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mother of such a large family!" exclaimed Flora.
Very odd-isn't it?-reversing the order of nature; instead of the quiet spinning caterpillar turning into the gay butterfly, the butterfly doffing its silken wings and beginning to crawl through the routine of daily duties, a prisoner to its cabbage-leaf! Only imagine me, Flora, mending stockings, shaping out pinafores, bandaging cut fingers and broken heads, scolding tradespeople, keeping servants in order, paying bills,—and dancing babies till my arms ache !"
“I should think the last a very delightful occupation!" said Flora, suppressing a sigh.
"None but a mother can tell how delightful," replied Ada; "but I do not take so kindly to all my domestic employments. never yet took pleasure in solving the problem how far a shilling would go, nor finding out how it is that boys are always wanting new shoes, and how elbows and knees are perpetually running a race as to which should first run through the clothes. dren have found out the
I believe that chilsecret of perpetual
motion, to the great discomfort of those who have to look after the little rogues!"
"But children make a house so cheerful!” said Flora, abstractedly.
"And now, my dear child,-ah! you see that I can't get over my old way of talking to you yet,—do give me your last news from Wingsdale. You know that I'm such a shocking correspondent that I know as little of what passes in the world beyond Salisbury Plain as if I were a denizen of the moon!"
Poor old Mrs. Ward, my mother tells me, is now a confirmed invalid, and unable to leave her bed."
And your sweet mother herself?"
"She never mentions her own health; her letters are full of the children."
"Ah! the whity-brown legion of little horrors, who like a swarm of hornets literally drove you out of Laurel Bank, and compelled you to take refuge in Grosvenor Square! I suppose that they have been undergoing the process of taming, at which my aunt is so famous, and that Johnny now does not scratch out any one's eyes, and that Lyddie may be trusted in a store-room full of treacle and
I should think your mother a firstrate hand at bringing up children, judging from the charming specimen before me!"
Flora neither smiled nor blushed at the flattery now.
"But tell me how they all appeared when you were last at Laurel Bank.”
Then indeed the colour rose to Flora's pale cheek, and it was with an appearance of some embarrassment that she replied, "I have not been there since you were there, on the day. of my marriage."
Ada suppressed the exclamation of astonishment that was upon her tongue, for she saw that its utterance would give pain.
My dear husband has been so much engaged-of course I could not leave him-it is so difficult sometimes to make arrangements— but I hope soon-;" Flora stopped short, for her lips were not accustomed to utter an absolute untruth.
"How your mother must be longing to see you! I should not have thought that she could have lived so long without you!"
"Words cannot express how I long to see her!" exclaimed Flora, with tears in her eyes.
THE MOTHER'S TRIAL.
'SWEET are the uses of adversity," writes the great poet of Nature. Experience confirms
the blessed truth proclaimed by Revelation, that "they who sow in tears shall reap in joy." The lips that meekly kiss the rod find that, like Aaron's, it will blossom, and bear the fruits of peace, and even joy. Sorrow has so often been the step to sanctification, that we can scarcely wonder that the means have sometimes been mistaken for the end,— that it has been thought that grief has in itself some purifying power, until much suffering on earth is almost regarded as a passport to heaven!
And yet how mistaken is this view!-how contrary to the warning in the Scriptures, that there is a sorrow of the world that worketh death! If some tears are like the dew that descends on the earth, shedding fertility and beauty on all sides, others are like the waters of the Dead Sea, bitter and unblessed: buried joys lie beneath, and a desert spreads around!