« AnteriorContinua »
Stinton, who promised Parson Best that I should be used well.
“And now my punishment came upon me; now I learnt, to my sore grief, that I had indeed lost a friend. As soon as I was well fixed under the charge of Mrs. Stinton, she made me know that there was to be a great difference made between me and her two girls. She made me fetch all the 'wood for the family, and Dolly, and Fanny never offered to help me. She made me spin a certain quantity of woollen yarn every day, more thani I could do without standing to it, late and early, at every moment which I could spare from scouring, and cooking, and cleaning the house. I was no longer thought a proper companion for Fanny and Dolly, who used to be so fond of my company. I had the coarsest bits given me at every meal, and never knew what it was to have a kind word said to me, excepting by John Stinton himself, who would sometimes take my part when he came in from work; but I only got the worse used for this when bis hack was turned. What! I suppose,' Mrs. Stinton would say; you expect to get on with me as you did with your old doting mother, do you, Miss? But I'll teach you another lesson; I can see without spectacles ; you can't hide yourself from me. It is no longer Polly, my darling; I know your tricks, you sly hussey, how you served the old body, and I'll pay you for them.'-I once ventured to tell her, that I had no tricks till her daughters taught them to me; but this only got me a severe beating, and set Fanny and Dolly more against me. The only peaceful tiine I knew from weck's end to week's end, was when the family were at church on Suno day, and I was left to keep the house ; for Mrs. Stinton always found some excuse to the neighbours for my not going to church : then I used to indulge myself in crying, and going about to every place where I remembered to bave seen my dear mother sit, or stand, or walk. Sometimes I would call to her as if she could hear me, crying, Oh! come back, come back, come back, beloved Mother! And this I have done till the echo, which is at the corner of the rock where the brook falls, has returned the sound, Oh! come back, come back, come back, beloved Mother!'
o In this manner I went on, grieving and seeming to be past comfort, till the Spirit of God (I am sure it was the Spirit of God) brought my mother's last advice into my mind, which was, that I was to look to my Saviour for help and direction on all occasions, as I had been accustomed to look to her. I was led by these words to seek my Saviour in prayer, and from that time I felt comfort. I was made sensible that I had deserved all the troubles I then endured, and ten thousand times greater, as the due punishment of my sins: thus my God humbled me, and brought me to endure with patience my unbappy situation.
“I had lived in John Stinton's family nearly three years, enduring all manner of hardship, and ill usage," added Mary Bush; " but growing, I trust, through affliction, in the kpowledge of God; when one Sunday afternoon, in the pleasant month of August, whilst the family were at church, I walked with my Bible in my hand, to the place where I had last walked with my mother, and sat down in the very place under the hedge where I had sat with her. There, whilst I sat thinking upon the days that were gone, I saw a young man coming over the fields from Hill-top way. When he came pretty near the place where I sat, I got up, and turned towards the house; but he walking briskly after me, asked me if I could tell him where one Mary Bush lived; for, said he, I am her father's brother's son, and am just come to live plough-boy
at Farmer Harris's, of Hill-top. When I told him that I was the very Mary Bush he sought, he took me kindly by the hand, and our meeting was like that of Rachel and Jacob in ancient story. Neither did we love each other less; for he afterwards became my husband, and came to live with me in this cottage; nor was there ever a kinder husband, or one who died more blessed.
“ I was glad to see my cousin, whom I had often heard of, but had never seen before. , When I told him that I was not happy, he promised to do what he could for me; and soon got me a place at Farmer Harris's. I lived there six years : my business was to take care of the children. I had a good place, and a kind mistress; so that I blessed God every day for the happy change.
“When John Stinton's time was out in the cottage, I married my cousin, Thomas Bush, and we came to live here ; and here have I lived ever since, and hope to do so, till it pleases God to remove me to a fairer habitation, where the Lamb will feed me, and will lead me unto living fountains of waters, and God will wipe away all. tears from my eyes.' (Rev. vii. 17.)”
When Mary Bush bad finished her story, Lucy and Emily wiped some tears from their eyes; and Henry said, “Take us, Mary, to the place where the echo is, that I may think how you stood and called for your mother. Oh! how lonely you must have felt, when you called, and called, and nothing answered but the echo!"
Mary Bush then led the children to the place where the echo was : it was caused by the windings of the hill, which returned the voice of any one that spoke, or any other sound. The children soon perceived the echo; for there was a woodman at work at some distance in the coppice, and the echo repeated the sound of the strokes of the hatchet almost as plainly as the first sound.
It was time now to return home; and the children took leave of Mary Bush, and Goodman and Margery Grey. Mr. and Mrs. Fairchild were not returned when they got home. John gave each of them a bunch of cherries, and they went up stairs to bed; but before Henry parted from his sisters they all knelt down to pray that God would give them hearts to behave well to their dear parents. Their prayer was a very pretty one, and I shall put it down here, with the hymn they sung.
A Prayer for a Child, that God would give him
Grace to behave well to his parents.. 0. Almighty God! thou who, for thy dear Son, the blessed Lord Jesus Christ's sake, hearest the prayers of all such as come to thee in his Name; hearken, I humbly pray thee, to the prayer of a sinful child, who is now come before thee, to beg of thee help that he may behave dutifully and kindly to his dear parents and teachers. Oh! to this end, dear Lord God, send thy Spirit into my heart, that I may be dutiful to them, obeying all their lawful commands, and striving in all things to please them ; not shunning their company, as my sinful heart would have me to do, but taking delight in being with them, and attending upon them, and pleasing them, as they attended upon me when I was a little helpless baby. And if their health, or their strength, or their eyes, or their limbs, should fail them, o give me grace to help them in their age, and to be eyes and hands to them! In a little while this my dear father and mother, and those kind people who took care of me when I was young, will be taken from me, and I shall see them no more in this world. I shall then look to the places where they
used to be, and shall not find them"; and iny eyes will desire to see them, and cannot see them. O Almighty God! grant that, when these my dear friends may be taken from me, I may not have the remembrance of any undutiful or negligent behaviour towards them to trouble my mind. And to this end, O Lord, send thy Spirit to search my heart, that I may know before it is too late, and whilst these dear friends are with me, whether I have been, or now am, an undutiful child ; that I may repent before it is too late, and may amend my behaviour before these beloved ones are taken hence, and are no more seen. O dearest Saviour ! give unto me, and unto them, new and holy, hearts, that after death we may meet in ihy presence, to enjoy an eternity of happiness at thy right hand for evermore.
Now to thee, () God, who gavest thy dear Son to die for us, and thee, O bleeding Lamb, and thee, O Holy Spirit, be all glory and honour, for ever and ever. Amen.
“ Our Father," &c.
THUS far my God has led me on,