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to impart a little science which he had just acquired.
'Pshaw, Willie! I don't always want to know the cause; every thing here is bigger, and brighter, and pleasanter, and sweeter than in New York, because it is, and that is enough."
William appealed to his father, whether it were not best always to find out the reason of the thing. Certainly, my dear boy, if you can; unless like Effie, and Effie's father at this moment, you are so brimful of satisfaction that nothing can add to it."
"And do you think, sir," asked Harry Norton, who was sitting with Alice at one end of the piazza, under a closely woven honeysuckle," do you think you shall continue satisfied with your present tranquil enjoyments? Will you not miss the occupation of the office?"
"No, I shall substitute the occupations of my garden and farm, which are far more agreeable
"But will you not miss the excitements of the city?"
"I think not, Harry. The excitements of the country are underrated. Here nature is the kind and healthful minister to the keen appetite for sensation. The changes of the seasons, the rising and setting of the sun, droughts and floods, a good crop, a blight, frosts and showers, are all excitements. In the country the tic of human brotherhood is felt through the circle, the social electric chain is bound so closely that the vibration of every touch is felt. We not only sympa
thize with the great joys and sorrows of our neighbors, but in all the little circumstances that make up life. The whole village was alive this afternoon with the running away of Allen's horse; and when they heard that the widow Ray's boy, Sam, had been thrown from the cart and injured, what sympathy was manifested! what running to and from the widows! what profferings of aid, advice, and consolation! The wreck of an omnibus in Broadway would not have caused half so much commotion. The children were as much excited by their berrying frolic yesterday, as they would have been by a visit to Scudder's Museum; and they are as eager to see Deacon Bennett's twin lambs, as they would be to see a Chinese, or a mysterious or invisible lady."
"O, I do not doubt, sir, that children may find excitement anywhere; but I speak of yourself and Mrs. Barclay."
Ah, Harry, it is a sad mistake that some peo ple, even at our time of life, make, to depend on events for excitement. How can we want for excitement in our brief lives, while there is so much knowledge to be gained and so much good to be done? We have not here the abject poverty and brutish ignorance that exist among the foreigners in the city, but the poor we have always with us'; the poor, whose condition may be raised; the sick, whose sufferings may be alleviated; the ignorant, who may be instructed; the idle and vicious, who may be reclaimed. The excitement must be within ourselves, in a respect for our species, in a deep, inexhaustible love for them."
"I ought to have known better," said Harry, "than to ask you such an idle question, after living with you eight years. I see but one deficiency here; you will miss the society of town." No, Harry, I think not. I confess that in this matter of society, I have been somewhat disappointed. There has not been so rapid an improvement as I expected; but we must have patience. It takes time to change the forms of society; to give a new direction to a current that has been wearing into its channel for centuries. Distinctions in our city are favored by great disparities of fortune, and cherished perhaps equally by the pride, arrogance, and little vanities of the exclusives, and the servile imitations, the eager striving, the want of real independence and selfrespect in the second class. You know, Harry, that I have no fanciful expectations of a perfect equality, a dead level; this can only exist among such savages as the Hottentots. But I believe the time will come, -not in my day, perhaps not in yours, - but it will come, as soon as the social spirit of the Christian religion is understood, when society will only be an extension of the intercourse of home, when we shall meet together for intellectual intercourse, for the generous exchange of knowledge and of all the charities of social life. Then the just and full influence of mind and heart will be felt on society, and then our religious emotions and affections will no longer be kept for the closet and the church. But to realize those social benefits which our religion has yet in store for us, we must first realize that we have
a common nature and destiny.—I have made an harangue, instead of giving a plain answer to your question, whether I should not miss the society of town. You know that what is called society there, was inaccessible to me. While I was an actual printer with a moderate fortune, I was without the barriers. The mechanics in the city are unfortunately too much absorbed in their occupations to care for the pleasures of society, or to prepare their children for it. We had, you know, a few valuable friends with whom we lived on terms of intimacy; but our intercourse was very limited, and we did not escape the reproach of being unsocial. Now, in Greenbrook, society, you smile, Harry, but I do not mear society in the conventional sense, approaches my standard. The intrinsic claims of each individual are known and admitted. Whether a man be lawyer, farmer, or mechanic, matters not, if he be intelligent and respectable. Mr. Barlow, one of the most eminent lawyers in the state, does not esteem my family one grade below his, and I esteem no man's below mine provided — " "Ah, there is a provided then, sir?" Stop, my dear fellow, hear me out, provided my neighbor is a man of good morals, that he has knowledge and is willing to impart it, or, being ignorant, that he wishes to be enlightened; and provided he does not offend against the usages of civilized society."
"But is there not a barrier in what you call the usages of civilized society, that will be effectual against some of your rough neighbors?
"I think not. They lack some refinements and graces, but these are not essential; and if they never learn, their children will be very apt to do so, from a good example among their contemporaries. City families that remove into the country, so far from endeavoring to benefit their country neighbors by communicating any real refinements, alarm their pride by artificial manners, and by keeping up the modes of town life. We shall not be apt to do this. Mrs. Barclay arranges our domestic matters with such plainness and simplicity, that there is nothing appalling to our country neighbors; and as to my girls, if they should give themselves any city airs, I will dump them in Greenwich Street again; and let Miss Alice show off her style in the establishment offered by her rich lover.'
pray — "
"I beg your pardon, my dear girl. I thought Harry knew before this time to whom and to what you had preferred him."
"He knows," replied Alice, blushing, “that I prefer him to all the world.'
That is quite enough, Alice, and you shall tell or not tell particulars, as you like. But come, Harry, adjourn your whisperings to Alice, and hear me out. You know I have a notion, that wherever we are placed in life, there we have a mission. I do not mean to assume the invidious character of a reformer, in Greenbrook. No, but I mean to be a fellow worker with my good friends and neighbors here. Many things they know better than I; I some, better than they. All soci