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How well and justly was all this appreciated by the good and charming Cowper:
"Respect, as is but rational and just,
"Ah! Envy, how I love thee, never!
Let us wake the spiteful jest
'Tis to mar another's rest!
When they let our shafts alone,
Mulice and Envy, Poetic Dialogue. - PERRIN.
The author's task now draws to its conclusion; and, from what we fear will have been deemed by many as but the dry and unromantic scenes of a schoolmaster's usually monotonous life, we will turn to others, of a somewhat varied and more exciting character, at once preluding the little denouement of our story, and leading to an unexpected change in the apparent destiny of its hero, which called him from his present limited field of laudable exertion, to one where the same noble objects could be pursued with more extended usefulness.
One evening, while the situation of affairs remained as we last described them, Amsden walked out, after supper, for the purpose of visiting a sick pupil, the daughter of very poor but worthy parents, living in a wretched abode, near the outskirts of the village. On entering the house, he was no less gratified than surprised to find his fair favorite, Mary Maverick, standing by the pillow of the invalid, soothingly ministering to her necessities and comforts. A slight tinge of color overspread her sweetly eloquent countenance, as, invit
ing him to a seat near the sick-bed, she expressed her happi. ness at seeing him so mindful of the situation of their suffering friend. We said a slight tinge of color - it was 80; but not the blush of shame at being found in a hovel, to which, unknown to the proud and fashionable family of which she was a member, she had come to bring some little delicacies of her own preparing for the sick girl. On rising to depart, she proffered still further assistance to the girl's mother, and requested to be sent for when she should be needed as a watcher or otherwise. After witnessing the broken but heartfelt outpourings of gratitude of the poor. woman to her kind benefactress, Locke offered to attend the latter to her home; and, the offer being accepted, the couple left the humble abode, and were soon at the door of the princely, mansion of the Carters. When Mary left home, Mrs. Carter and her two eldest daughters had gone out with the expectation of spending the evening; and for that reason, probably, she urged her attendant to go in, in a manner which, contrary to his previous determination, he was unable to resist; and he was accordingly ushered into the usual sitting room of the family, where, to the surprise of Miss Maverick, they not only found the supposed absentees, but their self-styled professor, who had found the latter abroad, and, as usual, gallanted them home. Although Mary felt painfully conscious that the circumstances were inauspicious for her friend's introduction to the family, she yet had the firmness to perform her part in the ceremony with composure and dignity. The professor, with a sneering air of mock politeness, bowed very low to our hero, on the announcement of his pame.
Mrs. Carter returned his salute with a freezing nod; and her daughters just moved their lips, exchanging with each other significant glances, as they were severally introduced. Perceiving at once the character of his reception, Amsden felt at a loss to decide for himself whether
silence, speaking, or an abrupt departure, were the course demanded of him; but, in his hesitation, he adopted the former, and sat, as did the rest of the company, some moments, without uttering a word. At this embarrassing juncture, however, Miss Maverick fearlessly came to the rescue, and, with the tact and well-timed effort which a just and discerning woman will alone use on such an occasion, and a generous and discerning man alone appreciate, delicately opened the way for a conversation where all could join, and none offend, unless wilfully. But there was one present, conscious perhaps that he had others about him to support him in the course, who was not disposed to act the part which even ordinary good breeding would have then dictated. From the first, the professor had conceived the deepest aversion to Amsden. He had been secretly nettled that Miss Maverick, whose good-will, but for his interest to pay his court in other quarters, he would have gladly obtained, - that Miss Maverick should leave his school for another which he had so affected to despise. And his animosities, as is often the case with base and contemptible minds, settled on the person who had won, and, in spite of all the pains he had taken to frustrate it, continued to retain his pupil. In addition to this source of dislike, the growing estimation in which his rival's school was held had lately begun to alarm him for the safety of his hitherto undisputed dominion over the wealthy and fashionable part of the village. And he had therefore determined to lose no opportunity to disparage the man who was now before him.
“Well, Miss Maverick, what studies are you pursuing this winter?” asked Tilden, thinking thus to pave the way for his meditated attack on his hated rival.
“My spelling-book, grammar, and arithmetic, sir," replied Mary, playfully, yet with sufficient significance to apprise the
interrogator that she understood the motive which prompted the question.
“Ay!” said the professor, “well, you seem to have been advancing backward quite rapidly, since you left us; you were upon rhetoric and select geometry, I believe.”
“ True, sir,” rejoined the other; “but when I found myself unable to answer questions, not only in some of the first principles of arithmetic, but even in those of orthography and pronunciation, I thought it might perhaps not be amiss for me to advance backwards a little, as you term it."
“O, it is all correct, doubtless," sneeringly remarked the professor. .“ Your instructor, I presume, sees the propriety of taking a young lady from the elegant and refining studies of rhetoric and geometry, and placing her back upon the school-boy drudgery of the spelling-book and common arithmetic."
“ The propriety of this,” replied Amsden, thus insolently challenged to defend his course, “is sufficiently obvious from Miss Maverick's own acknowledgment, that she did not fully understand some of the first principles on which the sciences she had attempted are based. I cannot see how rhetoric, which teaches the art of using language correctly and ecetively, can be studied understandingly till the construction of the language itself is first understood. And it is so with geometry and its correlative and basing study, common arithmetic, which must be first mastered. When pupils have done this, they may, with some hope of profit, enter upon geometry, in which they need not then be limited to a few pretty problems of this interesting branch of science; or they may enter upon rhetoric without being confined for illustrations to the stage-readings of Shakspeare, or the Melodies of Thomas Moore.”
The professor, whose superficial teachings and manner of illustrating were known to Amsden, was touched by this re.