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CHAPTER I. THE rain had poured in torrents all day, and now, for the third time since morning, I came home, wet, uncomfortable and weary. I half dreaded to look at the slate, lest some urgent call should stare me in the face. "It must indeed be a case of life and death, that takes me out again to-night," said I, as my good wife met me in the entry, and with light hands, made active by love, assisted in the removal of my great coat and... more...

THE "SICKLE AND SHEAF." Ten years ago, business required me to pass a day in Cedarville. It was late in the afternoon when the stage set me down at the "Sickle and Sheaf," a new tavern, just opened by a new landlord, in a new house, built with the special end of providing "accommodations for man and beast." As I stepped from the dusty old vehicle in which I had been jolted along a rough road for some thirty miles, feeling tired and hungry, the... more...

PREFACE. HOME! How at the word, a crowd of pleasant thoughts awaken. What sun-bright images are pictured to the imagination. Yet, there is no home without its shadows as well as sunshine. Love makes the home-lights and selfishness the shadows. Ah! how dark the shadow at times—how faint and fleeting the sunshine. How often selfishness towers up to a giant height, barring out from our dwellings every golden ray. There are few of us, who do... more...

CHAPTER I. "THERE is a book of record in your mind, Edwin," said an old man to his young friend, "a book of record, in which every act of your life is noted down. Each morning a blank page is turned, on which the day's history is written in lines that cannot be effaced. This book of record is your memory; and, according to what it bears, will your future life be happy or miserable. An act done, is done forever; for, the time in which it is done,... more...

SHADOWS FROM A CLOUDED BROW. A LITTLE thing clouded the brow of Mrs. Abercrombie—a very little thing. But if she had known how wide the shadows were often diffused, and how darkly they fell, at times, on some hearts, she would have striven more earnestly, we may believe, to keep the sky of her spirit undimmed. It will not be uninstructive to note the incidents, in a single day, of Mrs. Abercrombie's life—to mark the early cloud upon... more...


CHAPTER I. A BABY had come, but he was not welcome. Could anything be sadder? The young mother lay with her white face to the wall, still as death. A woman opened the chamber door noiselessly and came in, the faint rustle of her garments disturbing the quiet air. A quick, eager turning of the head, a look half anxious, half fearful, and then the almost breathless question, "Where is my baby?" "Never mind about the baby," was answered,... more...

THE WAR OF THE ELEMENTS. NO June day ever opened with a fairer promise. Not a single cloud flecked the sky, and the sun coursed onward through the azure sea until past meridian, without throwing to the earth a single shadow. Then, low in the west, appeared something obscure and hazy, blending the hill-tops with the horizon; an hour later, and three or four small fleecy islands were seen, clearly outlined in the airy ocean, and slowly... more...

AFTER A SHADOW. "ARTY! Arty!" called Mrs. Mayflower, from the window, one bright June morning. "Arty, darling! What is the child after? Just look at him, Mr. Mayflower!" I leaned from the window, in pleasant excitement, to see what new and wonderful performance had been attempted by my little prodigy—my first born—my year old bud of beauty, the folded leaves in whose bosom were just beginning to loosen themselves, and send out upon... more...

WHAT SHALL WE BUILD? our children were playing on the sea-shore. They had gathered bright pebbles and beautiful shells, and written their names in the pure, white sand; but at last, tired of their sport, they were about going home, when one of them, as they came to a pile of stones, cried out: "Oh! let us build a fort; and we will call that ship away out there, an enemy's vessel, and make believe we are firing great cannon balls into her!"... more...

AUNT MARY. A LADY sat alone in her own apartment one clear evening, when the silver stars were out, and the moon shone pure as the spirit of peace upon the rebellious earth. How lovely was every outward thing! How beautiful is God's creation! The window curtains were drawn close, and the only light in the cheerful room, was given by a night-lamp that was burning on the mantel-piece. The occupant, who perhaps had numbered about thirty-five years,... more...