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wheels is heard, approaching noisily from the town. The idea, that there is not a moment to spare seizes everyone. What haste! what flurry! Never before was Mrs. Pilmer so obliging-so anxious to assist her nephew, and expedite his movements. The coach draws up before the house; the sun-light shines upon the large red wheels, and upon the yellow leters that denote the name of the vehicle to be "The Yaxley Swift Hawk." The horses are fresh, the driver smiling, for he has had his dram a few moments ago. Trunks and boxes of various sizes, shapes and conditions, and passengers very drowsy and discontented looking, load the roof of the coach; they are wondering what the stoppage, now, is for, and they don't like it; they look upon each other as enemies, and hate the thoughts of more intruders coming to swell the number of those already on the roof-not so the coachman he would pile passenger upon passenger if he could, and run the risk of being overturned any day, for so many shillings a-head. Dillon's portmanteau is hoisted up quickly; there is scarcely time to say good-bye. Mr. Pilmer grows quite energetic. and takes a couple of sovereigns from his pocket, thrusting them into the boy's hand, with a speedy "Goodbye, my boy, and take care of yourself." Mrs. Pilmer, who has already counted out to him money for his travelling expenses, and a little, very little, for pocket money on arriving at the foreign school, gives him a sharp kiss and says, There now, don't wait a moment!" Bessie receives the most tender adieu of anyone. It is hardest to part with her, and Dillon has to bite his lip, and frown, and gulp all feeling down, when he turns from her and runs down stairs, where the servants one and all join in a hearty-" God bless you, sir! and may we soon have you back among us!" Soon !-oh, vain hope!
The lad finds many school fellows assembled outside, waiting to see the last of him; ay, and Tom Ryder is there too, ready to wish him God speed, for though they had quarrelled often, they were still friends. There
are other Yaxley acquaintances looking on too-poor men who have liked him and known him since he came to the neighbourhood, a little child in a tunic frock; and there is Jenny Black, smiling and courtesying, and blessing him with dark hands raised upwards. Dillon has only time to lift his cap and smile and bid a general adieu to all.
"Now, young gentleman, be quick, sir, please!" shouts the coachman. "We're five minutes late already.' And so Crosbie springs up lightly; he seats himself-the horses movethe long whip glides over their backs, and the coach speeds on its way. Standing in the drawing-room window, Bessie sees all this; she receives a last look-a last smile from the frank countenance, now mingling with hard and rugged faces hemming it in on the coach-roof. Gone, really gone! oh,loneliness and sorrow for the one left behind! But the morning air is fresh, and the movement of the coach, lumbering and heavy-laden as it is, gradually exhilirates the young traveller; he has passed the churchyard, and and the town, and the cottages in the suburbs; he has passed Mr. Benson's large house, in an upper window of which he descried the worthy schoolmaster looking out, in somewhat of deshabille, and nodding to him over the blind; he has left all the old wellknown scenes behind, and now he is driving by strange road-side cottages and country hedges, by farm-houses and hamlets, by pretty villas, and lordly homes of the wealthy; over bridges, up hills, and on lonely roads, where houses are few-all is new to him, and all is fresh and bright. Once or twice a shadow crosses his heart, as the feeling strikes him that he is of very little importance to anyone in the round wide world. A friend of his uncle is to meet him in London, and accompany him for the greater part of the journey towards his final destination, and so we say, as many before us have said-God speed you, brave-hearted boy! May you make as many friends for yourself, away in the land of the foreigner, as you have made in Yaxley and its neighbourhood.
LIZETTE AND BESSIE.
NOBODY need imagine that Mrs. Meiklam or her doings escaped censure and comment among her acquaintances; not even Mrs. Copley or Bingham regarded her as infallible, though they were inclined to think well of her. The stay of poor Paul Stutzer's orphan child under her roof roused some dissensions at Yaxley. People, whom it could not possibly concern in the smallest degree, declared it puzzled them excessively, to find out what Lizette's final destiny was to be. Would her protectress keep her at the Rest till she was grown up? Would she turn her out when she grew weary of her? Would she throw her upon the world suddenly and unexpectedly? Would she spoil and pamper her, and leave her, in the end, every shilling she possessed? Nobody could tell one thing was clear-whatever was to be done with the little girl, Mrs. Meiklam would meet with disapproval from some quarter. The fact of the old lady having always been regarded as a sensible person, only aggravated her present offence towards mankind in general. As time wore on, however, these gossipings and censures died out. People grew, at last, reconciled to seeing little Miss Stutzer sitting in the well-appointed pew of Meiklam's Rest, in the Yaxley church, every Sunday, dressed in garments befitting a young gentlewoman; they ceased to murmur because she drove out in a covered or an open carriage nearly every day; Lizette's own sweet manners, perhaps, being influential in overcoming the general prejudice against her. There was one person at Yaxley, however, who never could think of her, save with a feelof enmity. That person was Mrs. Pilmer. Mrs. Meiklam was a truly pious woman; and under her guardianship, her protegée grew daily in grace. Lizette had been gifted with Godfearing parents, and first impressions are rarely altogether effaced: even though in after years the storms of temptation or passion may sweep furiously by, characters traced on the tender heart of infancy are seldom completely washed away. Shadowy they may grow, but they are yet there, re
quiring only a touch to bring them out vividly again. Lizette's humility of heart was remarkable. The spirit of Christian meekness shone in the chastened light of her eyes; there was a rare purity in the expression of her whole face. Perhaps the delicacy of her constitution may have had some influence in chastening her spirits, which were never high, like those of other children; always quiet and patient, she liked the repose to be found at the Rest better than any noisy games or sport. Nothing pleased her more than bringing the gifts to the poor of the neighbourhood, which Mrs. Meiklam employed her to distribute. Gradually the peasantry round Meiklam's Rest learned to love and bless the little messenger sent to them by their always kind benefactress; and when Lizette was old enough, Mr. Hilbert, the clergyman, engaged her as a teacher of a Sundayschool class. Naturally timid as she was, she endeavoured to conquer a few scruples before agreeing to accept this proposal, but finally she triumphed. Mrs. Pilmer thought it rather a proof of forwardness that the little girl should go about so much among the neighbours, and make herself conspicuous as a Sunday-school teacher. She little knew how great was the struggle in Lizette's heart, between her sense of duty and her retiring nature. Very much more agreeable would it have been to her own selfish feelings to sit still, and, hiding her light under a bushel, edify no one else thereby, than to go about making herself useful, as she did. Thus, while quietly acting an heroic partconquering natural inclinations, and arming herself with a borrowed courage-the young girl was pronounced by her inimical judge to be bold, presuming, and set above herself. There were other acts of self-denial and selfcorrection practised by our young friend-one of her greatest efforts and triumphs, being the overthrow of certain prejudices against certain people. When Mrs. Pilmer came to the Rest, as she very often did, her instinct made her always wish to run away and hide upstairs till she was gone;
conquering this feeling of aversion, she was at length enabled to meet her with politeness and kindness; and when invited to spend days at her house, she went willingly, because she knew Mrs. Meiklam would be annoyed if she refused to go, though in her secret heart she was yearning to decline the invitation, and stay at home. How often are such strifes going on in the minds of quiet-looking people, which no one dreams of-how many sacrifices made, that are never understood or acknowledged? Few of us, in our walk of life pass onwards without being wronged; but, then, neither do we pass on without wronging others. Mutual misunderstanding has been the stumbling-block of many friendships the cause of much wrecked happiness. With the quick eye of a child, Lizette saw that Mrs. Pilmer did not like her, and for this reason she strove hard not to return the ill-feeling. The Ryders were very intimate at the Rest; but they were rather too noisy to be agreeable companions for Miss Stutzer; they bewildered her; though she would have enjoyed a game of romps very well, if not afraid of being trampled upon, or hurried to an untimely end, by being thrown over the banisters to an unfathomable abyss below. Bessie Pilmer was still her firm friend, and, being older than herself, assisted her much in her studies. A visiting governess, however, was engaged to attend her at the Rest every day; and though not near so clever or quick as Bessie, who was gifted with rare talents, Lizette yet made great progress in all accomplishments. Mrs. Devenish did not, now, visit Yaxley every year; her visits became few and far between, and Mary Pilmer grew more and more a stranger to her family, as time wore on. It seemed to be her godmother's aim to wean her as much as possible from her parents and sister. Left very much to her own devices, Bessie Pilmer read as she pleased, and thought as she pleased. Many and many a wild fancy crossed her brain. Lizette Stutzer often listened, with open mouth and eyes, to the strange ideas expressed by her friend, respecting life and its belongings. In vain Lizette tried to instil some of her own happy views into Bessie's heart: the latter listened in
credulously, or carelessly to all her gentle arguments. Although generally merry, and full of sparkling vivacity, Bessie, while still little more than a child, had yet her moments of utter despondency, which none knew of but herself. Wayward, petted, spoiled, as she was, there existed nothing more apparently to wish for than she possessed; but most certainly peace did not reign in her heart at all times. She possessed one of those spirits that, owing to the past and present state of society, have rendered, and still continue to render, their possessors, if women, most unhappy. The energy that could expend itself on nothing within the prescribed limits of the feminine sphere, wasted and burned away, desolating rather than fortifying. All women have not the same tastes, the same interests, the same ways of thinking, more than have all men. Why, then, does custom still, in an age of civilization, continue to bind them down to one routine of action?
"My dear child," said Mrs. Meiklam one day when Bessie asked her this question in other words, "God is working out his great plan of the world's regeneration surely, though, it may seem, slowly. Not in my timenot in your time-but in ages to come, things will be changed from their present state. In the mean time, we must only humbly wait, and watch and pray, for the better and clearer understanding of human intellects. Women have their sufferings and their wrongs, but men are not without theirs also; the very mistake of woman's social position affects men in their marriages and in their children. They will one day discover, that their own happiness is concerned, as well as that of women, in the total change which sooner or later will come over existing customs and laws. Yet do not murmur, my dear Bessie, at your position. I am an old woman now, and full well I know how much of temptation, and Satan's snares I have escaped, by not having been born a man."
But you are rich, Mrs. Meiklam and I am comparatively rich, too,' said Bessie. "We may have little to complain of; yet how many other women there are in the world who must feel their inability to rise from
poverty and obscurity to anything better. Ah, Mrs. Meiklam, the world is all wrong!"
"Wrong enough, my dear. The shadow of sin is dark upon it still. Men and women suffer alike, and through each other. Never think that you, or anyone, can separate the interests of the two sexes. What is for the good of one is for the good of the other. Do you think that the sister can suffer, and the brother not feel the influence of it? or, that the father can remain untouched by the fortune or misfortune of the daughter? When the position of women is improved, so will the wellbeing of men increase. Mothers who have attained their proper dignity as responsible and rational beings, will be more likely to have children more noble than the present race of men and women. All will come in the good time of God's pleasure, Bessie; we must wait patiently."
Ah, Mrs. Meiklam, you know of old I never had any patience!" exclaimed the wayward girl, flinging her arms round her old friend's neck. "If I were a queen, I would alter all the laws on the spot, and I wouldn't have one-half of the creation any longer miserable !"
And would you be very hard on men?" asked the old lady, smiling archly.
"No; I hope I should not be unjust; though I think they would deserve some punishment for all their past wickedness. How could they be so cruel as to make such laws as they have made!"
'A thoughtless or wicked woman, who, for amusement or cruel design, tries to gain a man's love, and then disappoints him by letting him know she never cared about him. I cannot give at present any better explanation of it, my dear."
"I think I shall never be a coquette, Mrs. Meiklam," said Bessie, pressing her small hand on her blooming cheek.
"I hope not, most truly, my dearest girl," said the old lady, gravely.
Many such conversations occurred between Mrs. Meiklam and her brightwitted young friend from Yaxley. Intellectual herself in a remarkable degree, she was one of those people who, however aged, can feel pleasure in the society of the young, and whose powers of thought keep pace with the advance of the times. Indeed, in some respects her ideas went beyond the times. Bessie still enjoyed, as much as ever, her days spent at Meiklam's Rest, where Lizette's life glided on so peacefully. Happy days of childhood, that can never return, precious are ye even in remembrance! Whatever may be your cares, your griefs, your anxieties, they bear but a shadowy resemblance to the deeper-tinted sorrows of later years. They are only like the first faint fall of twilight, while after griefs resemble the thick gloom of a starless night! Blessed are they who can wait patiently through the hours of the dark night for the coming of the eternal day.
A REMOVAL DETERMINED UPON.
MRS. PILMER went on weaving, unconsciously, her dark web. Fortune seemed to smile upon her. Her speculations increased, and so far prospered. Her wealth was accumulating every day. Suddenly her husband, rousing himself from his habitual
lethargy, declared that he must leave Yaxley and go to London. He was sick of Yaxley. Without precisely knowing what ailed him, Mr. Pilmer had never felt comfortable in his mind since his nephew went away. He missed him almost daily, and yet
he seldom wrote to him. He left the charge of the correspondence between England and Germany to his wife. Mrs. Pilmer did not like the idea of leaving the neighbourhood of Meiklam's Rest. She knew how people were apt to forget the absent. But her husband could be obstinate when he liked. She foresaw that there would be no peace for her unless she consented to pack up and leave Yaxley. Going to London had its advantages too. Bessie could have good masters there to complete her education; she would see more of life than in a country neighbourhood.
One day while Lizette Stutzer was sitting outside the house on a rustic chair, engaged with a piece of needlework, she observed Bessie walking up the avenue very quickly, looking rather flushed and excited. After the first greeting was over, Bessie sat down beside her, and at the conclu sion of a little pause, said—
My dear Lizette, it is all settled that I must leave you. We have decided on going to London."
"Oh, Bessie!" exclaimed Lizette, growing pale, as a pang of sorrow shot through her heart.
"Yes, indeed. Our house is taken, and the furniture already in it, and now there need be no delay. We shall be within a short distance of town-a delightful distance. The only circumstance I regret connected with the arrangement is that of being obliged to part with you and Mrs. Meiklam. I like the idea of going to London very much, it will be such a variety after Yaxley."
"I shall be very lonely, Bessie." "I know that, and it makes me feel wretched; but we may meet sooner than we think."
"But not as now, Bessie," said Lizette, mournfully, "not as we have done in all the years that have passed."
"Perhaps not, but our friendship and love for each other must always continue. You know, Lizette, we cannot always remain as we are now. We must grow up. Already I am past fifteen. I begin to think myself dreadfully old; and then, Yaxley is so dull! I must say partings are very sad affairs."
partings to separations that must be for eternity!""
"My grave little pet, what sad views you take of things!" said Bessie, smiling.
Dear Bessie," said Lizette, after a pause, during which she had been trying to summon up courage, "I would feel very happy if I thought you were among those who will inherit the life to come-if I could feel certain we should yet meet to part no more for ages that can never end."
"I trust we shall meet before that," returned Bessie, laughing lightly. "I would not entertain such gloomy thoughts as you for anything!"
"I cannot help feeling sad at times, when I think of all the souls that may not be saved. Only for knowing that the mercy and power of God are infinite, I should never feel happy!"
"The best way, in my opinion, is not to think about it at all," said Bessie. "There is no use in torturing one's brain about what cannot be understood. Things must take their own course in spite of everything we may do."
Ah, Bessie, it is in our power to do good. We must not let things take their own course. If everyone sat still, not troubling themselves about what did not just concern their own affairs, what a dreadful, selfish world it would be!"
"There are few people who do not like to meddle with the affairs of others," said Bessie, smiling, "and yet, according to mamma, the world is most frightfully selfish. Now, do not look so sad, my sweet dove. You were made for angel works, but not myself. I am of the earth, earthy. I shall run my course as others do. I shall be young, middle-aged, old, and grey-headed. Merry in my youth, cross and grumbling in age, and so on, till death closes the scene. I shall pass away, and the world will go on all the same people coming and going, as the leaves grow and fade, till our little globe is blotted out from the universe."