The Week of Idleness by Eliza Leslie

"Their only labour was to kill the time,
And labour dire it was, and weary wo."

delaide and Rosalind, the daughters of Mr. Edington, looked forward with much pleasure to the arrival of their cousin, Josephine Sherborough, from Maryland. She was to spend the summer with them, at their father's country residence on the beautiful bay of New York, a few miles below the city; and, though they had never seen her, they were disposed to regard Josephine as a very agreeable addition to their family society. Having had the misfortune to lose their mother, Adelaide and Rosalind had been for several years under the entire care of their governess, Mrs. Mortlake; a highly accomplished and most amiable woman, whom they loved and respected as if she had been their parent, and by whose instructions they had greatly profited.

It was on a beautiful evening in June, that Josephine Sherborough was certainly expected, after several disappointments within the last two or three weeks. The Miss Edingtons and their governess were seated on one of the settees in the portico that extended along the front of Mr. Edington's house. Mrs. Mortlake was sewing, Rosalind reading aloud, and Adelaide, with her drawing materials before her, was earnestly engaged in colouring a sketch of a fishing-boat at anchor, beautifully reflected in the calm water, and tinted with the glowing rays of the declining sun. As she put in the last touches, she hoped, before the summer was over, that she should improve so much in her drawing as to be enabled to attempt a view of the bay with its green shores; its island fortresses; and its numerous ships, some going out on a voyage to distant regions, others coming home with the merchandise and the news of Europe.

"Now," exclaimed Adelaide, "I see the smoke of the steamboat, just behind Castle Williams. My father and Josephine will soon be here. I am glad my drawing is so nearly completed. In a few minutes it will be finished."

"And in a few minutes," said Rosalind, "I shall conclude the story that I am reading."

"Do you not now think," asked Mrs. Mortlake, "I was right in proposing that we should protract our usual afternoon occupations an hour beyond the usual time, as we are expecting the arrival of your father and your cousin? This last hour would have seemed twice its real length, if we had done nothing, all the while, but strain our eyes in gazing up the bay for the steamboat, saying every few minutes, 'Oh, I wish they were come!'"

In a short time, Adelaide exclaimed, "Here is the steamboat. I see they are depositing several trunks in the little boat at the side. And now it is let down to the water. And now a gentleman and a young lady descend the steps, and take their seats in it. How fast it cuts its way through the foam that is raised by the tow-line. In a moment it will touch the wharf. Here they come. There is my father; and it must be Josephine that is with him!"

The sisters then ran down the steps of the portico, and in a moment were at the landing-place, where Mr. Edington, as soon as he had assisted her to step on shore, introduced them to Josephine Sherborough, a fat, fair, pale young lady, about fourteen, with a remarkably placid countenance which immediately won the regard of Rosalind: who determined in her own mind that Josephine was a very sweet girl, and that they should, ever hereafter, be intimate and most particular friends. Adelaide, who was two years older than Rosalind, and who had more penetration, was not so violently prepossessed in favour of her cousin, whose face she thought deficient in animation, and whose movements were more slow and heavy than those of any young girl she had ever seen.

When tea was over, the sisters proposed to Josephine a walk round the garden, which was large and very beautiful; but she complained of being excessively tired, and said that she would much rather go to bed. This somewhat surprised her cousins, as they knew that Josephine had been three days in the city with the friends under whose care she had come from Maryland; and they thought that she must have had ample time to recover from the fatigue of her journey: to which her last little trip in the steamboat could not have added much. Rosalind, who was a year younger than Josephine, accompanied her to the chamber prepared for her accommodation, where Josephine, looking round disconsolately, inquired if there was no servant to undress her. Rosalind volunteered to perform this office; and Josephine said she would ring the bell for one of the maids, when she wished to get up in the morning.

She kept the family waiting breakfast for her till nine o'clock, and then came down in a white slip or loose gown; her hair still pinned up; her eyes half shut; and her face evidently not washed. Mr. Edington, whose business in the city made it necessary for him to be there at an early hour, had long since breakfasted, and gone up to town in the boat; and after a few days, the rest of the family ceased to wait for her; and the housekeeper was directed to have a fresh breakfast prepared for Miss Sherborough whenever she came down.

The first days of Josephine's visit ought, in Rosalind's opinion, to have been devoted entirely to the amusement of their guest, and she was urgent with Mrs. Mortlake, to allow Adelaide and herself a week of holiday. Their governess told them that she would have been willing to grant this indulgence if Josephine was to remain with them a week only: but as she was to stay all summer, it would, of course, be impossible for them, every day, to give up their usual occupations; and therefore it was better to begin as they were to go on. She reminded Rosalind that if they were attentive and industrious, they would get through their lessons the sooner, and have the more time for recreation with their visitor.

After Josephine had breakfasted, Mrs. Mortlake offered to show her the children's library, that she might amuse herself with any of the books she chose, while her cousins were engaged in their morning employments. Josephine thanked her; but said she could entertain herself very well without books, and that she believed she would take a walk in the garden. She accordingly put on her bonnet, and strolled up and down the walks, gazing listlessly at the flowers. She attempted to gather some strawberries, but found it too fatiguing to stoop down to the beds; and satisfied herself with plucking currants and gooseberries from the bushes. She then sat in the arbour for awhile, and looked all the time straight down the middle walk. When she was tired of the arbour, she established herself on a circular bench which ran round a large walnut tree; and then she counted all the windows at sat the back part of the house. When this was accomplished, she counted them all over again. And then, finding the sun had become very powerful, she went into the front-parlour, the shutters of which were bowed to exclude the heat, and throwing herself at full length on the sofa, she in a few minutes fell into a profound sleep, from which she did not awaken till her cousins entered the room in search of her, after their lessons were over. They took her up stairs into the apartment they called their play-room, and showed her a variety of things which would have been very amusing to a girl that knew how to be amused. There was a lacquered Chinese cabinet, containing a great number of curiosities brought by their uncle from Canton: and a large box with shelves, on which were various specimens of Indian ingenuity, presented to the children by a gentleman who had travelled all over the country beyond the Mississippi. Their library consisted of a beautiful and entertaining selection of juvenile books; and they had a port-folio filled with fine prints of such subjects as are particularly interesting to young people. They showed her a representation of the grand procession at the coronation of the sovereign of England, printed on a long narrow roll of paper pasted on silk; which paper was unwound like a ribbon-yard from a Tunbridge-ware box, and it could be screwed up again after being sufficiently seen. It was many yards in length, and the figures (which were almost innumerable) were elegantly designed, and beautifully coloured. They had also a little theatre, with a great number of scenes; and a variety of very small dolls, dressed in appropriate habits to personate the actors. Beside all these things, they had a closet full of amusing toys; and in short the play-room was amply stored with a profusion of whatever was necessary to the enjoyment of their leisure hours.

But all was lost on Josephine. While Adelaide and Rosalind were assiduous in showing and explaining to her every thing, she heard them with listlessness and apathy, and made not the slightest remark. At last, she said "We will reserve some of these sights for to-morrow. I must go and dress myself for dinner. Oh! how I hate to dress. It is an odious task. I must have Mary to assist me again; for I never can get through the fatigue of dressing myself, and fixing my hair."

In the afternoon, Adelaide and Rosalind took their sewing, and seated themselves with Mrs. Mortlake in the porch. As Josephine appeared to have no work, Mrs. Mortlake gave her a volume of Miss Edgeworth's Moral Tales, and requested her to read one of them aloud. Josephine took the book and began to read "The Prussian Vase," but with so monotonous and inarticulate a tone, or rather drawl, that it was painful to hear her: and her cousins were not sorry when, at the end of three or four pages, she stopped, and complained that she was too much fatigued to read any more.

Mrs. Mortlake then desired Adelaide, who read extremely well, to take the book and continue the story, but in a short time Josephine was discovered to be asleep. When Adelaide ceased reading, Josephine awoke, and saying that she could not live without her afternoon nap, went up stairs to lie down on her bed.

She slept till near tea-time, and when tea was over, her cousins and Mrs. Mortlake prepared for a walk, and invited Josephine to join them. This she did; but in less than ten minutes she complained so much of fatigue, that Rosalind turned back and accompanied her home, and she reclined on the settee in the porch till the lamps were lighted in the front-parlour. The girls then showed Josephine a portable diorama, containing twelve beautiful coloured views of castles, abbeys, temples, and mountain scenery. Each of these exquisite little landscapes was fixed, in turn, as the back scene of a sort of miniature stage. The skies and lights of these views were all transparent, and there were other skies which turned on rollers, and represented sunrise, moonlight, sunshine, and thunder-clouds. These second skies being placed behind those of the picture, were slowly unrolled by turning a small handle, and produced the most varied and beautiful effects on the scenery, which could thus at pleasure be illuminated gradually with sunshine or moonbeams, or darkened with the clouds of a gathering storm. But Josephine saw this charming exhibition without a single comment; being evidently much inclined to yawn as she looked at it. And getting again very sleepy, she soon retired to her bed.

Next morning, Mrs. Mortlake invited her to bring her sewing into the school-room, and sit there while her cousins were at their lessons. But Josephine replied that she hated sewing, and never did any. However, she took her seat in the school-room, and a kitten soon after came purring round her; so she put it on her lap, and stroked and patted it till the lessons were over, and the girls went up stairs to amuse themselves till dinner-time.

Adelaide tried to induce Josephine to look at some of the beautiful prints in the port-folio; but she found it necessary to explain them all, as if she was showing them to a child of three years old.

Rosalind proposed that they should all go on the roof of the house (it being flat on the top and guarded with a railing) to look at the beauty and wide extent of the prospect; and taking their parasols to screen their heads from the sun, they went up through a very convenient trap-door at the head of an easy little staircase. The view from the roof of Mr. Edington's house was certainly very fine, comprising the bay with its islands and fortresses; its boats and vessels of every description; the distant lighthouse at Sandy Hook, and the blue ocean rolling beyond it: and at the other end of the scene, behind a forest of masts, rose the city of New York with its numerous spires glittering in the sunlight.

Fine as the prospect was, Josephine showed no symptom of admiration; but as they came down through the garret-passage, she spied an old rocking-chair standing in a corner among some lumber. (Parlour rocking-chairs were not yet in general use.) She turned her head, and looked at it with longing eyes. "Ah!" said she, "that is the very thing I have been suffering for ever since I left home. Do let me beg to have it in my room." The chair, accordingly, was carried into the apartment of Josephine, who immediately seated herself, and began to rock with great satisfaction; at which most interesting amusement she continued till near dinner-time. The rocking-chair was next day taken into the school-room, and with that and the kitten, Josephine appeared to get through the morning rather contentedly.

The afternoon was again devoted to a long nap: and in the evening Josephine reclined on the front-parlour sofa, and entertained herself by running her finger a hundred times over the brass nails.

Several days passed on in a similar manner. One morning when they were all in the play-room, Josephine said to her cousins, "What a very hard life you are obliged to endure. Neither of you have a moment of rest, from the time you leave your beds in the morning, till you return to them at night. First, there is your rising with the sun, and going to work in your little gardens. I am sure you might make your father's gardener do all that business."

Adelaide. But we take great pleasure in it; and when we see our flowers growing and blooming, the interest they excite in us is much increased by knowing that we have raised them from the seed, or planted the roots ourselves; and that we have assisted their growth by watering, weeding, tying them, and clearing them from insects. And is it not pleasant to find that the fruit-stones, we planted a few years since in our little orchard, have produced trees that are now loaded with fruit? The red cherries, we had last evening after tea, were from one of my trees; and the large black cherries were from Rosalind's. And in August, we shall have our own plums and peaches.

Josephine. I am sure it is much less trouble to buy these things, than to cultivate them; and as to the amusement, I can see none. Then there are those awful lessons that are always to come on after breakfast. The writing, and cyphering, and grammar, and geography, and history, one day: and the French, and music, and drawing, the next: and-the reading and sewing every afternoon; and the walk every evening. Even your play-time (as you call it) is a time of perpetual fatigue: your plays all seem to require so much skill and ingenuity. And then on Saturday morning, to think that you are obliged to go into the housekeeper's room and learn to make cakes, and pastry, and sweetmeats, and all such things. I am sure if I was never to eat cakes till I assisted in making them, I should go without all my life. It seems to me that your whole existence is a course of uninterrupted toil.

Rosalind. There is much truth in what you say, my dear Josephine. But I own it never struck me before.

Adelaide. We have always been perfectly happy in our occupations and amusements: and the longest day in summer seems too short for us.

Josephine. Too short, perhaps, to get through such a quantity of work; for I consider all this as real hard work. I am glad that I have not been brought up in such a laborious manner. My parents love me too much to make me uncomfortable, even for a moment; or to cause me in any way the slightest fatigue. I have spent my whole life in ease and peace; doing nothing but what I pleased, and never learning but when I chose. I have not been troubled with either a school or a governess; my mother (who was herself educated at a boarding-school) having determined, as I was her only child, to instruct me at home.

Adelaide saw that it was in vain to argue the point any farther. But the foolish reasoning of Josephine made a great impression on Rosalind; so true it is, that "evil communication corrupts good manners," and she was seized with an earnest desire to participate in the happiness of doing nothing.

Next morning, Rosalind went to her lessons with great reluctance, and consequently did not perform them well. On the following day she was equally deficient; and in the afternoon when Josephine went up stairs to take her nap, Rosalind, looking after her, exclaimed, "Happy girl! How I envy her!"

"Envy her!" said Adelaide, "of all the people I am acquainted with, I think Josephine Sherborough is the least to be envied."

Rosalind. She is not troubled with lessons, and sewing, as we are. She can do whatever she pleases the whole day long. No wonder she is fat, when she is so perfectly comfortable. For my part, I expect, in the course of another year, to be worn to a skeleton with such incessant application.

Adelaide. But without application how is it possible to learn?

Rosalind. I would rather put off my learning till I am older, and have strength to bear such dreadful fatigue.

Adelaide. I do not find it fatiguing. I am sure our lessons are not very long, and Mrs. Mortlake is so kind and gentle, that it is a pleasure to be instructed by her; and she explains every thing so sensibly and intelligibly.

Rosalind. But where is the use of learning every thing before we grow up?

Adelaide. Because, as Mrs. Mortlake says, children (if they are not too young) learn faster than grown persons; their memories are better, as they have not yet been overloaded, and they have nothing of importance to divert their attention from their lessons.

Rosalind. I would rather grow up as ignorant as our tenant's wife, Dutch Katy, than be made such a slave as I am now. I am sure Katy's life is an easy one compared to mine.

Adelaide, smiling. Consider it not so deeply.

Rosalind. Yes, I will, for I am out of patience. I wish it was the fashion to be ignorant.

Adelaide. Fortunately it is not. To say nothing of the disgrace of being ignorant when it is known we have had opportunities of acquiring knowledge, persons whose minds are vacant, have but few enjoyments. For instance, as Josephine knows nothing of music, it gives her no pleasure to hear the finest singing and playing, even such as Mrs. Mortlake's. As she has no idea of drawing, she takes not the least delight in looking at beautiful pictures. Having never been in the habit of reading, she wonders how it is possible to be amused with a book; and as she has no knowledge of history or geography, she often, when she does read, is puzzled with allusions to those subjects; and a French word is as unintelligible to her, as if it were Greek. Plants and animals do not interest her, because she has scarcely an idea of the properties or attributes of any of the productions of Nature. And what is worse than all, she takes no pleasure in listening to the conversation of sensible people, because she is incapable of understanding it: her comprehension being only equal to the most frivolous topics.

 Rosalind. Notwithstanding all this, her life passes calmly and pleasantly; and I am sure she is much happier than we are.

Adelaide. Speak for yourself, dear Rosalind. For my part, I do not wish to be more happy than I am.

Rosalind. Well, I thought so too, till I knew Josephine. And she is by no means so dull as you suppose.

Adelaide. Perhaps she is not naturally stupid; but indulgence and indolence have so benumbed her understanding, that it seems now incapable of the smallest effort.

At this moment Mrs. Mortlake came down with a book in her hand, for the afternoon reading.

"Rosalind," said she, "as my room is over the porch, and the windows are open, I could not avoid hearing all you have just been saying, particularly as you spoke very loudly. As I do not wish to see either of my pupils unhappy, I will gratify your desire, and both you and Adelaide (if it is also her wish) may pass a week entirely without occupation; in short, a week of idleness."

Adelaide. O no, dear Mrs. Mortlake: I have no desire to avail myself of your offer. I would much rather continue my usual employments.

Rosalind. A week of entire leisure! O, how delightful!

Mrs. Mortlake. But, during that time, neither you nor Josephine must come into the school-room.

Rosalind. O, indeed! we shall not desire it.

Mrs. Mortlake. Neither must you read.

Rosalind. Well!—I am sure I have read enough to last my lifetime. Where is the use of reading story-books that are all invention, describing people that never lived; or of poring over voyages and travels to countries I shall never visit; or of studying the histories of dead kings.

Mrs. Mortlake. You must not sew.

Rosalind. I never did find it very entertaining to stick a needle and thread into a piece of muslin, and pull it through again.

Mrs. Mortlake. You must not draw.

Rosalind. I do not see the pleasure of rubbing red, and blue, and green paint on little plates; and dabbling in tumblers of water with camel's-hair pencils, and daubing colours on white paper.

 Mrs. Mortlake. You must not play on the piano, nor on the harp.

Rosalind. Well! What sense is there in pressing down your fingers first on bits of ivory, and then on bits of ebony; and staring at crotchets and quavers all the time? or where is the use of twanging and jerking the strings of a harp?

Mrs. Mortlake. You must not work in your garden.

Rosalind. So much the better. Then I shall neither dirty my hands with pulling up the weeds, nor splash my feet with the water-pot.

Mrs. Mortlake. You may sleep as much as you please; but you must not rise before nine o'clock.

Rosalind. O, how delightful, not to be obliged to jump out of bed at daylight! Dearest Mrs. Mortlake, if I could have a month of ease and comfort, instead of only a week—-

Mrs. Mortlake. Well,—if at the end of the week you still desire it, perhaps I may protract the indulgence to a longer period.

Rosalind. Dear Mrs. Mortlake, how kind you are. When shall my happiness begin? As to-morrow is Saturday, when we always have a half holiday, and next day Sunday, when we go to the city to attend church, I think, notwithstanding my impatience, I would rather commence my week of felicity regularly on Monday morning.

Mrs. Mortlake. Very well, then. On Monday morning let it be.

Adelaide. I am sorry to hear you call your anticipated week of idleness a week of felicity.

Rosalind. Oh! I am sure I shall find it so; and you will regret not having also accepted Mrs. Mortlake's kind offer.

Adelaide. I fear no regret on that subject.

Mrs. Mortlake. Say no more, Adelaide. Wait till we see the event of Rosalind's experiment.

Rosalind. I hope Josephine's afternoon nap will not be as long as usual: I am so impatient to tell her. O, how we shall enjoy ourselves together!

When Josephine awoke and heard of the new arrangement, she was as much delighted as she could be at any thing; and she begged that Rosalind might be allowed to share her chamber during this happy week.

 Monday morning came; and Rosalind (such is the power of habit) awoke, as usual, with the dawn; but soon recollected that she was not to get up till nine o'clock. She saw the light gleaming through the Venetian shutters, and she heard the morning song of the scarlet oriole, whose nest was in a locust tree close to the window; and the twittering of the martins as they flew about their box, which was affixed to the wall just below the roof of the house. She heard Adelaide, who was in the next room, get up to dress herself, and exclaim as she threw open the shutters, "O, what a beautiful sunrise!" Rosalind felt some desire to enjoy the loveliness of the early morning; but determined to remain in bed, and indulge herself with another nap. She turned and shook her pillow, and tumbled about for a long time before she could get to sleep; and at last she awoke again just as the clock was striking seven. She had still two hours to remain in bed, and she found the time extremely tedious. "Are you asleep, Josephine?" said she. "No," replied Josephine, "I am never asleep after this hour."

Rosalind. Why, then, do you remain in bed?

Josephine. O, because I hate to get up.

 Rosalind. Well then let us talk.

Josephine. O, no! I never talk in bed. For, even when I do not sleep, I am not quite awake.

At length it was nine; and at the first stroke of the clock, Rosalind started from her bed, and began to wash and dress herself. When the girls went down stairs, they found the family breakfast had long been over, and they had theirs on a little table in a corner of the room. Rosalind thought her breakfast did not taste very well; probably, because remaining so long in bed, had taken away her appetite.

After breakfast, they went out and walked a little while in the most shady part of the garden. Then they sat down; first in the arbour of honeysuckles, then on the green bank behind the ice-house; then on a garden chair; and then on the bench at the foot of the great walnut tree. They picked a few currants and ate them; and they gathered some roses and smelled them. For some time they held their parasols over their heads; and then they shut them, and made marks on the gravel with the ends of the ivory sticks. They looked awhile at a nursery of young peach-trees at one side of the garden; and then they turned and looked towards a clover-field on the other side. Josephine pulled the strings of her reticule backwards and forwards; and Rosalind counted the palisades in the fence of the kitchen-garden. At last a bright idea struck her; and she gathered some dandelions that were going to seed, and blew off the down; recommending the same amusement to Josephine, who, after two or three trials, gave it up.

"Suppose we go to the play-room," said Rosalind. Josephine assented, and they slowly walked back to the house, and ascended the stairs. "Now," said Rosalind, "we can play domino in the morning. Generally, we never amuse ourselves with any of those little games in the day-time; though we have domino, draughts, and loto, sometimes in the evening." They played domino awhile in a very spiritless manner, and then they tried draughts and loto, which they also soon gave up; Josephine saying that all these games required too much attention. She then had recourse to the rocking-chair, and Rosalind took some white paper and cut fly-traps; in which amusements they tried to get rid of the time till near the dinner-hour, when they combed their hair, and changed their dresses. Adelaide did not join them in the play-room, being much engaged with a very amusing book.

After dinner, Rosalind, accompanied Josephine to her room to take a nap likewise. But she found it so warm, and turned and tossed about so much, and had such difficulty in fixing herself in a comfortable position, that she thought, if it was not for the name of taking a nap, she had better have stayed up as usual. Josephine had less difficulty, being accustomed to afternoon-sleeping; and at length Rosalind shut her eyes, and fell into a sort of uneasy doze.

When they awoke, Rosalind proposed that they should put on their frocks, and go down into the porch, where Mrs. Mortlake and Adelaide were reading and sewing. But Josephine thought it would be much less trouble to sit in their loose gowns until near tea-time. To this Rosalind agreed, and they sat and gazed at the river. But it happened this afternoon that no ships came in, and only one went out; and all the steamboats kept far over towards the opposite shore. They were glad when the bell rung for tea; for when people do nothing, their meals are a sort of amusement, and are therefore expected with anxious interest. In the evening, they declined joining Mrs. Mortlake and Adelaide in their usual long walk, and took a short stroll under the willows on the bank of the river; after which they returned to the parlour, where Mr. Edington sat reading the newspaper, and Josephine threw herself on the sofa; while Rosalind sat beside her on a chair, and played with the kitten.

Next morning, their amusements in the garden were a little diversified by playing jack-stones and platting ribbon-grass; and when they went up to the play-room, Rosalind, looking among her old toys, found a doll long since laid aside, and a basket with its clothes. She offered the doll to Josephine proposing that she should dress it: but Josephine said "I would rather look at you, while you do it." Rosalind accordingly dressed the doll in two different suits, one after another; but soon grew tired, and had recourse to an ivory cup and ball, which she failed to catch with as much dexterity as usual. She gave Josephine a wooden lemon, which on being opened in the middle, contained a number of other lemons one within another, and diminishing in size till the last and smallest was no bigger than a pea. When Josephine had got through the lemon, Rosalind took it, and resigned the cup and ball to her cousin, who soon gave it up, as she could never make the cup catch the ball; and she again finished the morning with her never-failing resource the rocking-chair.

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday having been passed in this manner, on Thursday Rosalind began to acknowledge to herself, what she had indeed suspected on the first day, that a life of entire idleness was not quite so agreeable as she had supposed. Having no useful or interesting occupation to diversify her time, she found that play had lost its relish; and now that she could play all day, she found all plays tiresome. These three days had appeared to her of never-ending length; and she began to think that when her week of idleness had expired she would not solicit Mrs. Mortlake to prolong the term.

On Thursday afternoon Rosalind gave up her nap, and went and seated herself at the open window, that she might hear Mrs. Mortlake and Adelaide read aloud in the porch. And next morning, she actually stopped and listened at the school-room door while Adelaide was repeating her French lesson; and she returned again, and stood behind the door, to hear Mrs. Mortlake instructing her sister in a new song accompanied on the harp. All that day and the next, she felt as if she was actually sick of doing nothing; and she absolutely languished to be allowed once more to take a book and read, or to draw, or play on the piano. Even sewing, she thought, would now seem delightful to her.

On Saturday morning Rosalind met Adelaide in her brown linen apron with long sleeves, going into the housekeeper's room to assist in making cakes and pastry. She longed to go in with her, and to do her part as formerly; and her longing increased when she heard the sound of beating eggs, and grinding spice. She had hitherto looked forward with great pleasure to her holiday on Saturday afternoon. Now, after doing nothing all the week, Saturday afternoon had no charms for her; and she was glad to find it was to be devoted to a ride in the carriage, through a pleasant part of the adjacent country.

"Well, Rosalind," said Josephine, as they were taking off their bonnets, after their return from the ride, "you have now spent a week in my way. Do you not wish you could pass your whole life in the same manner?"

Rosalind. No, indeed—nor even another week. This week of idleness has seemed to me like a month; and I have no desire to renew the experiment. I have never in my life gone to bed so tired as after those days of doing nothing. I find that want of occupation is to me absolute misery; though it may be very delightful to you, as you have been brought up in a different manner, and have never been accustomed to any sort of employment. Yet, still I think you would be much happier, if you had something to do.

In the evening Mr. Edington said to his youngest daughter, "Well, Rosalind, how do you like your week of idleness? Are you going to request Mrs. Mortlake to lengthen the term of your enjoyment?"

Rosalind. O no, dear father; it has been no enjoyment to me. On the contrary, I am glad to think that it is now over. I have found it absolutely a punishment.

Mr. Edington. So I suspected.

Rosalind. And I deserved it, for allowing myself to become dissatisfied with the manner in which Mrs. Mortlake chose that I should occupy myself. I am tired of lying in bed, tired of idleness, and tired of play. So, dear Mrs. Mortlake, be so kind as to let me rise at daylight on Monday morning, to work in my garden, and resume my lessons as usual. You may depend on it I shall never again wish for a single day of idleness.

Mrs. Mortlake. I am very glad to hear you say so, my dear Rosalind. And I do not despair of at length convincing Josephine that she would be more happy if she had some regular employment.

That night Rosalind returned to her own chamber, and next morning she was up at daylight. It being Sunday, they went as usual to church in the city, and Rosalind was now delighted to pass the remainder of the day in reading a volume of Mrs. Sherwood's excellent work, the Lady of the Manor. A book now seemed like a novelty to her.

Next day Rosalind went through her lessons with a pleasure she had never felt before; and when they were over, she highly enjoyed her two hours' recreation after dinner. She took no more afternoon naps; and after a short time even Josephine was persuaded to give them up, and found it possible, with some practice, to keep awake while her cousins or Mrs. Mortlake were reading aloud in the porch.

Finally, Josephine became ashamed of being the only idle person in Mr. Edington's house, and was prevailed on by her uncle and Mrs. Mortlake to join her cousins in their lessons. By degrees, and by giving her only a very little to learn at a time, and by having constantly before her such good examples as Adelaide and Rosalind, she entirely conquered her love of idleness. She was really not deficient in natural capacity, and she soon began to take pleasure in trying to improve herself; so that when she returned to Maryland, she carried with her a newly acquired taste for rational pursuits, which she never afterwards lost.