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The nurse, who had been a member of the Thornton family since her childhood, was visible every now and then, gliding up and down the staircase, making little Louisa's incessant motion, and the consequent necessity of watching over her young charge, an excuse for joining the listening group.
Presently a shout was heard from Percy. “There is a carriage, grandmama, a great way off, in a cloud of dust. I am quite certain of it! Look, Maria!"
And Maria looked, and it was no mistake, and the dust was blown aside, and the carriage came at a steady pace along the well-known road. And now for a moment the sober certainty of bliss brought a revulsion of feeling to the children, and tears came to their eyes, and they seemed unable to move. But only for a moment.
Long before the carriage drove up, childhood's happy nature reasserted her right, and the colour returned to their cheeks, and
the bounding joy to their hearts, and the mo. ther and children were folded in that mutual embrace, the joy of which seemed almost a recompense for the long years of separation.
"Instruction, admonition, comfort, peace,
Flow from his tongue. Oh, chief let comfort flow!
We will leave the happy party at “The Friars” to the unmolested possession of their new-found joy. Truly it was one in which a stranger could not intermeddle. It was for some days unmingled with any touch of bitterness, for joy has sometimes a purifying power, subduing and transforming, at least in semblance, much that is unlovely in the character; and Mrs. Thornton, charmed with her new-found treasures, saw nothing in them but causes of joy and gratitude.
In the meantime, the village, with its ron. tine of little cares and little pleasures, went
on its daily course, having, however, received an accession of gladness from the wealth of joy which had come into one household. We will now go to the Rectory, where we shall find Mr. Marsden sitting in his study, and looking over some letters which had arrived that morning.
It was his habit to remain at home until twelve o'clock every day, that his parishioners might know where to find him, should they wish to consult him upon any business, temporal or spiritual. He was the general deposi. tary of all their little cares and anxieties. Many of these it was in his power to remove, and those which he could not remove, he always contrived to lighten by his kindly sympathy, and by a skilful method which he possessed of turning round its fairest side to the view of the sufferer. Possessing thus the full confidence of his people, he had a most conscientious and sensitive view of the sacred character of the deposit, and it was the knowledge of this which emboldened them so often to come to him