Sidor som bilder

"Alas! I know how fair, how bright
Life's stricken blossoms were;
But not what deadly fruits the blight
Nipped as they budded there.
Sharp briars hedge my rugged way;
It may be lest my feet should stray
By dangerous steep or snare;
I see the thorns on either side,
But not the yawning gulfs they hide.

"And thus I check my sorrow's flow

When murmuring thoughts begin—
I know not from what darker woe
This sickness folds me in;

But know that happier far in truth
Is he who suffers pain in youth

Than he who stoops to sin :

My God my troubled lot has cast,
And He shall bid me rest at last."

H. F.



ALTHOUGH not a professional portrait-painter, I am going to sketch the features of two ladies with whom I am intimately acquainted; and when I have done so, you shall tell me which delineation you think is the most pleasing. I cannot promise you very finished drawings, neither will they be highly-coloured; but you may depend upon the faithfulness of my representations, as I invariably employ, for such purposes, the pencil of truth. And you will probably be able to judge from personal observation, of the correctness of my pictures, as I have not much doubt but that you

have occasionally met in the circle of your friends, one, or both, of the ladies who are now about to sit to me in my study.

Their names, I must tell you, are alike; and they frequently reside in the same house, which is rather strange, as there is not the slightest degree of relationship, nor yet a shadow of similarity between them. I shall give to them on the present occasion the appellation of "But." It may be their real name; it may be an assumed one; it is sufficient for my purpose that it is short and appropriate.

Permit me now to introduce to your notice the elder of these ladies. She is sitting in a neatly-furnished parlour, enjoying, as a little girl once expressed it, "a sociable cup of tea;" that is, according to her explanation, "a cup of tea with a good deal of speaking about it." Miss Chattie, an old friend, has called to see her this afternoon, and has easily been prevailed upon to stay and share her evening meal. A good natured, easy-tempered, gossip-loving character is Miss Chattie; and the budget of news which she is accustomed to carry with her, makes her in general an acceptable visitor, for most persons like to learn all they can about the doings of their neighbours.

So there they sit cosily round the fire, each ensconced in a large easy chair, and looking, as they feel, quite at their ease. What they are talking about you shall hear. I do not intend to give you their conversation in a consecutive form, for that would take up more room than their remarks are worth; besides being unnecessary for the attainment of my present object. I have an object in view, dear reader, as you will find out when you get to the end, or perhaps before; so, although my report will be a truthful one, you will bear in mind that there were many intervening sentences. I state this, lest you should say that a conversation bearing so directly upon one point, is not life-like, nor natural,

"What do you think of the Clarksons, who have lately come to our Church ?" asks Miss Chattie, "arn't they nice, genteel-looking girls ?”

"They are rather pretty, especially the youngest; but they are not at all lady-like, either in their dress or their manners. I expect Mr. Clarkson is one of those men who have risen from a low origin, and made money rapidly in business. There is an appearance of vulgarity about him.”

"Perhaps there is," was the reply;" "he will be an acquisition to our Church, though, for he gives so freely. He thinks nothing of subscribing five or ten guineas to any society; and at the missionary meeting, last evening, he handed Mr. Robinson a cheque for five-and-twenty pounds. Was it not generous ?" "It has that appearance, certainly, but I cannot help thinking it was done for mere show. Mr. Clarkson does things in such an ostentatious way. He evidently wishes to be thought well of by his new minister, and to bring himself forward in the congregation, so as to become a person of influence."

"Have you seen Helen Lister lately? She looks very pale and languid; I hope she is not going into a decline."

66 Oh, there is no fear of that. She always says she is not well, but I believe its only mere nervousness and want of something to do. If she had to work hard for her living it would be all the better for her.”

"I went to see Mrs. Peters yesterday," observes Miss Chattie, as she helps herself to another lump of sugar, "what a pleasant woman she is, and so friendly."

[ocr errors]

"Yes; there is great warmth in her manner, but I dont think she has much heart. She is an agreeable acquaintance now, but if we were in trouble or poverty, I question whether she would be likely to help us. "Her house is handsomely furnished, isn't it? What a beautiful carpet she has just got for her drawingroom.'


"It is a very good one, I allow, for she told me what it cost, but the colours are too glaring, and it doesn't match well with the rug. She spares no expense with her house-indeed, I should call her extravagant-but she is sadly deficient in good taste."

"Have you read Mr. Thornton's new little book? I bought one the other day, and thought-for I had only time for a hasty glance at it-that it seemed written in a lively, interesting style."

"I think it is better than his last one, but he writes too hastily; he does not take pains enough; there is an abruptness about his remarks which I don't like." "He is certainly a very clever young man."

"Very clever, but very conceited. When you meet him in company, there is a look-at-me-and-admire-me air about him, which is anything but attractive. He talks very well, but it is with too much self-importance. 'I am somebody,' is evidently his own opinion of himself."

"What a great deal of good Mr. Bennett is doing," remarks Miss Chattie, presently. "He is so full of energy and zeal, that he accomplishes the work of two ordinary people himself, as well as stimulates the efforts of others by his example. It is a pleasure to see anybody so active and useful. He is a most devoted Christian.'

"But he wants ballast; he is too much influenced by his feelings, and ready to be carried away by excitement. His zeal is not always according to knowledge. I have no doubt he means well, but he is too hasty and inconsiderate at times."

"His children I am told, are fine little creatures, and remarkably intelligent for their years.'

"But they are sadly spoilt. They seem allowed to do just as they like; and have such expensive picturebooks and playthings. Mrs. Bennett is an amiable woman, but she is too easy and indulgent to manage such high-spirited children as they are; and her husband is seldom at home. I dare say he is very useful


in the various societies which he advocates, but if he were to look a little more after his own family, he would, in my opinion at least, be quite as much in the way of his duty."


Talking of duty reminds me of our sermon yesterday morning. How practical it was; likely, don't you think, to stir people up? Mr. Robinson is very faithful and pointed in his applications."

"True; I admire his earnestness, but he is not sufficiently experimental in his preaching. He should remember that his flock requires food as well as instruction." "Don't you think he is much more animated than he used to be?"

"Yes; his manner is certainly improved, but his sermons are not so well studied as they were when he first came. His ideas are good, but his language wants elegance; it is too rough and unpolished.

Now, dear reader, if you are not tired of these edifying remarks, I am; so we will leave these two friends to finish their tea by themselves, and take our departure. Will you accompany me to another dwelling, and enter another parlour, where you will have an opportunity of seeing and hearing the fair namesake of the lady whom we have just visited ?

Miss But, the second, is not in her own house. She is spending the afternoon with a cousin, for the purpose of assisting her in the completion of a set of baby-things, which she is making up for a poor woman; and our heroine's fingers are moving as fast, if not faster than her tongue, which is more than I could venture to affirm of all lady sempstresses.

Mabel Grave, the cousin, is a tall, thin, rather fretful-looking individual, whose natural element seems to be that of fault-finding. Listen to what she is saying: "Have you heard of Mr. Westerton's failure? He is completely ruined, my brother says; will not have a penny left when his affairs are settled. It is a pity that they have been so extravagant."

« FöregåendeFortsätt »