BOOK IV. THREE LOVE PROBLEMS.
40. CHAPTER XL.
Wise in his daily work was he:
To fruits of diligence,
And not to faiths or polity,
He plied his utmost sense.
These perfect in their little parts,
Whose work is all their prize--
Without them how could laws, or arts,
Or towered cities rise?
In watching effects, if only of an electric battery, it is often
necessary to change our place and examine a particular mixture
or group at some distance from the point where the movement we
are interested in was set up. The group I am moving towards is
at Caleb Garth's breakfast-table in the large parlor where the
maps and desk were: father, mother, and five of the children.
Mary was just now at home waiting for a situation, while Christy,
the boy next to her, was getting cheap learning and cheap fare
in Scotland, having to his father's disappointment taken to books
instead of that sacred calling "business."
The letters had come--nine costly letters, for which the postman had
been paid three and twopence, and Mr. Garth was forgetting his tea
and toast while he read his letters and laid them open one above
the other, sometimes swaying his head slowly, sometimes screwing up
his mouth in inward debate, but not forgetting to cut off a large
red seal unbroken, which Letty snatched up like an eager terrier.
The talk among the rest went on unrestrainedly, for nothing disturbed
Caleb's absorption except shaking the table when he was writing.
Two letters of the nine had been for Mary. After reading them,
she had passed them to her mother, and sat playing with her
tea-spoon absently, till with a sudden recollection she returned
to her sewing, which she had kept on her lap during breakfast.
"Oh, don't sew, Mary!" said Ben, pulling her arm down. "Make me
a peacock with this bread-crumb." He had been kneading a small mass
for the purpose.
"No, no, Mischief!" said Mary, good-humoredly, while she pricked
his hand lightly with her needle. "Try and mould it yourself:
you have seen me do it often enough. I must get this sewing done.
It is for Rosamond Vincy: she is to be married next week, and she
can't be married without this handkerchief." Mary ended merrily,
amused with the last notion.