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Lives of Good Servants.


"I am going to a London place,” says a young girl cheerfully to her friend, as they walk home together from the village church on Sunday-little thinking, as good old John Shower would say, what a place it may prove. Perhaps it will be a good one, where she will secure her own happiness and the approval of her employers; perhaps she will have sad reason to

"Sigh for the home she left with little pain,

And wish its very troubles back again.” "It is all a lottery !some one will say. No !" it is all in God's hands. “ Duties are ours

- events are God's.

Hannah Brown was quite a young girl when she was transplanted from a little village in Wiltshire into London service. Before she came to town, I have heard her say she, had a remarkable dream of standing under a mulberry-tree with a stately old lady who was her new mistress, and who was giving her bunch of keys into her charge.

"Long after that, ma'am," said Hannah to me, “when your dear grandmamma went from home and left me in charge of everything in her absence, I remembered that dream ! You know she had a beautiful mulberry-tree in her garden.”


Full well I knew it, and many a feast have I had on its fruit. I do not think Hannah would have told a falsehood on any account, and therefore I suppose

she really had this dream at a time when her young head was full of her new place. Dreams, we know, were in ancient times often made use of by the Almighty to communicate His will to His people. Thus it was with the patriarch Joseph, * who, when a boy, had some intimation given him of his future greatness, by dreaming that the sun, moon, and stars made obeisance to him. I have even known instances of great comfort being given to people in distress by dreams that seemed too sweet and solemn to be anything but heavenly. But such dreams are very rare, and it is exceedingly foolish for people to get into the habit of pondering over their ordinary dreams, which are but so much nonsense, and are very properly laughed at. The less they say about them the better; for we may be pretty sure a silly young girl will dream of a handsome husband, and a greedy old man of a pot of gold.

Hannah was not exactly pretty, but she was an extremely nice-looking girl, with beautiful hair, teeth, and eyes, and a graceful, elegant figure. She must have been well brought up at home, for she seems to have always had a strong sense of doing her duty, "not with eye-service, but fearing the Lord.” She was more than honest, she was honourable; she did not think it enough to refrain from wrong in her mistress's sight, she shrank from sin as something hateful in itself, feeling “How shall I do this great wickedness and sin against God?Therefore, when a young gentleman who was frequently at the house began to admire her, and pay her more attention than she as a modest young woman, felt it right to receive, she did not, as some unsteady girls would have done, think, “Oh! perhaps he will marry me, and make a lady of me;" nor did she even content herself with keeping out of his way and behaving in a grave, distant manner when they met. She felt and found this was not enough. What should she do? She had no mother at hand to consult: she shrank from telling the matter to any one else; so she resolved to leave her place as speedily as possible, and go to some distance where she could not be followed. My mother, who lived some miles off, was willing to receive her, though not in want of an additional servant; therefore to our house Hannah thankfully came, to remain till she could find a suitable place.

* Genesis xxxvii. 9.

Hannah was a first-rate parlour maid and a capital dressmaker. My mother was confined while she was with us; and, on her recovery, when she went to her linen closet and wardrobe, of which Hannah had taken charge, she found everything in the most perfect order, and a dress which had come home from the dyer's beautifully made up and laid out in a drawer.

Hannah only remained under my mother's protection till she obtained a situation in a high family as young ladies' maid. Here she continued till the young ladies grew up and married, for she was not one of those who are fond of change. When the last young lady married, Hannah resolved not to take another place, but to commence business as dressmaker and milliner, in which capacity she again became connected with us. Her former young mistresses gave her their patronage, and excellent introductions. She had made such good use of her opportunities that she was first-rate in her line of business; and she gave such general satisfaction to her customers that she soon established a good connection, which gradually extended to a very large


On our return from a lengthened stay in the country, she told us she had married in the mean while, and that her husband was a very amiable though not an energetic man. “He is very kind to me,” said she, “and we

are very happy together; but as for the business, it is a good thing that it is in my hands, not his, for he has no energy.

As she had energy enough, she worked for both, and became more and more prosperous. She had many young women in her employ, whom I have little doubt she kept as industriously to their needles as the virtuous woman described by King Solomon, who

rose while it was yet dark, and gave a portion to her maidens;" but though doubtless a strict mistress, I cannot fancy her to have been an unkind one.

One day, when she was taking our patterns, a young woman was sitting by, working at her needle, who presently arose and left the room. “ Dear me !” exclaimed Hannah,“ how slowly that girl works! If she were under me I would make her pull out her needle a good deal faster; for I never knew a young person do any good who was so slow at her needle."

She wanted to inspire her, as well as every one about her, with something of her own energy; and, truly, it was that energy which had enabled her to take a capital house in the most fashionable part of London, carry on a thriving business in it, educate her children well and establish them prosperously in life, and pay an annual spring visit to Paris to bring home the new fashions, and take hints of fashions of her own putting forth from old pictures. I believe the Louvre and Hampton Court supplied her with many a sleeve.

The last time I saw her, her hair was quite grey, but she wore it in the style of the Empress Eugénie, and was still erect and well dressed. She talked with me pleasantly, as friends on an equality talk with one another; spoke of former times, of persons whom we both remembered, and of things concerning them that had happened when I was too young to know anything about them. She spoke seriously, and like a thoughtful religious woman, of the various events of her life and the lives of others; she had seen, during the course of years, many rise to prosperity from small beginnings, and others that had flourished like green bay-trees, wither away like the grass. She said there was so little need now for her making any more money, her husband being dead, her children established in life, and herself well provided for, that she had a great mind to give up her business to two of her “young ladies," and retire into the country, somewhere near us.

She did retire, but not into the country. I saw her death very briefly and unostentatiously put into the Times, a few months ago, as having occurred in one of the old respectable squares in the neighbourhood of the British Museum. So closed the career of this young girl from the country, whose chief friends were her own integrity and energy!

“Life is real! life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal !
• Dust thou art, to dust returnest,'
Was not spoken of the soul."

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