Page images
PDF
EPUB

a

[ocr errors]

But your

[ocr errors]

.: “I have thought of that already, daughter,” said Mrs. Montgomery, with a smile and a sigh. “I will certainly take care that you are well provided in that respect before you go.”'

“How am I to go, mamma?” « What do you mean ?"

“I mean, who will go with me? You know I can't go alone, mamma.

“No, my daughter, I'll not send you alone. father says it is impossible for him to take the journey at present, and it is yet more impossible for me. There is no help for it, daughter, but we must intrust you to the care of some friend going that way; but He that holds the winds and waters in the hollow of his hand can take care of you without any of our help, and it is to his keeping above all that I shall commit you.”

Ellen made no remark, and seemed much less surprised and troubled than her mother had expected. In truth, the greater evil swallowed up the less. Parting from her mother, and for so long a time, it seemed to her comparatively a matter of little importance with whom she went, or how, or where. Except for this, the taking a long journey under a stranger's care would have been a dreadful thing to her.

“Do you know yet who it will be that I shall go with, mamma?”

“Not yet; but it will be necessary to take the first good opportunity, for I cannot go till I have seen you off; and it is thought very desirable that I should get to sea before the severe weather comes.

It was with a pang that these words were spoken, and heard, but neither showed it to the other.

“It has comforted me greatly, my dear child, that you have shown yourself so submissive and patient under this affliction. I should scarcely have been able to endure it if you had not exerted self-control. You have behaved beautifully.”

This was almost too much for poor Ellen. It required her utmost stretch of self-control to keep within any bounds of composure; and for some moments her flushed cheek, quivering lip, and heaving bosom, told what a tumult her mother's words had raised. Mrs. Montgomery saw she had gone too far, and willing to give both Ellen and her.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

self time to recover, she laid her head on the pillow again and closed her eyes. Many thoughts coming thick upon one another presently filled her mind, and half an hour had passed before she again recollected what she had meant to say. She opened her eyes; Ellen was sitting at a little distance, staring into the fire ; evidently as deep in meditation as her mother had been.

"Ellen,” said Mrs. Montgomery,“ did you ever fancy what kind of a Bible you would like to have ?" “A Bible! mamma,” said Ellen, with sparkling eyes,

" “do you mean to give me a Bible ?"

Mrs. Montgomery smiled. “But, mamma," said Ellen gently, “I thought you

" couldn't afford it?"

"I have said so, and truly," answered her mother; "and hitherto

you have been able to use mine, but I will not leave you now without one. I will find ways and means," said Mrs. Montgomery, smiling again.

“O mamma, thank you !” said Ellen, delighted ; “how glad I shall be !" And after a pause of consideration, she added, “Mamma, I never thought much about what sort of a one I should like; couldn't I tell better if I were to see the different kinds in the store ?"

“Perhaps so. Well, the first day that the weather is fine enough and I am well enough, I will go out with you and we will see about it."

“I am afraid Dr. Green won't let you, mamma.

“ I shall not ask him. I want to get you a Bible, and some other things that I will not leave you without, and nobody can do it but myself? I shall go, if I possibly can.”

“What other things, mamma?" asked Ellen, very much interested in the subject.

“I don't think it will do to tell you to-night,” said Mrs. Montgomery, smiling. “I foresee that you and I should be kept awake quite too late if we were to enter upon it just now. We will leave it till to-morrow.

Now read to me, love, and then to bed.”

Ellen obeyed; and went to sleep with brighter visions dancing before her eyes than had been the case for some time.

*

CHAPTER III.

Sweetheart, we shall be rich ere we departe
If fairings come thus plentifully lu.--SHAKSPEARE.

ELLEN had

te

а

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ALLEN had to wait some time for the desired fine day.

The equinoctial storms would have their way as usual. and Ellen thought they were longer than ever this year. But after many stormy days had tried her patience, there was at length a sudden change, both without and within doors. The clouds had done their work for that time, and fled away before a strong northerly wind, leaving the sky bright and fair. And Mrs. Montgomery's deceitful disease took a turn, and for a little space raised the hopes of her friends. All were rejoicing but two persons : Mrs. Montgomery was not deceived, neither was the doctor. The shopping project was kept a profound secret from him and from every body except Ellen.

Ellen watched now for a favourable day. Every morning as soon as she rose she went to the window to see what was the look of the weather; and about a week after the change above noticed, she was greatly pleased one morning, on opening her window as usual, to find the air and sky promising all that could be desired. It was one of those beautiful days in the end of September, that sometimes herald October before it arrives,-cloudless, brilliant, and breathing balm. “ This will do," said Ellen to herself, in great satisfaction. “I think this will do; I hope mamma will think so."

Hastily dressing herself, and a good deal excited already, she ran down stairs; and after the morning salutations, examined her mother's looks with as much anxiety as she had just done those of the weather. All was satisfactory there also; and Ellen cat her breakfast with an excellent appetite;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

but she said not a word of the intended expedition tili her father should be gone. She contented herself with strengthening her hopes by making constant fresh inspections of the weather and her mother's countenance alternately; and her eyes returning froin the window on one of these excursions and meeting her mother's face, saw a smile there which said all she wanted. Breakfast went on more vigorously than ever.

But after breakfast it seemed to Ellen that her father never would go away. He took the newspaper, an uncommon thing for him, and pored over it most perseveringly, while Ellen was in a perfect fidget of inpatience. Her mother, seeing the state she was in, and taking pity on her, sent her up stairs to do some little matters of business in her own room. These Ellen despatched with all possible zeal and speed; and coming down again found her father gone and her mother alone. She flew to kiss her in the first place, and then make the inquiry, " Don't

you think to-day will do, mamma ?" As fine as possible, daughter; we could not have a better; but I must wait till the doctor has been here."

“Mamma," said Ellen, after a pause, making a great effort of self-denial, “ I am afraid you oughtn't to go out to get these things for me. Pray don't, mamma, if you think it will do you harm. I would rather go without them ; indeed I would.”

“Never mind that, daughter," said Mrs. Montgomery kissing her; “I am bent upon it; it would be quite as much of a disappointment to me as to you not to go. We have a lovely day for it, and we will take our time and walk slowly, and we haven't far to go either. But I must let Dr. Green make his visit first."

To fill up the time till he came Mrs. Montgomery employed Ellen in reading to her as usual. And this morning's reading Ellen long after remembered. Her mother directed her to several passages in different parts of the Bible that speak of heaven and its enjoyments; and though, when she began, her own little heart was full of excitement, in view of the day's plans, and beating with hope and pleasure, the sublime beauty of the words and thoughts, as she went on, awed her into quiet, and her mother's manner at length turned her attention entirely froin herself. Mrs. Montgomery was lying

[ocr errors]

it

gave her

on the sofa, and for the most part listened in silence, with her
eyes closed; but sometimes saying a word or two that made
Ellen feel how deep was the interest her mother had in the
things she read of, and how pure and strong the pleasure she
was even now taking in them; and sometimes there was a
smile on her face that Ellen scarce liked to see;
an indistinct feeling that her mother would not be long away
from that heaven to which she seemed already to belong.
Ellen had a sad consciousness too that she had no part with
her mother in this matter. She could hardly go on. She
came to that beautiful passage in the seventh of Revelation:

“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes ? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knovest. And he said unto me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

With difficulty, and a husky voice, Ellen got through it. Lifting then her eyes to her mother's face, she saw again the same singular sweet smile. Ellen felt that she could not read another word; to her great relief the door opened, and Dr. Green came in. His appearance changed the whole course of her thoughts. All that was grave or painful fled quickly away; Ellen's head was immediately full again of what had filled it before she began to read.

As soon as the doctor had retired and was fairly out of hearing, “Now, mamma, shall we go ?” said Ellen. “You needn't stir, mainma; I'll bring all your things to you, and put them on; may 1, mamma ? then you won't be a bit tired before you set out."

Her mother assented; and with a great deal of tenderness and a great deal of eagerness, Ellen put on her stockings and shoes, arranged her hair, and did all that she could toward changing her dress, and putting on her bonnet and shawl;

1

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »