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2-308 (Original)

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addressee author,female,Vidal, Mary Theresa,30
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Vidal, 1845
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THOMAS and Anne Thompson were among those who determined to leave England for New South Wales. They had been married eight years; their family was increasing, and labor becoming scarcer and scarcer. They heard of other families emigrating and that they easily got high wages, and lived in plenty: so they thought with their four children they would do so also. They were both honest, hard working and strong people, and Anne had been well brought up by a careful and pious mother, who had lived many years as servant in the squire's family. Anne was her only child, and she had been able to keep her at school, and, what is of far more consequence, she had set her a good example. Old Nurse Gordon, as she was still called, was well provided for by her former master's family, and though it was near breaking her heart when she heard of their plans to emigrate, she could not find any reason against it. She laid down her spectacles on the old Bible from which she had been reading, and, wiping away the tear from her eye with the corner of her white apron, she patted her little grandchild's head and answered, "well, Anne dear, I'm not learned enough to gainsay you, may be 'tis just as you and Tom say; but, if it was God's will, I should have wished to have you close my old eyes and see me laid in the grave - but His will be done!"
"Aye mother, that's the way to look on it," said Tom - "cheer up, and we'll save you a little something in that country which will go to make you more comfortable." [4] 
"Thank ye kindly, Tom," said the old woman, "but I am, thank God, well cared for-while my missis lives, I shall never want - night and day I pray God to bless her and her's - and you must do so too, for oh! it's a cruel comfort to think that, though we've no silver nor gold, we have one way of repaying they that are kind - we can pray to God for them. And now," continued she, "let's have a cup of tea together," and she and her daughter spread the tea-things and produced the loaf. 
This was the last time they ever met in that little cottage. It was Sunday evening. The old woman wore her Sunday gown, and white apron; the meadows seen from the door looked green; the sun set very gloriously, and threw its slanting red beams on them as they sat: the roses and sweet briar smelt very sweetly and they heard the chimes of the village church; for in that place they chimed every Sunday evening. As they sat, feeling sorrowful and sad, the old mother again spoke, "I'm thinking that's a sound ye'll not hear yonder; I suppose there's no church bells across the seas."
"I suppose not," said Tom,"it is a new country, a fine place for farming and grazing."
"Well, I hope God will prosper you - but mind my last words - when I'm dead and buried, mind my words- 'honor the sabbath day, and keep it holy.' When once we forget this, we don't know where to stop: and Anne, my dear, see I give you this book, this Prayer Book; use it, and teach the children out of it; look, my name is on it - read it Tom." Tom read -"this book was given to Anne Gordon by her mistress as a reward for her punctual attendance at church."
"Yes, " said the old woman as she followed her son-in-law's voice - "yes, that's it - and now I give it to you, Anne Thompson, with my blessing; and you Tom, you have been a kind and sober husband to her; and now you are going so far, be sure you mind all your duty - may be there'll be no good parson like Mr. Howe - but remember his words, and keep your church and fear God." [5]
It was now time for them to go, so putting the children's hats and bonnets on, Thomas and Anne returned home; they had a walk of a quarter of a mile, but it was a pleasant evening and they talked cheerfully of the future; how they should save money and buy a farm, and, perhaps, grow rich. 

In five months from this time the family of the Thompsons reached Sydney. They had encountered some troubles on the voyage: Anne was very sick, and it made her very weak and inclined to be discontented and cross tempered, and there were many discomforts on board the ship. There were a great many passengers, and some of the bad ones quarrelled; but Tom was steady and sober, which was a great comfort. He attended to the children when Anne was ill, and was always ready to lend a helping hand when it was wanted, so that he became a favorite.
Their little boy John, the eldest, got very ill, so ill, that they began to fear it might be their lot to bury him in the ocean, as one other poor mother had done her child. This was a sore trouble to Anne; she thought she could have borne to bury her child under a green sod; but to hear the coffin plash down into the waves of the deep sea - that was dreadful. 
While she was thinking in this way, her mother's gift came into her head, and she opened the Prayer Book. She turned to the burial service; there she saw that the same good and holy words would be used as if she were at home in Ringford church yard; and at the bottom of the service she saw that there was something written expressly for a sea burial; it spoke of the sea giving up the dead and of God's subduing all things to Himself. [6]
Now this comforted Anne, and she felt what a blessed book the Prayer Book was; there were prayers for every thing; in sickness, in death, or in joy. Whether on dry land, or on the deep waters, turn to your Prayer Book, and you will find words of comfort and instruction; the self same words too which all good christians have ever used, the same words which are uttered in every church throughout the world.' Thinking of these things and watching by little John, was of use to Anne; she felt she had been impatient and fretful at the discomforts of board-ship, and as she sat by the sick child, she prayed for forgiveness and for grace to help her to quench such feelings in future. Thus the trial was turned into a blessing, and Anne felt every day more ready to submit cheerfully to God's will. But it pleased the Almighty to spare them the trial of losing their child. Little John recovered; and before they reached land, he was as rosy as before, and said his catechism every Sunday, out of the Prayer Book, to his mother.

I cannot tell you all that happened to them, or how many plans they had when they first landed; but they at last set up a little shop in some of the outskirts of Sydney; and besides this, Tom was able to get plenty of work at his trade, which was gardening. Every thing seemed to go on well: they had plenty of custom, and Anne's tidy appearance and respectful manner brought people to the shop. [7]
There was no church where they lived, but the service was performed in the school room, every Sunday; and the two eldest children went to the school. The custom of the place was for all these little shops, like the Thompson's, to be kept open during Sunday. The shutters were half closed; and many persons bought all they wanted on Sunday, instead of coming on Saturday afternoon. At first this struck Anne's conscience: she thought of locking up the house, and going to church at the school house, with all the children; but her husband objected, and said that would never do, they must do as others did - it was the custom of the country; and, if they refused to serve customers on a Sunday, they should have none. 
"And that's true, sure enough," sighed Anne - " there's Mrs. Harris over the way, and the Browns, and scores of others that make no more account of the Sabbath than if it was a common day; but it's hard to be forced to serve and slave on a day of rest." 
"Never mind Anne," said her husband - "its only for a time, let us make haste and save some money, and then we can do as we like, we can keep Sunday as we did at home, and you shall be quite a lady." 
Anne smiled, for she wondered what sort of lady she'd make; and then she washed the children's faces, and tied their pinafores, and led them out to the door. 
"Now go on steady there's my dears, and behave well in church, and mind the text Johnny." Then she turned into the little room which formed both kitchen and shop. She took out her book intending to read, but presently Mrs. Harris over the way stepped in, and Anne had to serve her with tea and sugar; some spice was wanted which could not be found without more light, so she went to open the shutter. [8]
Just then, Mr. Martin, the clergyman passed: Mrs. Martin and their three children were with him. Anne dropped a curt'sy, for she had not left off that custom which some people think unnecessary after they leave England. Her good mother had always taught her to be respectful to her superiors, and that politeness to one another is taught in the Bible. So Anne curtsied - but how ashamed she felt. She fancied Mr. Martin looked sternly at her - she thought that Mrs. Martin stared at her dirty apron. 
"Ah," thought she, "it used not to be so on a Sabbath morning at home, but it is just like no Sunday here, no bells, no church, no any thing." 
"What are you so long about taking down the shutters," called her husband: so Anne hastily put down the shutter, and went in; but her heart was ill at ease - she did not feel happy. 
Next Sunday, however, she minded it less; she did not see Mr. Martin pass. Mrs. Harris and Mrs. White came and laid out upwards of a pound between them, for Mrs. Harris was expecting some friends from Sydney to tea. They talked of the new store further on the road, where very cheap and good things were to be had; "but they will not do," said Mrs. Harris, "they shut up on a Sunday because she's a Methodist. Such nonsense, expecting people to lose Saturday, which is always a busy evening, because they won't weigh out a penny-worth on Sunday; besides, really, in this country, folk hav'nt the convenience for keeping things, and it is very hard not to enjoy a good dinner on a Sunday." 
"Well Anne," said her husband that evening, "this good day; we'll put up the money to buy a cow - I saw a beauty the other day - when we've got two or three head, then I shall think we are fairly in for good fortune." [9]

SUNDAY after Sunday passed; weeks and months came and went; all prospered with the Thompsons. They had bought a cow and calf, and put it out to a run; they lived well and put by a little besides; still, neither of them looked so nice or so cheerful as when they lived hard at Ringford. 
Anne's clothes got out of repair; she never had any time to mend them; she was in the shop every day. They had plenty of custom, and all her time was occupied. She worked hard, and now she did not look forward to any day of rest. There was no quiet Sunday when cares and troubles were forgotten; no regular attending church, but only now and then when she could persuade Tom to mind the shop. There was no quiet evening walk; no hearing the children read. They had meat, and bread and butter, and plenty of tea and sugar, it is true, besides many other little luxuries; but it was eaten in discomfort; there was no regular time for any thing. All days were alike; no Sunday came to mark the time - to begin another week with the minister's blessing, after a grateful rest to the mind and body. 
Anne was not happy, but she did not perhaps put it down to the right cause. Her conscience had spoken, and had not been heeded, and now it did not prick her. We soon slip down a hill when we once begin. 

CHAPTER V. [10] 
ONE day, about this time, Mr. Martin came into the shop. After asking a few questions about her children and husband, he said, "How is it I do not see you at church Mrs. Thompson ?""Why sir, I do go whenever I can." "Very seldom I fear," answered Mr. Martin, "it is but too much the custom in this country to neglect church, and I am sorry to see that, amongst others, your shop is not shut on a Sunday; surely you know this is breaking the fourth commandment?" "I know it sir, I know it is very wrong," and Anne burst into tears, "but what are we to do? people will buy on a Sunday, and we depend on the shop." 
"It may be a trial, my good woman; but if a few decent people held out, refusing to serve, any one on a Sunday, taking care to be doubly attentive and careful on other days, I do not think they would really lose. Besides, suppose they did lose - suppose, at the year's end, they were so many shillings or even pounds the poorer, they would still have gained." - 'Better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure,' &c. - " It is positively and openly breaking God's commandments, and you cannot expect His blessing. Besides the evil it is to yourself, it is setting a bad example, and we are all answerable for this." 
"Oh, it is not the likes of us people would take example from," said Anne; "though I know it is a sin in us - I always said so." And she cried again. 
"Well, but if you really think that it is wrong, do not do it. Begin at once; it may be hard, but pray humbly that God will help you, and you will be able to resist the temptation. I am sure you have been taught your duty: your manners and appearance, and that of your children, told me at once that you had been taught. Surely you did not keep Sunday thus at home ?" [11]
"Oh la! no, sir - God forbid! But oh, that was all different; every body went to church, and bought things on Saturday; and the bells rung, and seemed to tell us it was Sunday. Oh, I wish we were back again !" 
"There are no bells, it is true," said Mr. Martin. "In this new country much is wanting that we are used to at home; but it only makes it the more necessary that each be more careful of himself, and pay even greater respect to the Sabbath. We can all, even the poorer, contribute to this. We can all observe the Sabbath, and try to pray in church, as God has commanded; and many can lay by out of the store which God gives them, to help towards erecting real churches, and having bells. But I will call again; I see a customer waiting. Good morning."
"Good morning sir, and thank you," said Anne, and, after serving the young woman who had just come in, she thought over all Mr. Martin had said. She felt it was all true, every word; her old mother's words too came back, and going into her little bedroom, she knelt down and begged God to forgive her and help her to be better. She found it was not so easy to pray as it used to be; she had forgotten the prayers. Ever since Sunday had not been regularly kept, she had become less regular in her own daily prayers. She left it to chance; when she thought she had time she said a prayer; but very often she passed the day without. Now, she could only remember the Lord's prayer, but she repeated it several times, and then she began to resolve to keep Sunday. But the great difficulty lay in persuading her husband. However, he was very kind to her and always seemed to take her opinion, so she determined to try and not be discouraged. [12] 
Accordingly, that evening, when Tom was making up his accounts, and seemed pleased at finding a good round sum was coming to him, he said, "Come Anne, what's the matter? I declare you're as blank as November - you shall have a new bonnet by Christmas as I'm alive; and we'll have roast beef and a bottle of Ale, and I wish old mother was just here to share." 
"Oh Tom, that word is a dagger to me; poor mother what would she say to see us so? don't you think, Tom, that now we could do without serving customers on the Sunday ?" 
"Why I thought you'd as good as forgotten that;" said Tom, "you know we do more business Sunday morning than any other day in the week."
Anne then repeated all that Mr. Martin had said, and added "She was sure that, though they were richer, they had not been happier; and that they both felt weary and worn out on a Monday morning, instead of rested as they used to be at home: Besides," added she, "I'm willing to try and make good the loss; I can take in a bit of washing; I can do clear starching as poor mother shewed me, and can make a penny by it." 
"Well, well, do it if you like, but see if we don't lose our custom; but do as you will."

THE next day Anne told every one who came to the shop that she intended to take in clear starching; and when Saturday night came she began to feel rather nervous and ridgetty. She put away all she could; hid the scales and weights, and removed as much as she could out of sight. [13] 
Tom looked on at these preparations rather gloomily; but Anne took courage and went on. She took out their Sunday clothes all in readiness as she used to do, and though tired when she went to bed late that night she felt lighter at heart than she had for some time. But when we have allowed ourselves to do wrong for any time, we must not expect that it will be easy and smooth for us to alter just when we please. It will be hard at first, nor shall we feel always that peace which the consciousness of doing right is expected to bring. This is our punishment, and we should receive it humbly. 
The next morning Anne shut the door, and dressed herself and children for church. Soon came a dirty ragged little girl for a pound of candles. "The shop is not open to day my dear," said Anne quite boldly; and she could not help feeling how much better it was to have one's children clean and neat as her own were. 
So far it was well, and little Johnny sat down and began saying over the commandments which he was learning for school. 
Then came a knock at the door. "See who it is Tom," said Anne, who was in the bed-room tying on her bonnet. "It's Mrs. Harris, that's who 'tis better not offend her mind - she's out and out our best customer; always pays regular, and has long bills." Anne fidgetted at her bonnet strings. "Oh dear, dear, what shall I do, there she's knocking again, do speak to her, Tom.""Mrs. Thompson," called Mrs. Harris, "are you in ?""Yes," said Ann, stepping forward, "but, but - " "Why where are you going, hey ? come, be quick, I want a lot of things to-day." 
Tom went into the bed-room: he had promised Anne she should do as she liked; but he could not stand this. 
"We have determined to shut up shop Sundays," said Anne timidly, "I was just going to church."
"To church ! shut up shop ! you astonish me! are you mad, woman ? do you mean to lose all your business, just because you want to be my lady ?" 
"No, " said Anne, "not to be a lady, but to go to church." 
"Hoity toity, heard I ever the like;" and Mrs. Harris laughed loud and rudely: she looked red and angry too. 
"Well, Mrs. Thompson, as you like; but I'm not going to be insulted: if you choose to refuse to serve me, you know what you lose. I consider I've been a pretty good customer, and this is what I call downright uncivil." 
Here Tom put out his head, and with an expressive gesture, intimated his wishes to Anne. 
Poor Anne! she stood in perplexity. It was a dear loss indeed if Mrs. Harris left them; her resolution began to waver; she was going on towards the counter, when, as she passed her children as they sat on the bench, she heard John saying to himself, "Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day, &c." Then, quick as lightning came back her old mother's words; she could almost fancy she saw her standing before her. Had Anne refused to listen to her conscience then, it is awful to think what might have been the consequence; but she did listen: her little boy's voice, "Remember the sabbath day," rang in her ears; she stopped. "I'm very sorry, I hope you'll not take it ill in me, Mrs. Harris, but I cannot serve on Sundays any more." 
The effort of saying this brought the colour into Anne's face - Mrs. Harris flounced out of the shop - Tom swore that her cursed nonsense had ruined them - and poor Anne sank on the bench in a flood of tears. Tom refused to go to church, so she set off very sorrowfully with the children. Mr. Martin was not there, so she had not even the comfort of feeling that he would observe she had minded his advice. The day was spent sadly, and Anne felt that it is far more difficult to climb up the hill again, after slipping down, than to go on steadily every day. [15]

The following week, Anne secretly hoped, would bring Mr. Martin; she felt it would be a comfort; but he did not come, and she had a great deal to bear from the remarks made by idle gossiping persons; for Mrs. Harris had taken care to spread the story, and every one wanted to know about it. Some turned up their noses and talked of hypocrisy, and trying to appear better than other folks, and some said it was only just laziness, that she might take holiday on Sunday. 
Tom still seemed annoyed, and one day after meeting Mrs. Harris coming out of another store, and being abused by her in no measured terms, he said he could stand it no longer and they must leave the place; he had no idea of being laughed at or pointed at. 
Poor Anne! all this was very trying, and she almost felt inclined to give up the point, but just then she caught sight of the Prayer Book as it lay on the shelf, and that brought in thoughts which drove the others out. As far as she could reckon up there would be a great loss this week; so she determined to go and apply to Mrs. Jenkins for fine washing. Her application was successful; she had a few things to try how she could do it, and she was obliged to rise earlier in the morning in order to get them done. 
When Saturday evening came she put on her bonnet, and went round to some of the neighbours and asked if they should be wanting tea, sugar, or candies, as, if they did, she would weigh it out, and send it down, for the shop would be shut on Sunday. One or two said if it was shut on Sunday they could go elsewhere, but others said they should be much obliged for her to send it down that evening: and the parcels came so neatly tied, and such good weight, that they declared after all Anne Thompson was a decent little woman, and civil and honest; and they did'nt care if they had got all in before Sunday - it was more comfortable like - and then when they found they had not to go to the shop, they had more time on the Sunday, and nothing to think of, and some of them went to church. [16]
This Sunday no one came but some strange man, to the shop, and Anne's earnings by her washing nearly made up the loss of the other Sunday customers; so Tom was in a better humour, and went with her to church. 
Mr. Martin was there, and preached on the duty of keeping the sabbath. Anne and Tom both listened eagerly. 
When he summed up the vices, and consequences that usually attended sabbath breaking, Anne trembled. She joined heartily in the prayer after the sermon, "That the words she had heard that day might bring forth in her the fruit of good living,"&c.

ANNE and her husband were now very regular attendants at church. Christmas came, Anne had not her new bonnet. They were not so rich as they might have been, had Mrs. Harris and the others continued to deal with them; but the little cottage looked cleaner, and more comfortable: they had their baked beef for dinner; and as they took a stroll in the evening together they both acknowledged that it was well to have one day in seven to rest, and to be able to read the Bible, and hear good things in church. "The thoughts last out the week," said Anne. "Yes, I often think of them when I'm digging," said Tom: "the other day, when I was pruning Mr. Short's vines, I minded what the parson said about the vine on Sunday that as we pruned the plants there was finer fruit, so it was with us - we must prune ourselves, and cut away all that grows out wildly like." [17]
As they were talking, a man came up, and asked if they were called Thompson, and, on being informed they were, he said he supposed this letter was for them, he had just arrived from England, and had brought it from Mr. King of Ringford. "Ah that's our clerk, and that's from mother," said Anne. 
The letter was written by the clerk; it was to tell them that good nurse Gordon had quietly and peacefully breathed her last; that she sent them her last blessing, and left them her Bible, and what little clothes she possessed. 
Upon comparing notes, Anne found that her mother had died on the very day on which Mr. Martin called, and spoke to her about shutting up the shop on a Sunday. She felt very glad she had by God's grace profited by this visit. She looked upon it as an especial warning of a watchful Providence, and she never afterwards felt tempted to break the Fourth Commandment. 
This performing one duty helped her on to many others. Going to church opened her mind to other faults, and it brought a blessing which the world and its riches could neither give nor take away. 
They had trials and disappointments, but they knew from whom they came; and Tom and Anne lived to see their children turn out well. No cottage so clean and neat as the Thompsons, with its gay little flower border before it. The shop continued to support them, and they put into the plate at church every week something towards a real church, and, as Anne hoped, a peal of bells. [18]
Mr. Martin had often called, and proved a good friend to them. One day when he was observing how much more comfortable and tidy every thing was about them than in the other cottages, and how much more leisure they seemed to have; Anne colored up and said "Ah sir, it is you, next to God and my poor mother, we've to thank. It is all owing to keeping the Sabbath day." 
Readers go and do likewise.

"O perfect pattern from above
So strengthen us, that ne'er
Prayer keep us back from works of love
Nor works of love from prayer."
CHAPTER I. [21] 
HANNAH AND ANNE SANDFORD were the daughters of a small settler in this country. Their brother David, who was fourteen years old, assisted his father in the farm. Hannah was twelve and Anne eleven. They were old enough to be useful at home, in minding the younger children, or attending to the dairy and pigs; but their parents were good kind of people, and were willing to sacrifice this for the sake of their attending the Church School. John Sandford, the father, had given his portion towards building the School-house, and he felt interested in it; and on a Sunday morning he sometimes walked down and heard Mr. Neville the clergyman catechise the children, and explain the Epistle and Gospel for the day. He was a plain, honest man; he had not grown quite so rich as many others, but that was because he could never find it in his heart to ask more than the right value for an article: he was no great hand at making a bargain. He worked hard all the week; but on Saturday night he laid aside work, and anxious thoughts about his crops and cattle, just as he laid aside his working-clothes; and on Sunday, Sandford came out in his coat and white trowsers, and a heart that felt glad and at peace. He was always to be seen in his accustomed corner in church, and his conduct while there was very different from some others, who seemed to come only to look about them during the prayers; and then, if the sermon chanced to hit their fancy, listen to it as a matter of curiosity. 
Sandford often wished that he could persuade his wife to accompany him, or he offered to take it by turns to stay at home and let her come. But Anne Sandford was one of those busy, bustling, thrifty women, who give themselves no time for thought; she said that it "was impossible for her to go to church." She thought her whole duty consisted in making the most of everything, keeping her house clean, and everything polished and bright. She often blamed her husband for neglecting to turn a penny when he might have done so. And very proud was she of the sum her butter and eggs and poultry brought her in. [22]
Now all this was praiseworthy and right. It is right to be saving and thrifty, and neat and clean, and, for many persons, it is right to work hard and have little time for quiet; but it is not right to set our hearts upon these things - it is very dangerous to do so. 
The cares of this world are apt to choke the good seed which was planted in our hearts at Baptism, just in the same way as weeds in our garden destroy the seed we have put into the ground. We ought to try to balance our duties, that is, not to be so intent upon being neat and thrifty, as to forget the other duty of prayer and thoughts of God; nor to be so fond of thinking and being quiet, as to make us forget our daily duties and to be active and industrious. 
Those who have the care of a family and farm upon them have necessarily much to do. Their appointed task is to be industrious and active; they have not so much time for reading the Bible and thinking, as single persons - or old people, or those who by weak health are shut out from hard work. But let them beware of making the world their idol -of forgetting God. 
One day in every seven is mercifully set apart for the benefit of all. Every one may, on the Lord's day, go to church, and leave off from the busy duties of the week. [23] 
What did our Saviour say to Martha ? She was cumbered about much serving; she was desirous to have everything neat and nice for her Divine Master: it was her duty, as mistress of the house, to attend to these things. But our Lord knew the danger of it, and he said to her kindly, but in a warning manner, "Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; but one thing is needful."

Now, having told you something of the parents, I must turn to Hannah and Anne. 
Hannah was tall of her age; she had dark brown eyes and hair, and was rather pale. She was slow and quiet in all her ways, very timid in manner, and preferred sitting under a tree, doing nothing, to playing about: she was of an humble temper, and was very fond of those about her. Her younger brothers and sisters liked her better than Anne, though she was not so gay and cheerful with them; but she was never cross or passionate, and never spoke quickly or roughly to them: her fault seemed to be indolence. She was not very quick at learning, but it was a great pleasure to her; and she liked listening to Mr. Neville better than anything else. Often it brought tears into her eyes as he talked kindly, but gravely to them, about their different faults. She felt then that she was very wrong in many things: she felt undeserving of any blessing; and so she went on, feeling and thinking, till she quite forgot to act.
Anne was the opposite to her sister; her blue eyes always looked merry. She was always singing, and was as active and quick in her motions as Hannah was slow: she was clever, too, and learnt very fast. Her mother always praised Anne very much; she was quite in her way - a smart, light girl, who would do an hour's work, while Hannah stood and thought about it. Sometimes Anne was quick and cross in her temper, but she never thought much of this; she always excused herself by saying, "It was soon over, and it was enough to provoke her if any thing went wrong." [24]
From doing so much more than Hannah, she was much more like the eldest sister; and, by degrees, Anne had come to value herself and her services very highly, and to look down upon Hannah as a poor, spiritless creature. And so, I believe, did her mother; but her father encouraged Hannah, and said "she would do by- and-by, and that she was a good child, and very obedient and dutiful." 
When this was said, it always brought tears into Hannah's eyes. She felt very grateful to her father, and wished to show it. It made her very happy for the moment to think that her father loved her; but then, half-an-hour afterwards, instead of busying herself about something that would please her parents, and trying to throw off her slow way, she would sit and think to herself, "Ah! Father only said this out of kindness; he did not mean it - really. No one can like me, such a poor silly creature!" And then she made herself quite miserable with her thoughts, whereas she ought to have been grateful for having what she felt she didn't quite deserve: she ought to have been cheerful, and have begun at once to try and conquer her faults, which weighed so heavily on her. [25] 

ONE day that Mr. Neville rode by Sandford's house, Mrs. Sandford complained a great deal of Hannah's indolence. She said that she was so unhandy about everything, and so slow, that it was less trouble to do it herself. 
"I am very sorry to hear this," said Mr. Neville, "I thought that Hannah was a dutiful child."
"She's not to say undutiful, sir, neither," said Mrs. Sandford; "she never gives me a pert word, and always does just as she's bid. I've nothing to complain of in her conduct or temper; but she'll be fit for nothing if she grows up so slow and sawny like." 
When Mr. Neville reached the school, he gave his horse to one of the boys to hold, and then took his seat in the great chair. 
After some questions were asked of the master, he told the children to open their Bibles, and read the 10th verse of the 9th chapter of Ecclesiastes. "Hannah Sandford, do you read it," said Mr. Neville; and she read it. He then talked to them a great deal about this verse, and told them how necessary it was to remember this : - To do everything as well as we can; to do it heartily, as unto God - not in a half way, lazily and indifferently, but as if our performing this duty, be it ever so trifling, was to show how real and earnest we are in our desire to be good. Much more he said, which I cannot repeat here. He did not allude to any one particularly by name, but Hannah applied it all to herself: she knew that her fault was not doing things with all her might. She thought they were very beautiful words, and that she should always remember them. Anne, too, thought that it was suitable to Hannah, and she felt proud that it was not for herself. [26] 
That evening when they returned home, Anne was quicker than ever; she laid out the tea-things, and made up the fire, and swept the ashes away, and began brightening the metal tea-spoons, all the time feeling how good and useful she was, and despising Hannah for being so different. 
Mrs. Sandford said "There's Anne, as usual, always busy and putting things to rights, and Hannah I suppose is doing nothing." 
Hannah was sitting in the corner behind the door, out of sight, and she was intent on darning some stockings, which she knew that her mother wished to be done. She said nothing; she felt she deserved all her mother said, but she wished very much to do better, and she worked very busily till tea time. After tea she took up the cups, intending to wash them, but Anne snatched them from her, and said "Oh la! let them alone, you are so slow, I'll do them while you are looking at them." Hannah was sorry and hurt, for she had begun to try and do better. This checked her, and answering nothing, she walked outside the hut and sat upon a log. Here with her hands on her face and elbows on her knees, she sat. She looked up to see the sun go down; and then the white clouds with their bright pink edges, and the soft colour of the sky, made her look longer. "Oh! how glorious, how beautiful," thought she; and then the verses in the Psalms came into her head, which spoke of the sun: "In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which cometh forth as a bridegroom out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a giant to run his course. It goeth forth from the uttermost part of the heaven, and runneth about unto the end of it again; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof." 
The pleasure which this bright and glorious scene gave her, reminded her of Mr. Neville. Whenever he spoke of serious things, or whenever she heard him in church, Hannah felt the same kind of pleasure, the awe and the admiration, which it now gave her to see the sun set. It was in Hannah's nature to look up to people and to cling to them, very much as the creepers we see, throw their long tendrils round a tree, or a fence, or anything which can support them. She sat a long time thinking of Mr. Neville, and of all the good words she had heard from him; and then the advice which he had given them that very day came into her head, and as her tears flowed, she resolved to persevere and try to mend - to try to be more industrious and active, like Anne. [27]

NEXT Sunday was the first Sunday in Lent; and Mr. Neville explained to them what Lent was, and why our Church has appointed it to be kept. That, as our Saviour for forty days retired into the wilderness and fasted, and became subject to temptation, that we might follow His example; so we ought to fast, and watch, and pray. We ought to humble ourselves, and examine our hearts, and try to correct whatever is wrong; that when the great festival of Easter draws nigh, - that day on which Our Saviour rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven - we may be able to rejoice and have hope in His resurrection; and be able, with clean hearts and subdued tempers, to partake of the Lord's Supper, which is offered to every one on that day. 
No one can properly and wholly rejoice in Easter, who has not in some way striven to take up his cross during Lent - who has not in some especial manner denied himself, and, in thoughts, accompanied our Lord through the period of His sufferings whilst on earth. [28]
Mr. Neville spoke a great deal about self-denial - denying ourselves in little things - seeking to please others rather than ourselves - denying ourselves in our pleasures as well as in our food. He said that even children could do this. God gave every one of us many opportunities for denying ourselves. The withstanding any particular temptation - watching ourselves strictly not to run in the way of temptation - setting a watch on our words, and even our thoughts - bearing with other people's temper - submitting to be found fault with, when we feel we do not quite deserve it, and not indulging in any favorite habits. All this was a way of taking up the cross, and denying one's self. He hoped they would all try to do this, and then Lent would not have been in vain to them: and he hoped they should all be able to rejoice together at Easter. 
Before the School broke up that day, he mentioned that he wished them all, if possible, to wear their new frocks, which they had been saving money for, on Easter Sunday. He liked the old custom of putting on new and best clothes on that day; and he hoped they would all make their frocks themselves, which would prove them not to have been idle. 
From school they all went to church, and then returned to their respective homes. There was only one service at this church, as Mr. Neville had to go and do duty at some distant place besides. The Sandfords' home was full two miles from church; it was a pleasant walk, almost all the way through the bush; and now that it was not hot weather they enjoyed it. Hannah was inclined to linger and enjoy the green look of everything, or to pick some of the blossoms which grew in the way; but Anne did not care for all this, she wanted to be back she said. Hannah recollected what she had just heard about self-denial, and she began to walk on so fast that Anne was quite out of breath, and wondered what had come over Hannah. "Oh," said she to herself, "she is thinking about her new frock, and she's afraid that may be mother'll let me choose instead of her." [29]
In the evening Sandford told the girls they might take a walk with him to a neighbour's if they liked it; but Mrs. Sandford said the calves must be fetched in first. Anne was very anxious to see Jane Grove, to whose house her father was going, so she said "Oh, never mind the calves, I'll put them up when I come back." 
Hannah liked a walk with her father on a Sunday evening better than any thing, but she recollected about "self-denial;" so she took off her bonnet and put it away, and begun tying on her blue pinafore. "So you're not going this evening?" said her father. "La, no," returned Mrs. Sandford, "she's too lazy, she'd rather sit on a log and gaze at the stars or the sky any day."
Nothing more was said. Anne, the two younger children, and their father, set off; and when they were out of sight, Hannah went out to drive the cows in. This was a matter of some difficulty to her; as fast as she got the calves in, they ran out again before she could get the slip rails up. At length in running very fast after one, she stumbled over a log, and tore her frock and pinafore sadly - meanwhile all the other calves scampered off. Mrs. Sandford coming out, said, "well, how mortal clumsy you are to be sure! such a difference between two girls in the same family! why Anne would have had them in in five minutes." 
Mrs. Sandford now went after them herself; and Hannah sat down with the baby, thoroughly convinced she was a most unfortunate clumsy little girl. The baby was rather cross, and Hannah had to walk about with it, and do all sorts of things to amuse it: at last it was tired out, and Hannah laid it in the cradle; and then she sat down by it, and began her favorite custom of thinking. [30]
That night Hannah felt more cheerful and happy than usual. This was because she had really, and in good earnest, tried to conquer herself. She kept this up in little things every day: sometimes she forgot herself, but never for long; and, as she was always in the habit of adding the Sunday's collect to her other prayer, this brought back the remembrance that it was "Lent" every morning and evening.

As it drew towards Easter, there was some consultation about the new frocks. Mrs. Sandford, who had a very good taste, had chosen some neat grey stuffs which would be serviceable through the winter, but she did not buy them; she wished the girls to go to the store and get them for themselves. 
Anne, however, thought that grey would look too plain by the side of Jane Grove's smart silk dress, and she chose a bright green instead. Hannah did not go with Anne the day she bought hers; she happened to be busy, and she thought that a day's delay made no difference. 
That evening Anne was busy cutting out her frock: her mother called to her, "Anne, put away your best bonnet;" but Anne was eager and interested in what she was doing, and did not move. Meanwhile the puppy found its way into the bedroom, seized the bonnet, and very quietly amused himself with pulling it to pieces. 
When Anne looked up from her work and saw that the puppy had something playing with, she ran to take it from him. "Goodness me, he's got my bonnet, my best bonnet; he's torn it to bits; Oh, what shall I do!" and then she kicked the puppy and sent it off howling. Her mother was very angry, and said it was her own fault, for being so careless to leave it out; "if it had been Hannah I should'nt have so much wondered, but for you who are so neat and careful, I must say 'tis too bad." [31]
Anne cried bitterly, and her mother said that she would have to wear her old shabby bonnet to church, or not go at all, for she had no money to buy her another. "Only to think of that nice new frock, and that old burnt brown bonnet." said Anne, sobbing; "I'll not go at all, I should be right down ashamed." Hannah, who had come into the room, was very sorry for Anne: she thought it an unfortunate accident, because Anne was always so very careful; and then, only this once she left it out and it was spoilt. Hannah was going to the store this evening to choose her gown, and she was to bring home some groceries for her mother. While she was waiting for the woman to take down the grey stuff, her eye rested on a row of nice straw bonnets. "I wish Anne could have one of these," thought she. When the woman turned round she enquired the price of them, and found that it was two shillings less than what she had for the gown. "The money is all my own," said she; "father said I might do as I liked with it: I can do without a new frock; a clean white pinafore will hide its shabbiness; I don't mind these things so much as Anne: she's got the character for being so neat and tidy, 'twill vex her sadly to wear that dirty bonnet, and no one will notice it in me." As these thoughts ran through her head, the grey stuff was put upon the counter: it was very pretty, very tempting, just, the color that would please Mr. Neville; [32] but she pushed it aside, and begged to see the bonnets: and, choosing a nice one, she pinned it carefully up in her handkerchief, and without taking another look at the pretty grey stuff, she took her mother's parcel and walked towards home.
They were all very busy, attending to a foal which had in some way injured itself, when she arrived. No questions were asked about the gown; and Hannah carefully hid her treasure, intending to choose a good time for surprising her sister. Two days after this, Mr. Sandford said, "Hannah what is become of your frock? I hav'nt seen you working at it; you'll be behind hand as usual." "I did not buy any," said Hannah. "Not buy any! well, what vagary is this? I thought you always wished to please Mr. Neville. I suppose it is old tricks again, to avoid the trouble of sewing at it." Hannah did not like to say what she had done, it looked like boasting, so she did not make any answer; but when Anne began the subject again as they were going to bed, Hannah said, rather quickly, "It is not from laziness." Then she recollected about self-denial, and was sorry for being hurt and annoyed. She wished to take out the bonnet and show it at once to Anne, but she thought, "No, I've been angry; I will deny myself to-night." So she merely begged Anne not to think it was laziness, and she should know the reason soon. She went to bed.

THE next day was Good Friday, and going to school and church occupied Hannah's thought so much, that she, for a time, forgot all about the bonnet. On this solemn day she attended more than she had perhaps ever done to the prayers. Her daily practice of watching herself, and trying to deny herself, which she had now kept up since Lent began, helped her on this day to feel all that Mr. Neville had said more deeply. And as they walked home, thinking of the sermon which was adapted to the day, she felt grave and thoughtful. She fancied she had better put off showing the bonnet till to-morrow: it did not seem suitable just then to introduce the subject. [33]
In the evening, her father desired the girls to repeat, as well as they could, all Mr. Neville had said to them in school, for he was not able to go from home so early to-day. Hannah remembered nearly every word, but she was timid, and shrunk from repeating what appeared to her so good and beautiful. Seeing her hesitation, Anne began; and, as she too had a good memory, she gave very tolerably the substance of all their good minister had said. "Well now, I should like to have that down in writing," said their father, when Anne had ended. "Hannah, you are the best and quickest writer, try what you can do." Hannah obeyed very cheerfully: she wrote a very good, free hand, and finished her task before bed-time. 
"Thank you, my dear," said her father; "I thought you knew all about it as well as Anne." "Why, she's just heard me repeat it, hasn't she ?" said Anne, who had been so long accustomed to receive praise, that she was jealous of losing any. "Aye, so she has; but her words are not quite like yours, Anne: and there's some good things here which you didn't mention. I'm thinking this is most nigh Mr. Neville's explanation, after all." Hannah went to bed very happy: she was glad to have pleased her father; and she was looking forward to the next morning with great pleasure. She kept awake till she saw Anne was asleep, and then she pinned the bonnet to the curtain by Anne's side. [34]

Of course Anne was much surprised and much delighted when she saw the nice new bonnet, and heard it was for her. She was a little uncomfortable, however; for she felt it would be right to say how she got the bonnet, that it might account for Hannah's having no frock; and then she knew that it must bring out the story of her own carelessness and untidiness which occasioned the destruction of her other bonnet. Anne was very proud of being regularly neat and tidy: she liked being thought so by others. She trusted too much to her own strength, and wanted humility. She was careful and tidy, not so much because it was right to be so in the sight of God, but to be seen of men, to obtain credit and praise; and she had gone on so long in this bad, dangerous habit, that she did many little mean things rather than lose a word of praise - it made her jealous too. She knew and felt that, it was a very kind thing of Hannah to give her this bonnet - that it was very generous of her; but she did not like that any one should do better than herself: so these bad feelings prevented her from thanking Hannah very heartily. Hannah, however, did not notice this; for she knew that she always found it very difficult to thank people when they were kind: she judged Anne by herself. Nothing was said about the bonnet that day. Anne did not mention the subject even to her mother; and of course Hannah did not. The next morning, Anne came down dressed in her new green gown. Her mother remarked her bonnet, and when she heard about it she said, "Well, it was kind, to be sure, in Hannah; but she was always kindly natured, and it was more the pity she was so dull and slow." Sandford said, "She is a good girl; and I dare say this gives her as much pleasure as a new frock." Anne didn't half like all this, but she had expected more to be said about it. Hannah thought it was quite enough, and drew her father's attention to Anne's frock: it looked very pretty and was nicely made, for Anne was clever at her needle. "Well, I'm glad you've got green," said Sandford. "Easter always falls in Spring in England, and then everything is green. I've often missed it here; for the young green leaves and buds seemed to be rising out of death, and spoke words to us as well as the Prayer Book." Hannah felt this was a very good thought, and she kept it in her mind as she walked to school. This made her forget her shabby frock entirely; nor did the recollection of it return, till Mr. and Mrs. Neville began to remark and praise some of the other girls. They both said Anne's was very pretty and made very neatly, and they were glad to see she was so industrious. When it came to Hannah's turn, she kept rather behind the others. She blushed up, for she thought Anne would say why Hannah had no frock; and Hannah was as shy of public praise as Anne was fond of it. [35]
"Well, Hannah, no new frock ?" said Mr. Neville;"how is this ?" "But she looks so neat and clean with that white pinafore," said Mrs. Neville, kindly, "that she does as well without it; no doubt she had some good reason for it." Nothing further was said. Anne and Hannah both felt relieved, though from different causes; and the usual duties of the school were attended to. 
Lent had now passed away, but the advantages and blessings of it did not pass away in those who had tried to keep it well. [36]
Hannah did not give up her attempts to conquer her faults; from that time forth she persevered, till at last no one - not even her mother, could find fault with her for want of industry. She never could be quite as quick as Anne, but she made up for it by being more steady and pains-taking. She still loved to sit and watch the sun, or to think of Mr. Neville, or of any good and glorious thing she had ever heard of; but she did not often indulge herself. And by degrees she found that, even when most busy, pleasant and good thoughts stole in; and she was far more cheerful now that she tried to mend in earnest, instead of only thinking about it. 
I am sorry to say that Anne's faults were not so easily corrected. The great reason was, that she had never felt herself to be very wrong; she had trusted to herself; she had been vain of her good qualities. When conscience told her that she ought, in fairness and truth, to have told every one of her sister's kindness, she stifled the still small voice, and afterwards it did not speak much. Jealousy and vanity and self-esteem grew upon her. 
No wonder, then, that Anne did not improve, clever and quick as she was. And no wonder that Hannah did improve, though naturally slow and indolent; for God giveth grace unto the lowly.