Зображення сторінки

must go, she seemed to understand it was best for her to stay behind, and, with sobs and tears, parted from her at the threshold, and suffered her to leave her,

Some further account is given of Laura by one who visited the institution, and saw her. He says she can easily distinguish amongst her blind playfellows who are and who are not clever, and is apt to shew a sort of contempt for the stupid ones, choosing her friends amongst those who can understand and talk with her best. She is fond of having her friends noticed and praised, but not too much-she wishes to have the lion's share herself; and if she fancies herself neglected, will say, My mother will love me!" She has a doll that she is very fond of, and can dress and undress; indeed, she can dress herself, and arrange her own hair. It is the custom of the institution for all the blind children to wear a green ribbon over their eyes, and Laura has made one for her doll, and makes it always wear it. One day she pretended that her doll was ill, and went through all the form of attending upon it and giving it medicine; she then put it to bed, and placed a bottle of hot water at its feet. When her kind instructor came into the room she made him i feel the doll's pulse, and when he told her to put a blister on its back she seemed to enjoy it exceedingly, and almost screamed with delight.

I have mentioned one or two things in Laura which do not sound quite amiable, but her character, as a whole, seems very gentle and pleasing; and those who are about her say that it is delightful to behold her continual gladness, her love for all around her, her ready confidence, her sympathy with those in suffering, her cheerful hope, her truth, her conscientiousness,

At the time of this last account, she was thirteen years old, and continuing to improve in every way; she could write, and kept a little diary of her own. She is described as agreeable-looking, with a pleas

told Abel to run for the doctor; and, having charged Willy to take the greatest care of his little sister, and not to leave her for a moment, she went at once to her neighbour's cottage.

When Willy had finished his supper, he made a ball of cowslips for little Mary; and, while she sat on the floor playing with it, he began to plat a lash for a new whip which his uncle had given him. Presently he missed some of his string; and, looking round, he saw that his little puppy had got hold of it, and was playing with it in the garden. Out he ran after it, and, forgetting all about his sister, chased the puppy round and round the garden, and into the field at the back of the house. It was some time before he could catch him; and, while he was untwisting the string which had wound itself round the puppy's head and fore-paws, he heard a shout, and saw Abel coming across the field to him.

“Oh, Willy," he cried, “ what have you done with Mary? Mother told you not to leave her a moment."

“ Mary!" exclaimed Willy; "oh, I forgot all about her.”

“Oh dear, oh dear,” cried Abel, “ if she should have got down to the pond! Run, Willy, run."

Willy threw down his string, and they both set off running as fast as they could, when, just as they came in front of the house, they saw a little figure standing at the edge of the pond. They both shouted; the child was frightened, turned round, lost her footing on the slippery ground, and rolled down the bank into the water.

Struck with horror, Abel stood still, screaming, O mother, mother, Mary's drowned, Mary's drowned !”

For a moment Willy stopped too; then, without saying a word, he rushed forward and jumped into the pond, caught hold of his sister's frock, and dragged her to the edge of the water. By this time Abel's screams had brought his mother and one or two of the neighbours to the spot. The children were carried home and put into bed, and were mer. cifully saved even from catching cold.

The next morning, when Willy awoke, it was some time before he could remember what had happened; but when the recollection of it came upon him, he hid his face in his mother's lap, and sobbed out, “Oh, mother, pray forgive me! Thank God, Mary's safe!”

“ Í do indeed thank God that He has saved my child from such a death,” said the poor mother; “but oh, Willy my child, I can never trust her with you again.”

She then talked to him very seriously, shewing him the danger into which his thoughtlessness and inattention had led him, and how very nearly it had cost his little sister her life. He thought of this, and of the fright which he had given his mother: it was more than the little fellow could bear; and, catching little Mary in his arms, he kissed her again and again, and promised, while the tears ran down his cheeks, that he would try with all his might to mind what was said to him for the time to come: and he kept his word. The events of that day seemed to have given him the steadiness and thoughtfulness of several years. Old habits of carelessness were not broken through at once, but from that day he began really to try to amend them; and in time he became as steady, as trustworthy, and as careful and obedient, as his brother. The lesson of this day was not lost, either, upon Abel. He could never think without shame that he had done nothing to save his sister, and that she might have been drowned if Willy had been as helpless as himself; and, after this, he was never known to laugh at his brother's faults, or to boast that he was wiser or steadier than Willy.

A year ago, as I was passing through Langmead village, I stopped at Widow Dale's cottage. She had become old and infirm, and was supported en

tirely by her sons, whose chief pleasure it was to repay her care and affection by their duty and attention to her in her old age. It was a fine evening in June; and, as she sat in her cottage-porch, surrounded by her children, she told me, with tears of gratitude, that she should never cease to bless the day on which her Mary had been saved from drowning, and her sons had received so useful a lesson.


The Cross. THE Cross was the instrument of death to our most blessed Lord and Saviour; and it has been considered in all ages by the Church as the most appropriate emblem and symbol of the Christian religion, and as the seal and token of our profession. It is the ensign of the Chris

tian soldier, given to him at his baptism, when he is signed with the sign of the Cross, “ in token that he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully fight under His banner.And for this reason it has been ever the custom of Christendom to set up the Cross on every church and sacred building devoted to the service of the Crucified; that it may there represent the Christian's faith and hope, and his consent to the lot of trial, and self-denial, and suffering on earth, which are all implied in the Cross, in hope of a crown of glory in heaven.

Our own Church has thus spoken on this subject against those who have cavilled at the use of this sacred emblem :-" The Holy Ghost, by the mouths of the apostles, did honour the name of the Cross, being hateful among the Jews, so far that under it He comprehended not only Christ crucified, but the force, effects, and merits of His death and passion,


with his little daughter to settle in Wheatcroft, and follow his new business of chair-mending, in which he really succeeded tolerably, considering his infirmity. He was a careless, easy, good-natured sort of man, who liked better talking over his old battles than bestowing any great care or pains upon his daughter, whom he allowed too much of her own way,—always shewing himself too ready to believe her assurances that she would take no harm wherever she went.

While Sarah was very young, an old neighbour, a widow, had been engaged to render some assistance in the house, and to look after the little girl now and then. But Sarah was now fourteen; and as Mrs. Croft was growing old and infirm, it was agreed on all sides that she was old enough to take the management of household affairs into her own hands, and that henceforth Mrs. Croft should not be disturbed from the quiet possession of her own chimney corner. Mrs. Croft had never been one to instil any very strict lessons of neatness into the mind of her pupil. She had never been in the habit of thinking a hearth looked neater for being swept up, nor a room more comfortable for being well dusted. She liked to take things easily ; to gossip with her neighbours, and laugh at them—in both of which she shewed great cleverness.

In one sense she was a good-natured woman: she would give herself a good deal of trouble for her neighbours on any great emergency. She could do any thing of this sort on impulse; but what she could not do, was, to resist repeating a jest, or even an ill-natured story, for the sake of the amusement to herself, or the pleasure of raising the curiosity of her listeners, who ran the risk, in their turn, of being held up to the ridicule of the next passer-by.

It is not very surprising that under such circumstances Sarah had fallen into many bad habits. She was almost as fond of gossiping as Mrs. Croft, or Granny, as she was used to call her; had no notion

« НазадПродовжити »