DARKNESS AND LIGHT.
The darkness and the light to Thee are both alike.
Far away to the west, on the borders of the Sea, there lived a lady and gentleman in a beautiful old house built something like a castle. They had several children, nice little boys and girls, who were far fonder of their Sea Castle, as they called it, than of a very pleasant house which they had in a great town at some distance off. Still they used to go and be very merry in the Town House in the winter time when the hail and snow fell, and the winds blew so cold that nobody could bear to walk out by the wild sea shore.
But in summer weather the case was quite altered. Indeed, as soon as ever the sun began to get a little power, and to warm the panes of glass in the nursery windows of the Town House, there was a hue and cry among all the children to be off to their Sea Castle home, and many a time had Papa and Mamma to send them angrily out of the room, because they would do nothing but beg to “set off directly.” They were always “sure that the weather was getting quite hot,” and “it must be summer, for they heard the sparrows chirping every morning the first thing,” and they “thought they had seen a swallow,” and “the windows got so warm with the sunshine, Nurse declared they were enough to burn one’s fingers:” and so the poor little things teazed themselves and everybody else, every year, in their hurry to get back to their western home. But I dare say you have heard the old proverb, “One swallow does not make a summer;” and so it was proved very often to our friends. For the Spring season is so changeable, there are often some soft mild days, and then a cruel frost comes again, and perhaps snow as well; and people who have boasted about fine weather and put off their winter clothes, look very foolish.
Still Time passes on; and when May was half over, the Town House used to echo with shouts of noisy delight, and boxes were banged down in the passages, and there was a great calling out for cords, and much scolding about broken keys and padlocks, and the poor Carpenter who came to mend the trunks and find new keys to old locks, was at his wits’ end and his patience’ end too.
But at last the time came when all this bustle was succeeded by silence in the Town House, for carriages had rolled away with the happy party, and nobody was left behind but two or three women servants to clean out the deserted rooms.
And now then, my little readers, who are, I hope, wondering what is coming next, you must fancy to yourselves the old Sea Castle Home. It had two large turrets; and winding staircases led from the passages and kitchens underneath the sitting rooms, up to the top of the turrets, and so out upon the leads of the house, from which there was the most beautiful view of the Ocean you ever saw; and, as the top of the house was battlemented,