« AnteriorContinuar »
THEORIES REDUCED TO PRACTICE.
Onward through life he goes :
Each evening sees it close:
Has earned a night's repose."-LONGFELLOW.
A FEW weeks after the departure of the Lyndsays for their new home, Doctor Sumner was seized with a malignant fever. In vain the tenderest care was lavished upon one so dearly loved. A few days closed the sceneand the true heart was gone for ever from the home he had made so happy.
All was done that friendship and sympathy could do to soothe the grief of the bereaved family by the many friends that had known and honored the dead; and the good physician was laid to rest by sincere mourners.
Is it well, when the importunate cares of life break in with harsh voices on the holy stillness of a grief like this? Is it not well that these stern monitors, in teaching us of duties yet to be performed, teach us also that there is something yet to live for ?
And so when time had calmed the first bitterness of her sorrow, Mrs. Sumner resolutely set herself to consider the future prospects of her family. Many friends were at hand with proffers of assistance; and had the mother and children been willing to separate, they might easily have found homes where they would have been loved and cherished ; but they shrank from the idea of idle dependence on others, no less than from the thought of separation. The house they lived in was their own, but they had no other property—the investment for Cornelia and Milly having been lost in the wreck of public securities.
The girls had their own thoughts on the subject, but had hesitated to speak; and it was a relief when their mother began to consult them on the best arrangements to make. Her brother, Dr. Wood, who had lately moved to New York, had undertaken to close Dr. Sumner's affairs, and to collect outstanding debts ; so that their efforts pointed to the future alone.
“Have you thought of anything, mamma?”
“I think we had best open a school, my dear, if you are all willing. Our house is well suited for a day-school, and is in a pleasant street, and I think you are fully competent.”
“That will be very nice, aunt Amy,” said Milly. “I love teaching, and I suppose I may help with the little ones.”
“ And you will have to study, too, little lady. Your education is far from complete yet, even in the ordinary sense of the term.”
“I like to study, too, aunty ; but how are we to divide our classes and our duties?"
“We must consult about that, and each take what we can do best."
“Oh, here is uncle Wood; he will help us.” “Help you-how, children?” said Dr. Wood, as, after an affectionate greeting, he seated himself comfortably in a deep arm-chair.
“We are talking of what we are to do, uncle," said Helen. “Mother thinks we had best open
school.” " It will do, I imagine, if you can teach most of the branches yourselves. How is that ?"
“Milly and I can teach the English branches," said Mrs. Sumner; "Helen will teach dra i ing, and Nela music; they all speak French.”
“And,” added Helen, “if I could get some niniatures or wood-engraving to do, I should like it very much. Mr. Esmond advises me to devote myself entirely to wood-engraving."
"I think it will be better for than teaching," said the doctor, “after a while, at any rate. Now about the school; what sort of an establishment is it to be, when do you begin, and have you any scholars engaged ?"
“I wish to commence on the first of next month. We shall keep a day-school at first ; whether we take any boarders or not must depend on circumstances. I think I know of
eight or ten that I could be certain of, but I have spoken to no one as yet.”
“What about your circulars ?" “I never thought about them.”
"Pretty folks you are. Here, give me a pen and ink; we will soon prepare one, and I will leave it at the printer's as I go
home." The circular was written, discussed, and rewritten; and at last copied and deposited in Dr. Wood's pocket-book.
“Now, Miss Nelly,” said he, “let me see some of your work. What have you painted last ?"
Helen hesitated a moment, and the tears rushed to her eyes, but she controlled them, though she dared not trust her voice, as she handed her last finished work to her uncle-a miniature of her father. The doctor looked at it long, and then said,
“It is a perfect likeness. Lend it to me, my dear; it may be of use to you. You know I will be careful of it."
There was a silence of some moments. Then he abruptly changed the subject.