The Sleigh Ride.

Mary Lee returned to her father's house after

a two years' stay with her uncle Kent. The

little children were quite overjoyed. Alice

played with her long curls; Charley said "a

queen could not help him in his arithmetic as

well as Mary did." And Robert was glad he

had somebody to wait upon. For the first week

or so Mary was regarded something in the light

of a visitor.

By and by she began to take her appropriate

place in the family circle, and bear the burden

of family duty. Then the rose-tints, which 

invested Mary, as they do every one whom we

view through the medium of our own joyful

feelings alone, began to fade away, and her 

parents were enabled to see the real lights and

shades of her character. They rejoiced to behold

much which was truly excellent and lovely

in her principles and her practice. One defect

soon appeared, which threatened some 


Mary was secretly dissatisfied with

her home. Small it certainly was compared

with her uncle's, and she yearned for the elegant

and expensive furniture, for the costly 

decorations and thousand luxuries which she

 had been accustomed to see and to enjoy there.

 The small air-tight stove was too black and 

cheerless; the old flag-bottomed chairs were

 very unfashionable; her chamber was not 

carpeted, and she complained that the floor 

was cold.

One day, when Mary had been moaning over

her unfashionable cloak, pretty and becoming as

it was, her father returned home in the forenoon,

and asked her to ride with him. She gladly

accepted the proposal, although she did not

know as "her hood was fit to wear," especially

as her father suggested he might make a call


It was a beautiful January day. The fields

lay covered with pure, untrodden snow. The

twigs and boughs reflected a sparkling radiance

from their frosty crust. The air seemed filled

with a thousand brilliants, and the deep cold

stillness of the country was only broken by the

dropping icicle or the distant sleigh-bell. Mary

was much exhilerated, both by the magnificence

of the snow scene and her father's pleasant


They rode long upon the beaten

path, when he attempted to force his way into a

cross and almost untrodden track. They

emerged from a snow-bank here only to plunge

into another there.

"O, father, where are we going?" exclaimed


"To call at a friend's house," answered her

father, and, as they rode on, Mary discovered a

roof and a chimney on a slope not very far off.

"Why, father, is it a hut you're going to?"

The strong horse found some difficulty in making

his way from the main path to the house.

They reached the door. The steps were


The snow had been soiled by no

human step, and no signs of active life were

 visible since the storm. "I'm sure nobody lives

here," said Mary, as her father jumped out of the

sleigh, and, making a path with his feet, lifted 

the latch of the door. He entered and 

disappeared for a few minutes. "Is this the call 

father meant to make!" thought Mary, surveying

 the building. The next moment he was by her

side. " Come, Mary, let me take you in my

arms, child, and carry you in; the snow is pretty


"How funny, father," said Mary, laughing to

find herself in her father's arms, which she had

long since relinquished to the younger children.

What a scene did Mary behold! Two children

 were crouched beside a few sticks of green

wood, which they were in vain attempting to

kindle; their blue legs and purple arms boasted

not even as scanty a covering as their body,

with its thin calico. A few potato parings lay

upon the hearth, which one seemed greedily

chewing. "What a privilege to be a Christian?”

and Mary, turning suddenly, beheld the

skinny arm of a woman extended from a low

bed. "Oh, Mr. Lee, I knew God would not

forsake us." Tears glistened in her gray, sunken

eye, and even the white hairs which were

scattered on the forehead, as Mary afterwards

declared, seemed like a halo around that dry,

withered face, golden with the emotions of a

thankful heart.

"This severe cold has set in so suddenly, we

feared you might be in want, and have come to

help you," said Mr. Lee, kindly taking the sick

woman's hand; "you have been ill again, I am

afraid. This is my Mary, Mrs. Jones," and he

drew Mary towards the bed.

 “God bless you, my dear; God bless you, for leaving your warm home to come and see an old one like me,” said the woman in a broken voice; “and are you going to be like your father, finding out the sick and relieving the poor? Oh, Miss Mary, it’s your father that denies himself for his Master’s cause. It is not he that spends his money gewgawing [on ornaments]; nobody that’s suffering comes to him without finding help some way; it’s I that know that, indeed;” and her voice choked, and her eyes blinded, and she covered her face as if in silent prayer. Meanwhile Mr. Lee was aiding the children’s efforts about the fire. “We’ve got in four potatoes there, sir,” said one, “and they ain’t warm yet.” As in disappointment he thrust his fingers into the cold ashes. “Oh, sir, don’t you think they will roast to-day?” turning his peaked, disquieted face as he made the anxious inquiry. “If you do not have potatoes, you shall have something, my child,” said Mr. Lee, patting the boy on the head. “Shall we? Oh!” he exclaimed earnestly. 


The good man then went out to the sleigh and bore in a basket filled with objects for immediate comfort. “The Lord be praised!” ejaculated the aged Christian: “that’s he, that’s deacon Lee!” “Grandmother, you prayed, and you told us to pray, for God only could help us, and you always said He would,” exclaimed the children, running from the bed to the basket, and the basket to the bed, in grateful ecstasy.


Mary looked on in tearful silence. It was a scene she was not soon to forget. To her full heart her father seemed like an angel, ministering indeed to the heirs of salvation. “What a privilege it was to bless that suffering family,” said Mary, with deep emotion, as they rode over the ice-bound bridge at the foot of the hill. 

Mary, I have been enabled to do this. Our

home has all the necessaries of life. Now, Mary,

you have grown up, and have a voice in the

family arrangements. Do you choose that we

shall buy costly furniture, splendid decorations

for our house, or shall we use our earnings as

God has prospered us, in relieving the 

distressed, seeking out the suffering, and aiding

 the great plans of doing good which are 

everywhere to advance our Redeemer's cause?"

Let me be like you, father!" exclaimed

Mary, stricken to the heart, when she 

remembered how much pain she must have

 caused him.

"Deny yourself, and thus imitate the example

of your Redeemer, my Mary," said the

father, with deep solemnity.

From that day Mary rejoiced in her home,

and was often found in many humbler homes,

bearing the blessed fruits of Christian charity

and love. 

Child's Paper.