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COMMON JOYS.

THE STRANGE CLAIMANT; OR,…

MINIE, THE MISER'S DAUGHTER.

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MINIE, THE MISER'S DAUGHTER. You are a hardy little thing, daughter Minie, and can do very well without shoes until winter comes. I would not have my darling's feet cold, oh, no, dear! but to do without shoes and stockings in summer will make those little toes better able to bear the cold of winter; think so, my pet ? Minie is a smart little girl. She does not need a teacher; she can spell out of the primer all alone, now that father has taught her the letters, can't II she ? Daughter, you are not a little glutton, are you ? You don't care for butter on your bread, or sugar in your milk and water. Oh, fie upon those folks who think BO much of oating! Such were the lessons old Peter 0. taught his only Such were the lessons old Peter 0. taught his only child, and which her generous, affectionate nature made her willing to learn. Whatever hardsh,p his penuriousness led him to inflict it became her pleasure to endure, because he was lavish of one thing, affection for her. He persuaded himself that all his exactions were for her good, and that theydid not proceed from any desire to deprive her of what was best for her (the common blindness to all but our ewn wishes, a little exaggerated.) So she grew up a hardy, self-denying, self-reliant girl, in their little fisherman's cottage on the rocky shores of Cornwall. She had been motherless since her seventh year; but before that time she had learned, from the maternal example, to be very useful about the house, and when she was left alone with her father, she took charge of the do- mestic affairs. She darned his socks, sewed buttons on his shirts, made her own scanty clothes, swept the rooms, and set the table for their frugal meal, which consisted uniformly of bread from the village, and milk purchased of a neighbour, though sometimes were added blackberries from the hills, or a cod or haddock from the bay. Her father was too suapicioua to have much to do with his neighbours. He seldom saw them, and never allowed their visits. Unlike many misers, he was proud, and when little presents came for himself or his child, from some compassionate villager, he in- Variably sent them back, and so impressed her with the scorn of receiving any assistance, that the most tempting offers could not induce her to accept any- thing. Thus she was cut off from all human sympathy out of her father's heart. The village children who came sometimes, but rarely, to play on the sands near their house, hooted at Minie and her father. Therefore she shunned them, especially after one cruel repulse which she suffered. She had often watched them from some rock above the beach; she even sometimes shyly approached them, pale with the excitement of meeting her fellows, and, unless they were unusually full of mischief or cruelty, they took no notice of her until she ventured to join them, when some bitter taunt usually repaid her intrusion. Her little yearning heart selected two children as her prime favourites, a handsome, daring boy, and a feeble little girl, his sister. Minie had, in her treasury of pretty pebbles and sea-shells, a long string of yellow-speckled sea-birds' eggs, which she had found among the rocks and sand. It was her most valued possession she looked npon it as one of the seven wonders of the world for beauty. She often longed to show it to the children, and one day when her little feeble favourite Was resting from pluy apart from the others, Minie approached, and with trembling hands and swelling heart, held out the string of eggs for her acceptance. The child took the n with much pleasure, but, without stopping to ex- press any of her delight to Minie, she ran off to show her treasure to her playmates. They, excited by desire to share in such gifts, hurried back with her to where the bewildered Minie still stood, and began at once to clamour for more. "Oh, give me some! Haven't you got any more," &e. She led the way to her little museum in the nook among the rocks, and distributed all her treasures. All. But she was glad to give them. She was sur- rounded by playmates. Her heart was light as a feather. Alas! No sooner had they despoiled her of every- thing than they shunned her again, and for thanks she overheard her brave, handsome boy saying, U Ha, ha, we've got something out of the little miser; but the big one-the dad, wouldn't let you skin one of his flints. Old hunks This of her beloved father. She cherished resent- ment against the speaker, but was fain to make a distinction between him and the other children. So the next day she ventured among them, but they cried- Do you think, because you gave us some ugly little shells, that we are going to play with a miser I Go count your eggs—one egg, two eggs, while old Peter counts one shilling, two shillings j You are both mean misers." Minie had a nature strong in all its tendencies and feelings. She never forgot this repulse, and in her very childhood she retired into herself, and quelled every craving for friendship, by pride. The sea was her companion, the sea-gulls her play-fellows. Old Peter O.'s cottage was at some distance from the; village, in a spot secluded by encircling rocks, with a little beach of its own running in a long sandy point far out into the water, and forming on one side a miniature harbour, where the old rotting fishing boat lay. It had not been used for nearly twenty years. but the miser would not sell his old friend, for there was a warm corner in his heart, and he said— She shall never sail on waters she is not used to, but shall drop to pieces in her old port." t Old Peter had made his immense wealth by specu- latien. By fortunate fishing he saved enough to purchase a schooner, which traded to the Mediterra- nean. It brought him home rich returns, which he invested in Consols, &e. The interest of this he was always turning over, and so, without risking his whole fortune, he doubled and doubled parts of it, until he counted his hundreds of thousands, while his only child paddled about bare-foot in the warm tide-puddles, grew up ignorant, and knew nothing of the beautiful, refining luxuries of life; or, I should say, the luxuries of art; for the child had a soul, and nature painted pictures for her with meon, and rocky shore, and dusky, sparkling water. Nature taught her a fine taste for music by playing grand anthems on the huge organ of rocks and waves with her wild winds. Nature shawed her what gracefulness of motion meant by her sweeping gulls, sailing hawks, and vessels dancing on the curl- ing, rolling waves. Nature read her, besides, the noblest poetry at all hours, and the child had a quick ear, and eye, and mind for it. The neighbours cried shame on the old man to leave his daughter in such ignorance. Sometimes they ex- postulated with him; but the squire, that man of influence in the village, only met with sneers; the acute lawyer, a dumb defiance; and even the good old orthodox minister only a stubborn hearing. All did no good apparently, until one day the latter accused him of cruel injustice to his daughter in letting her grow up so ignorant, and depriving her of the happy resources of education. This had some effect, and on the day Minie was fourteen years old, her father said to her, "It is your birthday, daughter. You are in your teens, and ought to know a heap by this time. What have you learned?" To cast up sums and read in my Testament, father. Well, the minister has begged me to send you to read in his library every day, and I want you to go. But don't be beholden to him for any instructions. You are too smart a girl not to be able to study by yourself. Pick and choose the books well. Always take the most worn-out ones, because those must be the ones other folks read most; and study with all your might, girl. You are backward, they tell me, and I want yen to be ahead of them all. Go to- morrow morning and Minie, don't get to talking with the village folks. Just keep on your own way, and don't let them badger you into gabbling and gos- siping." The next day saw the proud, silent, barefoot girl take her way to Mr. L.'a library, and without a word to any one, seat herself in a comer with a well-worn book, over which she pored for four hours. The I good pastor was afraid to notice her in any way, lest bashfulness or wildness should make her take flight. She continued to come every day henceforth but Mr. L. hardly ventured to address a word to the silent student in the corner of his library, though he often, unknown to her, directed her studies, by placing the books he wished her to peruse immediately in her way. ThA few words of greeting, or advice, or kind interest which be gave her, were, however, treasured in her heart, and Mr. L. soon felt that she regarded him with deep, affectionate reverence. Little bunches of the earliest spring flowers, or rare wild-wood plants, he sometimes found upon his fltudy table, and his children often rejoiced over star fish, or shells, which the shy girl rather left in their way than directly gave to them. The baby she sometimes caressed, with repressed but uncontrollable tender- ness. Mr. L. suspected that her stubborn refusal of conversation or friendly communion was in obedience to some whim of her strange father's, and fearful pf the withdrawal of the half concession he had gained, he concurred in it. In this way a year passed. (To be continued.)

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LADIES' COLUMN.

USEFUL HINTS.I

THE OLD SEXTON.

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/URIETIE*.I