« ZurückWeiter »
She proceeded to her clothespress and removed one dress after another, some were ragged, others were faded, all out of style, and some unfit to wear,-at length she found one which had long been laid aside as "too light to wear about the house." It was a nice French print, rose-colored white, and she remembered had once been a favorite with her husband. The old adage, "fashions comes around once in seven years," seemed true in this case; for the dress was made in the prevailing style.
"This is just the thing," she thought, and she hastened to perform her toilette, saying to herself, "I must alter my dark ginghams to wear mornings, and get it all ready before Charles comes home." Then she released her long dark hair from its imprisonment in a most ungraceful twist, and carefully brushing its still glossy waves, she plaited in the broad braids which Charles used so much to admire in the days of her girlhood.
The unwonted task brought back many reminiscenes of her long-vanished years, and tears glistened in her eyes as she thought of the many changes time had wrought in those she loved, but she murmured, "What hath sadness like the change that in ourselves we find?" In that hour she realized how an apparently trivial fault had gained the mastery over her, and imperceptibly had placed a barrier between her and the one she best loved on earth. True, he never chided her, never apparently noticed her altered appearance, but she knew he no longer urged her going into society, nor did he care about receiving his friends at his own house, although he was a social man, and had once felt proud to introduce his young wife to his large circle of acquaintances.
Now, they seldom went out together, except to church, and even dressing for that was generally too much of an effort for Mrs. Thornton; she would stay at home "to keep house," after preparing her little ones to accompany their father-and the neighbors soon ceased expecting to meet her at public worship or in the social gatherings--and so one by one they neglected to call on her, until but few continued to exchange friendly civilities with her. She had wondered at this, had felt mortified and pained heretofore; now she clearly saw it was her fault, the vail was removed from her eyes, and the mistake of her life was revealed in its true enormity. Sincerely did she repent of her past error, calmly and seriously resolve on future and immediate amendment.
Meanwhile her hands were not idle, and at length the metamorphose was complete. The bright drapery hung gracefully about her form, imparting an unusual brilliancy to her complexion-her best wrought collar was fastened with a costly brooch, her hurband's wedding gift, which had not seen the light for many a day. Glancing once more at the mirror, to be certain that her toilette needed no more finishing touches, she took her sewing and returned to the sitting-room.
Little Nellie had wearied of her picture book, and was now playing with the kitten. As Mrs. Thornton entered she clapped her hands in childish delight.
"Oh, Ma, how pretty-pretty !" and running to her, kissed her again, then drew her chair close to her side, and eagerly watched her as she plied her needle, repairing her gingham dress.
Just before it was completed, Nellie's brothers came from school,
and, pausing at the half-opened door, Willie whispered to Charlie, "I guess we've got company, for mother's all dressed up."
It was with mingled emotions of pleasure and pain that Mrs. Thornton observed that her children were unusually docile and obedient, hastening to perform their accustomed duties without being even reminded of them. Children are natural and unaffected lovers of the beautiful, and their intuitive perceptions will not often suffer from comparison with the opinions of mature worldly wisdom. It was with a new feeling of admiration that these children now looked upon their mother, and seemed to consider it a privilege to do something for her. It was, "let me get the kindlings,❞— "I will make the fire,"—" may I fill the tea-kettle?" Instead of, as was sometimes the case, "Need I do it?" "I don't want to;" "why can't Willie ?"
Nellie was too small to render much assistance, but she often returned from her frolic with her kitten to look at her mother, and utter some childish remark, expressive of joy and love.
At last the clock struck the hour when Mr. Thornton was expected, and his wife proceeded to lay the table with unusual care, and to place thereon several choice viands of which she knew he was particularly fond.
Meanwhile let us form the acquaintance of the absent husband and father, whom we find in the neighboring town, just completing his day's traffic. He is a fine-looking, middle-aged man, with an unmistakable twinkle of kindly feeling in his eye, and the lines of good humor plainly traced about his mouth we know at a glance that he is cheerful and indulgent in his family, and are at once prepossessed in his favor.
As he is leaving the store where he has made his last purchase for the day, he is accosted in a familiar manner by a tall gentleman entering the door. He recognizes an old friend and exclaims
George Morton, is it you?"
The greeting is mutually cordial; they were friends in boyhood and early youth, but since Mr. Morton has been practising law in a distant city, they have seldom met, and this is no place to exchange their many questions and answers. Mr. Thornton's span of horses and light "democrat" are standing near by, and it needs but little persuasion to induce Mr. Morton to accompany his friend to his home, which he has never yet visited. The conversation is lively and spirited-they recall the feats of their school-days, and the experience of after life, and compare their present position in the world with the golden future of which they used to dream.
Mr. Morton is a bachelor, and very fastidious in his tastes-as that class of individuals are prone to be. The recollection of this fact flashes on Mr. Thornton's mind as they drive along toward their destination.
At once his zeal in the dialogue abates, he becomes thoughtful and silent, and does not urge his team onward, but seems willing to afford Mr. Morton an opportunity to admire the beautiful scenery on either handthe hills and valleys clad in the fresh verdure of June, while the lofty mountain ranges look blue and dim in the distance. He cannot help wondering if they will find his wife in the same sorry predicament in which he left her that morning, and involuntarily shrinks from introducing so slatternly a personage to his refined and cultivated friend. But it is now too late to retract his polite invitations—they are
nearing the old "homestead "—one field more and his fertile farm, with its well kept fences, appears in view. Yonder is his neat white house, surrounded with elms and maples.
They drive through the large gate-way, the man John comes from the barn to put up the horses, and Mr. Thornton hurries up the walk to the piazza, leaving his friend to follow at his leisure--he must see his wife first, and if possible to hurry her out of sight before their visitor enters.
He rushes into the sitting-room-words cannot express his amazement. There sits the very image of his lovely bride, and a self-conscious blush mantles her cheek as he stoops to kiss her, with the words of joyful surprise
"Why, Ellen !"
He had time for no more; Geo. Morton has followed him, and he exclaims
"Ha, Charley! as lover-like as ever; hasn't the honey-moon set yet?" And then he is duly presented to Mrs. Thornton, who, under the pleasing excitement of the occasion, appears to far better advantage than usual. Tea is soon upon the table, and the gentlemen do ample justice to the tempting repast spread before them. A happy meal it is to Charles Thornton, who gazes with admiring fondness upon his still beautiful wife. Supper over, Mr. Morton coaxes little Nellie to sit on his lap, but she soon slides down, and climbing her father's knee, whispers, confidentially
"Don't mamma look pretty?"
He kisses her and answers, "Yes my darling."
The evening passes pleasantly and swiftly away, and many a half forgotten mile of their life-pilgrimage is recalled by some way-mark which still gleams bright in the distance. They both feel younger and better for their interview, and determine never to become so like strangers again.
Mr. Morton's soliloquy, as he retires to the cosy apartment appropriated to his use, is
"Well, this is a family! What a lucky fellow Charley is-such a handsome wife and children-and she so good a housekeeper, too! May be I'll settle down some day myself"-which pleasing idea mingled with his visions.
The next morning, Mr. Thornton watched his wife's movements with some anxiety; he could not bear to have her destroy the favorable impression which he was certain she had made on his friend's mind, and yet some irresistible impulse forbade his offering any suggestion, or alluding in any way to the delicate subject so long unmentioned between them. But Mrs. Thornton needed no friendly advise-with true womanly tact she perceived the advantage she had gained, and was not at all inclined to relinquish it.
The dark gingham dress, linen collar, and snowy apron, formed an appropriate and becoming morning attire for a house-keeper, and the breakfast table afforded the guest no occasion for altering his opinion in regard to the skill or affability of his amiable hostess.
Early in the forenoon, Morton took leave of his hospitable friends, being called away by pressing affairs of business. Mr. and Mrs. Thornton returned to their accustomed avocations, but it was with renewed energy, and a new sense of quiet happiness, no less deeply felt because unexpressed.
A few days afterwards, Mr. Thornton invited his wife to accompany him to town, saying he thought she might like to do some shopping, and she, with no apparent suprise, but with heart-felt pleasure, acceded to the proposal.
The following Sabbath, the village gossips had ample food for their hungry eyes (to be digested at the next sewing society), in the appearance of Mrs. Thornton at church, clad in plain but rich costume, an entire new outfit, which they could not deny "made her look ten years younger."
This was the beginning of the reform, and it was the beginning of a brighter day for the husband and wife of our story. True, habits of such long-standing are not conquered in a week, or a month; and very often was Mrs. Thornton tempted to yield to their long-tolerated sway, but she fought valiantly against their influence, and in time she vanquished them. An air of taste and elegance before unknown now pervaded their dwelling, and year after year the links of affection which united them as a family grew brighter and purer, ever radiating the holy light of a Christian home.
But it was not until many years had passed away, and our little Nellie, now a lovely maiden, was about to resign her place as pet in her father's household, and assume a new dignity in another's home, that her mother imparted to her the story of her own early errors, and earnestly warned her to beware of that insidious foe to domestic happiness-disregard of little things-and kissing her daughter with maternal pride and fondness, she thanked her for those simple, child-like words, which changed the whole current of her destiny-" Don't Pa love to see you look pretty?"
Faith is the eyesight of the trusting soal
The knowledge of the good and pure in heart;
And waves of sorrow swift and fiercely roll.
Sure fasten'd to the Mercy-Throne above,
But has a hand to guide through sin's dark night.
A home of joy in brighter climes than this-
Eternal flow along the golden plain.
There is a CONQUEROR of sin and death,
The trusting know Him well-His banner-word is "FAITH."
THE DIVINE LAW.-The more men love the law of God, the more
they will see the guilt of violating it.
RY THE EDITOR.
IN seeking to understand your duty as a member of the Church, forget not the solemn duty of holding up the hands and encouraging the heart of your Pastor.
Any course of conduct which weakens the influence, or diminishes the respect due a pastor, injures and cripples the energies of a church. "This is the heir," says the enemy, "let us kill him and the inheritance is ours." On the other hand, whatever sustains and encourages him, promotes the welfare of the church.
The pastor in the church is as the leader in the army. His prominent position, as holding a solemn office from Christ himself, entails on him heavy responsibility, and for this reason great deference and respect are due him. Hence our Saviour requires for his ministers such high and solemn honor from the people, saying: "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me." (St. Luke, x: 16.) Ever bear in mind the solemn warning of the Lord: "Touch not mine annointed, and do my prophets no harm." (Ps. 105: 15.) How excellent also is the exhortation of St. Paul to the members of the church of Thessalonica: "We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." (Thess. v. 12: 13.) To the Hebrews the holy Apostle also addresses these words: " Óbey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for this is unprofitable to you." (Heb. xiii: 17.)
What so well sustains a ruler as the virtue of the citizen? What so much encourages a teacher as the progress and kind spirit of his pupils? In like manner the joy and success of a pastor depends greatly on the good spirit of those to whom he ministers. He feels strong in them. By their kindness he ministers with joy, by their neg. lect with grief.
No one but a pastor knows the disheartening effects of coldness, inconsistencies, or ungratefulness in members. He prepares a sermon with deep anxiety and weariness of mind, and they are not present to hear it. He breaks their bread, but they come not to the altar to receive it. He lays his hands on them in confirmation, after many exhortations, prayers, and tears, and they go forth to dishonor their profession, to wound their Saviour and to betray the church. He bears them on his heart in public and in private, by day and by night, and receives ingratitude in return. It is this that dampens his zeal, breaks his courage, and turns the cup of his joy into wormwood and gall. Remember that your pastor is a public man and as such is exposed