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“Our childhood sits,
Matt. xviii. 10.
It was a beautiful spring morning, and when Helen returned from the conference to which she had been summoned by her aunt, Effie proposed a walk. “Let us go to the village, Helen, and call for the Thorntons, and all walk together."
“Very well; but the Thorntons are a very unmanageable set, and I think you will repent of it when you have had them halt an hour,”
“No, I shall not; I like children, ruly or unruly. I believe I am half a child myself yet," and the light-hearted girl flew up-stairs to prepare for her walk. As soon as they had started, she said, “Tell me about the Thorntons, Helen; there are so few families in your neighbourhood, that one is driven to take an interest in them all. Do you like Mrs. Thorn. ton, the grandmamma ?”
"I don't know. There is a great deal of kindliness about her, and I am sure she means well by the children; but she does not seem to me to understand them. The girls are so totally different in character, and she treats them all alike-I mean, she adopts the same system with all; and little as I know about children, I cannot think that a wise plan. And then as to Percy, he is a thoroughly spoilt boy, and all in the house are made to give up to him.”
“Are they orphans, Helen?"
“ Oh no, their parents are in India. I have heard that their mother is a charming woman,
and I have seen one or two of her letters, which have made me long to know her. I wish she would come home, and take charge of her own children.”
“Were they letters to her children that you saw ?”
"No, letters to Miss Willis, their governess, showing such a deep interest in the real, true welfare of her children, and giving, I think, such useful hints and directions in the art of training. But poor Miss Willis does not seem to me fitted for the situation she holds; she takes so very little interest in the children, she always gives me the impression of one preoccupied. Perhaps she has home cares, and cannot disengage her mind from them.”
The cousins had some purchases to make in the village, and we will leave them there, and go on before them with the reader to Mrs. Thornton's house, which was pleasantly situated in its own garden a short distance from the highroad. Maria, a fair handsome girl of about thirteen years of age, was leaning over