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singleness of purpose lies peace, be the
circumstances what they may.

Janet never heard of her husband again,
until years after, when a letter came from
"Elizabeth Maylin," telling her of his death.
Though Bessie still preserved the name, more
from habit than from pride, she knew now
that she had not been his real wife. On his
death-bed he had confessed all to her; and who
had been that pretty stranger, whom she
had taken to be a common thief and impostor.
And Bessie wrote one of the noblest letters
that woman ever penned to woman, and
spoke of her unintentional wrong in such a
large heroic manner, that Janet felt as if she
had been almost the one to blame in having
caused such evil fortune to one so great and
good. But they made it up between them,
and finally agreed not to reproach themselves
any more; and in future years, Bessie
Maylin received one of Janet's children, when he
had grown a man, and made him the heir
of all her property. And then Janet wrote
to her, and said how strangely they had both
exemplified the truth of the old Hebrew words,
"Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou
shalt find it after many days."


     CHRISTMAS Eve came to us darkly,
         Drooping to our cottage door,
     Not with brave and boisterous greeting,
         As it used to come of yore;
     Not with soft and silent snow-fall,
         Or with frost-wind quick and keen;
     Yet it brought the berries blushing,
         And it brought the holly green.

     Many busy footsteps pattered
         Through our little thoroughfare,
     Children sent on pleasant errands
         For the dainties they would share;
     Young and female forms were passing,
         Lightly flitting to and fro,
     With a quick throb in their bosoms,
         With their faces in a glow.

      And the clean and cheerful windows
         Gleamed upon the dusky night,
      And the mingled voices humming
         Told of leisure and delight;
      Genial voices linked together
          In some old and homely rhyme,
      In some old and hopeful carol
          Fitted for the holy time.

      In that little street of workers,
          Brightening up from side to side,
     One poor dwelling showed no signal
         Of the merry Christmas-tide;
     Feebly shone the simple taper
         By the hearthstone dim and bare,
     Poverty had cast its shadow,
        Grief had hung its symbols there.

     A forlorn and wasted widow
        Held her son upon her knee,
    Whose young stream of life was ebbing
        Back into a shoreless sea;
    Just as time with stealthy footstep
        Strode into another day;
    Death stood by the lonely mother:—
        That young life had ebbed away.

    With the first burst of her anguish
        Hark what news the angels bring!"
    Rang from loud and hopeful voices,
        Bang from tuneful flute and string;
    And she thought she heard her darling,
        High among the radiant spheres,
    Singing with melodious gladness
        " Mother, mother, dry thy tears!"

    And she dried them and subdued them,
        Kept their fountains sealed within,
    Lest a show of outward sorrow
        Should be written down as sin;
    But a cheering faith came o'er her,
        That she was not quite alone;
    That the God-child of the manger
        Had the keeping of her own.


THREE or four years ago we spent part of
a summer in one of the dales in the
neighbourhood of Keswick. We lodged at the
house of a small Statesman, who added to
his occupation of a sheep-farmer that of a
woollen manufacturer. His own flock was
not large, but he bought up other people's
fleeces, either on commission, or for his own
purposes; and his life seemed to unite many
pleasant and various modes of employment,
and the great jolly burly man throve upon all,
both in body and mind.

One day, his handsome wife proposed to us
that we should accompany her to a distant
sheep-shearing, to be held at the house of one of
her husband's customers, where she was sure
we should be heartily welcome, and where we
should see an old-fashioned shearing, such as
was not often met with now in the Dales. I
don't know why it was, but we were lazy,
and declined her invitation. It might be that
the day was a broiling one, even for July, or
it might be a fit of shyness; but whichever was
the reason, it very unaccountably vanished
soon after she was gone, and the opportunity
seemed to have slipped through our fingers.
The day was hotter than ever; and we should
have twice as much reason to be shy and self-
conscious, now that we should not have our
hostess to introduce and chaperone us.
However, so great was our wish to go, that we
blew these obstacles to the winds, if there
were any that day; and, obtaining the
requisite directions from the farm-servant, we
set out on our five mile walk, about one
o'clock on a cloudless day in the first half of

Our party consisted of two grown up
persons and four children, the youngest almost
a baby, who had to be carried the greater part
of that weary length of way. We passed
through Keswick, and saw the groups of
sketching, boating tourists, on whom we, as