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her rocking-chair and Bible, and I trust she will have a happy home after all."
This "after all "meant years of miserable shifting and changing, which old Mrs. Barclay had endured with the patience of a martyr. No wonder William Barclay felt grateful to his wife when he perceived his mother's happiness was her first care. He told her so.
"Wait," she said, "till I deserve your thanks. But now tell me where this little passage leads to?-to the kitchen!-this is nice! I could not bear to think of thrusting Martha down into one of these New York cellar kitchens; they are so dark and dismal, after being used to our light, airy, sociable country kitchens. Martha will be delighted."
Mr. Barclay confessed he had made a sacrifice to secure a pleasant apartment for Martha, a young girl whom his wife (in country phrase) had 66 taken to bring up. "I had to decide," he said, "between two houses of equal rent,-the apartments in the other were larger than these, but the kitchen was under ground, and would have seemed dismal to Martha, and I knew you would wish to begin house-keeping with as much happiness as possible beneath your roof."
"At your old tricks, William, doing kind acts and giving the credit to another. However, I have generosity enough to approve this sacrifice of a little for us, to a great deal for Martha. Mother says there would not be half so much complaining of help, if the master and mistress had a religious sense of their duties to them, and
took proper pains to promote their happiness Home should be the sweetest of all words even to the humblest member of a family."
This sentiment was echoed from William Barclay's heart and tongue, and then the young pair proceeded to examine together their furniture, which had been purchased by the husband according to a few general directions from the wife, the funds being furnished by her father. We shall not give an inventory, but merely note that there were no superfluities, no gewgaws of any description, no mantel-glass, ornamental lamp, vase of Paris flowers, tawdry pictures; — such are sometimes seen where there is a lamentable deficiency of substantial comforts. But there was, what in these dressed-up houses is sacrificed to show; ample stores of household linen, fine mattrasses, as nice an apparatus for ablutions as a disciple of Combe could wish, jugs, basins, and tubs large enough, if not to silence, to drown a travelling Englishman, and finally one luxury, which long habit and well cultivated taste had rendered essential to happiness, a book-case
filled with well selected and well bound volumes. They paused before it, while Mrs. Barclay ran over the titles of some of the books; "History of England,''Universal History,' 'Marshall's Washington,'-' American Revolution,''Shakspeare,''Milton,''Pope,'
'AddiGoldsmith,' 'Taylor,' -Law,'-Johnson's Dictionary,'' Calmet's Dictionary, Lempriere,'-' Biographical Dictionary,'-O what a capital Atlas! How in the
world, William, did you contrive to afford so many books? When father made an estimate of the cost of our furniture, he allowed twenty-five doliars for books. That, he said, would buy a Bible, the histories of England and America, a cookery book, and dictionary,- quite enough, he said, for a nest egg.
"Your father is frugal, Anne, and so must we be; but we have a right to select the department in which we prefer sparing, and that is not books. Since I have earned more than I was obliged to spend, I have made a yearly investment in books, as the stock which would yield the best income. I had thus accumulated those heavy volumes on the lower shelves; and as ladies sometimes think heavy books heavy reading, I filled up the case with such as I hoped would suit your taste, and profit us both. All these were bought with your money."
"All these! how was that possible?"
"I will tell you. In purchasing your furniture, my dear wife, whenever two articles were offered of equal intrinsic value, the one ornamental and the other plain, I bought the plain one, and passed over the saving made to the book fund. For instance, I was offered a remarkably pretty neva clock, which cost fifty dollars in Paris, for thirty dollars. A clock I thought essential to the punctual arrangement of house
*The father-in-law's allowance exceeded that which Byron allows to the intellectual wants of women, by the two histories and the dictionary.
affairs; and to convince myself of the propriet of buying this particular clock, this bargain, reasoned as people do when they would persuade themselves to that, which in their secret souls they know is not quite right. 'I have bought nothing ornamental; surely we have a right to one indulgence of this sort,—I may never mee with such a bargain again, it will just sui Anne's taste.' This last thought turned the scale and I was on the point of concluding the pur chase when the master of the shop said, 'If you really want the clock for a time-piece merely here is an article of excellent mechanism, which costs only five dollars.' I shut my eyes against the pretty Geneva clock, bought the five dolla article, hung it up in the kitchen, and with the money saved I purchased that row of books. In stead of twenty-five dollars' worth of glass and gilding, we have some of the best productions of the best minds. Instead of a poor gratification of our vanity, or at best of our eyes, we have a productive capital, from which we may derive exhaustless pleasure, which hundreds may share, and which those who come after us may enjoy. O, who can estimate the value of a book!"
"Books are your Penates, William.”
"If so, Anne, I have greatly the advantage of the ancients. Their household gods were dumb idols, mine have living and immortal souls."
Mr. Barclay was a printer and might magnify his art; but what honor is not due to that art, which makes the spirits of the departed, our familiar companions and instructors, which real
izes the doctrine of metempsychosis, and transfuses the souls of the departed into the living.
"Anne, you do not tell me whether you are satisfied with my selection."
"I see but one deficiency."
O, a Bible! You do not think I have omitted that. No, that I consider as essential to a home as the foundation-stone to an edifice. But the family Bible is for daily use, and has its proper station in the parlor. Neither have I omitted the other item on your father's list; the cookery book is on a shelf in the kitchen, with a few other instructive and entertaining volumes for Martha's use. I believe that whatever tends to improve the minds and hearts of domestics will, to say the worst of it, not injure their service; and that every wise provision for their happiness multiplies the chances of their attachment and fidelity. We are novices, Anne, and may be wrong; but at any rate we will try it.'
Mrs. Barclay was a loving and, with good reason, a trustful wife, and ready to co-operate with her husband in all his benevolent purposes. They looked at the neat spare room, which, according to the fashion of their fathers, they had consecrated to hospitality; and after pleasing themselves with the expectation, that this and that relative or friend would occasionally occupy it, they returned to the parlor, and naturally fell to the retrospect of the long and checkered track by which Providence had led them to this happy beginning of their married life. Perhaps this review was for the hundredth time; but it mattered