« AnteriorContinuar »
long, working and drudging, and just to scrape along, because your husband chooses to spend all his earnings on those trashy books and instruments? Don't I know that you have given up all the generous living that you were used to, and are deprived of almost the very essentials of a decent meal? And where are the pleasant parties, and the brisk dances? Instead of them, here you sit, poring over your Methodistical books along with your Methodistical husband, till, I verily believe, you will think it a sin even to smile on your baby."
"Ay, ay," said David, when his wife repeated to him this conversation, "so it is, when men can do nothing else, they contrive to affix an obnoxious name; and one is a Methodist and another an infidel, according to the effect they desire to produce, or the ill-feeling they wish to vent. How many good men have been sacrificed to this petty persecution! Not that I think," he continued, laughing at his own earnestness, we are persecuted by your good uncle; but I could not help reflecting how this same self-satisfied ignorance, in a wider sphere, has occasioned half the sufferings of the church. If uncle Giles really knew how the case stands, he would not talk and feel so."
"So I told him," said Jane. "Said I, 'You should come and see with your own eyes, and judge from actual observation. There are different tastes, you know; and our mode of life might not suit your taste, but so long as it suits ours, we may be very happy in it; and if you would but come and see how entirely happy we are, and how full of cheerfulness and even fun, you might still wonder at our taste, but you would no longer be uneasy about us.'
"I heartily wish that he would do so," said David, “but I fear there would be little prospect of convincing him. He has lived too long in the habit of regarding superficial enjoy
ment as the chief good, to perceive any attractiveness in sober and mental pleasures."
"But it is not too late for him to be touched with juster notions of religion."
'No, not too late; it is never too late, I suppose, strictly speaking. There is an infinite power in divine truth to overcome any heart, if rightly introduced to it. But the difficulty is to introduce it rightly to one who has always, on principle, resisted it, and who prides himself on having the most sensible and rational notions. How are you to get at him? He is impenetrable."
"True; he looks down upon us with a sort of a self-complacent pity, as being in a delusion. He thinks that religion consists in going to meeting on Sunday, and keeping up a reputable appearance; any particular attention to it beyond this he regards as downright fanaticism."
"And fanaticism is to be despised. Therefore it is that men of his class are among the most hopeless. I should much sooner expect to see John Smith a hearty and devoted Christian. He is not hardened by the self-conceit of fancied attainment; he has never imagined himself a religious man. He may therefore be touched. And I do not mean to lose a speedy opportunity of continuing this morning's talk."
"But you must choose a better time for it than before breakfast. You spoiled his wife's temper for the whole day. She prides herself on her breakfast table too much to bear such a delay."
Why, to be sure," said David, "it was rather unseasonable. And I have been thinking, for other reasons, that I must alter my plan a little. I am too much interrupted in my reading during the day; and now that the evenings are growing short, I think it will be best to do my studying
before breakfast. Then I shall have the day for work, and nobody can interrupt that. I shall then be a man of leisure for my work," he added, while he moved away from the table and began to romp with his children, "as Walter Scott was for his friends, after having done up his chapter before any body was stirring."
So this change of plan was settled; and after a hearty frolic with the little ones, the happy father composed himself to study, with a readiness of attention, and avarice of time, that even Bowditch hardly surpassed. The children were then quietly put to rest, and the cottage set in order, and the wife at length placed herself by his side, and he read to her aloud, and they talked of what they read, until the hour came for retiring. Then the day, which began in praise, was ended in prayer, and night and sleep sank down together, with a benediction of repose, on the simple-hearted, unambitious, and devoted pair.