The Baldwin Library ^.University
-She stood still then behind a -hick lamrustmtLS and Dora contimied. reading.'
A TALE FOR YOUTH.
a new and revised edition.
PUBLISHED BY LONGMAN & CO.
Sold also by G. Bowen, Clifton, Bristol; C. Andrews, Brighton; Fletcher, Forbes & Fletcher, and Kino, Southampton; Rockliff&Ellis, Liverpool; CoLE,Stonehouse, Plymouth; Davies, Gloucester; Williams, Cheltenham.
Printed by G. Bowen, Clifton, Bristol.
MISS HARRIET MARTINEAU,
in admiration of her genius and of her unceasing and successful exertions in the cause of useful literature, this humble attempt to emulate her zeal for the interests of young people is, with her kind permission, most gratefully and affectionately inscribed by
EXPLANATION OF INDIAN WORDS.
Palanquin. A kind of chair with curtains, in which persons of distinction are carried by servants called bearers.
Bungalow. A thatched country house.
Veranda. A covered balcony on the ground floor, surrounding houses in warm climates. Tiffin. Luncheon.
Hookah. A long pipe.
Paun. A paste, composed of herbs, (areca and betel)
mixed with lime made of sea shells. Paun is chewed by the lower class of Hindoos as an opiate.
Compound. A court, round which are built the dwellings of the servants.
Salaam. The eastern salutation. The hands are placed on
the h^ad, and the body is bent low to the earth. Daye. A nurse.
Pagamafis. A child's light dress of frock and trowsers. Nabob. A rich man, properly an Indian prince.
Punkah. A large fan, fastened to the ceiling by a hinge
and moved by cords. Bebee Sahib. Young lady.
I. Calcutta 1
II. Ellen Cameron 5
III. The voyage 11
IV. The old aunt 17
V. What became of Ellen 22
VI. Life at school 26
VII. The little nabob 41
VIII. The two letters 45
IX. Ellen's visit 57
X. The harmonious blacksmith m
XI. The Irish cousins 65
XII. Want of dignity 72
XIII. La Belle Assembled 80
XIV. Ode to the Greeks 84
XV. The critics 91
XVI. Unexpected news 96
XVII. Midnight 101
XVIII. Morning thoughts 112
XIX. Old times and new 113
XX. The generous enemy 120
XXI. Better late than never 122
XXII. At sea ... 124
XXIII. Fellow passengers 127
XXIV. The ignorant girl 133
XXV. Lord S.'s story 139
XXVI. The guns 147
XXVII. The pinnace 150
XXVIII. The bungalow 151
XXIX. The little brother 156
XXX. The young Malay 160
XXXI. Revelling and destruction 162
XXXII. The conclusion 168
Who has not heard of Calcutta, the Queen of eastern cities, the captive of the proud merchants of Britain ? Thither sail our stately vessels, braving the stormy waves and angry tempests, in quest of wealth; thence they return laden with the treasures of Asia, to enrich their own adventurous little island.
Those who think of this metropolis of British India as an English city, will probably form very false notions of it. It seems as if all the nations of Asia had sent some of their people to dwell there. Persians with their high caps, flowing robes, and graceful countenances, may be seen in the streets; Chinese artisans with their broad flat faces, and long tail of hair, sit at their open shops, pursuing their different occupations of barber, shoemaker, or china-seller; Malays, fiercer of
countenance; and Turks with their grave and solemn mien. Here you may see a Hindoo of high caste and great rank, borne along on his palanquin surrounded by dependent natives: here an English carriage dashes past, with its four beautiful horses; and there an elephant goes along, shaking his huge ears, and making the earth quake, with his heavy tread, while a man sits on his neck, and guides the docile monster.
Thus Calcutta has amongst its inhabitants many from many and distant parts of the globe: from England come its conquerors: all its grandeur, and all its importance are English. The quays and warehouses for merchandise are English; English ships are seen peopling, but not crowding, the noble river; English churches point their tall spires to heaven; English redcoats abound; English fashions prevail: in short, every thing which gives the idea of wealth, strength, or comfort, is English; and the traces of Hindoo language, manners and religion, are rarely found apart from what is poor, old and neglected in this singular city.
Many thousands of Englishmen leave their native land, with its sweet wholesome climate and its fireside comforts, to seek for gain in India. Of these, very few are contented to return to England, and enjoy the
moderate fruits of industry. The love of money, to which they have already sacrificed so much, gains so strong a hold of their minds, that they forget friends, country, all that once was dear to them.A little longer, a little longer, a little more, and a little more, so they say, till the fatal climate cuts them off, and tears them from their darling riches; or till, having arrived at an early old age, and lost all enjoyment of life, they return invalids to their native land, to shiver and complain a little while, to find all changed, all gone, that they had known and loved before,and then to die.
The banks of the river Hoogley, for many miles, are adorned with elegant houses belonging to the English, both merchants and military. These are called bungalows, or thatched houses. They have all possible contrivances for mitigating the heat, and imitating," as it were, the climate and comforts of Europe: yet which of these dwellings can be compared in comfort to a neat English cottage, with its sweet-smelling garden, its light sash-windows opened wide to let in the cool air, and with it the odour of the honey-suckles and roses that creep up the trellised porch?
The reader is now humbly requested to imagine himself,
or herself in one of these bungalows. Situated on the bank of one of those numerous streams that flow into the Hoogley, it was retired, yet not out of the reach of interesting objects. The many windings of the little river, the pleasure-boats that rowed slowly up and down in the cool of the evening, the frequent sail visible on the distant Hoogley, the many buildings on the banks of that great river, and the reflection of trees, houses, temples, and sky in the broad mirror of water, made a scene that one might well wish to look upon again.
The house was worthy of its situation : it was built and furnished with every ornament, every luxury that wishes could suggest, and wealth supply. But who were the inhabitants? A^oung man, whose brow was bent with sorrow, and a poor little motherless babe under four years of age.
When .the heroine of this tale was a very little babe, her mother died; and though her father loved her dearly, he could not, and did not supply a mother's
place to the poor child. Every morning he went into Calcutta, to attend to his business; every evening when he returned, little Ellen was brought to him to be kissed and caressed for a quarter of an hour before she went to bed, and he saw her again at breakfast time before he left home. If ever he heard her cry, he rang the bell and ordered the servants to give her whatever she wanted, and not to let her be distressed on any account. She always looked very pretty, she Was always nicely dressed when he saw her, and he had engaged two European nurses for her at a great expense; so he did not doubt that she was well taken care of. But he was mistaken. Had he intrusted her entirely to the native servants, she would have been much better managed; for it is impossible to take more affectionate care than they take of the children under their charge. The two English women, as soon as Mr. Cameron was safely out of the house in the morning, laid Ellen on the floor of the veranda, to amuse herself as she liked, and then went to sleep till it was tiffin time. At twelve o'clock they sat down to tiffin, and, giving themselves all the airs of European ladies, admitted company, smoked their hookahs, and gossiped for an hour or two. Ellen always found her way to the tiffin table, and cried till
they gave her more to eat than was good for her; and then cried again, till they shook her by the arms; and then roared outright, till they called one of the bearers to take her away. Then she was in her element. Sejah would take her in his arms, and carry her wherever she liked, and sing songs to her, and tell her Hindoo stories all about their wonderful Hindoo gods; and show her pictures of them, some with a hundred hands sticking out of every part of their body, some with serpents' beads, and others with elephants' trunks; and Ellen would coax him, and squeezing his brown face between both her little hands, beg him to show her more beast men. In the mean time, the neglect of her nurses, and the want of regular and proper food and rest, injured poor little Ellen's health, so that when she was four years old, it was evident to everybody that she did not thrive as she ought. Her fingers were long and bony, she tottered in walking, her face was quite pale, and there was a black streak under each of her eyes: those pretty, sparkling, laughing eyes were always half shut, and seemed oppressed by the weight of their lids.
Mr. Cameron began to be alarmed when he saw his little girl looking so languid. He sent for advice from
Calcutta; he bought an elephant for her to ride on; he fitted out a pleasure-boat to take her up and down the river; he found she was fretful, so he gave stricter orders to his servants to indulge her in every wish, lest crying should injure her health;and then he thought he had done his duty.
One day Mr. Cameron returned to his bungalow some hours earlier than usual. He had met with an English gentleman whom he had not seen for some years, and he brought him home to dinner. As they went slowly along the banks of the river towards the house, Mr. Cameron told his friend all that had happened to him since their last meeting. A very melancholy story it was; and they both of them shed some tears when Mr. Cameron spoke of the little girl as the only comfort that was left to him, and said that she was too sickly to live long, and that he should soon be without a child.
They entered the house, and went straight to little Ellen's apartments; they were empty. Mr. Cameron supposed she was sailing on the river, and looked about for some of his people who might give tidings of her. U I suppose I shall find some one here/' said he, and he walked towards the veranda. Judge of his as-
tonishment, when he saw the two nurses with a party of gossips, sitting at their tiffin. He asked for the child; one said she was in her cot, another in the same breath said she was on the river, and at last both of them confessed that they did not know where she was: and how could they? Half an hour before, they had laid her crying on the floor in a corner of the veranda, and told her to stay there till she was good: when quite tired of crying, she had got up, and roamed about in search of her favourite Sejah and his pretty beasts, and had found her way through a glass door, and down a flight of steps that led to the river side.
The house was searched; Mr. Cameron was half distracted; Ellen was nowhere to be seen. He recollected the doorway that led to the river; and to the river he went. A crowd of native boatmen, and other idle people, stopped his way; they were laughing loudly at some object in the midst of them. Let me pass! let me pass!" said Mr. Cameron; and he was pushing his way through, when he thought he distinguished the voice of a child. He listened, and shuddered to hear the lips of a young child attempting to sing a Hindoo song, which a man in the crowd was teaching it, and lisping out words so very wicked, that
it never ought to have heard them. It was but for a moment; the song ceased, and he heard the child say: Now, give me the paun." Was it fancy? Could that be his Ellen's voice ? He pushed his way through the dirty crowd, and saw his little girl sitting on the ground, and eagerly putting into her mouth a large piece of the unwholesome drug which the man had given her for her song.
You will imagine that the poor father lost no time in snatching his little girl to his bosom, and running home with her; but when he had deposited her in proper hands, and taken the paun out of her mouth, I am sorry to say he flew into a furious passion with the attendants, and made such a noise, that all the multitude of servants in the house, and the compound, heard him, and trembled for fear.
The whole of that day Ellen was not out of her father's sight. Many unreasonable wishes she had, but she was humoured in them all. She sat by her father's side during dinner, she fell asleep in his arms afterwards, and he watched her undressing, and laid her himself in her cot. After all this was done, his friend ventured to ask him what he meant to do with Ellen? Why," said he, what more can I do ? I have ordered three
of them to be flogged; I have sent the nurses to gaol; Sejah and Arkier I have turned off; and have given the rest of them what they will not easily forget. I can do nothing more."" You have done nothing," answered his friend, "to repair the injuries which your child has suffered, nor to prevent their recurrence. None of the servants who bowed and trembled just now before you, can or ought to be relied on, when your eye is no longer upon them. Your little girl will be lost for want of proper attention; or if her life be spared, what will become of her mind among these poor ignorant wretches?" "I am an unfortunate man," said Mr. Cameron; "what you say is very true; but there is no remedy for it." 11 There is one remedy," said his friend; send her to England." No, sir, no; that is impossible; I never can part with her. You cannot love your children as I love mine;you do not know what it is to love only one living thing upon earth, so I pardon you for uttering the cruel words."
" My dear sir," answered his friend, I do not love my children as you love yours; for I would rather consent to part with them for ever, than see them perish soul and body under my eyes, and hear in
my secret thoughts the voice of my Judge, saying: < What hast thou done with the souls I committed unto thee, and where are they? Answer thou for them.,,,
Mr. Cameron was silent; but when his friend had retired, he walked out,and many hours after, when the heavy night dews were lying on the grass, he was still pacing up and down under the trees by the river side. I doubt whether he got any sleep that night, but the morning found him a wiser man than the evening had left him: he had reflected, and had resolved to give up his own gratification for the good of his child, and to send Ellen to England, and that without delay.
Very early one morning, about three weeks after his friend's visit, Mr. Cameron took Ellen on board the ship that was to convey her to England. It is impossible to describe her delight: every thing was new, wonderful and enchanting to her. She ran up and down the cabin stairs over and over again, and called
her father to play at hide and seek with her, among the coils of rope, and other things that were lying on deck. She wondered that he would not play with her, and began pulling him by the skirts of his coat, and pointing aloft said: Look, papa, look at the little men sitting up there in the sky; how did they get there?" Her father looked at her, but so very sorrowfully, that though she had a great many other questions to ask, she felt afraid to say any more, and stared in his face with terror and astonishment.
We will pass over the melancholy moment of parting, the day of lamentations, when the little girl found herself among strangers, and the night, when she sobbed herself to sleep in her berth. Suffice it to say, that when the due time of mourning for a child of four years old had passed away, her attention was turned to new objects, and she became as lively, as mischievous and as troublesome as ever. Ellen was intrusted to the care of a Hindoo nurse, who brought over five or six other children at the same time, and who, when she had washed and dressed them in the morning, usually allowed them to run about and amuse themselves all day. Ellen soon became acquainted with all the ship's company, and was equally pleased
when sitting on the captain's knee, or lighting a pipe for Tom Cox, the boatswain's mate. The voyage lasted four months, and during that time all that Ellen learned was to climb well, to speak a .little English (if the sailors' language could be called English), and to sing God save the Queen." Her chief amusements were pulling away at any thing like a rope that came within her reach, and calling : Ha yo!" like the men; and if she ever condescended to play with the other little children, who were not half so lively and high-spirited as she was, it was upon condition that they should call her captain, and obey her o/ders, though she often turned sport into serious earnest.
Any one accustomed to observe the way in which children show in their plays their different tempers, would have been grieved at perceiving many signs of a proud disposition in little Ellen Cameron during her voyage. Her playfellows hated her, and found her a troublesome tyrant; but the sailors, and especially the young midshipmen, laughed at her little airs, and encouraged them. You must not frighten little master George so," said the nurse: it is not pretty for a young lady to frown and slap."" Yes it is," said Ellen, for James Hamilton always laughs at me when I box, and
calls me a young Saracen.""And what is a Saracen? said James Hamilton, who was standing by. I don't know," said Ellen, but I am sure it must be something very pretty." James Hamilton only answered by a laugh and a kiss, and turned off, saying, You pretty little Saracen you!" and Ellen's idea of pretty in a young lady was unchanged by the nurse's reproof.
Sooner or later however the oppressed meet with redress; sooner or later tyrants have a fall: happy are those tyrants, who, like little Ellen Cameron, are not chastised in vain!
One day, when the voyage wa^ nearly ended, Ellen was walking up and down the quarter-deck with a consequential step, holding her hands behind her as the captain did, when two of the little children ran past her. She seized one by the arm, and gave the other a blow on the face, saying, in an angry voice: Why dont you bow to me when you pass ? Don't you know I'm captain? Little George, offended at being slapped by a girl, but too faint-hearted to do any thing but cry, lifted up his voice and lamented, while Julia, his sister, running to take refuge with the other children, called out, as soon as she thought herself out of danger: You cannot make me bow, for I won't." This word of rebellion was the signal
for a generaluproar. Ellen rushed on to the fight, and setting hands, nails, and teeth at work, with astonishing strength and valour, struck, terror into the assembled forces of her adversaries. She soon put them to flight, and with eyes and cheeks on fire, and disordered dress, hotly pursued them till they reached the sacred limits of the quarter-deck. Here it was that Ellen was first stopped in her career by a long and strong arm stretched* across her path, and looking up, she beheld the face of the captain. She thought he was laughing: No; there was certainly something like a smile lurking round his lips; but a frown stood on his brow that could not be mistaken, when he roughly said: How now what's all this about, my little lady?"" I only want to make them bow to me," said Ellen, 11 because I am captain."
" But you must know," replied the captain, "that you have no right to beat and scratch your crew as you have done. If I were to use my ship's company ill, I should be tried and punished for it; so you must be punished too; and since there is no one else here to execute sentence on .you, I must^do it myself." So saying, he put his telescope under one arm, and Ellen under the other, and when he had taken her into his cabin, he gave her no very gentle chastisement.
After this, you may believe Ellen did not attempt to play the tyrant again; and before the remaining week of the voyage was over, the scratches she had inflicted were healed, the fight was forgotten, and the children called her captain as usual.
What new land have they come to now? What broad fair river are they sailing up ? What people are shouting joyful huzzas from the shore? What heavy mass of smoke and cloud is lying before them ?
That country is England That river is the Thames Those people are honest Britons, cheering their own brave tars on their return home! That huge dingy place in the distance is London !
the old aunt.
Mr. Cameron had an aunt who lived in London; and he was obliged to send Ellen to her, for all his other relations lived in the north of Scotland. He never doubted for a moment that this old and near relative would be kind to poor little Ellen in a strange land; so he gave the nurse a letter to her, in which he
entreated her to take care of his child, and let her stay at her house until she could be placed at a proper school.
It was a matter of some regret to Mr. Cameron that he knew very little of this aunt. He had seen her twenty years before, when he was a little boy, and then he used to admire her for her beautiful red cheeks, and the feathers she wore in her head-dress. He now tried to recollect something more of her, something that she had said or done when he was a child, that he could judge of now that he was a man, and that would help him to guess to what sort of a woman he was intrusting so precious a deposit. If Mr. Cameron had been an observing and attentive boy, his memory would have furnished him readily with some trait of his aunt, which would have helped him now; but as those who do not observe cannot remember, he racked poor memory in vain: nothing would come uppermost but red cheeks and bobbing feathers; and as he had long ceased to admire these for their own sake, the recollection of them gave him no comfort at all.
After the nurse who had charge of the children had taken the rest to their different destinations, she proceeded with Ellen to a large house in Dover-street, whither Mr. Cameron's letters directed her.
The nurse spoke only a few words of English, and though she made many salaams to the smart gentleman who opened the door to her, she could not make him understand what she wanted. At last however she gave him the letter she had brought for his mistress, and after turning it round and round and peeping in at the ends of it, he put it on a silver waiter and carried it up stairs, leaving the nurse and child in the hall. After some time he came back to tell them his mistress wished to see them, and he ushered them into the drawing-room where she was.
Mrs. Cameron was an old bent woman of seventy, with a very rich dress, and a very fashionable headdress ; and she had such white teeth, such a colour in her cheeks, and such a quantity of light flaxen ringlets, that if they had been her own, instead of being bought with her money, they would have been truly astonishing in a woman of her age.
Mrs. Cameron's favourite maid was out, and as her own eyes were too dim to make out the letter, and she could not wait with patience till Parker came in to read it for her, she had ordered up the nurse and child to explain the mystery of their coming; and now in a petulant and impatient tone she poured forth a multi-
THE OLD AUNT. 19
tude of questions on the astonished nurse. Now even if the poor Daye had understood these questions, she could not have answered half of them; and if she could have answered them, the old lady was so deaf, that she could hear nobody well but Parker. So when she found herself reduced to the necessity of waiting, she fretted and fumed, and rang her bell till she almost pulled it down, to ask the footman whether Parker was come in or not.
At last Parker arrived, and after receiving some sharp rebukes for being always out of the way when she was wanted, she was allowed to begin the letter. She had not proceeded far however, before she was interrupted by her cross and impatient mistress.
" Hey!what!how! I take* the child Thank Heaven, I never had any of my own, and I'm not going to torment myself with other people's children. Besides, it's all an imposture you may depend upon it. Edward Cameron has been six years in India: most likely he's dead by this time."
" Here is his letter," said Parker: he cannot be dead."
" Then he ought to take care of his children himself," thundered Mrs. Cameron. V If he is not dead now, he
will die soon; for all people die that go to India, sooner or later; and then I shall be burdened with his girl."
14 But here is a very large remittance," said Parker, 14 and Mr. Cameron says-"
44 Hold your tongue, Parker," interrupted her mistress. "If he can afford to pay for it, he will find people enough who will take care of her; so I will have nothing to do with her. Make that black woman understand that she must take the child back again directly."
44 Then I need not finish the letter, ma'am," said Parker, folding it up.
" Oh! finish it, by all means," said Mrs. Cameron; 44 you may as well read on, to see what he means."
This permission was just the thing that Parker wanted. She thought that if her mistress's curiosity prevailed so far over her impatience as to let her hear the rest of the letter, her heart would be touched, and she would grant Mr. Cameron's earnest request. Parker knew her mistress well, and the effect was exactly what she expected.
44 Ha!hum !so!Well, if the child has lost its mother, and if it really was dying in that climate, I
suppose people would think me cruel in not taking it; so if you will take charge of it, Parker, and keep it out of my way, it may stay here till we find a school. But where is the child ? Let me look at it."
During all this time the Daye had been doing her best to keep little Ellen quiet, for she saw the aunt was not favourably disposed towards her. It often happens however, that when children are most urged to show off, they become the most unruly. So it was with Ellen: her eyes had roamed round the room, and she wanted to go where her eyes had been. The Daye held her fast by the hand till she found that she could do so no longer without a disturbance, and then suffered her to creep under the sofa, and she had been quiet ever since.
As soon as Mrs. Cameron's inquiry after Ellen was made intelligible to her, the poor Daye looked under the sofa; but, to her great dismay, ho Ellen was there. There was a moment's silence, when suddenly a laugh was heard from the other side of the room, and an immense china jar, which had stood for many years demurely on end, was seen rolling about on its side in a most extraordinary way. All had a presentiment of evilMrs. Cameron swelled with rage, Parker sighed, the Paye
trembled. In short, little Ellen had chosen to hide herself in this singular retreat, and was so incensed at being dragged forth by the united powers of her enemies, that in kicking and struggling for mastery, she threw the beautiful jar down, and dashed it to atoms.
Parker's countenance fell, for she knew that the spark of humanity which had just been kindled in Mrs. Cameron's bosom, was not likely to survive the china jar. Poor little orphan, there is no chance for you now !" murmured she; and again she guessed well, for in the same moment the old lady rang the bell, and ordered Ellen and her Daye never to enter the house again.
what became of ellen.
Parker, with tears in her eyes, followed the nurse down stairs. Who would think," said she to herself, f that a stranger would have more natural pity for the poor little creature than her own flesh and blood! I don't know what to do with her, but something I must do, for it seems as if Providence Jiad touched my heart, on purpose to befriend her when she wants a friend;
and it would be sinful.to fight against Providence." The kind-hearted woman then called to the nurse to stop; and having left her for a few minutes, she returned with a note, addressed to a sister of hers in the borough, and directed the black woman to go thither and leave the child, assuring her that she would be in good hands.
Parker's sister was a poor woman, with a large family, and a very small house; yet she had no sooner read her sister's note, simply asking her to take the child in, and be kind to her till she should hear more from her, than she received little Ellen with the affection of a mother. Indeed, it was not till she had made up a little bed in her own room, and given her some supper, that she began to wonder where the child came from, and what her sister had to do with her. She then began to ask a few questions, as any other woman in her place would.
" What's your name, my dear ?"
" Captain," answered the child.
" Where do you come from ? "
" I came out of our ship, and I want to go back, for this is a nasty little cabin," said Ellen, looking round the dark room.
" Who brought you here?"
" John Murray, and James Hamilton, and Bill Graves, and little Jack, and a great many more," said the little girl.
"Yes, those were the sailors, I suppose; but was there no one else with you?"
Ellen pulled her inquirer down by the sleeve, till her head was on a level with her own, and then whispered in her ear: Yes, there was the old captain; but I don't like him, for he whipped me."
u Who was the black woman that brought you here? "
" Oh, my Daye, my Daye!let me go back to my Daye!" cried poor Ellen, who having forgotten her sorrows in her supper, now remembered them all afresh, and rent the air, or rather the smoke of the dark shop with lamentations, most earnestly and pathetically imploring to be restored to her Daye. The good woman's compassion was stirred, and her curiosity was stilled in the same moment; she took the sobbing child on'her knee, and soothed her, and lulled her, and kept her there the whole evening, though little Tommy Higgs her own boy, stood by with his thumbs in his mouth, sulking, because a stranger had usurped his throne.
The week that Ellen spent with this kind woman
was a trying one, and brought her many a mortification. The little Higgses were a strong-bodied race, well able to take their own parts, and to support the laws they chose to impose, with sound blows and buffets. Thus Ellen, who had never been contradicted by her Daye, nor overcome by her playfellows, now found her commands disputed, and her strength despised.
At length Parker came to explain the mystery to her sister, and relieve her of her charge. Parker had consulted a benevolent friend of her mistress, who without delay made arrangements for sending Ellen to a school of high and deserved repute in the west of ^ England, took charge of the remittances Mr. Cameron had sent, and promised to write to him immediately. This good laxry completed her kindness by inviting old Mrs. Cameron to her house for a week, that Parker might obtain* a few days' leave of absence, and take little Ellen to school.
It would be endless work were we to mention whatever was new to Ellen; for every thing she saw and heard was new to her; so when we have introduced her into the school-room, we shall leave her there for some years, supposing that every little girl can from her own imagination fill up this interval of time, and infer that
where there are so many books, desks, French marks, and back-boards, Ellen would> in'process of time, read, write, speak French, and hold up her head, as well as her neighbours.
life at school.
Ellen at ten years old was very different from fellen as we have known her hitherto. The first day she made her appearance at school, one would have thought her* absolutely untameable. She was dressed that day in a little silk frock, with nothing under it but a pair of muslin pagamahs or trousers, and wore rings in her ears, and bracelets round her wrists. She ran about all day, laughing, singing and talking a jargon of Hindoostanee and English; and not all -the frowns of all the teachers could make her sit still, or prevent her from playing rub-a-dub with the ruler on the desks. At dinner she behaved like a little savage : she snatched pieces of meat and pudding from the plate of one neighbour, to cram them with her fingers into the mouth of another, to whom she had taken a particular fancy; and then taking up a glass of water, she tried to pour
it down her friend's throat, crying out: Drink, drink!" But with all Ellen's roughness, Mrs. Kirnan, the schoolmistress, was pleased at seeing more of generous feeling in this wild display, than in the measured conduct of many a young lady who prides herself on her good manners. Ellen's seizures were all made for the gratification of others, and so far was she from thinking of herself, that she more than once took what she thought a very nice bit out of her o.wn mouth, and stretched across the table to give it to a little girl about her own age, who seemed to be making a serious business of her meal.
With such a perfect ^absence of selfishness, Ellen soon found, that her ways were disagreeable, and immediately became as anxious to please her companions by orderly behaviour, as she had been by overloading- them with dainties. She had wished only to give pleasure, and had failed only from not knowing the right way to set about it. But when she once fell into the orderly customs of the school, she soon became the most polite little girl in it.
What is politeness ? The science of politeness is the knowledge of the right way to please. The practice of politeness consists in serving your friends in their
own way instead of yours. The best master in politeness is the one who gave lessons to Ellen, and to all other obliging young folks of our acquaintance. His name is Disinterestedness; he is a man of independent fortune, and though he has a large house of his own to live in, he gives up the best part of it to accommodate his friends, and is contented with any little corner of it himself,as John Bunyan would say.
We have known some children, who behave very prettily before strangers, and who always courtesy in passing their schoolmistress, snatch a plaything from the hands of a schoolfellow, or quarrel about a seat near the fire. This is not our politeness, nor was it Ellen's. She soon felt real gratitude to her teachers for their kindness, and real love towards many of her schoolfellows; and this prompted in her the wish to serve them in all things. She had no selfishness in her composition, except that which her old sinpride brought with it. She was never weary of running errands for her friends; she would willingly give up the chimney-corner without being asked to do so; and even when this was demanded of her, she would give it up, though no one felt better than she, how much more gratifying it is to do a service of our
own accord, than to have it wrung from us. Ellen had also learned to do and to suffer a great many things. She would make any exertion to help a schoolfellow out of a difficulty; she would bear blame, or even punishment for a friend, without complaining or informing ; but one thing, alas! she could not bear well; and you will wonder at it when you hear what a little harmless, powerless thing it was;she could not bear a laugh.
Now we warn all young ladies who are going to school, to make up their minds to stand a laugh before they go. However we may lament the fact, .ridicule is in general use among school-girls, as a thermometer to measure the warmth of a companion's temper. In vain will you try to excite their compassion by your emotion. If you keep still at one point, their experiment will soon be over, and then they will leave you alone; but the mor^ppt you are to bounce up to boiling-water heat, the oftener will they try you, till you settle at last, in the natural course of things, at. the right school temperature, which is little above the freezing point.
Who that knows how Ellen's childhood was neglected, will wonder to hear that at ten years old she
often made ignorant blunders? These blunders, when they were discovered, hurt her feelings far too much: the simple consciousness of unavoidable ignorance ought not to have distressed her; but Ellen as we already know, was proud. Her schoolfellows should have made allowances, but they only laughed at her; and the strangeness of her mistakes supplied them perhaps with seme excuse. They were indeed of rare occurrence, not made up of Wot, blur and carelessness, to be read at first sight in the dirty face of every copy-book; for Ellen needed only to be told once what was right, and she was more careful to teach herself, than others were to teach her; but when any unfortunate mistakes did occur, they certainly were egregious.
One evening Ellen was writing, for an exercise, answers to some questions which Mrs. Kirnan had given her. Among them was found this one: What is the size of the moon?" 4fen had never learned any thing about the moon, but she knew in what book she might find the necessary information. "It is not worth while," said she to herself, "to hunt through a book for the sake of such a simple question as that, when the moon is shining upon the window; I'll open the shutter and measure it. Mrs. Kirnan likes
experiment better than copying from books, and so do I."
She opened the shutter, and held first one thing aid then another to the window pane, to see if it covered the moon. Her copy-book was too large, e^en when she made allowance for the corners; her pm-wiper was too small: what should she do for an etact moon-measure? Mr. D'Orleans, the French master, \as there at the time ; his snuff-box lay on the table, the took it up, put it close to the glass; it covered the noon completelyjust a total eclipse. *
" That will do!" said Ellen ; there is nothing like experiment! Now for a game at puss in the corner! "
Little did poor Ellen anticipate the trial she was about to experience, when she gaily and confidently produced her exercise the next morning, to be read and corrected in class*. It was well written, and carefully done, till the last question came, with its fatal answer. How large is the moon ? "" A little smaller than Mr. D'Orlean's snuff-box." A sudden burst of uncontrolled laughter broke the silence of the school, and some moments passed before Mrs. Kirnan's calm but steady eye could impose any thing like restraint on her scholars. Ellen stood beside her in a tumult
of trouble, amazement and rage: her eye glanced quickly from one to another of her companions, who were still scarcely able to contain their laughter; her hand was clenched, and she advanced her foot, as ;f she entertained some dire project of vengeance.
"This is not the right answer," said Mrs. Kirnan; if you had looked in the book, you would ha>e found that the moon is much larger than you suppose/
But Mrs. Kirnan spoke in vain; for pride anl passion make their victims deaf to the voice of instruc tion, and Ellin was now in the condition of those unhappy ones who having ears hear not, neither understand." She forgot that humility especially becomes children, that respect is due to teachers, that Mrs. Kirnan was more likely to be in the right than she was;in fact, she forgot every thing worth remembering, and only listened to her pride. "it is not larger, but rather smaller," said she, stamping with her foot. "I have tried, and I know it; and nothing on earth shall make me believe the contrary."
Mrs. Kirnan never wasted words. She gave Ellen her book with a look of pity, saying: "Go to your room* Ellen, till you are yourself again." Ellen did not wait till the sentence was finished, but with her
figure drawn* to its full height, with cheeks highly flushed, that gave unnatural brightness to her beautiful dark eyes, and with her lip curled into an indignant smile, she walked slowly to the door, made a disdainful courtesy, and left the room.
I think I hear some of my little readers exclaim, Oh, what a hard-hearted girl! How could she smile at such a moment?" Happy are those children who have never felt, who cannot conceive, the bitterness of such a smile as Ellen's! Better weep rivers of tears than wear a proud smile to conceal the heart's utter wretchedness. Perhaps Ellen thought so too, for one who watched her closely said, that before she closed the door, a large tear had gathered in her eye, which rather contradicted the careless unconcern of her manner.
She reached her room; she shut the door; she threw herself on the bed, and burst into an agony of weeping. What would she not have given, could the last half hour have been blotted out from her life, or from her memory! Her mind was in such a state of confusion, that she seemed unable to separate the ideas which crowded in one after the other. Now burning tears of shame and anger suffused her cheeks, at the recollection
of her companions' ridicule; now she wrung her hands with vexation, when the conviction came across her that she must have made some mistake that caused her to appear ignorant and ridiculous; now her tears suddenly ceased, she started up, drew in her breath, and proudly resolved to care for none of these things; and now she thought she saw the gentle pitying look of her friend Mrs. Kirnan, and her pride giving way, she burst into sobs of real grief.
How often, after losing ourselves in anger and pride, is there given to us a moment of stillness and reflection, and we are led back into the right way! How does one ray of good feeling, like the first gleam of dawn, glow into more perfect light, till, like the rising sun, it disperses our darkness altogether! Thus it was with Ellen. She dwelt long on that look, so calm, so compassionate; and it told her more truth than words could tell. As she reflected on it she wept', and while she wept she repented.
11 Oh! what have I done! What have I done!" said Ellen. She pitied me then, and perhaps even then she would have pardoned me; but what must she think of me now? That I am careless, hard-hearted, ungrateful. And so I am! If I had loved her as I
ought, I should never have lost her friendship, for the sake of imposing upon a few silly girls. And what will they think of me? Perhaps, after all, they are not deceived by my manner; perhaps they only laugh at it. But no; they shall not laugh," said she, as a momentary pang shot through her at this vision of a laugh; they shall never know, shall never suspect, what I feel!'1
In this way did Ellen think and talk to herself for a long time. More than once, when she knew that school was over, and that Mrs. Kirnan was in her own room, she felt inclined to go to her, and acknowledge her fault; but the sound of her companions' steps and voices, in the long gallery through which she must pass, prevented her. They will meet me, they will guess what I am about," thought she.
At last a new idea struck her; she would write a note to Mrs. Kirnan, and tell her not to show it to any one : that would be an easier way than saying what she wished to say, with such a choking in her throat. She hastened to get her little desk, and she placed it before her. It was one which Mrs. Kirnan had given her on her last birthday; and the recollection of the words of affectionate approval which had accompanied the gift, came strongly to her mind. She had often thought of
those words since that delightful birthday, and they had always made her happy. Now they seemed kinder than ever; yet their very kindness fell like a blight upon her heart. Every word reproached her. She laid her head down on the desk, and thought of all that Mrs. Kirnan had done for her, ever since the time when she first took her, a wild and wilful baby, under her care; and when at last she raised her head and her eyes, she saw Mrs. Kirnan sitting at the foot of her bed.
"I have been here some time," said Mrs. Kirnan; "but when I saw that you were thinking, I did not disturb you. You have been accustomed to tell me your thoughts, Ellen: may I ask you what engaged you so deeply just now ? Ellen threw her arms round the neck of her friend, hid her face in her bosom, and sobbed out, I was thinking how very, very good you
are to me, and I am--"" Well, Ellen, what are
you ?"" I am so ungrateful!" The long pause before the last word, showed how difficult it was to bring it out. Mrs. Kirnan pressed her young friend to her heart, and said: That is enough. I knew your thoughts, my dear child, before, and could easily have saved you the pain of telling them; but though the struggle was a hard one, I thought your better part
would gain the victory. It has done so; and now, as far as your offence concerns me, I have already forgiven you, and I firmly believe that you will never be ungrateful to me again."
" Oh! thank you, thank* you !" said Ellen. Now I am perfectly happy;" and she looked up with a smile into Mrs. Kirnan's face. No returning smile, however, was to be found there.
Ellen was silent for a few moments. You say, as far as concerns you. Have I offended any body else? "
" Tell me, Ellen, do you feel as happy as you were this morning ? "
" No, because I think I degraded myself before my companions, and I am vexed that they all saw me in a passion: but that only concerns myself; it did them no harm."
"What! did it degrade you to be in a passion? And if you do harm only to yourself, why should you care that others see it ? "
Ellen considered for. a while, and then replied : To be in a passion, I am sure, must be wrong, and therefore degrading; and as God requires us to do right, it must be hurtful to us to choose to do wrong."
" But have we not a right to hurt ourselves if we please ? Are we not our own property ?"
" I think not; we belong to God who made us." And what do we say of those who waste and injure the property of another ? That they are unjust."
" And of those who receiye the best gifts, and throw them away, or trample them under foot ?"
" That they are ungrateful," said Ellen, sorrowfully.
" And what dp you say of those who can be unjust and ungrateful to their friend, their father, and yet be more anxious to seem right with the world than to be right with him ? What does it signify, how many eyes were upon you? They are not worth one sigh, one regret, in comparison with his who seeth all the deep places of the heart, and who hateth iniquity."
" How is it," said Ellen, that though I know it is wrong, I cannot help being more mortified than sorry when I have behaved ill? I wish I were not proud."
"My dear Ellen," said Mrs. Kirnan, "you told your fault to me just now, because you knew I loved you; and because I love you, now that I see you are aware of your fault and sorry for it, I cannot refuse you forgiveness. For the same reason go to your heavenly Father; tell him that wish, tell him all your thoughts; he loves you infinitely more than I, or any crea-
ture could love you; he will show you infinitely better than I can what to do. But remember, that if you ask him in the name of Him who was meek and lowly of heart, to give rest to your soul, you must make no reserves; you must not wish for the praise of men : God asks the whole heart, its undivided service."
Mrs. Kirnan, after she had ceased to speak, continued sitting in silence for some minutes; she then kissed Ellen, and arose to go; She turned back however as she was leaving the room, and said, Ellen, shall I tell your schoolfellows that you are sorry for your fault?" Ellen shrunk from this proposal. No, no, madam, pray do not; there is no occasion for them to know it.""Well," said Mrs. Kirnan, we must not expect too much at once. I will hope better things: meanwhile I promise you your secret shall be safe with me;" and she shut the door after her. Those who recollect Mrs. Kirnan's advice may guess that Ellen did not pass unprofitably the next half hour.
At length the dinner-bell rang. Ellen, after holding the door half open for some time, made a strong resolve, and proceeded down stairs. Her schoolfellows were already seated. As she passed between the tables, many heads in the two long rows turned round
to look at her. She has been crying," whispered one little girl. "How ashamed she looks!" said another. These, and sundry other remarks, gave not a very pleasant impulse to -her step as she passed along, and although a hasty blush overspread her face for a moment, she continued to walk on with her eyes cast down, till she stood beside Mrs. Kirnan. Will you be so good," said she, as to tell them now that I am sorry ?" Her voice trembled very much, but I believe every one in the room heard it. There were no more inquisitive looks seen, no more remarks heard. After dinner, Ellen's companions called her as usual to lead their plays; and the only respect in which the remainder of that day differed from others, was, that on wishing good night, most of the girls kissed Ellen more affectionately than usual, and a tear stood in Mrs. Kirnan's eye while she said : God bless you, my dear child !" After this Ellen became daily more dear to all around her; and it may be noted as a singular circumstance, that from this day, the young people of that school were observed to leave off, in some measure, the ill-natured custom of laughing at one another's foibles, except in those cases where both sides could laugh in chorus.
the little nabob.
It is not however the labour of one hour, or of one day, that will root out a weed with such deep and far-spreading roots as pride. Nor was the dislike of ridicule the only way in which Ellen's prevailing fault showed itself. She habitually thought of herself more highly than she ought; and she had an habitual contempt for the rest of the world. She was ready and willing; to spend herself in services to others; but when kindness was offered to her, she either received it coldly, and as her due,or refused it, if not with disdain, yet from a proud unwillingness to be under obligation to others. Again, though her kind heart led her to compassionate the poor and to relieve their necessities, still her pity for them was allied to contempt. She knew in theory, but never once felt, that they were her brethren. Thus her behaviour to servants and inferiors, though within the bounds of civility, was such as made them feel their inferior station each time she bestowed on them a word or a look.
Now, pride is a strange thing to live in the hearts of children, who have so little, can do so little, and
are so little; and if it were not as common in them, as nettles and thorns in the hedges, we should wonder how it got there, and we ought to wonder. When we find this tare among our wheat, we content ourselves too often with saying : 11 An enemy hath done this;" and then give ourselves no concern to find out how he did it, where he did it, and when he did it. Rather should we search our field, find out the careless gap, or the open gate, by which he came in, and close it that he may come in no more. Sometimes we may find him only beginning his mischievous work, and turn him out with his seed unsown, by the opening at which he entered.
Two or three circumstances in Ellen's early life throw a little light on the origin of her pride. Ellen's earliest recollections were of a house very unlike Mrs. Kirnan's, of a multitude of servants, and an absolute command over every thing she wished to have. The things and the customs which she remembered and described, appeared to her little companions almost incredible, because they had never seen them; and thus she learned to attach an idea of grandeur and importance to the most simple and natural circumstances of life in India. Here then her ignorance, which incapacitated
her from making a just allowance for the difference of climate and manners in the different parts of the world, led her to make a false estimate of her own importance.
" Oh!" cried a little girl to an older one, after the little East Indian had given a fine description of her elephant and its trappings, Oh, Mary! Do you know that Ellen Cameron says she has an elephant of her own Do you think it can be true ? Clara says she does not believe it, because, if it is so, her father must be a king, like Porus in the Grecian history. And Ellen says, that she does not remember whether her father was a king or not, but that she is sure she had an elephant to ride on."
" Nonsense!" said the older girl, "her father is a rich East Indian, and all that she says is true enough, I dare say. Those Indian people live in such*style! My cousin has been a voyage to India, and he says that in England we have no idea how splendidly they live there. Why, they have a hundred servants and more, in many families."
" A hundred servants! More than a hundred servants!" was repeated in a tone of solemn astonishment by the circle of little ones who heard this wonderful instance of Eastern magnificence. From this time the
children considered Ellen as one of superior rank, and treated her with more respect than was necessary; and she learned to claim it as homage due.
Another trifling incident occurred which satisfied her concerning her superiority of rank. One day the parents of a little schoolfellow of Ellen's came to see the children dance. The lady in question was noticing to Mrs. Kirnan those of her scholars whose appearance was in any way striking. And who is that child who holds herself so well ? I am sure, from her face, that she is somebody."" Her name is Cameron," said Mrs. Kirnan; "she is an East Indian." Ellen happened to cross over the quadrille just in time to hear what followeduttered in a half whisper, a tone in which even nonsense sounds impressive," An East Indian Some nabob's child, of course. I might have seen that from the Trichinopoly chain, and the beautiful fan. My word! She looks like a little nabob herself."
" Nabob!" thought Ellen, I will not forget that word." She did not. She repeated to herself nabob, nabob," during the quadrille, till the tune played nabob, the children danced nabob, apd to forget nabob was out of her power.
As soon as the dancing lesson was over, Ellen hastened to seek her English Dictionary, and looked for the letter N" Nabob or Nabawb, an eastern prince.""Now there it is!" said she to herself, "My father is a prince! I thought so." And she did think so for a long time. When older, and better informed, it was easy to correct her idea of what is oalled in England a nabob; but, alas! not so easy to undo in her mind all the mischief which that one false impression had wrought.
the two letters.
When Ellen was placed by Parker at Mrs. Kirnan's, the kind lady whom she had consulted on the occasion wrote to Mr. Cameron, informing him of what had happened, but softening, as much as possible, the unfeeling conduct of the old aunt. Mr. Cameron was little aware that his aunt had never, by letter or otherwise, taken the least notice of Ellen since she had been to school. He received regular and favourable accounts of her health, comfort and improvement, from herself
and Mrs. Kirnan, and then felt no more uneasiness about her than every parent must feel who is separated from his child.
Ellen knew that she had such a relation as an old aunt, but seldom thought of her, except to laugh at early recollections, which were still quite vivid. She thought she stood in no need of Mrs. Cameron's notice; yet she was indignant at her neglect: she never desired a renewal of the acquaintance; yet she was hurt, that while others were reckoning their various relations, she could lay no claim to the only relative she had in the land. Seldom however did she feel her want of connexions. With a happy and independent disposition, she found in Mrs. Kirnan all that she wanted,a companion, a friend, a mother. School was her home, and she wished for no other, except now and then, when a bright vision of Eastern splendour, and of herself ruling in it, came across her imagination.
Her situation was a forlorn one; and though she was not sensible of it herself, there was one who felt it for her. Mrs. Kirnan looked at Ellen with a sigh, when others received visits or invitations from sisters, aunts and cousins; and wept, when the rest of the young people departed joyfully to their homes at each returning holiday time;
and when she overheard the happy chat of others concerning domestic pleasures and home indulgences, Mrs. Kirnan regretted that Ellen was out of the reach of those soft endearments, those tender exchanges of kind feelings and good offices, which warm the souls of brothers and sisters and kindred, and make home home. She* felt that such an interchange of feeling would have been of much use to Ellen, by softening her disposition, and, by teaching her early many practical lessons, that it would spare her much painful discipline in future years. For she knew that later in life, hard struggles and cutting disappointments, with bitter tears, are sent to those who have neglected in youth to become humble and disinterested.
Our little girl had been at school seven years, when one morning the postman's well-known rap brought the accustomed gleam of joy to many a young face in Mrs. Kirnan's school-room. Is it for meis it for me ?99 was the eager inquiry. All were looking up anxiously,all but one, who went on writing tranquilly, till the words" Miss Cameron,"roused her. Ellen, a letter for^you, and it is not a ship letter." Ellen turned pale, as jjie stretched forth her trembling hand, and read the* address, in an unknown hand-
writing. The letter was opened. My old aunt/' said Ellen, recovering herself and laughing; and she read the letter, which we will transcribe, as it was not a very long one.
" Miss Ellen Cameron, I have received a letter from my nephew, your father, together with some ear-rings and other trinkets, some of which are directed for you, I write to inform you that they are at my house. I hope you are behaving properly, under the many and great advantages you are favoured with. As you are now old enough to know how to conduct yourself in a drawing-room, I rather think I may have you to spend part of your next holidays with me. This must however depend entirely on the account your governess sends of your conduct. I shall be pbliged to her to write a few lines concerning you, in the letter I expect to receive in answer to this.
" Yours, &c
" Anne Cameron, 11 P.S. Do not consider your visit as certain; for many things may happen between this time and then to make it inconvenient to me.,,
Ellen's feelings on reading this ungracious invitation, may be best gathered from her conduct. She quickly and silently drew forth a sheet of paper, resumed the pen she had laid aside, and wrote the following answer:
* I have received your letter of the 23rd instant, and I doubt not I shall soon find an opportunity of relieving you from the care of my father's presents. I should have been gratified at hearing that he was well; but probably that information may come from himself, in a note with my ear-rings.
" I beg, madam, to decline your invitation for the holidays, as I should be very sorry to put you to inconvenience ; and I am never so happy as when I am with my friend, Mrs. Kirnan, who does not think my presence a trouble.
" I am, madam," &c. No sooner was this done, than Ellen went to Mrs. Kir-nan's room. Well, Ellen, so you have had a letter?" From my aunt, ma'am; here it is; and here is the answer." "What read and answered too already? Let me see what your aunt says." Ellen watched Mrs. Kirnan's varying countenance, as she perused the
chilling letter of her aunt, and then produced her own. Again she watched the countenance so well known, so easily read, and again it expressed disappointment.
" My dear love," said Mrs. Kirnan at last, there is no need for you to answer this to-day. No letters can go till to-morrow, and to-morrow you will disposed to write differently."
" No, indeed, ma'am, I am sure I shall not: this is just what I mean to say."
111 hope and trust, my love, that you will think and do better things to-morrow. This is not a letter to send to an old lady,a relative,and one who is kindly disposed towards you."
" But you know, Mrs. Kirnan, that I never was a hypocrite in my life. I must say what I think, or be silent; and as to her being well disposed towards me, she has been seven years without showing it. I owe her nothing yet, and I should be sorry to put myself under any obligation to her."
"What do you consider being under an obligation?".
141 can feel it better than I can describe it; but I think it is accepting a favour that you cannot return."
u If so, yon are already under an obligation to your aunt; for the good heart feels itself less bound by actual benefits, than by the good will which confers them. Your aunt has shown you that good will; and as long as you are ungrateful for it, you lie under an obligation which you take no care to repay..,,
" Oh! Mrs. Kirnan," said Ellen, you may understand that reasoning, and, perhaps, I may too; but every one else would think" "Stop, Ellen; what have we to do with what every one else thinks ? If our souls-are our own, we must attend to our own thoughts, and examine what reason and religion have to say about the matter."
" Religion tells us," said Ellen, 44 to avoid even the appearance of evil; and people might well think, and so might my aunt, if I accepted her invitation, that I was cringing to her, and that I wanted something of her."
4i No one who knows you, will suspect you of cringing, Ellen; but are you sure that you want nothing of your aunt?"
" What I!" exclaimed Ellen, in a louder tone, with flashing eyes, and cheeks suddenly crimsoned : 14 No thank heaven, my father is a nabob!"
" Well, and what has that to do with the matter?" said Mrs. Kirnan, very quietly.
Ellen stared; for she thought that nabob was a word that must finish the business at once, and silence a thousand tongues, and a thousand arguments: but as Mrs. Kirnan waited in silence, she was reduced at last to the necessity of explaining herself. Why, do you really think, madam, that I want her paltry money, when I shall have such a fortune of my own."
" No, my dear, my thoughts were not at that moment fixed on pounds, shillings and pence. You may call these paltry things, paltry obligations, if you like; I was thinking of something which these cannot buy. Listen, Ellen: you must go to your aunt; you must learn to know her; and, through her means, you must learn to know and love your other relations, whoever and wherever they may be. I know nothing of the fortune of yours that you talk about; but I know that if your father and myself were taken from you, you would be an orphan indeed, without a protector, without a friend, the poorest of the poor, whatever your fortune might be !"
" Cannot I make other friends ? Is it not better to
choose friends for their good qualities, than to make them just because they are related to me?"
" We may do both, my love; but I believe we all shall find the truest hearts, and the warmest, within that little circle of kindred friends, that God has placed around every comer into this world, as a sort of natural shelter. They will love you for yourself, and love you also because you are theirs,, and they are yours."
" But," pursued Ellen, after a pause, I know that my aunt is such a selfish woman, that I never can make a friend of her. She will wish me, where I shall wish myself, a hundred miles away, all the time I am with her. I cannot imagine what has caused this sudden amiable fit towards me. I dare say it is the first she ever had in her life."
" Do you know, Ellen, who is the source of every good impulse ? "
61 Yes," said Ellen, casting down her eyes.
" And if Mrs. Cameron's kindly feeling towards you is the first she ever had, will He despise it for that reason?"
" Or because it is still cold and feeble?"
" No, certainly."
" Then, why should you? I allow that Mrs. Cameron's letter was chilling; that she managed to make her kindness look almost insult: but do not return it with insult;rather thank God that he has given you an opportunity of continuing a good work which he has begun, of watering a tender plant which he has planted."
" I will go, if you please, my dear Mrs. Kirnan, and write another letter," said Ellen, tearing her first letter in two as she spoke.
14 Go, my dear child," replied Mrs. Kirnan, it costs you something to do right to-day; but you have overcome your pride in a right service, and the first fruits of your humility will not be offered in vain."
It is an old saying, that the first step to wisdom is to know that we are ignorant; so also the first step towards humility is to know that we are proud. Never had Ellen been so abashed at being called proud, as she was now to hear herself called humble. Oh," thought she, 44 Mrs. Kirnan little knows what I am when she speaks of me as having overcome my pride!" And filled with this oppressive consciousness, she turned quickly away, and left the room.
Ellen had well said that she was no hypocrite; this was still evident in the second letter which she now penned,as formal and cold a composition as ever school-girl produced, yet containing none of the insolence of the first. Its very stiffness, however, produced an effect exactly contrary to what might have been expected, and it raised Ellen many degrees in her aunt's estimation, which will be fully accounted for by the following historical fact.
Once upon a time, in a very primitive age, when our old grandfathers and grandmothers were little boys and girls, when our little grandfathers used to run about in little leather breeches and long-tailed coats, or dance minuets with our little grandmothers, and admire their full starched petticoats and high heads, all powdered and frizzled; in those days, I say, Mrs. Cameron was a little girl, and went to school, and learned to w/ite a letter twice a year to her parents, which began with: Honoured sir and madam" informed them when the vacation commenced, and ended with her being, most respectfully, with duty to her aunts and uncles, their obedient humble servant. Now Ellen's letter came near enough to these models of the style epistolary of some sixty years before, to be
thought by Mrs. Cameron a very proper letter. She admired it vastly, and augured good things from the writer's character, from the firmness of the down-strokes, and the regularity of the pot-hooks ; and this opinion was confirmed by a few lines, from Mrs. Kirnan, on the other half sheet.
" So, so, so, hum! vastly well!" said Mrs. Cameron, before her spectacles were fairly off her nose. Parker, Miss Cameron will be here this day fortnight. I wish her governess had said whether she can sew well or not. What in the world shall I do with her, if she cannot employ herself! Here, Parker, take a pen, and write a few lines for me, to tell her to bring her sampler; and Parker I say, you may put the drawing-room china out of the way before she comes, and all the books of prints, for children are apt to tear picture-books ; and bring down the high fender, Parker, that she may not fall into the fi^e; and let the spare-room be cleaned out, for her to keep her playthings in, and then I can send her there, can't I Parker, when she makes too much noise I And then, remember Parker, you must take care of her; you know you promised me, when I wrote, that I should have no trouble with her."
Parker with ready zeal repeated her promise; and very obediently made all the desired preparations for Ellen's coming, though she did not see any necessity for them. She remembered that many a year had gone by, since the fatal adventure of the jar, and that Ellen was now no longer a child; while Mrs. Cameron, whose even life had never been interrupted by any great event, since the destruction of her well-beloved china jar, and who therefore had taken no note of time as it passed, considered Ellen's last visit as a thing of yesterday; and still trembled with something like rage for the china that was gone, and with fear for that which remained.
ellen's visit. When its turn came, in the course of time, the day appeared which was to bring our heroine to London. Many times was Parker charged to come, the instant she should hear the drawing-room bell, and take the child away. Ellen arrived just in time for dinner, and during that meal Mrs. Cameron often cast a suspicious
look towards her, to see that she played no pranks; and Ellen's quiet demeanour so far gained her confidence, that, before dinner was ended, she allowed the child to give herself a potato.
Mrs. Cameron never talked during dinner ; but that business over, when she was comfortably seated in her great arm-chair close to the fire, her natural appetite for information returned, and she asked Ellen some questions about her school, her journey and so forth. Ellen was not one of those children who have nothing more to say than yes or no, on any subject. She could think, feel, and observe: she was not eager to talk: she could either amuse herself with silent thoughts, or express readily whatever came uppermost in her mind; so that whenever her voice was heard, you might be sure she had something to say. This day she did not want materials for conversation: her journey had furnished her with much that was fresh to her, and Mrs. Cameron listened with pleasure to the simple and lively descriptions that her little niece gave of her adventures. Indeed she several times laughed very heartily, at Ellen's account of incidents which would have put her in a fine passion had they happened to herself. At last in the midst of one of Ellen's long stories, Mrs. Came-
ron, without ever remembering to ring for Parker as she had agreed to do, fell fairly and good-humouredly asleep in her chair. When Ellen perceived this, she very judiciously hummed on in the same tone of voice for half a minute, lowering her voice by degrees, lest she should awaken her aunt by suddenly stopping; and then, when she thought all was safe, she turned quickly round on her heel, and went on tiptoe round the room to look for a book. The books however had been carefully removed from the room except old Moore's Almanack, which was lying under the snuffer-tray; so she contented herself with this; and since she could not amuse herself as she would, she amused herself as she could.
Thus Ellen's time passed pleasantly away, till the jingling of spoons announced the entrance of tea.
The evening was short and happy. There was a bright fire, with a purring cat and a purring tea-urn. Ellen was as cheerful as cheerful could be, and Mrs. Cameron sat amused for more than an hour, while Ellen first pointed out, and then drew on paper, the endless grotesque faces and figures which she saw in the burning coals, in the drapery of the curtains, and in the pattern of the carpet.
"What a blessing it is," said Mr*. Cameron to
Parker, as she was putting on her night-cap, 44 what a blessing it is for a child to be able to amuse itself! I thought when I saw that she was too tall to be mischievous, that she would have moped herself to death in this dull place, with a cross old woman like me; but she really is not troublesome at all.
" You see, ma'am," returned Parker, quite pleased with this uncalled-for praise of her own child, you see, ma'am, children show the difference of their natures more in their plays than in any thing else. I've seen some of them too lazy to use either their senses or their limbs, and who play as if it were the most troublesome thing in the world to amuse themselves."
44 Yes," said Mrs. Cameron, 14 that little Miss Pratt, who spent a day with me once,do you remember her, Parker ?she disgusted me with children. If she had been in Ellen's place to-night, she would have yawned or fretted all the evening; and if any one had told her to amuse herself, she would have said: 4 How can I ? I see nothing here but the fire and an old woman; and there is nothing new in these !'"
44 What an unhappy child she is!" said Parker.
44 Stupid, moping thing!" said Mrs. Cameron, nodding her head angrily three times.
" What a selfish useless woman she will be!" said Parker.
" Useless! worse than useless/' pursued Mrs. Cameron : was she not continually touching and handling whatever came in her way? Did she not fiddle faddle with my spectacles till she broke them?"
" It was a pity certainly," said Parker; "the young lady was very meddlesome."
" Meddlesome! a pity! is that all Parker? I am astonished at you She ought to have been ashamed of herself! I say my best spectacles too! what business had she to touch them? She might as well be a thief at once!" said Mrs. Cameron, who had gradually heated herself by talking of her poor spectacles. By this time she was settled in bed, and Parker wishing her good night, left her mind to be calmed by a night's repose.
the harmonious blacksmith.
From the first day, Ellen rapidly advanced in the affections of her aunt, and to her own surprise the holidays went quickly and happily onwards. This
visit was not the last. The following year another invitation came from the old lady, and of this we must now give a few particulars, to show you Ellen at the age of thirteen.
When with other young people, and far from flatterers, our little heroine had not been backward in discovering that her talents were of a superioi*order. Now she was with her aunt,- who, besides being partial, was so little acquainted with young people, that she was astonished at every mark of rationality in a mere child," as she called Ellen, whose sayings she repeated like those of an oracle; while no opportunity was lost of showing off her accomplishments. At first Ellen was ashamed of receiving praise for such simple things. She was tired too of showing her satin stitch and netting to every one that came, and of playing the Harmonious Blacksmith" a dozen times a day for admiration. At last however, by dint of hearing those magical adjectives : Wonderful! charming!" &c. she got over these raw feelings, and became satisfied that she really was a lion, and must submit to be shown as such.
Nothing appears to us more absurd than the sight of a little child proud of any acquirement whatever. W7e have seen a little girl dance beautifully, so beautifully
that all the eyes and all the quizzing glasses in the room were turned towards her. She, poor little thing, laughed aloud at the sharp elbows of one neighbour, the round back of another, and the lifted knees of her heavy partner, as he was prancing towards her across the quadrille, and pleased herself with the sense of her own superiority. What a pity that she should forget the trouble poor Mr. Balpare took, to teach her a minuet when she was only four years old,and all the hard labour that he and his fiddle-stick had undergone for years, in order to bring head, shoulders, elbows and knees into proper order. If there was any merit in her dancing, half of it belonged to the lithe limbs and good ear that she had received from nature, and the other half to Mr. Balpare and his fiddle-stick, so that we could not discover what there was in the business for her to glory in.
We have said that-Ellen was not fond of admiration; neither did she overrate the value of mere accomplishments : you may therefore be surprised to hear that the flattery she met with did her any harm. To explain this mystery, we need only relate what passed through her mind as she opened the piano-forte one morning for the eleventh time, to play her aunt's fa-
vourite piece The Harmonious Blacksmith," and several morning callers came round her, to see her wonderful little fingers fly along the keys. As she sat down, she felt utter contempt for her aunt, and her friends, and music in general, and the stupid, easy, old-fashioned Harmonious Blacksmith" in particular. On all these she wasted a great deal more contempt than they deserved.
" Silly people!" said she to herself; I wish they would not talk nonsense. Above all I wish they would not clap me on the back and say: Charming little creature!' as if I were a baby. Flattery will never make me vain, I am sure. They only tell me what I knew before, that I play very well for my age, and they make me despise them not a little for valuing a paltry accomplishment as they seem to do. All this is easy enough to me, and does not require any particular talent. How I could make these people stare, if I were to show them the lines I wrote on a winter crocus; or my ode to the Greeks; or my rhapsody on liberty; or a hundred other things! But I despise vulgar applause, so my aunt shall never hear of my poetry."
It is to be observed about this time, that whenever
any new acquaintances were proposed to Ellen, the first question she always asked concerning them was : Are they clever?"
the irish cousins.
One mornimg Ellen was busily employed in her own room, in writing to Mrs. Kirnan, when she received a summons from her aunt, to come down immediately into the drawing-room, where some ladies wished to see her. Now for another hour of display !" sighed she, as she laid aside her pen. When she passed the looking-glass she observed that her hair was rough and her dress rather disordered; but instead of remembering that a lady should be lady-like at all times and in all places, sjie walked on, rather gratified to carry a proof with her into the drawing-room, that she did not care for admiration.
Until lately, Ellen had carried herself before strangers with a modest' ease; and the reason of this was, that she never thought about herself at all: but now she had acquired a sort of manner, in which a mixture of cold disdain and indifference was too apparent.
What was the reason of this ? Why she thought now that she knew the world better than before; that the generality of people were very frivolous, and could do her no good; and that she could do very well without them.
Carelessly and haughtily therefore she entered the room, and looked around to see what these new people were like. A,lively-looking woman, with bonnet-strings flying behind her, was sitting close to ]yirs. Cameron, and trying in a loud voice, and with a slight brogue, to make herself heard. Three fine-looking tall girls were standing in different parts of the room, playing with the cat, the dog, and the parrot, and laughing very merrily. No sooner however did they perceive Ellen, than jumping over cat, dog and parrot, they ran towards her; while she, astonished., and rather discomposed, received them with a solemn courtesy, and begged they would be seated. You don't know us," said the eldest, laughing: cannot you guess who we are? We are your cousins, Ellen, your cousins O'Reilly: I am Magdalen, this is Dora;" and I," said the youngest, who was about Ellen's age, I am little Alice." And upon this warrant of introduction, she threw her arms round Ellen's neck and gave her a hearty kiss.
" Strange girls enough," thought Ellen; what odd
behaviour!" yet she thawed in spite of herself, while she looked on their good humoured sunshiny faces, and soon found herself talking with them quite at her ease.
They spent the day together; and, for the first time in her life, Ellen comprehended the sympathy that exists between relations. They did not wait to see whether she was pretty, clever, or even worthy, before they gave her the friendly shake of the hand. She had no trouble to earn their good will; they had given it to her before she saw them.
In the course of the day, Ellen had some conversation with Mrs. O'Reilly about her father. Ellen had left him when she was so young that she could hardly be said to remember him; but when Mrs. O'Reilly spoke of him, and told one anecdote after another of the days of his childhood and youth; when she spoke of him as the brother, the playfellow, the companion, the friend of her early days,some of her expressions and above all her smile, rekindled a light that had long been dim in Ellen's mind. Her faint, scattered associations assumed by degress a living shape; the form of her father no longer floated before her in indistinct vision as it used to do, coming unbidden, and vanishing when she most wished it to stay: it was now her memory's best
treasure, a real thing, which she knew, felt and understood. Her mother too, whose name she had scarcely heard mentioned, of whom she knew nothing, except that she was no moreher mother had been Mrs. O'Reilly's early friend and playmate.
" I saw the last of the dear creature," said Mrs. O'Reilly, when she set sail with your father for Calcutta three weeks after they were married. She was not seventeen then, and a more elegant creature never was seen in the county Dublin. She tried to the last to be cheerful, and keep up our spirits, for she never thought of herself; but she dearly loved Ireland, and she had never been five miles from her father's house before. I remember, as if it were yesterday, when we were all standing on the shore at Kingstown, waiting for the boat: we were all silent; for when we had most to say, not a word could any of us speak. She turned round, that her father might not see her tears, and busied herself with tying my green scarf on the top of her parasol, to wave for a signal to us. I shall carry it off" with me, Ally,' said she, 1 to remind me of our own emerald isle.' She saw that I noticed the tears that were falling faster and faster: she placed one hand on my mouth, and with the other attempted to stop them
from flowing, while she said, smiling: 6 Hush, Ally, only a few Irish diamonds!' but the smile went away quicker than thought, and a look came after it that I shall never forget: she looked as if death were in her heart, while she said to me: Comfort my father when I am gone.' So she went: and we received one letter from her. The next ship from Calcutta brought the news of her death."
" How and when did she die?" said Ellen. I must have been very young then. I do not remember her at all."
" Your father has never mentioned her name since," said Mrs. Reilly; "but an old servant of his wrote an account of the circumstances of her death. When you, my dear Ellen, were six weeks old, your father insisted on having you inoculated. Your mother had been vaccinated, so no one had any fear for her: however she sickened of the small-pox, and to the surprise and dismay of every one, died on the ninth day."
Ellen said nothing, but her heart swelled with mingled feelings of sorrow, tenderness and grateful love; and her soul yearned towards her newly found, her early lost mother.
" My mother died for me," thought she. How often have I said that I wished for no other mother than
Mrs. Kirnan! How little have I imagined what a mother must be! Yes, I feel, I am sure, that her love to me and mine to her, would have been different from any thing I have ever felt. Oh! what would I not give for one kiss from my very own mamma!"
u Am I like her?" said Ellen, at last.
" Yes, now your eyes are very like hers, but till the last half hour I did not see any resemblance."
" How was that ? asked Ellen.
" Dear creature," continued her aunt thoughtfully, not noticing the question, but pursuing her own train of ideas. How tender her voice was! How every one who came near her felt her ready, happy look and her gentle manner. While every one adored her, how completely she forgot herself, and had a tear or a smile ready for high or low, rich or poor, whoever might want it! But come, Ellen, we have been talking too long: open the piano-forte, your aunt wishes me to hear you play."
This conversation made a deep impression upon Ellen. She renewed it frequently with her aunt, and made herself minutely acquainted with every circumstance of her mother's history. I wish I were like her," said she frequently to herself. I should like papa to think me so
when I go back to him. My aunt almost told me that my haughty and reserved manner prevented her from finding out any likeness between me and my mother. Humility was my mother's great charm. My dear mamma, I will think about you till I am humble too!"
This was more easily said than done. Ellen always acknowledged, in general terms, that she was proud; but in particular instances she maintained firmly that she only preserved a proper dignity.
" Well, Ellen," said Mrs. Cameron to her, as she wished her good-night, you have been very merry to-day with your new cousins; what do you think of them my dear?"
" Good-natured girls, but certainly not clever."
" So much the better, Ellen. They are handsome girls, and they dress very well, and don't come into a room with their dress awry, as somebody did this morning. I hate clever women : they never know how to put on a bonnet, and their dresses never hang well. I could tell a clever woman at first sight!"
" What a silly woman my aunt is," thought Ellen. '1 What do such trifles signify ? What intellectual person would care for the shape of a gown or a bonnet?"
So saying, she went to her room, and wrote a little poetry before she went to bed..
Was Mrs. Cameron right or was Ellen ?
They both were right, and both were wrong. A clever woman who neglects the little elegancies of womanly appearance, excites disgust; and an elegant woman whose affections are centred in dress, provokes contempt. There is happily a middle way: women are capable of doing the one, without neglecting the other,
Mrs. Cameron's assertion that no clever women dress well, confirmed Ellen in her hasty judgment of her cousins. She met them the next day with a feeling allied to contempt, and sighed to think they were not likely to be very improving companions. I should wish," thought she, "to call my cousins my friends; but I fear they will not understand my thoughts and feelings; and what good can I get from them ?
want of dignity.
\Vre mentioned some time ago the fact, that Ellen treated servants as an inferior race of beings. She was accustomed to receive services from them as her due;
and though she never felt inclined to tyrannize over them, she would have thought as soon of sweeping and scrubbing, as of showing sympathy with them, in word, look or manner, on any occasion.
Imagine then her surprise, when, as Parker was dressing her for dinner, the door opened and her three cousins running in, came straight to Parker, and shook hands with her, with every demonstration of pleasure that they could show on meeting an old friend. Ally even put her hand on her shoulder, and springing up threw her arms round her neck. Parker smiled and blushed, and said in a tone in which respect tried to repress affectionate familiarity: Oh, Miss Ally, you'll rumple my clean handkerchief; besides, miss, you are too big for that now."
" Then why do you not come and see us, you lazy woman, and we such a little way off? Why don't you come and talk over some of the pranks we used to play together, when you and aunt Cameron stayed with us in Ireland?"
" You are very good, miss," said Parker, to think of me;" and she turned round to tie Ellen's hair, and sighed.
" Why, Parker, what's the matter now? Have you
grown so very sober in your old age, that you are driven to sighing ?"
" Do you pretend, with that long face, to make us believe you never romped with us? Bear witness, O ye meadows, bogs and streams of dear little Ireland, to Parker's pranks !"
" Why, there's hardly a place within five miles of Castle Reilly," said Dora, that you have not given a name *o, my good woman. The broad corner by Larry M'Cormaok's cabin, where we made you ride Larry's pig, and where the pig threw you, is called Parker's riding-school to this day; then the potato-field, where you know we had so many a long battle with you, every one knows it by the name of Parker's field of glory."
Thus the good-natured girls ran on, reminding Parker of one childish frolic after another, in which she had borne her part, until the whole party, Parker included, joined in one merry and continued laughall but Ellen. She sat, unmoved and immoveable in her chair, looking as if the merriment around her was no concern of hers; and the more they laughed, the graver and more scornful her countenance became, until Parker having finished dressing her hair, she arose, and left the room.
"Where are the girls?" asked Mrs. O'Reilly, as Ellen entered the drawing-room.
" They are in my room, amusing Parker," replied Ellen. ''Parker! I have not seen her yet; it is a shame for me," said Mrs. O'Reilly; and, to Ellen's great surprise, she arose and went up two nights of stairs to see a servant, instead of ringing the bell for her to come down.
" Certainly my aunt wants dignity," thought Ellen. She could not help expressing a feeling of the sort afterwards to her cousin Magdalen.
" Magdalen," said she, I wonder that you, who seem to have more refinement than your sisters, should encourage them in making a companion of a servant!"
" What! of Parker do you mean? Parker is not a common servant!"
" Common or uncommon, she is still a servant, and it cannot be right to break down the barrier that society puts between one rank of people and another."
" Was it broken down ? Did Parker break it down? I thought her very well behaved."
"No, I find no fault with Parker; she seems to know her situation better than you know yours; that I confess."
Magdalen laughed very good humouredly at this blunt speech.
" Well, Ellen, will you teach me to know my situation as you call it ?"
" Since you ask me, I will give you my opinion freely. A lady should treat her servants well, that is, give them good food and wages, and order them civilly to perform* her wishes; but she never should converse with them, because their situation is so different from hers, that she can have nothing in common with them.'*
" Not in her station as a lady certainly, but as a fellow-creature and a fellow-christian, you will allow her to have something in common with them."
" Oh yes, we are all children of Adam, and all that; we are all equal when we are born, and we shall all die and be equal at last; but in the mean time, there are distinctions of rank in this world which oilght to be kept up."
" These things," said Magdalen, are easily reconciled. I have always found the line so well marked between myself and those who are poorer, that it has never cost me a moment's trouble to keep on my side of it, or to maintain my dignity, as you would say. The differences between us are made by man and edu-
cation, the resemblances are all fixed in us by our Creator.''
" What do you mean ?99
u I mean that I could not consult servants in matters of science or taste, because education has placed a wide gulf between us. I could not join in their pursuits because my situation in society has fixed other pursuits for me. You were wrong then, when you charged me with making companions of servants; but the reason is not that I will not have familiar intercourse with them, but that I cannot. All this is the work of society; and though imperfect, it produces good upon the whole; but now comes the work of God which is not imperfect. All the best feelings of our nature are theirs in common with us; and all the infirmities of mortals are ours in common with them: here are powerful reasons for sympathy."
kC Still I maintain," replied Ellen, that people may find exercise enough for their sympathies among those of their own rank; and you, Magdalen, cannot possibly intend to say that you ever would show your feelings before a servant."
" I would only show those in which they are concerned. If they had a tooth-ache I would compassionate
them; if they served me well and loved me, I would love them; if they spent themselves in my service, I would be grateful to them.,,
" Grateful! Magdalen, I am astonished at you It is their duty to be grateful to their masters. Are they not paid for whatever they do ?"
" If Mrs. Kirnan were to offer you ten guineas a year for loving her, would you take it Ellen?'"
" No," said Ellen, laughing.
" A servant's heart is as free as yours. Hands may take gold, hearts never."
"If we owe them gratitude, then, we ought to pay it in service: so, I supppse, you would help a housemaid to sweep the floor and make the beds, out of gratitude, sympathy and sentiment?"
" Not at all. I have told you before, that these are the very things in which society has made a difference between us. They are hewers of wood and drawers of water.' Let them mind their business as such; for in theseJhey excel; arid I will read, draw, dress, dance, talk and think : car je my connais.
" How then would you show them this gratitude, this.sympathy that you talk about?"
" In many ways :by talking to them from time to
time of their affairs (not mine, mark me), and giving them the use of my judgment to direct their conduct; by comforting them when they are ill; and, above all, by speaking to them as if they were made of the same clay as myself, and showing that I think it no merit of mine that raises me above them.'"
" I must trouble you with one question more," said Ellen. Was it for the sake of exhortation, consolation, or edification, that you talked all that nonsense to Parker to-day? For my part, I could see no moral in it at all."
" Oh, that is another affair," said Magdalen: Parker was our playfellow in infancy. She ran about our own green meadows with us, when we were too simple and unlearned to be ashamed of calling a servant a friend; and, to my dying day, I will call her friend. We cannot be too familiar with a good woman, who has carried us in her arms, and helped us when we could not help ourselves. I talked freely with her just now, because my heart warmed towards her, and hers warmed to me : so there was no place for ceremonythat was all. Are you still astonished ?"
" I am astonished at nothing," replied Ellen, but I am sure I never could behave as you did."
la belle assemblee.
Ellen found her cousin Magdalen rather a puzzle. She decided the first evening she saw the O'Reillys, that they certainly were not clever; yet now and then she was tempted to make an exception in favour of Magdalen. Confident in her own superiority of intellect, Ellen often said things at random, without considering whether they contained absurdities or not. She generally was right; for though she judged quickly, she judged well; but when she was not right, she had a great horror of being found in the wrong. Who can bear
" Yes, yes, you wmild, I am sure, if Parker had been as kind to you when you were young, as she was to us."
Here Ellen looked rather confused; for she knew very well what Parker had done for her when she first came over, and she felt almost offended, as if Magdalen had reproached her..
Magdalen however was quite unconscious that she had done so; and being called away at the moment to sing a song, she left her without perceiving her embarrassment.
their memory, judgment or taste to be impeached by those who are, on the whole, their inferiors in these things? Very few.
Her aunt Cameron, when she differed from Ellen in opinion, always pushed her spectacles on her forehead, and said: You know nothing about such things ; little girls should be seen and not heard.*' But humiliating as it was to be treated like a baby, especially when a third person was present, her mortification was infinitely deeper, when she perceived an indescribable something in Magdalen's quiet countenance, which made a doubt flash through her mind, that perhaps Magdalen might know more than she herself did after all, and might keep silence only because it was no pleasure to her to prove others to be in the wrong. Sometimes she would say a rash thing, and find out where the folly of it was, before the words had well passed her lips, if Magdalen happened to look towards her. As often hpwever as she had resolved to believe in Magdalen's superiority of intellect, so often did she change her opinion on seeing her enter with spirit, even with energy, into the most frivolous conversation and employments.
u What girl of sense," said Ellen to herself one
evening, what girl of sense could sit for half an hour discussing the merits of all the caps and bonnets in that odious book of fashions, with such a foolish woman as my poor aunt Cameron? That Belle Assemblee and its relations are the only books my aunt ever takes into her hands, even on Sundays. There is Magdalen actually reading it aloud; I hear the wearisome words, tulle, crape &c.
M And now she is absolutely arguing with my aunt about gauze and feathers. It is very disgusting!'* And poor Ellen turned away with a mixed feeling of virtuous indignation, contempt and pity.
" Good night," said Magdalen, at this moment, to her aunt. I will bring the patterns I mentioned to you very early to-morrow, before breakfast if you like; but you must promise to let me see Miss Smith try them on you. Promise me now: I will not go away till you promise me." Very well, you shall see them tried on, if you are early enough." Oh, trust me for that!" And Magdalen tripped away rather early, and whispered in Ellen's ear as she passed her: Ellen, if you love me, do not let Miss Smith try any thing on my aunt till I come to-morrow."
Ellen looked after her and shook her head. Can
she take real interest jn my aunt's feathers and finery ? She must be frivolous; I give her up."
If Ellen had not nourished such fierce ire against her aunt Cameron's Belle Assemblee, and fancied that wisdom consists in despising foolish things,if she had not shut herself up in the notion of her own superiority, she might have found out what was passing in Magdalen's mind; and what motive it was that had made a sensible girl take real interest in embroidered shawls, and hats of Areophane and Marabout feathers.
Magdalen loved her aunt Cameron for more reasons than one. She very readily loved people, because she had the secret of finding out their good qualities, and of being rather grieved than angry at their'bad ones. Magdalen saw that her aunt's style of dress was very ridiculous ; instead of laughing at it, she formed a resolution to change it if she could. She dressed remarkably well herself, so that Mrs. Cameron frequently asked her opinion on the one subject that occupied the most of her own thoughts. Taking advantage of this, Magdalen increased her influence by talking patiently and good-humouredly about dress, and reading the fashions to her aunt. Very often she succeeded in making her aunt discontented with every dress in La Belle Assem-
blee, and then she ventured to bring forward a pattern or colour that she had seen in Paris. If it had been invented in Paris, Mrs. Cameron would wear any thing in perfect confidence; so that, among the many neat dark gowns which Magdalen had seen in Paris, it was easy to select one fit for an old lady to attire herself in. In this way Magdalen was gradually working a reform in the most ridiculous part of her aunt's behaviour, and was taking benevolent pleasure in the work.
Thus weakness amounting even to folly may be treated with discretion and benevolence.
* CHAPTER XIV.
ode to the greeks.
A few days after this, Ellen went to spend the remainder of her holidays at Mrs. O'Reilly's. Mrs. O'Reilly had taken a house a little way out of town, and Ellen enjoyed the fresh air of the country more than she ever had done before. There was a lawn before the house, which sloped down towards the river; and a beautiful shrubbery of real country trees, without any soot upon them, surrounded it. Through this shrubbery, several winding paths led down to the very
brink of the river. But the spot that Ellen chose for her own, in this place of delight, was a little arbour almost hidden in evergreens and monthly roses, which stood on a bank, and looked straight down on the water. Here she used to go alone and think, for she had lately taken to thinking, or rather to dreaming; and she frequently carried her portfolio with her, and scribbled her high musings in rhyme. One morning she was walking towards her favourite haunt, in order to resume a train of thought, and a stanza of poetry, which she had packed up in a hurry on hearing the breakfast bell. She had already reached the favourite clump of evergreens, and the arbour was not twenty paces off, when some voices, interrupted by profane peals of laughter, broke upon her silent imaginings, and informed her pretty plainly that she must carry her muse elsewhere. She paused- for an instant, to consider where she should go, and she heardhorrible to relate !she heard her cousin Dora reading, in a most burlesque style, some lines from her own favourite Ode to the Greeks She would go and declare herself:no, that would betray too much embarrassment. She would go back :no, that would be running away like a coward from a laugh that properly
belonged to her: she stood still then behind a thick laurustinus, and Dora continued reading :
u Land of the brave! methinks I see thee still. Bending the neighbouring nations to thy will, Soaring o'er Asia, Threatening Thracia, Towering o'er tyrants thy fate to fulfil. Great Alexander, Glorious commander! Spartan Lysander,
Who humbled the proud, Let your pale ghosts, and those of your hosts, Still their vain boasts, And acknowledge, with candour, That glory's vain glitter must fleet like a cloud.'*
Dora advanced her left foot, flung her arms aloft, and threw a most heroic-comic swell into her voice, while she repeated these lines. But when she came to the close, the candour of the pale ghosts quite overcame her power of gravity, and she joined the chorus of laughers. Ellen had not lost a word or a gesture; for Dora had stood in the entrance of the arbour, with her face towards the audience within, and her back to Ellen. Dora had well known how to give effect to the ridiculous; and had she not done so, Ellen's quick ear
needed only that her poetry should be read aloud, to feel'that it was a child's jingle. Now each line was a dagger's blow to her. To find her darling manuscript in such hands,to hear it laughed at was nothing to the pain of finding out that it was trash Who could bear it ?
" Ignorant girls!*' said Ellen to herself, "if it is nonsense, my own sense and not their foolish ridicule convinces me that it is so. They would laugh as much at Lord Byron. Ally, for example, has no soul. I '11 engage she did not know what she was laughing at all the time. Why am I so vexed ? Am I still abashed by an empty laugh ? No; I will prove to myself and to them, that I am not.'* She advanced to the arbour, and with a calm voice and an unmoved countenance, said : Dora, the verses you are laughing at are mine; give them to me.** She received them from her cousin's hand, tore them coolly to pieces, and threw the fragments into the stream that glided beneath them. She watched them for an instant or two, and then turned and walked silently away. Ellen !'* said Dora. "Well,** answered Ellen, turning round, and standing as if she waited her cousin's pleasure, but felt very little concern in what she might have to say. 44 Ellen,**
continued Dora, in rather a sorrowful voice, I hope you are not offended." "Oh dear no," said Ellen, carelessly, almost contemptuously. Indeed I would not have laughed at you for the world, if I had known it." Laugh on," said Ellen; luckily my happiness does not depend for a moment on your approbation or censure."
She walked quickly away, but she had not gone many steps when Dora overtook her and seized her hand. Ellen," said she, while tears stood in her eyes, you are unkind to me, or you would not let me ask twice for your pardon." There was something in Dora's voice that Ellen could not withstand : she assured her that she was not offended ; that she would never think more of the matter. "I am angry with myself, you see," said Dora; it was only yesterday that mamma reproved me for being satirical, and I never thought of it till you looked so severely at me." Did I look severe?" said Ellen, kissing the tearful girl; I did not know it, I am sorry for it." "There, that will do," said Dora, smiling through her tears; say no more, you look yourself again now. It was not what you said that hurt me just now," continued she laughing, "I am not afraid of words; for any
woman, any Irishwoman at least, is never at a loss for an answer; but I could never stand a severe look ; it cuts me to the heart, and makes a child of me at once.'*
" But we cannot help our countenances, Dora.**
11 No," answered Dora, and that is the very reason that a terrible countenance is so terrible; we know it tells exactly the feelings. I think we often keep in our words when they would sound rude and cruel; and yet we let our countenances take their own way, and do twice as much mischief as words could do."
"We cannot make hypocrites of them, Dora: do you regret that?"
" Oh, no; I would not have them say what was not true; but it would be very pleasant if they were always to show a pretty picture of what was really going on, as my camera obscura does."
" Then, Dora, you wish us to be always in the same mood ; always pretty : that is impossible."
" Why should we be always in the same mood ? I can see rocks and rivers in my camera obscura, or green fields and quiet cattle, or an old castle, or a hundred other things, all beautiful and all different. Some of these are grand, some soft, some melancholy, some gay : there is variety enough, and if there were
no variety, we could look a long time at what is beautiful without ever wishing to change it.'"
By this time they had reached the house. Ellen walked slowly and thoughtfully into her own room: she thought upon Dora's conduct and her own; and she found that she respected Dora for her frankness, her ready repentance, and her affectionate feeling. I have thought myself her superior,"" said she; and yet with all my talent, I have done wrong to-day, and she has done right. I still think that I am a genius, or something like it; but I think after all, that a good heart is more valuable than genius; and that it is better to please than to shine.'* She took out a little memorandum-book and wrote in it as follows: Thursday, 11th, Learned good from a quarter whence I did not expect to learn any thing.*"Memorandum. Though variety is charming, we can look a long time at what is beautiful, without ever wishing to change it.*'
Ellen was not one of those who can be convinced of a truth, and then lay it aside without acting upon it. This little incident made her think much more respectfully than she had done before of the qualities of the heart. Gentleness, meekness, all the branches of benevolence stood much higher than they had ever stood
before in her list of virtues. Hitherto she had been sufficient to herself, saying and thinking that if she interfered with no one, she had a right to please herself. She had stood alone; she had prided herself on her rank, riches and talents, because she felt as if there was a sort of power in all these; but now she began to perceive that the power of making people happy was the best power of all, and the only one worth trying for. She did try for it, and she soon felt some of the pleasure of living for others.
" Come, Ellen,'* said Magdalen, one wet morning, as they were sitting at work, come, let us have another reading of your poetry; it had not a fair chance the other morning you know. I am sure you have some more to show us." "I have never shown it to any one," said Ellen, blushing, and to tell you the truth, I am heartily ashamed of it myself."
" How long have you been ashamed of it ? "
" I believe only since the day that I heard you reading it aloud. I mean to burn it all."
"What! are you going to exterminate it without judge orjury? I call that unfair. You must bring it to a public trial, and if it be found unworthy, let be it burned by the hands of the common hangman; and do you, together with all other poets, take warning by its untimely fate. Come, pray produce it; let us read it together.**
" And laugh at it?" said Ellen, shrinking a little.
" Yes, if you like," answered Magdalen, laugh at it together, if it deserves to be laughed at; that is all fair: but I am disposed to be serious to-day. You shall accuse; your poetry shall plead its own cause; Dora and I will be judge and jury."
" And what shall I be?" said Ally.
11 Oh! you may be the populace. Your business is to listen to the trial, and to maintain that the poor prisoner at the bar is innocent, in spite of judge or jury."
Ellen produced her budget of poetry. During the recital of the first two or three pages, she caught herself at her old trick of biting her lips; but by degrees she became as calm almost as if the composition then on its trial, was not her own. Of Ellen's rhymes we have given a specimen,not indeed a very favourable one; but as it is unfair to judge of any author by one