Imágenes de páginas

medical attendance, and the constant watchings of her darling child, and prayer for the blessing of heaven, she was restored to her usual measure of health. Just at this time, by one of those fortuitous circumstances which sometimes involve serious consequences, Esther was passing by the dairy, where Michael was talking to Betty Smith, and she heard her say, Why no, Sir, to be sure ; but then I thought you would not make objections." “ I never object to any thing reasonable, Betty, but it has gone on so long.” Now Esther hated the post of a listener, but she could not think what had gone on so long; and a thought struck her, whether it was the illness of her mother which had occasioned the observation. It went to her heart to believe it, that her dear husband, so good, so generous and noble, should speak on the subject to Betty Smith ; and she had nearly rejected the thought, when Betty came in, saying, “ What be we to carry down to-day, Ma'am ;” and Esther fancying she saw something peculiar in her manner could not help being persuaded that it related to the constant attendance that had been given, and the good things sent to her mother; yet she could scarcely believe it, and she was on the point of asking what

it was, when Betty's peculiar manner of

Very well, Ma'am, and leaving the room, stopped the inquiry.

None but very timid people, exactly Esther's character, can conceive how very difficult it is, when suspicion has once glanced over the mind, to dissipate the gloom it occasions. Esther looked pained and discontented, and remained silent; but she was not silent in prayer, never did she pray more earnestly. Michael was vexed at her reserve, he could not comprehend it; he saw something was wrong, , and could not conceive why that wrong should not be communicated. At length, after two days of grief and wonder, the following conversation took place between them. The chapter that morning pointed to the infirmities of Christians, and the necessity of one bearing with another. Esther was much affected, and even wept; and after the servants had gone about their usual business, and they were left alone, she had the courage to take his hand, and owned she had been grieved about something “ I knew it; but about what, my love? Why did you not speak ?"

And when she told him what had been her suspicion, and what had grieved her, he looked at her with a degree of astonishment which convinced her she was mistaken. “ The dear old Christian, that I should grudge any thing for her. Oh, Esther, you wrong me sadly,” and it was some time ere she could bring him to contemplate the suspicion with compo


“ We have been too happy, my love, the enemy of souls has envied our christian union; but never again, my dear Esther, suffer your mind to indulge so injurious a thought. No, let me entreat you, if any thing painful arises, speak to me directly. Do not suffer the imagined grievance to gain strength by delay: but Betty Smith must explain this, my dear Esther.” So Esther, though she was really ashamed to acknowledge her thoughts to Betty, suffered Michael to call her; and after he had left the room, she enquired, “ Can you remember, Betty, what it was when you were standing in the dairy with your master—what it was you were speaking of?” “Why, let me see, Ma'am; when was it, I am sure I don't know.-Oh dear, Ma'am, now I remember. Do you remember, Ma'am, that boy that went to master's quick? Oh no, Ma'am, that was before you married; I minds it well, it is now three months, I think, since that boy cut his hand, and master desired his mother to come every

66 Dear

day for a slice of bread and butter and a cup of milk. So every day that little girl comes with her basin for the milk, and the plate for her bread and butter; and it had gone on so long, that I thought it was time she should give over. But then again, if master did not mind, and mistress did not name it, I would not be their hindrance. So I said to master one day. 'Sir, there's that boy you allows the bread and butter to, I think it's nigh time they gave over sending; and yet, Sir, if you wishes, I am sure I would not make any objection. Why no, Betty, it has gone on so long, so very long." me,” said Esther, “ how could I be so foolish.' " What, Ma'am."

“Oh, Betty, it is no matter, only I have been very foolish.” Betty, seeing her mistress did not intend to explain, walked away; and now Esther gave up to the regret which naturally filled her bosom, that she should for one moment indulge a suspicion of so kind and generous a character as Michael. She was bowed with concern that the weakness of her temper should have manifested itself in so ungenerous a manner. “Never, never again will I indulge a suspicion, only forgive me this once, my dear kind friend; and do thou, O Lord, pardon me.” And while she was thus speaking, her little wild girl ran in, in all the glow of health.

“Oh, mammy, oh mammy, you cry, you cry;" for this was the endearing title with which this infant addressed her mother. When Michael came in, she said, My dear, how near I have been to all that is wrong.”

Say no more of it, my dear Esther, only let it be a lesson to us both never to doubt each other again.”

With this resolve they separated to their various duties. It may be supposed, that this little disagreement lessened their high opinion of each other; but no, it made them watchful at those avenues where sin enters, and as it was the first, so it was the last cloud which ever shadowed their happiness.

The plans in Mr. Lascelles's village, especially that of the flax-spinners, had gained its highest point of excellence, and there was not a poor person in the village but had home-spun linen of their own, strong, neat, and decent: they were long ere they needed a darn, though at first it wanted whiteness. I dwell upon this, because I think decent appearance among the poor is often helpful to good morals. When they once reach that point of depression and indifference which beggars and

« AnteriorContinuar »