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was after the flesh persecuted (by mocking) him that was after the spirit, even so the game continues in full force to this day.
"I don't think I should ever have consented to visit them, if I had known of all the cant," said Mrs. Latymer. "It is simply disgusting in a parvenu like that man.''
"My idea is, that religion is a person's private concern, no more to be obtruded on others than his fancies in food: but how could you expect good breeding in such a quarter?" chimed in her husband, as the roomy carriage rolled along among the infant larches. "However, Charley may prove a useful ueighbour, and he certainly seems to have plenty of money; which, as the immortal Shakespeare says—"
Mrs. Latymer invariably turned a deaf ear to her husband's quotations.
HCGH LAKE'S TREMENDOUS RESOLVE.
Christmas drew nigh that year with unwonted asperity. The roads were ringing with ice and the hills capped with snow from the second week in December, with the sole variations of black frost and white frost: and steadily down, down, retreated the mercury towards its ball, till people began to think something must have happened to the Gulf-stream, and that the climate of Labrador had crossed channel fur a permanence.
One small section of the comfortable community rejoiced, viz.. the skaters; who believed that the chief end and worthiest use of ponds was to be frozen over. The single cloud on their happiness was the probability of the cessation of frost. From breakfast hour till bed-time the laugh at Narramore was a thoroughfare of enthusiasts: the more enthusiastic in that the water was known to be scarcely any where deep enough for drowning. And all the world who did not skate, came every afternoon to inspect those who did.
C Among the lookers-on that Christmas-eve, was a short stout young man. who wore his hat so slouched down over his features, and his
coat-collar so drawn up about his cldn, that it would have been difficult to recognise him. He had come by the high-road out of the country, the artery connecting little Narramore with a bigger town some miles away: and turned aside for a few minutes to look at the skating.
"Skates to hire, sir!" said a fellow with half-a-dozen pairs dangling from his wrist, while he blew his fingers for warmth as he waited an answ er. "Screw on yer skates, sir? hole bored in yer boot in two seconds; here's the choir, yer honour !" interposed another, holding a rush-bottomed affair by its broken back. "Or may be yer honour would like to give herself a dhrive?" for there were various couples gliding about on the ice, the lady warmly wrapt in a chair, pushed from behind by her cavalier; and occasionally such couples came to grief and were spilled, if the gentleman did not happen to be skilful in avoiding inequalities, such as little mounds of frozen snow.
Hugh Lake turned away, and resumed his trudge to the town, which held up its finger of a solitary spire at about a mile's distance. Time was when he would have displayed himself on the icy lougli with the best skaters there, but he had uo spirits for the amusement now, and the ringing shouts and laughter only grated on his ear. Quickly he walked on the heels of his own long shadow, cast right before him by the sun descending the west in crimson, and which had melted into the universal grey shade long before he reached the first houses.
There was not in the young man an atom of sentimentality, or he might have ruminated concerning the old familiar streets, which to say truth, wrere just as narrow and dingy as two years ago. No gas would be lit in Narramore thoroughfares to-night, because a moon was expected by-and-by to do the dlumination gratis, and the town authorities were on frugal ends intent. And so his mother's humble halldoor, had not the cheap enlivenment of its usual street-lamp flaring opposite, when Hugh Lake knocked: a stammering, uncharacteristic knock, invented for the occasion.
Of course they didn't know he was coming. Half the pleasure was to lie in the surprise. If they did know, there would have been much more fire in the little grate, though there could not have been more warmth in the welcome.
"Come for your holidays !" was the unauthorised conclusion. "How good of Mr. Etough to let you away! What a kind man he must be!" exclaimed the mother. "But who could be anything but kind to my Hugh!" and so on, with the parental partiality of which we have been all once the happy subjects. And then, leaving him to the caresses of his sister, she stole away to the little kitchen, whence proceeded an appetising odour of frizzling bacon almost immediately, which was equivalent to the slaying of the fatted calf.
How happy they were round that humble tea-table and its delf ware! Hugh's tremendous resolve overshadowed him a little once or twice, but only because he was not sure how these dear ones would receive it. In itself, he was convinced of the righteousness of his determination, and his will was never very flexible.
"And how many days can you give us, Hugh? I see you have brought no luggage," said his sister.
"Now for it!" thought he, drawing a breath as if he was about to dive into deep waters. "The fact is, I'm going to stay with you altogether," he said aloud. "I've left Etough's." He sank his hands in his trousers' pockets very deep, and tried to look particularly firm.
"Left Mr.Etough's !" His mother let fall the sock she was knitting for him. "Are you in earnest, my boy?"
"Never more so, mother. Could I stay there, his drudge, working for a nominal salary, when I might be doing something for you here?"
'• We are not getting on badly, dear," she answered, after a pause, tilled upbyamothcr's gazing at him: "I have parted with the maid-servant, of course, and Bessie has got a new music-pupil, which is a considerable help."
"And you think I'm goingto stand that, as long as I have hands!" he exclaimed.almostpassionately. " I'm going to let you slave and toil at common housework, and this child go out in all weathers at a shilling a lesson—"
"I get one-and-sixpence now. Hugh," she put in, rubbing his hands with a soft, soothing motion, and once or twice drooping her face upon them.
"I'll tell you what, mother. We must do as the clergyman proposed you should at the time of my dear father's death ; we must open a little shop, with stationery, and things of that sort. It would be such nice work for you—"
"But your uncle Latymer—"
'■ Mother, don't name him! What right has he to interfere? I wouldn't consult him in the least. His ridiculous family pride could cast us off into starvation fast enough, although, forsooth, he cannot tolerate the idea of a shop!"
"But he said what was very true. Hugh, when I wrote about it to him: nothing could counterbalance the disadvantage to my daughter—to Bessie."
•' Now, mother, don't you believe that! Isn't it better for her to have whole boots than broken ones—better to have a big, blazing fire than these cinders? What can be the disadvantage? That Mrs. Somebody-orother won't favour her with a bow any longer—that she won't be asked to those wretched little parties, where she's expected to play the piano all night? Oh! teaching is so much genteeler than shop-keeping, is it? I'm sick of the very word ' genteel.' I believe it covers as much misery us any other word in the world!"
Thus ran on the impetuous young man, until, looking at his mother, he perceived her eyes full of tears. And Bessicagain caught hold of his square, strong hand to soothe it with caresses.
•' I have not intended to vex you," he said, in a gentler tone: "but I'm a clumsy fellow at hiding anything that's in my heart, mother. I know that EtouglVs was a very genteel employment, and perhaps I ought to have stayed there till the gentility made me forget the chicanery. Oh, the things I've seen done in that office! And I know I'll be considered as lowering myself in the social scale by what I'm going to do now: but I don't care a button, as long as I believe I'm right."
Gentle Mrs. Lake had been so long bearing the buffets of the world in her capacity of poor widow, that her mind had acquired a sort of heading, bulrush quality, which made her invariably yield to the stronger will. She only asked, with some little apprehension, what her son meant to do that was so lowering?
"I wrote to Mr. Brown, the draper—you know he considers himself in my debt since I pulled his little boy out of the canal—and he will take me for as many months as I want, to learn his business, without any fee. Then I've scraped a few pounds together, enough to begin a little shop of our own, with the credit I know Brown will give us. Oh! trust me, mother, but we will get on, and be comfortable yet!"
The sanguine fellow actually clapped his hands over his humble castle in the air, as if he was not altogether coming down from his position as a gentleman in contemplating such a thing.
"My dear," interposed his mother, gently, " I fear people will object to employ Bessie."
"Let them!" he exclaimed, rather
fiercely. "Her music would be con taminated by her brother's selling goods over a counter, of course. She would be no longer a 'young lady,' perhaps, but only a ' young person.'"
Bessie laughed heartily. "That would not injure me much, Hughf
'• Oh! in the estimation of your relatives, the Latymers, it would be ruinous. And as to your actually soiling a stick of wax, or a quire of paper, nothing could be more degrading: though the timber at Kyle may be sold without loss of social dignity, and the grass of the demesne let out to graziers. I cannot see those fine-drawn distinctions, I own. And look here, mother ; you are only anticipating and providing against the evil day by following my plan. Uncle Latymer has already reduced the pittance he allowed you by onehalf, and his growing embarrassments will oblige him to stop it altogether before long, and then you have nothing to depend on but the trifling interest of that insurance money. I know something of his affairs; believe me that I state the truth."
Long was the conference of the trio that Christmas Eve. The two women shrank from what they deemed the social plunge. What would the members of their small but genteel circle say? And the pride of the Latymers had still some lingering in that degenerate branch of the family stock, Hugh's mother.
BY MARY HOWITT.
There is scarcely a house in the civilized world, certainly not one where the English language is spoken, and the domestic virtues cherished,which willnot hear with sorrow that the labours and the writings of Fredrika Bremer are now ended.
This remarkable woman, whose name stands equally prominent with 'hose of Linnaeus aud Swedenborg in the literary status of their country, passed away from this life at Arsta, on the last day of the old year.
By birth Miss Bremer was a Fin; she was born at Abo, on the 17th of August, 1801, but on the cession of Finland to Russia her family re
moved to Stockholm, where, and at Arsta, a fine old property, purchased by her father some sixteen or seventeen miles from the capital, the Bremer family lived in opulence and consideration; the children, seven in number, two sons and five daughters, were carefully educated in all the accomplishments which distinguished the higher classes, the winters being spent in the capital for the advantage of masters.
At the early age of eight the child, Fredrika, began to write, and at twelve she had composed an opera. She was a restless, earnest child, little understood probably by her nearest relatives; hence her childhood furnished many touching experiences, which she lias at various times related to her more intimate friends. In many respects the character of Petrea, drawn so livingly in " The Home," represents herself.
Probably owing to some embarrassment in her family affairs, or it might be from the unrest in her own soul, which needed a larger and more varied sphere of action than her home afforded, Miss Bremer was for some time engaged as teacher in a ladies' school in Stockholm, and also passed twelve months with the Countess Sommerhjelm in Norway, but in what capacity docs not appear. Of this portion of her early experience, however, she always spoke with much pleasure; and the scenery and characters of one of the most charming of her stories, "Strife and Peace," arc derived from this sojourn.
Miss Bremer first appeared before the public as the author of" Sketches of Every day Life." These, commencing with "Axel andAima," "The Twins," and other small stories were immediately perused with that heartfelt approval which was a forerunner of the eager delight with whic h her
subsequent sketches, "The H .
Family," "The President's Daughters," "Nina," "The Neighbours," "The Home," and "Strife and Peace," were everywhere devoured. In Germany, in England, where they were first introduced by Mary Howitt, wherever, indeed, the German and English languages were spoken, these works, truly Teutonic in their character, home-loving, moral, and religious, were received with enthusiasm which had far more of the heart's love in it than of the measured appreciation of the mere intellect.
Whilst enjoying this almost universal popularity, she produced several other stories, " The Diary," "Life in Dalecarlia," "Brothersand Sisters," and "The Midnight Sun." None of them, however, ore equal to the earlier works, probably because the author herself felt the difficult task of writing up to her own already acquired reputation.
No doubt it was something of this feeling which led her to look abroad into the life of another, yet still a kindred people, for new fields of labour. Be that, however, as it might, she accepted the warm invitations which crowded upon her from her numerous admiring friends in America, and paying a short visit to England on her way, went to the New World where she spent the next two years, deeply studying the social, moral.and religious conditions of that great country. The result of this travel and study was given to the world in three vols, in 1853, under the title of the "Homes of the New World." Of this work, relative to which, opinions both in her own country and England were divided, we will take the judgment of Edmund About.
"I had read," says he, " no single work of Miss Bremer's, when her travels in America fell into my hands, and it now seems to me as if I had conversed with an old acquaintance, and that the reading of these four hundred pages had been a long and intimate conversation, in which this admirable woman had permitted me to see all the beauty of her soul, all her heart's finest feelings, and all the greatnesses and the weaknesses of her genius .... Miss Bremer has a pure soul and a strong intellect, and in her volumes the reader will find the most perfect pictures of America, and the Americans."
In 1866 Miss Bremer published "Hertha," a story in one volume, and essentially a sketch of everyday life. The purport of this work was that by showing the extremely unjust and oppressive laws which existed in her country regarding women, public opinion might be aroused to demand their alteration. But though the public, somewhat wounded by their favourite author presenting so unlovable a picture of Swedish homes, did not second her patriotic views, the monarch himself and other right-thinking and powerful men admitted the justice of her complaints, and to her the Swedish women owe a kinder and more liberal legislation. To the same response also and to the same prime mover the young women of Sweden and the nation at large, owe the noble Seminariiun, an educational institution in Stockholm for the training of female teachers. The result of this fine institution, and various others of a kindred character, already justify by their effects, and the ardour with which they are accepted, all that the authoress of "Hertha" ever aimed at, or ever sought to reprobate in the old state of things.
It was not, however, for education alone that Miss Bremer was an active labourer; her works of love were unceasing; nothing was undertaken of a philanthropic nature without her as its head. She alone was the means of establishing funds for the relief, and homes for the reception of orphans and neglected children, both in Stockholm and Copenhagen.
Never was a celebrated woman, who had been so feted and admired by the world so little spoiled by her fame. In her home she still maintained the same simple habits; she was a true matmoder in genuine hospitality and kindness. To the last she loved the society of the young, and surrounded herself with them. She had mostly one or two young ladies living under her own roof, at her own cost, to whom she could be useful, and for whom, through her influence, or by her own right, she would obtain instruction or advantages of one kind or another, which, but for her help would have been impossible to them.
Her piety was sincere and unostentatious. Her religion was that of love and good works, and in this way she imitated her Saviour. The earliest literary work which she produced of a decidedly religious character Ls called " The M orning Watch, or a Confession of Faith," intended to counteract the writings of Strauss. At various times, also, she has brought out excellent tracts. But her daily life was her most beautiful teaching, and not one of her young protiqis but will carry into her future life the influence of the time spent in daily intercourse with her.
Whilst apparently in good health, yet having passed her three-score years, Miss Bremer longed for more retirement and repose than she could command in the capital where she formed the centre of every philanthropic movement, and visitors thronged around her.
Thence in the summer of 1804, she paid a visit to Arsta, the old family home, though now passed into the hands of others, and very happy was the time so spent. A young lady, who accompanied her on that occasion, relates that she entered into every pleasure of that enjoyable time with a zest equal to the youngest of them.
The quietness and the freshness of the country gave her, as it were, new vigour. She joined the haymaking parties, and almost outwalked her young friends in their delightful country excursions, or to gather the red whortle-berries or wild raspberries.
But this pleasant life for them is now over. Her earthly remains rest by those of her youngest sister Agatha, and her heart's joy, in the family burial ground at the quiet little church-yard of Osterhannige near Asta.
With her the name of Bremer ceases, at least in the Swedish branch of the family, yet as long as the English language is spoken will she be remembered; and her native country will, for generations yet to come, have to acknowledge her as one of its noblest women, nobler for good works of imperishable memory, even than for her truthful pictures of their everyday life.
In conclusion, we may add as a beautiful and significant fact that the text which she herself had selected for the last day of the year in a little text-book compiled by herself, and called "Golden Corn," should be v. 5 of chap. 22, in Revelation: "There shall be no night there, and theyneed no candle, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever." And she herself passed away into that Eternal Light on the morning of that very dav.