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[1163] look at this dry leaf, and think how green it once was, and how the birds sung to it in its summer day.

But can we think of spring, or summer, or anything joyous or really life-like, when we look at the daughter? —that bloodless effigy of humanity, whose care is to eke out this miserable existence by means of the occasional doles of those who know how faithful and good a child she has been to that decrepit creature; who thinks herself happy if she can be well enough, by hours of patient toil, to perform those menial services which they both require; whose talk is of the price of pounds of sugar, and ounces of tea, and yards of flannel; whose only intellectual resource is hearing five of six verses of the Bible read every day,—‘my poor head,’ she says, ‘cannot bear any more;’ and whose only hope is the death to which she has been so slowly and wearily advancing, through many years like this.

The saddest part is, that she does not wish for death. She clings to this sordid existence. Her soul is now so habitually enwrapt in the meanest cares, that if she were to be lifted two or three steps upward, she would not know what to do with life; how, then, shall she soar to the celestial heights? Yet she ought; for she has ever been good, and her narrow and crushing duties have been performed with a self-sacrificing constancy, which I, for one, could never hope to equal.

While I listened to her,—and I often think it good for me to listen to her patiently,—the expressions you used in your letter, about ‘drudgery,’ occurred to me. I remember the time when I, too, deified the ‘soul's impulses.’ It is a noble worship; but, if we do not aid it by a just though limited interpretation of what ‘Ought’ means, it will degenerate into idolatry. For

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