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white, that the girls found it very hard to study, with that pathetic little figure before them.
During the fifteen minutes that followed, the proud and sensitive little girl suffered a shame and pain which she never forgot. To others it might seem a ludicrous or trivial affair, but to her it was a hard experience ; for during the twelve years of her life she had been governed by love alone, and a blow of that sort had never touched her before. The smart of her hand, and the ache of her heart, were forgotten in the sting of the thought, “ I shall have to tell at home, and they will be so disappointed in me!”
The fifteen minutes seemed an hour; but they came to an end at last, and the word “ Recess !” had never seemed so welcome to her before.
“You can go, Miss March,” said Mr. Davis, looking, as he felt, uncomfortable.
He did not soon forget the reproachful look Amy gave him, as she went, without a word to any one, straight into the ante-room, snatched her things, and left the place “ forever,” as she passionately declared to herself. She was in a sad state when she got home; and when the older girls arrived, some time later, an indignation meeting was held at once. Mrs. March did not say much, but looked disturbed, and comforted her afflicted little daughter in her tenderest manner. Meg bathed the insulted hand with glycerine, and tears; Beth felt that even her beloved kittens would fail as a balm for griefs like this, and Jo wrathfully proposed that Mr. Davis be arrested without delay; while Hannah shook her fist at the “ villain,” and pounded potatoes for dinner as if she had him under her pestle.
No notice was taken of Amy's flight, except by her mates; but the sharp-eyed demoiselles discovered that Mr. Davis was quite benignant in the afternoon, and also unusually nervous. Just before school closed Jo appeared, wearing a grim expression as she stalked up to the desk and delivered a letter from her mother; then collected Amy's property and departed, carefully scraping the mud from her boots on the door-mat, as if she shook the dust of the place off her feet.
“ Yes, you can have a vacation from school, but I want you to study a little every day with Beth,” said Mrs. March that evening. “I don't approve of corporal punishment, especially for girls. I dislike Mr. Davis's manner of teaching, and don't think the girls you associate with are doing you any good, so I shall ask your father's advice before I send you anywhere else."
“ That 's good! I wish all the girls would leave, and spoil his old school. It's perfectly maddening to think of those lovely limes," sighed Amy with the air of a martyr.
“I am not sorry you lost them, for you broke the rules, and deserved some punishment for disobedience,” was the severe reply, which rather disappointed the young lady, who expected nothing but sympathy.
“ Do you mean you are glad I was disgraced before the whole school ?” cried Amy.
“ I should not have chosen that way of mending a fault,” replied her mother; “ but I'm not sure that it won't do you more good than a milder method. You are getting to be altogether too conceited and important, my dear, and it is about time you set about correcting it. You have a good many little gifts and virtues, but there is no need of parading them, for conceit spoils the finest genius. There is not much danger that real talent or goodness will be overlooked long; even if it is, the consciousness of possessing and using it well should satisfy one, and the great charm of all power is modesty.”
“So it is,” cried Laurie, who was playing chess in a corner with Jo. “I knew a girl once who had a really remarkable talent for music, and she didn't know it ; never guessed what sweet little things she composed when she was alone, and would n't have believed it if any one had told her.”
“I wish I'd known that nice girl ; maybe she would have helped me, I'm so stupid,” said Beth, who stood beside him listening eagerly.
“ You do know her, and she helps you better than any one else could,” answered Laurie, looking at her with such mischievous meaning in his merry eyes, that Beth suddenly turned very red, and hid her face in the sofa-cushion, quite overcome by such an unexpected discovery.
Jo let Laurie win the game, to pay for that praise of her Beth, who could not be prevailed upon to play for them after her compliment. So Laurie did his best and sung delightfully, being in a particularly lively humor, for to the Marches he seldom showed the moody side of his character. When he was gone, Amy, who had been pensive all the evening, said suddenly, as if busy over some new idea :
“ Is Laurie an accomplished boy ?”
“ Yes; he has had an excellent education, and has much talent; he will make a fine man, if not spoiled by petting,” replied her mother.
“ And he is n't conceited, is he?” ask Amy.
“Not in the least; that is why he is so charming, and we all like him so much."
“ I see: it's nice to have accomplishments, and be elegant, but not to show off, or get perked up,” said Amy thoughtfully.
“ These things are always seen and felt in a person's manner and conversation, if modestly used; but it is not necessary to display them,” said Mrs. March.
“ Any more than it's proper to wear all your bonnets, and gowns and ribbons, at once, that folks may know you've got 'em,” added Jo; and the lecture ended in a laugh.
WE sighing, said, “Our Pan is dead;
His pipe hangs mute beside the river;
Around it wistful sunbeams quiver,
The bluebird chants a requiem;
The willow-blossom waits for him ;
Then from the flute, untouched by hands,
There came a low, harmonious breath :
The wisdom of a just content
Made one small spot a continent,
“Haunting the hills, the stream, the wild,
Swallow and aster, lake and pine,
To him grew human or divine,
And yearly on the coverlid
’Neath which her darling lieth hid Will write his name in violets,
A SONG FROM THE SUDS. QUEEN of my tub, I merrily sing,
While the white foam rises high ; And sturdily wash, and rinse, and wring,
And fasten the clothes to dry, Then out in the free fresh air they swing,
Under the sunny sky.
I wish we could wash from our hearts and souls
The stains of the week away,
Ourselves as pure as they ;
A glorious washing-day!
Along the path of a useful life,
Will heart's-ease ever bloom;
Of sorrow, or care, or gloom ;
As we busily wield a broom.
I am glad a task to me is given,
To labor at day by day; For it brings me health, and strength, and hope,
And I cheerfully learn to say, “ Head you may think, Heart you may feel, But Hand you shall work alway!"
HENRY MILLS ALDEN.
ALDEN, HENRY Mills, an American editor, poet, and prose writer; born at Mt. Tabor, Vt., November 11, 1836. He was graduated at Williams College and Andover Theological Seminary ; settled in New York in 1861 ; became managing editor of “ Harper's Weekly" in 1864, and editor of “ Harper's Monthly Magazine” in 1868, which post he now holds. He has published: “The Ancient Lady of Sorrow," a poem (1872); “God in His World” (1890); and “A Study of Death" (1895).
DEATH AND SLEEP.1
(From "A Study of Death.”) The Angel of Death is the invisible Angel of Life. While the organism is alive as a human embodiment, death is present, having the same human distinction as the life, from which it is inseparable, being, indeed, the better half of living, - its winged half, its rest and inspiration, its secret spring of elasticity, and quickness. Life came upon the wings of Death, and so departs.
If we think of life apart from death our thought is partial, as if we would give flight to the arrow without bending the bow. No living movement either begins or is completed save through death. If the shuttle return not there is no web; and the texture of life is woven through this tropic movement.
It is a commonly accepted scientific truth that the continuance of life in any living thing depends upon death. But there are two ways of expressing this truth : one, regarding merely the outward fact, as when we say that animal or vegetable tissue is renewed through decay; the other, regarding the action and reaction proper to life itself, whereby it forever springs freshly from its source. The latter form of expression is mystical, in the true meaning of that term. We close our eyes to the outward appearance, in order that we may directly confront a mystery which is already past before there is any visible indication
Copyright, 1895, by Harper & Brothers. Used by permission.