childish hands had played with, and in a box, all by itself, lay Aunt March's wedding-ring, too small now for her fat finger, but put carefully away, like the most precious jewel of them all.
`Which would Mademoiselle choose if she had her will?' asked Esther, who always sat near to watch over and lock up the valuables.
`I liked the diamonds best, but there is no necklace among them, and I'm fond of necklaces, they are so becoming. I should choose this if I might,' replied Amy, looking with great admiration at a string of gold and ebony beads, from which hung a heavy cross of the same.
`I, too, covet that, but not as a necklace; ah, no! to me it is a rosary, and as such I should use it like a good Catholic,' said Esther, eyeing the handsome thing wistfully.
`Is it meant to use as you use the string of good-smelling wooden beads hanging over your glass?' asked Amy.
`Truly, yes, to pray with. It would be pleasing to the saints if one used so fine a rosary as this, instead of wearing it as a vain bijou. If Mademoiselle went apart each day to meditate and pray, as did the good mistress whom I served before Madame, it would be well. She had a little chapel, and in it found solacement for much trouble.'
`Would it be right for me to do so too?' asked Amy, who, in her loneliness, felt the need of help of some sort, and found that she was apt to forget her little book, now that Beth was not there to remind her of it.
`It would be excellent and charming; and I shall gladly arrange the little dressing-room for you if you like it. Say nothing to Madame, but when she sleeps go you and sit alone a while to think good thoughts, and pray the dear God to preserve your sister.'
Esther was truly pious, and quite sincere in her advice; for she had an affectionate heart, and felt much for the sisters in their anxiety. Amy liked the idea and gave her leave to arrange the light closet next her room, hoping it would do her good.
`I wish I knew where all these pretty things would go when Aunt March dies,' she said, as she slowly replaced the shining rosary, and shut the jewel-cases one by one.
`To you and your sisters. I know it; Madame confides in me; I witnessed her will, and it is to be so,' whispered Esther, smiling.
`How nice! but I wish she'd let us have them now. Procras-ti-nation is not agreeable,' observed Amy, taking a last look at the diamonds.
`It is too soon yet for the young ladies to wear these things. The first one who is affianced will have the pearls - Madame has said it; and I have a fancy that the little turquoise ring will be given to you when you go, for Madame approves your good behaviour and charming manners.
`Do you think so? Oh, I'll be a lamb, if I can only have that lovely ring! It's ever so much prettier than Kitty Bryant's. I do like Aunt March after all'; and Amy tried on the blue ring with a delightful face, and a firm resolve to earn it.
From that day she was a model of obedience, and the old lady complacently admired the success of her training. Esther fitted up the closet with a little table, placed a footstool before it, and over it a picture taken from one of the shut-up rooms. She thought it was of no great value, but, being appropriate, she borrowed it, well knowing that Madame would never know it, nor care if she did. It Was, however, a very valuable copy of one of the famous pictures of the world, and Amy's beauty-loving eyes were never tired of looking up at the sweet face of the divine mother, while tender thoughts of her own were busy at her heart. On the table she laid her little testament and hymn-book, kept a vase always full of the best
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|