Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Mrs. De Van was indeed the helpmate of her husband. Her amiable character rendered her the favorite of the neighborhood. She often, in administering to the wants of others, found that it was more blessed to give than receive; their house was the house of prayer,-morning and evening the old family Bible lay open upon the stand. This volume was not only sacred to Mr. De Van as the word of God, but because it was a precious gift from his venerable father. As he knelt with his wife and children around the family altar, with bowed head, in low and solemn tones he prayed to Almighty God for strength and wisdom, to train up his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Year after year passed on, and the sacred fire on that family altar burned bright and clear.

They met from Sabbath to Sabbath, and mingled their unostentatious devotions with those whose delight it is to bring unto God the acceptable offering of a broken and contrite heart. These humble villagers worshipped not God by proxy, they sang with solemn melody

"My soul shall pray for Zion still,
While life and breath remains ;
There my best friends and kindred dwell,
There God my Saviour reigns.”

The villagers of Roselle, by their united efforts, had erected a neat and commodious sanctuary in a sequestered part of their village, though for several years they were obliged to use this as a school-room. The ample play-grounds and the neighboring grove in the rear, made it not an unfit place for the development of the intellect. A long range of the Green Mountains were in full view, and lofty hills on either hand could be seen

covered by the grazing flocks of the surrounding farmers. Mr. and Mrs. De Van were prompt to defray their portion of the expenses of church and school, for they had now two children who must be educated either at home or abroad. As much pains was usually taken in the selection of teachers, they resolved to educate them at home. Affie and Amelia were the names of their two elder daughters ; Affie being two years the senior.

The foundation for correct principles was early laid by their virtuous mother; and her health being poor, she had not failed to initiate her daughters into the art of housekeeping. At the age of ten they were further advanced in this necessary part of female education than the most of

ladies are at the present day at twenty. The large bunches of fine linen yarn that hung upon the walls and after

young

wards made into linen, or the high case of drawers filled with bedding of the same material bleached to the whiteness of snow-these were sufficient proof that Mrs. D. and her daughters were of that class of whom the wise man hath said, “She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.” Mrs. De Van taught her daughters that industry was an ancient accomplishment, while Mr. De Van read to them the custom of the eastern nobility, as follows:

“ It was the pride of Augustus Cæsar, that his imperial robes, his fringed tunic, and costly quilts, were wrought in his household, by the hands of his wife, his sister, his daughter, and his grand-daughter. So, too, Alexander the Great, when advising the mother of Darius to teach her nieces to imitate the Grecian ladies in spinning wool,showed her the garments

which he wore, and told her they were made by his sisters. The virtuous Lucretia worked with her maidens at the spinning wheel; and Tanaquil, the wife of Tarquin, wrought woollen robes so well, that long after her death her spinning implements, together with a robe of her manufacture, were hung up in the temple of Fortune,-a constant monument of her taste and skill, and for the instruction of Roman maids and matrons, that they, too, should lay their hands to the spindle, and their hands should hold the distaff.”

Allie, with a heart as pure as the mountain air she breathed, often danced her distaff, while the silver thread glided through her slender fingers, rolling like magic on the polished spool, which she, with grace unsurpassed, kept in motion with her tiny feet. Affie playfully inter

« AnteriorContinua »