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NAMES OF CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS VOLUME.

"A. G.," Author of “ Among the Mountains," &c. MacMahon, Rev. J. H. Arnot, Rev. William.

Marsden, Rev. J. B. Author of “Tales and Sketches of Christian Monsell, Rev. J. S. B. Life."

Morris, Rev. F. O., Author of "A History of Author of “Woodleigh IIouse."

British Birds,” &c. Balfour, Mrs. Clara L.

M. L. B. Bullock, Rev. Charles.

Owen, Rev. J. B. Bullock, H. Brame.

Ragg, Rev. T., Author of “ Creation's Testimony Burritt, Elihu.

to its God." C. A. H. B.

Ripon, Dean of. Christophers, Rev. S. W., Author of "Hymn Robertson, T. Stewart. Writers and their Hymns."

Rogers, Rev. G. Albert. “ Clarence.”

Round, 0, s.
Cork, Right Reverend the Lord Bishop of. Ryle, Rev. J. C.
Ellis, Mrs., Authoress of “The Women of Eng- Seymour, Rev. M. Hobart.
land,” &c.

Stone, Rev. S. J.
Emly, Dean of.

Stowe, Mrs. H. Beecher. Gough, B., Author of “Lyra Sabbatica," &c.

Taylor, Isaac. Hall, Mrs. S. C.

Wainwright, Rev. S., Author of “Christian Hone, Archdeacon.

Certainty,” &c. Kinloch, Lord.

Walker, Rev. S. A. Maguire, Rev. R.

Wood, Rev. John C.

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OUROWNFIRE.

HOME LITERATURE 22for the Christian Family

The Christian Home.

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OR,

PRAISE AND BLAME.

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BY MRS. ELLIS, AUTHORESS OF THE WOMEN OF ENGLAND,” ETC.
CHAPTER I.

her lost son will come back again from seaOME out into the garden, child,” that perhaps he may be on board one of

said Mr. Anderson to his niece, those vessels, and so will see her signal on "and I'll show you a curious the cliff.”

sight. Look yonder, along the “Perhaps it makes her happy to think cliff, where the sun is shining so brightly, so," observed the child. and the tide washing up in silver foam “I dare say it does make her happy," amongst the crags. Do you see something replied Mr. Anderson; “but she is a very white ?"

foolish old creature, or she never would “Like a flag waving ?” asked the little

expect to see her son again. Why, it is at girl, who looked earnestly towards the place least fifteen years since he went away, and pointed out by her uncle.

ten or twelve, I understand, since the vessel Yes, like a flag,” he replied. “An old

was heard of." woman lives there in a cottage on the cliff- “Oh," said the child, “but he may be on a foolish old woman, who waves her white some island, like Robinson Crusoe, or in apron in the air whenever she sees a ship some prison or hospital, or among savage sailing past.”

people who will not let him go. I would do " What does she do that for?” inquired the same. I would never give him up the child, wondering exceedingly; "and why without really knowing that he was dead. is she foolish ?"

I would do just the same as that woman “She waves her apron,” said the gentle- does; because, you know—perhaps-perman, "in order that it may be seen by those haps he may come back at last.” on board the ship; and she is foolish, because Margaret spoke so earnestly, still stretchsite continues to expect, year after year, that ing her gaze into the far distance, and she laid

A

to

such stress upon the words which implied a even to herself, and consequently such as possibility of the wanderer's return, that her admitted of no definite expression uncle turned and looked into the little serious others. face of his niece, and there he saw for the When labouring under these fits of befirst time an expression which indicated a

wilderment, Mrs. Anderson was apt to grow kind of far-reaching thought, beyond what impatient with her niece, thinking her both is usually found in the happy heedless coun- silly and stupid, and, what is very provotenance of childhood.

king to practical people, absent, wandering, Margaret indeed was already past the age and dreamy. Certain subjects, too, would of absolute childhood. She had attained the sometimes take entire possession of little dignity of a little maiden of twelve years' Margaret's mind for days and weeks toexperience; but she had never, up to this gether; and as these were often such as her time, distinguished herself by saying or aunt did not consider worth thinking about doing anything very remarkable, either at at all, many vain endeavours were made to home or at school. Nobody thought much call her mentally into the business occuabout her beyond the few kind relatives pations of the moment, and to drive away who regarded her with compassionate in altogether those absorbing matters upon terest as an orphan child. Amongst these, which she would still ponder in secret, after her Uncle and Aunt Anderson were the prac- she had found them annoying and vexatious tical caretakers. They had, in fact, adopted to her aunt. Such proved to be the case the child into their family, and having no with the old woman watching and waiting children of their own, were prepared in all for her son, and waving her signal to respects to supply, to the best of their ability, every passing ship, however distant it might the loss of her own parents.

be. When first left motherless, Margaret was "My dear,” Mrs. Anderson was obliged too young to understand her loss; but on to say at last, “don't tease me any more the death of her father, a few years later, about that poor crazy woman. I am tired she was for some time inconsolable. She of her very name. Everybody knows she is and her father had in a manner grown to- only a stupid, silly old creature. Her son gether, as a widower and his one child will never come now. How should he? He sometimes do; and being a man of amiable was shipwrecked and drowned long ago." as well as truly Christian spirit, the father And then little Margaret would again ask, had imparted many of his own opinions, and though in a low quiet way, “Does anybody even principles, to his little daughter, almost know, so as to be quite sure, that he really unconsciously to himself, and at the time was drowned ?" Indeed, she would not give entirely so to her.

the matter up; and in spite of all that her Could the mind of the child have been aunt and people generally said about the examined, and rightly understood, at this poor woman and her crazy notions, a kind period of her life, it would have been found of mysterious reverence for her grew in the to be the subject of strong and indelible im- mind of the child, who, on some occasions pressions in relation to things as yet dimly, of dispute, even showed symptoms of leaning if at all, comprehended. The impressions to the idea that old Peggy was the wise themselves were true and deep, but their real woman, and her accusers foolish. meaning and their just application remained Altogether life was becoming, about this to be explained by the after-circumstances time, a great mystery to little Margaret. of life. They were like the alphabet of a She found it impossible to reconcile people's language which can only be truly read in sayings and doings with those rules which the book of experience. Thus it was that her father had impressed upon her mind as the child would sometimes appear old beyond the right rules to live by. About faith he her years; while at other times her thoughts had said a great deal to her, and had enappeared to be confused, incomprehensible deavoured to make her understand not only the true meaning, but the right application them; and, beyond this, they were almost of that word, by many explanations which painfully solicitous neither to trouble nor she remembered distinctly; but how to use offend any one, scarcely even venturing the word, and to use it rightly, was the cause so far as to be of a different opinion from of much perplexity to her young mind; and those to whom they looked as the highest especially so in relation to the strange woman authorities in matters social, political, and in her solitary cottage on the cliff. On this religious. “Excellent people” they were subject, then, she inwardly resolved to seize called. Let us call them at present simply the first opportunity which might occur for good and kind, a distinction which they seeing and judging for herself; for why the richly deserved, because they had adopted mother should be called crazy, foolish, or their little orphan niece, and were really obstinate, for persisting in the belief that caring for her as if she had been their own her son would return, Margaret was at a

child. loss to imagine.

It may readily be supposed, from the strict “The place is not far off; I will see her and rather narrow line of respectability which some day," said the child to herself; and in these worthy people marked out for thomthe meantime she formed many plans for selves, that they were guilty of no extravacarrying out her purpose, none of which she gance either in word or act.

They had communicated either to her uncle or aunt. perhaps a little tendency to look rather Very naturally, she did not wish them to go sharply after receiving their money's worth with her. She wanted to see the woman by for their money; and they wondered exceedherself, and for herself. There was, besides, ingly at others, and sometimes blamed them, this feeling operating with her, which comes if they did not do the same. It must in from living with kind people whose ideas justice be said of them, however, that their and modes of reasoning and feeling all run household and personal arrangements were in a very different channel from our own, conducted on an extremely comfortable, if that we learn in time to be quiet, and to not a liberal scale. Their residence, when dwell in silence upon our favourite thoughts, at home, was the very neatest and most comrather than bring them forward to be con- plete of suburban villas, situated within a stantly found fault with, or treated with mile of a genteel county town in the south contempt. I say kind people, because if of England. Here it was generally remarked they are not kind and good, we care less of them that they had the best of everything; about carrying on a battle of opinions with and in having always the best, Mr. and Mrs. them; but with the kind and good, such Anderson considered that they had their battles are always painful; and Margaret, money's worth for their money. though naturally persistent in whatever As already said, these worthy people were notions she took up, owed too much to her not backward in relieving cases of distress, worthy relatives, not to be a little careful where they had reason to feel sure that their how she annoyed or vexed them.

kindness was well deserved, and that their Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were extremely charity would be well spent. But then they kind and good people in their way; and it must be very sure on these points; and the was a very common and very generally ap- necessity of making themselves so, involved proved way—just that way which a large them in so many curious investigations reproportion of our friends and neighbours specting people's character, conduct, and would speak of as the best way. At all events, modes of living, so far as to ascertain what it looked outwardly to be a very safe way. they did with their money when they got it, They were highly respectable people, did and what they had done on former occasions nothing new or eccentric, took care of their when receiving help from others, that the own, subscribed largely to public charities, result was far from satisfactory to their own and even in private would assist others when minds, or beneficial to their own habits of quite sure that it was right and safe to assist thought and feeling. As is too frequently the case in pursuing such minute and per- adventures of seafaring life, and could most sonal investigations, these good people, being of them tell of themselves or their relatives often vexed and disappointed, became in stories quite as extraordinary, and many of time more and more disposed to put their them more disastrous, than those of the hands into their pockets without drawing mother and her long-expected sailor son. If anything out.

at any time they singled out this woman to This also was a mystery to Margaret, and speak of her as remarkable, they did so with it perplexed her beyond measure. Her father less of contempt for her harmless delusion, had been a country curate, with a very than of respect for her great faith. To them limited income; and yet she had a strong there was a touch of sacredness in this enconviction that he did more good with his during faith; for Peggy was a God-fearing, small means than her uncle and aunt with prayerful woman, and her life had been not their abundance. She had another strong only unselfishly devoted to those whom she conviction in her mind. It was that if her loved, but innocent of offence to all. Hence father had possessed mines of wealth, he the worst they ever said of her, when they would have been always helping others with saw her white signal waving from the cliff, it, always making somebody happy, doing was, “Poor thing! she'll never see him more and more good. It had been Mar- again; but it pleases her, and keeps her garet's glory at all times, and occasionally heart up to think he'll come back, and I her boast among her young friends at the wouldn't like to be the one to undeceive boarding-school to which she had been sent her." by her uncle, that her father had helped On first arriving at this place, the rough many poor people out of his small means. manners and outspokon words of the people But now, in her present home, when she rather startled Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, but spoke of these things, her worthy relatives they soon learned to understand that no would sigh as if they pitied some weakness offence was intended by such plainness; and in her father; or, if she pushed the matter by degrees they came to believe and trust in too far, they would give utterance to words these homely people more than in those to that were very hard for her to bear. So, on whose comparatively polished manners they this point, as well as on many others, Mar- had been accustomed on the southern coast. garet grew silent, and kept her feelings to That which reconciled them more to this herself ; but on this point she was especially place, however, was the near neighbourhood perplexed.

of an old friend and distant relative of Mr. It was now the summer holiday time with Anderson's, who had come with his wife and Margaret. Her uncle and aunt had come, family, like themselves, for the sake of as was their habit every year, to spend a quiet. month or two beside the sea; and this time This friend, Mr. Dunlop, had been for they had chosen a place that was now and many years a resident in Canada. There he strange to them all. It was further north, had married a wife much younger than himwilder in scenery, and much more retired self; and finally settling there upon an exthan any to which they had been accustomed. tensive farm, was now a prosperous man The manners of the people were more rough with a large family of what Mr. and Mrs. and free, and their characters perhaps a Anderson thought must be very ill-managed shade or two more strongly marked. Hence and turbulent children, judging by the specithe peculiarities of old Peggy Rushton, her men of three boys whom they had brought openly avowed confidence that her son would with them. Indeed, they were supposed by return, and her habit of hoisting her white this sedate and orderly couple to be living in apron for a signal, were regarded as nothing their Canadian home in a somewhat wild to wonder at by her neighbours, who being and scrambling way, with very little idea of chiefly a population of fishermen, with their comfort; but they might be worthy people wives and families, were not strangers to the for all that; to which charitable allowance

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