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not. Such subjects never lose their interest for the parties concerned. To others there was nothing striking in the history of their quiet lives; but circumstances, to the individuals they affect, take the hue of their feelings; and glowing hopes and deep emotions produce an effect on ordinary events resembling the alternations of shadows and sunbeams on a familiar landscape.
Mrs. Barclay was one of the ten children of a rich farmer; but there is nothing appalling to the most modest aspirant in the riches of a New England farmer, and the little, sweet-tempered, bright Anne Hyde was very early (so early that it seemed to him as a morning dream) the tenant and joint proprietor of all William Barclay's castles in the air. And he seemed to her, in the memory of her childhood, to run, like a golden thread, through all its web. She fondly recalled the time when, one bitter cold day, he left a skating party to drag her home on his sled; and that unlucky day when she fell in climbing over the fence, tore her frock, and spilled her strawberries, and he refilled her basket from his, and took her home to his gentle mother to mend the rent; thus saving her from disgrace with her own mother, whose temper, poor woman, was a little the worse for the wear and tear of ten children. And well she remembered the time when, in choosing sides for spelling, he chose her before her pretty competitor, Fanny Smith, who was certainly the best speller; and their standing together at poor Lucy Grey's funeral, and crying so bitterly; and the next day their tying up a wreath of apple
blossoms and laying it on her grave; and their first singing-school; and though at meeting he sat with the bass and she with the treble, she never heard any voice but his. All she could not remember was the time when she did not love him. But it mattered not when or where the starting point was, in the snows of winter or the pleasant summer field, —in the school or church-yard, -when the heart was merry or sad; certain it was, their affection had grown with their growth, and the stream that was now to flow in one deep, inseparable current, was as pure and fresh as when it first gushed forth from its separate founts.
The Barclays closed their first evening at home by reading together in that holy book whose truths and precepts were to inform and govern their lives. They then knelt at the domestic altar, while William Barclay, in a tone of cheerful, manly devotion, dedicated his home to Him "who setteth the solitary in families," and from that day it was hallowed by domestic worship.
Few persons, probably, have thought so much. as William Barclay of the economy of domestic happiness. He had lived in various families, and had seen much waste and neglect of the means of virtue and happiness which Providence supplies through the social relations. He had made a chart for his future conduct, by which he hoped to escape at least some of the shoals and quicksands on which others make shipwreck. He believed that a household, governed in obedience to the Christian social law, would present as perfect an image of heaven, as the infirmity of human na
ure, and the imperfections in the constitution of uman affairs, would admit. That he purposed vell, is certain; how far he succeeded, will be mperfectly disclosed in the following pages.
A GLIMPSE AT FAMILY GOVERNMENT.
Pour fourth thy fervors for a healthful mind,
THE skilful cultivator discerns in the germinaion of the bud the perfection, or the disease, that superficial observer would first perceive in the ripening or the blighted fruit. And the moral observer, if equally skilled, might predict the manhood from the promise of the youth. Few are so skilled, and we seldom turn over ten years of life without surprise at the developement of qualities we had not perceived. The happy accidents, they could not be called virtues, but rather the result of circumstances,—have vanished like the dews of morning. The good-natured, light-hearted, generous youth, as his cares increased and his health abated, has become petulant, gloomy, and selfish; the gay, agreeable girl, moping and censorious. There were many who wondered, that persons who seemed nothing extraordinary in their youth, should turn out as
the Barclays had; and they wondered too, hor in the world it was that every thing went righ with the Barclays; and then the puzzle wa solved in the common way,- "It was their luck.' They did not see that the Barclays had begun right, that they had proposed to themselves rational objects, and had pursued them with all the power of conscience and of an unslacking energy.
That happy, if not happiest portion of married life, when the thousand clustering joys of parents are first felt, when toil is hope without weariness, passed brightly away with them. Twelve years had thus passed; their cares were multiplied, and their enjoyments, a hundred fold. Mr. Barclay's accumulating responsibilities sometimes weighed heavily upon him. He was, like most persons of great sensibility, of an apprehensive temper. The little ailments of his children were apt to disturb his serenity, and, for the time being, it was destroyed by the moral diseases that break out in the healthiest subjects. His wife was of a happier temperament. Her equal, sunny temper soon rectified the disturbed balance of his. She knew that the constitution of weak and susceptible childhood was liable to moral and physical maladies, and that, if well got through, it became the more robust and resisting for having suffered them. Her husband knew this too, and was consoled by it, after the danger was past. Our friends were now in a convenient house, adapted to their very much improved fortune and increased family. The family were assembled in a
back parlor. Mrs. Barclay was at some domestic employment, to facilitate which Martha had just brought in a tub of scalding water. Charles, the eldest boy, with a patience most unboyish, was holding a skein of yarn for grandmama to wind; Alice, the eldest girl, was arranging the dinnertable in the adjoining room; Mary, the second, was amusing the baby at the window; Willie was saying his letters to Aunt Betsey;—all were busy, but the busiest was little Haddy, a sweet child of four years, who was sitting in the middle of the room on a low chair, and who, unobserved by the rest, and herself unconscious of wrong, was doing deadly mischief. She had taken a new, unfinished, and very precious kite belonging to her brother Wallace, cut a hole in the centre, thrust into it the head of her pet Maltese kitten, and was holding it by its fore paws and making it dance on her lap; the little animal looking as demure and as formal as one of Queen Elizabeth's maids of honor in her ruff. At this critical juncture Wallace entered in search of his kite. One word of prefatory palliation for Wallace. The kite was the finest he had ever possessed; it had been given him by a friend, and that friend was waiting at the door, to string and fly it for him. At once the ruin of the kite, and the indignity to which it was subjected, flashed on him, and perhaps little Haddy's very satisfied air exasperated him. In a breath he seized the kitten, and dashed it into the tub of scalding water. His father had come in to dinner, and paused at the open door of the next room. Haddy