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children bring home from Sunday-school. And have we not the best of all books, which is a little library in itself ?”
“ True enough,” replied the widow Digby, “ and now I come to think of it, Mrs. Parsons, the schoolmaster's wife, promised me the very last time she was here, the loan of the Penny Magazine, which her husband takes in, and some nice books of the Religious Tract Society, which are constantly coming out."
“Better and better,” said Deborah, “ you may rest assured we shall have no great difficulty about books. The thing will be to get a chance to read them. What with the noise of our wheels, and the clatter of feet, and the things we have to say to one another about our work, and the chattering of the children, we shall not find many hours in the day.”
“Never mind, if we get one, it will be so much clear gain; and I think we shall do better than that. So let us make a beginning."
A beginning they did make, and they have kept it up a few months, with very great satisfaction and profit. As soon as the room is pretty well cleaned after breakfast, and the out-door work somewhat despatched, all become quiet, and a chapter or two of the Bible are read aloud by John, Mary and Esther, who take turns. Then the smaller ones say their lessons, one at a time, and the elder girls can generally set them right when they go wrong, and this while they are at their work. Mary often hears Lucy a spelling lesson while she is stirring something at the hearth, and Esther looks over Edward's copy at the same time that she is knitting or sewing. It is surprising what an amount of useful knowledge may be gained in this way, in the course of a few years. They always endeavour to arrange the matter so as to avoid weariness; and the younger children especially are allowed to run about at their pleasure, except for a very short period in each day.
The effect of all this is that the Digby family is one of the happiest in the neighbourhood. Both parents and children are gaining knowledge every day, and what will always make this knowledge more valuable to them, they are gaining it together. They love their home, and they love one another all the better for these household instructions. The family is indeed a school, and they teach one another.
The Sundays at Digby Cottage are delightful. I wish all the cottages in our beloved country would enjoy such Sabbaths ! All work is laid aside on that day, and the whole time is given to rest, to instruction, and to sacred fellowship and worship. All go to church, and all go to Sundayschool, the parents to teach, and the children to be taught. As they live too far from the church to return between the services, they have no set dinner upon Sunday, but gather around a plentiful supper, on their return. After this comfortable meal, they go, when the season allows, to the favourite shade in the rear of the cottage. Here they talk over what they have been hearing in the church, and compare the books they have brought from the library, and join in hymns of praise to God their Saviour. They all sing; even the infant begins to throw in her little piping note among the rest. Their voices join with the evening song of many a bird among the neighbouring hawthorns. The balmy fragrance of fields and flowers, the sound of the rill that trickles away through the meadow from the spring, the hum of the returning bee, and the distant lowings of the herd, all unite to make them calm and pensive, and all suit well with the evening of the Lord's Day. Then, when a portion of God's holy word has been read, they kneel in prayer, and are ready to retire to rest as happy as poor sinful creatures are likely to be in this world.
THE WILLING VICTIM.
“A sudden splash was heard alongside, and the whole boat was in an uproar. The work of death had commenced.
Alas for the fate of that gallant ship! How proudly she rides over the smooth blue sea. The sky is clear the stars glitter in the dizzy height of heaven. The sails are all bent, and the ship is on the broad bosom of the ocean-far away from the dangers of the coast.
The passengers and crew, save the watch on deck, are buried in deep slumber.
Their busy thoughts wander, perchance, to the homes and friends they have left, or to those they hope to meet at the termination of their voyage. Suddenly a terrific concussion is felt; the ship lies trembling from the shock, and every soul is summoned upon deck. She has struck upon an iceberg; and the exclamation of the captain tells the fearful extent of the disaster.
we can't save the
ship it's of no use-clear away the long boat!” Surprise and terror strike through the stoutest hearts. There is but a moment's suspense, however. The doom of the ship is sealed, and even now she slowly settles down-down into the dark abyss.Who can describe the scene that ensues ! In what language can we express the agony of conjugal and parental anxiety. The cries of helpless children, who have never known any refuge from trouble but their mothers' arms --the stifled emotions of terror and dismay which shake the bosoms of even hardy sailors, as they cast their eyes upon their crippled and sinking ship, and upon the crowd of hapless beings that look imploringly to them for rescue. In the dead of night-far, far from all aid or sympathy, amidst shrieks of anguish and despair, and with scarcely a hope of success, they avail themselves of the only way of escape which is left to them. The boat is lowered. The moment it strikes the rising wave, there is a desperate struggle to gain it—and to inany it was but a struggle for the grave. They missed their foot-hold, or mistook the distance, or were carried away by the violent rush of others, and found their resting place in the unfathomable depths.
Death was now a familiar guest in that hapless circle, and men were not deterred from