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said the old man to his eldest daughter: "What
is that you are laying on the shelf?" She
could scarcely reply that it was a ribband and
an ivory comb that she had brought for little
Margaret, against the night of the dancing-
school ball. And, at these words, the father
could not restrain a long, deep, and bitter groan;
at which the boy nearest in age to his dying
sister, looked up weeping in his face, and letting
the tattered book of old ballads, which he had
been poring on, but not reading, fall out of
his hands, he rose from his seat, and, going
into his father's bosom, kissed him; for the
heart of the boy was moved within him; and
the old man, as he embraced him, felt that, in
his innocence and simplicity, he was indeed a
comforter. "The Lord giveth and the Lord
taketh away," said the old man; "blessed be
the name of the Lord. "

The outer door gently opened, and he whose
presence had in former years brought peace
and resignation hither, when their hearts had
been tried, even as they now were tried, stood
before them. On the night before the Sabbath
the minister of Auchindown never left his
manse, except, as now, to visit the sick or
dying bed. Scarcely could Gilbert reply to
his first question about his child, when the
surgeon came from the bed-room and said,
"Margaret seems lifted up by God's hand
above death and the grave: I think she will
recover. She has fallen asleep; and when she
wakes, I hope I believe that the danger will
be past, and that your child will live."

They were all prepared for death; but now
they were found unprepared for life. One
wept that had till then locked up all her tears
within her heart; another gave a short palpi-
tating shriek; and the tender-hearted Isobel,
who had nursed the child when it was a baby,
fainted away. The youngest brother gave
way to gladsome smiles; and, calling out his
dog Hector, who used to sport with him and
his little sister on the moor, he told the tidings
to the dumb irrational creature, whose eyes, it
is certain, sparkled with a sort of joy. The
clock, for some days, had been prevented from
striking the hours; but the silentfingers pointed
to the hour of nine; and that, in the cottage
of Gilbert Ainslie, was the stated hour of
family worship. His own honoured minister
took the book;

''He waled a portion with judicious care,
And Let us worship God, he said, with solemn air."

A chapter was read a prayer said; and so,
too, was sung a psalm; but it was sung low,
and with suppressed voices, lest the child's
saving sleep might be broken; and now and
then the female voices trembled, or some one of
them ceased altogether; for there had been
tribulation and anguish, and now hope and
faith were tried in the joy of thanksgiving.

The child still slept; and its sleep seemed
more sound and deep. It appeared almost
certain that the crisis was over, and that the
flower was not to fade. "Children," said
Gilbert, "our happiness is in the love we bear
to one another; and our duty is in submitting
to and serving God. Gracious, indeed, has he
been unto us. Is not the recovery of our little
darling, dancing, singing Margaret, worth all
the gold that ever was mined? If we had had
thousands of thousands, would we not have
filled up her grave with the worthless dross of
gold, rather than that she should have gone
down there with her sweet face and all her rosy
smiles?" There was no reply; but a joyful
sobbing all over the room.

"Nevermind the letter, nor the debt, father,"
said the eldest daughter. "We have all some
little thing of our own a few pounds, and
we shall be able to raise as much as will keep
arrest and prison at a distance. Or if they do
take our furniture out of the house, all except
Margaret's bed, who cares? We will sleep on
the floor; and there are potatoes in the field,
and clear water in the spring."

Gilbert went into the sick room, and got the
letter from his wife, who was sitting at the
head of the bed, watching, with a heart blessed
beyond all bliss, the calm and regular breath-
ings of her child. "This letter," said he
mildly, "is not from a hard creditor. Come
with me while I read it aloud to our children."
The letter was read aloud, and it was well fitted
to diffuse pleasure and satisfaction through
the dwelling of poverty. It was from an exe-
cutor to the will of a distant relative, who
had left Gilbert Ainslie 1500. "The sum,"
said Gilbert Ainslie, "is a large one to folks
like us, but not, I hope, large enough to turn
our heads, or make us think ourselves all lords
and ladies. It will do more, far more, than
put me fairly above the world at last. I believe,
that, with it, I may buy this very farm, on
which my forefathers have toiled. But God,
whose providence has sent this temporal bless-
ing, may he send us wisdom and prudence
how to use it, and humble and grateful heart*
to us all!"

"You will be able to send me to school all
the year round now, father," said the youngest


boy. "And j'ou may leave the flail to your
sons now, fatlier," said the eldest. "You
may hold the plough still, for you draw a
straighter furrow than any of us; but hard
worK for young sinews; and you may sit now
oftener in your arm-chair by the ingle. You
will not need to rise now in the dark, cold,
and snowy winter mornings, and keep threshing
corn in the barn for hours by candle-light, be-
fore the late dawning."

There was silence, gladness, and sorrow, and
but little sleep in Moss-skle, between the rising
and the setting of the stars, that were now out
in thousands, clear, bright, and sparkling over
the unclouded sky. Those who had lain down
for an hour or two in bed conld scarcely be said
to have slept; and when about morning little
Margaret awoke, an altered creature, pale,
languid, and unable to turn herself on her
lowly bed, but with meaning in her eyes,
memory in her mind, affection in her heart,
and coolness in all her veins, a happy group
were watching the first faint smile that broke
over her features; and never did one who stood
there forget that Sabbath morning, on which
she seemed to look round upon them all with
a gaze of fair and sweet bewilderment, like one
half conscious of having been rescued from the
power of the grave.



Maud Miiller, on a summer's day,
Kaked the meadows sweet with hay.

Beneath her torn hat glowed the wealth
Of simple beauty and rustic health.

Singing, she wrought, and a merry glee
The mock-bird echoed from his tree.

But when she glanced to the fai - off town,
White from its hill-slope looking down,

The sweet song died, and a vague unrest
And a nameless longing filled her breast

A wish, that she h;irdly dared to own,
For something better than she had known.

The judge rode slowly down the lane,
Smoothing his horse's chestnut maiie;

He drew his bridle in the shade

Of the apple-trees, to greet the maid,

And ask a draught from the spring that flowed
Through the meadows across the road.

She stooped where the cool spring bubbled up,
And filled for him her small tin cup,

And blushed as she gave it, looking down
On her feet so bare, and her tattered gown.

"Thanks!" said the judge, "a sweeter draught
From a fairer hand was never quatf'd."

He spoke of the grass, and flowers, and trees,
Of the singing birds and the humuiiug bees;

Then talked of the hay ing, and wondered whether
The cloud in the west would bring foul weather.

And Maud forgot her briar-torn gown.
And her graceful ankles bare and brown ;

And listened, while a pleased surprise
Looked from her long-lashed luuel eyes.

At last, like one who for delay
Seeks a vain excuse, he rode away.

Maud Muller looked and sighed : "Ah, me!
That I the jud e's bride might be !

" He would dress me up in silks so fine,
Aud praise and toast me at his wiue.

" My father should wear a broad-cloth coat :
My brother should sail a painted boat.

"I'd dress my mother so grand and gay,

Aud the baby should have a new toy each day.

"And I'd feed the hungry and clothe the poor;
And all should bless me who left our door."

The judge looked back as he climbed the hill,
And saw Maud Muller standing still.

" A form more fair, a face more sweet,
Ne'er hath it been my lot to meet.

"And her modest answer and graceful air,
Show her wise and good as she is fair.

"Would she were mine, and I to-day
Like her a harvester of hay :

"No doubtful balance of rights and wrongs,
And weary lawyers with endless tongues ;

" But low of cattle and song of birds,
And health of quiet and loving words."

But he thought of his sisters, proud and cold.
And his mother, vain of her rank and gold.

So, closing his heart, the judge rode on,
And Maud was left in the field alone.

But the lawyers smiled that afternoon,
When he hummed in court an old love-tune,

And the young girl mused beside i.he well,
Till the rain on the unraked clover fell.

He wedded a wife of richest dower,
Who lived for fashion, as he for power.


Yet oft, in his marble hearth's bright glow,

He watched a picture come and go :

And sweet Maud Miiller's hazel eyes

Looked out in their innocent surprise.

Oft when the wine in his glass was red,

He longed for the wayside well instead-,

And closed his eyes on his garnished rooms,

To dream of meadows and clover blooms.

And the proud man sighed, with a secret pain :

*' Ah, that I were free again !

" Free as when I rode that day,

Where the barefoot maiden raked her hay."

She wedded a man unlearned and poor,

And many children played round her door.

But care and sorrow, and child-birth pain,

Left their truces on heart and brain.

And oft when the summer sun shone hot

On the new-mown hay in the meadow lot,

And she heard the little spring-brook fall

Over the roadside, through the wall,

In the shade of the apple-tree again

She saw a rider draw his rein :

And, gazing down with timid grace,

She felt his pleased eyes read her face

Sometimes her narrow kitchen walls

Stretched away into stately halls ;

The weary wheel to a spinnet turned,

The tallow candle an astral burned,

And for him who sat by the chimney lug,

Dozing and grumbling o'er pipe and mug,

A manly form at her side she saw,

And joy was duty, and love was law.

Then she took up her burden of life again,

Saying only, "It might have been!"

Alas ! for Maiden, alas ! for Judge,

For rich repiner and household drudge !

God pity them both ! and pity us all,

Who vainly the dreams of youth recall.

For of all sad works of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these : "It might have been !"

Ah, well ! for us all some sweet hope lies

Deeply buried from human eyes :

And, in the hereafter, angels may

Roll the stone from its grave away !


Weep no more for what is past,
For time in motion makes such haste
He hath no leisure to descry
'.Those errors which he passeth by.
If we consider accident,

And how repugnant unto sense
It juvys desert with bad event,

We shall disparage Providence.



[Mrs. Harriet Elizabeth Prescott Spoifora, boru
at Calais, Maine, U.S., 1835. She has contributed nu-
merous tales and lyrics to the principal American
magazines. Her first separate publication was Sir
Rohan's Ghost (1859), which was followed by The Amtfr
Gods, and other Stories; Azarian, an Eimiode, &c. Tim
North Americ m Review said that in her work, "lavge
knowledge, cultivated taste, and high creative ge.iius
are equally and eigna.ly manifest."]

Of course I knew Bert was a pilot when we
were married, and knew also what the duties
of a pilot were; for many a time had I been
down the bay in his boat, ripping up the sheet
of harbour water, with its enamel of blue and
silver, the sun striking out ahead of us, and
the wind just swelling the sails, as if we were
drawn by a pair of swift white swans. Bert
would be over the side fishing when we had
anchored, and presently there would be the
nicest chowder that ever contented hunger,
the table spread in the neatest cabin afloat as
handsomely as in some great gentleman's din-
ing-hall for all that I know about great gen-
tlemen's dining-halls with every delicacy of
the season on it, and duff stuffed full of plums.
When we girls came on deck again, after some
of us had taken our naps as comfortably as in
Sleepy Hollow, and some of us had peered and
pried into the tiny kitchen, and learned how
the boys got along in rough weather by exam-
ining everything we could come across, and
some of us had prinked in the looking-glass
till we were quite satisfied with ourselves, and
ready to afford somebody else satisfaction, then
we would find one of the boat-keepers tuning
his violin, and another wetting up his piccolo,
and we would dance till sunset, just as merry
and careless as the flics dance in the air; and
so at last out swelled the sails again, and up
we floated homeward, all of us laughing and
chaffing, and lunching with insatiable sea-
appetites, till the moonlight softened the sport
and made us sentimental; and the songs began
stealing out over the water so sweetly that all
the little boats would turn about and stay to
listen; and when we were at home it seemed to
us to have been such a day that we could not
believe in it any more than if we had stepped
upon another star; and we fancied, to be sure,
that a pilot's life was, after all the talk cruis-
ing about summer waters, with spacious decks
and a flute and violin as pleasant as one per-
petual picnic; or else why were gentlemen
who were able to buy every delight that the
land affords spending half their fortunes in.


yachting round the coast from June until

I hardly ever gave the thing a thought,
though, whether it was pleasant or not, all the
time whether it was safe as a rocking-chair
or otherwise I believed so thoroughly/ in Bert's
skill. But I should have been a greater fool
than I was if I had not known that it was
really dangerous; for once I was out with Bert
and his mates, and it came on to blow in the
wildest manner. He brought the boat to an-
chor under lee of an island, took in every stitch
of sail, and was for keeping me below; but I
wouldn't be kept, because if I was going to be
drowned at all I wanted to be drowned in the
open sea, and not in the cabin; so he made me
secure and comfortable, and we rode it out,
the sun shining just as clear as ever an October
sun shone in the bluest of blue skies skies
like burnished steel; but the screaming and
roaring wind raging over us in mighty gasps,
the boat plunging bowsprit under with every
shudder, and throwing the water up around us
in great and real rainbows. It was frightful,
but the sunshine made it splendid. That was
a storm, I thought. Well, Bert knew what to
do, it was evident just down with his sails
and out with his anchors, and wait till it blew
over. And Bert let me think I had actually
been in the worst kind of danger, which it
might have been, indeed, if he had been heed-
less or unskilful let me think so because he
knew, by that time, that I cared for him a
good deal, and lie didn't want me to be quiver-
ing at home with fright whenever the wind
blew. But if I had seen some great ship in
the distance, union down, and signalling for a
pilot, and had seen Bert, in his stout boat-rig,
jump with the keeper into the canoe, and fly
after her like a petrel, half in, half under, the
water powdering over them, uncertain should
they reach the ship, unable to return, drawn
up at last with bowlines tossed out to them
lines into whose noose they thrust their legs
while holding on with their hands above the
canoesinkingunderthem, as it thumped against
the ship's side, while they swung over those
black gulfs of death, and were dragged up out
of a watery grave into perhaps a worse one
the ship just back from a three-years' voyage,
and her best bow -anchor gone, so that she
would drag ashore in spite of the others, and
must be taken up to still water through all
the boiling channel-ways between ledges and
rocks and shallows, come what might; or had
it been a month later, and in the wintry weather,
high seas, and every bucketful of water freezing
as it fell on deck, till anchors and chains and

ropes and canvas were bedded in ice, and the
ship was settling two feet by the head with
the weight of the frozen spray about her, so
that the first thing for the pilot to do was to
put her about as best he could, and run for the
Gulf Stream, and melt her out, and wait for a
south wind, and come up a week after, if, in-
deed, he ever came up at all why, then, if I
had seen svich sights as these, and lived through
the seeing, I might have said that I had known
what danger was. Yet they were in reality
the scenesof Bert's everyday life, in our climate,
where half the year it is foul weather, and
where, storm or shine, Bert's boat must be
upon the spot. But as I never had seen any-
thing of the kind, the upshot of it was that I
didn't take heed to myself that there was any-
thing of the kind, and thought Bert, upon
the whole, had a much easier time of it than
I was like to have; and if he was exposed to
storm, why, I should be caught out in the
rain sometimes ; and I took up my life as
happy as any chirruping cricket, and certainly
as selfishly disposed as anybody that has been
petted and cosseted all the early days is like
to be.

We went to housekeeping immediately upon
our marriage, for mother said she despised
these boarding people; she went to housekeep-
ing when she was married, and she meant all
her children should do the same; and if their
husbands weren't able to go to housekeeping,
then they weren't able to be husbands, and
there was an end of it; and no two people, she
said, brought up in different fashions, could
unite their lives into one without some jarring,
and a third party was sure to turn that jar
into an earthquake; and if there were fewer
third parties, half the trouble would be done
away with; for she believed half the divorces
and separations and quarrels in the State were
brought about by boarding-house intimacies
with third parties. So to housekeeping, as I
said, we went though I knew that by-and-by
I should just perish with loneliness, and in
the very pleasantest house I am sure that the
whole city had to offer, if it was the smallest
the bay-window of the sunny little parlour
looking out upon the water, so that we could
see everything that came up the harbour, and,
from my bird's-nest of a room above, with the
glass that Bert mounted there, I could sweep
the bay, and see Bert's boat when it was miles

Bert staid up with great contentment for a
week or ten days, pottering and tinkering about
the house, and finding little odd jobs to attend
to, where he had thought everything perfect



till experience proved the contrary, planting
morning-glories and scarlet-beans round the
basement to run up over the bay-window, and
a prairie-rose and a basalt for the lattice of the
door, setting out a cherry-tree and a dwarf-
pear, and trimming up a grape-vine in the little
yard, and arranging all manner of convenient
contrivances in all manner of corners. Then
when dark came we would light the drop-lamp,
and h^ve a little wood-fire on the hearth; for
we were just beginning the cool May nights,
and then we would draw round it I with my
worsteds, and he with the evening paper; and
he would look at me over the paper, and lay it
down, and draw a long breath of pleasure, and
say that if we had been married nearly a year
we could not be more comfortable. When we
had been married nearly a year we were not
half so comfortable.

But before a fortnight of our new life I could
see that Bert began to be re.stless. He had
been on the water ever since he was a child,
and a long spell of shore always seemed to dry
and warp him a little, he said. He began to
grumble about being ashamed to be seen lub-
bering round so, and to declare that now he
had a family to provide for, he must be up and
doing. And so I had no business to be sur-
prised when one day, long before the end of
the regulation honey-moon, a steamer having
been telegraphed from Halifax, Bert kissed
me, and swung his cloak over his arm, and
was off down the bay to find his boat, and be
running a bee-line to meet the steamer east of
the Cape, and ahead of all the other boats.

Now you may be very sure this was not par-
ticularly pleasing. Married a fortnight and
tired of me already, I said to myself. I ate
no dinner that day, and long before dark I shut
the shutters, arid locked up the house, and went
to bed; and after lying awake, thinking I heard
thieves, and smelled fire, and saw ghosts, and
was totally deserted and dreadfully abused, at
last I was crying myself to sleep, when click
went a latch-key, and in stalked Bert, blazing
up the gas, and tossing down his cloak in a
heap, and crying out that it served him right
for leaving the dearest little wife in the world.
And I can't say that I was sorry one bit to
hear that, coming across a miserable little dirty
collier, he had been obliged to take her in,
and Tom Holliday's boat got the big steamer
after all.

But Bert's penitence was brief for, you see,
he wasn't the fool that I was, and knew busi-
ness must be attended to and presently he
was off again. A thousand a year, you see,
was far too little for people to live on and lay

by anything; for, with the running expenses
taken from the earnings, that was about all
there was left to the men. And I ought to
have had the sense to understand matters; yet
when did a girl of seventeen ever have any
sense? But Bert had enough for both of us;
and so he kept the boat snapping, and never
lost a fee for want of being on the ground if
that is what you can call it when there isn't a
bit of ground to be found for fathoms.

Of course, then, I was left very much to my-
self. It was unavoidable. And the worst of
it was that I wouldn't see that it was unavoid-
able. And, of course, I was miserably lonely;
and, by-ahd-by, when I was really feeling
wretched, m} r once-cheerful little home, still
as death now from morning to night, seemed
to me to be an actual grave. Mother couldn't
come and visit me, for she had married again
herself, a few years since, and had a young
brood to attend to; and she couldn't spare me
any of the children, for she wanted Netty to
see after Nanny, and Neddy wouldn't go to
school unless Natty went to keep off the big
boys; and I didn't like to leave home and visit
her, and Bert didn't like to have me, lest I
should be away when he chanced to come un-
announced, as he always did come she living
four miles off now, in one of the suburbs, for
the sake of a garden and so I was left to
weather it out: and when Bert came up I used
to cry every time, I was so glad to see him.

Bert couldn't understand that, of course
he so strong and bluff and hearty, and I so sick
and childish and weak. All my nerves seemed
to be on the string too. I was as petulant as
a porcupine, and so fractious that I wonder
the very bird and cat didn't reproach me for
Bert had brought me a mocking-bird to con-
quer the stillness; and a wandering cat, seeing
that we were two poor young people sadly in
need of a guardian, had adopted us. And
when I looked over at Bert, at some time when
he happened to be at home, and thought that
he would be off again directly, then the tears
and sobs used to burst right out, and astound
him and perplex him, so that I can see his
great, good, wondering eyes now, and he would
be alarmed and vexed enough to make him
wish he hadn't come home at all.

I hadn't any appetite when he was away,
and wanted nothing to eat myself; and some-
times, if you'll believe it, I would lie in bed
all day, and there wouldn't be a morsel of any-
thing cooked in the house at all when Bert
ran in, and if he hadn't been the best-tempered
fellow on the bay or off of it, he certainly would
have staid away altogether. I used to cry half



my time; I was afraid Bert was sick of me,
and I was certainly sick of myself; 1 couldn't
see to read, for I was so nervous that the letters
danced before my eyes, and I couldn't sew, for
there were always two needles and two threads;
and I don't know but I really might have gone
out of my mind, or have driven Bert out of his,
if it hadn't occurred to him to close the house,
and take me down the bay with him, as he used
to do; and it was really wonderful how a fort-
night's enjoyment of the cool salt summer air

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