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tied up with pink ribbon, so I have brought my money away and shall replace it in the bank.”
I was glad to hear such a cheerful account of my friends; but when I reached their home I saw that matters were not really so flourishing as I had hoped to find them. Harry Blair had come in tired and dispirited, having failed in securing the work of which he had been in search ; baby was very ailing and fretful, and Lizzie did not hesitate to speak openly of her brother-in-law's meanness in not offering them a little help.
“He would have helped you," I said quietly—for I thought it might do her good to know the truth. “He came here with that intention, but says he found you so smart in a lace collar and gold chain that he did not think you needed it.”
Mrs. Blair flushed and exclaimed, “It's only a tuppenny thing I bought for one of the children.”
“But what man would believe that a woman of your age could be so vain and foolish as to wear a tin thing like that ?” said her husband angrily. “A few pounds would have been an immense help just now, and we have missed through your love of show."
“Well, I am sure, Harry, you would not like to come home and find me dirty and dowdy,” exclaimed Lizzie..
“There's no need to be that,” replied her husband. “ John's wife is never either dirty or dowdy, but she doesn't dress herself up in chains and ribbons. I am always telling you we can't afford such silly finery.” And he got up and left the room.
Reader, you may think that this is overdrawn ; but it is a faithful pict ure of a real case that came under my own notice, and I do not think it is by any means a solitary or an unusual one. We hear terrible accounts of homes that are poverty-stricken through the drunkenness of the husband and sometimes of the wife, but how many homes there are, not perhaps ruined, but always pinched and straitened, and where the members live as we say “ from hand to mouth,” because all the earnings are swallowed up by the mother's
love of finery and desire to keep up appearances. Lizzie Blair was not born a working woman exactly; her father was a schoolmaster in a very humble fashion, but still her parents always had their “parlour” to sit in, and Lizzie struggled to keep up the "gentility” of her girlhood, though her husband was only a journeyman printer, and they lived with a number of children in three small rooms. One room must be called the “parlour," and the comfort of the whole family diminished to maintain its character, and to deck it with a few trumpery ornaments. Edith, the eldest girl, must have a feather in her hat, “like a young lady," and to procure this, the money is spent that was sorely needed to mend Charlie's boots. Is this not often so ? And each trifle bought seems so trifling that the husband finds it difficult to make a stand against the wasteful expenditure ; but as the continuous dropping of water wears away stone, so the constant spending of pennies undermines the income. By all means try to keep a bright home for your husband's return from work, and teach your children in all things to be pleasant, and to make home cheerful and happy. But beware of that gaudy and flimsy show, beneath which there is no real comfort; dread that cheap finery which in the end is so terribly dear.
The Mill Burn.
W HEN he was a young, a. generous boy,
VV A Mill Burn was his daily joy:
He told the habits of the flies,
The Best Time of the year.
From the German of Luther.
1 Is when the birds sing merrily!
At the close of a week of mission services, when the members of the congregation were deliberating how best to carry on the labours thus begun, a working-girl came forward and made the request mentioned in the following lines :
DINISHED the solemn week of prayer,
Of pleading look and hallowed song.
And once again the people met
To show their faith by deeds of love, Not willing barren words alone
Should test their zeal in heaven above.
And sweet and clear their earnest vow
Uprose through quiet evening air, Henceforth with hearts more brave and leal,
For Jesus' sake to do and dare ;
Each choosing work that fitted best
His own peculiar gift or grace, More anxious thus to serve his God,
Than claim some more distinguished place.
But one meanwhile amid the rest
Sat bending low in thoughtful prayer : What might she do for His dear sake,
Whose love had brought her footsteps there?