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Tbe child stepped forward and took her fcaai. - His? » pleaty for nipper; let me stay and share n. I am I.nst—Esl>
The similarity of name struck on Greteh>ai*s ear: fee- sifrJ was weakened by illness and want: she snaJeh*! the eiiji to her bosom, crying out, "Lisa—my Lisa! are yea esse back to me a*rain?"
The little girl, startled, uttered a cry. Greteten ses hue &ws. and locked at her. ">"o, no—it is not my Lisa! ~ she sail sorrowfully.
"I am not your own Lisa, but I will try to be," answers! Quintin's friend, while the boy himself came forward and explained the whole. His mother was full of grateful joy. "Wnhout more words Quintin lighted the fire, while little Lisa, active and skilful as a grown woman, arranged the supper—not. however, before she had carefullv administered some wine and bread to the thankful widow. All three sat down to a cheerful meaL Lisa holding one of Quintin's hands in hers the whole time, aod watching him eat with an earnest pleasure which prevented her thinking of her own supper, and effectually contradicted her assertion that she was very hungry.
"You will not faint again, Quintin," she said at last.
The mother looked alarmed. "What has been the matter with you, Quintin? Have you, indeed, fainted from hunger '. My poor boy! I thought you told me they were to give you dinner at the forge, and therefore you would not eat that piece of bread this morning?"
"Yes, mother; but—but—" said Quintin stammering, "they forgot all about it. I was not so very hungry, so I thought I would not come home until after dinner-time, that"
"That your mother might have it all! My own boy—my dear Quintin, God bless you! You are husband, and son, and everything to me," cried the widow, folding him in a close embrace.
Lisa looked on, almost tearfully. "I wish my mother were here to kiss me as you do Quintin!" she said.
"Have you lost your mother, poor child?" asked Gretchen, turning towards her. "Then come to me—you shall be my own little Lisa."
"I am Quintin's sister already, so we shall all be happy together," cried the pleased child, who would have willingly stayed, had not the thoughtful Gretchen told Quintin to take her in safety to her own home. The children parted affectionately, and Quintin felt that Lisa's loving and hopeful spirit had left a good influence behind upon his own. He went home with less gloomy thoughts for the future; his mother, too, had a happy look on her care-worn face, which cheered the affectionate boy. He listened to her praises of the sweet Lisa, and bade her goodnight with a lightened heart. Both mother and son felt the day's events had shown them that there is no night of sorrow so dark to which there will not come, sooner or later, a bright and happy morning.
THE FIRST PARTING.
Two years passed lightly over Quintin's head, bringing with them much happiness and little care. It seemed as if the meeting with Lisa had been the turning of their fortunes; from that time friends sprung up for the widow; and Johann Mandyn himself, the father of Lisa, helped Quintin to obtain work with the influence he possessed. But he was poor, and had little sympathy beyond his art, in which he placed his sole delight. Quintin and Lisa were inseparable in their childish friendship; the artist's daughter felt no scorn for the blacksmith's son, for she was too young to think of difference of station. Quintin worked at the forge, where he was invaluable, and his mother spun; so that the week's earnings were sufficient for the week's need, and poverty was no longer dreaded in the widow's now cheerful home. Gretchen became once more the stout, rosy, and goodhumoured Flemish dame; for time heals all griefs, even the bitterest; and it is well that it should be so. A long-indulged sorrow for the dead, or for any other hopeless loss, would deaden our sympathies for those still left, and thus make a sinful apathy steal over the soul, absorbing all its powers, and causing the many blessings of life to be felt as curses. As the bosom of earth blooms again and again, having buried out of sight the dead leaves of autumn, and loosed the frosty bands of winter, so does the heart, in spite of all that melancholy poets write, feel many renewed springs and summers. It is a beautiful and a blessed world we live in, and whilst that life lasts, to lose the enjoyment of it is sin.
Gretchen's restoration to peace after her heavy trials was in a great measure owing to the influence of Lisa. This child was one of those sweet creatures who steal into our hearts like a gleam of sunshine. Why this was so, it was impossible to tell: she was not clever above her years, nor fascinating through her beauty, which then was not conspicuous; but there seemed an atmosphere of love around her which pervaded everything and every one with its influence. It was impossible not to love Lisa.
A good man once said to his daughter—" Why is it that every one loves youV "I do not know," answered the child, "except that it is because I love everybody." This was the secret of Lisa's power of winning universal affection. Her little heart seemed brimming over with kind words and good deeds. She -was never seen gloomy or unhappy, because her whole delight consisted in indulging her love of bestowing pleasure on others, and therefore she never knew what it was to be sad. People may talk as they will, but it is in ourselves alone that the materials of happiness are to be found. Even love—we mean household, family love—need not always be reciprocal at first. A gentle and a loving spirit, though it may seem for a long time fruitless, will at last win love in return. It is useless to say, -1 would be kind and affectionate if he or she would be so is return." Let us begin by showing love, and a requital will not fail us in the end,
Quintin"s character matured rapidly. If his manly and resolute mind had wanted anything, it was the charm of gentleness, and this he learned from Lisa. They continued to call one another by the sweet names of brother and sister, and certainly no tie of kindred could be stronger ihan theirs. Lisa taught Quintin much that the misfortunes of his youth had prevented him from learning, so that he no longer lamented his ignorance of reading and writing—acquirements verv uncommon in his
Itresent sphere, but which his ardent mind had always eagerly onged after. His bodily frame grew with his mental powers, and at thirteen Quintin was a tall and active youth, though never very strong. To say he loved the occupation which he pursued so steadily, and in which he was so successful, would not be true; and here it was that the quiet heroism of his character appeared. Quintin"s heart was not in the forge, and the more learning he acquired, the more he felt this distaste increase. But he never told his mother, for he knew that it would detract from her happiness, and he manfully struggled against his oirn
hen Quintin had attained his fourteenth year, a change took place in his fortunes. The young blacksmith, with the native taste which was inherent in him. had worked a number of iron rails with such ingenious, ornaments, that the purchaser, a rich burgher of Antwerp, sent to in^^ire whose hand had done them. Quintin's master informed him; and the answer was, that the young workman should immediately go to the burgher, who had found him employment in the city.
A grand event was this in the boys life. He had never seen Antwerp, but he and Lisa had often sat together on summer evenings watching the beautiful spires of the cathedral, while the little girl told him of all the wonders it contained; for Lisa inherited ail her fathers love of art. Now Quintin was about to realise the*? wonderful sights; and when he got home he could hardly find words to tell his mother and Lisa the joyful news. Quintin was too happy to notice that, while his mother congratulated him on his good fortune, a tear stood in her eyes, and that little Lisa —she still kept the pet name, which suited her low stature and child-Eke manners, though she was, in truth, but little younger than Quintin—looked very sad immediately after the first "surprise had passed away.
"Will you be long away, Brother Quintin?" asked she, laying her hand on his arm.
"Only two or three months; perhaps not that."
"Three months seem a long time when you have never left your mother before in your whole life," said Gretchen mournfully.
Quintin then felt that his joy was almost unkind towards these -dear ones, who would miss him so much. And yet it was such a good thing for him to find work at Antwerp; he would be •well paid, and it was the sort of labour which he liked much better than his hard and uninteresting work at the forge. He -urged all these arguments, except the last, to his mother and Xisa, and was successful in quieting their alarms, and in lulling their grief at losing him for a time. He was to leave the next morning, for there must be no delay, and the necessary preparations in some degree distracted Gretchen's thoughts from the approaching parting. Lisa assisted too, but her little fingers trembled while she tied up the small bundle in which Quintin's worldly wealth was deposited. He, good thoughtful boy, though his own heart sank after the first burst of delight, did not fail to cheer them both with merry speeches, telling Lisa that he would need a wagon and horses to bring home his goods, instead of the handkerchief in which they were taken thence, and suchlike cheerful sayings—with little humour, but much good-natured .cheerfulness.
Nevertheless, when all was ended, and the three sat down to their last meal together for some time, Gretchen's courage failed. She looked at her son; the thought struck her how soon his place would be vacant, and she burst into tears. Quintin consoled her. He felt almost ready to cry himself; but a boy of fourteen must not yield to such weakness, so he forcibly drove the tears back to their source. Lisa did not speak, but she changed colour, and several large bright drops slid silently down her cheek, and fell on her empty plate.
"Come, mother dear," said Quintin at last, "we really must not all look so very melancholy; I shall be quite too full of importance if you cry over me so much. And I shall be so rich when I come home. This will be the best winter we have had yet. You shall not spin any more, mother: indeed there will be no need, I shall be so independent. And three months will soon pass; Lisa will be near you; and, mother," he added gravely and affectionately, "you can trust me to be good, to remember all you have taught me, and to love you as much as ever, though a few miles away from you."
With such words did Quintin cheer the little party, until the time came for Lisa to go home. Her father, absorbed in his studies, though loving her sincerely, noticed her but little, and was content to leave her often for whole days with the blacksmith's widow, provided that Quintin brought her home at dusk. It was now summer-time, and the children went along the ofttrodden way together hand-in-hand. At length the moment foi parting arrived, and how sad it was, need not be particularly described.
"Do not forget Sister Lisa," were the last words Quintin heard from the child; and when the door of her father's house closed, and he saw her no more, Quintin felt more sorrowful than he had done since he beheld the cold earth thrown ove? his father.
Quinttn's LIFE AT ANTWERP.
It was a dull and dreary morning when Quintin set out on his journey. He was to proceed on foot to Antwerp; for in those days the poor and middling classes had to look to themselves alone for those powers of locomotion which are now open to every one. In the fifteenth century carriages were almost unknown; the sole mode of conveyance was on horseback; but the very wealthy, when aged or sick, indulged themselves with Jitters, or with rude wagons, drawn by horses. But none of these appliances of luxury were for Quintin Matsys; so he set forth on foot, carrying his bundle, tied to a stick, over his shoulder.
With the night had faded many of Quintin's brilliant anticipations of pleasure. When he awoke in the morning, and savr that the long drought had melted into rain, and that the dull mist rose up from the fields, shutting out from his view the city of his hopes, he would almost have been glad not to set out. At the last moment, when anticipation has vanished into certainty, it is seldom that we really feel happy in some pleasure long hoped for at last attained. So Quintin felt; and when he had indeed parted from his weeping mother—when he had lost sight of the cottage, passed the forge, and was out in the high road, he thought that if this was the first-fruits of good fortune he had almost rather stay at home all his life.
But the boy had not gone far when the mist—it was only a summer's mist, like his own sadness—cleared away; the sua rose brightly, and the cathedral spires were bathed in its golden radiance. They seemed a beacon of future hope to Quintin's now cheerful heart. To a fanciful and enthusiastic spirit like his, a mere trifle—the passing of a cloud, the bursting of a sunbeam, the sudden carol of a bird—will drive away care, until we wonder why we were so heavy-hearted before; and this sudden susceptibility to pleasure, unless blunted by very sore afflictions, is indeed a great blessing. So it was with Quintin. Encouraged by the sunshine around him, he went hopefully on his way, and before sunset reached Antwerp.
The first view of a great and populous city is always striking. But the young blacksmith's mind was naturally of too high a