> Now is the pleasant time, > The cool, the silent, save where silence yields > To the night-warbling bird that now awake, > Tunes sweetest her love-laboured song now reigns > Full orbed the moon, and with more pleasing light > Shadowy, sets off the face of things.
WHEN Ellen came out of Alice's room again it was late in the afternoon. Th_un was so low that the shadow of the house had crossed the narrow lawn an_ounted up near to the top of the trees; but on them he was still shinin_rightly, and on the broad landscape beyond, which lay open to view throug_he gap in the trees. The glass door was open; the sweet summer air and th_ound of birds and insects and fluttering leaves floated into the room, makin_he stillness musical. On the threshold pussy sat crouched, with his forefee_oubled under his breast, watching with intense gravity the operations o_argery, who was setting the table on the lawn just before his eyes. Alice wa_aring peaches.
"Oh, we are going to have tea out of doors, aren't we!" said Ellen. "I'm ver_lad. What a lovely evening, isn't it? Just look at pussy, will you, Alice?
don't you believe he knows what Margery is doing?–Why didn't you call me to g_long with you after peaches?"
"I thought you were doing the very best thing you possibly could, Ellie, m_ear. How do you do?"
"Oh, nicely now! Where's Mr. John? I hope he won't ask for my last drawing to- night,–I want to fix the top of that tree before he sees it."
" _Fix_ the top of your tree, you little Yankee?" said Alice;– "what do yo_hink John would say to that?– _un_ fix it you mean; it is too stiff already, isn't it?"
"Well, what _shall_ I say?" said Ellen laughing. "I am sorry that is Yankee, for I suppose one must speak English.–I want to do something to my tree, then.–Where is he, Alice?"
"He is gone down to Mr. Van Brunt's, to see how he is, and to speak to Mis_ortune about you on his way back."
"Oh, how kind of him!–he's _very_ good; that is just what I want to know; but I am sorry, after this long ride–"
"He don't mind _that_ , Ellie. He'll be home presently."
"How nice those peaches look;–they are as good as strawberries, don't yo_hink so?–better,–I don't know which is best;–but Mr. John likes these best, don't he? Now you've done!–shall I set them on the table?–and here's a pitche_f splendid cream, Alice!"
"You had better not tell John so, or he will make you define _splendid_."
John came back in good time, and brought word that Mr. Van Brunt was doin_ery well, so far as could be known; also, that Miss Fortune consented t_llen's remaining where she was. He wisely did not say, however, that he_onsent had been slow to gain till he had hinted at his readiness to provide _ubstitute for Ellen's services; on which Miss Fortune had instantly declare_he did not want her and sme might stay as long as she pleased. This was al_hat was needed to complete Ellen's felicity.
"Wasn't your poor horse too tired to go out again this afternoon, Mr. John?"
"I did not ride him, Ellie; I took yours."
"The Brownie!–did you?–I'm very glad! How did you like him? But perhaps _he_as tired a little, and you couldn't tell so well to-day."
"He was not tired with any work you had given him, Ellie;– perhaps he may be _ittle now."
"Why?" said Ellen, somewhat alarmed.
"I have been trying him; and instead of going quietly along the road we hav_een taking some of the fences in our way. As I intend practising you at th_ar, I wished to make sure in the first place that he knew his lesson."
"Well, how did he do?"
"Perfectly well–I believe he is a good little fellow. I wanted to satisf_yself if he was fit to be trusted with you; and I rather think Mr. Marshma_as taken care of that."
The whole wall of trees was in shadow when the little family sat down t_able; but there was still the sun-lit picture behind; and there was anothe_ind of sunshine in every face at the table. Quietly happy the whole four, o_t least the whole three, were; first, in being together,–after that, in al_hings besides. Never was tea so refreshing, or bread and butter so sweet, o_he song of birds so delightsome. When the birds were gone to their nests, th_ricket and grasshopper and tree-toad and katy-did, and nameless othe_ongsters, kept up a concert,–nature's own,–in delicious harmony with wood_nd flowers, and summer breezes and evening light. Ellen's cup of enjoymen_as running over. From one beautiful thing to another her eye wandered,–fro_ne joy to another her thoughts went,–till her full heart fixed on the God wh_ad made and given them all, and that Redeemer whose blood had been thei_urchase-money. From the dear friends beside her, the best-loved she had i_he world, she thought of the one dearer yet from whom death had separate_er;–yet living still,–and to whom death would restore her, thanks to Him wh_ad burst the bonds of death and broken the gates of the grave, and made a wa_or his ransomed to pass over. And the thought of Him was the joyfullest o_ll!
"You look happy, Ellie," said her adopted brother.
"So I am," said Ellen, smiling a very bright smile.
"What are you thinking about?"
But John saw it would not do to press his question.
"You remind me," said he, "of some old fairy story that my childish ear_eceived, in which the fountains of the sweet and bitter waters of life wer_aid to stand very near each other, and to mingle their streams but a littl_ay from their source. Your tears and smiles seem to be brothers an_isters;–whenever we see one we may be sure the other is not far off."
"My dear Jack," said Alice, laughing,–"what an unhappy simile! Are brother_nd sisters always found like that?"
"I wish they were," said John, sighing and smiling;–"but my last words ha_othing to do with my simile as you call it."
When tea was over, and Margery had withdrawn the things and taken away th_able, they still lingered in their places. It was far too pleasant to go in.
Mr. Humphreys moved his chair to the side of the house, and throwing _andkerchief over his head to defend him from the mosquitoes, a few of whic_ere buzzing about, he either listened, meditated, or slept;–most probably on_f the two latter for the conversation was not very loud nor very lively; i_as happiness enough merely to breathe so near each other. The sun left th_istant fields and hills; soft twilight stole through the woods, down the gap, and over the plain; the grass lost its green; the wall of trees grew dark an_usky; and very faint and dim showed the picture that was so bright a littl_hile ago. As they sat quite silent, listening to what nature had to say t_hem, or letting fancy and memory take their way, the silence wa_roken–hardly broken–by the distinct far-off cry of a whip-poor-will. Alic_rasped her brother's arm, and they remained motionless, while it came nearer, nearer,–then quite near,–with its clear, wild, shrill, melancholy not_ounding close by them again and again,–strangely, plaintively, then leavin_he lawn, it was heard further and further off, till the last faint "whip- poor-will," in the far distance, ended its pretty interlude. It was almost to_ark to read faces, but the eyes of the brother and sister had sought eac_ther and remained fixed till the bird was out of hearing; then Alice's han_as removed to his, and her head found its old place on her brother'_houlder.
"Sometimes, John," said Alice, "I am afraid I have one tie too strong to thi_orld. I cannot bear–as I ought–to have you away from me."
Her brother's lips were instantly pressed to her forehead.
"I may say to you, Alice, as Colonel Gardiner said to his wife, 'we have a_ternity to spend together!' "
"I wonder," said Alice, after a pause,–"how those can bear to love or b_oved, whose affection can see nothing but a blank beyond the grave."
"Few people, I believe," said her brother, "would come exactly under tha_escription; most flatter themselves with a vague hope of reunion afte_eath."
"But that is a miserable hope–very different from ours."
"Very different indeed!–and miserable; for it can only deceive; but ours i_ure. 'Them that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.' "
"Precious!" said Alice. "How exactly fitted to every want and mood of the min_re the sweet Bible words."
"Well!" said Mr. Humphreys, rousing himself,–"I am going in! These mosquitoe_ave half eaten me up. Are you going to sit there all night?"
"We are thinking of it, papa," said Alice cheerfully.
He went in, and was heard calling Margery for a liglit.
They had better lights on the lawn. The stars began to peep out through th_oft blue, and as the blue grew deeper they came out more and brighter, til_ll heaven was hung with lamps. But that was not all. In the eastern horizon, just above the low hills that bordered the far side of the plain, a whit_ight, spreading and growing and brightening, promised the moon, and promise_hat she would rise very splendid; and even before she came began to throw _aint lustre over the landscape. All eyes were fastened, and exclamation_urst, as the first silver edge showed itself, and the moon rapidly risin_ooked on them with her whole broad bright face; lighting up not only thei_aces and figures but the wide country view that was spread out below, an_ouching most beautifully the trees in the edge of the gap, and faintly th_awn; while the wall of wood stood in deeper and blacker shadow than ever.
"Isn't that beautiful!" said Ellen.
"Come round here, Ellie," said John;–"Alice may have you all the rest of th_ear, but when I am at home you belong to me. What was your little head busie_pon a while ago?"
"When ?" said Ellen.
"When I asked you–"
"Oh, I know,–I remember. I was thinking–"
"I was thinking–do you want me to tell you?"
"Unless you would rather not."
"I was thinking about Jesus Christ," said Ellen in a low tone.
"What about him, dear Ellie?" said her brother, drawing her closer to hi_ide.
"Different things,–I was thinking of what he said about little children–an_bout what he said, you know,–'In my Father's house are many mansions;'–and _as thinking that mamma was there and I thought that we all–"
Ellen could get no further.
"'He that believeth in him shall not be ashamed,'" said John softly. "'This i_he promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life; and who shal_eparate us from the love of Christ? Not death, nor things present, nor thing_o come. But he that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he i_ure;'–let us remember that too."
"Mr. John," said Ellen presently,–"don't you like some of the chapters in th_evelation very much?"
"Yes–very much. Why?–do you?"
"Yes. I remember reading parts of them to mamma, and that is one reason, _uppose; but I like them very much. There is a great deal I can't understand, though."
"There is nothing finer in the Bible than parts of that book," said Alice.
"Mr. John," said Ellen,–"what is meant by the 'white stone?' "
"'And in the stone a new name written?'"–
"Yes–that I mean."
"Mr. Baxter says it is the sense of God's love in the heart; and indeed tha_s it 'which no man knoweth saving him that receiveth it.' This, I take it, Ellen, was Christian's certificate, which he used to comfort himself wit_eading in, you remember?"
"Can a child have it?" said Ellen thoughtfully.
"Certainly–many children have had it–you may have it. Only seek it faithfully.
'Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those tha_emember thee in thy ways.'–And Christ said, 'he that loveth me shall be love_f my Father, and I will love him, and I will manifest myself to him!' Ther_s no failure in these promises, Ellie; he that made them is the sam_esterday, to-day, and for ever."
For a little while each was busy with his own meditations. The moon meanwhile, rising higher and higher, poured a flood of light through the gap in the wood_efore them, and stealing among the trees here and there lit up a spot o_round under their deep shadow. The distant picture lay in mazy brightness.
All was still, but the ceaseless chirrup of insects and gentle flapping o_eaves; the summer air just touched their cheeks with the lightest breath of _iss, sweet from distant hay-fields, and nearer pines and hemlocks, and othe_f nature's numberless perfume-boxes. The hay-harvest had been remarkably lat_his year.
"This is higher enjoyment," said John,–" than half those who make their home_n rich houses and mighty palaces have any notion of."
"But can not rich people look at the moon?" said Ellen.
"Yes, but the taste for pure pleasures is commonly gone when people make _rade of pleasure."
"Mr. John,"–Ellen began.
"I will forewarn you," said he,–" that Mr. John has made up his mind he wil_o nothing more for you. So if you have any thing to ask, it must li_till,–unless you will begin again."
Ellen drew back. He looked grave, but she saw Alice smiling.
"But what shall I do?" said she, a little perplexed and half laughing. "Wha_o you mean, Mr. John? What does he mean, Alice?"
"You could speak without a 'Mr.' to me this morning when you were in trouble."
"Oh !" said Ellen laughing,–"I forgot myself then."
"Have the goodness to forget yourself permanently for the future."
"Was that man hurt this morning John?" said his sister.
"That man you delivered Ellen from."
"Hurt? no–nothing material; I did not wish to hurt him. He richly deserve_unishment, but it was not for me to give it."
"He was in no hurry to get up," said Ellen.
"I do not think he ventured upon that till we were well out of the way. H_ifted his head and looked after us as we rode off."
"But I wanted to ask something," said Ellen,–"Oh! what is the reason the moo_ooks so much larger when she first gets up than she does afterwards?"
"Whom are you asking?"
"And who is you? Here are two people in the moonlight."
"Mr. John Humphreys,–Alice's brother, and that Thomas calls 'the youn_aster,' " said Ellen laughing.
"You are more shy of taking a leap than your little horse is," said Joh_miling,–'but I shall bring you up to it yet. What is the cause of the sudde_nlargement of my thumb?"
He had drawn a small magnifying glass from his pocket and held it between hi_and and Ellen.
"Why it is not enlarged," said Ellen, "it is only magnified."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Why, the glass makes it look larger."
"Do you know how, or why ?"
He put up the glass again.
"But what do you mean by that?" said Ellen,–"there is no magnifying glas_etween us and the moon to make _her_ look larger."
"You are sure of that?"
"Why yes!" said Ellen;–"I am perfectly sure; there is nothing in the world.
There she is, right up there, looking straight down upon us, and there i_othing between."
"What is it that keeps up that pleasant fluttering of leaves in the wood?"
"Why, the wind."
"And what is the wind?"
"It is air–air moving, I suppose."
"Exactly. Then there _is_ something between us and the moon."
"The air! But, Mr. John, one can see quite clearly through the air; it doesn'_ake things look larger or smaller."
"How far do you suppose the air reaches from us toward the moon?"
"Why all the way, don't it?"
"No–only about forty miles. If it reached all the way there would indeed be n_agnifying glass in the case."
"But how is it?" said Ellen. "I don't understand."
"I cannot tell you to-night, Ellie. There is a long ladder of knowledge to g_p before we can get to the moon, but we will begin to mount to-morrow, i_othing happens. Alice, you have that little book of Conversations on Natura_hilosophy, which you and I used to delight ourselves with in old time?"
"Safe and sound in the bookcase," said Alice. "I have thought of giving it t_llen before, but she has been busy enough with what she had already."
"I have done Rollin now, though," said Ellen; "that is lucky. I am ready fo_he moon."
This new study was begun the next day, and Ellen took great delight in it. Sh_ould have run on too fast in her eagerness but for the steady hand of he_eacher; he obliged her to be very thorough. This was only one of her items o_usiness. The weeks of John's stay were as usual not merely weeks of constan_nd varied delight, but of constant and swift improvement too.
A good deal of time was given to the riding-lessons. John busied himself on_orning in preparing a bar for her on the lawn; so placed that it might fal_f the horse's heels touched it. Here Ellen learned to take first standing, and then running, leaps. She was afraid at first, but habit wore that off; an_he bar was raised higher and higher, till Margery declared she "couldn'_tand and look at her going over it." Then John made her ride without th_tirrup, and with her hands behind her, while he, holding the horse by a lon_alter, made him go round in a circle, slowly at first, and afterward_rotting and cantering, till Ellen felt almost as secure on his back as in _hair. It took a good many lessons however to bring her to this, and sh_rembled very much at the beginning. Her teacher was careful and gentle, bu_etermined; and whatever he said she did, tremble or no tremble; and i_eneral loved her riding lessons dearly.
Drawing too went on finely. He began to let her draw things from nature; an_any a pleasant morning the three went out together with pencils and books an_ork, and spent hours in the open air. They would find a pretty point of view, or a nice shady place where the breeze came, and where there was some good ol_ock with a tree beside it, or a piece of fence, or the house or barn in th_istance, for Ellen to sketch; and while she drew and Alice worked, John rea_loud to them. Sometimes he took a pencil too, and Alice read; and often, often, pencils, books, and work were all laid down; and talk,–lively, serious, earnest, always delightful,–took the place of them. When Ellen could no_nderstand the words, at least she could read the faces; and that was a stud_he was never weary of. At home there were other studies and much reading; many tea drinkings on the lawn, and even breakfastings, which she though_leasanter still.
As soon as it was decided that Mr. Van Brunt's leg was doing well, and in _air way to be sound again, Ellen went to see him; and after that rarely le_wo days pass without going again. John and Alice used to ride with her s_ar, and taking a turn beyond while she made her visit, call for her on thei_ay back. She had a strong motive for going in the pleasure her presenc_lways gave, both to Mr. Van Brunt and his mother. Sam Larkens had been t_hirlwall and seen Mrs. Forbes, and from him they had heard the story of he_iding up and down the town in search of the doctor; neither of them coul_orget it. Mrs. Van Brunt poured out her affection in all sorts of expression_henever she had Ellen's ear; her son was not a man of many words; but Elle_new his face and manner well enough without them, and read there whenever sh_ent into his room what gave her great pleasure.
"How do you do, Mr. Van Brunt?" she said on one of these occasions.
"Oh, I'm getting along, I s'pose," said he;–"getting along as well as a ma_an that's lying on his back from morning to night;–prostrated, as 'Squir_ennison said his corn was t'other day."
"It is very tiresome, isn't it?" said Ellen.
"It's the tiresomest work that ever was, for a man that has two arms to be _oing nothing, day after day. And what bothers me is the wheat in the ten-acr_ot, that _ought_ to be prostrated too, and ain't, nor ain't like to be, a_ know, unless the rain comes and does it. Sam and Johnny'll make no head-wa_t all with it–I can tell as well as if I see 'em."
"But Sam is good, isn't he?" said Ellen.
"Sam's as good a boy as ever was; but then Johnny Low is mischievous, you see, and he gets Sam out of his tracks once in a while. I never see a finer growt_f wheat. I had a sight rather cut and harvest the hull of it than to lie her_nd think of it getting spoiled. I'm a'most out o' conceit o' trap doors, Ellen."
Ellen could not help smiling.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Van Brunt?"
"There ain't nothing," said he;–"I wish there was. How are you coming along a_ome?"
"I don't know," said Ellen;–"I am not there just now, you know; I am stayin_p with Miss Alice again."
"Oh, ay! while her brother's at home. He's a splendid man, that young Mr.
Humphreys, ain't he?"
"Oh, _I_ knew that a great while ago," said Ellen, the bright colour o_leasure overspreading her face.
"Well, _I_ didn't, you see, till the other day, when he came here, ver_indly, to see how I was getting on. I wish something would bring him again. _ever heerd a man talk I liked to hear so much."
Ellen secretly resolved something _should_ bring him; and went on with _urpose she had had for some time in her mind.
"Wouldn't it be pleasant, while you are lying there and can d_othing,–wouldn't you like to have me read something to you, Mr. Van Brunt?
_I_ should like to, very much."
"It's just like you," said he gratefully,–"to think of that; but I wouldn'_ave you be bothered with it."
"It wouldn't indeed. I should like it very much."
"Well, if you've a mind," said he;–"I can't say but it would be a kind o'
comfort to keep that grain out o' my head a while. Seems to me I have cut an_oused it all three times over already. Read just whatever you have a mind to.
If you was to go over a last year's almanac, it would be as good as a fiddl_o me."
"I'll do better for you than that, Mr. Van Brunt," said Ellen, laughing i_igh glee at having gained her point.–She had secretly brought her Pilgrim'_rogress with her, and now with marvellous satisfaction drew it forth.
"I ha'n't been as much of a reader as I had ought to," said Mr. Van Brunt, a_he opened the book and turned to the first page;–"but, however, I understan_y business pretty well and a man can't be every thing to once. Now let's hea_hat you've got there."
With a throbbing heart, Ellen began; and read, notes and all, till the soun_f tramping hoofs and Alice's voice made her break off. It encouraged an_elighted her to see that Mr. Van Brunt's attention was perfectly fixed. H_ay still, without moving his eyes from her face, till she stopped; the_hanking her he declared that was a "first-rate book," and he "should lik_ainly to hear the hull on it."
From that time Ellen was diligent in her attendance on him. That she migh_ave more time for reading than the old plan gave her, she set off by hersel_lone some time before the others, of course riding home with them. It cos_er a little sometimes, to forego so much of their company; but she never sa_he look of grateful pleasure with which she was welcomed without ceasing t_egret her self-denial. How Ellen blessed those notes as she went on with he_eading! They said exactly what she wanted Mr. Van Brunt to hear, and in th_est way, and were too short and simple to interrupt the interest of th_tory. After a while she ventured to ask if she might read him a chapter i_he Bible. He agreed very readily; owning "he hadn't ought to be so lon_ithout reading one as he had been." Ellen then made it a rule to herself, without asking any more questions, to end every reading with a chapter in th_ible; and she carefully sought out those that might be most likely to tak_old of his judgment or feelings. They took hold of her own very deeply, b_he means; what was strong, or tender, before, now seemed to her too mighty t_e withstood and Ellen read not only with her lips but with her whole hear_he precious words, longing that they might come with their just effect upo_r. Van Brunt's mind.
Once as she finished reading the tenth chapter of John, a favourite chapter, which between her own feeling of it and her strong wish for him had moved he_ven to tears, she cast a glance at his face to see how he took it. His hea_as a little turned to one side, and his eyes closed; she thought he wa_sleep. Ellen was very much disappointed. She sank her head upon her book an_rayed that a time might come when he would know the worth of those words. Th_ouch of his hand startled her.
"What is the matter?" said he. "Are you tired?"
"No," said Ellen looking hastily up;–"Oh, no! I'm not tired."
"But what ails you?" said the astonished Mr. Van Brunt; "what have you been _rying for? what's the matter?"
"Oh, never mind," said Ellen, brushing her hand over her eyes, –"it's n_atter."
"Yes, but I want to know," said Mr. Van Brunt;–"you shan't have any thing t_ex you that _I_ can help; what is it?"
"It is nothing, Mr. Van Brunt," said Ellen, bursting into tears again,–"only _hought you were asleep–I–I thought you didn't care enough about the Bible t_eep awake–I want _so_ much that you should be a Christian!"
He half groaned and turned his head away.
"What makes you wish that so much?" said he after a minute or two.
"Because I want you to be happy," said Ellen,–"and I know you can't without."
"Well, I am pretty tolerable happy," said he;–"as happy as most folks _uess."
"But I want you to be happy when you die, too," said Ellen "I want to meet yo_n heaven "
"I hope I will go there, surely," said he gravely,–"when the time comes."
Ellen was uneasily silent, not knowing what to say.
"I ain't as good as I ought to be," said he presently, with a half sigh;–"_in't good enough to go to heaven–I wish I was. _You_ are, I do believe."
"I! oh no, Mr. Van Brunt, do not say that;–I am not good at all–I am full o_rong things."
"Well I wish I was full of wrong things too, in the same way," said he.
"But I am," said Ellen,–"whether you will believe it or not. Nobody is good, Mr. Van Brunt. But Jesus Christ has died for us,–and if we ask him he wil_orgive us, and wash away our sins, and teach us to love him, and make u_ood, and take us to be with him in heaven. Oh, I wish you would ask him!" sh_epeated with an earnestness that went to his heart. "I don't believe any on_an be very happy that doesn't love him."
"Is that what makes _you_ happy?" said he.
"I have a great many things to make me happy," said Ellen soberly,–"but tha_s the greatest of all. It always makes me happy to think of him, and it make_very thing else a thousand times pleasanter. I wish you knew how it is, Mr.
He was silent for a little, and disturbed Ellen thought.
"Well!" said he at length,–"'taint the folks that thinks themselves the bes_hat _is_ the best always;–if you ain't good I should like to know wha_oodness is. _There's_ somebody that thinks you be," said he a minute or tw_fterwards, as the horses were heard coming to the gate,
"No, she knows me better than that," said Ellen.
"It isn't any _she_ that I mean," said Mr. Van Brunt.–"There's somebody els_ut there, ain't there?"
"Who?" said Ellen,–"Mr. John?–Oh, no indeed he don't. It was only this mornin_e was telling me of something I did that was wrong."–Her eyes watered as sh_poke.
"He must have mighty sharp eyes, then," said Mr. Van Brunt,–"for it beats al_my_ powers of seeing things."
"And so he has," said Ellen, putting on her bonnet,–"He always knows what I a_hinking of just as well as if I told him. Good-by!"
"Good-by," said he;–"I ha'n't forgotten what you've been saying, and I don'_ean to."
How full of sweet pleasure was the ride home!
The "something wrong," of which Ellen had spoken, was this. The day before, i_appened that Mr. John had broken her off from a very engaging book to tak_er drawing-lesson; and as he stooped down to give a touch or two to the piec_he was to copy, he said, "I don't want you to read any more of that, Ellie; it is not a good book for you." Ellen did not for a moment question that h_as right, nor wish to disobey; but she had become very much interested, an_as a good deal annoyed at having such a sudden stop put to her pleasure. Sh_aid nothing, and went on with her work. In a little while Alice asked her t_old a skein of cotton for her while she wound it. Ellen was annoyed again a_he interruption; the harp-strings were jarring yet, and gave fresh discord t_very touch. She had, however, no mind to let her vexation be seen; she wen_mmediately and held the cotton, and as soon as it was done sat down again t_er drawing. Before ten minutes had passed Margery came to set the table fo_inner, Ellen's papers and desk must move.
"Why, it is not dinner-time yet this great while, Margery," said she;–"i_sn't much after twelve."
"No, Miss Ellen," said Margery unde her breath, for John was in one corner o_he room reading,–"but by and by I'll be busy with the chops and frying th_alsify, and I couldn't leave the kitchen;–if you'll let me have the tabl_ow."
Ellen said no more, and moved her things to a stand before the window; wher_he went on with her copying till dinner was ready. Whatever the reason was, however, her pencil did not work smoothly; her eye did not see true; and sh_acked her usual steady patience. The next morning, after an hour and more'_ork and much painstaking; the drawing was finished. Ellen had quite forgotte_er yesterday's trouble. But when John came to review her drawing, he foun_everal faults with it; pointed out two or three places in which it ha_uffered from haste and want of care; and asked her how it had happened. Elle_new it happened yesterday. She was vexed again, though she did her best no_o show it; she stood quietly and heard what he had to say. He then told he_o get ready for her riding lesson.
"Mayn't I just make this right first?" said Ellen;–"it won't take me long."
"No," said he,–"you have been sitting long enough; I must break you off. Th_rownie will be here in ten minutes."
Ellen was impatiently eager to mend the bad places in her drawing, an_mpatiently displeased at being obliged to ride first. Slowly and reluctantl_he went to get ready; John was already gone; she would not have moved s_eisurely if he had been any where within seeing distance. As it was, sh_ound it convenient to quicken her movements; and was at the door ready a_oon as he and the Brownie. She was soon thoroughly engaged in the managemen_f herself and her horse; a little smart riding shook all the ill-humour ou_f her, and she was entirely herself again. At the end of fifteen or twent_inutes they drew up under the shade of a tree to let the Brownie rest _ittle. It was a warm day and John had taken off his hat and stood restin_oo, with his arm leaning on the neck of the horse. Presently he looked roun_o Ellen, and asked her with a smile, if she felt right again?
"Why?" said Ellen, the crimson of her cheeks mounting to her forehead. But he_ye sunk immediately at the answering glance of his. He then in a very fe_ords set the matter before her, with such a happy mixture of pointedness an_indness, that while the reproof, coming from him, went to the quick, Elle_et joined with it no thought of harshness or severity. She was completel_ubdued however; the rest of the riding-lesson had to be given up; and for a_our Ellen's tears could not be stayed. But it was, and John had meant i_hould be, a strong check given to her besetting sin. It had a long an_asting effect.