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glad tidings as gradually and playfully as possible, although happily Mrs. Philipson was now almost as strong as ever.
After that, there were many directions to give for Sir Mark's reception, seeing that the management of his mother's house had gradually passed very much into her hands. Then she assisted Mrs. Philipson as carefully, and read to her as steadily, as usual ; then she went to the rooms prepared for her husband, and made various little alterations in their arrangement. By watching and noting all his tastes and fancies she had peculiar skill in suggesting what he would like-a skill diligently concealed from his knowledge.
The hour when he might come was approaching ere she at last sat down alone, and tried to steady herself for his reception. •
Prepare my mother.' Poor Sir Mark had no notion that any emotion would be stirred in the breast of his impassible wife. He could not guess how her colour came and went, or with what extreme difficulty she suppressed outward tokens of the inward storm. It seemed to her as if a lifetime had been crowded into the weeks which had elapsed since they parted. She had learned to love and be
beloved by his mother, to know her own weakness and need of a wisdom and a guidance mightier than man could give; she had learned to understand her husband himself better than if she had spent ten years with him in the chilling estrangement which had become habitual. She had always respected him above every one, but there was
more than respect now in the absorbing interest with which he was regarded. She felt keenly how one departure from truth and rectitude involves us often in a labyrinth of error—entails upon us an apparent necessity for further deceit—and throws doubt upon every future action, however sincere.
Could she go forward now and meet her husband as inclination prompted, warmly and frankly? It seemed impossible, even with the strong recollection of his parting look. And even
now the sound of his arrival struck upon her ear-before the time. Starting up, her progress was stayed by giddiness, which compelled her to cling for support to the nearest object. He was with his mother before she could find strength to reach her room—the meeting was constrained, as meetings in the presence of a third person are cer
tain to be where emotion on both sides is deep and strong-Sir Mark was chilled by her tardy greeting, and his disappointment reacted upon her. Poor Mrs. Philipson's heart died within her, as she saw the cloud of estrangement between them. Both faces were now too well known and beloved, not to be easily read. In the charm of her new affection for Eve, in the discovery of so much in her character which was true and tender, the mother had indulged in hope that matters were altered for the better in her son's home; but the facts of the case stood now plainly before her in the changing colour, trembling voice, and timid eyes of the wife-in the absence of all those earnest inquiries after home details, which show that that home is dear in the lack of that eager outpouring of trifles which tells that we are secure of sympathy in the listener. Mrs. Philipson turned to her son, and soon began to descry that, even beyond any present sensations of disappointment, care sat heavy on his heart. She had not seen him for months, and could the better appreciate the change, which was unheeded by Eve, pre-occupied as she was, and almost afraid to look up. The hours lagged slowly by. They made great feint of delight in exhibiting some out-door improvements; but the hollowness of the gaiety was unmistaken. Secretly both mother and wife longed to know the duration of his visit, but dreaded to ask lest they should be told that it would be brief.
The pleasantest moment was when Eve was away for a short time, and Sir Mark, laying down his weary head upon the cushion of Mrs. Philipson's arm-chair, seemed glad for an instant to have no need of effort. His mother looked tenderly at the closed eyes and worn features pillowed beside her. Memories of childish days were with both, when that head was crowned with the glory of youth and hope, when only the weariness which follows pleasure bent it down to that familiar resting-place. Silver streaks shone now upon his dark hair, and lines were furrowed on the forehead and around the firm mouth. Mrs. Philipson watched him. She was one of those who had drank too deeply at the fountain of knowledge of God's truth and mercy, ever to pray that sorrow should be averted from those she loved. It matters not,' she thought, 'so it but draw him nearer to his Lord; but earnest and solemn was her supplication that he might be strengthened to
bear it, that the lesson learned might be the lesson intended to be taught, that joy and suffering might be alike sanctified to him.
* This is pleasant, mother," he said at last, with a faint smile. 'I could fancy myself a child again, and free from all these cares. You know I always called you my ‘rest.''
"And I always told you of another and a better rest.'
Yes, which is to come.' 'No, which
one may taste even here, although into its fulness we cannot yet enter. Come unto me, and I will give you rest,' must have referred to some present fulfilment of the promise, although the perfect fruition is not yet.' After a time she spoke again softly.
And what are these cares, my son ?' How thankful he was that her heart was with treasures laid up in Heaven, and that he need not fear to tell her how doubtful was his hold upon those which had fallen to his lot on earth. He was not one to make partial confidences, and so in a few minutes she knew all his past anxieties and future perils. She heard him with very great surprise and concern. Pecuniary annoyances had for years