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The Home Mission by T.S. Arthur

Part 4 out of 4

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her judgment.

Thoughtless indeed must be that child who can permit an emotion of
disrespect toward her parents to dwell in her bosom for more than a
single moment!

Respect and love toward parents are absolutely necessary to the
proper formation of the character upon that true basis which will
bring into just order and subordination all the powers of the mind.
Without this order and subordination there can be no true happiness.
A child loves and respects his parents, because from them he derived
his being, and from them receives every blessing and comfort. To
them, and to them alone, does his mind turn as the authors of all
the good gifts he possessed. As a mere child, it is right for him
thus to regard his parents as the authors of his being and the
originators of all his blessings. But as reason gains strength, and
he sees more deeply into the nature and causes of things, which only
takes place as the child approaches the years of maturity, it is
then seen that the parents were only the agents through which life,
and all the blessings accompanying it, came from God, the great
Father of all. If the parents have been loved with a truly filial
love, then the mind has been suitably opened and prepared for love
toward God, and an obedience to his divine laws, without which there
can be no true happiness. When this new and higher truth takes
possession of the child's mind, it in no way diminishes his respect
for his earthly parents, but increases it. He no longer obeys them
because they command obedience, but he regards the truth of their
precepts, and in that truth hears the voice of God speaking to him.
More than ever is he now careful to listen to their wise counsels,
because he perceives in them the authority of reason, which is the
authority of God.

Most young ladies, on attaining the age of responsibility, will
perceive a difference in the manner of their parents. Instead of
opposing them, as heretofore, with authority, they will oppose them
with reason, where opposition is deemed necessary. The mother,
instead of saying, when she disapproves any thing, "No, my child,
you cannot do it;" or, "No you must not go, dear;" will say, "I
would rather not have you do so;" or, "I do not approve of your
going." If you ask her reasons, she will state them, and endeavour
to make you comprehend their force. It is far too often the case,
that the daughter's desire to do what her mother disapproves is so
active, that neither her mother's objections nor reasons are strong
enough to counteract her wishes, and she follows her own
inclinations instead of being guided by her mother's better
judgment. In these instances, she almost always does wrong, and
suffers therefore either bodily or mental pain.

Obedience in childhood is that by which we are led and guided into
right actions. When we become men and women, reason takes the place
of obedience; but, like a young bird just fluttering from its nest,
reason at first has not much strength of wing; and we should
therefore suffer the reason of those who love us, like the
mother-bird, to stoop under and bear us up in our earlier efforts,
lest we fall bruised and wounded to the ground. To whose reason
should a young girl look to strengthen her own, so soon as to her
mother's, guided as it is by love? But it too often happens that,
under the first impulses of conscious freedom, no voice is regarded
but the voice of inclination and passion. The mother may oppose, and
warn, and urge the most serious considerations, but the daughter
turns a deaf ear to all. She thinks that she knows best.

"You are not going to-night, Mary?" said a mother, coming into her
daughter's room, and finding her dressing for a ball. She had been
rather seriously indisposed for some days, with a cold that had
fallen upon her throat and chest, which was weak, but was now
something better.

"I think I will, mother, for I am much better than I was yesterday,
and have improved since morning. I have promised myself so much
pleasure at this ball, that I cannot think of being disappointed."

The mother shook her head.

"Mary," she replied, "you are not well enough to go out. The air is
damp, and you will inevitably take more cold. Think how badly your
throat has been inflamed."

"I don't think it has been so _very_ bad, mother."

"The doctor told me it was badly inflamed, and said you would have
to be very careful of yourself, or it might prove serious."

"That was some days ago. It is a great deal better now."

"But the least exposure may cause it to return."

"I will be very careful not to expose myself. I will wrap up warm
and go in a carriage. I am sure there is not the least danger,

"While I am sure that there is very great danger. You cannot pass
from the door to the carriage, without the damp air striking upon
your face, and pressing into your lungs."

"But I must not always exclude myself from the air, mother. Air and
exercise, you know, the doctor says, are indispensable to health."

"Dry, not damp air. This makes the difference. But you must act for
yourself, Mary. You are now a woman, and must freely act in the
light of that reason which God has given you. Because I love you,
and desire your welfare, I thus seek to convince you that it is
wrong to expose your health to-night. Your great desire to go blinds
you to the real danger, which I can fully see."

"You are over-anxious, mother," urged Mary. "I know how I feel much
better than you possibly can, and I know I am well enough to go."

"I have nothing more to say, my child," returned the mother. "I wish
you to act freely, but wisely. Wisely I am sure you will not act if
you go to-night. A temporary illness may not alone be the
consequence; your health may receive a shock from which it will
never recover."

"Mother wishes to frighten me," said Mary to herself, after her
mother had left the room. "But I am not to be so easily frightened.
I am sorry she makes such a serious matter about my going, for I
never like to do any thing that is not agreeable to her feelings.
But I must go to this ball. William is to call for me at eight, and
he would be as much disappointed as myself if I were not to go. As
to making more cold, what of that? I would willingly pay the penalty
of a pretty severe cold rather than miss the ball."

Against all her mother's earnestly urged objections, Mary went with
her lover to the ball. She came home, at one o'clock, with a sharp
pain through her breast, red spots on her cheeks, oppression of the
chest, and considerable fever. On the next morning she was unable to
rise from her bed. When the doctor, who was sent for, came in, he
looked grave, and asked if there had been any exposure by which a
fresh cold could be taken.

"She was at the ball last night," replied the mother.

"Not with your approval, madam?" he said quickly, looking with a
stern expression into the mother's face.

"No, doctor. I urged her not to go; but Mary thought she knew best.
She did not believe there was any danger."

A strong expression rose to the doctor's lips, but he repressed it,
lest he should needlessly alarm the patient. On retiring from her
chamber, he declared the case to be a very critical one; and so it
proved to be. Mary did not leave her room for some months; and when
she did, it was with a constitution so impaired that she could not
endure the slightest fatigue, nor bear the least exposure. Neither
change of climate nor medicine availed any thing toward restoring
her to health. In this feeble state she married, about twelve months
afterward, the young man who had accompanied her to the ball. One
year from the period at which that happy event took place, she died,
leaving to stranger hands a babe that needed all her tenderest care,
and a husband almost broken-hearted at his loss.

This is not merely a picture from the imagination, and highly
coloured. It is from nature, and every line is drawn with the pencil
of truth. Hundreds of young women yearly sink into the grave, whose
friends can trace to some similar act of imprudence, committed in
direct opposition to the earnest persuasions of parents or friends,
the cause of their premature decay and death. And too often other,
and sometimes even worse, consequences than death, follow a
disregard of the mother's voice of warning.


[From our story of "The Two Brides," we take a scene, in which some
one sorrowing as those without hope may find words of consolation.]

IN the very springtime of young womanhood, the destroyer had come;
and though he laid his hand upon her gently at first, yet the touch
was none the less fatal. But, while her frail body wasted, her
spirit remained peaceful. As the sun of her natural life sunk low in
the sky, the bright auroral precursor of another day smiled along
the eastern verge of her spiritual horizon. There was in her heart
neither doubt, nor fear, nor shrinking.

"Dear Marion!" said Anna, dropping a tear upon her white transparent
hand, as she pressed it to her lips, a few weeks after the alarming
hemorrhage just mentioned; "how can you look at this event so

They had been speaking of death, and Marion had alluded to its
approach to Anna, with a strange cheerfulness, as if she felt it to
be nothing more than a journey to another and far pleasanter land
than that wherein she now dwelt.

"Why should I look upon this change with other than tranquil
feelings?" she asked.

"Why? How can you ask such a question, sister?" returned Anna. "To
me, there has been always something in the thought of death that
made the blood run cold about my heart."

"This," replied Marion, with one of her sweet smiles, "is because
your ideas of death have been, from the first, confused and
erroneous. You thought of the cold and pulseless body; the pale
winding-sheet; the narrow coffin, and the deep, dark grave. But, I
do not let my thoughts rest on these. To me, death involves the idea
of eternal life. I cannot think of the one without the other. Should
the chrysalis tremble at the coming change?--the dull worm in its
cerements shrink from the moment when, ordained by nature, it must
rise into a new life, and expand its wings in the sunny air? How
much less cause have I to tremble and shrink back as the hour
approaches when this mortal is to put on immortality?"

"Yours is a beautiful faith," said Anna. "And its effects, as seen
now that the hour from which all shrink approaches, are strongly
corroborative of its truth."

"It is beautiful because it is true," replied Marion. "There is no
real beauty that is not the form of something good and true."

"If I were as good as you, I might not shrink from death," remarked
Anna, with a transient sigh.

"I hope you are better than I am, dear; and think you are," said

"Oh, no!" quickly returned Anna.

"Do you purpose evil in your heart?" asked Marion, seriously.

Anna seemed half surprised at the question.

"Evil! Evil! I hope not," she replied, as a shadow came over her

"It is an evil purpose only that should make us fear death, Anna;
for therein lies the only cause of fear. Death, to those who love
themselves and the world above every thing else, is a sad event; but
to those who love God and their neighbour supremely, it is a happy

"That is all true," said Anna. "My reason assents to it. But, in the
act of dissolution--in that mortal strife, when the soul separates
itself from the body--there is something from which my heart shrinks
and trembles down fainting in my bosom. Ah! In the crossing of that
bourne from which no traveller has returned to tell us of what is
beyond, there is something that more than half appals me."

"There is much that takes away the fear you have mentioned," replied
Marion. "It is the uncertain that causes us to tremble and shrink
back. But, when we know what is before us, we prepare ourselves to
meet it. Attendant upon every one who dies, says a certain writer,
are two angels, who keep his mind entirely above the thought of
death, and in the idea of eternal life. They remain with him through
the whole process--protecting him from evil spirits--and receive him
into the world of spirits after his soul has fully withdrawn itself
from the interior of the body. The last idea, active in the mind of
the person before death, is the first idea in his mind after death,
when his consciousness of life is restored; and it is some time
after this conscious life returns before he is aware that he is
dead. Around him he sees objects similar to those seen in the
natural world. There are houses and trees, streams of water and
gardens. Men and women dressed in variously fashioned garments. They
walk and converse together, as we do upon earth. When, at length, he
is told that he has died, and is now in a world that is spiritual
instead of natural--that the body in which he is, is a body formed
of spiritual instead of natural substances, he is in a measure
affected with surprise, and for the most part a pleasing surprise.
He wonders at the grossness of his previous ideas, which limited
form and substances to material things; and now, unless he had been
instructed during his life in the world, begins to comprehend the
truth that man is a man from the spirit, not from the body."

Anna, who had been listening intently, drew a long breath, as Marion

"Dead, and yet not know the fact!" said she, with an expression of
wonder. "It seems incredible. And all this you fully believe?"

"Yes, Anna; as entirely as I believe in the existence of the sun in
the firmament."

"If these doctrines can take away the fear of death, which so haunts
the mind of even those who are striving to live pure lives, they are
indeed a legacy of good to the world. Oh, Marion, how much I have
suffered, ever since the days of my childhood, from this dreadful

"They do take away the fear of death," returned Marion; "because
they remove the uncertainty which has heretofore gathered like a
gloomy pall over the last hours of mortality. When the soul of lover
or friend passed from this world, it seemed to plunge into a dark
profound, and there came not back an echo to tell of his fate. 'The
bourne from which no traveller returns!' Oh! the painful eloquence
of that single line. But, now, we who receive the doctrine of which
I speak, can look beyond this bourne; and though the traveller
returns not, yet we know something of how he fared on his entrance
into the new country."

"Then we need not fear for you," said Anna, tenderly, "when you are
called to pass this bourne?"

"No, sister," replied Marion, "I know in whom I have believed, and I
feel sure that it will be well with me, so far as I have shunned
what is evil and sought to do good. Do not think of me as sinking
into some gloomy profound; or awakening from my sleep of death,
startled, amazed, or shocked by the sudden transition. Loving angels
will be my companions as I descend into the valley and the shadow of
death; and I will fear no evil. Upon the other side I will be
received among those who have gone before, and I will scarcely feel
that there has been a change. A little while I will remain there,
and then pass upward to my place in heaven."

The mother of Marion entered her room at this moment, and the
conversation was suspended. But it was renewed again soon after, and
the gentle-hearted, spiritual-minded girl continued to talk of the
other world as one preparing for a journey talks about the new
country into which he is about going, and of whose geography, and
the manners and customs of whose people, he has made himself
conversant from books.

Not long did she remain on this side of the dark valley, through
which she was to pass. A few months wound up the story of her
earthly life, and she went peacefully and confidently on her way to
her eternal dwelling-place. It was a sweet, sad time, when the
parting hour came, and the mother, brother, and dearly loved adopted
sister, gathered around Marion's bed to see her die. That angels
were present, each one felt; for the sphere of tranquillity that
pervaded the hearts of all was the sphere of heaven.

"God is love," said Marion, a short time before she passed away. She
was holding the hand of her mother, and looking tenderly in her
face. "How exquisite is my perception of this truth? It comes upon
me with a power that subdues my spirit, yet fills it with ineffable
peace. With what a wondrous love has he regarded us! I never had had
so intense a perception of this as now."

Marion closed her eyes, and for some time lay silent, while a
heavenly smile irradiated her features. Then looking up, she said,
and as she spoke she took the hand of Anna and placed it within that
of her mother--

"When I am gone, let the earthly love you bore me, mother, be added
to that already felt for our dear Anna. Think of me as an angel, and
of her as your child."

In spite of her effort to restrain them, tears gushed from the eyes
of Mrs. Lee, and fell like rain over her cheeks. For a short time
she bent to her dying one, and clasped her wildly to her bosom. But
the calmness of a deeply laid trust in Providence was soon restored
to her spirit, and she said, speaking of Anna--

"Without her, how could we part with you? I do not think I could
bear it."

"I shall go before you only a little while," returned Marion, "only
a very little while. A few years--how quickly they will hurry by! A
few more days of labour, and your earthly tasks will be done. Then
we shall meet again. And even in the days of our separation we shall
not be far removed from each other. Thought will bring us
spiritually near, and affection conjoin us, even though no sense of
the body give token of proximity. And who knows but to me will be
assigned the guardianship of the dear babe given to us by Anna? Oh!
if love will secure that holy duty, then it will be mine!"

A light, as if reflected from the sun of heaven, beamed from the
countenance of Marion, who closed her eyes, and, in a little while,
fell off into a gentle sleep. Silently did those who loved her with
more than human tenderness--for there was in their affection a love
of goodness for its own sake--bend over and watch the face of the
sweet sleeper, even until there came stealing upon them the fear
that she would not waken again in this world. And the fear was not
groundless; for thus she passed away. To her death came as a gentle
messenger, to bid her go up higher. And she obeyed the summons
without a mortal fear.

No passionate grief at their loss raged wildly in the bosoms of
those who suffered this great bereavement. For years, the mother and
son had daily striven against selfish feelings as evil; and now,
comprehending with the utmost clearness that Marion's removal was,
for her, a blessed change, their hearts were thankful, even while
tears wet their cheeks. They mourned for her departure, because they
were human; they suffered pain, for ties of love the most tender had
been snapped asunder; they wept, because in weeping nature found
relief. Yet, in all, peace brooded over their spirits.

When the fading, wasting form of earth which Marion's pure spirit
had worn, as a garment, but now laid aside forever, was borne out,
and consigned to its kindred clay, those who remained behind
experienced no new emotions of grief. To them Marion still lived.
This was the old mortal body, that vailed, rather than made visible,
her real beauty. Now she was clothed in a spiritual body, that was
transcendently beautiful, because it was the very form of good
affections. To lay the useless garment aside was not, therefore, a
painful task. This done, each member of the bereaved family returned
to his and her life-tasks, and, in the faithful discharge of daily
duties, found a sustaining power. But Marion was not lost to them.
Ever present was she in their thought and affection, and often, in
dreams, she was with them,--yet, never as the suffering mortal; but
as the happy, glorified immortal. Beautiful was the faith upon which
they leaned. To them the spiritual was not a something vague and
undeterminate; but a real entity. They looked beyond the grave, into
the spiritual world, as into a better country, where life was
continued in higher perfection, and where were spiritual ultimates,
as perfectly adapted to spiritual sense as are the ultimates of
creation to the senses of the natural body.


"EDWARD is to be in London next week," said Mrs. Ravensworth; "and I
trust, Edith, that you will meet him with the frankness he is
entitled to receive."

Edith Hamilton, who stood behind the chair of her aunt, did not make
any answer.

Mrs. Ravensworth continued--"Edward's father was your father's own
brother. A man of nobler spirit never moved on English soil; and I
hear that Edward is the worthy son of a worthy sire."

"If he were as pure and perfect as an angel, aunt," replied Edith,
"it would be all the same to me. I have never seen him, and cannot,
therefore, meet him as one who has a right to claim my hand."

"Your father gave you away when you were a child, Edith; and Edward
comes now to claim you by virtue of this betrothal."

"While I love the memory of my father, and honour him as a child
should honour a parent," said Edith, with much seriousness, "I do
not admit his right to give me away in marriage while I was yet a
child. And, moreover, I do not think the man who would seek to
consummate such a marriage contract worthy of any maiden's love.
Only the heart that yields a free consent is worth having, and the
man who would take any other is utterly unworthy of any woman's
regard. By this rule I judge Edward to be unworthy, no matter what
his father may have been."

"Then you mean," said Mrs. Ravensworth, "deliberately to violate the
solemn contract made by your father with the father of Edward?"

"I cannot receive Edward as anything but a stranger," replied Edith.
"It will not mend the error of my father for me to commit a still
greater one."

"How commit a still greater one?" inquired Mrs. Ravensworth.

"Destroy the very foundation of a true marriage--freedom of choice
and consent. There would be no freedom of choice on his part, and no
privilege of consent on mine. Happiness could not follow such a
union, and to enter into it would be doing a great wrong. No, aunt,
I cannot receive Edward in any other way than as a stranger--for
such he is."

"There is a clause in your father's will that you may have
forgotten, Edith," said her aunt.

"That which makes me penniless if I do not marry Edward Hamden?"


"No--I have not forgotten it, aunt."

"And you mean to brave that consequence?"

"In a choice of evils we always take the least." Edith's voice

Mrs. Ravensworth did not reply for some moments. While she sat
silent, the half-closed door near which Edith stood, and toward
which her aunt's back was turned, softly opened, and a handsome
youth, between whom and Edith glances of intelligence instantly
passed, presented the startled maiden with a beautiful white rose,
and then noiselessly retired.

It was nearly a minute before Mrs. Ravensworth resumed the light
employment in which she was engaged, and as she did so, she said--

"Many a foolish young girl gets her head turned with those gay
gallants at our fashionable watering-places, and imagines that she
has won a heart when the object of her vain regard never felt the
throb of a truly unselfish and noble impulse."

The crimson deepened on Edith's cheeks and brow, and as she lifted
her eyes, she saw herself in a large mirror opposite, with her
aunt's calm eyes steadily fixed upon her. To turn her face partly
away, so that it could no longer be reflected from the mirror, was
the work of an instant. In a few moments she said--

"Let young and foolish girls get their heads turned if they will.
But I trust I am in no danger."

"I am not so sure of that. Those who think themselves most secure
are generally in the greatest danger. Who is the youth with whom you
danced last evening? I don't remember to have seen him here before."

"His name is Evelyn." There was a slight tremor in Edith's voice.

"How came you to know him?"

"I met him here last season."

"You did?"

"Yes, ma'am. And I danced with him last night. Was there any harm in
that?" The maiden's voice had regained its firmness.

"I didn't say there was," returned Mrs. Ravensworth, who again
relapsed into silence. Not long after, she said--"I think we will
return to London on Thursday."

"So soon!" Edith spoke in a disappointed voice.

"Do you find it so very pleasant here?" said the aunt, a little

"I have not complained of its being dull, aunt," replied Edith. "But
if you wish to return on Thursday, I will be ready to accompany

Soon after this, Edith Hamilton left her aunt's room, and went to
one of the drawing-rooms of the hotel at which they were staying,
where she sat down near a recess window that overlooked a beautiful
promenade. She had been here only a few minutes, when she was joined
by a handsome youth, to whom Edith said--

"How could you venture to the door of my aunt's parlour? I'm half
afraid she detected your presence, for she said, immediately
afterward, that we would return to London on the day after

"So soon? Well, I'll be there next week, and it will be strange if,
with your consent, we don't meet often."

"Edward Hamden is expected in a few days," replied Edith, her voice
slightly faltering.

Her companion looked at her searchingly for a few moments, and then

"You have never met him?"


"But when you do meet him, the repugnance you now feel may instantly

A shadow passed over Edith's face, and she answered in a voice that
showed the remark--the tone of which conveyed more than the words
themselves--to have been felt as a question of her constancy.

"Can one whose heart is all unknown to me, one who must think of me
with a feeling of dislike because of bonds and pledges, prove a
nearer or a dearer friend than--"

Edith did not finish the sentence. But that was not needed. The
glance of rebuking tenderness cast upon her companion expressed all
that her lips had failed to utter.

"But you do not know me, Edith," said the young man.

"My heart says differently," was Edith's lowly spoken reply.

Evelyn pressed the maiden's hand, and looked into her face with an
earnest, loving expression.

Mrs. Ravensworth, to whose care Edith had been consigned on the
death of her father, had never been pleased with the unwise contract
made by the parents of her niece and Edward Hamden. The latter had
been for ten years in Paris and Italy, travelling and pursuing his
studies. These being completed, in obedience to the will of a
deceased parent, he was about returning to London to meet his future
wife. No correspondence had taken place between the parties to this
unnatural contract; and, from the time of Edward's letter, when he
announced to Mrs. Ravensworth his proposed visit, it was plain that
his feelings were as little interested in his future partner as were
hers in him.

During the two or three days that Mrs. Ravensworth and her niece
remained at the watering-place, Edith and young Evelyn met
frequently; but, as far as possible, at times when they supposed the
particular attention of the aunt would not be drawn toward them in
such a manner as to penetrate their love secret. When, at length,
they parted, it was with an understanding that they were to meet in

On returning to the city, the thoughts of Edith reverted more
directly to the fact of Edward Hamden's approaching visit; and, in
spite of all her efforts to remain undisturbed in her feelings, the
near approach of this event agitated her. Mrs. Ravensworth
frequently alluded to the subject, and earnestly pressed upon Edith
the consideration of her duty to her parent, as well as the
consequences that must follow her disregard of the contract which
had been made. But the more she talked on this subject, the more
firm was Edith in expressing her determination not to do violence to
her feelings in a matter so vital to her happiness.

The day at length came upon which Edward Hamden was to arrive. Edith
appeared, in the morning, with a disturbed air. It was plain to the
closely observing eyes of her aunt, that she had not passed a night
of refreshing sleep.

"I trust, my dear niece," she said, after they had retired from the
breakfast table, where but little food had been taken, "that you
will not exhibit toward Edward, on meeting him, any of the
preconceived and unjust antipathy you entertain. Let our feelings,
at least, remain uncommitted for or against him."

"Aunt Helen, it is useless to talk to me in this way," Edith
replied, with more than her usual warmth. "The simple fact of an
obligation to love puts a gulf between us. My heart turns from him
as from an enemy. I will meet him with politeness; but it must be
cold and formal. To ask of me more, is to ask what I cannot give. I
only wish that he possessed the manliness I would have had if
similarly situated. Were this so, I would now be free by his act,
not my own."

Seeing that all she urged but made the feelings of Edith oppose
themselves more strongly to the young man, Mrs. Ravensworth ceased
to speak upon the subject, and the former was left to brood with a
deeply disturbed heart over the approaching interview with one who
had come to claim a hand that she resolutely determined not to

About twelve o'clock, Mrs. Ravensworth came to Edith's room and
announced the arrival of Edward Hamden. The maiden's face became
pale, and her lips quivered.

"If I could but be spared an interview," she murmured. "But that is
more than I can ask."

"How weak you are, Edith," replied her aunt, in a tone of reproof.

"I will join you in the drawing-room in half an hour," said Edith,
speaking more calmly.

Mrs. Ravensworth retired, and left Edith again to her own thoughts.
She sat for nearly the whole of the time she had mentioned. Then
rising hurriedly, she made a few changes in her attire; after which
she descended to the drawing-room with a step that was far from
being firm.

So noiselessly did she enter the apartment where Hamden awaited her,
that neither her aunt nor the young man perceived her presence for
some moments, and she had time to examine his appearance, and to
read the lineaments of his half-averted face. While she stood thus
observing him, her countenance suddenly flushed, and she bent
forward with a look of surprise and eagerness. At this moment the
young man became aware that she had entered, and rising up quickly,
advanced to meet her.

"Evelyn!" exclaimed Edith, striking her hands together, the moment
he turned toward her.

"Edith! my own Edith!" returned the young man, as he grasped her
hand, and ventured a warm kiss on her beautiful lips. "Not Evelyn,
but Hamden. Our parents betrothed us while we were yet too young to
give or withhold consent. Both, as we grew older, felt this pledge
as a heart-sickening constraint. But we met as strangers, and I saw
that you were all my soul could desire. I sought your regard and won
it. No obligation but love now binds us."

The young man then turned to Mrs. Ravensworth, and said--

"You see, madam, that we are not strangers."

Instead of looking surprised, Mrs. Ravensworth smiled calmly, and

"No--it would be singular if you were. Love-tokens don't generally
pass, nor familiar meetings take place between strangers."

"Love-tokens, Aunt Helen?" fell from the lips of Edith, as she
turned partly away from Hamden, and looked inquiringly at her

"Yes, dear," returned Mrs. Ravensworth. "White roses, for instance.
You saw your own blushing face. in the mirror, did you not?"

"The mirror! Then you saw Edward present the rose?"

"And did you know me?" inquired the young man.

"One who knew your rather as well as I did could not fail to know
the son. I penetrated your love secret as soon as it was known to

"Aunt Helen!" exclaimed Edith, hiding her face on the neck of her
kind relative, "how have I been deceived!"

"Happily, I trust, love," returned Mrs. Ravensworth, tenderly.

"Most happily! My heart swells with gladness almost to bursting,"
came murmuring from the lips of the joyful maiden.


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