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XXVI. Sundry things round a pot of chocolate,......
THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD.
Enjoy the spring of love and youth,
To some good angel leave the rest,
“MAhis morning about his la wsuit?"
AMMA, what was that I heard papa saying to you
“I cannot tell you just now. Ellen, pick up that shawl, and spread it over me. Mamma !-are
cold in this warm room ?" "A little,-there, that will do. Now, my daughter, let me be quiet awhile
don't disturb me." There was no one else in the room. Driven thus to her own resources Ellen betook herself to the window and sought amusement there. The
little promise of it. Rain was falling, and made the street and every thing in it look dull and gloomy. The foot-passengers plashed through the water, and the horses and carriages plashed through the mud; gayety had forsaken the sidewalks, and equipages were few, and the people that were out were plainly there only because they could not help it. But yet Ellen, having seriously set herself to study every thing that passed, presently became engaged in her occupation; and her thoughts travelling dreamily from one thing to another, she sat for a long time with her little face pressed against the window-frame, perfectly regardless of all but the moving world without.
Dayligat gradually faded away, and the street wore a more and more gloomy aspect. The rain poured, and now only an occasional carriage or footstep disturbed the sound of its steady pattering. Yet still Ellen sat with her face glued to the window as if spell-bound, gazing out at every dusky form that passed, as though it had some strange interest for her. At length, in the distance, light after light began to appear; presently Ellen could see the dim figure of the lamplighter crossing the street, from side to side, with his ladder;—then he drew near enough for her to watch him as he hooked his ladder on the lamp-irons, ran up and lit the lamp, then shouldered the ladder and marched off quick, the light glancing on his wet oil-skin hat, rough great coat and lantern, and on the pavement and iron railings. The veriest moth could not have followed the light with more perseverance than did Ellen's eyes—till the lamplighter gradually disappeared from view, and the last lamp she could see was lit; and not till then did it occur to her that there was such a place as in-doors. She took her face from the window. The room was dark and cheerless; and Ellen felt stiff and chilly. However, she made her way to the fire, and having found the poker, she applied it gently to the Liverpool coal with such good effect that a bright ruddy blaze sprang up, and lighted the whole room. Šllen smiled at the result of her experiment. “That is something like,” said she to her
self; “who says I can't poke the fire ? Now, let us see if I I can't do something
else. Do but
see how those chairs are standing one would think we had had a sewing-circle here —there, go back to your places,—that looks a little better; now these curtains must come down, and I may as well shut the shutters too—and now this table-cloth must be content to hang straight, and mamma's box and the books must lie in their places, and not all helter-skelter. Now, I wish mamma would wake up; I should think she might. I don't believe she is asleep either, she don't look as if she
Ellen was right in this; her mother's face did not wear the look of sleep, nor indeed of repose at all; the lips were compressed, and the brow not calm. To try, however, whether she was asleep or no, and with the half-acknowl. edged intent to rouse her at all events, Ellen knelt down
by her side, and laid her face close to her mother's on the pillow. But this failed to draw either word or sign. After a minute or two Ellen tried stroking her mother's cheek very gently ;--and this succeeded, for Mrs. Montgomery arrested the little hand as it passed her lips, and kissed it fondly two or three times.
I haven't disturbed you, mamma, have I ?” said Ellen. Without replying, Mrs. Montgomery raised herself to a sitting posture, and lifting both hands to her face pushed back the hair from her forehead and temples, with a gesture which Ellen knew meant that she was making up her mind to some disagreeable or painful effort. Then taking both Ellen's hands, as she still knelt before her, she gazed in her face with a look even more fond than usual, Ellen thought, but much sadder too; though Mrs. Montgomery's cheerfulness had always been of a serious kind.
“ What question was that you were asking me awhile ago, my daughter ?"
“ I thought, mamma, I heard papa telling you this morning, or yesterday, that he had lost that lawsuit."
You heard right, Ellen, -he has lost it,” said Mrs. Montgomery, sadly. “ Are you sorry, mamma ?-does it trouble
you? “You know, my dear, that I am not apt to concern my: self overmuch about the gain or the loss of money. I believe my Heavenly Father will give me what is good for me.”
“Then, mamma, why are you troubled ?"
“Because, my child, I cannot carry out this principle in other matters, and leave quietly my all in His hands."
“What is the matter, dear mother? What makes you look so ?”
“This lawsuit, Ellen, has brought upon us more trouble than I ever thought a lawsuit could—the loss of it, I mean.”
“How, mamma ?"
“It has caused an entire change of all our plans. Your father
says he is too poor now to stay here any longer; and he has agreed to go soon on some government or military business to Europe."
• Well, mamma, that is bad, but he has been away a great deal before, and I am sure we were always very happy ?"
"E" But, Ellen, he thinks now, and the doctor thinks too, that it is very important for my health that I should go with him."
“ Does he, mamma?—and do you mean to go ?" ... : "I am afraid I must, my dear child."
Not, and leave me, mother?”. • The imploring look of mingled astonishment, terror, and sorrow with which Ellen uttered these words, took from her mother all power of replying. It was not necessary; her little daughter understood only too well the silent answer of her eye. With a wild cry she flung her arms round her mother, and hiding her face in her lap gave way to a violent burst of grief that seemed for a few moments as if it would rend soul and body in twain. For her passions were by nature very strong, and by education very imperfectly controlled; and time, “that rider that breaks youth, had not as yet tried his hand upon her... And Mrs. Montgomery, in spite of the fortitude and calmness to which she had steeled herself, bent down over her, and folding her arms about her yielded to sorrow deeper still, and for a little while scarcely less violent in its expression than Ellen's own. Alas! she had too good reason.
She knew that the chance of her ever returning to shield the little creature who quas was nearest her heart from the future evils and snares of life was very, very small. She had at first absolutely refused to leave Ellen, when her husband proposed it; declaring that she would rather stay with her and die than take the chance of recovery at such a cost. But her physicia
But her physician assured her she could not live long without a change of climate; Captain Montgomery urged that it was better to submit to a temporary separation, than to cling obstinately to her child for a few months and then leave her for ever; said he must himself go speedily to France, and that now was her best opportunity; assuring her, however, that his circumstances would not permit him to take Ellen along, but that she would be secure of a happy home with his sister during her mother's absence; and to the pressure of argument Captain Montgomery added the weight of authority-insisting on her compliance. Conscience also asked Mrs. Montgomery whether she had a right to neglect any chance of life that was