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cut into a most involuntary laugh, "you are just like those German villagers Miss Sinclair so wittily tells us of. Do you remember?”
“No,” said Helen.
“Then I shall have the pleasure of telling you, and you will see the resemblance to Helen. The King of Prussia was once making a progress through his dominions, and he stopped to rest for an hour at a small village (I forget the name). A deputation of the principal inhabitants waited upon him, to present to him their humble apologies for not having rung the bells on his arrival. They said they had nine good and sufficient rcasons for the omission. The first was, they had no bells. And the King of Prussia was so well satisfied with the first reason, that he kindly excused them the other eight. Now, Helen, is not that just like
“I shall not acknowledge the resemblance, whatever I may think,” said Helen, catching
the infection of her cousin's merry laugb; “ but I do think the story a very good cne. Where did you find it?”
“In ‘Hill and Valley. It is full of en. tertaining things like this.”
“I have two works of Miss Sinclair's, but not this," said Miss Wilson, "and I am sure you are most welcome to either of them, if you like. And perhaps I have some others you have not read. I have brought some new books from Mudie's library.”
Helen rose to look over the books; this was to her a most tempting offer.
“Now, Miss Wilson, unless you call Helen back, she will be lost to us for the rest of the visit,” said Effie.
“I am afraid the mischief is done, so we must just leave her for a few minutes, and you will tell me about some more of your neighbours. I have seen good, kind Mr. Marsden. Is he not very much beloved here ?"
“Yes, indeed, he is, by rich and poor. Ho seems to know the character of every person in
the parish, and to love them all, in spite of their transgressions. Wherever he goes he carries with him an atmosphere of peace. He settles all little differences, and harmonizes all sorts of conflicting elements.”
“I thought so. Has he any family?"
“Yes, a son and two daughters. The son is at college.”
“ There are a great many young people here, I think.”
“And plenty of old ones, too, I assure you. Oh, Miss Wilson, I hope I shall not live to grow old, I do so very much dislike the thought of it. Now, Helen, what are you looking at me for? I thought you were busy reading. It is of no use your being so shocked, because I really mean what I say. I think, as soon as people arrive at the age of fifty, they ought to be shot."
“It would be rather a strong measure, I think,” said Miss Wilson, who seemed very much amused with her young companion.
“Yes, it would,” said Effie, “but not at all
stronger than the case demands. Now just think how cheerful the world would be, if there were no grave, dull people in it. It is such a very happy world in itself, I think ; and half the worries come, if not more, from the gloom and ill-temper of those who are too old to enjoy it.”
"Ah! but you forgot the world is meant to be a mingled cup for tho tood and medicine of us wayfaring pilgrims, and by taking out these ingredients, the whole mixture perhaps would lose its virtue."
“It may be so," said Effie, with a grave look. “You and Helen know more of these things than I do, but I am afraid, as I grow older, I shall get out of the sunshine into the shade, and I don't like the thought of it."
The invalid turned a look of great kina ness and interest upon her young visitor. “You must come and see me again,” said she. “You shall bring your sunshine to warm and cheer me, and I will show you, if I can, how the shade can be rendered safe and pleasant walk. ing. I have tried both, and so must you. No pathway in this life, I believe, can be other than a chequered one; and I sometimes think, that in our imperfect state, the very contrast is needful to enable us to appreciate our joys. Don't you think so, Miss Burnet?” said she, addressing Helen.
“I am sure of it,” said Helen. “We ap. preciate nothing fully till we have been made sensible of the want of it. But I am afraid we must not stay any longer. I read aloud to my aunt at four o'clock, and it only wants ten minutes. Effie, we must go.”
"And what is to be done with the old man ?”
“Oh! I had forgotten him quite; but we will do it all. We must go there, for I have something to give him; but we must fly like the wind.” And so saying, after a hasty adieu, the cousins departed.
Miss Wilson watched her young friends till they were out of sight; and her sofa being