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"I know that, mother," Winthrop replied, with again the calm face but the flushing colour;-" he said yesterday I heard him-"


"He said he would it for myself, mother. His mother hardly and sighed heavily.

try to make a man of Rufus! I must do And I will.”

doubted it. But she sighed as she looked,

"I ought to have made you promise not to be troubled, mamma," he said with a relaxing face.

"I am more careful of my promises than that," she answered. "But Winthrop, my boy, what do you want to do first?"

"To learn, mamma!" he said, with a singular flash of fire in his usual cool eye. "To get rid of ignorance, and then to get the power that knowledge gives. Rufus said the other day that knowledge is power, and I know he was right. I feel like a man with his hands tied, because I am so ignorant."

"You are hardly a man yet, Winthrop; you are only a boy in years.

"I am almost sixteen, mother, and I haven't taken the first step yet."

What should the first step be? A question in the minds of both; the answer—a blank.

"How long have you been thinking of this?"

"Since last spring, mother."

"Didn't Will's going put it in your head?"

"That gave me the first thought; but it would have made no difference, mother; it would have come, sooner or later. I know it would, by my feeling ever since."

Mrs. Landholm's eye wandered round the room, the very walls in their humbleness and roughness reminding her anew of the labour and self-denial it had cost to rear them, and then to furnish them, and that was now expended in keeping the inside warm. Every brown beam and little window-sash could witness the story of privation and struggle, if she would let her mind go back to it; the associations were on every hand; neither was the struggle over. She turned her back upon the room, and sitting down in Winthrop's chair bent her look as he had done into the decaying bed of coals.

He was standing in the shadow of the mantelpiece, and looking down in his turn scanned her face and countenance as a little while before she had scanned his. Hers was a fine face, in some of the finest indications. It had not, probably it never had, the

extreme physical beauty of her first-born, nor the mark of intellect that was upon the features of the second. But there was the unmistakable writing of calm good sense, a patient and possessed mind, a strong power for the right, whether doing or suffering, a pure spirit; and that nameless beauty, earthly and unearthly, which looks out of the eyes of a mother; a beauty like which there is none. But more; toil's work, and care's, were there, very plain, on the figure and on the face, and on the countenance too; he could not overlook it; work that years had notTM had time to do, nor sorrow permission. His heart smote him.

"Mamma," he said, “you have left out the hardest difficulty of all. How can I go and leave you and papa without me?"

"How can you? My child, I can bear to do without you in this world, if it is to be for your good or happiness. There is only one thing, Winthrop, I cannot bear."

He was silent.

"I could bear anything—it would make my life a garden of roses if I were sure of having you with me in the next world.” "Mamma-you know I would

"I know you would, I believe, give your life to serve me, my boy. But till you love God as well as that, you may be my child, but you are not his."

He was silent still; and heaving a sigh, a weary one, that came from very far down in her heart, she turned away again and sat looking towards the fireplace. But not at it, nor at anything else that mortal eyes could see. It was a look that left the things around her, and passing present wants and future contingencies, went beyond, to the issues, and to the secret springs that move them. An earnest and painful look; a look of patient care and meek reliance; so earnest, so intent, so distant in its gaze, that told well it was a path the mind often travelled and often in such wise, and with the self-same burden. Winthrop watched the gentle grave face, so very grave then in its gentleness, until he could not bear it; her cheek was growing pale, and whether with cold or with thinking he did not care to know.


He came forward and gently touched his cheek to the pale

"Mamma, do not look so for me!" he whispered.

She pulled him down beside her on the hearth, and nestled her face on his shoulder and wrapped her arms round him. And they strained him close, but he could not speak to her then.

"For whom should I look? or for what do I live? My boy! I would die to know that you loved Christ;-that my dear Master was yours too!"

The gently-spoken words tied his tongue. He was mute; till she had unloosed her arms from about him and sat with her face in her hands. Then his head sought her shoulder.

"Mamma, I know you are right. I will do anything to please you-anything that I can," he said with a great force upon him


"What can you do, Winthrop ?

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He did not answer again, and she looked up and looked into his face.

"Can you take God for your God? and give your heart and your life,—all the knowledge you will ever get and all the power it will ever give you,-to be used for him?"

"For him, mamma ?—"

"In doing his work-in doing his pleasure?"

“Mamma—I am not a Christian," he said hesitatingly and his eye falling.

"And now you know what a Christian is. Till you can do this, you do nothing. Till you are Christ's after this wholehearted fashion you are not mine as I wish to see you, you are not mine for ever,-my boy-my dear Winthrop " she said, again putting her arm round him and bowing her face to his breast.

Did he ever forget the moment her head lay there? the moment when his arms held the dearest earthly thing life ever had for him? It was a quiet moment; she was not crying; no tears had been dropped at all throughout their conversation; and when she raised her face it was to kiss him quietly, but twice, on his lips and on his cheek,—and bid him good night. But his soul was full of one meaning, as he shut his little bedroom door, -that that face should never be paler or more care-worn for anything of his doing;-that he would give up anything, he would never go from home, sooner than grieve her heart in a feather's weight; nay, that rather than grieve her, he would become a Christian.


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THE winter was a long one to the separated family. Quietly won through, and busily. The father in the distant legislature; the brother away at his studies; and the two or three lonely people at home; each in his place was earnestly and constantly at work. No doubt Mr. Landholm had more time to play than the rest of them, and his business cares did not press quite so heavily; for he wrote home of gay dinings-out, and familiar intercourse with this and that member of the Senate and Assembly, and hospitable houses that were open to him in Vantassel, where he had pleasant friends and pleasant times. But the home cares were upon him even then; he told how he longed for the Session to be over, that he might be with his family; he sent dear love to little Winifred and Asahel, and postscripts of fatherly charges to Winthrop, recommending to him particularly the care of the young cattle and to go on dressing the flax. And Winthrop, through the long winter, had taken care of the cattle and dressed the flax in the same spirit with which he shut his bedroom door that night; a little calmer, not a whit the less strong.

He filled father's and brother's place-his mother knew how well. Sam Doolittle knew, for he declared "there wa'n't a stake in the fences that wa'n't looked after, as smart as if the old chap was to hum." The grain was threshed as duly as ever, though a boy of sixteen had to stand in the shoes of a man of forty. Perhaps Sam and Anderese wrought better than their wont, in shame or in admiration. Karen never had so good a woodpile, Mrs. Landholm's meal bags were never better looked after; and little

Winifred and Asahel never wanted their rides in the snow, nor had more nuts cracked o' nights; though they had only one tired brother at home instead of two fresh ones. Truth to tell, however, one ride from Winthrop would at any time content them better than two rides from Will. Winthrop never allowed that he was tired, and never seemed so; but his mother and Karen were resolved that tired he must be.

"He had pretty strength to begin with," Karen said; "that was a good thing; and he seemed to keep it up too; he was shootin' over everything."

If Winthrop kept his old plans of self-aggrandizement, it was at the bottom of his heart; he looked and acted nothing but the farmer, all those months. There was a little visit from Rufus too, at mid-winter, which must have wakened the spirit of other things, if it had been at all laid to sleep. But if it waked it kept still. It did not so much as shew itself. Unless indirectly.

"What have you been doing all to-day, Governor?" said his little sister, meeting him with joyful arms as he came in one dark February evening.

"What have you been about all day?" said her brother, taking her up to his shoulder. "Cold, isn't it? Have you got some supper for me?"

"No, I hav'n't," said the little girl.

wants his supper!"


"Hush, hush. Governor's not in a hurry."

"Where have you been all day?" she repeated, putting her little hand upon his cold face with a sort of tender consideration.

"In the snow, and out of it."

"What were you doing in the snow ?"


"Was it cold?"


“What was stinging?"

"Why, the cold!"

She laughed a little, and went on stroking his face.
"What were you doing when you wa'n't in the snow?"
"What do you want to know for?"

"Tell me!"

"I was scutching flax."

"What is that?"

"Why, don't you

know?-didn't you see me beating flax in

the barn the other day ?-beating it upon a board, with a bat?—

that was scutching."

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