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father's will. She regarded the dreaded evil as an inevitable thing. But though she was at first overwhelmed with sorrow, and for some days evidently pined under it sadly, hope at length would come back to her little heart; and no sooner in again hope began to smooth the roughest, and soften the hardest, and touch the dark spots with light, in Ellen's future. The thoughts which had just passed through her head that first morning as she stood at her window, now came back again. Thoughts of wonderful improvement to be made during her mother's absence; of unheard-of efforts to learn and amend, which should all be crowned with success; and, above all, thoughts of that “coming home," when all these attainments and accomplishments should be displayed to her mother's delighted eyes, and her exertions receive their long-desired reward; they made Ellen's heart beat, and her eyes swim, and even brought a smile once more upon her lips. Mrs. Montgomery was rejoiced to see the change; she felt that as much time had already been given to sorrow as they could afford to lose, and she had not known exactly how to proceed. Ellen's amended looks and spirits greatly relieved her.
“ What are you thinking about, Ellen ?” said she, one morning.
Ellen was sewing, and while busy at her work her mo ther had two or three times observed a light smile pass over her face. Ellen looked up, still smiling, and answered, "O, mamma, I was thinking of different things—things that I mean to do while you are gone.
And what are these things ?" inquired her mother. "O, mamma, it wouldn't do to tell you beforehand; I want to surprise you with them when you come back.”
A slight shudder passed over Mrs. Montgomery's frame, but Ellen did not see it. Mrs. Montgomery was silent. Ellen presently introduced another subject.
Mamma, what kind of a person is my aunt ?" “I do not know; I have never seen her.” “How has that happened, mamma?”
“Your aunt has always lived in a remote country town, and I have been very much confined to two or three cities, and your father's long and repeated absences made travelling impossible to me,
Ellen thought, but she didn't say it, that it was very odd her father should not sometimes, when he was in the country, have gone to see his relations, and taken her mother with him.
“What is my aunt's name, mamma?”
"I think you must have heard that already, Ellen; Fortune Emerson.” .: Emerson ! I thought she was papa's sister !"
So she is.” “ Then how comes her name not to be Montgomery?"
. She is only his half-sister; the daughter of his mother, not the daughter of his father.”
I am very sorry for that,” said Ellen gravely. “Why, my daughter ?" “I am afraid she will not be so likely to love me.”
“ You mustn't think so, my child. Her loving or not loving you will depend solely and entirely upon yourself, Ellen. Don't forget that. If you are a good child, and make it your daily care to do your duty, she cannot help liking you, be she what she may; and on the other hand, if she have all the will in the world to love you, she cannot do it unless you will let her-it all depends on your behaviour."
“Oh, mamma, I can't help wishing dear aunt Bessy was alive, and I was going to her.”
Many a time the same wish had passed through Mrs. Montgomery's mind! But she kept down her rising heart, and went on calmly.
• You must not expect, my child, to find any body as indulgent as I am, or as ready to overlook and excuse your. faults. It would be unreasonable to look for it; and you must not think hardly of your aunt when you find she is not your mother; but then it will be your own fault if she does not love you, in time, truly and tenderly. See that you render her all the respect and obedience you could render me; that is your bounden duty; she will stand in my place while she has the care of you-remember that, Ellen; and remember too that she will deserve more gratitude at your hands for showing you kindness than I do, because she cannot have the same feeling of love to make trouble easy."
" (), no, mamma,” said Ellen, “I don't think 80; it's
that very feeling of love that I am grateful for; I don't care a fig for any thing people do for me without that." “But you can make her love you, Ellen, if you try.”
Well, I'll try, mamma. "And don't be discouraged. Perhaps you may be disappointed in first appearances, but never mind that; have patience; and let your motto be (if there's any occasion), overcome evil with good. Will you put that among the things you mean to do while I am gone ?” said Mrs. Montgomery with a smile.
“I'll try, dear mamma.”
“ You will succeed if you try, dear, never fear; if you apply yourself in your trying to the only unfailing source of wisdom and strength; to Him without whom you can do nothing.'
There was silence for a little.
“What sort of a place is it where my aunt lives?" asked Ellen.
“ Your father says it is a very pleasant place; he says the country is beautiful, and very healthy, and full of charming walks and rides. You have never lived in the country; I think you will enjoy it very much.”
“ Then it is not in a town ?" said Ellen.
• No; it is not a great way from the town of Thirlwall, but your aunt lives in the open country. Your father says she is a capital housekeeper, and that you will learn more, and be in all respects a great deal happier and better off than you would be in a boarding-school here or anywhere."
Ellen's heart secretly questioned the truth of this last assertion very much.
“ Is there any school near ?" she asked.
“ Your father says there was an excellent one in Thirlwall when he was there."
“ Mamma," said. Ellen, " I think the greatest pleasure I shall have while you are gone will be writing to you. 1 have been thinking of it a good deal. I mean to tell you every thing absolutely every thing, mamma. You know there will be nobody for me to talk to as I do to you;" Ellen's words came out with difficulty ; " and when I feel badly, I shall just shut myself up and write to you.” She hid her face in her mother's lap.
*;I count upon it, my dear daughter; it will make quite as much the pleasure of my life, Ellen, as of yours.'
“ But then, mother,” said Ellen, brushing away the tears from her eyes, “it will be so long before my letters can get to you! The things I want you to know right away, you won't know perhaps in a month.” .:. That's no matter, daughter; they will just be as good when they do get to me. Never think of that; write every day, and all manner of things that concern you, just as particularly as if you were speaking to me." “And you'll write to me too, mamma ?”
Indeed I will-when I can. But Ellen, you say that when I am away and cannot hear you, there will be nobody to supply my place. Perhaps it will be so indeed; but then, my daughter, let it make you seek that friend who is never far away, nor out of hearing. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. You know he has said of his children : ‘Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.'”
“But, mamma," said Ellen, her eyes filling instantly, “you know he is not my friend in the same way that he is yours." And hiding her face again, she added, "Oh, I wish he was !"
“You know the way to inake him so, Ellen. He is will. ing, it only rests with you. O, my child, my child ! if losing your mother might be the means of finding you that better friend, I should be quite willing—and glad to go for ever.”
There was silence, only broken by Ellen's sobs. Mrs. Montgomery's voice had trembled, and her face was now covered with her hands; but she was not weeping; she was seeking a better relief where it had long been her habit to seek and find it. Both resumed their usual composure, and the employments which had been broken off
, but neither chose to renew the conversation. Dinner, sleeping, and company, prevented their having another opportunity during the rest of the day.
But when evening came, they were again left to them. selves. Captain Montgomery was away, which indeed was the case most of the time; friends bad taken their departure; the curtains were down, the lamp lit, the little room looked cozy and comfortable; the servant had brought the tea-things, and withdrawn, and the mother and daughter were happily alone. Mrs. Montgomery knew that such occasions were numbered, and fast drawing to an end, and she felt each one to be very precious. She now lay on her couch, with her face partially shaded, and her eyes fixed upon her little daughter, who was now preparing the tea. She watched her, with thoughts and feelings not to be spoken, as the little figure went back and forward between the table and the fire, and the light shining full upon her busy face, showed that Ellen's whole soul was in her beloved duty. Tears would fall as she looked, and were not wiped away; but when Ellen, having finished her work, brought with a satisfied face the little tray of tea and toast to her mother, there was no longer any sign of them left; Mrs. Montgomery arose with her usual kind smile, to show her gratitude by honouring as far as possible what Ellen had provided.
“ You have more appetite to-night, mamma."
“I am very glad, daughter,” replied her mother, “ to see that you have made up your mind to bear patiently this evil that has come upon us. I am glad for your sake, and I am glad for mine; and I am glad too because we have a great deal to do and no time to lose in doing it."
“ What have we so much to do, mamma ?" said Ellen.
"O, many things,” said her mother; “you will see. But now, Ellen, if there is any thing you wish to talk to me about, any question you want to ask, any thing you would like particularly to have, or to have done for you, I want you to tell it me as soon as possible, now while we can attend to it,-for by and by perhaps we shall be hurried.”
Mamma,” said Ellen, with brightening eyes, “there is one thing I have thought of that I should like to have, shall I tell it you now?" 6: Yes."
Mamma, you know I shall want to be writing a great deal ; wouldn't it be a good thing for me to have a little box with some pens in it, and an inkstand, and some paper and wafers? Because, mamma, you know I shall be among strangers, at first, and I shan't feel like asking them for these things as often as I shall want them, and may be they wouldn't want to let me have them if I did.”