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Mrs. Blount said not a word, she evidently shrank from the task she had to do, and I ventured, by way of opening, to say, "I fear, Amelia, we can hardly call this a little illness, for you know Miss Anne has had two of your sisters to sit up with her for three nights past.”
Mrs. Blount, thrown off her guard, exclaimed, “Is it possible ?" and I instantly felt, that by thus betraying Amelia's neglect to her friend, I had given her great pain, which I would not have done for the world, at such a time. I had only intended to bring her mind to dwell on her sister's illness.
She looked astonished at my speech, and deeply annoyed, then walked up to the window, where I was standing, and began to draw up the blind, at the same time whispering a few words to me which showed high irritation.
I was so shocked at the mistake I had made, that full of pity for her, I burst into tears, and at the same moment Mrs. Blount, taking her hand, said gravely, “My dear Amelia.” This action, and the sight of our faces, on which she had thrown light, (the room being previously dusk,) instantly opened her mind, and she cried out that she was sure Anne was dying. We did not contradict her, but led her down to the carriage, and Mrs. Blount went with her to rejoin her afflicted family.
She was away more than an hour, and when she returned, told me that Amelia went into hysterics directly she entered the house. "I was sorry," she continued, “that she could not command herself, for the sisters ran down instantly, and entreated her to be calm, and not to let Anne hear the noise, for her life hung on a thread, and the first shock would kill her. It made a great confusion,” said Mrs. Blount," and I felt very sorry that I had been the cause of Amelia's being from home at such a time; but I assured her sisters I had not the slightest idea there was anything more the matter than a feverish cold, or I should never have thought of taking her away, even if she had wished it. They presently went up-stairs again. Poor things ! how sad and worn out they looked. I sat with Amelia as she lay on the sofa, and she showed a degree of shrinking from seeing her sister that surprised me very much. I should have thought affection would have overpowered any weak terrors at being present during painful scenes. She then said she had told the youngest of the sisters that I had come under her care; and altogether the sight of sorrow had brought out all the real kindness of her nature, and made her receive me, an almost stranger, with such a welcoming hospitality, that I felt quite comfortable and easy with her, and could even tell her how miserable I had felt under the idea of
being palmed off upon her in such a way as almost to oblige her to receive me.
She laughed, and said, “My dear, you don't understand my nature. I love all young things, and like to have them depending on me, and, in fact, I do want something to do ; something to occupy me. If I had had a large family I should have been a different creature."
I could not but feel surprised ; and wondered that this elegant and high-born woman should talk thus to a girl like me. Perhaps she perceived it, but instead of checking herself, she explained her meaning further, telling me that her one child was her late husband's heiress, and that he had left so many directions, so many guardians, trustees, &c., that she found herself left with very little power over her child. “ And then, between the governess and the nurse,” she added, in a plaintive tone, " there never seems to be anything for me to do for my darling, but to play with her." I thought I would send away the governess if I were in the mother's place, but of course I did not say so, but went to bed very much relieved to find that Mrs. Blount was delighted to have me under her patronage, and very much pleased with Dr. W. for having placed me there.
After breakfast the next morning we walked to my late abode to inquire for Miss Anne. The shutters were not closed, and a servant told us that she still lived, that Dr. W. had seen her again, and had expressed surprise that she had lasted so long.
It was affecting to see the orphan girl whom Anne had befriended sitting crying on the steps, and bemoaning her benefactress. « I ha'nt time to see after flowers,” said Mary, who looked pale and tired, “it's not to be expected.”
“No,” said Mrs. Blount, "but as the garden is at the back of the house, and not overlooked from the sick-room, I think there would be no harm in our passing through the kitchen and gathering these violets.”
The servant assented respectfully ; and I could not but admire the kindness of Mrs. Blount; she could easily have given the orphan girl the shilling for which she would have sold these violets, but by this better plan she provided that the dying woman's charity should extend to the last hour of her life.
We found the leaves of these plants already drooping, and the violets hanging their heads, for they require much care and regular watering ; but we gathered all, and made them up under the trees; we then came softly back to the house, an were met by Fanny, who said Miss Amelia would
We found her languid and miserable, her face disfigured by crying. “They have promised to call me if there is the slightest change,” she said ;' "and my feelings are so acute, that I cannot stand by and see her suffer as they can. I am sure she suffers greatly. One of them is always fanning her, and another holding up her head.”
I am sure Amelia was not at all aware that there was any selfishness in this speech ; and when Mrs. Blount said gently, “Don't you think, dear, you could fan your sister for awhile, it may be a pleasure to you afterwards to think you have done something for her?” she said, “ You don't know what it is; she-she-gasps so, poor thing that it perfectly overcomes me ;” and then she covered her face with her hands, and began to weep afresh,
Mrs. Blount did not say a word ; and I inquired how her sisters were.
“ They look ready to drop, ma'am,” said . Fanny, who just then came in with a note of inquiry," but they won't leave the room ; they've eaten nothing since last night at supper-time, and then Mary and me carried them up some sandwiches, and begged of them to eat them, and they came out one by one, and ate them on the stairs."
"Surely such great exertion and fatigue cannot be need. ful,” said Mrs. Blount, quite shocked.
"Poor ladies, they'll soon have rest,” whispered Fanny, "and poor Miss Anne needs a wonderful deal of waiting on.”
Hearing a step on the stairs, we then hastily withdrew, and as we went home no comment whatever was made by either, on the things we had witnessed ; but Mrs. Blount induced me to tell her all I knew of Miss Anne's charities, and said that when she was gone the poor orphan should not want a friend.
In the afternoon we again went to look at the house. The sun was shining full upon it, but not within it, for the shutters were closed.
WOMEN IN CHINA.
A STRIKING feature in the Chinese social state is the degraded condition of the female sex. Women are not allowed to eat with men, nor sit at table with them. I have often seen a man walking along the road and his wife walking behind him. She plants her feet in his footsteps, and he converses with her over his shoulder. A woman who can read is regarded as a phenome
It is said that perhaps one in ten thousand is able to read. There are myriads of schools for boys, and many colleges for young men, but there is no educational provision for the female sex.
The birth of a girl is accounted a misfortune. The acmé of a Chinaman’s felicity is to have five sons and two daughters. When a man is asked by a friend how many honourable sons, or ling longs he has got, he replies, in a strain of oriental hyperbole and deep humility, that he has got so many, perhaps it may be only one, whom he calls an insignificant little bug:' But he never mentions his daughters, nor does his friend allude to the possibility of their existence. A Chinese novel represents a miscreant cursed by heaven, and although pronounced unworthy to have sons, still he has several daughters born to him. I have read another book written by one of the sages, in which he speaks compassionately of daughters as inferior beings. “Still,” he says, monkeys and parrots to imitate certain actions, and so it is possible to teach girls something too."
Of late years a few schools have been opened for females among the most opulent people in Canton. This is a hopeful sign. Ladies are occasionally to be found learned in ancient lore. A recent governor of Canton had an accomplished daughter, a hundred of
you can teach
whose verses were published by her father after her death. A talented lady, named Soo-Hwuy, who lived in the year B. C. 250, wrote more than five thousand
Nothing from her pen remains except a beautiful ode, addressed to her husband, who had been banished to Elé. The following are a few of the stanzas :
“One time to be the deep-sea moon I much desire, And then to be the cloud upon the mountain's brow is
my heart's wish; For the lofty clouds, year by year, behold the face of my
husband, As doth the deep-sea moon, when shining down upon the
* For the cloud flying here and there reaches my beloved's
place, And the moon ten thousand miles afar can discern thy
face. Far, far distant from me, divided by impassable moun
tains, Do I bemoan my lord, who has been so long beyond the
" I feel that your present love for me is stable as the hills, And my thoughts from you, my lord, for a moment never
stray ; I therefore wrote this letter, and present it to his imperial
majesty, Beseeching him to free my husband, that he may quickly
return to me."