Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

where they may hear about another world and about things unseen,

and learn how to live so as they may meet again. When joining with Christians on earth in the worship of God, we feel more bound to departed Christians, who make up together with us one great family. At home earthly things are about you, and toil and care may oppress you ; but at church you hear about heavenly things, and you are brought nearer to God."

Lydia's looks and her tears shewed that she felt her pastor's words: she did not try to excuse herself, for she could not expect him to understand her difficul. ties, and she knew she had been partly wrong; so she took meekly the reproof that was given her. Afterwards Mr. Chaloner spoke kindly, and encouraged her, and heard her say part of her Catechism; and he talked to her a good deal about the great blessings and privileges given us at baptism, which are ours to keep or to lose. He said that we had most precious gifts entrusted to us; that we could not have gained them ourselves, and could only keep them by prayer and watchfulness. And that whatever troubles might meet her, she might keep that greatest blessing of belonging to the Church of Christ, and being an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.

The good old gentleman took leave of her kindly, and said, as he went away, “ Mind you keep the cottage comfortable for your father. Your not having done so has sometimes driven him to the publichouse, which is a very sad thing. He has always been a sober man, and he tells me he only went there for comfort and company, because every thing was cheerless and untidy at home; and when he was out at sea late, he felt this very much. I do not know how it was; but it must be your business that it does not happen again, or you will have a great deal to answer for. I am no judge of these things; but your house seems to me tidy now, and I hope you will keep it so. You would be the loser, if your father's money went to the public-house ; but that would be

the least part of the evil. Remember, that when he lands, he passes by the Jolly Sailor, and sees the fire burning, and perhaps his friends going in : take care you make his own home more pleasant and comfortable, that he may not be tempted to go too.”

Mrs. Forbes often looked in upon Lydia, to see how she got on; and she was such a cheerful, pleasant lady, that the girl was always glad to see her. She had always a kind word ready; and if she found fault, it was done in such a merry way, that no one could take it unkindly. Well, why is not this put away ?” she would say; " what does that broom do there? what is the use of a cupboard, if your things are not put there?

One day she called in at dinner-time. Morrison was at sea. Lydia and the children sat round a rather dirty table, covered with tea-things, and smeared with butter, of which there stood a large lump, which the children were fingering, and crumbling the cheese.

Mrs. Forbes talked to her a little about cleanliness and management; and said, “ Now I just looked in at Mrs. Bateman's, who seems a famous manager for her large family. Would not she shew you ?"

“She is always wanting to teach me things; and says I do it all wrong."

“ If she means kindly, you might let her teach you.”

“Oh, she is kind enough, but always likes to know better than every body; and she says I can do nothing but nurse a baby. I often nurse hers.”

“Well, I advise you to get over the shame of being thought ignorant and awkward ; and ask Mrs. Bateman to teach you.

It may please her, if she is that sort of woman."

“ Jack, if you will get on with that shrimping, net, we will go and sit out on the rocks; and I will take out my work."

Near the cottages the rocks came down to the water's edge; and between them was a patch of the smoothed white sand. It had been Lydia's favourite playground when she was little; and when her mother missed her, she was sure to find her there. It was a nice quiet place—the houses were hid by the rocks;

and you saw nothing but the sea and the sky. Lydia and Jack sat upon the low stones near the water, and little Mary by them, amusing herself with some shells, which she kept knocking together, and turning them in and out of her lap. The other two were playing just behind, and looking for shells and weeds among the cliffs, where Lydia knew they could come to no mischief. It was a beautiful summer evening; and there was so little wind, that the sea near the shore was as smooth as a looking-glass, and so clear, that you might see every little pebble and shell underneath. The little waves hardly broke as they reached the shore, and made a very gentle murmuring noise. A great many fishing-boats were out; and the setting sun shone upon their sails. Lydia was happy; for she liked to be out of doors; and she had got over so many of her cares, that it put her in good spirits.

Jack,” she said, “ Mrs. Forbes thinks that father need never buy a net again, if we work hard for him; and she is going to give us a great deal of twine that she can get cheap. So I will begin a large net; and then you, or I, or Peggy, can always be going on with it, when we have nothing else to do; so you need never be idle."

Jack heaved a deep sigh; but he said nothing. He did not mind school now; but he did like to have his time for play when he came home; and the idea of something that would always be to be done was sad.

To say the truth, he had had some very different scheme in his bead for this evening; and the sitting still, which was so pleasant for Lydia, after her day's work and her walk to market, was not what he would have chosen; but he had got the better of himself. He had promised his master to try and be very good and obedient at home as well as at school, and he scorned to break his promise.

After tugging on at the twine, he said, “Your work is much nicer, sister; so soft, and so much change. This net goes on always the same; and it hurts my fingers. What are you making?"

A pinafore for Peggy. I bought it with the half-pence those young ladies gave her for the shells ; and I must finish it to-night; for I can't bear to see her in that old one. Mrs. Forbes said, “Tell your sister to mend your pinafore;' but it is past mending.'

* Shall you have done to-night?"

“Oh, yes; there is an hour's light yet out here: it would be dark at home; and I do not like to light a candle. Mrs. Forbes says it's waste to burn candles in the long days.”

“I am sure I can't net for an hour.”

“ You can stop, if it hurts you. But it's using your hands to handle ropes. Do you know that father means to take you out soon ?

" Oh! does he ?”

“ He thinks you are much steadier since you have been at school. He was afraid to take you before, you were so idle and wild. He said you would be more hinderance than help; and he should be having you overboard some day. But he thinks he might try you; and so do I.

“Well, that will be fine. And you know there must be an end of going to school.” Yes; but

you have had a year's schooling ; and Mr. Chaloner would not wish you to stay, if you can be helping father; and you can still go to Sundayschool regularly.”

“When shall I go? To-morrow.”

- Oh! I do not know. I shall have to get you a rough jacket, like Bob's; and I hope, dear, you will be very careful, and remember that you must not

66

be jumping and fidgetting about, and upsetting the

boat."

“ Never you fear. I'll take care enough.”.

“ Father thinks he might sometimes take you alone of a fine day; and Bob might go to market, because he is very steady; and it would be a great help to me.”

"You know you hate going, don't you ~ more than I hated school when first I went?

“Oh, Jack, you should not say hate, it is not a nice word. I do dislike market; and Mrs. Forbes says

she does not wonder—the people are so disagreeable, and use bad words. But did you hear what Mr. Chaloner said to me that Saturday when he called ?"

“No, not I; he was not speaking to me.”

“It was so beautiful what he said, about taking our duties as they come, and not shrinking from any, whether they are hard or easy, painful or pleasant-meeting them as ordered for us by God; and going straight through with what is before us. I thought of it a great deal, because there are so many things that I dislike, and that make me feel cross; and the parson spoke as if he knew that. And I wish you had listened, because I cannot think to repeat it all; and I know you will not find it all good fun when you go to sea; and you must try to bear the rough part patiently, as well as the pleasant weather.”

I do not know how Jack liked this lecture at second hand-he never much liked Lydia to lecture him, though she meant it kindly; but he only said, “What is that big bird ?” and throwing down his netting, he tore after it, and Peggy and George at his heels; and a long way they scampered over the sands; and when they had lost the bird, found something else to run after. When they came back, Lydia had finished her own work, and Jack's net too, and was talking to little Mary, who sat on her lap. The sun was long set; and the red lights that

« НазадПродовжити »