The Minister's Wooing




THERE is no word in the English language more unceremoniously and indefinitely kicked and cuffed about, by what are called sensible people, than the word romance. When Mr. Smith or Mr. Stubbs has brought every wheel of life into such range and order that it is one steady, daily grind,—when they themselves have come into the habits and attitudes of the patient donkey, who steps round and round the endlessly turning wheel of some machinery, then they fancy that they have gotten “the victory that overcometh the world.”

All but this dead grind, and the dollars that come through the mill, is by them thrown into one waste “ catch-all ” and labelled romance. Perhaps there was a time in Mr. Smith’s youth,—he remembers it now,—when he read poetry, when his cheek was wet with strange tears, when a little song, ground out by an organ-grinder in the street, had power to set his heart beating and bring a mist before his eyes. Ah, in those days he had a vision !-a pair of soft eyes stirred him strangely; a little weak hand was laid on his manhood, and it shook and trembled; and then came all the humility, the aspiration, the fear, the hope, the high desire, the troubling of the waters by the descending angel of love,-and a little more and Mr. Smith might have become a man, instead of a banker! He thinks of it now, sometimes, as he looks across the fireplace after dinner and secs Mrs. Smith asleep, innocently shaking the bouquet of pink bows and Brussels lace that waves ever her placid red countenance.

Mrs. Smith wasn’t his first love, nor, indeed, any love at all; but they agree reasonably well. And as for poor Nellie, -well, she is dead and buried,-all that was stuff and romance. Airs. Smith’s money set him up in business, and Mrs. Smith is a capital manager, and he thanks God that he isn’t romantic, and tells Smith Junior not to read poetry or novels, and to stick to realities.

“ This is the victory that overeometh the world,”-to learn to be fat and tranquil, to have warm fires and good dinners, to hang your hat on the same peg at the same hour every day, to sleep soundly all night, and never to trouble your head with a thought or imagining beyond.

But there are many people besides Mr. Smith who have gained this victory,- who have strangled their higher nature and buried if, and built over its grave the structure of their life, the better to keep it down.

The fascinating Mrs. T., whose life is a whirl between ball and opera, pointlace, diamonds, and schemings of admiration for herself, and of establishments for her daughters,-there was a time, if you will believe me, when that proud, worldly woman was so humbled, under the touch of some mighty power, that she actually thought herself capable of being a poor man’s wife. She thought she could live in a little, mean house on no-matter-what-street, with one servant, and make her own bonnets and mend her own clothes, and sweep the house Mondays, while Betty washed,-all for what ? All because she thought that there was a man so noble, so true, so good, so high-minded, that to live with him in poverty, to be guided by him in adversity, to lean on him in every rough place of life, was a something nobler, better, purer, more satisfying, than French laces, opera-boxes, and even Madame Roget’s best gowns.

Unfortunately, this was all romance,- there was no such man. There was, indeed, a person of very common, self-interested aims and worldly nature, whom she had credited at sight with an unlimited draft on all her better nature; and when the hour of discovery came, she awoke from her dream with a start and a laugh, and ever since has despised aspiration, and been busy with the realities of life, and feeds poor little Mary Jane, who sits by her in the opera-box there, with all the fruit which she has picked from the bitter tree of knowledge. There is no end of the epigrams and witticisms which she can throw out, this elegant Mrs. T., on people who marry for love, lead prosy, worky lives, and put on their best cap with pink ribbons for Sunday. “ Mary Jane shall never make a fool of herself ”; but, even as she speaks, poor Mary Jane’s heart is dying within her at the vanishing of a pair of whiskers from an opposite box, - which whiskers the poor little fool has credited with a résumé drawn from her own imaginings of all that is grandest and most heroic, most worshipful in man. By-and-by, when Mrs. T. finds the glamour has fallen on her daughter,she wonders; she has “tried to keep novels out of the girl’s way,- where did she get these notions ? ”

All prosaic, and all bitter, disenchanted people talk as if poets and novelists made romance. They do,-just as much as craters make volcanoes,-no more. What is romance? whence comes it ? Plato spoke to the subject wisely, in his quaint way, some two thousand years ago, when he said, “ Man’s soul, in a former state, was winged and soared among the gods; and so it comes to pass, that, in this life, when the soul, by the power of music or poetry, or the sight of beauty, hath her remembrance quickened, forthwith there is a struggling and a pricking pain as of wings trying to come forth,- even as children in teething.” And if an old heathen, two thousand years ago, discoursed thus gravely of the romantic part of our nature, whence comes it that in Christian lands we think in so pagan a way of it, and turn the whole care of it to ballad-makers, romancers, and operasingers ?

Let us look up in fear and reverence and say, “ GOD is the great maker of romance. HE, from whose hand came man and women,HE, who strung the great harp of Existence with all its wild and wonderful and manifold chords, and attuned them to one another,- HE is the great Poet of life.” Every impulse of beauty, of heroism, and every craving for purer love, fairer perfection, nobler type and style of being than that which closes like a prison-house around us, in the dim, daily walk of life, is God’s breath, God’s impulse, God’s reminder to the soul that there is something higher, sweeter, purer, yet to be attained.

Therefore, man or woman, when thy ideal is shattered,-as shattered a thousand times it must be,-when the vision fades, the rapture burns out, turn not away in skepticism and bitterness, saying, “ There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink,” but rather cherish the revelations of those hours as prophecies and foreshadowings of something real and possible, yet to be attained in the manhood of immortality. The scoffing spirit that laughs at romance is an apple of the Devil’s own handing from the bitter tree of knowledge;- it opens the eyes only to see eternal nakedness.

If ever you have had a romantic, uncalculating friendship,-a boundless worship and belief in some hero of your soul, -if ever you have so loved, that all cold prudence, all selfish worldly considerations have gone down like drift-wood before a river flooded with new rain from heaven, so that you even forgot yourself, and were ready to cast your whole being into the chasm of existence, as an offering before the feet of another, and all for nothing,-if you awoke bitterly betrayed and deceived, still give thanks to God that you have had one glimpse of heaven. The door now shut will open again. Rejoice that the noblest capability of your eternal inheritance has been made known to you; treasure it, as the highest honor of your being, that ever you could so feel,- that so divine a guest ever possessed your soul.

By such experiences are we taught the pathos, the sacredness of life; and if we use them wisely, our eyes will ever after be anointed to see what poems, what

romances, what sublime tragedies lie around us in the daily walk of life, “ written not with ink, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” The dullest street of the most prosaic town has matter in it for more smiles, more tears, more intense excitement, than ever were written in story or sung in poem ; the reality is there, of which the romancer is the second-hand recorder.

So much of a plea we put in boldly, because we foresee grave heads beginning to shake over our history, and doubts rising in reverend and discreet minds whether this history is going to prove anything but a love-story, after all.

We do assure you, right reverend Sir, and you, most discreet Madam, that it is not going to prove anything else ; and you will find, if you will follow us, that there is as much romance burning under the snow-banks of cold Puritan preciseness as if Dr. H. had been brought up to attend operas instead of metaphysical preaching, and Mary had been nourished on Byron’s poetry instead of “Edwards on the Affections.”

The innocent credulities, the subtle deceptions, that were quietly at work under the grave, white curls of the Doctor’s wig, were exactly of the kind which have beguiled man in all ages, when near the sovereign presence of her who is born for his destiny;-and as for Mary, what did it avail her that she could say the Assembly’s Catechism from end to end without tripping, and that every habit of her life beat time to practical realities, steadily as the parlor clock? The wildest Italian singer or dancer, nursed on nothing but excitement from her cradle, never was more thoroughly possessed by the awful and solemn mystery of woman’s life than this Puritan girl.

It is quite true, that, the next morning after James’s departure, she rose as usual in the dim gray, and was to be seen opening the kitchen-door just at the moment when the birds were giving the first little drowsy stir and chirp,-and that she went on setting the breakfast-table for the two hired men, who were bound to the fields with the oxen,-and that then she went on skimming cream for the butter, and getting ready to churn, and making up biscuit for the Doctor’s breakfast, when he and they should sit down together at a somewhat later hour; and as she moved about, doing all these things, she sung various scraps of old psalm-tunes; and the good Doctor, who was then busy with his early exercises of devotion, listened, as he heard the voice, now here, now there, and thought about angels and the Millennium. Solemnly and tenderly there floated in at his open study-window, through the breezy lilacs, mixed with low of kine and bleat of sheep and hum of early wakening life, the little silvery ripples of that singing, somewhat mournful in its cadence, as if a gentle soul were striving to hush itself to rest. The words were those of the rough old version of the Psalms then in use: —

“ Truly my waiting soul relies
In silence God upon;
Because from him there doth arise
All my salvation.”

And then came the busy patter of the little footsteps without, the moving of chairs, the clink of plates, as busy hands were arranging the table; and then again there was a pause, and he thought she seemed to come near to the open window of the adjoining room, for the voice floated in clearer and sadder:—

“ O God, to me be merciful,
Be merciful to me!
Because my soul for shelter safe
Betakes itself to thee.

“ Yea, in the shadow of thy wings
My refuge have l placed,
Until these sore calamities
Shall quite he overpast.”

The tone of life in New England, so habitually earnest and solemn, breathed itself in the grave and plaintive melodies of the tunes then sung in the churches; and so these words, though in the saddest minor key, did not Suggest to the listening ear of the auditor anything more than that pensive religious calm in which he delighted to repose. A contrast indeed they were, in their melancholy earnestness, to the exuberant carollings of a robin, who, apparently attracted by them, perched himself hard by in the lilacs, and struck up such a merry roulade as quite diverted the attention of the fair singer; —in fact, the intoxication breathed in the strain of this little messenger, whom God had feathered and winged and filled to the throat with ignorant joy, came in singular contrast with the sadder notes breathed by that creature of so much higher mould and fairer clay,—that creature born for an immortal life.

But the good Doctor was inly pleased when she sung.—and when she stopped, looked up from his Bible wistfully, as missing something, he knew not what; for he scarce thought how pleasant the little voice was, or knew he had been listening to it,—and yet he was in a manner enchanted by it, so thankful and happy that he exclaimed with fervor, “ The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places ; yea, I have a goodly heritage,”

So went the world with him, full of joy and praise, because the voice and the presence wherein lay his unsuspected life were securely near, so certainly and constantly a part of his daily walk that he had not even the trouble to wish for them. But in that other heart how was it?- how with the sweet saint that was talking to herself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs ?

The good child had remembered her mother’s parting words the night before,- “Put your mind upon your duties,”-and had begun her first conscious exercise of thought with a prayer that grace might be given her to do it. But even as she spoke, mingling and interweaving with that golden thread of prayer was another consciousness, a life in another soul, as she prayed that the grace of God might overshadow him, shield him from temptation, and lead him up to heaven ; and this prayer so got the start of the other, that, ere she was aware, she had quite forgotten self, and was feeling, living, thinking in that other life.

The first discovery she made, when she looked out into the fragrant orchard, whose perfumes steamed in at her window, and listened to the first chirping of birds among the old apple-trees, was one that has astonished many a person before her; it was this: she found that all that had made life interesting to her was suddenly gone. She herself had not known, that, for the month past, since James came from sea, she had been living in an enchanted land, - that Newport harbor, and every rock and stone, and every mat of yellow seaweed on the shore, that the two-mile road between the cottage and the white house of Zebedee Marvyn, every mullein-stalk, every juniper-tree, had all had a light and a charm which were suddenly gone. There had not been an hour in the day for the last four weeks that had not had its unsuspected interest, -because he was at the white house, because, possibly, he might be going by, or coming in ; nay, even in church, when she stood up to sing, and thought she was thinking only of God, had she not been Conscious of that tenor voice that poured itself out by her side ? and though afraid to turn her head that way, had she not felt that he was there every moment,heard every word of the sermon and prayer for him ? The very vigilant care which her mother had taken to prevent private interviews had only served to increase the interest by throwing over it the veil of constraint and mystery. Silent looks, involuntary starts, things indicated, not expressed, these are the most dangerous, the most seductive aliment of thought to a delicate and sensitive nature. If things were said out, they might not be said wisely,-they might repel by their freedom, or disturb by their unfitness; but what is only looked is sent into the soul through the imagination, which makes of it all that the ideal faculties desire.

In a refined and exalted nature, it is very seldom that the feeling of love, when once thoroughly aroused, bears any sort of relation to the reality of the object. It is commonly an enkindling of the whole power of the soul’s love for whatever she considers highest and fairest; it is, in fact, the love of something divine and unearthly, which, by a sort of illusion, connects itself with a personality. Properly speaking, there is but One true, eternal Object of all that the mind conceives, in this trance of its exaltation. Disenchantment must come, of course; and in a love which terminates in happy marriage, there is a tender and gracious process, by which, without shock or violence, the ideal is gradually sunk in the real, which, though found faulty and earthly, is still ever tenderly remembered as it seemed under the morning light of that enchantment.

What Mary loved so passionately, that which came between her and God in every prayer, was not the gay, voting, dashing sailor,-sudden in anger, imprudent of speech, and, though generous in heart, yet worldly in plans and schemings,-but her own ideal of a grand and noble man,-such a man as she thought he might become. He stood glorified before her, an image of the strength that overcomes things physical, of the power of command which controls men and circumstances, of the courage which disdains fear, of the honor which cannot lie, of constancy which knows no shadow of turning, of tenderness which protects the weak, and, lastly, of religious loyalty which should lay the golden crown of its perfected manhood at the feet of a Sovereign Lord and Redeemer. This was the man she loved, and with this regal mantle of glories she invested the person called James Marvyn ; and all that she saw and felt to be wanting she prayed for with the faith of a believing woman.

Nor was she wrong;-for, as to every leaf and every flower there is an ideal to which the growth of the plant is constantly urging, so is there an ideal to every human being,-a perfect form in which it might appear, were every defect removed and every characteristic excellence stimulated to the highest point. Once in an age, God sends to some ot us a friend who loves in us, not a false imagining, an unreal character, but. looking through all the rubbish of our imperfections, loves in us the divine ideal of our nature, -loves, not the man that we are, but the angel that we may be. Such friends seem inspired by a divine gift of prophecy,-like the mother of St. Augustine, who, in the midst of the wayward, reckless youth of her sou, beheld him in a vision, standing, clothed in white, a ministering priest at the right hand of God,-as he has stood for long ages since. Could a mysterious foresight unveil to us this resurrection form of the friends with whom we daily walk, compassed about with mortal infirmity, we should follow them with faith and reverence through all the disguises of human faults and weaknesses, “ waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God.”

But these wonderful soul-friends, to whom God grants such perception, are the exceptions in life; yet sometimes are we blessed with one who sees through us, as Michel Angelo saw through a block of marble, when he attacked it in a divine fervor, declaring that an angel was imprisoned within it;-and it is often the resolute and delicate hand of such a friend that sets the angel free.

There be soul-artists, who go through this world, looking among their fellows with reverence, as one looks amid the dust and rubbish of old shops for hidden works of Titian and Leonardo, and, finding them, however cracked or torn or painted over with tawdry daubs of pretenders, immediately recognize the divine original, and set themselves to cleanse and restore. Such be God's real priests, whose ordination and anointing are from the Holy Spirit; and he who hath not this enthusiasm is not ordained of God, though whole synods of bishops laid hands on him.

Many such priests there be among women ;-for to this silent ministry their nature calls them, endowed, as it is, with fineness of fibre, and a subtile keenness of perception outrunning slow-footed reason ; - and she of whom we write was one of these.

At this very moment, while the crimson wings of morning were casting delicate reflections on tree, and bush, and rock, they were also reddening innumerable waves round a ship that sailed alone, with a wide horizon stretching like an eternity around it; and in the advancing morning stood a young man thoughtfully looking off into the ocean, with a book in his band,-James Marvyn,-as truly and heartily a creature of this material world as Mary was of the invisible and heavenly.

There are some who seem made to live ; - life is such a joy to them, their senses are so fully en rapport with all outward things, the world is so keenly appreciable, so much a part of themselves, they are so conscious of power and victory in the government and control of material things, that the moral and invisible life often seems to hang tremulous and unreal in their minds, like the pale, faded moon in the light of a gorgeous sunrise. When brought face to face with the great truths of the invisible world, they stand related to the higher wisdom much like the gorgeous, gay Alcibiades to the divine Socrates, or like the young man in Holy Writ to Him for whose appearing Socrates longed;-> they gaze, imperfectly comprehending, and at the call of ambition or riches turn away sorrowing.

So it was with James ;-in full tide of worldly energy and ambition, there had been forming over his mind that hard crust, that skepticism of the spiritual and exalted, which men of the world delight to call practical sense ; he had been suddenly arrested and humbled by the revelation of a nature so much nobler than his own that he seemed worthless in his own eyes. He had asked for love; but when such love unveiled itself, lie felt like the disciple of old in the view of a diviner tenderness,-“ Depart from me, for I am a sinful man.”

But it is not often that all the current of a life is reversed in one hour ; and now, as James stood on the ship’s deck, with life passing around him, and everything drawing upon the strings of old habits, Mary and her religion reurred to his mind as some fair, sweet, inexplicable vision. Where she stood he saw; but how he was ever to get there seemed as incomprehensible as how a mortal man should pillow his form on sunset clouds.

He held the little Bible in his hand as if it were some amulet charmed by the touch of a superior being ; but when he strove to read it, his thoughts wandered, and he shut it, troubled and unsatisfied. Yet there were within him yearnings and cravings, wants never felt before, the beginning of that trouble which must ever precede the soul’s rise to a higher plane of being.

There we leave him. We have shown you now our three different characters, eaeh one in its separate sphere, feeling the force of that strongest and holiest power with which it has pleased our great Author to glorify this mortal life.



As, for example, the breakfast. It is six o’clock, - the hired men and oxen are gone,-the breakfast-table stands before the open kitchen-door, snowy with its fresh cloth, the old silver coffee-pot steaming up a refreshing perfume,-and the Doctor sits on one side, sipping his coffee and looking across the table at Mary, who is innocently pleased at the kindly beaming in his placid blue eyes,- and Aunt Katy Scudder discourses of housekeeping, and fancies something must have disturbed the rising of the cream, as it is not so thick and yellow as wont.

Now the Doctor, it is to be confessed, was apt to fall into a way of looking at people such as pertains to philosophers and scholars generally, that is, as if he were looking through them into the infinite,- in which case, his gaze became so earnest and intent that it would quite embarrass an uninitiated person ; but Mary, being used to this style of contemplation, was only quietly amused, and waited till some great thought should loom up before his mental vision,-in which case, she hoped to hear from him.

The good man swallowed his first cup of coffee and spoke :-

“ In the Millennium, I suppose, there will be such a fulness and plenty of all the necessaries and conveniences of life, that it will not be necessary for men and women to spend the greater part of their lives in labor in order to procure a living. It will not be necessary for each one to labor more than two or three hours a day,-not more than will conduce to health of body and vigor of mind ; and the rest of their time they will spend in reading and conversation, and such exercises as are necessary and proper to improve their minds and make progress in knowledge.”

New England presents probably the only example of a successful commonwealth founded on a theory, as a distinct experiment in the problem of society. It was for this reason that the minds of its great thinkers dwelt so much on the final solution of that problem in this world. The fact of a future Millennium was a favorite doctrine of the great leading theologians of New England, and Dr. H. dwelt upon it with a peculiar partiality. Indeed, it was the solace and refuge of his soul, when oppressed with the discouragements which always attend things actual, to dwell upon and draw out in detail the splendors of this perfect future which was destined to glorify the world.

Nobody, therefore, at the cottage was in the least surprised when there dropped into the flow of their daily life these sparkling bits of ore, which their friend had dug in his explorations of a future Canaan,- in fact, they served to raise the hackneyed present out of the level of mere commonplace.

“ But how will it be possible,” inquired Mrs. Scudder, “ that so much less work will suffice in those days to do all that is to be done ? ”

“ Because of the great advance of arts and sciences which will take place before those days,” said the Doctor, “ whereby everything shall be performed with so much greater ease,- also the great increase of disinterested love, whereby the skill and talents of those who have much shall make up for the weakness of those who have less.

“Yes,”-he continued, after a pause,- “ all the careful Marthas in those days will have no excuse for not sitting at the feet of Jesus; there will be no cumbering with much serving; the Church will have only Maries in those days.”

This remark, made without the slightest personal intention, called a curious smile into Mrs. Scudder’s face, which was reflected in a slight blush from Mary’s, when the crack of a whip and the rattling of wagon-wheels disturbed the conversation and drew all eyes to the door.

There appeared the vision of Mr. Zebedee Marvyn’s farm-wagon, stored with barrels, boxes, and baskets, over which Candace sat throned triumphant, her black face and yellow-striped turban glowing in the fresh morning with a hearty,joyous light, as she pulled up the reins, and shouted to the horse to stop with a voice that might have done credit to any man living.

“ Dear me, if there isn’t Candace ! ” said Mary.

“ Queen of Ethiopia,” said the Doctor, who sometimes adventured a very placid joke.

The Doctor was universally known in all the neighborhood as a sort of friend and patron-saint of the negro race ; he had devoted himself to their interests with a zeal unusual in those days. His church numbered more of them than any in Newport; and his hours of leisure from study were often spent in lowliest visitations among them, hearing their stories, consoling their sorrows, advising and directing their plans, teaching them reading and writing, and he often drew hard on his slender salary to assist them in their emergencies and distresses.

This unusual condescension on his part was repaid on theirs with all the warmth of their race ; and Candace, in particular, devoted herself to the Doctor with all the force of her being.

There was a legend current in the neighborhood, that the first efforts to cat-

echize Candace were not eminently successful, her modes of contemplating theological tenets being so peculiarly from her own individual point of view that it was hard to get her subscription to a received opinion. On the venerable clause in the Catechism, in particular, which declares that all men sinned in Adam and fell with him, Candace made a dead halt:-

“ I didn’t do dat ar’, for one, I knows. Is got good memory,-allers knows what I does,-nebber did eat dat ar’ apple,- nebber eat a bit ob him. Don’t tell me ! ” It was of no use, of course, to tell Candace of all the explanations of this redoubtable passage,-of potential presence, and representative presence, and representative identity, and federal headship. She met all with the dogged,-

“Nebber did it, I knows; should’a ve 'membered, if I had. Don’t tell me ! ” And even in the catechizing class of the Doctor himself, if this answer came to her, she sat black and frowning in stony silence even in his reverend presence.

Candace was often reminded that the Doctor believed the Catechism, and that she was differing from a great and good man; but the argument made no manner of impression on her, till, one day, a faroff cousin of hers, whose condition under a hard master had often moved her compassion, came in overjoyed to recount to her how, owing to Dr. H.’s exertions, he had gained his freedom. The Doctor himself had in person gone from house to house, raising the sum for his redemption ; and when more yet was wanting, supplied it by paying half liis last quarter’s limited salary.

“ He do dat ar’?” said Candace, dropping the fork wherewith she was spearing doughnuts. “ Den I’m gwine to b'liebe ebery word he does ! ”

And accordingly, at the next catechizing, the Doctor’s astonishment was great when Candace pressed up to him, exclaiming,-

“ De Lord bress you, Doctor, for opening de prison for dem dat is bound! I b’liebes in you now, Doctor. I’s gwine to b’liebe ebery word you say. I’ll say de Catechize now,-fix it any way I did eat dat ar’ apple,- I eat de whole tree, an’ swallowed ebery bit ob it, if you say so.”

And this very thorough profession of faith was followed, on the part of Candace, by years of the most strenuous orthodoxy. Her general mode of expressing her mind on the subject was short and definitive.

"Law me ! what’s de use ? I’s set out to b’liebe de Catechize, an’ I'm gwine to b’liebe it,-so ! ”

While we have been telling you all this about her, she has fastened her horse, and is swinging leisurely up to the house with a basket on either arm.

"Good morning, Candace,” said Mrs. Scudder. “ What brings you so early ? ”

"Come down ’fore light to sell my chickens an’ eggs,- got a lot o' money for ’em, too. Missy Marvyn she sent Miss Scudder some turkey-eggs, an’ I brought down some o' my doughnuts for de Doctor. Good folks must lib, you know, as well as wicked ones,”-and Candace gave a hearty, unctuous laugh. “ No reason why Doctors shouldn't hab good tings as well as sinners, is dere ? ”-and she shook in great billows, and showed her white teeth in the abandon of her laugh. “Lor’ bress ye, honey, chile!” she said, turning to Mary, "why, ye looks like a new rose, ebery bit! Don’t wonder somebody was allers pry in’ an’ spy in’ about here !”

"How is your Mistress, Candace ? ” said Mrs. Scudder, by way of changing the subject.

"Well, porly, - rader porly. When Massa Jim goes, 'pears like takin’ de light right out her eyes. Dat ar’ boy trains roun’ arter his mudder like a cosset, he does. Lor’, de house seems so still widout him!-can’t a fly scratch his ear but it starts a body. Missy Marvyn she sent down, an’ says, would you an’ de Doctor an’ Miss Mary please come to tea dis afternoon.”

"Thank your mistress, Candace,” said Mrs. Scudder; “ Mary and I will come,- and the Doctor, perhaps,” looking at the good man, who had relapsed into meditation, and was eating his breakfast without taking note of anything going on. "It will be time enough to tell him of it,” she said to Mary, "when we have to wake him up to dress; so we won’t disturb him now.”

To Mary the prospect of the visit was a pleasant one, for reasons which she scarce gave a definite form to. Of course, like a good girl, she had come to a fixed and settled resolution to think of James as little as possible ; but when the path of duty lay directly along scenes and among people fitted to recall him, it was more agreeable than if it had lain in another direction. Added to this, a very tender and silent friendship subsisted between Mrs. Marvyn and Mary; in which, besides similarity of mind and intellectual pursuits, there was a deep, unspoken element of sympathy.

Candace watched the light in Mary’s eyes with the instinctive shrewdness by which her race seem to divine the thoughts and feelings of their superiors, and chuckled to herself internally. Without ever having been made a confidante by any party, or having a word said to or before her, still the whole position of affairs was as clear to her as if she had seen it on a map. She had appreciated at once Mrs. Scudder’s coolness, James’s devotion, and Mary’s perplexity,- and inly resolved, that, if the little maiden did not think of James in his absence, it should not be her fault.

"Laws, Miss Scudder,” she said, "I’s right glad yon’s coinin'; ’cause you hasn’t seen how we’s kind o’ splendified since Massa Jim come home. You wouldn’t know it. Why, he’s got mats from Mogadore on all de entries, and a great big ’un on de parlor ; and ye ought to see de shawl he brought Missus, an’ all de cur’us kind o’ tings to de Squire. ’Tell ye, dat ar’ boy honors his fader and mudder, ef he don’t do nuffin else,-an’ dat's de fus’ commandment wid promise, Ma’am ; an’ to see him a-setlin’ up ebery day in prayer-time, so handsome, holdin’ Missus’s han’, an’ lookin’ right into her eyes all de time! Why, dat ar’ boy is one o’ de ’lect,-it’s jest as clare to me ; and de ’lect has got to come in,-dat’s what I say. My faith’s strong,-real clare, ’tell ye,” she added, with the triumphant laugh which usually chorused her conversation, and turning to the Doctor, who, aroused by her loud and vigorous strain, was attending with interest to her.

“ Well, Candace,” he said, "we all hope you are right.”

“Hope, Doctor! - I don’t, hope,-I knows. ’Tell ye, when I pray for him, don’t I feel enlarged ? ’Tell ye, it goes wid a rush. I can feel it gwine up like a rushin’, mighty wind. I feels strong,

I do.”

“ That’s right, Candace,” said the Doctor, “keep on; your prayers stand as much chance with God as if you were a crowned queen. The Lord is no respecter of persons.”

“ Dat’s what he a’n’t, Doctor, - an' dere's where I ’gree wid him,” said Candace, as she gathered her baskets vigorously together, and, after a sweeping curtsy, went sailing down to her wagon, full laden with content, shouting a hearty “ Good morn in’, Missus,” with the full power of her cheerful lungs, as she rode off.

As the Doctor looked after her, the simple, pleased expression with which he had watched her gradually faded, and there passed over his broad, good face a shadow, as of a cloud on a mountain-side.

“ What a shame it is,” he said, “ what a scandal and disgrace to the Protestant religion, that Christians of America should openly practise and countenance this enslaving of the Africans! I have for a long time holden my peace,-may the Lord forgive me! -but I believe the time is coming when I must utter my voice. I cannot go down to the wharves or among the shipping, without these poor dumb creatures look at me so that I am ashamed,-as if they asked me what !. a Christian minister, was doing, that I did not come to their help. I must testify.”

Mrs. Scudder looked grave at this earnest announcement; she had heard many like it before, and they always filled her with alarm, because- Shall we tell you why ?

Well, then, it was not because she was not a thoroughly indoctrinated anti-slavery woman. Her husband, who did all her thinking for her, had been a man of ideas beyond his day, and never for a moment countenanced the right of slavery so far as to buy or own a servant or attendant of any kind; and Mrs. Scudder had always followed decidedly along the path of his opinions and practice, and never hesitated to declare the reasons for the faith that was in her. But if any of us could imagine an angel dropped down out of heaven, with wings, ideas, notions, manners, and customs all fresh from that very different country, we might easily suppose that the most pious and orthodox family might find the task of presenting him in general society and piloting him along the courses of this world a very delicate and embarrassing one. However much they might reverence him on their own private account, their hearts would probably sink within them at the idea of allowing him to expand himself according to his previous nature and habits in the great world without. In like manner, men of high, unworldly natures are often reverenced by those who are somewhat puzzled what to do with them practically.

Mrs. Scudder considered the Doctor as a superior being, possessed by a holy helplessness in all things material and temporal, which imposed on her the necessity of thinking and caring for him, and prevising the earthly and material aspects of his affairs.

There was not in Newport a more thriving and reputable business at that time than the slave-trade. Large fortunes were constantly being turned out in it, and what better Providential witness of its justice could most people require ?

Beside this, in their own little church, she reflected with alarm, that Simeon Brown, the richest and most liberal supporter of the society, had been, and was then, drawing all his wealth from this source; and rapidly there flashed before her mind a picture of one and another, influential persons, who were holders of slaves. Therefore, when the Doctor announced, “ I must testify,” she rattled her tea-spoon uneasily, and answered,-

“ In what way, Doctor, do you think of bearing testimony? The subject, I think, is a very difficult one.”

“ Difficult ? I think no subject can be clearer. If we were right in our war for liberty, we are wrong in making slaves or keeping them.”

“ Oh, I did not mean,” said Mrs. Scudder, “that it was difficult to understand the subject; the right of the matter is clear, but what to do is the thing.”

“ I shall preach about it,” said the Doctor; “my mind has run upon it some time. I shall show to the house of Judah their sin in this matter.”

“ I fear there will be great offence given,” said Mrs. Scudder. “ There’s Simeon Brown, one of our largest supporters,-he is in the trade.”

“ Ah, yes,-but he will come out of it, -of course he will,-he is all right, all clear. I was delighted with the clearness of his views the other night, and thought then of bringing them to bear on this point,-only, as others were present, I deferred it. But I can show him that it follows logically from his principles; 1 am confident of that.”

“ I think you’ll be disappointed in him, Doctor;-I think he’ll be angry, and get up a commotion, and leave the church.”

“ Madam,” said the Doctor, “ do you suppose that a man who would be willing even to give up his eternal salvation for the greatest good of the universe could hesitate about a few paltry thousands that perish in the using?”

“ He may feel willing to give up his soul,” said Mrs. Scudder, naïvely, “ but I don’t think he'll give up his ships,- that’s quite another matter,- he won’t see it to be his duty.”

“ Then, Ma’am, he’ll be a hypocrite, a gross hypocrite, if he won’t,” said the Doctor. “ It is not Christian charity to think it of him. I shall call upon him this morning and tell him my intentions.”

“ But, Doctor,” exclaimed Mrs. Scudder, with a start, “ pray, think a little more of it. You know a great many things depend on him. Why! he has subscribed for twenty copies of your 'System of Theology.’ I hope you'll remember that.”

“And why should I remember that?” said the Doctor,-hastily turning round, suddenly enkindled, his blue eyes flashing out of their usual misty calm,-“ what has my 'System of Theology ’ to do with the matter ? ”

“ Why,” said Mrs. Scudder, “ it’s of more importance to get right views of the gospel before the world than anything else, is it not?-and if, by any imprudence in treating influential people, this should be prevented, more harm than good would be done.”

“Madam,” said the Doctor, “ I'd sooner my system should be sunk in the sea than it should be a millstone round my neck to keep me from my duty. Let God take care of my theology ; I must do my duty.”

And as the Doctor spoke, he straightened himself to the full dignity of his height, his face kindling with an unconscious majesty, and, as he turned, his eye fell on Mary, who was standing with her slender figure dilated, her large blue eye wide and bright, in a sort of trance of solemn feeling, half smiles, half tears,-and the strong, heroic man started, to see this answer to his higher soul in the sweet, tremulous mirror of womanhood. One of those lightning glances passed between his eyes and here which are the freemasonry of noble spirits,-and, by a sudden impulse, they approached each other. He took both her outstretched hands, looked down into her face with a look full of admiration, and a sort of naïve wonder,-then, as if her inspired silence had been a voice to him, he laid his hand on her head, and said,-

"God bless yon, child ! 'Out of the

mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger ! ’ ”

In a moment he was gone.

“ Mary,” said Mrs, Scudder, laying her hand on her daughter’s arm, “ the Doctor loves you! ”

“ I know he does, mother,” said Mary, innocently ; “ and I love him,-dearly !- he is a noble, grand man !”

Mrs. Scudder looked keenly at her daughter. Mary’s eye was as calm as a June sky, and she began, composedly, gathering up the teacups.

“ She did not understand me,” thought the mother.

[To be continued.]