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at any time happened to be out of humour, Mr. Day would take occasion to remark on his many good qualities, and to assure Frederick that his cousin loved him sincerely, though he might sometimes give way to feelings of ill-humour towards him. And this was, indeed, no more than the truth; for, had Robert been left to himself, he would, no doubt, have formed a sincere and ardent affection for his amiable little cousin. When Robert was about eleven
the following occurrence excited a very strong and painful feeling in his mind, which feeling there is reason to think was not overcome for many years afterwards.
He and Frederick were invited to spend some days together at Clifton Castle, where, it being summer time, the children were allowed to play in the pleasure-ground, from which they frequently made their escape into a little coppice, which shaded a dingle by the side of the park. In this dingle was a hut or root-house, in a retired situation, and also a small edifice built in imitation of a Grecian temple, which standing on the brow of the hill, commanded the whole range of the dingle, with its water-courses and cascades.
One day, when these little boys were playing in a Gothic window in the drawing-room, and Lady Augusta with them, they proposed that she should go the next day into the dingle, and choose each of them a house or habitation; “And we will adorn our house with flowers, and prepare a feast in it, and Augusta shall come and No,” said Augusta,
"I will not come and see you, but I will live with one of you: you shall be the lord, and I will be the lady.”
“ But you cannot live with both of us," said Frederick.
• No," returned Augusta, “I will choose one of you, and live with that one; and then we will visit the other.”
“But which will you choose?” said Robert. you choose me?"
No,” said Frederick,“ you must choose me.” “I'll tell
what I will do,” replied Augusta ; will choose the one who makes his house look the prettiest, and who has the nicest feast.”
“(), very well,” said Robert: “then we will get up
in the morning very early, and we will see who can make the prettiest house."
Accordingly, the little boys very early the next morning set off into the dingle; and Robert, having chosen the temple, and Frederick the root-house, they set to work to adorn their habitations in the best manner they could.
Frederick stuck bunches of flowers in the thatch of his house, and set forth his fruit, which he begged from the gardener, in little baskets made of rushes; but Robert adorned the pillars of his temple with wreaths of roses and honeysuckle, and set forth his feast on dishes made of vine leaves, garnished with roses.
When all was done, the little boys compared each other's houses, and even Frederick confessed that Robert's house was much superior to his own. Augusta was then called, and conducted first to the temple, and next to the grotto; and, after having besitated a while, looking at the same time very much vexed, she gave her vote in favour of Frederick's house, saying to Robert, as a kind of apology for her injustice, that she loved low places better than high ones.
The boys were both surprised, not expecting this turn of affairs; and Robert, calling young Clifton, who had followed them to the dingle, gave up his house on the hill to him, and walked back towards the Castle in high displeasure.
Augusta and Frederick looked after him for some minutes. At length, Frederick said, “ Call him back, Augusta, pray do: don't make him unhappy. I know his is the prettiest house."
No, I will not,” said the little girl. " If he chooses to be angry, I can't help it: but I won't live with him."
“ And why?” said Frederick. “ Because I don't like him,” replied the young lady. “ But you ought to love every body,” said Frederick.
What, when I can't?” said Augusta. “But you promised to live with the person who had the prettiest house, and indeed Robert's is the prettiest.”
Well, I don't care," returned Augusta, “I won't live with him: but I will run after him, and call him back to play.”
She did so: but he refused to come back, and retained his ill-humour for some days, manifesting it by great coldness towards his little playfellows.
While the impression produced by this circumstance yet remained on the mind of Robert, the little boys returned to Mr. Lambert's villa, where Frederick was suddenly attacked with a violent cold and cough, and an inflammation on the chest, which in a short time reduced him to.such a state of weakness, that his uncle and Mr. Day expected nothing less than his speedy death. During this illness, the little patient discovered so much gentleness, and such an entire acquiescence in the will of his heavenly Father, with such perfect confidence in the love of his Redeemer, that he rendered himself more and more dear to his excellent tutor; and his uncle, who considered him as an ornament to his family, and who really loved him for his gentle and amiable deportment, was very uneasy, and laid aside in some degree his usual formal observances when standing by the bed of the drooping boy.
On this occasion, Robert, however, shewed a degree of inveteracy against Frederick, which grieved and distressed his tutor, particularly as the little boy could so well account for this dislike to his inoffensive cousin: for nothing, perhaps, is more irritating to the human mind, than constantly to be called into competition and brought under comparison with any individual, and to find oneself continually losing by being thus compared. It seems that, notwithstanding the gentleness of Frederick, and the counteracting influence of Mr. Day, poor Robert had suffered more severely from this cause than his tutor had supposed; insomuch, that he one day said to his valet, “How is Frederick to-day? I really wish he may not
But do not tell my tutor what I say." Mr. Day, however, was informed of this speech of Robert's, and took occasion to speak very seriously to him on the subject. But first he went with him into Frederick's chamber, and made him look at his little cousin, extended on his bed, pale and emaciated, and his lovely face resting on his pillow. He made him touch his burning hand, and observe the labour with which he drew his breath. Then leading him out of the room, he pointed out to him the sinfulness and selfishness of his conduct, in wishing that his poor little companion might actually expire under his present sufferings, in order that he himself might be relieved from an object of envy and jealousy. The good man then took occasion to point out the natural depravity, and even murderous dispositions, of the human heart, and the need we have of an entire change of nature, in order to render us fit for the society of angels.
Robert wept when his offences against his cousin were thus solemnly laid before him, and apologized for his bad conduct, by saying how perpetually irritated and hurt he felt by the continued comparisons which were made between him and Frederick. “I am sure," added he,“ that my father loves him more than he does me; and Augusta, too, she does the same.”
Here poor Robert burst afresh into a flood of tears ; and Mr. Day, seeing him much softened, said, “My dear boy, even supposing what you say of
father and Lady Augusta to be true, why is Frederick to be blamed? Have you ever seen any thing in him but the utmost kindness, gentleness, and affection? Is he to be condemned for what others think of him and feel for him? Ought you to hate him, Robert, because he is amiable?”
“Oh! Mr. Day! Mr. Day!” replied Robert, in an agony of grief, “ I am very wicked; I know I am. May God change my heart !”
“Go, my boy, then,” said Mr. Day, “go, and pray for a new heart. Call on Him who is never deaf to those who apply to him in sincerity.”
Poor Robert withdrew to his room, and prayed earnestly: after which, he came to his tutor with an altered countenance, and begged to be permitted to wait on his sick cousin; which office he performed for many days with a tenderness which did him honour, and which proved to Mr. Day that his feelings towards his little companion were, for the time being, entirely changed: and, notwithstanding the presents of fruit which came every day from Lady Augusta, who was inconsolable while her little companion was thought to be in danger, no new feelings of jealousy seemed again to arise in the breast of Robert.
Many weeks had elapsed before Frederick Falconer recovered his health and strength; but Mr. Day was extremely glad to see, that, during the time of his recovery, Robert remained perfectly calm, and, indeed, was beginning to lose some of his awkward ways: for, as the little boys were, during this time, much in their own rooms, and took their meals apart, young Lambert was spared the frequent comments of his parent on his want of elegance, which never failed to create either awkwardness and embarrassment in the little boy, or a fit of obstinacy. equally unfavourable to his appearance as a finished gentleman. Nevertheless, when health was again restored to his family, Mr. Lambert recommenced that kind of injudicious conduct by which he had formerly excited the irritation of his son. • Frederick looks better than ever since his illness,” said Mr. Lambert, one day, to the viscountess. 6. What would I give, if this dull boy of mine had half
Falconer's gentility of carriage!”
Why then do you not try what a dancing-master would do for your son ?” replied Lady V
“A very good thought, Lady V---, said Mr. Lambert: “and I hope, Robert,” added he, turning to the boy, “ that you will be attentive to the instructions of your dancing-master; for I shall procure one for you immediately; though I certainly entertain some fears that you will prove to be little better than a dancing
Robert looked sullen, and all his old feelings seemed again to revive. The viscountess observed his change of countenance; and, therefore, in order to restore his good-humour, she promised him a ball at Clifton Castle as soon as he was able to lead down a country-dance.
Robert had heard balls spoken of by his father as very delightful amusements; so that he, consequently, hastened to his tutor to tell him what had passed.
Mr. Day could have wished that pleasures of this kind might not be held forth to his pupils; but this excellent man filled a situation in which, not having the power
of acting as he would with regard to them, he was compelled, in order to their good, to do the best which circumstances would admit. He therefore made light of the ball, saying, that he considered it an amusement which he thought Robert would not much like; at the same time, he pointed out to the boy that it would be his duty