« FöregåendeFortsätt »
“ Yes, my dear,” answered Mrs. Fairchild : “ we all have, although we do not all know what they are ; for Satan will, if possible, keep us from the knowledge of our own evil hearts."
" Have I a besetting sin, mamma ?” said Lucy.
“ Can you not tell what fault you fall into oftener than any other ?” said Mrs. Fairchild.
Lucy considered a little, and then answered, She did not know.
“I think, my dear,” said Mrs. Fairchild, “although it is hard to judge any other person's heart, that your besetting sin is envy. I think I have often observed this fault in you. You were envious about Emily's doll, and about poor Miss Augusta Noble's fine house and clothes and servants, and about the muslin and riband I gave to Emily one day, and the strawberry your papa gave to Henry ; and I have often thought you showed envy on other occasions.”
Lucy looked grave when her mamma spoke, and the tears came into her eyes. “Mamma,” she said, “I am a wicked girl: my heart is full of envy at times : but I pray that God would take this sin out of my heart; and I hate myself for it--you don't know how much, mamma."
“ My dear child,” said Mrs. Fairchild, kissing Lucy, “ if you really grieve for your sins, and call in faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ, you will surely in God's good time be set free from them. And, oh! how happy shall we be when we have no longer any sinful passions to trouble us; when our hearts are filled with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance ! Gal. v. 22, 23.–And now, my dear,” added Mrs. Fairchild, “ you know what is meant by the sin which doth so easily beset us, and you understand that every person has some one besetting sin."
“Yes, mamma,” said Lucy; " and you have told me what my own besetting sin is, and I feel that you have found out the right one. But, mamma, you said that many people do not know their own besetting sins.”
• No persons know their sins, my dear," answered Mrs. Fairchild, “but those who have received the Spirit of God. It is the work of the Spirit to search our evil hearts, and convince us of our wickedness; but irreligious people do not know their hearts, and have no idea of
their besetting sins : indeed, they would laugh if you were to speak of such things before them."
While Mrs. Fairchild was speaking these last words, they heard the dinner-bell ring ; so they broke off their discourse, and went down stairs. While Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild and all the family were sitting at dinner, they saw through the window a man on horseback, carrying a large basket, ride up to the door. Mr. Fairchild sent John out to see who this person was; and John presently returned with a letter, and a haunch of venison packed in a basket. “Sir,” said John, “the man says that he is one Mr. Crosbie's servant, of London; and that he has brought you a letter, with his master's compliments, and also a haunch of venison.”
“Mr. Crosbie's servant !" said Mr. Fairchild, taking the letter and reading it aloud, as follows:
“ Dear Mr. Fairchild, “I and my wife, and my sister Miss Crosbie, and my daughter Betty, have been taking a journey for our health this summer. We left London three months ago, and have been down as far as Yorkshire. We are now returning home, and have turned a little out of our way to see you, as it is as much as twelve years since we met; so you may look for us, no accident happening, to-morrow a little before two. We hope to dine with you, and to go on in the evening to the next town, for our time is short. I have sent a fine haunch of venison, which I bought yesterday from the innkeeper where we slept: it will be just fit for dressing to-morrow; so I shall be obliged to Mrs. Fairchild to order her cook to roast it by two o'clock, which is my dinner hour. My man Thomas, who brings this letter, will tell the cook how I like to have my venison dressed : and he brings a pot of currant jelly, to make sauce, in case you should have none by you; though I dare say this precaution is not necessary, as Mrs. Fair. child, no doubt, has all these things by her. I am not particular about my eating ; but I should be obliged to you if you would have the venison ready by two o'clock, and let Thomas direct your cook. My wife and sister, and daughter Betty, send best compliments to our old friend Mrs. Fairchild; and hoping we shall meet in health to-morrow, “I remain, dear Mr. Fairchild, your old friend,
“ OBADIAH CROSBIE. 6 P.S. You will find the haunch excellent: we dined upon the neck yesterday, and it was the best I ever tasted.”
When Mr Fairchild had finished the letter, he smiled and said, “I shall be very glad to see our old friends; but I am sorry poor Mr. Crosbie still thinks so much about eating. It was always his besetting sin, and it seems to have grown stronger upon him as he has got older.”
" Who is Mr. Crosbie, papa ?" said Lucy.
“ Mr. Crosbie, my dear," said Mr. Fairchild, “lives in London. He has a large fortune, which he got in trade. He has given up business for some years, and now lives upon his fortune. When your mamma and I were in London twelve years ago, we were at Mr. Crosbie's house, where we were very kindly treated: therefore we must do the best we can to receive Mr. and Mrs. Crosbie kindly, and to make them as comfortable as possible.”
When John went to church that same evening, Mr. Fairchild desired him to tell nurse to come the next day to help Betty, for nurse was a very good cook : and the next morning Mrs. Fairchild prepared every thing to receive Mr. and Mrs. Crosbie, and Mr. Fairchild invited Mr. Somers to meet them at dinner. When the clock struck one, Mrs. Fairchild dressed herself and the children, and then went into a little tea-room, the window of which opened upon a small grass-plat, surrounded by rose bushes and other flowering shrubs. Mr. Somers came in a little before two, and sat with Mrs. Fairchild.
When the clock struck two, Mr. Crosbie's family were not come, and Mr. Fairchild sent Henry to the gardengate to look if he could see the carriage at a distance. When Henry returned, he said that he could see the carriage, but it was still a good way off. “I am afraid the venison will be over-roasted,” said Mrs. Fairchild, smiling. Henry soon after went again to the gate, and got there just in time to open it wide for Mr. Crosbie's carriage. Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild ran out to receive their friends.
“I am glad to see you once again," said Mr. Crosbie, as he stepped out of the coach, followed by Mrs. Crosbie, Miss Crosbie, Miss Betty, and Mrs. Crosbie's maid.
Mr. Crosbie was a very fat man, with a red face; but he looked good-humoured, and had in his younger days been handsome. Mrs. Crosbie was a little thin woman,
and there was nothing in her appearance which pleased Emily and Lucy, though she spoke civilly to them. Miss Crosbie was as old as her brother, but she did not look so, for her face was painted red and white: and she and Miss Betty had sky-blue hats and tippets, with white feathers, which Lucy and Emily thought very beautiful.
“ Have you any company, Mrs. Fairchild ?" said Miss Crosbie, as Mrs. Fairchild was leading them into the parlour.
“Only one gentleman, Mr. Somers, our rector,” said Mrs. Fairchild.
“Oh! then I must not appear in this gown! and my hair too is all rough!" said Miss Crosbie: “I must put on another gown: I am quite frightful to look at !"
“Indeed," said Mrs. Fairchild, “your dress is very nice: there is no need to trouble yourself to alter it."
“Oh, sister !” said Mrs. Crosbie, “don't think of changing your dress : Mrs. Fairchild's dinner is ready, I dare say.”
Miss Crosbie would not be persuaded, but calling the maid to attend her, ran up stairs to change her dress and Mrs. Fairchild sent Lucy after her. The rest of the company then went into the tea-room, where they sat round the window, and Mr. Crosbie said, “What a pretty place you have here, Mr. Fairchild ; and a good wife, as I well know-and these pretty children! You ought to be a happy man."
“And so I am, thank God," said Mr. Fairchild, “as happy as any man in the world."
“1 should have been with you an hour ago,” said Mr. Crosbie, “ that I might have walked over your garden before dinner, but for my wife there."
“ What of your wife there ?" said Mrs. Crosbie, turning sharply towards him. “Now mind, Mr. Crosbie, if the venison is over-roasted, don't say it is my fault."
Mr. Crosbie took out his watch: “ It is now twentyfive minutes past two: the venison has been down at the fire twenty-five minutes longer than it should have been. And did you not keep us an hour waiting, this morning, at the inn where we slept, while you quarrelled with the inn-keeper and his wife?"
Mrs. Crosbie answered; “You are always giving people to understand that I am ill-tempered, Mr. Crosbie; which I think is very unhandsome of you, Mr. Crosbie. There is not another person in the world who thinks me ill-tempered but you. Ask Thomas or my maid what they know of my temper; and ask your sister, who has lived with me long enough."
" Why don't you ask me what I think of it, mamma ?” said Miss Betty, pertly.
“Hold your tongue, miss !" said Mrs. Crosbie.
“ Must not I speak ?” said Miss Betty, in a low voice, but loud enough for her mamma to hear her.
When Miss Betty first came in, Emily admired her very much: for, besides her sky-blue hat and feather, she had blue satin shoes, and a very large pair of gold earrings: but when she heard her speak so boldly to her mamma, she did not like her so much. By this time John came to tell the company that dinner was on the table ; and Mr. Crosbie got up, saying, “The venison smells wellexceeding well !”
“But where is Miss Crosbie?" asked Mr. Fairchild.
“Oh, my aunt thought herself not smart enough to show herself before Mr. Somers," said Miss Betsey, pertly.
“ Be silent, miss,” said Mrs. Crosbie.
“ Don't wait for her, then,” said Mr. Crosbie: “let us go in to dinner. My sister loves a little finery; she would rather lose her dinner than not be dressed smart: I never wait for her at any meal.—Come, come! Ladies, lead the way: I am very hungry.”
So Mrs. Fairchild sent Emily to tell Miss Crosbie that dinner was ready; and the rest of the company sat down to table.
“Mrs. Crosbie,” said Mr. Crosbie, looking at the yenison, and then at his wife, “the venison is too much roasted; I told you it would be so.”
“What! finding fault with me again, Mr. Crosbie !" said Mrs. Crosbie. “Do you hear Mr. Fairchild finding fault with his wife in this manner ?”
" Perhaps the venison is better than you think, Mr. Crosbie,” said Mr. Somers ; “let me help you to some. Mr. Fairchild, I know, is not fond of carving."
Mr. Crosbie thanked Mr. Somers; and Mr. Somers had just begun to cut the venison, when Mr. Crosbie called out, as if in agony, “Oh! Mr. Somers ! you will spoil the venison! you must not cut it in that way upon any account! Do put the haunch by me, and let me help myself.” “What confusion you are maķing in the table, Mr.