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ITHOUT going as far as Thoreau did, when he of our lives, this recreation, from a means to
refused the offered gift of a piece of carpet further fitness, becomes an end. We plan our
for his hut in the wouds, because one must social pleasures with careful intention, are absorbed resist the beginning of evil,” we may do much to heart and soul in carrying out our plans, and all keep our lives simple, and unspoilt by luxury, if we too easily learn to vie continuously with one choose. The soul, veiled in the pleasant rose-mesh, another as far as our means feruit, in the smaller as Browning called it, of earthly existence, some- luxuries of life. The depression of trade, and times unawares (like the guests at the banquet of general shrinkage of incomes, so deplored at Heliogabulus) is smothered in roses.
present as a national calamity, must prove a the cares, but the riches and pleasures of life, choke national blessing, if it teaches us perforce to the tender growth of spiritual things, even in live more simply. Abstain," wrote St. Paul, hears that once willed to be honest and good. “from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,” a
Life, for so many of us, goes for years alorg a text whose meaning the experience of each of us primrose-path, tempting to delay and dallianct.
Which of us has not felt our purpose Unnumbered resources surround us for deepening enervated, our interest absorbed, our inner vision our knowledge, heightening our pleasures, widening dimmed, our aspiration checked, many times, by our experience, increasing our happiness. There over-indulgence in the delights of literature, of is so much to enjoy. We find, within ourselves, beauty, of amusement ? Once a means, they have growing powers of perception, of appreciation ; and, become an end. We, whose high resolve it was without, a world of books for the mind, of beauty
to forget our Lord Christ's example, and delight for the senses. In trivial matters, find ourselves as life advances, consciously comtoo, a thousand yearly inventions to save labour, pounding with temptation, and turning from the to promote ease, crowd upon our notice, as often narrow way when it climbs upwards. as not deepening and confirming the wants they If luxury is not insidiously to sap our strength profess to satisfy, and riveting the fetters of our we must be resolute in putting it from us. When dependence on external things, until we become the mathematician would solve a difficult problem, the slaves of an easy chair or a lamp shade, hot he first frees the equation of all encumbrances, plates at dinner, and soft pillows at night.
and reduces it to its simplest terms. Se simplify Milton's “ Comus ”speciously argues the case for the prob'em of life; distinguish the necessary and luxury, maintaining that
the real," wrote Thoreau to one of his friends. “If a'l the world
“No one,” Professor Drummond remarks, in his Should in a pet of temperance feed on pulse,
book on Tropical Africa, “knows what a man is, Drink the clear stream, and nothing wear but frieze,
till he has seen what a man can be without, and
be withal a man.” The All-giver would be unthanked, would be unpraised,
What a lot of humbug, of Not half His riches known.”
pretence, of ostentation, would be cleared away
from our lives, if we ceased to aim at the common But these “ Reasons not unplausible,”
standards of appearances in social matters, if we
valued and recognised each other more honestly which, the enchanter boasts
for what we really are, not for what we have, or “ Wind me into the easy-hearted man,
appear to have. If we gave of our real best to And hug him into snares,”
our friends, pleasing them for their good to edifica
tion (instead of to emulation in all the minor do not obscure the vision of the Lady, the stately gratifications of the senses, as is the fashion of the palace” “set with all manner of deliciousness,” the day), surely with plainer living would come higher soft music, the tables spread with all dainties she thinking. Having food and raiment to content perceives to be but a “treasonous offer,” and in a our needs, might not the minds set free from the nobly argued reply confutes his sophistry.
planning of envs, the contriving of ruffles and “ By two wings a man is lifted from the earth, trimmings, be able to take a wider view, and Simplicity and Purity "mused Thomas à Kempis. labour to satisfy the greater needs of men ? “But some" as Vaughan wrote in his great Vision Great
peace is the portion of those whose life is of Eternity," would use no wing." We ordinary lived above the conflicting cares that luxury and work-a-day people are too ready to look upon a fashion entail. Let us have the courage to act on spare and simple rule of life as only befitting those our belief, that half the elaborate circumstance who are set apart for peculiar offices of service to we surround ourselves with is unnecessary God and man. We toil hard, we say, to earn our cease to mind earthly things, and remember that bread, to fulfil our day's work, and these pleasures every day we may rise on the wings of simplicity of mind and sense, within our reach, are no more and purity, to that serener air they breathe who than our due, our lawful recreation. So, in most “ will what God doth will.”
J. M. S. M.
• THE KNOWLEDGE OF SILENCE."
« και γεγόνεν εν αυτώ ζωή ήν.”
HEN the Man said: “ There is no would not understand it; the insects who basked
God,” for the din of the city filled in the glorious sunshine would not understand it; his
ears, the ceaseless strife of trees that pointed to heaven, and the mountains tongues, the
echo of his own of thousands of years were unaffected by his words, and the self-assertion of opinions and his unbelief. each teacher.
A few more years, and he would be gone, but
land where the eternal mountains ceased to speak, and he listened ; and to him came reach up to the blue sky, and there the Angel a mighty voice, even as the voice of many waters; left him.
and the mountains, the trees, and the flowers And then the Man began to climb-he scarce said : “It is God Who has made us, and not we knew why-and after a time he reached pine- ourselves ;” and the birds and insects echoed : trees growing amid huge blocks of granite, and “We live in His sight. Human eyes seldom see he sat down to rest.
We live for God in Whom all perfection Beneath him lay the valley, and on the opposite dwells. We do His will, and all is well.
We side the mountains rose again, and clearly defined are a little part of His most mighty plan.” against the blue of the sky shone the perpetual The Man did not speak. snow, almost golden in the summer sun.
He had never listened before as he listened No sound of life below, but above him the musical jingle of the cowbells.
He lo ked up and saw the sunlight shining on From one of the pine-trees came the song of a the tiny threads of a spider's web near him. He bird, and all around him was life.
could never have made the smallest place as Thousands upon thousands of ants ran in every beautiful as every spot was here. direction ; glorious butterflies flitted in the patches A faint breeze stirred the leaves as the sun of sunlight; green grasshoppers hummed in the began to lower, and the Man closed his eyes and grass.
slept. A stone-coloured grasshopper walked over the When he looked up a golden light lingered on stone on which he was seated.
the snowy mountain, then it faded to be replaced He touched it, and, with a buzz, it spread in a few moments by a rosy hue which crept up crimson wings and flew off.
till it reached the top. He was hungry, and he stretched out his hand Then the Man stood up, and facing the roseto gather the whortleberries near.
tinted mountain he uttered one word—“God.” Harebells and campanulas grew round, ferns And the Angel came to him and said : “ Will clustered by the rocks-everywhere there was you stay here always ?” life.
But he answered : “No: there are others who The silence awed him, and he went higher. do not know. I must go back to them.”
It was midday, and the sun was shining with So he turned from the sunset light, and went an unclouded brightness, but the air was fresh. back to the great city.
He came upon a mass of fallen rock, and all Yet he did not speak and write as much as of around it grew the wild strawberry.
old, though he had more to say, for he thought, He had only to put forth his hand and gather. Ferhaps wisely, that after all words do little for This land belonged to no one, there was no one human lives. to say him nay, no voices quarrelled for possession ; But the reflected glory of the sunset light on it was his, as the air was his, the sunlight his. the mountain-top never left his face, and, though
Such a faint distant roar of waters in the valley men marvelled at his influence, the Angel said, beneath, where the cascades emptied themselves “He speaks that which he knows." —such a tiny tinkling of cowbells, such And the lives which he touched caught that mysterious sound in the countless pine-trees. radiance-a radiance seen only once perfectly in What did it all mean?
this world of ours, and they joined in the song
of Had this always gone on while he was writing the mountains, the trees, and all nature : "O go and speaking, and teaching that there was your way with thanksgiving ; be thankful unto God?
Him, and speak good of His Name.” There was no one to teach here. The birds
E. M. GREEN.
be perpetually called upon to repeat the distressing inCHAPTER I.-A BUNDLE OF RAGS.
“Not very distressing for her, I reckon,” corrected TELLA NEWCOME and her brother were running Stella. “She probably owes comfortable free quarters to
home together one afternoon, the schools they went the fact of their having gone away. But how do you
to were in adjoining streets, when they passed a house know they were so kind ? door at which stood a dingy-looking small boy, owning “Don't know," was the calm reply. some very dilapidated garments, a pinched pale face, and Stella pouted, “Oh, Allan, you are too provoking. Why a pair of very solemn, sad-looking brown eyes.
did you say what you did, if you do not know ?” Sensitive Stella shivered, and drew her shoulders “Because I guessed from beggar present. Would that together in passing the house.
bit of bundle of rags look so doleful at hearing folks were “What a cross voice that woman has,” she said. “If gone away if he hadn't been in the way of getting a good the people who lived there are gone away, she need not help sometimes of benevolence mince-pie? But come say so like that, as if she would like to eat somebody's along. Talking of pie reminds me how hungry I am. head off.”
And do just give a sniff-Oh! Oh!” Allan turned his head, looking back at the place and His sister gave a sniff, “hot buttered toast." people, and instead of drawing his shoulders together he “Bah! and you a girl," was the comtemptuous retort shrugged them.
“Hot sally-lunn, or I'm a Dutchman. I shall spend my “I daresay you would speak crossly too, if you were twopence on one at this baker's, and get mother to let dragged up a pretty stiff flight of kitchen stairs to answer cook toast it for us, and put lots of butter on.” the rings of a lot of little beggars.”
“Oh! no, please," exclaimed Stella, but she was too “I hope not,” said Stella quietly. She added with a late. Her brother was already in the baker's shop, and smile, “but does one little beggar stand for a lot ?” his twopence lying on the counter to pay for the desired
“I daresay," laughed Allan. “Beggars present, beggars luxury. past, and beggars to come, equal to a lot! And all asking If the sister had only known her brother was so rich, a for certain charitable parties who used to bestow bread penny would surely have been begged for the miserable and soup and cheese and pennies, in other words a kind little fellow they had passed. As it was, however, regrets of charity mince-pie, and who are gone. Very tiresome were useless now, and the best thing was to please her of said parties, and very worrying for that woman to brother by showing pleasure in the little treat, provided
quite as much with a thought of her enjoyment as of
That night as Stella knelt in prayer by her bedside, she prayed from her heart for the little tatterdemalion, whose deplorable appearance, and sorrowful cry on the strangers' doorstep, had so aroused her pitying interest; and she lay down to rest with the consoliig trust that He, who cares so tenderly for the lambs of His flock, would raise up fresh friends for the poor little boy, in place of those she supposed he had lost.
It did not occur to her to think that her prayer was itself a proof that a friend had a 'ready been provided for the friendless, in the person of Stella Newcome herself,
The next day was Wednesday, a half-holiday at Stella's school, but not at the one to which Allan went, and as the girl walked home in more sober fashion than when the two were together, her thoughts turned naturally enough to yesterday's incident, as she drew near the house from which the roughly-spoken words had issued :-" They are gone. Don't come bothering here again, I tell you. They are gone."
“And the poor little boy will have gone too, I suppose, if he has any where to go," murmured the young thinker with a half-sigh, as she looked up involuntarily at the house.
The next moment a low cry, in which relief and pity were mingled, escaped her lips.
“ Why, there he is again. I wonder he is not afraid to be so near that snappy person. I should be, in his place, I know."
The next moment she added eagerly, “ But all the same, I am very glad to see him once more." And even before she uttered these last words, her band had begun to feel for her pocket, with a nervous haste as though she feared it might be gone just because she wanted it so particularly.
The fact was that Stella was the happy possessor of two pennies of her own to-day, earned by hemming dusters for Mrs. Newcome. As a rule it may be confessed that the young student thought time so spent was rather wasted, by fingers that could be used in turning book leaves, and holding pen or pencil. But she was thankful enough now that daughterly love had led her to please her mother by fulfilling the distasteful task.
“I can give a little scrap of help, at any rate," she decided as her eyes rested on what her brother had styled “A bundle of rags,” and when her hand at length found her pocket the fingers closed over those two precious pennies in the depths, as if they were treasures from a gold mine. She went forward towards the poor little object of her interest.
As she came close behind him she heard the words repeated that had first excited her compassion yesterday—“They are gone—They are gone—They are gone;' but they were uttered in such a low, heart-broken, utterly hopeless tone that the scalding tears sprang into the hearer's eyes.
The small white fingers quivered over those pennies ; they suddenly seemed of small account after all, before that despairing grief.
The ragged urchin, with his white face, stood holding on to the handsome railings of the big red house, and the well-dressed young school-girl stood gazing at him with a rather helpless look on her pretty, fair countenance.
Money seemed a useless thing, even if it had been of greater extent, in view of that sorrow, even though it was the sorrow of “ a bundle of rags.” And so the two stood there for some time, the boy oblivious of aught but his woe, the girl of aught but him.
There was no one passing. The house was the last in this the chief street of private houses in the country town, and faced a long, green, winding lane, with fields and a farm at the end.
At last Stella stepped up, and touched her companion on the shoulder. He started, turning round with a frightened cry.
" I'm doing no harm,” he began hurriedly, then seeing who his companion was he d'ew a sigh of relief.
“Oh! d'ye want suffing, miss? I thought you were a policeman. This ain't the way to the railway station, it's—”
Stella smiled. “Yes, it's over there. I know that as well as you do. I live in the town. But you look so sorry about something, that I want to help you, if I can.”
The child shook his head.
“ Ye can't do that. Leastways not unless you're strong enough to bring them back, what lived in this bouse, and the dog."
“Ah!” was the gentle reply, "I am afraid I could not do that, even if I were ever so strong, but perhaps I may be able to be of a little use to you as they were, if you'll let me."
The boy stared through his tears. Why, how can ye! You ain't Taters."
If the little Raggadocio had stared, his companion imitated him with interest. “I am not-What?":
“ Not a dog, not the dog,” correcting the article, and speaking with the impatience of misery. Ste la was fairly puzzled. “No, I am not a dog, of
But see,” trying to smile him into a little cheerfulness, see what a good thing it is that I am not a hungry little dog. If I were I might eat up all I could get; but now this twopence is all for you instead. Is not that nice?"
It was disappointing enough to get nothing but another shake of the head in return.
Nothing ain't nice so long as they're gone, and the dog."
Stella looked up and down the road for something further to say, and caught sight of the gable of her own home. That gave her what seemed a happy thought, judging from her own experiences.
Well, run home to mother, now. I daresay she will be able to think of something nice to make you harry again”
Once more the great tears welled up iu the child's eyes. “ I haven't no mocher. She went dead, and was put away from me down in the ground, when the winter was here."
Stella put up her hand over her eyes for a brief moment. “Poor little boy,” she said more gently than before. “But it was not your mother herself, only her poor sick, suffering body that died; you poor little fellow. But if mother is not at home, still it is better to go there, all the same, and not stay here crying, any longer."
" Ain't got no home.”
Stella stared aghast. “Where is your father, then ? " The boy shook his head more vehemently than ever.
CHAPTER II.-MRS. NEWCOME HAS DOUBTS.
“I ain't got no one, and they folk," with a nod at the house, “ they've got lots. But—but—" with sobs between each word—“I'd-got-the-dog."
Stella's troubles of sore-hearted compassion made her feel curiously irritable, and she said, in a way that sounded almost cross
“But how can you say that? It is nonsense. The people in that house had the dog, you know that; you said so, yourself.”
The boy shook his head, big, shining drops shaking off from the heavy eye-lashes as he did so.
“They—they—they,” with a big gulp for breath“they fed it—and they-paid for it—but I had it. So soon as ever it were let out in the morning it come
No one who has a feeling heart, or who has begun to understand Stella Newcome the least little bit, will doubt that thoughts of the little stranger boy, with his poverty and his piteous grief, were mingled pretty frequently with the young school-girl's studies. She spoke of him to her mother, of course, and had leave to invite him to come and have a good meal, next time she saw hin.
“But I don't believe now, that that next time will ever come,” murmured Stella to herself on Friday night, as she stood at her window looking out at the fair, moonlit scene for a few moments before getting into bed. Thursday and Friday, morning, noon and afternoon she
had looked for the boy as she drew near the big red house, but in vain. No where was he to be seen.
“ What a lot of next times never come," mused Stella rather after what is terined“ Irish fashion.” And then, with a half-sigh for the especial next time she wished for now, she went to bed. She had to be up early the next morning, to get a difficult lesson finished before she went to school, a lesson too in which she took a good deal of interest, nevertheless thoughts of Raggadocio, as she styled the boy, mingled with her dreams as before.
“I should like to see him again!” she ejaculated, as she went on her lonely way to school, for Allan had a whole holiday on Saturdays. “I wish I could see him again,” was the burden of her thoughts as she was on her homeward way. The sound of a small dog's joyful bark coming up from the lane drew her attention, and the calm, shadowed peacefulness of the green, narrow road attracted her, in her present mood.
Stella had been walking quickly, and had a good ten minutes to spare for private meditation, and accorcingly with one glance as usual at the red house, she crossed the road, and paced rather sadly down the lane, a
prayer in her heart for the unknown, desolate boy, her“ neighbour.”
Suddenly her whole face changed, her steps grew light, and prayer turned to thanksgiving. There, beneath the red brown black berries, and the honeysuckle, sat little Raggadocio, and there playing about him in the most unmistakable state of joy and satisfaction was a certain little rough-haired Yorkshire terrier, that Stella now remembered to have seen tolerably often about the gates of the big house, during the year that it was occupied by its last tenants.
“ That is the dog you were crying for!” she exclaimed. There was no need to ask.
The little creature sprang on to the boy's knees, and nestled close against him, as if afraid of being taken away, at the sound of a stranger's voice, and the child's band went over him with a loving air of protection.
* Aye, miss,” with beaming eyes. “This is Taters
THE DOG HAS COME BACK."
tearing away down the lane to me, did Taters, every day, and most all day Taters and me took care on each other. He had to go in yon to eat, because they allers hollered on him so, and I told him; and he had to go carriagerides with th' old lady and gentleman, but many's the time he'd see me, and spring and jump, and yap to be let out to me. Oh! he would, he would, he—"
And memory proving all too much for the now doubly lonely, desolate child, he withdrew his clasp on the railings, and dropping in a little crouching heap on the pavement, buried his face in his arms, and sobbed as if his heart would break.
To tell the truth, Stella did something very like sobbing too. But it was growing late, and she must run home to dinner; so, popping her two poor little pennies down beside the shaking heap on the pavement, and once more sighing out, “Poor little boy,” she ran on to “ The Gables.”