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sea comes tide after tide, washing up a beach of shells. Shells are there innumerable; but you may search that shore for hours, and find no perfect specimen : the shells are broken. I can conceive many a disheartened traveller in life's hard journey sitting down among those shells, and saying, “Behold the image of my own experience, of my broken resolutions, unaccomplished purposes, and perpetual failures ! Even in the Christian Church are not a few who feel that they have failed of the high aims, the noble impulses, which warmed and quickened them at first !
To any such disheartened souls this story of Mark's recovery should come like a trumpet call of hope. Too late, say you, to join the ranks once more, to become men of high attainment, heavenly character, and fervent spirit; too late to win the brighter crown, and the more abundant entrance ? Never too late, while life lasts. Stronger than the oldest habit of evil is the Spirit of God poured into the willing human heart. You, too, though you hide trembling among the stuff, have a part that you can play, and a prize that you
Once more to the front! If Paul does not trust you, Barnabas will. If Paul does not care for you now,
may come to lean on you with all his strength. And One, whom you know of, clearer-sighted by far than that shrewd Apostle, tenderer of heart than that " son of consolation,” marks your struggles, and prays for your success; and He, as you arise, will breathe into your ear those words of unutterable hope and encouragement: “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”
LESBIA'S CHILDREN. " If a child is old enough to in-1 mother again, while the baby eyes terpret the tones of his mother's regarded Lesbia with à superb voice, he is old enough to obey," disdain. said my cousin Lesbia.
“What should you do, Lesbia?” "Humph !” said my grandmother. asked Ellen, despairingly.
My sister looked anxiously down “ Punish him until he obeys," upon the scrap of humanity before was the unflinching reply. her. A handsome little * scrap' My grandmother coughed. Ellen it was, with keen grey eyes, which took the small, plump hand in sought his mother's face occasion- hers. Weak little woman, how she ally, but were scowlingly with- dreaded it! drawn.
“Mother must punish Franky “Franky will pick up the apple because he will not mind”- a little for mamma, won't he?” said my tap, at which the grey eyes opened sister coaxingly
wider with wonder. “She doesn't The “scrap” shook his head. want to do it because-because—"
"You have asked him three here she clasped the little figure times already. I should have tightly in her arms. “Oh, Franky, asked him but once," said Lesbia, Franky, she loves him so. calmly.
The rosy lip quivered.
66 Mamma "Humphl" ejaculated my grand-needn't 'hip mo," he lisped, taking
her hand in his, and laying his impatience; but afterwards-well-cheek upon it.
he came, he saw, he conquered “Will you pick up the apple ?" Lesbia.
For answer he darted from her Very fair and stately looked our lap, raised the apple from the spot white lily upon her wedding mornwhere he had spitefully thrown it ing. We could not see her go from a few minutes before; then, spring- us unmoved; but she looked upon ing into her arms again, he put his our tearful faces with clear eyes, little white teeth into it with an air and though the proud head drooped of great satisfaction.
a little, there was no other sign of My grandmother's sharp eyes weakness—none. She kissed the stole a glance of triumph at Lesbia; weeping scholars calmly, then but that lady remained undaunted. turned to us for a last embrace.
“If I ever have children they “If Lesbia has a heart I hope shall mind always and at once," that man will find it,” said my said she decisively, as she rose to go. grandnother, as we stood looking
“We've heard of old-maids' chil- at the departing carriage. dren before,” remarked my grand “Oh, Lesbia has a heart, I am mother, quietly.
sure of it,” replied Ellen, wiping Lesbia smiled with unruffled se- her eyes. “ You are a little too renity. Queenly Lesbia! Self-pos- hard, grandmother.” session seemed her element, and “I don't know where she keeps dignity her native air. A situation it, then; and I don't believe she as teacher in a young ladies' semi- does," was the blunt rejoinder. nary had tended neither to weaken Five years passed, bringing little the one nor disturb the other. Her change to our small household. My discipline was strict, her rules un- grandmother's hair was scarce a sparing; yet the parents respected whit more snowy; nor had time while the scholars idolised her. At dealt harshly with Ellen's laughing thirty Lesbia reminded us of no- face. And though Frank had been thing but a tall, white lily, calm and a school-boy for two long years, self-poised. A flower which men and passed triumphantly through look at and admire, but whose “Primer” and “First Reader," he stately beauty seems to forbid the was (though we dared not tell him touch of hands profane.
so) our baby still. “It is a pity,” said I to my But time had brought two chilgrandmother, one day, “that Les-dren to Lesbia's home. Bright bia will never marry."
little blossoms (as she wrote us), “Why do you think she will which she made it the study of her never marry ? ” asked my grand- life to bring up wisely, and which mother.
she was only afraid of indulging “Why, because she seems suffi- too much. cient unto herself. And whom “ Humph !” said
my grandcould she marry, grandmother?” mother, as she folded the letter.
“There are a great many people And when, some time afterward, in the world," was my grand- we learned that Mrs. Charles Grafmother's sententious reply. ton, with her little girl and boy,
And it happened that a merchant was to spend the summer in her. from a distant town, coming to our native county, I cannot tell whether little village upon some trivial er- we looked forward to the visit with rand, returned again and again. more interest or curiosity. At first he hardly knew what Owing to the claims of husband's brought him there, and lamented relatives," which Lesbia like a dutithe detention with true masculine ful wife felt it her first duty to
acknowledge, it was some time knew to what garden-flower to before we caught even a glimpse of liken this scowling “ little blossom," our white lily. And strangely who certainly had nothing of the enough, our first meeting took spirituelle about her, but was emplace in that most prosaic of vehi- phatically of the earth earthy. cles, a railway car.
Subsequently I found her bright My grandmother and I were rid- and womanly; keen to investigate ing silently along, tired and con- and quick to understand the small tent with the result of our shopping mysteries of her years; with a expedition, when a tall lady entered, warm, tender, loving little heart, accompanied by a little girl of four at the discovery of which possession years.
she at first seemed half ashamed. At first our pale flower seemed But now she was just a naughty unchanged. She walked to her child, who seemed richly to deserve seat with all the grace of which the punishment which Lesbia had circumstances would permit, and threatened in the olden time. the smile with which she greeted As we sat chatting, forgetting us was Lesbia's own.
with increasing interest the lapse “You didn't know I was in of years, we suddenly missed Nettie, B-?” she began, when at length and, looking upon the platform, we we found a place beside her. “Of discovered the small damsel in course not, for I only came yester- animated conversation with the day. Mr. Grafton's cousin has conductor, who stood smilingly bought the Russell estate, and I attentive. am staying there. How perfectly That's just like her," exclaimed natural everything looks ! Things Lesbia in a troubled tone. are not constantly changing, as with hasn't a particle of reserve. Nettie,
I have wanted so much to my child, come here." come to you. But you know my But “my child ” didn't move. time is not my own now, and - “Nettie, come to me.” Nettie, my dear, take your feet Again the cross little shrug and down from the cushions."
scowl. The child leaned forward, Miss Nettie, who had just climbed putting her head inside the car, and upon the seat, and whose bright regarding her mother with unqualieyes were scanning each object as fied dissatisfaction. we passed, looked composedly at Lesbia raised her voice. The her mother, but did not move. tones were not sweet, nor silvery
“Nettie, did you hear me?” nor serene now. A lady and gen
A shrug of the little fat shoulders, tleman opposite sat quietly expecbut no other reply.
tant, biting their lips. I was un“My daughter, attend to me comfortable. immediately."
" Come to me, my daughter, imDown came the feet with a thump. mediately!” rang out the voice, in One glance the bright, dark eyes tones of unmistakable displeasure. shot up to the hazel ones.
Two little gaitered feet, by a not a pleasant glance. And alas, series of ungraceful jumps, reached the hazel eyes had lost something the place where Lesbia was sitting. of their calm serenity. Lesbia had There they stood impatiently tapchanged a little, after all.
ping, until, having arrived at their “Do you think she looks at all destination, they left the car. like me?"
“ Lesbia makes her child mind," “Not a bit,” we replied, in the said I to my grandmother, as we same breath. And truly, Miss walked leisurely towards our own Nettie was no lily-bud. I hardly gate.
“She is making them mind all withstanding the unfavourable rethe time, I fancy," answered my port that we had heard of Master grandmother grimly. “ Family dis- Johnny, our hearts went out to cipline in a railway car. Humph!” the perfect specimen of healthy
We had promised to see Lesbía babyhood who sat regarding us again shortly; so a few days after- with round, solemn blue eyes, until ward we wended our way to the at length, evidently finding us to aristocratic - looking mansion in his mind, the lips parted with the which she had taken up her abode sweetest of smiles disclosing two for the time. The large cool par- rows of even pearls.
The eyes lour, where everything harmonised laughed, too; and altogether the and nothing obtruded itself, seemed baby face was a study for poet or especially inviting after our long painter, until walk in the sun, and Lesbia, as she 66 Go and shake hands with the entered in her dainty morning ladies," said Lesbia's quiet voice. costume, looked part and parcel of “No; no want to," was the reply. it all. For half an hour we sat and “But Johnny must go," said the chatted, becoming more and more mother, calmly. oblivious of time as old memories “ No, Johnnie mustn't.” came thick and fast upon us, when “I don't know who my children the door was thrown open with a are like,” remarked Lesbia, turning bang, and a little voice called to my grandmother with a quick, loudly,-
impatient motion; "certainly not Mamma, Johnny's awake.” like me, and Mr. Grafton says they “ That is not the way to open a do not resemble his family. They door, my daughter,” said Lesbia, have such a very strong indiviwith dignity. “Go and ask nurse duality, and they will assert it, to take little brother up, and then too." come here and speak to these ladies.” * I wouldn't give much for them
“No; I don't want to see 'em.” if they didn't, was my grandThe small feet ran off upon their mother's reply. errand, but soon returned.
“ But it is so inconvenient," “Nurse says, shall she tidy him sighed Lesbia. “ Johnny, my son,
go and shake hands with the ladies “I wish his clothes changed, of at once." course,” answered Lesbia, flushing. We heard the scampering of the
“ You must do it, or I shall little feet again, and then their punish you. quick return.
" No." The chubby face was “He's kicking like everything like a small thunder-cloud; the blue Nurse wants you to come and hold eyes, looking almost black with his feet."
baby anger, flashed at us with Lesbia rose.
Margaret is so a wrathful glance, which would incompetent,” she said, with a have been fearful, had it not been shade of impatience in her tone. amusing. “ She has no tact at all. Excuse “You must do it, Johnny"-and me, please.” And she left the room. 'Lesbia, with a sudden movement,
My grandmother and I exchanged ousted her refactory offspring from glances, wicked ones, I fear; but we his seat in her lap, then taking him spoke not a word.
by the hand attempted to lead him Five, ten, fifteen minutes passed, toward us. and then Lesbia re-entered, holding But that was no easy matter. in her arms a chubby little fellow, Master Johnny, though naturally of little more than two years. Not- light, could make himself a leaden
weight when inclination prompteds lap?. I've no doubt that either of and inclination prompted
now us could have had him in ours five But Lesbia was determined. To minutes later if she'd only have let my grandmother's feet she dragged him alone; but to insist upon his her disobedient son, the little fellow shaking hands, especially with an sereaming lustily all the while. old woman like me-bah ! I've no
“Now, Johnny,” said she, “shake patience with her.” hands with this lady this minute." Lesbia came to us, as she had
My grandmother extended her promised. The children, naughty hand, but the small fingers, instead as they were, soon found their way of clasping, struck it angrily. Then to our by no means flinty hearts. with one energetic pull the baby When they were good, which was freed himself from his mother's more often as their visit lengthdetaining grasp, and (alas ! that I ened, their little winning ways were must write it) kicked furiously at most enticing. They loved us all her with his little slippered feet. dearly; but to Ellen they clung
Then it was that Lesbia's pati- most closely, because, to use Nettie's ence gave way. She administered own words, “She was Franky's & shake, much as any common mother, and she loved him so." mother might have done it, and led Lesbia heard the words, and her her naughty child from the room pale cheek flushed. I wondered if with no gentle hand. When she she had noticed the shower of kisses returned she was more like a which fell to Ellen's share, and had rose than “ a lily pale and fair.”
contrasted it with her own meagre "He knows better,” said she, portion ; wondered if she had seen impatiently " There is no excuse that Ellen was like a child herself for him. I shall punish him se- when with her boy, entering into verely, and make him shake hands all his little plans, thinking nothing with me instead. I will be obeyed.” which concerned him too trivial for
"If I ever have children, they her notice, making the yoke of shall mind always and at once, obedience easy, and its burden light, thought. I; but I was not wicked because, “ she loved him so." enough to say it.
But I had almost forgotten my "Do you think it worth while curiosity ere it was satisfied. At always to command'?” asked my length, however, my sister received grandmother cautiously. “Isn't it the following :as well, in little matters, sometimes to suggesti? A child so enjoys the « MY DEAR ELLEN,-Do you reprivilege of thinking for himself.” member my old theories upon that
"I think the mother knows best,” most interesting of subjects, the replied Lesbia, in a dignified tone. management of children? Of course
Well, well, be merciful to that you do, for I aired them continually little man of yours.
Remember and unsparingly in your presence. what a little man he is,” laughed Well, I have a confession to make. my grandmother as we rose to take I have found that a little experience leave; "and don't forget that you can bring to naught the grandest are to come to us next week.” theory, and two pairs of baby hands
"What horrid little creatures!” have utterly demolished mine. At I exclaimed, as soon as we were out first I refused to believe in their de
struction, and long after my heart "Not at all.! not at all !” was told me they were dead, dead, dead, the emphatic reply. “What could my pride clung to their inanimate be sweeter than that baby's face as remains. I think I never quite he looked at us from his mother's threw them off until I came to you.