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gather up the silken folds. But the sacrifice is useJess. A fell hand strikes down both traveller and sailor. As they gasp and die they are hurried to the ship's side; they are plunged overboard; a seething, foaming grave yawns to receive them.

The ship glides on. Those who remain wash the deck with water. They cannot wash away the demon which is everywhere and yet nowhere. Poisons as subtle attend the human spirit, baneful and contagious as the plague !

See yonder peaceful cottage, nestling by the hillside; hope and contentment dwell therein; within its walls beauty and grace awaken harmony. Lured by the bright sunshine, a stranger enters the door. He sits and chats awhile with the inmates. His talk is pleasant, and as he converses a cloud falls upon the house, the sunshine becomes darkened, and the dwellers within the pretty cottage shiver as with cold. They heed not the change, for the chat of their guest delights them. But when he departs he leaves behind him a poison more baneful than the plague.

The inmates of the peaceful cottage look with gloomy eyes one upon the other; they become dissatisfied and distracted among themselves, and discord takes the place of harmony.

Secret influences are at work, poisons thrown out by the sphere of the guest. A worse fate befalls them than befell the sailors who were invaded by the insidious Plague.

I have seen in nature a fair face clouded suddenly — made gloomy and unlovely— by the unspoken

some

thought of another. Thought is contagious varieties of it poisonous! I have seen the countenance of an innocent child transformed into ugliness by a poisonous thought. I have seen those who have looked upon her receive that thought and become likewise infected.

I have seen also to this picture another and a brighter side. I have seen secret influences drawing individuals together, sustaining and upholding them; as the long fine filaments of wool clasp each other and draw together the separate particles, so have I seen individuals united. Thus was the first Napoleon united to Josephine. A secret influence as potent as the plague passed from one to the other; but it breathed health and not poison.

Napoleon, with his powerful will, disrupted these magnetic relations; he tore apart the unseen filaments that bound them; and, the sustaining influence gone, he fell - a mighty wreck --- on the bleak shore of St Helena.

What man or woman can comprehend the secret influences that surround the soul. Keep guard; and when the blood stagnates within, when secret shudders, and gloomy thoughts, and inharmonious feelings arise, be sure that some poison-breathing foe is at hand.

Set the door ajar, and resolutely turn your face from the secret influence that would destroy you.

CHARLOTTE BRONTÉ.

(CURRER BELL.)

AGNES REEF.-A TALE.

CHAPTER I.

I was brought up and educated by my bachelor uncle. He was a reticent, moody man, and with his aged housekeeper and myself, led a solitary and unsocial life in the old rambling house which had been his father's before him.

I was but a child of six years when destiny placed me under his charge, and with him I remained eleven years; a scared, repressed little thing, revelling in strange fancies in the spidery attic rooms, and looking down through the dusty cobwebbed windows upon the life and movement below, unconscious that I formed a part of that active humanity.

Thus I lived until I entered my seventeenth year. For the last two years my mind had been expanding and growing discontented with my lot. The moroseness of my uncle, the sullenness of his housekeeper, the gloom and dinginess of the bare rooms had grown insupportable to me. These alone I might have endured, but added to them were other sources of disquiet, not the least of which being hints from the housekeeper that it was time I began to do something for myself. Youth, pride, and ambition stirred

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within me, and I actively set about looking for a situation.

I had not long to wait; in one of the weekly papers, of which my uncle took many, I one day discovered an advertisement, which to my morbid fancy seemed sent by fate especially to me. А

young lady was wanted to take charge of the education of a boy of eleven years. Upon reading this advertisement, I immediately sat down and wrote a letter, offering my services.

By return mail I received a note acknowledging the receipt of mine, and stating that as I was the only applicant and my testimonials satisfactory, I was accepted.

I informed my uncle of my good fortune. He received the news with a gruff approval, adding that he hoped I would do well, as I could expect no further pecuniary aid from him than would be sufficient to carry me there.

My emotions, as I packed my little trunk on that memorable Saturday, were of a mixed character; but pleasure predominated. Hope beckoned me on; and the sadness attendant on breaking loose from the unfriendly home in which I had lived so long was but transitory.

Monday morning saw me seated composedly in the rail-coach on the way to “Bristed Hall," my destination. Towards nightfall we stopped at a station in a desolate, sparsely-inhabited district. My road diverging here, I hurried out, and the long train which connected me with my past life sped out of sight.

Drawing my veil closely to my face to hide a few

falling tears, I looked around the desolate waitingroom, to see if any fellow-creature was expecting me. As I did so a heavy, thumping footstep sounded upon the platform, and a surly voice inquired:

“Are you Miss Reef?” accompanying the question by a slight pull at my shawl.

Turning, I beheld a deformed little man with long arms and a high back, awaiting my answer to his question. I summoned courage to ask:

“Were you sent for Miss Reef ?

“Yes,” he replied, “I am Mr. Bristed's man. He told me to drive here and fetch home a Miss Reef if you are that person, miss!” touching his hat with an effort at politeness.

“I am," I answered, and without further ado we proceeded to the carriage, which he had left waiting at the rear platform.

The evening air was chilly, for it was quite sunset. Drawing my shawl around me, I ensconced myself in a corner of the vehicle, and watched the fading landscape with stolid indifference to whatever might befall me.

We drove on thus for a good hour and a half, halting at length before a dark, massy object, the form of which my dozy eyes could not discern. However, it proved to be Bristed Hall.

I emerged from the carriage and passed up the steps to an open door which, at the pausing of our carriage wheels, had been set ajar. An old woman, the feminine counterpart of my sulky driver, stood in the dimly-lighted passage-way to receive me. She vouchsafed me but a grum welcome, but I felt al

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