For the Companion.
"Look!" said Margaret, as she led her cousin Lucy, who had come to the city for a visit, into the library. "Do look at all these books. This is the pleasantest room in the house. The boys do not love to read, and I come here after school, and have delightful times. There is my favorite seat by the bow window, and I climb up these steps and reach the prettiest books, Buffon's Birds, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, and The Lamplighter."
Lucy looked around in silent astonishment. The few books which were in her father's little cottage she had often read, but here were rosewood cases, filled with elegantly bound volumes, row upon row. Margaret enjoyed her cousin's silent surprise.
"Don't you wonder at aunt and Anne!" said she. "They are always employed with their mantuamaker and milliner, going to parties and balls. How can they be interested in such senseless things! Anne is so selfish, and does not care for reading at all."
"But Margaret!" Lucy replied, "Master Donald would say that people have different tastes, and it is wrong to speak reproachfully of the absent."
"Who is Master Donald?" asked Margaret, coming near her cousin.
"He is my teacher," replied Lucy, "and one of my best friends."
"And is he good?"
"Oh! yes indeed," said Lucy earnestly.
"Well, I am not," replied Margaret. "I always say just what I think, and I don't care for anybody. I get terrible angry sometimes when I am laughed at, and the boys tease me!"
"I guess you don't love God, then," said Lucy, seriously.
"How can such little girls love him? Do you?"
"Yes, I do. I can't help it, I love Him better than anybody."
"I don't," returned Margaret, with spirit, "He took my dear mother from me, though I prayed and begged that He would spare her till I was grown up, and I had to come here, where no one cares for me as she did, and I am so lonely."
Here she threw herself upon the carpet in a passion of tears. Lucy tried to raise her up, but she resisted.
"Let me be! let me alone! I feel so badly."
"Now Margaret, let me hold you in my arms. I know just how you feel, for I have lost my dear mother also. I wish to tell you a story about two little girls whom I knew. They were sisters, and their ages were five and six years. They always played together, and were always happy and cheerful. But they loved the dear Saviour, and frequently asked him to take them to heaven, 'where the flowers never fade and no winter comes.'
'The scarlet fever came into the family, and both these little children were very sick. One night the youngest died, and left her lovely sister. They brought her in her coffin, where she lay covered with white roses, to her sister's bedside, that she might look upon her for the last time. When Anne recovered, she went sadly about the house mourning for her mate. She took the dolls they had played with and carried them up into the garret and hid them. She said she 'should not play with them any more, she could not bear to look at them.
"Her mother wished to know how submissive her little daughter was to the will of God, and she said to her.
"'Annie! God had plenty of little angels in heaven. Why did He come and take our dear Mary?'
"'Oh!' she replied with earnestness, 'He loved her, and wanted her, and called her. I wish He had called me; I had rather die than to see all the pretty sights on fourth of July.'
"'But was it not hard and unkind to take our only one away where we could never see her pleasant face again?'
"Anne replied, 'He would make her a great deal happier than we could. He had prepared her house in heaven for her, and besides,' she added, smiling through her tears, 'He is coming to call us soon to go to her.'
"Now, Margaret, this little girl had true faith and love toward the Lord Jesus. She felt that he could not do wrong. Her confidence was so great in His love to her.
"A good man was once on his death-bed, and was asked whether he would rather get well? His reply was, 'If I live Christ is with me, and if I die, I shall be with Christ.'
"If you could only feel this tender trust in the Saviour, your sorrow would not seem so hard to bear."
Margaret seemed a little softened, and she said,
"When my mother was dying she prayed for me, her orphan child, but I have never heard any one pray with me since. The nurse puts us to sleep, and sometimes we say, 'Our Father.'"
"We are to sleep together," replied Lucy, "and we will pray together, and try to become better acquainted with this good Shepherd. Do you ever read the Bible?"
"I have a Bible," replied Margaret, "but it is bound with velvet, and has a gilt clasp, and aunt does not like to have me soil it."
"Is there not one Bible among all these beautiful books?"
"No!" replied Margaret.
Lucy took her well-worn pocket Bible from her basket, and read some of the precious promises it contained to the sad child, and she was pleased to see an expression of peace upon her features. She asked God mentally to assist her efforts to lead her to the cross of Christ, in this early impressible age.
Her kind method of instilling religious truth was greatly blessed to Margaret, who often declared in after life that her first impressions were owing to the instructions of her country cousin. Truth so inculcated, so presented, will stay in a child's memory and circulate in the mind as the air does in a room, instead of knocking at the door in vain for admittance. There is nothing so susceptible of impression as a child's mind to religious truth, when it comes in the shape of a story of a life, told in a winning and familiar manner.