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brooch with her hair in it—that was forty-five years since, but I wear the brooch now while I write this. The evening passed away, and I was rather surprised that her father did not produce his present in his usual manner; and, indeėd, I remarked that he seemed more thoughtful than I had ever seen him. But I did not suppose he was displeased: I knew by his eyes that he was not, and I also knew that I had done nothing to displease him.
After a pleasant evening had passed, Mary kissed her father, wished me 'good night, and retired. After she was gone, the thoughtfulness of Mr. Winter seemed to increase; but at last he roused himself, and brought his chair over to my side of the fire. He then inclined himself towards me, and laying his hand kindly upon my shoulder, said:
Oliver, I have lately been considering some serious questions, about which I would now talk with you. I am now an old man, and have become very wealthy, and I see no reason why I should continue the pursuit of gain any longer. Indeed, I should not have gone on so long, if I had not found it difficult to break away from my old concerns and old habits; but now I intend to do so. The means and instruments by which I have gained my honest fortune would then be ready for another, to do the same with them that I have done. But who is it to whom I shall give my business? I will not sell it, because I have money enough already, and because I wish to promote the welfare of some one that I love,—and whom do I love more than you, my son? Who has served me like you ; and who is there that loves me so well? I will make over my business to you, Oliver; this shall be my birth-day present, and much, very much good may it do you !
- Oliver, do not interrupt me; I have more yet to say. My business alone, without money to carry it on, would do you more harm than good; therefore I will lend you fifteen thousand pounds: you may pay me when you can; and if you never can, never mind-it would not be a great loss to me or to my daughter. But I
have no fear for you; I know you will prosper ; and if any difficulties arise, you may rely on all the help which I can render while I live, or which Mary can render when I am no more.
- Hear me out, Oliver; I have but one thing more to say. I have mentioned Mary; and I may tell you that I am greatly troubled about her. Perhaps I am selfish; but I cannot bear to think that a perfect stranger-one that I have never yet seen, and whom I may not love, will come before long, perhaps, and take her from me. I, who have loved her and cared for her ever since she was born, and have watched her fondly all through the little ways of infancy and childhood up to the perfect woman, must soon give place to a stranger, who will also inherit the benefit of all the wealth for which I have laboured. This will never do, Oliver; will it? But what can I do? I will tell you what I will do; I will do something that will satisfy me, and you, and Mary, all in one. I will make you one present more, I will give you my daughter.'
And so he did. He did all, and more than all he had said that he would do: he gave to Mary and me half his fortune when we married, and the remainder was to be ours at his death, which we hoped would be far distant. I was then rich enough to live without any business, but I thought it would be pleasant to feel that part of my wealth was of my own earning, and therefore I continued the business of Mr. Winter. I wish I could make my readers feel how happy I was in those days. When I was at my countinghouse, how often my thoughts turned from my warehouses upon the land, and my ships upon the sea, to my home, and all the kindness and love that awaited me there! In time, too, I had a dear little blue-eyed baby, that used to laugh with all her heart when she saw me come home, and jumped and held out her arms to come to me. If ever a man was perfectly happy, I was so then; and my temper was too cheerful to allow me to fear that my happiness could ever be disturbed; and in the fulness of my heart I thanked God, not only for the blessings I pos
sessed, but for the blessings I expected.—But a change came at last.
The first thing that disturbed me was the death of Mr. Winter; but he was an aged man, whose death, in the natural course of things, was to be expected, and who was himself well content to die, after he had seen those whom he loved the most, happily settled for life, and had been spared to dandle his fair grandchild upon his knees. His death, therefore, left us sad, but did not render us unhappy: my wife looked to me and to her baby, and was consoled; and so was I when I looked to them.
There is a saying, that troubles seldom come single. I know not how it happens that this should be true; but I am sure it often is true, About the time that we began to feel cheerful again, after the death of my father-in-law, my wife happened to take cold. It seemed at first a trifling complaint that would soon cure of itself, but it grew to a fever; and when the doctors were sent for, it was too late. All that skill could do to save her was tried, but skill