Citation
Angel over the right shoulder, or, The beginning of a new year

Material Information

Title:
Angel over the right shoulder, or, The beginning of a new year
Added title page title:
Beginning of a new year
Creator:
Trusta, H., 1815-1852
Draper, Warren Fales, 1818-1905
Baker & Smith
John P. Jewett and Company.
Publisher:
Warren F. Draper ; J.P. Jewett and Co.
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
29 p. : ill. ; 16 cm.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Literature for Children ( LCSH )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( LCSH )
Housewives -- Juvenile fiction ( LCSH )
Baldwin -- 1852. ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States -- Massachusetts -- Andover.
North America -- United States -- Massachusetts -- Boston

Notes

General Note:
Frontispiece engraved by Baker-Smith.
General Note:
Electronic version available on the World Wide Web as part of the PALMM Project "Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1850-1869 (NEH (PA-23536-00))".
Funding:
Brittle Books Program
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1850-1869 (NEH PA-23536-00).
Funding:
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in Special Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections (special@uflib.ufl.edu) with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026916948 ( aleph )
AAA2020 ( notis )
ALH6425 ( notis )
05694294 ( oclc )
45787930 ( oclc )
51224983 ( oclc )

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Angel aver the Right Shoulder,

OR THE
BEGINNING OF A NEW YEAR.

BY

THE AUTHOR OF “ SUNNY SIDE.”

ANDOVER:
WARREN F. DRAPER, PUBLISHER.
BOSTON : J. P. JEWETT AND CO.
1852.



Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1852,
BY AUSTIN PHELPS,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.

. Press of W. F. Draper.



Chr

Augrl ager the Hight Shunlder.

“Tere! a woman’s work is never done,”
said Mrs. James; “I thought, for once, I was
through ; but just look at that lamp, now! it
will not burn, and I must go and spend half
an hour over it.”

‘“¢ Don’t you wish you had never been mar-
ried 7”? said Mr. James, with a good-natured
laugh. | .

“Yes”? —rose to her lips, but was checked
by a glance at the group upon the floor, where
her husband was stretehed out, and two little



a) THE ANGEL OVER

urchins with sparkling eyes and glowing cheeks,
were climbmg and tumbling over him, as if they
found in this play the very essence of fun.

She did say, “I should like the good, without
the evil, if I could have it.”

“You have no evils to endure,” replied her
husband.

‘That is just all you gentlemen know about
t. What would you think, if you could not
get an uninterrupted half hour to yourself, from
morning till night? I believe you would give
up trying to do anything.”

‘There is no need of that; all you want, is
system. If you arranged your work systemat-
ically, you would find that you could command
sour time.”

“ Well,” was the reply, ‘all I wish is, that
you could just follow me around for one day,
and see what I have to do. If you could re-



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. T

duce it all to system, I think you would show
yourself a genius.”

When the lamp was trimmed, the conversa-
tion was resumed. Mr. James had employed
the “ half hour,” in meditating on this subject

*¢ Wife,” said he, as she came in, “ T have a

plan to propose to you, and I wish you to prom-
ise me beforehand, that you will accede to it.
It is to be an experiment, I acknowledge, but
I wish it to have a fair trial. Now to please
me, will you promise ?”’
_ Mrs. James hesitated. | She felt almost sure
that his plan would be quite impracticable, for
what does a man know of a woman’s work ?
yet she promised.

“ Now I wish you,” said he, “ to set apart
two hours of every day for your own private
use. Make a point of gomg to your room and
locking yourself in; and also make up your



8 THE ANGEL OVER

mind to let the work which is not done, go
undone, if it must. Spend this time on just
those things which will be most profitable to
yourself. I shall bind you to your promise for
one month — then, if it has proved a total fail-
ure, we will devise something else.”

‘¢ When shall I begin ?”

*¢ To-merrow.”’

The merrow came. Mrs. James had chosen
the two hours before dinner as being, on the
whole, the most convenient and the least liable
to mterruption. They dined at one o’clock.
She wished to finish her morning work, get
dressed for the day, and enter her room at
eleven.

Hearty as were her efforts to accomplish this,
the hour of eleven found her with her work but
half done ; yet, true to her promise, she left all,
retired to her room and locked the door.



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 9

With some interest and hcpe, she imme-
diately marked out a course of reading and
study, for these two precious hours; then, ar-
ranging her table, her books, pen and paper,
she commenced a schedule of her work with
much enthusiasm. Scarcely had she dipped
her pen in ink, when she heard the tramping
of little feet along the hall, and then a pound-
ing at her door. ,

‘Mamma! mamma! I cannot find my mit-
tens, and Hannah is going to slide without
wet

“Go to Amy, my dear ; mamma is busy.”

“So Amy busy too; she say she can’t leave
baby.”

The child began to cry, still standing close
to the fastened door. Mrs. James knew the
easiest, and indeed the only way of settling
the trouble, was to go herself and hunt up the



10 THE ANGEL OVER

missing mittens. Then a parley must be held
with Frank, to induce him to wait for his sis-
ter, and the child’s tears must be dried, and
little hearts must be all set right before the
children went out to play ; and so favorable an
opportunity must not be suffered to slip, without
impressing on young minds the importance of
having a ‘ place for everything and everything
in its place ;” this took time; and when Mrs.
James returned to her study, her watch told
her that half her portion had gone. Quietly
resuming her work, she was endeavoring to
mend her broken train of thought, when heay-
ier steps were heard in the hall, and the fas-
tened door was once more besieged. Now,
Mr. James must be admitted.

‘“‘ Mary,” said he, “ cannot you come and
sew a string on forme? I do believe there is

not a bosom in my drawer in order, and I am



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 11

in @ great hurry. I ought to have been down
town an hour ago.”

The schedule was thrown aside, the work-
basket taken, and Mrs. James followed him.
She soon sewed on the tape, but then a button
needed fastening— and at last a rip in his
glove, was to be mended. As Mrs. James
stitched away on the glove, a smile lurked in
the corners of her mouth, which her husband
observed.

‘What are you laughing at?” asked he.

*¢ To think how famously your plan works.”

“T declare!” said he, “is this your study
hour? I am sorry, but what can a man do?
He cannot go down town without a shirt bos-
om!”

‘¢ Certainly not,’ said his wife, quietly.

When her liege lord was fairly equipped
and off, Mrs. James returned to her room. A



12 THE ANGEL OVER

half an hour yet remained to her, and of this
she determined to make the most. But scarce-
ly had she resumed her pen, when there was
another disturbance in the entry. Amy had
returned from walking out with the baby, and
she entered the nursery with him, that she
might get him to sleep. Now it happened that
the only room in the house which Mrs. James
could have to herself with a fire, was the one
adjoming the nursery. She had become so
accustomed to the ordinary noise of the children,
thateit did not disturb her; but the very ex-
traordmary noise which master Charley some-
times felt called upon to make, when ke was
fairly on his back in the cradle, did disturb
the unity of her thoughts. The words which
she was reading rose and fell with the screams
and lulls.of the child, and she felt obliged to
close her book, until the storm was over.



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 13

When quiet was restored in the cradle, the
children came in from sliding, crying with cold
fingers — and just as she was going to them,
the dinner-bell rang.

“¢ How did your new plan work this morn-
ing?” inquired Mr. James.

“‘ Famously,” was the reply, “I read about
seventy pages of German, and as many more
in French.”

‘“¢ JT am sure £ did not hinder you long.”

‘¢ No — yours was only one of a dozen inter-
ruptions.”’

“OQ, well! you must not get discouraged.
Nothing succeeds well the first time. Persist
in your arrangement, and by and by the family
will learn that if they want anything of you,
they must wait until after dinner.”

“But what can a man do?” replied his



14 THE ANGEL OVER

wife; ‘he cannot go down town without a
shirt-bosom.”’

“ T was in a bad case,’ replied Mr. James,
‘¢it may not happen again. I am anxious to
have you try the month out faithfully, and then
we will see what has come of it.”

The second day of trial was a stormy one.
As the morning was dark, Bridget over-slept,
and consequently breakfast was too late by an
hour. This lost hour Mrs. James could not
recover. When the clock struck eleven, she
seemed but to have commenced her morning’s
work, so much remained to be done. With —
mind disturbed and spirits depressed, she left
her household matters ‘‘in the suds,’’ as they
were, and punctually retired to her study.
She soon found, however, that she could not

fix her ‘attention upon any intellectual pursuit.



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 15

Neglected duties haunted her, like ghosts
around the guilty conscience. Perceiving that
she was doing nothing with her books, and
not wishing to lose the morning wholly, she
commenced writing a letter. Bridget inter-
rupted her before she had proceeded far on
the first page.

‘“¢ What, ma’am, shall we have for dinner ?
No marketing ha’n’t come.”’

** Have some steaks, then.”

‘“* We ha’n’t got none, ma’am.”’

** J will send out for some, directly.”

Now there was no one to send but Amy,
and Mrs. James knew it. With a sigh, she
put down her letter and went into the nursery.

“Amy, Mr. James has forgotten our mar-
keting. Ishould like to have you run over to
the provision store, and order some beef-steaks.
I wall stay with the baby.”



16 THE ANGEL OVER

Amy was not much pleased to be sent out on
this errand. She remarked, that ‘‘ she must
change her dress first.’

‘“‘ Be as quick as possible,” said Mrs. James,
“‘ for I am particularly engaged at this hour.”

Amy neither obeyed, ror disobeyed, but man-
aged to take her own time, without any very
deliberate intention to do so. Mrs. James,
hoping to get along with a sentence or two,
took her German book into the nursery. But
this arrangement was not to master Charley’s
mind. ‘¢ the kitties,’ he must have, whether or no—
and kitties he would find m that particular
book—so he turned its leaves over in great
haste. Half of the time on the second day of
trial had gone, when Anty returned and Mrs.
James with a sigh, left her nursery. Before

one o’clock, she was twice called into the kitch-



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 17

en to superintend some important dinner ar-
rangement, and thus it turned out that she did
not finish one page of her letter.

On the third morning the sun shone, and
Mrs. James rose early, made every provision
which she deemed necessary for dinner, and
for the comfort of her family ; and then, elated
by her success, in good spirits, and with good
courage, she entered her study precisely at
eleven o’clock, and locked her door. Her
books were opened, and the challenge given
to a hard German lesson. Scarcely had
she made the first onset, when the door-
bell was heard to ring, and soon Bridget
coming nearer and nearer—then tapping at
the door.

‘‘ Somebodies wants to see you in the parlor,

ma’am.”’
A



18 THE ANGEL OVER

Tell them I am engaged, Bridget.”

‘¢T told ’em you were to-home, ma’am, and
they sent up their names, but I ha’n’t got ’em,
jist.” |

There was no help for it — Mrs. James
must go down to receive her callers. She
had to smile when she felt little like it—to
be sociable when her thoughts were busy with
her task. Her friends made a long call —
they had nothing else to do with their time,
and when they went, others came. In very
unsatisfactory chit-chat, her morning slipped
away.

On the next day, Mr. James invited compa-
ny to tea, and her morning was devoted to
preparing for it; she did not enter her study.
On the day following, a sick-head-ache con-
fined her to her bed, and on Saturday the



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 19

care of the baby devolved upon her, as Amy
had extra work to do. Thus passed the first.
week.

True to her promise, Mrs. James. patiently
persevered for a month, in her efforts to secure
for herself this little fragment of her broken
time, but with what success, the first week’s
history can tell. With its close, closed the
month of December.

On the last day of the old year, she was so
much occupied in her preparations for the
morrow’s festival, that the last hour of the day
was approaching, before she made her good
night’s call in the nursery. She first went
to the crib and looked at the baby. There he
Jay in his innocence and beauty, fast asleep.
She softly stroked his golden hair —she kissed
gently his rosy cheek—she pressed the little
dimpled hand in hers, and then, carefully draw-



20 THE ANGEL OVER

ing the coverlet over it, tucked it in, and
stealing yet another kiss—she left him to his
peaceful dreams and sat down on her daugh-
ter’s bed. She also slept sweetly, with her
dolly hugged to her bosom. At this her moth-
er smiled, but soon grave thoughts entered her
mind, and these deepened into sad ones. She
thought of her disappointment and the failure
of her plans. To her, not only the past month
but the whole past year, seemed to have been
one of fruitless effort — all broken and disjoint-
ed— even her hours of religious duty had
been encroached upon, and disturbed. She
had accomplished nothing, that she could see,
but to keep her house and family im order,
and even this, to her saddened mind, seemed
to have been but indifferently done. She was
conscious of yearnings for a more earnest life

than this. Unsatisfied longings for something



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 21

which she had not attained, often clouded what,
otherwise, would have been a bright day to |
her ; and yet the causes of these feelings seem-
ed to lie in a dim and misty region, which her
eye could not penetrate.

What then did she need? To see some re-
sults from her life’s work? To know that a
golden cord bound her life-threads together into
umty of purpose — notwithstanding they seem-
ed, so often, single and broken ?

She was quite sure that she felt no desire
to shrnk from duty, however humble, but she
sighed for some conforting assurance of what
was duty. Her employments, conflicting as
they did with her tastes, seemed to her frivo-
lous and useless. It seemed to her that there
was some better way of living, which she,
from deficiency in energy of character, or of

principle, had failed to discover. Ag she lean-



of THE ANGEL OVEK

ed over her child, her tears fell fast upon its
young brow.

Most earnestly did she wish, that she could
shield that child from the disappomtments and
mistakes and self-reproach from which the
mother was then suffering; that the little one
might take up life where she could give it
to her—all mended by her own experience.
It would have been a comfort to have felt,
that in fighting the battle, she had fought for
both ; yet she knew that so it could not be —
that for ourselves must we all learn what are
those things which “‘ make for our peace.”

The tears were in her eyes, as she gave the
good-night to her sleepmg daughter — then
with soft steps she entered an adjoining room,
and there fairly kissed out the old year on an-
cther chubby cheek, which nestled among the

pillows. At length she sought her own rest.



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 23

Soon she found herself in a singular place.
She was traversing a vast plain. No trees
were visible, save those which skirted the dis-
tant horizon, and on their broad tops rested
wreaths of golden clouds. Before her was a
female, who was journeying towards that re-
gion of light. Little children were about her,
now in her arms, now running by her side,
and as they travelled, she occupied herself in
carmg for them. She taught them how to
place their little feet—she gave them timely
warnings of the pit-falls—she gently lifted
them over the stumbling-blocks. When they
were weary, she soothed them by smging of
that brighter land, which she kept ever in
view, and towards which she seemed hastening
with her little flock. But what was most re-
markable was, that, all unknown to her, she

was constantly watched by two angels, who



24 THE ANGEL OVER

reposed on two golden clouds which floated
above her. Before each was a golden book,
and a pen of gold. One angel, with mild and
loving eyes, peered constantly over her right
shoulder— another kept as strict watch over
her left. Nota deed, not a word, not a look,
escaped their notice. When a good deed,
word, look, went from her, the angel over
the right shoulder with a glad smile, wrote it
down in his book; when an evil, however triy-
ial, the angel over the left shoulder recorded
it in his book—then with sorrowful eyes fol-
lowed the pilgrim until he observed penitence
for the wrong, upon which he dropped a tear
on the record, and blotted it out, and both
angels rejoiced.

To the looker-on, it seemed that the travel-
ler did nothing which was worthy of such care-
ful record. Sometimes she did but bathe the



THE KIGHT SHOULDER. 25

weary feet of her little children, but the angel
over the right shoulder—wrote it down. Some-
times she did but patiently wait to lure back
a little truant who had turned his face away
from the distant light, but the angel over the
right shoulder— wrote it down. Sometimes
she did but soothe an angry feeling or raise
a drooping eye-lid, or kiss away a little grief;
but the angel over the right shoulder — wrote
it down.

Sometimes, her eye was fixed so intently
on that golden horizon, and she became so ea-
ger to make progress thither, that the little
ones, missing her care, did languish or stray.
Then it was that the angel over the left shoui-
der, litted his golden pen, and made the entry,
and followed her with sorrowful eyes, until he
could blot it out. Sometimes she seemed to

advance rapidly, but in her haste the little



26 THE ANGEL OVER

ones had fallen back, and it was the sorrowing
angel who recorded her progress. Sometimes
so intent was she to gird up her loins and have
her lamp trimmed and burning, that the little
children wandered away quite into forbidden
paths, and it was the angel over the left shoul-
der who recorded her diligence.

Now the observer as she looked, felt that
this was a faithful and true record, and was
to be kept to that journey’s end. ‘The strong
clasps of gold on those golden books, also
impressed her with the conviction that, when
they were closed, it would only be for a future
opening.

Her sympathies were warmly enlisted for the
gentle traveller, and with a beating heart she
quickened her steps that she might overtake
her. She wished to tell her of the angels

keeping watch above her—to entreat her to



~I

TIE RIGHT SILOULDER. 2

be faithful and patient to the end—for her
life’s work was all written down — every item
of it—-and the results would be known when
those golden books should be unclasped. She
wished to beg of her to think no duty trivial
which must be done, for over her right shoulder
and over her left were recording angels, who
would surely take note of all!

Eager to warn the traveller of what she had
seen, she touched her. ‘The traveller turned,
and she recognized or seemed to recognize her-
self. Startled and alarmed she awoke in tears.
The gray light of morning struggled through
the half-open shutter, the door was ajar and
merry faces were peeping in.

‘¢ Wish you a happy new ra mamma,’ —
Wish Bt a eee new Year,’ —“ a happy

noo ear.’



28 THE ANGEL OVER

She returned the merry greeting most heart-
iy. It seemed to her as if she had entered
upon a new existence. She had found her way
through the thicket in which she had been en-
tangled, and a light was now about her path.
The Angel over the Right Shoulder whom she
had seen in her dream, would bind up in his
golden book her life’s work, if it were but well
done. He required of her no great deeds, but
faithfulness and patience to the end of the race
which was set before her. Now she could see
plainly enough, that though it was right and
important for her to cultivate her own mind
and heart, it was equally right and equally
important, to meet and perform faithfully all
those little household cares and duties on which
the comfort and virtue of her family depended ;
for into these things the angels carefully looked



THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 29

—and these duties and cares acquired a digni-
ty from the strokes of that golden pen— they
cculd not be neglected without danger.

sad thoughts and sadder misgivings — un-
defined yearnings and ungratified longings seem-
ed to have taken their flight with the Old Year,
and it was with fresh resolution and cheerful
hepe, and a happy heart, she welcomed the
Glad New Year. The Angel over the fight
Shoulder would go with her, and if she were
found faithful, would strengthen and comfort

her to its close.

END.






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Angel aver the Right Shoulder,

OR THE
BEGINNING OF A NEW YEAR.

BY

THE AUTHOR OF “ SUNNY SIDE.”

ANDOVER:
WARREN F. DRAPER, PUBLISHER.
BOSTON : J. P. JEWETT AND CO.
1852.
Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1852,
BY AUSTIN PHELPS,
in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the District of
Massachusetts.

. Press of W. F. Draper.
Chr

Augrl ager the Hight Shunlder.

“Tere! a woman’s work is never done,”
said Mrs. James; “I thought, for once, I was
through ; but just look at that lamp, now! it
will not burn, and I must go and spend half
an hour over it.”

‘“¢ Don’t you wish you had never been mar-
ried 7”? said Mr. James, with a good-natured
laugh. | .

“Yes”? —rose to her lips, but was checked
by a glance at the group upon the floor, where
her husband was stretehed out, and two little
a) THE ANGEL OVER

urchins with sparkling eyes and glowing cheeks,
were climbmg and tumbling over him, as if they
found in this play the very essence of fun.

She did say, “I should like the good, without
the evil, if I could have it.”

“You have no evils to endure,” replied her
husband.

‘That is just all you gentlemen know about
t. What would you think, if you could not
get an uninterrupted half hour to yourself, from
morning till night? I believe you would give
up trying to do anything.”

‘There is no need of that; all you want, is
system. If you arranged your work systemat-
ically, you would find that you could command
sour time.”

“ Well,” was the reply, ‘all I wish is, that
you could just follow me around for one day,
and see what I have to do. If you could re-
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. T

duce it all to system, I think you would show
yourself a genius.”

When the lamp was trimmed, the conversa-
tion was resumed. Mr. James had employed
the “ half hour,” in meditating on this subject

*¢ Wife,” said he, as she came in, “ T have a

plan to propose to you, and I wish you to prom-
ise me beforehand, that you will accede to it.
It is to be an experiment, I acknowledge, but
I wish it to have a fair trial. Now to please
me, will you promise ?”’
_ Mrs. James hesitated. | She felt almost sure
that his plan would be quite impracticable, for
what does a man know of a woman’s work ?
yet she promised.

“ Now I wish you,” said he, “ to set apart
two hours of every day for your own private
use. Make a point of gomg to your room and
locking yourself in; and also make up your
8 THE ANGEL OVER

mind to let the work which is not done, go
undone, if it must. Spend this time on just
those things which will be most profitable to
yourself. I shall bind you to your promise for
one month — then, if it has proved a total fail-
ure, we will devise something else.”

‘¢ When shall I begin ?”

*¢ To-merrow.”’

The merrow came. Mrs. James had chosen
the two hours before dinner as being, on the
whole, the most convenient and the least liable
to mterruption. They dined at one o’clock.
She wished to finish her morning work, get
dressed for the day, and enter her room at
eleven.

Hearty as were her efforts to accomplish this,
the hour of eleven found her with her work but
half done ; yet, true to her promise, she left all,
retired to her room and locked the door.
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 9

With some interest and hcpe, she imme-
diately marked out a course of reading and
study, for these two precious hours; then, ar-
ranging her table, her books, pen and paper,
she commenced a schedule of her work with
much enthusiasm. Scarcely had she dipped
her pen in ink, when she heard the tramping
of little feet along the hall, and then a pound-
ing at her door. ,

‘Mamma! mamma! I cannot find my mit-
tens, and Hannah is going to slide without
wet

“Go to Amy, my dear ; mamma is busy.”

“So Amy busy too; she say she can’t leave
baby.”

The child began to cry, still standing close
to the fastened door. Mrs. James knew the
easiest, and indeed the only way of settling
the trouble, was to go herself and hunt up the
10 THE ANGEL OVER

missing mittens. Then a parley must be held
with Frank, to induce him to wait for his sis-
ter, and the child’s tears must be dried, and
little hearts must be all set right before the
children went out to play ; and so favorable an
opportunity must not be suffered to slip, without
impressing on young minds the importance of
having a ‘ place for everything and everything
in its place ;” this took time; and when Mrs.
James returned to her study, her watch told
her that half her portion had gone. Quietly
resuming her work, she was endeavoring to
mend her broken train of thought, when heay-
ier steps were heard in the hall, and the fas-
tened door was once more besieged. Now,
Mr. James must be admitted.

‘“‘ Mary,” said he, “ cannot you come and
sew a string on forme? I do believe there is

not a bosom in my drawer in order, and I am
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 11

in @ great hurry. I ought to have been down
town an hour ago.”

The schedule was thrown aside, the work-
basket taken, and Mrs. James followed him.
She soon sewed on the tape, but then a button
needed fastening— and at last a rip in his
glove, was to be mended. As Mrs. James
stitched away on the glove, a smile lurked in
the corners of her mouth, which her husband
observed.

‘What are you laughing at?” asked he.

*¢ To think how famously your plan works.”

“T declare!” said he, “is this your study
hour? I am sorry, but what can a man do?
He cannot go down town without a shirt bos-
om!”

‘¢ Certainly not,’ said his wife, quietly.

When her liege lord was fairly equipped
and off, Mrs. James returned to her room. A
12 THE ANGEL OVER

half an hour yet remained to her, and of this
she determined to make the most. But scarce-
ly had she resumed her pen, when there was
another disturbance in the entry. Amy had
returned from walking out with the baby, and
she entered the nursery with him, that she
might get him to sleep. Now it happened that
the only room in the house which Mrs. James
could have to herself with a fire, was the one
adjoming the nursery. She had become so
accustomed to the ordinary noise of the children,
thateit did not disturb her; but the very ex-
traordmary noise which master Charley some-
times felt called upon to make, when ke was
fairly on his back in the cradle, did disturb
the unity of her thoughts. The words which
she was reading rose and fell with the screams
and lulls.of the child, and she felt obliged to
close her book, until the storm was over.
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 13

When quiet was restored in the cradle, the
children came in from sliding, crying with cold
fingers — and just as she was going to them,
the dinner-bell rang.

“¢ How did your new plan work this morn-
ing?” inquired Mr. James.

“‘ Famously,” was the reply, “I read about
seventy pages of German, and as many more
in French.”

‘“¢ JT am sure £ did not hinder you long.”

‘¢ No — yours was only one of a dozen inter-
ruptions.”’

“OQ, well! you must not get discouraged.
Nothing succeeds well the first time. Persist
in your arrangement, and by and by the family
will learn that if they want anything of you,
they must wait until after dinner.”

“But what can a man do?” replied his
14 THE ANGEL OVER

wife; ‘he cannot go down town without a
shirt-bosom.”’

“ T was in a bad case,’ replied Mr. James,
‘¢it may not happen again. I am anxious to
have you try the month out faithfully, and then
we will see what has come of it.”

The second day of trial was a stormy one.
As the morning was dark, Bridget over-slept,
and consequently breakfast was too late by an
hour. This lost hour Mrs. James could not
recover. When the clock struck eleven, she
seemed but to have commenced her morning’s
work, so much remained to be done. With —
mind disturbed and spirits depressed, she left
her household matters ‘‘in the suds,’’ as they
were, and punctually retired to her study.
She soon found, however, that she could not

fix her ‘attention upon any intellectual pursuit.
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 15

Neglected duties haunted her, like ghosts
around the guilty conscience. Perceiving that
she was doing nothing with her books, and
not wishing to lose the morning wholly, she
commenced writing a letter. Bridget inter-
rupted her before she had proceeded far on
the first page.

‘“¢ What, ma’am, shall we have for dinner ?
No marketing ha’n’t come.”’

** Have some steaks, then.”

‘“* We ha’n’t got none, ma’am.”’

** J will send out for some, directly.”

Now there was no one to send but Amy,
and Mrs. James knew it. With a sigh, she
put down her letter and went into the nursery.

“Amy, Mr. James has forgotten our mar-
keting. Ishould like to have you run over to
the provision store, and order some beef-steaks.
I wall stay with the baby.”
16 THE ANGEL OVER

Amy was not much pleased to be sent out on
this errand. She remarked, that ‘‘ she must
change her dress first.’

‘“‘ Be as quick as possible,” said Mrs. James,
“‘ for I am particularly engaged at this hour.”

Amy neither obeyed, ror disobeyed, but man-
aged to take her own time, without any very
deliberate intention to do so. Mrs. James,
hoping to get along with a sentence or two,
took her German book into the nursery. But
this arrangement was not to master Charley’s
mind. ‘¢ the kitties,’ he must have, whether or no—
and kitties he would find m that particular
book—so he turned its leaves over in great
haste. Half of the time on the second day of
trial had gone, when Anty returned and Mrs.
James with a sigh, left her nursery. Before

one o’clock, she was twice called into the kitch-
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 17

en to superintend some important dinner ar-
rangement, and thus it turned out that she did
not finish one page of her letter.

On the third morning the sun shone, and
Mrs. James rose early, made every provision
which she deemed necessary for dinner, and
for the comfort of her family ; and then, elated
by her success, in good spirits, and with good
courage, she entered her study precisely at
eleven o’clock, and locked her door. Her
books were opened, and the challenge given
to a hard German lesson. Scarcely had
she made the first onset, when the door-
bell was heard to ring, and soon Bridget
coming nearer and nearer—then tapping at
the door.

‘‘ Somebodies wants to see you in the parlor,

ma’am.”’
A
18 THE ANGEL OVER

Tell them I am engaged, Bridget.”

‘¢T told ’em you were to-home, ma’am, and
they sent up their names, but I ha’n’t got ’em,
jist.” |

There was no help for it — Mrs. James
must go down to receive her callers. She
had to smile when she felt little like it—to
be sociable when her thoughts were busy with
her task. Her friends made a long call —
they had nothing else to do with their time,
and when they went, others came. In very
unsatisfactory chit-chat, her morning slipped
away.

On the next day, Mr. James invited compa-
ny to tea, and her morning was devoted to
preparing for it; she did not enter her study.
On the day following, a sick-head-ache con-
fined her to her bed, and on Saturday the
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 19

care of the baby devolved upon her, as Amy
had extra work to do. Thus passed the first.
week.

True to her promise, Mrs. James. patiently
persevered for a month, in her efforts to secure
for herself this little fragment of her broken
time, but with what success, the first week’s
history can tell. With its close, closed the
month of December.

On the last day of the old year, she was so
much occupied in her preparations for the
morrow’s festival, that the last hour of the day
was approaching, before she made her good
night’s call in the nursery. She first went
to the crib and looked at the baby. There he
Jay in his innocence and beauty, fast asleep.
She softly stroked his golden hair —she kissed
gently his rosy cheek—she pressed the little
dimpled hand in hers, and then, carefully draw-
20 THE ANGEL OVER

ing the coverlet over it, tucked it in, and
stealing yet another kiss—she left him to his
peaceful dreams and sat down on her daugh-
ter’s bed. She also slept sweetly, with her
dolly hugged to her bosom. At this her moth-
er smiled, but soon grave thoughts entered her
mind, and these deepened into sad ones. She
thought of her disappointment and the failure
of her plans. To her, not only the past month
but the whole past year, seemed to have been
one of fruitless effort — all broken and disjoint-
ed— even her hours of religious duty had
been encroached upon, and disturbed. She
had accomplished nothing, that she could see,
but to keep her house and family im order,
and even this, to her saddened mind, seemed
to have been but indifferently done. She was
conscious of yearnings for a more earnest life

than this. Unsatisfied longings for something
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 21

which she had not attained, often clouded what,
otherwise, would have been a bright day to |
her ; and yet the causes of these feelings seem-
ed to lie in a dim and misty region, which her
eye could not penetrate.

What then did she need? To see some re-
sults from her life’s work? To know that a
golden cord bound her life-threads together into
umty of purpose — notwithstanding they seem-
ed, so often, single and broken ?

She was quite sure that she felt no desire
to shrnk from duty, however humble, but she
sighed for some conforting assurance of what
was duty. Her employments, conflicting as
they did with her tastes, seemed to her frivo-
lous and useless. It seemed to her that there
was some better way of living, which she,
from deficiency in energy of character, or of

principle, had failed to discover. Ag she lean-
of THE ANGEL OVEK

ed over her child, her tears fell fast upon its
young brow.

Most earnestly did she wish, that she could
shield that child from the disappomtments and
mistakes and self-reproach from which the
mother was then suffering; that the little one
might take up life where she could give it
to her—all mended by her own experience.
It would have been a comfort to have felt,
that in fighting the battle, she had fought for
both ; yet she knew that so it could not be —
that for ourselves must we all learn what are
those things which “‘ make for our peace.”

The tears were in her eyes, as she gave the
good-night to her sleepmg daughter — then
with soft steps she entered an adjoining room,
and there fairly kissed out the old year on an-
cther chubby cheek, which nestled among the

pillows. At length she sought her own rest.
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 23

Soon she found herself in a singular place.
She was traversing a vast plain. No trees
were visible, save those which skirted the dis-
tant horizon, and on their broad tops rested
wreaths of golden clouds. Before her was a
female, who was journeying towards that re-
gion of light. Little children were about her,
now in her arms, now running by her side,
and as they travelled, she occupied herself in
carmg for them. She taught them how to
place their little feet—she gave them timely
warnings of the pit-falls—she gently lifted
them over the stumbling-blocks. When they
were weary, she soothed them by smging of
that brighter land, which she kept ever in
view, and towards which she seemed hastening
with her little flock. But what was most re-
markable was, that, all unknown to her, she

was constantly watched by two angels, who
24 THE ANGEL OVER

reposed on two golden clouds which floated
above her. Before each was a golden book,
and a pen of gold. One angel, with mild and
loving eyes, peered constantly over her right
shoulder— another kept as strict watch over
her left. Nota deed, not a word, not a look,
escaped their notice. When a good deed,
word, look, went from her, the angel over
the right shoulder with a glad smile, wrote it
down in his book; when an evil, however triy-
ial, the angel over the left shoulder recorded
it in his book—then with sorrowful eyes fol-
lowed the pilgrim until he observed penitence
for the wrong, upon which he dropped a tear
on the record, and blotted it out, and both
angels rejoiced.

To the looker-on, it seemed that the travel-
ler did nothing which was worthy of such care-
ful record. Sometimes she did but bathe the
THE KIGHT SHOULDER. 25

weary feet of her little children, but the angel
over the right shoulder—wrote it down. Some-
times she did but patiently wait to lure back
a little truant who had turned his face away
from the distant light, but the angel over the
right shoulder— wrote it down. Sometimes
she did but soothe an angry feeling or raise
a drooping eye-lid, or kiss away a little grief;
but the angel over the right shoulder — wrote
it down.

Sometimes, her eye was fixed so intently
on that golden horizon, and she became so ea-
ger to make progress thither, that the little
ones, missing her care, did languish or stray.
Then it was that the angel over the left shoui-
der, litted his golden pen, and made the entry,
and followed her with sorrowful eyes, until he
could blot it out. Sometimes she seemed to

advance rapidly, but in her haste the little
26 THE ANGEL OVER

ones had fallen back, and it was the sorrowing
angel who recorded her progress. Sometimes
so intent was she to gird up her loins and have
her lamp trimmed and burning, that the little
children wandered away quite into forbidden
paths, and it was the angel over the left shoul-
der who recorded her diligence.

Now the observer as she looked, felt that
this was a faithful and true record, and was
to be kept to that journey’s end. ‘The strong
clasps of gold on those golden books, also
impressed her with the conviction that, when
they were closed, it would only be for a future
opening.

Her sympathies were warmly enlisted for the
gentle traveller, and with a beating heart she
quickened her steps that she might overtake
her. She wished to tell her of the angels

keeping watch above her—to entreat her to
~I

TIE RIGHT SILOULDER. 2

be faithful and patient to the end—for her
life’s work was all written down — every item
of it—-and the results would be known when
those golden books should be unclasped. She
wished to beg of her to think no duty trivial
which must be done, for over her right shoulder
and over her left were recording angels, who
would surely take note of all!

Eager to warn the traveller of what she had
seen, she touched her. ‘The traveller turned,
and she recognized or seemed to recognize her-
self. Startled and alarmed she awoke in tears.
The gray light of morning struggled through
the half-open shutter, the door was ajar and
merry faces were peeping in.

‘¢ Wish you a happy new ra mamma,’ —
Wish Bt a eee new Year,’ —“ a happy

noo ear.’
28 THE ANGEL OVER

She returned the merry greeting most heart-
iy. It seemed to her as if she had entered
upon a new existence. She had found her way
through the thicket in which she had been en-
tangled, and a light was now about her path.
The Angel over the Right Shoulder whom she
had seen in her dream, would bind up in his
golden book her life’s work, if it were but well
done. He required of her no great deeds, but
faithfulness and patience to the end of the race
which was set before her. Now she could see
plainly enough, that though it was right and
important for her to cultivate her own mind
and heart, it was equally right and equally
important, to meet and perform faithfully all
those little household cares and duties on which
the comfort and virtue of her family depended ;
for into these things the angels carefully looked
THE RIGHT SHOULDER. 29

—and these duties and cares acquired a digni-
ty from the strokes of that golden pen— they
cculd not be neglected without danger.

sad thoughts and sadder misgivings — un-
defined yearnings and ungratified longings seem-
ed to have taken their flight with the Old Year,
and it was with fresh resolution and cheerful
hepe, and a happy heart, she welcomed the
Glad New Year. The Angel over the fight
Shoulder would go with her, and if she were
found faithful, would strengthen and comfort

her to its close.

END.



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