Page:A New England Tale.djvu/25

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14
A NEW-ENGLAND TALE.

and unless they are brought to true repentance, to showing their "faith by their works," we fear they will experience its just fate.

The house, furniture, and other property of Mr. Elton had lain under an attachment for some time previous to Mrs. Elton's death, but the sale had been delayed in consideration of her approaching dissolution. It was now appointed for the next week; and it therefore became necessary that some arrangement should be immediately made for the destitute orphan.

The day after the funeral, Jane was sitting in her mother's room, which, in her eyes, was consecrated by her sickness and death; the three aunts met at Mr. Elton's house; she heard the ladies approaching through the adjoining apartment, and hastily taking up her Bible, which she had been trying to read, she drew her little bench behind the curtain of her mother's bed. There is an instinct in childhood, that discerns affection wherever it exists, and shrinks from the coldness of calculating selfishness. In all their adversity, neither Jane, nor her mother, had ever been cheered by a glimmering of kindness from these relatives. Mrs. Elton had founded no expectations on them for her child, but with her usual irresolution she had shrunk from preparing Jane's mind for the shocks that awaited her.

The three sisters were led in by a young woman who had offered to stay with Jane till some arrangement was made for her. In reply to their asking where she was, the girl pointed to the bed.