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|The beauty of humility|
|A present from Colin McGregor|
|Off to China|
|Colin's home is "the Jessamine...|
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Front Cover 1
Front Cover 2
My new chapter
Two pieces of information
The beauty of humility
A present from Colin McGregor
Off to China
Colin's home is "the Jessamines"
too absurd. Gives the whole of it a flavour,
for me, of sugared bread and butter and bad
Hush," muttered Donald, warningly.
"The lodge door is open. Someone may
hear you ;and ridicule, as you are well
aware, is a crime that does not easily obtain
"Humph," growled Mr. Colin, with another
shake of his handsome head. Humph! If
folks don't relish it they should take more
heed not to excite it. 'The Jessamines,'
forsooth. Just the sort of name to suit a girl
made up of nerves and selfishness. It's a
downright shame to give it to a fine old
country-seat like this."
Two PIECES OF INFORMATION.
HE Jessamines," in spite of Mr.
McGregor's disapproval as to
its name, was as delightful a
country home as ever it was the
happy fortune of children to be
b brought up in. Mr. Burdon
had taken the place on a long lease, when
his eldest child, the dark-eyed, grave young
daughter, Jessamine, was only a year old,
and since then the family had lived there
almost entirely, with the exception of the
hard-working father himself, who had to
spend most of the daylight, at any rate, of
six days in every week in his London office.
" THE JESSAMINES."
Jessamine, the maiden after whom the
pleasant home had been named by a very
young mother, was of so thoughtful and
studious a turn of mind that some of the
family friends declared they believed, not
only that she had never been seen to laugh,
but that she really did not know how to do
anything so frivolous. But however the
matter might be with her, there was no lack
of merriment about the place, for she had
seven brothers and sisters, whose sunny faces
very seldom reflected the soft shadows that
so generally rested upon her own.
Five of these said brothers and sisters were
gathered beneath the spreading branches of
a splendid beech tree at one side of the house,
when the two strangers came in sight. Mrs.
Burdon was also of the party, enjoying out-
door air beneath the leafy screen, and on
perceiving the approach of visitors she laid
down' the needlework with which she had
been busy, and went forward to meet them.
Go on, Molly; mother won't mind," said
fifteen-year old Jack, impatiently, to a fair-
haired girl of seventeen, who had been
reading aloud one of the Waverley Novels,
"TtH JE StAMINE ."
By GRACE STEBBING.
SAY, Colin, what a jolly-looking
old place," exclaimed a young
man one afternoon to a com-
And passing his hand through
s5 his friend's arm the speaker held
him back a few hundred yards from the
entrance to a broad carriage drive, leading
up to a fine old country house ; one of those
I -- __-
buildings that add to the beauty of the scenery
in which they are placed, instead of destroying
it, as is so much the case with the buildings
of the present day.
The second of the pedestrians took a good
long, steady gaze at the view before him,
then at the surroundings on either hand, and
finally nodded his head with a calm air of
Yes, Donald," he said coolly, as far as
the place itself is concerned, I don't mind
confessing that my senior partner might
have given us an introduction to a less
His companion laughed, and turning, took
the unenthusiastic individual by the shoulders,
and gave him a good shaking. At least, such
it appeared to be to a round, shocked pair
of blue eyes that witnessed the proceedings
through a gap in the neighboring hedge.
But Donald knew nothing of that small third
party, and, having administered his dose of
punishment, he released his friend with a
second laugh, and said:
There, you wretched fellow, has that
warmed you up a bit? I wish I had been by
when you paid your first visit to Niagara. I
fully expect that your first observation was,
'Ah really, it's not so bad.' "
Colin McGregor bit his lips for a moment
before answering, You ought to have lived
in the middle ages, Don; your guessing
powers would surely have earned you the
honour of being put to death for a wizard.
Those are the very words I did make use of
to express my admiration."
Donald flung back his head with a sort of
snort of indignation, and threw out his hands
However, Colin might be calm of spirit, as
befitted a canny Scotchman, but he was like-
wise as quick of movement as befitted one of
the cleverest deerstalkers that his country
possessed. To the small, unsuspected
watcher's heartfelt thankfulness, one bound
took him instantly far enough from the present
Thanks, my dear fellow," he said mock-
ingly. No more of that just yet, if it's all
the same to you. When I wish my head
set wagging, I prefer to wind up the
" THE JESSAMINES."
And then, stepping back to each other's
side, the two resumed their walk towards the
house before them.
Colin McG-regor and Donald Jamieson
were first cousins, the sons of two sisters, and
from their childhood up to this day there had
never come a cloud between their affection
for each other, in spite of the utter unlikeness
of their characters and pursuits.
A year or so before the commencement of
this history, Donald Jamieson had finished
his articles, and become junior partner in a
flourishing firm of solicitors, and within a
little of the same time, after an eighteen
months' spell of travelling, Colin McGregor's
father had bought him a partnership with an
influential and highly respected merchant,
doing business chiefly with China and Japan.
Rather as a kind of thing that came, so to
say, in the day's work, than for any purposes
of pleasure or holiday making, Mr. Kynaston
had given his new young partner a letter of
introduction, for himself and his cousin, to
the wife of a gentleman with whom he had
intimate commercial relations.
"Young fellows away from their own
families must have friends," he sensibly
remarked, and," he added with equal truth,
" it is the duty of their elders to take some
little trouble to provide them with good
Accordingly, this letter of introduction to
his own most estimable and true-hearted
friends, Mr. and Mrs. Burdon, was penned,
and delivered one evening to McGregor, and
the following bright July Saturday afternoon
the two cousins took train at Charing Cross,
into the heart of the Surrey hills. They
penetrated still further into that flower-
gemmed heart, in the three-mile walk that
took them to their destination.
As they reached the entrance gates Colin
paused again for a moment, to bestow a
second long scrutinising gaze upon the
picturesque pile of building before him, with
its wealth of Nature's hangings of rose,
ivy, honeysuckle, westeria, and Virginia
"Yes," he said judicially, "yes, I don't
mind admitting that the place is fair enough.
Pity that it has such an idiotically sentimental
name. 'The Jessamines,' indeed It's really
TWO PIECES OF INFORMATION.
when Colin and his friend came as rather
unwelcome interruptions in the midst of an
especially interesting part of the tale.
Go on," said Jack. He was of the age
that cares little enough, as a rule, for visitors
that are known, unless they are very special
friends indeed, and that actually dislikes
visitors that are unknown, from a dawning
consciousness of awkwardness and uncomfort-
able shyness. Following his sister's glance
in their direction for a moment, he quickly
withdrew his eyes, with a scornful toss of the
head, from his contemplation of the good-
looking well-dressed pair.
Well, Molly, I should think you could
find something better to do than to go staring
at a couple of snobs like those. Do go on
with the book."
Molly's pretty ingenuous face blushed
scarlet, and she hastily turned away her eyes
from the strangers, but she did not go on
with the novel, for almost immediately the
mother, having read the letter of introduction,
summoned her on the spot to help her to do
the honours of the hospitable home to the
' THE JESSAMINES."
Scarcely had Molly obeyed the call than
a sixth child, blue-eyed little Charlie, came
flying up to the remainder of the group still
remaining beneath the tree. Bounding to
his eldest brother's side, he pounded his two
small fists eagerly upon his knee.
"Oh, Jack! "
Well ?" was the rather unsympathetic
response. Jack had taken up the book
relinquished by Molly, intending to continue
the tale himself, and now here came the
threatening of another interruption.
But, Jack, it wasn't well at all, I tell you.
It was very bad, I think. Big men like
them," with a nod of his head towards
Jamieson and Colin; only to think of them
fighting out in the lane, Jack. Isn't that
bad enough, don't you think ? "
Jack tossed the book back where the
former reader had left it, for here was news
that really did sound interesting enough to
merit his attention. He looked round again
at his mother's visitors with an air of
surprised excitement, instead of his former
one of listless vexation.
Meantime, whilst Charlie related the scene
TWO PIECES OF INFORMATION.
he had witnessed out of doors, another
narration was being given within the house
respecting the two new-comers to "The
Little Vyvian Burdon had run down to the
lodge with a message from her mother to
tidy, industrious Mrs. Winkworth, who, with
her husband, the butler, had her home
The message delivered, Vyvian was about
to run up the drive again when she caught
sight of strangers at the gates, and shyly
stepped back within the porch to let them
precede her to the house. At the same time
Mr. Colin McGregor made his halt outside
the entrance, and gave vent to his displeasure
at the name of the small but beautifully
The two gentlemen had scarcely been
ushered into the drawing-room when Vyvian
flew into the house, up the stairs two steps
at a time, and tapped at the door of her
eldest sister's own special little sitting-room.
She found her, as usual, deep in study.
Indeed, no one else of the family would have
ventured to intrude upon the quietude of
" THE JESSAMINES."
that apartment. Even privileged Vyvian
was received with no cordial welcome.
"Oh! is it you, Vyvian," said Jessamine,
looking up with a grave, abstracted expres-
sion of face at her companion. I cannot
attend to you now, dear. Run away again
to the others. I am very busy."
Vyvian withdrew the step she had made
into the room, and kept her hand on the
handle of the door. But otherwise she stood
her ground and looked as solemn as her sister.
"Just one minute, Jessamine, please.
Only one minute. But I do think you
ought to know what two very rude
gentlemen there are downstairs with mamma.
At least one of them is rude."
Jessamine dropped the Italian dictionary
with the aid of which she had been studying
some abstruse passage of Dante, and uttered
a hasty ejaculation.
How do you mean rude,' Vyvian? How
can they have been rude Who are they ?
Have they been rude to mamma ? "
No," was the grave reply. Not rude
to mamma. Rude to our house. The tall,
nicest-looking one said that its name was
TWO PIECES OF INFORMATION.
idiotically sentimental, like bread and butter
and bad poetry. And then, though his friend
said, Hush,' he went on that it was a sort of
name to suit a girl made up of nerves and
selfishness. Mustn't he be a dreadfully rude
man, Jessamine! And what does 'nerves'
mean, please ?"
I will tell you another time, dear."
Jessamine's face was turned away from
her sister, and her voice was so strangely
softened from its ordinary tone that Vyvian
felt awed and left the room, little thinking
what a sudden and unexpected awakening she
had left behind her in that quiet study.
THE BEAUTY OF HUMILITY.
NAME just suitable for a girl
made up of nerves and selfish-
ness," murmured Jessamine
Burdon to herself, twenty
minutes after the door had
closed upon little Vyvian.
She still sat with her face
dropped into her hands, as she had let it fall
when her sister left her. Never before
that hour had she been conscious of her true
position in the world, of the true character
which she had chosen to accept for herself.
THE BEAUTY OF HUIJILITY.
The rugged, outspoken young Scotchman,
in throwing contempt upon her beautiful
name, as applied to the fine old mansion and
grounds, had thrown a sudden light upon
her life past and present, as brilliant and
unexpected as the beam of an electric lamp
might be to a Red Indian.
From her childhood upwards the being of
most importance in the world to Jessamine
had been herself. Her serene dignity must
never be ruffled by "the little ones." If
they wished to be in the same room with her
they must be hushed of voice and quiet of
movement. She felt quite glad, instead of
sorry or ashamed, as they all grew older
together, that her presence was felt to be such
a constraint that all but tender-hearted little
Vyvian got into the habit of leaving her
almost entirely alone. As Jack used to say
in his "downright Dunstable fashion-
Jess was anything but fun herself, and
she spoilt the fun of everyone else. She did
away with the want of ices in summer-time,
was a regular wet blanket, and he was sure
that all her poems must be about mist-hidden
rivers and wet pools."
"Are your pools generally dry ones? "
asked Molly, laughing.
What the answer to that question was is
no matter. Jessamine had heard the rest
with rather an angry colour glowing in the
oval cheeks. She had a secret conviction
that her brothers and sisters were too common-
place and prosaic to have any business to
talk about her poems at all, and that they
should dare to laugh at them she considered
an unpardonable piece of presumption.
Jessamine Burdon had long reckoned her-
self talented, clever, intellectual; a poet and
philosopher, and above all, a being somewhat
too dainty and delicate for this rough world
to be able to appreciate. The irreverent
Jack, as being one of the roughest specimens
of the rough world, she pronounced to be
beneath notice, both as regarded himself and
his opinions. But still-but still-those
remarks of his as to wet blankets, and folks
who spoilt other folks' fun, had somehow or
other hooked themselves up on to some of
And there they were now, in this unlooked-
for hour of awakening and self-abasement.
THE BEAUTY OF HUMILITY.
There were Jack's sayings hanging up on
those pegs in her memory, and as distinctly
visible as if they were marked out with
Just the sort of name to suit a girl made
up of selfishness," muttered Jessamine yet
again, with irresistible reiteration.
Then a passing gust of unreasonable anger
against her most loving parents took her.
"Why did they give me such a name?"
she ejaculated, passionately. But the next
instant the sharpness of her voice died
away in a long-drawn, sighing sob.
Although Jessamine was not the universal
genius, she had wished to believe she really
was clever, and by nature honest; far too
honest not to confess that it was she who was
selfish, fanciful, and self-indulgent, and not
She would have written sonnets to her own
dark eyes, and to the glossy waves of her
own abundant hair, just the same if she
had been called Sarah or Jemima, and she
would have been quite as intolerant of the
children's noisy good spirits, and of quite as
little use or comfort in the house.
" THE JESSAMINES.9)
It was no case with the pretty Miss Burdon
of having fitted herself to her circumstances.
It was merely a coincidence that the some-
what fanciful name, chosen by a young
mother of only nineteen years of age, should
have been given to such a fanciful young
It was well, however, for Jessamine that
the coincidence had occurred, otherwise the
long slumber of her conscience would never
have been broken by Colin McGregor's
When we have great works to accomplish,
we, weak, puny-powered creatures that we
are, have to use great means, to tax our
powers and resources to the utmost. It is
all otherwise with the Omnipotent.
"The lord said unto Gideon, The people
that are with thee are too many for Me to
give the Midianites into their hands, lest
Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying,
Mine own hand hath saved me."
The Midianites, and the Amalekites, and
the children of the East, lay along in the
valley like grasshoppers for multitude ; and
their camels were without number.
THE BEAUTY OF HUMILITY.
But Gideon and his handful of an army
were enough for that great host's conquest-
with God's help.
Not all the scoldings, all the teachings, all
the precepts in the world, will avail to turn a
single human being out of an unhealthy path
into a healthy one, without God's help.
Turn to the Almighty in your trouble, pray
to Him in your deep anxiety, and He can
make an unlocked for sentence in a sermon
suffice to draw the wandering soul to His
feet, even a passage in a book taken up care-
lessly, or a few passing words, thrown, as it
were, by the wayside.
The minutes slipped by rapidly, while
Jessamine was deep in reverie and self-
examination. More than an hour and a half
had passed over her head unheeded, when a
second tap came to her door, and once again
little Vyvian broke in half-timidly upon her
sister's solitude. She came with a message
"Papa had come home, and had invited
those gentlemen to spend the evening there.
And mamma would be so glad if Jessamine
could spare time to come down, and play to
" THE JESSAMINES."
them half an hour before dinner. She hoped
she would say 'Yes.'"
Poor, loving mother! For the first time
in her life Jessamine shrank with pain from
the hearing of those added words. All to
well she knew that her mother had good cause
to fear that her daughter's answer would be
"No," instead of "Yes." Vyvian soon
showed that her expectation lay the same
way. She said quietly, and rather as to her-
self than to her companion-
Though I asked you, as mamma told me,
I did not suppose you'd do it. And, of course,
it would be horrid to have to play to that
Jessamine stooped down rather hastily,
and kissed the child's face, whether out of
gratitude for the sympathy, or to hide her own
face for the moment, she did not quite know.
Then she took the small hand in hers, and
leading Vyvian into the other room, said in a
I will come down with you, Vy., dear, if
you will just wait while I dress for dinner.
I shall note long."
Ten minutes later the two sisters entered
THE D13AUTY O RUMILITT.
the drawing-room, to be greeted by an in-
voluntary cry of surprised thankfulness from
Mrs. Burden, and an equally involuntary gaze
of admiration from one of the stranger
Vy. held her sister back for an instant at
the entrance, whispering quickly, with the
accompaniment of a cautious nod of the
"That was the one who said that. The tall
one, over by the window there."
Jessamine raised her eyes, following the
direction of Vyvian's sign, and in so doing
met the look of almost reverent admiration
fixed upon her by Mr. McGregor. She was
really an exceedingly pretty girl, although
hitherto something of superciliousness and
self-consciousness had so greatly marred her
good looks that many people were scarcely
willing to allow she had any. And now, self-
satisfied vanity lay crushed in her heart, the
grace of humility was added to her for the
first time, and she was beautiful.
Mrs. Burdon's first anxious glance at the
opening door deepened into one of a mother's
pardonable gratification as it rested upon
" THE JESSAMINES."
the two fairest members of her flock. There
was a happy ring in her voice as she
Mr. McGregor, let me introduce yet
another of our large party to you. My
eldest daughter, Miss Burdon. Jessamine,
dear, this gentleman is a partner of your
father's old friend, Mr. Kynaston. He tells
me that music is his chief relaxation from
business, and, in your name, I have been
promising him some of Chopin's waltzes, and
an air from 'Lohengrin.' Will you play to
Jessamine bent her head, and walked across
to the piano with unusual readiness. As her
mother uttered her name a burning blush
had suffused her cheeks, and she had hastily
lifted her downcast eyes with an irresistible
impulse, to the visitor, in time to see him start
slightly, and an answering flush come upon
his countenance, somewhat to Mrs. Burden's
"The name of our home and the name of
our daughter, you see, is the same, Mr,
McGregor," she said with a smile. "In fact
my indulgent husband let me name the one
THE BEAUTY OF HUMILITY.
after the other. Nowadays, mychoice would
have been very different."
McGregor's face flushed again, in spite
of all his efforts, as he replied, rather
"Oh! but that-that-would have been
a pity. The name is such a beautiful one,
and-and-so suitable to-to- Miss-."
"Just so," interrupted Jack from his place
in the other window, where he stood improving
a rapidly growing friendship with Donald
Jamieson. Just so, Mr. McGregor. You've
hit the right nail on the head. A fanciful
name to suit a fanciful dame. Jess is our
poetess, you know. Perhaps, if you ask her
prettily enough, she will let you read some of
the lofty and elegant productions of her
flowing pen. You will, won't you, Jess,
though you won't let me? "
Impudent Master Jack got no answer to
his question. But, between him and agitating
thoughts, his sister did not do her usual
justice to the considerable musical talent she
possessed. However, it mattered little on
this occasion, for, owing to agitating thoughts
on his side, the listener for whom she had
28 "THE JESSAMINES."
been asked to perform did not do his usual
justice to his talent for musical criticism, and
he declared, and fully believed, that Miss
Burdon played more exquisitely on that
occasion than any amateur he 'had ever heard
A PRESENT FROM COLIN MCGREGOR.
OME months had gone by since
the summer afternoon when Colin
McGregor first presented his letter
of introduction at "The Jessa-
mines." He and his cousin had
become fast friends with the
Burdon family. The only two
between whom a sort of impalpable iciness still
existed were Colin himself and Jessamine,
although, perhaps, in heart they were closer
together than any of the others.
A great work had been going on for
Jessamine; a good one, and a blessed one for
her, but the great proof of its thoroughness
was that the more it grew, the deeper grew
her own self-abasement and insight into her
many failings. And she was doubly pain-
stricken with the belief that the one whom
she had learnt to esteem so highly, and whose
good opinion she would have so gladly won,
saw her with her own hard-judging eyes.
One spring day, bright, and fresh, and
delightful, the two friends were expected to
spend the afternoon with the Burdons.
Jessamine had, as usual, been looking for-
ward to the meeting with mingled feelings of
joy and reluctance, but her disappointment
was altogether paramount when Jamieson
Unable to keep back the starting tears, she
flew into the house before he had caught
sight of her, and hid herself in her room.
Thither, a minute or so later, Vyvian followed
her, with a face bright and glowing with
"Oh, Jessamine, do make haste and come
down. Mr. McGregor has sent you such a
dear, delightful, queer sort of a present-a
nest of little owls. He said owls are the
A PRESENT FROM COLIN MCGREGOR. 31
birds of the Goddess of Wisdom, and so just
the proper things for you. And they are, are
How cruel of him to take them," said
Jessamine, with a half sob (for the poor little
owls, Yy. supposed, and she hastened to
relieve her sister's feelings) :-
Oh, no, Jessamine; Molly said that. But
they found the mother lying dead by the road
side, that is why they took the nest. Do come
down : they are all looking at the little crea-
tures, mamma and auntie, and all."
SUR last chapter ended with Vyvian's
eager entreaty to come and
receive the peculiar gift which
Mr. McGregor had sent by his
Long ago little Vy. had for-
given McGregor for his criti-
cisms upon the name Jessamine, and
he was now one of her most especial
favourites. With her usual warm-hearted-
ness she was always praising his many virtues
and good qualities to others, but chiefly she
showed a particular desire that Jejsamine
should bestow approval where she had given
her's in such unstinting measure.
It was nice of him to send the little owls
to you especially, wasn't it, Jessamine? she
said, coaxingly. If he had sent them to any
of us, you know, Jessie, it would have been
natural enough, because we all make so much
of him. But you aren't very kind to him
ever, are you ? "
Miss Burdon turned to her innocent young
questioner with a sudden burst of tears. I
am horrid and disagreeable, and pedantic to
everybody,Vyvian; I know that well enough.
I am never kind to anyone. And now I have
made you cry, poor child."
That was true enough. Partly from be-
wilderment at her sister's emotion, and partly
from sympathy, the little maiden was sobbing
heartily. But it was only a summer shower
with her, and as Jessamine gathered her into
her arms, and on to her lap, sobs gave way
to words. She laid her cheek against that
other, down which the tears were still flow-
ing, and whispered with anxious consolation :
" But, Jessie, don't cry, please don't. You
are so 'lnuch kinder now than you used to be.
" THE JESSAMINES."
Mamma says so too. I don't believe you are
obliged to be kind to Mr. McGregor if you
There was a strong quiver in the arm that
was around her as she uttered those last
words, and an unspoken cry, "But I do like,"
by way of unguessed answer.
When Vyvian returned to the garden
party, a few minutes later, she took with her
the information that Jessamine was sorry not
to come down, but she had a headache, and
she would be much obliged if someone else
might have the owlets to take care of.
Jack shrugged his shoulders. "Humph! "
he ejaculated, with contemptuous indignation.
"Just like Jess, that is, to throw a fellow's
present back at him."
Mrs. Burdon took her boy to task some-
what severely for his sharp speech. But
unfortunately for the immediate happiness of
two people, someone else had heard it as well
as those to whom it was immediately spoken.
When Jessamine saw Donald Jamieson
coming up the drive alone she had hastily
concluded that the second of their expected
visitors had broken his engagement to them.
But lie had only stayed to pay a call on some
acquaintances on his way, sending the little
owls by Donald as his harbinger.
Attracted by the sound of voices, he came
round to the orchard entrance just as Jack's
exclamation rang out, for anyone to hear who
was within reach of his voice. At the same
time Jamieson caught sight of his friend.
Colin," he said to him, what shall I do
with these poor little wide-mouthed brutes ?
Miss Molly would like to have them. May
I hand them over to her ? "
Certainly," replied Colin, with a stiff bow,
as he reached the group. Certainly, I shall
feel obliged to Miss Molly if she will thus
charitably relieve me of a rejected gift, and
a troublesome one. It was pity for the
miserable little creatures that led me to try
turning them over to some one who, I
thought, might show them kindness."
It was unfortunate for poor, sore-hearted
Jessamine that she did not learn this last
piece of information. Meantime she sat
solitary in that upstairs study, her head
bowed upon her hands on the writing table,
which had been so much less used of late,
except as a leaning post for her elbow while
she meditated upon the failings of her past
life, and fell into day dreams of happiness for
Those said day-dreams had been growing
very distinct as the spring advanced. During
more than one of these recent Saturday after-
noons she had caught herself chatting in
quite an at-home and confidential way with
Mr. Kynaston's young partner. And she
had sometimes ventured of late to hope that
he did not, after all, regard her as one wholly
undeserving of esteem.
"*If it had only been otherwise,' she
moaned, with the hot tears scalding her eyes;
" if I had only held myself back from liking
him as I did at first, this hard scorn would
not hurt so terribly."
Yes; it was even so. Colin McGregor
and Jessamine Burdon fell into a mistake as
to each other's motives, and so made them-
selves utterly wretched. Colin had sent the
nest of helpless little birds in the true lover's
spirit of perfect trust in his lady-love's sym-
pathy with his wishes, and her womanly
powers and tender-heartedness. Her refusal
to accept the charge was a bitter blowto him.
He instantly took it as a refusal of himself as
well as of his gift; and he was naturally con-
firmed in his supposition when he found that
Miss Burdon absented herself from his society
throughout the day, on the plea of a head-
On the other hand, Jessamine was torment-
ing herself with the torturing assurance that
if Mr. McGregor had cared for her the least
scrap in the world, he would never have
treated her with open ridicule and con-
It is just the sort of thing Jack might
have done," she muttered, with mingled
sorrow and indignation, "to send me owls
with that message about Minerva and their
appropriateness, by way of laughing at my
studies and my writing."
Meantime Donald and Molly turned into
the orchard to find food for the nestlings.
"Molly," said Donald, laughing, "Miss
Molly, I begin to feel sorry that I have passed
those clamouring scraps of vitality over to
Molly echoed the laugh as she lifted her
bright eyes innocently to his face. How is
that ?" she asked.
Because I am jealous," came the answer,
with a sudden softening of the voice, and an
earnest questioninggaze, before which Molly's
white eyelids drooped, and the rose deepened
in the cheeks to the tint of her favourite
It had never entered her mind to think of
merry, good-humoured Donald as a lover.
They had been so free, and frank, and happy
together ever since that very first summer
afternoon, when he appeared at The Jessa-
mines," that she regarded him in the light of
a very kind, delightful extra brother; quite
as easy to get on with as Jack, and ever so
much more sensible than that rough diamond
of a schoolboy, and more agreeable and
"But I am not an extra Jack, and don't
want to be," expostulated Jamieson, when
Molly had managed to stammer out her view
of the matter.
Molly bent her face still lower over the nest,
and stroked the owlets with some very
"Molly very sharply.
"Yes," very shyly.
"Just listen to me, Molly. If you'll only
have me as an extra Jack, you shan't have
me at all, for I'll go right away from you
this minute, and never come near you
Molly did look up once more now, with an
irrepressible little frightened gasp which
quite delighted her barbarous listener, and
she would assuredly have dropped those
unfortunate small birds had not another
hand come to the rescue by helping her to
Ten minutes later Jack came dashing into
the orchard, in his usual headlong fashion,
and was brought up short by the pair he saw
before him. For a moment or less his breath
seemed taken away, but he was an individual
not usually wanting in self-possession.
Quickly recovering himself he clapped his
hands together, with a report something like
a small pistol going off, and shouted--
Hurrah! You're spooning. I always
knew it would come to that. Don't disturb
yourselves. Mother sent me to call you in to
C. THE JESSAMINES."
afternoon tea, but I will tell her that you are
far above the region of such vanities."
And, with that obliging assurance of his
determination to take upon himself the duties
of unauthorised herald, brother Jack hastily
decamped, leaving Molly to regain com-
posure and her natural complexion as best
For the next half-hour she felt as if the
remainder of her life would decidedly have
to be passed in the orchard, seeing that she
would never be able to summon up courage
enough to meet the number of expectant
eyes awaiting her indoors. Even Jamieson
felt that he would rather have been the teller
of his own piece of news, and have told it in
his own time and way.
But never mind. They got over it, and
were very soon proof against all Jack's most
desperate attempts at teazing,to such a degree
that he actually gave them up.
OFF TO CHINA.
IGHT o'clock breakfast, with its
accompaniment of the morning
letters. The whole family of
the Burdons gathered together
around the table. To-morrow
Jack would be off to school again,
for this was the last day of his
three weeks' Easter holidays, and it was to be
spent in a pic-nic excursion to the Hazel-
copse woods. Donald Jamieson had
promised, when he left on that just-past
memorable Saturday, that he would get his
partner to do without him this Wednesday,
and join them.
"And you will come also, Mr. McGregor;
pray do," asked Mrs. Burdon, with her usual
" THE JESSAMINES."
Colin bowed his acknowledgments, but
before he could make any verbal reply his
cousin turned with a smile-
Of course he will come also, Mrs. Burdon.
I shall bring him."
But positive as Donald's promise sounded,
it was not fulfilled. Wednesday's first post
brought a letter from McGregor to Mrs.
Burdon, short but important. Having read
it over to herself, more than once, she read
it aloud for the information of her husband
and children :-
MY DEAR MRS. BURDON,-- must ask
you, of your kindness, to forgive my non-
appearance at 'The Jessamines' to-morrow
with Donald. When I tell you that I am
leaving England, on business to China, a
week hence, you will easily understand that I
have much to see to in the interval, and many
arrangements to make.
"With many thanks for the great
hospitality extended to me by you and Mr.
"I remain, sincerely yours,
OFF TO CHINA.
"How awfully jolly to be going off on
travels like that!" ejaculated Jack, enviously.
How strange that he said no word to any
of us of these plans of his when he was here
on Saturday," said Mr. Burden, in a rather
Does he complain of feeling ill? asked
Mrs. Burdon, with friendly anxiety. Donald
shrugged his shoulders.
"Something has put him out most fright-
fully, though what it is passes my powers to
However, one guest having failed them
was no reason for letting the picnic arrange-
ments fall through. Jack was thoroughly
disgusted with Colin.
But if he won't come,we can't make him,"
he sagely remarked; and then, singing at
top pitch of his voice, Britons never shall
be slaves," he bounded off on a series of
frantic rushes up and down over the house,
urging upon everybody the necessity of haste,
and gathering the party together in the
dining-room ready for the start to the
The only one of the family who eluded all
his vigilant seeking for a long time was
"I think I saw Miss Burdon going into the
garden-room directly after breakfast, Master
Jack," said one of the housemaids.
Why couldn't you tell me that before ?"
was the impetuous exclamation, as he dashed
down the stairs again. Then he went softly,
with the amiable intention of rewarding his
sister for giving him such a long hunt, by
pouncing upon her, sort of wild-beast fashion.
But his purpose received an unexpected check.
Cautiously opening the door of the garden-
room, he peeped in, and, lo and behold! there
was the object of his search surely enough. But
he felt no inclination to rush in upon her. His
dignified sister was crouched,"all of a heap,"
as he expressed it, on the floor, the nest of
owlets in her lap, and a white face and a pair
of red swollen eyes bent over them.
Oh, Colin," moaned the quivering lips,
"how could you be so cruel I know I am
silly, and selfish, and vain, as Jack says, but
you might at least-at least have said good-
And then the bitter sobbing began again,
OFF TO CHINA. 45
and Jack closed the door more cautiously
than he had opened it, and flew away into the
orchard for a minute, to get rid of an
uncomfortable lump in his throat. He found
out suddenly that he did care for poor
OLLY BURDON'S engagement
was just a week old, and she
was beginning to venture upon
doubts as to its prudence.
Not prudent of you, you
mean," said Donald Jamieson,
"to throw yourself away on a fellow like
But Molly shook her head vigorously,
" I'm not worth such a deal of love as you
give me, and you will soon find that out."
a- --~-~C~-~- I---
Shall I ? was the reply. Well, mean-
time, I wish we were living in the old days of
chivalry, when ladies gave their knights
doughty deeds to perform for them, as tests
of their depth of affection. You should
order me into the lions' den after your glove,
if you would, and never fear but I would,
bring it, and myself besides, in all humble-
ness to your feet."
Molly sighed rather heavily. I wish,
"What do you wish?" was the eager
question. "Tell me, pray; you know how
gladly I will accomplish it."
But Molly sighed again. You promise
too quickly. The task that Jack and I would
like to give you is a yet harder one than that
of jumping Into a lion's den. If only you
could bring back Mr. McGregor to Jessamine,
Donald interrupted her hastily. "Why,
Molly, what do you mean ? I fully believe it
to be your sister's fault that he has vexed us
all by going off to China like this."
"That may be, and I don't understand the
affair at all. But at the same time I know
that Jessy is almost breaking her heart for
And that was all poor Molly could say.
But in the midst of her own happiness she
found sympathy enough to grieve for her
sister's suffering, the cause of which Jack
had imparted to her in confidence before he
went back to school.
Sorrow is good for some people, happiness
for others. Our Heavenly Father knows
how to apportion them. Molly's character
ripened and softened in life's sunshine ; she
was not strong enough to stand firm in
storms; they would have overwhelmed her
in her girlhood. But with her sister this was
Jessamine Burdon had never known what
it was before to feel her own utter helpless-
ness to help herself, her own utter help-
lessness to bear herself with outward
indifference to circumstances, her own utter
helplessness to mould them to her will, or
It is difficult to imagine any other trial
than this especial one that had now come
upon her, that would have been so useful and
so swift in breaking the stiffness of her
Hitherto, the family, the servants of her
home, and all such friends as she had vouch-
safed to care for, had bent more or less
willingly to her will, and she had received so
much admiration and homage from gentlemen
visitors at The Jessamines," that she had
stung many an honest heart with her super-
Her own time had come at last, although
Colin McGregor was the innocent instrument
of her punishment, and had, unfortunately,
to suffer almost as much as he inflicted.
Donald was so sore on his cousin's account
that he found it difficult at first to spare any
pity for his future sister-in-law.
"Besides," as he said to Molly, by way of
comfort for her, I daresay the moody looks
that trouble you so much are only due to a fit
of sulks, or to some fresh poetical inspiration."
Molly shook her head again, and ran off to
obey a summons from her mother. Donald
sauntered across the garden to where Miss
Burdon was making herself unusually busy
gathering flowers for the dinner-table.
Miss Burdon," he began, in a light, off-
hand tone; Miss Burdon, when I saw Colin
off yesterday, he told mehe would be touching
at several ports on the voyage out, and that
he should expect to find letters from me at
them all. Please help me to make my
epistles worth the postage by giving me
some of your poems to enclose."
Jessamine opened her lips once, twice, to
answer, before she could force any sound from
between them, while her companion watched
her closely. At last she said with an effort:
"You are laughing at me; still, I would
give you some if I had any left."
The young Scotchman uttered a short
laugh, and raised his eyebrows in very plain
token of incredulity.
Any left, Miss Burdon! what may those
words mean ? Are all the efforts of genius
sent to the printers, or have they been self-
wafted to the skies ? "
Again a moment's pause, while the pale oval
cheeks flushed to a rich crimson, and then the
reply came, with a mingling in its tone of
pain and defiance-
It is the truth that I have none left. I
burnt everything that I could find that I have
ever written yesterday afternoon."
Her companion's scoffing expression died
away as he listened.
"Burnt them all?" he ejaculated, with
joint wonder and regret. Oh! Miss
Jessamine, how could you do that-why did
you do it ?"
She lifted her eyes to his face--weary eyes,
with dark lines under them.
I had grown tired of being laughed at."
And with that low-spoken, simple answer
she turned away, and carried her flowers
Donald Jamieson went in search of Molly.
She was not far off, and her clear voice
singing My heart is in the Highlands,"
served as a guide to her whereabouts.
Well, birdie," he said gravely, "I grant
you are right. She does care for him. Why
in the world could they not speak out fairly,
as you and I have done, instead of spoiling
each other's life like this."
The tears sprang into the sympathetic blue
"Oh! Donald, don't say 'spoilt,' pray.
Surely they are not spoilt for once and
always ; are they, do you think ? "
Donald pushed up his hair from off his
"Nay, Molly, I should not have used such
a strong word as that. God can make
what seems bad to us work round for good.
Certainly a change for the better seems to
have come over your sister, and as for
Colin, greatly as I love him, I certainly
would not venture to say that he would
not make a more agreeable husband with
a measure of his dogmatism worn out of
him, and some of his sharp angles rubbed
down. It has been with him pretty much as
it has been with your sister. What he has
wished for, hitherto,he has generally obtained,
without finding stumbling stones to surmount
in his path up to it. No, no; after all I
begin to think that this misunderstanding,
whatever it may be, may serve to promote
the improving, instead of the spoiling, -of
their prospects as well as of their tempers;
so just cheer up, birdie, if you please,
and hope for the best."
Given-a girl in her eighteenth year, with
a particularly sunny disposition, and a very
much beloved new lover, and perhaps it is
not necessary to say that Molly's tears soon
gave way to smiles before Donald's consola-
But you will write and let Mr. McGregor
know, won't you ?" she whispered some
hours later, as they bade each other good
night in the porch.
He bent over her smiling.
Well, birdie, I must take care what
I do. They are both touchy mortals, you
remember, and folks don't take kindly to
interference with them in affairs of this sort,
SMolly pouted, or pretended to.
"Then they must just do the other thing,
for if you won't interfere with them, I will,
sir, so there now. I don't think it can be
right to leave people to be miserable when
they might be happy."
"You are a very brave damsel in speech,
lady fair. If you don't take care, I will take
you at your word, and leave you to tackle
this delicate business as you can. I wonder
54 THE JESSAMINES."
what sort of a letter you would write to
Colin ? "
"Tell him I did not know what to do
without him, and was longing for him home
again," was the prompt and mischievous
reply. Donald thought then that, on the
whole, he would rather write the letter
COLIN'S HOME IS "THE JESSAMINES."
GOOD-LOOKING young man
and a very pretty girl standing
together on the seashore on the
south coast, not far from Wey-
mouth. We have seen them both
before, farther east, several times
some months ago.
Molly, dear," said the young man,
breaking a rather long silence between them;
" do you remember, Molly, my wishing, that
Saturday following our engagement-day, that
the old age of chivalry still survived, so that
you might give me some difficult task to
accomplish for you, by which to prove my
Molly Burden lifted her eyes quickly from
the pebbles at her feet to the speaker's face,
and clasped her hands with a sudden little
eager gesture of mingled longing and hope.
Remember?" she echoed, in a low tone.
"Ah! truly I should think I do remember.
And I remember, too, that I told you what
would be the task I should give you, only too
thankfully, if that were the case."
Donald Jamieson bent his head lower, and
took possession of the pair of folded hands.
Molly, I accepted your task as though
it had been imposed, and I have accomplished
A still more eager, startled look came into
Ah! Donald dear, don't let me begin to
hope again if there is no hope. You told me
last autumn not to speak to you any more on
the subject; and, indeed, it was only pain to
us both, since he would not answer any of
your letters at all."
COLIN'S HOME IS "THE JESSAMINES." 57
He never got them until the very eve of
returning home again. They always reached
every port just after he had left, and had to
be forwarded from place to place. I saw
him in town this morning, and had a long
talk with him He walked with me to Charing
"And would not come down with you? "
said Molly, still afraid to let herself entertain
any hope of what she wished.
Donald shook his head at her.
Faithless little mortal! He hopes to run
down here before night. Suppose we go
back to the villa, and tell your mother."
And picking up a couple of small pails of
marine treasures, for the stocking of an
aquarium, the pair paced slowly back to a
pretty seaside residence, which the Burdons
had taken for the summer months chiefly on
account of Master Jack, who had managed to
"go in for a broken leg during his past
term at school.
The young gentleman had proved rather a
restive patient at first, but by degrees the
supposed indolent fine lady of the family,
Jessamine, had unobtrusively insinuated
herself into the position of head nurse,
and the warmest possible sympathy and
love had sprung up between the two.
Long before Jack was well enough to be
moved down to the seaside, he had declared
Really, it was rather jolly, on the whole,
to be ill, with Jess for a fellow's white
Jess," he asked one day, "don't you
manage to make up an awful lot of poems
while you are sitting by me when I am
Jessy shook her head.
"No," she answered, with a quiet smile.
" No, I make up none; I read Longfellow's
'living poems' nowadays, instead. I knew
little enough of them before."
There was a short pause, and then Jack
suddenly put up his hand, and pulled his
sister's head down close to his mouth,
"Oh! Jess, I wish that idiot McGregor
knew what you really are, as I do now."
An involuntary low, startled cry was his
sister's reply, as she snatched herself from
COLIN'S HOME IS "THE JESSAMINES." 59
the clinging clasp. She had never known
before that her secret had been so well
She ran away out of the room, just as the
man-servant came to help her brother down
to the pleasant sitting-room for the afternoon.
There Jack and his mother were soon joined
by Molly and Donald Jamieson; and pretty
Vyvian, with flying feet and flying hair, came
after them into the family gathering-place,
with a great dish in her hands, into which
sea anemones, seaweeds, mussels, star-fish,
&c., were soon emptied together, in eager
SWell," said Donald at last, after having
told his news to Mrs. Burdon, and con-
gratulated Jack on his rapidly improving
convalescence; "well,Vy,while you and Molly
decide which of those wonders you will adopt
as ornaments when you are transformed into
mermaids, I will go to the railway-station,
and try to learn what time we may probably
expect Cousin Coll."
But meantime, while he was away on his
journey of discovery, the said Cousin Coll
appeared at the villa, and, having to pass
the open sitting-room window on his way to
the house door, he took up at once again with
the old happy, free and easy habits of" The
Jessamines," and, laying his hand on the
sill, he vaulted over it, and stood once more
in the midst of the circle of friends
whom he held dearer than any others upon
Jessamine, in her room above, heard the
glad cry of greeting bestowed upon the new
arrival, and supposing it announced her
father, she flew downstairs, and the next
minute stood transfixed with wonder, in the
"You?" she gasped, scarcely knowing
what she said.
He stepped up to her, and clasped both her
trembling hands in his.
"Yes; it is I," he said in low, earnest
tones. Are you sorry, or are you glad ? "
It was so difficult to speak just then-so
difficult to give a reply. He waited for one
a few moments, and then his own hands
began to tremble too, and he muttered-
Ah say you are glad. Pray, pray do! "
His agitation helped hers to grow less. A
COLIN'S HOME 1S THE JESSAMINES." 61
timid smile flitted over her beautiful face,
with the two simple, honest words of con-
"I am! "
Not many months after that there was a
double wedding at The Jessamines," graced
by a sentiment very openly expressed by
It was a most horrid shame of fellows to
come and steal a fellow's sisters just when a
fellow had learnt how jolly they could be, and
how jolly it was to have them." At the end
of the McGregors' honeymoon, Colin took
his wife home to a well-built, comfortable
little suburban villa, on the stone gate-posts
of which was carved The Jessamines."
You see one could not possibly have a
prettier name for a house than that," he said,
with calm forgetfulness of certain sayings of
his belonging to past times.
ufitabit for present iriteS,
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