was a good nurse, and one of
those useful people who think more of helping those who
suffer than of mourning over them. As soon as she
entered the house, she saw what was the matter, and saw,
A MOTHER AND CHILD. 33
too, the very thing which she most needed, a large pot of
water, under which Mrs. O'Donnel had made a fire before
she became alarmed about her child. In another minute
she had drawn a tub from under a table, poured into it
the hot water from the pot, cooled it to the proper tem-
perature by the addition of some from a pail which stood
near; and before Mrs. O'Donnel at all understood her
proceedings, her child was stripped and laid in a warm
As the convulsion passed off, Margaret said, "Now,
Mrs. O'Donnel, your child is coming to, and you must not
be so frightened, for I have seen many a child have fits,
and be just as well as ever afterwards; but you must be
very quiet, ma'am, for if he goes to sleep afterwards he
ought not to be awoke. And, Miss Harriet, you cannot do
any good crying here, but if you will get on the pony and
ride for the doctor as fast as you can, you will be doing a
great deal of good; and Miss Mary had better go back
and tell her aunt."
In an instant Harriet was by the side of the pony,
urging Florence to get off, that she might mount and go
for the doctor. But to this arrangement Florence strongly
objected. My readers must not be angry with her; you
must remember she had not seen the child, and did not
know how very important even a few minutes might be
in such a case as his. Still, it must be confessed, she
thought more of herself than of any one else, as she re-
plied to Harriet's entreaties, "Why cannot I go for the
doctor ? I can carry a message just as well as you."
But, Florence, you do not know where the doctor
"Well, then, you can go with me and show me."
Florence, I cannot walk as fast as the pony can go.
Do, Florence, come down and let me have him."
Florence did not stir, and Harriet wrung her hands
with impatience, as, turning to the door, she called out,
"Margaret, Florence will not let me have the pony."
Margaret came out, but neither her remonstrances, nor
Harriet's entreaties, nor the reproaches of Mary, had any
effect upon Florence. Indeed, Mary's reproaches pro-
bably only strengthened her resolution, as it is not by
making people angry that we induce them to yield their
wishes to ours. Some minutes were lost in this useless
contest, when Harriet said, Margaret, I will not wait
any longer ; I will walk as fast as I can, and if the doctor
is only at home he will soon be here."
When Mary and I arrived at Mrs. O'Donnel's, neither
the doctor nor Harriet had yet made their appearance. I
did for the poor baby all I could venture to do without a
physician's advice, and then I watched with much anxiety
for Dr. Franks. I had been there probably half an hour,
when Harriet came in, flushed and panting. "Where is
the doctor ?" was the very first question.
He will soon be here," she replied; I am sure he
will, for Mrs. Franks knew where he was, and she sent off
a boy on horseback for him."
Harriet looked so heated that, fearing the effect of
further excitement on her, I determined to return home
immediately. So, giving Margaret some directions, and
telling Mrs. O'Donnel that I would see her again in the
afternoon, I left them.
WE walked home quite slowly on Harriet's account. We
had been so long away that Florence would, I thought,
have become quite tired of loneliness and ill-humour, and
quite prepared to welcome us with cheerful, friendly
smiles; indeed, I should not have been greatly surprised
to meet her on the way, or at least to see her in the piazza
watching for us. But we reached the house, entered the
piazza, passed into the parlour, and still no Florence was
to be seen. I called her, but she did not answer; and a
servant told me she thought Miss Florence had gone to
lie down. as she had told her that she was sick, and did
not want any dinner. I went to her room immediately,
and found her asleep. She had evidently been weeping,
for her face was flushed, her eyelids red and swollen, and
as I stood by her, she sobbed heavily more than once.
Harriet had stolen in after me without my seeing her,
and as I turned to darken a window, the light from
which shone direct on Florence, she looked anxiously in
my face, and asked in a whisper, "Is she very sick, Aunt
I did not like to tell Harriet that I thought Florence
more sulky than sick, so I only replied, "I hope not, my
dear. She has cried herself to sleep, and if awoke now,
will probably have a headache, so we will let her sleep
When we had dined, Mary prepared to return home.
Harriet had quite recovered from her fatigue, and I pro-
posed that she should go home with Mary and spend the
afternoon. She hesitated at this for a little while, and
then said, I had rather go to Mrs. O'Donnel's with you,
But, Harriet, I would rather you should go to your
Seeing she still lingered by me, and looked dissatisfied,
I added, I have a very good reason for my wish, Harriet,
which, if I should tell it to you, would, I am sure, make
you go cheerfully; but I would rather you should trust me;
and do what I ask without hearing my reason. Can you
She readily answered, "Yes;" and getting her bonnet,
only stopped to ask that I would let her know how little
Jem was as soon as I came back. This I promised, and
she and Mary set out.
It was on account of Florence that I had sent Harriet
away. I had at first been interested in this little girl for
her mother's sake, but I had now become much attached
to her and deeply interested in her for her own sake.
She was naturally a child of quick feelings and warm
affections, and I could not see her anxiety to please me,
her loving remembrance of her father and mother, her
constant solicitude about them, and her delight at hearing
of them, without regarding her tenderly, and earnestly
desiring to see that one fault removed, which was daily
acquiring strength, and which would in time destroy all
that was pleasing or amiable in her character. For this
one fault, which I am sure I need not tell my readers was
selfishness, I found, too, more excuse in the circumstances
of Florence than I could have found in those of most
children. She was an only child, and her fond father and
mother had always so plainly shown that they considered
her the first object in life, and thought that everything
should yield to her wishes, that Florence was perhaps
scarcely to blame for having learned to think so too. ]
had long wished for an opportunity to show Florence her
own selfishness and its great evil; and as Margaret had,
while I was at Mrs. O'Donnel's, told me what she knew
of the morning's adventures, I believed that this oppor-
tunity I had now found. That Mary had spoken the
truth of Florence on this subject, I did not doubt; but I
was as sure that this truth had been spoken, not in love,
but in anger, and this never profits any one. I did not
think it would be necessary for me to speak at all, for I
thought Florence had now prepared for herself a lesson
which would tell her all I wished her to know, far more
forcibly than any words of mine could do. What this
lesson was, how I induced Florence to look at it, and what
were its effects on her, you shall now hear.
When Florence awoke, I was sitting by her bedside,
and I met her first glance with a pleasant smile. She
cast a wondering look around her, and again resting her
eyes on me, asked, Where is Harriet ?"
Gone home with Mary," I replied; and I want you
to make a visit, and take a drive with me. So get up,
lazy one, and when you have washed your face and
brushed your hair, come to the parlour, and you shall
have some dinner."
As I spoke, I playfully lifted Florence from the bed,
and placed her standing on the floor, and before she had
time to ask any further questions, or make any objec-
tions, I was gone. When she came out, I had such a
dinner prepared for her as I knew would best please her
taste, and near it stood a small basket filled with choice
fruit. Florence was hungry, and said little till she had
finished her dinner. She then asked where I was going.
I am going to take a drive to a farmer's about four
miles off, who has the best cherries in the neighbourhood;
but first, I am going to Mrs. O'Donnel's to see her sick
baby, and I want you to go with me, and help me to take
her some things which I think may be of use to him."
While speaking, I laid a small bundle on the table by
Florence. She looked at the bundle, then at me, and
then down on the floor. At last she spoke : "I do not
want to go to Mrs. O'Donnel's."
"Do not want to go to Mrs. O'Donnel's I am very
sorry for that, for I must take these things to the baby.
But why do you not wish to go ?"
Mary called me selfish this morning, and-and-I do
not want to go there."
"Mary called you selfish I will not ask you why she
did so, because, as I would not let her tell me your quar-
rels, I must not be partial and hear them from you; but
surely to refuse to do a kind action to a sick baby is not
the best way to convince her that she was unjust." I
saw that Florence hesitated, and pursuing my purpose,
said, Come, put on your bonnet, and do not let Mary's
petulance prevent you doing right, and deprive me of my
As she had no objection to make, Florence put on her
bonnet, took up the bundle, and followed me, though I
could see it was with inward reluctance. During our
walk I spoke to her cheerfully and pleasantly, leaving
her but little time for thought.
When we came in sight of the house, she became grave
and silent. I too ceased talking. I held Florence's
hand, and, as we approached the door, I could feel that
she drew back; but I took no notice of her efforts, and
she entered with me into the presence, to all appearance,
of the dying. Florence had never before stood by the
side of one so ill; and to see the pretty, laughing baby,
with whom she had been playing so gaily but a few days
since, lying so changed-to hear his deep, groaning breath
-to see the poor mother, as she sat, shedding no tear,
making no moan, but gazing on her child with a hopeless
agony which none could mistake, was enough to cause
her to turn pale and burst into tears. Yet I thought it
probable that Mary's angry speeches were now remem-
bered, and that some of the bitterness of remorse was in
the heart of Florence. No one moved when we entered.
Even Dr. Franks, who was there, remained seated, hold-
ing his watch in his hand, and occasionally making a
sign to Margaret to give the child some medicine which
stood on a table by her. I was myself overcome, for
though I had expected to find the child ill, I had not
been prepared for such apparent hopelessness in his case.
Poor Florence! Her lesson was likely to be more severe
than I had anticipated.
Seeing that I could do no good, feeling that I could
speak no comfort there, I quietly laid down what I had
brought upon the floor beside Mrs. O'Donnel, and taking
the hand of the weeping Florence, passed out. Dr. Franks
followed me. I heard his step, and turning, when we
were far enough from the door not to be heard within the
house, I asked him whether he had any hope that the
child would recover.
Only that hope," he replied, which we feel as long
as there is life. He cannot long remain as he now is ; if
he recover at all, he will soon show signs of being better.
If I could have been called earlier, even half an hour
earlier, before the child's strength had been so far ex-
hausted, the case would have been comparatively simple,
and easily relieved; but now-" and he shook his head
Florence had looked up anxiously in Dr. Franks' face
while he was speaking. She now dropped her head,
covered her face with her hands, and sobbed loudly and
violently. This caused the doctor to look at her, and
that look probably reminded him of Harriet, for he said:
"By-the-by, I never knew Harriet so thoughtless as in
this business. Why, when she found I was not at home,
did she not ride on for me herself, instead of waiting for
a boy to catch and saddle another horse, a business of
half an hour at least ; all which time I was riding away
from here, so that it made a difference of fully an hour in
the time of my arriving. That hour would, in all proba-
bility, have saved the child.
Any excuse for Harriet would have seemed an accusa-
tion to poor Florence's excited mind, and I was silent;
but as the doctor said, That hour would, in all proba-
bility, have saved the child," her cries became so painfully
wild and distressing, that I moved with her further from
the house, while the doctor returned to his post.
"What is the matter, Florence ?" said I; why are
you so much distressed ? Is it because you fear the baby
will die ?"
"No, no; it's because I have killed him Oh I've
killed him !" she repeated, with almost frantic vehe-
mence; the doctor says so ; the doctor says if Harriet
had ridden he would have got well,-and I would not let
I never felt my own helplessness, my own littleness,
and God's supreme power, so much as at this moment.
Here was the very lesson which I had wished to teach
Florence, which I had brought her there to learn, the
great evil of her selfishness. I had wished her to see that
pale, suffering baby-to feel grieved, to be angry with
herself, that, for a trifling amusement, she had been
willing to prolong those sufferings, to lengthen out his
mother's sorrow-perhaps, to make the lesson more im-
pressive, I would have been willing that Florence should
feel for some minutes an apprehension that the disease
would terminate fatally. But here was no vain appre-
hension; the child was, to all appearance, dying; his
physician believed that he would die, and I felt that, if
he did, Florence would always suffer from the conviction
that she had caused his death. As I heard her frantic
cries, and saw her agitated frame. I tropmbled for the con-
sequences. I stood awed before that Almighty Being
who was teaching me as well as her the great sin of self-
ishness; the suffering which follows all sin was teaching
us that the only path of safety is that narrow path of
right-doing which he has marked out for us, and that the
slightest wandering from this path might lead to woes of
which we had not even dreamed. These are solemn les-
sons, which I hope my little readers will learn from the
example of others, that they may never, like Florence, be
taught them in their own persons.
In my fears for Florence I could find no comfort but in
the remembrance that God, her great Teacher, was also
her loving Father. While I was standing beside her,
unable to speak, striving, with mute caresses, to soothe
her agony, with a sudden movement she looked up to me,
exclaiming, "Oh! beg the doctor to make him well."
The doctor, my dear Florence, cannot make him well;
God only can do that."
Well, beg God, then."
"I will, dear Florence, and so may you, for he is as
near to you as me, and he hears the simplest prayer of
the simplest child."
In an instant she was on her knees beside me, exclaim-
ing, in the most imploring tones, "0 God! please to
make the baby well,-oh! please to make him well."
Florence had often said her prayers, but this was pro-
bably the first time she had ever prayed from the heart.
I stooped down to her, and said-" And please take this
wicked selfishness from the heart of Florence, that she
may not do such great wrong again, and bring such sor-
row on herself and others." She repeated my words
slowly and solemnly, adding-" and oh please make the
baby well;" and concluding her prayer with the sacred
form to which she had been accustomed, For Christ's
sake, amen," she rose comparatively calm. Hers had
been a prayer of such simple faith as none but a simple-
hearted child, and those who, in the words of our Saviour,
become as little children, can offer, and such prayer
always brings consolation.
"Now, Aunt Kitty, let us go back to the house."
Seeing I hesitated, Florence added: "You need not be
afraid that I will make any noise; I will be very stilL
I only want to go where I can see him."
The fear that Florence would make a noise had not
been the cause of my hesitation. It was on her own
account. I had wished Florence, as I have already said,
to feel the evil of her selfishness ; I did not wish her to
forget the pain she had suffered and was suffering; I
would not have driven away, if I could, the serious
thoughts which were now in her mind; but her agitation
had been so great as to make me very anxious, and I
hesitated to take her back where she might be yet further
excited. She appeared, however, so much in earnest in
her wish, that, after a little consideration, I thought it
wisest to indulge her, and we returned to the house.
Florence seated herself on a low stool by Margaret, on
whose lap the baby now lay, and watched him with
scarcely less constancy than his mother. Her lips fre-
quently moved, and I had no doubt that she was again
asking God to make him well.
I will not weary you by telling you how long we
watched there, or through what changes the little sufferer
passed. The sun was not yet set, when his symptoms
were so materially amended that the doctor said to Mrs.
O'Donnel, Now, my good woman, be comforted; your
child is better, and will, I hope, with care, soon be well."
The poor mother had uttered no sound for many hours,
but now her long-smothered feelings burst out. With a
wild cry she started up, and, holding out her arms, would
have caught her child to her bosom; but the doctor,
pushing her back into her seat, whispered, Hush, hush !
-he is sensible now, and you may frighten him into an-
She hushed her cry in a moment, and remained quiet
in her chair; but she burst into tears, and wept piteously.
As soon as she recovered her voice, she exclaimed, God
bless you, sir! God bless you all! for it's good you've
been to me, watching by the poor lone woman's child, as
if he had been the rich man's son. And he will be better,
you say, before Pat comes. Oh glad am I, poor fellow,
that he did not see him at the worst !"
When I could look around for Florence, she had left
the cabin. I went out and saw her standing by the car-
riage, which had been some time waiting for us. She
was speaking eagerly to Henry, and as she turned to
meet me, I saw that she looked much excited, though
very happy. I found, too, that her head and hands were
feverish to the touch, and I became very anxious to get
her quietly home. When I proposed going, however,
Florence replied, "Not yet," and turned towards the
I put my arm around her, and drawing her to me, said
very seriously, Florence, you asked God a little while
ago to take away all selfishness from your heart. Do
you remember it ?"
Yes," she immediately replied, and I hope he will,
now that he has made the baby well."
I am sure he will, Florence, if you only show that
you are sincere in asking it, by watching your own feel-
ings, and resisting your selfish inclinations."
Well, so I will," said Florence.
Then, my love, you will do as I wish you. By re-
maining longer here you may make yourself sick from
fatigue and excitement, and so, for the gratification of
your own inclinations, give great pain to me and to all
who love you. This would be selfish, would it not ?"
Yes," said Florence, "so it would, though I did not
know it;" and she entered the carriage without further
This was probably the first time that Florence had
ever voluntarily yielded her own wishes to those of an-
other-the first generous act she had ever performed. It
may seem to my readers a very little thing, but I felt
that Florence had resisted herself-had conquered her-
self-and this is never a little thing.
When we got home I sent the carriage on for Harriet,
and giving Florence her tea without any delay, went
A GOOD BEGINNING. 43
with her, early as it was, to her room, promising, if she
went to bed at once, to sit with her till she slept. She
had been accustomed by her mother to say her prayers
aloud, and I was glad to hear, as I listened to her this
evening, that she did not forget to thank God for making
little Jem well. She was very much disposed to talk
when she had lain down; but as I was desirous to keep
her as quiet as possible, I told her that in the morning I
would hear all she had to say, and that now I would tell
her a story of her mother and myself when we were chil-
dren. A story was what of all things Florence most
liked to hear, so she was very attentive to me, and begged,
when I had ended one, that I would tell her another. I
took care that the second should not be very interesting,
and before it was finished, Florence was in a sleep which,
though at first disturbed and nervous, soon became quiet,
and from which she did not awake till the sun was shin-
ing brightly on another day.
A GOOD BEGINNING.
" WELL, Harriet," said Dr. Franks, as he came into our
breakfast-room before we had risen from table, I was
half angry with you yesterday, when I thought you had
ridden to my house and then turned back, and sent a
boy for me, instead of following me yourself. But my
wife saved you a scolding by telling me you walked there.
And now, Miss Simple, pray what was that for? Of
what use is your pony if he cannot bring you for a doctor
when a child is in convulsions?"
Harriet coloured and looked confused, but Florence
coloured still more deeply. I saw that the doctor ex-
pected an answer, and both the children looked at me to
explain; but I would not interfere. The doctor seemed
annoyed at our silence, and catching hold of Mary Mackay,
44 A GOOD BEGINNING.
who was just entering the parlour, he drew her forward,
saying, Why, Mary Wild "-a name he had long given
her-" could not have done a more thoughtless thing."
Low and hesitatingly, Florence spoke: It was not
It was not Harriet's fault!" the doctor impatiently
repeated; whose fault was it then, pray?"
It was mine,"-the first difficulty conquered, Florence
spoke more boldly-" it was mine. I was riding the
pony, and I would not let her have him."
I knew Dr. Franks well, and I saw that he was about
to reply to this with a severity which, however much
Florence might have deserved the day before, would then
have been cruel; so, before he could speak, I drew her
to me, and said, Not a word of blame, doctor, for Flor-
ence has already said harder things to herself than you
can say to her. Besides, you would have known nothing
of it but for her, and she must not suffer for her truth-
I was pleased with this little incident, for, though
Florence had only done justice to Harriet, selfishness
often makes us unjust as well as ungenerous; and I knew
to tell the truth as fully as she had done must have given
her great pain. I was glad, too, to find that Harriet and
Mary both seemed to feel this, and were very cordial and
pleasant in their manner to her afterwards.
The next afternoon we went to the farm where we
were to find the best cherries in the neighbourhood; and
Florence's new principle of action displayed itself fre-
quently. She was evidently on the watch for opportuni-
ties to be generous. The best place under the trees, the
finest cherries, for which she would once have striven,
she now pressed upon Harriet and Mary; and whenever
she had thus conquered her former habits, she would
turn her eyes to me with a timid appeal for my approval.
But the act on which she evidently most valued herself
was, asking to return in the carriage, and by so doing
give up the pony to Harriet, when we were going home.
It was but a few days after this that Mr. and Mrs
A GOOD BEGINNING. 45
Arnott came for Florence on their way home from the
Rochelle Springs. During these few days she continued
to manifest the same earnest desire to correct her faults.
I told her father and mother of the interesting scenes
through which she had passed, and of what seemed to be
their happy result. Mrs. Arnott shed tears, and Mr.
Arnott shook my hand repeatedly, declaring that I had
done more for their happiness than I could conceive, if I
had brought Florence to see and endeavour to correct
this one great fault.
The evening before we parted I had a conversation
with Florence which interested me very much. We were
walking, and I had purposely taken the path which led
to Mrs. O'Donnel's cabin. When we came in sight of it,
Mrs. O'Donnel was standing at the door with little Jem,
now quite well, in her arms. We spoke to her as we
passed, and then Florence said, I shall always love little
Jem, Aunt Kitty."
"Because if it had not been for him I should not have
found out what a selfish child I was, or have learned to
And do you think you have learned to be generous,
She coloured and seemed confused for a moment, then
looking up in my face, said, with great simplicity, I
hope so. Do you not think I have?"
I think you are learning, and learning very fast. It
was fortunate, dear Florence, that you discovered the
evil of your selfish habits while you were so young; but
the habits, even of ten years, are not to be broken in a
day. You will often find it difficult to resist them. If
you will write to me when you go away, and tell me all
the difficulties and trials you meet in your efforts to con-
quer them, I may sometimes be able to help you. Will
you do this ? Will you write to me ?"
Write to you! oh, I shall like it !-at least I shall like
to get your letters, and read mamma just as much as I
choose of them."
46 A GOOD BEGINNING.
But you mint remember, Florence, that my object in
our correspondence will be to give you my aid in learn-
ing to be generous. That I may be able to do this, you
must be very honest with me, and tell me whenever you
have done, or been tempted to do, a selfish thing."
May I not tell you, too, when I have been generous ?"
Certainly, my dear; tell me all that you wish to tell
me of yourself, I shall be glad to hear it all; but I hope
you will soon feel that you have a great deal more to tell'
me of your selfishness than of your generosity." Florence
looked at me in speechless surprise. Because, Florence,
I hope you will soon become really generous, generous at
heart, and then those things which-now that you are
only trying to be generous-it is hard for you to do,
which you notice because they are done with a great
effort, will be so easy and so common that you will forget
to tell me about them-that you will not even notice
But how, when I get to be so generous, can I have
any selfishness to write you about ?"
Ah, Florence! we are never quite free from selfish-
ness, any of us; and the more generous we become, the
more plainly do we see selfishness in acts and feelings
which seemed to us quite free from it once. Do you not
feel this yourself? Do not things seem selfish to you
now, which only a week ago you did not think so at all?"
Yes," said Florence, in a low voice, and then walked
thoughtfully and silently by my side.
The next morning Florence returned home, and I did
not see her again for nearly eighteen months. But I
heard from her often, for our correspondence commenced
very soon. Her first letters were filled with her own
generous acts: how she had risen early when she was
very sleepy, that she might not keep nurse waiting; how
she had given her cousin Mary her very prettiest book,
because she said she liked it. But it was not long before
Florence began to write of her grief for selfish feelings,
which, to use her own language, if she tried ever so hard
to get rid of them, would come back." Once or twice a
A NEW CREATURE. 47
letter came from her full of the bitterest shame and self-
reproach for the selfishness of some action, which, a little
while before, Florence would not have felt to be in the
least degree wrong. I rejoiced at all this, I saw it was
as I hoped: Florence was becoming generous at heart-
selfishness was becoming a hateful thing to her, and a
strange thing, which, like other strange things, could not
make its appearance without being noticed. I would
copy some of these letters for you, but I have other things
to tell you of Florence, which I think will interest you
more than her letters.
A NEW CREATURE.
ALMOST eighteen months after Florence had left us, came
that bright and beautiful winter's morning which I de-
scribed to you at the commencement of this book. You
may remember that on that morning I accompanied Har-
riet and Mary to Mr. Dickinson's, and that on returning
home I found Mr. Arnott's carriage waiting for me. The
driver brought a letter from Florence, begging me to
come as soon as possible to her sick and sorrowing mother.
The letter was short, and did not tell me what was the
cause of Mrs. Arnott's distress. I immediately packed a
trunk, and sending Harriet home with Mary, prepared
for my journey. It was one o'clock, however, before,
with my utmost haste, I could set out, and the roads were
so filled up with the snow of the previous night that we
travelled slowly, and I had gone little more than half
way when the short winter's day was over. I therefore
stopped all night at the same little inn where I had dined
when going to Mr. Arnott's with Harriet and Mary. The
next morning I was again on the road so early that I
arrived at Mr. Arnott's before breakfast; indeed, before
any of the family, except Florence, was up. She did not
expect me so early, and I entered the house so quietly
48 A NEW CREATURE.
that I stood in the parlour with her before she knew that
I had arrived.
No one who had seen the face of Florence, as her eye
rested on me, could have doubted her delight at seeing
me; yet, surprised and delighted %s she was, she made
no exclamation, but coming close to me, put her arms
around me, and kissing me repeatedly, said, in a very low
voice, almost a whisper, How kind you were, Aunt
Kitty, to come so quickly We did not think you could
be here before this evening."
In the same low tone I answered, Your letter made
me too anxious to admit of any unnecessary delay. But
how is your mother now?"
She will be better, I am sure, when she sees you, for
I think it is agitation which has made mamma ill. She
slept but little last night, and is asleep now, which makes
me try to keep everything quiet."
While Florence was speaking she was helping me to
take off my cloak and bonnet. Then drawing a large
rocking-chair before the fire, she seated me in it, and
kneeling down by me, loosened the lacings of the boots
which I had worn in travelling, and took them off. Be-
fore she rose, she rested her head for a moment affection-
ately on my shoulder, and said, Aunt Kitty, I am very,
very glad to see you again."
Florence was greatly changed in appearance as well as in
manners since we parted. She had left me a child, look-
ing even younger than Harriet, though in reality two
years older; but a year and a half had passed, and she
had grown so rapidly that, though not yet thirteen, she
might easily have passed for fourteen or fifteen. Her
face, too, had changed. Florence had always been spoken
of as a pretty child. I suppose she was so, for she had a
fair, smooth skin, very dark, glossy, and curling hair, and
fine eyes; yet her face never particularly pleased me, and
even those who talked of her beauty did not seem to care
much about looking at her; but now there was a sweet
thoughtfulness and peacefulness in her countenance, which
made me turn my eyes again on her with increasing love.
A NEW CREATURE. 49
Not that I loved her for being beautiful, but for the seri-
ous and gentle spirit which I was sure had given the ex-
pression of which I have spoken to her countenance;
which would have given the same expression to the plain-
est features; and which I would advise all my little
readers to cultivate if they are desirous of beauty-that
beauty which all admire most, and which nothing, not
even old age or disease, can destroy.
But these changes in appearance were by no means the
most important which I already saw in Florence. In
every word and action I saw that she was thinking more
of others than of herself. I have told you how quietly
she received me, never forgetting, in her surprise at my
unexpected appearance, that a loud exclamation from her
might awaken and agitate her mother, while for my com-
fort she seemed equally considerate. My readers will
perhaps think that these things were little worthy of
notice, and gave slight proof of any great change of char-
acter in Florence, slight assurance that she had conquered
her selfishness. But in this they are mistaken. It is
precisely in these little things which occur daily, hourly,
in the life of each of us, that a generous nature shows
itself most truly. A very selfish person may, on some
rare occasion, make a great display of generosity,-may
even be excited in doing a really generous action,-but
it is only the generous in heart who can be generous
daily, hourly, in little or in great things, without excite-
ment and without effort. Some of my young friends may
have been accustomed to think themselves very generous,
yet to keep their generosity, as fine ladies keep their dia-
monds, only to be exhibited on great occasions. Let me
assure them that if it is not shown, too, in everyday life
-in thoughtfulness of the feelings of others, readiness to
yield their own gratifications for the advantage of others
-it is no true diamond of generosity, but only some
worthless imitation. Others, perhaps, have wished that
they had opportunities of showing how generous they are.
Let them now learn that they have such opportunities
every day, every hour. Whenever your parents call on
50 A NEW CREATURE.
you to do what is not agreeable to your inclinations, and
you obey them cheerfully, pleasantly, instead of showing
by your ill-humour that you only do not disobey because
you dare not, you are sacrificing your own inclinations to
promote their pleasure, and in so doing you are generous.
Whenever you giveup the plays you like best, thewalksyou
most admire, and choose those which you know will give
the greatest pleasure to your companions, you are generous.
You will now be able to judge for yourselves of the altera-
tion in Florence's character, from her conduct under the
circumstances I am about to relate to you, and I need not,
therefore, trouble you again with such long explanations.
Soon after my arrival Florence left the parlour, saying
she would go to the kitchen and tell them to bring up
our breakfast, as she did not like to ring the bell, which
was very loud. She returned in a few minutes, followed
by a servant with the breakfast tray. As we seated our-
selves at table, I inquired for Mr. Arnott.
He is asleep still," said Florence. He told me last
night to call him before breakfast, so I went to his room
just now to do it; but I knew he had been up a great
deal with mamma last night, and he seemed to sleep so
sweetly, that I just said 'Papa' very softly, and as he
did not stir for that, I came out as quietly as I could."
So if I had not been here you would have breakfasted
No; I should have waited for papa: it is so much
pleasanter to breakfast with him."
An early ride is a great quickener of the appetite. I
was consequently somewhat longer than usual at the break-
fast table, and before I had risen Mr. Arnott appeared.
After welcoming me very cordially, he kissed Florence,
saying, however, as he did so, You deserve to lose your
kiss for not calling me this morning. You should never
break a promise, Florence, however trifling it may seem
I kept my promise, papa, and called you. Indeed I
did," she added, as Mr. Arnott shook his head, though
I acknowledge I did so very softly."
A NEW CREATURE. 51
Ah, Florence we are told of people who, only seem-
ing to keep their promises, are said to keep the word of
promise to the ear;' but you did not even keep yours to
the ear, at least not to my ear, for I heard nothing of
"But you believe I did call you, papa?" said Florence
Certainly, my daughter, I believe what you tell me;
but I would have you remember that promises should be
kept in the sense in which they are made, and that though
it should be at some inconvenience to ourselves."
I will remember it, papa; but it was your inconveni-
ence I was thinking of, when I did not awake you," said
I do not doubt that," said her father.
While Mr. Arnott and I were conversing, Florence was
called out of the parlour; and as soon as the door closed
on her, he interrupted some observation he was making
on the state of the roads, to say, I am truly obliged to
you for coming so quickly, for it is necessary that I should
leave home immediately on very important business,
which I will more fully explain to you before I go; yet I
have not been willing even to announce my intention of
going till my poor wife could have the support of your
When Florence returned, Mr. Arnott asked, Where
is Rover, that he does not come to share my breakfast
this rn.-iu__ ,
Why, is my old friend Rover still alive? said I. I
wonder he has not been here to welcome me."
He would have been, I dare say, Aunt Kitty, for
Rover never forgets his friends, but he is three miles
away from here now," and in spite of Florence's efforts to
speak carelessly, her voice trembled.
Three miles away from here! What do you mean,
Florence ?" said Mr. Arnott.
Just what I said, papa. Edward Morton lives three
miles away, does he not? Rover belongs to him now."
Florence spoke very fast, and turned her face away
52 A NEW CREATURE.
from her father, so that he did not see, as I did, that her
lip was quivering, and her eyes were full of tears.
Why, Florence, I am surprised at you. I would not
have believed it possible that you could part with Rover
to any one. I thought you loved him almost as well as
he loved you."
Mr. Arnott spoke almost angrily at this proof, as he
thought it, of want of kindness in his daughter for her
old playfellow. Florence, unable longer to control her-
self, burst into tears, and sobbing, said, So I do, papa,
love Rover just as well as he loves me, and yet I do not
feel sorry he is gone. Her nurse said he kept mamma
awake at night barking under her window; and you know
we could not keep him out of her room in the day, and
when she was nervous and in pain, I saw it worried her
to have him there."
Mr. Arnott's eyes glistened as he drew his daughter to
him, and kissed and soothed her. I remembered the
scene with Rover and the ball during my last visit to
Mrs. Arnott, and, I dare say, my readers will remember it
too. After a while Mr. Arnott said, Well, Florence, it
was very right in you to think of your mother's comfort,
and I suppose I must reconcile myself to parting with
Rover for a time-but only for a time, Florence: when
your mother gets well, Edward, I doubt not, will give
him back to you."
Perhaps he would, papa, but-" Florence hesitated,
looked in her father's face, coloured, and looked down
But what, Florence? Surely you would like to have
To be sure, I would, papa; but I thought a great deal
about it before I gave Rover away, and I chose Edward
Morton to give him to, because I knew lie would love
Rover and take good care of him; and do you think,
papa, it would be right, after Edward gets to love him
almost as well as I do, to ask him to give him up?"
No, my daughter, it would not be right. You have
thought very justly."
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 53
I could not help adding, "And very generously too."
Florence coloured with pleasure at our approbation;
but Mrs. Arnott's bell rang, and she left us at once to
inform her mother of my arrival.
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
MATTERS of business are never, I think, very interesting
to young persons. I will not, therefore, attempt to give
you a very particular account of the circumstances from
which Mr. Arnott's present perplexities and his wife's
sorrowful anticipations arose. All that is necessary for
you to know, is soon told.
Mr. Arnott had some years before placed in the hands
of a merchant, who was an old and valued friend, a large
sum of money to be employed for him-so large a sum
that, if lost, he would be no longer a wealthy man. His
pleasant home must then be given up, and his wife and
daughter be deprived of many of those comforts to which
they had been accustomed, and which delicate health
made almost necessary to Mrs. Arnott's life. The mer-
chant, who resided in M-, had lately died very sud-
denly. Not long before his death, some changes had
taken place in his business which made new arrangements
necessary to secure Mr. Arnott from loss. He had urged
Mr. Arnott's coming to M-, as an interview between
them was very desirable before the completion of these
arrangements. But Mr. Arnott had delayed going, till
the death of his friend had made the evil past remedy.
The letter which announced his death, mentioned also
that he had left no will-at least none had yet been found
-and that his nephew would therefore inherit his pro-
perty. Mr. Arnott knew his nephew, and thought him
to be a very avaricious, and not very honourable man, and
was sure that he would take every advantage of what he
54 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
now felt to be his own culpable negligence. You will
easily see how important it was, under such circumstances,
that Mr. Arnott should go as soon as possible, and ex-
amine for himself whether there yet remained any means
of making good his claims.
When he spoke of his intended departure, Mrs. Arnott
turned pale, and I saw that she was much agitated, but
she tried both to look and to speak cheerfully. Florence,
to whom it was quite a new thought, could not so com-
mand herself. She looked from her father to her mother,
said in an accent of the utmost surprise, "Go away, papa?"
and burst into tears.
Mr. Arnott rose, and with an agitated countenance left
the room. Mrs. Arnott knew that her husband had much
at present to disturb him, much which would make any
unhappiness in her or Florence peculiarly painful to him.
He was parting from them for a long and dangerous win-
ter's journey-he left her in feeble health-knew not how
long he might be detained from home, or whether he
should ever return to this place as to a home. As soon
as he went out, she turned to Florence, and while her
own voice trembled with emotion, said, My daughter,
we must not let our regret make us selfish. Remember
your father is the greatest sufferer. He must not only
endure the pain of parting, but he goes to meet great
difficulty and perplexity of mind, and perhaps much hard-
ship. Let us do our best not to add to his distress by
ours. To leave us cheerful and well, will do much to
keep him so." Florence tried to subdue her sobs, but for
some time very unsuccessfully. Go to your own room,
my love," said the tender mother, as she drew Florence to
her and kissed her cheek, "go to your own room, and
come back to us when you can come with a happy face.
It is not an easy effort, Florence, but you can make it, I
am sure, for your father's sake."
Florence went to her room, and when, in about an
hour, she returned to us, it was with a cheerful face, and
all her usual animation of manner ; and though I often
saw the tears rush to her eyes when her father's absence
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 55
was named, I never again saw them fall. Even when he
went, in their parting interview she tried to look and
speak cheerfully ; and though some tears would not be
restrained, it was not till he was out of sight and hearing,
that she gave full vent to her sorrow.
Mr. Arnott left us early in January. The weather,
during the whole of this month, was very cold and stormy,
and the bleak, cheerless days seemed drearier than ever
after his departure. Mrs. Arnott's health, too, continued
delicate, and I felt that she really needed me, although
she could not have a more careful nurse, a more tender
comforter, than she found in the young Florence.
The last week in January brought letters from Mr.
Arnott. He could say nothing yet of business, but he
was safe and well, and Mrs. Arnott felt that her worst
apprehensions were relieved. She had tried to be cheer-
ful before, she was now cheerful without trying.
February opened with delightful weather. Florence
went out one morning for a walk, but she soon came back
with a bounding step, a bright colour, and a countenance
animated and joyous. "Oh, mamma !" she exclaimed, "it
is a most delightful day, just such a day as you used to
enjoy so much at the South. I almost thought that I
could smell the jessamine and the orange flowers."
Why, Florence," said Mrs. Arnott, you almost tempt
me to go out too," and she looked wistfully from the
"And why not, dear mamma, why should you not go
too ? It could not hurt you-do you think it could ?-to
take a drive in this bright, sunshine day. I dare say,
Aunt Kitty would enjoy it too," turning to me.
Mrs. Arnott smiled. "Not such a drive as I should
have strength for, Florence. I could not go more than a
mile or two, and that must be in the close carriage. No,
no ; it would be a very dull drive for both of you."
"Dull, mamma! a dull drive with you the first time
you were able to go out after being so long sick ? I
am sure Aunt Kitty does not think so-do you, Aunt
56 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
"No, my dear; and, I think, if you will order the
carriage, that your mother will be persuaded to try it."
Florence was off like an arrow. Everything was so
soon prepared for our excursion, that Mrs. Arnott had no
time to change her mind. Our drive was a very quiet
one, yet Mrs. Arnott enjoyed keenly the change, the
motion, and the little air which she ventured to admit.
To see her enjoyment was very pleasant to me, and put
Florence into the gayest spirits. We went about two
miles, and were again approaching home, when we saw a
handsome open carriage coming towards us, driven by a
gentleman, and almost filled with young people of Flor-
ence's age. Mrs. Arnott's attention was attracted.
"Who are these, Florence? Can you see at this dis-
tance ? "
"It looks like Mr. Morton's carriage, mamma," said
Florence, colouring. "But I did not think they would
come this way," she added.
"Come this way !-to go where, my dear child ? Do
you know where they are going, Florence ?"
"Yes, mamma, they are going-at least they were
going to M-, to see some animals that were to be ex-
hibited there to-day."
"And which you have talked so much of, and wished
so much to see. I think it was scarcely kind in Clara
and Edward not to ask you to go with them."
"Oh, mamma, they did ask me."
"And why did you not go, Florence?"
"I meant to go, mamma-that is, I meant to ask you
this morning if I might go, but I thought-that is-when
you talked of coming, I liked so much better to come
with you that I gave it up."
That is," said Mrs. Arnott, smiling, "you thought I
would enjoy my drive more if you were with me, and you
thought very truly ; but you should not have broken your
promise, Florence, without some apology, even for such a
It was not a positive promise, mamma; and you know
it would not take them out of their way at all to stop
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 57
for me, and I did leave a note for Clara, to tell her why
I did not go. But what can bring them this way, I
The carriage was now quite near, and the gentleman
driver, who proved to be Mr. Morton himself, the father
of Edward and Clara, making a sign to our coachman to
stop, drew up alongside of our carriage. Giving the reins
to Edward, Mr. Morton sprang out, and opening the door
of the carriage, shook his finger playfully at Florence,
saying, So, young lady, this is your good manners, is it?
-to tell not only young ladies and gentlemen, but an old
man like me, that you like your mother's company better
than ours, with all the lions, and elephants, and giraffes
to boot. But we have caught you at last ;-I may take
her, may I not, Mrs. Arnott 1"
Oh yes," said Mrs. Arnott, smiling at his playfulness.
"How kind it was of you, Mr. Morton, to come so
much out of your way for me !"
"Kind, was it ?-I understand your wheedling ways;
but come along, Miss Florence, you are my prisoner now ;"
and snatching up the laughing Florence, lie bore her in
triumph to the carriage. After seating her there, and
seeing that she was carefully wrapped up, he turned back
to the carriage with more grave inquiries after Mrs. Ar-
nott's health, and assurances that he would take good care
"I am very much obliged to you for coming for her,"
said Mrs. Arnott, "for this exhibition is one which she
has long wished to see, and I should have been grieved
had she lost it."
"As to my coming for her, I could not well help my-
self," said the good-humoured Mr. Morton, with a laugh.
Then turning to me, he added, Our friend Florence
never thinks of herself, so we feel obliged to think a great
deal of her, and the grave looks and grumbling tones
with which the announcement that she would not go with
us was received, showed me that the only chance I had
of making our little party a party of pleasure, was to
overtake and capture her. But I am keeping you out
58 CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE.
too long in the cold," seeing Mrs. Arnott draw her cloak
more closely around her, so good-bye."
Hastily mounting his seat, he drove rapidly off.
Another letter from Mr. Arnott came about this time,
written cheerfully, hopefully, though he had not made
even an effort to accomplish the objects of his journey.
This delay was occasioned by the absence of a lawyer,
who had always been employed by his deceased friend,
Mr. Atwater, and from whom Mr. Arnott hoped to re-
ceive important information and advice. He had been
absent when Mr. Atwater died, and no one knew enough
of his movements to be quite certain when he would re-
turn ; yet Mr. Arnott determined to await his arrival as
patiently as he could, and to do nothing till he saw him.
He would probably be detained but a short time after
From the day this letter arrived, Florence began to
prepare for her father's return, and to cast many an eager
glance up the road with the hope of seeing him. But
even her father's return was not the most interesting sub-
ject of thought to Florence just now. She knew the ap-
prehensions of her parents, the change of circumstances
which possibly awaited them. For herself this change of
circumstances was not at all dreaded; for, though Flor-
ence loved her home, and would be sorry to leave it, she
thought it would be almost as pleasant to live in a beauti-
ful little cottage, covered over with roses and woodbine,
with a pretty flower-garden before the door; and to raise
chickens, and make butter and cheese for the market,
seemed to her delightful employment. Pleasant as this
picture was-and it was the only one which poverty pre-
sented to her-Florence saw that her father and mother
did not regard it with quite such agreeable feelings as
herself, and for their sakes she began to think how it
might be avoided.
Mr. Arnott had always been a great lover of music, and
to this part of Florence's education great attention had
been paid, yet I had never heard her play so frequently
as now. Had she not been afraid of wearying her mother,
CLOUDS AND SUNSHINE. 59
she would, I think, scarce over have left her piano. She
suddenly stopped, one morning, when I was the only
person in the room with her, in the midst of a piece of
music, and turning quickly to me, said, Aunt Kitty, do
you not think I play very well ?"
I was amazed, for Florence had never seemed to me a
vain child. I looked at her. She met my eye, and did
not seem in the least confused.
"Yes. Florence, I think you do play very well."
As well as Miss Delany?" she again asked. This was
a young lady who was a teacher of music, and whom I
had once heard play at Mr. Arnott's.
Still more amazed, I replied, "I am not, perhaps, a fair
judge of. Miss Delany's powers, as I heard her play but
once. I think you do."
Oh I am so glad you think so," said Florence, spring-
ing from her seat; for then I can give music lessons too,
and make something for papa and mamma, if he should
lose that money. Do you not think I may, Aun, Kitty?"
"Yes, my dear Florence, I do not doubt you can, if it
become necessary, which I hope it will not. But what
put such an idea into your head ?"
I have had a great many ideas in my head about
making money, since I heard papa talking of this busi-
ness; but I believe what made me think of this was Lucy
Dermot's coming here last week. Lucy's mother, you
know, Aunt Kitty, is very poor; and I remembered hear-
ing Miss Delany say once, that Lucy had the finest voice
and quickest ear for music of any child she had ever
known, and that she thought it a great pity they could
not be cultivated, for then she might support both her
mother and herself handsomely. So I said to myself,
mine have been cultivated; and if they are not so good
as Lucy's, I may do something for papa and mamma with
Mrs. Arnott came in, and nothing more was said on
the subject; but I now understood Florence's devotion
to her music, and the pleasant expression which her coun-
tenance wore when she was practising. It was her
60 THE THREE WISHES.
generous motive which gave a charm to what would
otherwise have been very tiresome.
THE THREE WISHES.
" RUN to the window, mamma !-run to the window, and
see who is come," cried Florence, a few days after, burst-
ing into the room where her mother and I were sitting,
just before dinner.
It was not necessary to run to the window, it was only
necessary to look into Florence's joyful face to see that
her father had come. I lifted up my eyes to Mr. Arnott's
face as he entered. There was no cloud on his brow, no
expression but that of grateful joy in his eyes; and I
said to myself, all has gone on prosperously with him. It
was even so. The lawyer, on his return, delivered to Mr.
Arnott papers which he had drawn up for Mr. Atwater,
and which, with his will, had been left in his hands for
safe-keeping. These papers fully secured Mr. Arnott's
property. He had lost nothing, but had gained from
past anxiety a very useful lesson-never to put off im-
portant business, even for a day.
In the evening we gathered around the fire, with grate-
ful and happy hearts, to hear and to tell the events of
those weeks of separation. Already, however, when Flor-
ence was not present, Mr. Arnott had heard from his wife
of her constant tenderness and watchful attention to her
comfort; and from me, of her generous plans for aiding
them, should the ill-fortune come which they anticipated.
He did not praise her in words, but she could not meet
his eye or hear his tones without feeling that she was
dearer than ever to her father's heart. Just before we
separated for the night, he drew her to him, and seating
her on his knee, said, "Florence, did you ever read the
fairy story of the three wishes ?"
THE THREE WISHES. 61
"Well, I will be your good fairy. Make three wishes,
and they shall be granted."
Florence laughed gaily.
"Why, papa, fairies are always women."
"Well, I will be a magician. They are men, are they
"Now, make your wishes."
What shall I wish for, mamma ?"
"Stop," said Mr. Arnott; "they must be your own
wishes; nobody must prompt them, or the spell is broken."
"And if I make a wrong wish, may I not take it back,
and wish over again ?"
"No. So be careful what you say."
Florence became grave, and was silent for a few minutes,
then, looking up with a smile, said, I have two wishes,
but I cannot think of a third."
Let me hear the two, and you can take a longer time
to think of the third."
"Well, first, I wish little Jem O'Donnel could be sent
to school, and when "he gets big enough, could be taught
a trade. That is one wish."
"That is one wish I thought that was two wishes."
Oh no, papa; only one."
"Well, let it pass for one. It shall be done-that is,
with his parents' consent, which you must get Aunt Kitty
to procure for you. Now for the second wish."
"I wish little Lucy Dermot could be taught music, so
as to give lessons, and support her mother and herself."
"You extravagant girl," said Mr. Arnott, it is well I
limited your wishes to three, or I should be a ruined
"Oh, papa! fairies and magicians never find any fault
with our wishes, if they are ever so extravagant."
"Well, Lucy Dermot shall be taught music, if she be
able and willing to learn. Now for the third wish."
Oh I must have till to-morrow to think of that. That
is my last wish, and it must be something very good."
62 THE THREE WISHES.
"To-morrow, then, I shall expect to hear it; and now
you may go and dream of it. Good-night."
I went down early the next morning to put some books,
which I had finished reading, into their places in the
library, an apartment communicating with the breakfast-
parlour by a door, now standing open. While I was
there, Mr. Arnott entered the parlour; and immediately
after, Florence bounded in, exclaiming, Oh, papa I have
found out my third wish."
"Well, my daughter, what is it? "
"Why, you know, papa, nurse has a daughter, and she
is her only child-just as I am your only child-and she
is very good, too, nurse says."
"Just as you are very good, I suppose."
"Oh no, papa; I did not mean that. But she is going
to be married-at least, she would have been married a
year ago, nurse says, but the man she is to be married to
is working hard to try and get a house for her to live in
And how did you hear all this, Florence ? Did nurse
know of my promise to you, and did she ask you to speak
of this ?"
Oh no, papa; she does not know anything about it. I
thought, when I had such a good chance, I ought to do
something for nurse; so, when she was putting me to bed
last night, I asked her what she wished for most in the
world, and she said she was so well taken care of that she
had not anything to wish for; and I said, Now, if any-
body were to promise to give you just what you should
ask for, nurse, could you not find anything to wish for
then?' And so nurse told me about her daughter, and
said she did wish sometimes she had a home for her; and
I thought my third wish should be for a house for her
-just a small house, you know, papa, with flowers all
about it, and a garden, and a poultry-yard, and a dairy,
Stop, Florence. Here are half a dozen wishes at once.
I will tell you what I will do. I will have a small but
comfortable house built-"
THE THREE WISHES. 63
And a garden to it, papa "
Yes; a garden and poultry-yard. The dairy can wait
until it is wanted, and the flowers they can plant them-
selves. This house you shall give to nurse, and she can
let her children have it until she wants to occupy it her-
self. It is only right, as you say, that something should
be done for her."
"Oh, thank you thank you, papa! That will be my
"And now, Florence, your three wishes have been
wished, and not one of them for yourself. Have you no
selfish desires, my child "
"Oh yes, papa !" said Florence, in a serious tone, a
I should like to know how you find them, Florence ?"
Mr. Arnott meant to express by this, that he never saw
these selfish desires manifested by Florence. But she
understood him literally to mean, that he wished to know
how she discovered them; and she answered, Why, you
know, papa, Aunt Kitty made a little prayer for me once,
when I was very, very selfish, and I thought I would say
that prayer every night till I had no more selfishness left.
So every night I went over in my own mind what had
happened in the day, to see if I must say it; and, papa.
there has never been a single night that I have not had
to say it, and I am afraid it always Will be so."
It will, my dear child; for there is selfishness in our
hearts as long as we live. But while you watch over
yourself, and pray earnestly to God against it, he will
give you power always to act generously-to subdue your
I have told you enough of Floience, my dear young
friends, to enable you to answer the question, Is she
generous? But my book has done little if it has not
made you ask a question of much more importance to each
of you, Are you yourself generous ? Before you answer
Yes, remember that the truly excellent are always humble,
and that Florence never felt how much selfishness was
64 THE THREE WISHES.
in her heart, till she became generous. Should your
conscience answer No, imitate Florence in her simple.
earnest prayer, and honest efforts to amend; and be as-
sured that the same Heavenly Father will hear and help
-' ~ '*ut ~ -M -'j
-- -- ----
'A- ^ -