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“Is that a letter you have received to-day, Mary ?” “No, ma'am.”

Yesterday?” “Yes, ma'am.”

“ Indeed! The postman was not here—it is not his day. How did you receive it ?”

“By a private hand.”
“ Is it from Miss Wilson ?"

Mary was glad, for an instant, that it was written by another hand, because she was just able to say “no,” to this question; but she soon found herself trembling all over, at the thought of what might follow.

“Who is it from, then ?" was the next question.
“ From a friend of mine," was the reply.
“ From a lady?”
“ Y-e'-es."
“Is that hand-writing the writing of a lady ?"

“Yes !” said Mary, more boldly, for she felt as if she had plunged in, and could not be worse.

“I see you are not in a communicative mood,” said her aunt. “I shall speak to you to-morrow about that letter, for it seems to me that the hand is a bold one—and I fear, Mary, you are a very, very naughty girl.”

Mary sat a long time without moving. All the house was still, and everything in the room and about her was the same as before ; but, oh! what a change had fallen upon her heart ! What would she not have given at that moment to have had the kind bosom of her mother to weep upon; and she did weep in true bitterness of soul, but no one soothed her distress. The last words of her aunt were still sounding in her ear, but her proud spirit no longer rebelled against them, for she felt their truth, and was humbled in the very dust. She had told a falsehood—the thing which her very soul abhorred. She had been guilty of a deliberate, wicked lie, for she had repeated it, knowing all the while it was false. At last she was made sensible of the strength of temptation, and the frailty of the human heart, and, in utter prostration of spirit, she fell upon her knees, and confessed that she was a sinner before God and man.

I can never again,” said she, “ lift up my voice against my fellow-creatures, let them be ever so depraved ;” and in this state of humiliation she met her aunt on the following morning, gave her a long and faithful history of her own conduct since she had been under her roof, both for and against herself, summing up all with the falsehood of the previous night.

This last page in her history was a very sad one, it is true, but her aunt was so struck with her evident sincerity, and with the meek and chastened temper she evinced, that she spoke to her more kindly than she had ever done before, and thinking her present state of mind might require some peculiar treatment, proposed to send her


back to her parents, which Mary agreed to, as the only prospect of obtaining peace of mind.

She had learned a great deal in three months' residence away from her father's roof, and she returned an altered character. She had fallen very low in her own esteem, but the kind soothing of her mother, accompanied by earnest and unceasing endeavours to point out the only foundation on which a weak and erring child may rest with hope of acceptance with God, restored her to the enjoyment of greater equanimity of mind.

Mary Lesley became again a cheerful inmate of her father's household, though she was never, from that time forward, heard to speak harshly of those who had done wrong, or of herself, as if she were holier than they.


Tell us, thou child of sweetness,

What are young thoughts to thee? Are they not in their fleetness

Like sunbeams on the lea ? Are they not like the flowers

Thou gatherest in thy play, Where the sparkling fountain pours

Its melody all day?

Are they not like the blending

Of odour and of bloom, When spring's young buds are sending

Abroad'their soft perfume ? Are they not like the shadows

Of clouds that quickly go Across the purple meadows,

When southern breezes blow?

Tell us, thou gladsome rover,

Unwearied all day long,
Like the bee with beds of clover,

The blackbird with its song,

The lamb so lightly bounding,

The butterfly so gay, What fairy lute is sounding

The music of thy play?

What find'st thou, child of gladness,

Mid those young thoughts of thine, That scarce one tear of sadness

In thy soft eyes can shine ? Hast thou some hoarded treasure,

Or deeper mine of gold, Or secret store of pleasure,

To mortal ear untold ?

Yes, to thy cheek is swelling

The rosy tide of youth, Its smile of radiance telling

Thy secret and its truth;
For gloomy fate can never

Thine after-life pervade,
If thou seest the sunshine ever,

Nor murmurest at the shade.

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