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“I don't think I understand her. She is so reserved upon the one subject that I love best, that I find it difficult to believe she really cares for it, as we were told she did.”

"Perhaps she still feels strange with you, and cannot open her mind freely."

“I hardly think she does, for she speaks to me without reserve about her children and her domestic affairs; and do you not think that what the heart loves, the mouth will speak of ? Is it not always so ?”

“Not always, I think, my dear. There are exceptions to all rules. There are some pecu. liar natures; but, oh! there is no doubt that the spirit of the Gospel received into the heart, in the love of it, will warm that heart into affectionate interest and communion with all that acknowledge the same blessed hope. It ought to be so, and I think when it is not, it augurs an unhealthy state of mind, to say the least of it.” Mr. Marsden mused for a few moments, then he added, “It is a difficult point, Mary, and we need to pray for a sound judgment, if it fall to our lot to deal with it. Do you remember, when we were at Hastings last summer, walking with me one morning on the sands ?"

“Yes, quite well.”

“And do you remember that green rock far out in the sea, where we stood and watched the beautiful sea-anemones rejoicing in the light of the morning sun, and revealing to old Ocean alone the hidden glories of their wonderful mechanism ? And do you remember how, in spite of your warning, I persisted in separating one fine one from its native rock, took it home, placed it with infinite care and pains where I could watch all its motions, and then, in wonder and disappointment, found that I possessed nothing but a brown and lifeless mass? So is it, I think, with some spirits among us; they seem to resent the most gentle touch, to shrink back, like the mimosa, into their own unfathomable depths, if but the lightest breath of human interference should pass across their hallowed precincts. But, alone with God, they can unveil all their nature, and lay bare all the hidden pulses of thought. I have met once or twice with cases like this, and your poor friend may be one."

“ Then what would you advise me to do ?

To leave the sensitive point in her nature untouched. Whatever it arise from, she is a loser, poor woman, for that solitude of heart is a desolate thing; but we shall defeat our own object by intruding, unbidden, into it. Perhaps some day the barrier will be removed, and, in the meantime, she shall learn to look upon us as her real friends. Don't you think this will be best ?"

“Yes, indeed, I do; I am very glad I asked

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“Well, then, my dear, while you are out, I must answer these letters. They will require time and thought, for the writers are in need of counsel, upon very trying and difficult points. God grant me wisdom to answer them aright !”

“Åmen ! my dear husband. Never have you been found wanting yet, that I can ră. member, when either counsel or comfort were needed," and, with a prayer in her heart, and a blessing on her lips, Mrs. Marsden left the room.

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CHAPTER XI.

THE SECRET SPRING.

« Sweet is the smile of home, the mutual look,

When hearts are of each other sure ;
Sweet all the joys that crowd the household nook,

The kaunt of all affections pure." KEBLE.

“Character groweth day by day, and all things aid it in unfolding."

TOPPER.

It was the month of August. Mrs. Thornton's health had gradually revived since her return to England, and she was rapidly becoming known and valued by the little community at Oakhurst. She was beginning, with some pain, to receive a more correct impression of the true characters of her children than was possible upon her first arrival. She was a keen, though quiet observer, and as she had hitherto not

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