« AnteriorContinua »
for it is very solitary. There we walked ; and my mother being feeble and weary, we sat some time to rest her on the bank under the coppice. There we could see the meadows and corn-fields stretching far before us, as far as Hill-top village and farm. The sun, I remember was just setting behind the trees, at the top of the hill. My poor mother looked that way : then turning to me, "My child,' she said (I shall remember her words to my dying day), that sun which is now going down will rise again to-morrow : but I shall soon go into the grave, and you shall see me no more in this world ! but the dear Saviour, in whom I have always trusted, will go down with this corrupt body into the grave (as God went down with Israel into Egypt), and I know that he will raise me in the last day, all glorious and beautiful, and without spot or blemish of sin. “For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth : and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” (Job xix. 25, 26.) I do not trust, my child,' added my dear mother, ‘in anything I have myself done ; I know that I am a miserable sinner, and that there hath not been a thought of my heart, or deed of my hands, from my earliest youth till now, free from the stain of sin; but he that is all fair hath washed me from my corruptions, and purified me with his own blood, and I shall at the last day awake in his likeness : therefore, my child, I am willing and even glad to depart, for I shall die very soon; and I have prayed to God to take charge of thee, my darling, my dear and only child : and I know that God has heard my prayer.'. She then gave me some advice concerning my behaviour when she was no more ; the purport of 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.
“In this manner my beloved mother talked to me till the sun was set, and then we walked slowly home. As we walked under the coppice, she pointed with her stick to some pretty wild flowers growing under the hedge.
• How lovely these flowers are, my darling child !' she said. “If God adorns this sinful world with such beauties, what think you, my dear, will the flowers be like in that world to which I am going?" · Did
you heard her talk so ?” said Lucy
“Yes, indeed I did,” said Mary Bush ; " for, added to the trouble I must have in parting with so dear a mother, all my ill behaviour towards her stared me in the face, and filled me full of grief. Everything my dear mother did that evening I remember as if it was but yesterday. She caused me to make tea for, and to read the Bible to, her as she sat in her arm. chair, and seemed pleased with everything I did, often smiling at me: yet once she had tears in her eyes when she looked at me. She called, after tea, for a lamb's-wool stocking which she had been knitting, and tried to do a little ; but she dropped several stitches, and then putting it down, 'I have done my last work,' she said : I shall do no more.' She then bade me read to her, from one of the Gospels (I forget which), the account of our Saviour's death. She looked hard at me several times whilst I was reading; after which we went to prayers : the words of her prayer I don't well remember ; but I know that she wiped her eyes several times whilst she prayed, and yet seemed to be full of joy and thankfulness, calling upon her Saviour, and praising and thanking him for that blessed gift of his Holy Spirit, by which her vile heart had been prepared for heaven.
“ Whilst the name of her dear Saviour was yet on her lips, she turned pale, and was near falling to the ground. I hastened to her, and lifted her up as well
as I could. Help me to my bed, my dear one,' she said. I did, with some difficulty. I took off some of her clothes, and laid her head on the pillow. She was dying then, but I did not know it: she was so quiet, and seemed so easy, that I supposed she was going to sleep ; and I put out the candle, and came to bed. I remember hearing her slow and solemn breathing, as I was falling asleep by her side ; but I had never seen a dying person, and did not know this awful sign of death. In the morning, when I awoke, I found my mother a corpse: she was gone to the dear Saviour who died for her, and the time was past in which I could make up to this dear parent my undutiful and deceitful behaviour. As soon as I found that my
dear mother was dead, I screamed so loud that John Stinton came running in with all his family.
“ I will not make my tale too long by speaking much of my grief, and of the tears I shed over my dear mother. Oh! what would I now have given to call back one of those hours which I might have spent with this dear mother, and which I wasted in the company of those naughty girls ! My mother was soon to be quite removed from my sight, and I was never to hear her kind words again. She was buried on the fourth evening after her death : and all her goods and clothes were locked up, by order of Parson Best, in the little room I now use for a pantry ; and I was placed in the family of John 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 than 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 his back 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 hussy, 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 time I knew from week's end to week's end, was when the family were at church on Sunday, 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 have 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 !
“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 Į 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 deserved all the troubles that I endured, and ten thousand times greater, as the due punishment of my sins: thus
God humbled me, and brought me to endure with patience my unhappy 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 knowledge 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, 1 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
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