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A SISTER'S TALES.
dictated to him by the Prophet, and then went up, and read them to the congregation in the place prescribed. Baruch himself was greatly moved by the divine denunciations of impending wrath; but on the callous spirits of his hearers his words fell pointless ; their hearts were steeled against compunctious feeling, and could be roused by nothing but the terrors of the sword.
Those terrors they were speedily compelled to suffer. Judea was invaded by King NEBUCHADNEZZAR, who besieged Jerusalem, took it, and put JEHOIAKIM in chains, with the intention of transporting him to Babylon; but on his making suitable concessions, and submitting to become a tributary and a vassal to his conqueror, he was restored to freedom, and again permitted to ascend his throne.
(To be continued.)
A SISTER'S TALES.
No. III. The next rainy afternoon to that on which the account of Lucy and Helen was given, (see Youth's Instructer for February, 1822, p. 50,) JANE found, on entering the parlour, the children all seated round the fire, expecting her to tell them another story. So she began in the following manner:
You all know Mary BURTON, who lives near the church in the next village to us, and I think she is rather a favourite of yours ;—at least her cottage is; for you always stop, when you pass it, to look at its white walls and paling, over which the old elm-trees bend, and to enjoy the sweet smell of her flowers garden. You have often remarked how very neat every thing looks around it; particularly herself, when her white cap and pleasant face have been just discerned between the bright scarlet geraniums that nearly cover her little casement. But though you are well acquainted with her cottage, and her countenance, I think you do not know much of her history; so I will tell it you.
MARY BURTON was the child of very poor parents. Her father was a gardener, but, being frequently ill, he could not have constant work; so that her mother was necessitated to take in needle-work and washing, in order to add something to his scanty means for the support of their large family. Mary, being the eldest of seven, was obliged to work almost as soon as she could walk. Her childhood was not spent like yours, in quiet studies and pleasant plays. When she was ten years old, and no taller or stronger than you, my Mary, she was the nurse of her sister, then an infant; and not only did she nurse her all day, but when she had sung her to sleep, she had to wash and work for her, till her own bed-time arrived.
MARY was very fond of little babies, and she thought her sister the prettiest and sweetest child ske had ever seen; but all her love could not keep her own little arms from being tired with her weight, or her head from aching after her crying: and yet she was so careful, that when she was wearied, she never laid the infant down in the fields, as some thoughtless girls would, but danced and carried her about as long as possible.
As soon as her sister could run alone, one of her brothers was sent out with her; for her mother thought that Mary might now be of much more use by staying at home, and attending to the work of the house. Though it consisted but of four small rooms, yet there was much to be done: MARY
kept them all in order, prepared every meal, and when this was done, sat down, not to rest herself, but to work hard for the family. Her only holiday was on the Saturday afternoon; when she was sent to a town, four miles distant, to market. This was indeed quite a treat to her on fine days; for her way lay through a succession of shady lanes, bordered with wild flowers, while here and there a break in the hedge disclosed a landscape composed of corn and clover fields, divided by a small wood, beyond which was a blue sea, and over all a bright blue sky. But very different was her walk in winter: she could not then go through these lanes, for the rain rendered them quite impassable;—she had to ascend hills, with the bleak wind blowing in her face, and sometimes bringing snow and rain along with it. One of her brothers was generally sent with her on such days, as a companion; and when he looked very cold, she put her little red cloak round him also, and then, though she was almost frozen, her heart was glad to think that she was warming. him. Sometimes it was quite dark before they arrived at home, and she could not help crying from a fear that they should miss their way; but this her brother did not hear, for he always 66 whistled aloud to bear his courage up." This was her only excursion, and it was her regular one; for whatever season or weather it might be, MARY was sure to be seen going to market on Saturday, with her baskets on her arm,
Į have told you what were her duties and employments; and now I will tell you how she attended to them. This I can do very easily ;-she made plersures of them, by performing them all in a quiet and even cheerful manner. This spirit, so different from that which is manifested by some young persons,
did not arise merely from her naturally amiable disposition; it was derived from a higher source,- from a principle of true religion. To the pastoral instruction of our dear Minister, Mary had, from her earliest years, listened with attention and delight. The lessons he taught in public were repeated to her by her pious parents in private; and she evidenced, by her serious and lovely deportment, that she was one of those who fear the Lord in their youth. It was religion alone that could enable her to be (not merely to appear) content with her lot, and to fulfil the duties of her condition, not only without murmuring” or repining, but thankfully and joyfully. This principle, so early implanted, has been ever since the distinguishing feature in her character. But I have only time to tell you a few of the circumstances in which she has manifested it, since she grew up.
Her father, as I said before, was a gardener; and had the care of a gentleman's seat, situated in a most delightful part of the country. When the family to which it belonged were from home, he often took Mary's sister with him. Now most persons would prefer walking about in a beautiful park, to the confinement of a cottage, and to the task of bending, hour after hour, over coarse work ; but the latter was MARY's duty, and she did it so pleasantly, that you would have thought she really liked it best. -When she was eighteen years of age, two of her brothers went to sea,
much to the grief of her parents, and her own also; for she loved them with that excess of affection which those are apt to feel who have but few objects of attachment. She did not, however, go crying about the house, for she knew
that this would only grieve her father and mother still more; but tried to put on a gayer look, and be more attentive and affectionate in her behaviour towards them than ever. This was her duty, and she performed it, though it was a very difficult one.-A few years after this, her father died; and Mary thought that she ought to make additional exertions for the support of her widowed mother; for her brothers and sister could only earn enough to keep themselves. Many persons gave her needle-work and washing, and in these she still employs herself most diligently; nor will she let her aged parent help her, for she says, “Mother, you have worked long enough, and now you must rest." This is her duty, and it is her delight. Thus she is happy in the midst of poverty; and always welcomes us with a serene and smiling countenance.
Here Jane ceased. Did she tell you all this of herself?” said Mary L. “No," replied JANE; " it was her mother who gave me this account, and I have related it to you, not so much that you may admire, as that you may imitate her. “But,” asked FANNY, “is there any thing wonderful in Mary Burton's doing her duty?” “Not in the mere performance of it,” rejoined JANE; “but the spirit in which she does it is certainly uncommon. Poor children would find even poverty to be not half so miserable a thing, as they now perhaps think it, if, like Mary Burton, they were constantly employed in providing as much comfort as their situations will allow,--and if they cherished that cheerful submission to Divine Providence, which would preserve them from making a burden of nothing, or from doubling, by a morose and surly temper, the weight of what is really irksome and afflictive. And surely those who VOL. VI.