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raining. Oh! there is a sunbeam just popped through that opening in the clouds; do aunt, just leave your work a minute, and see how everybody has brightened up; plenty of smiles now: there is a beautiful rainbow! what a fine, perfect arch to be sure! the rain-drops sparkle and glitter too, with all manner of bright colors. The sunbeam makes a difference here too, though it is only reflected from our opposite neighbour's windows."
Why, Charles,” said his aunt affectionately, “the rain seems to have entertained you almost as much as the walk we had planned to take, if the weather were fine."
“I suppose we can take the walk another day, aunt,” answered Charles; “and we always have such a number of things waiting to be done on a wet day, that I did not feel very sorry about the rain.”
“That is right, my boy, always make the best of your circumstances; if one plan fails, try another.”
Just then a carriage stopped at the door, and Charles and his aunt gladly welcomed an unexpected visit from a very dear friend.
“What an uncomfortable ride you must have had, my dear Mrs. Bright, in all this rain," said aunt Alice, as she assisted the guest to lay aside her cloak.
“No, indeed, I cannot complain," replied Mrs. Bright. “People are so little dependent on weather now, in the railway train, with all its convenient accommodations, that rain or sunshine matters not. In fact, it has hitherto been such fine weather whenever I have travelled this road, that it was an agreeable variety to observe its grand scenery, under the influence of a stormy sky, and truly it would have repaid considerable discomfort; there was something sublime in the gathering of the clouds on the summits of the craggy rocks, and then the sweeping of the rain through the valleys, and the occasional gleam of sunshine, lighting up the whole with a passing beam of brilliance. I assure you I enjoyed my wet ride exceedingly."
“I am glad of that: but now you must have some refreshment, and then tell me all your home news.”
“My home news consists of a sort of hospital report. All have some ailment or other. You must know that our young folks are all rather fond of experiments, to which we do not object, provided they bear any small accidents with suitable philosophy; so one sprained his wrist, another scalded his foot, a third bruised his nose, while the rest took the opportunity of nursing up for the influenza, till we were all such invalids, there were none left as sympathizers, whereat, I proposed we should have a general assembly of weeping."
“Oh! how funny you would have looked, all crying over your troubles!” exclaimed Charles.
“So we all thought, Charles, and instead of adopting my proposal, my sons and daughters deemed it so supremely absurd, that it made them all laugh heartily; and this hearty laugh half cured us, I think, (for I was as bad as the rest,) and the lame have hopped very merrily ever since, and the bruised and maimed have lent feet to the lame, and been nurses to the rest. Thus our family clouds are blowing over."
“And you were the nice sunbeam to cheer them all up," said Charles.
“I would make my best curtsey, Charles, if I really deserved such a compliment,” rejoined Mrs. Bright, smiling.
“At least, you seemed to have proved the truth of Solomon's assertion, that 'a merry heart doeth good, like a medicine," interposed aunt Alice.
“Perhaps, I am naturally of a cheerful disposition,” replied Mrs. Bright, “but you know our Saviour forbids his disciples to be of a sad countenance."
“Does he indeed?” remarked Charles, looking up joyously; “tell me where, for I am often quite puzzled to know whether it is right to be merry, when we see so much misery around us, and know so many people are wicked, and care nothing about their souls."
“You will find the passage in the sixth chapter of Matthew, Charles. Those who are so happy as to know by experience the value of religion, ought surely to go on their way rejoicing, finding in every mercy fresh cause for thankfulness, and in every trial, detecting the loving-kindness which sustains the sufferer, and guides the stroke. Those that are ignorant and out of the way, are more likely thus to be won to seek the same peace."
“But when Christians have a great many afflictions all at once, they cannot help being sorry.”
“Nor is moderate sorrow for afflictive events forbidden in the Scriptures, my dear boy, only we are cautioned against indulging in over much grief; and the oldest and most experienced Christian will ever acknowledge that there is no circumstance so dismal, but that some alleviation attends it; therefore if all cannot joy in tribulation, all may surely learn in whatsoever state they are, therewith to be content."
“How many evidences we meet with of peaceful content among the pious poor! said aunt Alice. “Rich in faith they undoubtedly are, and my own murmurings at unfulfilled wishes have often been stilled by hearkening to their simple details of help, in seasons of distress; food unexpectedly supplied when the cupboard, always scantily furnished, was literally bare; support under domestic persecution for conscience sake, such as would hardly be supposed by the politer dwellers in this Christian land."
“Ah! I doubt not your crowded alleys have as often shown you an open door' towards heaven, as our pretty cottages; or the lonely rocks of Patmos, to the exile of old,” answered Mrs. Bright, "for the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, like those of the bright orb of day, penetrate every avenue open to their influence. But what are your hours, aunt Alice? I have some errands to accomplish.”
“We dine late to-day, to suit grandpapa’s convenience."
“Then, if you please, I will adopt the good old maxim, of duty first, and pleasure afterwards;' and reserve our chat till the evening."
Charles,” she continued, turning to the boy, “the rain has ceased now, and my Edward thought he might presume on your kindness to procure this list of brads, tenter-hooks, cogwheels, and divers other mysteries, I confessed myself too ignorant to understand. He has several pretty models standing still for want of them. Then Emily wishes for such a microscope as yours, adapted either for flowers or insects.”
“I shall be delighted to do my best,” said Charles cheerfully; “I think I know where all these things may be procured," and hasted off with alacrity on his commission.
Mrs. Bright's home-claims were imperative, so that her visit was soon over. Charles and his aunt accompanied her to the railway station, and then paid a series of calls to seek aid for a benevolent institution, in which they both felt deeply interested. As they arranged their report of these, Charles exelaimed, “What a cheerful woman Mrs. Bright is, aunt, so different from that grumbling Mrs. S., who seemed to spoil everything pleasant by finding out but something was the matter."
“True, Charles, though we may see the thorns among roses, it is not necessary to priek ourselves with them.”
“That lady who talked so much of the trouble of every exertion, did not seem very happy, I think?"
“Want of occupation, my dear boy, is a terrible foe to cheerfulness and good temper; it is a common saying, that the busiest folks are the happiest; an assertion, which, I believe every one will find corroborated by his own observations in the circle of his acquaintances.”
“Mrs. Bright seems happy herself, aunt, while she makes all around her happy too."
“Yes, indeed, this is a gift, which instead of impoverishing the giver, renders him tenfold richer in joy himself.”
“Well, we are very happy when we are alone, aunt, and yet Mrs. Bright seemed to make us happier still!"
“I have often thought, Charles, it is one of the proofs of our heavenly Father's benevolence, that he has so formed the human heart, that a very little thing will add to its happiness; an unexpected remembrance—a kind word-even a look of affection; while, if our peace is on the right foundation, it requires a great deal to disturb it."
“I never thought of that before, aunt, yet I am sure it is very true, for, though I never saw grandpapa look gloomy for an instant, I could not help being struck with his delight, yesterday, at the rough shells which that old sailor brought him, as a testimony of gratitude. Oh! I should like to be always happy myself, and able to make others happy too."
“Well, my boy, you may if you like.” “Oh, aunt! tell me how."
“Seek first the righteousness of Jesus Christ; then strive to win others, by doing unto them as ye would they should do to you. Cultivate a contented grateful spirit.—Bless the Lord, oh, our souls, and forget not all his benefits, for his mercies are new every morning!”
E. W. P.
A DREAM OF CHRYSOSTOM. A STRANGE place truly—a glass-house for locomotivesma conservatory for trains. Above, a wrinkled, corrugated sea of zinc; a maze of forged iron bars, stretching everywhere, nowhere-iron and glass-glass and iron. And below, what hurry, what confusion! A huge steam-stable-porters rushing hither and thither, objectless it would appear, and purposeless; eager passengers lugging about infinitudes of carpet-bags—all is bustle and confusion.
I seat myself in a carriage—the bell rings—the whistle, and we are off. The train, serpent like, winds its huge length out of the station, fastidiously picking its path among the multitude of cross-rails that temptingly present themselves at every turn ; at length it has fairly crawled out of the huge station. Then the sky for a few minutes, and then we are over-canopied awhile by bricks, and then out again ; and then through villaland, where Londoners vainly try to fancy they are denizens of the country. Next the round knoll of Primrose-hill, seatcapped and tea-partied, the dark tunnel, and after that the country; the world's sun shining through the world's air, free from all the sooty abominations of Newcastle.
A strange group truly fills the carriage. There is the burly farmer, true Englishman, enfolded in ample drab, with an unimaginable multiplicity of pockets, beneath whose protecting flaps peer samples of corn, and brilliant coloured handkerchiefs. There, too, is the sleek liveried servant, whose master, amidst the cushions of a first-class, is reposing in preparation for the fatigues of his annual campaign among the grouse. Next a cousin, built in, as it were, by band-boxes, is going down to kiss and to be kissed by sundry other cousins in the country. A panting, puffing old lady sits next, who is certain she has lost her ticket, and has got into the wrong carriage; and so on, some thirty more. Next me sat a quiet mild-eyed old gentleman, his face beam