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mate of this office, and of the people at large, has changed since I left the city. In cities, public officers are chosen simply for their politics ; in country towns, something more is required : if they are not moral and religious men, there are many who will not vote for them. My love and reverence for human nature have much increased during our residence in the country.”
“Do tell them about the church steeple,” said Fanny. “But where is Mrs. Hawkins ? she is so modest she will very like think we don't want her.”
Fanny went out, and in a moment returned with the good housekeeper.
“ Sit here, Mrs. Hawkins ; you will love to hear the steeple story again, I know.”
Fanny,” said Roberts, laughing, “ makes me tell this story to every body. A very poor man in our town, a carpenter, had contracted to build the steeple to our new church; it was to be raised up into its place after it was finished. The poor fellow expended in making it every farthing he could command, much of which was borrowed from his fellow-townsmen. It was completed according to the contract, it only wanted to be raised; the levers and pulleys were all placed, the crowd were assembled ; people had come from far and near, to witness the raising of the steeple.
The carpenter's wife and eight children had the best place for seeing assigned to them.
Very soon the steeple began to rise ; it arrives safely at its place, it merely wants to be adjusted on its basis. As soon as that should be accomplished, the carpenter, according to the contract, was entitled to his pay. The crowd were beginning to shout at its ascension, when a pulley gave way, then another, and in an instant the steeple fell to the ground, and became a shapeless mass of ruins.”
“O, the poor carpenter and his family,” exclaimed Amy, “what did he do?"
“ He was in utter despair ; he sat down on the ground, and exclaimed, "Take us all to jail ; we are ruined !' His children cried aloud, his wife tried to comfort him ; but he covered his face, and would not look
up. I saw some of the leading men together, and went up to learn what they were talking of. I found they were proposing a subscription. As I passed through the crowd, I heard one say, I'll give him the timber; and another, I'll haul it; another, I'll give him a week's work; and in less than ten minutes, the poor man's loss was made up to him. This was too much for him ; he wept even more than at his loss; he could not articulate his thanks.” *
* A fact.
Surely,” said Edward, “that church can never be the scene of a more devout and acceptable service to the beneficent Being for whose worship it was erected.”
Amy's eyes glistened with delight, as she said, so It was, indeed, a beautiful consecration."
“ They only did what they ought to do," said Mrs. Hawkins.
After much pleasant talk, the friends retired for the night.
The next mor g, at breakfast, when they were planning the pleasures of the day, “I speak for the children for a walk," said Edward Selmar; “I wish to have them to myself; Willy can show me the wonders of the place."
“That I can," said Willy, and began to tell beforehand of all there was to see.
“I speak for your company, Amy, for a walk such as we used to have when we were girls,” said Fanny.
“ Who'll speak for me ? ” said Mr. Roberts. “ If you will not come too soon,” said Fanny, you may meet us upon the bridge below the falls, on our return; but we shall chat and lounge, and stroll along slowly. You are too consequential a person now to pass the whole morning among the rocks and trees ; so we will not invite you."
“I don't believe you want me, Fanny,” said her husband.
“I don't believe I do," said his wife, sportively, but with a look of such confiding affection that the most jealous lover could not be hurt.
Amy and I shall have a long talk about every thing, and among other things of course discuss our husbands; and rely upon it you will have your turn, and
you “ Will not be much edified with our remarks,” interrupted Mr. Roberts. “ So farewell, ladies; I leave my character to your mercy; three hours hence I will walk to the old bridge to meet
“ Follow me, Amy," said Fanny, “and I will show you my favorite spot, where I have passed many a joyful hour, and which to be perfect only wants the blessed idea of your presence to be added to its other charms. Often have I brought you here in the spirit, but I confess I do enjoy the visible appearance of those I love ; and it is a precious pleasure to me to sit by you, Amy, and have
my arm around your waist, as it used to be when we were school-mates. Those were happy days were they not ?"
“ Not so happy as the present,” said Amy.
“No! no ! indeed. Then I dreamed, and talked of joy ; now, I feel it too deeply to speak
of it to any one that I do not love as I love you, Amy.”
“ So you have told me in your letters very often ; but no words could be so eloquent as your every look, Fanny. It makes me very happy to see you, and, if possible, more so, to see your husband. He is a new creature. “It does, indeed, seem like a new life to both
But here is the spot, and this is the seat, where I love to sit in silence, or talk with my husband, or sometimes sing all alone, for hours together."
It was on the smooth, pebbly shore, where they seated themselves upon an old, moss-grown tree, that had fallen partly into the stream. “See this fairy bay,” said Fanny.
“ Its happy waters seem to have stopped here while the rest of the stream hurries on like loving hearts, that turn aside from the great current, to reflect in their glad bosoms the beauty of earth, and the peace of heaven."
With their arms interlocked, the friends contemplated, in silence, the lovely scene around them.
“ The wind was hushed,