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[2108]
It will be happiness indeed, if, on passing this first stage, we are permitted, in some degree, to alleviate the ills of those we love,—to lead them on a little way; to aid them when they call. Often it seems to me, it would be sweet to feel that I had certainly conferred one benefit. All my poor little schemes for others are apparently blighted, and now, as ever, I am referred to the Secular year for the interpretation of my moments.

In one of Margaret's manuscripts is found this beautiful symbol:—

There is a species of Cactus, from whose outer bark, if torn by an ignorant person, there exudes a poisonous liquid; but the natives, who know the plant, strike to the core, and there find a sweet, refreshing juice, that renews their strength.

Surely the preceding extracts prove that she was learning how to draw life-giving virtue from the very heart of evil. No superficial experience of sorrow embittered her with angry despair; but through profound acceptance, she sought to imbibe, from every ill, peace, purity and gentleness.

The two fiery trials through which she had been made to pass, and through which she was yet to pass again and again,—obstruction to the development of her genius, and loneliness of heart,—were the very furnace needed to burn the dross from her gold, till it could fitly image the Heavenly Refiner. By inherited traits, and indiscreet treatment, self-love had early become so excessive that only severest discipline could transmute it to disinterestedness. Pity for her own misfortunes had, indeed, taught her to curb her youthful scorn for mediocrity, and filled her with considerateness and delicate sensibility. Constant experience, too, of the wonderful

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