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no very pleasant mood, he looked back at his sister loved him well enough to wait times, to see whether he was followed, as for him all that long while, operated like he fancied he might be, by a party of riot- a cordial to his sinking spirit ; and, taking ing and hooting boys; and he looked about her up in his arms, still half unconscious him also, in the apprehension that he' as she was, he pursued his way, even with might be waylaid and pounced upon by this additional burden, more lightly than such a party, headed by his brother Philip., before. As to his little sister, all had been forgot- But, Seymour's trials were not over yet. ten of a tender and affectionate nature, so He had to brave the jeering of his brother that not even when he drew near to the Philip as soon as he entered the house. spot where he had caused her tears to flow, This was what he expected, and had nerved did his thoughts recur to any object so himself to bear. In addition to this, howpleasing, or so dear, as her tiny form.
he had to endure what was much The moon was just rising as Seymour worse, the cool and manly scorn of his approached this spot,—the full broad moon brother Robert, who would not believe the of a midsummer evening, -and the half- story told by Philip, to be inore than half shadow and half-daylight which still lin- true, if true at all. gered over the earth, threw all objects “Nonsense,” said Robert, when he into a kind of mysterious obscurity, with grew tired of the perpetual teasing which which Seymour would have amused and | Philip inflicted on his sensitive brother
. interested himself, under ordinary cir- “We have had quite enough of this, Philip. cumstances. Now, however, he had no Now hold your tongue. That Seymour capability of being amused by anything ; might look into such a place from cubut he could not help being struck with riosity I do not doubt, but that he should an appearance of something which looked make such a fool of himself as to join these soft and white beside the very bough on people in their devotions, I do not believe ; which his little sister had sat down to cry. still less that he should use the familiarity It looked like a lamb, Seymour thought, you talk of to a servant girl. I don't but it must be a dead lamb, or why should believe it, Philip, the thing is impossible ; it remain there alone, so far separated from so now let us talk about something else. the flock, which he had left quietly repos- Where shall we go to-morrow ?” ing on the opposite side of the field ? “ Seymour will be fetching the cows Stooping down, and looking more intently, home to be milked, I should think,” said the boy perceived that the lamb was no Philip ; seeing his fondness for the other than his favourite of the family blooming Polly." fold,--no other than his little sister Kitty, A box on the ear from his brother sleeping there, with her head resting on Robert, more playful than severe, was all the bough for her pillow.
the reply which this allusion elicited. It was a beautiful sight ; for the moon Seymour was silent—very silent, and very had then risen so high that her slanting sad. What should he do ? Robert evibeams fell directly on the countenance of dently did not believe the story in half its the child, always lovely, because so much absurdity, and was ready to forget it altobeloved by him who gazed silently upon gether. “ Why," thought
Seymour, it. Seymour shrank from awaking the “ should I not allow him to forget itlittle sleeper, and yet the dew was falling, why should I awaken in his mind that con. so that every leaf and blade of grass already tempt for myself, which from him would glistened in the moonlight.
be almost as dreadful as death ? Philip “ So you waited for me, little dear one, may think of me as he likes. He is a did you,” said Seymour, “ all this long a spiteful, vulgar fellow.” And with that while?" and he stooped down, and kissed the fair forehead of the suffering boy conihe already cold cheek of the sleeper, with a tracted, and a scowl grew over his otherwarm feeling of gratitude, mingling with wise beautiful countenance. Something his affection.
strange arose within his heart in conIt was surprising how much strength, nection with this look. Could it be as well as consolation, Seymour derived hatred of his brother ? Poor Seymour. from this circumstance. To think that he had urgent rieed to watch as well as
pray; but his natural tendency was to stance no words could have described, prayer, not watchfulness.
even had he attempted to lay bare the Was it possible that Seymour could hate secrets of his heart. He had not actually any one, especially a brother ? And he told a falsehood, but he had meanly shrunk so loving, and so fond of being loved. A from telling the truth. What would single kind word, a single considerate act, Robert think of him when he found this on the part of Philip would at any time out, as he certainly would ; for Philip rehave melted his heart, and brought back minded him of the fact continually, not all his better feelings; but Philip knew without occasional reproaches for the nothing about such feelings. Being teased sneaking” way in which he had evaded and laughed at made no impression upon
a confession of the truth. him. If any one opposed, interrupted, or And Seymour felt so wicked all this otherwise annoyed him, his tendency was while, and he wanted to be so good! He to knock them down; but they might felt so far estranged from God, and heaven, laugh as much as they liked—that could. and holy things, and he wanted to be so never hurt him. This boy was destined for near ! Ah ! how was he ever to get the church.
through the world? How, indeed, except It is possible that this early dedication for One who has said, “ Come unto me all of Philip to an office which, above all ye who are weary and heavy laden, and I others, Seymour would have chosen for will give you rest.”. himself, had something to do with in- Thus Seymour Clifton was fast growing creasing those fits of petulance which the into an unsocial, abstracted, and, at times boisterous mirth, and the rude unsparing it must be owned, a somewhat peevish boy raillery of this boy called forth on the —so unlike, his mother said, the kind and part of his brother. Seymour was now gentle child he used to be in infancy ! quite old enough to draw comparisons be- She thought he had been too tenderly treated tween their separate destinations, and if on account of this gentleness, and she consomething like envy, at such times, thrilled sulted with her husband, but far more frethrough his heart, it was not much to be quently with her other friends, as to the wondered at ; for just in proportion as he mode of discipline to be applied, imagining feared and hated his own doom, he sighed the case to be one which demanded more for the peaceful serenity, and the pic- severity." The sea,” people said, “would turesque or rural calm of the lot to which cure all.” The mother thought the same, his brother was consigned. But strict and negotiations were already going on and irrevocable to them was the household with the uncle, in the hope of ensuring his law, and they had nothing left but to patronage for the boy. submit. Robert, too, was in the habit of In the mean time there came a lookerspeaking about willing and cheerful sub- on upon the Clifton family, one who mission, as if it was the only way of acting observed with gentle wisdom, and who was consistently with a noble and manly spirit. not long in arriving at the conclusion that It was his way; if he rebelled, he would she understood the circumstances and rebel openly, determinedly, and to some feelings of the boy better than either of purpose. A constant murmuring of mind, his parents.
This observer was an unwithout open rebellion, was very despicable married aunt on the father's side, best in his opinion ; and he told his brother known to the children by the name of Seymour this plain truth, without any “ Aunt Ann.” Hitherto their knowledge polishing or wrapping - up in pleasant of this lady was very slight, owing to her flattery; and Seymour felt, when he having lived in a distant part of the coundid so, that nobody understood him. try, but lately she had come to live nearer
Thus, with Robert, too, Seymour London, and her visits to the villa congrew by degrees to feel estranged and sequently became more frequent. Hitherto separate, more especially since the time the little Cliftons had not known exactly when he suffered his brother to pronounce ! whether they liked, or feared, or, as Philip him incapable of doing what he really had boldly said, “ despised” their Aunt Ann ; done, but wanted the courage to avow. for though a delicious box of sweetmeats What Seymour suffered from this circum- generally accompanied her portmanteau into the house whenever she arrived, there little Kitty! your favourite must suffer a was a good deal of hushing of their bois good deal of pain yet, before he will be able terous play, and some extra fault-finding to enjoy happiness, even if he can find it. all the time the visitor remained. Not That there is a very narrow walk for a that Aunt Ann by any means required spinster lady in the household of any this of her nephews and nieces; but mater- managing mother, and, especially, when nal discipline is not inapt to lay hold of that manager is a brother's wife, all will any visitor as a pretext for tightening the allow who know anything of human life, reins which a single hand is not always i with its strange varieties of aspect and equal to the task of holding. Thus, we detail. Of this fact no one could be more have known other visitors besides Aunt fully aware than Aunt Ann; and little, Ann made, quite unintentionally, objects indeed, would she have deserved the title of painful apprehension to the minds of of“ meddler” in any family. Wherever the young. Nor do visitors alone come in she might be, her presence was felt, but for this distinction. Some of those changes not her interference. It was felt even in in life which necessarily occur, particularly its silence, in the application of an apt having a governess, or going to school, and clever hand to whatever had to be are made the grand instruments of chas- done towards rendering every one at ease, tisement which the mother triumphantly and comfortable in themselves; and in a brandishes over the heads of her children, secret power of restraint and guidance never dreaming that even if the good which she exercis unknown to herself, her own child were all she had to consi- upon all who met her without prejudice, der, this also would be a mistake, and and were not above opening their hearts to a very dangerous one too.
her mild and salutary influence. Thus far Aunt Ann very unconsciously We are not prepared to say that Aunt and undeservedly had acted as the domes- Ann was particularly imposing in her tic whip in Mrs. Clifton's hand. Robert, appearance, or that her taste in dress was notwithstanding, liked his aunt, and had without flaw. Something must be granted the courage to avow it. Seymour liked | her on the side of imperfection-she her. her in his heart, but had a strong predis- | self would have asked for a great deal," position to think she was always on the for no one knew so well as she did all the point of finding fault with him, though hard struggles she had had to maintain she seldom did. Philip liked her so long before attaining her present position of as the box of sweetmeats lasted, but after apparent repose; no one knew so well these were consumed, he always discovered as she did how often some of the old battles that his aunt was only an old maid, and had to be fought over again even yet; that she wore a little scrimping cap that nor how often her heart was ready to faint might have served for Kitty's doll. within her at the thought of how possible
But the girls were now beginning to it was to suffer shipwreck even while have an opinion on such matters as well drawing near to the long wished-for haven. as the boys, and Helen stood by her aunt Amongst those natural weaknesses, most faithfully, while Kitty looked at her or faults, as she would have called them, rather more in doubt, thinking some- of which Aunt Ann was so sensible, might times that she really could love her ex- have been reckoned a little faint-hearted ceedingly if quite sure that she would not ness, for we know of no better name to find fault with Seymour. Once or twice, give it. It was not want of faith,-10, however, the aunt had spoken to Sey- | that was strong, and never failing; but mour in
tone of voice which Kitty | something which had grown in very early thought severe, and that at a time when life out of her deep conviction of personal nobody else was blaming him at all. This unworthiness, and perhaps also, out of seemed very hard to one who had already some circumstances which had strengthacquired the habit of thinking every ened and confirmed this conviction. It was moment of happiness enjoyed by her something, which, speaking within her brother a moment gained ; and every one soul, was apt to say, “And will God indeed a moment lost, or worse than lost, in hear such a one as I am?” but then she which he was made to suffer pain. Foolish always turned trustingly to that blessed
book, without which it is difficult to con- all the household who had ever felt the ceive how such natures exist at all in practical retort of this young Hercules. such a world as ours.
On the occasion alluded to, Philip stopped Perhaps it was in part this constitutional suddenly in his play, and, looking up into his tendency of Aunt Ann's which enabled her mother's face, said, with more gravity than at times to understand her nephew Sey- was natural to him, “Must I really be amour Clifton when no one else appeared what do you call it--parson, mamma?” to understand him, not even his little “ Not parson, my dear,” said Mrs. Clifsister and pet; she, poor child, was far ton, with some warmth,—" a clergyman, indeed from comprehending the peculiari- you mean ?”. ties, and still less the morbid feelings of “Yes,” said the boy, “ of course I mean her brother. Something of the lights and that. But I suppose it is all the same.the shadows of his character she could see, Must I really be a clergyman, mamma ?” but why they came she never knew ; only, " Why, to be sure you must,” replied as in many cases besides hers, a sort of the mother. “What else would you be ?” internal sense, that blessed gift to woman, “ I should like to be a bush-ranger, I enabled her to see, as if with spiritual think,” said Philip, a deer-stalker, or glance, when the light was shining, and something of that kind.” where the shadows fell.
“What nonsense you are talking, child !" Aunt Ann saw more; but she was al- said Mrs. Clifton, diligently pursuing her ways slow to make advances towards work, as if she heard nothing worth attendintimacy, lest such advances on her part ing to. should be unwelcome; so she waited for “ I tell you what,” said Philip, as if Seymour to feel a want of her sympathy, recollecting suddenly that there were more or a want of her companionship, before ways than one of conducting an attack, she offered either; and, in the mean time, “ I tell you what, that soft Seymour of she came not too frequently to the villa, ours is exactly cut out for the Church ; lest from living near, her visits should why don't you make a parson of him ?" grow into a weariness, if not actually an “Nonsense!” again said the mother, intrusion.
Had this good lady known as she replenished her needle with a fresh now well-timed her visits sometimes were, piece of thread. she would scarcely have been so sparing Seymour was sitting all the while near of them. Especially one day, when on one of the windows of the same room, with entering the drawing room at the villa, a book in his hand, which he had been $ne perceived with her gentle, but almost intently reading. To his brother Philip's instinctive glance, that Seymour was in accustomed prattle he was in the habit of some unusual degree of trouble, though no paying very little regard ; but no sooner one else had paid the slightest attention to had the subject of the Church been touched
upon, than he listened to every word and It happened that day that Philip had sound, which might help to elucidate the been making one of those boisterous ap- doubt perpetually floating in his mind, peals to his mother, which he was accus- as to whether there remained a chance tomed to present in so many different for him ever
to escape the doom forms, chiefly of the most unreasonable frightfully impending over him. description, that he seldom obtained what now,” thought he, " if Philip would only he called “ a patient hearing,” and often enforce this point, let him make me as expressed his astonishment at the small / soft as he likes,-- call me coward, fool, amount of attention which his applications anything; only get me once into his obtained for him. Indeed he had acquired, place, and they shall see.”. perhaps from this very reason, a trick of “ You don't mean," said Mrs. Clifton, thrusting, pushing, or otherwise applying that your brother is silly, I suppose, by a degree of animal force to his arguments, saft. I think his tutors and all who have of persuasives, which elicited in return had anything to do with him, would give many a loud “ Don't!" with sometimes a him a different character from that." sharp slap,—not too sharp, however, for a “Oh, not silly,” said Philip, prudent caution came to be exercised by scholar, or anything of that kind. I dare
the silent boy.
say, he would beat me there; but silly, as If you would excuse me this morngirls are—frightened, stupid, soft. You ing,” said Mrs. Clifton, resuming her know what I mean. He will never make work; “I am rather busy.” a sailor, of that I am quite sure.
It is no
So Seymour and his aunt went out into use trying to make him one.”
the pleasant garden, and they looked at “ But he must be one, now," said the the opening flowers, and discussed the mother, with a firmness of tone, which ran merits of a newly planned walk, and like electric fire through the brain and observed that the little fountain did not nerves of him who sat apart, still looking play so well that day as usual; but down upon his book.
neither of them for some time ventured “ Why must he now ?” asked Philip, upon any other topic. laying stress upon the last word.
At last the Aunt said kindly, and she “ You are so teasing,” said his mother. laid her soft white hand upon the shoulder
“ Just tell me that,” persisted Philip, of the boy as she spoke, “Seymour, when " and I will ask you no more. Why must a duty has to be done, don't you think Seymour now?"
doing it in earnest makes it easier ?" “ Because," said the mother again, in “Yes,” Seymour replied, “when it is her firm grave voice,“
steps have been
a duty." taken, and negotiations entered into, which “Ah! that makes a great difference," cannot be recalled.”
said his Aunt. “Pooh !” said Philip, and he turned away “I think," said Seymour, "if I knewto scamper down the garden, where he hap- knew positively — knew as if God had pened just then to see his sisters walking. spoken it, that it was my duty to die to
All was silent in the room after the day by some frightful and horrible death, noisy boy was gone. Mrs. Clifton looked I could do it without a murmur; but a once, and only once, towards the spot common affair of interest, as people call it, where Seymour remained seated. She was which sounds to me always like pride and convinced he had not been attending to selfishness mixed together what was said, or if he had, that it made affair of noise and battle, and swearing, no impression upon him; so she stitched and tumult-oh, dear Aunt I have no away with the utmost satisfaction, while heart for this kind of thing, because I her son, as she supposed, pursued his cannot hear the voice of God in it." studies with the same.
“The voice of God, my child, is often Poor Seymour ! had his mother looked a still small voice, speaking through difmore narrowly, she might have seen the ferent channels, and sometimes through a big tears coursing one another down his parent's wish—is it not so, Seymour ?" cheeks, and falling upon the page, on “It may be so. I often say to myself, which he could no longer discover one it may be so even in this instance. I think intelligible word. What, in fact, was the it is chiefly the doubt I feel about whether use of reading if he could ? What was it is so or not which distresses me so the use of anything? He had a great much. Don't you think, dear Aunt, that mind to go out and hang himself.
a parent, with the best intentions in the But a gentle step came in, and kind world, may make a great mistake?” “ Good morning" to Mrs. Clifton, soon But, Seymour, there is one great Parecalled him to himself.
rent above all, who makes no mistakes, Aunt Ann was naturally backward to nor suffers any to be made which He is obtrude her sympathies ; but she had seen not able and willing to overrule for good.” the sad countenance of the silent boy, and “Do you think, then, that any good that was enough for her. “ Seymour," will ever come out of my going to sea ?” she said, approaching the window where “ That will depend upon yourself. You he was seated, “I believe I must disturb can serve God on the great waters as well you a moment, for I want to see what as on the land. You can pray to Him there, Robert has been building in the garden, as well as in your own chamber. If you and I don't know that I can find it myself. enter upon this life from a sense of Don't trouble yourself, sister, we shall be duty, depend upon it He will never for. back in a few minutes."