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The Old Helmet. Volume II
Susan Warner


"Duties?"

"Have you not things that it is your duty to do? – or not to do?"

"Studies!" said Julia. "But I don't like them."

"For Jesus' sake?"

Julia burst into tears. Eleanor's tone was so loving and gentle, it reached the memories that had been slumbering.

"How can I do them for him, Eleanor?" she asked, half perversely still.

"'Whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.' So he has told us."

"But my studies, Eleanor? how can I?"

"Who gave you the opportunity, Julia?"

"Well – I know."

"Well, if God has given you the opportunity, do you think he means it for nothing? He has work for you to do, Julia, some time, for which you will want all these things that you have a chance of learning now; if you miss the chance, you will certainly not be ready for the work."

"Why, Eleanor! – that's funny."

"What is it?"

"Why I never thought of such a thing."

"What did you think?"

"I thought I had French and German to study, for instance, because everybody else learned French and German. I did not think there was any use in it."

"You forgot who had given you them to learn."

"No, mamma would have it. Just her notion. Papa didn't care."

"But dear Julia, you forget who has made it your duty to please mamma's notions. And you forget who it is that has given you your place in the world. You might have been born in poverty, with quite other lessons to learn, and quite other work in the world."

"You talk just as queer as if you were Mr. Rhys himself," said Julia. "I never heard of such things. Do you suppose all the girls who are learning French and German at school – all the girls in England – have the same sort of work to do? that they will want it for?"

"No, not all the same. But God never gives the preparation without the occasion."

"Then suppose they do not make the preparation?"

"Then when the occasion comes, they will not be ready for it. When their work is given them to do, they will be found wanting."

"It's so queer!" said Julia.

"What?"

"To think such things about lessons."

"You may think such things about everything. Whatever God gives you, he gives you to use in some way for him."

"But how can I possibly know how, Eleanor?"

"Come to me in the mornings, and you and I will try to find out."

"Did you say, I must please all mamma's notions?"

"Certainly – all you can."

"But I like papa's notions a great deal better than mamma's."

"You must try to meet both," said Eleanor smiling.

"I do not like a great many of mamma's notions. I don't think there is any sense in them."

"But God likes obedience, Julia. He has bid you honour mamma and papa.

Do it for him."

"Do you mean to please all mamma's notions?" said Julia sharply.

"All that I can, certainly."

"Well it is one of her notions that Mr. Carlisle should get you to the Priory after all. Are you going to let her? Are you going to let him, I mean?"

"No."

"Then if it is your duty to please mamma's notions, why mustn't you please this one?"

"Because here I have my duty to others to think of."

"To whom?" said Julia as quick as lightning.

"To myself – and to Mr. Carlisle."

"Mr. Carlisle!" said Julia. "I'll be bound he thinks your duty to him would make you do whatever he likes."

"It happens that I take a different view of the subject."

"But Eleanor, what work do you suppose I have to do in the world, that

I shall want French and German for? real work, I mean?"

"I can't tell. But I know now you have a beautiful example to set?"

"Of what? learning my lessons well?"
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