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CHAPTER II.
MONG the many delusions of

Peggy Rushton's mind, it was
not unusual with her to believe

that she saw, from the vessels passing in the distance, some signal answering to her own. On the occasion of Margaret's visit, however, there was no pleasing conviction of this kind, and she ceased at length from her fruitless demonstrations with a sigh so heavy that it seemed to bear the whole burden of a desponding heart. Lowering her ensign, and coming down from her elevated position, she supk back again mentally, as well as bodily, into the languor of her lonely and squalid existence.

On turning away from this position to enter her cottage, Peggy was surprised, and at first not very well pleased, to find a stranger seated upon the stone beside her door. No one likes to be detected in a disappointment. We may tell of our disappointments after they are over, although this is not always pleasant; but to find a living witness on the spot-one who can testify to the failure of our hopes--is more than it can be expected of human nature to bear with complacently; and Peggy Rushton, on this occasion, took little pains to conceal her annoyance.

But the face of little Margaret was of itself eminently calculated for turning away wrath; and when she rose from her low seat with a respectful salutation, which she

was always ready to offer to the poor as well as the rich, Peggy accepted the rare tribute, and walked into her cottage with something like an air of satisfaction.

“I have come to ask you to let me rest myself,” said Margaret, trying her best at

apology; but she was suddenly checked and confounded by the searching eye of the woman, who, turning upon her, said hastily, “I don't believe you there. You may be tired, for it's a good stretch from the town down yonder. But I know what you came for; you came to see a crazy old woman that people talk about because they have nothing else to do. But they'll find out some time that Peggy Rushton hasn't been 80 crazy as they thought. Mind my words, child. I liked the looks of you at first; but I don't like your words—they're not true. I know what you came for. Now don't I?”

"I believe you are right,” replied Margaret, looking a little ashamed. indeed I was tired, and I did want to rest, or I would not have said so.

"Well, child,” said the woman, “you are tired, I dare say. There's a deal to tire one, day and night, take the year through." And so saying, she sunk down almost groaning into an old arm-chair, beckoning Margaret to be seated by the window of the cottage overlooking the sea. she then went on, almost like one in a dream, “he may come any minute. I must always be ready, and I find the window convenient for looking out. I've his bod

" But

" You see,”

a

see,

ready, too;" and she pointed to a little inner some sure foundation to rest upon. What apartment, in which Margaret could just foundation had this poor woman's faith? All see, through a partly opened door, some probability, nay, even all evidence was

, curtains of white dimity, enclosing a bed against it. But so was the evidence in the stead which had been kept ready-and, alas! case of removing mountains, she thought, for vacant-for fifteen years.

who had ever seen a mountain so removed ? “He was a nice little fellow," said she, | Only there was the Saviour's own assurance and the mother dwelt fondly on the word here. Had this poor woman ever had any " little." "He was a nice little fellow when direct assurance ? Margaret wondered. he went away; but, deary me! he'll be a Under the teaching of her father, in whoso full-grown man by this time; and I often infallibility Margaret devoutly believed, she think whether that bedstead will do for had learned much even at this early stage him. I have my doubts-serious doubts- of her experience; and that which she had as to the length. His father stood full six learned from him she was always ready to feet in his stockings, and I'm not short, you communicate to others, perhaps with a little

But maybe there'll be time after he more confidence than appeared quite becom. lands. There's often a deal to do about | ing in a child. She was only confident, landing, and that. But you see one wouldn't however, thus far—that in coming from her like not to be ready, so I do what I can.” father, she felt sure it must be not only wise

And thus the poor woman rambled on, as and good, but perfectly incontrovertible. she had lately fallen into the habit of doing, Hence the child appeared at times, and talking to herself, or rather thinking aloud, especially to those who did not underas people are apt to do who live alone, stand her, a little pertinacious and arguespecially those people whe dwell continually mentative, if not even worse; though all the upon one idea, and always follow out one while, in regard to her own opinions, or train of thought. So little, indeed, after

So little, indeed, after rather opinions emanating from herself, she once going off in this strain, did she appear was modest in the extreme-modest as all to regard the presence of her visitor, that earnestly inquiring people are, and at this Margaret felt no inclination to offer any in- period of her life Margaret was simply an terruption by remarks of her own. She had | inquirer. been secretly impelled by a desire to see She was indeed an inquirer on this occathis woman, and, if possible, to become ac- sion, and a deeply interested one, into the quainted with her in her true character. grounds of that faith by which the solitary She had nothing to ask, or to tell, herself. woman had been so long supported. But She only wanted to see and hear, and in further examination of the subject, fact to understand the nature of a life which Margaret was a little disappointed. That seemed so strange, so full of interest to one earnest and untiring belief on the part of who was just beginning earnestly to inquire the mother which she had felt disposed to about the ways of God towards the children regard with reverence, did not appear, on a of men. All that Margaret desired in the closer inspection, to be exactly what she had present instance, therefore, was to keep the imagined it to be; and her moral sense was poor woman talking and telling about her- perhaps a little shocked to find in it someself, and about those impressions which held thing more like a blind and obstinate asher mind in a state of fixed and unwavering surance that a certain event would, and must belief, notwithstanding her many disappoint- come to pass, because it had been so earnestly ments.

desired, and importunately prayed for. Was this the kind of faith, Margaret Peggy Rushton was not a stranger to secretly asked and wondered, which her prayer, nor to certain religious influences father had so often endeavoured to explain to and observances, though to what extent her her? If so, it must have its reward. But, heart and life had been brought under such again, that faith, she rather suspected, had | influences, it might have been difficult to

are

determine. There was certainly but little some way; but gives us perhaps something evidence in her accustomed mode of speech else very different—something that we don't of that spirit which is easily entreated, and wish for at all, but which is far better for which raunteth not itself.

In the great

us really. Ho used to say that a father occupation and purpose of her life, she was likes to be told and asked about things by rather resolute and confident that she should his children; and that if I told him I was be rewarded, and ought to be rewarded, for thirsty, and asked very earnestly for a glass her long watching and belief; and she spoke of wine, he should most likely give me a on the present occasion with so much of this glass of water as much better for me; but in her tone and manner, that Margaret ven- he should give it to me because I asked him tured at length to say, “Papa used to tell

all the same.

And so does our heavenly me we were not always to expect that we Father give us His good gifts, though they should have all that we prayed for. I re- often

very

different from what we should member I once prayed for what was impos- like to have." sible, and he told me that was wrong.”

“Was it your father," asked Peggy, "that “And who was your papa, as you call you said was a clergyman ?” him?" asked Peggy rather sharply.

“Yes,”replied Margaret, a little surprised, "He was a clergyman, the curate of Clif- and the more so that she observed a very tonbury; and oh, such a good man!” replied peculiar expression on the woman's face. the child.

"Humph!" said Peggy; "I should have "Well,” observed the woman rather con- thought it had been yourself." temptuously, “that may be all true enough, Peggy Rushton never liked to be dictated and I'm glad to hear that he was a good to; and on the present occasion it must bo man; but his sayings are no rule to me, for confessed that this was not the only symptom all that."

she betrayed of considerable impatience while "Not his own sayings, perhaps,” replied Margaret was delivering her little sermonMargaret; “but he knew the Bible so well; a kind of discourse which Peggy regarded and all that he taught came directly out of as at once beneath the range of her capacity, that Book."

and remote from the sphere of her experience. "And I've my Bible, too,” said Peggy, Like most enthusiasts, she looked upon her pointing to the well-worn volume on a shelf own individual case as peculiar, and not to beside her fireplace. “I could tell you be reached by any of the common and familiar

.

" chapter and verse as well as most o' them modes of reasoning-especially not to be clergy.” It was scarcely necessary to tell reached by the reasoning and dictation of a her of her one-sided way of reading her child; and thus the impression produced was Bible-how she selected and appropriated far from being such as the little preacher had those passages which confirmed her one intended. Peggy was highly offended; for established conviction, and how she neglected was she not a woman set apart, with a difmuch, if not all, that would have corrected ferent lot from other women, and altogether her blind belief that she had a right to be removed from them in the dealings of a mysrewarded.

terious Providence towards herself? Why, Margaret, always strong in what her father then, was she to be talked to by any onehad taught her, took courage, and went on: more than all by a child—as if she did not "Papa used to say that when we prayed for know her portion as it was dealt out to hor, a thing, and it did not come as we wished, and her own part in it? Peggy was highly we were not to think God did not accept our offended. prayers—that He hears our words, and sees

es Margaret felt this, and was beginning to our thoughts, and knows all our situation, offer some apology for having spoken on and what will harm us, and what will do us serious subjects at such length to ono so good; and sometimes does not give us what many years older than herself, when sudwe pray for because it would hurt us in denly her ear was caught by a distant sound,

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