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monks, who occupy the hospice, had erected on a prominent part of the Alp; and although superstition may often pervert this emblem, the christian need not reject on that account the hallowed thoughts which it suggests. Until ten o'clock we watched the power of the sun on this glorious scene. What a change from the still and pale beauty of the night! The pavement of snow is broken up! At first a crevice or two opened a glimpse of the green valleys below, then the whole mass seemed set in solemn motion, as though the mountain would be forced from its moorings; then the vapours attenuated, till only a few fleecy curtains hung around the Alps, like birds taking wing ; and now the whole of this wondrous scene is outspread before us. To describe it is impossible ! suffice it to say, that our guides tell us we may count two hundred Alps, fifty-four towns or villages, and fourteen of the Swiss lakes. But I can never count on such spots! I can only gaze with delight and wonder on these magnificent exhibitions of the power, and glory, and goodness of the Lord !"
H. V. T.
A FIRE-SIDE CONVERSATION. It was drawing towards the close of a November day, and the family party at Mrs. L.'s were enjoying the true English comfort of a warm fire-side.
“ Louisa,” said Mary Anne to her sister, are you not very glad tea-time has come at last? The day has been so rainy and so very dull, I am quite pleased it is almost gone. Are not you ?”
“ No, indeed," answered Louisa, “ I cannot say I am, for the time has not been tedious to me.”
Mary Anne.- Well, that is strange! But I suppose it is because you have been so very industrious. I think every one else in the room will agree with me that this has been a particularly dull, disagreeable, rainy day. Mamma, grandmamma, and brother Charles, have not you found it so? You smile, mamma, as you often do at my questions, but I expect you to say yes,” nevertheless.
Mrs. L.-I smile, Mary Anne, because I imagine you will have to stand alone in your opinion, after all. However, we must give you a fair hearing, and perhaps we may amuse ourselves
during tea-time by talking over the events of this dull day. Suppose you cross-question Louisa first of all.
Mary Anne.-Will you give an account of yourself, dear Louisa?
Louisa.--I believe you know pretty well already what I have been doing. At least, if you had peeped into the study this morning, you would have seen Charles and myself poring over our books, and we could have shown you long pages of translations and exercises, and have repeated to you the grave lessons papa will require to-morrow evening. And oh! Mary Anne, if you had but come in the last hour before dinner, you would have heard such a long discussion on a certain point upon which we happened to differ !-Charles, were you convinced after all ?
Charles.—No, indeed; I must have a second edition of your potent arguments; and even then I will not promise as to the result. When I am convinced, I will acknowledge it fully.
Louisa.-Oh! yes, I am sure of that. So you see, Mary Anne, I have not been dull to-day, for you know how I love reading, and lessons of all kinds, and an argument-a grand argument, with such a learned opponent as Charles, best of all. This afternoon I have been indulging myself as usual, with the books papa brought home last week, and I always think it a perfect luxury to sit by a bright fire-side in winter, with a delightful new book. So I can travel all the world over without toil or trouble, and even go back in imagination, as you said the other day, to “the world before the flood.”
Mary Anne.-I must confess, Louisa, you never do seem dull; but if I were to study as hard as you and Charles do, it would not be so very pleasant to me; else I have plenty of books and of leisure time; and mamma, I am sure, takes great pains with my lessons, though they are but short, and soon over.
Charles. I have seen you look very sorrowful, Mary Anne, even on a sun-shiny day, when mamma has reminded you it was ten o'clock; but do not be cast down, I will tell you how it is. You should think more than you have done of your own deficiencies, and be more anxious to improve yourself; then you would have a strong motive to exertion, and would go about your work with greater zest.
Louisa. I recollect the time when I did not like study at all, but then I used to see in dear mamma, how useful and how desirable it is to have an intelligent and cultivated mind, and when I had once set about trying in earnest to improve myself, I soon found that the more one learns, the more one wishes to learn ; and the more one reads, the greater is the pleasure of reading.
Charles.-Oh! yes, Louisa; and then thipk what capital resources for a rainy day! But we must find out some other preventative of dulness besides reading. Let us hear what mamma has been doing.
Mrs. L.-Not very busy with my books I must confess; for I have had other claims on my attention. I so often urge you all to be diligent in improving yourselves, because I know that in most cases, youth is the time for study, when the faculties are fresh and bright, the time comparatively unoccupied, and the mind free from care. I am now inclined to think I have had too much to interest me to-day, than too little.
Mary Anne.-- Perhaps so, mamma, because you have to think for us all;
you have been out to-day, and that takes up so much time.
Mrs. L.--I should not have gone for pleasure on such a wet morning, but a messenger came early from the village to tell me the gardener's family were in great distress, and indeed I found them all full of trouble, for the eldest son had met with a severe accident yesterday, and the little baby which had been ill so long, died last night.
Mary Arne.- Indeed ! mamma, that sweet little baby? How sorry
I am for its poor mother's sake. Louisa.–And so am I. Do tell us, mamma, how she seems to bear the loss?
Mrs. L.-There had been scarcely time for her to recover herself at all, and her expressions of grief were very touching, such as I would not have sought to check. We all know there is a time to mourn as well as a time to rejoice. We happily believe this poor woman to possess humble piety, and perhaps, in such a case, it is our first duty to give our kindest sympathy, or it may be, to touch on those sources of consolation which the Scriptures open to the afflicted believer.
Louisa.--Ah ! mamma, that is a happy task, is it not ?
the mind and heart nearer to Christ and to heaven. You, Mary Anne, would have liked to have seen the little baby's mild and calm expression, so unlike the look of suffering you have often noticed. I could not help saying to myself. “Oh! happy little child !” and even its mother told me she could not but rejoice to believe it had exchanged her feeble care and affection, for the love and the presence of its Redeemer. We all delight to think of the “ multitude which no man can number," and to know that,
" Amid the joyous songs,
Unite, and perfect praise." Mary Anne.- I wish I had gone with you to the cottage. Did you see the lame boy also ?
Mrs. L.-I did ; and talked to him a long time. He has been so attentive to his poor mother lately, and so regular in his attendance at the Sabbath school, that I begin to hope good things concerning him.
Charles.—Mamma, you are very fond of going to the gardener's cottage ?
Mrs. L.-Yes, partly because my visits are always received gladly and gratefully, and partly because I see there, what one often sadly misses in the humble home of the cottager ; I mean the bright evidence of genuine piety, and the natural, warm expression of family affection and sympathy. Poverty does not seem to have degraded their character, nor the cares of this life to have shut out the thought of better things; and why should it ever be so, since those who are poor in this world, nay be rich in faith, and heirs of a heavenly kingdom? On my way home I spent half-an-hour with our neighbour Mrs. N.
Mary Anne. -Oh! mamma, why did you go to see that uninteresting, irritable woman?
Mrs, L.—You do not ask me why I went to the gardener's cottage ?
Mary Anne. No; because there was great occasion for kind attention there.
Mrs. L.-I will not say the claims were in both cases equal, but I believe, the same feeling of kindness ought to have led to
exertion in the one instance, as in the other. Poor Mrs. N. is not in any particular trouble just now, but she has had many cares and vexations, and we all know how greatly she values the attention of her friends. It is a mistake to imagine we may reserve our sympathy for great occasions. Think how many are the lesser trials of life, and how far sometimes, even a few kind words may go towards soothing a troubled heart.
Mary Anne.- Mamma, you have indeed much to tell and to think of this evening, and besides, I have seen you writing long letters since you came in.
Charles.-So now we have found out another way to be happy: doing good will answer as well as getting good; which will you choose, Mary Anne ?
Grandmamma.--I am inclined to think, Charles, that both should go together. And now, Mary Anne, what will you say to me?
Mary Anne.-Oh! grandmamma, you are my last resource, and I do really think, you must have been very dull to-day.
Grandmamma.—Because, I suppose, you think I can neither do good, nor get good now? It is true, I can do but little; my active days are gone by, and yet, I am far from unhappy, since I can still feel an interest in what others do. Are not you happy, sometimes, on a quiet summer's evening, when the business and even the exciting pleasures of the day are over, if it is all light and calm around, and you are looking forward to "a happy to-morrow." To me, dear children, it is now the evening of life, but I find the promise true, “ At eventide it shall be light.” There is one thing necessary to the happy fulfilment even of the rational, active, and benevolent duties of life, and that is, a heart at peace with itself, with the world, and with its God. And this same peace may soothe and cheer hours otherwise sorrowful ; yes, Mary Anne, it will make even a dark dreary winter's day pleasurable.
Mary Anne.--And so, after all, grandmamma, I must allow, that our enjoyment depends not so much on our circumstances and occupations, as on our state of mind and heart.
Grandmamma.— Truly so. Happiness is, indeed, greatly promoted by full and useful occupation, both mental and bodily; but when sickness, or age, with its many infirmities, renders this impossible, it is our consolation to know, that peace for the present, and hope for the future, may still prevail. “The under