Part 1 out of 3
Note: Images of the original pages are available through the Florida
Board of Education, Division of Colleges and Universities,
PALMM Project, 2001. (Preservation and Access for American and
British Children's Literature, 1850-1869.) See
EMILIE THE PEACEMAKER.
BY MRS. THOMAS GELDART.
AUTHOR OF "TRUTH IS EVERYTHING;" "NURSERY GUIDE;" "STORIES OF ENGLAND
AND HER FORTY COUNTIES;" AND "THOUGHTS FOR HOME."
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of
God.... Matt v. 9.
THE SOFT ANSWER
THE LESSON AT THE COTTAGE
GOOD FOR EVIL
FRED A PEACEMAKER
EDITH'S VISIT TO JOE
THE CHRISTMAS TREE
THE NEW HOME
One bright afternoon, or rather evening, in May, two girls, with basket
in hand, were seen leaving the little seaport town in which they
resided, for the professed purpose of primrose gathering, but in reality
to enjoy the pure air of the first summer-like evening of a season,
which had been unusually cold and backward. Their way lay through bowery
lanes scented with sweet brier and hawthorn, and every now and then
glorious were the views of the beautiful ocean, which lay calmly
reposing and smiling beneath the setting sun. "How unlike that stormy,
dark, and noisy sea of but a week ago!" so said the friends to each
other, as they listened to its distant musical murmur, and heard the
waves break gently on the shingly beach.
Although we have called them friends, there was a considerable
difference in their ages. That tall and pleasing, though plain, girl in
black, was the governess of the younger. Her name was Emilie Schomberg.
The little rosy, dark-eyed, and merry girl, her pupil, we shall call
Edith Parker. She had scarcely numbered twelve Mays, and was at the age
when primrosing and violeting have not lost their charms, and when
spring is the most welcome, and the dearest of all the four seasons.
Emilie Schomberg, as her name may lead you to infer, was a German. She
spoke English, however, so well, that you would scarcely have supposed
her to be a foreigner, and having resided in England for some years, had
been accustomed to the frequent use of that language. Emilie Schomberg
was the daily governess of little Edith. Little she was always called,
for she was the youngest of the family, and at eleven years of age, if
the truth must be told of her, was a good deal of a baby.
Several schemes of education had been tried for this same little
Edith,--schools and governesses and masters,--but Emilie Schomberg, who
now came to her for a few hours every other day, had obtained greater
influence over her than any former instructor; and in addition to the
German, French, and music, which she undertook to teach, she instructed
Edith in a few things not really within her province, but nevertheless
of some importance; of these you shall judge. The search for primroses
was not a silent search--Edith is the first speaker.
"Yes, Emilie, but it was very provoking, after I had finished my lessons
so nicely, and got done in time to walk out with you, to have mamma
fancy I had a cold, when I had nothing of the kind. I almost wish some
one would turn really ill, and then she would not fancy I was so, quite
"Oh, hush, Edith dear! you are talking nonsense, and you are saying what
you cannot mean. I don't like to hear you so pert to that kind mamma of
yours, whenever she thinks it right to contradict you."
"Emilie, I cannot help saying, and you know yourself, though you call
her kind, that mamma is cross, very cross sometimes. Yes, I know she is
very fond of me and all that, but still she _is_ cross, and it is no
use denying it. Oh, dear, I wish I was you. You never seem to have
anything to put you out. I never see you look as if you had been crying
or vexed, but I have so many many things to vex me at home."
Emilie smiled. "As to my having nothing to put me out, you may be right,
and you may be wrong, dear. There is never any excuse for being what you
call _put out_, by which I understand cross and pettish, but I am rather
amused, too, at your fixing on a daily governess, as a person the least
likely in the world to have trials of temper and patience." "Yes, I dare
say I vex you sometimes, but"--"Well, not to speak of you, dear, whom I
love very much, though you are not perfect, I have other pupils, and do
you suppose, that amongst so many as I have to teach at Miss Humphrey's
school, for instance, there is not one self-willed, not one impertinent,
not one idle, not one dull scholar? My dear, there never was a person,
you may be sure of that, who had nothing to be tried, or, as you say,
put out with. But not to talk of my troubles, and I have not many I will
confess, except that great one, Edith, which, may you be many years
before you know, (the loss of a father;) not to talk of that, what are
your troubles? Your mamma is cross sometimes, that is to say, she does
not always give you all you ask for, crosses you now and then, is that
"Oh no Emilie, there are Mary and Ellinor, they never seem to like me to
be with them, they are so full of their own plans and secrets. Whenever
I go into the room, there is such a hush and mystery. The fact is, they
treat me like a baby. Oh, it is a great misfortune to be the youngest
child! but of all my troubles, Fred is the greatest. John teases me
sometimes, but he is nothing to Fred. Emilie, you don't know what that
boy is; but you will see, when you come to stay with me in the holidays,
and you shall say then if you think I have nothing to put me out."
The very recollection of her wrongs appeared to irritate the little
lady, and she put on a pout, which made her look anything but kind and
The primroses which she had so much desired, were not quite to her mind,
they were not nearly so fine as those that John and Fred had brought
home. Now she was tired of the dusty road, and she would go home by the
beach. So saying, Edith turned resolutely towards a stile, which led
across some fields to the sea shore, and not all Emilie's entreaties
could divert her from her purpose.
"Edith, dear! we shall be late, very late! as it is we have been out too
long, come back, pray do;" but Edith was resolute, and ran on. Emilie,
who knew her pupil's self-will over a German lesson, although she had
little experience of her temper in other matters, was beginning to
despair of persuading her, and spoke yet more earnestly and firmly,
though still kindly and gently, but in vain. Edith had jumped over the
stile, and was on her way to the cliff, when her course was arrested by
an old sailor, who was sitting on a bench near the gangway leading to
the shore. He had heard the conversation between the governess and her
headstrong pupil, as he smoked his pipe on this favourite seat, and
playfully caught hold of the skirt of the young lady's frock, as she
passed, to Edith's great indignation.
"Now, Miss, I could not, no, that I could'nt, refuse any one who asked
me so pretty as that lady did you. If she had been angry, and commanded
you back, why bad begets bad, and tit for tat you know, and I should
not so much have wondered: but, Miss, you should not vex her. No, don't
be angry with an old man, I have seen so much of the evils of young
folks taking their own way. Look here, young lady," said the weather
beaten sailor, as he pointed to a piece of crape round his hat; "this
comes of being fond of one's own way."
Edith was arrested, and approached the stile, on the other side of which
Emilie Schomberg still leant, listening to the fisherman's talk with her
"You see, Miss," said he, "I have brought her round, she were a little
contrary at first, but the squall is over, and she is going home your
way. Oh, a capital good rule, that of your's, Miss!" "What," said Emilie
smiling, "Why, that 'soft answer,' that kind way. I see a good deal of
the ways of nurses with children, ah, and of governesses, and mothers,
and fathers too, as I sit about on the sea shore, mending my nets. I
ain't fit for much else now, you see, Miss, though I have seen a deal of
service, and as I sit sometimes watching the little ones playing on the
sand, and with the shingle, I keep my ears open, for I can't bear to see
children grieved, and sometimes I put in a word to the nurse maids.
Bless me! to see how some of 'em whip up the children in the midst of
their play. Neither with your leave, nor by your leave; 'here, come
along, you dirty, naughty boy, here's a wet frock! Come, this minute,
you tiresome child, it's dinner time.' Now that ain't what I call fair
play, Miss. I say you ought to speak civil, even to a child; and then,
the crying, and the shaking, and the pulling up the gangway. Many and
many is the little squaller I go and pacify, and carry as well as I can
up the cliff: but I beg pardon, Miss, hope I don't offend. Only I was
afraid, Miss there was a little awkward, and would give you trouble."
"Indeed," said Emilie, "I am much obliged to you; where do you live?"
"I live," said the old man, "I may say, a great part of my life, under
the sky, in summer time, but I lodge with my son, and he lives between
this and Brooke. In winter time, since the rheumatics has got hold of
me, I am drawn to the fire side, but my son's wife, she don't take after
him, bless him. She's a bit of a spirit, and when she talks more than I
like, why I wish myself at sea again, for an angry woman's tongue is
worse than a storm at sea, any day; if it was'nt for the children, bless
'em, I should not live with 'em, but I am very partial to them."
"Well, we must say good night, now," said Emilie, "or we shall be late
home; I dare say we shall see you on the shore some day; good night."
"Good night to you, ma'am; good night, young lady; be friends, won't
Edith's hand was given, but it was not pleasant to be conquered, and she
was a little sullen on the way home. They parted at the door of Edith's
house. Edith went in, to join a cheerful family in a comfortable and
commodious room; Emilie, to a scantily furnished, and shabbily genteel
apartment, let to her and a maiden aunt by a straw bonnet maker in the
We will peep at her supper table, and see if Miss Edith were quite right
in supposing that Emilie Schomberg had nothing to put her out.
THE SOFT ANSWER.
An old lady was seated by a little ricketty round table, knitting;
knitting very fast. Surely she did not always knit so fast, Germans are
great knitters it is true, but the needles made quite a noise--click,
click, click--against one another. The table was covered with a
snow-white cloth. By her side was a loaf called by bakers and
housekeepers, crusty; the term might apply either to the loaf or the old
lady's temper. A little piece of cheese stood on a clean plate, and a
crab on another, a little pat of butter on a third, and this, with a jug
of water, formed the preparation for the evening meal of the aunt and
niece. Emilie went up to her aunt, gaily, with her bunch of primroses in
her hand, and addressing her in the German language, begged her pardon
for keeping supper waiting. The old lady knitted faster than ever,
dropped a stitch, picked it up, looked out of the window, and cleared
up, not her temper, but her throat; click, click went the needles, and
Emilie looked concerned.
"Aunt, dear," she said, "shall we sit down to supper?" "My appetite is
gone, Emilie, I thank you." "I am really sorry, aunt, but you know you
are so kind, you wish me to take plenty of exercise, and I was detained
to-night. Miss Parker and I stayed chattering to an old sailor. It was
very thoughtless, pray excuse me. But now aunt, dear, see this fine
crab, you like crabs; old Peter Varley sent it to you, the old man you
knitted the guernsey for in the winter."
No,--old Miss Schomberg was not to be brought round. Crabs were very
heavy things at night, very indigestible things, she wondered at Emilie
thinking she could eat them, so subject as she was to spasms, too.
Indeed she could eat no supper. She was very dull and not well, so
Emilie sat down to her solitary meal. She did not go on worrying her
aunt to eat, but she watched for a suitable opening, for the first
indication indeed, of the clearing up for which she hoped, and though
it must be confessed some such thoughts as "how cross and unreasonable
aunt is," did pass through her mind, she gave them no utterance.
Emilie's mind was under good discipline, she had learned to forbear in
love, and for the exercise of this virtue, she had abundant opportunity.
Poor Emilie! she had not always been a governess, subject to the trials
of tuition; she had not always lived in a little lodging without the
comforts and joys of family and social intercourse.
Her father had failed in business, in Frankfort, and when Emilie was
about ten years of age, he had come over to England, and had gained his
living there by teaching his native language. He had been dead about a
twelve-month, and Emilie, at the age of twenty-one, found herself alone
in the world, in England at least, with the exception of the old German
aunt, to whom I have introduced you, and who had come over with her
brother, from love to him and his motherless child. She had a very small
independence, and when left an orphan, the kind old aunt, for kind she
was, in spite of some little infirmities of temper, persisted in sharing
with her her board and lodging, till Emilie, who was too active and
right minded to desire to depend on her for support, sought employment
as a teacher.
The seaport town of L----, in the south of England, whither Emilie and
her father had gone in the vain hope of restoring his broken health,
offered many advantages to our young German mistress. She had had a good
solid education. Her father, who was a scholar, had taught her, and had
taught her well, so that besides her own language, she was able to teach
Latin and French, and to instruct, as the advertisements say, "in the
usual branches of English education." She was musical, had a fine ear
and correct taste, and accordingly met with pupils without much
difficulty. In the summer months especially she was fully employed.
Families who came for relaxation were, nevertheless, glad to have their
daughters taught for a few hours in the week; and you may suppose that
Emilie Schomberg did not lead an idle life. For remuneration she fared,
as alas teachers do fare, but ill. The sum which many a gentleman freely
gives to his butler or valet, is thought exorbitant, nay, is rarely
given to a governess, and Emilie, as a daily governess, was but poorly
The expenses of her father's long illness and funeral were heavy, and
she was only just out of debt; therefore, with the honesty and
independence of spirit that marked her, she lived carefully and frugally
at the little rooms of Miss Webster, the straw bonnet maker, in High
From what I have told you already, you will easily perceive that Emilie
was accustomed to command her temper; she had been trained to do this
early in life. Her father, who foresaw for his child a life dependent on
her character and exertion, a life of labour in teaching and governing
others, taught Emilie to govern herself. Never was an only child less
spoiled than she; but she was ruled in love. She knew but one law, that
of kindness, and it made her a good subject.
Many were the sensible lessons that the good man gave her, as leaning on
her strong arm he used to pace up and down the grassy slopes which
bordered the sea shore. "Look, Emilie," he would say, "look at that
governess marshalling her scholars out. Do they look happy? think you
that they obey that stern mistress out of _love_? Listen, she calls to
them to keep their ranks and not to talk so loud. What unhappy faces
among them! Emilie, my child, you may keep school some day; oh, take
care and gain the love of the young ones, I don't believe there is any
other successful government, so I have found it." "With me, ah yes,
papa!" "With you, my child, and with all my scholars; I had little
experience as a teacher, when first it pleased God to make me dependent
on my own exertions as such, but I found out the secret. Gain your
pupils' love, Emilie, and a silken thread will draw them; without that
love, cords will not drag, scourges will scarcely drive them."
Emilie found this advice of her father's rather hard to follow now and
then. Her first essay in teaching was in Mrs. Parker's family. Edith was
to "be finished." And now poor Emilie found that there was more to teach
Edith than German and French, and that there was more difficulty in
teaching her to keep her temper than her voice in tune. Edith was
affectionate, but self-willed and irritable. Her mamma's treatment had
not tended to improve her in this respect. Mrs. Parker had bad health,
and said she had bad spirits. She was a kind, generous, and affectionate
woman, but was always in trouble. In trouble with her chimneys because
they smoked; in trouble with her maids who did not obey her; and worst
of all in trouble with herself; for she had good sense and good
principle, but she had let her temper go too long undisciplined, and it
was apt to break forth sometimes against those she loved, and would
cause her many bitter tears and self-upbraidings.
She took an interest in the poor German master, for she was a benevolent
woman, and cheered his dying bed by promising to assist his daughter.
She even offered to take her into her family; but this could not be
thought of. Good aunt Agnes had left her country for the sake of
Emilie--Emilie would not desert her aunt now.
The scene at the supper table was not an uncommon one, but Emilie was
frequently more successful in winning aunt Agnes to a smile than on this
occasion. "Perhaps I tried too much; perhaps I did not try enough,
perhaps I tried in the wrong way," thought Emilie, as she received her
aunt's cold kiss, and took up her bed room candle to retire for the
night. When aunt Agnes said good night, it was so very distantly, so
very unkindly, that an angry demand for explanation almost rose to
Emilie's lips, and though she did not utter it, she said her good night
coldly and stiffly too, and thus they parted. But when Emilie opened the
Bible that night, her eye rested on the words, "Be ye kind one to
another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God for Christ's sake
hath forgiven you," then Emilie could not rest. She did not forgive her
aunt; she felt that she did not; but Emilie was _human_, and human
nature is proud. "I did nothing to offend her," reasoned pride, "it was
only because I was out a little late, and I said I was sorry and I tried
to bring her round. Ah well, it will all be right to-morrow; it is no
use to think of it now," and she prepared to kneel down to pray. Just
then her eye rested on her father's likeness; she remembered how he used
to say, when she was a child and lisped her little prayer at his knee,
"Emilie, have you any unkind thoughts to any one? Do you feel at peace
with all? for God says, 'When thou bringest thy gift before the altar,
and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave
there thy gift before the altar, _first_ be reconciled to thy brother,
and _then_ go and offer thy gift.'" On one or two occasions had Emilie
arisen, her tender conscience thus appealed to, and thrown her arms
round her nurse's or her aunt's neck, to beg their forgiveness for some
little offence committed by her and forgotten perhaps by them, and would
then kneel down and offer up her evening prayer. So Emilie hushed
pride's voice, and opening her door, crossed the little passage to her
aunt's sleeping room, and putting her arm round her neck fondly said,
"Dear aunt!" It was enough, the good old lady hugged her lovingly. "Ah,
Emilie dear, I am a cross old woman, and thou art a dear good child.
Bless thee!" In half an hour after the inmates of the little lodging in
High Street were sound asleep, at peace with one another, and at peace
THE LESSON AT THE COTTAGE.
Edith was very busily searching for corallines and sea weeds, a few days
after the evening walk recorded in our first chapter. She was alone, for
her two sisters had appeared more than usually confidential and
unwilling for her company, and her dear teacher was engaged that
afternoon at the Young Ladies' Seminary, so she tried to make herself
happy in her solitary ramble. A boat came in at this moment, and the
pleasant shout of the boatmen's voices, and the grating of the little
craft as it landed on the pebbly shore, attracted the young lady's
notice, and she stood for a few moments to watch the proceedings.
Amongst those on shore, who had come to lend a hand in pulling the boat
in, Edith thought that she recognised a face, and on a little closer
inspection she saw it was old Joe Murray, who had stopped her course to
the beach a few evenings before. She did not wish to encounter Joe, so
slipping behind the blue jacketed crowd, she walked quickly forwards,
but Joe followed her.
"Young lady," he said, "if you are looking for corallines, you can't do
better than ask your papa some fine afternoon, to drive you as far as
Sheldon, and you'll find a sight of fine weeds there, as I know, for my
boy, my poor boy I lost, I mean," said he, again touching the rusty
crape on his hat, "my boy was very curious in those things, and had
quite a museum of 'em at home." How could Edith stand against such an
attack? It was plain that the old man wanted to make peace with her,
and, cheerfully thanking him, she was moving on, but the old boots
grinding the shingle, were again heard behind her, and turning round,
she saw Joe at her heels.
"Miss, I don't know as I ought to have stopped you that night. I am a
poor old fisherman, and you are a young lady, but I meant no harm, and
for the moment only did it in a joke."
"Oh, dear," said Edith, "don't think any more about it, I was very
cross that night, and you were quite right, I should have got Miss
Schomberg into sad trouble if I had gone that way. As it was, I was out
too late. Have you lost a son lately, said Edith, I heard you say you
had just now? Was he drowned?" inquired the child, kindly looking up
into Joe's face.
"Yes Miss, he was drowned," said Joe, "he came by his death very sadly.
Will you please, Miss, to come home with me, and I will shew you his
curiosities, and if you please to take a fancy to any, I'm sure you are
very welcome. I don't know any good it does me to turn 'em over, and
look at them as I do times and often, but somehow when we lose them we
love, we hoard up all they loved. He had a little dog, poor Bob had, a
little yapping thing, and I never took to the animal, 'twas always
getting into mischief, and gnawing the nets, and stealing my fish, and I
used often to say, 'Bob, my boy, I love you but not your dog. No, that
saying won't hold good now. I can't love that dog of yours. Sell it,
boy--give it away--get rid of it some how.' All in good part, you know,
Miss, for I never had any words with him about it. And now Bob is
gone--do you know, Miss, I love that dumb thing with the sort of love I
should love his child, if he had left me one. If any one huffs Rover, (I
ain't a very huffish man,) but I can tell you I shew them I don't like
it, I let the creature lay at my feet at night, and I feed him myself
and fondle him for the sake of him who loved him so. And you may depend
Miss, the dog knows his young master is gone, and the way he is gone
too, for I could not bring him on the shore for a long while, but he
would set up such a howl as would rend your heart to hear. And that made
me love the poor thing I can tell you."
"But how did it happen?" softly asked Edith.
"Why Miss it ain't at all an extraordinary way in which he met his
death. It was in this way. He was very fond of me, poor boy, but he
liked his way better than my way too often. And may be I humoured him a
little too much. He was my Benjamin, you must know Miss, for his mother
died soon after he was born. Sure enough I made an idol of the lad, and
we read somewhere in the Bible, Miss, that 'the idols he will utterly
abolish.' But I don't like looking at the sorrow that way neither. I
would rather think that 'whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.' Well,
Miss, like father like son. My boy loved the sea, as was natural he
should, but he was too venturesome; I used often to say, 'Bob, the
oldest sailor living can't rule the waves and winds, and if you are such
a mad cap as to go out sailing in such equally weather on this coast, as
sure as you are alive you will repent it.' He and some young chaps
hereabouts, got such a wonderful notion of sailing, and though I have
sailed many and many a mile, in large vessels and small, I always hold
to it that it is ticklish work for the young and giddy. Why sometimes
you are on the sea, Miss, ah, as calm as it is now--all in peace and
safety--a squall comes, and before you know what you are about you are
capsized. I had told him this, and he knew it, Miss, but he got a good
many idle acquaintances, as I told you, and they tempted him often to do
bold reckless things such as boys call brave."
"It was one morning at the end of September, Bob says to me, 'Father, we
are going to keep my birthday; I am sixteen to-day,' and so he was,
bless him, sixteen the very day he died. 'We are going to keep my
birthday,' says he, 'Newton, and Somers, and Franklin, and I, we are all
going to Witton,' that is the next town, Miss, as you may know, 'we are
going to have a sail there, and dine at grandmother's, and home again at
night, eh Father.' 'Bob,' says I, 'I can't give my consent; that
ticklish sailing boat of young Woods' requires wiser heads and steadier
hands than your's to manage. You know my opinion of sailing, and you
won't grieve me, I hope, by going.' I might have told him, but I did
not, that I did not like the lads he was going with, but I knew that
would only make him angry, and do no good just as his heart was set upon
a frolic with them, so I said nought of that, but I tried to win him,
(that's my way with the young ones,) though I failed this time; go he
would, and he would have gone, let me have been as angry as you please.
But I have this comfort, that no sharp words passed my lips that day,
and no bitter ones his. I saw he was set on the frolic, and I hoped no
harm would come of it. How I watched the sky that day, Miss, no mortal
knows; how I started when I saw a sea gull skim across the waves! how I
listened for the least sound of a squall! Snap was just as fidgetty
seemingly, and we kept stealing down to the beach, long before it was
likely they should be back. As I stood watching there in the evening,
where I knew they would land, I saw young Newton's mother; she pulled me
by my sleeve, anxious like, and said, 'What do you think of the weather
Joe?' 'Why, Missis,' said I, 'there is an ugly look about the sky, but I
don't wish to frighten you; please God they'll soon be home, for Bob
promised to be home early.'"
"Well, Miss, there we stood, the waves washing our feet, till it grew
dark, and then I could stand it no longer. I said to the poor mother,
'keep a good heart,' but I had little hope myself, God knows, and off I
made for Witton. Well, they had not been there, I found the grandmother
had seen nothing of them. They were picked up a day or so after, all
four of them washed up by the morning tide; their boat had drifted no
one knows where, and no one knows how it happened; but I suppose they
were driven out by the fresh breeze that sprung up, and not knowing how
to manage the sails, they were capsized."
"There they all lay. Miss, in the churchyard. It was a solemn sight, I
can tell you, to see those four coffins, side by side, in the church.
They were all strong hearty lads, and all under seventeen. I go and sit
on his grave sometimes, and spell over all I said, and all he said that
day; and glad enough I am, that I can remember neither cross word nor
cross look. Ah, my lady, I should remember it if it had been so. We
think we are good fathers and good friends to them we love while they
are alive, but as soon as we lose 'em, all the kindness we ever did them
seems little enough, while all the bad feelings we had, and sharp words
we spoke, come up to condemn us."
By this time they had reached the fisherman's cottage; it was prettily
situated, as houses on the south coast often are, under the shadow of a
fine over-hanging cliff. Masses of rock, clad with emerald green, were
scattered here and there, and the thriving plants in the little garden,
gave evidence of the mildness of the air in those parts, though close
upon the sea. The cottage was very low, but white and cheerful looking
outside, and as clean and trim within as a notable and stirring woman
could make it. Joe's daughter-in-law, the same described by Joe the
other evening as the woman of a high spirit, was to-day absent on an
errand to the town; and Edith, who loved children, stopped at the
threshold to notice two or three little curly-headed prattlers, who were
playing together at grotto making, an amusement which cost grandfather
many a half-penny. Some dispute seemed to have arisen at the moment of
their entrance between the young builders, for a good-humoured,
plain-looking girl, of twelve, the nursemaid of the baby, and the
care-taker of four other little ones, was trying to pacify the
aggrieved. In vain--little Susy was in a great passion, and with her
tiny foot kicked over the grotto, the result of several hours' labour;
first, in searching on the shore for shells and pebbles, and secondly,
in its erection. Then arose such a shriek and tumult amongst the
children, as those only can conceive who know what a noise disappointed
little creatures, from three to seven years old, can make. They all set
upon Susy, "naughty, mischievous, tiresome," were among the words. The
quiet looking girl, who had been trying to settle the dispute, now
interfered again. She led Susy away gently, but firmly, into another
part of the garden, where spying her grandfather, she took the unwilling
and ashamed little girl for him to deal with, and ran hack to the crying
children and ruined grotto.
"Oh, hush! dears, pray hush," said Sarah, beginning to pick up the
shells, "we will soon build it up again." This they all declared
impossible, and cried afresh, but Sarah persevered, and quietly went on
piling up the shells, till at last one little mourner took up her coarse
pinafore and wiping her eyes, said, "Sarah does it very nicely." The
grotto rose beautifully, and at last they were all quiet and happy
again; all but poor Susy, who, seeing herself excluded, kept up a
terrible whine. "I wonder if Susan is sorry," said Sarah. "Not she, not
she, don't ask her here again," said they all. "Why not," said the
grandfather, who having walked about with Susy awhile, and talked
gravely to her, appeared to have brought about a change in her temper?
"Why because she will knock it down again the first time any thing puts
her out." "Won't you try her?" said Sarah, pleadingly; but they still
said "No! no!" "Don't you mind the day, Dick," said Sarah, "when you
pulled grandfather's new net all into the mud, and tangled his twine,
and spoilt him a whole day's work?" "Yes," said Dick. "Ah, and don't
you mind, too, when he went out in the boat next day, and you asked to
go with him, just as if nothing had happened, and you had done no harm,
he said, 'ah, Dick, if I were to mind what _revenge_ says, I would not
take you with me; you have injured me very much, but I'll mind what
_love_ says, and that tells me to return good for evil?'" "Yes," says
Dick. "Do you think you could have hurt any thing of grandfather's after
that?" "No," said Dick, "but I did not do it in a rage, as Susy did."
"You did mischief, though," said Sarah; "but I want Susy to give over
going into these rages. I want to cure her. Beating her does no good,
mother says that herself; wont you all try and help to cure Susy?"
These children were not angels. I am writing of children as they are you
know, and though they yielded, it was rather sullenly, and little Susan
was given to understand that she was not a very welcome addition. Susy
kept very close to Sarah, sobbing and heaving, till the children seeing
her subdued, made more room for her, and her smile returned. Now the
law of kindness prevailed, and when the time came to run down to the
shore for some more shells, to replace those that had been broken, Susy,
at Sarah's hint, ran first and fastest, and brought her little pinafore
fullest of all. Edith watched all this, and her good old mentor was
willing that she should. "I suppose you have taught them this way of
settling disputes," said Edith to Joe. "I, oh no, Miss, I can't take all
the credit. Sarah, there, she has taken to me very much since my Bob
died, and she said to me the day of his funeral, when her heart was soft
and tender-like, 'Grandfather, tell me what I can do to comfort you.'
'Oh, child,' says I, 'my grief is too deep for you to touch, but you are
a kind girl, I'll tell you what to do to-night. Leave me alone, and, oh,
try and make the children quiet, for my head aches as bad as my heart.
"Then Sarah tried that day and the next, but found it hard work; the
boys quarrelled and fought, and the little once scratched and cried, and
their mother came and beat one or two of the worst, but all did no good.
There was no peace till bed time; still I encouraged her and told her,
you know, about 'a soft answer turning away wrath,' and since that
time, she has less often given railing for railing; and has not huffed
and worried them, as elder sisters are apt to do. She is a good girl, is
Sarah, but here comes the Missis home from market." "The Missis"
certainly did not look very sweet, and her heavy load had heated her.
She did not welcome Edith pleasantly, which, the old man observing, led
her away to a little room he occupied at the back of the cottage, and
showed her the corallines.
Edith saw plainly that though the poor father offered her any of them
she liked to take, he suffered in parting with them, so calling Dick and
Mary, she asked if they would hunt for some for her, like those in
grandfather's stores. They consented joyfully, and Edith promising often
to come and see the old man, ran down the cliff briskly, and hastened
home. She thought a good deal as she walked, and asked herself if she
should have had the patience and the gentleness of that poor cottage
girl; if she should have soothed Susy, and comforted Dick and Mary; if
she should have troubled herself to kneel down in the broiling sun and
build up a few trumpery shells into a grotto, to be upset and destroyed
presently. She came to the conclusion that for good, pleasant, prettily
behaved children, she might have done so, but for shrieking, passionate,
quarrelsome little things as they appeared to her then, she certainly
should not. She felt humbled at the contrast between herself and Sarah;
and when she arrived at home, for the first time, perhaps, in her life,
she patiently bore her mamma's reproaches for being so late, and for the
impropriety of walking away from her sisters, no one knew where. She was
not yet quite skilled enough in the art of peace, to give the "soft
answer;" but her silence and quietness turned away Mrs. Parker's wrath,
and after dinner, Edith prepared herself for the visit of her dear
Mrs. Parker and her two elder daughters were going to pay a visit to
town this summer, and as Edith was not thought old enough to accompany
them, Mrs. Parker resolved to ask Emilie to take charge of her. The only
difficulty was how to dispose of aunt Agnes; aunt Agnes wishing them to
believe that she did not mind being alone, but all the while minding it
very much. At last it occurred to Emilie that perhaps Mrs. Crosse, at
the farm in Edenthorpe, a few miles off, would, if she knew of the
difficulty, ask aunt Agnes there for a few weeks. Mrs. Crosse and aunt
Agnes got on so wonderfully well together, and as she had often been
invited, the only thing now was to get her in the mind to go. This was
effected in due time, and Mr. Crosse came up to the lodgings for her and
her little box, in his horse and gig, on the very evening that Emilie
was to go the Parkers', to be installed as housekeeper and governess in
the lady's absence. Edith had come to see the dear old aunt off; and now
re-entered the lodgings to help Emilie to collect her things, and to
settle with Miss Webster for the lodgings, before her departure. Miss
Webster had met with a tenant for six weeks, and was in very good
spirits, and very willing to take care of the Schombergs' goods, which,
to tell the truth, were not likely to oppress her either in number or
value, with the exception of one cherished article, one relic of former
days--a good semi-grand piano, which M. Schomberg had purchased for his
daughter, about a year before his death. Miss Webster looked very much
confused as Emilie bade her good-bye, and said--"Miss Schomberg, you
have not, I see, left your piano unlocked."
"No," said Emilie, "certainly I have not; I did not suppose----"
"Why," replied Miss Webster, "the lodgers, seeing a piano, will be sure
to ask for the key, Miss, and to be sure you wo'nt object."
Emilie hesitated. Did she remember the time when Miss Webster, indignant
at Emilie for being a fortnight behind-hand in her weekly rent, refused
to lend a sofa for her dying father, without extra pay? Did she recall
the ill-made slops, the wretched attendance to which this selfish woman
treated them during the pressure of poverty and distress? Emilie was
human, and she remembered all. She knew, moreover, that Miss Webster
would make a gain of her instrument, and that it might suffer from six
weeks' rough use. She stood twisting some straw plait that lay on the
counter, in her fingers, and then coolly saying she would consider of
it, walked out of the shop with Edith, her bosom swelling with
conflicting feelings. The slight had been to her _father_--to her dear
dead father--she could not love Miss Webster, nor respect her--she could
not oblige her. She felt so now, however, and despised the meanness of
the lodging-house keeper, in making the request.
Edith was by her side in good spirits, though she was to miss the London
journey. Not every young lady would be so content to remain all the
holiday-time with the governess; but Edith loved her governess. Happy
governess, to be loved by her pupil!
Mrs. Parker received Emilie very kindly: she was satisfied that her
dear child would be happy in her absence, and she knew enough of Emilie,
she said, to believe that she would see that Mr. Parker had his meals
regularly and nicely served, and that the servants did not rob or run
away, or the boys put their dirty feet on the sofa, or bright fender
tops, or lead Edith into mischief; in short, the things that Emilie was
to see to were so numerous, that it would have required more eyes than
she possessed, and far more vigilance and experience than she lay claim
to, to fulfill all Mrs. Parker's desires.
Amidst all the talking and novelty of her new situation, however, Emilie
was absent and thoughtful; she was dispirited, and yet she was not
subject to low spirits either. There was a cause. She had a tender
conscience--a conscience with which she was in the habit of conversing,
and conscience kept whispering to her the words--"What things soever ye
would that men should do unto you, do ye also to them." In vain she
tried to silence this monitor, and at last she asked to withdraw for a
few minutes, and scribbled a hasty note to Miss Webster; the first she
wrote was as follows:--
"Dear Miss W.--I enclose the key of the pianoforte. I should have
acceded to your request, only I remembered standing on that very spot,
by that very counter, a year ago, petitioning hard for the loan of a
sofa for my dying father, who, in his feverish and restless state,
longed to leave the bed for awhile. I remembered that, and I could not
feel as if I could oblige you; but I have thought better of it, and beg
you will use the piano."
She read the note before folding it, however; and somehow it did not
satisfy her. She crumpled it up, took a turn or two in the room, and
then wrote the following:--
"Dear Miss Webster--I am sorry that I for a moment hesitated to lend you
my piano. It was selfish, and I hope you will excuse the incivility. I
enclose the key, and as your lodgers do not come in until to-morrow, I
hope the delay will not have inconvenienced you.
"Believe me, yours truly,
Having sealed her little note, she asked Mrs. Parker's permission to
send it into High Street, and Emilie Schomberg was herself again. You
will see, by-and-bye, how Emilie returned Miss Webster's selfishness in
a matter yet more important than the loan of the piano. It would have
been meeting evil with evil had she retaliated the mean conduct of her
landlady. She would undoubtedly have done so, had she yielded to the
impulses of her nature; but "how then could I have prayed," said Emilie,
"forgive me my trespasses as I forgive them that trespass against me."
The travellers set off early in the morning, and now began the holiday
of both governess and pupil. They loved one another so well that the
prospect of six weeks' close companionship was irksome to neither; but
Emilie had not a holiday of it altogether. Miss Edith was exacting and
petulant at times, even with those she loved, and she loved none better
than Emilie. Fred, the tormenting brother of whom Edith had spoken in
her list of troubles in our first chapter, was undeniably troublesome;
and the three maid-servants set themselves from the very first to resist
the governess's temporary authority; so we are wrong in calling these
Emilie's holidays. She had not, indeed, undertaken the charge very
willingly; but Mrs. Parker had befriended her in extremity, and she
loved Edith dearly, notwithstanding much in her that was not loveable,
so she armed herself for the conflict, and cheerfully and humbly
commenced her new duties.
Fred and his elder brother John were at home for the holidays; they were
high-spirited lads of fourteen and fifteen years of age, and were
particularly fond of teasing both their elder sisters and little Edith;
a taste, by-the-bye, by no means peculiar to the Master Parkers, but one
which we cannot admire, nevertheless.
The two boys, with Emilie and Edith, were on their way to pay aunt Agnes
a little visit, having received from Mrs. Crosse, at the farm, a request
for the honour of the young lady's company as well as that of her
brothers. John and Frederick were to walk, and Emily and Edith were to
go in the little pony gig. As they were leaving the town, Edith caught
sight of John coming out of a shop which was a favourite resort of most
of the young people and visitors of the town of L----. It was
professedly a stationer's and bookseller's, and was kept by Mrs. Cox, a
widow woman, who sold balls, fishing tackle, books, boats, miniature
spades, barrows, garden tools, patent medicines, &c., and who had
lately increased her importance, in the eyes of the young gentlemen, by
the announcement that various pyrotechnical wonders were to be obtained
at her shop. There are few boys who have not at some time of their
boyhood had a mania for pyrotechnics--in plain English,
_fire-works_--and there are few parents, and parents' neighbours, who
can say that they relish the smell of gunpowder on their premises.
Mr. Parker had a particular aversion to amusements of the kind. He was
an enemy to fishing, to cricketing, to boating; he was a very quiet,
gentlemanly, dignified sort of man, and, although a kind father, had
perhaps set up rather too high a standard of quietness and order and
sedateness for his children. It is a curious fact, but one which it
would be rather difficult to disprove, that children not unfrequently
are the very opposites of their parents, in qualities such as I have
described. Possibly they may not have been inculcated quite in the right
manner; but that is not our business here.
Edith guessed what her brothers were after, and told her suspicious to
Emilie; but not until they were within sight of the farm-house. John
and Fred, who had been a short cut across the fields, were in high glee
awaiting their arrival, and assisted Edith and her friend to alight more
politely than usual. Aunt Agnes was in ecstasies of delight to see her
dear Emilie, and she caressed Edith most lovingly also. Edith liked the
old lady, who had a fund of fairy tales, such as the German language is
rich in. Often would Edith go and sit by the old lady as she knitted,
and listen to the story of the "Flying Trunk," or the "Two Swans," with
untiring interest; and old ladies of a garrulous turn like good
listeners. So aunt Agnes called Edith a charming girl, and Edith, who
had seldom seen aunt Agnes otherwise than conversable and pleasant,
thought her a very nice old lady.
Mrs. Crosse was extremely polite; and in the bustle of greeting, and
putting up the pony, and aunt Agnes' questions, the fire-work affair was
almost forgotten. When they all met at tea, the farmer, who had almost
as great a horror of gunpowder as Mr. Parker--and in the vicinity of
barns and stacks, with greater reason--declared he smelt a smell which
he never tolerated in his house, and asked his boys if they had any
about them. They denied it, but it was evident they knew something of
the matter; and now Emilie's concern was very great.
After tea she took John by the arm, and looking into his face, said, "I
am going to be very intrusive, Sir; I am not your governess, and I have
no right to control you, but I wish to be your friend, and may I advise
you? Don't take those fire-works out on Mr. Crosse's premises, you have
no idea the mischief you might do. You could not have brought them to a
worse place. Be persuaded, pray do, to give it up." John, thus appealed
to, laughed heartily at Miss Schomberg's fears, said something not very
complimentary about Miss S. speaking one word for the farmer's stack,
and two for her own nerves, and made his escape to join his brother, and
the two young farmers, who were delighted at the prospect of a frolic.
What was to be done? The lads were gone out, and doubtless would send up
their rockets and let off their squibs somewhere on the farm, which was
a very extensive one. The very idea of fire-works would put aunt Agnes
into a terrible state of alarm, so Emilie held her peace. To tell the
farmer would, she knew, irritate him fearfully; and yet no time was to
be lost. She was older than any of the party, and it was in reliance on
her discretion that the visit had been permitted. She appealed to Edith,
but Edith, who either had a little fancy to see the fire-works, or, who
feared her brothers' ridicule, or who thought Emilie took too much upon
herself, gave her no help in the matter.
"Well, Edith," said Emilie, when the farmer's wife left the room to make
some preparation for a sumptuous supper, "I have made up my mind what to
do. I will not stay here if your brothers are to run any foolish risks
with those fire-works. I will go home at once, and tell your papa, he
will be in time to stop it; or I will apprise Mr. Crosse, and he can
take what steps he pleases."
"Well, you will have a fine life of it, Miss Schomberg, if you tell any
tales, I can tell you," said Edith, pettishly, "and it really is no
business of yours. They are not under your care if I am. Oh, let them
be. Fred said he should let them off on the Langdale hills, far enough
away from the farm."
But Emilie was firm. She tied on her bonnet, and determined to make one
more effort--it should be with Fred this time. She followed the track of
the lads, having first inquired of a farm-boy which road they had taken,
and as they had loitered, and she walked very fast, she soon overtook
them. They were seated on a bank by the road-side, when she got up to
them, and John was just displaying his treasures, squibs to make Miss
Edith jump, Catherine wheels, roman candles, sky-rockets, and blue
lights and crackers. The farmer's sons, Jerry and Tom, grinned
delightedly. Emilie stood for a few moments irresolute; the boys were
rude, and looked so daring--what should she say?
"Young gentlemen," she began; they all took off their hats in mock
deference. "A woman preaching, I declare." "Go on. Madam, hear! hear!
hear!" said the young Crosses. "Young gentlemen," continued Emilie, with
emphasis, "it is to _you_ I am speaking. I am determined that those
fire-works shall not be let off, if I can prevent it, on Mr. Crosse's
premises. If you will not give up your intention, I shall walk to L--,
and inform your father, and you know very well how displeased he will
"Who says we are going to let them off on Mr. Crosse's premises?" said
Fred, fiercely. "You are very interfering Miss Schomberg, will you go
back to your our own business, and to little Edith."
"I will go to L----, master Fred," said Emilie, firmly, but kindly. "I
shall be sorry to get you into trouble, and I would rather not take the
walk, but I shall certainly do what I say if you persist."
The boys looked doubtfully at one another. Fred seemed a little disposed
to yield, but to be conquered by his sister's governess was very
humiliating. However, they knew from Edith's account that Emilie, though
kind, was firm; and, therefore, after a little further altercation, they
agreed not to send up the fire-works that night, but they promised her
at the same time that she should not hear the last of it. They returned
to the farm much out of humour, and having hidden them in the box of the
pony gig, came in just in time for supper.
The ride home was a silent one; Edith saw that her brothers were put
out, and began to think she did not like Emilie Schomberg to live with
at all. Emilie had done right, but she had a hard battle to fight; all
were against her. No one likes to be contradicted, or as Fred said, to
be managed. Emilie, however, went steadily on, speaking the truth, but
speaking it in love, and acting always "as seeing Him who is invisible."
"Now, Emilie, what do you think of my life?" said Edith, one day after
she and Fred had had one of their usual squabbles. "What do you think of
"I think, Edith, dear, that I would try and win him over to love and
affection, and not thwart and irritate him as you do. Have you forgotten
old Joe's maxim, 'a soft answer turneth away wrath?' but your grievous
words too often stir up strife. You told me the other day, dear, how
much the conduct of Sarah Murray pleased you; now you may act towards
John and Fred as Sarah did to little Susy."
Edith shook her head. "It is not in me, Emilie, I am afraid."
"No, dear," said Emilie, "you are right, it is not _in_ you."
"Well then what is the use of telling me to do things impossible?"
"I did not say impossible, Edith, did I?"
"No, but you say it is not in me to be gentle and all that, and I dare
say it is not; but you don't get much the better thought of, gentle as
you are. Miss Schomberg. John and Fred don't behave better to you than
they do to me, so far as I see."
"Edith, dear, you set out wrong in your attempts to do right," said
Emily, kindly. "It is not _in_ you; it is not _in_ any one by nature to
be always gentle and kind. It is not in me I know. I was once a very
petulant child, being an only one, and it was but by very slow process
that I learned to govern myself, and I am learning it still."
At this moment Fred came in, bearing in one hand a quantity of paper,
and in another a book with directions for balloon making. "Now Edith,
you are a clever young lady," he began.
"Oh, yes," said Edith, wrathfully, "When it suits you, you can flatter."
"No, but Edith, don't be cross, come! I want you to do me a service. I
want you to cut me out this tissue paper into the shape of this
pattern. I am going to send up a balloon to-morrow, and I can't cut it
out, will you do it for me?"
"Yes, yes," said Emilie, "we will do it together. Oh, come that is a
nice job, Edith dear, I can help you in that," and Emilie cleared away
her own work quick as thought, and asked Fred for particular directions
how it was to be done, all this time trying to hide Edith's
unwillingness to oblige her brother, and making it appear that Edith and
she were of one mind to help him.
Fred, who since the fire-work affair had treated Emilie somewhat rudely,
and had on many occasions annoyed her considerably, looked in
astonishment at Miss Schomberg. She saw his surprise and understood it.
"Fred," said she frankly, "I know what you are thinking of, but let us
be friends. Give me the gratification of helping you to this pleasure,
since I hindered you of the other. You won't be too proud, will you, to
have my help?"
Fred coloured. "Miss Schomberg," said he, "I don't deserve it of you, I
beg your pardon;" and thus they were reconciled.
Oh, it is not often in great things that we are called upon to show
that we love our neighbour as ourselves. It is in the daily, hourly,
exercise of little domestic virtues, that they who truly love God may be
distinguished from those who love him not. It was not because Emilie was
naturally amiable or naturally good that she was thus able to show this
loving and forgiving spirit. She loved God, and love to him actuated
her; she thus adorned the doctrine of her Saviour in all things. Young
reader there is no such thing as a religion of words and feelings alone,
it must be a religion of _acts_; a life of warfare against the sins that
most easily beset you; a mortification of selfishness and pride, and a
humble acknowledgment, when you have done your _very best_, that you are
only unprofitable servants. Had you heard Emilie communing with her own
heart, you would have heard no self gratulation. She was far from
perfect even in the sight of man; in the sight of God she knew that in
many things she offended.
It is not a perfect character that I would present to you in Emilie
Schomberg; but one who with all the weakness and imperfection of human
nature, made the will of God her rule and delight. This is not natural,
it is the habit of mind of those only who are created anew, new
creatures in Christ Jesus.
This you may be sure Emilie did not fail to teach her pupil; but a great
many such lessons may be received into the head without one finding an
entrance to the heart, and Edith was in the not very uncommon habit of
looking on her faults in the light of misfortunes, just as any one might
regard a deformed limb or a painful disorder. She was, indeed, too much
accustomed to talk of her faults, and was a great deal too easy about
"My dear," Emilie would say after her confessions, "I do not believe you
see how sinful these things are, or surely you would not so very, very,
often commit them." This was the real state of the case; and it may be
said of all those who are in the habit of mere confessions, that they do
not believe things to be so very bad, because they do not understand how
very good and holy is the God against whom they sin. Edith had this to
learn; books could not teach her this. She who taught her all else so
well, could not teach her this; it was to be learned from a higher
Well, you are thinking, some of you, that this is a prosy chapter, but
you must not skip it. It is just what Emily Schomberg would have said to
you, if you had been pupils of hers. The end of reading is not, or ought
not to be, mere amusement; so read a grave page now and then with
attention and thoughtfulness.
The truth must be told of Emilie; she was not clever with her hands, and
she was, nevertheless, a little too confident in her power of execution,
so willing and anxious was she to serve you. The directions Fred gave
her were far from clear; and after the paper was all cut and was to be
pasted together, sorrowful to say, it would not do at all. Fred, in
spite of his late apology was very angry, and seizing the scissors said
he should know better another time than to ask Miss Schomberg to do what
she did not understand. "You have wasted my paper, too," said the boy,
"and my time in waiting for what I could better have done myself."
Emilie was very sorry, and she said so; but a balloon could not exactly
be made out of her sorrow, and nothing short of a balloon would pacify
Fred, that was plain. "Must it be ready for to-morrow?" she asked.
"Yes, it _must_," he said. Three other boys were going to send up
balloons. It was the Queen's coronation day, and he had promised to take
a fourth balloon to the party; and the rehearsal of all this stirred up
Fred's ire afresh, and he looked any thing but kind at Miss Schomberg.
What was to be done? Edith suggested driving to the next market town to
buy one; but her papa wanted the pony gig, so they could only sally
forth to Mrs. Cox's for some more tissue paper, and begin the work
again. This was very provoking to Edith.
"To have spent all the morning and now to be going to spend all the
afternoon over a trumpery balloon, which you can't make after all, Miss
Schomberg, is very tiresome, and I wanted to go to old Joe Murray's
to-day and see if the children have picked me up any corallines."
"I am very sorry, dear, my carelessness should punish you; but don't
disturb me by grumbling and I will try and get done before tea, and then
we will go together." This time Emilie was more successful; she took
pains to understand what was to be done, and the gores of her balloon
"Now Edith, dear, ring for some paste," said Emilie, just as the clock
struck four; Margaret answered the bell. Margaret was the housemaid, and
so far from endeavouring in her capacity to overcome evil with good, she
was perpetually making mischief and increasing any evil there might be,
either in kitchen or parlour, by her mode of delivering a message. She
would be sure to add her mite to any blame that she might hear, in her
report to the kitchen, and thus, without being herself a bad or violent
temper, was continually fomenting strife, and adding fuel to the fire of
the cook, who was of a very choleric turn. The request for paste was
civilly made and received, but Emilie unfortunately called Margaret back
to say, "Oh, ask cook, please, to make it stiffer than she did the last
that we had for the kite; that did not prove quite strong."
Margaret took the message down and informed cook that "Miss Schomberg
did not think she knew how to make paste." "Then let her come and make
it herself," said cook. "She wants to be cook I think; she had better
come. I sha'nt make it. What is it for?"
"Oh," said Margaret, "she is after some foreign filagree work of hers,
"Well, I'm busy now and I am not going to put myself out about it, she
Emilie did wait the due time, but as the paste did not come she went
down for it. "Is the paste ready, cook?" she asked.
"No, Miss Schomberg," was the short reply, and cook went on assiduously
washing up her plates.
"Will you be so kind as to make it, cook, for I want it particularly
that it may have as much time as possible to dry."
"Perhaps you will make it yourself then," was the gracious rejoinder.
Emilie was not above making a little paste, and as she saw that
something had put cook out, she willingly consented; but she did not
know where to get either flour or saucepan, and cook and Margaret kept
making signs and laughing, so that it was not very pleasant. She grew
quite hot, as she had to ask first for a spoon, then for a saucepan,
then for the flour and water; at last she modestly turned round and
said, "Cook, I really do not quite know how to make a little paste. I
am ashamed to say it, but I have lived so long in lodgings that I see
nothing of what is done in the kitchen. Will you tell or show me? I am
Her kind civil tone quite changed cook's, and she said, "Oh, Miss, I'll
make it, only you see, you shouldn't have said I didn't know how."
Emilie explained, and the cook was pacified, and gave Miss Schomberg a
good deal of gratuitous information during the process. How she did not
like her place, and should not stay, and how she disliked her mistress,
and plenty more--to which Emilie listened politely, but did not make
much reply. She plainly perceived that cook wanted a very forbearing
mistress, but she could not exactly tell her so. She merely said in her
quaint quiet way, that every one had something to bear, and the paste
being made, she left the kitchen.
"Well, I must say, Miss Schomberg has a nice way of speaking, which gets
over you some how," said cook, "I wish I had her temper."
More than one in the kitchen mentally echoed that wish of cook's.
The balloon went on beautifully, and was completed by seven o'clock.
Fred was delighted when he came in to tea, and John no less so. All the
rude speeches were forgotten, and Emilie was as sympathetic in her joy
as an elder sister could have been. "I don't know what you will do
without Miss Schomberg," said Mr. Parker, as he sipped his tea.
"She had better come and live with us," said Fred, "and keep us all in
order. I'm sure I should have no objection."
Emilie felt quite paid for the little self-denial she had exercised,
when she found that her greatest enemy, he who had declared he would
"plague her to death, and pay her off for not letting them send up their
fire-works," was really conquered by that powerful weapon, _love_.
Fred had thought more than he chose to acknowledge of Emilie's kindness;
he could not forget it. It was so different to the treatment he had met
with from his associates generally. It made him ask what could be the
reason of Emilie's conduct. She had nothing to get by it, that was
certain, and Fred made up his mind to have some talk with Miss Schomberg
on the subject the first time they were alone. He had some trials at
school with a boy who was bent on annoying him, and trying to stir up
his temper; perhaps the peacemaker might tell him how to deal with this
lad. Fred was an impetuous boy, and now began to like Miss Schomberg as
warmly as he had previously disliked her.
On their way to old Joe's house that night, Emilie thought she would
call in on Miss Webster, not having parted from her very warmly on the
first night of the holidays. A fortnight of these holidays had passed
away, and Emilie began to long for her quiet evenings, and to see dear
aunt Agnes again. She looked quite affectionately up to the little
sitting room window, where her geraniums stood, and even thought kindly
of Miss Webster herself, to whom it was not quite so easy to feel
genial. She entered the shop. The apprentice sate there at work, busily
trimming a fine rice straw bonnet for the lodger within. She looked up
joyously at Emilie's approach. She thought how often that kind German
face had been to her like a sunbeam on a dull path; how often her
musical voice had spoken words of counsel, and comfort, and sympathy,
to her in her hard life. How she had pressed her hand when she (the
apprentice) came home one night and told her, "My poor mother is dead,"
and how she had said, "We are both orphans now, Lucy. We can feel for
one another." How she had taught her by example, often, and by word
sometimes, not to answer again if any thing annoyed or irritated her,
and in short how much Lucy had missed the young lady only Lucy could
Emilie inquired for her mistress, but the words were scarcely out of her
lips, than she said, "Oh, Miss, she's so bad! She has scalt her foot,
and is quite laid up, and the lodgers are very angry. They say they
don't get properly attended to and so they mean to go. Dear me, there is
such a commotion, but her foot is very had, poor thing, and I have to
mind the shop, or I would wait upon her more; and the girl is very
inattentive and saucy, so that I don't see what we are to do. Will you
go and see Miss Webster, Miss?"
Emilie cheerfully consented, leaving Edith with Lucy to learn straw
plaiting, if she liked, and to listen to her artless talk. Lucy had less
veneration for the name of Queen Victoria than for that of Schomberg.
Emilie was to her the very perfection of human nature, and accordingly
she sang her praises loud and long.
On the sofa, the very sofa for which M. Schomberg had so longed, lay
Miss Webster, the expression of her face manifesting the greatest pain.
The servant girl had just brought up her mistress's tea, a cold,
slopped, miserable looking mess. A slice of thick bread and butter, half
soaked in the spilled beverage, was on a plate, and that a dirty one;
and the tray which held the meal was offered to the poor sick woman so
carelessly, that the contents were nearly shot into her lap. It was easy
to see that love formed no part of Betsey's service of her mistress, and
that she rendered every attention grudgingly and ill. Emilie went up
cordially to Miss Webster, and was not prepared for the repulsive
reception with which she met. She wondered what she could have said or
done, except, indeed, in the refusal of the instrument, and that was
atoned for. Emilie might have known, however, that nothing makes our
manners so distant and cold to another, as the knowledge that we have
injured or offended him. Miss Webster, in receiving Emilie's advances,
truly was experiencing the truth of the scripture saying, that coals of
fire should be heaped on her head.
Poor Miss Webster! "There! set down the tray, you may go, and don't let
me see you in that filthy cap again, not fit to be touched with a pair
of tongs; and don't go up to Mrs. Newson in that slipshod fashion, don't
Betsey; and when you have taken up tea come here, I have an errand for
you to go. Shut the door gently. Oh, dear! dear, these servants!"
This was so continually the lament of Miss Webster, that Emilie would
not have noticed it, but that she appeared so miserable, and she
therefore kindly said, "I am afraid Betsey does not wait on you nicely,
Miss Webster, she is so very young. I had no idea of this accident, how
did it happen?"
How it happened took Miss Webster some time to tell. It happened in no
very unusual manner, and the effect was a scalt foot, which she
forthwith shewed Miss Schomberg. There was no doubt that it was a very
bad foot, and Emilie saw that it needed a good nurse more than a good
doctor. Mr. Parker was a medical man, and Emilie knew she should have no
difficulty in obtaining that kind of assistance for her. But the
nursing! Miss Webster was feverish and uneasy, and in such suffering
that something must be done. At the sight of her pain all was forgotten,
but that she was a fellow-creature, helpless and forsaken, and that she
must be helped.
All this time any one coming in might have imagined that Emilie had been
the cause of the disaster, so affronted was Miss Webster's manner, and
so pettishly did she reject all her visitor's suggestions as
preposterous and impossible.
"Will you give up your walk to-night, Edith," said Emilie on her return
to the shop, "Poor Miss Webster is in such pain I cannot leave her, and
if you would run home and ask your papa to step in and see her, and say
she has scalt her foot badly, I would thank you very much."
Emilie spoke earnestly, so earnestly that Edith asked if she were grown
very fond of that "sour old maid all of a sudden."
"Very fond! No Edith; but it does not, or ought not to require us to be
very fond of people to do our duty to them."
"Well, I don't see what duty you owe to that mean creature, and I see no
reason why I should lose my walk again to-night. You treat people you
don't love better than those you do it seems; or else your professions
of loving me mean nothing. All day long you have been after Fred's
balloon, and now I suppose mean to be all night long after Miss
Emilie made no reply; she could only have reproached Edith for
selfishness and temper at least equal to Miss Webster's, but telling
Lucy she should soon return, hastened to Mr. Parker's house, followed by
Edith; he was soon at the patient's side, and as Emilie foretold, it was
a case more for an attentive nurse than a skilful doctor. He promised to
send her an application, but, "Miss Schomberg," said he, "sleep is what
she wants; she tells me she has had no rest since the accident occurred.
What is to be done?" "Can you not send for a neighbour, Miss Webster, or
some one to attend to your household, and to nurse you too. If you worry
yourself in this way you will be quite ill."
Poor Miss Webster was ill, she knew it; and having neither neighbour
nor friend within reach, she did what was very natural in her case, she
took up her handkerchief and began to cry. "Oh, come, Miss Webster,"
said Emilie, cheerfully, "I will get you to bed, and Lucy shall come
when the shop is closed, and to-morrow I will get aunt Agnes to come and
nurse you. Keep up your spirits."
"Ah, it is very well to talk of keeping up spirits, and as to your aunt
Agnes, there never was any love lost between us. No thank you, Miss
Schomberg, no thank you. If I may just trouble you to help me to the
side of my bed, I can get in, and do very well alone. _Good_ night."
Emilie stood looking pitifully at her. "I hope I don't keep you, Miss
Schomberg, pray don't stay, you cannot help me," and here Miss Webster
rose, but the agony of putting her foot to the ground was so great that
she could not restrain a cry, and Emilie, who saw that the poor sufferer
was like a child in helplessness, and like a child, moreover, in
petulance, calmly but resolutely declared her intention of remaining
until Lucy could leave the shop.
Having helped her landlady into bed, she ran down-stairs to try and
appease the indignant lodgers, who protested, and with truth, that they
had rung, rung, rung, and no one answered the bell; that they wanted
tea, that Miss Webster had undertaken to wait on them, that they were
_not_ waited on, and that accordingly they would seek other lodgings on
the morrow, they would, &c., &c. "Miss Webster, ma'am, is very ill
to-night. She has a young careless servant girl, and is, I assure you,
very much distressed that you should be put out thus. I will bring up
your tea, ma'am, in five minutes, if you will allow me. It is very
disagreeable for you, but I am sure if you could see the poor woman,
ma'am, you would pity her." Mrs. Harmer did pity her only from Emilie's
simple account of her state, and declared she was very sorry she had
seemed angry, but the girl did not say her mistress was ill, only that
she was lying down, which appeared very disrespectful and inattentive,
when they had been waiting two hours for tea.
The shop was by this time cleared up, and Lucy was able to attend to the
lodgers. Whilst Emilie having applied the rags soaked in the lotion
which had arrived, proceeded to get Miss Webster a warm and neatly
served cup of tea.
It would have been very cheering to hear a pleasant "thank you;" but
Miss Webster received all these attentions with stiff and almost silent
displeasure. Do not blame her too severely, a hard struggle was going
on; but the law of kindness is at work, and it will not fail.
"Ah, if Miss Schomberg had asked me to wait on _her_, how gladly would I
have done it, night after night, day after day, and should have thought
myself well paid with a smile; but to sit up all night with a person,
who cares no more for me, than I for her, and that is nothing! and then
to have to get down to-morrow and attend to the shop, all the same as if
I had slept well, is no joke. Oh, dear me! how sleepy I am, two o'clock!
I was to change those rags at two; I really scarcely dare attempt it,
she seems so irritable now." So soliloquized Lucy, who, kindhearted as
she was, could not be expected to take quite so much delight in nursing
her cross mistress, who never befriended her, as she would have done a
kinder, gentler person; but Lucy read her Bible, and she had been
trying, though not so long as Emilie, nor always so successfully it
must be owned, to live as though she read it.
"Miss Webster, ma'am, the doctor said those rags were to be changed
every two hours. May I do it for you? I can't do it as well as Miss
Schomberg, but I will do my very best not to hurt you."
"I want sleep child," said Miss Webster, "I want _sleep_, leave me
"You can't sleep in such pain, ma'am," said poor Lucy, quite at her wits
"Don't you think, I must know that as well as you? There! there's that
rush light gone out, and you never put any water in the tin; a pretty
nurse you make, now I shall have that smell in my nose all night. You
must have set it in a draught. What business has a rush light to go out
in a couple of hours? I wonder."
Lucy put the obnoxious night shade out of the room, and went back to the
bedside. For a long time she was unsuccessful, but at last Miss Webster
consented to have her foot dressed, and even cheered her young nurse by
the acknowledgment that she did it very well, considering; and thus the
night wore away.
Quite early Emilie was at her post, and was grieved to see that Miss
Webster still looked haggard and suffering, and as if she had not slept.
In answer to her inquiries, Lucy said that she had no rest all night.
"Rest! and how can I rest, Miss Schomberg? I can't afford to lose my
lodgers, and lose them I shall."
"Only try and keep quiet," said Emilie, "and I will see that they do not
suffer from want of attendance. _You_ cannot help them, do consent to
leave all thought, all management, to those who can think and manage.
May aunt Agnes come and nurse you, and attend to the housekeeping?"
"Yes," was reluctantly, and not very graciously uttered.
"Well then, Lucy will have time to attend to you. I would gladly nurse
you myself, but you know I may not neglect Miss Parker; now take this
draught, and try and sleep."
"Miss Schomberg," said the poor woman, "you won't lack friends to nurse
you on a sick bed; I have none."
"Miss Webster, if I were to be laid on a sick bed, and were to lose aunt
Agnes, I should be alone in a country that is not my own country,
without money and without friends; but we may both of us have a friend
who sticketh closer than a brother, think of him, ma'am, now, and ask
him to make your bed in your sickness."
She took the feverish hand of the patient as she said this, who,
bursting into a flood of tears, replied, "Ah, Miss Schomberg! I don't
deserve it of you, and that is the truth; but keep my hand, it feels
like a friend's, hold it, will you, and I think I shall sleep a little
while;" and Emilie stood and held her hand, stood till she was faint and
weary, and then withdrawing it as gently as ever mother unloosed an
infant's hold, she withdrew, shaded the light from the sleeper's eyes,
and stole out of the room, leaving the sufferer at ease, and in one of
those heavy sleeps which exhaustion and illness often produce.
Her visit to the kitchen was most discouraging. Betsey was only just
down, and the kettle did not boil, nor were any preparations made for
the lodgers' breakfast, to which it only wanted an hour. Emilie could
have found it in her heart to scold the lazy, selfish girl, who had
enjoyed a sound sleep all night, whilst Lucy had gone unrefreshed to
her daily duties, but she forebore. "Scolding never does answer,"
thought Emilie, "and I won't begin to-day, but I must try and reform
this girl at all events, by some means, and that shall be done at once."
"Come, Betsey," said Emilie pleasantly, "now, we shall see what sort of
a manager you will be; you must do all you can to make things tidy and
comfortable for the lodgers. Is their room swept and dusted?"
"Oh, deary me, Miss, what time have I had for that, I should like to
"Well now, get every thing ready for their breakfast, and pray don't
bang doors or make a great clatter with the china, as you set the table.
Every sound is heard in this small house, and your mistress has had no
sleep all night."
"Well, she'll be doubly cross to day, then, I'll be bound. Howsoever, I
shall only stay my month, and it don't much matter what I do, she never
gives a servant a good character, and I don't expect it."
"No, and you will not deserve it if you are inattentive and unfeeling
now. It is not doing as you would be done by, either. Do now, Betsey,
forget, for a few days, that Miss Webster ever scolded or found fault
with you. If you want to love any one just do him a kindness, and you
don't know how fast love springs up in the heart; you would be much
happier, Betsey, I am sure. Come _try_, you are not a cross girl, and
you don't mean to be unkind now. I shall expect to hear from Lucy, when
I come again, how well you have managed together."
Fred went to Mr. Crosse's after breakfast, in the pony gig, for aunt
Agnes, who, at a summons from Emilie, was quite willing to come and see
after Miss Webster's household. She soon put mutters into a better
train, both in kitchen and parlour, so that the pacified lodgers
consented to remain. And though neither Lucy nor Betsey altogether liked
aunt Agnes, they found her quite an improvement on Miss Webster.
It is not our object to follow Miss Webster through her domestic
troubles nor through the tedious process of the convalescence of a scalt
foot. We will rather follow Edith into her chamber, and see how she is
trying to learn the arts of the Peacemaker there.
Edith's head is bent over a book, a torn book, and her countenance is
flushed and heated. She is out of breath, too, and her hair is hanging
disordered about her pretty face; not pretty now, however; it is an
angry face--and an angry face is never pretty.
Has she been quarrelling with Fred again? yes, even so. Fred would not
give up Hans Andersen's Tales, which Emilie had just given Edith, and
which she was reading busily, when some one came to see her about a new
bonnet, so she left the book on the table, and in the mean time Fred
came in, snatched it up, and was soon deep in the feats of the "Flying
Trunk." Then came the little lady back and demanded the book, not very
pleasantly, if the truth must be told. Fred meant to give it up, but he
meant to tease his sister first, and Edith, who had no patience to wait,
snatched at the book. Fred of course resisted, and it was not until the
book had been nearly parted from its cover, and some damage had ensued
to the dress and hair of both parties that Edith regained possession;
not _peaceable_ possession, however, for both of the children's spirits
Edith flew to her room almost as fast as if she had been on the "Flying
Trunk," in the Fairy Tale. When there, she could not read, and in
displeasure with herself and with every one, dashed the little volume
away and cried long and bitterly. Edith had not been an insensible
spectator of the constantly and self-denying gentle conduct of Emilie.
Her example, far more than her precepts, had affected her powerfully,
but she had much to contend with, and it seemed to her as if at the very
times she meant to be kind and gentle something occurred to put her out.
"I _will_ try, oh, I will try," said Edith again and again, "but it is
such hard work."--Yes, Edith, hard enough, and work which even Emilie
can scarcely help you in. You wrestle against a powerful and a cruel
enemy, and you need great and powerful aid; but you have read your Bible
Edith, and again and again has Emilie said to you, "of yourself you can
Edith had had a long conversation on this very subject only that morning
with her friend, as they were walking on the sea shore, and under the
influence of the calm lovely summer's sky, and within the sound of
Emilie's clear persuasive voice, it did not seem a hard matter to Edith
to love and to be loving. She could love Fred, she could even bear a
rough pull of the hair from him, she could stand a little teasing from
John, who found fault with a new muslin frock she wore at dinner, and we
all know it is not pleasant to have our dress found fault with; but this
attack of Fred's about the book, was _not_ to be borne, not by Edith, at
least, and thus she sobbed and cried in her own room, thinking herself
the most miserable of creatures, and very indignant that Emilie did not
come to comfort her; "but she is gone out after that tiresome old woman,
with her scalt foot, I dare say," said Edith, "and she would only tell
me I was wrong if she were here--oh dear! oh dear me!" and here she
Solitude is a wonderfully calming, composing thing; Emilie knew that,
and she did quite right to leave Edith alone. It was time she should
listen seriously to a voice which seldom made itself heard, but
conscience was resolute to-day, and did not spare Edith. It told her all
the truth, (you may trust conscience for that,) it told her that the
very reason why she failed in her efforts to do right was because she
had a wrong _motive_; and that was, love of the approbation of her
fellow creatures, and not real love to God. She would have quarrelled
with any one else who dared to tell her this; but it was of no use
quarrelling with conscience. Conscience had it all its own way to-day,
and went on answering every objection so quietly, and to the point, that
by degrees Edith grew quiet and subdued; and what do you think she did?
She took up a little Bible that lay on her table, and began to read it.
She could not pray as yet. She did not feel kind enough for that. Emilie
had often said to her that she should be at peace with every one before
she lifted up her heart to the "God of peace." She turned over the
leaves and tried to find the chapter, which she knew very well, about
the king who took account of his servants, and who forgave the man the
great debt of ten thousand talents; and then when that man went out and
found his servant who owed him but one hundred pence, he took him by the
throat, and said, "Pay me that thou owest." In vain did the man beseech
for patience, he that had only just been forgiven ten thousand talents
could not have pity on the man who owed him but one hundred pence.
Often had Edith read this chapter, and very just was her indignation
against the hard-hearted servant, who, with his king's lesson of mercy
and forgiveness fresh in his memory, could not practise the same to one
who owed him infinitely less than he had done his master; and yet here
was little Edith who could not forgive Fred his injuries, when,
nevertheless, God was willing to forgive hers. Had Fred injured her as
she had injured God? surely not; and yet she might now kneel down and
receive at once the forgiveness of all her _great_ sins. Nay, more: she
had been receiving mercy and patience at the hands of her Heavenly
Father many years. She had neglected Him, done many things contrary to
his law, owed him, indeed, the ten thousand talents, and yet she was
She had a great deal of revenge in her heart still, however; and she
could not, reason as she would, try as she would, read as she would, get
it out, so she sunk down on her knees, and lifted up her heart very
sincerely, to ask God to take it away. She had often said her prayers,
and had found no difficulty in that, but now it seemed quite different.
She could find no words, she could only feel. Well, that was enough. He
who saw in secret, saw her heart, and knew how it felt. She felt she
needed forgiveness, and that she could only have it by asking it of Him
who had power to forgive sins. She took her great debt to Jesus, and he
cancelled it; she hoped she was forgiven, and now, oh! how ready she
felt to forgive Fred. How small a sum seemed his hundred pence--his
little acts of annoyances compared with her many sins against God. Now
she felt and understood the meaning of the Saviour's lesson to Peter.
She had entered the same school as Peter, and though a slow she was a
She is in the right way now to learn the true law of kindness. None but
the _Saviour,_ who was love itself, could teach her this. If any earthly
teacher could have done so, surely Emilie would have succeeded.
She went down to tea softened and sad, for she felt very humble. The
consideration of her great unlikeness to the character of Jesus,
affected her. "When he was reviled he reviled not again; when he
suffered he threatened not;" and this thought made her feel more than
any sermon or lecture or reproof she ever had in her life, how she
needed to be changed, her whole self changed; not her old bad nature
_patched_ up, but her whole heart made _new_. She did not say much at
tea; she did not formally apologise to Fred for her conduct to him. He
looked very cross, so perhaps it was wiser to act rather than to speak;
but she handed him the bread and butter, and buttered him a piece of
toast, and in many little quiet ways told him she wished to be friends
with him. John began at her frock again. She could not laugh, (she was
not in a laughing humour,) but she said she would not wear it any more,
during his holidays, if he disliked it so _very_ much. The greatest
trial to her temper was the being told she looked cross. Emilie, who
could see the sun of peace behind the cloud, was half angry herself at
this speech, and said to Mr. Parker, "If she looks cross she is not
cross, Sir, but I think she is not in very good spirits. Every one looks
a little sad sometimes;" and Mr. Porker, happily, being called out to a
patient at that moment, gave Edith opportunity to swallow her grief.
After tea the boys prepared to accompany their sister and her governess
in the usual evening walk. Edith did not desire their company, but she
did not say so; and they all went out very silent for them. On their
road to the beach they met a man who had a cage of canaries to sell, the
very things that Fred had desired so long, and to purchase which he had
saved his money.
Edith had no taste for noisy canaries; few great talkers have, for they
do interrupt conversation must undeniably, but Fred thought it would be
most delightful to have them, and as he had a breeding cage which had
belonged to one of his elder sisters years before, he asked the price
and began to make his bargain. The birds were bought and the man
dispatched to the house with them, with orders to call for payment at
nine o'clock, before Fred remembered that he did not exactly know where
he should keep them. In the sitting room it would be quite out of the
question he knew, for the noise would distract his mother. Papa was not
likely to admit canaries into his study for consultations; and Fred knew
only of one likely or possible place, but the door to that was closed,
unless he could find a door to Edith's heart, and he had just quarrelled
with Edith; what a pity! To make it up with her, however, just to gain
his point, he was too proud to do, and was therefore gloomy and uncivil.
"Where are you going to keep your canaries Fred?" asked his sister.
"In the cage," said Fred, shortly and tartly.
"Yes; but in what room?"
"In my bed-room," said Fred.
"Oh, I dare say! will you though?" said John, who as he shared his
brother's apartment had some right to have a voice in the matter. "I am
not going to be woke at daylight every morning by your canaries. And
such an unwholesome plan; I am sure papa and mamma won't let you. What a
pity you bought the birds! you can't keep them in our small house. Get
off your bargain, I would if I were you. Besides, who will take care of
them all the week? they will want feeding other days besides Saturdays,
Fred looked annoyed, and dropped behind the party. Edith whispered to
Emilie, "Go you on with John, I want to talk to Fred."
"Fred, dear," said she, "will you keep your birds in my little room,
where my old toys are? I will clear a place, and I shan't mind their
singing, _do_ Fred. I have often hindered your pleasures, now let me
have the comfort of making it up a little to you, and I will feed them
and clean them while you are at school in the week."
"You may change your mind Edith, and you know if my birds are in your
room, I shall have to be there a good deal; and they will make a rare
noise sometimes, and some one must take care of them all the week--I can
only attend to them on Saturdays, you know."
"Yes, I have been thinking of all that, and I expect I shall sometimes
_wish_ to change my mind, but I shall not do it. I am very selfish I
know, but I mean to try to be better, Fred. Take my little room, do."
Fred was a proud boy, and would rather have had to thank any one than
Edith just then; but nevertheless he accepted her offer, and thanked his
little sister, though not quite so kindly as he might have done, and
that is the truth. There is a grace in accepting as well as in giving.
Edith had given up what she had much prized, the independence of a
little room, (it was but a little one,) a little room all to herself;
but she did so because she felt love springing up in her heart. She
acted in obedience to the dictates of the law of kindness, and she felt
lighter and happier than she had done for a long time. Fred was by
degrees quite cheered, and amused his companions by his droll talk for
some way. Spying, however, one of his school-fellows on the rocks at a
distance, he and John, joined him abruptly, and thus Emilie and Edith
were left alone.
Sincerity is never loquacious, never egotistic. If you don't understand
these words I will tell you what I mean. A person really in earnest; and
sincere, does not talk much of earnestness and sincerity, still loss of
himself. Edith could not tell Emilie of her new resolutions, of her
mental conflict, but she was so loving and affectionate in her manner to
her friend, that I think Emilie understood; at any rate, she saw that
Edith was very pleasant, and very gentle that night, and loved her more
than ever. She saw and felt there was a change come over her. They
walked far, and on their return found the canaries arrived, and Fred
very busy in putting them up in their new abode. He had rather
unceremoniously moved Edith's bookcase and boxes, to make room for the
bird cages. She did say, "I think you might have asked my leave," but
she instantly recalled it. "Oh, never mind; what pretty little things, I
shall like to have them with me."
It really was a trial to Edith to see all her neat arrangements upset,
and to find how very coolly Fred did it, too. She sighed and thought,
"Ah, I shall not be mistress here now I see!" but Fred was gone down
stairs for some water and seed, and did not hear her laments. He was
very full of his scheme for canary breeding at supper, and Emilie was
quite as full of sympathy in his joy as Fred desired; she took a real
interest in the matter. Her father, she said, had given much attention
to canary breeding, for the Germans were noted for their management of
canaries; she could help him, she thought, if he would accept her help.
So they were very merry over the affair at supper time, and Mr. Parker,
in his quiet way, enjoyed it too. Suddenly, however, the merriment
received a check. Margaret, who had been to look at the birds, came in
with the intelligence that Muff, the pet cat of Miss Edith, was sitting
in the dusk, watching the canaries with no friendly eye, and that she
had even made a dart at the cage; and she prophesied that the birds
would not be safe long. A bird of ill omen was Margaret always; she
thought the worst and feared the worst of every one, man or animal.
"Why, it is easy to keep the door of the cage shut," John remarked, but
to keep puss out of her old haunts was not possible.
Muff was not a kitten, but a venerable cat, who had belonged to Edith's
elder sister, and was given to Edith, the day that sister married, as a
very precious gift; and Edith loved that grey cat, loved her dearly. She
always sat in the same place in that dear little room. Edith had only
that day made her a new red leather collar, and Muff looked very smart
in it. "Muff won't hurt the birds, Fred dear," said Edith, "she is not
like a common cat." Whatever points of dissimilarity there might he
between Muff and the cat race in general, in this particular she quite
resembled them; she loved birds, and would not be very nice as to the
manner of obtaining them. What was to be done? Fred had all manner of
projects in his head for teaching the canaries to fly out and in the
cage, to bathe, to perch on his finger, etc.; but if, whenever any one
chanced to leave the door of the room open, Muff were to bounce in, why
there was an end to all such schemes. In short, Muff would get the birds
by fair means or foul, there was no doubt of that, and Fred was
desperate. I cannot tell how many times Muff was called "a nasty cat,"
"a tiresome cat," "a vicious cat," and little Edith's heart was full,
for she did not believe any evil of her favourite; and to hear her so
maligned, seemed like a personal insult; but she bore it patiently. She
asked Emilie at bed time what she should do about Muff; she had so long
been accustomed to her seat by the sunny window in Edith's room, that to
try and tempt her from it she knew would be vain.
Emilie agreed with her, but hoped Muff would practise self-denial.
Before Edith lay down to rest that night, she again thought over all
that she had done through the day; again knelt down and asked for help
to overcome that which was sinful within her, and then lay down to
sleep. Edith was but a child, and she could not forget Muff; she
thought, and very truly, that there was a general wish to displace her
Muff. Not one in the house would be sorry to see Muff sent away she
know, and Margaret at supper time seemed so pleased to report of Muff's
designs. This thought made her love Muff all the more, but then there
were Fred's birds. It would be very sad if any of them should be lost
through her cat; what should she do? She wished to win Fred to love and
gentleness. Should she part with Muff? Miss Schomberg (aunt Agnes that
is) had expressed a wish for a nice quiet cat, and this, her beauty,
would just suit her. "Shall I take Muff to High-Street to-morrow? I
will," were her last thoughts, but the resolution cost her something,
and Edith's pillow was wet with tears. When she arose the next morning
she felt as we are all apt to feel after the excitement of new and
sudden resolves, rather flat; and the sight of Muff sitting near a
laurel bush in the garden, enjoying the morning sun, quite unnerved her.
"Part with Muff! No, I cannot; and I don't believe any one would do such
a thing for such a boy as Fred. I cannot part with Muff, that's certain.
Fred had better give up his birds, and so I shall tell him."
All this is very natural, but what is very natural is often very wrong,
and Edith did not fuel that calm happiness which she had done the night
before. When she received Emilie's morning kiss, she said, "Well, Miss
Schomberg, I thought last night I had made up my mind to part with Muff,
but I really cannot! I do love her so!"
"It would be a great trial to you, I should think," said Emilie, "and
one that no one could _ask_ of you, but if she had a good master, do you
think you should mind it so very much? You would only have your own
sorrow to think of, and really it would be a kindness if those poor
birds are to be kept. The cat terrifies them by springing at the wires,
and if they were sitting they would certainly be frightened off their
Edith looked perplexed; "What shall I do Emilie? I _do_ wish to please
Fred, I do wish to do as I would be done by; I really want to get rid of
my selfish nature, and yet it will keep coming back."
"Watch as well as pray, dear," said Emilie affectionately, "and you will
conquer at last." They went down to breakfast together. "Watch and
pray." That word "watch," was R word in season to Edith, she had
_prayed_ but had well nigh forgotten to _watch_.
She could not eat her meal, however, her heart was full with the
greatness of the sacrifice before her. Do not laugh at the word _great_
sacrifice. It was very great to Edith; she loved with all her heart; and
to part with what we love, be it a dog, a cat, a bird, or any inanimate
possession, is a great pang. After breakfast she went into the little
room where Muff usually eat, and taking hold of the favourite, hugged
and kissed her lovingly, then carrying her down stairs to the kitchen,
asked cook for a large basket, and with a little help from Margaret,
tied her down and safely confined her; then giving the precious load to
her father's errand boy, trotted into the town, and stopped not till she
reached Miss Webster's door. Her early visit rather astonished aunt
Agnes, who was at that moment busily engaged in dressing Miss Webster's
foot, and at the announcement of Betsey--"Please Ma'am little Miss
Parker is called and has brought you a cat," she jumped so that she
spilled Miss Webster's lotion.
"A cat! a cat!" echoed the ladies. "I will have no cats here Miss
Schomberg, if you please," said the irritable Mistress. "I always did
hate cats, there is no end to the mischief they do. I never did keep
one, and never mean to do."
Miss Schomberg went down stairs into Miss Webster's little parlour, and
there saw Edith untying her beloved Muff. "Well aday! my child, what
brings you here? all alone too. Surely Emilie isn't ill, oh dear me
something must be amiss."
"Oh no, Miss Schomberg, no, only I heard you say you would like a cat,
and Fred has got some new birds and I mayn't keep Muff, and so will you
take her and be kind to her?"
"My dear child," said aunt Agnes in a bewilderment, "I would take her
gladly but Miss Webster has a bird you know, and is so awfully neat and
particular, oh, it won't do; you must not bring her here, and I _must_
go back and finish Miss Webster's foot. She is very poorly to-day. Oh
how glad I shall be when my Emilie comes back! Good bye, take the cat,
dear, away, pray do;" and, so saying, aunt Agnes bustled off, leaving
poor Edith more troubled and perplexed with Muff than ever.
GOOD FOR EVIL.
Old Joe Murray was seated on the beach, nearer the town than his house
stood, watching the groups of busy children, digging and playing in the
sand, now helping them in their play, and now giving his hint to the
nurses around him, when Edith tapped him on the shoulder. There was
something so unusually serious, not _cross_, in Edith's countenance,
that Joe looked at her inquiringly. "There, set down the basket,
Nockells, and run back quick, tell papa I kept you; I am afraid you will
get into disgrace."
"Mayn't I drown Puss?" said Nockells.
"No! you cruel boy, _no!_" said Edith, vehemently. "_You_ shall not have
the pleasure, no one shall do it who would take a pleasure in it."
"What is the matter Miss?" asked Joe, as soon as Nockells turned away.
"The matter, oh Joe! I want Muff drowned; my cat I mean, my dear cat;"
and then she told her tale up to the point of Miss Webster's refusing to
admit Muff as a lodger, and cried most bitterly as she said, "and I
won't have her ill-treated, so I will drown her, will you do it for me
Joe, please do now, or my courage will be gone? but I won't stay to look
at it, so good-bye," said she, and slipping a shilling into Joe's hand,
ran home with the news to Fred, that the cat was by this time at the
bottom of the tea, and his canaries were safe for ever from her claws.
Fred was not a hard-hearted boy, and his sister's tale really grieved
him. He kissed her several times over, as he said he now wished he had
never bought the birds, that they had caused Edith nothing but trouble
and that he was very sorry.
"I am not sorry, Fred dear, at least I am only sorry for being forced to
drown Muff. I like to give you my room, and I like to give up my cat to
you, and I shall not cry any more about it, so don't be unhappy."
"And all this for me," said Fred; "I who teased you so yesterday
afternoon, and always am teasing you, I think!" How pleased Emilie
looked! She did not praise Edith, but she gave her such a look of
genuine approval as was a rich reward to her little pupil. "_This_ is
the way. Edith dear, to overcome evil with good; go on, _watch_ and
pray, and you will subdue Fred in time as well as your own evil
How easy all this looks to read about! How swift the transition from bad
to good! Who has not felt, in reading Rosamond and Frank, a kind of envy
that they so soon overcame their errors, so soon conquered their bad
habits and evil dispositions? Dear young reader, it is _not_ easy to
subdue self; it is not easy to practise this law of kindness, love, and
forbearance; it is not easy to live peaceably with all men, but believe
me, it is not impossible. He who giveth liberally and upbraideth not,
will give you grace, and wisdom, and help to do this if you ask it. The
promise is, "Ask and ye shall receive." Edith In her helplessness naked
strength of God and it was given. That which was given to her He will
not withhold from you. Only try Him.
For the comfort of those who may not have such a friend as Emilie, we
would remind our readers that the actual work of Edith's change, for
such it was, was that which no friend however wise and however good
could effect. There is no doubt but that to her example Edith owed much.
It led her to _think_ and to _compare_, and was part of the means used
by the all-wise God, to instruct this little girl; but if you have not
Emilie for a friend, you may all have the God, whom Emilie served, for a
friend. You may all read in the Bible which she studied, and in which
she learned, from God's love to man, how we should love each other. She
read there, "If God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
The holidays drew to a close. The return of the mother and sisters was
at hand. Emilie was not without her fears for Edith at this time, but
she trusted in the help which she knew Edith would have if she sought
it, and was thus encouraged. The right understanding between her
brothers and herself she was rejoiced to see daily increasing. It was
not that there was nothing to ruffle the two most easily ruffled
spirits. Fred was not considerate, and would constantly recur to his old
habit of tensing Edith. Edith was easily teased, and would rather order
and advise Fred, which was sure to bring on a breeze; but they were far
less vindictive, less aggravating than formerly. They were learning to
bear and forbear. Edith had the most to bear, for although Fred was
impressed by her kind and altered conduct, and could never forget the
generous act of sacrifice when she parted with Muff to gratify him, he
was as yet more actuated by impulse than principle, and nothing but
principle, Christian principle I mean, will enable us to be kind and
gentle, and unselfish _habitually_, not by fits and starts, but every
Joe Murray was sitting at his door smoking his pipe, and watching his
little grandchildren as they played together (this time harmoniously) in
the garden. They were not building a grotto, they were dancing, and
jumping, and laughing, in the full merriment of good healthy happy
children. Emilie and Edith greeted Joe as an old friend, and Joe seemed
delighted to see them. The two children, who had been commissioned to
search for corallines, rushed up to Edith with a basket full of a
heterogeneous collection, and amongst a great deal of little value there
were some beautiful specimens of the very things Edith wanted. She
thanked the little Murrays sincerely, and then looked at Emilie. Should
she pay them? the look asked. It was evident the children had no idea of
such a thing, and felt fully repaid by Edith's pleasure. Edith only
wanted to know if it would take from that pleasure to receive money. She
had been learning of late to study what people liked, and wished to do
Emilie did not understand her look, and so Edith followed her own
course. "Thank you, oh, thank you," she said. "It was very kind of you
to collect me so many, they please me very much. I wish I knew of
something that you would like as well as I like these, and if I can, I
will give it to you, or ask mamma to help me." The boy not being
troubled with bashfulness, immediately said, that of all things he
should like a regular rigged boat, a ship, "a little-un" that would
swim. The girl put her finger in her mouth and said "she didn't know."
"Are you going to have a boat?" said every little voice, "oh, what fun
we shall have." "Yes," said our peace-making friend, Sarah. "You know
that if Dick gets any thing it is the same as if you all did. He is such
a kind boy, Miss, he plays with the little ones, and gives up to them
so nicely, you'd be surprised."
"I am glad of that," said Emilie, "it will be such a pleasure to Miss
Edith to give pleasure to them all--but come, Jenny, you have not fixed
yet what you will have." Jenny said she did not want to be paid, but she
had thought, perhaps Miss Parker might give them something, and if Miss
Parker did not think it too much, she should like a shilling better than
Every one looked inquiringly, except Sarah. Sarah was but the uneducated
daughter of a poor fisherman, but she studied human nature as it lay
before her in the different characters of her brothers and sisters, and
she guessed the workings of Jenny's mind.
"What do you want a shilling for?" said the mother sharply, who had
joined the group. "You ought not to have asked for anything, what bad
manners you have! The weeds cost you nothing, and you ought to be much
obliged to Miss Parker for accepting them."
"I wanted the shilling very much," persisted Jenny, as Edith pressed it
into her hand, and off she ran, as though to hide her treasure.
But Edith had caught sight of something, and forgot shilling and every
thing else in that glimpse. Her own dear old Muff sleeping on the hearth
of the kitchen which she had not yet entered. I shall not tell you all
the endearments she used to puss, they would look ridiculous on paper;
they made even those who heard them smile, but she was so overjoyed that
there was some excuse for her. Mrs. Murray rather damped her joy at once
by saying, "Oh, she's a sad thief, Miss. She steals the fish terribly. I
suppose you can't take her back, Miss?"
"Ah, Joe," said Edith sorrowfully, "you see, you had better have drowned
"So I think," said Mrs. Murray.
"No, no, no," cried Jane, coming forwards. "I have a shilling now, and
Barker the carrier will take her for that all the way to Southampton,
where aunt Martha lives, and aunt Martha loves cats, and will take care
of Muff; she shan't be drowned, Miss," said Jenny, kindly.
The mother looked surprised, and they all admired Jenny's kind
intentions. Emilie slipped another shilling into her hand as they went
away, and said "You will find a use for it." "Good night Jenny, and
thank you," said poor Edith, with a sigh, for she had already looked
forward to many joyful meetings with Muff--her newly-found treasure. But
as old Joe, who followed them down the cliff said, there was no end to
the trouble Muff caused, what with stealing fish, and upsettings and
breakings; and she would be happier at aunt Martha's, where there was
neither fish nor child, and more room to walk about in than Muff enjoyed
"But how kind of Jenny," said Edith, "how thoughtful for Muff!"
"No, Miss, 't aint for Muff exactly," said Joe, "though she pitied you,
as they all did, in thinking of drowning the cat; but bless the dear
children, they are all trying in their way, I do believe; to please
their mother, and to win her to be more happy and gentle like. You see
she has had a hard struggle with them, so many as there are, and so
little to do with; and that and bad health have soured her temper like;
but she'll come to. Oh Miss Edith, take my word for it, if ever you have
to live where folks are cross and snappish, be _you_ good-humoured. A
little of the leaven of sweetness and good temper lightens a whole lump
of crossness and bad humour. One bright Spirit in a family will keep
the sun shining in _one_ spot; it can't then be _all_ dark, you see, and
if there's ever such a little spot of sunshine, there must be some light
in the house, which may spread before long, Miss."
"Goodnight, Joe," and "Good night, ladies," passed, and the friends were