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“I chose it."
“I might have guessed it, mamma, it's just like you. And here's a thimble-fits me exactly; and an emery-hag! how pretty !-and a bodkin! this is a great deal nicer than yours, mamma--yours is decidedly the worse for wear ;and what's this ?<0, to make eyelet holes with, I know. And O, mamma! here is almost every thing, I think here are tapes, and buttons, and hooks and eyes, and darning cotton, and silk-winders, and pins, and all sorts of things. What's this fur, mamma?”
“That's a scissors to cut button-holes with. Try it on that piece of paper that lies by you, and you will see how it works.”
“O, I see !” said Ellen,“ how very nice that is. Well, I shall take great pains now to make my button-holes very handsomely.”
One survey of her riches could by no means satisfy Ellen. For some time she pleased herself with going over and over the contents of the box, finding each time something new to like. At length she closed it, and keeping it still in her lap, sat awhile looking thoughtfully into the fire; till turning toward her mother she met her gaze, fixed mournfully, almost tearfully, on herself. The box was instantly shoved aside, and getting up and bursting into tears, Ellen went to her. “O, dear mother,” she said, “I wish they were all back in the store, if I could only keep you !".
Mrs. Montgomery answered only by folding her to her heart.
“ Is there no help for it, mamma ?"
“There is none. We know that all things shall work together for good to them that love God."
“Then it will be all good for you, mamma, but what will it be for me ?" And Ellen sobbed bitterly.
“ It will be all well, my precious child, I doubt not. I do not doubt it, Ellen. Do you not doubt it either, love; but from the hand that wounds, seek the healing. He wounds that he may heal. He does not affilict willingly. Perhaps he sees, Ellen, that you never would seek him while you had me to cling to."
Ellen clung to her at that moment! yet not more than her mother clung to her.
“How happy we were, mamma, only a year ago, -even a month.”
“We have no continuing city here," answered her mother, with a sigh. “But there is a home, Ellen, where changes do not come; and they that are once gathered there are parted no more for ever; and all tears are wiped from their eyes. I believe I am going fast to that home; and now my greatest concern is, that my little Ellen-my precious baby -may follow me and come there too."
No more was said, nor could be said, till the sound of the doctor's steps upon the stair obliged each of them to assume an appearance of composure as speedily as possible. But they could not succeed perfectly enough to blind him. He did not seem very well satisfied, and told Ellen he believed he should have to get another nurse,-he was afraid she didn't obey orders.
While the doctor was there Ellen's Bible was brought in; and no sooner was he gone than it underwent as thorough an examination as the boxes had received. Ellen went over every part of it with the same great care and satisfaction ; but mixed with a different feeling. The words that caught her eye as she turned over the leaves seemed to echo what her mother had been saying to her. It began to grow dear already. After a little she rose and brought it to the sofa. Are
you satisfied with it, Ellen ?" "Oh yes
, mamma; it is perfectly beautiful, outside and inside. Now, mamma, will you please to write my name in this precious book—my name, and any thing else you please, mother. I'll bring you my new pen to write it with, and I've got ink here ;-shall I ?"
She brought it; and Mrs. Montgomery wrote Ellen's name, and the date of the gift. The pen played a moment in her fingers, and then she wrote below the date:
4. I love them that love me; and they that seek me early shall find me.''
This was for Ellen; but the next words were not for her; what made her write them ?
'I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed after thee.'” They were written almost unconsciously, and as if bowed by an unseen force Mrs. Montgomery's head sank upon the open page; and her whole soul went up with her petition :
1!" Let these words be my memorial, that I have trusted in thee. And oh, when these miserable lips are silent for ever, remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope; and be unto my little one all thou hast been to me. Unto thee lift I up mine eyes, O thou that dwellest in the heavens !"
She raised her face from the book, closed it, and gave it silently to Ellen. Ellen had noticed her action, but had no suspicion of the cause; she supposed that one of her mother's frequent feelings of weakness or sickness had made her lean her head upon the Bible, and she thought no more about it. However, Ellen felt that she wanted no more of her boxes that day. She took her old place by the side of her mother's sofa, with her head upon her mother's hand, and an expression of quiet sorrow in her face that it had not worn for several days.
My child is yet a stranger in the world,
MHE next day would not do for the intended shopping;
nor the next. The third day was fine, though cool and windy.
think you can venture out to-day, mamma ?" said Ellen,
“ I am afraid not. I do not feel quite equal to it; and the wind is a great deal too high for me besides.” Well,"
,” said Ellen, in the tone of one who is making up her mind to something, shall have a fine day by and by, I suppose, if we wait long enough; we had to wait a great while for our first shopping day. I wish such another would come round."
“ But the misfortune is,” said her mother, “ that we cannot afford to wait. November will soon be here, and your clothes may be suddenly wanted before they are ready, if we do not bestir ourselves. And Miss Rice is coming in a few days, I ought to have the merino ready for her.”
“ What will you do, mamma ?” “ I do not know, indeed, Ellen; I am greatly at a loss.” “ Couldn't papa get the stuffs for you, mamma ?"
No, he's too busy; and besides, he knows nothing at all about shopping for me; he would be sure to bring me exactly what I do not want. I tried that once.”
Well, what will you do, mamma? Is there nobody else you could ask to get the things for you? Mrs. Foster would do it, mamma!”
“I know she would, and I should ask her without any difficulty, but she is confined to her room with a cold. I see nothing for it but to be patient and let things take their
course, thougn if a favourable opportunity should offer you would have to go, clothes or no clothes; it would not do to lose the chance of a good escort.”
And Mrs. Montgomery's face showed that this possibility, of Ellen's going unprovided, gave her some uneasi
Ellen observed it. “ Never mind me, dearest mother; don't be in the least worried about my clothes. You don't know how little I think of them or care for them. It's no matter at all whether I have them or not.”
Mrs. Montgomery smiled, and passed her hand fundly over her little daughter's head, but presently resumed her anxious look out of the window.
“ Mamma !” exclaimed Ellen, suddenly starting up, a a bright thought has just come into iny head! I'll do it for you, inamma!”
" Do what?"
" I'll get the merino and things for you, mamma. You needn't smile, I will, indeed, if you will let me ?"
My dear Ellen,” said her mother, “I don't doubt you would if goodwill only were wanting ; but a great deal of skill and experience is necessary for a shopper, and what would
do without either ?”' “ But see, mamma,” pursued Ellen eagerly, " I'll tell
you how I'll manage, and I know I can manage very well. : You tell me exactly what coloured merino you want, and give me a little piece to show me how fine it should be, and tell me what price you wish to give, and then I'll go to the store and ask them to show me different pieces, you know, and if I see
I think you would like, I'll ask them to give me a little bit of it to show you; and then I'll bring it home, and if you like it you can give me the money, and tell me how many yards you want, and I can go back to the store and get it. Why can't I, mamma ?"
Perhaps you could; but my dear child I am afraid you wouldn't like the business."
“Yes I should ; indeed, mamma, I should like it dearly if I could help you so. Will you let me try, mamma?”
“ I don't like, my child, to venture you alone on such an errand, among crowds of people ; I should be uneasy about you."