« AnteriorContinuar »
THE TEACHER TAUGHT.
“To be coutent when ills betide,
And pleased with favours given.
ONE morning Mrs. Herbert came down to breakfast rather earlier than usual, and seeing the letters and newspapers lying on the table, she went and looked them over. She found one from the solicitor who had the charge of all her money affairs, and not expecting to hear from him, she opened it with a feeling of curiosity, not quite unmingled with anxiety. It came charged with heavy tidings, informing
her of the sudden failure of a bank, in which a large portion of her money was invested. Quite unprepared for such a painful announcement, she at first scarcely comprehended what she read; and it was not until she had carefully perused the document two or three times, that she came to a full understanding of its meaning. Then, in the absence of all better feelings, a strong sense of indignation against the unfortunate parties concerned, took pos. session of her mind, acting as an antidote against the paralyzing, enervating influence, which sudden bad news is so apt to shed over the human frame. She walked rapidly up and down the room, her ego kindling, and her frame rising above its ordinary stature; and when her nieces entered, they were too much alarmed at her manner to ask her any questions. At length Helen ventured upon an inquiry, and Mrs. Herbert referred her to the letter, which was lying on the table. .
Helen eagerly read it, and all her sympathy was awakened, for she saw how deeply her aunt was moved at the information. She was just going to speak some words of comfort, when her aunt perceived her intention, and immediately silenced her. "I want no counsel, Helen, and the case is beyond comfort. It is a matter of which you can understand nothing." Thus rebuked, it was impossible to make another effort, and the breakfast was eaten in absolute silence, neither of the girls daring to venture a word.
Two or three days passed on in the same painful suspense and reserve. Very gladly would the girls have exerted themselves in any manner, to assist or comfort their aunt, but she coldly threw aside all their efforts, and seemed proudly intent upon bearing her burden alone. She wrote letters great part of the day, and seemed greatly annoyed if she were even spoken to. When the business was thoroughly investigated, and the extent of the evil known, the loss, though it was certainly a heavy one, and equal in amount to many an ordinary income, need not have thrown Mrs. Herbert into any real disquietude, and would not have done so, had she possessed any proper control over her temper. Her means were still ample, and though for the present, perhaps, she would have to lay down her carriage, and dispense with many of the luxuries in which she had hitherto indulged, it was not likely that any further inconvenience would accrue. But Mrs. Herbert had lived for her. self alone, and the prospect of any diminution in her selfish enjoyments, was sufficient to cloud her mind, and shut out all thought of others, and all sense of gratitude for mercies yet remaining.
It was about a week after the first letter had been received, and Helen was at work alone in their morning-room, when Mrs. Herbert entered. She looked disturbed, and as though she had something to communicate which she knew not well how to do. Helen, quick in discernment, made a trifling observation, and then asked her aunt, in a tone of real kindness, whether she had received any