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their little home with a fondness which would seem incredible to those who have not studied the young heart and its affections. Had they had the power of choice, they would not have relinquished this humble cottage for the wealthiest home in England. It was endeared to them by all sorts of loving recollections, and associated with all they cared for and valued most on earth. Every plant in the garden was of their own rearing, the bright stream that came leaping and sparkling down the hill, had been formed by them into a tiny waterfall, where they could fill their waterpots in the summer evenings. The bee-hives in the warm corner under the hedge, the little trellis arbour which their old friend the car. penter had begged permission to make, because Mrs. Lester had been so very kind to his poor sick wife-these, and as many associations within the house, had rendered it to them a hallowed place. It was their sweet mother who by her judicious conduct had shed this charm over the place, and her children knew not
from whence came the bright light that filled all their days with gladness; they only knew that they loved their mother above and beyond all created things. And with her was ever associated the memory of their father. He had never seen the cottage, and yet from perpetually realizing his presence among them, he came to be mingled with all their pursuits and pleasures. He dwelt among them as a guardian angel, deterring them from evil, and inciting them to all that was great and noble. His smile of approbation was aimed at as though he were still present to bestow it, and, as far as was possible, the plan of education was the one he had himself drawn out, before their great reverses fell upon them.
No servant was kept in this little domain. A neighbouring cottager, who had no chil. dren, gave her services every day for three or four hours, for a small remuneration. The poverty which had been caused by no fault, brought with it, in Mrs. Lester's estimation, no shame, and the daily domestic duties which came upon her, involved no loss of dignity, because they were appointed by Him whom she had learnt to trust, and she knew He could not err.
Some old writer has remarked, “If God were to send two archangels down to earth, the one to rule an empire, the other to sweep a crossing, they would enter upon their respective missions with equal zeal and energy, because both had been alike appointed by their Divine Master;" and George Herbert in the same spirit reminds us
“ All may of Thee partake,
Nothing can be so mean,
May not grow bright and clean.”
And Mrs. Lester found it so.
Four or five weeks had elapsed since the visit we recorded in the last chapter, and the embryo thought it had awakened in Miss Wilson's mind, had been cherished and conned over, until it had ripened into action. Ellen and Minnie were now receiving daily instruction from her in French, German, and drawing, and the pleasure and benefit were great on both sides. It was the month of May, and the air was perfumed with roses and honeysuckles, and the bright golden flowers of the furze bushes. Minnie had gathered her little basket full of the yellow blossoms, that her kind friend might enjoy some of the pleasure she had herself experienced in her morning walk. And now they were seated by the sofa, engaged in the pleasantest of all occupations, drawing; while at intervals Miss Wilson encouraged them to talk with her, and drew out their little stores of knowledge, and showed respect for their opinions, childish as they were, and the children felt they were appreciated; and the desire to become more worthy of such a friend was a better stimulus to their exertions, than any system of rewards or punishments that could have been devised.