Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 129.djvu/667

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JANET MASON'S TROUBLES.

olate and broken-hearted to the home of her youth. Still more sad when we remember that she was still removed by twenty-six weary years from her rest. She found everything changed. She had been removed from the old familiar paths, and the authoress of the memoir truly applies to her words borrowed from one of Miss Edgeworth's sisters, "You don't know the blank of life after having lived within the radiance of genius."

Caroline Herschel died at Hanover in 1848, at the age of ninety-eight. Her death-bed was attended by the daughter of the Madame Beckedorff, whose acquaintance she had made at the house of the Hanover milliner eighty years before.

One of her nieces, writing to Sir John Herschel an account of her aunt's death, said of her, with true appreciation of her character, "I but too well know that even in England she must have felt the same blank. She looked upon progress in science as so much detraction of her brother's fame, and even your investigations would have been a source of estrangement if she had been with you." A curious illustration of the truth of this remark is found in one of her latest letters.[1] "They talk of nothing in the clubs here but of the great mirror (Lord Rosse's telescope), and the great man who made it; but I have but one answer for all, which is, der Kerl ist ein Narr—the man's a fool."

Her coffin was covered with garlands of laurel and cypress, and palm-branches sent from Herrenhausen, and the service was read over it in the same garrison church in which nearly a century before she had been christened. A lock of her brother's hair, and an old almanac which had been used by her father, were, at her own desire, buried with her.

 

 

From The Sunday Magazine.

JANET MASON'S TROUBLES.

A STORY OF TOWN AND COUNTRY.

chapter i.

"Janet!" said the curate.

It was just half past twelve o'clock, and Janet was coming running in from the garden. The sun was shining, and the cottage-door was standing open, and such a sweet scent of roses and mignonette was coming in from the little porch.

"Oh, papa," cried Janet, full of excitement, "I've been to look at the strawberry-bed, and there are strawberries—at at least there is one strawberry—quite ripe."

"Is there really a strawberry quite ripe? Then, by all means," said the curate, "let us go and eat it."

So they went into the garden hand in hand. It was not a very large garden, and they had not far to go. They only had to cross a little lawn, and then to walk for a few steps along a straight path where roses grew, and then they came to the bed of strawberries, and Janet in a moment pounced down (for, having examined the ground already, she knew the exact spot in which it lay) and secured her prize. And really it was a strawberry worth gathering; a great strawberry, as big as a large horse-chestnut, with such a colour in its cheeks.

"Oh, papa! isn't it lovely?" cried Janet admiringly. "It's so lovely that it seems almost a pity to eat it; doesn't it?"

"Well, I don't know about that. I think I should like to eat it," said Mr. Mason. "You see we couldn't keep it."

"Oh, no,—not for good."

"And we shall have a great many more presently."

"Yes."

And so then Janet gave a last look to the pretty ripe fruit, and held it up to her father's lips, and her father took a bite of it, and the other bite went into Janet's own mouth.

There are some little things that we remember so well when we grow older. All her life afterwards Janet remembered this day, and how she had stood by her father's side while they ate their strawberry together. She forgot a hundred other things, but she never forgot that. It was a June day when she was seven years old.

She was a very happy little girl, though she had no mother, nor any brothers, or sisters, or playfellows. She and her father lived all alone in this sunny little cottage that was so pretty in summer (it was rather cold in winter, and the rain in wet weather came a good deal through the roof; but then Janet did not notice that), and she was her father's little friend and companion. She went with him whenever he went out to walk; she sat with him by the fireside, and they talked together and played together, and were sometimes very wise and sometimes very foolish, and nearly always very happy. Her mother had died so long ago that she did not

  1. To Sir John Herschel, June, 1844.