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bed and hid her face on the pillow. By all that she suffered when indulging her grief alone and in the retirement of her chamber, she felt how dreadful it would have been to her, had she accompanied the corpse of her brother to its final restingplace.
In about an hour the family returned, pale, exhausted, and worn out with the intensity of their feelings at the grave. And they could well have dispensed with the company of Mrs. Bleden, who came home and passed the evening with them ; as she foolishly said that people in affliction ought not to be left to themselves.
After some days the violence of their grief settled into melancholy sadness: they ceased to speak of him whom they had loved and lost, and they felt as if they could never talk of him again.
The unfortunate family of Mr. Parkinson now_began to consider what they should do for their support. Fanny was willing to share with them her little income even to the last farthing, but it was too small to enable them all to live on it with comfort. Great indeed are the sufferings, the unacknowledged and unimagined sufferings of that class who “cannot dig, and to beg are ashamed”-- whose children have been nursed in the lap of affluence, and who “every night have slept with soft content about their heads”—who still retain a vivid recollection of happier times, and who still feel that they themselves are the same, though all is changed around them.
Such was the condition of the Parkinson family. world was all before them where to choose," and so low were now their finances, that it was necessary they should think and act promptly, and decide at once upon some plan for their subsistence." Fanny proposed a school, but the house they now occupied was in too remote a place to expect any success A lady had already attempted establishing a seminary in the immediate neighbourhood, but it had proved an entire failure. Mrs. Parkinson thought that in a better part of the town, and in a larger house, they might bave a fair chance of encouragement. But they were now destitute of the means of defraying the expense of a removal and of purchasing such articles of furniture as would be indispensably necessary in a more commodious dwelling ; particularly if fitted up as a school.
Frederick Parkinson, who was twelve years old had just completed his last quarter at the excellent academy in which he had been a pupil from early childhood, and it was now found
necessary, after paying the bill, to take him away; as the present situation of the family did not seem to warrant them in continuing him there any longer. He was, however, very forward in all his acquirements, having an excellent capacity, and being extremely diligent. Still it was hard that so promising a boy should be obliged to stop short, when in a fair way of becoming an extraordinary proficient in the principal branches appertaining to what is considered an excellent education. Forfunately, however, a place was obtained for him in a highly respectable bookseller's.
There was now a general retrenchment in the expenditure of the Parkinson family.
In the meantime their only resource seemed to be that of literally supporting themselves by the work of their hands. Fanny undertook the painful task of going round among their acquaintances, and announcing their readiness to undertake any sort of needle-work that was offered to them. Nobody had any work to put out just then. Some promised not to forget them when they had. Others said they were already suited with seamstresses.
At length a piece of linen was sent to the Parkinson family for the purpose of being made up by them. And so great was their joy at the prospect of getting a little money, that it almost absorbed the painful feelings with which for the first time they employed their needles in really working for their living.
They all sewed assiduously, little Louisa doing the easiest parts. The linen was soon made up, and they then obtained another piece, and afterwards some muslin-work. Fanny, who was one of the most indefatigable of women, found time occasionally to copy music, and correct proof-sheets, and to do many other things by which she was able to add a little more to the general fund. For a short time, her not appearing in black excited much conversation among the acquaintances of the family : but these discussions soon subsided, and after a while nothing more was said or thought on the subject.
But to pay for the mourning of Mrs. Parkinson and her children was a necessity that pressed heavily on them all, and they dreaded the sound of the door-bell lest it should be followed by the presentation of the bills. The bills came, and were found to be considerably larger than was anticipated. Yet they were paid in the course of the winter, though with much dif. ficulty, and at the expense of much comfort. The unfortunate Parkinsons rose early and sat up late, kept scanty fires, and a very humble table, and rarely went out of the house, except to church, or to take a little air and exercise at the close of the afternoon.
Most of their friends dropped off, and the few that seemed disposed to continue their acquaintance with people whose extreme indigence was no secret, were so thoughtless as to make their visits in the morning, a time which is never convenient to families that cannot afford to be idle. Mrs. Bleden, who though frivolous and inconsiderate, was really a good-natured woman, came frequently to see them ; and another of their visitors was Mrs. Weston, whose chief incentive was curiosity to see how the Parkirisons were going on, and a love of dictation which induced her frequently to favour them with what she considered salutary counsel. Mrs. Weston was a hard, cold, heartless woman, who by dint of the closest economy had helped her husband to amass a large fortune. and they now had every sort of luxury at their command. The Westons as well as the Bledens had formerly been neighbours of Mr. and Mrs. Parkinson.
Mrs. Bleden and Mrs. Weston happened to meet one morning in Mrs. Parkinson's little sitting-room. Mrs. Weston came in last, and Mrs. Bleden after stopping for a few minutes, pursued her discourse with her usual volubility. It was on the subject of Mrs. Parkinson and her daughter getting new cloaks.
“I can assure you,” said she, “now that the weather bas become so cold, people talk about your going to church in those three-cornered cloth-shawls, which you know are only single, and were merely intended for autumn and spring. They did very well when you first got them (for the weather was then mild) but the season is now too far advanced to wear shawls of any sort. You know every body gets their new cloaks before Christmas, and it is now after New-year's day.'
We would be very glad to have cloaks,” replied Mrs. Parkinson, “but they are too expensive.”
“Not so very," answered Mrs. Bleden. Handsome silk cloaks would scarcely cost above three or four pounds a. piece.”
We cannot afford them,” said Mrs. Parkinson. 6. We must only refrain from going out when the weather is very cold. I acknowledge that our shawls are not sufficiently warm.'
“Did you not all get new olive-coloured silk cloaks just before Mr. Parkinson died ?" jnquired Mrs. Weston.
The abrupt mention of a name which they had long since
found it almost impossible to utter, brought tears into the eyes of the whole family. There was a general silence, and Mrs. Bleden then took leave, saying, “Well, do as you please, but people think it very strange that you should be still wearing your shawls, now that the cold weather has set in."
Fanny was glad that Mrs. Bleden had not in this instance carried her point. But she grieved to think that her sister and nieces could not have the comfort of wearing their cloaks because the olive-colour did not comport with their mourning bonnets. For herself, as she had made no attempt at mourn. ing, Fanny had no scruple as to appearing in hers.
When Mrs. Bleden was gone, Mrs. Weston spoke again, and said, “I wonder how people can be so inconsiderate ! But Mrs. Bleden never could see things in their proper light. She ought to be ashamed of giving you such advice. Now, I would recommend to you to have your olive silk cloaks dyed black, and then you can make them up again yourselves. You know that if you were not in mourning, you might wear them as they are; but as you have begun with black; I suppose it would never do to be seen in coloured thi..
“I believe,” replieu Mrs. Parkinson, there is generally much trouble in getting articles dyed, and that they are frequently spoiled in the process.”
“ Your informants," said Mrs. Weston, “ must have been peculiarly unlucky in their dyers. I can recommend you to Mr. Copperas, who does things beautifully, so that they look quite as good as new. He dyes for Mrs. Broadskirt and for Mrs. Dingy. I advise you by all means to send your cloaks to him. And no doubt you have many other things now lying by as useless, that would be serviceable if dyed black.”
“ I believe I will take your advice,” answered Mrs. Parkinson."
Mrs. Weston then proceeded, “Situated as you are Mrs. Parkinson, I need not say how much it behoves you to economise in everything you possibly can ; now for instance, I would suggest to you all to drink coffee. And then as to tea, if you must have tea of an evening, I know a place where you can get it as low as three shillings and sixpence a pound. In your family a pound of tea ought to go a great way, of course, you do not make it strong. And then, I would advise you all to accustom yourselves to brown sugar in your tea ; it is nothing when you are used to it. Of course you always take it in your coffee.” During this harangue, the colour came into Mrs. Parkinson's
face, and she was about to answer in a manner that showed how acutely she was wounded by the unfeeling impertinence of the speaker : but glancing at Fanny she saw something in her countenance that resembled a smile, and perceived that she seemed rather amused than angry. Therefore Mrs. Parkinson suppressed her resentment, and made no reply.
When Mrs. Weston had departed, the mother and daughters warmly deprecated her rudeness and insolence; but Fanny being by nature very susceptible of the ridiculous, was much more inclined to laugh, and succeeded in inducing her sister and the girls to regard it in the same light that she did.
“ After all,” said Mrs. Parkinson, “I think we will take Mrs. Weston's advice about the dying. The Olive cloaks may thus be turned to very good account, and so may several other things that we cannot now make use of because of their colour. It is true that we can ill afford even the expence of dying them, but still we are really very much in want of such cloaks as we can wear in mourning.”
(To be Continued.)
“METHINKS it sbould have been impossible,
And look below-on high-around-
To the humblest flower that decks the ground
As, robed in beanty, he surveyed it-
Whose bounteous hand arrayed it?
The wood-tbe plain-the hill and dale-
Their varied sweetness on the gale-
Tbat seems to mourn its own sad deed -
Its waters on their glad way speed--
Bright carth !--to thee, they all belony:
Thine, thine their beauty and their song!
Nor teel the beauties that pervade it :
It ever pours to Him who made it ?