Infomotions, Inc.Stepping Heavenward / Prentiss, E. (Elizabeth), 1818-1878



Author: Prentiss, E. (Elizabeth), 1818-1878
Title: Stepping Heavenward
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): ernest; martha
Contributor(s): Edwards, Owen Morgan, Sir, 1858-1920 [Editor]
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Stepping Heavenward 

by Mrs. E. Prentiss

February, 2001  [Etext #2515]


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STEPPING HEAVENWARD. 



Chapter 1

I. 

January 15, 1831. 

How dreadfully old I am getting! Sixteen! Well, I don't see as I can
help it. There it is in the big Bible in father's own hand:
"Katherine, born Jan. 15, 1815."

I meant to get up early this morning, but it looked dismally cold out
of doors, and felt delightfully warm in bed. So I covered myself up,
and made ever so many good resolutions.

I determined, in the first place, to begin this Journal. To be sure,
I have begun half a dozen, and got tired of them after a while. Not
tired of writing them, but disgusted with what I had to say of
myself. But this time I mean to go on, in spite of everything. It
will do me good to read it over, and see what a creature I am.

Then I resolved to do more to please mother than I have done.

And I determined to make one more effort to conquer my hasty temper.
I thought, too, I would be self-denying this winter, like the people
one reads about in books. I fancied how surprised and pleased
everybody would be to see me so much improved!

Time passed quickly amid these agreeable thoughts, and I was quite
startled to hear the bell ring for prayers. I jumped up in a great
flurry and dressed as quickly as I could. Everything conspired
together to plague me. I could not find a clean collar, or a
handkerchief. It is always just so. Susan is forever poking my things
into out-of-the-way places! When at last I went down, they were all
at breakfast.

"I hoped you would celebrate your birthday, dear, by coming down in
good season," said mother.

I do hate to be found fault with, so I fired up in an instant.

"If people hide my things so that I can't find them, of course I have
to be late," I said. And I rather think I said it in a very cross
way, for mother sighed a little. I wish mother wouldn't sigh. I would
rather be called names out and out.

The moment breakfast was over I had to hurry off to school. Just as I
was going out mother said, "Have you your overshoes, dear?"

"Oh, mother, don't hinder me! I shall be late," I said. "I don't need
overshoes."

"It snowed all night, and I think you do need them," mother said.

"I don't know where they are. I hate overshoes. Do let me go,
mother," I cried. "I do wish I could ever have my own way."

"You shall have it now, my child," mother said, and went away.

Now what was the use of her calling me "my child" in such a tone, I
should like to know.

I hurried off, and just as I got to the door of the schoolroom it
flashed into my mind that I had not said my prayers! A nice way to
begin on one's birthday, to be sure! Well, I had not time. And
perhaps my good resolutions pleased God almost as much as one of my
rambling stupid prayers could. For I must own I can't make good
prayers. I can't think of anything to say. I often wonder what mother
finds to say when she is shut up by the hour together.

I had a pretty good time at school. My teachers praised me, and
Amelia seemed so fond of me! She brought me a birthday present of a
purse that she had knit for me herself, and a net for my hair. Nets
are just coming into fashion. It will save a good deal of time my
having this one. Instead of combing and combing and combing my old
hair to get it glossy enough to suit mother, I can just give it one
twist and one squeeze and the whole thing will be settled for the
day.

Amelia wrote me a dear little note, with her presents. I do really
believe she loves me dearly. It is so nice to have people love you!

When I got home mother called me into her room. She looked as if she
had been crying. She said I gave her a great deal of pain by my
self-will and ill temper and conceit.

"Conceit!" I screamed out. "Oh, mother, if you only knew how horrid I
think I am!"

Mother smiled a little. Then she went on with her list till she made
me out the worst creature in the world. I burst out crying, and was
running off to my room, but she made me come back and hear the rest.
She said my character would be essentially formed by the time I
reached my twentieth year, and left it to me to say if I wished to be
as a woman what I was now as a girl. I felt sulky, and would not
answer. I was shocked to think I had got only four years in which to
improve, but after all a good deal could be done in that time. Of
course I don't want to be always exactly what I am now.

Mother went on to say that I had in me the elements of a fine
character if I would only conquer some of my faults. "You are frank
and truthful," she said, "and in some things conscientious. I hope
you are really a child of God, and are trying to please Him. And it
is my daily prayer that you may become a lovely, loving, useful
woman."

I made no answer. I wanted to say something, but my tongue wouldn't
move. I was angry with mother, and angry with myself. At last
everything came out all in a rush, mixed up with such floods of tears
that I thought mother's heart would melt, and that she would take
back what she had said.

"Amelia's mother never talks so to her!" I said. "She praises her,
and tells her what a comfort she is to her. But just as I am trying
as hard as I can to be good, and making resolutions, and all that,
you scold me and discourage me!"

Mother's voice was very soft and gentle as she asked, "Do you call
this 'scolding,' my child?"

"And I don't like to be called conceited," I went on. "I know I am
perfectly horrid, and I am just as unhappy as I can be."

"I am very sorry for you, dear," mother replied. "But you must bear
with me. Other people will see your faults, but only your mother will
have the courage to speak of them. Now go to your own room, and wipe
away the traces of your tears that the rest of the family may not
know that you have been crying on your birthday." She kissed me but I
did not kiss her. I really believe Satan himself hindered me. I ran
across the hall to my room, slammed the door, and locked myself in. I
was going to throw myself on the bed and cry till I was sick. Then I
should look pale and tired, and they would all pity me. I do like so
to be pitied! But on the table, by the window, I saw a beautiful new
desk in place of the old clumsy thing I had been spattering and
spoiling so many years. A little note, full of love, said it was from
mother, and begged me to read and reflect upon a few verses of a
tastefully bound copy of the Bible, which accompanied it every day of
my life. "A few verses," she said, "carefully read and pondered,
instead of a chapter or two read for mere form's sake." I looked at
my desk, which contained exactly what I wanted, plenty of paper,
seals, wax and pens. I always use wax. Wafers are vulgar. Then I
opened the Bible at random, and lighted on these words:

"Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."
There was nothing very cheering in that. I felt a real repugnance to
be always on the watch, thinking I might die at any moment. I am sure
I am not fit to die. Besides I want to have a good time, with nothing
to worry me. I hope I shall live ever so long. Perhaps in the course
of forty or fifty years I may get tired of this world and want to
leave it. And I hope by that time I shall be a great deal better than
I am now, and fit to go to heaven.

I wrote a note to mother on my new desk, and thanked her for it I
told her she was the best mother in the world, and that I was the
worst daughter. When it was done I did not like it, and so I wrote
another. Then I went down to dinner and felt better. We had such a
nice dinner! Everything I liked best was on the table. Mother had not
forgotten one of all the dainties I like. Amelia was there too.
Mother had invited her to give me a little surprise. It is bedtime
now, and I must say my prayers and go to bed. I have got all chilled
through, writing here in the cold. I believe I will say my prayers in
bed, just for this once. I do not feel sleepy, but I am sure I ought
not to sit up another moment.

JAN. 30. -Here I am at my desk once more. There is a fire in my room,
and mother is sitting by it, reading. I can't see what book it is,
but I have no doubt it is Thomas A Kempis. How she can go on reading
it so year after year, I cannot imagine. For my part I like something
new. But I must go back to where I left off.

That night when I stopped writing, I hurried to bed as fast as I
could, for I felt cold and tired. I remember saying, "Oh, God, I am
ashamed to pray," and then I began to think of all the things that
had happened that day, and never knew another thing till the rising
bell rang and I found it was morning. I am sure I did not mean to go
to sleep. I think now it was wrong for me to be such a coward as to
try to say my prayers in bed because of the cold. While I was writing
I did not once think how I felt. Well, I jumped up as soon as I heard
the bell, but found I had a dreadful pain in my side, and a cough.
Susan says I coughed all night. I remembered then that I had just
such a cough and just such a pain the last time I walked in the snow
without overshoes. I crept back to bed feeling about as mean as I
could. Mother sent up to know why I did not come down, and I had to
own that I was sick. She came up directly looking so anxious! And
here I have been shut up ever since; only to day I am sitting up a
little. Poor mother has had trouble enough with me; I know I have
been cross and unreasonable, and it was all my own fault that I was
ill. Another time I will do as mother says.

JAN. 31. -How easy it is to make good resolutions, and how easy it is
to break them! Just as I had got so far, yesterday, mother spoke for
the third time about my exerting myself so much. And just at that
moment I fainted away, and she had a great time all alone there with
me. I did not realize how long I had been writing, nor how weak I
was. I do wonder if I shall ever really learn that mother knows more
than I do!

Feb. 17. -It is more than a month since I took that cold, and here I
still am, shut up in the house. To be sure the doctor lets me go down
stairs, but then he won't listen to a word about school. Oh, dear!
All the girls will get ahead of me.

This is Sunday, and everybody has gone to church. I thought I ought
to make a good use of the time while they were gone, so I took the
Memoir of Henry Martyn, and read a little in that.

I am afraid I am not much like him. Then I knelt down and tried to
pray. But my mind was full of all sorts of things, so I thought I
would wait till I was in a better frame. At noon I disputed with
James about the name of an apple. He was very provoking, and said he
was thankful he had not got such a temper as I had. I cried, and
mother reproved him for teasing me, saying my ill- ness had left me
nervous and irritable. James replied that it had left me where it
found me, then. I cried a good while, lying on the sofa, and then I
fell asleep. I don't see as I am any the better for this Sunday, it
has only made me feel unhappy and out of sorts. I am sure I pray to
God to make me better, and why doesn't He?

Feb. 20.-It has been quite a mild day for the season, and the doctor
said I might drive out. I enjoyed getting the air very much. I feel
just well as ever, and long to get back to school. I think God has
been very good to me in making me well again, and wish I loved Him
better. But, oh, I am not sure I do love Him! I hate to own it to
myself, and to write it down here, but I will. I do not love to pray.
I am always eager to get it over with and out of the way so as to
have leisure to enjoy myself. I mean that this is usually so. This
morning I cried a good deal while I was on my knees, and felt sorry
for my quick temper and all my bad ways. If I always felt so, perhaps
praying would not be such a task. I wish I knew whether anybody
exactly as bad as I am ever got to heaven at last. I have read ever
so many memoirs, and they were all about people who were too good to
live, and so died; or else went on a mission. I am not at all like
any of them.

March 26.-I have been so busy that I have not said much to you, you
poor old journal, you, have I? Somehow I have been behaving quite
nicely lately. Everything has gone on exactly to my mind. Mother has
not found fault with me once, and father has praised my drawings and
seemed proud of me. He says he shall not tell me what my teachers say
of me lest it should make me vain. And once or twice when he has met
me singing and frisking about the house he has kissed me and called
me his dear little Flibbertigibbet, if that's the way to spell it.
When he says that I know he is very fond of me. We are all very happy
together when nothing goes wrong. In the long evenings we all sit
around the table with our books and our work, and one of us reads
aloud. Mother chooses the book and takes her turn in reading. She
reads beautifully. Of course the readings do not begin till the
lessons are all learned. As to me, my lessons just take no time at
all. I have only to read them over once, and there they are. So I
have a good deal of time to read, and I devour all the poetry I can
get hold of. I would rather read "Pollok's Course of Time" than read
nothing at all.

APRIL 2.-There are three of mother's friends living near us, each
having lots of little children. It is perfectly ridiculous how much
those creatures are sick. They send for mother if so much as a pimple
comes out on one of their faces. When I have children I don't mean to
have such goings on. I shall be careful about what they eat, and keep
them from getting cold, and they will keep well of their own accord.
Mrs. Jones has just sent for mother to see her Tommy. It was so
provoking. I had coaxed her into letting me have a black silk apron;
they are all the fashion now, embroidered in floss silk. I had drawn
a lovely vine for mine entirely out of my own head, and mother was
going to arrange the pattern for me when that message came, and she
had to go. I don't believe anything ails the child! a great chubby
thing!

April 3.-Poor Mrs. Jones! Her dear little Tommy is dead! I stayed at
home from school to-day and had all the other children here to get
them out of their mother's way. How dreadfully she must feel! Mother
cried when she told me how the dear little fellow suffered in his
last moments. It reminded her of my little brothers who died in the
same way, just before I was born. Dear mother! I wonder I ever forget
what troubles she has had, and am not always sweet and loving. She
has gone now, where she always goes when she feels sad, straight to
God. Of course she did not say so, but I know mother.

April 25.-I have not been down in season once this week. I have
persuaded mother to let me read some of Scott's novels, and have sat
up late and been sleepy in the morning. I wish I could get along with
mother as nicely as James does. He is late far oftener than I am, but
he never gets into such scrapes about it as I do. This is what
happens. He comes down when it suits him.

Mother begins.-"James, I am very much displeased with you."

James.-"I should think you would be, mother."

Mother, mollified.-"I don't think you deserve any breakfast."

James, hypocritically.-"No, I don't think I do, mother."

Then mother hurries off and gets something extra for his breakfast.
Now let us see how things go on when I am late.

Mother.-"Katherine" (she always calls me Katherine when she is
displeased, and spells it with a K), "Katherine, you are late again;
how can you annoy your father so?"

Katherine.-"Of course I don't do it to annoy father or anybody else.
But if I oversleep myself, it is not my fault."

Mother.-"I would go to bed at eight o'clock rather than be late as
often as you. How should you like it if I were not down to prayers ?"

Katherine, muttering.-"Of course that is very different. I don't see
why I should be blamed for oversleeping any more than James. I get
all the scoldings."

Mother sighs and goes off.

I prowl round and get what scraps of breakfast I can.

May 12.-The weather is getting perfectly delicious. I am sitting with
my window open, and my bird is singing with all his heart. I wish I
was as gay as he is.

I have been thinking lately that it was about time to begin on some
of those pieces of self-denial I resolved on upon my birthday. I
could not think of anything great enough for a long time. At last an
idea popped into my head. Half the girls at school envy me because
Amelia is so fond of me, and Jane Underhill, in particular, is just
crazy to get intimate with her. But I have kept Amelia all to myself.
To-day I said to her, Amelia, Jane Underhill admires you above all
things. I have a good mind to let you be as intimate with her as you
are with me. It will be a great piece of self-denial, but I think it
is my duty. She is a stranger, and nobody seems to like her much."

"You dear thing, you!" cried Amelia, kissing me. "I liked Jane
Underhill the moment I saw her. She has such a sweet face and such
pleasant manners. But you are so jealous that I never dared to show
how I liked her. Don't be vexed, dearie; if you are jealous it is
your only fault!"

She then rushed off, and I saw her kiss that girl exactly as she
kisses me!

This was in recess. I went to my desk and made believe I was
studying. Pretty soon Amelia came back.

"She is a sweet girl," she said, "and only to think! She writes
poetry! Just hear this! It is a little poem addressed to me. Isn't
it nice of her?"

I pretended not to hear her. I was as full of all sorts of horrid
feelings as I could hold. It enraged me to think that Amelia, after
all her professions of love to me, should snatch at the first chance
of getting a new friend. Then I was mortified because I was enraged,
and I could have torn myself to pieces for being such a fool as to
let Amelia see how silly I was.

"I don't know what to make of you, Katy," she said, putting her arms
round me. "Have I done anything to vex you? Come, let us make up and
be friends, whatever it is. I will read you these sweet verses; I am
sure you will like them."

She read them in her clear, pleasant voice.

"How can you have the vanity to read such stuff?" I cried.

Amelia colored a little.

"You have said and written much more flattering things to me," she
replied. "Perhaps it has turned my head, and made me too ready to
believe what other people say." She folded the paper, and put it into
her pocket. We walked home together, after school, as usual, but
neither of us spoke a word. And now here I sit, unhappy enough. All
my resolutions fail But I did not think Amelia would take me at my
word, and rush after that stuck-up, smirking piece.

May 20.-I seem to have got back into all my bad ways again. Mother is
quite out of patience with me. I have not prayed for a long time. It
does not do any good.

May 21.-It seems this Underhill thing is here for health, though she
looks as well as any of us. She is an orphan, and has been adopted by
a rich old uncle, who makes a perfect fool of her. Such dresses and
such finery as she wears! Last night she had Amelia there to tea,
without inviting me, though she knows I am her best friend. She gave
her a bracelet made of her own hair. I wonder Amelia's mother lets
her accept presents from strangers. My mother would not let me. On
the whole, there is nobody like one's own mother. Amelia has been
cold and distant to me of late, but no matter what I do or say to my
darling, precious mother, she is always kind and loving. She noticed
how I moped about to-day, and begged me to tell her what was the
matter. I was ashamed to do that. I told her that it was a little
quarrel I had had with Amelia.

"Dear child," she said, "how I pity you that you have inherited my
quick, irritable temper."

"Yours, mother!" I cried out; "what can you mean?"

Mother smiled a little at my surprise.

"It is even so," she said.

"Then how did you cure yourself of it? Tell me quick, mother, and let
me cure myself of mine."

"My dear Katy," she said, "I wish I could make you see that God is
just as willing, and just as able to sanctify, as He is to redeem us.
It would save you so much weary, disappointing work. But God has
opened my eyes at last."

"I wish He would open mine, then," I said, "for all I see now is that
I am just as horrid as I can be, and that the more I pray the worse I
grow."

That is not true, dear," she replied; "go on praying-pray without
ceasing.

I sat pulling my handkerchief this way and that, and at last rolled
it up into a ball and threw it across the room. I wished I could toss
my bad feelings into a corner with it.

"I do wish I could make you love to pray, my darling child," mother
went on. "If you only knew the strength, and the light, and the joy
you might have for the simple asking. God attaches no conditions to
His gifts. He only says, 'Ask!'"

"This may be true, but it is hard work to pray. It tires me. And I do
wish there was some easy way of growing good. In fact I should like
to have God send a sweet temper to me just as He sent bread and meat
to Elijah. I don't believe Elijah had to kneel down and pray for
them.



Chapter 2.

II. June 1.

LAST Sunday Dr. Cabot preached to the young. He first addressed those
who knew they did not love God. It did not seem to me that I belonged
to that class. Then he spoke to those who knew they did. I felt sure
I was not one of those. Last of all he spoke affectionately to those
who did not know what to think, and I was frightened and ashamed to
feel tears running down my cheeks, when he said that he believed that
most of his hearers who were in this doubtful state did really love
their Master, only their love was something as new and as tender and
perhaps as unobserved as the tiny point of green that, forcing its
way through the earth, is yet unconscious of its own existence, but
promises a thrifty plant. I don't suppose I express it very well, but
I know what he meant. He then invited those belonging to each class
to meet him on three successive Saturday afternoons. I shall
certainly go.

July 19.-I went to the meeting, and so did Amelia. A great many young
people were there and a few children. Dr. Cabot went about from seat
to seat speaking to each one separately. When he came to us I
expected he would say something about the way in which I had been
brought up, and reproach me for not profiting more by the
instructions and example I had at home. Instead of that he said, in a
cheerful voice,

"Well, my dear, I cannot see into your heart and positively tell
whether there is love to God there or not. But I suppose you have
come here to-day in order to let me help you to find out?"

I said, "Yes"; that was all I could get out.

"Let me see, then," he went on. "Do you love your mother?"

I said "Yes," once more.

"But prove to me that you do. How do you know it?"

I tried to think. Then I said,

"I feel that I love her. I love to love her, I like to be with her. I
like to hear people praise her. And I try--sometimes at least--to do
things to please her. But I don't try half as hard as I ought, and I
do and say a great many things to displease her."

"Yes, yes," he said, "I know."

"Has mother told you?" I cried out.

"No, dear, no indeed. But I know what human nature is after having
one of my own fifty years, and six of my children's to encounter."

Somehow I felt more courage after he said that.

"In the first place, then, you feel that you love your mother? But
you never feel that you love your God and Saviour?"

"I often try, and try, but I never do," I said.

"Love won't be forced," he said, quickly.

"Then what shall I do?"

"In the second place, you like to be with your mother. But you never
like to be with the Friend who loves you so much better than she
does?"

"I don't know, I never was with Him. Sometimes I think that when Mary
sat at His feet and heard Him talk, she must have been very happy."

"We come to the third test, then. You like to hear people praise your
mother. And have you ever rejoiced to hear the Lord magnified?"

I shook my head sorrowfully enough.

"Let us then try the last test. You know you love your mother because
you try to do things to please her. That is to do what you know she
wishes you to do? Very well. Have you never tried to do anything God
wishes you to do?" "Oh yes; often. But not so often as I ought."

"Of course not. No one does that. But come now, why do you try to do
what you think will please Him? Because it is easy? Because you like
to do what He likes rather than what you like yourself?"

I tried to think, and got puzzled.

"Never mind," said Dr. Cabot, " I have come now to the point I was
aiming at. You cannot prove to yourself that you love God by
examining your feelings towards Him. They are indefinite and they
fluctuate. But just as far as you obey Him, just so far, depend upon
it, you love Him. It is not natural to us sinful, ungrateful human
beings to prefer His pleasure to our own, or to follow His way
instead of our own way, and nothing, nothing but love to Him can or
does make us obedient to Him."

"Couldn't we obey Him from fear ?"Amelia now asked. She had been
listening all this time in silence.

"Yes; and so you might obey your mother from fear, but only for a
season. If you had no real love for her you would gradually cease to
dread her displeasure, whereas it is in the very nature of love to
grow stronger and more influential every hour."

"You mean, then, that if we want to know whether we love God, we must
find out whether we are obeying Him?" Amelia asked.

"I mean exactly that. 'He that keepeth my commandments he it is that
loveth me.' But I cannot talk with you any longer now. There are many
others still waiting. You can come to see me some day next week, if
you have any more questions to ask."

When we got out into the street, Amelia and I got hold of each
other's hands. We did not speak a word till we reached the door, but
we knew that we were as good friends as ever.

"I understand all Dr. Cabot said," Amelia whispered, as we separated.
But I felt like one in a fog. I cannot see how it is possible to love
God, and yet feel as stupid as I do when I think of Him. Still, I am
determined to do one thing, and that is to pray, regularly instead of
now and then, as I have got the habit of doing lately.

July 25.- School has closed for the season. I took the first prize
for drawing, and my composition was read aloud on examination day,
and everybody praised it. Mother could not possibly help showing, in
her face, that she was very much pleased. I am pleased myself. We are
now getting ready to take a journey. I do not think I shall go to see
Dr. Cabot again. My head is so full of other things, and there is so
much to do before we go. I am having four new dresses made, and I
can't imagine how to have them trimmed. I mean to run down to
Amelia's and ask her.

July 27.-I was rushing through the hall just after I wrote that, and
met mother.

"I am going to Amelia's," I said, hurrying past her.

"Stop one minute, dear. Dr. Cabot is downstairs. He says he has been
expecting a visit from you, and that as you did not come to him, he
has come to you."

"I wish he would mind his own business," I said.

"I think he is minding it, dear," mother answered. "His Master's
business is his, and that has brought him here. Go to him, my darling
child; I am sure you crave something better than prizes and
compliments and new dresses and journeys."

If anybody but mother had said that, my heart would have melted at
once, and I should have gone right down to Dr. Cabot to be moulded in
his hand to almost any shape. But as it was I brushed past, ran into
my room, and locked my door. Oh, what makes me act so! I hate myself
for it, I don't want to do it!

Last week I dined with Mrs. Jones. Her little Tommy was very fond of
me, and that, I suppose, makes her have me there so often. Lucy was
at the table, and very fractious. She cried first for one thing and
then for another. At last her mother in a gentle, but very decided
way put her down from the table. Then she cried louder than ever. But
when her mother offered to take her back if she would be good, she
screamed yet more. She wanted to come and wouldn't let herself come.
I almost hated her when I saw her act so, and now I am behaving ten
times worse and I am just as miserable as I can be.

July 29.- Amelia has been here. She has had her talk with Dr. Cabot
and is perfectly happy. She says it is so easy to be a Christian! It
may be easy for her; everything is. She never has any of my dreadful
feelings, and does not understand them when I try to explain them to
her. Well, if I am fated to be miserable, I must try to bear it.

Oct. 3.-Summer is over, school has begun again, and I am so busy that
I have not much time to think, to be low spirited. We had a
delightful journey, and I feel well and bright, and even gay. I never
enjoyed my studies as I do those of this year. Everything goes on
pleasantly here at home. But James has gone away to school, and we
miss him sadly. I wish I had a sister. Though I dare say I should
quarrel with her, if I had.

Oct 23.-I am so glad that my studies are harder this year, as I am
never happy except when every moment is occupied. However, I do not
study all the time, by any means. Mrs. Gordon grows more and more
fond of me, and has me there to dinner or to tea continually. She has
a much higher opinion of me than mother has, and is always saying the
sort bf things that make you feel nice. She holds me up to Amelia as
an example, begging her to imitate me in my fidelity about my
lessons, and declaring there is nothing she so much desires as to
have a daughter bright and original like me. Amelia only laughs, and
goes and purrs in her mother's ears when she hears such talk. It
costs her nothing to be pleasant. She was born so. For my part, I
think myself lucky to have such a friend. She gets along with my odd,
hateful ways better than any one else does. Mother, when I boast of
this, says she has no penetration into character, and that she would
be fond of almost any one fond of her; and that the fury with which I
love her deserves some response. I really don't know what to make of
mother. Most people are proud of their children when they see others
admire them; but she does say such pokey things! Of course I know
that having a gift for music, and a taste for drawing, and a
reputation for saying witty, bright things isn't enough. But when she
doesn't find fault with me, and nothing happens to keep me down, I am
the gayest creature on earth. I do love to get with a lot of nice
girls, and carry on! I have got enough fun in me to keep a houseful
merry. And mother needn't say anything. I inherited it from her.

Evening.-I knew it was coming! Mother has been in to see what I was
about, and to give me a bit of her mind. She says she loves to see me
gay and cheerful, as is natural at my age, but that levity quite
upsets and disorders the mind, indisposing it for serious thoughts.

"But, mother," I said, "didn't you carry on when you were a young
girl?"

"Of course I did," she said, smiling. "But I do not think I was quite
so thoughtless as you are."

"Thoughtless" indeed! I wish I were! But am I not always full of
uneasy, reproachful thoughts when the moment of excitement is over?
Other girls, who seem less trifling than I, are really more so. Their
heads are full of dresses and parties and beaux, and all that sort of
nonsense. I wonder if that ever worries their mothers, or whether
mine is the only one who weeps in secret? Well, I shall be young but
once, and while I am, do let me have a good time!

Sunday, Nov. 20.-Oh, the difference between this day and the day I
wrote that! There are no good times in this dreadful world. I have
hardly courage or strength to write down the history of the past few
weeks. The day after I had deliberately made up my mind to enjoy
myself, cost what it might, my dear father called me to him, kissed
me, pulled my ears a little, and gave me some money.

"We have had to keep you rather low in funds," he said laughing. "But
I recovered this amount yesterday, and as it was a little debt I had
given up, I can spare it to you. For girls like pin-money, I know,
and you may spend this just as you please."

I was delighted. I want to take more drawing-lessons, but did not
feel sure he could afford it. Besides-I am a little ashamed to write
it down-I knew somebody had been praising me or father would not have
seemed so fond of me. I wondered who it was, and felt a good deal
puffed up. "After-all," I said to myself, "some people like me if I
have got my faults." I threw my arms around his neck and kissed him,
though that cost me a great effort. I never like to show what I feel.
But, oh! how thankful I am for it now.

As to mother, I know father never goes out without kissing her
good-by.

I went out with her to take a walk at three o'clock. We had just
reached the corner of Orange Street, when I saw a carriage driving
slowly towards us; it appeared to be full of sailors. Then I saw our
friend, Mr. Freeman, among them. When he saw us he jumped out and
came up to us. I do not know what he said. I saw mother turn pale and
catch at his arm as if she were afraid of falling. But she did not
speak a word.

"Oh! Mr. Freeman, what is it?" I cried out. "Has anything happened to
father? Is he hurt? Where is he?"

"He is in the carriage," he said. We are taking him home. He has had
a fall."

Then we went on in silence. The sailors were carrying father in as we
reached the house. They laid him on the sofa, we saw his poor head...

Nov. 23.-I will try to write the rest now. Father was alive but
insensible. He had fallen down into the hold of the ship, and the
sailors heard him groaning there. He lived three hours after they
brought him home. Mr. Freeman and all our friends were very kind. But
we like best to be alone, we three, mother and James and I. Poor
mother looks twenty years older, but she is so patient, and so
concerned for us, and has such a smile of welcome for every one that
comes in, that it breaks my heart to see her.

Nov. 25.-Mother spoke to me very seriously to-day, about controlling
myself more. She said she knew this was my first real sorrow, and how
hard it was to bear it. But that she was afraid I should become
insane some time, if I indulged myself in such passions of grief. And
she said, too, that when friends came to see us, full of sympathy and
eager to say or do something for our comfort, it was our duty to
receive them with as much cheerfulness as possible.

I said they, none of them, had anything to say that did not provoke
me.

"It is always a trying task to visit the afflicted," mother said,
"and you make it doubly hard to your friends by putting on a gloomy,
forbidding air, and by refusing to talk of your dear father, as if
you were resolved to keep your sorrow all to yourself."

"I can't smile when I am so unhappy," I said.

A good many people have been here to-day. Mother has seen them all,
though she looked ready to drop. Mrs. Bates said to me, in her
little, weak, watery voice:

"Your mother is wonderfully sustained, dear. I hope you feel
reconciled to God's will. Rebellion is most displeasing to Him,
dear."

I made no answer. It is very easy for people to preach. Let me see
how they behave when they their turn to lose their friends.

Mrs. Morris said this was a very mysterious dispensation. But that
she was happy to see that Mother was meeting it with so much
firmness. "As for myself," she went on, "I was quite broken down by
my dear husband's death. I did not eat as much as would feed a bird,
for nearly a week. But some people have so much feeling; then again
others are so firm. Your mother is so busy talking with Mrs. March
that I won't interrupt her to say good-bye. I came prepared to
suggest several things that I thought would comfort her; but perhaps
she has thought of them herself."

I could have knocked her down. Firm, indeed! Poor mother.

After they had all gone, I made her lie down, she looked so tired and
worn out.

Then, I could not help telling her what Mrs. Morris had said.

She only smiled a little, but said nothing.

"I wish you would ever flare up, mother," I said.

She smiled again, and said she had nothing to "flare up" about.

"Then I shall do it for you!" I cried. To hear that namby-pamby
woman, who is about as capable of understanding you as an old cat,
talking about your being firm! You see what you get by being quiet
and patient! People would like you much better if you refused to be
comforted, and wore a sad countenance."

"Dear Katy," said mother, "it is not my first object in life to make
people like me."

By this time she looked so pale that I was frightened. Though she is
so cheerful, and things go on much as they did before, I believe she
has got her death-blow. If she has, then I hope I have got mine. And
yet I am not fit to die. I wish I was, and I wish I could die. I have
lost all interest in everything, and don't care what becomes of me.

Nov. 23.-I believe I shall go crazy unless people stop coming here,
hurling volleys of texts at mother and at me. When soldiers drop
wounded on the battle-field, they are taken up tenderly and carried
"to the rear," which means, I suppose, out of sight and sound. Is
anybody mad enough to suppose it will do them any good to hear
Scripture quoted sermons launched at them before their open, bleeding
wounds are staunched?

Mother assents, in a mild way, when I talk so and says, "Yes, yes, we
are indeed lying wounded on the battle-field of life, and in no
condition to listen to any words save those of pity. But, dear Katy,
we must interpret aright all the well-meant attempts of our friends
to comfort us. They mean sympathy, however awkwardly they express
it."

And then she sighed, with a long, deep sigh, that told how it all
wearied her.

Dec. 14.-Mother keeps saying I spend too much time in brooding over
my sorrow. As for her, she seems to live in heaven. Not that she has
long prosy talks about it, but little words that she lets drop now
and then show where her thoughts are, and where she would like to be.
She seems to think everybody is as eager to go there as she is. For
my part, I am not eager at all. I can't make myself feel that it will
be nice to sit in rows, all the time singing, fond as I am of music.
And when I say to myself, "Of course we shall not always sit in rows
singing," then I fancy a multitude of shadowy, phantom-like beings,
dressed in white, moving to and fro in golden streets, doing nothing
in particular, and having a dreary time, without anything to look
forward to.

I told mother so. She said earnestly, and yet in her sweetest,
tenderest way,

"Oh, my darling Katy! What you need is such a living, personal love
to Christ as shall make the thought of being where He is so
delightful as to fill your mind with that single thought!"

What is "personal love to Christ?"

Oh, dear, dear! Why need my father have been snatched away from me,
when so many other girls have theirs spared to them? He loved me so!
He indulged me so much! He was so proud of me! What have I done that
I should have this dreadful thing happen to me? I shall never be as
happy as I was before. Now I shall always be expecting trouble. Yes,
I dare say mother will go next. Why shouldn't I brood over this
sorrow? I like to brood over it; I like to think how wretched I am; I
like to have long, furious fits of crying, lying on my face on the
bed.

Jan. I, 1832.-People talk a great deal about the blessed effects of
sorrow. But I do not see any good it has done me to lose my dear
father, and as to mother she was good enough before.

We are going to leave our pleasant home, where all of us children
were born, and move into a house in an out-of-the-way street. By
selling this, and renting a smaller one, mother hopes, with economy,
to carry James through college. And I must go to Miss Higgins' school
because it is less expensive than Mr. Stone's. Miss Higgins, indeed!
I never could bear her! A few months ago, how I should have cried and
stormed at the idea of her school. But the great sorrow swallows up
the little trial.

I tried once more, this morning, as it is the first day of the year,
to force myself to begin to love God.

I want to do it; I know I ought to do it; but I cannot. I go through
the form of saying something that I try to pass off as praying, every
day now. But I take no pleasure in it, as good people say they do,
and as I am sure mother does. Nobody could live in the house with
her, and doubt that.

Jan. 10.-We are in our new home now, and it is quite a cozy little
place. James is at home for the long vacation and we are together all
the time I am out of school. We study and sing together and now and
then, when we forget that dear father has gone, we are as full of fun
as ever. If it is so nice to have a brother, what must it be to have
a sister! Dear old Jim! He is the very pleasantest, dearest fellow in
the world!

Jan. 15.-I have come to another birthday and am seventeen. Mother has
celebrated it just as usual, though I know all these anniversaries
which used to be so pleasant, must be sad days to her now my dear
father has gone. She has been cheerful-and loving, and entered into
all my pleasures exactly as if nothing had happened. I wonder at
myself that I do not enter more into her sorrows, but though at times
the remembrance of our loss overwhelms me, my natural elasticity soon
makes me rise above and forget it. And I am absorbed with these
school-days, that come one after another, in such quick succession
that I am all the time running to keep up with them. And as long as I
do that I forget that death has crossed our threshold, and may do it
again. But to night I feel very sad, and as if I would give almost
any thing to live in a world where nothing painful could happen.
Somehow mother's pale face haunts and reproaches me. I believe I will
go to bed and to sleep as quickly as possible, and forget everything.



Chapter 3

III

July 16.

My school-days are over! I have come off with flying colors, and
mother is pleased at my success. I said to her today that I should
now have time to draw and practice to my heart's content.

"You will not find your heart content with either," she said.

"Why, mother!" I cried, "I thought you liked to see me happy!"

"And so I do," she said, quietly. "But there is something better to
get out of life than you have yet found."

"I am sure I hope so," I returned. "On the whole, I haven't got much
so far."

Amelia is now on such terms with Jenny Underhill that I can hardly
see one without seeing the other After the way in which I have loved
her, this seems rather hard. Sometimes I am angry about it, and
sometimes grieved. However, I find Jenny quite nice. She buys all the
new books and lends them to me. I wish I liked more solid reading;
but I don't. And I wish I were not so fond of novels; but I am. If it
were not for mother I should read nothing else. And I am sure I often
feel quite stirred up by a really good novel, and admire and want to
imitate every high-minded, noble character it describes.

Jenny has a miniature of her brother "Charley" in a locket, which she
always wears, and often shows me. According to her, he is exactly
like the heroes I most admire in books. She says she knows he would
like me if we should meet. But that is not probable. Very few like
me. Amelia says it is because I say just what I think.

Wednesday.-Mother pointed out to me this evening two lines from a
book she was reading, with a significant smile that said they
described me:

"A frank, unchastened, generous creature, Whose faults and virtues
stand in bold relief."

"Dear me!" I said, "so then I have some virtues after all!"

And I really think I must have, for Jenny's brother, who has come
here for the sake of being near her, seems to like me very much.
Nobody ever liked me so much before, not even Amelia. But how foolish
to write that down!

Thursday.-Jenny's brother has been here all evening. He has the most
perfect manners I ever saw. I am sure that mother, who thinks so much
of such things, would be charmed with him but she happened to be out,
Mrs. Jones having sent for her to see about her baby. He gave me an
account of his mother's death, and how he and Jenny nursed her day
and night. He has a great deal of feeling. I was going to tell him
about my father's death, sorrow seems to bring people together so,
but I could not. Oh, if he had only had a sickness that needed our
tender nursing, instead of being snatched from us in that sudden way!

Sunday, Aug. 5.-Jenny's brother has been at our church all day. He
walked home with me this afternoon. Mother, after being up all night
with Mrs. Jones and her baby, was not able to go out.

Dr Cabot preaches as if we had all got to die pretty soon, or else
have something almost as bad happen to us. How can old people always
try to make young people feel uncomfortable, and as if things
couldn't last?

Aug. 25.-Jenny says her brother is perfectly fascinated with me, and
that I must try to like him in return. I suppose mother would say my
head was turned by my good fortune, but it is not. I am getting quite
sober and serious. It is a great thing to be--to be--well--liked. I
have seen some verses of his composition to-day that show that he is
all heart and soul, and would make any sacrifice for one he loved. I
could not like a man who did not possess such sentiments as his.

Perhaps mother would think I ought not to put such things into my
journal.

Jenny has thought of such a splendid plan! What a dear little thing
she is! She and her brother are so much alike! The plan is for us
three girls, Jenny, Amelia and myself, to form ourselves into a
little class to read and to study together. She says "Charley" will
direct our readings and help us with our studies. It is perfectly
delightful.

September 1.-Somehow I forgot to tell mother that Mr. Underhill was
to be our teacher. So when it came my turn to have the class meet
here, she was not quite pleased. I told her she could stay and watch
us, and then she would see for herself that we all behaved ourselves.

Sept. 19.-The class met at Amelia's to-night. Mother insisted on
sending for me, though Mr. Underhill had proposed to see me home
himself. So he stayed after I left. It was not quite the thing in
him, for he must see that Amelia is absolutely crazy about him.

Sept. 28-We met at Jenny's this evening. Amelia had a bad headache
and could not come. Jenny idled over her lessons, and at last took a
book and began to read. I studied awhile with Mr. Underhill. At last
he said, scribbling something on a bit of paper:

"Here is a sentence I hope you can translate."

I took it, and read these words:

"You are the brightest, prettiest, most warm-hearted little thing in
the world. And I love you more than tongue can tell. You must love me
in the same way."

I felt hot and then cold, and then glad and then sorry. But I
pretended to laugh, and said I could not translate Greek. I shall
have to tell mother, and what will she say?

Sept. 29.-This morning mother began thus:

"Kate, I do not like these lessons of yours. At your age, with your
judgment quite unformed, it is not proper that you should spend so
much time with a young man.

"Jenny is always there, and Amelia," I replied.

"That makes no difference. I wish the whole thing stopped. I do not
know what I have been thinking of to let it go on so long. Mrs.
Gordon says--"

"Mrs. Gordon! Ha!" I burst out, "I knew Amelia was at the bottom of
it! Amelia is in love with him up to her very ears, and because he
does not entirely neglect me, she has put her mother up to coming
here, meddling and making--"

"If what you say of Amelia is true, it is most ungenerous in you to
tell of it. But I do not believe it. Amelia Gordon has too much good
sense to be carried away by a handsome face and agreeable manners."

I began to cry.

"He likes me," I got out, "he likes me ever so much. Nobody ever was
so kind to me before. Nobody ever said such nice things to me. And I
don't want such horrid things said about him."

"Has it really come this!" said mother, quite shocked. "Oh, my poor
child, how my selfish sorrow has made me neglect you."

I kept on crying.

"Is it possible," she went on, "that with your good sense, and the
education you have had, you are captivated by this mere boy?"

"He is not a boy," I said. "He is a man. He is twenty years old; or
at least he will be on the fifteenth of next October."

"The child actually keeps his birthdays!" cried mother. "Oh, my
wicked, shameful carelessness."

"It's done now," I said, desperately. "It is too late to help it
now."

"You don't mean that he has dared to say anything without consulting
me?" asked mother. "And you have allowed it! Oh, Katherine!"

This time my mouth shut itself up, and no mortal force could open it.
I stopped crying, and sat with folded arms. Mother said what she had
to say, and then I came to you, my dear old Journal.

Yes, he likes me and I like him. Come now, let's out with it once for
all. He loves me and I love him. You are just a little bit too late,
mother.

Oct 1.-I never can write down all the things that have happened. The
very day after I wrote that mother had forbidden my going to the
class, Charley came to see her, and they had a regular fight
together. He has told me about it since. Then, as he could not
prevail, his uncle wrote, told her it would be the making of Charley
to be settled down on one young lady instead of hovering from flower
to flower, as he was doing now. Then Jenny came with her pretty ways,
and cried, and told mother what a darling brother Charley was. She
made a good deal, too, out of his having lost both father and mother,
and needing my affection so much. Mother shut herself up, and I have
no doubt prayed over it. I really believe she prays over every new
dress she buys. Then she sent for me and talked beautifully, and I
behaved abominably.

At last she said she would put us on one year's probation. Charley
might spend one evening here every two weeks, when she should always
be present. We were never to be seen together in public, nor would
she allow us to correspond. If, at the end of the year, we were both
as eager for it as we are now, she would consent to our engagement.
Of course we shall be, so I consider myself as good as engaged now.
Dear me! how funny it seems.

Oct 2.-Charley is not at all pleased with mother's terms, but no one
would guess it from his manner to her. His coming is always the
signal for her trotting down stairs; he goes to meet her and offers
her a chair, as if he was delighted to see her. We go on with the
lessons, as this gives us a chance to sit pretty close together, and
when I am writing my exercises and he corrects them, I rather think a
few little things get on to the paper that sound nicely to us, but
would not strike mother very agreeably. For instance, last night
Charley wrote:

"Is your mother never sick? A nice little headache or two would be so
convenient to us!"

And I wrote back.

"You dear old horrid thing How can you be so selfish?"

Jan. 15, 1833.-I have been trying to think whether I am any happier
today than I was at this time a year ago. If I am not, I suppose it
is the tantalizing way in which I am placed in regard to Charley. We
have so much to say to each other that we can't say before mother,
and that we cannot say in writing, because a correspondence is one of
the forbidden things. He says he entered into no contract not to
write, and keeps slipping little notes into my hand; but I don't
think that quite right. Mother hears us arguing and disputing about
it, though she does not know the subject under discussion, and to-day
she said to me:

"I would not argue with him, if I were you. He never will yield."

"But it is a case of conscience," I said, "and he ought to yield."

"There is no obstinacy like that of a f---," she and stopped short.

"Oh, you may as well finish it!" I cried. "I know you think him a
fool."

Then mother burst out,

"Oh, my child," she said, "before it is too late, do be persuaded by
me to give up this whole thing. I shrink from paining or offending
you, but it is my duty, as your mother, to warn you against a
marriage that will make shipwreck of your happiness."'

"Marriage!" I fairly shrieked out. That is the last thing I have ever
thought of. I felt a chill creep over me. All I had wanted was to
have Charley come here every day, take me out now and then, and care
for nobody else.

"Yes, marriage!" mother repeated. "For what is the meaning of an
engagement if marriage is not to follow? How can you fail to see,
what I see, oh! so plainly, that Charley Underhill can never, never
meet the requirements of your soul. You are captivated by what girls
of your age call beauty, regular features, a fair complexion and soft
eyes. His flatteries delude, and his professions of affection gratify
you. You do not see that he is shallow, and conceited, and selfish
and-"

"Oh mother! How can you be so unjust? His whole study seems to be to
please others."

"Seems to be--that is true," she replied. "His ruling passion is love
of admiration; the little pleasing acts that attract you are so many
traps set to catch the attention and the favorable opinion of those
about him. He has not one honest desire to please because it is right
to be pleasing. Oh, my precious child, what a fatal mistake you are
making in relying on your own judgment in this, the most important of
earthly decisions!"

I felt very angry.

"I thought the Bible forbade back-biting," I said.

Mother made no reply, except by a look which said about a hundred and
forty different things. And then I came up here and wrote some
poetry, which was very good (for me), though I don't suppose she
would think so.

Oct. 1.-The year of probation is over, and I have nothing to do now
but to be happy. But being engaged is not half so nice as I expected
it would be. I suppose it is owing to my being obliged to defy
mother's judgment in order to gratify my own. People say she has
great insight into character, and sees, at a glance, what others only
learn after much study.

Oct. 10.-I have taken a dreadful cold. It is too bad. I dare say I
shall be coughing all winter, and instead of going out with Charley,
be shut up at home.

Oct. 12.-Charley says he did not know that I was subject to a cough,
and that he hopes I am not consumptive, because his father and mother
died of consumption, and it makes him nervous to hear people cough. I
nearly strangled myself all the evening trying not to annoy him with
mine.



Chapter 4

IV

Nov.2.

I really think I am sick and going to die. Last night I raised a
little blood. I dare not tell mother, it would distress her so, but I
am sure it came from my lungs. Charley said last week he really must
stay away till I got better, for my cough sounded like his mother's.
I have been very lonely, and have shed some tears, but most of the
time have been too sorrowful to cry. If we were married, and I had a
cough, would he go and leave me, I wonder?

Sunday, Nov 18-Poor mother is dreadfully anxious about me. But I
don't see how she can love me so, after the way I have behaved. I
wonder if, after all, mothers are not the best friends there are! I
keep her awake with my cough all night, and am mopy and cross all
day, but she is just as kind and affectionate as she can be.

Nov. 25.-The day I wrote that was Sunday. I could not go to church,
and I felt very forlorn and desolate. I tried to get some comfort by
praying, but when I got on my knees I just burst out crying and could
not say a word. For I have not seen Charley for ten days. As I knelt
there I began to think myself a perfect monster of selfishness for
wanting him to spend his evenings with me, now that I am so unwell
and annoy him so with my cough, and I asked myself if I ought not to
break off the engagement altogether, if I was really in consumption,
the very disease Charley dreaded most of all. It seemed such a proper
sacrifice to make of myself. Then I prayed-yes, I am sure I really
prayed as I had not done for more than a year, the idea of
self-sacrifice grew every moment more beautiful in my eyes, till at
last I felt an almost joyful triumph in writing to poor Charley, and
tell him what I had resolved to do. This is my letter:

My Dear, Dear Charley -I dare not tell you what it costs me to say
what I am about to do; but I am sure you know me well enough by this
time believe that it is only because your happiness is far more
precious to me than my own, that I have decided to write you this
letter. When you first told me that you loved me, you said, and you
have often said so since then, that it was my "brightness and gayety"
that attracted you. I knew there was something underneath my gayety
better worth your love, and was glad I could give you more than you
asked for. I knew I was not a mere thoughtless, laughing girl, but
that I had a heart as wide as the ocean to give you-as wide and as
deep.

But now my "brightness and gayety" have gone; I am sick and perhaps
am going to die. If this is so, it would be very sweet to have your
love go with me to the very gates of death, and beautify and glorify
my path thither. But what a weary task this would be to you, my poor
Charley! And so, if you think it best, and it would relieve you of
any care and pain, I will release you from our engagement and set you
free. Your Little Katy.

I did not sleep at all that night. Early on Monday I sent off my
letter; and my heart beat so hard all day that I was tired and faint.
Just at dark his answer came; I can copy it from memory.

Dear Kate: -What a generous, self-sacrificing little thing you are! I
always thought so, but now you have given me a noble proof of it. I
will own that I have been disappointed to find your constitution so
poor, and that it has been very dull sitting and hearing you cough,
especially as I was reminded of the long and tedious illness through
which poor Jenny and myself had to nurse our mother. I vowed then
never to marry a consumptive woman, and I thank you for making it so
easy for me to bring our engagement to an end. My bright hopes are
blighted, and it will be long before I shall find another to fill
your place. I need not say how much I sympathize with you in this
disappointment. I hope the consolations of religion will now be
yours. Your notes, the lock of your hair, etc., I return with this
now. I will not reproach you for the pain you have cost me; I know it
is not your fault that your health has become so frail. I remain your
sincere friend,

Charles Underhill

Jan. I, 1834.-Let me finish this story If I can.

My first impulse after reading his letter was to fly to mother, and
hide away forever in her dear, loving arms.

But I restrained myself, and with my heart beating so that I could
hardly hold my pen, I wrote:

Mr.. Underhill Sir-The scales have fallen from my eyes, and I see you
at last just as you are. Since my note to you on Sunday last, I have
had a consultation of physicians, and they all agree that my disease
is not of an alarming character, and that I shall soon recover. But I
thank God that before it was too late, you have been revealed to me
just as you are-a heartless, selfish, shallow creature, unworthy the
love of a true-hearted woman, unworthy even of your own self-respect.
I gave you an opportunity to withdraw from our engagement in full
faith, loving you so truly that I was ready to go trembling to my
grave alone if you shrank from sustaining me to it. But I see now
that I did not dream for one moment that you would take me at my word
and leave me to my fate. I thought I loved a man, and could lean on
him when strength failed me; I know now that I loved a mere creature
of my imagination. Take back your letters; loathe the sight of them.
Take back the ring, and find, if you can, a woman who will never be
sick, never out of spirits, and who never will die. Thank heaven it
is not Katherine Mortimer.

These lines came to me in reply:

"Thank God it is not Kate Mortimer. I want an angel for my wife, not
a vixen. C. U."

Jan. 15-What a tempest-tossed creature this birthday finds me. But
let me finish this wretched, disgraceful story, if I can, before I
quite lose my senses.

I showed my mother the letters. She burst into tears and opened her
arms, and I ran into them as a wounded bird flies into the ark. We
cried together. Mother never said, never looked, "I told you so." 
All she did say was this,

"God has heard my prayers! He is reserving better things for my
child!"

Dear mother's are not the only arms I have flown to. But it does not
seem as if God ought to take me in because I am in trouble, when I
would not go to him when I was happy in something else. But even in
the midst of my greatest felicity I had many and many a misgiving;
many a season when my conscience upbraided me for my willfulness
towards my dear mother, and my whole soul yearned for something
higher and better even than Charley's love, precious as it was.

Jan. 26.-I have shut myself up in my room to-day to think over
things. The end of it is that I am full of mortification and
confusion of face. If I had only had confidence in mother's judgment
I should never have get entangled in this silly engagement. I see now
that Charley never could have made me happy, and I know there is a
good deal in my heart he never called out. I wish, however, I had not
written him when I was in passion. No wonder he is thankful that he
free from such a vixen. But, oh the provocation was terrible!

I have made up my mind never to tell a human soul about this affair.
It will be so high- minded and honorable to shield him thus from the
contempt he deserves. With all my faults I am glad that there is
nothing mean or little about me!

Jan. 27.-I can't bear to write it down, but I will. The ink was
hardly dry yesterday on the above self-laudation when Amelia came.
She had been out of town, and had only just learned what had
happened. Of course she was curious to know the whole story.

And I told it to her, every word of it! Oh, Kate Mortimer, how
"high-minded" you are! How free from all that is "mean and little"! I
could tear my hair if it would do any good?

Amelia defended Charley, and I was thus led on to say every harsh
thing of him I could think of. She said he was of so sensitive a
nature, had so much sensibility, and such a constitutional aversion
to seeing suffering, that for her part she could not blame him.

"It is such a pity you had not had your lungs examined before you
wrote that first letter, she went on. "But you are so impulsive! If
you had only waited you would be engaged to Charley still!"

"I am thankful I did not wait," I cried, angrily. "Do, Amelia, drop
the subject forever. You and I shall never agree upon it. The truth
is, you are two-thirds in love with him, and have been, all along."

She colored, and laughed, and actually looked pleased. If anyone had
made such an outrageous speech to me I should have been furious.

"I suppose you know," said she, "that old Mr. Underhill has taken
such a fancy to him that he has made him his heir; and he is as rich
as a Jew."

"Indeed!" I said, dryly.

I wonder if mother knew it when she opposed our engagement so
strenuously.

Jan. 31.-1 have asked her, and she said she did. Mr. Underhill told
her his intentions when he urged her consent to the engagement. Dear
mother! How unworldly, how unselfish she is!

Feb. 4.-The name of Charley Underhill appears on these pages for the
last time. He is engaged to Amelia! From this moment she is lost to
me forever. How desolate, how mortified, how miserable I am! Who
could have thought this of Amelia! She came to see me, radiant with
joy. I concealed my disgust until she said that Charley felt now that
he had never really loved me, but had preferred her all along. Then I
burst out. What I said I do not know, and do not care. The whole
thing is so disgraceful that I should be a stock or a stone not to
resent it.

Feb. 5.-After yesterday's passion of grief, shame, and anger, I feel
perfectly stupid and .languid. Oh, that I was prepared for a better
world, and could fly to it and be at rest!

Feb. 6.-Now that it is all over, how ashamed I am of the fury I have
been in, and which has given Amelia such advantage over me! I was
beginning to believe that I was really living a feeble and
fluttering, but real Christian life, and finding some satisfaction in
it. But that is all over now. I am doomed to be a victim of my own
unstable, passionate, wayward nature, and the sooner I settle down
into that conviction, the better. And yet how my very soul craves the
highest happiness, and refuses to be comforted while that is wanting.

Feb. 7.-After writing that, I do not know what made me go to see Dr.
Cabot. He received me in that cheerful way of his that seems to
promise the taking one's burden right off one's back.

"I am very glad to see you, my dear child," he said.

I intended to be very dignified and cold. As if I was going to have
any Dr. Cabot's undertaking to sympathize with me! But those few kind
words just upset me, and I began to cry.

"You would not speak so kindly," I got out at last, "if you knew what
a dreadful creature I am. I am angry with myself, and angry with
everybody, and angry with God. I can't be good two minutes at a time.
I do everything I do not want to do, and do nothing I try and pray to
do. Everybody plagues me and tempts me. And God does not answer any
of my prayers, and I am just desperate."

"Poor child!" he said, in a low voice, as if to himself. "Poor,
heart-sick, tired child, that cannot see what I can see, that its
Father's loving arms are all about it?"

I stopped crying, to strain my ears and listen. He went on.

"Katy, all that you say may be true. I dare say it is. But God loves
you. He loves you."

"He loves me," I repeated to myself. "He loves me! Oh, Dr. Cabot, if
I could believe that! If I could believe that, after all the promises
I have broken, all the foolish, wrong things I have done and shall
always be doing, God perhaps still loves me!"

"You may be sure of it," he said, solemnly. "I, minister, bring the
gospel to you to-day. Go home and say over and over to yourself, 'I
am a wayward, foolish child. But He loves me! I have disobeyed and
grieved Him ten thousand times. But He loves me! I have lost faith in
some of my dearest friends and am very desolate. But He loves me! I
do not love Him, I am even angry with Him! But He loves me! '"

I came away, and all the way home I fought this battle with myself,
saying, "He loves me!" I knelt down to pray, and all my wasted,
childish, wicked life came and stared me in the face. I looked at it,
and said with tears of joy, "But He loves me!" Never in my life did I
feel so rested, so quieted, so sorrowful, and yet so satisfied.

Feb 10.-What a beautiful world this is, and how full it is of truly
kind, good people! Mrs. Morris was here this morning, and just one
squeeze of that long, yellow old hand of hers seemed to speak a
bookful! I wonder why I have always disliked her so, for she is
really an excellent woman. I gave her a good kiss to pay her for the
sympathy she had sense enough not to put into canting words, and if
you will believe it, dear old Journal, the tears came into her eyes,
and she said:

"You are one of the Lord's beloved ones, though perhaps you do not
know it"

I repeated again to myself those sweet, mysterious words, and then I
tried to think what I could do for Him. But I could not think of
anything great or good enough. I went into mother's room and put my
arms round her and told her how I loved her. She looked surprised and
pleased.

"Ah, I knew it would come!" she said, laying her hand on her Bible.

"Knew what would come, mother?"

"Peace," she said.

I came back here and wrote a little note to Amelia, telling her how
ashamed and sorry I was that I could not control myself the other
day. Then I wrote a long letter to James. I have been very careless
about writing to him.

Then I began to hem those handkerchiefs mother -asked me to finish a
month ago. But I could not think of anything to do for God. I wish I
could. It makes me so happy to think that all this time, while I was
caring for nobody but myself, and fancying He must almost hate me, He
was loving and pitying me.

Feb. 15.-I went to see Dr. Cabot again to-day. He came down from his
study with his pen in his hand.

"How dare you come and spoil my sermon on Saturday?" he asked,
good-humoredly.

Though he seemed full of loving kindness, I was ashamed of my
thoughtlessness. Though I did not know he was particularly busy on
Saturdays. If I were a minister I am sure I would get my sermons done
early in the week.

"I only wanted to ask one thing," I said. "I want to do something for
God. And I cannot think of anything unless it is to go on a mission.
And mother would never let me do that. She thinks girls with delicate
health are not fit for such work."

"At all events I would not go to-day," he replied. Meanwhile do
everything you do for Him who has loved you and given Himself for
you."

I did not dare to stay any longer, and so came away quite puzzled.
Dinner was ready, and as I sat down to the table, I said to myself:

"I eat this dinner for myself, not for God. What can Dr. Cabot mean?"
Then I remembered the text about doing all for the glory of God, even
in eating and drinking; but I do not understand it at all.

Feb. 19.It has seemed to' me for several days that it must be that I
really do love God, though ever so little. But it shot through my
mind to-day like a knife, that it is a miserable, selfish love at the
best, not worth my giving, not worth God's accepting. All my old
misery has come back with seven other miseries more miserable than
itself. I wish I had never been born! I wish I were thoughtless and
careless, like so many other girls of my age, who seem to get along
very well, and to enjoy themselves far more than I do.

Feb. 21.-Dr. Cabot came to see me to-day. I told him all about it. He
could not help smiling as he said:

"When I see a little infant caressing its mother, would you have me
say to it, 'You selfish child, how dare you pretend to caress your
mother in that way? You are quite unable to appreciate her character;
you love her merely because she loves you, treats you kindly?'"

It was my turn to smile now, at my own folly.

"You are as yet but a babe in Christ," Dr. Cabot continued. "You love
your God and Saviour because He first loved you. The time will come
when the character of your love will become changed into one which
sees and feels the beauty and the perfection of its object, and if
you could be assured that He no longer looked on you with favor, you
would still cling to Him with devoted affection."

"There is one thing more that troubles me," I said. "Most persons
know the exact moment when they begin real Christian lives. But I do
not know of any such time in my history. This causes me many uneasy
moments."

"You are wrong in thinking that most persons have this advantage over
you. I believe that the children of Christian parents, who have been
judiciously trained, rarely can 'point to any day or hour when they
began to live this new life. The question is not, do you remember, my
child, when you entered this world, and how! It is simply this, are
you now alive and an inhabitant thereof? And now it is my turn to ask
you a question. How happens it that you, who have a mother of rich
and varied experience, allow yourself to be tormented with these
petty anxieties which she is as capable of dispelling as I am?"

"I do not know," I answered. "But we girls can't talk to our mothers
about any of our sacred feelings, and we hate to have them talk to
us."

Dr. Cabot shook his head.

"There is something wrong somewhere," he said, "A young girl's mother
is her natural refuge in every perplexity. I hoped that you, who have
rather more sense than most girls of your age, could give me some
idea what the difficulty is."

After he had gone, I am ashamed to own that I was in a perfect
flutter of delight at what he had said about my having more sense
than most girls. Meeting poor mother on the stairs while in this
exalted state of mind, I gave her a very short answer to a kind
question, and made her unhappy, as I have made myself.

It is just a year ago to-day that I got frightened at my
novel-reading propensities, and resolved not to look into one for
twelve months. I was getting to dislike all other books, and night
after night sat up late, devouring everything exciting I could get
hold of. One Saturday night I sat up till the clock struck twelve to
finish one, and the next morning I was so sleepy that I had to stay
at home from church. Now I hope and believe the back of this taste is
broken, and that I shall never be a slave to it again. Indeed it does
not seem to me now that I shall ever care for such books again.

Feb. 24.-Mother spoke to me this morning for the fiftieth time, I
really believe, about my disorderly habits. I don't think I am
careless because I like confusion, but the trouble is I am always in
a hurry and a ferment about something. If I want anything, I want it
very much, and right away. So if I am looking for a book, or a piece
of music, or a pattern, I tumble everything around, and can't stop to
put them to rights. I wish I were not so-eager and impatient. But I
mean to try to keep my room and my drawers in order, to please
mother.

She says, too, that I am growing careless about my hair and my dress.
But that is because my mind is so full of graver, more important
things. I thought I ought to be wholly occupied with my duty to God.
But mother says duty to God includes duty to one's neighbor, and that
untidy hair, put up in all sorts of rough bunches, rumpled cuffs and
collars, and all that sort of thing, make one offensive to all one
meets. I am sorry she thinks so, for I find it very convenient to
twist up my hair almost any how, and it takes a good deal of time to
look after collars and cuffs.

March 14.-To-day I feel discouraged and disappointed. I certainly
thought that if God really loved me, and I really loved Him, I should
find myself growing better day by day. But I am not improved in the
least. Most of the time I spend on my knees I am either stupid;
feeling nothing at all, or else my head is full of what I was doing
before I began to pray, or what I am going to do as soon as I get
through. I do not believe anybody else in the world is like me in
this respect. Then when I feel differently, and can make a nice, glib
prayer, with floods of tears running down my cheeks, I get all puffed
up, and think how much pleased God must be to see me so fervent in
spirit. I go down-stairs in this frame, and begin to scold Susan for
misplacing my music, till all of a sudden I catch myself doing it,
and stop short, crestfallen and confounded. I have so many such
experiences that I feel like a baby just learning to walk, who is so
afraid of falling that it has half a mind to sit down once for all.

Then there is another thing. Seeing mother so fond of Thomas A
Kempis, I have been reading it, now and then, and am not fond of it
at all. From beginning to end it exhorts to self-denial in every form
and shape. Must I then give up all hope of happiness in this world,
and modify all my natural tastes and desires? Oh, I do love so to be
happy! I do so hate to suffer! The very thought of being sick, or of
being forced to nurse sick people, with all their cross ways, and of
losing my friends, or of having to live with disagreeable people,
make's me shudder. I want to please God, and to be like Him. I
certainly do. But I am so young, and it is so natural to want to have
a good time! And now I am in for it I may as well tell the whole
story. When I read the lives of good men and women who have died and
gone to heaven, I find they all liked to sit and think about God and
about Christ. Now I don't. I often try, but my mind flies off in a
tangent. The truth is I am perfectly discouraged.

March 17.-I went to see Dr. Cabot to-day, but he was out, so I
thought I would ask for Mrs. Cabot, though I was determined not to
tell her any of my troubles. But somehow she got the whole story out
of me, and instead of being shocked, as I expected she would be, she
actually burst out laughing! She recovered herself immediately,
however.

"Do excuse me for laughing at you, you dear child you!" she said.
"But I remember so well how I use to flounder through just such
needless anxieties, and life looks so different, so very different,
to me now from what it did then! What should you think of a man who,
having just sowed his field, was astonished not to see it at once
ripe for the harvest, because his neighbor's, after long months of
waiting, was just being gathered in?"

"Do you mean," I asked, "that by and by I shall naturally come to
feel and think as other good people do?"

"Yes, I do. You must make the most of what little Christian life you
have; be thankful God has given you so much, cherish it, pray over
it, and guard it like the apple of your eye. Imperceptibly, but
surely, it will grow, and keep on growing, for this is its nature."

"But I don't want to wait," I said, despondently. "I have just been
reading a delightful book, full of stories of heroic deeds-not
fables, but histories of real events and real people. It has quite
stirred me up, and made me wish to possess such beautiful heroism,
and that I were a man, that I might have a chance to perform some
truly noble, self-sacrificing acts."

"I dare say your chance will come," she replied, "though you are not
a man. I fancy we all get, more or less, what we want."

"Do you really think so? Let me see, then, what I want most. But I am
staying too long. Were you particularly busy?"

"No," she returned smilingly, "I am learning that the man who wants
me is the man I want."

"You are very good to say so. Well, in the first place, I do really
and truly want to be good. Not with common goodness, you know, but-"

"But uncommon goodness," she put in.

"I mean that I want to be very, very good. I should like next best to
be learned and accomplished. Then I should want to be perfectly well
and perfectly happy. And a pleasant home, of course, I must have,
with friends to love me, and like me, too. And I can't get along
without some pretty, tasteful things about me. But you are laughing
at me! Have I said anything foolish?"

"If I laughed it was not at you, but at poor human nature that would
fain grasp everything at once. Allowing that you should possess all
you have just described, where is the heroism you so much admire for
exercise?"

"That is just what I was saying. That is just what troubles me."

"To be sure, while perfectly well and happy, in a pleasant home;
with friends to love and admire you--"

"Oh, I did not say admire," I interrupted.

"That was just what you meant, my dear."

I am afraid it was, now I come to think it over.

"Well, with plenty of friends, good in an uncommon way, accomplished,
learned, and surrounded with pretty and tasteful objects, your life
will certainly be in danger of not proving very sublime."

"It is a great pity," I said, musingly.

"Suppose then you content yourself for the present with doing in a
faithful, quiet, persistent way all the little, homely tasks that
return with each returning day, each one as unto God, and perhaps by
and by you will thus have gained strength for a more heroic life."

"But I don't know how."

"You have some little home duties, I suppose?"

"Yes; I have the care of my own room, and mother wants me to have a
general oversight of the parlor; you know we have but one parlor
now."

"Is that all you have to do?"

"Why, my music and drawing take up a good deal of my time, and I read
and study more or less, and go out some, and we have a good many
visitors."

"I suppose, then, you keep your room in nice lady-like order, and
that the parlor is dusted every morning, loose music put out of the
way, books restored to their places-"

"Now I know mother has been telling you."

"Your mother has told me nothing at all."

"Well, then," I said, laughing, but a little ashamed, "I don't keep
my room in nice order, and mother really sees to the parlor herself,
though I pretend to do it."

"And is she never annoyed by this neglect?"

"Oh, yes, very much annoyed."

"Then, dear Katy, suppose your first act of heroism tomorrow should
be the gratifying your mother in these little things, little though
they are. Surely your first duty, next to pleasing God, is to please
your mother, and in every possible way to sweeten and beautify her
life. You may depend upon it that a life of real heroism and
self-sacrifice must begin and lay its foundation in this little
world, wherein it learns its first lesson and takes its first steps."

"And do you really think that God notices such little things ?"

"My dear child, what a question! If there is any one truth I would
gladly impress on the mind of a you Christian, it is just this, that
God notices the most trivial act, accepts the poorest, most
threadbare little service, listens to the coldest, feeblest petition,
and gathers up with parental fondness all our fragmentary desires and
attempts at good works. Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He
loves us, what different creatures we should be!"

I felt inspired by her enthusiasm, though I don't think I quite
understand what she means. I did not dare to stay any longer, for,
with her great host of children, she must have her hands full.

March 25.-Mother is very much astonished to see how nicely I am
keeping things in order. I was flying about this morning, singing,
and dusting the furniture, when she came in and began, "He that is
faithful in that which is least "-but I ran at her my brush, and
would not let her finish. really, really don't deserve to be praised.
For I have been thinking that, if it is true that God notices every
little thing we do to please Him, He must also notice every cross
word we speak, every shrug of the shoulders, every ungracious look,
and that they displease Him. And my list of such offences is as long
as my life.

March 29-Yesterday, for the first time since that dreadful blow, I
felt some return of my natural gayety and cheerfulness. It seemed to
come hand in hand with my first real effort to go so far out of
myself as to try to do exactly what would gratify dear mother.

But to-day I am all down again. I miss Amelia's friendship, for one
thing. To be sure I wonder how I ever came to love such a superficial
character so devotedly, but I must have somebody to love, and perhaps
I invented a lovely creature, and called it by her name, and bowed
down to it and worshiped it. I certainly did so in regard to him
whose heart less cruelty has left me so sad, so desolate.

Evening.-Mother has been very patient and forbearing with me all day.
To-night, after tea, she said, in her gentlest, tenderest way,

"Dear Katy, I feel very sorry for you. But I see one path which you
have not yet tried, which can lead you out of these sore straits. You
have tried living for yourself a good many years, and the result is
great weariness and heaviness of soul. Try now to live for others.
Take a class in the Sunday-school. Go with me to visit my poor
people. You will be astonished to find how much suffering and
sickness there is in this world, and how delightful it is to
sympathize with and try to relieve it."

This advice was very repugnant to me. My time is pretty fully
occupied with my books, my music and my drawing. And of all places in
the world I hate a sick-room. But, on the whole, I will take a class
in the Sunday-school.



Chapter 5

V.

APRIL 6.

I have taken it at last. I would not take one be fore, because I knew
I could not teach little children how to love God, unless I loved Him
myself. My class is perfectly delightful. There are twelve dear
little things in it, of all ages between eight and nine. Eleven are
girls, and the one boy makes me more trouble than all of them put
together. When I get them all about me, and their sweet innocent
faces look up into mine, I am so happy that I can hardly help
stopping every now and then to kiss them. They ask the very strangest
questions I mean to spend a great deal of time in preparing the
lesson, and in hunting up stories to illustrate it. Oh, I am so glad
I was ever born into this beautiful world, where there will always be
dear little children to love!

APRIL 13.-Sunday has come again, and with it my darling little class!
Dr. Cabot has preached delightfully all day, and I feel that I begin
to understand his preaching better, and that it must do me good. I
long, I truly long to please God; I long to feel as the best
Christians feel, and to live as they live.

APRIL 20.-Now that I have these twelve little ones to instruct, I am
more than ever in earnest about setting them a good example through
the week. It is true they do not, most of them, know how I spend my
time, nor how I act. But I know, and whenever I am conscious of not
practicing what I preach, I am bitterly ashamed and grieved. How much
work, badly done, I am now having to undo. If I had begun in earnest
to serve God when I was as young as these children are, how many
wrong habits I should have avoided; habits that entangle me now, as
in so many nets. I am trying to take each of these little gentle
girls by the hand and to lead her to Christ. Poor Johnny Ross is not
so docile as they are, and tries my patience to the last degree.

APRIL 27.-This morning I had my little flock about me, and talked to
them out of the very bottom of my heart about Jesus. They left their
seats and got close to me in a circle, leaning on my lap and drinking
in every word. All of a sudden I was aware, as by a magnetic
influence, that a great lumbering man in the next seat was looking at
me out of two of the blackest eyes I ever saw, and evidently
listening to what I was saying. I was disconcerted at first, then
angry. What impertinence. What rudeness! I am sure he must have seen
my displeasure in my face, for he got up what I suppose he meant for
a blush, that is he turned several shades darker than he was before,
giving one the idea that he is full of black rather than red blood. I
should not have remembered it, however-by it-I mean his
impertinence--if he had not shortly after made a really excellent
address to the children. Perhaps it was a little above their
comprehension, but it showed a good deal of thought and earnestness.
I meant to ask who he was, but forgot it.

This has been a delightful Sunday. I have really feasted on .Dr.
Cabot's preaching. But I am satisfied that there is something in
religion I do not yet comprehend. I do wish I positively knew that
God had forgiven and accepted me.

MAY 6.-Last evening Clara Ray had a little party and I was there. She
has a great knack at getting the right sort of people together, and
of making them enjoy themselves.

I sang several songs, and so did Clara, but they all said my voice
was finer and in better training than hers. It is delightful to be
with cultivated, agreeable people. I could have stayed all night, but
mother sent for me before any one else had thought of going.

MAY 7.-I have been on a charming excursion to-day with Clara Ray and
all her set. I was rather tired, but had an invitation to a concert
this evening which I could not resist.

JULY 21.-So much has been going on that I have not had time to write.
There is no end to the picnics, drives, parties, etc., this summer. I
am afraid I am not getting on at all. My prayers are dull and short,
and full of wandering thoughts. I am brimful of vivacity and good
humor in company, and as soon as I get home am stupid and peevish. I
suppose this will always be so, as it always has been and I declare I
would rather be so than such a vapid, flat creature as Mary Jones, or
such a dull, heavy one as big Lucy Merrill.

JULY 24.-Clara Ray says the girls think me reckless and imprudent in
speech. I've a good mind not to go with her set any more. I am afraid
I have been a good deal dazzled by the attentions I have received of
late; and now comes this blow at my vanity.

On the whole, I feel greatly out of sorts this evening.

JULY 28.-People talk about happiness to be found in a Christian life.
I wonder why I do not find more! On Sundays I am pretty good, and
always seem to start afresh; but on week-days I am drawn along with
those about me. All my pleasures are innocent ones; there is surely
no harm in going to concerts, driving out, singing, and making little
visits! But these things distract me; they absorb me; they make
religious duties irksome. I almost wish I could shut myself up in a
cell, and so get out of the reach of temptation.

The truth is, the journey heavenward is all up hill I have to force
myself to keep on. The wonder is that anybody gets there with so much
to oppose--- so little to help one!

JULY 29.-It is high time to stop and think. I have been like one
running a race, and am stopping to take breath. I do not like the way
in which things have been going on of late. I feel restless and ill
at ease. I see that if I would be happy in God, I must give Him all.
And there is a wicked reluctance to do that. I want Him-but I want to
have my own way, too. I want to walk humbly and softly before Him,
and I want to go where I shall be admired and applauded. To whom
shall I yield? To God? Or to myself?

JULY 30.-I met Dr. Cabot to-day, and could not, help asking the
question:

"Is it right for me to sing and play in company when all I do it for
is to be admired?"

"Are you sure it is all you do it for?" he returned.

"Oh," I said, "I suppose there may be a sprinkling of desire to
entertain and please, mixed with the love of display."

"Do you suppose that your love of display, allowing you have it,
would be forever slain by your merely refusing to sing in company?"

"I thought that might give it a pretty hard blow," I said, "if not
its death-blow."

"Meanwhile, in, punishing yourself you punish your poor innocent
friends," he said laughing. "No child, go on singing; God has given
you this power of entertaining and, gratifying your friends. But
,pray without ceasing, that you may sing from pure benevolence and
not from pure self-love."

"Why, do people pray about such things as that?" I cried.

"Of course they do. Why, I would pray about my little finger, if my
little finger went astray."

I looked at his little finger, but saw no signs of its becoming
schismatic.

AUG. 3.-This morning I took great delight in praying for my little
scholars, and went to Sunday-school as on wings. But on reaching my
seat, what was my horror to find Maria Perry there!

Oh, your seat is changed," said she. "I am to have half your class,
and I like this seat better than those higher up. I suppose you don't
care?"

"But I do care," I returned; "and you have taken my very best
children-the very sweetest and the very prettiest. I shall speak to
Mr. Williams about it directly."

"At any rate, I would not fly into such a fury," she said. "It is
just as pleasant to me to have pretty children to teach as it is to
you. Mr. Williams said he had no doubt you would be glad to divide
your class with me, as it is so large; and I doubt if you gain
anything by speaking to him.

There was no time for further discussion, as school was about to
begin. I went to my new seat with great disgust, and found it very
inconvenient. The children could not cluster around me as they did
before, and I got on with the lesson very badly. I am sure Maria
Perry has no gift at teaching little children, and I feel quite vexed
and disappointed. This has not been a profitable Sunday, and I and
now going to bed, cheerless and uneasy.

AUG. 9.-Mr. Williams called this evening to say that I am to have my
old seat and all the children again. All the mothers had been to see
him, or had written him notes about it, and requested that I continue
to teach them. Mr. Williams said he hoped I would go on teaching for
twenty years, and that as fast as his little girls grew old enough to
come to Sunday-school he should want me to take charge of them. I
should have been greatly elated by these compliments, but for the
display I made of myself to Maria Perry on Sunday. Oh, that I could
learn to bridle my unlucky tongue!

JAN.15, 1835.-To-day I am twenty. That sounds very old, yet I feel
pretty much as I did before. I have begun to visit some of mother's
poor folks with her, and am astonished to see how they love her, how
plainly they let her talk to them. As a general rule, I do not think
poor people are very interesting, and they are always ungrateful.

We went first to see old Jacob Stone. I have been there a good many
times with the baskets of nice things mother takes such comfort in
sending him, but never would go in. I was shocked to see how worn
away he was. He seemed in great distress of mind, and begged mother
to pray with him. I do not see how she could. I am perfectly sure
that no earthly power could ever induce me to go round praying on
bare floors, with people sitting, rocking and staring all the time,
as the two Stone girls stared at mother. How tenderly she prayed for
him!

We then went to see Susan Green. She had made a carpet for her room
by sewing together little bits of pieces given her, I suppose, by
persons for whom she works, for she goes about fitting and making
carpets. It looked bright and cheerful. She had a nice bed in the
corner, covered with a white quilt, and some little ornaments were
arranged about the room. Mother complimented her on her neatness, and
said a queen might sleep in such a bed as that, and hoped she found
it as comfortable as it looked.

"Mercy on us!" she cried out, "it ain't to sleep in! I sleep up in
the loft, that I climb to by a ladder every night."

Mother looked a little amused, and then she sat and listened,
patiently, to a long account of how the poor old thing had invested
her money; how Mr. Jones did not pay the interest regularly, and how
Mr. Stevens haggled about the percentage. After we came away, I asked
mother how she could listen to such a rigmarole in patience, and what
good she supposed she had done by her visit.

"Why the poor creature likes to show off her bright carpet and nice
bed, her chairs, her vases and her knick-knacks, and she likes to
talk about her beloved money, and her bank stock. I may not have done
her any good; but I have given her a pleasure, and so have you."

"Why, I hardly spoke a word."

"Yes, but your mere presence gratified her. And if she ever gets into
trouble, she will feel kindly towards us for the sake of our sympathy
with her pleasures, and will let us sympathize with her sorrows."

I confess this did not seem a privilege to be coveted. She is not
nice at all, and takes snuff.

We went next to see Bridget Shannon. Mother had lost sight of her for
some years, and had just heard that she was sick and in great want.
We found her in bed; there was no furniture in the room, and three
little half-naked children sat with their bare feet in some ashes
where there had been a little fire. Three such disconsolate faces I
never saw. Mother sent me to the nearest baker's for bread; I ran
nearly all the way, and I hardly know which I enjoyed most, mother's
eagerness in distributing, or the children's in clutching at and
devouring it. I am going to cut up one or two old dresses to make the
poor things something to cover them. One of them has lovely hair that
would curl beautifully if it were only brushed out. I told her to
come to see me to-morrow, she is so very pretty. Those few visits
used up the very time I usually spend in drawing. But on the whole I
am glad I went with mother, because it has gratified her. Besides,
one must either stop reading the Bible altogether, or else leave off
spending one's whole time in just doing easy pleasant things one
likes to do.

JAN. 20.-The little Shannon girl came, and I washed her face and.
hands, brushed out her hair and made it curl in lovely golden
ringlets all round her sweet face, and carried her in great triumph
to mother.

"Look at the dear little thing, mother!" I cried; "doesn't she look
like a line of poetry?"

"You foolish, romantic child!" quoth mother. "She looks, to me,
like a very ordinary line of prose. A slice of bread and butter and a
piece of gingerbread mean more to her than these elaborate ringlets
possibly can. They get in her eyes, and make her neck cold; see, they
are dripping with water, and the child is all in a shiver."

So saying, mother folded a towel round its neck, to catch the falling
drops, and went for bread and butter, of which the child consumed a
quantity that, was absolutely appalling. To crown all, the ungrateful
little thing would not so much as look at me from that moment, but
clung to mother, turning its back upon me in supreme contempt.

Moral.-Mothers occasionally know more than their daughters do.



Chapter 6

VI.

JANUARY 24. A Message came yesterday morning from Susan Green to the
effect that she had had a dreadful fall, and was half killed. Mother
wanted to set off at once to see her, but I would not let her go, as
she has one of her worst colds. She then asked me to go in her place.
I turned up my nose at the bare thought, though I dare say it turns
up enough on its own account.

"Oh, mother!" I said, reproachfully that dirty old woman!"

Mother made no answer, and I sat down at the piano, and played a
little. But I only played discords.

"Do you think it is my duty to run after such horrid old women ?" I
asked mother, at last.

"I think, dear, you must make your own duties, she said kindly. "I
dare say that at your age I should have made a great deal out of my
personal repugnance to such a woman as Susan, and very little out of
her sufferings."

I believe I am the most fastidious creature in the world. Sick-rooms
with their intolerable smells of camphor, and vinegar and mustard,
their gloom and their whines and their groans, actually make me
shudder. But was it not just such fastidiousness that made Cha-no, I
won't utter his name----that made somebody weary of my possibilities?
And has that terrible lesson really done me no good?

JAN. 26.-No sooner had I written the above than I scrambled into my
cloak and bonnet, and flew, on the wings of holy indignation, to
Susan Green. Such wings fly fast, and got me a little out of breath.
I found her lying on that nice white bed of hers, in a frilled cap
and night-gown. It seems she fell from her ladder in climbing to the
dismal den where she sleeps, and lay all night in great distress with
some serious internal injury. I found her groaning and complaining in
a fearful way.

"Are you in such pain ?" I asked, as kindly as I could.

"It isn't the pain," she said, "it isn't the pain. Its the way my
nice bed is going to wreck and ruin, and the starch all getting out
of my frills that I fluted with my own hands. And the doctor's bill,
and the medicines; oh, dear, dear, dear!"

Just then the doctor came in. After examining her, he said to a woman
who seemed to have charge of her:

"Are you the nurse?"

"Oh, no, I only stepped in to see what I could do for her."

"Who is to be with her to-night, then?"

Nobody knew.

"I will send a nurse, then," he said. "But some one else will be
needed also,' he added, looking at me.

"I will stay," I said. But my heart died within me.

The doctor took me aside.

"Her injuries are very serious," be said." If she has any friends,
they ought to be sent for."

"You don't mean that she is going to die?" I asked.

"I fear she is. But not immediately." He took leave, and I went back
to the bedside. I saw there no longer a snuffy, repulsive old woman,
but a human being about to make that mysterious journey a far country
whence there is no return. Oh, how I wished mother were there!

"Susan," I said, "have you any relatives?"

"No, I haven't," she answered sharply. "And if I had they needn't
come prowling around me. I don't want no relations about my body."

"Would you like to see Dr. Cabot?"

"What should I want of Dr. Cabot? Don't tease, child."

Considering the deference with which she had heretofore treated me,
this was quite a new order of things.

I sat down and tried to pray for her, silently, in my heart. Who was
to go with her on that long journey, and where was it to end?

The woman who had been caring for her now went away, and it was
growing dark. I sat still listening to my own heart, which beat till
it half choked me.

"What were you and the doctor whispering about?" she suddenly burst
out.

"He asked me, for one thing, if you had any friends that could be
sent for."

"I've been my own best friend," she returned. "Who'd have raked and
scraped and hoarded and counted for Susan Green if I hadn't ha' done
it? I ve got enough to make me comfortable as long as I live, and
when I lie on my dying bed."

"But you can't carry it with you," I said. This highly original
remark was all I had courage to utter.

"I wish I could," she cried. "I suppose you think I talk awful. They
say you are getting most to be as much of a saint as your ma. It's
born in some, and in some it ain't. Do get a light. It's lonesome
here in the dark, and cold."

I was thankful enough to enliven the dark room with light and fire.
But I saw now that the thin, yellow, hard face had changed sadly. She
fixed her two little black eyes on me, evidently startled by the
expression of my face.

"Look here, child, I ain't hurt to speak of, am I?

"The doctor says you are hurt seriously."

My tone must have said more than my words did for she caught me by
the wrist and held me fast.

"He didn't say nothing about my-about it being dangerous? I ain't
dangerous, am I?"

I felt ready to sink.

"Oh Susan!" I gasped out; "you haven't any time to lose. You're
going, you're going!"  "Going!" she cried; "going where? You don't
mean to say I'm a-dying? Why, it beats all my calculations. I was
going to live ever so years, and save up ever so much money, and when
my time come, I was going to put on my best fluted night-gown and
night-cap, and lay my head on my handsome pillow, and draw the
clothes up over me, neat and tidy, and die decent. But here's my bed
all in a toss, and my frills all in a crumple and my room all upside
down, and bottles of medicine setting around alongside of my vases,
and nobody here but you, just a girl, and nothing else!"

All this came out by jerks, as it were, and at intervals.

"Don't talk so!" I fairly screamed. "Pray, pray to God to have mercy
on you!"

She looked at me, bewildered, but yet as if the truth had reached her
at last.

"Pray yourself!" she said, eagerly. "I don't' know how. I can't
think. Oh, my time's come my time's come!; And I ain't ready! I ain't
ready! Get down on your knees and pray with all your, might and
main."

And I did; she holding my wrist tightly in hard hand. All at once I
felt her hold relax. After that the next thing I knew I was lying on
the and somebody was dashing water in my face.

It was the nurse. She had come at last, and found me by the side of
the bed, where I had fallen, ,and had been trying to revive me ever
since. I started up and looked about me. The nurse was closing
Susan's eyes in a professional way, and performing other little
services of the sort. The room wore an air of perfect desolation. The
clothes Susan had on when she fell lay in a forlorn heap on a chair;
her shoes and stockings were thrown hither and thither; the mahogany
bureau, in which she had taken so much pride, was covered with vials,
to make room for which some pretty trifles had been hastily thrust
aside. I remembered what I had once said to Mrs. Cabot about having
tasteful things about me, with a sort of shudder. What a mockery they
are in the awful presence of death!

Mother met me with open arms when I reached home. She was much
shocked at what I had to tell, and at my having encountered such a
scene alone I should have felt myself quite a heroine under her
caresses if I had not been overcome with bitter regret that I had
not, with firmness and dignity turned poor Susan's last thoughts to
her Saviour. Oh, how could I, through miserable cowardice, let those
precious moments slip by!

Feb 27.-I have learned one thing by yesterday's experience that is
worth knowing. It is this: duty looks more repelling at a distance
than when fairly faced and met. Of course I have read the lines,

"Nor know we anything so fair 
As is the smile upon thy face;"

but I seem to be one of the stupid sort, who never apprehend a thing
till they experience it. Now, however, I have seen the smile, and
find it so "fair," that I shall gladly plod through many a hardship
and trial to meet it again.

Poor Susan! Perhaps God heard my prayer for her soul, and revealed
Himself to her at the very last moment.

March 2.-Such a strange thing has happened! Susan Green left a will,
bequeathing her precious savings to whoever offered the last prayer
in her hearing! I do not want, I never could touch a penny of that
hardly-earned store; and if I did, no earthly motive would tempt me
to tell a human being, that it was offered by me, an inexperienced,
trembling girl, driven to it by mere desperation! So it has gone to
Dr. Cabot, who will not use it for himself, I am sure, but will be
delighted to have it to give to poor people, who really besiege him.
The last time he called to see her he talked and prayed with her, and
says she seemed pleased and grateful, and promised to be more regular
at church, which she had been, ever since.

March 28.-I feel all out of sorts. Mother says it is owing to the
strain I went through at Susan's dying bed. She wants me to go to
visit my aunt Mary, who is always urging me to come. But I do not
like to leave my little Sunday scholars, nor to give mother the
occasion to deny herself in order to meet the expense of such a long
journey. Besides, I should have to have some new dresses, a new
bonnet, and lots of things.

To-day Dr. Cabot has sent me some directions for which I have been
begging him a long time. Lest I should wear out this precious letter
by reading it over, I will copy it here. After alluding to my
complaint that I still "saw men as trees walking," he says:

"Yet he who first uttered this complaint had had his eyes opened by
the Son of God, and so have you. Now He never leaves His work
incomplete, and He will gradually lead you into clear and open
vision, if you will allow Him to do it. I say gradually, because I
believe this to be His usual method, while I do not deny that there
are cases where light suddenly bursts in like a flood. To return to
the blind man When Jesus found that his cure was not complete, He put
His hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up; and he was
restored, and saw every man clearly. Now this must be done for you;
and in order to have it done you must go to Christ Himself, not to
one of His servants. Make your complaint, tell Him how obscure
everything still looks to you, and beg Him to complete your cure He
may see fit to try your faith and patience by delaying this
completion; but meanwhile you are safe in His presence, and while led
by His hand; He will excuse the mistakes you make, and pity your
falls. But you will imagine that it is best that He should at once
enable you to see clearly. If it is, you may be sure He will do it.
He never makes mistakes. But He often deals far differently with His
disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully
learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of
Him.

"What His methods will be with you I cannot foretell. But you may be
sure that He never works in an arbitrary way. He has a reason for
everything He does. You may not understand why He leads you now in
this way and now in that, but you may, nay, you must believe that
perfection is stamped on His every act.

"I am afraid that you are in danger of falling into an error only too
common among young Christians. You acknowledge that there has been
enmity to towards God in your secret soul, and that one of the first
steps towards peace is to become reconciled to Him and to have your
sins forgiven for Christ's sake. This done, you settle down with the
feeling that the great work of life is done, and that your salvation
is sure. Or, if not sure, that your whole business is to study your
own case to see whether you are really in a state of grace. Many
persons never get beyond this point. They spend their whole time in
asking the question:

"'Do I love the Lord or no? 
  Am I His or am I not?'

"I beg you, my dear child, if you are doing this aimless, useless
work, to stop short at once. Life is to precious to spend in a
tread-mill.. Having been pardoned by your God and Saviour, the next
thing you have to do is to show your gratitude for this infinite
favor by consecrating yourself entirely to Him, body, soul, and
spirit. This is the least you can do. He has bought you with a price,
and you are no longer, your own. 'But,' you may reply, this is
contrary to my nature. I love my own way. I desire ease and pleasure;
I desire to go to heaven, to be carried thither on a bed of flowers.
Can I not give myself so far to God as to feel a sweet sense of peace
with Him, and be sure of final salvation, and yet, to a certain
extent, indulge and gratify myself? If I give myself entirely away in
Him and lose all ownership in myself, He may deny me many things I
greatly desire. He may make my life hard and wearisome, depriving me
of all that now makes it agreeable.' But, I reply, this is no matter
of parley and discussion; it is not optional with God's children
whether they will pay Him a part of the price they owe Him, and keep
back the rest. He asks, and He has a right to ask, for all you have
and all you are. And if you shrink from what is involved in such a
surrender, you should fly to Him at once and never rest till He has
conquered this secret disinclination to give to Him as freely and as
fully as He has given to you It is true that such an act of
consecration on your part may involve no little future discipline and
correction. As soon as you become the Lord's by your own deliberate
and conscious act, He will begin that process of sanctification which
is to make you holy as He is holy, perfect as He is perfect. He
becomes at once ,your physician as well as your dearest and best
Friend, but He will use no painful remedy that can be avoided.
Remember that it is His will that you should be sanctified, and that
the work of making you holy is His, not yours. At the same time you
are not to sit with folded hands, waiting for this blessing. You are
to avoid laying hindrances in His way, and you are to exercise faith
in Him as just as able and just as willing to give you sanctification
as He was to give you redemption. And now if you ask how you may know
that you have truly consecrated yourself to Him, I reply, observe
every in indication of His will concerning you, no matter how
trivial, and see whether you at once close in with that will. Lay
down this principle as a law- God does nothing arbitrary. If He takes
away your health, for instance, it is because He has some reason for
doing so; and this is true of everything you value; and if you have
real faith in Him you will not insist on knowing this reason. If you
find, in the course of daily events, that your self-consecration was
not perfect-that is, that your will revolts at His will-do not be
discouraged, but fly to your Saviour and stay in His presence till
you obtain the spirit in which He cried in His hour of anguish,
'Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless,
not my will but Thine be done.' Every time you do this it will be
easier to do it; every such consent to suffer will bring you nearer
and nearer to Him; and in this nearness to Him you will find such
peace, such blessed, sweet peace, as will make your life infinitely
happy, no matter what may be its mere outside conditions. Just think,
my dear Katy, of the honor and the joy of having your will one with
the Divine will, and so becoming changed into Christ's image from
glory to glory!

"But I cannot say, in a letter, the tithe of what I want to say.
Listen to my sermons from week to week and glean from them all the
instruction you can, remembering that they are preached to you.

"In reading the Bible I advise you to choose detached passages, or
even one verse a day, rather whole chapters. Study every word, ponder
and pray over it till you have got out of it all the truth it
contains.

"As to the other devotional reading, it is better to settle down on a
few favorite authors, and read their works over and over and over
until you have digested their thoughts and made them your own.

"It has been said 'that a fixed, inflexible will is a great
assistance in a holy life.'

"You can will to choose for your associates those who are most devout
and holy.

"You can will to read books that will stimulate you in your Christian
life, rather than those that merely amuse.

"You can will to use every means of grace appointed by God.

"You can' will to spend much time in prayer, without regard to your
frame at the moment.

"You can will to prefer a religion of principle to one of mere
feeling; in other, words, to obey the will of God when no comfortable
glow of emotion accompanies your obedience.

"You cannot will to possess the spirit of Christ; that must come as
His gift; but you can choose to study His life, and to imitate it.
This will infallibly lead to such self-denying work as visiting the
poor, nursing the sick, giving of your time and money to the needy,
and the like.

"If the thought of such self-denial is repugnant to you, remember
that it is enough for the disciple to be as his Lord. And let me
assure you that as you penetrate the labyrinth of life in pursuit of
Christian duty, you will often be surprised and charmed by meeting
your Master Himself amid its windings and turnings, and receive His
soul-inspiring smile. Or, I should rather say, you will always meet
Him wherever you go."

I have read this letter again and again. It has taken such hold of me
that I can think of nothing else. The idea of seeking holiness had
never so much as crossed my mind. And even now it seems like
presumption for such a one as I to utter so sacred a word. And I
shrink from committing myself to such a pursuit, lest after a time I
should fall back into the old routine. And I have an undefined,
wicked dread of being singular, as well as a certain terror of
self-denial and loss of all liberty. But no choice seems left to me.
Now that my duty has been clearly pointed out to me, I do not stand
where I did before. And I feel, mingled with my indolence and love of
ease and pleasure, some drawings towards a higher and better life.
There is one thing I can do, and that is to pray that Jesus would do
for me what He did for the blind man-put His hands yet again upon my
eyes and make me to see clearly. And I will.

MARCH, 30.-Yes, I have prayed, and He has heard me. I see that I have
no right to live for myself, and that I must live for. Him. I have
given myself to Him as I never did before, and have entered, as it
were, a new world. I was very happy when I began to believe in His
love for me, and that He had redeemed me. But this new happiness is
deeper; it involves something higher than getting to heaven at last,
which has, hitherto, been my great aim.

March 31.-The more I pray, and the more I read the Bible, the more I
feel my ignorance. And the more earnestly I desire holiness, the more
utterly unholy I see myself to be. But I have pledged myself to the
Lord, and I must pay my vows, cost what in may.

I have begun to read Taylor's "Holy Living and Dying." A month ago I
should have found it a tedious, dry book. But I am reading it with a
sort of avidity, like one seeking after hid treasure. Mother,
observing what I was doing, advised me to read it straight through,
but to mingle a passage now and then with chapters from other books.
She suggested my beginning on Baxter's "Saints' Rest," and of that I
have read every word. I shall read it over, as Dr. Cabot advised,
till I have fully caught its spirit. Even this one reading has taken
away my lingering fear of death, and made heaven awfully attractive.
I never mean to read worldly books again, and my music and drawing I
have given up forever.



Chapter 7

VII.

Mother asked me last evening to sing and play to her. I was
embarrassed to know how to excuse myself without telling her my real
reason for declining. But somehow she got it out of me.

"One need not be fanatical in order to be religious," she said.

"Is it fanatical to give up all for God?" I asked.

"What is it to give up all?" she asked, in reply.

"Why, to deny one's self every gratification and indulgence in order
to mortify one's natural inclinations, and to live entirely for Him."

"God is then a hard Master, who allows his children no liberty," she
replied. "Now let us see where this theory will lead you. In. the
first place you must shut your eyes to all the beautiful things He
has made. You must shut your eyes to all the harmonies He has
ordained. You must shut your heart against all sweet human
affections. You have a body, it is true, and it may revolt at such
bondage--"

We are told to keep under the body," I interrupted.

"Oh, mother, don't hinder me! You know my love for music is. a
passion and that it is my snare and temptation. And how can I spend
my whole time in reading the Bible and praying, if I go on with my
drawing? It may do for other people to serve both God and Mammon, but
not for me. I must belong wholly to the world or wholly to Christ."

Mother said no more, and I went on with my reading. But somehow my
book seemed to have lost its flavor. Besides, it was time to retire
for my evening devotions which I never put off now till the last
thing at night, as I used to do. When I came down, Mother was lying
on the sofa, by which I knew she was not well. I felt troubled that I
had refused to sing to her. Think of the money she had spent on that
part of my education! I went to her and kissed her with a pang of
terror. What if she were going to be very sick, and to die?

"It is nothing, darling," she said, "nothing at all. I am tired, and
felt a little faint."

I looked at her anxiously, and the bare thought that she might die
and leave me alone was so terrible that I could hardly help crying
out. And I saw, as by a flash of lightning, that if God took her from
me, I could not, should not say: Thy will be done.

But she was better after taking a few drops of lavender, and what
color she has came back to her dear sweet face.

APRIL 12.-Dr. Cabot's letter has lost all its power over me. A stone
has more feeling than I. I don't love to pray. I am sick and tired of
this dreadful struggle after holiness; good books are all alike, flat
and meaningless. But I must have something to absorb and carry me
away, and I have come back to my music and my drawing with new zest.
Mother was right in warning me against giving them up. Maria Kelley
is teaching me to paint in oil-colors, and says I have a natural gift
for it.

APRIL 13.Mother asked me to go to church with her last evening, and I
said I did not want to go. She looked surprised and troubled.

"Are you not well, dear?" she asked.

"I don't know. Yes. I suppose I am. But I could not be still at
church five minutes. I am nervous that I feel as if I should fly."

"I see how it is," she said; "you have forgotten that body of yours,
of which I reminded you, and have been trying to live as if you were
all soul and spirit. You have been straining every nerve to acquire
perfection, whereas this is God's gift, and one that He is willing to
give you, fully and freely."

"I have done seeking for that or anything else that is good," I said,
despondently. "And so I have gone back to my music and everything
else."

"'Here is just the rock upon which you split," she returned. "You
speak of going back to your music as if that implied going away from
God. You rush from one extreme to another. The only true way to live
in this world, constituted just as we are, is to make all our
employments subserve the one great end and aim of existence, namely,
to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. But in order to do this we
must be wise task-masters, and not require of ourselves what we
cannot possibly perform. Recreation we must have. Otherwise the
strings of our soul, wound up to an unnatural tension, will break."

"Oh, I do wish," I cried, "that God had given us plain rules, about
which we could make no mistake!"

"I think His rules are plain," she replied. "And some liberty of
action He must leave us, or we should become mere machines. I think
that those who love Him, and wait upon Him day by day, learn His will
almost imperceptibly, and need not go astray.

"But, mother, music and drawing are sharp-edged tools in such hands
as mine. I cannot be moderate in my use of them. And the more I
delight in them, the less I delight in God."

"Yes, this is human nature. But God's divine nature will supplant it,
if we only consent to let Him work in us of His own good pleasure."

New York, April 16.-After all, mother has come off conqueror, and
here I am at Aunty's. After our quiet, plain little home, in our
quiet little town, this seems like a new world. The house is large,
but is as full as it can hold. Aunty has six children her own, and
has adopted two. She says she ways meant to imitate the old woman who
lived in a shoe. She reminds me of mother, and yet she is very
different; full of fun and energy; flying about the house as on
wings, with a kind, bright word for everybody. All her household
affairs go on like clock-work; the children are always nicely
dressed; nobody ever seems out of humor; nobody is ever sick. Aunty
is the central object round which every body revolves; you can't
forget her a moment, she is always doing something for you, and then
her unflagging good humor and cheerfulness keep you good-humored and
cheerful. I don't wonder Uncle Alfred loves her so.

I hope I shall have just such a home. I mean this is the sort of home
I should like if I ever married, which I never mean to do. I should
like to be just such a bright, loving wife as Aunty is; to have my
husband lean on me as Uncle leans on her; to have just as many
children, and to train them as wisely and kindly us she does hers.
Then, I should feel that I had not been born in vain, but had a high
and sacred mission on earth. But as it is, I must just pick up what
scraps of usefulness I can, and let the rest go.

APRIL 18.-Aunty says I sit writing and reading and thinking too much,
and wants me to go out more. I tell her I don't feel strong enough to
go out much. She says that is all nonsense, and drags me out. I get
tired, and hungry, and sleep like a baby a month old. I see now
mother's wisdom and kindness in making me leave home when I did. I
had veered about from point to point till I was nearly ill. Now Aunty
keeps me well by making me go out, and dear Dr. Cabot's precious
letter can work a true and not a morbid work in my soul. I am very
happy. I have delightful talks with Aunty, who sets me right at this
point and at that; and it is beautiful to watch her home-life and to
see with what sweet unconsciousness she carries her religion into
every detail. I am sure it must do me good to be here; and yet, if I
am growing better how slowly, how slowly, it is! Somebody has said
that 'our course heavenward is like the plan of the zealous pilgrims
of old, who for every three steps forward, took one backward."

APRIL 30.-Aunty's baby, my dear father's namesake, and hitherto the
merriest little fellow I ever saw, was taken sick last night, very
suddenly. She sent for the doctor at once, who would not say
positively what was the matter, but this morning pronounced it
scarlet fever. The three youngest have all come down with it to-day.
If they were my children, I should be in a perfect worry and flurry.
Indeed, I am as it is. But Aunty is as bright and cheerful as ever.
She flies from one to another, and .keeps up their spirits with her
own gayety. I am mortified to find that at such a time as this I can
think of myself, and that I find it irksome to be shut up in
sick-rooms, instead of walking, driving, visiting, and the like. But,
as Dr. Cabot says, I can now choose to imitate my Master, who spent
His whole life in doing good, and I do hope, too, to be of some
little use to Aunty, after her kindness to me.

MAY 1.- The doctor says the children are doing as well as, could be
expected. He made a short visit this .morning, as it is Sunday. If I
had ever seen him before I should say I had some unpleasant
association with him. I wonder Aunty employs such a great clumsy man.
But she says he is good, and very skillful. I wish I did not take
such violent likes and dislikes to people. I want my religion to
change me in every respect.

MAY 2.-Oh, I know now! This is the very who was so rude at
Sunday-school, and afterwards made such a nice address to the
children. Well he may know how to speak in public, but I am sure he
doesn't in private. I never knew such a shut-up man.

MAY 4.-I have my hands as full as they can hold. The children have
got so fond of me, and one or the other is in my lap nearly all the
time. I sing to them, tell them stories, build block-houses, and
relieve Aunty all I can. Dull and poky as the doctor is, I am not
afraid of him, for he never notices anything I say or do, so while he
is holding solemn consultations with Aunty in one corner, I can sing
and .talk all sorts of nonsense to my little pets in mine. What
fearful black eyes he has, and what masses of black hair!

This busy life quite suits me, now I have got used to it. And it
sweetens every bit of work to think that I am doing it in humble,
far-off, yet real imitation of Jesus. I am indeed really and truly
happy.

MAY 14-It is now two weeks since little Raymond was taken sick, and I
have lived in the nursery all the time, though Aunty has tried to
make me go out. Little Emma was taken down to-day, though she has
been kept on the third floor all the time I feel dreadfully myself.
But this hard, cold doctor of Aunty's is so taken up with the
children that he never so much as looks at me. I have been in a
perfect shiver all day, but these merciless little folks call for
stories as eagerly as ever. Well, let me be a comfort to them if I
can! I hate selfishness more and more, and am shocked to see how
selfish I have been.

MAY 15.-I was in a burning fever all night, and my head ached, and my
throat was and is very sore. If knew I was going to die I would burn
up this journal first. I would not have any one see it for the world.

MAY 24.-Dr. Elliott asked me on Sunday morning a week ago if I still
felt well. For answer I behaved like a goose, and burst out crying.
Aunty; looked more anxious than I have seen her look yet, and
reproached herself for having allowed me to be with the children. She
took me by one elbow, and the doctor by the other, and they marched
me off to my own room, where I was put through the usual routine on
such occasions, and then ordered to bed. I fell asleep immediately
and slept all day. The doctor came to see me in the evening, and made
a short, stiff little visit, gave me a powder, and said thought I
should soon be better.

I had two such visits from him the next day, when I began to feel
quite like myself again, and in spite of his grave; staid deportment,
could not help letting my good spirits run away with me in a style
that evidently shocked him. He says persons nursing 'scarlet fever
often have such little attacks as mine; indeed every one of the
servants have had a sore throat and headache.

MAY 25.-This morning, just as the doctor shuffled in on his big feet,
it came over me how ridiculously I must have looked the day I was
taken sick, being walked off between Aunty and himself, crying like a
baby. I burst out laughing, and no consideration I could make to
myself would stop me. I pinched myself, asked myself how I should
feel if one of the children should die, and used other kindred
devices all to no purpose. At last the doctor, gravity personified as
he is, joined in, though not knowing in the least what he was
laughing at. Then he said,

"After this, I suppose, I shall have to pronounce you convalescent."

"Oh, no!" I cried. "I am very-sick indeed."

"This looks like it, to be sure!" said Aunty.

"I suppose this will be your last visit, Dr. Elliott," I went on,
"and I am glad of it. After the way I behaved the day I was taken
sick, I have been ashamed to look you in the face. But I really felt
dreadfully."

He made no answer whatever. I don't suppose he would speak a little
flattering word by way of putting one in good humor with one's self
for the whole world!

JUNE 1.-We are all as well as ever, but the doctor keeps some of the
children still confined to the house for fear of bad consequences
following the fever. He visits them twice a day for the same reason,
or at least under that pretense, but I really believe he comes
because he has got the habit of coming, and because he admires Aunty
so much. She has a real affection for him, and is continually asking
me if I don't like this and that quality in him which I can't see at
all. We be gin to drive out again. The weather is, very warm, but I
feel perfectly well.

JUNE 2.-After the children's dinner to-day I took care of them while
their nurse got hers and Aunty went to lie down, as she is all tired
out. We were all full of life and fun, and some of the little ones
wanted me to play a play of their own invention, which was to lie
down on the floor, cover my face with a handkerchief, and make
believe I was dead. They were to gather about me, and I was suddenly
to come to life and jump up and try to catch them as they all ran
scampering and screaming about. We had played in this interesting way
for some time, and my hair, which I keep in nice order nowadays, was
pulled down and flying every way; when in marched the doctor. I
started up and came to life quickly enough when I heard his step,
looking red and angry, no doubt.

I should think you might have knocked, Dr. Elliott," I said, with
much displeasure.

"I ask your pardon; I knocked several times," he returned. "I need
hardly ask how my little patients are."

"No," I replied, still ruffled, arid making desperate efforts to get
my hair into some sort of order. "They are as well as possible."

"I came a little earlier than usual to-day," he went on, "because I
am called to visit my uncle, Dr. Cabot, who is in a very critical
state of health."

"Dr. Cabot!" I repeated, bursting into tears.

"Compose yourself, I entreat," he said; "I hope that I may be able
to relieve him. At all events--"

"At all events, if you let him die it will break my heart," I cried
passionately. "Don't wait another moment; go this instant."

"I cannot go this instant," he replied. "The boat does not leave
until four o'clock. And if I may be allowed, as a physician, to say
one word, that my brief acquaintance hardly justifies, I do wish to
warn you that unless you acquire more self-control-"

"Oh, I know that I have a quick temper, and that I spoke very rudely
to you just now," I interrupted, not a little startled by the
seriousness of his manner.

"I did not refer to your temper," he said. "I meant your whole
passionate nature. Your vehement loves and hates, your ecstasies and
your despondencies; your disposition to throw yourself headlong into
whatever interests you."

"I would rather have too little self-control," I retorted,
resentfully, "than to be as cold as a stone, and as hard as a rock,
and as silent as the grave, like some people I know."

His countenance fell; he looked disappointed, even pained.

"I shall probably see your mother," he said, turning to go; "your
aunt wishes me to call on her; have you any message?"

"No," I said.

Another pained, disappointed look made me begin to recollect myself.
I was sorry, oh! so sorry, for my anger and rudeness. I ran after
him, into the hall, my eyes full of tears, holding out both hands,
which he took in both his.

"Don't go until you have forgiven me for being so angry!" I cried.
"Indeed, Dr. Elliott, though you not be able to believe it, I am
trying to do right all the time!"

"1 do believe it," he said earnestly.

"Then tell me that you forgive me!"

"If I once begin, I shall be tempted to tell something else," he
said, looking me through and through with those great dusky eyes.
"And I will tell it," he went on, his grasp on my hands growing
firmer-"'It is easy to forgive when one loves." I pulled my hands
away, and burst out crying again.

"Oh, Dr. Elliott this is dreadful!" I said. "You do not, you cannot
love me! You are so much older than I am! So grave and silent! You
are not in earnest?"

"I am only too much so," he said, and went quietly out.

I went back to the nursery. The children rushed upon me, and insisted
that I should "play die." I let them pull me about as they pleased. I
only wished I could play it in earnest.



Chapter 8

VIII

JUNE 28.

MOTHER writes me that Dr. Cabot is out of danger, Dr. Elliott having
thrown new light on his case, and performed some sort of an operation
that relieved him at once. I am going home. Nothing would tempt me to
encounter those black eyes again. Besides, the weather is growing
warm, and Aunty is getting ready to go out of town with the children.

JUNE 29.-Aunty insisted on knowing why I was hurrying home so
suddenly, and at last got it out of me inch by inch. On the whole it
was a relief to have some one to speak to.

"Well!" she said, and leaned back in her chair in a fit of musing.

"Is that all you are going to say, Aunty?" I ventured to ask at last.

"No, I have one more remark to add," she said, "and it is this: I
don't know which of you has behaved most ridiculously. It would
relieve me to give you each a good shaking."

"I think Dr. Elliot has behaved ridiculously," I said, "and he has
made me most unhappy."

"Unhappy!" she repeated. "I don't wonder you are unhappy. You have
pained and wounded one of the noblest men that walks the earth."

"It is not my fault. I never tried to make him like me."

"Yes, you did. You were perfectly bewitching whenever he came here.
No mortal man could help being fascinated."

I knew this was not true, and bitterly resented Aunty's injustice.

"If I wanted to 'fascinate' or 'bewitch' a man," I cried, "I should
not choose one old enough to be my father, nor one who was as
uninteresting, awkward and stiff as Dr. Elliott. Besides, how should
I know he was not married? If I thought anything about it at all, I
certainly thought of him as a middle-aged man, settled down with a
wife, long ago.

"In the first place he is not old, or even middle aged. He is not
more than twenty-seven or eight. As to his being uninteresting,
perhaps he is to you, who don't know him. And if he were a married
man, what business had he to come here to see as he has done?"

"I did not know he came to see me; he never spoke to me. And I always
said I would never marry a doctor."

"We all say scores of things we live to repent," she replied. "But I
must own that the doctor acted quite out of character when he
expected you to take a fancy to him on such short notice, you
romantic little thing. Of course knowing him as little as you do, and
only seeing him in sick-rooms, you could not have done otherwise than
as you did."

"Thank you, Aunty," I said, running and throwing my arms around her;
"thank you with all my heart. And now won't you take back what you
said about my trying to fascinate him?"

"I suppose I must, you dear child," she said. "I was not half in
earnest. The truth is I am so fond of you both that the idea of your
misunderstanding each other annoys me extremely. Why, you were made
for each other. He would tone you down and keep you straight, and you
would stimulate him and keep him awake."

"I don't want to be toned down or kept straight," I remonstrated. "I
hate prigs who keep their wives in leading-strings. I do not mean to
marry any one, but if I should be left to such a piece of folly, it
must be to one who will take me for better for worse; just as I am,
and not as a wild plant for him to prune till he has got it into a
shape to suit him. now, Aunty, promise me one thing. Never mention
Dr. Elliott's name to me again."

"I shall make no such promise," she replied, laughing. "I like him,
and I like to talk about him and the more you hate and despise him
the more I shall love and admire him. I only wish my Lucy were old
enough to be his wife, and that he could fancy her; but he never
could!"

"On the contrary I should think that little model of propriety would
just suit him," I exclaimed.

"Don't make fun of Lucy," Aunty said, shaking her head. "She is a
dear good child, after all."

"After all" means this (for what with my own observation, and what
Aunty has told me, Lucy's portrait is easy to paint) The child is the
daughter of a man who died from a lingering illness caused by an
accident. She entered the family at a most inauspicious moment, two
days after this accident. From the outset she comprehended the
situation and took the ground that a character of irreproachable
dignity and propriety became an infant coming at such a time. She
never cried, never put improper objects into her mouth, never bumped
her head, or scratched herself. Once put to bed at night, you knew
nothing more of her till such time next day as you found it
convenient to attend to her. If you forgot her existence, as was not
seldom the case under the circumstances, she vegetated on, unmoved.
It is possible that pangs of hunger sometimes assailed her, and it is
a fact that she teethed, had the measles and the whooping-cough. But
these minute ripples on her infant life only showed the more clearly
what a waveless, placid little sea it was. She got her teeth in the
order laid down in "Dewees on Children"; her measles came out on the
appointed day like well-behaved measles as they were and retired
decently and in order, as measles should. Her whooping-cough had a
well-bred, methodical air, and left her conqueror of the field. As
the child passed out of her babyhood, she remained still her mother's
appendage and glory; a monument of pure white marble, displaying to
the human race one instance at least of perfect parental training.
Those smooth, round hands were always magically clean; the dress
immaculate and uncrumpled; the hair dutifully shining and tidy. She
was a model child, as she had been a model baby. No slamming of
doors, no litter of carpets, no pattering of noisy feet on the
stairs, no headless dolls, no soiled or torn books indicated her
presence. Her dolls were subject to a methodical training, not unlike
her own. They rose, they were dressed, they took the air, they
retired for the night, with clock-like regularity. At the advanced
age of eight, she ceased occupying herself with such trifles, and
began a course of instructive reading. Her lessons were received in
mute submission, like medicine; so many doses, so many times a day.
An agreeable interlude of needlework was afforded, and Dorcas-like,
many were the garments that resulted for the poor. Give her the very
eyes out of your head, cut off your right hand for her if you choose,
but don't expect a gush of enthusiasm that would crumple you collar;
she would as soon strangle herself as run headlong to embrace you. If
she has any passions or emotions, they are kept under; but who asks
for passion in blanc-mange, or seeks emotion in a comfortable
apple-pudding?

When her father had been dead a year, her mother married a man with a
large family of children and a very small purse. Lucy had a hard time
of it, especially as her step-father, a quick, impulsive man, took a
dislike to her. Aunty had no difficulty persuading them to give the
child to her. She took from the purest motives, and it does seem as
if she ought to have more reward than she gets. She declares,
however, that she has all the reward she could ask in the conviction
that God accepts this attempt to please Him.

Lucy is now nearly fourteen; very large of her age, with a dead white
skin, pale blue eyes, and a little light hair. To hear her talk is
most edifying. Her babies are all "babes"; she never begins anything
but "commences" it; she never cries, she "weeps"; never gets up in
the morning, but "rises." But what am I writing all this for? Why, to
escape my own thoughts, which are anything but agreeable companions,
and to put off answering the question which must be answered, "Have I
really made a mistake in refusing Dr. Elliott? Could I not, in time,
have come to love a man who has so honored me?"

JULY 5.-Here I am again, safely at home, and very pleasant it seems
to be with dear mother again. I have told her about Dr. E. She says
very little about it one way or the other.

JULY 10.-Mother sees that I am restless and out of sorts. "What is
it, dear?" she asked, this morning. "Has Dr. Elliott anything to do
with the unsettled state you are in?"

"Why, no, mother," I answered. "My going away has broken up all my
habits; that's all. Still if I knew Dr. Elliott did not care much,
and was beginning to forget it, I dare say I should feel better."

If you were perfectly sure that you could never return his
affection," she said, "you were quite right in telling him so at
once; But if you had any misgivings on the subject, it would have
been better to wait, and to ask God to direct you."

Yes, it would. But at the moment I had no misgivings. In my usual
headlong style I settled one of the most weighty questions of my
life, without reflection, without so much as one silent appeal to
God, to tell me how to act. And now I have forever repelled, and
thrown away a heart that truly loved me. He will go his way and I
shall go mine. He never will know, what I am only just. beginning to
know myself, that I yearn after his love with unutterable yearning.

I am not going to sit down in sentimental despondency to weep over
this irreparable past. No human being could forgive such folly as
mine; but God can. In my sorrowfulness and loneliness I fly to Him,
and find, what is better than earthly felicity, the sweetest peace.
He allowed me to bring upon myself, in one hasty moment, a shadow out
of which I shall not soon pass, but He pities and He forgives me, and
I have had many precious moments when I could say sincerely and
joyfully, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon
earth that I desire besides Thee."

With a character still so undisciplined as mine, I seriously doubt
whether I could have made him who has honored me with his unmerited
affection. Sometimes I think I am as impetuous and as quick-tempered
as ever; I get angry with dear mother, and with James even, if they
oppose me; how unfit, then, I am to become the mistress of a
household and the wife of a good a man!

How came he to love me? I cannot, cannot imagine!

August 31.-The last day of the very happiest summer I ever spent. If
I had only been willing to believe the testimony of others I might
have been just as happy long ago. But I wanted to have all there was
in God and all there was in the world, at once, and there was a
constant, painful struggle between the two. I hope that struggle is
now over. I deliberately choose and prefer God. I have found a sweet
peace in trying to please Him such as I never conceived of. I would
not change it for all the best things this world can give.

But I have a great deal to learn. I am like a little child who cannot
run to get what he wants, but approaches it step by step, slowly,
timidly-and yet approaches it. I am amazed at the patience of my
blessed Master and Teacher, but how I love His school!

September.-This, too, has been a delightful month in a certain sense.
Amelia's marriage, at which I had to be present, upset me a little,
but it was but a little ruffle on a deep sea of peace.

I saw Dr. Cabot to-day. He is quite well again, ,and speaks of Dr.
Elliott's skill with rapture. He asked about my Sunday scholars and
my poor folks, etc., and I could not help letting out a little of the
new joy that has taken possession of me.

"This is as it should be," he said. I should be sorry to see a person
of your temperament enthusiastic in everything save religion. Do not
be discouraged if you still have some ups and downs. 'He that is down
need fear no fall'; but you are away up on the heights, and may have
one, now and then."

This made me a little uncomfortable. I don't want any falls. I want
to go on to perfection.

OCT. 1.-Laura Cabot came to see me today, and seemed very
affectionate.

"I hope we may see more of each other than we have done," she began.
"My father wishes it, and so do I."

Katy, mentally.-"Ah! He sees how unworldly, how devoted I am, and so
wants Laura under my influence."

Katy, aloud.-" I am sure that is very kind."

Laura.-" Not at all. He knows it will be profitable to me to be with
you. I get a good deal discouraged at times, and want a friend to
strengthen and help me."

Katy, to herself.-" Yes, yes, he thinks me quite experienced and
trustworthy."

Katy, aloud.-" I shall never dare to try to help you.

Laura.-" Oh, yes, you must. I am so far behind you in Christian
experience."

But I am ashamed to write down any more. After she had gone I felt
delightfully puffed up for a while. But when I came up to my room
this evening, and knelt down to pray, everything looked dark and
chaotic. God seemed far away, and I took no pleasure in speaking to
Him. I felt sure that I had done something or felt something wrong,
and asked Him to show me what it was. There then flashed into my mind
the remembrance of the vain, conceited thoughts I had had during
Laura's visit and ever since.

How perfectly contemptible! I have had a fall indeed!

I think now my first mistake was in telling Dr. Cabot my secret,
sacred joys, as if some merit of mine had earned them for me. That
gave Satan a fine chance to triumph over me! After this I am
determined to maintain the utmost reserve in respect to my religious
experiences. Nothing is gained by running to tell them, and much is
lost.

I feel depressed and comfortless.



Chapter 9

IX.

OCT. 10.

WE have very sad news from Aunty. She says my Uncle is quite broken
down with some obscure disease that has been creeping stealthily
along for months. All his physicians agree that he must give up his
business and try the effect of a year's rest. Dr. Elliott proposes
his going to Europe, which seems to me about as formidable as going
to the next world. Aunty makes the best she can of it, but she says
the thought of being separated from Uncle a whole year is dreadful I
pray for her day and night, that this wild project may be given up.
Why, he would be on the ocean ever so many weeks, exposed to all the
discomforts of narrow quarters and poor food, and that just as winter
is drawing nigh!

OCT. 12.~Aunty writes that the voyage to Europe has been decided on,
and that Dr. Elliott is to accompany Uncle, travel with him, amuse
him, and bring him home a well man. I hope Dr. E.'s power to amuse
may exist somewhere, but must own it was in a most latent form when I
had the pleasure of knowing him. Poor Aunty! How much better it would
be for her to go with Uncle! There are the children, to be sure.
Well, I hope Uncle may be the better for this great undertaking, but
I don't like the idea of it.

OCT. 15.-Another letter from Aunty, and new plans! The Dr. is to stay
at home, Aunty is to go with Uncle, and we-mother and myself-are to
take possession of the house and children during their absence! In
other words, all this is to be if we say amen. Could anything be more
frightful? To refuse would be selfish and cruel. If we consent I
thrust myself under Dr. Elliott's very nose.

OCT. 16.-Mother is surprised that I can hesitate one instant. She
seems to have forgotten all about Dr. E. She says we can easily find
a family to take this house for a year, and that she is delighted to
do anything for Aunty that can be done.

Nov. 4.-Here we are, the whole thing settled. Uncle and Aunty started
a week ago, and we are monarchs of all we survey, and this is a great
deal. I am determined that mother shall not be worn out with these
children, although of course I could not them without her advice and
help. It is to be hoped they won't all have the measles in a body, or
anything of that sort; I am sure it would be annoying to Dr. E. to
come here now.

Nov. 25.-Of course the baby must go on teething if only to have the
doctor sent for to lance his gums. I told mother I was sure I could
not be present when this was being done, so, though she looked
surprised, and said people should accustom themselves to such things,
she volunteered to hold baby herself.

Nov. 26.-The baby was afraid of mother, not being used to her, so she
sent for me. As I entered the room she gave him to me with an apology
for doing so, since I shrank from witnessing the operation. What must
Dr. E. think I am made of if I can't bear to see a child's gums
lanced? However, it is my own fault that he thinks me such a coward,
for I made mother think me one. It was very embarrassing to hold baby
and have the doctor's face so close to mine. I really wonder mother
should not see how awkwardly I am situated here.

Nov. 27.-We have a good many visitors, friends of Uncle and Aunty.
How uninteresting most people are! They all say the same thing,
namely, how strange that Aunty had courage to undertake such a
voyage, and to leave her children, etc., etc., etc., and what was Dr.
Elliott thinking of to let them go, etc, etc., etc.

Dr. Embury called to-day, with a pretty little fresh creature, his
new wife, who hangs on his arm like a work-bag. He is Dr. Elliott's
intimate friend, and spoke of him very warmly, and so did his wife,
who says she has known him always, as they were born and brought up
in the same village. I wonder he did not marry her himself, instead
of leaving her for Dr. Embury!

She says he, Dr. Elliott, I mean, was the most devoted son she ever
saw, and that he deserves his present success because he has made
such sacrifices for his parents. I never met any one whom I liked so
well on so short acquaintance-I mean Mrs. Embury, though you might
fancy, you poor deluded journal you, that I meant somebody else.

Nov. 30.-I have so much to do that I have little time for writing.
The way the children wear out their shoes and stockings, the speed
with which their hair grows, the way they bump their heads and pinch
their fingers, and the insatiable demand for stories, is something
next to miraculous. Not a day passes that somebody doesn't need
something bought; that somebody else doesn't choke itself, and that I
don't have to tell stories till I feel my intellect reduced to the
size of a pea. If ever I was alive and wide awake, however, it is
just now, and in spite of some vague shadows of, I don't know what, I
am very happy indeed. So is dear mother. She and the doctor have
become bosom friends He keeps her making beef-tea, scraping lint, and
boiling calves feet for jelly, till the house smells like an
hospital.

I suppose he thinks me a poor, selfish, frivolous girl, whom nothing
would tempt to raise a finger for his invalids. But, of course, I do
not care what he thinks.

Dec. 4.-Dr. Elliott came this morning to ask mother to go with him to
see a child who had met with a horrible accident. She turned pale,
and pressed her lips together, but went at once to get ready. Then my
long-suppressed wrath burst out.

"How can you ask poor mother to go and see such sights?" I cried.
"You must think her nothing but a stone, if you suppose that after
the way in which my father died-"

"It was indeed most thoughtless in me," he interrupted; "but your
mother is such a rare woman, so decided and self-controlled, yet so
gentle, so full of tender sympathy, that I hardly know where to look
for just the help I need to-day. If you could see this poor child,
even you would justify me."

"Even you!" you monster of selfishness, heart of stone, floating
bubble, "even you would justify it!"

How cruel, how unjust, how unforgiving he is!

I rushed out of the room, and cried until I was tired.

DEC. 6.-Mother says she feels really grateful to Dr. E. for taking
her to see that child, and to help soothe and comfort it while he
went through with a severe, painful operation which she would not
describe, because she fancied I looked pale. I said I should think
the child's mother the most proper person to soothe it on such an
occasion.

"The poor thing has no mother," she said, reproachfully. "What has
got into you, Kate? You do not seem at all like yourself."

"I should think you had enough to do with this great house to keep in
order, so many mouths to fill, and so many servants to oversee,
without wearing yourself out with nursing all Dr. Elliott's poor
folks," I said, gloomily.

"The more I have to do the happier I am," she replied. "Dear Katy,
the old wound isn't healed yet, and I like to be with those who have
wounds and bruises of their own. And Dr. Elliott seems to have
divined this by instinct."

I ran and kissed her dear, pale face, which grows more beautiful
every day. No wonder she misses father so! He loved and honored her
beyond description, and never forgot one of those little courtesies
which must have a great deal to do with a wife's happiness. People
said of him that he was a gentleman of the old school, and that race
is dying out.

I feel a good deal out of sorts myself. Oh, I do so wish to get above
myself and all my childish, petty ways, and to live in a region where
there is no temptation and no sin!

DEC. 22.-I have been to see Mrs. Embury to-day. She did not receive
me as cordially as usual, and I very soon resolved to come away. She
detained me, however.

"Would you mind my speaking to you on a certain subject?" she asked,
with some embarrassment.

I felt myself flush up.

"I do not want to meddle with affairs that don't concern me," she
went on, "but Dr. Elliott and I have been intimate friends all our
lives. And his disappointment has really distressed me."

One of my moods came on, and I couldn't speak a word.

"You are not at all the sort of a girl I supposed he would fancy,"
she continued. "He always has said he was waiting to find some one
just like his mother, and she is one of the gentlest, meekest,
sweetest, and fairest among women."

"You ought to rejoice then that he has escaped the snare," I said, in
a husky voice, "and is free to marry his ideal, when he finds her."

"But that is just what troubles me. He is not free. He does not
attach himself readily, and I am afraid that it will be a long, long
time before he gets over this unlucky passion for you."

"Passion!" I cried, contemptuously.

She looked at me with some surprise, and then went on.

"Most girls would jump at the chance of getting such a husband."

"I don't know that I particularly care to be classed with 'most
girls,'" I replied, loftily.

"But if you only knew him as well as I do. He is so noble, so
disinterested, and is so beloved by his patients. I could tell you
scores of anecdotes about him that would show just what he is."

"Thank you," I said, "I think we have discussed Dr. Elliott quite
enough already. I cannot say that he has elevated himself in my
opinion by making you take up the cudgels in his defence."

"You do him injustice, when you say that," she cried. "His sister,
the only person to whom he confided the state of things, begged me to
find out, if I could, whether you had any other attachment, and if
her brother's case was quite hopeless. But I am sorry I undertook the
task as it has annoyed you so much."

I came away a good deal ruffled. When I got home mother said she was
glad I had been out at last for a little recreation, and that she
wished I did not confine myself so to the children. I said that I did
not confine myself more than Aunty did.

"But that is different," mother objected. "She is their own mother,
and love helps her to bear her burden."

"So it does me," I returned. "I love the children exactly as if they
were my own."

That," she said, "is impossible."

"I certainly do," I persisted.

Mother would not dispute with me, though I wished she would.

A mother," she went on, "receives her children one at a time, and
gradually adjusts herself to gradually increasing burdens. But you
take a whole houseful upon you at once, and I am sure it is too much
for you. You do not look or act like yourself."

"It isn't the children," I said.

"What is it, then?"

"Why, it's nothing," I said, pettishly.

'"I must say, dear," said mother, not noticing my manner, "that your
wonderful devotion to the children, aside from its effect on your
health and temper, has given me great delight."

"I don't see why," I said.

"Very few girls of your age would give up their whole time as you do
to such work."

"That is because very few girls are as fond of children as I am.
There is no virtue in doing exactly what one likes best to do."

"There, go away, you contrary child," said mother, laughing. "If you
won't be praised, you won't."

So I came up here and moped a little. I don't see what ails me.

But there is an under-current of peace that is not entirely disturbed
by any outside event. In spite of my follies and my shortcomings, I
do believe that God loves and pities me, and will yet perfect that
which concerneth me. It is a great mystery. But so is everything.

Dr. Elliott to Mrs. Crofton:

And now, my dear friend, having issued my usual bulletin of health,
you may feel quite at ease about your dear children, and I come to a
point in your letter which I would gladly pass over in silence. But
this would be but a poor return for the interest you express in my
affairs.

Both ladies are devoted to your little flock, and Miss Mortimer seems
not to have a thought but for them. The high opinion I formed of her
at the outset is more than justified by all I see of her daily,
household life. I know what her faults are, for she seems to take
delight in revealing them. But I also know her rare virtues, and what
a wealth of affection she has to bestow on the man who is so happy as
to win her heart. But I shall never be that man. Her growing aversion
to me makes me dread a summons to your house, and I have hardly
manliness enough to conceal the pain this gives me. I entreat you,
therefore, never again to press this subject upon me. After all, I
would not, if I could, dispense with the ministry of disappointment
and unrest.

Mrs. Crofton, in reply:

. . . . So she hates you, does she? I am charmed to hear it.
Indifference would be an alarming symptom, but good, cordial hatred,
or what looks like it, is a most hopeful sign. The next chance you
get to see her alone, assure her that you never shall repeat your
first offence. If nothing comes of it I am not a woman, and never was
one; nor is she.

MARCH 25, 1836.-The New Year and my birthday have come and gone, and
this is the first moment I could find for writing down all that has
happened.

The day after my last date I was full of serious, earnest thoughts,
of new desires to live, without one reserve, for God. I was smarting
under the remembrance of my folly at Mrs. Embury's, and with a sense
of vague disappointment and discomfort, and had to fly closer than
ever to Him. In the evening I thought I would go to the usual weekly
service. It is true I don't like prayer-meetings, and that is a bad
sign, I am afraid. But I am determined to go where good people go,
and see if I can't learn to like what they like.

Mother went with me, of course.

What was my surprise to find that Dr. E. was to preside! I had no
idea that he was that sort of a man.

The hymns they sang were beautiful, and did me good. So was his
prayer. If all prayers were like that, I am sure I should like
evening meetings as much as I now dislike them. He so evidently spoke
to God in it, and as if he were used to such speaking.

He then made a little address on the ministry of disappointments, as
he called it. He spoke so cheerfully and hopefully that I began to
see almost for the first time God's reason for the petty trials and
crosses that help to make up every day of one's life. He said there
were few who were not constantly disappointed with themselves, with
their slow progress, their childishness and weakness; disappointed
with their friends who, strangely enough, were never quite perfect
enough, and disappointed with the world, which was always promising
so much and giving so little. Then he urged to a wise and patient
consent to this discipline, which, if rightly used, would help to
temper and strengthen the soul against the day of sorrow and
bereavement. But I am not doing him justice in this meagre report;
there was something almost heavenly in his expression which words
cannot describe.

Coming out I heard some one ask, "Who was that young clergyman?" and
the answer, "Oh, that is only a doctor!"

Well! the next week I went again, with mother. We had hardly taken
our seats when Dr. E. marched in with the sweetest looking little
creature I ever saw. He was so taken up with her that he did not
observe either mother or myself. As she sat by my side I could not
see her full face, but her profile was nearly perfect. Her eyes were
of that lovely blue one sees in violets and the skies, with long,
soft eye-lashes, and her complexion was as pure as a baby's. Yet she
was not one of your doll beauties; her face expressed both feeling
and character. They sang together from the same book, though I
offered her a share of mine. Of course, when people do that it can
mean but one thing.

So it seems he has forgotten me, and consoled himself with this
pretty little thing. No doubt she is like his mother, that "gentlest,
meekest, sweetest and fairest among women!"

Now if anybody should be sick, and he should come here, I thought,
what would become of me? I certainly could not help showing that a
love that can so soon take up with a new object could not have been a
sentiment of much depth.

It is not pleasant to lose even a portion of one's respect and esteem
for another.

The next day mother went to visit an old friend of hers, who has a
beautiful place outside of the city. The baby's nurse had ironing to
do, so I promised to sit in the nursery till it was finished. Lucy
came, with her books, to sit with me. She always follows like my
shadow. After a while Mrs. Embury called. I hesitated a little about
trusting the child to Lucy's care, for though her prim ways have
given her the reputation of being wise beyond her years, I observe
that she is apt to get into trouble which a quick-witted child would
either avoid or jump out of in a twinkling. However, children are
often left to much younger girls, so, with many cautions, I went
down, resolving to stay only a few moments.

But I wanted so much to know all about that pretty little friend of
Dr. E.'s that I let Mrs. Embury stay on and on, though not a ray of
light did I get for my pains At last I heard Lucy's step coming
downstairs.

"Cousin Katy," she said, entering the room with her usual propriety,
"I was seated by the window, engaged with my studies. and the
children were playing about, as usual, when suddenly I heard a
shriek, and one of them ran past me, all in a blaze and-"

I believe I pushed her out of my way as I rushed upstairs, for I took
it for granted I should meet the little figure all in a blaze, coming
to meet me. But I found it wrapped in a blanket, the flames
extinguished. Meanwhile, Mrs. Embury had roused the whole house, and
everybody came running upstairs.

"Get the doctor, some of you," I cried, clasping the poor little
writhing form in my arms.

And then I looked to see which of them it was, and found it was
Aunty's pet lamb, everybody's pet lamb, our little loving, gentle
Emma.

Dr. Elliott must have come on wings, for I had not time to be
impatient for his arrival. He was as tender as a woman with Emma; we
cut off and tore off her clothes wherever the fire had touched her,
and he dressed the burns with his own hands. He did not speak a word
to me, or I to him. This time he did not find it necessary to advise
me to control my-self. I was as cold and hard as a stone.

But when poor little Emma's piercing shrieks began to subside, and
she came a little under the influence of some soothing drops he had
given her at the outset, I began to feel that sensation in the back
of my neck that leads to conquest over the most stubborn and the most
heroic. I had just time to get Emma into the doctor's arms, and then
down I went. I got over it in a minute, and was up again before any
one had time to come to the rescue. But Dr. E. gave Emma to Mrs.
Embury, who had taken off her things and been crying all the time,
and said in a low voice,

"I beg you will now leave the room, and lie down. And do not feel
obliged to see me when I visit the child. That annoyance, at least,
you should spare yourself."

"No consideration shall make me neglect little Emma," I replied,
defiantly.

By this time Mrs. Embury had rocked her to sleep, and she lay, pale
and with an air of complete exhaustion, in her arms.

"You must lie down now, Miss Mortimer," Dr. Elliott said, as he rose
to go. "I will return in a few hours to see how you both do."

He stood looking at, Emma, but did not go. Then Mrs. Embury asked the
question I had not dared to ask.

"Is the poor child in danger?"

"I cannot say; I trust not. Miss Mortimer's presence of mind in
extinguishing the flames at once, has, I hope, saved its life."

"It was not my presence of mind, it was Lucy's!" I cried, eagerly.
Oh, how I envied her for being the heroine, and for the surprised,
delighted smile with which he went and took her hand, saying, "I
congratulate you, Lucy! How your mother will rejoice at this!"

I tried to think of nothing but poor little Emma, and of the reward
Aunty had had for her kindness to Lucy. But I thought of myself, and
how likely it was that under the same circumstances I should have
been beside myself, and done nothing. This, and many other emotions,
made me burst out crying.

"Yes, cry, cry, with all your heart," said Mrs. Embury, laying Emma
gently down, and coming to get me into her arms. "It will do you
good, poor child!"

She cried with me, till at last I could lie down and try to sleep.

Well, the days and the weeks were very long after that.

Dear mother had a hard time, what with her anxiety about Emma, and my
crossness and unreasonableness.

Dr. Elliott came and went, came and went. At last he said all danger
was over, and that our patient little darling would get well. But his
visits did not diminish; he came twice and three times every day.
Sometimes I hoped he would tell us about his new flame, and sometimes
I felt that I could not hear her mentioned. One day mother was so
unwell that I had to help him dress Emma's burns, and I could not
help saying:

"Even a mother's gentlest touch, full of love as it is, is almost
rough compared with that of one trained to such careful handling as
you are."

He looked gratified, but said:

"I am glad you begin to find that even stones feel, sometimes."

Another time something was said about the fickleness of women. Mrs.
Embury began it. I fired up, of course.

He seemed astonished at my attack.

"I said nothing," he declared.

"No, but you looked a good many things. Now the fact is, women are
not fickle. When they lose what they value most, they find it
impossible to re place it. But men console themselves with the first
good thing that comes along."

I dare say I spoke bitterly, for I was thinking how soon Ch----, I
mean somebody, replaced me in his shallow heart, and how, with equal
speed, Dr. Elliott had helped himself to a new love.

"I do not like these sweeping assertions," said Dr. Elliott, looking
a good deal annoyed.

"I have to say what I think," I persisted.

"It is well to think rightly, then," he said, gravely.

"By the bye, have you heard from Helen?" Mrs. Embury most
irreverently asked.

"Yes, I, heard yesterday."

"I suppose you will be writing her, then? Will you enclose a little
note from me? Or rather let me have the least corner of your sheet?"

I was shocked at her want of delicacy. Of course this Helen must be
the new love, and how could a woman with two grains of sense imagine
he would want to spare her a part of his sheet!

I felt tired and irritated. As soon as Dr. Elliott had gone, I began
to give her a good setting down.

"I could hardly believe my ears," I said, "when I heard you ask leave
to write on Dr. Elliott's sheet."

"No wonder," she said, laughing. "I suppose you never knew what it
was to have to count every shilling, and to deny yourself the
pleasure of writing to a friend because of what it would cost. I'm
sure I never did till I was married."

"But to ask him to let you help write his love-letters," I objected.

"Ah! is that the way the wind blows?" she cried, nodding her pretty
little head. "Well, then, let me relieve your mind, my dear, by
informing you that this 'love-letter' is to his sister, my dearest
friend, and the sweetest little thing you ever saw."

"Oh!" I said, and immediately felt quite rested, and quite like
myself.

Like myself! And who is she, pray!

Two souls dwell in my poor little body, and which of them is me, and
which of them isn't, it would be hard to tell. This is the way they
behave:

SCENE FIRST.

Katy, to the other creature, whom I will call Kate.-Your mother looks
tired, and you have been very cross. Run and put your arms around
her, and tell her how you love her.

Kate. -Oh, I can't; it would look queer. I don't like palaver.
Besides, who would not be cross who felt as I do?

SCENE SECOND.

Katy.-Little Emma has nothing to do, and ought to be amused. Tell her
a story, do.

Kate.-I am tired, and need to be amused myself.

Katy.-But the dear little thing is so patient and has suffered so
much.

Kate.-Well, I have suffered, too. If she had not climbed up on the
fender she would not have got burned.

SCENE THIRD.

Kate.-You are very irritable to-day. You had better go upstairs to
your room and pray for patience.

Katy.-One can't be always praying. I don't feel like it.

SCENE FOURTH.

Katy.-You treat Dr. Elliott shamefully. I should think he would
really avoid you as you avoid him.

Kate-Don't let me hear his name. I don't avoid him.

Katy.-You do not deserve his good opinion.

Kate.-Yes, I do.

SCENE FIFTH

Just awake in the morning.

Katy.-Oh, dear! how hateful I am! I am cross and selfish, and
domineering, and vain. I think of myself the whole time; I behave
like a heroine when Dr. Elliott is present, and like a naughty,
spoiled child when he is not. Poor mother! how can she endure me? As
to my piety, it is worse than none.

Kate, a few hours later.-Well, nobody can deny that I have a real
gift in managing children! And I am very lovable, or mother wouldn't
be so fond of me. I am always pleasant unless I am sick, or worried,
and my temper is not half so hasty as it used to be. I never think of
myself, but am all the time doing something for others. As to Dr. E.,
I am thankful to say that I have never stooped to attract him by
putting on airs and graces. He sees me just as I am. And I am very
devout. I love to read good books and to be with good people. I pray
a great deal. The bare thought of doing wrong makes me shudder.
Mother is proud of me, and I don't wonder. Very few girls would have
behaved as I did when Emma was burned. Perhaps I am not as sweet as
some people. I am glad of it. I hate sweet people. I have great
strength of character, which is much better, and am certainly very
high-toned.

But, my poor journal, you can't stand any more such stuff, can you?
But tell me one thing, am I Katy or am I Kate?



Chapter 10

X

APRIL 20.

YESTERDAY I felt better than I have done since the accident. I ran
about the house quite cheerily, for me. I wanted to see mother for
something, and flew singing into the parlor, where I had left her
shortly before. But she was not there, and Dr. Elliott was. I started
back, and was about to leave the room, but he detained me.

"Come in, I beg of you," he said, his voice grow mg hoarser and
hoarser. "Let us put a stop to this."

"To what?" I asked, going nearer and nearer, and looking up into his
face, which was quite pale.

"To your evident terror of being alone with me, of hearing me speak.
Let me assure you, once for all, that nothing would tempt me to annoy
you by urging myself upon you, as you seem to fear I may be tempted
to do. I cannot force you to love me, nor would I if I could. If you
ever want a friend you will find one in me. But do not think of me as
your lover, or treat me as if I were always lying in wait for a
chance to remind you of it. That I shall never do, never."

"Oh, no, of course not!" I broke forth, my face all in a glow, and
tears of mortification raining down my cheeks. "I knew you did not
care for me I! knew you had got over it!"

I don't know which of us began it, I don't think he did, and I am
sure I did not, but the next moment I was folded all up in his great
long arms, and a new life had begun!

Mother opened the door not long after, and seeing what was going on,
trotted away on her dear feet as fast as she could.

APRIL 21.-I am too happy to write journals. To think how we love each
other.

Mother behaves beautifully.

APRIL 25.-One does not feel like saying much about it, when one is as
happy as I am. I walk the streets as one treading on air. I fly about
the house as on wings. I kiss everybody I see.

Now that I look at Ernest (for he makes me call him so) with
unprejudiced eyes, I wonder I ever thought him clumsy. And how
ridiculous it was in me to confound his dignity and manliness with
age!

It is very odd, however, that such a cautious, well-balanced man
should have fallen in love with me that day at Sunday-school. And
still stranger that with my headlong, impulsive nature, I
deliberately walked into love with him!

I believe we shall never get through with what we have to say to each
other. I am afraid we are rather selfish to leave mother to herself
every evening.

SEPT. 5.-This has been a delightful summer. To be sure, we had to
take the children to the country for a couple of months, but Ernest's
letters are almost better than Ernest himself. I have written enough
to him to fill a dozen books. We are going back to the city now. In
his last letter Ernest says he has been home, and that his mother is
delighted to hear of his engagement. He says, too, that he went to
see an old lady, one of the friends of. his boyhood, to tell the news
to her.

"When I told her," he goes on, "that I had found the most beautiful,
the noblest, the most loving of human beings, she only said, 'Of
course, of course!'

"Now you know, dear, that it is not at all of course, but the very
strangest, most wonderful event in the history of the world."

And then he described a scene he had just witnessed at the deathbed
of a young girl of my own age, who left this world and every possible
earthly joy, with a delight in the going to be with Christ, that made
him really eloquent. Oh, how glad I am that God has cast in my lot
with a man whose whole business is to minister to others! I am sure
this will, of itself, keep him unworldly and unselfish. How delicious
it is to love such a character, and how happy I shall be to go with
him to sick-rooms and to dying-beds! He has already taught me that
lessons learned in such scenes far outweigh in value what books and
sermons, even, can teach.

And now, my dear old journal, let me tell you a secret that has to do
with life, and not with death.

I am going to be married!

To think that I am always to be with Ernest! To sit at the table with
him every day, to pray with him, to go to church with him, to have
him all mine! I am sure that there is not another man on earth whom I
could love as I love him. The thought of marrying Ch---, I mean of
having that silly, school-girl engagement end in marriage, was always
repugnant to me. But I give myself to Ernest joyfully and with all my
heart.

How good God has been to me! I do hope and pray that this new, this
absorbing love, has not detached my. soul from Him, will not detach
it. If I knew it would, could I, should I have courage to cut it off
and cast it from me?

JAN.16, 1837.-Yesterday was my birthday, and to-day is my
wedding-day. We meant to celebrate the one with the other, but Sunday
would come this year on the fifteenth.

I am dressed, and have turned everybody out of this room, where I
have suffered so much mortification, and experienced so much joy,
that before I give myself to Ernest, and before I leave home forever,
I may once more give myself away to God. I have been too much
absorbed in my earthly love, and am shocked to find how it fills my
thoughts. But I will belong to God. I will begin my married life in
His fear, depending on Him to make me an unselfish, devoted wife.

JAN. 25.-We had a delightful trip after the wedding was over. Ernest
proposed to take me to his own home that I might see his mother and
sister. He never has said that he wanted them to see me. But his
mother is not well. I am heartily glad of it.

I mean I was glad to escape going there to be examined and
criticised. Every one of them would pick at me, I am sure, and I
don't like to be picked at.

We have a home of our own, and I am trying to take kindly to
housekeeping. Ernest is away a great deal more than I expected he
would be. I am fearfully lonely. Aunty comes to see me as often as
she can, and I go there almost every day, but that doesn't amount to
much. As soon as I can venture to it, I shall ask Ernest to let me
invite mother to come and live with us. It is not right for her to be
left all alone so I hoped he would do that himself. But men are not
like women. We think of everything.

FEB. 15.-Our honeymoon ends to-day. There hasn't been quite as much
honey in it as I expected. I supposed that Ernest would be at home
every evening, at least, and that he would read aloud, and have me
play and sing, and that we should have delightful times together. But
now he has got me he seems satisfied, and goes about his business as
if he had been married a hundred years. In the morning he goes off to
see his list of patients; he is going in and out all day; after
dinner we sit down to have a nice talk together; the door-bell
invariably rings, and he is called away. Then in the evening he goes
and sits in his office and studies; I don't mean every minute, but he
certainly spends hours there. To-day he brought me such a precious
letter from dear mother! I could not help crying when I read it, it
was so kind and so loving. Ernest looked amazed; he threw down his
paper, came and took me in his arms and asked, "What is the matter,
darling?" Then it all came out. I said I was lonely, and hadn't been
used to spending my evenings all by myself.

"You must get some of your friends to come and see you, poor child,"
he said.

"I don't want friends," I sobbed out. "I want you."

"Yes, darling; why didn't you tell me so sooner? Of course I will
stay with you if you wish it."

"If that is your only reason, I am sure I don't want you," I pouted.

He looked puzzled.

"I really don't know what to do," he said, with a most comical look
of perplexity. But he went to his office, and brought up a pile of
fusty old books.

"Now, dear," he said, "we understand each other I think. I can read
here just as well as down stairs. Get your book and we shall be as
cosy as possible."

My heart felt sore and dissatisfied. Am I unreasonable and childish?
What is married life? An occasional meeting, a kiss here and a caress
there? or is it the sacred union of the twain who 'walk together side
by side, knowing each other's joys and sorrows, and going Heavenward
hand in hand?

FEB. 17.-Mrs. Embury has been here to-day. I longed to compare notes
with her, and find out whether it really is my fault that I am not
quite happy. But I could not bear to open my heart to her on so
sacred a subject. We had some general conversation, however, which
did me good for the time, at least.

She said she thought one of the first lessons a wife should learn is
self-forgetfulness. I wondered if she had seen anything in me to call
forth this remark. We meet pretty often; partly because our husbands
are such good friends, partly because she is as fond of music as I
am, and we like to sing and play together, and I never see her that
she does not do or say something elevating; something that
strengthens my own best purposes and desires. But she knows nothing
of my conflict and dismay, and never will. Her gentle nature responds
at once to holy influences. I feel truly grateful to her for loving
me, for she really does love me, and yet she must see my faults.

I should like to know if there is any reason on earth why a woman
should learn self-forgetfulness that does not apply to a man?

FEB. 18. -Uncle says he has no doubt he owes his 1ife to Ernest, who,
in the face of opposition to other physicians, insisted on his giving
up his business and going off to Europe at just the right moment. For
his partner, whose symptoms were very like his own, has been stricken
down with paralysis, and will not recover.

It Is very pleasant to hear Ernest praised, and it is a pleasure I
have very often, for his friends come to see me, and speak of him
with rapture. A lady told me that through the long illness of a sweet
young daughter of hers, he prayed with her every day, ministering so
skillfully to her soul, that all fear of death was taken away, and
she just longed to go, and did go at last, with perfect delight. I
think he spoke of her to me once; but he did not tell me that her
preparations for death was his work. I could not conceive of him as
doing that.

FEB. 24.-Ernest has been gone a week. His mother is worse and he had
to go. I wanted to go too, but he said it was not worth while, as he
should have to return directly. Dr. Embury takes charge of his
patients during his absence, and Mrs. E. and Aunty and the children
come to see me very often. I like Mrs. Embury more and more. She is
not so audacious as I am, but I believe she agrees with me more than
she will own.

FEB. 25.-Ernest writes that his mother is dangerously ill, and seems
in great distress. I am mean enough to want all his love myself,
while I should hate him if he gave none to her. Poor Ernest! If she
should die he would be sadly afflicted!

FEB. 27.-She died the very day he wrote. How I long to fly to him and
to comfort him! I can think of nothing else. I pray day and night
that God would make me a better wife.

A letter came from mother at the same time with Ernest's. She
evidently misses me more than she will own. Just as soon as Ernest
returns home I will ask him to let her come and live with us. I am
sure he will; he loves her already, and now that his mother has gone
he will find her a real comfort. I am sure she will only make our
home the happier.

FEB. 28-Such a dreadful thing is going to happen! I have cried and
called myself names by turns all day. Ernest writes that it has been
decided to give up the old homestead, and scatter the family about
among the married sons and daughters. Our share is to be his father
and his sister Martha, and he desires me to have two rooms got ready
for them at once.

So all the glory and the beauty is snatched out of my married life at
one swoop! And it is done by the hand I love best, and that I would
not have believed could be so unkind.

I am rent in pieces by conflicting emotions and passions. One moment
I am all tenderness and sympathy for poor Ernest, and ready to
sacrifice everything for his pleasure. The next I am bitterly angry
with him for disposing of all my happiness in this arbitrary way. If
he had let me make common cause with him and share his interests with
him, I know I am not so abominably selfish as to feel as I do now.
But he forces two perfect strangers upon me and forever shuts our
doors against my darling mother. For, of course, she cannot live with
us if they do.

And who knows what sort of people they are? It is not everybody I can
get along with, nor is it everybody can get along with me. Now, if
Helen were coming instead of Martha, that would be some relief. I
could love her, I am sure, and she would put up with my ways. But
your Marthas I am afraid of. Oh, dear, dear, what a nest of scorpions
this affair has stirred up within me! Who would believe I could be
thinking of my own misery while Ernest's mother, whom he loved so
dearly, is hardly in her grave! But I have no heart, I am stony and
cold. It is well to have found out just what I am!

Since I wrote that I have been trying to tell God all about it. But I
could not speak for crying. And I have been getting the rooms ready.
How many little things I had planned to put in the best one, which I
intended for mother I have made myself arrange them just the same for
Ernest's father. The stuffed chair I have had in my room, and enjoyed
so much, has been rolled in, and the Bible with large print placed on
the little table near which I had pictured mother with her sweet,
pale face, as sitting year after year. The only thing I have taken
away is the copy of father's portrait. He won't want that!

When I had finished this business I went and shook my fist at the
creature I saw in the glass.

"You're beaten I" I cried. "You didn't want to give up the chair, nor
your writing-table, nor the Bible in which you expect to record the
names of your ten children I But you've had to do it, so there!"

MARCH 3.-They all got here at 7 o'clock last night, just in time for
tea. I was so glad to get hold of Ernest once more that I was
gracious to my guests, too. The very first thing, however, Ernest
annoyed me by calling me Katherine, though he knows I hate that name,
and want to be called Katy as if I were a lovable person, as I
certainly am (sometimes). Of course his father and Martha called me
Katherine, too.

His father is even taller, darker, blacker eyed, blacker haired than
he.

Martha is a spinster.

I had got up a nice little supper for them, thinking they would need
something substantial after their journey. And perhaps there was some
vanity in the display of dainties that needed the mortification I
felt at seeing my guests both push away their plates in apparent
disgust. Ernest, too, looked annoyed, and expressed some regret that
they could find nothing to tempt their appetites.

Martha said something about not expecting much from young
housekeepers, which I inwardly resented, for the light, delicious
bread had been sent by Aunty, together with other luxuries from her
own table, and I knew they were not the handiwork of a young
housekeeper, but of old Chloe, who had lived in her own and her
mother's family twenty years.

Ernest went out as soon as this unlucky repast was over to hear Dr.
Embury's report of his patients, and we passed a dreary evening, as
my mind was preoccupied with longing for his return. The more I tried
to think. of something to say the more I couldn't.

At last Martha asked at what time we breakfasted.

"At half-past seven, precisely," I answered. "Ernest is very punctual
about breakfast. The other meals are more irregular."

"That is very late," she returned. "Father rises early and needs his
breakfast at once."

I said I would see that he had it as early as he liked, while I
foresaw that this would cost me a battle with the divinity who
reigned in the kitchen.

"You need not trouble yourself. I will speak to my brother about it,"
she said.

"Ernest has nothing to do with it," I said, quickly.

She looked at me in a speechless way, and then there was a long
silence, during which she shook her head a number of times. At last
she inquired: "Did you make the bread we had on the table to-night?"

"No, I do not know how to make bread," I said, smiling at her look of
horror.

"Not know how to make bread?" she cried. The very spirit of mischief
got into me, and made me ask:

"Why, can you?"

Now I know there is but one other question I could have asked her,
less insulting than this, and that is:

"Do you know the Ten Commandments?"

A spinster fresh from a farm not know how make bread, to be sure!

But in a moment I was ashamed and sorry that I had yielded to myself
so far as to forget the courtesy due to her as my guest, and one just
home from a scene of sorrow, so I rushed across the room, seized her
hand, and said, eagerly:

"Do forgive me! It slipped out before I thought!"

She looked at me in blank amazement, unconscious that there was
anything to forgive.

'How you startled me!" she said. "I thought you had suddenly gone
crazy."

I went back to my seat crestfallen enough. All this time Ernest's
father had sat grim and grave in his corner, without a word. But now
he spoke.

"At what hour does my son have family worship? I should like to
retire. I feel very weary."

Now family worship at night consists in our kneeling down together
hand in hand, the last thing before going to bed, and in our own
room. The awful thought of changing this sweet, informal habit into a
formal one made me reply quickly:

"Oh, Ernest is very irregular about it. He is often out in the
evening, and sometimes we are quite late. I hope you never will feel
obliged to wait for him."

I trust I shall do my duty, whatever it costs," was the answer.

Oh, how I wished they would go to bed!

It was now ten o'clock, and I felt tired and restless. When Ernest is
out late I usually lie on the sofa and wait for him, and so am bright
and fresh when he comes in. But now I had to sit up, and there was no
knowing for how long. I poked at the fire and knocked down the shovel
and tongs, now I leaned back in my chair, and now I leaned forward,
and then I listened for his step. At last he came.

"What, are you not all gone to bed?" he asked.

As if I could go to bed when I had scarcely seen him a moment since
his return!

I explained why we waited, and then we had prayer and escorted our
guests to their rooms. When we got back to the parlor I was thankful
to rest my tired soul in Ernest's arms, and to hear what little he
had to tell about his mother's last hours.

"You must love me more than ever, now," he said, "for I have lost my
best friend."

"Yes," I said, "I will." As if that were possible! All the time we
were talking I heard the greatest racket overhead, but he did not
seem to notice it. I found, this morning, that Martha, or her father,
or both together, had changed the positions of article of furniture
in the room making it look a fright.



Chapter 11

XI.

MARCH 10.

THINGS are even worse than I expected. Ernest evidently looked at me
with his father's eyes (and this father has got the jaundice, or
something), and certainly is cooler towards me than he was before he
went home. Martha still declines eating more than enough to keep body
and soul together, and sits at the table with the air of a martyr.
Her father lives on crackers and stewed prunes, and when he has eaten
them, fixes his melancholy eyes on me, watching every mouthful with
an air of plaintive regret that I will consume so much unwholesome
food.

Then Ernest positively spends less time with me than ever, and sits
in his office reading and writing nearly every evening.

Yesterday I came home from an exhilarating walk, and a charming call
at Aunty's, and at the dinner-table gave a lively account of some of
the children's exploits. Nobody laughed, and nobody made any
response, and after dinner Ernest took me aside, and said, kindly
enough, but still said it,

"My little wife must be careful how she runs on in my father's
presence. He has a great deal of every thing that might be thought
levity."

Then all the vials of my wrath exploded and went off.

"Yes, I see how it is," I cried, passionately. "You and your father
and your sister have got a box about a foot square that you want to
squeeze me into. I have seen it ever since they came. And I can tell
you it will take more than three of you to do it. There was no harm
in what I said-none, whatever. If you only married me for the sake of
screwing me down and freezing me up, why didn't you tell me so before
it was too late?"

Ernest stood looking at me like one staring at a problem he had got
to solve, and didn't know where to begin.

"I am very sorry," he said. "I thought you would be glad to have me
give you this little hint. Of course I want you to appear your very
best before my father and sister."

"My very best is my real self," I cried. "To talk like a woman of
forty is unnatural to a girl of my age. If your father doesn't like
me I wish he would go away, and not come here putting notions into
your head, and making you as cold and hard as a stone. Mother liked
to have me 'run on,' as you call it, and I wish I had stayed with her
all my life."

"Do you mean," he asked, very gravely," that you really wish that?"

"No," I said, "I don't mean it," for his husky, troubled voice
brought me to my senses. "All I mean is, that I love you so dearly,
and you keep my heart feeling so hungry and restless; and then you
went and brought your father and sister here and never asked me if I
should like it; and you crowded mother out, and she lives all alone,
and it isn't right! I always said that whoever married me had got to
marry mother, and I never dreamed that you would disappoint me so!"

"Will you stop crying, and listen to me?" he said.

But I could not stop. The floods of the great deep were broken up at
last, and I had to cry. If I could have told my troubles to some one
I could thus have found vent for them, but there was no one to whom I
had a right to speak of my husband.

Ernest walked up and down in silence. Oh, if I could have cried on
his breast, and felt that he loved and pitied me!

At last, as I grew quieter, he came and sat by me.

"This has come upon me like a thunderclap," he said. "I did not know
I kept your heart hungry. I did not know you wished your mother to
live with us. And I took it for granted that my wife, with her
high-toned, heroic character, would sustain me in every duty, and
welcome my father and sister to our home. I do not know what I can do
now. Shall I send them away?"

No, no!" I cried. "Only be good to me, Ernest, only love me, only
look at me with your own eyes, and not with other people's. You knew
I had faults when you married me; I never tried to conceal them."

And did you fancy I had none myself?" he asked.

"No," I replied. "I saw no faults in you. Everybody said you were
such a noble, good man and you spoke so beautifully one night at an
evening meeting."

"Speaking beautifully is little to the purpose less one lives
beautifully," he said, sadly. "And now is it possible that you and I,
a Christian man and a Christian woman, are going on and on with
scenes as this? Are you to wear your very life out because I have not
your frantic way of loving, and am I to be made weary of mine because
I cannot satisfy you?"

"But, Ernest," I said, "you used to satisfy me. Oh, how happy I was
in those first days when we were always together; and you seemed so
fond me!" I was down on the floor by this time, and looking up into
his pale, anxious face.

"Dear child," he said, "I do love you, and that more than you know.
But you would not have me leave my work and spend my whole time
telling you so?"

"You know I am not so silly," I cried.. "It is not fair, it is not
right to talk as if I were. I ask for nothing unreasonable. I only
want those little daily assurances of your affection which I should
suppose would be spontaneous if you felt at all towards me as I do to
you."

"The fact is," he returned, "I am absorbed in my work. It brings many
grave cares and anxieties. I spend most of my time amid scenes of
suffering and at dying beds. This makes me seem abstracted and cold,
but it does not make you less dear. On the contrary, the sense it
gives me of the brevity and sorrowfulness of life makes you doubly
precious, since it constantly reminds me that sick beds and dying
beds must sooner or later come to our home as to those of others."

I clung to him as he uttered these terrible words In an agony of
terror.

"Oh, Ernest, promise me, promise me that you will not die first," I
pleaded.

Foolish little thing!" he said, and was as silly, for a while, as the
silliest heart could ask. Then he became serious again.

"Katy," he said, "if you can once make up your mind to the fact that
I am an undemonstrative man, not all fire and fury and ecstasy as you
are, yet loving you with all my heart, however it may seem, I think
you will spare yourself much needless pain--and spare me, also."

"But I want, you to be demonstrative," I persisted.

"Then you must teach me. And about my father and sister, perhaps, we
may find some way of relieving you by and by. Meanwhile, try to bear
with the trouble they make, for my sake."

"But I don't mind the trouble! Oh, Ernest, how you do misunderstand
me! What I mind is their coming between you and me and making you
love me less."

"By this time there was a call for Ernest-it is a wonder there had
not been forty-and he went.

"I feel as heart-sore as ever. What has been gained by this tempest ?
Nothing at all! Poor Ernest! How can I worry him so when he is
already full of care?

MARCH 20.-I have had such a truly beautiful letter to-day from dear
mother! She gives up the hope of coming to spend her last years with
us with a sweet patience that makes me cry whenever I think of it.
What is the secret of this instant and cheerful consent to whatever
God wills! Oh, that I had it, too! She begs me to be considerate
and kind to Ernest's father and sister, and constantly to remind
myself that my Heavenly Father has chosen to give me this care and
trial on the very threshold of my married life. I am afraid I have
quite lost sight of that in my indignation with Ernest for bringing
them here.

APRIL 3.-Martha is closeted with Ernest in his office day and night.
They never give me the least hint of what is going on in these secret
meetings. Then this morning Sarah, my good, faithful cook, bounced
into my room to give warning. She said she could not live where there
were, two mistresses giving contrary directions.

"But, really, there is but one mistress," I urged. Then it came out
that Martha went down every morning to look after the soap-fat, and
to scrimp in the house-keeping, and see that there was no food
wasted. I remembered then that she had inquired whether I attended to
these details, evidently ranking such duties with saying one's
prayers and reading one's Bible.

I flew to Ernest the moment he was at leisure and poured my
grievances into his ear.

"Well, dear," he said, "suppose you give up the house-keeping to
Martha! She will be far happier and you will be freed from much
annoying, petty care."

I bit my tongue lest it should say something, and went back to Sarah.

"Suppose Miss Elliott takes charge of the housekeeping, and I have
nothing to do with it, will you stay?"

"Indeed, and I won't then. I can't bear her, and I won't put up with
her nasty, scrimping, pinching ways!"

"Very well. Then you will have to go," I said, with great dignity,
though just ready to cry. Ernest, on being applied to for wages,
undertook to argue the question himself.

"My sister will take the whole charge," he began.

"And may and welcome for all me!" quoth Sarah. "I don't like her and
never shall."

"Your liking or disliking her is of no consequence whatever," said
Ernest. "You may dislike her as much as you please. But you must not
leave us."

"Indeed, and I'm not going to stay and be put upon by her," persisted
Sarah. So she has gone. We had to get dinner ourselves; that is to
say, Martha did, for she said I got in her way, and put her out with
my awkwardness. I have been running hither and thither to find some
angel who will consent to live in this ill-assorted household. Oh,
how different everything is from what I had planned! I wanted a
cheerful home, where I should be the centre of every joy; a home like
Aunty's, without a cloud. But Ernest's father sits, the
personification of silent gloom, like a nightmare on my spirits;
Martha holds me in disfavor and contempt; Ernest is absorbed in his
profession, and I hardly see him. If he wants advice he asks it of
Martha, while I sit, humbled, degraded and ashamed, wondering why he
ever married me at all. And then come interludes of wild joy when he
appears just as he did in the happy days of our bridal trip, and I
forget every grievance and hang on his words and looks like one
intoxicated with bliss.

OCT. 2.-There has been another explosion. I held in as long as I
could, and then flew into ten thousand pieces. Ernest had got into
the habit of helping his father and sister at the table, and
apparently forgetting me. It seems a little thing, but it chafed and
fretted my already irritated soul till at last I was almost beside
myself.

Yesterday they all three sat eating their breakfast and I, with empty
plate, sat boiling over and, looking on, when Ernest brought things
to a crisis by saying to Martha,

"If you can find time to-day I wish you would go out with me for half
an hour or so. I want to consult you about-"

"Oh!" I said, rising, with my face all in a flame, do not trouble
yourself to go out in order to escape me. I can leave the room and
you can have your secrets to yourselves as you do your breakfast!"

I don't know which struck me, most, Ernest's appalled, grieved look
or the glance exchanged between Martha and her father.

He did not hinder my leaving the room, and I went upstairs, as
pitiable an object as could be seen. I heard him go to his office,
then take his hat and set forth on his rounds. What wretched hours I
passed, thus left alone! One moment I reproached myself, the next I
was indignant at the long series of offences that had led to this
disgraceful scene.

At last Ernest came.

He looked concerned, and a little pale.

"Oh, Ernest!" I cried, running to him, "I am so sorry I spoke to you
as I did! But, indeed, I cannot stand the way things are going on; I
am wearing all out. Everybody speaks of my growing thin. Feel of my
hands. They burn like fire."

"I knew you would be sorry, dear," he said. "Yes, your hands are
hot, poor child."

There was a long, dreadful silence. And yet I was speaking, and
perhaps he was. I was begging and beseeching God not to let us drift
apart, not to let us lose one jot or tittle of our love to each
other, to enable me to understand my dear, dear husband and make him
understand me.

Then Ernest began.

"What was it vexed you, dear? What is it you can't stand? Tell me. I
am your husband, I love you, I want to make you happy."

"Why, you are having so many secrets that you keep from me; and you
treat me as if I were only a child, consulting Martha about
everything. And of late you seem to have forgotten that I am at the
table and never help me to anything!"

"Secrets!" he re-echoed. "What possible secrets can I have?"

"I don't know," I said, sinking wearily back on the sofa. "Indeed,
Ernest, I don't want to be selfish or exacting, but I am very
unhappy."

"Yes, I see it, poor child. And if I have neglected you at the table
I do not wonder you are out of patience. I know how it has happened.
While you were pouring out the coffee I busied myself in caring for
my father and Martha, and so forgot you. I do not give this as an
excuse, but as a reason. I have really no excuse, and am ashamed of
myself."

"Don't say that, darling," I cried, "it is I who ought to be ashamed
for making such an ado about a trifle."

"It is not a trifle," he said; "and now to the other points. I dare
say I have been careless about consulting Martha. But she has always
been a sort of oracle in our family, and we all look up to her, and
she is so much older than you. Then as to the secrets. Martha comes
to my office to help me look over my books. I have been careless
about my accounts, and she has kindly undertaken to attend to them
for me."

"Could not I have done that?"

"No; why should your little head be troubled about money matters? But
to go on. I see that it was thoughtless in me not to tell you what we
were about. But I am greatly perplexed and harassed in many ways.
Perhaps you would feel better to know all about it. I have only kept
it from you to spare you all the anxiety I could."

"Oh, Ernest," I said, "ought not a wife to share in all her husband's
cares?"

"'No," he returned; "but I will tell you all that is annoying me now.
My father was in business in our native town, and went on
prosperously for many years. Then the tide turned-he met with loss
after loss, till nothing remained but the old homestead, and on that
there was a mortgage. We concealed the state of things from my
mother; her health was delicate, and we never let her know a trouble
we could spare her. Now she has gone, and we have found it necessary
to sell our old home and to divide and scatter the family My father's
mental distress when he found others suffering from his own losses
threw him into the state in which you see him now. I have therefore
assumed his debts, and with God's help hope in time to pay them to
the uttermost farthing. It will be necessary for us to live
economically until this is done. There are two pressing cases that I
am trying to meet at once. This has given me a preoccupied air, I
have no doubt, and made you suspect and misunderstand me. But now you
know the whole, my darling."

I felt my injustice and childish folly very keenly, and told him so.

"But I think, dear Ernest," I added, "if you will not be hurt at my
saying so, that you have led me to it by not letting me share at once
in your cares. If you had at the outset just told me the whole story,
you would have enlisted my sympathies in your father's behalf, and in
your own. I should have seen the reasonableness of your breaking up
the old home and bringing him here, and it would have taken the edge
of my bitter, bitter disappointment about my mother."

"I feel very sorry about that," he said. "It would be a real pleasure
to have her here. But as things are now, she could not be happy with
us."

"There is no room," I put in.

"I am truly sorry. And now my dear little wife must have patience
with her stupid blundering old husband, and we'll start together once
more fair and square. Don't wait, next time, till you are so full
that you boil over; the moment I annoy you by my inconsiderate ways,
come right and tell me."

I called myself all the horrid names I could think of.

"May I ask one thing more, now we are upon the subject?" I said at
last. "Why couldn't your sister Helen have come here instead of
Martha?"

He smiled a little.

"In the first place, Helen would be perfectly if she had the care of
father in his present She is too young to have such responsibility.
In the second place, my brother John, with whom she has gone to live,
has a wife who would be quite crushed by my father and Martha. She is
one of those little tender, soft souls one could crush fingers. Now,
you are not of that sort; you have force of character enough to
enable you to live with them, while maintaining your own dignity and
remaining yourself in spite of circum stances."

"I thought you admired Martha above all thing and wanted me to be
exactly like her."

"I do admire her, but I do not want you to be like anybody but
yourself."

"But you nearly killed me by suggesting that I should take heed how I
talked in your father's presence."

"Yes, dear; it was very stupid of me, but my father has a standard of
excellence in his mind by which he tests every woman; this standard
is my mother. She had none of your life and fun in her, and perhaps
would not have appreciated your droll way of putting things any
better than he and Martha do."

I could not help sighing a little when I thought what sort of people
were watching my every word.

"There is nothing amiss to my mind," Ernest continued, "in your gay
talk; but my father has his own views as to what constitutes a
religious character and cannot understand that real earnestness and
real, genuine mirthfulness are consistent with each other."

He had to go now, and we parted as if for a week's separation, this
one talk had brought us so near to each other. I understand him now
as I never have done, and feel that he has given me as real a proof
of his affection by unlocking the door of his heart and letting me
see its cares, as I give him in my wild pranks and caresses and
foolish speeches. How truly noble it is in him to take up his
father's burden in this way! I must contrive to help to lighten it.



Chapter 12

XII.

NOVEMBER 6.

AUNTY has put me in the way of doing that. I could not tell her the
whole story, of course, but I made her understand that Ernest needed
money for a generous purpose, and that I wanted to help him in it.
She said the children needed both music and drawing lessons, and that
she should be delighted if I would take them in hand. Aunty does not
care a fig for accomplishments, but I think I am right in accepting
her offer, as the children ought to learn to sing and to play and to
draw. Of course I cannot have them come here, as Ernest's father
could not bear the noise they would make; besides, I want to take him
by surprise, and keep the whole thing a secret.

Nov. 14.-I have seen by the way Martha draws down the corners of her
mouth of late, that I am unusually out of favor with her. This
evening, Ernest, coming home quite late, found me lolling back in my
chair, idling, after a hard day's work with my little cousins, and
Martha sewing nervously away at the rate of ten knots an hour, which
is the first pun I ever made.

"Why will you sit up and sew at such a rate, Martha?" he asked.

She twitched at her thread, broke it, and began with a new one before
she replied.

"I suppose you find it convenient to have a whole shirt to your
back."

I saw then that she was making his shirts! It made me both hot and
cold at once. What must Ernest think of me?

It is plain enough what he thinks of her, for he said, quite warmly,
for him--

"This is really too kind."

What right has she to prowl round among Ernest's things and pry into
the state of his wardrobe? If I had not had my time so broken up with
giving lessons, I should have found out that he needed new shirts and
set to work on them. Though I must own I hate shirt-making. I could
not help showing that I felt aggrieved. Martha defended herself by
saying that she knew young people would be young people, and would
gad about, shirts or no shirts. Now it is not her fault that she
thinks I waste my time gadding about, but I am just as angry with her
as if she did. Oh, why couldn't I have had Helen, to be a pleasant
companion and friend to me, instead of this old-well I won't say
what.

And really, with so much to make me happy, what would become of me if
I had no trials?

Nov. 15.-To-day Martha has a house-cleaning mania, and has dragged me
into it by representing the sin and misery of those deluded mortals
who think servants know how to sweep and to scrub. In spite of my
resolution not to get under her thumb, I have somehow let her rule
and reign over me to such an extent that I can hardly sit up long
enough to write this. Does the whole duty of woman consist in keeping
her house distressingly clean and prim; in making and baking and
preserving and pickling; in climbing to the top shelves of closets
lest haply a little dust should lodge there, and getting down on her
hands and knees to inspect the carpet? The truth is there is not one
point of sympathy between Martha and myself, not one. One would think
that our love to Ernest would furnish it. But her love aims at the
abasement of his character and mine at its elevation. She thinks I
should bow down to and worship him, jump up and offer him my chair
when he comes in, feed him with every unwholesome dainty he fancies,
and feel myself honored by his acceptance of these services. I think
it is for him to rise and offer me a seat, because I am a woman and
his wife; and that a silly subservience on my part is degrading to
him and to myself. And I am afraid I make known these sentiments to
her in a most unpalatable way.

Nov. 18.-Oh, I am so happy that I sing for joy! Dear Ernest has
given me such a delightful surprise! He says he has persuaded James
to come and spend his college days here, and finally study medicine
with him. Dear, darling old James! He is to be here to-morrow. He is
to have the little hall bedroom fitted up for him, and he will be
here several years. Next to having mother, this is the nicest thing
that could happen. We love each other so dearly, and get along so
beautifully together I wonder how he'll like Martha with her grim
ways, and Ernest's father with his melancholy ones.

Nov. 30.-James has come, and the house already seems lighter and
cheerier. He is not in the least annoyed by Martha or her father, and
though he is as jovial as the day is long, they actually seem to like
him. True to her theory on the subject, Martha invariably rises at
his entrance, and offers him her seat! He pretends not to see it, and
runs to get one for her! Then she takes comfort in seeing him consume
her good things, since his gobbling them down is a sort of tacit
tribute to their merits.

Mrs. Embury was here to-day. She says there is not much the matter
with Ernest's father, that he has only got the hypo. I don't know
exactly what this is, but I believe it is thinking something is the
matter with you when there isn't. At any rate I put it to you, my
dear old journal, whether it is pleasant to live with people who
behave in this way?

In the first place all he talks about is his fancied disease. He gets
book after book from the office and studies and ponders his case till
he grows quite yellow. One day he says he has found out the seat of
his disease to be the liver, and changes his diet to meet that view
of the case. Martha has to do him up in mustard, and he takes kindly
to blue pills. In a day or two he finds his liver is all right, but
that his brain is all wrong. The mustard goes now to the back of his
neck, and he takes solemn leave of us all, with the assurance that
his last hour has come. Finding that he survives the night, however,
he transfers the seat of his disease to the heart, spends hours in
counting his pulse, refuses to take exercise lest he should bring on
palpitations, and warns us all to prepare to follow him. Everybody
who comes in has to hear the whole story, every one prescribes
something, and he tries each remedy in turn. These all failing to
reach his case, he is s plunged into ten-fold gloom. He complains
that God has cast him off forever, and that his sins are like the
sands of the sea for number. I am such a goose that I listen to all
these varying moods and symptoms with the solemn conviction that he
is going to die immediately; I bathe his head, and count his pulse,
and fan him, and take down his dying depositions for Ernest's solace
after he has gone. And I talk theology to him by the hour, while
Martha bakes and brews in the kitchen, or makes mince pies, after
eating which one might give him the whole Bible at one dose, without
the smallest effect.

To-day I stood by his chair, holding his head and whispering such
consoling passages as I thought might comfort him, when James burst
in, singing and tossing his cap in the air.

"Come here, young man, and hear my last testimony. I am about to die.
The end draws near," were the sepulchral words that made him bring
his song to an abrupt close.

"I shall take it very ill of you, sir," quoth James, "if you go and
die before giving me that cane you promised me."

Who could die decently under such circumstances? The poor old man
revived immediately, but looked a good deal injured. After James had
gone out, he said:

"It is very painful to one who stands on the very verge of the
eternal world to see the young so thoughtless."

"But James is not thoughtless," I said. "It is only his merry way."

"Daughter Katherine," he went on, "you are very kind to the old man,
and you will have your reward. But I wish I could feel sure of your
state before God. I greatly fear you deceive yourself, and that the
ground of your hope is delusive."

I felt the blood rush to my face. At first I was staggered a good
deal. But is a mortal man who cannot judge of his own state to decide
mine? It is true he sees my faults; anybody can, who looks. But he
does not see my prayers, or my tears of shame and sorrow; he does not
know how many hasty words I repress; how earnestly I am aiming, all
the day long, to do right in all the little details of life. He does
not know that it costs my fastidious nature an appeal to God every
time I kiss his poor old face, and that what would be an act of
worship in him is an act of self-denial in me. How should he? The
Christian life is a hidden known only by the eye that seeth in
secret. And I do believe this life is mine.

Up to this time I have contrived to get along without calling
Ernest's father by any name. I mean now to make myself turn over a
new leaf.

DECEMBER 7.-James is my perpetual joy and pride. We read and sing
together, just as we used to do in our old school days. Martha sits
by, with her work, grimly approving; for is he not a man? And, as if
my cup of felicity were not full enough, I am to have my dear old
pastor come here to settle over this church, and I shall once more
hear his beloved voice in the pulpit. Ernest has managed the whole
thing. He says the state of Dr. C.'s health makes the change quite
necessary, and that he can avail himself of the best surgical advice
this city affords, in case his old difficulties recur. I rejoice for
myself and for this church, but mother will miss him sadly.

I am leading a very busy, happy life, only I am, perhaps, working a
little too hard. What with my scholars, the extra amount of housework
Martha contrives to get out of me, the practicing I must keep up if I
am to teach, and the many steps I have to take, I have not only no
idle moments, but none too many for recreation. Ernest is so busy
himself that he fortunately does not see what a race I am running.

JANUARY 16, 1838.-The first anniversary of our wedding-day, and like
all days, has had its lights and its shades. I thought I would
celebrate it in such a way as to give pleasure to everybody, and
spent a good deal of time in getting up a little gift for each, from
Ernest and myself. And I took special pains to have a good dinner,
particularly for father. Yes, I had made up my mind to call him by
that sacred name for the first time to-day, cost what it may. But he
shut himself up in his room directly after breakfast, and when dinner
was ready refused to come down. This cast a gloom over us all Then
Martha was nearly distracted because a valuable dish had been broken
in the kitchen, and could not recover her equanimity at all. Worst of
all Ernest, who is not in the least sentimental, never said a word
about our wedding-day, and. didn't give me a thing! I have kept
hoping all day that he would make me some little present, no matter
how small, but now it is too late; he has gone out to be gone all
night, probably, and thus ends the day, an utter failure.

I feel a good deal disappointed. Besides, when I look back over this
my first year of married life, I do not feel satisfied with myself at
all. I can't help feeling that I have been selfish and unreasonable
towards Ernest in a great many ways, and as contrary towards Martha
as if I enjoyed a state of warfare between us. And I have felt a good
deal of secret contempt for her father, with his moods and tenses,
his pill-boxes and his plasters, his feastings and his fastings. I do
not understand how a Christian can make such slow progress as I do,
and how old faults can hang on so.

If I had made any real progress, should I not be sensible of it?

I have been reading over the early part of this journal, and when I
came to the conversation I had with Mrs. Cabot, in which I made a
list of my wants, I was astonished that I could ever have had such
contemptible ones. Let me think what I really and truly most want
now.

First of all, then, if God should speak to me at this moment and
offer to give just one thing, and that alone, I should say without
hesitation,

Love to Thee, O my Master!

Next to that, if I could have one thing more, I would choose to be a
thoroughly unselfish, devoted wife. Down in my secret heart I know
there lurks another wish, which I am ashamed of. It is that in some
way or other, some right way, I could be delivered from Martha and
her father. I shall never be any better while they are here to tempt
me!

FEBRUARY 1.-Ernest spoke to-day of one of his patients, a Mrs.
Campbell, who is a great sufferer, but whom he describes as the
happiest, most cheerful person he ever met. He rarely speaks of his
patients. Indeed, he rarely speaks of anything. I felt strangely
attracted by what he said of her, and asked so many questions that at
last he proposed to take me to see her. I caught at the idea very
eagerly, and have just come home from the visit greatly moved and
touched. She is confined to her bed, and is quite helpless, and at
times her sufferings are terrible. She received me with a sweet
smile, however, and led me on to talk more of myself than I ought to
have done. I wish Ernest had not left me alone with her, so that I
should have had the restraint of his presence.

FEB. 14.-I am so fascinated with Mrs. Campbell that I cannot help
going to see her again and again. She seems to me like one whose
conflict and dismay are all over, and who looks on other human beings
with an almost divine love and pity. To look at life as she does, to
feel as she does, to have such a personal love to Christ as she has,
I would willingly go through every trial and sorrow. When I told her
so, she smiled, a little sadly.

"Much as you envy me," she said, "my faith is not yet so strong that
I do not shudder at the thought of a young enthusiastic girl like
you, going through all I have done in order to learn a few simple
lessons which God was willing to teach me sooner and without the use
of a rod, if I had been ready for them."

"But you are so happy now," I said.

"Yes, I am happy," she replied, "and such happiness is worth all it
costs. If my flesh shudders at the remembrance of what I have
endured, my faith sustains God through the whole. But tell me a
little more about yourself, my dear. I should so love to give you a
helping hand, if I might."

"You know," I began, "dear Mrs. Campbell, that there are some trials
that cannot do us any good. They only call out all there is in us
that is unlovely and severe."

"I don't know of any such trials," she replied.

"Suppose you had to live with people who were perfectly uncongenial;
who misunderstood you, and who were always getting into your way as
stumbling-blocks?"

"If I were living with them and they made me unhappy, I would ask God
to relieve me of this trial if He thought it best. If He did not
think it best, I would then try to find out the reason. He might have
two reasons. One would be the good they might do me. The other the
good I might do them."

"But in the case I was supposing, neither party can be of the least
use to the other."

"You forget perhaps the indirect good one may in by living with
uncongenial, tempting persons. First such people do good by the very
self-denial and self-control their mere presence demands. Then, their
making one's home less home-like and perfect than it would be in
their absence, may help to render our real home in heaven more
attractive."

"But suppose one cannot exercise self-control, and is always flying
out and flaring up ?" I objected.

"I should say that a Christian who was always doing that," she
replied, gravely, "was in pressing need of just the trial God sent
when He shut him up to such a life of hourly temptation. We only know
ourselves and what we really are, when the force of circumstances
bring us out."

"It is very mortifying and painful to find how weak one is."

"That is true. But our mortifications are some of God's best
physicians, and do much toward healing our pride and self-conceit."

"Do you really think, then, that God deliberately appoints to some of
His children a lot where their worst passions are excited, with a
desire to bring good out of this seeming evil? Why I have always
supposed the best thing that could happen to me, instance, would be
to have a home exactly to my mind; a home where all were forbearing,
loving and good-tempered, a sort of little heaven below."

"If you have not such a home, my dear, are you sure it is not partly
your own fault?"

"Of course it is my own fault. Because I am very quick-tempered I
want to live with good-tempered people."

"That is very benevolent in you," she said, archly.

I colored, but went on.

"Oh, I know I am selfish. And therefore I want live with those who
are not so. I want to live with persons to whom I can look for an
example, and who will constantly stimulate me to something higher."

"But if God chooses quite another lot for you, you may be sure that
He sees that you need something totally different from what you want.
You just now that you would gladly go through any trial in order to
attain a personal love to Christ that should become the ruling
principle of your life. Now as soon as God sees this desire in you,
is He not kind, is He not wise, in appointing such trials as He knows
will lead to this end?"

I meditated long before I answered. Was God really asking me not
merely to let Martha and her father live with me on sufferance, but
to rejoice that He had seen fit to let them harass and embitter my
domestic life?"

"I thank you for the suggestion," I said, at last.

"1 want to say one thing more," Mrs. Campbell resumed, after another
pause. "We look at our fellow-men too much from the standpoint of our
own prejudices. They may be wrong, they may have their faults and
foibles, they may call out all that is meanest and most hateful in
us. But they are not all wrong; they have their virtues, and when
they excite our bad passions by their own, they may be as ashamed and
sorry as we are irritated. And I think some of the best, most
contrite, most useful of men and women, whose prayers prevail with
God, and bring down blessings into the homes in which they dwell
often possess unlovely traits that furnish them with their best
discipline. The very fact that they are ashamed of themselves drives
them to God; they feel safe in His presence, and while they lie in
the very dust of self-confusion at His feet they are dear to Him and
have power with Him."

"That is a comforting word, and I thank you for it," I said. My heart
was full, and I longed to stay and hear her talk on. But I had
already exhausted her strength. On the way home I felt as I suppose
people do when they have caught a basketful of fish. I always am
delighted to catch a new idea; I thought I would get all the benefit
out of Martha and her father, and as I went down to tea, after taking
off my things, felt like a holy martyr who had as good as won a
crown.

I found, however, that the butter was horrible. Martha had insisted
that she alone was capable of selecting that article, and had ordered
a quantity from her own village which I could not eat myself and was
ashamed to have on my table. I pushed back my plate in disgust.

"I hope, Martha, that you have not ordered much of this odious
stuff!" I cried.

Martha replied that it was of the very first quality, and appealed to
her father and Ernest, who both agreed with her, which I thought very
unkind and unjust. I rushed into a hot debate on the subject, during
which Ernest maintained that ominous silence that indicates his not
being pleased, and it irritated and led me on. I would far rather he
should say, "Katy, you are behaving like a child and I wish you would
stop talking."

"Martha," I said, "you will persist that the butter is good, because
you ordered it. If you will only own that, I won't say another word."

"I can't say it," she returned. "Mrs. Jones' butter is invariably
good. I never heard it found fault with before. The trouble is you
are so hard to please."

"No, I am not. And you can't convince me that if the buttermilk is
not perfectly worked out, the butter could be fit to eat."

This speech I felt to be a masterpiece. It was time to let her know
how learned I was on the subject of butter, though I wasn't brought
up to make it or see it made.

But here Ernest put in a little oil.

"I think you are both right," he said. "Mrs. Jones makes good butter,
but just this once she failed. I dare say it won't happen again, and
mean while this can be used for making seed-cakes, and we can get a
new supply."

This was his masterpiece. A whole firkin of butter made up into
seed-cakes!

Martha turned to encounter him on that head, and I slipped off to my
room to look, with a miserable sense of disappointment, at my folly
and weakness in making so much ado about nothing. I find it hard to
believe that it can do me good to have people live with me who like
rancid butter, and who disagree with me in everything else.



Chapter 13

XIII.

MARCH 1.

AUNTY sent for us all to dine with her to-day to celebrate Lucy's
fifteenth birthday. Ever since Lucy behaved so heroically in regard
to little Emma, really saving her life, Ernest says Aunty seems to
feel that she cannot do enough for her. The child has taken the most
unaccountable fancy to me, strangely enough, and when we got there
she came to meet me with something like cordiality.

"Mamma permits me to be the bearer of agreeable news," she said,
"because this is my birthday. A friend, of whom you are very fond,
has just arrived, and is impatient to embrace you.

"To embrace me?" I cried. "You foolish child!" And the next moment I
found myself in my mother's arms!

The despised Lucy had been the means of giving me this pleasure. It
seems that Aunty had told her she should choose her own birthday
treat, and that, after solemn meditation, she had decided that to see
dear mother again would be the most agreeable thing she could think
of. I have never told you, dear journal, why I did not go home last
summer, and never shall. If you choose to fancy that I couldn't
afford it you can!

Well! wasn't it nice to see mother, and to read in her dear, loving
face that she was satisfied with her poor, wayward Katy, and fond of
her as ever! I only longed for Ernest's coming, that she might see us
together, and see how he loved me.

He came; I rushed out to meet him and dragged him in. But it seemed
as if he had grown stupid and awkward. All through the dinner I
watched for one of those loving glances which should proclaim to
mother the good understanding between us, but watched in vain.

"It will come by and by," I thought. "When we get by ourselves mother
will see how fond of me he is." But "by and by" it was just the same.
I was preoccupied, and mother asked me if I were well. It was all
very foolish I dare say, and yet I did want to have her know that
with all my faults he still loves me. Then, besides this
disappointment, I have to reproach myself for misunderstanding poor
Lucy as I have done. Because she was not all fire and fury like
myself, I need not have assumed that she had no heart. It is just
like me; I hope I shall never be so severe in my judgment again.

APRIL 30.-Mother has just gone. Her visit has done me a world of
good. She found out something to like in father at once, and then
something good in Martha. She says father's sufferings are real, not
fancied; that his error is not knowing where to locate his disease,
and is starving one week and over-eating the next. She charged me not
to lay up future misery for myself by misjudging him now, and to
treat him as a daughter ought without the smallest regard to his
appreciation of it. Then as to Martha, she declares that I have no
idea how much she does to reduce our expenses, to keep the house in
order and to relieve us from care. "But, mother," I said, "did you
notice what horrid butter we have? And it is all her doing."

"But the butter won't last forever," she replied. "Don't make
yourself miserable about such a trifle. For my part, it is a great
relief to me to know that with your delicate health you have this
tower of strength to lean on."

"But my health is not delicate, mother."

"You certainly look pale and thin."

"Oh, well," I said, whereupon she fell to giving me all sorts of
advice about getting up on step-ladders, and climbing on chairs, and
sewing too much and all that.

JUNE 15.-The weather, or something, makes me rather languid and
stupid. I begin to think that Martha is not an entire nuisance in the
house. I have just been to see Mrs. Campbell. In answer to my routine
of lamentations, she took up a book and read me what was called, as
nearly as I can remember, "Four steps that lead to peace."

"Be desirous of doing the will of another rather than thine own."

"Choose always to have less, rather than more."

"Seek always the lowest place, and to be inferior to every one."

"Wish always, and pray, that the will of God may be wholly fulfilled
in thee."

I was much struck with these directions; but I said, despondently:

"If peace can only be found at the end of such hard roads, I am sure
I shall always be miserable."

"Are you miserable now?" she asked.

"Yes, just now I am. I do not mean that I have no happiness; I mean
that I am in a disheartened mood, weary of going round and round in
circles, committing the same sins, uttering the same confessions, and
making no advance."

"My dear," she said, after a time, "have you a perfectly distinct,
settled view of what Christ is to the human soul ?"

"I do not know. I understand, of course, more or less perfectly, that
my salvation depends on. Him alone; it is His gift."

"But do you see, with equal clearness, that your sanctification must
be as fully His gift, as your salvation is?"

"No," I said, after a little thought. "I have had a feeling that He
has done His part, and now I must do mine."

"My dear," she said, with much tenderness and feeling, "then the
first thing you have to do is to learn Christ."

"But how ?"

"On your knees, my child, on your knees!" She was tired, and I came
away; and I have indeed been on my knees.

JULY 1.-I think that I do begin, dimly it is true, but really, to
understand that this terrible work which I was trying to do myself,
is Christ's work, and must be done and will be done by Him. I take
some pleasure in the thought, and wonder why it has all this time
been hidden from me, especially after what Dr. C. said in his letter.
But I get hold of this idea in a misty, unsatisfactory way. If Christ
is to do all, what am I to do? And have I not been told, over and
over again, that the Christian life is one of conflict, and that I am
to fight like a good soldier?

AUGUST 5.-Dr. Cabot has come just as I need him most. I long for one
of those good talks with him which always used to strengthen me so. I
feel a perfect weight of depression that makes me a burden to myself
and to poor Ernest, who, after visiting sick people all day, needs to
come home to a cheerful wife. But he comforts me with the assurance
that this is merely physical despondency, and that I shall get over
it by and by. How kind, how even tender he is! My heart is getting
all it wants from him, only I am too stupid to enjoy him as I ought.
Father, too, talks far less about his own bad feelings, and seems
greatly concerned at mine. As to Martha I have done trying to get
sympathy or love from her. She cannot help it, I suppose, but she is
very hard and dry towards me, and I feel such a longing to throw
myself on her mercy, and to have one little smile to assure me that
she has forgiven me for being Ernest's wife, and so different from
what she would have chosen for him.

Dr. Elliott to Mrs. Mortimer:

OCTOBER 4, 1838.

My dear Katy's Mother-You will rejoice with us when I tell you that
we are the happy parents of a very fine little boy. My dearest wife
sends "an ocean of love" to you, and says she will write her self
to-morrow. That I shall not be very likely to allow, as you will
imagine. She is doing extremely well, and we have everything to be
grateful for. Your affectionate Son, J. E. ELLIOTT.

Mrs. Crofton to Mrs. Mortimer:

I am sure, my dear sister, that the doctor has riot written you more
than five lines about the great event which has made such a stir in
our domestic circle. So I must try to supply the details you will
want to hear.... .1 need not add that our darling Katy behaved nobly.
Her self-forgetfulness and consideration for others were really
beautiful throughout the whole scene. The doctor may well be proud of
her, and I took care to tell him so ill presence of that dreadful
sister of his. I never met so angular, so uncompromising a person as
she is in all my life. She does not understand Katy, and never can,
and I find it hard to realize that living with such a person can
furnish a wholesome discipline, which is even more desirable than the
most delightful home. And yet I not only know that is true in the
abstract, but I see that it is so in the fact. Katy is acquiring both
self-control and patience and her Christian character is developing
in a way that amazes me. I cannot but hope that God will, in time,
deliver her from this trial; indeed, feel sure that when it has done
its beneficent work He will do so. Martha Elliott is a good woman,
but her goodness is without grace or beauty. She takes excellent care
of Katy, keeps her looking as if she had just come out of a band-box,
as the saying and always has her room in perfect order. But one
misses the loving word, the re-assuring smile, the delicate,
thoughtful little forbearance, that ought to adorn every sick-room,
and light it up with genuine sunshine. There is one comfort about it,
how-ever, and that is that I can spoil dear Katy to my heart's
content.

As to the baby, he is a fine little fellow, and his mother is so
happy in him that she can afford to do without some other pleasures.
I shall write again in a few days. Meanwhile, you may rest assured
that I love your Katy almost as well as you do, and shall be with her
most of the time till she is quite herself again.

James

to his mother:

Of course there never was such a baby before on the face of the
earth. Katy is so nearly wild with joy, that you can't get her to eat
or sleep or do any of the proper things that her charming
sister-in-law thinks becoming under the circumstances. You never saw
anything so pretty in your life, as she is now. I hope the doctor is
as much in love with her as I am. He is the best fellow in the world,
and Katy is just the wife for him.

Nov. 4.-My darling baby is a month old to-day. I never saw such a
splendid child. I love him so that I lie awake nights to watch him.
Martha says, in her dry way, that I had better show my love by
sleeping and eating for him, and Ernest says I shall, as soon as I
get stronger. But I don't get strong, and that discourages me.

Nov. 26.-I begin to feel rather more like myself, and as if I could
write with less labor. I have had in these few past weeks such a
revelation of suffering, and such a revelation of joy, as mortal mind
can hardly conceive of. The world I live in now is a new world; a
world full of suffering that leads to unutterable felicity. Oh, this
precious, precious baby! How can I thank God enough for giving him to
me!

I see now why He has put some thorns into my domestic life; but for
them I should be too happy to live. It does not seem just the moment
to com plain, and yet, as I can speak to no one, it is a relief, a
great relief, to write about my trials. During my whole sickness,
Martha has been so hard, so cold, so unsympathizing that sometimes it
has seemed as if my cup of trial could not hold another drop. She
routed me out of bed when I was so languid that everything seemed a
burden, and when sitting up made me faint away. I heard her say to
herself, that I had no constitution and had no business to get
married. The worst of all is that during that dreadful night before
baby came, she kept asking Ernest to lie down and rest, and was sure
he would kill himself, and all that, while she had not one word of
pity for me. But, oh, why need I let this rankle in my heart! Why
cannot I turn my thoughts entirely to my darling baby, my dear
husband, and all the other sources of joy that make my home a happy
one in spite of this one discomfort! I hope I am learning some useful
lessons from my joys and from my trials, and that both will serve to
make me in earnest, and to keep me so.

DEC. 4.-We have had a great time about poor baby's name. I expected
to call him Raymond, for my own dear father, as a matter of course.
It seemed a small gratification for mother in her loneliness. Dear
mother! How little I have known all these years what I cost her! But
it seems there has been a Jotham in the family ever since the memory
of man, each eldest son handing down his father's name to the next in
descent, and Ernest's real name is Jotham Ernest--of all the
extraordinary combinations! His mother would add the latter name in
spite of everything. Ernest behaved very well through the whole
affair, and said he had no feeling about it all. But he was so
gratified when I decided to keep up the family custom that I feel
rewarded for the sacrifice.

Father is in one of his gloomiest moods. As I sat caressing baby
to-day he said to me:

"Daughter Katherine, I trust you make it a subject of prayer to God
that you may be kept from idolatry."

"No, father," I returned, "I never do. An idol is something one puts
in God's place, and I don't put baby there."

He shook his head and said the heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked.

"I have heard mother say that we might love an earthly object as much
as we pleased, if we only love God better." I might have added, but
of course I didn't; that I prayed every day that I might love Ernest
and baby better and better. Poor father seemed puzzled and troubled
by what I did say, and after musing a while, went on thus:

'The Almighty is a great and terrible Being. He cannot bear a rival;
He will have the whole heart or none of it. When I see a young woman
so absorbed in a created being as you are in that infant, and in your
other friends, I tremble for you, I tremble for you!"

'But, father," I persisted, "God gave me this child, and He gave me
my heart, just as it is."

'Yes; and that heart needs renewing."

"I hope it is renewed," I replied. "But I know there is a great work
still to be done in it. And the more effectually it is done the more
loving I shall grow. Don't you see, father? Don't you see that the
more Christ-like I become the more I shall be filled with love for
every living thing?"

He shook his head, but pondered long, as he always does, on whatever
he considers audacious. As for me, I am vexed with my presumption in
disputing with him, and am sure, too, that I was trying to show off
what little wisdom I have picked up. Besides, my mountain does not
stand so strong as it did. Perhaps I am making idols out of Ernest
and the baby.

JANUARY 16, 1839.-This is our second wedding day. I did not expect
much from it, after last year's failure. Father was very gloomy at
breakfast, and retired to his room directly after it. No one could
get in to make his bed, and he would not come down to dinner. I
wonder Ernest lets him go on so. But his rule seems to be to let
everybody have their own way. He certainly lets me have mine. After
dinner he gave me a book I have been wanting for some time, and had
asked him for-"The Imitation of Christ." Ever since that day at Mrs.
Campbell's I have felt that I should like it, though I did think, in
old times, that it preached too hard a doctrine. I read aloud to him
the "Four Steps to Peace"; he said they were admirable, and then took
it from me and began reading to himself, here and there. I felt the
precious moments when I had got him all to myself were passing away,
and was becoming quite out of patience with him when the words
"Constantly seek to have less, rather than more," flashed into my
mind. I suppose this direction had reference to worldly good, but I
despise money, and despise people who love it, The riches I crave are
not silver and gold, but my husband's love and esteem. And of these
must I desire to have less rather than more? I puzzled myself over
this question in vain, but when I silently prayed to be satisfied
with just what God chose to give me of the wealth I crave, yes,
hunger and thirst for, I certainly felt a sweet content, for the
time, at least, that was quite resting and quieting. And just as I
had reached that acquiescent mood Ernest threw down his book, and
came and caught me in his arms.

"I thank God," he said, "my precious wife, that I married you this
day. The wisest thing I ever did was when I fell in love with you and
made a fool of myself!"

What a speech for my silent old darling to make! Whenever he says and
does a thing out of character, and takes me all by surprise, how
delightful he is! Now the world is a beautiful world, and so is
everybody in it. I met Martha on the stairs after Ernest had gone,
and caught her and kissed her. She looked perfectly astonished.

"What spirits the child has!" I heard her whisper to herself; "no
sooner down than up again."

And she sighed. Can it be that under that stern and hard crust there
lie hidden affections and perhaps hidden sorrows?

I ran back and asked, as kindly as I could, "What makes you sigh,
Martha? Is anything troubling you? Have I done anything to annoy
you?"

"You do the best you can," she said, and pushed past me to her own
room.



Chapter 14

XIV.

JAN.30.

WHO would have thought I would have anything more to do with poor old
Susan Green? Dr. Cabot came to see me to-day, and told me the
strangest thing! It seems that the nurse who performed the last
offices for her was taken sick about six months ago, and that Dr.
Cabot visited her from time to time. Her physician said she needed
nothing but rest and good, nourishing food to restore her strength,
yet she did not improve at all, and at last it came out that she was
not taking the food the doctor ordered, because she could not afford
to do so, having lost what little money she had contrived to save.
Dr. Cabot, on learning this, gave her enough out of Susan's legacy to
meet her case, and in doing so told her about that extraordinary
will. The nurse then assured him that when she reached Susan's room
and found the state that she was in, and that I was praying with her,
she had remained waiting in silence, fearing to interrupt me. She saw
me faint, and sprang forward just in time to catch me and keep me
from falling.

"I take great pleasure, therefore," Dr. Cabot continued, "in making
over Susan's little property to you, to whom it belongs; and I cannot
help congratulating you that you have had the honor and the privilege
of perhaps leading that poor, benighted soul to Christ, even at the
eleventh hour."

"Oh, Dr. Cabot '." I cried, "what a relief it is to hear you say
that! For I have always reproached myself for the cowardice that made
me afraid to speak to her of her Saviour. It takes less courage to
speak to God than to man."

"It is my belief," replied Dr. Cabot, "that every prayer offered in
the name of Jesus is sure to have its answer. Every such prayer is
dictated by the Holy Spirit, and therefore finds acceptance with God;
and if your cry for mercy on poor Susan's soul did not prevail with
Him in her behalf, as we may hope it did, then He has answered it in
some other way."

These words impressed me very much. To think that every one of my
poor prayers is answered! Every one!

Dr. Cabot then returned to the subject of Susan's will, and in spite
of all I could say to the contrary, insisted that he had no legal
right to this money, and that I had. He said he hoped that it would
help to relieve us from some of the petty economies now rendered
necessary by Ernest's struggle to meet his father's liabilities.
Instantly my idol was rudely thrown down from his pedestal. How could
he reveal to Dr. Cabot a secret he had pretended it cost him so much
to confide to me, his wife? I could hardly restrain tears of shame
and vexation, but did control myself so far as to say that I would
sooner die than appropriate Susan's hard earnings to such a purpose,
and that I should use it for the poor, as I was sure he would have
done. He then advised me to invest the principal, and use the
interest from year to year, as occasions presented themselves. So, I
shall have more than a hundred dollars to give away each year, as
long as I live! How perfectly delightful! I can hardly conceive of
anything that give me so much pleasure! Poor old Susan! How many
hearts she shall cause to sing for joy!

Feb. 25.-Things have not gone on well of late. Dearly as I love
Ernest, he has lowered himself in my eye by telling that to Dr.
Cabot. It would have bee far nobler to be silent concerning his
sacrifices; and he certainly grows harder, graver, sterner every day.
He is all shut up within himself, and I am growing afraid of him. It
must be that he is bitterly disappointed in me, and takes refuge in
this awful silence. Oh, if I could only please him, and know that I
pleased him, how different my life would be!

Baby does not .seem well. I have often plumed myself on the thought
that having a doctor for his father would be such an advantage to
him, as he would be ready 'to attack the first symptoms of disease.
But Ernest hardly listens to me when I express anxiety. about this or
that, and if I ask a question he replies, "Oh, you know better than I
do. Mothers know' by instinct how to manage babies." But I do not
know by instinct, or in any other way, and I often wish that the time
I spent over my music had been spent learning how to meet all the
little emergencies that are constantly arising since baby came. How I
used to laugh in my sleeve at those anxious mothers who lived near us
and always seemed to be in hot water. Martha will take baby when I
have other things to attend to, and she keeps him every Sunday
afternoon that I may go to church, but she knows no more about his
physical training than I do. If my dear mother were only here! I feel
a good deal worn out. What with the care of baby, who is restless at
night, and with whom I walk about lest he should keep Ernest awake,
the depressing influence of father's presence, Martha's disdain, and
Ernest keeping so aloof from me, life seems to me little better than
a burden that I have not strength to carry and would gladly lay down.

MARCH 3.-If it were not for James I believe I should sink. He is so
kind and affectionate, so ready to fill up the gaps Ernest leaves
empty, and is so sunshiny and gay that I cannot be entirely sad.
Baby, too, is a precious treasure; it would be wicked to cloud his
little life with my depression. I try to look at him always with a
smiling face, for he already distinguishes between a cheerful and a
sad countenance.

I am sure that there is something in Christ's gospel that would
soothe and sustain me amid these varied trials, if I only knew what
it is, and how to put forth my hand and take it. But as it is I feel
very desolate. Ernest often congratulates me on having had such a
good night's rest, when I have been up and down every hour with baby,
half asleep frozen and exhausted. But he shall sleep at any rate.

April 5.-The first rays of spring make me more languid than ever
Martha cannot be made to understand that nursing such a large,
voracious baby, losing sleep, and confinement within doors, are
enough to account for this. She is constantly speaking in terms of
praise of those who keep up even when they do feel a little out of
sorts, and says she always does. In the evening, after baby gets to
sleep, I feel fit for nothing but to lie on the sofa, dozing; but she
sees in this only a lazy habit, which ought not to be tolerated, and
is constantly devising ways to rouse and set me at work. If I had
more leisure for reading, meditation and prayer, I might still be
happy. But all the morning, I must have baby till he takes his nap,
and as soon as he gets to sleep I must put my room in order, and by
that time all the best part of the day is gone. And at night I am so
tired that I can hardly feel anything but my weariness. That, too, is
.my only chance of seeing Ernest and if I lock my door and fall upon
my knees, I keep listening for his step, ready to spring to welcome
should he come. This is wrong, I know, but how can I live without one
loving word from him, and every day I am hoping it will come.

MAY 2-Aunty was here to-day. I had not seen her for some weeks. She
exclaimed at my looks in a tone that seemed to upbraid Ernest and
Martha though of course she did not mean to do that.

"You are not fit to have the whole care of that great boy at night,"
said she, "and you ought to begin to feed him, both for his sake and
your own.

"I am willing to take the child at night," Martha said, a little
stiffly. "But I supposed his mother preferred to keep him herself."

"And so I do," I cried. "I should be perfectly miserable if I had to
give him up just as he is getting teeth, and so wakeful."

"What are you taking to keep up. your strength, dear?" asked Aunty.

"Nothing in particular," I said.

"Very well, it is time the doctor looked after that," she cried. "It
really never will do to let you run down in this way. Let me look at
baby. Why, my child, his gums need lancing."

"So I have told Ernest half a dozen times," I declared. "But he is
always in a hurry, and says another time will do."

"I hope baby won't have convulsions while he is waiting for that
other time," said Aunty, looking almost savagely at Martha. I never
saw Aunty so nearly out of humor.

At dinner Martha began.

"I think, brother, the baby needs attention. Mrs. Crofton has been
here and says so. And she seems to find Katherine run down. I am sure
if I had known it I should have taken her in hand and built her up.
But she did not complain."

"She never complains," father here put in, calling all the blood I
had into my face, my heart so leaped for joy at his kind word.

Ernest looked at me and caught the illumination of my face.

"You look well, dear," he said. "But if you do not feel so you ought
to tell us. As to baby, I will attend to him directly."

So Martha's one word prevailed where my twenty fell to the ground.

Baby is much relieved, and has fallen into a sweet sleep. And I have
had time to carry my tired, oppressed heart to my compassionate
Saviour, and to tell Him what I cannot utter to any human ear. How
strange it is that when, through many years of leisure and strength,
prayer was only a task, it is now my chief solace if I can only
snatch time for it.

Mrs. Embury has a little daughter. How glad I am for her! She is
going to give it my name That is a real pleasure.

JULY 4.-Baby is ten months old to-day, and in spite of everything is
bright and well. I have come home to mother. Ernest waked up at last
to see that something must be done, and when he is awake he is very
wide awake. So he brought me home. Dear mother is perfectly
delighted, only she will make an ado about my health. But I feel a
good deal better, and think I shall get nicely rested here. How
pleasant it is to feel myself watched by friendly eyes, my faults
excused and forgiven, and what is best in me called out. I have been
writing to Ernest, and have told him honestly how annoyed and pained
I was at learning that he had told his secret to Dr. Cabot.

JULY 12.-Ernest writes that he has had no communication with Dr.
Cabot or any one else on subject that, touching his father's honor as
it does, he regards as a sacred one.

"You say, dear," be said, "you often say, that I do not understand
you. Are you sure that you understand me ?"

Of course I don't. How can I? How can I reconcile his marrying me and
professing to do it with delight, with his indifference to my
society, his reserve, his carelessness about my health?

But his letters are very kind, and really warmer than he is. I can
hardly wait for them, and then, though my pride bids me to be
reticent as he is, my heart runs away with me, and I pour out upon
him such floods of affection that I am sure he is half drowned.

Mother says baby is splendid.

AUGUST 1.-When I took leave of Ernest I was glad to get away. I
thought he would perhaps find after I was gone that he missed
something out of his life and would welcome me home with a little of
the old love. But I did not dream that he would not find it easy to
do without me till summer was over, and when, this morning, he came
suddenly upon us, carpet-bag in hand, I could do nothing but cry in
his arms like a tired child.

And now I had the silly triumph of having mother see that he loved
me!

"How could you get away?" I asked at last. "And what made you come?
And how long can you stay?"

"I could get away because I would," he replied. "And I came because I
wanted to come. And I can stay three days."

Three days of Ernest all to myself!

AUGUST 5.-He has gone, but he has left behind him a happy wife and
the memory of three happy days.

After the first joy of our meeting was over, we had time for just
such nice long talks as I delight in. Ernest began by upbraiding me a
little for my injustice in fancying he had betrayed his father to Dr.
Cabot.

"That is not all," I interrupted, "I even thought you had made a
boast of the sacrifices you were making."

"That explains your coldness," he returned.

"My coldness! Of all the ridiculous things in the world!" I cried.

"You were cold, for you and I felt it. Don't you know that we
undemonstrative men prefer loving winsome little women like you, just
because you are our own opposites? And when the pet kitten turns into
a cat with claws-"

"Now, Ernest, that is really too bad! To compare me to a cat!"

"You certainly did say some sharp things to me about that time."

"Did I, really? Oh, Ernest, how could I?"

"And it was at a moment when I particularly needed your help. But do
not let us dwell upon it. We love each other; we are both trying to
do right in all the details of life. I do not think we shall ever get
very far apart."

"But, Ernest-tell me-are you very, very much disappointed in me?"

"Disappointed? Why, Katy!"

"Then what did make you seem so indifferent? What made you so slow to
observe how miserably I was, as to health?"

"Did I seem indifferent? I am sure I never loved you better. As to
your health, I am ashamed of myself. I ought to have seen how feeble
you were. But the truth is, I was deceived by your bright ways with
baby. For him you were all smiles and gayety."

"That was from principle," I said, and felt a good deal elated as I
made the announcement.

"He fell into a fit of musing, and none of my usual devices for
arousing him had any effect. I pulled his hair and his ears, and
shook him, but he remained unmoved.

At last he began again.

"Perhaps I owe it to you, dear, to tell you that when I brought my
father and sister home to live with us, I did not dream how trying a
thing it would be to you. I did not know that he was a confirmed
invalid, or that she would prove to possess a nature so entirely
antagonistic to yours. I thought my father would interest himself in
reading, visiting, etc, as he used to do. And I thought Martha's
judgment would be of service to you, while her household skill would
relieve you of some care. But the whole thing has proved a failure. I
am harassed by the sight of my father, sitting there in his corner so
penetrated with gloom; I reproach myself for it, but I almost dread
coming home. When a man has been all day encompassed with sounds and
sights of suffering, he naturally longs for cheerful faces and
cheerful voices in his own house. Then Martha's pertinacious-I won't
say hostility to my little wife-what shall I call it?"

"It is only want of sympathy. She is too really good to be hostile to
any one.

"Thank you, my darling," he said, "I believe you do her justice."

"I am afraid I have not been as forbearing with her as I ought," I
said. "But, oh, Ernest, it is because I have been jealous of her all
along!"

"That is really too absurd."

"You certainly have treated her with more deference than you have me.
You looked up to her and looked down upon me. At least it seemed so."

"My dear child, you have misunderstood the whole thing. I gave Martha
just what she wanted most; she likes to be looked up to. And I gave
you what I thought you wanted most, my tenderest love. And I expected
that I should have your sympathy amid the trials with which I am
burdened, and that with your strong nature I might look to you to
help me bear them. I know you have the worst of it, dear child, but
then you have twice my strength. I believe women almost always have
more than men."

"I have, indeed, misunderstood you. I thought you liked to have them
here, and that Martha's not fancying me influenced you against me.
But now I know just what you want of me, and I can give it, darling."

After this all our cloud melted away. I only long to go home and show
Ernest that he shall have one cheerful face about him, and have one
cheerful voice.

AUGUST 12.-I have had a long letter from Ernest to day. He says he
hopes he has not been selfish and unkind in speaking of his father
and sister as he has done, because he truly loves and honors them
both, and wants me to do so, if I can. His father had called them up
twice to see him die and to receive his last messages. This always
happens when Ernest has been up all the previous night; there seems a
fatality about it.



Chapter 15

XV.

OCTOBER 4

HOME again, and with my dear Ernest delighted to see me. Baby is a
year old to-day, and, as usual, father, who seems to abhor anything
like a merry-making, took himself off to his room. To-morrow he will
be all the worse for it, and will be sure to have a theological
battle with somebody.

OCTOBER 5.-The somebody was his daughter Katherine, as usual. Baby
was asleep in my lap and I reached out for a book which proved to be
a volume of Shakespeare which had done long service as an ornament to
the table, but which nobody ever read on account of the small print.
The battle then began thus:

Father.-" I regret to see that worldly author in your hands, my
daughter."

Daughter-a little mischievously.-"Why, were you wanting to talk,
father?

"No, I am too feeble to talk to-day. My pulse is very weak."

"Let me read aloud to you, then."

"Not from that profane book."

"It would do you good. You never take any recreation. Do let me read
a little."

Father gets nervous.

"Recreation is a snare. I must keep my soul ever fixed on divine
things."

"But can you?"

"No, alas, no. It is my grief and shame that I do not."

"But if you would indulge yourself in a little harmless mirth now and
then, your mind would get rested and you would return to divine
things with fresh zeal. Why should not the mind have its seasons of
rest as well as the body?"

"We shall have time to rest in heaven. Our business here on earth is
to be sober and vigilant because of our adversary; not to be reading
plays."

"I don't make reading plays my business, dear father. I make it my
rest and amusement."

"Christians do not need amusement; they find rest, refreshment, all
they want, in God."

"Do you, father?"

"'Alas, no. He seems a great way off."

"To me He seems very near. So near that He can see every thought of
my heart Dear father, it is your disease that makes everything so
unreal to you. God is really so near, really loves us so; is so sorry
for us! And it seems hard, when you are so good, and so intent on
pleasing Him, that you get no comfort out of Him."

"I am not good, my daughter I am a vile worm of the dust."

"Well, God is good, at any rate, and He would never have sent His Son
to die for you if He did not love you." So then I began to sing.
Father likes to hear me sing, and the sweet sense I had that all I
had been saying was true and more than true, made me sing with joyful
heart.

I hope it is not a mere miserable presumption that makes me dare to
talk so to poor father. Of course, he is ten times better than I am,
and knows ten times as much, but his disease, whatever it is, keeps
his mind befogged. I mean to begin now to pray that light may shine
into his soul. It would be delightful to see the peace of God shining
in that pale, stern face.

MARCH 28.-It is almost six months since I wrote that. About the
middle of October father had one of his ill turns one night, and we
were all called up. He asked for me particularly, and Ernest came for
me at last. He was a good deal agitated, and would not stop to half
dress myself, and as I had a slight cold already, I suppose I added
to it then. At any rate I was taken very sick, and the worst cough
ever had has racked my poor frame almost to pieces. Nearly six months
confinement to my room; six months of uselessness during which I have
been a mere cumberer of the ground. Poor Ernest! What a hard time he
has had! Instead of the cheerful welcome home I was to give him
whenever he entered the house, here I have lain exhausted, woe-
begone and good for nothing. It is the bitterest disappointment I
ever had. My ambition is to be the sweetest, brightest, best of
wives; and what with my childish follies, and my sickness, what a
weary life my dear husband has had! But how often I have prayed that
God would do His will in defiance, if need be, of mine! I have tried
to remind myself of that every day. But I am too tired to write any
more now.

MARCH 30.-This experience of suffering has filled my mind with new
thoughts. At one time I was so sick that Ernest sent for mother. Poor
mother, she had to sleep with Martha. It was a great comfort to have
her here, but I knew by her coming how sick I was, and then I began
to ponder the question whether I was ready to die. Death looked to me
as a most solemn, momentous event-but there was something very
pleasant in the thought of being no longer a sinner, but a redeemed
saint, and of dwelling forever in Christ's presence. Father came to
see me when I had just reached this point.

"My dear daughter," he asked, "are you prepared to face the Judge of
all the earth?"

"No, dear father," I said, "Christ will do that for me."

"Have you no misgivings?"

I could only smile; I had no strength to talk.

Then I heard Ernest--my dear, calm, self-controlled Ernest--burst out
crying and rush out of the room. I looked after him, and how I loved
him! But I felt that I loved my Saviour infinitely more,and that if 
He now let me come home to be with Him I could trust Him to be a 
thousand-fold more to Ernest than I could ever be, and to take care 
of my darling baby and my precious mother far better than I could. 
The very gates of heaven seemed open to let me in. And then they were
suddenly shut in my face, and I found myself a poor, weak, tempted
creature here upon earth. I, who fancied myself an heir of glory, was
nothing but a peevish, human creature-very human indeed, overcome if
Martha shook the bed, as she always did, irritated if my food did not
come at the right moment, or was not of the right sort, hurt and
offended if Ernest put on at one less anxious and tender than he had
used when I was very ill, and-in short, my own poor faulty self once
more. Oh, what fearful battles I fought for patience, forbearance and
unselfishness! What sorrowful tears of shame I shed over hasty,
impatient words and fretful tones! No wonder I longed to be gone
where weakness should be swallowed up in strength, and sin give place
to eternal perfection!

But here I am, and suffering and work lie before me, for which I feel
little physical or mental courage. But "blessed be the will of God."

APRIL 5.-I was alone with father last evening, Ernest and Martha both
being out, and soon saw by the way he fidgeted in his chair that he
had something on his mind. So I laid down the book I was reading, and
asked him what it was.

"My daughter," he began, "can you bear a plain word from an old man?"

I felt frightened, for I knew I had been impatient to Martha of late,
in spite of all my efforts to the contrary. I am still so miserably
unwell.

"I have seen many death-beds," he went on; "but I never saw one where
there was not some dread of the King of Terrors exhibited; nor one
where there was such absolute certainty of having found favor with
God to make the hour of departure entirely free from such doubts and
such humility as becomes a guilty sinner about to face his Judge."

"I never saw such a one, either," I replied; "but ere have been many
such deaths, and I hardly know of any scene that so honors and
magnifies the Lord."

"Yes," he said, slowly; "but they were old, mature, ripened
Christians."

"Not always old, dear father. Let me describe to you a scene Ernest
described to me only yesterday."

He waved his hand in token that this would delay his coming to the
point he was aiming at.

"To speak plainly," he said, "I feel uneasy about you, my daughter.
You are young and in the bloom of life, but when death seemed staring
you in the face, you expressed no anxiety, asked for no counsel,
showed no alarm. It must be pleasant to possess so comfortable a
persuasion of our acceptance with God; but is it safe to rest on such
an assurance while we know that the human heart is deceitful above
all things and desperately wicked ?"

I thank you for the suggestion;" I said; "and, dear father, do not be
afraid to speak still more plainly. You live in the house with me,
see all my shortcomings and my faults, and I cannot wonder that you
think me a poor, weak Christian. But do you really fear that I am
deceived in believing that notwithstanding this I do really love my
God and Saviour and am His Child?"

"No," he said, hesitating a little, "I can't say that, exactly--I
can't say that."

This hesitation distressed me. At first it seemed to me that my life
must have uttered a very uncertain sound if those who saw it could
misunderstand its language. But then I reflected that it was, at
best, a very faulty life, and that its springs of action were not
necessarily seen by lookers-on.

Father saw my distress and perplexity, and seemed touched by them.

Just then Ernest came in with Martha, but seeing that something was
amiss, the latter took herself off to her room, which I thought
really kind of her.

"What is it, father? What is it, Katy?" asked Ernest; looking from
one troubled face to the other.

I tried to explain.

"I think, father, you may safely trust my wife's spiritual interests
to me," Ernest said, with warmth. "You do not understand her. I do.
Because there is nothing morbid about her, because she has a sweet,
cheerful confidence in Christ; you doubt and misjudge her. You may
depend upon it that people are individual in their piety as in other
things, and cannot all be run in one mould. Katy has a playful way of
speaking, I know, and often expresses her strongest feelings with
what seems like levity, and is, perhaps, a little reckless about
being misunderstood in consequence."

He smiled on me, as he thus took up the cudgels in my defence, and I
never felt so grateful to him in my life. The truth is, I hate
sentimentalism so cordially, and have besides such an instinct to
conceal my deepest, most sacred emotions, that I do not wonder people
misunderstand and misjudge me.

"I did not refer to her playfulness," father returned. "Old people
must make allowances for the young; they must make allowances. What
pains me is that this child, full of life and gayety as she is, sees
death approach without that becoming awe and terror which befits
mortal man."

Ernest was going to reply, but I broke in eagerly upon his answer:

"It is true that I expressed no anxiety when I believed death to be
at hand. I felt none. I had given myself away to Christ, and He had
received me and why should I be afraid to take His hand and go where
He led me? And it is true that I asked for no counsel. I was too weak
to ask questions or to like to have questions asked;, but my mind was
bright and wide awake while my body was so feeble, and I took counsel
of God. Oh, let me read to you two passages from the life of Caroline
Fry which will make you understand how a poor sinner looks upon
death. The first is an extract from a letter written after learning
that her days on earth were numbered.

"'As many will hear and will not understand, why I want no time of,
preparation, often desired by far holier ones than I, I tell you why,
and shall tell others, and so shall you. It is not because I am so
holy but because I am so sinful. The peculiar character of my
religious experience has always been a deep, an agonizing sense of
sin; the sin of yesterday, of to-day, confessed with anguish hard to
be endured, and cried for pardon that could not be unheard; each day
cleansed anew in Jesus' blood, and each day more and more hateful in
my own sight; what can I do in death I have not done in life? What,
do in this week, when I am told I cannot live, other than I did last
week, when knew it not? Alas, there is but one thing undone, to serve
Him better; and the death-bed is no place for that. Therefore I say,
if I am not ready now, I shall not be by delay, so far as I have to
do with it. If He has more to do in me that is His part. I need not
ask Him not to spoil His work by too much haste.'

"And these were her dying words, a few days later:

"'This is my bridal-day, the beginning of my life. I wish there
should be no mistake about the reason of my desire to depart and to
be with Christ. I confess myself the vilest, chiefest of sinners, and
I desire to go to Him that I may be rid of the burden of sin-the sin
of my nature-not the past, repented of every day, but the present,
hourly, momentary sin, which I do commit, or may commit -the sense of
which at times drives me half mad with grief!"'

I shall never forget the expression of father's face, as I finished
reading these remarkable words. He rose slowly from his seat, and
came and kissed me on the forehead. Then he left the room, but
returned with a large volume, and pointing to a blank page, requested
me to copy them there. He com plains that I do not write legibly, so
I printed them as plainly as I could, with my pen.

JUNE 20.-On the first of May, there came to us, with other spring
flowers, our little fair-haired, blue-eyed daughter. How rich I felt
when I heard Ernest's voice, as he replied to a question asked at the
door, proclaim, "Mother and children all well." To think that we, who
thought ourselves rich before are made so much richer now!

But she is not large and vigorous, as little Ernest was, and we
cannot rejoice in her without some misgiving. Yet her very frailty
makes her precious to us. Little Ernest hangs over her with an almost
lover-like pride and devotion, and should she live I can imagine what
a protector he will be for her. I have had to give up the care of him
to Martha. During my illness I do not know what would have become of
him but for her. One of the pleasant events of every day at that
time, was her bringing him to me in such exquisite order, his face
shining with health and happiness, his hair and dress so beautifully
neat and clean. Now that she has the care of him, she has become very
fond of him, and he certainly forms one bond of union between us, for
we both agree that he is the handsomest, best, most remarkable child
that ever lived, or ever will live.

JULY 6.-I have come home to dear mother with both my children. Ernest
says our only hope for baby is to keep her out of the city during the
summer months.

What a petite wee maiden she is! Where does all the love come from?
If I had had her always I do not see how I could be more fond of her.
And do people call it living who never had any children?

JULY 10.-lf this darling baby lives, I shall always believe it is
owing to my mother's prayers.

I find little Ernest has a passionate temper, and a good deal of
self-will. But he has fine qualities. I wish he had a better mother.
I am so impatient with him when he is wayward and perverse! What he
needs is a firm, gentle hand, moved by no caprice, and controlled by
the constant fear of God. He never ought to hear an irritable word,
or a sharp tone; but he does hear them, I must own with grief and
shame. The truth is, it is so long since I really felt strong and
well that I am not myself, and can not do him justice, poor child.
Next to being a perfect wife I want to be a perfect mother. How
mortifying, how dreadful in all things to come short of even one's
own standard What approach, then, does one make to God's standard?

Mother seems very happy to have us here, though we make so much
trouble. She encourages me in all my attempts to control myself and
to control my dear little boy, and the chapters she gives me out of
her own experience are as interesting as a novel, and a good deal
more instructive.

AUGUST.-Dear Ernest has come to spend a week with us. He is all tired
out, as there has been a great deal of sickness in the city, and
father has had quite a serious attack. He brought with him a nurse
for baby, as one more desperate effort to strengthen her
constitution.

I reproached him for doing it without consulting me, but he said
mother bad written to tell him that I was all worn out and not in a
state to have the care of the children. It has been a terrible blow
to me One by one I am giving up the sweetest maternal duties. God
means that I shall be nothing and do nothing; a mere useless
sufferer. But when I tell Ernest so, he says I am everything to him,
and that God's children please him just as well when they sit
patiently with folded hands, if that is His will, as when they are
hard at work. But to be at work, to be useful, to be necessary to my
husband and children, is just what I want, and I. do find it hard to
be set against the wall, as it were, like an old piece of furniture
no longer of any service I see now that my first desire has not been
to please God, but to please myself, for I am restless under His
restraining hand, and find my prison a very narrow one. I would be
willing to bear any other trial, if I could only have health and
strength for my beloved ones. I pray for patience with bitter tears.



Chapter 16

XVI.

OCTOBER.

WE are all at home together once more. The parting with mother was
very painful. Every year that she lives now increases her loneliness,
and makes me long to give her the shelter of my home. But in the
midst of these anxieties, how much I have to make me happy! Little
Ernest is the life and soul of the house; the sound of his feet
pattering about, and all his prattle, are the sweetest music to my
ear; and his heart is brimful of love and joy, so that he shines on
us all like a sunbeam. Baby is improving every day, and is one of
those tender, clinging little things that appeal to everybody's love
and sympathy. I never saw a more angelic face than hers. Father sits
by the hour looking at her. To-day he said:

"Daughter Katherine, this lovely little one is not meant for this
sinful world."

"This world needs to be adorned with lovely little ones," I said.
"And baby was never so well as she is now."

"Do not set your heart too fondly upon her," he returned. "I feel
that she is far too dear to me."

"But, father, we could give her to God if He should ask for her
Surely, we love Him better than we love her."

But as I spoke a sharp pang shot through and through my soul, and I
held my little fair daughter closely in my arms, as if I could always
keep her there It may be my conceit, but it really does seem as if
poor father was getting a little fond of me. Ever since my own
sickness I have felt great sympathy for him, and he feels, no doubt,
that I give him something that neither Ernest nor Martha can do,
since they were never sick one day in their lives. I do wish he could
look more at Christ and at what He has done and is doing for us. The
way of salvation is to me a wide path, absolutely radiant with the
glory of Him who shines upon it; I see my shortcomings; I see my
sins, but I feel myself bathed, as it were, in the effulgent glow
that proceeds directly from the throne of God and the Lamb. It seems
as if I ought to have some misgivings about my salvation, but I can
hardly say that I have one. How strange, how mysterious that is! And
here is father, so much older, so much better than I am, creeping
along in the dark! I spoke to Ernest about it. He says I owe it to my
training, in a great measure, and that my mother is fifty years in
advance of her age. But it can't be all that. It was only after years
of struggle and prayer that God gave me this joy.

NOVEMBER 24.-Ernest asked me yesterday if I knew that Amelia and her
husband had come here to live, and that she was very ill.

"I wish you would go to see her, dear," he added. "She is a stranger
here, and in great need of a friend." I felt extremely disturbed. I
have lost my old affection for her, and the idea of meeting her
husband was unpleasant.

"Is she very sick?" I asked.

"Yes. She is completely broken down. I promised her that you should
go to see her."

"Are you attending her?"

"Yes; her husband came for me himself."

"I don't want to go," I said. "It will be very disagreeable."

"Yes, dear, I know it. But she needs a friend, as I said before."

I put on my things very reluctantly, and went. I found Amelia in a
richly-furnished house, but looking untidy and ill-cared-for. She was
lying on a couch in her bedroom; three delicate-looking children were
playing about, and their nurse sat sewing at the window.

A terrible fit of coughing made it impossible for her to speak for
some moments. At last she recovered herself sufficiently to welcome
me, by throwing her arms around me and bursting into tears.

"Oh, Katy!" she cried, "should you have known me if we had met in
the street? Don't you find me sadly altered ?"

"You are changed," I said, "but so am I."

"Yes, you do not look strong. But then you never did. And you are as
pretty as ever, while I-- oh, Kate! do you remember what round, white
arms I used to have? Look at them now!"

And she drew up her sleeve, poor child. Just then I heard a step in
the passage,. and her husband sauntered into the room, smoking.

"Do go away, Charles,". she said impatiently. "You know how your
cigar sets me coughing."

He held out his hand to me with the easy, nonchalant air of one who
is accustomed to success and popularity.

I looked at him with an aversion I could not conceal. The few years
since we met has changed him so completely that I almost shuddered at
the sight of his already bloated face, and at the air that told of a
life worse than wasted.

"Do go away, Charles," Amelia repeated.

He threw himself into a chair without paying the least attention to
her, and still addressing himself to me again, said:

"Upon my word, you are prettier than ever,

and--

"I will come to see you at another time, Amelia," I said, putting on
all the dignity I could condense in my small frame, and rising to
take leave.

"Don't go, Katy!" he cried, starting up, "don't go. I want to have a
good talk about old times."

Katy, indeed! How dared he? I came away burning with anger and
mortification. Is it possible that I ever loved such a man? That to
gratify that love I defied and grieved my dear mother through a whole
year! Oh, from what hopeless misery God saved me, when He snatched me
out of the depth of my folly!

DECEMBER 1.-Ernest says I can go to see Amelia with safety now, as
her. husband has sprained his ankle, and keeps to his own room. So I
am going. But, I am sure,. I shall say something imprudent or unwise,
and wish I could think it right to stay away. I hope God will go with
me and teach me what words to speak.

DEC. 2.-I found Amelia more unwell than on my first visit, and she
received me again with tears.

"How good you are to come so soon," she began. "I did not blame you
for running off the other day; Charley's impertinence was shameful.
He said, after you left, that he perceived you had not yet lost your
quickness to take offence, but I know he felt that you showed a just
displeasure, and nothing more."

"No, I was really angry," I replied. "I find the road to perfection
lies up-hill, and I slip back so often that sometimes I despair of
ever reaching the top."

"What does the doctor say about me?" she asked. "Does he think me
very sick?"

"I dare say he will tell you exactly what he thinks," I returned, "if
you ask him. This is his rule with all his patients."

"If I could get rid of this cough I should soon be myself again," she
said. "Some days I feel quite bright and well. But if it were not for
my poor little children, I should not care much how the thing ended.
With the life Charley leads me, I haven't much to look forward to."

"'You forget that the children's nurse is in the room," I whispered.

"Oh, I don't mind Charlotte. Charlotte knows he neglects me, don't
you, Charlotte ?"

Charlotte was discreet enough to pretend not to hear this question,
and Amelia went on:

"It began very soon after we were married. He would go round with
other girls exactly as he did before; then when I spoke about it he
would just laugh in his easy, good-natured way, but pay no attention
to my wishes. Then when I grew more in earnest he would say, that as
long as he let me alone I ought to let him alone. I thought that when
our first baby came that would sober him a little, but be wanted a
boy and it turned out to be a girl. And my being unhappy and crying
so much, made the poor thing fretful; it kept him awake at night, so
he took another room. After that I saw him less than ever, though now
and then he would have a little love-fit, when he would promise to be
at home more and treat me with more consideration. We had two more
little girls-twins; and then a boy. Charley seemed quite fond of him,
and did certainly seem improved, though he was still out a great deal
with a set of idle young men, smoking, drinking wine, and, I don't
know what else. His uncle gave him too much money, and he had nothing
to do but to spend it."

"You must not tell me any more now," I said. "'Wait till you are
stronger."

The nurse rose and gave her something which seemed to refresh her. I
went to look at the little girls, who were all pretty, pale-faced
creatures, very quiet and mature in their ways.

"I am rested now," said Amelia, "and it does me good to talk to you,
because I can see that you are sorry for me."

"I am, indeed!" I cried.

"When our little boy was three months old I took this terrible cold
and began to cough. Charley at first remonstrated with me for
coughing so much; he said it was a habit I had got, and that I ought
to cure myself of it. Then the baby began to pine and pine, and the
more it wasted the more I wasted. And at last it died."

Here the poor child burst out again, and I wiped away her tears as
fast as they fell, thankful that she could cry.

"After that," she went on, after awhile, "Charley seemed to lose his
last particle of affection for me; he kept away more than ever, and
once when I besought him not to neglect me and my children so, he
said he was well paid for not keeping up his engagement with you,
that you had some strength of character, and-"

"Amelia," I interrupted, "do not repeat such things. They only pain
and mortify me."

"Well," she sighed, wearily, "this is what he has at last brought me
to. I am sick and broken-hearted, and care very little what becomes
of me."

There was a long silence. I wanted to ask her if, when earthly refuge
failed her, she could not find shelter in the love of Christ. But I
have what is, I fear, a morbid terror of seeking the confidence of
others. I knelt down at last, and kissed the poor faded face.

"Yes, I knew you would feel for me," she said. "The only pleasant
thought I had when Charley insisted on coming here to live was, that
I should see you."

"Does your uncle live here, too?" I asked.

"Yes, he came first, and it was that that put it into Charley's head
to come. He is very kind to me."

"Yes," I said, "and God is kind, too, isn't He ?"

"Kind to let me get sick and disgust Charley? Now, Katy, how can you
talk so?" I replied by repeating two lines from a hymn of which I am
very fond:

    O Saviour, whose mercy severe in its kindness,
    Hath chastened my wanderings, and guided my way."'

"I don't much care for hymns," she said. "When one is well, and
everything goes quite to one's mind, it is nice to go to church and
sing with the rest of them. But, sick as I am, it isn't so easy to be
religious."

"But isn't this the very time to look to Christ for comfort?"

"What's the use of looking anywhere for comfort?" she said,
peevishly. "Wait till you are sick and heart-broken yourself, and
you'll see that you won't feel much like doing anything but just
groan and cry your life out."

"I have been sick, and I know what sorrow means, I said. "And I am
glad that I do. For I have learned Christ in that school, and I know
that He can comfort when no one else can."

"You always were an odd creature," she replied. "I never pretended to
understand half you said."

I saw that she was tired, and came away. Oh, how I wished that I had
been able to make Christ look to her as He did to me all the way
home.

DEC. 24.-Father says he does not like Dr. Cabot's preaching. He
thinks that it is not doctrinal enough, and that he does not preach
enough to sinners. But I can see that it has influenced him already,
and that he is beginning to think of God, as manifested in Christ,
far more than he used to do. With me he has endless discussions on
his and my favorite subjects, and though I can never tell along what
path I walked to reach a certain conclusion, the earnestness of my
convictions does impress him strangely. I am sure there is a great
deal of conceit mixed up with all I say, and then when I compare my
life with my own standard of duty, I wonder I ever dare to open my
mouth and undertake to help others.

Baby is not at all well. To see a little frail, tender thing really
suffering, tears my soul to pieces. I think it would distress me less
to give her to God just as she is now, a vital part of my very heart,
than to see her live a mere invalid life. But I try to feel, as I
know I say, Thy will be done! Little Ernest is the very picture of
health and beauty. He has vitality enough for two children He and his
little sister will make very interesting contrasts as they grow
older. His ardor and vivacity will rouse her, and her gentleness will
soften him.

JAN. 1, 1841.-Every day brings its own duty and its own discipline.
How is it that I make such slow progress while this is the case? It
is a marvel to me why God allows characters like mine to defile His
church. I can only account for it with the thought that if I ever am
perfected, I shall be a great honor to His name, for surely worse
material for building up a temple of the Holy Ghost was never
gathered together before. The time may come when those who know me
now, crude, childish, incomplete, will look upon me with amazement,
saying, "What hath God wrought!" If I knew such a time would never
come, I should want to flee into the holes and caves of the earth.

I have everything to inspire me to devotion. My dear mother's
influence is always upon me. To her I owe the habit of flying to God
in every emergency, and of believing in prayer. Then I am in close
fellowship with a true man and a true Christian. Ernest has none of
my fluctuations; he is always calm and self-possessed. This is partly
his natural character; but he has studied the Bible more than any
other book, his convictions of duty are fixed because they are drawn
thence, and his constant contact with the sick and the suffering has
revealed life to him just as it is. How he has helped me on! God
bless him for it!

Then I have James. To be with him one half hour is an inspiration. He
lives in such blessed communion with Christ that he is in perpetual
sunshine, and his happiness fertilizes even this disordered household
; there is not a soul in it that does not catch somewhat of his
joyousness.

And there are my children! My darling, precious children! For their
sakes I am continually constrained to seek after an amended, a
sanctified life; what I want them to become I must become myself.

So I enter on a new year, not knowing what it will bring forth, but
surely with a thousand reasons for thanksgiving, for joy, and for
hope.

JAN. 16.-One more desperate effort to make harmony out of the
discords of my house, and one more failure. Ernest forgot that it was
our wedding-day, which mortified and pained me, especially as he had
made an engagement to dine out. I am always expecting something from
life that I never get. Is it so with everybody? I am very uneasy,
too, about James. He seems to be growing fond of Lucy's society. I am
perfectly sure that she could not make him happy. Is it possible that
he does not know what a brilliant young man he is, and that he can
have whom he pleases? It is easy, in theory, to let God plan our own
destiny, and that of our friends. But when it comes to a specific
case we fancy we can help His judgments with our poor reason. Well, I
must go to Him with this new anxiety, and trust my darling brother's
future to Him, if I can.

I shall try to win James' confidence. If it is not Lucy, who or what
is it that is making him so thoughtful and serious, yet so wondrously
happy?

JAN. 17.-I have been trying to find out whether this is a mere notion
of mine about Lucy. James laughs, and evades my questions. But he
owns that a very serious matter is occupying his thoughts, of which
he does not wish to speak at present. May God bless him in it,
whatever it is.

MAY 1.-My delicate little Una's first birthday. Thank God for sparing
her to us a year. If He should take her away I should still rejoice
that this life was mingled with ours, and has influenced them. Yes,
even an unconscious infant is an ever-felt influence in the
household; what an amazing thought!

I have given this precious little one away to her Saviour and to
mine; living or dying, she is His.

DEC. 13.-Writing journals does not seem to be my mission on earth of
late. My busy hands find so much else to do And sometimes when I have
been particularly exasperated and tried by the jarring elements that
form my home, I have not dared to indulge myself with recording
things that ought to be forgotten.

How I long to live in peace with all men, and how I resent
interference in the management of my children! If the time ever comes
that I live, a spinster of a certain age, in the family of an elder
brother, what a model of forbearance, charity, and sisterly
loving-kindness I shall be!



Chapter 17

XVII.

JANUARY 1, 1842

I MEAN to resume my journal, and be more faithful to it this year.
How many precious things, said by dear Mrs. Campbell and others, are
lost forever, because I did not record them at the time!

I have seen her to-day. At Ernest's suggestion I have let Susan Green
provide her with a comfortable chair which enables her to sit up
during a part of each day. I found her in it, full of gratitude, her
sweet, tranquil face shining, as it always is, with a light reflected
from heaven itself. She looks like one who has had her struggle with
life and conquered it. During last year I visited her often and
gradually learned much of her past history, though she does not love
to talk of herself. She has outlived her husband, a houseful of girls
and her ill-health is chiefly the result of years of watching by
their sick-beds, and grief at their loss.

For she does not pretend not to grieve, but always says, "It is
repining that dishonors God, not grief."

I said to her to-day:

"Doesn't it seem hard when you think of the many happy homes there
are in the world, that you should be singled out for such bereavement
and loneliness?"

She replied, with a smile:

"I am not singled out, dear. There are thousands of God's own dear
children, scattered over the world, suffering far more than I do. And
I do not think there are many persons in it who are happier than I
am. I was bound to my God and Saviour before I knew a sorrow, it is
true. But it was by a chain of many links; and every link that
dropped away, brought me to Him, till at last, having nothing left, I
was shut up to Him, and learned fully, what I had only learned
partially, how soul-satisfying He is."

"You think, then," I said, while my heart died within me, "that
husband and children are obstacles in our way, and hinder our getting
near to Christ."

"Oh, no!" she cried. "God never gives us hindrances. On the contrary,
He means, in making us wives and mothers, to put us into the very
conditions of holy living. But if we abuse His gifts by letting them
take His place in our hearts, it is an act of love on His part to
take them away, or to destroy our pleasure in them. It is
delightful," she added, after a pause, "to know that there are some
generous souls on earth, who love their dear ones with all their
hearts, yet give those hearts unreservedly to Christ. Mine was not
one of them."

I had some little service to render her which interrupted our
conversation. The offices I have had to have rendered me in my own
long days of sickness have taught me to be less fastidious about
waiting upon others. I am thankful that God has at last made me
willing to do anything in a sickroom that must be done. She thanked
me, as she always does, and then I said:

"I have a great many little trials, but they don't do me a bit of
good. Or, at least, I don't see that they do."

"No, we never see plants growing," she said.

"And do you really think then, that perhaps I am growing, though
unconsciously ?"

"I know you are, dear child. There can't be life without growth."

This comforted me. I came home, praying all the way, and striving to
commit myself entirely to Him in whose school I sit as learner. Oh,
that I were a better scholar But I do not half learn my lessons, I am
heedless and inattentive, and I forget what is taught. Perhaps this
is the reason that weighty truths float before my mind's eye at
times, but do not fix themselves there.

MARCH 20.-I have been much impressed by Dr. Cabot's sermons to-day.
while I am listening to his voice and hear him speak of the beauty
and desirableness of the Christian life, I feel as he feels, that I
am waiting to count all things but dross that I may win Christ. But
when I come home to my worldly cares, I get completely absorbed in
them, it is only by a painful wrench that I force my soul back to
God. Sometimes I almost envy Lucy her calm nature, which gives her so
little trouble. Why need I throw my whole soul into whatever I do?
Why can't I make so much as an apron for little Ernest without the
ardor and eagerness of a soldier marching to battle? I wonder if
people of my temperament ever get toned down, and learn to take life
coolly?

JUNE 10.-My dear little Una has had a long and very severe illness.
It seems wonderful that she could survive such sufferings. And it is
almost as wonderful that I could look upon them, week after week,
without losing my senses.

At first Ernest paid little attention to my repeated entreaties that
he would prescribe for her, and some precious time was thus lost. But
the moment he was fully aroused to see her danger, there was
something beautiful in his devotion. He often walked the room with
her by the hour together, and it was touching to see her lying like a
pale; crushed lily in his strong arms. One morning she seemed almost
gone, and we knelt around her with bursting hearts, to commend her
parting soul to Him in whose arms we were about to place her. But it
seemed as if all He asked of us was to come to that point, for then
He gave her back to us, and she is still ours, only seven-fold
dearer. I was so thankful to see dear Ernest's faith triumphing over
his heart, and making him so ready to give up even this little lamb
without a word. Yes, we will give our children to Him if he asks for
them. He shall never have to snatch them from us by force.

OCT. 4.-We have had a quiet summer in the country, that is, I have
with my darling little ones. This is the fourth birthday of our son
and heir, and he has been full of health and vivacity, enjoying
everything with all his heart. How he lights up our sombre household
! Father has been fasting to-day, and is so worn out and so nervous
in consequence, that he could not bear the sound of the children's
voices. I wish, if he must fast, he would do it moderately, and do it
all the time. Now he goes without food until he is ready to sink, and
now he eats quantities of improper food. If Martha could only see how
mischievous all this is for him. After the children had been hustled
out of the way, and I~ had got them both off to bed, he said in his
most doleful manner, "I hope, my daughter, that you are faithful to
your son. He has now reached the age of four years, and is a
remarkably intelligent child. I hope you teach him that he is a
sinner, and that he is in a state of condemnation."

"Now, father, don't," I said. "You are all tired out, and do not know
what you are saying. I would not have little Ernest hear you for the
world."

Poor father! He fairly groaned.

"You are responsible for that child's soul;" he said; "you have more
influence over him than all the world beside."

"I know it," I said, "and sometimes I feel ready to sink when I think
of the great work God has intrusted to me. But my poor child will
learn that he is a sinner only too soon, and before that dreadful day
arrives I want to fortify his soul with the only antidote against the
misery that knowledge will give him. I want him to see his Redeemer
in all His love, and all His beauty, and to love Him with all his
heart and soul, and mind and strength. Dear father, pray for him, and
pray for me, too."

"I do, I will," he said, solemnly. And then followed the inevitable
long fit of silent musing, when I often wonder what is passing in
that suffering soul. For a sufferer he certainly is who sees a great
and good and terrible God who cannot look upon iniquity, and does not
see His risen Son, who has paid the debt we owe, and lives to
intercede for us before the throne of the Father.

JAN. I, 1842.-James came to me yesterday with a letter he had been
writing to mother.

"I want you to read this before it goes," he said, "for you ought to
know my plans as soon as mother does."

I did not get time to read it till after tea. Then I came up here to
my room, and sat down curious to know what. was coming.

Well, I thought I loved him as much as one human being could love
another, already, but now my heart embraced him with a fervor and
delight that made me so happy that I could not speak a word when I
knelt down to tell my Saviour all about it.

He said that he had been led, within a few months,. to make a new
consecration of himself to Christ and to Christ's cause on earth, and
that this had resulted in his choosing the life of a missionary,
instead of settling down, as he had intended to do, as a city
physician. Such expressions of personal love to Christ, and delight
in the thought of serving Him, I never read. I could only marvel at
what God had wrought in his soul. For me to live to Christ seems
natural enough, for I have been driven to Him not only by sorrow but
by sin. Every outbreak of my hasty temper sends me weeping and
penitent to the foot of the cross, and I love much because I have
been forgiven much. But James, as far as I know, has never had a
sorrow, except my father's death, and that had no apparent religious
effect And his natural character is perfectly beautiful. He is as
warm-hearted and loving and simple and guileless as a child, and has
nothing of my intemperance, hastiness and quick temper. I have often
thought that she would be a rare woman who could win and wear such a
heart as his. Life has done little but smile upon him; he is handsome
and talented and attractive; everybody is fascinated by him,
everybody caresses him; and yet he has turned his back on the world
that has dealt so kindly with him, and given himself, as Edwards
says, "clean away to Christ!" Oh, how thankful I am! And yet to let
him go! My only brother-mother's Son! But I know what she will say;
she will him God-speed!

Ernest came upstairs, looking tired and jaded. I read the letter to
him. It impressed him strangely: but he only said;

"This is what we m might expect, who knew James, dear fellow!"

But when we knelt down to pray together, I saw how he was touched,
and how his soul kindled within him in harmony with that consecrated,
devoted. spirit. Dear James! it must be mother's prayers that have
done for him this wondrous work that is usually the slow growth of
years; and this is the mother who prays for you, Katy! So take
courage!

JAN. 2.~James means to study theology as well as medicine, it seems.
That will keep him with us for some years. Oh, is it selfish to take
this view of it? Alas, the spirit is willing to have him go, but the
flesh is weak, and cries out.

OCT. 22.-Amelia came to see me to-day. She has been traveling, for
her health, and certainly looks much improved.

"Charley and I are quite good friends again," she began. "We have
jaunted about everywhere, and have a delightful time. What a snug
little box of a house you have!"

It is inconveniently small," I said, "for our family is large and the
doctor needs more office room."

"Does he receive patients here? How horrid! Don't you hate to have
people with all sorts of ills and aches in the house? It must depress
your spirits."

"I dare say it would if I saw them; but I never do."

"I should like to see your children. Your husband says you are
perfectly devoted to them."

"As I suppose all mothers are," I replied, laughing.

"As to that," she returned, "people differ."

The children were brought down. She admired little Ernest, as
everybody does, but only glanced at the baby.

"What a sickly-looking little thing!" she said. "But this boy is a
splendid fellow! Ah, if mine had lived he would have been just such a
child! But some people have all the trouble and others all the
comfort. I am, sure I don't know what I have done that I should have
to lose my only boy, and have nothing left but girls. To be sure, I
can afford to dress them elegantly, and as soon as they get old
enough I mean to have them taught all sorts of accomplishments. You
can't imagine what a relief it is to have plenty of money!"

"Indeed I can't!" I said; "it is quite beyond the reach of my
imagination."

"My uncle--that is to say Charley's uncle-has just given me a
carriage and horses for my own use. In fact, he heaps everything upon
me. Where do you go to church?"

I told her, reminding her that Dr. Cabot was its pastor.

"Oh, I forgot! Poor Dr. Cabot! Is he as old-fashioned as ever?"

"I don't know what you mean," I cried. "He is as good as ever, if not
better. His health is very delicate, and that one thing seems to be a
blessing to him."

"A blessing! Why, Kate Mortimer! Kate Elliott, I mean. It is a
blessing I, for one, am very willing to dispense with. But you always
did say queer things. Well, I dare say Dr. Cabot is very good and all
that, but his church is not a fashionable one, and Charley and I go
to Dr. Bellamy's. That is, I go once a day, pretty regularly, and
Charley goes when he feels like it. Good-by. I must go now; I have
all my fall shopping to do. Have you done yours? Suppose you jump
into the carriage and go with me? You can't imagine how it passes
away the morning to drive from shop to shop looking over the new
goods."

"There seem to be a number of things I can't imagine," I replied,
dryly. "You must excuse me this morning."

She took her leave.. I looked at her rich dress as she gathered it
about her and swept away, and recalled all her empty, frivolous talk
with contempt.

She and Ch---, her husband, I mean, are well matched. They need their
money, and their palaces and their fine clothes and handsome
equipages, for they have nothing else. How thankful I am that I am as
unlike them as ex---

OCTOBER 30.-I'm sure I don't know what I was going to say when I was
interrupted just then. Something in the way of self-glorification,
most likely. I remember the contempt with which I looked after Amelia
as she left our house, and the pinnacle on which I sat perched for
some days, when I compared my life with hers. Alas, it was my view of
life of which I was lost in admiration, for I am. sure that if I ever
come under the complete dominion of Christ's gospel I shall not know
the Sentiment of disdain. I feel truly ashamed and sorry that I am
still so far from being penetrated with that spirit.

My pride has had a terrible fall. As I sat on my throne, looking down
on all the Amelias in the world, I felt a profound pity at their
delight in petty trifles, their love of position, of mere worldly
show and passing vanities.

"They are all alike," I said to myself. "They are incapable of
understanding a character like mine, or the exalted, ennobling
principles that govern me. They crave the applause of this world,
they are satisfied with fine clothes, fine houses, fine equipages.
They think and talk of nothing else; I have not one idea in common
with them. I see the emptiness and hollowness of these things. I am
absolutely unworldly; my ambition is to attain whatever they, in
their blind folly and ignorance, absolutely despise."

Thus communing with myself, I was not a little pleased to hear Dr.
Cabot and his wife announced. I hastened to meet them and to display
to them the virtues I so admired in myself. They had hardly a chance
to utter a word. I spoke eloquently of my contempt for worldly
vanities, and of my enthusiastic longings for a higher life. I even
went into particulars about the foibles of some of my acquaintances,
though faint misgivings as to the propriety of. such remarks on the
absent made me half repent the words I still kept uttering. When they
took leave I rushed to my room with my heart beating, my cheeks all
in a glow, and caught up and caressed the children in a way that
seemed to astonish them. Then I took my work and sat down to sew.
What a horrible reaction now took place! I saw my refined, subtle,
disgusting pride, just as I suppose Dr. and Mrs. Cabot saw it! I sat
covered with confusion, shocked at myself, shocked at the weakness of
human nature. Oh, to get back the good opinion of my friends! To
recover my own self-respect! But this was impossible. I threw down my
work and walked about my room. There was a terrible struggle in my
soul. I saw that instead of brooding over the display I had made of
myself to Dr. Cabot I ought to be thinking solely of my appearance in
the sight of God, who could see far more plainly than any earthly eye
could all my miserable pride and self-conceit. But I could not do
that, and chafed about till I was worn out, body and soul. At last I
sent the children away, and knelt down and told the whole story to
Him who knew what I was when He had compassion on me, called me by my
name, and made me His own child. And here, I found a certain peace.
Christian, on his way to the celestial city, met and fought his
Apollyons and his giants, too; but he got there at last!


Chapter 18

XVIII.

NOVEMBER.

THIS morning Ernest received an early summons to Amelia. I got out of
all manner of patience with him because he would take his bath and
eat his breakfast before he went, and should have driven any one else
distracted by my hurry and flurry.

"She has had a hemorrhage!" I cried. "Do, Ernest, make haste."

"Of course," he returned, "that would come, sooner or later."

"You don't mean," I said, "that she has been in danger of this all
along?"

"I certainly do."

"Then it was very unkind in you not to tell me so."

"I told you at the outset that her lungs were diseased."

"No, you told me no such thing. Oh, Ernest, is she going to die?"

"I did not know you were so fond of her," he said, apologetically.

It is not that," I cried. "I am distressed at the thought of the
worldly life she has been living-at my never trying to influence her
for her good. If she is in danger, you will tell her so? Promise me
that."

"I must see her before I make such a promise," he said, and went out.

I flew up to my room and threw myself on my knees, sorrowful,
self-condemned. I had thrown away my last opportunity of speaking a
word to her in season, though I had seen how much she needed one, and
now she was going to die! Oh, I hope God will forgive me, and hear
the prayers I have offered her!

EVENING.-Ernest says he had a most distressing scene at Amelia's this
morning. She insisted on knowing what he thought of her, and then
burst out bitter complaints and lamentations, charging it to husband
that she had this disease, declaring that she could not, and would
not die, and insisting that he must prevent it. Her uncle urged for a
consultation of physicians, to which Ernest consented, of course,
though he says no mortal power can save her now. I asked him how her
husband appeared, to which he made the evasive answer that he
appeared just as one would expect him to do.

DECEMBER.-Amelia was so determined to see me that Ernest thought it
best for me to go. I found her looking very feeble.

"Oh, Katy," she began at once," do make the doctor say that I shall
get well!"

"I wish he could say so with truth," I answered. "Dear Amelia, try
to think how happy God's own children are when they are with Him."

"I can't think," she replied. "I do not want to think. I want to
forget all about it. If it were not for this terrible cough I could
forget it, for I am really a great deal better than I was a month
ago."'

I did not know what to say or what to do.

"May I read a hymn or a few verses from the Bible?" I asked, at last.

"Just as you like," she said, indifferently.

I read a verse now and then, but she looked tired, and I prepared to
go.

"Don't go," she cried. "I do not dare to be alone. Oh, what a
terrible, terrible thing it is to die! To leave this bright,
beautiful world, and be nailed in a coffin and buried up in a cold,
dark grave.

"Nay," I said, "to leave this poor sick body there, and to fly to a
world ten thousand times brighter, more beautiful than this."

"I had just got to feeling nearly well," she said, "and I had
everything I wanted, and Charley was quite good to me, and I kept my
little girls looking like fairies, just from fairy-land. Everybody
said they wore the most picturesque costumes when they were dressed
according to my taste. And I have got to go and leave them, and
Charley will be marrying somebody else, and saying to her all the
nice things he has said to me.

"I really must go now," I said. "You are wearing yourself all out."

"I declare you are crying," she exclaimed. "You do pity me after
all."

"Indeed I do," I said, and came away, heartsick.

Ernest says there is nothing I can do for her now but to pray for
her, since she does not really believe herself in danger, and has a
vague feeling that if she can once convince him how much she wants to
live, he will use some vigorous measures to restore her Martha is to
watch with her to-night. Ernest will not let me.

JAN. 18, 1843.-Our wedding-day has passed unobserved. Amelia's
suffering condition absorbs us all. Martha spends much time with her,
and prepares almost all the food she eats.

JAN. 20.-I have seen poor Amelia once more, and perhaps for the last
time. She has failed rapidly of late, and Ernest says may drop away
at almost any time.

When I went in she took me by the hand, and with great difficulty,
and at intervals said something like this:

"I have made up my mind to it, and I know it must come. I want to see
Dr. Cabot. Do you think he would be willing to visit me after my
neglecting him so?"

"I am sure he would," I cried.

"I want to ask him if he thinks I was a Christian at that time-you
know when. If I was, then I need not be so afraid to die."

"But, dear Amelia, what he thinks is very little to the purpose. The
question is not whether you ever gave yourself to God, but whether
you are His now. But I ought not to talk to you. Dr. Cabot will know
just what to say."

"No, but I want to know what you thought about it."

I felt distressed, as I looked at her wasted dying figure, to be
called on to help decide such a question. But I knew what I ought to
say, and said it:

"Don't look back to the past; it is useless. Give yourself to Christ
now."

She shook her head.

"I don't know how," she said. "Oh, Katy, pray to God to let me live
long enough to get ready to die. I have led a worldly life. I shudder
at the bare thought of dying; I must have time."

"Don't wait for time," I said, with tears, "get ready now, this
minute. A thousand years would not make you more fit to die."

So I came away, weary and heavy- laden, and on the way home stopped
to tell Dr. Cabot all about it, and by this time he is with her.

"MARCH 1.-Poor Amelia's short race on earth is over. Dr. Cabot saw
her every few days and says he hopes she did depart in Christian
faith, though without Christian joy. I have not seen her since that
last interview. That excited me so that Ernest would not let me go
again.

Martha has been there nearly the whole time for three or four weeks,
and I really think it has done her good. She seems less absorbed in
mere outside things, and more lenient toward me and my failings.

I do not know what is to become of those mother little girls. I wish
I could take them into my own home, but, of course, that is not even
to be thought at this juncture. Ernest says their father seemed
nearly distracted when Amelia died, and that his uncle is going to
send him off to Europe immediately.

I have been talking with Ernest about Amelia.

"What do you think," I asked, "about her last days on earth? Was
there really any preparation for death?

"These scenes are very painful," he returned. "Of course there is but
one real preparation for Christian dying, and that is Christian
living."

"But the sick-room often does what a prosperous life never did!"

"Not often. Sick persons delude themselves, or are deluded by their
friends; they do not believe they are really about to die. Besides,
they are bewildered and exhausted by disease, and what mental
strength they have is occupied with studying symptoms, watching for
the doctor, and the like. I do not now recall a single instance where
a worldly Christian died a happy, joyful death, in all my practice."

"Well, in one sense it makes no difference whether they die happily
or not. The question is do they die in the Lord?"

"It may make no vital difference to them, but we must not forget that
God is honored or dishonored by the way a Christian dies, as well as
by the way in which he lives. There is great significance in the
description given in the Bible of the death by which John should
'Glorify God'; to my mind it that to die well is to live well."

"But how many thousands die suddenly, or of such exhausting disease
that they cannot honor God by even one feeble word."

"Of course, I do not, refer to such cases. All I ask is that those
whose minds are clear, who are able to attend to all other final
details, should let it be seen what the gospel of Christ can do for
poor sinners in the great exigency of life, giving Him the glory. I
can tell you, my darling, that standing, as I so often do, by dying
beds, this whole subject has become one of great magnitude to my mind
And it gives me positive personal pain to see heirs of the eternal
kingdom, made such by the ignominious death of their Lord, go
shrinking and weeping to the full possession of their inheritance."

Ernest is right, I am sure, but how shall the world, even the
Christian world, be convinced that it may have blessed fortastes of
heaven while yet plodding upon earth, and faith to go thither
joyfully, for the simple asking?

Poor Amelia! But she understands it all now. It is a blessed thing to
have this great faith, and it is a blessed thing to have a Saviour
who accepts it when it is but a mere grain of mustard-seed!

MAY 24.-I celebrated my little Una's third birthday by presenting her
with a new brother. Both the children welcomed him with delight that
was itself compensation enough for all it cost me to get up such a
celebration. Martha takes a most prosaic view of this proceeding, in
which she detects malice prepense on my part. She says I shall now
have one mouth the more to fill, and two feet the more to shoe; more
disturbed nights, more laborious days, and less leisure for visiting,
reading, music, and drawing.

Well! this is one side of the story, to be sure, but I look at the
other. Here is a sweet, fragrant mouth to kiss; here are two more
feet to make music with their pattering about my nursery. Here is a
soul to train for God, and the body in which it dwells is worthy all
it will cost, since it is the abode of a kingly tenant. I may see
less of friends, but I have gained one dearer than them all, to whom,
while I minister in Christ's name, I make a willing sacrifice of what
little leisure for my own recreation my other darlings had left me.
Yes, my precious baby, you are welcome to your mother's heart,
welcome to her time, her strength, her health, her tenderest cares,
to her life- long prayers! Oh, how rich I am, how truly, how
wondrously blest!

JUNE 5.-We begin to be woefully crowded. We need a larger house, or a
smaller household. I am afraid I secretly, down at the bottom of my
heart, wish Martha and her father could give place to my little ones.
May God forgive me if this is so It is a poor time for such emotions
when He has just given me another darling child, for whom I have as
rich and ample a love as if I had spent no affection on the other
twain. I have made myself especially kind to poor father and to
Martha lest they should perceive how inconvenient it is to have them
here, and be pained by it. I would not for the world despoil them of
what little satisfaction they may derive from living with us. But,
oh! I am so selfish, and it is so hard to practice the very law of
love I preach to my children! Yet I want this law to rule and reign
in my home, that it may be a little heaven below, and I will not, no,
I will not, cease praying that it may be such, no matter what it
costs me. Poor father! poor old man! I will try to make your home so
sweet and home-like to you that when you change it for heaven it
shall be but a transition from one bliss to a higher!

EVENING.-Soon after writing that I went down to see father, whom I
have had to neglect of late, baby has so used up both time and
strength.. I found him and Martha engaged in what seemed to be an
exciting debate, as Martha had a fiery little red spot on each cheek,
and was knitting furiously. I was about to retreat, when she got up
in a flurried way and went off, saying, as she went:

"You tell her, father; I can't."

I went up to him tenderly and took his hand. Ah, how gentle and
loving we are when we have just been speaking to God!

"What is it, dear father?" I asked; "is anything troubling you?"

"She is going to be married," he replied.

"Oh, father!" I cried, "how n-" nice, I was going to say, but stopped
just in time.

All my abominable selfishness that I thought I had left at my
Master's feet ten minutes before now came trooping back in full
force.

"She's going to be married; she'll go away, and will take her father
to live with her! I can have room for my children, and room for
mother! Every element of discord will now leave my home, and Ernest
will see what I really am!"

These were the thoughts that rushed through my mind, and that
illuminated my face.

"Does Ernest know?" I asked.

"Yes, Ernest has known it for some weeks."

Then I felt injured and inwardly accused Ernest of unkindness in
keeping so important a fact a secret. But when I went back to my
children, vexation with him took flight at once. The coming of each
new child strengthens and deepens my desire to be what I would have
it become; makes my faults more odious in my eyes, and elevates my
whole character. What a blessed discipline of joy and of pain my
married life has been; how thankful I am to reap its fruits even
while pricked by its thorns!

JUNE 21.-It seems that the happy man who has wooed Martha and won her
is no less a personage than old Mr. Underhill. His ideal of a woman
is one who has no nerves, no sentiment, no backaches, no headaches,
who will see that the wheels of his household machinery are kept well
oiled, so that he need never hear them creak, and who, in addition to
her other accomplishments, believes in him and will be kind enough to
live forever for his private accommodation. This expose of his
sentiments he has made to me in a loud, cheerful, pompous way, and he
has also favored me with a description of his first wife, who lacked
all these qualifications, and was obliging enough to depart in peace
at an early stage of their married life, meekly preferring thus to
make way for a worthier successor. Mr. Underhill with all his
foibles, however, is on the whole a good man. He intends to take
Amelia's little girls into his own home, and be a father, as Martha
will be a mother, to them. For this reason he hurries on the
marriage, after which they will all go at once to his country-seat,
which is easy of access, and which he says he is sure father will
enjoy. Poor old father I hope he will, but when the subject is
alluded to he maintains a sombre silence, and it seems to me he never
spent so many days alone in his room, brooding over his misery, as he
has of late. Oh, that I could comfort him.

JULY 12.-The marriage was appointed for the first of the month, as
old Mr. Underhill wanted to get out of town before the Fourth. As the
time drew near, Martha began to pack father's trunk as well as her
own, and brush in and out of his room till he had no rest for the
sole of his foot, and seemed as forlorn as a pelican in the
wilderness.

I know no more striking picture of desolation than that presented by
one of these quaint birds, standing upon a single leg, feeling as the
story has it, "den Jammer und das Elend der Welt."

On the last evening in June we all sat together on the piazza,
enjoying, each in our own way, a refreshing breeze that had sprung up
after a sultry day Father was quieter than usual, and seemed very
languid. Ernest who, out of regard to Martha's last evening at home,
had joined our little circle, ob served this, and said, cheerfully:

"You will feel better as soon as you are once more out of the city,
father."

Father made no reply for some minutes, and when he did speak we were
all startled to find that his voice trembled as if he were shedding
tears. We could not understand what he said. I went to him and made
him lean his head upon me as he often did when it ached. He took my
hand in both his.

"You do love the old man a little?" he asked, in the same tremulous
voice.

"Indeed, I do!" I cried, greatly touched by his helpless appeal, "I
love you dearly, father. And I shall miss you sadly."

"Must I go away then?" he whispered. "Cannot I stay here till my
summons hence? It will not be long, it will not be long, my child."

With the cry of a hurt animal, Martha sprang up and rushed past us
into the house. Ernest followed her, and we heard them talking
together a long time. At last Ernest joined us.

"Father," he said, "Martha is a good deal wounded and disappointed,
at your reluctance to, go with her She threatened to break off her
engagement rather than to be separated from you. I really think you
would be better off with her than with us. You would enjoy country
life, because it is what you have been accustomed to; you could spend
hours of every day in driving about; just what your health requires."

Father did not reply. He took Ernest's arm and tottered into the
house. Then we had a most painful scene. Martha reminded him with
bitter tears that her mother had committed him to her with her last
breath and set before him all the advantages he would have in her
house over ours. Father sat pale and inflexible; tear after tear
rolling down his cheeks. Ernest looked distressed and ready to sink.
As for me I cried with Martha, and with her father by turns, and
clung to Ernest with a feeling that all the foundations of the earth
were giving way. It came time for evening prayers, and Ernest prayed
as he rarely does, for he is rarely so moved. He quieted us all by a
few simple words of appeal to Him who loved us, and father then
consented to spend the summer with Martha if he might call our home
his home, and be with us through the winter. But this was not till
long after the rest of us went to bed, and a hard battle with Ernest.
He says Ernest is his favorite child, and that I am his favorite
daughter, and our children inexpressibly dear to him. I am ashamed to
write down what he said of me. Besides, I am sure there is a wicked,
wicked triumph over Martha in my secret heart. I am too elated with
his extraordinary preference for us, to sympathize with her
mortification and grief as ought. Something whispered that she who
has never pitied me deserves no pity now. But I do not like this mean
and narrow spirit in myself; nay more, I hate and abhor it.

The marriage took place and they all went off together, father's
rigid, white face, whiter, more rigid than ever. I am to go to
mother's with the children at once. I feel that a great stone has
been rolled away from before the door of my heart; the one human
being who refused me a kindly smile, a sympathizing word, has gone,
never to return. May God go with her and give her a happy home, and
make her true and loving to those motherless little ones!



Chapter 19

XIX.

OCTOBER 1.

I Have had a charming summer with dear mother; and now I have the
great joy, so long deferred, of having her in my own home. Ernest has
been very cordial about it, and James has settled up all her worldly
affairs, so that she has nothing to do now but to love us and let us
love her. It is a pleasant picture to see her with my little darlings
about her, telling the old sweet story she told me so often, and
making God and Heaven and Christ such blissful realities. As I
listen, I realize that it is to her I owe that early, deeply-seated
longing to please the Lord Jesus, which I never remember as having a
beginning, or an ending, though it did have its fluctuations. And it
is another pleasant picture to see her sit in her own old chair,
which Ernest was thoughtful enough to have brought for her, pondering
cheerfully over her Bible and her Thomas a Kempis just as I have seen
her do ever since I can remember. And there is still a third pleasant
picture, only that it is a new one; it is as she sits at my right
hand at the table, the living personification of the blessed gospel
of good tidings, with father, opposite, the fading image of the law
given by Moses. For father has come back; father and all his
ailments, his pill-boxes, his fits of despair and his fits of dying.
But he is quiet and gentle, and even loving, and as he sits in his
corner, his Bible on his knees, I see how much more he reads the New
Testament than he used to do, and that the fourteenth chapter of St.
John almost opens to him of itself.

I must do Martha the justice to say that her absence, while it
increases my domestic peace and happiness, increases my cares also.
What with the children, the housekeeping, the thought for mother's
little comforts and the concern for father's, I am like a bit of
chaff driven before the wind, and always in a hurry. There are so
many stitches to be taken, so many things to pass through one's brain
! Mother says no mortal woman ought to undertake so much, but what
can I do? While Ernest is straining every nerve to pay off those
debts, I must do all the needlework, and we must get along with
servants whose want of skill makes them willing to put up with low
wages. Of course I cannot tell mother this, and I really believe she
thinks I scrimp and pinch and overdo out of mere stinginess.

DECEMBER 30.-Ernest came to me to-day with our accounts for the last
three months. He looked quite worried, for him, and asked me if there
were any expenses we could cut down.

My heart jumped up into my mouth, and I said in an irritated way:

"I am killing myself with over-work now. Mother says so. I sew every
night till twelve o'clock, and I feel all jaded out,"

"I did not mean that I wanted you to do anymore than you are doing
now, dear," he said, kindly. "I know you are all jaded out, and I
look on this state of feverish activity with great anxiety. Are all
these stitches absolutely necessary?"

"You men know nothing about such things," I said, while my conscience
pricked me as I went on hurrying to finish the fifth tuck in one of
Una's little dresses. "Of course I want my children to look decent."

Ernest sighed.

"I really don't know what to do," he said, in a hopeless way.
"Father's persisting in living with us is throwing a burden on you,
that with all your other cares is quite too much for you. I see and
feel it every day. Don't you think I had better explain this to him
and let him go to Martha's?"

"No, indeed!" I said. "He shall stay here if it kills me, poor old
man!"

Ernest began once more to look over the bills.

"I don't know how it is," he said, "but since Martha left us our
expenses have increased a good deal."

Now the truth is that when Aunty paid me most generously for teaching
her children, I did not dare to offer my earnings to Ernest, lest he
should be annoyed. So I had quietly used it for household expenses,
and it had held out till about the time of Martha's marriage.
Ernest's injustice was just as painful, just as insufferable as if he
had known this, and I now burst out with whatever my rasped,
over-taxed nerves impelled me to say, like one possessed.

Ernest was annoyed and surprised.

"I thought we had done with these things," he said, and gathering up
the papers he went off.

I rose and locked my door and threw myself down upon the floor in an
agony of shame, anger, and physical exhaustion. I did not know how
large a part of what seemed mere childish ill-temper was really the
cry of exasperated nerves, that had been on too strained a tension,
and silent too long, and Ernest did not know it either. How could he?
His profession kept him for hours every day in the open air; there
were times when his work was done and he could take entire rest; and
his health is absolutely perfect. But I did not make any excuse for
myself at the moment. I was overwhelmed with the sense of my utter
unfitness to be a wife and a mother.

Then I heard Ernest try to open the door; and finding it locked, he
knocked, calling pleasantly:

"It is I, darling; let me in."

I opened it reluctantly enough.

"Come," he said, "put on your things and drive about with me on my
rounds. I have no long visits to make, and while I am seeing my
patients you will be getting the air, which you need."

"I do not want to go," I said. "I do not feel well enough. Besides,
there's my work." "You can't see to sew with these red eyes," he
declared. "Come! I prescribe a drive, as your physician."

"Oh, Ernest, how kind, how forgiving you are?", I cried, running into
the arms he held out to me, "If you knew how ashamed, how sorry, I
am!"

"And if you only knew how ashamed and sorry I am!" he returned. "I
ought to have seen how you taxing and over-taxing yourself, doing
your work and Martha's too. It must not go on so."

By this time, with a veil over my face, he had got me downstairs and
out into the air, which fanned my fiery cheeks and cooled my heated
brain. It seemed to me that I have had all this tempest about nothing
at all, and that with a character still so undisciplined, I was
utterly unworthy to be either a wife or a mother. But when I tried to
say so in broken words, Ernest comforted me with the gentleness and
tenderness of a woman.

"Your character is not undisciplined, my darling," he said. "Your
nervous organization is very peculiar, and you have had unusual cares
and trials from the beginning of our married life. I ought not to
have confronted you with my father's debts at a moment when you had
every reason to look forward to freedom from most petty economies and
cares."

"Don't say so," I interrupted. "If you had not told me you had this
draft on your resources I should have always suspected you of
meanness. For you know, dear, you have kept me-that is to say-you
'could not help it, but I suppose men can't understand how many
demands are made upon a mother for money almost every day. I got
along very well till the children came, but since then it has been
very hard."

"Yes," he said, "I am sure it has. But let me finish what I was going
to say. I want you to make a distinction for yourself, which I make
for you, between mere ill-temper, and the irritability that is the
result of a goaded state of the nerves. Until you do that, nothing
can be done to relieve you from what I am sure, distresses and
grieves you exceedingly. Now, I suppose that whenever you speak to me
or the children in this irritated way you lose your own self-respect,
for the time, at least, and feel degraded in the sight of God also."

"Oh, Ernest! there are no words in any language that mean enough to
express the anguish I feel when I speak quick, impatient words to
you, the one human being in the universe whom I love with all my
heart and soul, and to my darling little children who are almost as
dear! I pray and mourn over it day and night. God only knows how I
hate myself on account of this one horrible sin!"

"It is a sin only as you deliberately and wilfully fulfill the
conditions that lead to such results. Now I am sure if you could once
make up your mind in the fear of God, never to undertake more work of
any sort than you can carry on calmly, quietly, without hurry or
flurry, and the instant you find yourself growing nervous and like
one out of breath, would stop and take breath, you would find this
simple, common-sense rule doing for you what no prayers or tears
could ever accomplish. Will you try it for one month, my darling?"

"But we can't afford it," I cried, with almost a groan. "Why, you
have told me this very day that our expenses must be cut down, and
now you want me to add to them by doing less work. But the work must
be done. The children must be clothed, there is no end to the
stitches to be taken for them, and your stockings must be mended-you
make enormous holes in them! and you don't like it if you ever find a
button wanting to a shirt or your supply of shirts getting low."

"All you say may be very true," he returned, "but I am determined
that you shall not be driven to desperation as you have been of
late."

By this time we had reached the house where his visit was to be made,
and I had nothing to do but lean back and revolve all he had been
saying, over and over again, and to see its reasonableness while I
could not see what was so be done for my relief. Ah, I have often
felt in moments of bitter grief at my impatience with my children,
that perhaps God pitied more than He blamed me for it! And now my
dear husband was doing the same!

When Ernest had finished his visit we drove on again in silence.

At last, I asked:

"Do tell me, Ernest, if you worked out this problem all by yourself?"

He smiled a little.

"No, I did not. But I have had a patient for two or three years whose
case has interested me a good deal, and for whom I finally prescribed
just as I have done for you. The thing worked like a charm, and she
is now physically and morally quite well.

"I dare say her husband is a rich man," I said.

"He is not as poor as your husband, at any rate," Ernest replied.
"But rich or poor I am determined not to sit looking on while you
exert yourself so far beyond your strength. Just think, dear, suppose
for fifty or a hundred or two hundred dollars a year you could buy a
sweet, cheerful, quiet tone of mind, would you hesitate one moment to
do so? And you can do it if you will. You are not ill-tempered but
quick-tempered; the irritability which annoys you so is a physical
infirmity which will disappear the moment you cease to be goaded into
it by that exacting mistress you have hitherto been to yourself."

All this sounded very plausible while Ernest was talking, but the
moment I got home I snatched up my work from mere force of habit.

"I may as well finish this as it is begun," I said to myself, arid
the stitches flew from my needle like sparks of fire. Little Ernest
came and begged for a story, but I put him off. Then Una wanted to
sit in my lap, but I told her I was too busy. In the course of an
hour the influence of the fresh air and Ernest's talk had nearly lost
their power over me; my thread kept breaking, the children leaned on
and tired me, the baby woke up and cried, and I got all out of
patience.

"Do go away, Ernest," I said, "and let mamma have a little peace.
Don't you see how busy I am? Go and play with Una like a good boy."
But he would not go, and kept teasing Una till she too, began to cry,
and she and baby made a regular concert of it.

"Oh, ,dear!" I! sighed, "this work will never be done!" and threw it
down impatiently, and took the baby impatiently, and began to walk up
and down with him impatiently. I was not willing that this little
darling, whom I love so dearly, should get through with his nap and
interrupt my work; yet I was displeased with myself, and tried by
kissing him to make some amends for the hasty, un pleasant tones with
which I had grieved him and frightened the other children. This
evening Ernest came to me with a larger sum of money than he had ever
given me at one time.

"Now every cent of this is to be spent," he said, "in having work
done. I know any number of poor women who will be thankful to have
all you can give them."

Dear me I it is easy to talk, and I do feel grateful to Ernest for
his thoughtfulness and kindness. But I am almost in rags, and need
every cent of this money to make myself decent. I am positively
ashamed to go anywhere, my clothes are so shabby. Besides, supposing
I leave off sewing and all sorts of over-doing of a kindred nature, I
must nurse baby, I suppose, and be up with him nights and others will
have their cross days and their sick and father will have his. Alas,
there can be for no royal road to a "sweet, cheerful, quiet tone of
mind!"

JANUARY I, 1844.-Mother says Ernest is entirely right in forbidding
my working so hard. I own that I already feel better. I have all the
time I need to read my Bible and to pray now, and the children do not
irritate and annoy me as they did. Who knows but I shall yet become
quite amiable?

Ernest made his father very happy to-day by telling him that ,the
last of those wretched debts is paid. I think that he might have told
me that this deliverance was at hand. I did not know but we had years
of these struggles with poverty before us. What with the relief from
this anxiety, my improved state of health, and father's pleasure, I
am in splendid spirits to-day. Ernest, too, seems wonderfully
cheerful, and we both feel that we may now look forward to a quiet
happiness we have never known. With such a husband and such children
as mine, I ought to be the most grateful creature on earth. And I
have dear mother and James besides. I don't quite know what to think
about James' relation to Lucy. He is so brimful running over with
happiness that he is also full of fun and of love, and after all he
may only like her as a cousin.

FEB. 14.-Father has not been so well of late. It seems as if he kept
up until he was relieved about those debts, and then sunk down. I
read to him a good deal, and so does mother, but his mind is still
dark, and he looks forward to the hour of death with painful
misgivings. He is getting a little childish about my leaving him, and
clings to me exactly as if I were his own child. Martha spends a good
deal of time with him, and fusses over him in a way that I wonder she
does not see is annoying to him. He wants to be read to, to hear a
hymn sung or a verse repeated, and to be left otherwise in perfect
quiet. But she is continually pulling out and shaking up his pillows,
bathing his head in hot vinegar and soaking his feet. It looks so odd
to see her in one of the elegant silk dresses old .Mr. Underhill
makes her wear, with her sleeves rolled up, the skirt hid away under
a large apron, rubbing away at poor father till it seems as if his
tired soul would fly out of him.

FEB. 20.-Father grows weaker every day. Ernest has sent for his other
children, John and Helen. Martha is no longer able to come here; her
husband is very sick with a fever, and cannot be left alone. No doubt
he enjoys her bustling way of nursing, and likes to have his pillows
pushed from under him every five minutes. I am afraid I feel glad
that she is kept away, and that I have father all to myself. Ernest
never was so fond of me as he is now. I don't know what to make of
it.

FEB 22.-John and his wife and Helen have come. They stay at Martha's,
where there is plenty of room. John's wife is a little soft dumpling
thing, and looks up to him as a mouse would up at a steeple. He
strikes me as a very selfish man. He steers straight for the best
seat, leaving her standing, if need be, accepts her humble attentions
with the air of one collecting his just debt and is continually
snubbing and setting her right. Yet in some things he is very like
Ernest, and perhaps a wife destitute of self-assertion and without
much individuality would have spoiled him as Harriet has spoiled
John. For I think it must be partly her fault that he dares to be so
egotistical. Helen, is the dearest, prettiest creature I ever saw.
Oh, why would James take a fancy to Lucy! I feel the new delight of
having a sister to love and to admire. And she will love me in time;
I feel sure of it.

MARCH 1.-Father is very feeble and in great mental distress. He
gropes about in the dark, and shudders at the approach of death. We
can do nothing but pray for him. And the cloud will be lifted when he
leaves this world, if not before. For I know he is a good, yes, a
saintly man, dear to and dear to Christ.

MARCH 4.-Dear father has gone. We were all kneeling and praying and
weeping around him, when suddenly he called me to come to him. I went
and let him lean his head on my breast, as he loved to do. Sometimes
I have stood so by the hour together ready to sink with fatigue, and
only kept up with the thought that if this were my own precious
father's bruised head I could stand and hold it forever.

"Daughter Katherine," he said, in his faint, tremulous way, "you have
come with me to the very brink of the river. I thank God for all your
cheering words and ways. I thank God for giving you to be a helpmeet
to my son. Farewell, now," he added, in a low, firm voice, "I feel
the bottom, and it is good!"

He lay back on his pillow looking upward with an expression of
seraphic peace and joy on his worn, meagre face, and so his life
passed gently away.

Oh, the affluence of God's payments! What a recompense for the poor
love I had given my husband's father, and the poor little services I
had rendered him! Oh, that I had never been impatient with him, never
smiled at his peculiarities, never in my secret heart felt him
unwelcome to my home! And how wholly I overlooked, in my blind
selfishness, what he must have suffered in feeling himself, homeless,
dwelling with us on sufferance, but master and head nowhere on earth!
May God carry the lessons home to my heart of hearts, and make the
cloud of mingled remorse and shame which now envelops me to descend
in showers of love and benediction on every human soul that mine can
bless!



Chapter 20

XX.

APRIL.

I HAVE had a new lesson which has almost broken my heart. In looking
over his father's papers, Ernest found a little journal, brief in its
records indeed, but we learn from it that on all those wedding and
birthdays, when I fancied his austere religion made him hold aloof
from our merry-making, he was spending the time in fasting and
praying for us and for our children! Oh, shall I ever learn the sweet
charity that thinketh no evil, and believeth all things? What
blessings may not have descended upon us and our children through
those prayers! What evils may they not have warded off! Dear old
father! Oh, that I could once more put my loving arms about him and
bid him welcome to our home! And how gladly would I now confess to
him all my unjust judgments concerning him and entreat his
forgiveness! Must life always go on thus? Must I always be erring,
ignorant and blind? How I hate this arrogant sweeping past my brother
man; this utter ignoring of his hidden life?

I see now that it is well for mother that she did not come to live
with me at the beginning of my married life. I should not have borne
with her little peculiarities, nor have made her half so happy as I
can now. I thank God that my varied disappointments and discomforts,
my feeble health, my poverty, my mortifications have done me some
little good, and driven me to Him a thousand times because I could
not get along without His help. But I am not satisfied with my state
in His sight. I am sure something is lacking, though I know not what
it is.

MAY Helen is going to stay here and live with Martha How glad how
enchanted I am! Old Mr. Underhill is getting well; I saw him to-day.
He can talk of nothing but his illness, of Martha's wonderful skill
in nursing him declaring that he owes his life to her. I felt a
little piqued at this speech, because Ernest was very attentive to
him, and no doubt did his share towards the cure. We have fitted up
father's room for a nursery. Hitherto all the children have had to
sleep in our room which has been bad for them and bad for us. I have
been so afraid they would keep Ernest awake if they were unwell and
restless. I have secured an excellent nurse, who is as fresh and
blooming as the flower whose name she bears. The children are already
attached to her, and I feel that the worst of my life is now over.

JUNE.-Little Ernest was taken sick on the day I wrote that. The
attack was fearfully sudden and violent. He is still very, very ill.
I have not forgotten that I said once that I would give my children
to God should He ask for them. but oh, this agony of suspense! It
eats into my soul and eats it away. Oh, my little Ernest! My
first-born son! My pride, my joy, my hope! And I thought the worst of
my life was over!

AUGUST.-We have come into the country with what God has left us, our
two youngest children. Yes, I have tasted the bitter cup of
bereavement, and drunk it down to its dregs. I gave my darling to
God, I gave him, I gave him! But, oh, with what anguish I saw those
round, dimpled limbs wither and waste away, the glad smile fade
forever from that beautiful face! What a fearful thing it is to be a
mother! But I have given my child to God. I would not recall him if I
could. I am thankful He has counted me worthy to present Him so
costly a gift.

I cannot shed a tear, and I must find relief in writing, or I shall
lose my senses. My noble, beautiful boy! My first-born son! And to
think that my delicate little Una still lives, and that death has
claimed that bright, glad creature who was the sunshine of our home!

But let me not forget my mercies. Let me not forget that I have a
precious husband and two darling children, and my kind, sympathizing
mother left to me. Let me not forget how many kind friends gathered
about us in our sorrow. Above all let me remember God's
loving-kindness and tender mercy. He has not left us to the
bitterness of a grief that refuses and disdains to be comforted. We
believe in Him, we love Him, we worship as we never did before. My
dear Ernest has felt this sorrow to his heart's core. But he has not
for one moment questioned the goodness or the love of our Father in
thus taking from us the child who promised to be our greatest earthly
joy Our consent to God's will has drawn us together very closely,
together we bear the yoke in our youth, together we pray and sing
praises in the very midst of our tears "I was dumb with silence
because Thou didst it."

SEPT. The old pain and cough have come back with the first cool
nights of this month Perhaps I am going to my darling- I do not know
I am certainly very feeble Consenting to suffer does not annul the
suffering Such a child could not go hence without rending and tearing
its way out of the heart that loved it. This world is wholly changed
to me and I walk in it like one in a dream. And dear Ernest is
changed, too. He says little, and is all kindness and goodness to me,
but I can see here is a wound that will never be healed. I am
confined to my room now with nothing do but to think, think, think. I
do not believe God has taken our child in mere displeasure, but
cannot but feel that this affliction might not have been necessary if
I had not so chafed and writhed and secretly repined at the way in
which my home was invaded, and at our galling poverty. God has
exchanged the one discipline for the other; and oh, how far more
bitter is this cup!

Oct. 4.- My darling boy would have been six years old to-day. Ernest
still keeps me shut up, but he rather urges my seeing a friend now
and. People say very strange things in the way of consolation. I
begin to think that a tender clasp of the hand is about all one can
give to the afflicted. One says I must not grieve, because my child
is better off in heaven. Yes, he is better off; I know it, I .feel
it; but I miss him none the less. Others say he might have grown up
to be a bad man and broken my heart. Perhaps he might, but I cannot
make myself believe that likely. One lady asked me if this affliction
was not a rebuke of my idolatry of my darling; and another, if I had
not been in a cold, worldly state, needing this severe blow on that
account.

But I find no consolation or support in the remarks. My comfort is in
my perfect faith in the goodness and love of my Father, my certainty
that He had a reason in thus afflicting me that I should admire and
adore if I knew what it was. And in the midst of my sorrow I have had
and do have a delight in Him hitherto unknown, so that sometimes this
room in which I am a prisoner seems like the very gate of heaven.

MAY.-A long winter in my room, and all sorts of painful remedies and
appliances and deprivations. And now I am getting well, and drive out
every day. Martha sends her carriage, and mother goes with me. Dear
mother! How nearly perfect she is! I never saw a sweeter face, nor.
ever heard sweeter expressions of faith in God, and love to all about
her than hers. She has been my tower strength all through these weary
months; and she has shared my sorrow and made it her own.

I can see that dear Ernest's affliction and this prolonged anxiety
about me have been a heavenly benediction to him I am sure that every
mother whose sick child he visits will have a sympathy he could not
have given while all our own little ones were alive and well. I thank
God that He has thus increased my dear husband's usefulness as I
think that He has mine also How tenderly I already feel towards all
suffering children, and how easy it will be now to be patient with
them!

KEENE N H JULY 12 It is a year ago this day that the brightest
sunshine faded out of our lives, and our beautiful boy was taken from
us. I have been tempted to spend this anniversary in bitter tears and
lamentations For oh, this sorrow is not healed by time! I feel it
more and more But I begged God when I first awoke this morning not to
let me so dishonor and grieve Him. I may suffer, I must suffer, He
means it, He wills it, but let it be without repining, without gloomy
despondency. The world is full of sorrow; it is not I alone who taste
its bitter draughts, nor have I the only right to a sad countenance.
Oh, for patience to bear on, cost what it may!

"Cheerfully and gratefully I lay. myself and all that I am or own at
the feet of Him who redeemed me with His precious blood, engaging to
follow Him, bearing the cross He lays upon me." This is the least I
can do, and I do it while my heart lies broken and bleeding at His
feet.

My dear little Una has improved somewhat in health, but I am never
free from anxiety about her. She is my milk-white lamb, my dove, my
fragrant flower. One cannot look in her pure face without a sense of
peace and rest. She is the sentinel who voluntarily guards my door
when I am engaged at my devotions; she is my little comforter when I
am sad, my companion and friend at all times. I talk to her of
Christ, and always have done, just as I think of Him, and as if I
expected sympathy from her in my love to Him. It was the same with my
darling Ernest. If I required a little self-denial, I said
cheerfully, "This is hard, but doing it for our best Friend sweetens
it," and their alacrity was pleasant to see. Ernest threw his whole
soul into whatever he did, and sometimes when engaged in play would
hesitate a little when directed to do something else, such as
carrying a message for me, and the like. But if I said, "If you do
this cheerfully and pleasantly, my darling, you do it for Jesus, and
that will make Him smile upon you," he would invariably yield at
once.

Is not this the true, the natural way of linking every little daily
act of a child's life with that Divine Love, that Divine Life which
gives meaning to all things?

But what do I mean by the vain boast that I have always trained my
children thus? Alas! I have done it only at times; for while my
theory was sound, my temper of mind was but too often unsound. I was
often and often impatient with my dear little boy; often my tone was
a worldly one; I often full of eager interest in mere outside things,
and forgot that I was living or that my children were living save for
the present moment.

It seems now that I have a child in heaven, and am bound to the
invisible world by such a tie that I can never again be entirely
absorbed by this.

I fancy my ardent, eager little boy as having some such employments
in his new and happy home as he had here. I see him loving Him who
took children in His arms and blessed them, with all the warmth of
which his nature is capable, and as perhaps employed as one of those
messengers whom God sends forth as His ministers. For I cannot think
of those active feet, those busy hands as always quiet. Ah, my
darling, that I could look in upon you for a moment, a single moment,
and catch one of your radiant smiles; just one!

AUGUST 4.-How full are David's Psalms of the cry of the sufferer! He
must have experienced every kind of bodily and mental torture. He
gives most vivid illustrations of the wasting, wearing process of
disease-for instance, what a contrast is the picture we have of him
when he was "ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly
to look to," and the one he paints of himself in after years, when he
says, "I may tell all my bones. they look and stare upon me; my days
are like a, shadow that declineth, and I am withered like grass. I am
weary with groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my
couch with my tears. For my soul is full of troubles; and my life
draweth near unto the grave,"

And then what wails of anguish are these!

"I am afflicted, and ready to die from my youth up, while I suffer
thy terrors I am distracted. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me and thou
hast afflicted me with all thy waves. All thy waves and thy billows
have gone over me. Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and
mine acquaintance into utter dark ness."

Yet through it all what grateful joy in God, what expressions of
living faith and devotion! During my long illness and confinement to
my room, the Bible has been almost a new book to me, and I see that
God has always dealt with His children as He deals with them now, and
that no new thing has befallen me. All these weary days so full of
languor, these nights so full of unrest, have had their appointed
mission to my soul. And perhaps I have had no discipline so salutary
as this forced inaction and uselessness, at a time when youth and
natural energy continually cried out for room and work.

AUGUST 15.-I dragged out my drawing materials in a listless way this
morning, and began to sketch the beautiful scene from my window. At
first I could not feel interested. It seemed as if my hand was
crippled and lost its cunning when it unloosed its grasp of little
Ernest, and let him go. But I prayed, as I worked, that I might not
yield to the inclination to despise and throw away the gift with
which God has Himself endowed me. Mother was gratified, and said it
rested her to see me act like myself once more. Ah, I have been very
selfish, and have been far too much absorbed with my sorrow and my
illness and my own petty struggles.

AUGUST 19.-I met to-day an old friend, Maria Kelly, who is married,
it seems, and settled down in this pretty village. She asked so many
questions about my little Ernest that I had to tell her the whole
story of his precious life, sickness and death. I forced myself to do
this quietly, and without any great demand on her sympathies. My
reward for the constraint I thus put upon myself was the abrupt
question:

"Haven't you grown stoical?"

I felt the angry blood rush' through my veins as it has not done in a
long time. My pride was wounded to the quick, and those cruel, unjust
words still rankle in my heart. This is not as it should be. I am
constantly praying that my pride may be humbled, and then when it is
attacked, I shrink from the pain the blow causes, and am angry with
the hand that inflicts it. It is just so with two or three unkind
things Martha has said to me. I can't help brooding over them and
feeling stung with their injustice, even while making the most
desperate struggle to rise above and forget them. It is well for our
fellow-creatures that God forgives and excuses them, when we fail to
do it, and I can easily fancy that poor Maria Kelly is at this moment
dearer in His sight than I am who have taken fire at a chance word
And I can see now, what I wonder I did not see at the time, that God
was dealing very kindly and wisely with me when He made Martha
overlook my good qualities, of which I suppose I have some, as
everybody else has, and call out all my bad ones, since the axe was
thus laid at the root of self-love. And it is plain that self-love
cannot die without a fearful struggle.

MAY 26, 1846.-How long it is since I have written in my journal! We
have had a winter full of cares, perplexities and sicknesses. Mother
began it by such a severe attack of inflammatory rheumatism as I
could not have supposed she could live through. Her sufferings were
dreadful, and I might almost say her patience was, for I often
thought it would be less painful to hear her groan and complain, than
to witness such heroic fortitude, such sweet docility under God's
hand. I hope I shall never forget the lessons I have learned in her
sick-room. Ernest says he never shall cease to rejoice that she lives
with us, and that he can watch over her health. He, has indeed been
like a son to her, and this has been a great solace amid all her
sufferings. Before she was able to leave the room, poor little Una
was prostrated by one of her ill turns, and is still very feeble. The
only way in which she can be diverted is by reading to her, and I
have done little else these two months but hold her in my arms,
singing little songs and hymns, telling stories and reading what few
books I can find that are unexciting, simple, yet entertaining. My
precious little darling! She bears the yoke in her youth without a
frown, but it is agonizing to see her suffer so. How much easier it
would be to bear all her physical infirmities myself! I suppose to
those who look on from the outside, we must appear like a most
unhappy family, since we hardly get free from one trouble before
another steps in. But I see more and more that happiness is not
dependent on health or any other outside prosperity. We are at peace
with each other and at peace with God; His dealings with us do not
perplex or puzzle us, though we do not pretend to understand them. On
the other hand, Martha with absolutely perfect health, with a husband
entirely devoted to her, and with every wish gratified, yet seems
always careworn and dissatisfied. Her servants worry her very life
out; she misses the homely household duties to which she has been
accustomed; and her conscience stumbles at little things, and
overlooks greater ones. It is very interesting, I think, to study
different homes, as well as the different characters that form them.

Amelia's little girls are quiet, good children, to whom their father
writes what Mr. Underhill and Martha pronounce "beautiful" letters,
wherein he always styles himself their "broken-hearted but devoted
father." "Devotion," to my mind, involves self-sacrifice, and I
cannot reconcile its use, in this case, with the life of ease he
leads, while all the care of his children is thrown upon others. But
some people, by means of a few such phrases, not only impose upon
themselves but upon their friends, and pass for persons of great
sensibility.

As I have been confined to the house nearly the whole winter, I have
had to derive my spiritual support from books, and as mother
gradually recovered, she enjoyed Leighton with me, as I knew she
would. Dr. Cabot comes to see us very often, but, I do not now find
it possible to get the instruction from him I used to do. I see that
the Christian life must be individual, as the natural character
is-and that I cannot be exactly like Dr. Cabot, or exactly like Mrs.
Campbell, or exactly like mother, though they all three stimulate and
re an inspiration to me. But I see, too, that the great points of
similarity in Christ's disciples have always been the same. This is
the testimony of all the good books, sermons, hymns, and, memoirs I
read-that God's ways are infinitely perfect; that we are to love Him
for what He is, and therefore equally as much when He afflicts as
when He prospers us; that there is no real happiness but in doing and
suffering His will, and that this life is but a scene of probation
through which we pass to the real life above.



Chapter 21

XXI.

MAY 30.

ERNEST asked me to go with him to see one of his patients, as he
often does when there is a lull in the tempest at home. We both feel
that as we have so little money of our own to give away, it is a
privilege to give what services and what cheering words we can. As I
took it for granted that we were going to see some poor old woman, I
put up several little packages of tea and sugar, with which Susan
Green always keeps me supplied, and added a bottle of my own
raspberry vinegar, which never comes amiss, I find, to old people.
Ernest drove to the door of an aristocratic-looking house, and helped
me to alight in his usual silence.

"It is probably one of the servants we are going to visit," I
thought, within myself; "but I am surprised at his bringing me. The
family may not approve it."

The next thing I knew I found myself being introduced to a beautiful,
brilliant young lady, who sat in a wheel-chair like a queen on a
throne in a room full of tasteful ornaments, flowers and birds. Now,
I had come away just as I was, when Ernest called me, and that "was"
means a very plain gingham dress wherein I had been darning stockings
all the morning. I suppose a saint wouldn't have cared for that, but
I did, and for a moment stood the picture of confusion, my hands full
of oddly shaped parcels and my face all in a flame.

My wife, Miss Clifford," I heard Ernest say, and then I caught the
curious, puzzled look in her eyes, which said as plainly as words
could do:

"What has the creature brought me?"

I ask your pardon, Miss Clifford," I said, thinking it best to speak
out just the honest truth, "but I supposed the doctor was taking me
to see some of his old women, and so I have brought you a 1ittle tea,
and a little sugar, and a bottle of raspberry vinegar!"

"How delicious!'. cried she. "It really rests me to meet with a
genuine human being at last! Why didn't you make some stiff, prim
speech, instead of telling the truth out and out? I declare I mean to
keep all you have brought me, just for the fun of the thing."

This put me at ease, and I forgot all about my dress in a moment.

"I see you are just what the doctor boasted you were," she went on.
"But he never would bring you to see me before. I suppose he has told
you why I could not go to see you?"

"To tell the truth, he never speaks to me of his patients unless he
thinks I can be of use to them."

"I dare say I do not look much like an invalid," said she; "but here
I am, tied to this chair. It is six months since I could bear my own
weight upon my feet."

I saw then that though her face was so bright and full of color, her
hand was thin and transparent. But what a picture she made as she sat
there in magnificent beauty, relieved by such a back-ground of
foliage, flowers, and artistic objects!

"I told the doctor the other day that life was nothing but a humbug,
and he said he should bring me a remedy against that false notion the
next time he came, and you, I suppose, are that remedy," she
continued. "Come, begin; I am ready to take any number of doses."

I could only laugh and try to look daggers at Ernest, who sat looking
over a magazine, apparently absorbed in its contents.

"Ah!" she cried, nodding her head sagaciously, "I knew you would
agree with me."

"Agree with you in calling life a humbug!" I cried, now fairly
aroused. "Death itself is not more a reality!"

"I have not tried death yet," she said, more seriously; "but I have
tried life twenty-five years and I know all about it. It is eat,
drink, sleep yawn and be bored. It is what shall I wear, where shall
I go, how shall I get rid of the time; it says, 'How do you do? how
is your husband? How are your children? '-it means, 'Now I have asked
all the conventional questions, and I don't care a fig what their
answer may be.'"

"This may be its meaning to some persons," I replied, "for instance,
to mere pleasure-seekers. But of course it is interpreted quite
differently by others. To some it means nothing but a dull, hopeless
struggle with poverty and hardship- and its whole aspect might be
changed to them, should those who do not know what to do to get rid
of the time, spend their surplus leisure in making this struggle less
brutalizing."

"Yes, I have heard such doctrine, and at one time I tried charity
myself. I picked up a dozen or so of dirty little wretches out of the
streets, and undertook to clothe and teach them. I might as well have
tried to instruct the chairs in my room. Besides the whole house had
to be aired after they had gone, and mamma missed two teaspoons and a
fork and was perfectly disgusted with the whole thing. Then I fell to
knitting socks for babies, but they only occupied my hands, and my
head felt as empty as ever. Mamma took me off on a journey, as she
always did when I took to moping, and that diverted me for a while.
But after that everything went on in the old way. I got rid of part
of the day by changing my dress, and putting on my pretty things-it
is a great thing to have a habit of wearing one's ornaments, for
instance; and then in the evening one could go to the opera or the
theater, or some other place of amusement, after which one could
sleep all through the next morning, and so get rid of that. But I had
been used to such things all my life, and they had got to be about as
flat as flat can be. If I had been born a little earlier in the
history of the world, I would have gone into a convent; but that sort
of thing is out of fashion now."

"The best convent," I said, "for a woman is the seclusion of her own
home. There she may find vocation and fight her battles, and there
she may learn the reality and the earnestness of life."

"Pshaw!"' cried she. "Excuse me, however, saying that; but some of
the most brilliant girls I know have settled down into mere married
women and spend their whole time in nursing babies! Think how
belittling!"

"Is it more so than spending it in dressing, driving, dancing, and
the like?"

"Of course it is. I had a friend once who shone like a star in
society. She married, and children as fast as she could. Well! what
consequence? She lost her beauty, lost her spirit and animation, lost
her youth, and lost her health. The only earthly things she can talk
about are teething, dieting, and the measles!"

I laughed at this exaggeration, and looked round to see what Ernest
thought of such talk. But he had disappeared.

"As you have spoken plainly to me, knowing, me, to be a wife and a
mother, you must allow me to 'speak plainly in return," I began.

"Oh, speak plainly, by all means! I am quite sick and tired of having
truth served up in pink cotton, and scented with lavender."

"Then you will permit me to say that when you speak contemptuously of
the vocation of maternity, you dishonor, not only the mother who bore
you, but the Lord Jesus Himself, who chose to be born of woman, and
to be ministered unto by her through a helpless infancy."

Miss Clifford was a little startled.

'How terribly in earnest you are! she said. It is plain that to you,
at any rate, life is indeed no humbug."

I thought of my dear ones, of Ernest, of my children, of mother, and
of James, and I thought of my love to them and of theirs to me. And I
thought of Him who alone gives reality to even such joys as these. My
face must have been illuminated by the thought, for she dropped the
bantering tone she had used hitherto, and asked, with real
earnestness:

"What is it you know, and that I do not know, that makes you so
satisfied, while I am so dissatisfied?"

I hesitated before I answered, feeling as I never felt before how
ignorant, how unfit to lead others, I really am. Then I said:

"Perhaps you need to know God, to know Christ?"

She looked disappointed and tired. So I came away, first promising,
at her request, to go to see her again. I found Ernest just driving
up, and told him what had passed. He listened in his usual silence,
and I longed to have him say whether I had spoken wisely and well.

JUNE 1.-I have been to see Miss Clifford again and made mother go
with me. Miss Clifford took a fancy to her at once.

"Ah!" she said, after one glance at the dear, loving face, "nobody
need tell me that you are good and kind. But I am a little afraid of
good people. I fancy they are always criticising me and expecting me
to imitate their perfection."

"Perfection does not exact perfection," was mother's answer. "I would
rather be judged by an angel than by a man." And then mother led her
on, little by little, and most adroitly, to talk of herself and of
her state of health. She is an orphan and lives in this great,
stately house alone with her servants. Until she was laid aside by
the state pf her health, she lived in the world and of it. Now she is
a prisoner, and prisoners have time to think.

"Here I sit," she said, "all day .long. I never was fond of staying
at home, or of reading, and needlework I absolutely hate. In fact, I
do not know how to sew."

"Some such pretty, feminine work might beguile you of a few of the
long hours of these long days," said mother. "One can't be always
reading."

"But a lady came to see me, a Mrs. Goodhue, one of your good sort, I
suppose, and she preached me quite a sermon on the employment of
time. She said I had a solemn admonition of Providence, and ought to
devote myself entirely to religion. I had just begun to he interested
in a bit of embroidery, but she frightened me out of it. But I can't
bear such dreadfully good people, with faces a mile long."

Mother made her produce the collar, or whatever it was, showed her
how to hold her needle and arrange her pattern, and they both got so
absorbed in it that I had leisure to look at some of the beautiful
things with which the room was full.

"Make the object of your life right," I heard mother say, at last,
"and these little details will take care of themselves."

"But I haven't any object," Miss Clifford objected, "unless it is to
get through these tedious days somehow. Before I was taken ill my
chief object was to make myself attractive to the people I met And
the easiest way to do that was to dress becomingly and make myself
look as well as I could."

"I suppose," said mother, "that most girls could say the same. They
have an instinctive desire to please, and they take what they
conceive to be the shortest and easiest road to that end. It requires
no talent, no education, no thought to dress tastefully; the most
empty-hearted frivolous young person can do it, provided she has
money enough. Those who can't get the money make up for it by fearful
expenditure of precious time. They plan, they cut, they fit, they
rip, they trim till they can appear in society looking exactly like
everybody else. They think of nothing, talk of nothing but how this
shall be fashioned and that be trimmed; and as to their hair, Satan
uses it as his favorite net, and catches them in it every day of
their lives."

"But I never cut or trimmed," said Miss Clifford.

"No, because you could afford to have it done for you. But you
acknowledge that you spent a great deal of time in dressing because
you thought that the easiest way of making yourself attractive. But
it does not follow that the easiest way is the best way, and
sometimes the longest way round is the shortest way home."

"For instance?"

"Well, let us imagine a young lady, living in the world as you say
you lived. She has never seriously reflected on any subject one half
hour in her life. She has been borne on by the current and let it
take her where it would. But at last some influence is brought to
bear upon her which leads her to stop to look about her and to think.
She finds herself in a world of serious, momentous events. She see
she cannot live in it, was not meant to live in it forever, and that
her whole unknown future depends on what she is, not on how she
looks. She begins to cast about for some plan of life, and this
leads---"

"A plan of life?" Miss Clifford interrupted. "I never heard of such a
thing."

"Yet you would smile at an architect, who having a noble structure to
build, should begin to work on it in a haphazard way, putting in a
brick here and a stone there, weaving in straws and sticks if they
come to hand, and when asked on what work he was engaged, and what
manner of building he intended to erect, should reply he had no plan,
but thought something would come of it."

Miss Clifford made no reply. She sat with her head resting on her
band, looking dreamily before her, a truly beautiful, but unconscious
picture.. I too, began to reflect, that while I had really aimed to
make the most out of life, I had not done it methodically or
intelligently.

We are going to try to stay in town this summer. Hitherto Ernest
would not listen to my suggestion of what an economy this would be.
He always said this would turn out anything but an economy in the
end. But now we have no teething baby; little Raymond is a strong,
healthy child, and Una remarkably well for her, and money is so slow
to come in and so fast to go out. What discomforts we suffer in the
country it would take a book to write down, and here we shall have
our own home, as usual. I shall not have to be separated from Ernest,
and shall have leisure to devote to two very interesting people who
must stay in town all the year round, no matter who goes out of it. I
mean dear Mrs. Campbell and Miss Clifford, who both attract me,
though in such different ways.



Chapter 22

XXII.

OCTOBER.

WELL, I had my own way, and I am afraid it has been an unwise one,
for though I have enjoyed the leisure afforded by everybody being out
of town, and the opportunity it has given me to devote myself to the
very sweetest work on earth, the care of my darling little ones, the
heat and the stifling atmosphere have been trying for me and for
them. My pretty Rose went last May, to bloom in a home of her own, so
I thought I would not look for a nurse, but take the whole care of
them myself. This would not be much of a task to a strong person, but
I am not strong, and a great deal of the time just dressing them and
taking them out to walk has exhausted me. Then all the mending and
other sewing must be done, and with the over-exertion creeps in the
fretful tone, the impatient word. Yet I never can be as impatient
with little children as I should be but for the remembrance that I
should count it only a joy to minister once more to my darling boy,
cost what weariness it might.

But now new cares are at hand, and I have been searching for a person
to whom I can safely trust my children when I am laid aside. Thus far
I have had, in this capacity, three different Temptations in human
form.

The first, a smart, tidy-looking woman, informed me at the outset
that she was perfectly competent to take the whole charge of the
children, and should prefer my attending to my own affairs while she
attended to hers.

I replied that my affairs lay chiefly in caring for and being with my
children; to which she returned that she feared I should not suit
her, as she had her own views concerning the training of children.
She added, with condescension, that at all events she should expect
in any case of difference (of judgment)between us, that I, being the
younger and least experienced of the two, should always yield to her.
She then went on to give me her views on the subject of nursery
management.

"In the first place," she said, "I never pet or fondle children. It
makes them babyish and sickly."

"Oh, I see you will not suit me," I cried. "You need go no farther. I
consider love the best educator for a little child."

"Indeed, I think I shall suit you perfectly," she replied, nothing
daunted. "I have been in the business twenty years, and have always
suited wherever I lived. You will be surprised to see how much sewing
I shall accomplish, and how quiet I shall keep the children."

"But I don't want them kept quiet," I persisted. "I want them to be
as merry and cheerful as crickets, and I care a great deal more to
have them amused than to have the sewing done, though that is
important, I confess."

"Very well, ma'am, I will sit and rock them by the hour if you wish
it."

"But I don't wish it," I cried, exasperated at the coolness which
gave her such an advantage over me. "Let us say no more about it; you
do not suit me, and the sooner we part the better. I must be mistress
of my own house, and I want no advice in relation to my children."

"I shall hardly leave you before you will regret parting with me,"
she returned, in a placid, pitying, way.

I was afraid I had not been quite dignified in my interview with this
person, with whom I ought to have had no discussion, and my
equanimity was not restored by her shaking hands with me a
patronizing way at parting, and expressing the hope that I should one
day "be a green tree in the Paradise of God." Nor was it any too
great a consolation to find that she had suggested to my cook that my
intellect was not quite sound.

Temptation the second confessed that she knew nothing, but was
willing to be taught. Yes, she might be willing, but she could not be
taught. She could not see why Herbert should not have everything he
chose to cry for, nor why she should not take the children to the
kitchens where her friends abode, instead of keeping them out in the
air. She could not understand why she must not tell Una every half
hour that she was as fair as a lily, and that the little angels in
heaven cried for such hair as hers. And there was no rhyme or reason,
to her mind, why she could not have her friends visit in her nursery,
since, as she declared, the cook would hear all her secrets if she
received them in the kitchen. Her assurance that she thought me a
very nice lady, and that there never were two such children as mine,
failed to move my hard heart, and I was thankful when I got her out
of the house.

Temptation the third appeared, for a time, the perfection of a nurse.
She kept herself and the nursery and the children in most refreshing
order; she amused Una when she was more than usually unwell with a
perfect fund of innocent stories; the work flew from her nimble
fingers as if by magic. I boasted everywhere of my good luck, and
sang her praises in Ernest's ears till he believed in her with all
his heart. But one night we were out late; we had been spending the
evening at Aunty's, and came in with Ernest's night-key as quietly as
possible, in order not to arouse the children. I stole softly to the
nursery to see if all was going on well there. Bridget, it seems, had
taken the opportunity to wash her clothes in the nursery, and they
hung all about the room drying, a hot fire raging for the purpose. In
the midst of them, with a candle and prayer-book on a chair, Bridget
knelt fast asleep, the candle within an inch of her sleeve. Her
assurance when I aroused her that she was not asleep, but merely rapt
in devotion, did not soften my hard heart, nor was I moved by the
representation that she was a saint, and always wore black on that
account. I packed her off in anything but a saintly frame, and felt
that a fourth Temptation would scatter what little grace I possessed
to the four winds. These changes upstairs made discord; too, below.
My cook was displeased at so much coming and going, and made the
kitchen a sort of a purgatory which I dreaded to enter. At last, when
her temper fairly ran away with her, and she became impertinent to
the last degree, I said, coolly:

"If any lady should speak to me in this way I should resent it. But
no lady would so far forget herself. And I overlook your rudeness on
the ground that you do not know better than to use of such
expressions."

This capped the climax! She declared that she had never been told
before that she was no and did not know how to behave, and gave
warning at once.

I wish I could help running to tell Ernest all -these annoyances. It
does no good, and only worries him. But how much of a woman's life is
made up of such trials and provocations! and how easy is when on
one's knees to bear them aright, and how far easier to bear them
wrong when one finds the coal going too fast, the butter out just as
sitting down to breakfast, the potatoes watery and the bread sour or
heavy! And then when one is well nigh desperate, does one's husband
fail to say, in bland tones:

"My dear, if you would just speak to Bridget, I am sure she would
improve."

Oh, that there were indeed magic in a spoken word!

And do what I can, the money Ernest gives me will not hold out. He
knows absolutely nothing about that hydra-headed monster, a
household. I, have had to go back to sewing as furiously as ever. And
with the sewing the old pain in the side has come back, and the
sharp, quick speech that I hate, and, that Ernest hates, and that
everybody hates. I groan, being burdened, and am almost weary of my
life. And my prayers are all mixed up with worldly thoughts and
cares. I am appalled at all the things that have got to be done
before winter, and am tempted to cut short my devotions in order to
have more time to accomplish what I must accomplish.

How have I got into this slough? When was it that I came down from
the Mount where I had seen the Lord, and came back to make these
miserable, petty things as much my business as ever? Oh, these
fluctuations in my religious life amaze me! I cannot, doubt that I am
really God's child; it would be dishonor to Him to doubt it. I cannot
doubt that I have held as real communion with Him as with any earthly
friend-and oh, it has been far sweeter!

OCT. 20.-I made a parting visit to Mrs. Campbell to day, and, as
usual, have come away strengthened and refreshed. She said all sorts
of kind things to cheer and encourage me, and stimulated me to take
up the burden of life cheerfully and patiently, just as it comes. She
assures me that these fluctuations of feeling will by degrees give
place to a calmer life, especially if I avoid, so far as I can do it,
all unnecessary work, distraction and hurry. And a few quiet, resting
words from her have given me courage to press on toward perfection,
no matter how much imperfection I see in myself and others. And now I
am waiting for my Father's next gift, and the new cares and labors it
will bring with it. I am glad it is not left for me to decide my own
lot. I am afraid I should never see precisely the right moment for
welcoming a new bird into my nest, dearly as I love the rustle of
their wings and the sound of their voices when they do come. And
surely He knows the right moments who knows all my struggles with a
certain sort of poverty, poor health and domestic care. If I could
feel that all the time, as I do at this moment, how happy I should
always be!

JANUARY 16, 1847.-This is the tenth anniversary of our wedding day,
and it has been a delightful one. If I were called upon to declare
what has been the chief element of my happiness, I should say it was
not Ernest's love to me or mine to him, or that I am once more the
mother of three children, or that my own dear mother still lives,
though I revel in each and all of these. But underneath them all,
deeper, stronger than all, lies a peace with God that I can compare
to no other joy, which I guard as I would guard hid treasure, and
which must abide if all things else pass away.

My baby is two months old, and her name is Ethel. The three children
together form a beautiful picture which I am never tired of admiring.
But they will not give me much time for writing. This little new
comer takes all there, is of me. Mother brings me pleasant reports of
Miss Clifford, who under her gentle, wise influence is becoming an
earnest Christian, already rejoicing in the Providence that arrested
her where it did, and forced her to reflection. Mother says we ought
to study God's providence more than we do since He has a meaning and
a purpose in everything He does. Sometimes I can do this and find it
a source of great happiness. Then worldly cares seem mere worldly
cares, and I forget that His wise, kind hand is in every one of them.

FEBRUARY.-Helen has been spending the whole day with me, as she often
does, helping me with her skillful needle, and with the children, in
a very sweet way. I am almost ashamed to indulge in writing down how
dearly she seems to love me, and how disposed she is to sit at my
feet as a learner at the very moment I am longing to possess her
sweet, gentle temper. But one thing puzzles me, in her, and that is
the difficulty she finds in getting hold of these simple truths her
father used to grope after but never found till just as he was
passing out of the world. It seems as if God had compensated such
turbulent, fiery natures as mine, by revealing Himself to them, for
the terrible hours of shame and sorrow through which their sins and
follies cause them to pass. I suffer far more than Helen does, suffer
bitterly, painfully, but I enjoy tenfold more. For I know whom I have
believed, and I cannot doubt that I am truly united to Him. Helen is
naturally very reserved, but by degrees she has come talk with me
quite frankly. To-day as we sat together in the nursery, little
Raymond snatched a toy from Una, who, as usual, yielded to him
without a frown. I called him to me; he came reluctantly.

"Raymond, dear," I said, "did you ever see papa snatch anything from
me?"

He smiled, and shook his head.

'"Well then, until you see him do it to me, never do it to your
sister. Men are gentle and polite to women, and little boys should be
gentle and polite to little girls."

The children ran off to their play, and Helen said,

"Now how different that is from my mother's management with us! She
always made us girls yield to the boys. They would not have thought
they could go up to bed unless one of us got a candle for them."

"That, I suppose, is the reason then that Ernest expected me to wait
upon him after we were married," I replied. "I was a little stiff
about yielding 'to him, for besides mother's precepts, I was
influenced by my father's example. He was so courteous, treating her
with as much respect as if she were a queen, and yet with as much
love as if were always a girl. I naturally expected the like from my
husband."

"You must have been disappointed then," she said.

"Yes, I was. It cost me a good many pouts and tears of which I am now
ashamed. And Ernest seldom annoys me now with the little neglects
that I used to make so much of."

"Sometimes I think there are no 'little' neglects," said Helen. "It
takes less than nothing to annoy us."

"And it takes more than everything to please us!" I cried. "But
Ernest and I had one stronghold to which we always fled in our
troublous times, and that was our love for each other. No matter how
he provoked me by his little heedless ways, I had to forgive him
because I loved him so. And he had to forgive me my faults for the
same reason."

"I had no idea husbands and wives loved each other so," said Helen.
"I thought they got over it as soon as their cares and troubles came
on, and just jogged on together, somehow."

We both laughed and she went on.

"If I thought I should be as happy as you are, I should be tempted to
be married myself."

"Ah, I thought your time would come!" I cried.

"Don't ask me any questions," she said, her pretty face growing
prettier with a bright; warm glow. "Give me advice instead; for
instance, tell me how I can be sure that if I love a man I shall go
on loving him through all the wear and tear of married life and how
can I be sure he can and will go on loving me?"

"Well, then, setting aside the fact that you are both lovable and
loving, I will say this: Happiness, in other words love, in married
life is not a mere accident. When the union has been formed, as most
Christian unions are, by God Himself, it is His intention and His
will that it shall prove the unspeakable joy of both husband and
wife, and become more and more so from year to year. But we are
imperfect creatures, wayward and foolish as little children, horribly
unreasonable, selfish and willful. We are not capable of enduring the
shock of finding at every turn that our idol is made of clay, and
that it is prone to tumble off its pedestal and lie in the dust, till
we pick it up and set it in its place again. I was struck with
Ernest's asking in the very first prayer he offered in my presence,
after our marriage, that God would help us love each other. I felt
that love was the very foundation on which I was built, and that
there was no danger that I should ever fall short in giving to my
husband all he wanted, in full measure. But as he went on day after
day repeating this prayer, and I naturally made it with him, I came
to see that this most precious of earthly blessings had been and must
be God's gift, and that while we both looked at it in that light, and
felt our dependence on Him for it, we might safely encounter together
all the assaults made upon us by the world, the flesh, and the devil.
I believe we owe it to this constant prayer that we have loved each
other so uniformly and with such growing comfort in each other; so
that our little discords always have ended in fresh accord, and our
love has felt conscious of resting on a rock and that that rock was
the will of God." 

"It is plain, then," said Helen, "that you and Ernest are sure of one
source of happiness as long as you live, whatever vicissitudes you
may meet with. I thank you so much for what you have said. The fact
is you have been brought up to carry religion into everything. But I
was not. ~ My mother was as good as she was lovely, but I think she
felt and taught us to feel, that we were to put it on as we did our
Sunday clothes, and to wear it, as we did them, carefully and
reverently, but with pretty long, grave faces. But you mix everything
up so, that when I am with you I never know whether you are most like
or most unlike other people. And your mother is just so."

"But you forget that it is to Ernest I owe my best ideas about
married life; I don't remember ever talking with my mother or any one
else on the subject. And as to carrying religion into everything, how
can one help it if one's religion is a vital part of one's self, not
a cloak put on to go to church in and hang up out of the way against
next Sunday?"

Helen laughed. She has the merriest, yet gentlest little laugh one
can imagine. I long to know who it is that has been so fortunate as
to touch her heart!

MARCH.-I know now, and glad I am! The sly little puss is purring at
this moment in James' arms; at least I suppose she is, as I have
discreetly come up to my room and left them to themselves So it seems
I have had all these worries about Lucy for naught. What made her so
fond of James was simply the fact that a friend of his had looked on
her with a favorable eye, regarding her as a very proper mother for
four or five children who are in need of a shepherd. Yes, Lucy is
going to marry a man so much older than herself, that on a pinch he
might have been her father. She does it from a sense of duty, she
says, and to a nature like hers duty may perhaps suffice, and no cry
of the heart have to be stifled in its performance. We are all so
happy in the happiness of James and Helen that we are not in the mood
to criticise Lucy's decision. I have a strange and most absurd envy
when I think what a good time they are having at this moment
downstairs, while I sit here alone, vainly wishing I could see more
of Ernest. Just as if my happiness were not a deeper, more blessed
one than theirs which must be purged of much dross before it will
prove itself to be like fine gold. Yes, I suppose I am as happy in my
dear, precious husband and children as a wife and mother can be in a
world, which must not be a real heaven lest we should love the land
we journey through so well as to want to pitch our tents in it
forever, and cease to look and long for the home whither we are
bound.

James will be married almost immediately, I suppose, as he sails for
Syria early in April. How much a missionary and his wife must be to
each other, when, severing themselves from all they ever loved
before, they go forth, hand in hand, not merely to be foreigners in
heathen lands, but to be henceforth strangers in their own should
they ever return to it!

Helen says, playfully, that she has not a missionary spirit, and is
not at all sure that she shall go with James. But I don't think that
he feels very anxious on that point!

MARCH.-It does one's heart good to see how happy they are! And it
does one's heart good to have one's husband set up an opposition to
the goings on by behaving like a lover himself.



Chapter 23

XXIII.

JANUARY 1, 1851

IT is a great while since I wrote that. "God has been just as good as
ever"; I want to say that before I say another word. But He has
indeed smitten me very sorely.

While we were in the midst of our rejoicings about James and Helen,
and the bright future that seemed opening before them, he came home
one day very ill. Ernest happened to be in and attended to him at
once. But the disease was, at the very outset, so violent, and raged
with such absolute fury, that no remedies had any effect. Everything,
even now, seems confused in my mind. It seems as if there was a
sudden transition from the most brilliant, joyous health, to a brief
but fearful struggle for life, speedily followed by the awful mystery
and stillness of death. Is it possible, I still ask myself, that four
short days wrought an event whose consequences must run through
endless years ?-- Poor mother! Poor Helen!-When it was all over, I
do not know what to say of mother but that she behaved and quieted
herself like a weaned child. Her sweet composure awed me; I dared
not give way to my own vehement, terrible sorrow; in the presence of
this Christ-like patience, all noisy demonstrations seemed profane. I
thought no human being was less selfish, more loving than she had
been for many years, but the spirit that now took possession of her
flowed into her heart and life directly from that great Heart of
love, whose depth I had never even begun to sound. There was,
therefore, something absolutely divine in her aspect, in the tones of
her voice, in the very smile on her face. We could compare its
expression to nothing but Stephen, when he, being full of the Holy
Ghost, looked up steadfastly to heaven and saw the glory of God, and
Jesus standing on the right hand of God. As soon as James was gone
Helen came to our home; there was never any discussion about it, she
came naturally to be one of us. Mother's health, already very frail,
gradually failed, and encompassed as I was with cares, I could not be
with her constantly. Helen took the place to her of a daughter, and
found herself welcomed like one. The atmosphere in which we all lived
was one which cannot be described; the love for all of us and for
every living thing that flowed in mother's words and tones passed all
knowledge. The children's little joys and sorrows interested her
exactly as if she was one of themselves; they ran to her with every
petty grievance, and every new pleasure. During the time she lived
with us she had won many warm friends, particularly among the poor
and the suffering. As her strength would no longer allow her to go to
them, those who could do so came to her, and I was struck to see she
had ceased entirely from giving counsel, and now gave nothing but the
most beautiful, tender compassion and sympathy. I saw that she was
failing, but flattered myself that her own serenity and our care
would prolong her life still for many years. I longed to have my
children become old enough to fully appreciate her sanctified
character; and I thought she would gradually fade away and be set
free,

    As light winds wandering through groves of bloom, 
    Detach the delicate blossoms from the tree.

But God's thoughts are not as our thoughts not His ways as our ways.
Her feeble body began to suffer from the rudest assaults of pain; day
and night, night and day, she lived through a martyrdom in which what
might have been a lifetime of suffering was concentrated into a few
months. To witness these sufferings was like the sundering of joints
and marrow, and once, only once, thank God! my faith in Him staggered
and reeled to and fro. "How can He look down on such agonies?" I
cried in my secret soul; "is this the work of a God of love, of
mercy?" Mother seemed to divine my thoughts, for she took my hand
tenderly in hers and said, with great difficulty:

"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. He is just as good as
ever." And she smiled. I ran away to Ernest, crying, "Oh, is there
nothing you can do for her?"

"What should a poor mortal do where Christ has done so much, my
darling?" he said, taking me in his arms. "Let us stand aside and see
the glory of God, with our shoes from off our feet." But he went to
her with one more desperate effort to relieve her, yet in vain.

Mrs. Embury, of whom mother was fond, and who is always very kind
when we are in trouble, came in just then, and after looking on a
moment in tears she said to me:

"God knows whom He can trust! He would not lay His hand thus on all
His children."

Those few words quieted me. Yes, God knows. And now it is all over.
My precious, precious mother has been a saint in heaven more than two
years, and has forgotten all the battles she fought on earth, and all
her sorrows and all her sufferings in the presence of her Redeemer.
She knew that she was going, and the last words she uttered-and they
were spoken with somewhat of the playful, quaint manner in which she
had spoken all her life, and with her own bright smile-still sound in
my ears:

"I have given God a great deal of trouble, but He is driving me into
pasture now!"

And then, with her cheek on her hand, she fell asleep, and slept on,
till just at sundown she awoke to find herself in the green pasture,
the driving all over for ever and ever.

Who by searching can find out God? My dear father entered heaven
after a prosperous life path wherein he was unconscious of a pang,
and beloved James went bright and fresh and untarnished by conflict
straight to the Master's feast. But what a long lifetime of
bereavement, sorrow, and suffering was my darling mother's pathway to
glory!

Surely her felicity must be greater than theirs, and the crown she
has won by such a struggle must be brighter than the stars! And this
crown she is even now, while I sit here choked with tears, casting
joyfully at the feet of her Saviour!

My sweet sister, my precious little Helen, still nestles in our
hearts and in our home. Martha made one passionate appeal to her to
return to her, but Ernest interfered:

"Let her stay with Katy," he said. "James would have chosen to have
her with the one human being like himself."

Does he then think me, with all my faults, the languor of frail
health, and the cares and burdens of life weighing upon me, enough
like that sparkling, brave boy to be of use and comfort to dear
Helen? I take courage at the thought and rouse myself afresh, to bear
on with fidelity and patience. My steadfast aim now is to follow in
my mother's footsteps; to imitate her cheerfulness, her benevolence,
her bright, inspiring ways, and never to rest till in place of my
selfish nature I become as full of Christ's love as she became. I am
glad she is at last relieved from the knowledge of all my cares, and
though I often and often yearn to throw myself into her arms and pour
out my cares and trials into her sympathizing ears, I would not have
her back for all the world. She has got away from all the turmoil and
suffering of life; let her stay!

The scenes of sorrow through which we have been passing have brought
Ernest nearer to me than ever, and I can see that this varied
discipline has softened and sweetened his character. Besides, we have
modified each other. Ernest is more demonstrative, more attentive to
those little things that make the happiness of married life, and I am
less childish, less vehement-I wish I could say less selfish, but
here I seem to have come to a standstill. But I do understand
Ernest's trials in his profession far better than I did, and can feel
and show some sympathy in them. Of course the life of a physician is
necessarily one of self-denial, spent as it is amid scenes of
suffering and sorrow, which he is often powerless to alleviate. But
there is besides the wear and tear of years of poverty; his bills are
disputed or allowed to run on year after year unnoticed; he is often
dismissed because he cannot put himself in the place of Providence
and save life, and a truly grateful, generous patient is almost an
unknown rarity. I do not speak of these things to complain of them. I
suppose they are a necessary part of that whole providential plan by
which God moulds and fashions and tempers the human soul, just as my
petty, but incessant household cares are. If I had nothing to do but
love my husband and children and perform for them, without let or
hindrance, the sweet ideal duties of wife and mother, how content I
should be to live always in this world! But what would become of me
if I were not called, in the pursuit of these duties and in contact
with real life, to bear restless nights, ill-health, unwelcome news,
the faults of servants, contempt, ingratitude of friends, my own
failings, lowness of spirits, the struggle in overcoming my
corruption, and a score of kindred trials!"

Bishop Wilson charges us to bear all these things "as unto God," and
"with the greatest privacy." How seldom I have met them save as lions
in my way, that I would avoid if I could, and how I have tormented my
friends by tedious complaints about them! Yet when compared with the
great tragedies of suffering I have both witnessed and suffered, how
petty they seem!

Our household, bereft of mother's and James' bright presence, now
numbers just as many members as it did before they left us. Another
angel has flown into it, though not on wings, and I have four darling
children, the baby, who can hardly be called a baby now, being nearly
two years old. My hands and my heart are full, but two of the
children go to school, and that certainly makes my day's work easier.

The little things are happier for having regular employment, and we
are so glad to meet each other again after the brief separation! I
try to be at home when it is time to expect them, for I love to hear
the eager voices ask, in chorus, the moment the door opens: "Is mamma
at home?" Helen has taken Daisy to sleep with her, which after so
many years of ups and downs at night, now with restless babies, now
to answer the bell when Ernest is out, is a great relief to me. Poor
Helen! She has never recovered her cheerfulness since James' death.
It has crushed her energies and left her very sorrowful. This is
partly owing to a soft and tender nature, easily borne down and
overwhelmed, partly to what seems an almost constitutional inability
to find rest in God's will. She assents to all we say to her about
submission, in a sweet, gentle way, and then comes the invariable,
mournful wail, "But it was so unexpected! It came so suddenly!" But
I love the little thing, and her affection for us all is one of our
greatest comforts.

Martha is greatly absorbed in her own household, its cares and its
pleasures. She brings her little Underhills to see us occasionally,
when they put my children quite out of countenance by their
consciousness of the fine clothes they wear, and their knowledge of
the world. Even I find it hard not to feel abashed in the presence of
so much of the sort of wisdom in which I am lacking. As to Lucy she
is exactly in her sphere: the calm dignity with which she reigns in
her husband's house, and the moderation and self-control with which
she guides his children, are really instructive. She has a baby of
her own, and though it acts just like other babies and kicks,
scratches, pulls. and cries when it is washed and dressed, she goes
through that process with a serenity and deliberation that I envy
with all my might. Her predecessor in the nursery was all nerve and
brain, and has left four children made of the same material behind
her. But their wild spirits on one day, and their depression and
languor on the next, have no visible effect upon her. Her influence
is always quieting; she tones down their vehemence with her own calm
decision and practical good sense. It is amusing to see her seated
among those four little furies, who love each other in such a
distracted way that somebody's feelings are always getting hurt, and
somebody always crying. By a sort of magnetic influence she heals
these wounds immediately, and finds some prosaic occupation as an
antidote to these poetical moods. I confess that I am instructed and
reproved whenever I go to see her, and wish I were more like her.

But there is no use in trying to engraft an opposite nature on one's
own. What I am, that I must be, except as God changes me into His own
image. And everything brings me back to that, as my supreme desire. I
see more and more that I must be myself what I want my children to
be, and that I cannot make myself over even for their sakes. This
must be His work, and I wonder that it goes on so slowly; that all
the disappointments, sorrows, sicknesses I have passed through, have
left me still selfish, still full of imperfections.

MARCH 5, 1852.-This is the sixth anniversary of James' death.
Thinking it all over after I went to bed last night, his sickness,
his death, and the weary months that followed for mother, I could not
get to sleep till long past midnight. Then Una woke, crying with the
earache, and I was up till nearly daybreak with her, poor child. I
got up jaded and depressed, almost ready to faint under the burden of
life, and dreading to meet Helen, who is doubly sad on these
anniversaries. She came down to breakfast dressed as usual in deep
mourning, and looking as spiritless as I felt. The prattle of the
children relieved the sombre silence maintained by the rest of us,
each of whom acted depressingly on the others. How things do flash
into one's mind. These words suddenly came to mine, as we sat so
gloomily at the table God had spread for us, and which He had
enlivened by the four young faces around it--

    "Why should the children of a King 
     Go mourning all their days?"

Why, indeed? Children of a King? I felt grieved that I was so intent
on my own sorrows as to lose sight of my relationship to Him. And
then I asked myself what I could do to make the day less wearisome
and sorrowful to Helen. She came, after a time, with her work to my
room. The children took their good-by kisses and went off to school;
Ernest took his, too, and set forth on his day's work, whi1e Daisy
played quietly about the room.

"Helen, dear," I ventured at last to begin "I want you to do me a
favor to-day."

"Yes," she said, languidly.

"I want you to go to see Mrs. Campbell. This is the day for her
beef-tea, and she will be looking out for one of us.

"You must not ask me to go to-day," Helen answered.

"I think I must, dear. When other springs of comfort dry up, there is
one always left to us. And that; as mother often said, is
usefulness."

"I do try to be useful," she said.

"Yes, you are very kind to me and to the children. If you were my own
sister you could not do more. But these little duties do not relieve
that aching void in your heart which yearns so for relief."

"No," she said, quickly, "I have no such yearning. I just want to
settle down as I am now."

"Yes, I suppose that is the natural tendency of sorrow. But there is
great significance in the prayer for 'a heart at leisure from itself,
to soothe and sympathize.'"

"Oh, Katy!" she said, "you don't know, you can't know, how I feel.
Until James began to love me so I did not know there was such a love
as that in the world. You know our family is different from yours.
And it is so delightful to be loved. Or rather it was!"

"Don't say was," I said. "You know we all love you dearly, dearly"

"Yes, but not as James did!"

"That is true. It was foolish in me to expect to console you by such
suggestions. But to go back to Mrs. Campbell. She will sympathize
with you, if you will let her, as very few can, for she has lost both
husband and children."

"Ah, but she had a husband for a time, at least. It is not as if he
were snatched away before they had lived together."

If anybody else had said this I should have felt that it was out of
mere perverseness. But dear little Helen is not perverse; she is
simply overburdened.

"I grant that your disappointment was greater than hers," I went on.
"But the affliction was not. Every day that a husband and wife walk
hand in hand together upon earth makes of the twain more and more one
flesh. The selfish element which at first formed so large a part of
their attraction to each other disappears, and the union becomes so
pure and beautiful as to form a fitting type of the union of Christ
and His church. There is nothing else on earth like it."

Helen sighed.

"I find it hard to believe," she said, "there can be anything more
delicious than the months in which James and I were so happy
together."

"Suffering together would have brought you even nearer," I replied.
"Dear Helen, I am very sorry for you; I hope you feel that, even
when, according to my want, I fall into arguments, as if one could
argue a sorrow away!"

"You are so happy," she answered. "Ernest loves you so dearly, and is
so proud of you, and you have such lovely children! I ought not to
expect you to sympathize perfectly with my loneliness.

"Yes, I am happy," I said, after a pause; "but you must own, dear,
that I have had my sorrows, too. Until you become a mother yourself,
you cannot comprehend what a mother can suffer, riot merely for
herself, in losing her children, but in seeing their sufferings. I
think I may say of my happiness that it rests on something higher and
deeper than even Ernest and my children."

"And what is that?"

The will of God, the sweet will of God. If He should take them all
away, I might still possess a peace which would flow on forever. I
know this partly from my own experience and partly from that of
others. Mrs. Campbell says that the three months that followed the
death of her first child were the happiest she had ever known. Mrs.
Wentworth, whose husband was snatched from her almost without
warning, and while using expressions of affection for her such as a
lover addresses to his bride, said to me, with tears rolling down her
cheeks, yet with a smile, I thank my God and Saviour that He has not
forgotten and passed me by, but has counted me worthy to bear this
sorrow for His sake.' And hear this passage from the life of Wesley,
which I lighted on this morning:

"He visited one of his disciples, who was ill in bed and after having
buried seven of her family in six months, had just heard that the
eighth, her husband, whom she dearly loved, had been cast away at
sea. 'I asked her,' he says, ' do you not fret at any of those
things?' She says, with a lovely smile, 'Oh, no! how can I fret at
anything which is the will of God? Let Him take all beside, He has
given me Himself. I love, I praise Him every moment.'"

"Yes," Helen objected, "I can imagine people as saying such things in
moments of excitement; but afterwards, they have hours of terrible
agony."

"They have 'hours of terrible agony,' of course. God's grace does not
harden our hearts, and make them proof against suffering, like coats
of mail. They can all say, 'Out of the depths have I cried unto
Thee,' and it is they alone who have been down into the depths, and
had rich experience of what God could be to His children there, who
can utter such testimonials to His honor, as those I have just
repeated."

"Katy,' Helen suddenly asked, "do you always submit to God's will
thus?"

"In great things I do," I said. "What grieves me is that I am
constantly forgetting to recognize God's hand in the little every-day
trials of life, and instead of receiving them as from Him, find fault
with the instruments by which He sends them. I can give up my child,
my only brother, my darling mother without a word; but to receive
every tire some visitor as sent expressly and directly to weary me by
the Master Himself; to meet every negligence on the part of the
servants as His choice for me at the moment; to be satisfied and
patient when Ernest gets particularly absorbed in his books because
my Father sees that little discipline suitable for me at the time;
all this I have not fully learned."

"All you say discourages me," said Helen, in a tone of deep
dejection. "Such perfection was only meant for a few favored ones,
and I do not dare so much as to aim at it. I am perfectly sure that I
must be satisfied with the low state of grace I am in now and always
have been."

She was about to leave me, but I caught her hand as she would have
passed me, and made one more attempt to reach her poor, weary soul.

"But are you satisfied, dear Helen?" I asked, as tenderly as I would
speak to a little sick child. "Surely you crave happiness, as every
human soul does!"

"Yes, I crave it," she replied, "but God has taken it from me.

"He has taken away your earthly happiness, I know, but only to
convince you what better things He has in store for you. Let me read
you a letter which Dr. Cabot wrote me many years ago, but which has
been an almost constant inspiration to me ever since."

She sat down, resumed her work again, and listened to the letter in
silence. As I came to its last sentence the three children rushed in
from school, at least the boys did, and threw themselves upon me like
men assaulting a fort. I have formed the habit of giving myself
entirely to them at the proper moment, and now entered into their
frolicsome mood as joyously as if I had never known a sorrow or lost
an hour's sleep. At last they went off to their play- room, and Una
settled down by my side to amuse Daisy, when Helen began again.

"I should like to read that letter myself," she said. "Meanwhile I
want to ask you one question. What are you made of that you can turn
from one thing to another like lightning? Talking one moment as if
life depended on your every word, and then frisking about with those
wild boys as if you were a child yourself?"

I saw Una look up curiously, to hear my answer, as I replied,

"I have always aimed at this flexibility. I think a mother,
especially, ought to learn to enter into the gayer moods of her
children at the very moment when her own heart is sad. And it may be
as religious an act for her to romp with them at the time as to pray
with them at another."

Helen now went away to her room with Dr Cabot's letter, which I
silently prayed might bless her as it had blessed me. And then a
jaded, disheartened mood came over me that made me feel that all I
had been saying to her was but as sounding brass and a tinkling
cymbal, since my life and my professions did not correspond. Hitherto
my consciousness of imperfection has made me hesitate to say much to
Helen. Why are we so afraid of those who live under the same roof
with us? It must be the conviction that those who daily see us acting
in a petty, selfish, trifling way, must find it hard to conceive that
our prayers and our desires take a wider and higher aim. Dear little
Helen! May the ice once broken remain broken forever.



Chapter 24

XXIV.

MARCH 20.

HELEN returned Dr. Cabot's letter in silence this morning, but,
directly after breakfast, set forth to visit Mrs. Campbell, with the
little bottle of beef-tea in her hands, which ought to have gone
yesterday. I had a busy day before me; the usual Saturday baking and
Sunday dinner to oversee, the children's lessons for to-morrow to
superintend and hear them repeat, their clean clothes to lay out, and
a basket of stockings to mend. My mind was somewhat distracted with
these cares, and I found it a little difficult to keep on with my
morning devotions in spite of them. But I have learned, at least, to
face and fight such distractions, instead of running away from them
as I used to do. My faith in prayer, my resort to it, becomes more
and more the foundation of my life, and I believe, with one wiser and
better than myself, that nothing but prayer stands between my soul
and the best gifts of God; in other words, that I can and shall get
what I ask for.

I went down into the kitchen, put on my large baking apron, and began
my labors; of course the door-bell rang, and a poor woman was
announced. It is very sweet to follow Fenelon's counsel and give
oneself to Christ in all these interruptions; but this time I said,
"oh, dear!" before I thought. Then I wished I hadn't, and went up,
with a cheerful face at any rate, to my unwelcome visitor, who proved
to be one of my aggravating poor folks-a great giant of a woman, in
perfect health, and with a husband to support her if he will. I told
her that I could do no more for her; she answered me rudely, and kept
urging her claims. I felt ruffled; why should my time be thus
frittered away, I asked myself. At last she went off, abusing me in a
way that chilled my heart. I could only beg God to forgive her, and
return to my work, which I had hardly resumed when Mrs. Embury sent
for a pattern I had promised to lend her. Off came my apron, and up
two pairs of stairs I ran; after a long search it came to light. Work
resumed; door-bell again. Aunty wanted the children to come to an
early dinner. Going to Aunty's is next to going to Paradise to them.
Every thing was now hurry and flurry; I tried to be patient; and not
to fret their temper by undue attention to nails, ears, and other
susceptible parts of the human frame, but after it was all over, and
I had kissed all the sweet, dear faces good-by, and returned to the
kitchen, I felt sure that I had not been the perfect mother I want to
be in all these little emergencies-yes, far from it. Bridget had let
the milk I was going to use boil over, and finally burn up. I was
annoyed and irritated, and already tired,. and did not see how I was
to get more, as Mary was cleaning the silver (to be sure, there is
not much of it), and had other extra Saturday work to do. I thought
Bridget might offer to run to the corner for it, though it isn't her
business, hut she is not obliging, and seemed as sulky as if I had
burned the milk, not she. "After all," I said to myself, "what does
it signify, if Ernest gets no dessert? It isn't good for him, and how
much precious time is wasted over just this one thing?" However, I
reflected, that arbitrarily refusing to indulge him in this respect
is not exactly my mission as his wife; he is perfectly well, and
likes his little luxuries as well as other people do. So I humbled my
pride and asked Bridget to go for the milk, which she did, in a lofty
way of her own. While she was gone the marketing came home, and I had
everything to dispose of. Ernest had sent home some apples, which
plainly said, "I want some apple pie, Katy." I looked nervously at
the clock, and undertook to gratify him. Mary came down, crying, to
say that her mother, who lived in Brooklyn, was very sick; could she
go to see her? I looked at the clock once more; told her she should
go, of course, as soon as lunch was over; this involved my doing all
her absence left undone.

At last I got through with the kitchen, the Sunday dinner being well
under way, and ran upstairs to put away the host of little garments
the children had left when they took their flight, and to make myself
presentable at lunch. Then I began to be uneasy lest Ernest should
not be punctual, and Mary be delayed; but he came just as the clock
struck one. I ran joyfully to meet him, very glad now that I had
something good to give him. We bad just got through lunch, and I was
opening my mouth to tell Mary she might go, when the doorbell rang
once more, and Mrs. Fry, of Jersey City, was announced. I told Mary
to wait till I found whether she had lunched or not; no, she hadn't;
had come to town to see friends off, was half famished, and would I
do her the favor, etc., etc. She had a fashionable young lady with
her, a stranger to me, as well as a Miss Somebody else, from Albany,
whose name I did not catch. I apologized for having finished lunch.
Mrs. Fry said all they wanted was a cup of tea and a bit of bread and
butter, nothing else, dear; now don't put yourself out.

"Now be bright and animated, and like yourself," she whispered, "for
I have brought these girls here on purpose to hear you talk, and they
are prepared to fall in love with you on the spot"

This speech sufficed to shut my mouth.

Mary had to get ready for these unexpected guests, whose appetites
proved equal to a raid on a good many things besides bread and
butter. Mrs. Fry said, after she had devoured nearly half a loaf of
cake, that she would really try to eat a morsel more, which Ernest
remarked, dryly, was a great triumph of mind over matter. As they
talked and 'laughed and ate leisurely on, Mary stood looking the
picture of despair. At last I gave her a glance that said she might
go, when a new visitor was announced-Mrs. Winthrop, from Brooklyn,
one of Ernest's patients a few years ago, when she lived here. She
professed herself greatly indebted to him, and said she had come at
this hour because she should make sure of seeing him. I tried to
excuse him, as I knew he would be thankful to have me do, but no, see
him she must; he was her "pet doctor," he had such "sweet, bedside
manners," and "I am such a favorite with him, you know!"

Ernest did not receive his "favorite" with any special warmth; but
invited her out to lunch and gallanted her to the table we had just
left. Just like a man! Poor Mary! she had to fly round and get up
what she could; Mrs. Winthrop devoted herself to Ernest with a
persistent ignoring of me that I thought rude and unwomanly. She
asked if he had read a certain book; he had not; she then said, "I
need not ask, then, if Mrs. Elliott has done so? These charming
dishes, which she gets up so nicely, must absorb all her time." "Of
course," replied Ernest. "But she contrives to read the reports of
all the murders, of which the newspapers are full."

Mrs. Winthrop took this speech literally, drew away her skirts from
me, looked at me through her eye-glass, and said, "Yes?" At last she
departed. Helen came home, and Mary went. I gave Helen an account of
my morning; she laughed heartily, and it did me good to hear that
musical sound once more.

"It is nearly five o'clock," I said, as we at last had restored
everything to order, "and this whole day has been frittered away in
the veriest trifles. It isn't living to live so. Who is the better
for my being in the world since six o'clock this morning?"

"I am for one," she said, kissing my hot cheeks; "and you have given
a great deal of pleasure to several persons. Your and Ernest's
hospitality is always graceful. I admire it in you both; and this is
one of the little ways, not to be despised, of giving enjoyment." It
was nice in her to say that, it quite rested me.

At the dinner-table Ernest complimented me on my good housekeeping.

"I was proud of my little wife at lunch" he said.

"And yet you said that outrageous thing about my reading about
nothing but murders!" I said.

"Oh, well, you understood it," he said, laughingly.

"But that dreadful Mrs. Winthrop took it literally."

"What do we care for Mrs. Winthrop?" he returned. "If you could have
seen the contrast between you two in my eyes!"

After all, one must take life as it comes, its homely details are so
mixed up with its sweet charities, and loves, and friendships that
one is forced to believe that God has joined them together and does
not will that they should be put asunder. It is something that my
husband has been satisfied with his wife and his home to-day; that
does me good.

MARCH 30.-A stormy day and the children home from school, and no
little frolicking and laughing going on. It must, be delightful to
feel well and strong while one's children are young, there is so much
to do for them. I do it; but no one can tell the effort, it costs me.
What a contrast there is between their vitality and the languor under
which I suffer! When their noise became intolerable, I proposed to
read to them; of course they made ten times as much clamor of
pleasure and of course they leaned on me, ground their elbows into my
lap, and tired me all out. As I sat with this precious little group
about me, Ernest opened the door, looked in, gravely and without a
word, and instantly disappeared. I felt uneasy and asked him, this
evening, why he looked so. Was I indulging the children too much, or
what was it? He took me into his arms and said:

"My precious wife, why will you torment yourself with such fancies?
My very heart was yearning over you at that moment, as it did the
first time I saw you surrounded by your little class at
Sunday-school, years ago, and I was asking myself why God had given
me such a wife, and my children such a mother."

Oh, I am glad I have got this written down! I will read it over when
the sense of my deficiencies overwhelms me, while I ask God why He
has given me such a patient, forbearing husband.

APRIL 1.-This has been a sad day to our church. Our dear Dr. Cabot
has gone to his eternal home, and left us as sheep without a
shepherd.

His death was sudden at the last and found us all unprepared for it.
But my tears of sorrow are mingled with tears of joy. His heart had
long been in heaven, he was ready to go at a moment's warning; never
was a soul so constantly and joyously on the wing as his. Poor Mrs.
Cabot! She is left very desolate, for all their children are married
and settled at a distance. But she bears this sorrow like one who has
long felt herself a pilgrim and a stranger on earth. How strange that
we ever forget that we are all such!

APRIL 16.-The desolate pilgrimage was not long. Dear Mrs. Cabot was
this day laid away by the side of her beloved husband, and it is
delightful to think of them as not divided by death, but united by it
in a complete and eternal union.

I never saw a husband and wife more tenderly attached to each other,
and this is a beautiful close to their long and happy married life. I
find it hard not to wish and pray that I may as speedily follow my
precious husband, should God call him away first. But it is not for
me to choose.

How I shall miss these faithful friends, who, from my youth up, have
been my stay and my staff in the house of my pilgrimage! Almost all
the disappointments and sorrows of my life have had their Christian
sympathy, particularly the daily, wasting solicitude concerning my
darling Una, for they to watched for years over as delicate a flower,
and saw it fade and die. Only those who have suffered thus can
appreciate the heart-soreness through which, no matter how outwardly
cheerful I may be, I am always passing. But what then! Have I not ten
thousand times made this my prayer, that in the words of Leighton, my
will might become, identical with God's will."

And shall He not take me at my word?" Just as I was writing these
words, my canary burst forth with a song so joyous that a song was
put also into my mouth. Something seemed to say, this captive sings
in his cage because it has never known liberty, and cannot regret a
lost freedom. So the soul of my child, limited by the restrictions of
a feeble body, never having known the gladness of exuberant health,
may sing songs that will enliven and cheer. Yes, and does sing them!
What should we do without her gentle, loving presence, whose frailty
calls forth our tenderest affections and whose sweet face makes
sunshine in the shadiest places! I am sure that the boys are truly
blessed by having a sister always at home to welcome them, and that
their best manliness is appealed to by her helplessness.

What this child is to me I cannot tell And yet, if the skillful and
kind Gardener should house this delicate plant before frosts come,
should I dare to complain?



Chapter 25

XXV.

MAY 4

Miss CLIFFORD came to lunch with us on Wednesday. Her remarkable
restoration to health has attracted a good deal of attention, and has
given Ernest a certain reputation which does not come amiss to him.
Not that he is ambitious; a more unworldly man does not live; but his
extreme reserve and modesty have obscured the light that is now
beginning to shine. We all enjoyed Miss Clifford's visit. She is one
of the freshest, most original creatures I ever met with, and kept us
all laughing with her quaint speeches, long after every particle of
lunch had disappeared from the table. But this mobile nature turns to
the serious side of life with marvelous ease and celerity, as perhaps
all sound ones ought to do. I took her up to my room where my
work-basket was, and Helen followed, with hers.

"I have brought something to read to you, dear Mrs. Elliott," Miss
Clifford began, the moment we had seated ourselves, "which I have
just lighted on, and I am sure you will like. A nobleman writes to
Fenelon asking certain questions, and a part of these questions, with
the replies, I want to enjoy with you, as they cover a good deal of
the ground we have often discussed together":

"I.-How shall I offer my purely indifferent actions to God; walks,
visits made and received, dress, little proprieties, such as washing
the hands, etc.', the reading of books of history, business with
which I am charged for my friends, other amusements, such -as
shopping, having clothes made, and equipages. I want to have some
sort of prayer, or method of offering each of these things to God.

"REPLY.-The most indifferent actions cease to be such, and become
good as soon as one performs them with the intention of conforming
one's self in them to the will of God. They are often better and
purer than certain actions which appear more virtuous: 1st, because
they are less of our own choice and more in the order of Providence
when one is obliged to perform them; 2d, because they are simpler and
less exposed to vain complaisance; 3d, because if one yields to them
with moderation, one finds in them more of death to one's
inclinations than in certain acts of fervor in which self-love
mingles; finally, because these little occasions occur more
frequently, and furnish a secret occasion for continually making
every moment profitable.

"It is not necessary to make great efforts nor acts of great
reflection, in order to offer what are called indifferent actions. It
is enough to lift the soul one instant to God, to make a simple
offering of it. Everything which God wishes us to do, and which
enters into the course of occupation suitable to our position, can
and ought to be offered to God; nothing is unworthy of Him but sin.
When you feel that an action cannot be offered to God, conclude that
it does not become a Christian; it is at least necessary to suspect
it, and seek light concerning it. I would not have a special prayer
for each of these the elevation of the heart at the moment suffices.

"As for visits, commissions and the like, as there is danger of
following one's own taste too much, I would add to this elevating of
the heart a prayer to moderate myself and use precaution.

"II-In prayer I cannot fix my mind, or I have intervals of time when
it is elsewhere and it is often distracted for a long time before I
perceive it. I want to find some means of becoming its master.

"REPLY.-Fidelity in following the rules that have been given you,
and in recalling your mind every time you perceive its distraction,
will gradually give you the grace of being more recollected.
Meanwhile bear your involuntary distractions with patience and
humility; you deserve nothing better. Is it surprising that
recollection is difficult to a man so long dissipated and far from
God?

"III.-I wish to know if it is best to record, on my tablets, the
faults and the sins I have committed, in order not to rum the risk of
forgetting them. I excite in myself to repentance for my faults as
much as I can; but I have never felt any real grief on account of
them. When I examine myself at night, I see persons far more perfect
than I complain of more sin: as for me, I seek, I find nothing; and
yet it is impossible there should not be many points on which to
implore pardon every day of my life.

"REPLY.-You should examine yourself every night, but simply and
briefly. In the disposition to which God has brought you, you will
not voluntarily commit any considerable fault without remembering and
reproaching yourself for it. As to little faults, scarcely perceived,
even if you sometimes forget them, this need not make you uneasy.

"As to lively grief on account of your sins, it is not necessary. God
gives it when it pleases Him. True and essential conversion of the
heart consists in a full will to sacrifice all to God. What I call
full will is a fixed immovable disposition of the will to resume none
of the voluntary affections which may alter the purity of the love to
God and to abandon itself to all the crosses which it will -perhaps
-be necessary to bear, in order to accomplish the will of God always
and in all things. As to sorrow for sin, when one has it, one ought
to return thanks for it; when one perceives it to be wanting, one
should humble one's self peacefully before God without trying to
excite it by vain efforts.

"You find in your self-examination fewer faults than persons more
advanced and more perfect do; it is because your interior light is
still feeble. It will increase, and the view of your infidelities
will increase in proportion. It suffices, without making yourself
uneasy, to try to be faithful to the degree of light you possess, and
to instruct yourself by reading and meditation. It will not do to try
to forestall the grace that belongs to a more advanced period. It
would only serve to trouble and discourage you, and even to exhaust
you by continual anxiety; the time that should be spent in loving God
would be given to forced returns upon yourself, which secretly
nourish self-love.

"IV.---In my prayers my mind has difficulty in finding anything to
say to God. My heart is not in it, or it is inaccessible to the
thoughts of my mind.

"REPLY.-It is not necessary to say much to God. Oftentimes one does
not speak much to a friend whom one is delighted to see; one looks at
him with pleasure; one speaks certain short words to him which are
mere expressions of feeling. The mind has no part in them, or next to
none; one keeps repeating the same words. It is not so much a variety
of thoughts that one seeks in intercourse with a friend, as a certain
repose and correspondence of heart. It is thus we are with God, who
does not disdain to be our tenderest, most cordial,-most familiar,
most intimate friend. A word, a sigh, a sentiment, says all to God;
it is not always necessary to have transports of sensible tenderness;
a will all naked and dry, without life, without vivacity, without
pleasure, is often purest in the sight of God. In fine, it is
necessary to content one's self with giving to Him what He gives it
to give, a fervent heart when it is fervent, a heart firm and
faithful in its aridity, when He deprives it of sensible fervor. It
does not always depend on you to feel; but it is necessary to wish to
feel. Leave it to God to choose to make you feel sometimes, in order
to sustain your weakness and infancy in Christian life; sometimes
weaning you from that sweet and consoling sentiment which is the milk
of babes, in order to humble you, to make you grow, and to make you
robust in the violent exercise of faith, by causing you to sweat the
bread of the strong in the sweat of your brow. Would you only love
God according as He will make you take pleasure in loving Him? You
would be loving your own tenderness and feeling, fancying that you
were loving God. Even while receiving sensible gifts, prepare
yourself by pure faith for the time when you might be deprived of
them and you will suddenly succumb if you had only relied on such
support.

"O forgot to speak of some practices which may, at the beginning,
facilitate the remembrance of the offering one ought to make to God,
of all the ordinary acts of the day.

"1. Form the resolution to do so, every morning, and call yourself to
account in your self-examination at night.

"2. Make no resolutions but for good reasons, either from propriety or
the necessity of relaxing the mind, etc. Thus, in accustoming one's
self to retrench the useless little by little, one accustoms one's
self to offer what is not proper to curtail.

"3. Renew one's self in this disposition whenever one is alone, in
order to be better prepared to recollect it when in company.

"4. Whenever one surprises one's self in too great dissipation, or in
speaking too freely of his neighbor, let him collect himself and
offer to God all the rest of the conversation.

"5. To flee, with confidence, to God, to act according to His will,
when one enters company, or engages in some occupation which may
cause one to fall into temptation. The sight of danger ought to warn
of the need there is to lift the heart toward Him by one who may be
preserved from it."

We both thanked her as she finished reading, and I begged her to lend
me the volume that I might make the above copy.

I hope I have gained some valuable hints from this letter, and that I
shall see more plainly than ever that it is a religion of principle
that God wants from us, not one of mere feeling.

Helen remarked that she was most struck by the assertion that one
cannot forestall the graces that belong to a more advanced period.
She said she had assumed that she ought to experience all that the
most mature Christian did, and that it rested her to think of God as
doing this work for her, making repentance, for instance, a free
gift, not a conquest to be won for one's self.

Miss Clifford said that the whole idea of giving one's self to God in
such little daily acts as visiting, shopping, and the like, was
entirely new to her.

"But fancy," she went on, her beautiful face lighted up with-
enthusiasm, "what a blessed life that must be, when the base things
of this world and things that are despised, are so many links to the
invisible world and to the things God has chosen!"

"In other words," I said, "the top of the ladder that rests on earth
reaches to heaven, and we may ascend it as the angels did in Jacob's
dream."

"And descend too, as they did," Helen put in, despondently.

"Now you shall not speak in that tone," cried Miss Clifford. "Let us
look at the bright side of life, and believe that God means us to be
always ascending, always getting nearer to Himself, always learning
something new about Him, always loving Him better and better. To be
sure, our souls are sick, and of themselves can't keep 'ever on the
wing,' but I have had some delightful thoughts of late from just
hearing the title of a book, 'God's method with the maladies of the
soul.' It gives one such a conception of the seeming ills of life ;
to think of Him as our Physician, the ills all remedies, the
deprivations only a wholesome regimen, the losses all gains. Why, as
I study this individual case and that, see how patiently and
persistently He tries now this remedy, now that, and how infallibly
He cures the souls that submit to His remedies, I love Him so! I love
Him so! And I am so astonished that we are restive under His unerring
hand! Think how He dealt with me. My soul was sick unto death, sick
with worldliness, and self-pleasing and folly. There was only one way
of making me listen to reason, and that was just the way He took. He
snatched me right out of the world and shut me up in one room,
crippled, helpless, and alone, and set me to thinking, thinking,
thinking, till I saw the emptiness and shallowness of all in which I
had hitherto been involved. And then He sent you and your mother to
show me the reality of life, and to reveal to me my invisible,
unknown Physician. Can I love Him with half my heart? Can I be asking
questions as to how much I am to pay towards the debt I owe Him ?"

By this time Helen's work had fallen from her hands and tears were in
her eyes.

"How I thank you," she said softly, "for what you have said. You have
interpreted life to me! You have given .me a new conception of my God
and Saviour!"

Miss Clifford seemed quenched and humbled by these words; her
enthusiasm faded away and she looked at Helen with a deprecatory air
as she replied:

"Don't say that! I never felt so unfit for anything but to sit at the
feet of Christ's disciples and learn of them."

Yet I, so many years one of those disciples, been sitting at her
feet, and had learned of her. Never had I so realized the magnitude
of the work to be done in this world, nor the power and goodness of
Him who has undertaken to do it all. I was glad to be alone, to walk
my room singing praises to Him for every instance in which, as my
Physician, He had "disappointed my hope and defeated my joys" and
given me to drink of the cup of sorrow and bereavement.

MAY 24.-I read to Ernest the extract from Fenelon which has made such
an impression on me.

"Every business man, in short ;every man leading an active life,
ought to read that," he said. "We should have a new order of things
as the result Instead of fancying that our ordinary daily work was
one thing and our religion quite another thing, we should transmute
our drudgery into acts of worship. Instead of going to
prayer-meetings to get into a 'good frame' we should live in a good
frame from morning till night, from night till morning, and prayer
and praise would be only another form for expressing the love and
faith and obedience we had been exercising amid the pressure of
business."

"I only wish I had understood this years ago," I said." I have made
prayer too much of a luxury, and have often inwardly chafed and
fretted when the care of my children, at times, made it utterly
impossible to leave them for private devotion-when they have been
sick, for instance, or in other like emergencies. I reasoned this
way: 'Here is a special demand on my patience, and I am naturally
impatient I must have time to go away and entreat the Lord to equip
me for this conflict.' But I see now that the simple act of cheerful
acceptance of the duty imposed and the solace and support withdrawn
would have united me more fully to Christ than the highest enjoyment
of His presence in prayer could."

"Yes, every act of obedience is an act of worship," he said.

"But why don't we learn that sooner? Why do we waste our lives before
we learn how to live?"

"I am not sure," he returned, "that we do not learn as fast as we are
willing to learn. God does not force instruction upon us, but when we
say, as Luther did, 'More light, Lord, more light,'- the light
comes."

I questioned myself after he had gone as to whether this could be
true of me. Is there not in my heart some secret reluctance to know
the truth, lest that knowledge should call to a higher and holier
life than I have yet lived?

JUNE 2.-I went to see Mrs. Campbell a few days ago, and found, to my
great joy, that Helen had just been there, and that they had had an
earnest conversation together. Mrs. Campbell failed a good deal of
late, and it is not probable we shall have her with us much longer.
Her every look and word is precious to me when I think of her as one
who is so soon to enter the unseen world and see our Saviour, and be
welcomed home by Him. If it is so delightful to be with those who are
on the way to heaven, what would it be to have fellowship with one
who had come thence, and could tell us what it is!

She spoke freely about death, and said Ernest had promised to take
charge of her funeral, and to see that she was buried by the side of
her husband.

"You see, my dear,' she added, with a smile, "though I am expecting
to be so soon a saint in heaven, I am a human being still, with human
weaknesses. What can it really matter where this weary old body is
laid away, when I have done with it, and gone and left it forever?
And yet I am leaving directions about its disposal!"

I said I was glad that she was still human but that I did not think
it a weakness to take thought for the abode in which her soul had
dwelt so long. I saw that she was tired and was coming away, but she
held me and would not let me go.

"Yes, I am tired," she said, "but what of that? It is only a question
of days now, and all my tired feelings will be over. Then I shall be
as young and fresh as ever, and shall have strength to praise and to
love God as I cannot do now. But before I go I want once more to tell
you how good He is, how blessed it is to suffer with Him, how
infinitely happy He has made me in the very hottest heat of the
furnace. It will strengthen you in your trials to recall this my
dying testimony. There is no wilderness so dreary but that His love
can illuminate it, no desolation so desolate but that He can sweeten
it. I know what I am saying. It is no delusion. I believe that the
highest, purest happiness is known only to those who have learned
Christ in sick-rooms, in poverty, in racking suspense and anxiety,
amid hardships, and at the open grave."

Yes, the radiant face, worn by sickness and suffering, but radiant
still, said in language yet more unspeakably impressive,--

"To learn Christ, this is life!"

I came into the busy and noisy streets as one descending from the
mount, and on reaching home found my darling Una very ill in Ernest's
arms. She had fallen, and injured her head. How I had prayed that God
would temper the wind to this shorn lamb, and now she had had such a
fall! We watched over her till far into the night, scarcely speaking
to each other, but I know by the way in which Ernest held my hand
clasped in his that her precious life was in danger. He consented at
last to lie down, but Helen stayed with me. What a night it was! God
only knows what the human heart can experience in a space of time
that men call hours. I went over all the past history of the child,
recalling all her sweet looks and words, and my own secret repining
at the delicate health that cut her off from so many of the pleasures
that belong to her age. And the more I thought, the more I clung to
her, on whom, frail as she is, I was beginning to lean, and whose
influence in our home I could not think of losing without a shudder.
Alas, my faith seemed, for a time, to flee, and I see just what a
poor, weak human being is without it. But before daylight crept into
my room light from on high streamed into my heart, and I gave even
this, my ewe-lamb, away, as my free-will offering to God. Could I
refuse Him my child because she was the very apple of my eye? Nay
then, but let me give to Him, not what, I value least, but what I
prize and delight in most. Could I not endure heart-sickness for Him
who had given His only Son for me! And just as I got to that sweet
consent to suffer, He who had only lifted the rod to try my faith
laid it down. My darling opened her eyes and looked at us
intelligently, and with her own loving smile. But I dared not snatch
her and press her to my heart; for her sake I must be outwardly calm
at least.

JUNE 6.-I am at home with my precious Una, all the rest having gone
to church. She lies peacefully on the bed, sadly disfigured, for the
time, but Ernest says he apprehends no danger now, and we are a most
happy, a most thankful household. The children have all been greatly
moved by the events of the last few days, and hover about their
sister with great sympathy and tenderness. Where she fell from, or
how she fell, no one knows; she remembers nothing about it herself,
and it will always remain a mystery.

This is the second time that this beloved child has been returned to
us after we had given her away to God.

And as the giving cost us ten-fold more now than it did when she was
a feeble baby, so we receive her as a fresh gift from our loving
Father's hand, with ten-fold delight. Ah, we have no excuse for not
giving ourselves entirely to Him. He has revealed Himself to us in so
many sorrows and in so many joys; revealed Himself as He doth not
unto the world!



Chapter 26

XXVI.

MAY 13.-THIS has been a Sunday to be held in long remembrance. We were
summoned early this morning to Mrs. Campbell, and have seen her
joyful release from the fetters that have bound her long. Her loss to
me is irreparable. But I truly thank God that one more tired traveler
had a sweet "welcome home." I can minister no longer to her bodily
wants, and listen to her counsels no more, but she has entered as an
inspiration into my life, and through all eternity I shall bless God
that He gave me that faithful, praying friend. How little they know
who languish in what seems useless sick-rooms, or amid the
restrictions of frail health, what work they do for Christ by the
power of saintly living, and by even fragmentary prayers.

Before her words fade out of my memory I want to write down, from
hasty notes made at the time, her answer to some of the last
questions I asked her on earth. She had always enjoyed intervals of
comparative ease, and it was in one of these that I asked her what
she conceived to be the characteristics of an advanced state of
grace. She replied, "I think that the mature Christian is always, at
all times, and in all circumstances, what he was in his best moments
in the progressive stages of his life. There were seasons, all along
his course, when he loved God supremely; when he embraced the cross
joyfully and penitently; when he held intimate communion with Christ,
and loved his neighbor as himself But he was always in terror, lest
under the force of temptation, all this should give place to deadness
and dullness, when he should chafe and rebel in the hour of trial,
and judge his fellow-man with a harsh and bitter judgment, and give
way to angry, passionate emotions. But these fluctuations cease,
after a time, to disturb his peace. Love to Christ becomes the
abiding, inmost principle of his life; he loves Him rather for what
He is, than for what He has done or will do for him individually, and
God's honor becomes so dear to him that he feels personally wounded
when that is called in question. And the will of God becomes so dear
to him that he loves it best when it 'triumphs at his cost.'

"Once he only prayed at set times and seasons, and idolized good
frames and fervent emotions. N9w he prays without ceasing, and
whether on the mount or down in the depths depends wholly upon His
Saviour.

"His old self-confidence has now given place to child-like humility
that will not let him take a step alone, and the sweet peace that is
now habitual to him combined with the sense of his own imperfections,
fills him with love to. his fellow-man. He hears and believes and
hopes and endures all things and thinketh no evil. The tones of his
voice, the very expression of his countenance, become changed, love
now controlling where human passions held sway. In short, he is not
only a new creature in Jesus Christ, but the habitual and blessed
consciousness that this is so.

These words were spoken deliberately and with reflection.

"You have described my mother, just as she was from the moment her
only son, the last of six, was taken from her," I said, at last. "I
never quite understood how that final sorrow weaned her, so to say,
from herself, and made her life all love to God and all love to man.
But I see it now. Dear Mrs. Campbell, pray for me that I may yet wear
her mantle!"

She smiled with a significance that said she had already done so, and
then we parted-parted that she might end her pilgrimage and go to her
rest-parted that I might pursue mine, I know not how long, nor amid
how many cares, and sorrows, nor with what weariness and
heart-sickness-parted to meet again in the presence of Him we love,
with those who have come out of great tribulation, whose robes have
been made white in the blood of the Lamb, and who are before the
throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple, to hunger
no more, neither thirst any more, for the Lamb which is in the midst
of the .throne shall lead them into living fountains of waters; and
God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

MAY 25.-We were talking of Mrs. Campbell, and of her blessed life and
blessed death. Helen said it discouraged and troubled her to see and
hear such things.

"The last time I saw her when she was able to converse," said she, "I
told her that when I reflected on my want of submission to God's
will, I doubted whether I really could be His child. She said, in her
gentle, sweet way-:

"Would you venture to resist His will, if you could? Would you really
have your dear James back again in this world, if could?'

"I would, I certainly would," I said.

"She returned, ' I sometimes find it a help, when dull and cramped in
my devotions, to say to myself : Suppose Christ should now appear
before you, and you could see Him as He appeared to His disciples on
earth, what would you say to Him? This brings Him near, and I say
what I would say if He were visibly present. I do the same when a new
sorrow threatens me. I imagine my Redeemer as coming personally to
say to me, "For your sake I am a man of sorrows and acquainted with
grief; now for My sake give me this child, bear this burden, submit
to this loss." Can I refuse Him? Now, dear, he has really come thus
to you, and asked you to show your love to Him, your faith in Him, by
giving Him the most precious of your treasures. If He were here at
this moment, and offered to restore it to you, would you dare to say,
"Yea, Lord, I know, far better than Thou dost, what is good for him
and good for me; I will have him return to me, cost what it may; in
this world of uncertainties and disappointments I shall be sure of
happiness in his society, and he will enjoy more here on earth with
me than he could enjoy in the companionship of saints and angels and
of the Lord Himself in heaven." Could you dare to say this?' Oh,
Katy, what straits she drove me into! No, I could not dare to say
that!"'

"Then, my darling little sister" I cried, "you will give up--this
struggle? You will let God do what He will with His own?"

"I have to let Him," she replied; "but I submit because I must."

I looked at her gentle, pure face as she uttered these words, and
could only marvel at the will that had no expression there.

"Tell me," she said, "do you think a real Christian can feel as I do?
For my part I doubt it. I doubt everything."

"Doubt everything, but believe in Christ," I said. "Suppose, for
argument's sake, you are not a Christian. You can become one now."
The color rose in her lovely face; she clasped her hands in a sort of
ecstasy.

"Yes," she said, "I can."

At last God had sent her the word she wanted.

MAY 28.-Helen came to breakfast this morning in a simple white dress.
I had not time to tell the children not to allude to it, so they
began in chorus:

"Why, Aunt Helen! you have put on a white dress!"

"Why, Aunty, how queer you look!"

"Hurrah! if she don't look like other folks!"

She bore it all with her usual gentleness; or rather with a positive
sweetness that captivated them as her negative patience had never
done. I said nothing to her, nor did she to me till late In the day,
when she came to me, and said:

"Katy, God taught you what to say. All these years I have been
tormenting myself with doubts, as to whether I could be His child
while so unable to say, Thy will be done. If you had said,' 'Why,
yes, you must be His child, for you professed yourself one a long
time ago, and ever since have lived like one,' I should have remained
as wretched as ever As it is, a mountain has been rolled off, my
heart. Yes, if I was not His child yesterday, I can become one
to-day; if I did not love Him then, I can begin now"

I do not doubt that, she was His child, yesterday and last year, and
years ago. But let her think, what she pleases. A new life is opening
before her; I believe it is to be a life of entire devotion to God,
and that out of her sorrow there shall spring up a wondrous joy.

SEPT. 2, Sweet Briar Farm.-Ernest spent Sunday with us, and I have
just driven him to the station and seen him safely off. Things have
prospered with us to such a degree that he has been extravagant
enough to give me the use, for the summer, of a bonnie little nag and
an antiquated vehicle, and I have learned to drive. To be sure I
broke one of the shafts of the poor old thing the first time I
ventured forth alone, and the other day -nearly upset my cargo of
children in a pond where I was silly enough to undertake to water my
horse. But Ernest, as usual, had patience with me and begged me to
spend as much time as possible in driving about with the children. It
is a new experience, and I enjoy it quite as much as he hoped I
should. Helen is not with us; she has spent the whole summer with
Martha; for Martha, poor thing, is suffering terribly from rheumatism
and is almost entirely helpless. I am so sorry for her, after so many
years of vigorous health, how hard it must be to endure this pain.
With this drawback, we have had a delightful summer; not one sick
day; nor one sick night. With no baby to keep me awake, I sleep
straight through, as Raymond says, and wake in the morning refreshed
and cheerful. We shall have to go home soon; how cruel it seems to
bring up children in a great city! Yet what can be done about it?
Wherever there are men and women there must be children; what a
howling wilderness either city or country would be without them!

The only drawback on my felicity is the separation, from Ernest,
which becomes more painful every year to us both. God has blessed our
married life; it has had its waves and its billows, but, thanks unto
Him, it has at last settled down into a calm sea of untroubled peace.
While I was secretly braiding my dear husband for giving so attention
to his profession as to neglect me and my children, he was becoming,
every day, more the ideal of a physician, cool, calm, thoughtful,
studious, ready to sacrifice his life at any moment in the interests
of humanity. How often I have mistaken his preoccupied air for
indifference; how many times I have inwardly accused him of coldness,
when his whole heart and soul were filled with the grave problem of
life, aye, and of death likewise.

But we understand each other now, and I am sure that God dealt wisely
and kindly with us when He brought together two such opposite
natures. No man of my vehement nature could have borne with me as
Ernest has done, and if he had married a woman as calm, as
undemonstrative as himself what a strange home his would have been
for the nurture of little children? But the heart was in him, and
only wanted to be waked up, and my life has called forth music from
his., Ah, there are no partings and meetings now that leave discords
in the remembrance, no neglected birthdays, no forgotten courtesies.
It is beautiful to see the thoughtful brow relax in presence of wife
and children, and to know that ours is, at last, the happy home I so
long sighed for. Is the change all in Ernest? Is it not possible that
I have grown more reasonable, less childish and aggravating?

We are at a farm-house. Everything is plain, but neat and nice. I
asked Mrs. Brown, our hostess; the other day, if she did not envy me
my four little pets; she smiled, said they were the best children she
ever saw, and that it was well to have a family if you have means to
start them in the world; for her part, she lived from, hand to mouth
as it was, and was sure she could never stand the worry and care of a
house full of young ones.

"But the worry and care is only half the story," I said. "The other
half is pure joy and delight."

"Perhaps so, to people that are well-to-do," she replied; "but to
poor folks, driven to death as we are, it's another thing. I was
telling him yesterday what a mercy it was there wasn't any young ones
round under my feet, and I could take city boarders, and help work
off the mortgage on the farm."

"And what did your husband say to that?"

"Well, he said we were young and hearty, and there was no such
tearing hurry about the mortgage and that he'd give his right hand to
have a couple of boys like yours."

"Well?" - "Why, I said, supposing we had a couple, of boys, they
wou1dn't be like yours, dressed to look genteel and to have their
genteel ways but a pair of wild colts, into everything, tearing their
clothes off their backs, and wasting faster than we could earn. He
said 'twasn't the clothes, 'twas the flesh and blood he wanted, and
'twasn't no use to argufy about it; a man that hadn't got any
children wasn't mor'n half a man. 'Well,' says I, supposing you had a
pack of, 'em, what have you got to give 'em?' 'Jest exactly what my
father and mother gave me,' says he; 'two hands to earn their bread
with, and a welcome you could have heard from Dan to Beersheba.'"

"I like to hear that!" I said. "And I hope many such welcomes will
resound in this house. Suppose money does come in while little
goes-out; suppose you get possession of the whole farm; what then?
Who will enjoy it with you? Who will you leave it to when you die?
And in your old age who will care for you?"

"You seem awful earnest," she said.

"Yes, I am in earnest. I want to see little children adorning every
home, as flowers adorn every meadow and every wayside. I want to see
them welcomed to the homes they enter, to see their parents grow less
and less selfish, and more and more loving, because they have come. I
want to see God's precious gifts accepted, not frowned upon and
refused."

Mr. Brown came in, so I could say no more. But my heart warmed
towards him, as I looked at his frank good-humored face, and I should
have been glad to give him the right hand of fellowship, As it was I
could only say a word or two about the beauty of his farm, and the
scenery of this whole region.

"Yes," he said, gratified that I appreciated his fields and groves,
"it is a tormented pretty-laying farm. Part of it was her father's,
and part of it was my father's; there ain't another like it in the
country. As to the scenery, I don't know as I ever looked at it; city
folks talk a good deal about it, but they've nothing to do but look
round." Walter came trotting in on two bare, white feet, and with his
shoes in his hand. He had had his nap, felt, as bright; and fresh as
he looked rosy, and I did not wonder at Mr. Brown's catching him up
and clasping his sunburnt arms about the little fellow, and pressing
him against the warm heart that yearned for nestlings of its own.

Sept. 23-Home again, and the full of the thousand cares that follow
the summer and precede the winter. But let mothers and wives fret as
they will, they enjoy these labors of love, and would feel lost
without them. For what amount of leisure, ease and comfort would I
exchange husband and children and this busy home?

Martha is better, and Helen has come back to us. I don't know how we
have lived without her so long. Her life seems necessary to the
completion of every one of ours. Some others have fancied it
necessary to the completion of theirs, but she has not a greed with
them. We are glad enough to keep her; and yet I hope the day will
come when she, so worthy of it, will taste the sweet joys of wifehood
and motherhood.

JANUARY 1, 1853.-It is not always so easy to practice, as it is to
preach. I can see in my wisdom forty reasons for having four children
and no more. The comfort of sleeping in peace, of having a little
time to read, and to keep on with my music; strength with which to
look after Ernest's poor people when they are sick; and, to tell the
truth, strength to be bright and fresh and lovable to him--all these
little joys have been growing very precious to me, and now-I must
give them up. I want to do it cheerfully and without a frown. But I
find I love to have my own way, and that at the very moment I was
asking God to appoint my work for me, I was secretly marking it out
for myself. It is mortifying to find my will less in harmony with His
than I thought it was; and that I want to prescribe to Him how I
shall spend the time and the health and the strength which are His,
not mine. But I will not rest until till this struggle is over; till
I can say with a smile, "Not my will! Not my will! But Thine!"

We have been, this winter, one of the happiest families on earth. Our
love to each other, Ernest's and mine, though not perfect-nothing on
earth is-has grown less selfish, more Christlike; it has been
sanctified by prayer and by the sorrows we have borne together. Then
the children have been well and happy, and the source of almost
unmitigated joy and comfort. And Helen's presence in this home, her
sisterly affection, her patience with the children and her influence
over them, is a benediction for which I cannot be thankful enough.
How delightful it is to have a sister! I think it is not often the
case that own sisters have such perfect Christian sympathy with each
other as we have. Ever since the day she ceased to torment herself
with the fear that she was not a child of God, and laid aside the
sombre garments she had worn so long, she has had a peace that has
hardly known a cloud. She says, in a note written me about the time:

I want you to know, my darling sister, that the despondency that made
my affliction so hard to bear fled before those words of yours which,
as I have already told you, God taught you to speak. I do not know
whether I was really His child, at the time, or not. I had certainly
had an experience very different from yours; prayer had never been
much more to me than a duty; and I had never felt the sweetness of
that harmony between God and I the human soul that I now know can
take away all the bitterness from the cup of sorrow. I knew-who can
help knowing it that reads God's word?-that he required submission
from His children and that His children gave it, no matter what it
cost. The Bible is full of beautiful expressions of it; so are our
hymns; so are the written lives of all good men and good women; and I
have seen it in you, my dear Katy, at the very moment you were
accusing yourself of the want of it. Entire oneness of the will with
the Divine Will seem to me to be the law and the gospel of the
Christian life; and this evidence of a renewed nature, I found
wanting in myself. At any moment during the three years following
James' death I would have snatched away from God, if I could; I was
miserably lonely and desolate without him, not merely because he had
been so much, to me, but because his loss revealed to me the distance
between Christ and my soul. All I could do was to go on praying, year
after year, in a dreary, hopeless way, that I might learn to say, as
David did, 'I opened not my mouth because Thou didst it.' When you
suggested that instead of trying to figure out whether I had loved
God, I should begin to love Him now, light broke in upon my soul; I
gave myself to Him that instant and as soon as I could get away by
myself I fell upon my knees and gave myself up to the sense of His
sovereignty for the first time in my life. Then, too, I looked at my
'light affliction,' and at the 'weight of glory ' side by side, and
thanked Him that through the one He had revealed to me the other.
Katy, I know the human heart is deceitful above all things, but I
think it would be a dishonor to God to doubt that He then revealed
Himself to me as He doth not to the world, and that the sweet peace I
then found in yielding to Him will be more or less mine so long as I
live. Oh, if all sufferers could learn what I have learned! that
every broken heart could be healed as mine has been healed! My
precious sister, cannot we make this one part of our mission on
earth, to pray for every sorrow-stricken soul, and whenever we have
influence over such, to lead it to honor God by instant obedience to
His will, whatever that may be? I have dishonored Him by years of
rebellious, carefully-nursed sorrow; I want to honor Him now by years
of resignation and grateful joy."

Reading this letter over in my present mood has done me good. More
beautiful faith in God than Helen's I have never seen; let me have
it, too. May this prayer, which, under the inspiration of the moment,
I can offer without a misgiving, become the habitual, deep-seated
desire of my soul:

"Bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. Take
what I cannot give--my heart, body, thoughts, time, abilities, money,
health, strength, nights, days, youth, age, and spend them in Thy
service, O my crucified Master, Redeemer, God. Oh, let these not be
mere words! Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon
earth that I desire in comparison of Thee. My heart is athirst for
God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?"



Chapter 27

XXVII.

AUGUST 1

I HAVE just written to Mrs. Brown to know whether she will take us
for the rest of the summer. A certain little man, not a very old
little man either, has kept us in town till now. Since he has come,
we are all very glad of him, though he came on his own invitation,
brought no wardrobe with him, does not pay for his board, never
speaks a word, takes no notice of us, and wants more waiting on than
any one else in the house. The children are full of delicious
curiosity about him, and overwhelm him with presents of the most
heterogeneous character.

Sweet Briar Farm, AUG. 9.-We got there this afternoon, bag and
baggage. I had not said a word to Mrs. Brown about the addition to
our family circle, knowing she had plenty of room, and as we alighted
from the carriage, I snatched my baby from his nurse's arms and ran
gaily up the walk with him in mine. "If this splendid fellow doesn't
convert her nothing will," I said to myself. At that instant what
should I see but Mrs. Brown, running to meet me with a boy in her
arms exactly like Mr. Brown, only not quite six feet long, and not
sun-burnt.

"There!" I cried, holding up my little old man.

"There!" said she, holding up hers.

We laughed till we cried; she took my baby and I took hers; after
looking at him I liked mine better than ever; after looking at mine
she was perfectly satisfied with hers.

We got into the house at last; that is to say, we mothers did; the
children darted through it and out of the door that led to the fields
and woods, and vanished in the twinkling of an eye.

Mrs. Brown had always been a pretty woman, with bright eyes, shining,
well-kept hair, and a color in her cheeks like the rose which had
given its name to her farm. But there was now a new beauty in her
face; the mysterious and sacred sufferings and joys of maternity had
given it thought and feeling.

"I had no idea I should be so fond of a baby," she said, kissing it,
whenever she stopped to put in a comma; "but I don't know how I ever
got along without one. He's off at work nearly the whole day, and
when I had got through with mine, and had put on my afternoon dress,
and was ready to sit down, you can't think how lonesome it was. But
now by the time I am dressed, baby is ready to go out to get the air;
he knows the minute he sees me bring out his little hat that he is
going to see his father and he's awful fond of his father. Though
that isn't so strange, either, for his father's awful fond of him.
All his little ways are so pretty, and he never cries unless he's
hungry or tired. Tell mother a pretty story now; yes, mother hears,
bless his little heart!"

Then when Mr. Brown came home to his supper, his face was a sight to
see, as he caught sight of me at my open window, and came to it with
the child's white arms clinging to his neck, looking as happy and as
bashful as a girl.

"You see she must needs go to quartering this bouncing young one on
to me," he said, "as if I didn't have to work hard enough before.
Well, maybe he'll get his feed off the farm; we'll see what we can
do."

"Mamma," Una whispered, as he went off his facsimile, to kiss it
rapturously, behind a woodpile, "do you think Mrs. Brown's baby very
pretty?

Which was so mild a way of suggesting the fact of the case, that I
kissed her without trying to hide my amusement.

AUG. 10.-After being cooped up in town so large a part of the summer,
the children are nearly wild with delight at being in the country
once more. Even our demure Una skips about with a buoyancy I have
never seen in her; she never has her ill turns when out of the city,
and I wish, for her sake, we could always live here. As to Raymond
and Walter, I never pretend to see them except at their meals and
their bedtime; they just live outdoors, following the men at their
work, asking all sorts of absurd questions, which Mr. Brown reports
to me every night, with shouts of delighted laughter. Two gay and
gladsome boys they are; really good without being priggish; I don't
think I could stand that. People ask me how it happens that my
children are all so promptly obedient and so happy. As if it chanced
that some parents have such children, or chanced that some have not!
I am afraid it is only too true, as some one has remarked, that "this
is the age of obedient parents!"' What then will be the future of
their children? How can they yield to God who have never been taught
to yield to human authority? And how well fitted will they be to rule
their own households who have never learned to rule themselves?

AUG. 31.-This has been one of those cold, dismal, rainy days which
are not infrequent during the month of August. So the children have
been obliged to give up the open air, of which. they are so fond, and
fall back upon what entertainment could be found within the house. I
have read to them the little journal I kept during the whole life of
the brother I am not willing they should forget. His quaint and
sagacious sayings were delicious to them; the history of his first
steps, his first words sounded to them like a fairy tale. And the
story of his last steps, his last words on earth, had for them such a
tender charm, that there was a cry of disappointment from them all,
when I closed the little book and told them we should have to wait
till we got to heaven before we could know anything more about his
precious life.

How thankful I am that I kept this journal, and that I have almost as
charming ones about most of my other children! What I speedily forgot
amid the pressure of cares and of new events is safely written down,
and. will be the source of endless pleasure to them long after the
hand that wrote has ceased from its .labors, and lies inactive and at
rest.

Ah, it is a blessed thing to be a mother!

SEPTEMBER 1-This baby of mine, is certainly the sweetest and best I
ever had I feel an inexpressible tenderness for it, which I cannot
quite explain to myself, for I have loved them all dearly, most
dearly. Perhaps it is so with all mothers, perhaps they all grow
more loving, more forbearing, more patient as they grow older, and
yearn over these helpless little ones with an ever-increasing, yet
chastened delight. One cannot help sheltering their tender infancy,
who will so soon pass forth to fight the battle of life, each one
waging an invisible warfare against invisible foes. How thankfully we
would fight it for them, if we might!

SEPTEMBER 20.-. The mornings and evenings are very cool now, while in
the middle of the day it is quite hot. Ernest comes to see us very
often, under the pretense that he can't trust me with so young a baby
! He is so tender and thoughtful, and spoils me so, that this world
is very bright to me; I am a little jealous of it; I don't want to be
so happy in Ernest, or in my children, as to forget for one instant
that I am a pilgrim and a stranger on earth.

EVENING.-There is no danger that I shall. Ernest suddenly made his
appearance tonight, and in a great burst of distress quite unlike
anything I ever saw in him, revealed to me that he had been feeling
the greatest anxiety about me ever since the baby came. It is all
nonsense. I cough, to be sure; but that it is owing to the varying
temperature we always have at this season. I shall get over, it as
soon as we get home, I dare say.

But suppose I should not; what then? Could I leave this precious
little flock, uncared for, untended? Have I faith to believe that if
God calls me away from them, it will be in love to them? I do not
know. The thought of getting away from the sin that still so easily
besets me is very delightful, and I have enjoyed so many, many such
foretastes of the bliss of heaven that I know I should be happy
there, but then my children, all of them under twelve years old! I
will not choose, I dare not.

My married life has been a beautiful one. It is true that sin and
folly, and sickness and sorrow, have marred its perfection, but it
has been adorned by a love which has never faltered. My faults have
never alienated Ernest.; his faults, for like other human beings he
has them, have never overcome my love to him. This has been the gift
of God in answer to our constant prayer, that .whatever other
bereavement we might have to suffer, we might never be bereft of this
benediction. It has been the glad secret of' a happy marriage, and I
wish I could teach it to every human being who enters upon a state
that must bring with it the depth of misery, or life's most sacred
and mysterious joy.

OCTOBER 6.- Ernest has let me stay here to see the autumnal foliage
in its ravishing beauty for the first, perhaps for the last, time.
The woods and fields and groves are lighting up my very soul! It
seems as if autumn had caught the inspiration and the glow of summer,
had hidden its floral beauty, its gorgeous sunsets and its bow of.
promise in its heart of hearts, and was now flashing it forth upon
'the world with a lavish and opulent hand. I can hardly tear myself
away, and return to the prose of city life. But Ernest has come for
us, and is eager to get us home before colder weather. I laugh at his
anxiety about his old wife. Why need he fancy that this trifling
cough is not to give way as it often has done before? Dear Ernest! I
never knew that he loved me so.

OCTOBER 31.-Ernest's fear that he had let me stay too long in the
country does not seem to be justified. We went so late that I wanted
to indulge the children by staying late. So we have only just got
home. I feel about as well as usual; it is true I have a little
soreness a bout the chest, but it does not signify anything.

I never was so happy, in my husband and children, in other words in
my home, as I am now. Life looks very attractive. I am glad that I am
going to get well.

But Ernest watches me carefully, and want me, as a precautionary
measure, to give up music, writing, sewing, and painting-the very
things that occupy me! and lead an idle, useless life, for a time. I
cannot refuse what he asks so tenderly, and as a personal favor to
himself. Yet I should like to fill the remaining pages of my journal;
I never like to leave things incomplete.

JUNE 1, 1858.-I wrote that seven years ago, little dreaming how long
it, would be before I should use a pen. Seven happy years ago!

I suppose that some who have known what my outward life has been
during' this period would think of me as a mere object of pity. There
has certainly been suffering and deprivation enough to justify the
sympathy of my dear husband and children and the large circle of
friends who have rallied about us. How little we knew we had so many!

God has dealt very tenderly with me. I was not stricken down by
sudden disease, nor were the things I delighted in all taken away at
once There was a gradual loss of strength and gradual increase of
suffering, and it was only by degrees that I was asked to give up the
employments in which I'd delighted, my household duties, my visits to
the sick and suffering, the society of beloved friends. Perhaps
Ernest perceived and felt my deprivations sooner than I did; his
sympathy always seemed to out-run my disappointments. When I compare
him, as he is now, with what he was when I first knew him I bless God
for all the precious lessons He has taught him at my cost. There, is
a tenacity and persistence about his love for me that has made these
years almost as wearisome to him as they have been to me. As to
myself, if I had been told what I was to learn through these
protracted sufferings I am afraid I should have shrunk back in terror
and so have lost all the sweet lessons God proposed to teach me. As
it is He has led me on, step by step, answering my prayers in His own
way; and I cannot bear to have a single human being doubt that it has
been a perfect way. I love and adore it just as it is.

Perhaps the suspense has been one of the most trying features of my
case. Just as I have unclasped my hand from my dear Ernest's; just
as I have let go my almost frantic hold of my darling children; just
as heaven opened before me and I fancied my weariness over and my
wanderings done; just then almost every alarming symptom would
disappear and life recall me from the threshold of heaven itself.
Thus I have been emptied from vessel to vessel, til I have learned
that he only is truly happy who has no longer a choice of his own,
and lies passive in God's hand.

Even now no one can foretell the issue of this sickness. We live a
day at a time not knowing what shall be on the morrow. But whether I
live or die my happiness is secure and so I believe is of my beloved
ones. This is a true picture of our home:

A sick-room full of the suffering ravages the body but cannot touch
the soul. A worn, wasting mother ministered unto by a devoted husband
and by unselfish Christian children. Some of the peace of God if not
all of it, shines in every face, is heard in every tone. It is a home
that typifies and foreshadows the home that is perfect and eternal.

Our dear Helen has been given us for this emergency. Is it not
strange that seeing our domestic life should have awakened in her
some yearnings for a home and a heart and children of her own. She
has said that there was a weary point in her life when she made up
her mind that she was never to know these joys. But she accepted her
lot gracefully. I do not know any other word that describes so well
the beautiful offering she made of her life to God and then to us. He
accepted it, and as given her all the cares and responsibilities of
domestic life without the transcendent joys that sustain the wife and
the mother. She has been all in all to our children and God has been
all in all to her. And she is happy in His service and in our love.

JUNE 20-It took me nearly two weeks to write the above at intervals
as my strength allowed. Ernest has consented to my finishing this
volume, of which so few pages yet remain. And he let me see a dear
old friend who came all the way from my native town to see me-Dr.
Eaton, our family physician as long as I could remember. He is of an
advanced age but full of vigor, his eye bright, and with a healthful
glow on his cheek. But he says he is waiting and longing for his
summons home. About that home we had a delightful talk together that
did my very heart good. Then he made me tell him about this long
sickness and the years of frail health and some of the sorrows
through which I had toiled.

"Ah, these lovely children are explained now," he said.

"Do you really think," I asked, "that it has been good for my
children to have a feeble, afflicted mother?"

"Yes, I really think so. A disciplined mother--disciplined children."

This comforting thought is one of the last drops in a cup of felicity
already full.

JUNE 2-Another Sunday, and all at church except my darling Una who
keeps watch over her mother. These Sundays when I have had them each
alone in turn have been blessed days to them and to me. Surely this
is some compensation for what they lose in me of health and vigor. I
know the state of each soul as far as it can be known, and have every
reason to believe that my children all love my Saviour and are trying
to live for Him. I have learned at last not to despise the day of
small things, to cherish the tenderest blossom, and to expect my dear
ones to be imperfect before they become perfect Christians.

Una is a sweet composed young girl now eighteen years old and what
can I say more of the love her brothers bear her than this: they
never tease her. She has long ceased asking why she must have
delicate health when so many others of her age are full of animal
life and vigor but stands in her lot and place doing what she can,
suffering what she must, with a meekness that makes her lovely in my
eyes, and that I am sure unites her closely to Christ.

JUNE 27 .-It was Raymond's turn to stay with me today. He opened his
heart to me more freely than he had ever done before.

"Mamma," he began, "if papa is willing, I have made up my mind-that
is to say if I get decently good-to go on a mission."

I said playfully:

"And mamma's consent is not to be asked ?"

"No," he said, "getting hold of what there is left of my hand. "I
know you wouldn't say a word. Don't you remember telling me once when
I was a little boy that I might go and welcome?"

"And don't you remember," I returned, "that you cried for joy, and
then relieved your mind still farther by walking on your hands with
your feet in the air?"

We both laughed heartily at this remembrance, and then I said:

"My dear boy, you know your fathers plan for you?"

"Yes, I know he expects me to study with him, and take his place in
the world."

"And it is a very important place."

His countenance fell as he fancied I was not entering heartily into
his wishes.

"Dear Raymond," I went on, "I gave you to God long before you gave
yourself to Him. If He can make you useful in your own, or in other
lands, I bless His name. Whether I live to see you a man, or not, I
hope you will work in the Lord's vineyard, wherever He calls. I never
asked anything but usefulness, in all my prayers for you; never once.
His eyes filled with tears; he kissed me and walked away to the
window to compose himself. My poor, dear, lovable, loving boy! He has
all his mother's trials and struggles to contend with ;but what
matter it if they bring him the same peace?

JUNE 30.--Everybody wonders to see me once more interested in my
long-closed Journal, and becoming able to see the dear friends from
whom I have been, in a measure cut off. We cannot ask the meaning of
this remarkable increase of strength.

I have no wish to choose. But I have come to the last page of my
Journal, and living or dying, shall write in this volume no more. It
closes upon a life of much childishness and great sinfulness, whose
record makes me blush with shame but I no longer need to relieve my
heart with seeking sympathy in its unconscious pages nor do I believe
it well to go on analyzing it as I have done. I have had large
experience of both joy and sorrow; I have the nakedness and the
emptiness and I have seen the beauty and sweetness of life. What I
say now, let me say to Jesus What time and strength I used to spend
in writing here, let me spend in praying for all men, for all
sufferers who are out of the way, for all whom I love. And their name
is Legion for I love everybody.

Yes I love everybody! That crowning joy has come to me at last.
Christ is in my soul; He is mine; I am as conscious of it as that my
husband and children are mine; and His Spirit flows from mine in the
calm peace of a river whose banks are green with grass and glad with
flowers. If I die it will be to leave a wearied and worn body, and a
sinful soul to go joyfully to be with Christ, to weary and to sin no
more. If I live, I shall find much blessed work to do for Him. So
living or dying I shall be the Lord's.

But I wish, oh how earnestly, that whether I go or stay, I could
inspire some lives with the joy that is now mine. For many years I
have been rich in faith; rich in an unfaltering confidence that I was
beloved of my God and Saviour. But something was wanting I was ever
groping for a mysterious grace the want of which made me often
sorrowful in the very midst of my most sacred joy, imperfect when I
most longed for perfection. It was that personal love to Christ of
which my precious mother so often spoke to me which she often urged
me to seek upon my knees. If I had known then, as I know now what
this priceless treasure could be to a sinful human soul, I would have
sold all that I had to buy the field wherein it lay hidden. But not
till I was shut up to prayer and to the study of Gods word by the
loss of earthly joys, sickness destroying the flavor of them all, did
I begin to penetrate the mystery that is learned under the cross. And
wondrous as it is, how simple is this mystery! To love Christ and to
know that I love Him-this is all!

And when I entered upon the sacred yet oft-times homely duties of
married life, if this love had been mine, how would that life have
been transfigured! The petty faults of my husband under which I
chafed would not have moved me; I should have welcomed Martha and her
father to my home and made them happy there; I should have had no
conflicts with my servants, shown no petulance to my children. For it
would not have been I who spoke and acted but Christ who lived in me.

Alas! I have had less than seven years in which to atone for a
sinful, wasted past and to live a new and a Christ-like life. If I am
to have yet more, thanks be to Him who has given me the victory, that
Life will be Love. Not the love that rests in the contemplation and
adoration of its object; but the love that gladdens, sweetens,
solaces other lives.

    O gifts of gifts! 
    O grace of faith 
    My God! how can it be 
    That Thou who hast discerning love, 
    Shouldst give that gift to me?

    How many hearts thou mightst have had 
    More innocent than mine! 
    How many souls more worthy far 
    Of that sweet touch of Thine?

    Oh grace! into unlikeliest hearts 
    It is thy boast to come 
    The glory of Thy light to find 
    In darkest spots a home.

    Oh happy. happy that I am! 
    If thou canst be, O faith 
    The treasure that thou art in life 
    What wilt thou be in death?

-------------------------------------------------------------------

STEPPING WESTWARD.

WHILE my fellow-traveler and I were walking by the side of Loch
Katrine one fine evening after sunset in our road to a hut where in
the course of our tour we had been hospitably entertained some weeks
before, we met, in one of the loneliest parts of that solitary region
two well-dressed women, one of whom said to us by way of greeting,
"What, you are stepping westward?"

"What, you are stepping westward?" "Yea." --'Twould be a wildish
destiny If we who thus together roam In a strange land and far from
home Were in this place the guests of chance: Yet who would stop, or
fear to advance, Though home or shelter he had none, With such a sky
to lead him on? The dewy ground was dark and cold; Behind, all gloomy
to behold: And stepping westward seemed to be A kind of heavenly
destiny: I liked the greeting; 'twas a sound Of something without
place and bound, And seemed to give me spiritual right To travel
through that region bright. The voice was soft and she who spake Was
walking by her native lake: The salutation had to me The very sound
of courtesy: Its power was felt; and while my eye Was fixed upon the
glowing sky, The echo of the voice enwrought A human sweetness with
the thought Of traveling through the world that lay Before me in my
endless way. --WORDSWORTH.

The End




End of the Project Gutenberg Etext of Stepping Heavenward 
by Mrs. E. Prentiss



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