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brightening face: 'I ken what, mother! I have a pound saved frae my wages, and that will keep the puir lassie or she gets better. Maybe, she will can pay me some time--if no, never heed. I ken Robin wad be pleased.' Mrs Gibson was at first doubtful; but she, too, saw no other way, and she felt that the stranger must be succoured. Once, too, taken possession of by this generous idea, Jessie would hear of nothing else. Besides the really compassionate and generous impulses by which she had been actuated in the first place, there was something pleasing to her imagination, and flattering to her vanity, in the idea of being capable of making such a sacrifice, and of the praise which would redound to her from all sides on that account. Distressed as she was at the condition of their forlorn guest, disappointed as she had been by Robin's non-appearance, Jessie had seldom felt in better spirits, or more pleased with herself, than she did to-night. Despoiling herself of the 'best gown' and gay cap, in her own active, business-like way, she helped the poor stranger, who was now restored to a state of partial sensibility, to her own bed. The latter who, in answer to a question from Jessie, had said her name was Helen Gray, murmured blessings on her benefactress, mingled with inquiries for the infant. In accordance with the advice of the surgeon, who had now left, Jessie began to prepare a few spoonfuls of food for the patient.

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'I had better take the arrow-root, dinna ye think, mother?' ( Yes, hinny. It was a gude thing ye happened on that.'

Oh, there was sic a heap o't, it will ne'er be missed. Naebody takes it but Miss Ann whiles, for she's no vera strong. I thought it wad be the very thing for our ain little Katie. An' I ha' gotten some oatmeal and a wheen eggs. What is 't to them? An' it makes an unco difference to the like o' us.'

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'I am sure,' returned Mrs Gibson, there can be nae ill in folk minding their ain, and what the waur is onybody o' what they dinna miss? An' ye might ha' eaten a' thae things if ye likit. It wad be an unco heartless like thing for a lassie to ha' plenty hersel', and see her mother and sisters want. But my Jessie's nane o' that kind. What is a bit egg or a neffu' o' meal to rich folk? An' then, ye ken, ye dinna get sae muckle wage by a pund as Betsy Miller, and she is no half sic a clever servant. If it wasna that ye had an easy, comfortable place wi' the Youngs, I wadna hear o' your biding. So ye're quite right to make it up wi' a wheen things ye might eat yersel'. My word! Mrs Young wad like ill if ye was to flit.'

'I dinna think Robin wad like it, though. He's very strict.' 'But how is he to ken? An' it's fair nonsense o' him. Naebody is mair partikler nor mysel'. I am sure, if I saw a housefu' o' gold and silver, I wadna touch a sixpence that didna belong me.'

'Nor me, mother. I fand a gold sovereign Miss Ann had droppit i' the gairden ae day, and brought till her or she missed it,

and they have aye trusted me wi' a' thing sin syne. I ken what's right as weel as Robin.'

To be sure, hinny. An' what wad we ha' done wi' that puir lassie, if it hadna been for the arrow-root? We're as ready to gie as take. Ne'er fash yersel' about Robin, hinny. He'll ne'er ken a word about it; and wha's a preen the waur, I wad like to ken?' asked Mrs Gibson triumphantly.

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And now I fear that, to some of my readers, there may appear an inconsistency between the humane, nay, generous and selfsacrificing conduct, and the accommodating honesty of Mrs Gibson and her daughter. But such inconsistencies are not uncommon; nay, they are only apparent, not real inconsistencies. Some persons judge of character as, in the infancy of science, doctors used to judge of diseases-merely by the symptoms. Now, sometimes, morally as well as physically, different diseases have similar symptoms; and as physical anatomy is necessary in the one case to enable us to ascertain the originating cause of the evil, so is moral anatomy in the other. Many excellent persons would at once have jumped to the conclusion, that Jessie Gibson was a girl altogether devoid of principle; but such was not the case. and her mother only spoke the truth when they said, that if a houseful of gold and silver were in their power, they would not touch a sixpence. To take money or wearing-apparel, was stealing to take food, was not; and then, it would never be missed.' Moreover, Jessie was led still further astray by her really strong feelings of family affection. She did not reflect that she was only selfishly indulging her own feelings, and pampering a vain passion for praise, and an egotistical desire to be considered generous and kind-hearted at the expense of justice. Hers was not so much wilful wickedness as a moral obliquity of vision, not uncommon among those whose feelings have not been trained, and whose reasoning powers have not been cultivated. But it is never easy to break down the barrier of habitual ignorance, more especially when its foundation is a settled self-indulgence of any kind—even of our good impulses. I say habitual ignorance, for some, I hope, having already made a breach in that Chinese wall-the most effectual hinderance to the entrance of all improvement-are in the habit of having from time to time a little of the broken rubbish cleared away; while with others, Jessie among the number, the wall was yet in its pristine strength and solidity. Now, it is much easier to clear away the broken rubbish, than to make the breach while the wall is still hardened and compacted by the strong cement of habit.


Jessie watched all night by her protégée, feeling like a heroine, and her spirits quite elated by the consciousness of her own magnanimity and generosity. It was while poor Helen Gray was in

a heavy feverish slumber, that her dead sister's infant drew its last breath. Poor babe! its sad little race was quickly run; but one can hardly call such a death premature. Even Mrs Gibson and Jessie, as they dropped a few natural tears over the innocent clay, felt somewhat of this sentiment.

Mrs Gibson then took down the Bible, and read a chapter to Jessie. They never omitted to read the Bible every day, though, strange to say, there were some of its lessons at least they did not seem to lay to heart. And there are not a few persons of the same kind-persons who hear sermons, and read books of instruction, in the unthinking belief that having so done, they have accomplished their duty. Jessie's and her mother's reading of good books' was a duty quite apart from other duties, and the affairs of their daily life; yet, though never influencing their understandings or conduct, their consciences would have been quite uneasy if they had omitted their 'chapter.'

Helen Gray's first thought, when she awoke at last from her heavy slumber, was of the baby. She soon divined what had happened, and for some time seemed overwhelmed with grief. She then spoke of rising, that she might seek some means of having the child buried, and try to move on her way homewards; but Jessie would not permit her. She strove to comfort her with the assurance, that the child should be properly buried. The doctor, she added, said it was impossible she could walk for a week or two. Then God help me!" cried the unfortunate creature: 'what shall I do?' Jessie hastened to console her, by telling her she should remain where she was, and be nursed till she was well. Poor Helen Gray could only evince her gratitude by tears, and by pressing Jessie's hand to her lips. But she made the most fervent resolutions to shew her gratitude one day to her generous benefactress, if it should please God to restore her to health and strength. And then Helen told Jessie she was the good Samaritan, and Jessie's heart was prouder and more self-satisfied than ever. She was to return to the duties of her place the following evening.

The weather was now somewhat improved. The clouds were lighter, and broken into masses; the rain had ceased to descend in a constant deluge, but only came in occasional drifting showers, for the wind had now risen. Jessie began to hope it might be fine, at least overhead, for her five-miles' walk to Todlaw Mains. She had another hope too, with regard to which she was more silent-namely, that Robin would come to her that night, as he had been prevented fulfilling his engagement the previous evening. The hope was fulfilled. Robin arrived with the gloaming, and was welcomed at the door by his betrothed-once more in her 'best merino,' and cap with blue ribbons. Robin Rae was a young man, two or three years older than Jessie Gibson, tall and strongly made, with a healthy, honest, manly face, a fearless brown eye, and locks of curling dark hair. His face brightened with

pleasure at the sight of Jessie. She stepped out on the wet road to meet him.

'I'm sae glad ye've come, Robin!'

Are ye, hinny?' said the young man with brightening eyes. 'It's unco weather keeps me fra my Jessie; but I was amaist drooned trying to ford the water yesternicht. An' sae ye was wearying on me, lassie?'

They were now in the little passage, and the door of the outer apartment was closed, lest the damp wind should blow through to the inner one where the invalid lay. As the opportunity seemed favourable, and Jessie in a kind mood, which was not always the case, the lover sought to accompany these words with a kiss, for which he was instantly rewarded by a box on the ear—not a very hard one, however.

"The concait o' some folk! An' so ye thought I was greeting my een out because ye didna come! Na, na, lad; I ha' something to tell ye, that's a'." And as shortly as possible, Jessie narrated the incidents of the preceding evening, concluding by asking Robin, if he would take charge of the burial of the infant, as she must return to Todlaw Mains, and her mother would have her hands full with the invalid. As Jessie proceeded with her tale, her mood again changed; and as she described the death of the baby, her eyes filled with tears, and her voice became hoarse with feeling. Robin's eyes, too, glistened-partly with sympathy, and partly with admiration of the conduct of his Jessie. His answer was 'I'll do that, Jessie-onything ye like, darlin'. And then Jessie bade him: 'Come in till yer tea. Mother has it a' ready.'

On the deal-table stood a row of tea-cups, with a tempting scone of Jessie's making, just hot off the girdle-a flat iron plate, upon which, suspended over the fire, it is the custom in Scotland to bake various kinds of thin bread and cakes, most of them included under the generic appellation of scone. Two or three eggs completed the luxuries of this dainty repast, which Robin declared to be quite a feast, and which, to judge by his prowess, he enjoyed exceedingly. As he finished his egg, he exclaimed: 'What a fine egg! Where did ye get it, Jessie? I thought eggs were owre dear for puir folk at this time o' year.' 'Jessie brought them hame wi' her frae Todlaw Mains.'

"The mistress gae her them, I fancy. She maun think a dale o' Jessie, and nae wonder!'

'She does that,' answered Mrs Gibson quickly; and nae wonder, as ye say. She gies her a hantel o' things forbye eggs.' Mrs Gibson maintained, while she spoke, the most composed countenance, her expression merely testifying the pleasure a mother would naturally feel in knowing her daughter was appreciated; and such, indeed, was perhaps partly her feeling, for from long habit, Mrs Gibson's moral sense was much more completely blunted than that of her daughter. Jessie, meanwhile, blushed crimson, and fidgeted on her seat. She had never felt more

uncomfortable in her life, and at that instant would have given anything not to have taken the eggs. But Robin attributed her blushes to quite another cause, which only made her fairer and dearer in his eyes. Though the night was chill, and the roads wet, he looked forward with delight to the walk to Todlaw Mains, when he should have her all to himself. He had some pleasant news, too, to tell, which he reserved till they should be alone. Meanwhile, he continued to compliment her on the high estimation in which she was held by her mistress and by everybody, and most, he said, by those who knew her best. At first, his praise only made Jessie feel more embarrassed, but she was not naturally of a reflective disposition, and was much inclined to be on good terms with herself; so by degrees the disagreeable feelings were forgotten, and she yielded to the pleasing belief, that she was one of the most meritorious of her sex. She was still further confirmed in this flattering opinion when, going into the inner room to bid adieu to the invalid, ere setting out with Robin, the poor girl called down on her head the most fervent blessings-the glances with which she accompanied her expressions of gratitude saying still more than the words, for Helen Gray's was not a very demonstrative disposition. Jessie departed with her lover in excellent spirits, and in a state of thorough self-satisfaction.

Their path lay, part of the way, over a wide open moorland. The roads were not quite so wet as might have been expected; and the moon, wading through the cloudy masses, shed fitful gleams of pale brightness over the brown moss and shaggy whins, while a star glimmered now and then from a rent, like a deep-blue pit, in the lead-coloured sky. It was still cold, and a damp wind blew bitterly over the open moor; but to Robin and Jessie the weather seemed almost pleasant. The joy within their hearts seemed to diffuse a portion of its warmth and brightness even over the bleak outward world.

I ha' grand news for ye, Jessie. Only think, lassie: Mr Oliver o' Springsyde House's gardener is gaun to flit, and Mr Somerville o' the Ha' and James Hardie ha' spoken for the place for me, an' I am amaist sure to get it, for Mr Oliver has a great notion o' James Hardie's skeeliness, and Mr Somerville is to speak for me being a decent lad. An' I wad be to ha' the lodge-house. Sic a bonnie place, Jessie! A bit nate, white-washed house, a' growin' owre wi' roses, and the grass-park in front, and a brae kivered wi' trees at the back, and a' glinting wi' primroses in the spring-time; and a nice bit garden at ae side, wi' bonny pear and apple trees in't. It wad be jist the place for you, Jessie; an' ye wad hae naething to do but open the gate for the carriages. Jessie!' cried Robin, altogether transported with delight, as in his mind's eye he beheld his Jessie, in one of her neat, bright dresses, rushing out of their pretty cottage to open the gate for a carriage full of ladies and gentlemen, and thought how they must all admire the gardener's pretty wife.

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