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THE following Tales by Mrs. Ellis, have been selected from the Juvenile Scrap Books published in England, the sale of which was so limited, that the present Publisher thought it would be acceptable to the young readers of this country, to have it in a cheaper and more convenient form.
We know of no better mode of introducing the contents of this volume, than by quoting the words of our instructive Authoress : "It is no trifling gratification to be able to send this little messenger of cordial greeting to her young friends in their different homes, assuring them that it bears with it the kind wishes, and deep interest of one who has their happiness at heart.
"Between some of the readers, and the writer of these pages, no other earthly intercourse ever will exist; it is therefore the more desirable that this medium should be associated with pleasurable sensations: not merely that this Book may be a favorite in the library, but that the moral truths it is intended to convey, may be connected with
happy recollections of fireside enjoyments; and that the recurrence of social pleasure may in its turn remind them, that life is not all a holyday, but that seasons of relaxation are never so truly happy as when they are blended with social and religious duties."
BROTHER AND SISTER.
Of all the cottages which stood on the hill-side in the little village of Oakton, that of James Pattison was the most neglected and forlorn, without being absolutely dirty. The little garden at the back, or rather the plot of ground which should have been a garden, was entirely uncultivated, and in the narrower strip before the door, separated from the public road by a broken fence, there was nothing left but a withered and stunted rose-tree, of what the neighbors said, had once been the gayest flower-garden in the whole place. One recommendation however, this habitation possessed over many others in the same village-its door was almost always closed; and, whatever the mistress of the house might be in other respects, she had the singular merit of being almost always at home. Indeed, Mary Pattison was a singular woman altogether, in such a place as the village of Oakton, for she never spoke of her own domestic affairs; and though some of her trials were well known, and often hinted at, by the people of the place, she never lingered about after such hints had been dropped, as if she wanted to say something that would make her appear more pitiable still; but she used to turn instantly away, and walk quietly home,
or else change the subject by entering at once upon other business.
"Ay, she may keep her troubles to herself," was the frequent observation, as Mary walked down the lane; "but we know what makes her look so pale."
And pale indeed, poor Mary did look, though she wore an old black bonnet drawn so far over her face, that to see her countenance at all was no easy matter; yet the neighbors were accustomed to tell how she was the blithest bride in Oakton, and the prettiest too, when she first came home with James Pattison from her father's house. And a sweet garden she had, and such blooming flowers; and James and she used to be seen late on a summer's evening, tying up the pinks, and watering the balsams, while the scent of their roses and sweetbrier, used to make every one turn as they walked past, to see what could be so full of perfume in a simple cottage-garden like that.
Nor was the cottage within, less inviting than the flower-beds without, and the well-stocked border which ran along the wall. A queen might have sat down in Mary's parlor, without finding a speck of dust upon her clothes; and then that clean fireside and tidy hearth, with the tortoise-shell cat asleep on the outside of the fender, and the cradle for the baby with its snow white counterpane on one side, and the oak table with a large bible in its green baize cover on the other; while opposite the fire, stood the large mahogany table, with its let-down leaves, and the tea-tray reared up against the wall, and polished caddy, a bridal present to Mary, in front! All these, so neatly arranged,
so polished, and so clean, made up the household picture of the interior of Mary's happy home. Nor should the well-timed handsome clock be forgotten, for it too, had been a wedding present from James Pattison's former master, whom he had faithfully served from his sixteenth year until the day of his marriage. Mary used to say of this clock, it was excellent company when her husband was away, but somehow or other she never heard it either tick or strike after he came home. The fact was, they had so many pleasant things to talk about, they heard nothing but their own voices, or that of the child when it laughed and crowed, and would not go to sleep for very fun and glee.
Yes, they were a happy trio-James, and Mary, and that one child. It would be a difficult and painful task to tell by what slow degrees this happiness melted away, as if it had never been. Yet so it was: and, as we said before, there was not a more wretched looking cottage in the whole village of Oakton, than that of the Pattisons at the time of which we speak. And that frightful looking man, too—was that man ever respectable, or beloved? Yes; and there is a stranger fact in his history than that-he is beloved still. What! that horrid man? Why even his own children are afraid of him, and one hides its head in its mother's apron, and the other buries its face in the handkerchief around her neck, while a third holds up its hands to be taken out of the cradle before he comes near. And yet this man is beloved. He is beloved, because Mary is a true-hearted woman, and she thinks if all the world abhors him, there is the more need for her to be his friend.