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The great book of nature, with its living pictures, is always open, and we will teach her to read in it with us; and from the book of life, the word of God, we will gather, day by day, lessons, which, even before she can find them there herself, if we are but faithful, her heart will read in our example. This is my system.
In answer to Edward's letter, informing Mr. Roberts of the birth of their child, he received a letter from him, telling him of the death of his father, and the dangerous illness of his wife. Anxiously, and with an aching heart, did Amy open every letter from New York, till that came, giving the blessed news of the safety of her friend, and of her restoration to reason.
The weeks passed rapidly, and Fanny's letter arrived, saying she was well enough to see her friend, and urging her to come immediately. A short postscript was added to it, requesting Amy to bring all the letters which she had received from her since her residence in New York.
All Amy's arrangements for leaving home were made, and Ruth had come to receive her parting directions, as the next day was to make her sole manager.
“ Are you not afraid, ma’am, to go to-morrow?” said Ruth, with a portentous look.
Why, Ruth, should I fear going to-mor
“ You know it says in the almanac, that there will be an eclipse of the sun."
“ Then I shall have a fine opportunity of seeing it, in the steamboat. Why, Ruth, should we fear an eclipse?"
“I am no coward, ma'am. I have lived too long in the woods to be scared at an owl; but I never saw any good come of eclipses, or comets, neither, and I do feel a kind o chicken-hearted about your going, Mrs. Selmar, that's a fact; and I shall feel dreadful lonesome without you and the dear babe."
Amy replied that they should return in a few days. She gave her some further directions, and told her that she had nothing more to say. “I know you will take good care of my father, Ruth I trust all to you.”
Ruth still lingered. It was evident she had something weighing heavily on her mind.
At last, she took courage, and began.
“There is something else that I feel rather ugly about, ma'am. I wanted just to speak a word to you about it before you went; but I am afraid you'll think it ridiculous."
“What is it, Ruth ?” said Amy, very kindly.
Why, ma'am,” said Ruth, hanging her head one side, and pulling out her fingers, one after another, to their full length, "you know the old saying, There's ne'er a Jack without a Jill; and Jerry has, somehow or other, thrown dust in my, eyes, so that I don't see but what, for want of a better, I may about as well take up with him for a beau.”
Amy found it hard to keep her countenance during this explanation.
“Do you mean, Ruth, that you intend to marry Jerry ?”
“I know it seems ridiculous, ma'am; but I have, if the upshot of it must be told, come to the conclusion, that I might go further and fare worse; and I have as good as told Jerry so.”
“But do you love Jerry, Ruth?”
Why, I guess I kind o' love him. I tell him that bad's the best of the men-folks; but I rather guess I set more by him than by any other of his specie, though he is so short."
“But are you sure, Ruth, that you shall be happier with Jerry than you are with me? Do you love him enough to trust yourself to him ? "
“Why, ma'am, nothing in life is certain but death ; but I feel sure enough for my own satis
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faction; and, you know, nothing venture, nothing have. The long and the short of it is, if you approve, I expect I shall marry Jerry."
“I shall certainly be sorry to lose you, Ruth; but, if you are really attached to Jerry, and feel sure that you will be happier with him, I shall be very glad for your sake. But a woman ought to be very cautious to whom she binds herself for Jife.”
“Yes, ma'am,” said Ruth. “I have always thought that the girls who marry, as some of our girls do, your outlandish foreigners, who have no manners, were served right for their folly; but Jerry is one of our own folks.”
“ It seems to me, Ruth,” said Amy, “I have
whether a beau suits me.
If he won't let me have my own way, in the matter of talking and laughing, how should he in any other? And the truth is, he is as patient as Job with me, when I take to my funning ways.
“But I hope, Ruth, that is not your object in marrying Jerry, — to have your own way. He may also like his way, and you will quarrel.”
“We shall both have our own way, ma'am. It takes two to make a quarrel, and I never mean to be one. I guess we shall be peaceable enough.
I always thought it was ridiculous for married folks to quarrel."
“Is Jerry a religious man, Ruth ?”
“ You may be sure enough of that, ma'am, or I should never have taken a shine to him. It's not a fair bargain between man and wife, when one lives for time, and the other for eternity.”
“ And you are sure, Ruth, that you have well considered what you are doing, in promising to marry Jerry ?” asked Amy.
My maxim, ma'am,” said Ruth, “is, be slow in choosing a friend, but slower still in giving him up."
Amy perceived that Ruth's mind was made up; and as she believed Jerry was a good fellow, and as she saw that Ruth was really attached to him, she not only expressed her approbation, which she knew was what Ruth desired, but the great pleasure she felt at the thought that she would have a faithful and affectionate friend, who would stand by her through life.
Amy and her husband and child arrived safely, at the appointed time, at New York; and the friends met with that indescribable, almost painful delight which we ever feel at meeting with one whom we have loved from our earliest childhood, and from whom we have fondly thought and hoped, in our childish faith, never to part.