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The Good Wife.
5 their way. James, though he felt a pang at leaving his wife, quickly regained his spirits, and, elate with hope, only looked forward to a happy future; but her heart was filled with sorrow as she drew near her deserted cottage; and, throwing herself on the bed where her children were sleeping, she wept bitterly.
“ Several days had now passed heavily away since her husband left her; when, one evening, after Sarah had put her children to bed, she stepped in to her kind neighbour, Mrs. Miller; she found her sitting at supper, with her husband and two eldest boys. I am glad you are come in to-night,' said the happy wife, for, at last, our master has given John something to do, and we shall begin to look up again :-but you look pale and cold-come, and sit by the fire.'
“ John Miller, like James Carter, had suffered from the general failure of work in the neighbourhood; but he resolved to wait patiently for better times. Meanwhile he was not idle. He had a large family; and, when his boys came from the village school, he tried to make them useful, in various ways, at home. At length his patience was rewarded, and he was again enabled to support his family by his daily labour.
“ A letter from James, though it contained the history of much disappointment, was a great comfort to Sarah, as it told her that he was about to return home; and she retired to rest with a lighter heart than she had done lately.
“ In less than a week James returned. His altered looks told more than he wished should be known. It was evident that he had suffered much from privation; but he avoided the subject as far as he could, and only owned in a general way, that he had not sueceeded so well as he expected :- I shall go, however, to-morrow to my master for work; for if John Miller has got some, I don't see what is to hinder me.'
" James went to his master, and returned disappointed. As he was not in the village when his em
ployer wanted workmen, the place he had formerly filled was given to another ; but he was promised employment soon.
“In the mean time the worthy rector of the parish found James something to do; and he went on very steadily in his new employment, and did not fail to bring home all the money he earned ; but this was not more than sufficient for the support of the family; and a debt which he had contracted in London preyed heavily on Sarah's mind. She was not one of those persons who can borrow money, and take no thought about the payment of it; she felt that what her husband earned was not strictly their own as long as the debt was unpaid. Sarah, therefore, applied to several families in the village, to whom she was known, and obtained from them some needle work, which she contrived to do while her husband was from home in the morning. She carefully put by every sixpence, or shilling, which she earned, and, as her little store increased, her heart became lighter; and, instead of only trying to be cheerful when her husband was at home, she was really happy.
“ The winter was fast approaching, and Christmas, drew near. James, now and then, expressed his wish that the debt could be paid, and Sarah as often assured him, that she hoped they should, in some way, be able to save money enough to send it, soon after the time it was due. One evening, when he returned, rather late, from his work, he was surprised to find that Sarah was out. He found the infant asleep in the cradle, and his daughter Susan in bed. Sarah's work was upon the table, as if she had just left the room. It was so seldom that she was absent when he was expected home, that he could not help feeling uneasy. To sit down quietly, and wait for her return, was quite out of the question ; he therefore stepped in to his neighbour's to enquire if they had seen her. She was here about ten minutes ago,' said John Miller, '-wanting us to give her a note, or something, for a
The Good Wife.
7 bag full of shillings and sixpences ; and now she is gone to the shop down the village.'
It must be so,' said James, after a few minutes' consideration, she has been working for me.' James hurried out of the cottage, and sat down by his fireside, waiting the return of his wife. “ In a few minutes, Sarah came in, her
beaming with delight as she shewed her husband the money.- And have you heard,' said she, that your old master has lost one of his workmen ? and perhaps you may get the place!'
“James said he had not heard of it, and he determined to apply again the next morning. They sat up late, talking over their improved prospects. Sarah endeavoured to trace every blessing to the Author and Giver of all good things,' and James felt that he owed too much to her exertions not to listen with attention to what she said.
" The following morning he went to his master, who received him kindly; and promised, that if Mr. Marriott would give a good account of his steadiness and activity, he should be taken again into his service. James next went to the Rectory, where he found Mr. Marriott, as usual, ready to listen to the applications of his flock. His request for a recommendation to his master was complied with ; and the worthy rector, as he handed the paper, said, 'I give you this with almost as much pleasure as you can receive it, and I am glad that you are likely to be comfortable again, for the sake of your excellent wife.--I hope that the debt I heard of will soon be paid.”
“ James drew from his waistcoat pocket the money Sarah had earned. Mr. Marriott looked surprised, and seemed quite at a loss to conceive how he had become possessed of such a sum. James was too generous to conceal any thing, and ended his account of his wife's industry by requesting that Mr. Marriott would send the money to London for them. This he readily agreed to do.
« « The conduct of this excellent woman, my good friend,' said the rector, ' should teach us all the value of those Christian principles by which she is influenced. These principles have made her patient in adverse fortune-industrious—contented—happy. A good wife is a blessing to her husband, to her children, to her relations, and even to the neighbourhood in which she lives. The longer you live, the more you will feel her value :- And her children will arise up and call her blessed.'”
“ Mr. Marriott seemed quite animated with the warmth of his feelings. James acknowledged the truth of his remarks by silent attention ;--he was not a man of many words, and there were few expressions which could have told what he felt. He left the Rectory, and took the recommendation of Mr. Marriott to his master the following morning. The place he wished for was given to him; and on the Monday afterwards he found himself again established in the manufactory
“Christmas came, and brought with it more solid comfort and enjoyment than James and his wife had known since their marriage. They could now join in heartfelt thankfulness for the blessings commemorated at that joyful season :-they shared in the pleasures of religion as well as its duties.”
ON KNEELING DOWN AT PRAYERS. The following is an extract from a letter of the late Bishop Porteus, to the Clergy of his Diocese on the subject of kneeling at church.
* For many years past, I have observed with extreme concern, in different Churches and Chapels, both in the Metropolis, and in various parts of the country, where I happened to be present, a Practice prevailing, of a considerable part of the congregation sitTING during those parts of Divine Worship where the
On Kneeling down at Prayers.
9 Rubric expressly enjoins every one to KNEEL. It may be thought, perhaps, that the posture of the body, in offering up our prayers, is a circumstance too trivial to deserve such' serious notice as this. But can any thing be trivial that relates to the Almighty Governor of the Universe ? Does not every one know too, that the Mind and the Body mutually act upon, and influence each other: and that a negligent attitude of the one, will naturally produce indifference and inattention in the other? Look only at the general deportment of those who sit at their Devotions, (without being compelled to it by necessity) and then say whether this remark is not founded on truth, and in fact. Let me appeal to every man addicted to this practice, let me ask him whether, if he found it necessary to request a favour from any earthly Sovereign, or even from any superior whatever, he would offer his petition in the attitude of sitting? Common Decency, Common Usage, and Common Sense, revolt at the very idea of such a thing. And are we then to treat the Great Lord of all with less respect than we should observe towards a Fellow Creature in any degree superior to us? Consider too, what it is we are asking in our prayers ; Nothing less than the supply of our daily wants, the pardon of our daily sins, protection from danger, support under affliction, the comforts and conveniences of the present life, and everlasting felicity in the life to come. And are these such trivial, such contemptible things, that we may ask them perfectly at our ease, and in the very same indolent and familiar attitude in which we should hold a conversation with a friend on the news of the day? I shall be told, perhaps, that there are some denominations of Christians that stand, and others that sit at their devotions. It is very true; and they must be left to judge for themselves : but my concern at present is not either with any particular description of Christians in foreign countries, or with any particular Sectaries in this; but with Members of the Church,