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stone blind ; no eyes at all; and they sometimes come and help her. I've seen them in the cottage myself, and that's how Polly gets a good deal of her money. They work for her, and she takes what they make to market, and buys all those handsome things.”
“Only think,” said Bella, almost ready to cry with vexation—"and I've not got a soul to do anything for me; how hard it is !” and she took up her apron to wipe away her tears.
The cobbler looked attentively at her—“Well, you are to be pitied, certainly,” he said, “and if I were not in such a hurry”
“O, do go on, pray,—were you going to say you could help me? I've heard that your people are fond of curds and whey, and fresh gooseberry syllabub. Now, if you would help me, trust me, that there should be the most beautiful curds and whey set every night for you on the hearth; and nobody should ever look when you went and came.”
• Why, you see," said the cobbler hesitating, “my people are extremely particular about-in short, about-cleanliness, mistress; and your house is not what one would call very clean. No offence, I hope ?"
Bella blushed deeply—“Well, but it should be always clean, if you would every day of my life I would wash the floor and sand it, and the hearth should be whitewashed as white as snow, and the windows cleaned."
“Well," said the little cobbler, seeming to consider, “ well then, I should not wonder if I could meet with a one-eyed servant for you, like your neighbour's; but it may be several days before I can; and mind, Mistress M., to have a dish of curds."
“ Yes, and some whipped cream, too,” replied Bella, full
The cobbler then took up all his tools, wrapped them in his leather
apron, walked behind the wall-flower, and disappeared. Bella was so delighted, she could not sleep that night for joy. Her husband scarcely knew the house, she had made it so bright and clean ; and by night she had washed the curtain, cleaned the window, rubbed the fire irons, sanded the floor, and set a great jug of hawthorn in blossom on the hearth.
The next morning Bella kept a sharp look-out both for the tiny cobbler, and on her neighbour's house, to see whether she could possibly catch a glimpse of the one-eyed servant. But, no—nothing could she see but her neighbour sitting on her rocking chair, with her baby on her knee, working.
At last when she was quite tired, she heard the voice of the cobbler outside. She ran to the door, and cried out“Oh do, pray come in, sir, only look at
house!” “Really," said the cobbler, looking round, “I declare I should hardly have known it-the sun can shine brightly now through the clear glass; and what a sweet smell of hawthorn!"
Well, and my one-eyed servant ?” asked Bella—“you remember, I hope, that I can't
any wages-have you met with one that will come ?
“ All's right,” replied the little man, nodding, “ I've got her with me.”
“Got her with you ?” repeated Bella looking round, " I see nobody.”
“Look, here she is!” said the cobbler, holding up something in his hand.
Would you believe it? The one-eyed servant was nothing but a Needle !
THE ROYAL SPEECH. THE Queen, as most of our readers know, makes a speech at the opening of Parliament-an event, independently of political considerations, fraught with much interest and carrying a profitable moral. This formality took place on the 4th February.
“ Her Majesty was received in due form, and conducted to the House of Lords, where, having ascended the throne and ordered the Commons to be summoned, Her Majesty was, on the appearance of the speaker and a crowd of members at the bar, pleased to deliver, as usual, “a most gracious speech.'”
First and foremost in the train of thoughts awakened by this annual ceremony, we may notice the easy credulity of the public. Some author has remarked that words were rather intended to conceal or disguise ideas, than to develop them. However untrue this may be in its general application, it is scarcely a mis-statement as regards the Royal Speech. Year after year is the public expectation raised, only to be disappointed; so proverbially cautious are Her Majesty's ministers in the preparation of this document, that they may be said to “speak in parables, and utter their dark sayings" in such a manner, that the masses are about as wise after its enunciation as before. Yet year after year it is earnestly whispered and greedily believed that the customary reserve will be dispensed with and, the speech once made public, all doubts will be resolved as to the intention of our rulers on the great questions of the day. On the present occasion, in particular, when so much has been said, written, and done, with reference to the Papal aggression, it was confidently rumoured that the Queen would speak her mind strongly; and reports were current that twice or thrice she had sent back the draft submitted to her, because its language was not sufficiently decisive. We disbelieved these rumours as we usually do, but still they were dwelt upon by many, and the publication of the Royal Speech was looked forward to as an event which would at once and definitively settle the question, which, for three or four months past, has agitated the country from centre to circumference. We are not bound to state any opinion as to the policy of this reserve, but are content to admit its necessity, simply because it has been so long customary. If no good reason obtained for its continuance, we believe it would soon give way to the “pressure from without” and fall into disuse. Yet to the veriest Tyro in political matters one or two considerations must present themselves in its favor, as we shall see presently. In any case the majestic quietude of a Royal Speech should ever read a profitable lesson to the headstrong and the clamorous politician, who would carry everything before him, and if possible, call down fire from heaven to destroy those who will not think and act with him. Beyond the defensive, Her Majesty has no intention of proceeding, determined only to “ maintain the rights of her crown, and the independence of the nation.” Our Constitution goes softly and surely, it has none of the hasty tyranny of an absolute monarchy-nothing of the impetuous but unenlightened zeal of a democracy. “God hath not dealt so with any nation; praise ye the Lord !"
Many will be disappointed, but more will be grateful, with reference to this Speech. And yet we think the majority expected something more explicit. Always elliptical and meagre before, they still looked for utterances of large promise and definite in details. Why? Simply for this reason, that it is so simple and easy a thing to believe. All men are predisposed to faith. It “springs eternal in the human breast.” We cannot help believing; and yet we are constantly mystified by theological“questions and strifes of words” on this very simple fact. God has made faith the inheritance of every creature. It is as much a part of our constitution as sight or sense. The first fixed look of an infant is full of faith: its little hands as soon as they are put forth with any purpose, are stretched out in faith. Its little life has in it less of sight than of faith. It cries in faith; it clings by faith; it believes, and therefore acts.
Now what an important—what a majestically-simple and universal principle is this. Man can believe, man does believe, man will believe in the face even of repeated disappointments. Hence we see new motives for gratitude in the great scheme provided in the Gospel. “Only believe!" is God's call; and yet what a dark myth man makes of the process of salvation. It is because faith is so easy and natural, that God saves through its means,
“O how unlike the complex works of man,
Majestic in its own simplicity.” “ Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
Another thought suggested by this Speech is the vast importance of indirect, and sometimes of undesigned, influences. What individual, however apparently-insignificant, can understand the manifold bearings only of his own acts and words? Much less the great sovereign of a great people. The mind of Britain affects the whole world. Germany, Denmark, Brazil, Sardinia, has each its place in the Royal ech. What foreign powers, indeed, are not themselves interested in, or the subjects of interest with, the British government ? A little island with the great world at its feet is matter for devout and grateful contemplation, and suggestive of much curious and profitable
thinking. What is the secret of this world-wide influence, if it lie not in the fact that England is on the way to the Right and True, even though it has much “ land to be possessed”deemed and unremunerative at present, though its mountain tops are touched by the herald-light of those who bring salvation and publish peace.
But the question of indirect and undesigned influence concerns us all. Not only should Governments be wary in their going, but individuals should walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil. What a hideous volcano is the unconverted heart of man; and all the abominations erupted by it are of interminable influence. “Some men's sins are open before hand, going before to judgment, and some they follow after.” The thought is too painful to be dwelt upon : let us turn to the other side of the picture. Are we "persuaded better things” of all who may read these pages ? Let the reader himself answer-one word at parting, only, being granted. Thoughts grow into words and acts; and these live and move and have a being for ever. They cannot die ; but, pulsating till time shall be no more, cry out unceasingly to the inconsiderate, “Watch and
enter not into temptation !"
A third thought urges forcibly the right ordering of words. How beautiful are right-how mischievous are wrong, words ! Every expression in the Royal Speech is introverted, analysed, or beaten out into an argument. To one it means little at first, to another, much; yet each after awhile falls back upon the bare terms themselves. They have a purpose written on their surface, and to that alone we are safe in restricting them. It is well to know this before hand, and not to wait till the result laughs to shame all short-sighted or factious glosses, which the ingenuity of party can put upon them. The safest canon of interpretation is the first idea-an infant's reading of the text. It means, or should mean, just what it says and neither more nor less.
In these days, the general principle is an allimportant one. Error begins in word; and the contraband terms and phrases of Rome once smuggled into the Protestant vocabularly, the vitiated language becomes a slow but sure poison. A dog is a dog, and a cat, a cat, irrespective of any