Page images

“Yes, and you will have her; no friend can be like a mother."

“ Yes, perhaps so,” said Evelyn, dreamily.

“Oh! Evelyn, if you knew how I have longed for a mother; a tender, watchful, sympathising mother! How light would all trials and sorrows have seemed, if I had had one to go to; to share my anxieties, and direct me in difficulties. Oh! Evy, do not undervalue the great blessing that has been granted you,-a mother's love !"

Evelyn sighed, and after a moment's pause, said, “Poor Georgy! I never knew you felt the loss of your mother so much. Can you remember her?”

"Scarcely; only a soft gentle face, and bright long curls, and a voice so sweet and kind. I shall never forget the last time I saw her; papa took me into her room, it was so still, so dark, and resting on the white pillows, lay mamma's thin pale face. She held out her hand and smoothed my hair, and told me never to forget her, and to be a comfort to papa when she was gone. Papa held me up to kiss her, she was so weak she could not raise her head, and there were tears in her eyes, but then papa took me away because it was too much for her, and I never saw her again, she died that evening !" Georgina's voice sank into a low sad whisper, and Evelyn silently pressed her hand, and forbore asking her any further questions.

“ We have had four happy years here together, Georgy dear; I can scarcely believe they are really

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


[ocr errors]

“They will never be really over in one sense,” remarked Georgina. “Their memory must always exist, always bind us together through life, Evelyn, even though the ocean should roll between us.

“Yes, how nice to think of that; our friendship can never be a thing of the past, it must be always present.”

on me.

[ocr errors]


"And its influence," added Georgina. Yes, no words can tell how great that has been

Oh! Georgy, my sisters can never be to me what


have been !" “Do not make up your mind to that, dearest Evelyn. A sister's love is a precious thing, and they must love you dearly."

They will have their own friends, and their own pursuits. I shall be like a stranger to them," replied Evelyn, sadly.

“But their friends need not interfere with their love for


you will be able to join in their “Yes, in some of them, perhaps; but, Georgy, they will never join in mine as you have done.”

“How can you tell, dear Evelyn ?”.

“I cannot be sure, of course, but I cannot help fearing. You know, Georgy, one of my favourite plans is to lead a useful life, visiting the poor,

and teaching in the schools."

“ There are other ways of leading a useful life besides doing the things you mention. If your sisters should not enter into your plans you might still lead a useful life by entering into theirs, and reading and working with them, and by relieving your mother of some of her household cares, and even by mixing in society, to a certain extent.”

“Oh! Georgy, how can that be?”.

“What do you understand by being useful p!” asked Georgina.

Evelyn thought for a moment, and then replied, Helping others.”

Yes, helping others; and our first duty is to our parents, and then to our immediate relations, brothers and sisters. You may be making yourself more truly useful by helping them, entering

to their pursuits, and sharing their occupations, than even by devoting yourself to charitable works

[ocr errors]

among the poor, if by so doing you are tempted to neglect your home duties."

Evelyn sighed; this had not been her idea of a useful life.

“And there is another thing," added Georgina, “by throwing yourself into their plans and amusements you may gain an influence over them, and induce them, after a time, to interest themselves in yours, so that you may not only carry out your own plans of usefulness without neglecting the duties that lie in your path, but you may by degrees win them to do the same.”

Evelyn's face brightened. “Oh! Georgy, if we were only going to begin home life together, with you to advise and direct me, how much I might do! But when I am left to myself, with no one to guide and direct me

You never will be," said Georgina quickly, "if you do not trust in your own strength. We have all a Guide, if we will but submit ourselves to His guidance."

“ Yes, Georgy, indeed I ought to have remembered that. Oh! if I should ever forget, and you not near to remind me."

“He will not let you forget, dearest Evelyn, if you put your trust in Him."

“And how often will you write? And will you send me long warm letters, full of your thoughts and feelings, and full of advice such as you give me now in these long winter evenings over the fire? Oh! Georgy, what a blessing these talks have been to me, how I shall look back upon

them all my life! If ever I should be anything good or useful, it will be you that have made me so. You have been the rudder that will guide me through life, and if I should escape the rocks and sandbanks, sailing o'er life's solemn main,' it will be owing to you."

“No, dearest Evelyn, you must not say that,” replied Georgina. We have a higher and a safer rudder to guide us through life, if we do not

neglect it."

“Tell me exactly what you mean ?” asked Evelyn.

“Can you doubt, dearest, after kneeling at that altar rail last Sunday? If anything could guide us aright, or keep us straight, mustn't it be that?”

“ Yes, Georgy, I will always remember that. Oh! how can I thank you for not letting me shrink that first Sunday ? If I had not gone then, who knows when, or indeed whether I should ever have gone? And think, if I had wilfully cast away my rudder, what might not have been the consequence ? How could I have expected or hoped for help then ?" “But now the blessing will go


to your home, Evelyn, and strengthen you when you feel weak and wavering, and comfort you when you feel lonely and solitary, as most people do at times,) and guide you when you are doubtful and uncertain."

" And I shall need strengthening and guiding, Georgy, for I shall be like a stranger in my home after this long, long absence.”

Yes, you will have many things to guard against,” said Georgina thoughtfully: “It will be a trying position for you, Evelyn, but you must not trust in yourself.”

“What shall I have to guard against, Georgy? Tell me, what will be my great dangers ?”

“That is a hard question, Evy; I could answer it better if I had seen you in your home, but I will tell you what I think will be your great dangers.”

Evelyn listened attentively, and Georgina continued.

“In the first place, I think you must be very careful to guard against pride. I don't think you are inclined to be proud, but your position will be a dangerous one. You will be one of the Miss Falconers of Everley, and your family one of the oldest in the county. You will be rich, and much thought of no doubt, and these things will make your position dangerous. You must take care, dearest Evelyn, and remember how little we have really to be proud of, and that we are in reality as far as all important things are concerned, exactly the same as the poorest and most vulgar person imaginable. I mean that we have all the same souls, the same work to perform, the same object in view, the same hope at the end of life. If we remember this it seems scarcely possible to be proud."

“I can't fancy that will be my danger," replied Evelyn. “It seems so strange and unchristianlike!

“It does, and I don't think it will exactly. But Evelyn, there are several kinds of pride. You may think because you don't mind going into a labourer's cottage, and sitting down in a close kitchen, or nursing a half-clothed baby, that you can't be proud. These are not always the ways in which pride shows itself. I know at this moment ladies in my father's parish, who will walk through the street in an old shawl and a plain bonnet, and carry a dinner on a plate in their hands, or a roll of flannel under their arm, to the poorest person in the parish, but who if they meet the lawyer's wife or the surgeon's daughter, people as well educated, perhaps even better than themselves, but who have no grand relations, and live in a house next the street, would pass them on the opposite side of the road, and either take no notice of them at all, or merely recognize them by the slightest and coldest inclination of the head imaginable.”

« PreviousContinue »