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“ If your ladyship will be so kind,” replied Jane, “ I shall be truly thankful. I could not have gone
before to-morrow; besides which, I am so glad to introduce her to your notice.”
About three weeks from the time of this little incident, the rector's family, were closing a happy winter-evening, when Jane, who had returned that day from a visit to Weston Grove, the seat of Lord Montague, exclaimed
“O Elizabeth, your remnant has been like a golden egg, in Hannah Burton's house. I called there this morning, and she was so full of gratitude, she could scarcely speak for tears.”
Elizabeth's eye sparkled with pleasure. “ Do tell me all about it, Jane,” she said.
Why, in the first place, Hannah told me that before ever she knew who her visitor was, Lady Montague's words did her good like a medicine. I conclude her ladyship soon found that Hannah was a truly pious woman : for she selected from her little testament, the most encouraging promises ; read the hymn · Begone unbelief,' and added many comforting, beautiful observations. She then simply gave your flannel, and went away without mentioning her name; so Hannah thought it was some lady staying with us. But I could not help,” she said, “ kneeling down and thanking God, who had sent me so precious a refreshment. I felt strengthened to commit my husband, myself, and all my concerns, afresh to the care of the Lord; and to say with a trembling voice, • Thy will be done.'” Scarcely had an hour passed, before Mr. Goldsmith, Lady Montague's own medical attendant, called : and in the afternoon came a dinner from the housekeeper's table, to tempt the sick man's appetite. An order accompanied it, for Judith, the eldest girl, to go up to the Grove next morning; and there she has now become kitchen-maid, as happy as the day is long. By the Divine blessing on Mr. Goldsmith's treatment, Hannah's rheumatism is removed ; but her husband's complaint being of a more obstinate nature, and requiring greater advantages than he can command at home, he has been admitted to the hospital, whence the surgeons have no doubt he will return in a few weeks perfectly recovered. So much for the heads of the family; now for the children. John and Thomas have worked for some time past at a farm house ; Judith I have just spoken of; Sarah and Ann are, you know, in
our National school ; the two next, Lady Montague, after clothing them in some morning frocks, left off by her own little darlings, has promised to put to the infant school: so that only the baby is left. By the bye, did you know, papa, that in the last snowy week, one of the men employed on the estate, had orders to go round with a wagon, to convey the little ones who live farthest off?''
“O yes, I met the wagon-load one day, all merrily singing some of their school-rhymes. I wish every clergyman had his hands strengthened by such efficient co-operation.”
“ Well, Elizabeth,” continued Jane, “has not your remnant proved a lucky one ?”
“-Or a profitable one,” observed Mrs. Harrowby. “I have always an unfriendly feeling towards those words, 'lucky' and 'fortunate.' They are apt to render us unmindful of the seasonable appearances of a gracious providence in our behalf.”
“Your profitable remnant," said her papa, “it may well be called. I suppose, Elizabeth, it has produced more good, than all the flannel you have given through the year."
“O yes, I think we had better look up all our remnants, and see what we can make of them."
“I think so too. When we look back on the past year, how many blessings, temporal and spiritual, have been measured to us. Let us examine our remnants, and see what profit still abides, or may abide with us.”
“But is not that a serious enquiry, papa,'' asked Jane, fitted for our own closets, than the social circle?”
“ It is, Jane, if we apply the hint to those sacred things, which lie between God and our own souls; such as the benefit we have gained from Sabbath privileges ; from the study of God's holy word; from social prayer—from secret communion with our heavenly Father. These, and subjects of a like nature, require to be dwelt upon with deep-felt prayer : and I trust each of us, alone in the Divine presence, knows what it is to cry, 'Search me, O God, and try my heart ; prove me, and examine my thoughts; root out every evil way that is in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. !' But to return to our lighter observations; there are daily opportunities for gaining useful lessons put into our hands : and we shall do well to discover, how much we have
learned by them. Most of you, I dare say, can produce some treasured remnant of wisdom, gained from the circumstances
Who will begin ?” “ You, papa,” exclaimed the young people with one voice, "and then we shall be able fully to comprehend your meaning.”
“Very fair !” said Mrs. Harrowby, smiling, while her husband observed,
“Well, certainly, I was not prepared so soon to give a specimen on my own suggestion. However, if you will fetch the note-book I used in the July missionary tour, I believe it is full of remnants, and I shall soon find something. Here is one,” continued Mr. Harrowby, taking the book which Henry had run for—" a memorandum I shall never forget, and which has many times proved profitable to me July 18th. Especial note. Never suffer one word to pass through the lips, which is not in strict accordance with the inmost feelings of the heart.' Of course, my children, I did not mean that all the evil dwelling in our hearts, should be expressed in words. In that sense to guard the lips and pray for a restraint upon the tongue, is a christian duty. And the unholy fire will be the sooner quenched, from not coming in contact with the wind of outward passion. Suppose I feel angry with a man, I am not bound to say so; unless in that
way I hope to benefit him. On the contrary, I may speak with kindness and forbearance, yet not deceitfully, On no occasion should we express satisfaction when we are not satisfied ; pleasure when we are not pleased; sorrow when we are inwardly glad.
What wrong impressions are often produced in this
For instance, a person makes a request which I do not approve, and would on no account grant. Circumstances, however, render the thing impossible. Now, if I decline wholly on that ground; and add, 'I am sorry it is not in my power,' am I not ashamed of my principles, and neglectful of an opportunity to correct my neighbour's judgment ? Deceit of this kind proceeds from moral cowardice. Another sort springs from the absence of moral perception. Scarcely a thought of guilt accompanies the falsehood ; while people utter their insincere professions, and excuse them on the ground of politeness. For example, you come to me at an inconvenient time, I make you welcome ; so much the better. I have conquered my own selfishness, and you are gratified, without knowing the cost. But if I put my
self in raptures, and rejoice that I am still at home, when in fact I am heartily wishing I had been out sooner ; why, this is a violence done to truth, which cannot fa:l to lessen its influence on my mind.
Instead, however, of making any further remarks, I will illustrate the memorandum by the occurrence which gave rise to it.
“In going to a town, round which we were to make a little circuit, I was invited to the house of a Mr. D., a gentleman zealously attached to the cause of missions, and secretary to the branch society. They lodged me kindly for nearly a week, and we began and closed each day very pleasantly together. One morning I was enjoying a book in my friend's well-furnished library, when I heard some strangers ushered in. Almost immediately a young and new servant, meeting her mistress near the library-door, said, “Mr. and Mrs. Cawdor, ma'am, are in the drawing-room.'
“ “How could Baker be so stupid.' exclaimed Mrs. D., 'as not to tell you I was not at home?'
“The girl evidently misunderstood her mistress ; and dismissing the ‘not’ from the sentence, began to excuse her fellow-servant. 'I suppose, ma'am, Baker was mistaken, when she said you were not at home : but it did not signify, because I happened to see you.'
“I wish you would go straight about your own concerns, without seeing anything ;' rejoined Mrs. D., impatiently: • however, send Baker to me, for I must change my dress, and if you can find Mr. Harrowby, tell him that Mr. and Mrs. Cawdor are here.'
“The young woman made no answer; indeed she was probably much puzzled to know what had been done wrong. From one trouble, however, I relieved her—that of finding me, by presently putting myself in her way. And having some little knowledge of these excellent visitors, I willingly joined them, resolving to do my best to make their call pleasant, notwithstanding the cool looks which I feared they would meet from the lady. Very shortly, however, the door opened, and clothed in her blandest smiles, entered Mrs. D. So far I felt pleased to see she had conquered herself: but judge my surprize, when she thus accosted Mr. Cawdor :
“I am so glad you have made choice of this morning to pay
If I had any
your long-promised visit with dear Mrs. Cawdor. Mr. Harrowby has still half an hour at his disposal, which I am sure you will enjoy together.'
“«Thank you,' said the young wife, with all simplicity. 'I shall learn to abide in future by Edward's better judgment. I told him nobody would tolerate his early habits. He has taught me to rise between five and six : so that when we do make an inroad on our neighbours, which I acknowledge is not very often ; we are ready to commence the attack by eleven o'clock.” "O
need never fear being too soon for me. little occupation, I should stay to finish it, as I did to-day, though it caused a delay which I most reluctantly submitted to. I had indeed desired the servant to tell any ordinary visitor, that I was engaged: but to relinquish the pleasure of seeing you, I felt impossible.'
"“You perceived the threatened evil from a distance then?' observed Mr. Cawdor, laughing. But, seriously, if you have any engagement, you must not suffer us to interrupt you.'
"O no, I am now quite at liberty : and too happy to enjoy an opportunity for christian converse, readily to forego it. Mr. Harrowby's visit has taught us the value of spiritual intercourse. Do you not consider it,' continued Mrs. D., addressing me, a most animating and refreshing privilege ?'
'Surely,' I replied, 'when heart meets heart, in simplicity and godly sincerity. I dare say I looked grave, and spoke with emphasis, for I felt really shocked. A slight blush tinged the lady's countenance, and the conversation took another turn. Before we parted, however, I felt persuaded we had a second specimen, of Mrs. D's. dexterity in making false impressions.
“'It will be an interesting meeting at Y-,' she observed, can you not accompany, Mr. Harrowby?'
“I should much have liked it; but we have promised to spend a long day with my brother, and are on the road thither.'
“ Having ascertained this point, Mrs. D's. regret appeared to me marvellously to increase, as she assured her friends, what delight she would have felt in retaining Mrs. Cawdor, while her husband drove me to Y-; and then in receiving us all to a late dinner. Having been so unintentionally behind the scenes, I felt sure that leisure that day, was far more acceptable than company: and I longed to bring my own visit to a close ; lest, notwithstanding all