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whom she found giving directions to one of the servants relative to having the luggage conveyed to the station. Mrs. Merton opened the letter, and Amy watched her countenance while she was reading it. Amy waited patiently for a few moments, but tired out at last, she exclaimed, “Mamma, what has Aunt Alice written about? I see by your face that it is something unpleasant."
"Yes, indeed, dear Amy," replied her mother, "it is very sad news indeed."
"What is it, mamma ?" exclaimed Amy, impatiently.
"Your cousin Mary is very ill of scarlet fever," said Mrs. Merton; "and of course it is impossible for us to go at present."
"Not go!" cried Amy; "not go, when I have been looking forward to it for such a long time! Oh, mamma, do let us go!"
"No, my child, I cannot allow you to go now; we should be in your aunt's way, and cause her a great deal of inconvenience. Besides, my dear, it would be dangerous for you or Emily to go, as you never have had scarlet fever."
When Amy heard this she burst into a passionate flood of tears and rushed out of the room. Emily entered it a few minutes after, and Mrs. Merton gave her the letter to read. She was very sorry indeed to hear of her cousin's illness, but did not, like Amy, give way to selfish feelings.
Oh, mamma, do you think dear Mary is very ill? I am so very sorry. Of course we shall not go to Woodville now, as I am sure we should be in the way."
"No, dear, we shall not go now; I hope dear Mary is not very ill, but your Aunt Alice will be very anxious about her."
"Do you think we shall hear soon again, mamma ?” inquired Emily.
"Yes, dear, I think perhaps we shall have a letter tomorrow."
"Do you know where Amy is, mamma? Have you told her yet?"
"She left the room just before you came in. I told her, and I am greatly grieved with her conduct. She does not show the least sorrow for your aunt and cousin, but only of her own disappointment."
"Poor Amy! May I go to her, mamma ?"
"Yes, my dear, and tell her how much sorrow she has caused me by her conduct. I shall speak to her this evening; I cannot at present, as I must write to Aunt Alice."
Emily went into the garden to search for Amy, thinking that she might have hidden herself there, as she often did. Not finding her, Emily returned to the house, went to her sister's room, and paused at the door, thinking she heard sounds of weeping. She knocked gently, but receiving no answer she went in, and found Amy lying on the bed with her face on the pillow crying bitterly. Emily approached her, and whispered tenderly, "Amy dear, do not cry so; you will grieve mamma very much if you do."
"Leave me alone, Emily!" exclaimed Amy, and she tried to push her sister away. Emily waited for a few minutes, hoping that Amy's tears would cease; but seeing that her presence only made matters worse, she left the room, more grieved at her sister's excessive sorrow than at her own disappointment. She returned in the course of half an hour, and finding Amy much calmer, endeavoured to comfort her once more. This time Amy did not try to push her away, but, on the contrary, seemed glad to see Emily, being tired of sitting by herself so long, and not liking to go down in such a state to meet her mother.
As soon as she saw her sister enter the room, she exclaimed, "Oh, Emily! is it not very tiresome that we can't go to Woodville? aren't you very sorry?"
Yes, I am very sorry; but I feel that everything happens for the best, however difficult it may be to think it at the time."
"But I do not think it!" cried Amy, passionately; "I do not think that Cousin Mary being ill, and that we cannot go, is for the best."
"It does seem very hard-hard now," said Emily, putting her arms affectionately round her sister; "but there are worse trials than ours, dear; think of Aunt Alice, and how anxious she must be about poor Mary."
Amy, however, was not in the mood to consider any one's trials but her own, and she continued to exhibit the same temper all day. Mrs. Merton went to her in the evening, and told her, kindly, but firmly, that she was very much displeased with her, and showed her how very wrong she was to dwell on her disappointment, and also desired her to remain alone in her room for the remainder of the evening. Next morning, Amy did not go down as usual for the letters, but remained in her room until breakfast-time, living over again in her mind all the disappointment of the previous day. "I will never go to the hall again to get those horrid letters! I'll always wait here until they are brought to me!" Such were some of the many absurd and foolish resolutions which she gave utterance to. At last when she thought that all the letters would have been read, and out of sight, she came down to breakfast. She then saw that something must have happened to make them all look so pleasant; and Emily seemed so pleased as to be hardly able to keep from telling something. However, breakfast passed, and family prayer was over before Mrs. Merton would permit Emily to say—“Oh, Amy! we are going to Woodville after all; Mary has not the scarlet fever, but only a cold, and the train is smashed! Are you not glad ?"
"Glad of what?" grumbled Amy. "Is it that the train is smashed? How can you be so queer, Emily? What do you mean? Was Aunt Alice smashed too? or did the train get scarlet fever? I do not understand it at all! Can't you speak plain, and tell me what it is that makes you laugh in that manner ?"
"Do stop, Amy!" cried Emily, laughing heartily. "You absurd girl! how could the train catch scarlet fever ?" "Why, you said it did.”
'My dear Amy," interrupted Mrs. Merton, "you have
shown a very sad disposition since this disappointment; try to curb your temper, and listen quietly until I tell you how good God has been to you. We have just heard from Aunt Alice that your cousin has not got scarlet fever, but only a severe cold, so that you can go to-day instead of yesterday."
Oh, how nice! I am so glad!"
Stop a moment, my dear, until you hear all the train by which you would have gone yesterday met with an accident; the engine ran off the line, and several persons were killed. So you see, by the disappointment your life has, perhaps, been saved."
Amy turned red and white, and the tears rose to her eyes, when she thought of all her ill-behaviour, and how unresigned she had been to the will of her heavenly Father, who was taking such care of her. Oh, mamma! I am indeed very sorry for my bad conduct! please forgive me!"
"You have my full forgiveness, my child; but you have offended against God; ask His forgiveness, and if you ask it in a right spirit you will obtain it, and grace to do better another time. I hope that you will learn by this to bear patiently whatever trials God sends you; you may rest assured that they are all sent for your good. And now, my dear, you may go with Emily, and prepare to start for Woodville in an hour."
As the two sisters were going up to their rooms, Emily said, "Now, Amy, did I not tell you that all would happen for the best ?"
Yes, indeed you did, Emily! Oh, I have been so wicked; do you think God will forgive me ?"
'Yes, dear, I am sure He will; you know what mamma you; and now we must go and get ready."
Oh, Emily! do stop a little longer! I think I shall be afraid to go in the train now after that terrible accident-are you ?"
"I try not to be afraid, because I know that God, who has taken such care of us, will also watch over us in the
train, or any place else; and now, dear, I really must go. We have not much time to spare; you will try not to be afraid, won't you, dear ?"
"Yes, Emily, I will think of God's goodness to me, and not of the train."
The lesson was never forgotten by Amy; and the last prayer which she repeated before leaving her room every morning was that beautiful prayer: “O Lord, who knowest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all evil which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul."
Christ the True Light.
CHRIST, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise !
Triumph o'er the shades of night;
Dark and cheerless is the morn
Till Thy mercy's beams I scc,
Visit then this soul of mine:
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy Divine!
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,