صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[ocr errors]

explained to you, was the absence of heat, and which congealed the vapour of water in the air into snow and ice. Then we saw the vapour of the cloud changed into solid matter by losing its latent heat; and afterwards, when a fresh supply of heat was given, the solid ice absorbed it, and became the fluid water. Hence we learned from Winter, that the same substance may be solid, fluid, or gaseous, in proportion to the degree of heat to which it is exposed. In April and May, when Spring had come, we experienced changing temperature, which, condensing the vapour of the clouds into water, produced frequent showers, which were again dried up the water being converted into vapour-by sunshine and the winds of March. We saw the seeds which had been planted spring and grow under the influence of moisture and warmth, and thence might learn that heat and water were necessary to the germination of seeds. Then sunny summer came, and with its recollection come pictures of leafy scenes and gorgeous blossomings of flowers. As far as we can judge with our limited We learned in our Summer walks that each vision, every year brings fresh increase of plant purified, under the influence of sum- fruits and herbs for our use and for the supmer light, the air we breathe; and that the port of the animals upon which we are devegetable creation, which was so beautiful pendent; each year sees improved and exto the eye, was likewise so necessary to our tended cultivation. Where lately the voice life, that without it we should be suffocated. of man was almost unknown, and where dark We saw, too, that, under the influence of forests had grown for ages, undisturbed summer heat, the seeds which we after- by the axe or the plough, happy homewards gathered in Autumn were perfected, steads and broad fields extend. Are we, and that the warmth and light of the sun my dear children, profiting by the moral to were necessary to their complete formation. be deduced from all this? You are in the In Summer, too, we saw the streams dry spring-time of your life-sow the seeds of up, and the roads become dusty; and from truth without delay. Go out into the unthence again deduce the inference that cultivated portions of your own intellect, water is evaporated, or converted into and cut down the forests of ignorance, that Vapour rapidly by the sun's heat. This prevent truth from taking root and growchange of water into vapour lessened the ing there. Leave no portion of your minds Oppressive warmth, and made the neighbour-ploughed. But while you cultivate your hood of rivers cool and refreshing. With intellect, do not forget the affections-the Autumn came the harvest, supplying food heart. Wisdom will do little without goodto man and beast, or, in other words, ness. By combining the two, you will affording to him the materials with which always enjoy what your affectionate Grandto repair the constant wear and tear of the father sincerely wishes to you all-A MERRY animal machinery, and fuel to keep up CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR! during the winter the slow fire which is burning within him, and which is called animal heat. Hailstorms, or showers of frozen rain-drops, proved that currents of cold air were floating above us, and freezing the contents of the clouds. The leaves

Let me say a few words more, in conclusion:-Your GRANDFATHER WHITEHEAD is about to take a material part in connection with the FAMILY TUTOR, and will commence his labours with the New Year. Knowing, from the experience of an

having performed their offices, dropped from the boughs, and manured the earth, to ensure its fruitfulness in the distant spring. And winter has come round again, and with him frost and snow. Animals, in the mean time, have shed their summer clothing, and assumed a thicker garb of hair, fur, down, or other non-conducting covering, to prevent the warmth of their bodies being carried off. The air being condensed, the lungs receive a larger quantity of oxygen, and give off a larger amount of carbonic acid; and an increased quantity of animal heat is thus produced, to enable them to bear the inclemencies of the season. The cold changes the water which has unk through the surface of the earth into ice, and in doing so, splits the lumps in which the moisture lay hidden, converting them into fine mould, or soil, suited for the seeds of spring. Over all is often spread the white garment of snow, which, like the fur clothes of the Esquimaux, protects, by its non-conducting properties, the vegetation from the intenser cold of winter winds.

eventful life, that there is no real happiness but that which springs from the god-like principles of virtue, enlightened and enlivened by the pleasures of knowledge, your Grandfather invites you to adopt the TUTOR as a helper to your general improvement. With a skilful TUTOR, and a faithful FRIEND, you will enjoy many solid advantages.

hearse-like bedstead; how I loitered about the open door of the china closet, admiring bowls, baskets, and dishes, of all imaginable shapes and sizes tea services thin as egg-shells, and small enough for Oberon and his court to have taken tea from. Once I succeeded in coaxing old Deborah, the housekeeper, to make tea in one of those fairy teapots, and never did I drink such tea before or since. I cannot tell how oft I have scoured the lanes and dells all round, to gather primroses and violets in spring, and holly for the parlour, and mistletoe for the maids, at Christmas. But the room that I took especial pains to decorate, was the one sacred to Aunt Margaret: for it I culled the greenest holly, with the brightest scarlet berries; and my lost shoe and torn frock attested my zeal in climbing for the largest bunches of mistletoe. My aunt, perhaps from some reminiscence of her youth, had a predilection for the large glossy leaves of the ivy, consequently they were always added to our Christmas decorations. I still remember a simple rhyme she taught me, and which, to her gratification, I always sang, when, mounted on the furniture, I placed the evergreens over each mirror and picture. As well as I can recollect, the words were these:


In my mind's eye I see it now, gentle reader: the gabled ends covered with ivy, Ceping up to the mullioned windows; the gothic porch, overgrown by clematis, ros., and honeysuckle, in summer-a perfect hive of sweets; the spacious hall, where one might fancy some bold baron had feasted guest and retainer in right feudal style; the grand drawing or reception room, with its margin of polished oaken floor surrounding the central Turkey carpet of faded hues; its antiquated mirrors, with their massive silver sconces, adorning the panelled wainscoting, on which were carved, in high relief, fruits, flowers, and ears of corn; and its huge fire-place, surmounted by a lofty mantelshelf, loaded with rare vases, flanked at each end by two porcelain monsters. Through the stained windows might be caught glimpses of a terraced garden and lawn, where two peacocks displayed their gorgeous plumage to the mid-day sun. There, also, might be seen old Thomas the gardener, glorying in the old-fashioned terrace, the grotesquely clipped hornbeams, box, and yews-his own handiwork-and looking down with contempt on all new-fangled notions. A hale, good-tempered old man was Thomas-but at any attempt to interfere with his cherished domain, he became as sour as a crab-apple ; and many a new and rare flower, stealthily introduced, fell a victim to his caprice. Yet who could be angry with old Thomas, who kept the garden in such trim order, and every room in the house redolent of perfume from stocks, wall flowers, and mignonette?-not Aunt Margaret! Thomas always came off victorious. member, as yesterday, how I explored each nook and corner of the old house how I peeped into the state bed-room, and looked, with feelings akin to terror, on the soiled plumes and faded hangings of the great

So I re

Welcome are the buds of spring,
Sweet the summer flowers,
Stately are the old elm-trees,
Round our garden bowers;
Blessed is the golden corn

In the piled-up sheaves;
Yet let us have a welcome, too,
For glossy Ivy leaves!
Beautiful the holly red,

In church, in hall, in cot,
Gather'd by both rich and poor-
But churls can love it not;
Twined with pearly mistletoe,

The wreath Old Christmas weaves, Yet let us have a welcome still, For glossy Ivy leaves!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

My climbing exploits, though duly reproved, yet seemed to gratify old Deborah. "Ah! Miss Mabel," she would say, "if the mistletoes were real pearls they'd not be too good for her ;" and in her own snuggery, while her spiced ale simmered on the hob, she would relate ghost-stories, and tales of the originals of the grim portraits that hung around, until I was ready to start at my own shadow; and as I rushed along the narrow corridor to my bed-room, I would fancy that a mysteriously horrible something was creeping-creeping sternly after me!

It is with a sense of inability that I attempt to describe Aunt Margaret. Her tall figure slightly bowed with age; her silver hair parted smoothly under her cap of point lace; the amply folded gown of dark velvet; the girdle, from which were suspended her private keys, pin-cushion, and scissors; the silken slipper, with its small diamond buckle;-all these are easily told, and as easily conceived; but her ever-present benevolent smile, which baffled even the pencil of a Reynolds, does not admit of description by the pen-my readers must imagine it by my tale. Often did I listen to the consultations held between Aunt Margaret and Deborah, when, 66 on charitable thoughts intent," they would discuss the best mode of relieving some poor decayed family without hurting their feelings; how many pots of jam, and bottles of home-made wine there were for distribution among the poor and ailing cottagers; and how many niceties were distributed around at Christmas time; what old rheumatics required winter cloaks and blankets; what would be the most fitting present for the poor curate's large family. There would I sit, quiet as a mouse-I who at other times kept the house in an uproar-never tired of listening to Aunt Margaret, or gazing on her portrait, and that of my mother, hanging in the room. In my childish humour I had given these pictures the titles of Night and Morning; my aunt's dark hair, queenly brow, and stately figure, forming such a contrast to my mother's wavy golden hair, blue eyes, and sunny smile. Then I would wistfully eye an inlaid ebony cabinet, that stood in a corner of the same apartment; for Bluebeard's wife panted not more ardently to view the interior of the fatal

closet, than I did to behold the treasures of that cabinet. To me it had always been a sealed book; but with the promise that when I was old enough to understand, Aunt Margaret would read to me a manuscrip it contained, I remained contented.

At length the wished-for time arrived. Years with changing aspects had passed by. I had changed from the merry romping child, to the thoughtful girl; when, one evening, as the wind rustled the ivy that clung around the casement, my aunt desired me to snuff the candles, and stir the fire into a cheerful blaze; then, taking a key from her girdle, she unlocked the cabinet, and with eager eyes I beheld the relics of the past, hoarded with all the miser's care, without the miser's sordid vice. There I saw an embroidery frame, the canvas still within it, and the manycoloured silks, in papers, wonderfully retaining their brilliant hues; gloves and satin slippers, telling of the long past merry dance; a riding whip and hat, with coquettish plumes, suggesting the time when my aunt was as lively and buoyant as the noble animal that, proud of its fair burden, gaily cantered with her; the wreath of pearls, worn on her wedding day; fans, made of feather, tiffany, and spangles; jewel and scent-boxes; faded wild flowers, more prized than exotic from stove or greenhouse; and rich brocade dresses, dazzling the eye with their gorgeous tissue of silk and gold. Aunt Margaret, with a passing glance and gentle sigh, took out the manuscript, and closed the door; then seating herself in her large arm-chair, which I had previously drawn near the fire, commenced in a clear distinct voice to read as follows:-

"In a room of large dimensions, richly and tastefully decorated, were two young maidens, one reclining in an arm-chair, the other, and the elder of the two, leaning over its back; the lamp upon a side-table showing in her face the signs of deep and anxious thought. Tears fell thick and fast down the cheeks of the younger, who, turning to her sister, said in a voice tremulous with emotion, Margaret, is it can it, indeed, be true, that the fortunes of our house are ruined?'

[ocr errors]

"Yes, Hester,' was the reply; past cure, past help, past hope!'


"Oh, Margaret! what is to be done

what shall we do?' said Hester, rocking herself to and fro in an agony of grief.

"Put our trust in God!' said the clear voice of Margaret ringing through the


"Aye! Margaret, and you remember the bundle of sticks; let not misfortune part us-let us be united, and we cannot fail; we will toil, we will work, using the talents that God has given us, for those who are so dear to us."

"We will, we will, my own dear Hester!' Yet Margaret sighed, as she looked on Hester's delicate form, and on the slender fingers twined so lovingly round her neck. Suddenly stooping, she whispered in her sister's' ear, causing her to start, and exclaim as she drew herself up proudly, and then the rich colour rushed into her face and brow

"Frank Lester false! rather could I believe that the ocean would cease to ebb and flow; no, Margaret, no! This will be his answer" Though the world frown upon you, I will not shrink; though your home be ever so humble-though there should be but a cup of water and a crust, I will share it with you." Thus would I have spoken to Frank Lester, and so will Frank Lester speak to me. How could you do him such injustice?' and she paced the room with a flushed cheek and flashing eye. Suddenly she stopped, and said

spreading cedar, until lost from view; again emerging from clusters of reeds and blue forget-me-nots, then finally disap pearing under the arch of a rustic bridge Here were gnarled trunks of ancient oaks and chestnuts, shining like silver in the clear moonlight; there patches of fern scarcely concealing the antlered deer that lay amongst them. Even the roses that climbed the balcony, as it were, to kiss the feet of the fair sisters, received a new charm from their dewy petals sparkling in the lucid ray.

5070 197

"Margaret, were it not for the sake of others, I would rejoice at this misfortune it will be the means of proving Frank's truth and honour. Well I know that they will bear the test, and shine forth pure as gold from the crucible-but,' and she shuddered, if he should fail, then farewell faith, hope, and love! But no, Margaret, you have been over-hasty and unjust.'

"Forgive me, Hester, I did but fear"Forgive, Margaret! What is there you would do that I should not forgive; 'twas but your love for me that conjured up the phantom of distrust; so not another word: see, dearest sister,'-and as she spoke she drew aside the drapery of the window-loved stream. "let us not disregard so fair a scene.'

"I weep not, Hester, so much for the luxuries that surround us, but that we shall no more wander beneath those trees, listening to the song of birds, gathering wild flowers, marking the squirrel leaping from bough to bough, or the deer rustling through the glade; that we shall not tend the flowers our hands have planted; that this must be the home of strangers; that the place that knows us now, and has known us so long, shall know us no more. But enough of this; let us pray to God to give us and our dear parents sufficient strength to bear the trials that He has, no doubt wisely,

ordained for us.'


"In a few days after this conversation they left the home of their childhood the world all before them. Only those who have experienced a like trial can imagine the deep grief in which the sisters wan dered from room to room for the last time, gazing on old familiar objects their house hold gods. For the last time! what' thoughts that expression conjures up; they sought each well-known spot, where when children, they had decked themselves with wreaths of the wild hop and honey. suckle; and in a secluded dell, screened by the old ancestral oaks, they mingled their tears with the waters of the much





quod od 15. "We follow them to their new home. I a small room, meanly furnished, sat, the sisters, the face of the elder wearing deeper and more thoughtful expression than before, while from thats of the younger youth and hope seemed fled for ever Margaret's forebodings were, alasto

& 66
"Well might Hester call it fair. The
moon was pouring down a flood of light
on a wooded landscape. Glancing in her
beams, a rivulet, its tiny showers of spray
falling into the cups of the water-lilies that
bloomed luxuriantly on its clear bosom,
brawled and gurgled round the roots of a

"Look, Margaret;' but Margaret's head was drooping, and tears filled her eyes. You weep, dear Margaret, to leave such a home as this."


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


true: the lover had been tried in the balance' with adversity, and found wanting.' Margaret had observed his increasing coolness day by day, and though she inwardly chafed and grieved, was powerless, for Hester either could not or would not see it. At last a letter arrived, telling her the unwelcome and unvarnished truth, levelling to the dust her air-built fabric of hope and love, Her agony was fearful-it had now softened down to a listless state of life-weariness. At first, Margaret måde every endeavour to soothe-now she tried to reason with her. Hester,' she said, with tearful eyes and tremulous voice, 'Hester, dear, listen to me.'

"I hear, Margaret, I hear,' was the reply; but the averted head and vacant look contradicted the words she uttered. "Hester, you remember what you


"Yes, yes,' (impatiently,) 'too well, too well-it is cruel to recal the past!'

"I mean, Hester dear, when you saidWe will toil, we will work:'-at these words Hester started up, shook her dishevelled hair, and, with a crimson cheek, exclaimed

"Shame! shame on me! that I have thought on none but him, so selfishly, that I have had no concern for the griefs of others though deserted and spurned by one, I have not appreciated the worth of the true hearts still left to me. Forgive me, dearest Margaret. You know how I loved. I could have died for him; and oh! the bitter agony of finding the idol I had worshipped crumbling to dust at the mere breath of misfortune-but now the past shall be as a dream.'


“Margaret, in a transport of grief and joy, sprang to Hester, embraced and kissed her, and, while the hot tears fell on her sister's neck, exclaimed I have prayed nightly and daily for this-that you would cast from your heart one unworthy of so pure a shrine. Dearest Hester, you will yet be happy. Think, oh! think, how utterly wretched you would have been, if, when his wife, you had discovered that it was your gold that had won him to your side Table ME It would have crushed me to the earth; better, far better, as it is although I cannot forget, yet I will strive to conquer my feelings.ble 919W

29 od 1


[ocr errors]

"Hester kept her word; probably the necessity for exertion lightened the weight of sorrow which had well nigh overwhelmed her. Though her step was less buoyant, and her smile less frequent than of yore, still she was comparatively happy. Under her care the humble abode of her parents became a model of comfort and neatness. It was her hands that papered the bare walls, and adorned them with her own drawings; it was her hands that festooned the snowy curtains inside, and trained up the clustering rose outside of the humble lattice; it was her hands that decked the mantelshelf with flowers of her own rais.. ing, and kept the little garden neat and trim. Relieved by occupation, the colour once more returned to her cheek, and the sparkle to her eye; and, ere long, one truly worthy of her-one who had loved, but kept aloof when fortune smiled-now wooed and won her, and became the star of Hester's destiny, shining brightly ever after."

[blocks in formation]
« السابقةمتابعة »