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might be out of her power to indulge in momentary whims. She gratified no feeling but a newly-awakened desire for mental improvement, and spent her leisure hours in reading useful books.
Abby's year was one of perpetual self-contest and self-denial; but it was by no means one of unmitigated misery. The ruling desire of years was not to be conquered by the resolution of a moment; but when the contest was over, there was for her the triumph of victory. If the battle was sometimes desperate, there was so much more merit in being conqueror. One Sabbath was spent in tears, because Judith Slater did not wish her to attend their meeting with such a dowdy bonnet; and another fellowboarder thought her gown must have been made in " the year one.” The colour mounted to her cheeks, and the lightning, flashed from her eyes, when asked if she had “just come down," and she felt as though she should be glad to be away from them all, when she heard their sly innuendos about “ bush-whackers." Still she remained unshaken. It is but for a year, said she to herself, and the time and money that my father thought I should spend folly shall be devoted to a better purpose.
At the close of a pleasant April day, Mr Atkins sat at his kitchen fireside, with Charley upon his knee. Wife," said he to Mrs Atkins, who was busily preparing the evening meal, "is it not a year since Abby left home ”
Why, husband, let me think: I always clean up the house thoroughly just before fast-day, and I had not done it when Abby went away. I remember speaking to her about it, and telling her that it was wrong to leave me at such a busy time; and she said, “Mother, I will be at home to do it all next year. Yes, it is a year, and I should not be surprised if she should come this week."
“ Perhaps she will not come at all,” said Mr Atkins with a gloomy look; “ she has written us but few letters, and they have been very short and unsatisfactory. I suppose she has sense enough to know that no news is better than bad news; and having nothing pleasant to tell about herself, she thinks she will tell us nothing at all. But if I ever get her home again, I will keep her here. I assure you her first year in Loweil shall also be her last."
“ Husband, I told you my fears, and if you had set up your authority, Abby would have been obliged to stay at home; but perhaps she is doing pretty well. You know she is not accustomed to writing, and that may account for the few and short letters we have received; but they have all, even the shortest, contained the assurance that she would be at home at the close of the year.”
“Pa, the stage has stopped here," said little Charley, and he bounded from his father's knee. The next moment the room rang with the shout of “Abby has come! Abby has come !" In a few moments more she was in the midst of the joyful throng. Her father pressed her hand in silence, and tears gushed from her mother's eyes.
Her brothers and sisters were clamorous with delight, all but little Charley, to whom Abby was a stranger, and who repelled with terror all her overtures for a better acquaintance." Her parents gazed upon her with speechless pleasure, for they felt that a change for the better had taken place in their once wayward girl. Yes, there she stood before them, a little taller and a little thinner, and, when the flush of emotion had faded away, perhaps a little paler; but the eyes were bright in their joyous radiance, and the smile of health and innocence was playing around the rosy lips. She carefully laid aside her new straw-bonnet, with its plain trimming of light blue ribbon, and her dark mérino dress showed to the best advantage her neat symmetrical form. There was more delicacy of personal appearance than when she left them, and also more softness of manner; for constant collision with so many young females had worn off the little asperities which had marked her conduct while at home.
“Well, Abby, how many silk gowns have you got?” said her father as she opened a large new trunk.
“Not one, father," said she, and she fixed her dark eyes upon him with an expression which told all. " But here are some little books for the children, and a new calico dress for mother; and here is a nice black silk handkerchief for you to wear around your neck on Sundays. Accept it, dear father, for it is your daughter's first gift."
“ You had better have bought me a pair of spectacles, for I am sure I cannot see anything." There were tears in the rough farmer's eyes, but he tried to laugh and joke, that they might not be perceived. “But what did you do with all your money ?”
“I thought I had better leave it there,” said Abby, and she placed her bank-book in her father's hand. Mr Atkins looked a moment, and the forced smile faded away. The surprise had been too great, and tears fell thick and fast from the father's eyes.
“ It is but a little,” said Abby.
“But it was all you could save,” replied her father, “and I am proud of you, Abby; yes, proud that I am the father of such a girl. It is not this paltry sum which pleases me so much, but the prudence, self-command, and real affection for us which you have displayed. But was it not sometimes hard to resist temptation?"
“ Yes, father, you can never know how hard; but it was the thought of this night which sustained me through it all. I knew how you would smile, and what my mother would say and feel; and though there have been moments, yes, hours, that have seen me wretched enough, yet this one evening will repay, for all. There is but one thing now to mar my happiness, and that is the thought that this little fellow has quite forgotten me,”. and she drew Charley to her side. But the new picture-book had already effected wonders, and in a few moments he was in her lap, with his arms around her neck, and his mother could not persuade him to retire that night until he had given “Sister Abby” a hundred kisses.
“Father,” said Abby as she arose to retire when the tall clock struck eleven, “may I not some time go back to Lowell ? I should like to add a little to the sum in the bank, and I should be glad of one silk gown.”.
Yes, Abby, you may do anything you wish. I shall never again be afraid to let you spend a year in Lowell. You have shown yourself to be possessed of a virtue, without which no one can expect to gain either respect or confidence-SELF-DENIAL."
AUSE not to dream of the future before us;
Pause not to weep the wild cares that come o'er us;
Unintermitting, goes up into Heaven!
Till from its nourishing stem it is riven.
Speaks to thy soul from out nature's heart.
Only man, in the plan, ever shrinks from his part.
Flowers droop and die in the stillness of noon.
Play the sweet keys, wouldst thou keep them in tune.
Labour is rest—from the sorrows that greet us ;
Rest from world-syrens that lure us to ill.
Work with a stout heart and resolute will!
Rest not content in thy darkness-a clod.
Let thy great deeds be thy prayer to thy God.
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
Thy neighbour? It is he whom thou
to aid and bless,
Thy soothing hand may press.
Whose eye with want is dim,
Go thou and succour him.
Whose years are at their brim,
Go thou and comfort him.
Go thou and shelter them.
Fettered in thought and limb,
Go thou and ransom him.
Less favoured than thine own,
Thy brother, or thy son.