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ing a Sunday-school.
O how sweetly she would talk to Ashbel about Jesus the Saviour. These things were sometimes annoying to her parents, but they were so very indulgent anything Kitty might do would be borne with.
She soon began to speak much of her Sunday-school teacher, repeating to her brother Ashbel the lessons she had been taught by her. Finally Kitty began to complain that she had tried to get her teacher to accompany her home to dinner so many times, but had always failed.
"And why will she not come ?" the mother asked one day.
"Why, she says you will not want her company, and that she would be an intruder at our house."
Acton cared little who this teacher might be, but when Kitty's importunity could not be hushed in any other way, her mother sent an invitation to the teacher to accompany Kitty home.
The Winslows were looking for some uncouth country lass, whose pious zeal was all that gave her a teacher's place, but were resolved, for Kitty's sake, to treat her as though she were a queen.
In due time she came. Kitty went bounding up the steps exclaiming, as she flew, "This is my teacher ;" and that was the child's way of giving an introduction. They were soon all in a pleasant conversation. The teacher was a farmer's daughter of the neighborhood, but was fit for any city palor whatever. There was an intelligent, pious modesty in her whole demeanor that won her way at once to their affections. She being connected with the Sabbath-school, they supposed church matters would most interest her, and ignoring entirely their infidelism, they talked of many things connected with the little Rockville church and its influences. They had obtained their ideas of the class of preachers that officiated there from caricatures, and were a little surprised at the descriptions Miss Alger gave of her pastor. Her conversation excited a curiosity in their minds to go down to Rockville and see how country people worshiped. They talked of the matter through the week, and wondered they had never thought of such a thing before.
Sabbath morning came; with much trepidation Ashbel and Acton entered the homely chapel. It was a new world to them. The singing was none of the best,
but when the whole company present rolled out the symphonies of old Coronation, then just in its popularity, from hearts that felt the power of song, their hearts were charmed; and when the preacher kneeled to pray, and the congregation mingled heart responses with the prayer, it seemed as though the very breath of heaven swept gently over the place. The sermon was delivered in an eloquent manner; no high-flown phrases, no gingerly touches, but words from the very heart of the man. Everything finical which heretofore, even in Maffit, they had been accustomed to, was absent, and truth itself seemed to be the dictator of the Sabbath services. It must be that the great Head of the Church presided there that day.
Through the week very few words passed between Ashbel and his wife concerning the meeting; but when the next Sabbath came round, as by one consent they began to prepare for church. All things continued as interesting as ever. It is one thing to build houses to attract upper-tendom, but another thing to give them the pure gospel when they are there.
After attending the chapel five or six Sabbaths Ashbel, on a Sabbath afternoon, took Acton into the library room, and there they sat in silence for some time. At last he said:
"Acton, these meetings have made quite a change in me; I am almost, as the text to-day had it, persuaded to be a Christian. Mr. Prindle in his preaching offers what something seems to tell me is the truth; and if what he preaches is true, as I am half persuaded it is, then we ought to be leading better lives."
Such had been Acton's feelings, but the ever-present tempter aroused her to evil, and she rallied Ashbel.
"What," said she, "will our Broadway friends say of us if we turn Christians?"
"Who cares for Broadway? it is time we were leaving the 'broad way,'" said Ashbel, still giving vent to a cultivated punning way.
The tears started in Acton's eyes; she covered her face and leaned on Ashbel's knee.
"I wonder if we can pray?" asked Ashbel, as he kneeled down with Acton by his side, and there with struggling emotions they wept and prayed together. It was the first time in a life of over thirty years they had ever kneeled seriously be
fore God! They never had one thought of their doubts as skepticisms; these were vanished as morning mists, and a ray from heaven shone into their hearts, revealing the dark wilderness of gloom that beset them.
labór, two travelers, a Hindoo and his
PADMAVATI-A STORY OF THE COAST nevertheless was, being a grenadier in
HE West are of
The two travelers were still a dozen
Tour Points of threating the melancholy leagues from Madras. "Day had surprised
They soon sought the acquaintance of Mr. Prindle, who invited them to evening meetings, and soon they were made partakers, with the children of God, of the joys of sins pardoned. The cottage at Glendale became a little Bethel, and no one enjoyed the morning and evening songs and prayers of worship more than their daughter Kitty, who, in the Lord's hands, had brought them into the knowledge of such heavenly blessings.
Padmavati," said the Sepoy to his wife," you are tired of carrying the child; give him to me."
"O no," replied Padmavati, who had
beauty of autumnal evenings in our tem-
"Give him to me," replied the Sepoy;
"Well, take him, but on condition that you give him back to me when we reach the first houses. What would the women say if they saw me walking beside you, with my arms hanging down and my hand empty?" The young mother kissed her child, and presented him to the Sepoy.
"The boy does not weigh more than a
On one of these mornings, so beautiful for the contemplative man, but assuredly very fatiguing for him who had to
them on a shore where an arm of the sea
musket," remarked the latter, holding him at arm's length. "Now, little one, do not be frightened, one, two, three, and jump on to my shoulder."
Startled by the rapid motion, the child grasped its father's hair with his little hands, pulled his moustache, and pinched his ears. Patient and good-tempered, the soldier made no complaint.
“He hurts you?" said Padmavati. "No, no," replied the Sepoy. "He has a strong hand, the little man. He will be a famous soldier when he grows up!"
And Padmavati smiled. They walked on for two hours under a sun of fire; when they drew near the village the young mother reclaimed the burden. They could not resist the desire to sit down at the side of the road, under the first trees they reached; overcome with lassitude, they longed to take breath. Around them reigned the deepest silence. Who dared to work in the fields during so suffocating a season? A few hundred paces from them five or six cabins were built, miserable huts formed of ragged mats, around which gamboled and rolled in the dust some dirty children, with no more clothing than the dark color of their skin. Lean dogs, grey spotted with black, roamed around this camp. In the huts, so low that it would have been difficult to stand upright in them, men and women sat cross-legged, busily weaving baskets. Hung in the sun at the entrance were the remains of animals lately skinned, which might be recognized as the carcases of cats, dogs, and musk-rats. Scarcely had the two travelers taken their seats under the palm-trees, when an old hag gliding through the bushes approached, and leaning over Padmavati :
"You are a happy mother," said she to her; "the gods have given you a fine baby; give me a païca, and may you have a good journey."
ple without faith, without a home, who live by robbery and eat unclean food. Horrid Kouravars! their touch would soil even a Pariah."
"He is not yet eighteen months," replied the mother, with pride; "is he not fine for his age?"
"Let us go," interrupted the Sepoy, with impatience, pushing his wife before him. "Don't you see that this woman is of the tribe of the Kouravars? They are vagabonds, who belong to no caste; peoVOL. XII.-11
"She did not touch me," replied Padmavati, quickly, "nor the little one either."
"It is the same thing; who knows but she was trying to cast a spell over the child?" said the Sepoy, anxiously. "Such people have so many ways of doing mischief!" Saying which they set off again, followed at a distance by the old woman, who seemed to threaten them with her skinny arms; her gray hair hanging in disorder over her wrinkled shoulders, age and misery gave her a dreadful aspect. She was a worthy representative of the wretched race to which she belonged, the gipsies of India, whom the police condemn to pitch their tents in the open country, at a respectful distance from the villages. The Kouravars lead an independent life, but they always vegetate in the deepest misery. Jugglers, acrobats, peddlers, beggars, charlatans, and venders of drugs, they make themselves feared, but never loved; no matter to them, they take their revenge for the contempt and disgust they receive, by doing as much evil as they
"Come," said the Sepoy, in a low voice, rice was cooking in a hut he met with to his wife," let us go.' some old comrades, whom he had not seen
"Your little one must be two years old," for a long time, and who were on their said the old woman softly. way as pilgrims to the Pagoda of Chilambaram; so his wife, weary of waiting, yielded to fatigue, and spreading a handkerchief over the baby's face, leaned against one of the trunks of the banyan, and fell into a deep slumber; then the old woman, who had been hovering about, advanced with stealthy steps, and taking up the unconscious child in her arms,
In India hotels are unknown; every traveler too poor to take his servants must purchase in the bazaar the provisions he needs. Having reached the village, the Sepoy went from stall to stall, filling his handkerchief with fruits, vegetables, pepper, and rice, which form the basis of an Indian curry. Padmavati had seated herself under a large banyan tree, which covered the center of the village like a huge parasol; having given her child some milk, she made a little bed of green leaves, and laid it upon them, hanging over it with solicitude, fanning away the flies, and admiring it with all her heart. The Sepoy was absent a long time; while his
slipped it into one of her baskets, and with a rapid movement put another in its place. Having executed this maneuver with as much precision as dexterity, the old woman glided furtively under the vaults of foliage, which protected her by their shadow, and disappeared. Half an hour after the Kouravars encamped near the village had struck their camps, and were off into the interior, driving before them the lean beasts which carried their household goods, their panniers, and the Sepoy's child.
When the Sepoy rejoined his wife, he touched her softly on the shoulder to rouse her: "Here," said he cheerfully, "here is something to make a good meal! Let us first drink the milk of this cocoanut; I am dying of thirst. . . And the baby?"
He is sleeping," replied Padmavati. "Do not touch him; he will cry."
When their meal was ended the young mother raised the handkerchief which covered the child's face, and uttered an exclamation of surprise; the child was writhing in terrible convulsions. "The morning sun had made him ill," said she at last; “I should not have known him."
"Wife," said the Sepoy, "that old woman has been past; she has cast a spell over the child. Let me turn to the camp of the Kouravars; I will bring her back by force, and make her cure the malady that she has given him."
He was not long in discovering that the tribe had decamped. To leave his wife and pursue the vagabonds was not possible; he returned agitated by a thousand contradictory ideas.
"They are gone, Padmavati," he cried; "it is a proof they have committed some bad action; we were too happy; the gods are jealous. For six months past I have been asking leave of my captain to visit my old mother, and introduce her to my wife and the loveliest baby; and now what a hideous specter! O! the old sorceress! What was she doing, dogging our steps?"
was rocking it, she mechanically turned in her fingers the necklace of red seeds which was round its neck. All at once she started with fear; a terrible suspicion crossed her mind; the necklace had not the right number of seeds; this child was not her own! How could she tell her husband the terrible secret, when it was her duty to have watched over her child instead of yielding to fatigue? She began to hate the unknown child; the secret preyed upon her, and added to her reThe Sepoy, perceiving her deep sorrow, strove to console her; but his kindness only redoubled her torments.
The entrance into their mother's cabin was neither joyous nor triumphal as they had hoped. During the night the baby disturbed the slumbers of the whole household. In the morning the grandmother | took it, and tried to make it sleep; then returned it to Padmavati, saying, "Keep your little one; I can do nothing with it. He is born under an evil star, and you will have much difficulty in bringing him up. He is not like his father, who was always laughing and in a good temper."
At those words Padmavati went into the garden to weep; her mother's pride was humbled. Having always before her eyes the wicked woman who had robbed her of the choicest treasure, she fell into a kind of sickly languor; and the Sepoy, seeing his wife's charms fade away, no longer felt the same affection for her. Twenty days thus passed, during which there was not for these three beings, so closely united to each other, either happiness or consolation.
One evening, when they were in the garden, a tall, bold-looking man stood in the narrow gate, whistling in imitation of a bird.
"Allah be with you!" said the stranger; will you like to see some legerdemain ; tricks of sleight of hand? I am a juggler; I swallow swords; I make away with balls as large as my head. I can charm serpents, and make dolls speak; I walk, with naked feet, over sharp blades. I am a domben, a domben!" (juggler.)
"We are poor people,” replied the Sepoy's mother; 66 pass on your way, dom
"Poor people have kind hearts," replied the juggler. "I have made nothing today; give me a little rice.”
He took out a dozen balls of copper, and
threw them round his head, while they sparkled in the sun, and formed round his brow a luminous circle. The Sepoy watched him with a kind of childish pleasure, and Padmavati approached him timidly, and said to him, with hesitation :
Domben, do you know the art of healing?"
"The art of healing?" replied the charlatan; "why it is my business. know all incantations, evocations, the secrets of magic, how to guard against the evil-eye-and, for a trifle, I am at your service!"
"That will depend on the care you take of the child; he is born under an evil star."
"Your husband believes that it is his child, does he not?"
"What are you saying?" cried Padmavati.
"Here," said the young wife, giving him some money; "tell me if there is any mode of curing this little one?" showing him the sick child.
"Not so loud, or they will hear you. I tell you your husband thinks himself the father of this child, and you know he is deceived. Neither are you his mother!"
The domben uttered some consecrated words; then taking a suppliant attitude, addressed a long prayer to the gods. The poor little creature on whom the juggler operated did not betray any visible improvement.
"It is true; it is true!" interrupted the young woman, excitedly; "they have stolen mine! Where is he? What have they done with him? My enemy leads the wandering life of the Kouravars. Where can I find her, to throw at her feet the odious little being she has slipped "Will the illness be long?" asked Pad- into my arms, and take from her the treasmavati. ure she has robbed me of?"
"At any rate, they have thrown a spell over it, which will render the cure more difficult," added the domben.
"Well, well," said the juggler, "I have at the bottom of my bag all that is wanted. You see this bit of clay. It is formed of
"That is what I say every day!" cried particles of earth, picked up in all unclean the grandmother. places; rats' skins, human bones, the horns of the bullocks, in morsels, are kneaded with it; the formulas of incantation have been said, and it will suffice to
While speaking, the domben had been watching Padmavati secretly. Without being a sorcerer, (as he professed,) he had enough tact and discernment to read the thoughts of those who consulted him. The accent of resignation and grief with which Padmavati had questioned him awakened his curiosity. He thought she had some concealed secret; and as he was picking off his balls he turned to her, and, in a low voice, said:
"Do your Frank physicians cure in the name of the gods, or in that of evil spirits ?" asked the juggler, with some irony. "They never pronounce magic formulas over the sick. What is their science worth? Besides, the health of this child does not interest you much!"
Padmavati cast her eyes down. The man continued:
"That I believe; in fact, I am certain mold it in the form of your enemy to make of it," interrupted the Sepoy. her suffer all the evils you like to inflict upon her."
"I do not care about revenge, if I can only find her!" interrupted Padmavati.
"Stop, then. Now that the little statue is finished," and it really had a human form, "here is a thorn; bury it in the leg of the statuette, and your enemy will become lame. As she then cannot run so quickly, you will catch her more easily; and when she passes before you there will be no difficulty in recognizing her."
Padmavati eagerly seized the image, and, throwing some money to the juggler, retired with precipitation. The domben went on his way, saying, with a low voice:
"Have you nothing to ask me? I will wait for you behind the garden, beside the well."
Padmavati dared not reply; but when he was gone she made a pretext of watering the flowers, and went to the spot indicated. The domber was waiting.
"The child is very ill," said she. "Do you not think so? When we return to Pondicherry, I will consult the surgeon of the regiment."
"She might as well try to follow a swallow through the air as seek a Kouravar on the Coromandel coast; but I should not wonder if the old hag who stole the child be lamed by the bite of a dog, on some nocturnal expedition or other!"