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top, and here the prospect opened in wild magnificence. “How very beautiful,” said Esther, as they turned to gaze upon it. To their left, were woods behind woods, the foreground was occupied by dark masses of fir, and the beech around the hill, with here and there the lighter foliage of ash, and the blue Scotch fir, and small tufts of the willow. Indeed, the wood-crowned hill seemed planted by the hand of taste.
I question, if we do not enjoy as much of these beauties as the possessor,” said Michael; “ to him they are every day pleasures, while we only see them now and then; and there is the house of prayer, and may we not indulge a hope, that some good man like our Mr. Lascelles, watches over his flock, and dispenses the Word of life to his people.”
As they were passing, and just about to get into the chaise, two young things jumped from a tree by the side of the road, and seemed anxious to hide. " I think they are birds’-nesting," said Esther. is a cruel practice; let us try to persuade them.' So Michael, putting his hand upon the shoulder of the foremost, attempted to detain him, asking what he was doing? The ready reply, nothing," was on his tongue; "he was going home.”
6. You are
Michael took him by surprise. birds’-nesting. Now, if I were to come to your father's, and to fetch you out of your nice cottage;" the boys both laughed. “ It isn't a nice cottage, 'tis an old totterish place. Father often says, we might as well live in a tree; for when the wind blows, we rock just like the birds.” Mi. chael gave them sixpence, and they ran off, promising not to touch them.
Esther. The variety of season is to me always pleasant. Spring is resurrection ; summer the perfection of our spring hopes; autumn is so rich in beautiful colours, and winter is so sociable, I always seem to enjoy my dear mother's company more than at any other time.
Michael. I hope, my dear Esther, to learn of you to love winter; but I own I never did love it, and I suppose the reason is, I never lived with a friend, whose society could make me forget the cold and chilling influence. I never did sit down by a winter fire to converse, since Stephen
It is true I could go to his fireside, and enjoy his and his dear wife's company; but then a walk up the Brow steep made the contrast more painful; and poor Betty was never comfortable if I staid till it was dark.
E. The good creature.
M. Yes, I am greatly indebted to Betty; she is one of God's gracious gifts to me; and I may say, she has given me unmixed comfort. Oh, my dear Esther, what dependent creatures we are.
E. Yes: and I
M. Let me beg you will say all you think to me, my dearest companion. You are naturally reserved ; are you not?
E. Me; oh, dear, no; I try to be so, because I so often have said what I wished to call back; so often have been cautioned by my mother and aunt, not to speak so openly.
M. (Smiling.) But you must leave off trying ; because I should like to know all you think, without any reserve.
E. Indeed you shall; only promise to correct what is wrong, and then I shall gain by my own mistake.
Michael looked on the dear, openhearted christian girl, who was now his own, his own while life remained, and the water stood in his eyes; but he rarely wept; so he brushed it away, and turned .cheerfully, saying, “ Yes, my love, but you must encourage me.”
M. By making the same promise.
E. How can I? I have heard of you for so many years; you have lived so consistently, so
M. Oh, hush, hush; you know me not. Heart sins; God looks there, and how I deplore these, he only can know, who knoweth the heart. ir As face answereth to face, so doth the heart of man to man.” The same weaknesses and infirmities, the same difficulties and obstructions in this path; and happy it is for us that it is so. Esther looked as though she would have said, " and wherefore ?"
Why, my love, why is Christ said to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities? Because he was in all points tempted like as we are.”
They were within a mile and a quarter of their destined tea-drinking, when they saw, under the hedge, a very clean looking poor woman, with her baby on her knee, and a girl about four years old standing beside her. She was evidently weeping, and looked hot and weary. Esther turned to Michael, aad said, “ Do, Michael, ask her if she is not well.”, Michael drew up, saying, “ Are you well, good woman?
?" “ Yes sure, to be sure, well enough, and
please you; but,” and she looked piteously, sighing,
" but I have heard sad news to-day. “ Indeed! What have you heard, my good woman?”
Why, the first was, that the gude man has fallen in battle, and I have only to pray for strength to keep me from want, and to get bread for my poor bairns.” The little girl looked up piteously, as though she understood it. * How far have you walked today?” asked Michael.
“ Ï cannot justly say; it has seemed very long to me. It was only Friday that I got the answer, I went down to the west, you see, Sir, to meet the poor mạn, and there I got the news: and I had little heart for walking since; for he was a kind friend of mine, and he never lived to see his young sailor, as he called him, my pretty boy that I have at home;" and here she wept afresh. “I was thinking, Esther, perhaps the poor thing would be glad of a cast. I could walk beside you for this mile." " Why no, Sir, for me; but, if the lady would let the poor little maid stand beside her, it would be an unco kindness; for she is foot sore, and the shoes are nearly come to paper?" and so the poor little thing was kindly and carefully put