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CAVES NEAR THE TRENT.
We cannot but feel surprised when we contemplate the stately buildings which ornament the court-end of our great metropolis, and contrast them with the rude huts, and ruder caves, of our very remote ancestors in this island. It requires, indeed, no little faith to persuade ourselves that they could have been constructed by the same people, living at the distance of a few centuries only from one another; or to imagine the people of England dwelling, like the wild and lawless bushmen of South Africa, in dens and caves, and knowing nothing of the comforts and refinements of civilized society.
But that such was once the case, the engraving here presented to the reader affords an evidence. It represents a number of these rocky chambers on the banks of the Trent, which, though associated with the name of the Druids, appear to have been tenanted by our early predecessors generally. For Camden, speaking of Nottinghamshire, says, “So the Saxons called it, from the caves and passages under ground,
Vol. IX. 3rd SERIES.
which the ancients, for their retreat and habitation, mined under those steep rocks on the south part towards the little river Lin. Hence Asser renders the Saxon word, Speluncarum domum in Latin, and in British it is Tui ogo bauc, which signifies the very same, namely, a house of dens."
SELF-DENIAL. The shades of evening were quietly closing around the home of Maria L.; the usual time for candles had passed away, and yet Maria sat alone and unoccupied by the window, gazing on the light fringe of snow which had glittered in the morning sun-beam on the leafless trees, but which now appeared dim and indistinct as the visions which were passing in rapid succession through her mind; for though we have said Maria was herself unemployed, yet her fancy was unusually busy. The next day was one to which she had long looked forward ; we cannot precisely tell all the subjects of her anticipation, but perhaps the answer to her mother's query,
Well, my dear Maria, and what are you thinking about?” will tend to satisfy our curiosity.
“ I was thinking, mamma,” she said, “ of all the conversation I had with you yesterday; and I was feeling very glad that papa thought me now old enough, in some degree, to regulate my own expenditure; and I was wondering how much money I should have in a year; and then, mamma, I was deciding how I would spend it.”
Arranging your expenses," inquired her mother, “ before you know what may be your income, Maria ? But, however, will let me know what were your plans, supposing your papa's ideas to be as liberal as your own ?”
" Why, mamma,” she answered, “I had been thinking how many things I had last year that I could have done without; and then I supposed, that if I avoided all these expenses, I should perhaps have five pounds in a year left to use as I liked.”
“ Well, and what then, my love?” said her mother.
“Well, mamma, I should like such a little cabinet as my cousin has; and then I would spend some of my money in furnishing it; and there are a great many books I wish to have; and there was something else, mamma, which I cannot tell you about.”
Now, perhaps, Mrs. L. guessed, as we do, that this something was a little present for herself; so, without inquiring into the mystery, she replied,
“ I think, my love, without this secret purchase, you have more than disposed of your money. But, now, are all these things quite needful? The cabinet I will allow to be a very reasonable amusement, especially if you learn scientifically to arrange its contents ; and books are in themselves most valuable possessions. But have you read all you now have, or all papa allows you to take out of his library?
“ No, mamma,” said Maria.
“Well then,” rejoined her mother, “ I will only remind you of Dr. Watts's caution, not to furnish your book-shelf so much better than your head.'” Maria was silent, and Mrs. L. continued; “ Of course I cannot speak about the something I am not to know, but, my love, I can tell you what you have forgotten in the sketch of your expenses; all I see here is for self. Are there none whom you wish to assist—no societies to which you would like to give your mite?”
“ Oh yes, mamma,” exclaimed Maria, “ I had indeed forgotten; there is the Missionary Society, and the Bible and Tract Societies, and the Sunday School. Well, I see I must give up my cabinet.”
“ You are not rich enough,” said her kind parent, “ to subscribe to all these. So suppose, Maria, we take the Missionary Society and the School; but we will not talk more now;" for during this conversation the candles had appeared, the curtains had been drawn, and Mr. L. had returned from his daily engagements to his cheerful fireside: and there we will leave the happy party, to pass the even. ing in social and useful conversation, and to meet around the family altar in gratitude for the mercies of the closing year, and in dependence on their Heavenly Father for support and guidance through the next. We will not inquire what was the sum with which Maria's
purse was enriched, nor what were the wise counsels which accompanied the treasure (it will be well if her future proceedings exemplify them); of one thing we are certain, the interview did not pass without allusion to riches far, far better than those of earth, even such as are “ incorruptible and undefiled.”