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that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” It was like a breeze from the better land, and she sat silent and thoughtful, as one by one the succeeding verses rose into her memory, till she arrived at the promise, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things shall be added unto you.” She looked up earnestly at her sister, and said, “I don't want a new frock, Minnie; I don't want anything but what we have. I think we are wrong to feel as we do; let us go home to mama.”
“I don't want to worry mama, Ellen ; I won't say any more about it, I promise you, if you think it is wrong; but I am afraid I cannot help feeling it.”
“Let us go home to mama : we have been qut long enough; and as to telling her, there is no need, she knows my thoughts sometimes, almost before I know them myself. Come, Minnie."
Ellen was right. It needed but little of
a fond mother's discernment, to discover by the weary step and quiet tone of her children that all was not with them as when they started; and much as Minnie had wished and resolved to keep her sadness to herself, she was the first to pour it all out into her mother's bosom.
Mrs. Lester heard it all, not only without surprise, but with affectionate sympathy. No word of blame, not even a remonstrance, passed her lips at present. She knew that small trials are as heavy to the young mind as the severer ones of after life, when the spirit is accustomed to the burden; and she earnestly desired to encourage the confidence of her children, that she might induce them, even thus early, to carry their infant sorrows to One who alone could effectually bear them, and who, by shedding upon them a gleam of light from the sanctuary, could take away almost all their bitterness. Full well she knew that, in all human probability, the trials of their after life would be such as to
“ Claim the full vigour of a mind prepared
Prepared for patient, long, laborious strife,
And, therefore, while she kept steadily in her hand the silken clue, which alone could lead herself and her children through the tangled maze of thorns and briers which this world presents, she did not ignore the . fact of their existence, or wonder when her fellow-travellers were sometimes torn and wounded.
Minnie was sitting on a stool at her mother's feet, her bonnet lying on the ground beside her. Ellen was leaning over the back of her mother's chair, and every now and then imprinting a gentle kiss upon her fore. head. She had talked a little, and laid before them the real causes of their unhappiness, and her words had fallen like dew upon their spirits.
“Then, mama, do you mean,” said Ellen, “that all who seek for happiness may find it, and that it does not depend on circumstances?"
"I am sure of it, my dear, in one sense;
but I think you are putting the question in a wrong form. Our object in life should not be the pursuit of our own happiness, but the seeking to do the will of our Father, and, like loving children, to trust our happiness with Him. My dears, it is quite sure to come! He loves us far better than we love one another. But see, it is past one o'clock, and we must go to dinner. Go and take off your things, and by and by, when lessons are over, perhaps we shall be able to take a walk together. And so, with lightened hearts and brighter faces, the two children left the room; and when Minnie was ready for dinner, she took out the little parcel of ribbon, just to see how it looked before she went down-stairs, and lo! the light which had returned to her own heart, had returned to the ribbon too. “See, Ellen, it is quite lovely !"
“So it is,” said Ellen, and, passing her arm round her sister's neck, they went down. stairs together.
Four o'clock came, and all the lessons were put away, and the room cleared. “Where are we to walk, dear mama ?” said Minnie, as she put the last book on the shelf.
“I think we will go to Fairleigh Green, and see how they are going on with the new church-shall you like that?”
“Very much, mama; it is a long time since we have been there, and the last time it was scarcely above the ground.”
So to Fairleigh Green they went, and the walk was full of pleasure, for Mrs. Lester had a peculiar and most happy art of investing the most ordinary things with interest. The songs of the different birds, which she had taught the children to discriminate until they had become quite practised in the varied sounds—the beautiful wild-flowers the homes and haunts of the insect tribes which were filling the air with quiet melody-everything furnished food for pleasant thought and conversation. But it was not alone the beauty of the walk to Fairleigh that had induced