• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 The crimson primroses
 The sighing wind
 The rustling leaves
 The Christmas roses
 Back Cover






Title: The Old lady's childhood
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002129/00001
 Material Information
Title: The Old lady's childhood
Physical Description: 80 p. : ; 12 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cleaver, William Jones ( Publisher )
Richards, Thomas ( Printer )
Publisher: W.J. Cleaver
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Richards
Publication Date: 1851
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1851   ( local )
Chapbooks -- 1851   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' paper bindings (Binding) -- 1851   ( rbbin )
Bldn -- 1851
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
Chapbooks   ( rbgenr )
Publishers' paper bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
General Note: Publisher's advertisement on p. 4 of cover.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002129
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002447106
oclc - 45585464
notis - AMF2360
 Related Items
Other version: Alternate version (PALMM)
PALMM Version

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
    The crimson primroses
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    The sighing wind
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    The rustling leaves
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    The Christmas roses
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text




THE


OLD LADY'S CHILDHOOD.







THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.
THE SIGHING WIND.
THE RUSTLING LEAVES.
THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.








LONDON:

W. J CLEAVER, 46 PICCADILLY.
|MDCCC'LI.
31OCL








THE


OLD LADY'S CHILDHOOD.







THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES,
THE SIGHING WIND.
THE RUSTLING LEAVES.
THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.








LONDON:

W. J. CLEAVER, 46 PICCADILLY.
MDCCCLI.































RICHARDS,
100 ST. MARTIN'S LANE.
















THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.












THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.



"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love."

IF my little readers saw the Old Lady who
is now beginning to write to them, I dare
say they could hardly think that she remem-
bers anything about the days when she was a
little child like themselves; it must be so very
long ago!
I shall begin by telling them what they
would see if they came into the room where
I am now writing. It is a bright cheerful
little room, and the morning sun was shining
in with such a glare, that the Old Lady has
caused the white blinds of her windows to be





6 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


drawn down. It is a mild Spring day, but
a small fire is lighted here, because old
people are chilly, and do not feel the heat as
young children do, who are running about.
A large grey cat is sitting on the hearth-rug,
winking its eyes at the fire. I do not make
a pet of this cat myself, for I never liked to
have animals in my room. I have had too
many dear children and grandchildren about
me during the greater part of my life, to have
any time to think of making pets of animals.
But this grey pussy is the favourite of my
old maid, Martha. She and I have grown
old together, and I let pussy wander about
the house to please Martha. You would see
on the table in this room two glasses filled
with flowers, primroses and cowslips, and
other sweet children of the Spring; for I love
flowers, and Martha always contrives to fill
my glasses from a small garden, that you





THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


would see at the back of the house, if one of
those white blinds were drawn up.
I do not think that you would notice any
thing else in the room; for although there
are some books lying about, they are quiet
and grave-looking; not such books as you
would think of opening. You might observe
a picture that hangs above the chimney-piece
It is a picture of a little baby-boy playing
with a dog. That picture is very dear to
me; and though fifty years have passed since
that baby-boy was laid in his little grave, I
can remember the sweet sounds of his baby-
voice as if I had heard them this day; and
tears still fall from my old eyes when I recall
the sad day that the voice was hushed in
death; for he was my first-born child. God
gave him to me for two short years; and just
when his winning ways were making him
dearer to me every day, it pleased God to





8 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


take him to Himself. I will not write more
about the picture, for I do not desire to sad-
den you, my dear children, with the remem-
brance of the sorrows of my younger days.
I must not forget to describe the Old Lady
herself to you. You would see me sitting in
a large chair near the fire, with a black silk
dress and apron, and a plain white cap tied
under my chin. My hair is white as silver,
and my eyes are growing dim with age, so
that I cannot see to write without spectacles.
I think that you would be very apt to say, as
I told you when I began to write to you, that
surely I could not remember any thing that
took place so long ago as when I was a child.
But when people are very old, they some-
times remember strangely little trifling things
that happened when they were children,
although perhaps during the middle part of
their life they had forgotten much of their






THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


childhood. As I sit quietly here in my chair,
sometimes old scenes of the long-ago time
come suddenly into my memory, and for a
few minutes I could almost fancy myself a
child again. About an hour ago, I happened
to glance at my flowers, and amongst them I
observed a bunch of dark crimson primroses,
and the sight of those little flowers has re-
called one particular day of my childhood so
vividly, that I have seemed to live it over
again, forgetting the long years that have
passed since that bright Spring day of my
memory shed its sunlight on the earth. The
remembrance of that' day has a lesson in it
for all little children who are happy enough
to have brothers and sisters; so I will write
about it to you, hoping that many happy
brothers and sisters may read my little book.
I was one of a large family in my youth,
and I had one sister who was more especially





10 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


my own companion, as she was only one year
older than myself. She was named Alice, a
soft gentle name, well suited to her, for she
was a gentle little girl, whose.yielding nature
and sweet temper made her dear to every one,
and very dear she was to me! I was by no
means of a yielding nature myself; and though
Alice was my elder sister, I know I always
ruled her. But we loved each other so dearly,
that this caused no quarrels between us; she
seemed to take it as a matter of course that I
should take the lead in all our plays, and I,
finding my will undisputed, ruled on, proba-
bly unaware at the time that I took any part
that did not belong to me. But when I look
back now to those times, I see that Alice
always followed contentedly where she ought
rather to have led the way.
Our home, during the greater part of the
year, was in one of the largest towns in Scot-





THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


land; and when Winter had passed away, and
the sunny Spring days had come, we used to
long for a day in the country, that we might
gather sweet flowers, and run about the fields,
instead of taking a quiet walk in the streets,
or in one of those small formal gardens that
you may sometimes see in the middle of a
square in a large town. Our own country
home was too far away to allow of our
spending a single day there, and returning to
town at night: but we had a kind uncle and
aunt who had a beautiful country home
within a very few miles; and though they
lived in town also during part of the year,
they used to go often to The Tower, for so
was their place named, and spend a long day
there; and they frequently took some of us
with them, which you may believe was a
great pleasure to us.
One bright Spring morning a message came


11






12 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


from our aunt to say that she was going to
The Tower that day, and to ask our Mother to
allow Alice and myself to go with her. Our
kind Mother's permission was soon granted,
and we ran in great glee to have our bonnets
and tippets put on for the expedition. Our
aunt soon came for us, in an open double-
seated carriage, and Alice and I having been
put into the back seat of it, the old horse
trotted on, and we drove away as happy as
two children could be.
The Tower was a beautiful little spot, lying
at the foot of such hills as you never see ex-
cept in Scotland; some of them covered with
bright green grass, some with the purple
heather that is so dear to Scotch people, for
it speaks to them of home as plainly as words
could speak. The pleasure grounds of The
Tower lay between the house and the hills,
and they seemed like one large garden, for





THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


there were flowers on all sides, wherever you
turned.
When the carriage stopped at the door of
the house, we were lifted down, and our aunt
gave us each a little basket, and told us that
we might wander away by ourselves for some
time, and gather wild flowers, and put them
in our baskets to carry home; and she said
that after she had finished the business which
had brought her on that day to The Tower, she
would cause a bell to be rung for us, which
would summon us back to the house, and then
she would gather some garden flowers to add
to those which we might find ourselves.
Then she put some biscuits and an orange
into each basket, and sent us away to amuse
ourselves.
There was a broad gravelled walk which
led from the door of the house up towards
the hills of which I have spoken, and as this


13






14 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


walk wound its pleasant way towards the
hills, it had borders of rich garden flowers on
the right hand, and a little dancing stream on
the left, where the bright clear water ran over
smooth pebbles; and green velvet-like banks
rose on either side of the stream, which banks
were at this time covered with primroses and
snowdrops. Alice and I took our way up
this gravelled walk, talking as we went of the
lovely flowers and the bright sunshine; and I
remember that we wished that we lived always
in the country; and talked of our own more
distant country home and its many pleasures,
until I said that I wished the month of August
were come, at which time we always went
there for some months. But Alice reminded
me that in August the snowdrops and prim-
roses would be all gone, and she said, in her
happy, contented way:-
"It is much better, Julia, to be at The






THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


Tower now, and see the Spring flowers, and
to look forward to seeing the roses and gera-
niums at home in August."
We wandered happily on, sometimes paus-
ing to look into some clear pool in hopes of
seeing a little trout glance across the narrow
stream, darting from the concealment of one
green bank to hide itself beneath the other;
and sometimes stooping to gather bunches of
wild flowers, and saying how bright they
would make the nursery look at home. Alice
contented herself with gathering those which
grew on the bank next the path, for the bank
on the other side of the stream was steep,
and Alice was too timid to jump across and
scramble up on the other side. But I jumped
across the water often, attracted by some tuft
of primroses that looked brighter or larger
than those that were nearer to us.
We had nearly filled our little basket, and


15 1






16 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


a pretty collection we had, of white snowdrops,
and yellow and purple primroses, with a few
cowslips amongst them, when I suddenly heard
an exclamation from Alice, who had gone a
little way farther up the walk than myself, as
my excursions to the other side of the water
made my progress somewhat slower than hers.
"Oh! Julia," she said, "see those lovely
crimson primroses on the other side."
I ran to the spot where Alice was standing,
and, looking across the stream, I saw, about
half way up the bank on the opposite side, a
tuft of rich, dark, crimson primroses, quite dif-
ferent from any that we had hitherto found.
"Go over for them, Julia," said Alice,
looking eagerly at me, they are so pretty."
I was soon on the other side of the water,
but the bank was very steep at that particular
place, and I hesitated for one moment, think-
ing how I should try to scramble up. Alice





THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


saw the difficulty, and called out, begging me
to return.
Don't go, dear Julia, it is too steep, and
I should be so frightened if you fell into the
water."
Why, it could only wet my feet, Alice,"
I replied; what a coward you are!"
"I know that it could do you no more
harm," said Alice, quietly; "'but you know,
Julia, how vexed Mamma will be if you take
cold."
But I must have the primroses, Alice, and
I don't believe I shall fall into the water."
So I began my scramble, and soon stood in
safety beside the crimson flowers, which I
quickly gathered, and slipping down the bank
again, regained my place beside my sister,
and displayed the treasures to her admiring
eyes. I arranged the crimson primroses
carefully in my basket, and was preparing to
B


17





18 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.

continue our walk, when Alice said, in a dis-
appointed tone :
Will you not give me some of the prim-
roses, Julia ?"
I cannot tell why I had not given her some
of them, for I am sure we were always ready
to share everything with each other; but I was
wicked enough to feel provoked at her disap-
pointed tone, and I refused to share the flowers.
Just give me one to put on the top of my
basket," she said.
"I had all the trouble of getting them,
Alice, and I think it is only fair that I should
keep them," I replied, crossly.
"But, Julia," she said, pleadingly, I saw
them first; I showed them to you."
"I know you did," I answered, "but what
was the use of seeing ? You know you never
would have gone for them."
No," said Alice, sadly, "because you






THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


know that I have no courage to jump over
there as you did."
I did not answer her, for I felt rather
ashamed, but my evil temper was roused
by my sister's gentle assertion of a kind of
claim to some of the primroses, and I walked
slowly on, resolved not to yield any of them.
Just at the point where this little dispute
took place, the walk took a sudden turn, and
following it alone, I ascended a flight of steps
which led to a broad terrace commanding a
fine view of the country, and overlooking the
pleasure-grounds of The Tower. I could see
the winding walk by which we had come up
from the house, and I could also see, just
below me, the spot where Alice remained
standing, in rather a disconsolate attitude.
My eyes wandered over the scene as I stood
on this terrace, and I thought somehow that
the sun was not so bright as it had been, that


19






20 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


the water did not dance so gladly down its
little bed ; and looking at the flowers in my
basket, I even thought that they were less
sweet than they had been a few minutes before.
For a short time I stood still, thinking o
these things, but I soon knew that the change
was in my own naughty heart, for I had been
unkind to my sweet sister, and the shadow of my
evil temper had fallen on all the bright things
of earth. Whilst I thought thus, I looked
down towards Alice. I saw that she had
seated herself upon the grass, and she was
putting her handkerchief to her eyes as if she
were crying. I remember well the sudden
pang of remorse which made me run down
the steps I had so lately ascended, and
hastening to where Alice sat, I threw my
arms round her neck, and begged her to
take all the primroses. Alice looked up with
a bright smile shining through her tears.






THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


"I did not care so much about the prim-
roses, Julia," she said, but I could not bear
to see you so angry."
I told her I was sorry, and you may believe
that I was soon forgiven, for no anger could
remain in her soft heart. The primroses
were shared between us, and we took our way
together to the terrace, where I looked down
the winding walk once more, and saw that
the water was as clear-the sunshine as
bright, as they had ever been.
You may think, my little readers, that this
was a very small matter to write about, but
if you live to be as old as I am, you will find
how many trifling circumstances of your
childhood come back to your memory, with a
strength and distinctness that you can hardly
understand; and my object in writing to you
about the crimson primroses, is to warn you
to be very careful never to be unkind to your


21






22 THE CRIMSON PRIMROSES.


brothers or sisters now whilst you are young,
in case in old age the remembrance of any
sharp word or unkind look should trouble
you.
That sweet sister of my youth has been
long taken away from me, and I thank God
that in the many happy memories of the
happy childhood we passed together, there are
few hasty words to return to sadden my heart
now. For I can assure my little readers, that
although more than sixty Springs have come
and gone since those crimson primroses were
gathered, and although during my long life I
have had many serious sorrows to blot out the
recollection of childhood's griefs, it is with a
sigh of bitter regret that the old Lady still
remembers the quick words that she spoke on
that day to her darling sister about the
Crimson Primroses.

















THE SIGHING WIND.











THE SIGHING WIND.



"Children, obey your parents in all things,for this is well-
pleasing unto the Lord."

SPRING has passed away, and Summer has
come. Will you look once more into the
Old Lady's pleasant room, my little readers?
You will see her flower-glasses filled now
with rich clusters of roses and geraniums,
and the sweet jessamine is there also, shining
like white stars amongst the darker flowers.
My chair stands by the window now, and
there is no fire in the bright polished grate,
for this is a warm Summer day, and through
the open window the gentle breeze brings
the perfume of many flowers from my little





THE SIGHING WIND.


garden. This is the most pleasant hour of a
Summer day to me. The scorching noonday
heat is over, and the sun is pouring deep yel-
low rays of light upon the earth, making all
things beautiful. I have been sitting idle for
some time, gazing upon the scene before me.
My book lay closed upon my knee, my spec-
tacles were taken off, and laid upon the table
beside me, and the Old Lady's dim eyes
rested on the smiling earth, whilst her
thoughts wandered back into the smiling
days of her childhood.
It is a pretty scene that I look upon. My
garden slopes gradually from the window
down to a little stream which flows at the
bottom of it. On the other side of the stream
there is a large green field where daisies and
buttercups grow plentifully, such a field as
children love to play in. Beyond that, the
ground ascends again, and my view is bounded


26






THE SIGHING WIND.


by a wood which crowns the hill, and amongst
the trees of that wood, a soft Summer breeze
is sighing, with a voice which seems familiar
to the Old Lady, mingling with her recollec-
tions of long-ago, until it has brought to her
memory one particular Summer day of her
childhood, of which she will now write to
you.
That day was a Sunday, a lovely Sunday
morning in the month of August, at which
tinte we were always at Limedale, our own
country home.
Oh! Limedale, beautiful home of my youth,
how constantly are your loved scenes in my
memory now in my old age! No sunshine
seems so bright as the sunshine was at Lime-
dale-no breezes are so refreshing-no sky
is so blue. I can fancy that I still see its
clear flowing stream, now winding through a
thick wood, now dancing round a sunny


27






THE SIGHING WIND.


meadow; and wherever the stream winds, a
path goes beside it, and happy childish feet
trod these paths in the days I speak of, whilst
joyous voices rang through the woods. Little
children, the Old Lady's youth was happy,
and its happiness still lives in her heart.
I must return to that Sunday morning of
which I have been thinking, and tell you how
I spent the day. My sister Alice and I used
always to go to the village church with our
parents, but on this day we had been left at
home, because our Mother had heard that the
scarlet fever had appeared in the village, and
she did not wish to expose us to the risk of
the infection.
We spent some time after she had gone to
church in learning the hymns and texts which
she had appointed for us, and then we were
at liberty to go out, so we went to the gar-
den, where we amused ourselves very well


28






THE SIGHING WIND. 29

for a while. We watched the bees roam-
ing from flower to flower, and we gathered a
few ripe cherries that peeped temptingly
through the nets, and then, I remember, we
sat down in the greenhouse and repeated to
each other the hymns that we had learned that
morning, to see that we knew them well.
After this we wandered through the garden,
and came to an old sundial that stood in the
centre of it; and whilst we stood there, leaning
against the sundial, I suddenly exclaimed, I
wish that it were not Sunday."
"Julia, what a wicked speech !" said my
sister, why do you wish that?"
Because I should like so much to get the
pony and ride," I replied; "think how delight-
ful it would be to canter through the field
to-day."
So it would," said Alice, "but I dare
say it may be quite as fine a day to-morrow."


*






THE SIGHING WIND.


But to-morrow we shall be at lessons at
this hour," I said, "and to-day we have
nothing particular to do."
Alice did not answer, and during the few
minutes silence that followed, a wicked thought
came into my mind, and I soon told this
thought to my sister.
I don't see why we should not have the
pony, Alice, though it is Sunday."
Oh! Julia," said Alice, you know we
never have him on Sunday. Mamma does
not allow it."
"But Mamma would never know, Alice;
and, besides, we are generally at church, which
makes a great difference. I don't believe
Mamma would object to our having him to-
day, when we are at home."
"I am sure she would object," said my
sister, and it would be breaking the Sabbath
day. Do not think of anything so naughty,
Julia."


N 30






THE SIGHING WIND.


I would have answered her again, but at
this moment our little sister Flora entered
the garden with her nurse, and running to-
wards us, she asked us to gather some flowers
for her. Alice was soon busy with her, and
whilst they were occupied with the flowers I
left the garden, and walked on alone, thinking
still what a lovely day this was for a canter
through the fields.
I followed a pleasant shady walk that led
from the garden to the bowling-green, which
was one of the prettiest spots at Limedale. I
sauntered slowly along, sheltered from the
sun by fine old beech trees whose branches
met overhead, until I came to a double flight
of stone steps which terminated the walk, and
I seated myself upon one of them, thinking
that Alice would soon follow me.
At the foot of these steps lay the bowling-
green. A broad gravelled walk surrounded it,


31 4






THE SIGHING WIND.


and on the right hand lay a sunny slope of
some extent, which was covered with many
bright plots of flowers, whilst the grass which
divided the plots from each other was kept
soft as velvet. This was our Mother's flower
garden, and a hedge of glossy evergreens
bounded it all round, excepting on the lower
side, where it lay open to the walk. On the
left hand of the bowling-green, the walk was
also bordered with flower-plots, but the ground
almost immediately sloped down to the stream
which flowed there, and which was of con-
siderable breadth at this place. I could hear
the sound of the water where I sat, gurgling
over its stony bed. On the other side of the
water, the ground again rose to some height,
and there lofty trees cast their long shadows
on the grass.
Alice did not come, and I left my place on
the steps, and passed along the walk which


) 32






THE SIGHING WIND.


divided the flower garden from the bowling-
green. This brought me to a bridge, from
which I could see at a little distance the
large green field where we generally amused
ourselves with the pony, of which I had so
unfortunately thought too much on this day.
The sight of the field made me still more
.anxious to have a ride, and I ought to have
turned away immediately from the temptation.
Instead of doing so, however, I considered for
one minute, and then ran hastily up a hill
which led from the bridge to the stables, and
seeing a stable boy standing at the door, I
told him to saddle the pony.
A few minutes more saw me gallopping
round the sunny field, but my little readers
will easily believe, that I did not find the
pleasure I expected in this forbidden ride. I
was disobeying my Mother, and I knew well;
also, that this was an improper thing to do on
c


33 1





THE SIGHING WIND.


a Sunday, for our Mother had taught us from
earliest childhood that this was indeed a Holy
Day, on which our pleasures were to be quite
different from those of the other days in the
week ; and also that it was a day of rest for
man and beast.
I soon took the pony back to his stable,
and as I came slowly down to the bowling-
green again, I met Alice seeking for me. I
told her at once what I had done, for a cer-
tain kind of repentance had very soon followed
my fault in this instance. Alice looked both
surprised and sorry. It was very unusual for
us to be disobedient, for our parents allowed
us much more freedom than children generally
have, and the consequence of this was that we
were very careful not to disobey the few rules
that they gave us. Alice's advice was readily
given.
"Tell Mamma, Julia, whenever she comes
home. She is never very angry."


34






THE SIGHING WIND.


But I should be so ashamed, Alice, to tell
her. I shall not tell any one, and remember
you must not tell, for I have trusted you."
I certainly shall not tell," said Alice,
"but I wish that you had not told me, Julia,
if you intend to conceal it from Mamma. It
is very wrong to deceive her, and I shall feel
quite wicked in helping you to do so."
I assured Alice that she had nothing to do
with it, and although she continued for some
time to urge me to tell our Mother what I
had done, I would not yield, and as usual I
silenced my gentle sister by my arguments
and persuasions.
We returned to the house, and spent the
remainder of the day as usual, and until the
evening came I had no cause to fear that
Alice would betray me, and then my guilty
conscience made me tremble for a minute.
It was our Mother's custom to spend part


35






THE SIGHING WIND


of every Sunday evening in hearing us repeat
hymns and portions of the Bible, whilst she
explained to us whatever seemed difficult in
what we had learned. On this, evening it
happened that Alice was to repeat the ten
commandments; and whilst she was repeat-
ing the fourth commandment her voice fal-
tered, and after some hesitation she paused.
Our Mother, with some astonishment, assisted
her with the next words, and Alice still
remaining silent, she was slightly reproved
for having forgotten the commandment, and
one of our brothers was desired to repeat it
for her. I knew well the cause of the emo-
tion that had made poor Alice falter, She
was thinking that I had broken this com-
mandment, and I trembled lest she should
betray my secret. However, she soon re-
covered herself, and shortly after this we
bade our parents good night and went to
bed.


36






THE SIGHING WIND.


Alice and I occupied the same room, and
it was not until we were in bed, and left
alone for the night, that we could speak
together again.
"Oh Julia," said Alice, "how unhappy I
have been to-night. Do tell dear Mamma
that you disobeyed her this morning. You
know that she will soon forgive the fault, but
it is so dreadful to deceive her."
"Mamma will never know it, Alice," I re-
plied, if you will only be careful, and I can-
not tell her now. She would say that I should
have told her when she came home."
And so you should, dear Julia; but it is
better to tell her now than not at all. How
can you pray to God with this sin on your
conscience? I could not pray to-night as
usual; I could only pray that God would put
it into your heart to confess to Mamma what
you had done."


37






THE SIGHING WIND.


Alice spoke still longer to me, but I would
not yield to her entreaties. I persisted in
my determination to conceal my disobedience,
and tried to satisfy my uneasy conscience by
resolving never again to be tempted into
committing a similar fault. Alice at length
ceased speaking, and she soon fell asleep.
But I could not sleep. I turned restlessly
from side to side, and I vainly endeavoured
to banish the remembrance of that morning's
misconduct. Every time I closed my eyes, I
seemed to see once more the sunny field, and
then I seemed to see my Mother looking
sorrowfully on me. Everything was silent in
the house; and as it was a most unusual thing
for me to lie awake at night-for a child's
slumbers are generally unbroken--&the un-
wonted stillness, acting upon my troubled
mind, made me feel frightened and miserable.
The only sound I could hear was the gentle


38





THE SIGHING WIND.


Summer breeze sighing round the house, and
I listened to that sound until it seemed to me
a sad voice lamenting over myself, and with
a feeling of nervousness that I had never
known before, I hastily awakened Alice.
Oh, Alice, I am so sorry for my disobe-
dience this morning. I wish I could tell
Mamma of it at this moment. Listen to the
wind! I cannot sleep for listening to it. It
sounds so melancholy, and seems almost
reproaching me for my fault. I will tell
Mamma the first thing I do in the morning."
Alice sat up in her little bed, and said how
thankful she was that I had resolved to tell
Mamma.
You will sleep now, dear Julia," she said,
"because you have resolved to do what is
right. You must surely be much happier
now, for I am so much happier. I shall
never think the sighing wind is a mournful






THE SIGHING WIND.


sound again, for it has been a voice from
God to you to-night."
And Alice was right; for I did feel happier
when I had resolved to confess my fault, and
I soon forgot in sleep the sad sound which
had disturbed me so much before that reso-
lution was formed.
My little readers, when you have done
anything wrong, though your fault may be
unknown to others, you may always hear a
voice reproaching you, if you will listen to
it; for God knows your secret fault, and
everything in nature is a voice from God.
In the flowers-in the sunshine-in the
singing of the birds in the flowing of
waters-and in the Summer breeze-you
may always recognize His voice. Do not
neglect that voice, and it may sometimes
bring comfort to you when you are in trouble,
even as I found comfort that night from
listening to The Sighing Wind.


40
















THE RUSTLING LEAVES.











THE RUSTLING LEAVES.



"Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth."

THE Summer flowers have faded, and the
Autumn wind is fast stripping the trees of
their withered leaves. The Old Lady's gar-
den is a dismal sight, for the dahlias and
heliotropes are black and drooping, and every-
thing looks fading or faded. A few days since
Autumn was in its glory, and the wood on the
top of the hill, which I can see from my win-
dows, was even more beautiful than in Sum-
mer, from the rich red and yellow hues of
Autumn. But the beauty has been shortlived,
and two stormy days have sufficed to strip the






44 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


trees and ruin the few flowers that remain
blooming. The Old Lady grieves over the
change, for she knows not whether she may
live to see another Autumn sun set behind the
wooded hill, gilding the trees with his rich
yellow rays. Perhaps next year the Old
Lady's chair may be empty, and the Autumn
sun may gild her grave; for whilst life is un-
certain to the youngest among you, an aged
person like myself must always feel that each
year may probably be her last on earth.
I was thinking thus to-day whilst my eyes
rested on the desolate garden, and suddenly a
gust of wind scattered a heap of withered
leaves which had been swept into a corner,
and they rustled over the path, some of them
beating against the windows as they passed;
and as I watched them, and heard their rust-
ling, I felt that it was a familiar sound, full of
old recollections; and then the remembrance






THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


of one Autumn day of my childhood came
distinctly to my memory. I will tell my little
readers what I remember of that day.
It was a brilliant October morning, and
Alice and I had seen with delight when we
awoke how brightly the sun shone, for
we had been promised a great pleasure on
this day, if the weather were fine. We were
living at Limedale, and this pleasure was to
go with our Nurse to spend the day at a
farm-house at some distance, where the
farmer's wife was an old friend of Nurse's,
and always gave her and ourselves a hearty
welcome when we went to spend a day with
her at The Grange. What joyous days those
were and how merrily we used to prepare
for one of them, getting toys and picture
books ready to take to the little children.
The Grange was some miles from Lime-
dale, and we used to go there in a little pony


45






46 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


carriage. Nurse sat in the front seat beside
the coachman, and Alice and I sat behind.
How frightened Nurse used to be lest we
should fall out; how incessantly her head was
turned to watch us; how many cautions she
gave us ; and how merrily we laughed at her
fears as the pony trotted along through the
pretty lanes which led to The Grange.
I daresay my little readers all know the
brilliant beauty of a fine October morning.
I remember the fresh pure air which blew in
our faces on that morning, which might
almost have seemed too cold, had it not been
for the warm bright sun above us, and the
happy hearts within us, which made us find
all things pleasant. I remember the appear-
ance of the deep blue sky-not the unclouded
sky of a Summer day, but with white fleecy
clouds floating over it. I remember the rich
red and orange colours of the woods, and how






THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


we watched the falling leaves as every breeze
scattered a shower of them on the ground.
Then I remember the carriage stopping at
the door of The Grange, and the farmer's wife
coming out smiling to lift us from it, and tell
us how happy she was to see us there. Then
we were taken into her neat parlour, where
she had bread and honey, with a jug of new
milk waiting for us; and soon afterwards,
with many warnings from Nurse that we
must be very careful, and get into no mischief,
we were allowed to go out of doors to seek
for amusement for ourselves.
We spent a happy morning, playing with
the little children, who showed us their rab-
bits, their pigeons, and their little gardens;
and after some time passed thus, Alice and I
agreed that we would leave the children, who
were somewhat younger than ourselves, and
walk alone.


WL.~.-.-.-.- ._ _~~_~~_~~____~~, _,__~i- .~....-r,-,-, -,,,,.,, ~.i~.._ ---1


47






48 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


Behind The Grange there was a wood
through which we knew that there was a
pretty walk leading to a church which stood
in a lonely spot, as there was no village in the
immediate neighbourhood. Alice and I had
only once seen this church, and we had
often talked together about it, and wished
that we could see it again, so we now re-
solved to find our way there, thinking we
could easily be back in time for the early
tea which we were to have before returning
home.
We entered the wood walk by a little gate,
and having closed it behind us, we went
merrily on our way. The path was covered
with withered leaves, and as we ran along we
laughed at the rustling noise which our feet
made amongst them; and when we stood still
for a few minutes to rest after running for
some time, everything was silent around us






THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


except the rippling of a stream which we
heard at a little distance; everything was
still except the silent fluttering of the Autumn
leaves as they fell lightly around us, glowing
in the sunbeams which came slanting through
the branches.
Again we went merrily on our way, and
soon the path descended until it came to the
banks of the stream of which we had heard
the murmuring voice for some time. A little
wooden bridge was thrown across it, and
when we had passed over that bridge, the
church was before us.
It was a simple little white-washed church,
with no ornament about it excepting the
ornament that Nature had given it in the
beauty of its situation. It was surrounded
on all sides by the wood, through a part of
which we had come, so that there was no
distant view from the spot on which it stood.


49






50 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


On the side from which we had approached,
which was in front of the church, the bank
was very steep, and it was the same on our
left hand. On the right hand, we saw the
stream go sparkling on its way, but although
the ground was level on that side, the wood
was still thick, so that we could not see to
any distance. Behind the church the ground
was also level, and the trees soon bounded
our view, although there was a small open
space there between the church and the
wood.
Alice and I stood looking at the church for
some time, and then we followed a path which
was cut by the side of the water, and which
led round to the back of the building ; for the
stream wound its way sound there before it
flowed away through the wood on the right.
We found that the open space which lay
behind the church was a church-yard, and






THE RUSTLING LEAVES. 51

our voices were hushed, and we spoke in
whispers as we looked upon the sleeping-
place of the dead. We walked softly through
it, pointing out silently to each other some
gravestones where we saw the deaths recorded
of little children younger than we were our-
selves.
Suddenly we were startled by the sound of
a voice ; and standing still to listen, we heard
a childish voice, broken by weeping, exclaim,
"Annie Annie i you cannot hear me now;"
and then we heard the sound of bitter grief,
and words murmured amidst sobs which made
them indistinct. Alice shrunk back, but I
drew her on to the corner of the church-yard
from which the sounds came, and there a sad
scene met our sight.
A little girl about my own age was kneeling
at the foot of a grave which had evidently
been lately made. At the head of the grave






52 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


there was a small white stone, on which we
read these words:

ANNIE STUART,
AGED TEN YEARS.
"c REMEMBER NOW THY CREATOR IN THE DAYS
OF THY YOUTH."

An evergreen was planted on each side of
the stone. The child who knelt there was
dressed in black, and her bonnet had fallen on
the grass beside her. We could not see her
face, but we saw bright fair curls falling
round her, and we saw the little hands clasped
before her, and we heard the sobs which burst
from her little sorrowful heart. Alice and I
clung to each other, and our tears fell fast as
we gazed on the weeping child. She did not
see us, and I know not how long we may
have stood watching her in silence; but at
last her sobs died gradually away, and she






THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


sunk on the ground where she had been
kneeling, and buried her face in her little
hands.
We had never seen such sorrow before, and
feeling half afraid, I whispered to Alice,
begging her to come softly away. But Alice
lingered, for she longed to speak to the little
girl, and whilst we lingered she suddenly
raised her head and saw us. She seemed
startled for a moment, and standing up,
looked wondering at us; but I never shall
forget the change which passed over her tearful
face the next minute. She looked from one
to the other of us with a strange wistful gaze;
she glanced at the little grave beside her, and
with a cry of sorrow, the memory of which
wrings my heart even now, she flung herself
on the ground again, repeating the mournful
cry, "Annie! sister Annie! you cannot hear
me now."






54 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


Alice and I looked at one another, and burst
into tears. It was evidently her sister's grave
that the child was mourning over. They had
been two little sisters like ourselves, and one
of them had died; and through the love that
filled our hearts for each other, we felt for the
lonely sister.
I cannot tell whether we should have spoken
to the little girl, for her grief terrified us, and
we felt that we could offer no consolation for
such a terrible grief as the death of a sister;
but soon after this I remember a lady entered
the churchyard, and coming up to the new-
made grave she sat down beside the child,
and addressing her fondly, she strove to still
her grief. The lady looked very sad herself,
and even whilst she soothed and consoled the
child, I saw her own tears falling as she
glanced at the little grave, and when a sudden
gust of wind brought some withered leaves






THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


rustling over it, she stooped and gently re-
moved them.
She was evidently the Mother of the child-
ren. We heard her speak soothing words to
the little child, and we saw her point to the
bright evergreens whilst she told her that
Annie's soul could never die, even as the
evergreens lived on whilst all was dead around
them; and the child listened, and leaned her
weary head against her Mother's breast, whilst
her tears fell more gently.
The lady had not seen us, and we quietly
turned away. We could not help contrasting
our own happiness with the loneliness of this
little weeping sister; and when we thought
of the wistful look she had cast upon us, and
the fresh burst of grief that had followed it,
we fancied that she too had felt the con-
trast sadly, and in looking at two happy
little sisters like ourselves, she had re-


55






56 THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


called her own lost happiness. We did not
wish her to see us again; and having whis-
pered thus to each other, we quietly turned
away, and crossing the bridge, retraced our
steps through the wood.
How different the wood seemed to us as
we returned to The Grange! The sun was
behind a cloud, and the wind was rising, and
coming in sudden blasts through the trees,
whirling the leaves about, and dying sadly
away in the distance. We no longer laughed
at the rustling of the leaves under our feet
on the path, for the sound of their rustling on
the little grave was in our ears, and it seemed
a sacred sound now, and we tried to avoid them
as we walked quietly home to The Grange.
We could not forget that lonely little sister;
we talked of nothing else when we returned
to our Nurse; we talked of her as we drove
home; and we told our dear Mother what we






THE RUSTLING LEAVES.


had seen; and I remember well the look of
affection with which she bade us love one
another, and be thankful to God for the
blessing He had given to us in each other;
and the last words that she said to us that
night, after she had spoken to us of the little
child who had been so early taken away by
death, were the words which we had read on
the white gravestone-" Remember now thy
Creator in the days of thy youth."
Often afterwards Alice and I talked of that
white stone, and the sad lady with the weep-
ing child. Often afterwards we went and
looked on that little green grave; but we
never saw the sister again. Often after-
wards, when we were far away from that
spot, on an Autumn day, we talked of that
solitary churchyard; and even now, my little
reader, the scene has been distinctly recalled
to the Old Lady's memory to-day by the
sound of The Rustling Leaves.


57

















THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.











THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.



"Bless the Lord, oh, my soul! and forget not all His benefits."

WINTER has come, and the Old Lady's
chair is again placed by the fireside, for she
has gladly come away from the window which
a bleak whistling wind was rattling, and from
which she could see nothing but one sheet of
snow. Yesterday, the grass was green, and
although the garden had a wintry desolate
appearance, the view beyond it was pleasant
enough. But, during the night, there has
been a heavy fall of snow, and, to-day, every-
thing is covered with it, and it still falls so
thickly, that I can hardly see to the bottom
of my little garden.
So I have seated myself in my large chair






62 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


by the bright fireside; and I feel very thank-
ful that I have so much comfort around me
in this bitter weather, and I think with
sorrow of the many old people and little
children who may be wandering through the
snow, homeless and hungry. I pray that
God will give sympathising hearts to all
those who, like myself, are sheltered from
the storm, that many hands may be stretched
out to assist and relieve those who have no
fire-no food-no home!
As I glanced round my cheerful room,
thinking how much cause I have for grati-
tude, my eyes rested on my flower-glasses,
which I saw were filled with Christmas Roses.
Martha must have gathered them before the
storm came, for even that hardy little flower
cannot look up to- day through its thick
covering of snow. But I had not seen them
before, and, as I love all flowers, I welcomed
them gladly, and I continued to look at them






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


until gradually the sight of them recalled a
little incident of that happy childhood which
is so constantly in the Old Lady's memory.
I think that my little readers may like
to hear about it, and perhaps it may teach
them a lesson, as it taught me one long ago.
When I was a child, I have told you that
we used to live during the greater part of the
year in a town; but there was one year that,
for some reason which I do not know, we did
not leave Limedale as usual in the month of
November, but we remained there during
the whole winter.
That was a happy winter to us, and I
remember well the merry Saturdays we used
to have, when there were no lessons to be
said after twelve o'clock, and brothers and
sisters all enjoyed the holiday together. We
used to think that a holiday could only be
half enjoyed in town; but at Limedale we
had so many amusements! If the weather


63






64 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


were fine, we had the pony; if it were too
cold for riding, we ran round and round the
garden to warm ourselves; if a hard frost
came, we could slide on the ice with our
brothers, on a pond where the water was not
deep; if a snow-storm came, we could go out
well wrapped up, the moment that the snow
ceased falling, and running across the grass,
we laughed to see the deep marks that our
little feet had left in the snow behind us.
Then, how beautiful it was! so white and
pure-so different from the snow that lay in
the streets!
I must not forget the Christmas Roses in
thinking of this happy time at Limedale.
The day which they brought to my memory
was the New Year's Day of that year. We
had had holidays during the Christmas week,
and the weather had been so beautiful, that
we had spent almost all our time out of doors,
in spite of the cold.






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


During that week, Alice and I were one
morning playing alone in one of the woods
which I have described to you before, where
a path followed the course of the stream
which wound its murmuring way all through
the grounds of Limedale. We had been
running to warm ourselves, for it was a cold
bright morning, and we paused at last at a
spot where the path left the wood; and still
keeping beside the stream, which was at the
left hand, it was bordered on the right by a
little open meadow, which now lay bright
and sparkling in the Winter's sun. The path
wound round one half of the meadow, and
then crossing the water by a rustic bridge, it
entered the wood again, leaving the stream
wandering away on the right hand.
Alice was standing on the bridge, looking
at the long icicles which hung over the water
on each side of the stream, and I was making
E


65






66 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


my way down one of the banks to get some
of them, when I suddenly found in a corner,
where the overhanging bank had hitherto
concealed it from us, a plant of the Christmas
Rose, covered with flowers. I called Alice
to come to me, and when she had crept down
to see them, I was going to gather them at
once, when she stopped me, saying:
"Leave them until New Year's Day, Julia,
and then let us come and gather them for
Mamma, for they are so much larger than
any of those in the garden."
I thought this was an excellent idea, for
the flowers were certainly unusually large,
and we thought how it would surprise our
Mother when we gave them, to hear that
they came from the wood instead of the
garden. We thought that there was no chance
of any one finding them, as they could not be
seen from the path on either side of the






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


bridge; so we agreed that we should tell no
one of our discovery, but that on New Year's
Day we should come and gather them.
New Year's Day came, and it was a lovely
Winter morning: Alice and I talked of our
Christmas Roses whenever we awoke. We
had gone to the garden the day before,
and looked well at the Christmas Roses there,
and we were sure that there were none nearly
so large as those which grew on that one
plant in the wood.
After breakfast, I remember our Mother
was arranging various little gifts that she had
provided for the cottagers and their children,
and she told Alice and myself that she in-
tended to give us a message which she knew
would please us well, and that she wished us
to get ready for a walk immediately.
Our message was to carry some gifts to a
lady, of whom I must tell my little readers all
that Alice and I knew ourselves at that time.


67






68 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


She was always called "the Lady." I
never heard any other name given to her.
She lived in a little cottage, which we knew
belonged to Limedale, although she had lived
there ever since we could remember. It was
not more than a mile and a half from the
house, and it went by the name of the White
Cottage. The Lady lived there alone with
an only child, a daughter, about a year older
than Alice. They had no servant, and we
knew that they were very poor, and that our
Mother often sent them presents of clothes
and food. And yet the Lady was not at all
like a cottager, but her manners and appear-
ance were something like our Mother's, and
we knew that all the poor people round us
treated her with great respect, and not as if
she were of their own station, although none
of them could be poorer than she seemed to
be. We often used to go and see her, and
carry fruit and flowers to her from the






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


garden, but at this time she had been very
ill, and we had not been allowed to visit her
for many weeks.
We were much pleased accordingly when
our Mother gave us some gifts for the White
Cottage, and we set off happily on our walk.
Our way lay through part of the wood where
the Christmas Roses were, and we agreed that
we should gather them on our return, when
we should have an empty basket for them, so
as to carry them home quite fresh.
When we came to the bridge, however, I
thought I would take one look at them; and
whilst Alice held the basket, I scrambled
down the bank, and peeped into the corner
where I had found them. Alas! they were
no longer there. It was the right place, for
I saw the remains of their stalks, but some
one had evidently discovered them as well as
ourselves, and had carried them away. My
exclamation of disappointment brought Alice


69






70 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


to my side, and we stood looking sadly at the
plant.
"Who can have done it, Alice?" I asked.
"Perhaps Flora may have found them
out," said Alice. I know that she came
round here yesterday."
"Oh no!" I said, "Nurse would never
allow Flora to come down here; and, besides,
we should have seen them if she had brought
them home."
I forgot that," said Alice; "I don't
think little Flora can have found them.
Some of the village boys must have taken
them."
"Then I will tell Mamma," I said, indig-
nantly; they have no right to come and
take flowers out of the woods."
"Perhaps they thought that no one could
see them or care for them," said Alice, "they
were so hidden by the bank."
But they should not have touched them,"






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


I repeated; "and I wish we knew who had
done it."
"We cannot help it now," said Alice,
turning to ascend the bank again, "and we
had better go on to the White Cottage. We
must just gather some Christmas Roses in
the garden for Mamma when we get home."
I slowly followed her, and crossing the
bridge we continued our walk, but we were
very much disappointed, and it was some time
before we began to talk again, as we had
done before we discovered our loss. Alice
was the first to break the silence.
"Julia, Nurse says that the Lady cannot
walk at all now. She has been so ill that she
has lost the use of her limbs, and she is
wheeled about the room in a chair."
"Poor Lady!" I said, "how sad it must
be for her to sit all day in that dull little cot-
tage. Alice, I think she has a very sad life."
"Yes, indeed," said Alice, "and Nurse


dh&ih






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


says that she was once as rich as Mamma,
and lived in a large house, with plenty of
servants, and everything that she could wish."
"I wonder why she came to live in the
White Cottage," I replied, she is quite dif-
ferent from the people who live in all the
other cottages."
Nurse says that she lost all her money,"
said Alice, "and that she was very glad to
come to the White Cottage."
"I wonder that she is not unhappy," I
said, "and she is not so. She is very cheer-
ful when we go to see her."
I know that she must be very poor, how-
ever," said Alice, shaking her head thought-
fully, "because Nurse says that she would
often have no dinner if Mamma did not send
it to her."
As we talked thus, we were walking through
a straight avenue of trees which led to the
White Cottage. It was a grassy avenue,





THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


with fine old trees on each side of us, and at
the end of it, straight before us, we saw the
cottage. The Lady's little daughter, Mary,
was standing at the door, and she soon came
forward to meet us.
When we entered the cottage the Lady was
sitting in an easy chair by the window. She
held out her thin white hands to us, and said,
" I cannot go to meet you now, dear children,
but I am very glad to see you again."
We thanked her, and we were soon seate
on two little stools which Mary brought for-
ward for us, and placed in front of her Mother's
chair; and whilst the Lady gratefully received
our Mother's messages and gifts from Alice,
I looked at her pale face, and thought how
ill she must have been since we last saw her.
I turned round to speak to Mary, and my
little readers may imagine my astonishment,
when my eyes fell suddenly on a glass that
was filled with-our lost Christmas Roses!






74 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


I felt certain that they were the roses from
the wood, for, as I told you, they were of a
particularly large size, and I could not mis-
take them. I glanced at Alice, and I saw
that at the same moment she also had recog-
nised the flowers, but a warning look from her
restrained the inquiry that I was just going to
put to Mary, and I took no notice of them.
I sat silently wondering who could have
brought our flowers there, when my at-
tention was roused by hearing the Lady
say, "What were you talking of, as you
came through the avenue, Alice? I saw that
you were very earnest about something."
Alice coloured and looked at me, but I did
not help her, and when the Lady repeated
her question, Alice's truthful nature made
her look up and say simply, We were talk-
ing about you, Lady."
The Lady smiled, and asked, if she might
know what we had said. Again Alice looked






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


imploringly at me, and this time I answered
for her, after a few minutes silence.
"We thought that your life must be very
sad here, living in such a little cottage, and
suffering so much pain."
The lady did not answer for a minute, and
then she asked why we thought that she
should be sad living in a cottage, any more
than the many cottagers whom we visited.
Poor Alice coloured deeply, and did not
attempt to answer, and with some effort I at
length spoke.
"Because we don't think that you have
always lived in a cottage, Lady, you are
more like Mamma than the other cottagers."
The Lady paused again before she replied,
and then she spoke in a soft low voice. I
.remember her words well.
"You are right, dear children, in thinking
that I have not always lived in a cottage; but
y6u are wrong in thinking that my life is at


75






76 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


all sad here. I have many blessings to be
thankful for, and if you will listen to me, I
will tell you how much cause I have had to
bless God for mercies even at the times when
He was greatly afflicting me. Come and stand
beside me and listen to me."
Alice and I rose, and stood on each side of
the Lady's chair. Mary also came near her
Mother, and fixed her eyes upon her face.
The lady thought for a moment, and then she
spoke again.
When you were all little baby children,
ten years ago, I remember a happy New Year's
Day in my home. I had three dear chil-
dren then, older than Mary, to come and wish
their parents a happy New Year, two nqble
boys, and a gentle little girl. I remember
their joyous faces, and the ringing sound of
their sweet voices on that day. When the
next New Year's Day came round, I was a
widow-and my baby Mary was my only






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


living child. But even in that year of sorrow
I had great mercy to acknowledge. The
fever that had desolated my home might have
seized me also, and if it had done so, how
lonely my little Mary would have been,
fatherless and motherless in her infancy. But
God spared me to her, and I thanked Him
for that great mercy."
Alice was weeping, and the Lady stopped
to speak soothingly to her; and then she
resumed her tale.
Then came misfortunes of which you know
nothing, Alice. I had been rich in worldly
wealth, and lived in a beautiful home, but
suddenly I found that I was ruined, all my
wealth was gone from me, and I did not know
where to find a roof to shelter my child and
myself. Then your kind Mother came to me.
I had not seen her for a long time, but we
had known each other when we were children,
and when she heard of my sorrows and trou-


77






78 THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


bles she came to comfort me, and very soon I
found myself placed in this cottage, where her
kindness had provided everything that is neces-
sary in life for us. So I felt that in my great
need God had raised up a friend for me, and
I could feel grateful for that mercy even
whilst I wept to leave my own old home."
Again she paused, and gazed fondly on her
child. Mary threw her arms round her
Mother's neck and kissed her.
I might tell you of many mercies, dear
children," continued the Lady, "during the
nine peaceful years that I have spent here,
but I do not wish to weary you with my
words. It is enough to say that I have daily
and hourly cause to thank God for His good-
ness to me. I have been ill, and I have suf-
fered much, but God has spared my life; and
though I can no longer move about as I once
did, I can still see and speak to my child-I
can still enjoy her affection, and feel grateful






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


for your Mother's many kindnesses to me. I
can still enjoy the beauty of Nature, though
I am so much shut up in the cottage, because
I see much of it from the window in that
grassy avenue ; and then," she added, with a
smile, turning to the table where the Christ-
mas Roses were placed, "sometimes the cot-
tage is brightened, as it has been to-day, by
some fresh flowers coming in to tell me of the
beauty outside. Mary found these in a lonely
corner of the wood yesterday, on the banks of
the stream, and she gathered them for me."
I do not remember that the Lady said
much more to us at that time, and I think
that we soon bade her farewell, and left the
White Cottage. But I remember that, as we
walked home, we spoke of all that she had
told us, and we were so glad that our Christ-
mas Roses had gone to brighten her quiet little
room, since she seemed to enjoy them so much.
And when that New Year's Day was over,


79






THE CHRISTMAS ROSES.


and we told our dear Mother, as usual at night,
all that we had done or thought during the
day, the Lady's story was not forgotten, and
our Mother pointed out to us the beauty of a
grateful heart; and reminding us of our
happy home, and kind friends, she told us
that early and late our thought should be,
"Bless the Lord, oh! my soul, and forget not
all His benefits."
Many New Year's Days have passed since
that visit to the White Cottage, but it has
never been forgotten; and now after a long
life, where joy and sorrow have been mingled,
as they must mingle in every human life, but
where God's mercies have been renewed
every day, the Old Lady still looks back with
gratitude to the lesson of contentment that
she learned on that day, which has been so
vividly recalled to her memory by the sight
of The Christmas Roses.






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