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partly on account of our bright healthy air, for the elder girl is delicate."
"And who educates the children V
"Their mother—she does everything, and how she finds the time and strength, I know not. But her whole mind is set upon their receiving a good education; and she is even now engaged, I know, in various works, the profits of which go to form a little fund, that she may one day be able to give them a few good lessons in music and drawing."
"Do you think she ought to care so much about these accomplishments?"
"Oh, yes," said Helen, "because they must learn to provide for themselves in after life, and they could take no good situation without a knowledge of these things."
"True," said Miss Wilson, "I did not think of that; poor children!"
"I do not think you would pity them, could you see and converse with them; they are so happy, and their little home is so well ordered and cheerful. The mother is most to be pitied, and I do long sometimes to do something for her."
"Why do not their relations come forward and assist them?"
"I believe they are not altogether aware of their circumstances, and perhaps a natural feeling of pride may prevent Mrs. Lester from obtruding the real state of the case upon them. Whatever may be her motive, Mr. Marsden knows it all, and he says that the more he knows, the more deeply does he feel impressed with respect and veneration for Mrs. Lester's character."
"You said, Miss Burnet, that you often longed to help her with the children; would she not allow you?"
"Oh yes; but from different circumstances it is out of my power to do it. What I should like would be to help her with their education, but there are many reasons why I cannot; ono is, that I am myself ignorant of those things she most wants them to learn."
"Oh, Helen, Helen," said Effie, bursting cut into a most involuntary laugh, "you aro just like those German villagers Miss Sinclair so wittily tells us of. Do you remember?"
"No," said Helen.
"Nor you, Miss Wilson?"
"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 reasons 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 you?"
"I shall not acknowledge the resemblance, whatever I may think," said Helen, catcliing the infection of her cousin's merry laugh; "but I do think the story a very good ene. Where did you find it?"
"In 'Hill and Valley.' It is full of entertaining 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 V
"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