Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Back Cover

Title: The wide, wide world, or, The early history of Ellen Montgomery
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00002163/00002
 Material Information
Title: The wide, wide world, or, The early history of Ellen Montgomery
Alternate Title: Early history of Ellen Montgomery
Physical Description: 2 v. : ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Warner, Susan, 1819-1885
Low, Sampson, 1797-1886 ( Publisher )
Wilson and Ogilvy ( Printer )
Publisher: Sampson Low
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Wilson and Ogilvy
Publication Date: 1852
Edition: [1st English ed.]
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Grandmothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Country life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Embossed cloth bindings (Binding) -- 1852   ( rbbin )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1852   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1852
Genre: Embossed cloth bindings (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Summary: Ellen has difficulty believing that God will take care of her when her dying mother leaves her with the unloving Mrs. Dunscombe.
Statement of Responsibility: edited by a clergyman of the Church of England.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding: Brittle Books Program
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00002163
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002239468
oclc - 29572335
notis - ALH9997

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front cover 1
        Front cover 2
        Front 3
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Table of Contents
        Page iii
        Page iv
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        Advertising page 1
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    Back Cover
        Back cover 1
        Back cover 2
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Full Text

The Baldwin Library
fe- ---------

i- e~et~~~














Wilson and Ogilvy, 57, Skinner Street, Snowhill, London.


Chap. Page
I. Shows what noise a Bee can make when it
gets into a house 1
II. Sundry things round a Pot of Chocolate 17
III. The jingling of sleigh bells 39
IV. Scraps-of Morocco and talk 56
V. Stockings, to which the "Bas Bleu" was
nothing 72
VI. Sunday at Ventnor 84
VII. Flowers and Thorns 98
VIII. The Bank-note and George Washington 117
IX. A gathering cloud in the spring weather 130
X. The cloud overhead 142
XI. This "working-day world" 161
XII. The Brownie 188
XIII. Timothy and his Master 208
XIV. Wherein the Black Prince arrives oppor-
tunely 222
XV. Halcyon days 238
XVI. "Prodigious!" .259
XVII. "The clouds return after the rain" 272
XVIII. One less in the wide, wide world 288
XIX. Those that were left 304
XX. The little spirit that haunted the big house 320
XXI. The guardian angel 348
XXII. "Something turns up" 365
XXIII. The wide world grown wider 89


XXIV. How old friends
regalia .
XXV. Thought is free
XXVI. Trials without .
XXVII. Trials within
XXVIII. "Thou!"

were invested with the


Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks
I wat they didna weary;
An' unco tales, an' funnie jokes,
Their sports were cheap an' cheery.
As the party were all gathered it was time to set
to work. The fire in the front room was burning
up finely now, but Miss Fortune had no idea of
having pork-chopping or apple-paring done there.
One party was despatched down-stairs into the
lower kitchen; the others made a circle round the
fire. Every one was furnished with a sharp knife,
and a basket of apples was given to each two or
three. Now it would be hard to say, whether talk-
ing or working went on best. Not faster moved
the tongues than the fingers; not smoother went
the knives than the flow of talk; while there was a
constant leaping of quarters of apples from the
hands that had prepared them into the bowls, trays,
or what-not, that stood on the hearth to receive
them. Ellen had nothing to do; her aunt had
managed it so, though she would gladly have shared
the work that looked so pretty and pleasant in
other people's hands. Miss Fortune would not let
her; so she watched the rest, and amused herself


as well as she could with hearing and seeing; and
standing between Alice and Jenny Hitchcock, she
handed them the apples out of the basket as fast as
they were ready for them. It was a pleasant even-
ing that. Laughing and talking went on so mer-
rily; stories were told; anecdotes, gossip, jokes,
passed from mouth to mouth; and not one made
himself so agreeable, or had so much to do with the
life and pleasure of the party, as Alice. Ellen saw
it, delighted. The pared apples kept dancing into
the bowls and trays; the baskets got empty sur-
prisingly fast; Nancy and Ellen had to run to the
barrels in the shed again and again for fresh sup-
"Do they mean to do all these to-night ?" said
Ellen to Nancy, on one of these occasions.
"I do not know what they mean, I am sure,"
replied Nancy, diving down into the barrel to reach
the apples;-"if you had asked me what Miss
Fortune meant, I might have given a guess."
"But only look," said Ellen,-" only so many
done, and all these to do!-Well, I know what
'busy as a bee means now, if I never did before."
"You will know it better to-morrow, I can tell
"Why ?"
wait till you see. I would not be you to-mor-
row for something though. Do you like sewing ?"
"Sewing!" said Ellen. But "Girls! girls!-
what are you leaving the door open for !"-sounded
from the kitchen, and they hurried in.
"'Most got through, Nancy?" inquired Bob
Lawson. (Miss Fortune had gone down-stairs.)
"Ha'n't begun to, Mr. Lawson. There is every
bit as many to do as there was at your house the
other night."


"What on airth does she want with such a sight
of them," inquired Dan Dennison.
Live on pies and apple-sass till next summer,"
suggested Mimy Lawson.
"That is the stuff for my money!" replied her
brother; "'taters and apple-sass is my sass in the
"It is good those is easy got," said his sister
Mary; "the sass is the most of the dinner to Bob
most commonly."
"Are they fixing for more apple-sass down-
stairs ?" Mr. Dennison went on rather dryly.
"No-hush!"-said Juniper Hitchcock,--"sas-
"Humph!" said Dan, as he speared up an apple
out of the basket on the point of his knife,-" aint
that something like what you call killing two- "
"Just that exactly," said Jenny Hitchcock, as
Dan broke off short, and the mistress of the house
walked in. "Ellen," she whispered, "do not you
want to go down-stairs and see when the folks are
coming up to help us? And tell the doctor he
must be spry, for we are not a-going to get through
in a hurry," she added, laughing.
Which is the doctor, ma'am ?"
"The doctor-Doctor Marshchalk-do not you
know ?"
"Is he a doctor?" said Alice.
"No, not exactly I suppose, but he is just as
good as the real. He's a natural knack at putting
bones in their places, and all that sort of thing.
There was a man broke his leg horribly at Thirl-
wall, the other day, and Gibson was out of the way,
and Marshchalk set it, and did it famously they said.
So go, Ellen, and bring us word what they are all

Mr. Van Brunt was head of the party in the
lower kitchen. He stood at one end of the table,
cutting with his huge knife the hard-frozen pork
into very thin slices, which the rest of the company
took, and, before they had time to thaw, cut up into
small dice on the little boards Mr. Van Brunt had
prepared. As large a fire as the chimney would
hold was built up and blazing finely; the room
looked as cozy and bright as the one up-stairs, and
the people as busy and as talkative. They had less
to do, however, or they had been more smart, for
they were drawing to the end of their chopping; of
which Miss Janet declared herself very glad, for she
said "the wind came sweeping in under the doors
and freezing her feet the whole time, and she was
sure the biggest fire ever was built could not warm
that room;" an opinion in which Mrs. Van Brunt
agreed perfectly. Miss Janet no sooner spied El-
len standing in the chimney-corner than she called
her to her side, kissed her, and talked to her a long
time, and finally, fumbling in her pocket, brought
forth an odd little three-cornered pin-cushion which
she gave her for a keepsake. Jane Huff and her
brother also took kind notice of her; and Ellen
began to think the world was full of nice people.
About half-past eight the choppers went up and
joined the company who were paring apples; the
circle was a very large one now, and the buzz of
tongues grew quite furious.
"What are you smiling at?" asked Alice of El-
len, who stood at her elbow.
I do not know," said Ellen, smiling more
broadly; and presently added,-" they are all so kind
to me."
Who ?"
0, everybody-Miss Jenny, and Miss Jane


Huff, and Miss Janet, and Mrs. Van Brunt, and Mr.
Huff,-they all speak so kindly and look so kindly
at me. But it is very funny, what a notion people
have for kissing-I wish they had not-I have run
away from three kisses already, and I am so afraid
somebody else will try next."
You do not seem very bitterly displeased," said
Alice, smiling.
"I am though,-I cannot bear it," said Ellen,
laughing and blushing. "There is Mr. Dennison
caught me, in the first place, and tried to kiss me,
but I tried so hard to get away, I believe he saw I
was really in good earnest and let me go. And just
now,-only think of it,-while I was standing talk-
ing to Miss Jane Huff, down-stairs, her brother
caught me and kissed me before I knew what he was
going to do. I declare it is too bad!" said Ellen,
rubbing her cheek very hard as if she would rub off
the affront.
You must let it pass, my dear; it is one way of
expressing kindness. They feel kindly towards you
or they would not do it."
"Then I wish they would not feel quite so kind-
ly," said Ellen, "that is all. Hark!-what was
that ?"
"What is that?" said somebody else, and in-
stantly there was silence, broken again after a mi-
nute or two by the faint blast of a horn.
"It is old Father Swaim, I reckon," said Mr.
Van Brunt; I will go fetch him in."
O, yes! bring him in-bring him in," was heard
on all sides.
"What does he blow that horn for ?" said Ellen,
as Jenny stooped for her knife which she had let


to let people know he is there, you know;
did you never see Father Swaim ?
"La! he is the funniest old fellow! He goes
round and round the country carrying the news-
papers; and we get him to bring us our letters from
the post-office, when there are any. He carries
them in a pair of saddle-bags hanging across that
old white horse of his-I do not think that horse
will ever grow old, no more than his master,-and
in summer he has a stick-so long-with a horse's
tail tied to the end of it, to brush away the flies, for
the poor horse has had his tail cut off pretty short.
I wonder if it is not the very same," said Jenny,
laughing heartily ; Father Swaim thought he could
manage it best, I guess."
The door opened, and Mr. Van Brunt and the
old news-carrier came in.
He was a venerable, mild-looking old man, with
thin hair as white as snow. He wore a long snuff-
coloured coat, and a broad-brimmed hat, the sides
of which were oddly looped up to the crown with
twine; his tin horn, or trumpet, was in his hand.
His saddle-bags were on Mr. Van Brunt's arm. As
soon as she saw him Ellen was fevered with the no-
tion that, perhaps, he had something for her; and
she forgot everything else. It would seem that
the rest of the company had the same hope, for
they crowded round him, shouting out welcomes,
and questions, and inquiries for letters, all in a
Softly-softly,"-said the old man, sitting down
slowly; "not all at once; I cannot attend to you all
at once;-one at a time-one at a time."
Do not attend to them at all till you are ready,"


said Miss Fortune,-"let them wait." And she
handed him a glass of cider.
He drank it off at a breath, smacking his lips, as
he gave back the glass to her hand, and exclaiming,
" That is prime!" Then taking up his saddle-bags
from the floor he began slowly to undo the fasten-
"You are going to our house to-night, are you
not, Father Swaim ?" said Jenny.
That is where I was a going," said the old man.
"I was a going to stop with your father, Miss Jenny;
but since I have got into farmer Van Brunt's hands,
I do not know any more what is going to become of
me;-and after that glass of cider, I do not much
care! Now, let us see-let us see,-' Miss Jenny
Hitchcock,'-here is something for you. I should
like to know very much what is inside of that letter
-there is a blue seal to it. Ah, young folks!-
young folks!"
Jenny received her letter amidst a great deal of
laughing and joking, and seemed herself quite as
much amused as anybody.
"'Jedediah B. Lawson,'-there's for your father,
Miss Mimy; that saves me a long tramp-if you
have twenty-one cents in your pocket, that is,-if
you have not, I shall be obleeged to tramp after
that. Here is something for almost all of you, I
am thinking. 'Miss Cecilia Dennison,'-your fair
hands-how is the Squire ?-rheumatism, eh ? I
think I am a younger man now than your father,
Cecilly; and yet I must have seen a good many
years more than Squire Dennison; -I must, surely.
Miss Fortune Emerson'-that is for you;-a dou-
ble letter, ma'am."
Ellen, with a beating heart, had pressed nearer
and nearer to the old man, till she stood close by his

right hand, and could see every letter as he handed
it out. A spot of deepening red was on each
cheek as her eye eagerly scanned letter after letter;
it spread to a sudden flush when the last name was
read. Alice watched in some anxiety her keen
look as it followed the letter from the old man's
hand to her aunt's, and thence to the pocket where
Miss Fortune coolly bestowed it. Ellen could not
stand this; she sprang forward across the circle.
Aunt Fortune, there is a letter inside of that for
me-will you not give it to me ? will you not give
it to me ?" she repeated trembling.
Her aunt did not notice her by so much as a
look; she turned away and began talking to some
one else. The red had left Ellen's face when Alice
could see it again;-it was livid and spotted from
stifled passion. She stood in a kind of maze. But
as her eye caught Alice's anxious and sorrowful
look she covered her face with her hands, and as
quick as possible made her escape out of the room.
For some minutes Alice heard none of the hub-
bub around her. Then came a knock at the door,
and the voice of Thomas Grimes saying to Mr. Van
Brunt that Miss Humphreys' horse was there.
"Mr. Swaim," said Alice rising, "I do not like
to leave you with these gay friends of ours; you
will stand no chance of rest with them to-night.
Will you ride home with me ?"
Many of the party began to beg Alice would stay
to supper, but she said her father would be uneasy.
The old news-carrier concluded to go with her, for
he said there was a pint he wanted to mention
to parson Humphreys that he had forgotten to
bring forward when they were talking on that 'ere
subject two months ago." So Nancy brought her
things from the next room and helped her on with


them, and looked pleased, as well she might, at the
smile and kind words with which she was rewarded.
Alice lingered at her leave-takings, hoping to see
Ellen; but it was not till the last moment that
Ellen came in. She did not say a word; but the
two little arms were put round Alice's neck, and
held her with a long, close earnestness which did
not pass from her mind all the evening afterwards.
When she was gone the company sat down again
to business ; and apple-paring went on more steadily
than ever for a while, till the bottom of the barrels
was seen, and the last basketful of apples was duly
emptied. Then there was a general shout; the
kitchen was quickly cleared, and everybody's face
brightened, as much as to say, "Now for fun!"
While Ellen and Nancy and Miss Fortune and Mrs.
Van Brunt were running all ways with trays, pans,
baskets, knives, and buckets, the fun began by Mr.
Juniper Hitchcock's whistling in his dog and setting
him to do various feats for the amusement of the
company. There followed such a rushing, leaping,
barking, laughing and scolding, on the part of the
dog and his admirers, that the room was in an
uproar. He jumped over a stick; he got into a
chair and sat up on two legs; he kissed the ladies'
hands; he suffered an apple-paring to be laid across
his nose, then threw it up with a jerk and caught
it in his mouth. Nothing very remarkable certainly,
but, as Miss Fortune observed to somebody, "if he
had been the learned pig there could not have been
more fuss made over him."
Ellen stood looking on, smiling partly at the dog
and his master, and partly at the antics of the
company. Presently Mr. Van Brunt bending down
to her said,
"What is the matter with your eyes ?"


"Nothing," said Ellen starting.-"at least no-
thing that is any matter I mean."
Come here," said he, drawing her to one side;
"tell me all about it-what is the matter ?"
"Never mind-please do not ask me, Mr. Van
Brunt-it is nothing I ought to tell you-it is not
any matter."
But her eyes were full again, and he still held her
fast, doubtfully.
"I will tell you about it, Mr. Van Brunt," said
Nancy as she came past them,-" you let her go,
and I will tell you by-and-by."
And Ellen tried in vain afterwards to make her
promise she would not.
Come, June," said Miss Jenny, we have got
enough of you and Jumper-turn him out; we are
going to have the cat now. Come !-Puss, puss in
the corner! Go off in the other room, will you, every-
body that does not want to play. Puss, puss ?-"
Now the fun began in good earnest, and few
minutes had passed before Ellen was laughing with
all her heart, as if she never had had anything to
cry for in her life. After puss, puss in the corner"
came "blind-man's buff;" and this was played with
great spirit, the two most distinguished being
Nancy and Dan Dennison, though Miss Fortune
played admirably well. Ellen had seen Nancy play
before; but she forgot her own part of the game in
sheer amazement at the way Mr. Dennison managed
his long body, which seemed to go where there was
no room for it, and vanish into air just when the
grasp of some grasping "blind man" was ready to
fasten upon him. And when he was blinded, he
seemed to know by instinct where the walls were,
and keeping clear of them he would swoop like a
hawk from one end of the room to the other, pounc-


ing upon the unlucky people who could by no
means get out of the way fast enough. When this
had lasted a while there was a general call for "the
fox and the goose;" and Miss Fortune was pitched
upon for the latter; she having in the other game
showed herself capable of good generalship. But
who for a fox? Mr. Van Brunt?
"Not I," said Mr. Van Brunt,-" there aint
nothing of the fox about me; Miss Fortune would
beat me all hollow."
"Who then, farmer," said Bill Huff;-" come!
who is the fox? Will I do?"
Not you, Bill; the goose would be too much
for you."
There was a general shout, and cries of "Who
then ?" "who then ?"
Dan Dennison," said Mr. Van Brunt. "Now
look out for a sharp fight."
Amidst a great deal of laughing and confusion
the line was formed, each person taking hold of a
handkerchief or band passed round the waist of the
person before him, except when the women held by
each other's skirts. They were ranged according
to height, the tallest being next their leader the
"goose." Mr. Van Brunt and the elder ladies, and
two or three more, chose to be lookers-on, and took
post outside the door.
Mr. Dennison began, by taking off his coat, to
give himself more freedom in his movements; for
his business was to catch the train of the goose,
one by one, as each in turn became the hindmost;
while her object was to baffle him and keep her
family together, meeting him with outspread arms
at every rush he made to seize one of her brood;
while the long train behind her, following her quick
movements and swaying from side to side to get


out of the reach of the furious fox, was sometimes
in the shape of the letter C, and sometimes in that
of the letter S, and sometimes looked like a long
snake with a curling tail. Loud was the laughter,
shrill the shrieks, as the fox drove them hither and
thither, and seemed to be in all parts of the room
at once. He was a cunning fox that, as well as a
bold one. Sometimes, when they thought him
quite safe, held at bay by the goose, he dived under
or leaped over her outstretched arms and almost
snatched hold of little Ellen, who, being the least,
was the last one of the party. But Ellen played very
well, and just escaped him two or three times, till
he declared she gave him so much trouble that when
he caught her he would kiss her the worst kind."
Ellen played none the worse for that; however she
was caught at last, and kissed too; there was no
help for it; so she bore it as well as she could.
Then she watched, and laughed till the tears ran
down her cheeks to see how the fox and the goose
dodged each other, what tricks were played, and
how the long train pulled each other about. At
length, Nancy was caught; and then Jenny Hitch-
cock; and then Cecilia Dennison, and then Jane
Huff, and so on, till at last the fox and the goose
had a long struggle for Mimy Lawson, which would
never have come to an end if Mimy had not gone
over to the enemy.
There was a general pause. The hot and tired
company were seated round the room, panting and
fanning themselves with their pocket-handkerchiefs,
and speaking in broken sentences; glad to rest
even from laughing. Miss Fortune had thrown
herself down on a seat close by Ellen, when Nancy
came up and softly asked, Is it time to beat the
eggs now ?" Miss Fortune nodded, and then drew


her close to receive a long low whisper in her ear,
at the end of which Nancy ran off.
"Is there anything I can do, aunt Fortune ?"
said Ellen, so gently and timidly, that it ought to
have won a kind answer.
"Yes," said her aunt,-" you may go and put
yourself to bed; it was high time, long ago." And
looking round as she moved off, she added, Go!"
-with a little nod that as much as said, I am in
Ellen's heart throbbed; she stood doubtful. One
word to Mr. Van Brunt and she need not go,-that
she knew. But as surely too that word would
make trouble and do harm. And then she remem-
bered "A charge to keep I have!"-She turned
quickly and quitted the room.
Ellen sat down on the first stair she came to, for
her bosom was heaving up and down, and she was
determined not to cry. The sounds of talking
and laughing came to her ear from the parlour, and
there at her side stood the covered-up supper;-
for a few minutes it was hard work to keep her re-
solve. The thick breath came and went very fast.
Through the fanlights of the hall-door, opposite
to which she was sitting, the bright moonlight
streamed in;-and presently, as Ellen quieted, it
seemed to her fancy like a gentle messenger from
its Maker, bidding his child remember him;-and
then came up some words in her memory that her
mother's lips had fastened there long ago;-" I love
them that love me, and they that seek me early
shall find me." She remembered her mother had
told her it is Jesus who says this. Her lost plea-
sure was wellnigh forgotten: and yet as she sat
gazing into the moonlight, Ellen's eyes were ga-
thering tears very fast.


Well, I am seeking him," she thought,-" can
it be that he loves me !-Oh I am so glad!"
And they were glad tears that little Ellen wiped
away as she went up-stairs; for it was too cold to
sit there long if the moon was ever so bright.
She had her hand on the latch of her door, when
her grandmother called out from the other room to
know who was there.
"It is I, grandma."
"Is not somebody there? Come in here-who
is it?"
"It is I, grandma," said Ellen, coming to the
"Come in here, deary," said the old woman in a
lower tone,-" what is it all ? what is the matter ?
who is down-stairs ?"
"It is a bee, grandma; there is nothing the
"A bee! who has been stung ? what is all the
noise about ?"
"It is not that kind of bee, grandma; do not
you know ? there is a parcel of people that came
to pare apples, and they have been playing games
in the parlour-that is all."
"Paring apples, eh? Is there company below?"
Yes, ma'am; a whole parcel of people."
"Dear me!" said the old lady, I ought not to
have been in bed! Why has not Fortune called
me ? I will get right up. Ellen, you go into that
fur closet and bring me my paddysoy that hangs
there, and then help me on with my things; I will
get right up. Dear me! what was Fortune think-
ing about ?"
The moonlight served very well instead of can-
dles. After twice bringing the wrong dresses,
Ellen at last hit upon the paddysoy," which the


old lady knew immediately by the touch. In haste,
and not without some fear and trembling on Ellen's
part, she was arrayed in it; her best cap put on,
not over hair in the best order Ellen feared, but the
old lady would not stay to have it made better;
Ellen took care of her down the stairs, and, after
opening the door for her, went back to her room.
A little while had passed, and Ellen was just
tying her night-cap strings and ready to go peace-
fully to sleep, when Nancy burst in.
"Ellen! Hurry! you must come right down-
"Down-stairs!-why, I am just ready to go to
"No matter-you must come right away down.
There is Mr. Van Brunt says he will not begin
supper till you come."
But does aunt Fortune want me too ?"
Yes, I tell you! and the quicker you come the
better she will be pleased. She sent me after you
in all sorts of a hurry. She said she did not know
where you was."
"Said she did not know where I was! Why
she told me herself--" Ellen began and stopped
Of course!" said Nancy, "do not you think I
know that ? But he does not, and if you want to
plague her you will just tell him. Now come and
be quick, will you. The supper is splendid."
Ellen lost the first view of the table, for every-
thing had begun to be pulled to pieces before she
came in. The company were all crowded round the
table, eating and talking and helping themselves;
and ham and bread and butter, pumpkin pies and
mince pies, and apple pies, cake of various kinds,
and glasses of egg nogg and cider were in every-

body's hands. One dish in the middle of the table
had won the praise of every tongue; nobody could
guess, and many asked how it was made, but Miss
Fortune kept a satisfied silence, pleased to see the
constant stream of comers to the big dish till it was
near empty. Just then Mr. Van Brunt, seeing
Ellen had nothing, gathered up all that was left and
gave it to her.
It was sweet, and cold, and rich. Ellen told her
mother afterwards it was the best thing she had
ever tasted, except the ice-cream she once gave her
in New York. She had taken, however, but one
spoonful, when her eye fell upon Nancy, standing
back of all the company, and forgotten. Nancy had
been upon her good behaviour all the evening, and
it was a singular proof of this that she had not
pushed in and helped herself among the first.
Ellen's eye went once or twice from her plate to
Nancy, and then she crossed over and offered it to
her. It was eagerly taken, and, a little disap-
pointed, Ellen stepped back again. But she soon
forgot the disappointment. "She will know now
that I do not bear her any grudge," she thought.
Ha'n't you got nothing ?" said Nancy, coming
up presently; "that wasn't your'n that you gave
me, was it?"
Ellen nodded smilingly.
"Well, there aint no more of it," said Nancy.
"The bowl is empty."
I know it," said Ellen.
Why, didn't you like it ?"
"Yes-very much."
"Why, you're a queer little fish," said Nancy.
"What did you get Mr. Van Brunt to let me m
for ?"
How did you know I did?"


"'Cause he told me. Say-what did you do it
for ? Mr. Dennison, won't you give Ellen a piece
of cake or something? Here-take this," said
Nancy, pouncing upon a glass of egg nogg which a
gap in the company enabled her to reach; "I made
it more than half myself. Aint it good ?"
Yes, very," said Ellen;-" what is in it ?"
0, plenty of good things. But what made you
ask Mr. Van Brunt to let me stop to-night? You
didn't tell me-did you want me to stay ?"
Never mind," said Ellen; do not ask me any
Yes, but I will though, and you have got to
answer me. Why did you ? Come!--do you like
me ?-say F"
I should like you, I dare say, if you would be
"Well, I don't care, said Nancy, after a little
pause,-" I like you, though you're as queer as you
can be. I don't care whether you like me or not.
Look here, Ellen, that cake there is the best-I
know it is, for I have tried them all. You know
I told Van Brunt I would tell him what you were
crying about ?"
Yes, and I asked you not. Did you?"
Nancy nodded, being at the moment still further
engaged in trying" the cake.
"I am sorry you did. What did he say ?"
He didn't say much to me-somebody else will
hear of it, I guess. He was mad about it, or I am
mistaken. What makes you sorry ?"
"It will only do harm, and make aunt Fortune
"Well, that is just what I should like, if I were
you. I can't make you out."

"I would rather have her like me," said Ellen.
"Was she vexed when grandma came down ?"
"I do not know; but she had to keep it to her-
self if she was: everybody else was so glad, and
Mr. Van Brunt made such a fuss. Just look at
the old lady, how pleased she is. I declare if the
folks aint talking of going! Come, Ellen, now for
the cloaks! you and me will finish our supper
That, however, was not to be. Nancy was offered
a ride home to Mrs. Van Brunt's, and a lodging
there. They were ready cloaked and shawled, and
Ellen was still hunting for Miss Janet's things in
the moonlit hall, when she heard Nancy close by, in
a lower tone than common, say,
"Ellen-will you kiss me ?"
Ellen dropped her armful of things, and, taking
Nancy's hands, gave her truly the kiss of peace.
When she went up to undress for the second
time, she found on her bed-her letter! And with
tears Ellen kneeled down and gave earnest thanks
for this blessing, and that she had been able to gain
Nancy's good-will.


"He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust."
IT was Tuesday the 22nd of December, and late in
the day. Not a pleasant afternoon. The gray
snow-clouds hung low; the air was keen and raw.
It was already growing dark, and Alice was sitting
alone in the firelight, when two little feet came
running round the corner of the house; the glass
door opened and Ellen rushed in.
"I have come! I have come!" she exclaimed.
" dear Alice! I am so glad !"
So was Alice if her kiss meant anything.
"But how late, my child! how late you are."
"0 I thought I should never have done," said
Ellen, pulling off her things in a great hurry, and
throwing them on the sofa,-"but I am here at
last. OI am so glad!"
Why, what has been the matter ?" said Alice,
folding up what Ellen laid down.
a great deal of matter-I could not think
what Nancy meant last night-I know very well
now. I shall not want to see any more apples all
winter. What do you think I have been about all
to-day, dear Miss Alice ?"
"Nothing that has done you much harm," said
Alice smiling,--" if I am to guess from your looks.
You are as rosy as a good Spitzenberg yourself."
That is very funny," said Ellen laughing; for

aunt Fortune said awhile ago that my cheeks were
just the colour of two mealy potatoes."
But about the apples ?" said Alice.
Why, this morning I was thinking I would
come here so early, when the first thing aunt For-
tune brought out all those heaps and heaps of
apples into the kitchen, and made me sit down on
the floor, and then she gave me a great big needle
and set me to string them all together, and as fast
as I strung them she hung them up all round the
ceiling. I tried very hard to get through before, but
I could not, and I am so tired! I thought I never
should get to the bottom of that great basket."
"Never mind, love-come to the fire-we will
try and forget all disagreeable things while we are
I have almost forgotten it already," said Ellen,
as she sat down in Alice's lap and laid her face
against hers;-" I do not care for it at all now."
But her cheeks were fast fading into the uncom-
fortable colour Miss Fortune had spoken of; and
weariness and weakness kept her for a while quiet
in Alice's arms, overcoming even the pleasure of
talking. They sat so till the clock struck half-past
five; then Alice proposed they should go into the
kitchen and see Margery, and order the tea to be
made, which she had no doubt Ellenwanted. Margery
welcomed her with great cordiality. She liked any-
body that Alice liked, but she had besides declared
to her husband that Ellen was an uncommon well-
behaved child." See said she would put the tea to
draw, and they should have it in a very few mi-
But, Miss Alice, there is an Irish body out by,
waiting to speak to you. I was just coming in to
tell you; will you please to see her now P"


"Certainly-let her come in. Is she in the cold,
Margery ?
No, Miss Alice, there is a fire there this even-
ing. I will call her."
The woman came up from the lower kitchen at
the summons. She was young, rather pretty, and
with a pleasant countenance, but unwashed, un-
combed, untidy,-no wonder Margery's nicety had
shrunk from introducing her into her spotless
upper kitchen. The unfailing Irish cloak was
drawn about her, the hood brought over her head,
and on the head and shoulders the snow lay white,
not yet melted away.
Did you wish to speak to me, my friend?" said
Alice pleasantly.
"If ye plase, ma'am, it's the master I'm want-
ing," said the woman, dropping a curtsey.
"My father? Margery, will you tell him."
Margery departed.
"Come nearer the fire," said Alice,-and sit
down; my father will be here presently. It is
snowing again, is it not P"
"It is, ma'am ;-a bitter storm."
Have you came far?"
It's a good bit, my lady-it's more nor a mile
beyant Carra-just right forgin the would big hill
they call the Catchback;-in Jemmy Morrison's
woods--where Pat M'Farren's clearing is-it's
there I live, my lady."
That is a long distance indeed for a walk in the
snow," said Alice, kindly; "sit down, and come
nearer the fire. Margery will give you something
to refresh you."
"I thank ye, my lady, but I want nothing man
can give me the night; and when one's on an arrant

of life and death, it's little the cold or the storm
can do to put out the heart's fire."
"Life and death ? who is sick ?" said Alice.
"It's my own child, ma'am,-my own boy-all
the child I have-and I'll have none by the morn-
ing light."
Is he so ill ?" said Alice; what is the matter
with him ?"
Myself doesn't know."
The voice was fainter; the brown cloak was
drawn over her face; and Alice and Ellen saw her
shoulders heaving with the grief she kept from
bursting out. They exchanged glances.
"Sit down," said Alice again presently, laying
her hand upon the wet shoulder;-" sit down and
rest; my father will be here directly. Margery, oh
that is right,--a cup of tea will do her good. What
do you want of my father ?"
The Lord bless ye !-I'll tell you, my lady."
She drank off the tea, but refused something
more substantial that Margery offered her.
The Lord bless ye! I couldn't. My lady, there
wasn't a stronger, nor a prettier, nor a water child,
nor couldn't be, nor he was when we left it-it'll be
three years come the fifteenth of April next; but
I'm thinking the bitter winters o' this cowld country
has chilled the life out o' him,-and troubles cowl-
der than all," she added in a lower tone. "I seed
him grow waker an' waker, an' his daar face grow
thinner an' thinner, an' the red all left it, only two
burning spots was on it some days; an' I worried
the life out o' me for him, an' all I could do I
couldn't do nothing at all to help him, but he just
growed waker an' waker. I axed the father wouldn't
he see the doctor about him, but he's an 'asy kind


o' man, my lady, an' he said he would, an' he never
did to this day; an' John he always said it was no
use sinding for the doctor, an' looked so swate at
me, an' said for me not to fret, for sure he'd be
better soon, or he'd go to a better place. And I
thought he was like a heavenly angel itself already,
an' always was, but then more nor ever. Och! it's
soon that he'll be one entirely !-let Father Shan-
non say what he will."
She sobbed for a minute, while Alice and Ellen
looked on, silent and pitying.
"An' to-night, my lady, he's very bad," she went
on, wiping away the tears that came quickly again,
-an' I see'd he was going fast from me, an' I was
breaking my heart wid the loss of him, whin I heard
one of the men that was in it say, What's this he's
saying?' says he. 'An' what is it thin?' says I.
About the jantleman that praaches at Carra,' says
he,-' he's a calling for him,' says he. I knowed
there wasn't a praast at all at Carra, an' I thought
he was dreaming, or out o' his head, or crazy wid
his sickness, like; an' I went up close to him, an'
says I,' John,' says I, 'what is it you want ?' says I,
-'an' sure if it's anything in heaven above or in
earth beneath that yer own mother can get for
ye,' says I, ye shall have it,' says I. An' he put
up his two arm' to my neck an' pulled my face
down to his lips, that was hot wid the faver, an'
kissed me-he did-' An',' says he, 'Mother daar,'
says he,-' if ye love me,' says he, 'fetch me the
good jantleman that praaches at Carra, till I spake
to him.' 'Is it the praast you want, John my boy ?'
says I,-' sure he's in it,' says I;-for Michael had
been for Father Shannon, an' he had come home
wid him half an hour before. Oh no, mother,'
says he, 'it's not him at all that I maan-it's the


jantleman what spakes in the little white church at
Carra,-he's not a praast at all,' says he. An'
who is he thin ?' says I, getting up from the bed,
'or where will I find him, or how will I get to him ?'
' Ye'll not stir a fat for him then the night, Kitty
Dolan,' says my husband,-' are ye mad ?' says he;
' sure it's not his own head the child has at all, at
all, or it's a little hiritic he is,' says he; 'an' ye
won't show the disrespect to the praast in yer own
house.' I'm meaning none,' says I,-' nor more
he isn't a hiritic, but if he was, he's a born angel
to you, Michael Dolan, anyhow,' says I; an' wid
the kiss of his lips on my face wouldn't I do the
arrant of my own boy, an' he a dying ? by the
blessing, an' I will, if twenty men stud between me
an' it. So tell me where I'll find him, this praast,
if there's the love o' mercy in any sowl o' ye,' says
I. But they wouldn't spake a word for me, not
one of them; so I axed an' axed at one place an'
other, till here I am. An' now, my lady, will the
master go for me to my poor boy ?-for he'd maybe
be dead while I stand here."
"Surely I will," said Mr. Humphreys, who had
come in while she was speaking. Wait but one
In a moment he came back ready, and he and
the woman set forth to their walk. Alice looked
out anxiously after them.
"It storms very hard," she said; "and he has
not had his tea! But he could not wait. Come,
Ellen love, we will have ours. How will he ever
get back again! it will be so deep by that time."
There was a cloud on her fair brow for a few mi-
nutes, but it passed away; and, quiet and calm as
ever, she sat down at the little tea-table with Ellen.
From her face all shadows seemed to have flown for


ever. Hungry and happy, she enjoyed Margery's
good bread and butter and the nice honey, and from
time to time cast very bright looks at the dear face
on the other side of the table, which could not help
looking bright in reply. Ellen was well pleased for
her part that the third seat was empty. But Alice
looked thoughtful sometimes as a gust of wind swept
by, and once or twice went to the window.
After tea Alice took out her work, and Ellen put
herself contentedly down on the rug, and sat lean-
ing back against her. Silent for very contentment
for a while, she sat looking gravely into the fire;
while Alice's fingers drove a little steel hook through
and through some purse silk in a mysterious fashion
that no eye could be quick enough to follow, and
with such skill and steadiness that the work grew
fast under her hand.
"I had such a funny dream last night," said
"Did you? what about P"
"It was pleasant too," said Ellen, twisting her-
self round to talk, "but very queer. I dreamed
about that gentleman that was so kind to me on
board the boat-you know ? I told you about
him ?"
"Yes, I remember."
"Well, I dreamed of seeing him somewhere, I
do not know where,-and he did not look a bit like
himself, only I knew who it was; and I thought I
did not like to speak to him for fear he would not
know me, but then I thought he did, and came up
and took my hand and seemed so glad to see me;
and he asked me if I had been pious since he saw
Ellen stopped to laugh.
And what did you tell him ?"


"I told him yes; and then I thought he seemed
so very pleased."
"Dreamers do not always keep close to the truth,
it seems."
"I did not," said Ellen; but then I thought I
had in my dream."
Had what ? kept close to the truth ?"
No, no;-been what he said."
Dreams are queer things," said Alice.
"I have been far enough from being good to-
day," said Ellen thoughtfully.
How so, my dear ?"
"I do not know, Miss Alice ;-because I never
am good, I suppose."
But what has been the matter to-day ?"
Why, those apples! I thought I would come
here so early, and then when I found I must do
all those baskets of apples first I was very ill-hu-
moured; and aunt Fortune saw I was, and said
something that made me worse. And I tried as
hard as I could to get through before dinner; and,
when I found I could not, I said I would not come
to dinner; but she made me, and that vexed me
more, and I would scarcely eat anything; and then,
when I got back to the apples again, I sewed so
hard that I ran the needle into my finger ever so
far,-see there, what a mark it left!-and aunt
Fortune said it served me right and she was glad
of it, and that made me angry. I knew I was
wrong afterwards, and I was very sorry. Is it not
strange, dear Alice, I should do so when I have
resolved so hard I would not ?"
Not very, my darling, as long as we have such
evil hearts as ours are ;-it is strange they should
be so evil."
"I told aunt Fortune afterwards I was sorry;


but she said, 'actions speak louder than words, and
words are cheap.' If she only would not say that
just as she does; it does worry me so."
"Patience !" said Alice, passing her hand over
Ellen's hair as she sat looking sorrowfully up at
her; "you must try not to give her occasion.
Never mind what she says, and overcome evil with
"That is just what mamma said!" exclaimed
Ellen, rising to throw her arms round Alice's neck,
and kissing her with all the energy of love, grati-
tude, repentance, and sorrowful recollection.
"0, what do you think ?" she said suddenly, her
face changing again; I got my letter last night!"
Your letter !"
Yes, the letter the old man brought; do not
you know ? and it was written on the ship, and
there was only a little bit from mamma, and a little
bit from papa, but so good! Papa says she is a
great deal better, and he has no doubt he will bring
her back in the spring or summer quite well again.
Is not that good ?"
Very good, dear Ellen. I am very glad for you."
"It was on my bed last night. I cannot think
how it got there; and I do not care either, so long
as I have got it. What are you making ?"
"A purse," said Alice, laying it on the table for
her inspection.
"It will be very pretty. Is the other end to be
like this P"
Yes, and these tassels to finish them off."
O, that is beautiful," said Ellen, laying them
down to try the effect; and these rings to fasten
it with? Is it black?"
"No, dark green. I am making it for my brother

"A Christmas present !" exclaimed Ellen.
I am afraid not; he will hardly be here by that
time. It may do for New Year."
How pleasant it must be to make Christmas
and New Year presents," said Ellen, after she had
watched Alice's busy fingers for a few minutes.
"I wish I could make something for somebody.
O, I wonder if I could not make something for Mr.
Van Brunt! O, I should like very much."
Alice smiled at Ellen's very wide-open eyes.
"What could you make for him F"
"I do not know ;-that's the thing. He keeps
his money in his pocket; and, besides, I do not
know how to make purses."
"There are other things besides purses. How
would a watch-guard do ? Does he wear a watch ?"
"I do not know whether he does or not; he does
not every day I am sure, but I do not know about
"Then we will not venture upon that. You
might knit him a nightcap."
"A nightcap !-You are joking, Alice, are you
not ? I do not think a nightcap would be pretty
for a Christmas present, do you ?"
"Well, what shall we do, Ellen?" said Alice,
laughing. "I made a pocket-pincushion for papa
once, when I was a little girl; but I fancy Mr.Van
Brunt would not know exactly what use to make of
such a convenience. I do not think you could fail
to please him though with anything you should hit
"I have got a dollar," said Ellen, to buy stuff
with; it came in my letter last night. If I only
knew what !"
Down she went on the rug again; and Alice
worked in silence, while Ellen's thoughts ran over


every possible and impossible article of Mr. Van
Brunt's dress.
I have some nice pieces of fine linen," said
Alice; "suppose I cut out a collar for him, and
you can make it and stitch it, and then Margery
will starch and iron it for you, all ready to give to
him. How will that do ? Can you stitch well
enough F"
0 yes, I think I can," said Ellen. "0, thank
you, dear Alice! you are the best help that ever
was. Will he like that, do you think ?"
I am sure he will-very much."
"Then that will do nicely," said Ellen, much
relieved. "And now, what do you think about
Nancy's Bible ?"
Nothing could be better, only that I am afraid
Nancy would either sell it for something else, or let
it go to destruction very quickly. I never heard
of her spending five minutes over a book; and the
Bible, I am afraid, last of all."
"But I think," said Ellen slowly, "I think she
would not spoil it or sell it either, if I gave it to
And she told Alice about Nancy's asking for the
kiss last night.
"That is the most hopeful thing I have heard
about Nancy, for a long time," said Alice. We
will get her the Bible, by all means, my dear,-a
nice one,-and I hope you will be able to persuade
her to read it."
She rose as she spoke, and went to the glass door.
Ellen followed her, and they looked out into the
night. It was very dark. She opened the door a
moment, but the wind drove the snow into their
faces, and they were glad to shut it again.

It is almost as bad as the night we were out, is
it not?" said Ellen.
Not such a heavy fall of snow, I think, but it is
very windy and cold. Papa will be late getting
"I am sorry you are worried, dear Alice."
"I am not much worried, love. I have often
known papa out late before, but this is rather a hard
night for a long walk. Come, we will try to make
a good use of the time while we are waiting. Sup-
pose you read to me while I work."
She took down a volume of Cowper, and found
his account of the three pet hares. Ellen read it,
and then several of his smaller pieces of poetry.
Then followed a long talk about hares and other
animals; about Cowper and his friends, and his way
of life. Time passed swiftly away; it was getting
How weary papa will be," said Alice; he has
had nothing to eat since dinner. I will tell you
what we will do, Ellen," she exclaimed, as she threw
her work down, we will make some chocolate for
him-that will be the very thing. Ellen, dear, run
into the kitchen and ask Margery to bring me the
little chocolate pot, and a pitcher of night's milk."
Margery brought them. The pot was set on the
coals, and Alice had cut up the chocolate that it
might melt the quicker. Ellen watched it with
great interest, till it was melted, and the boiling
water stirred in, and the whole was simmering
quietly on the coals,
"Is it done now?"
"No, it must boil a little while, and then the
milk must be put in, and when that has boiled, the
eggs-and then it will be done."


With Margery and the chocolate pot the cat had
walked in. Ellen immediately endeavoured to im-
prove his acquaintance; that was not so easy. The
Captain chose the corner of the rug farthest from
her, in spite of all calling and coaxing, saying her
no more attention than if he had not heard her.
Ellen crossed over to him, and began most tenderly
and respectfully to stroke his head and back, touch-
ing his soft fur with great care. Parry presently
lifted up his head uneasily, as much as to say, I
wonder how long this is going to last,"-and find-
ing there was every prospect of its lasting some
time, he fairly got up and walked over to the other
end of the rug. Ellen followed him and tried again,
with exactly the same effect.
Well cat! you are not very kind," said she, at
length;-" Alice, he will not let me have anything
to do with him!"
I am sorry, my dear, he is so unsociable; he is
a cat of very bad taste-that is all I can say."
"But I never saw such a cat! he will not let me
touch him ever so softly; he lifts up his head and
looks as cross !-and then walks off."
He does not know you yet; and truth is, Parry
has no fancy for extending the circle of his acquaint-
ance. 0 kitty, kitty!" said Alice, fondly stroking
his head, why do not you behave better?"
Parry lifted his head, and opened and shut his
eyes, with an expression of great satisfaction, very
different from that he had bestowed on Ellen. El-
len gave him up for the present as a hopeless case,
and turned her attention to the chocolate, which had
now received the milk, and must be watched lest it
should run over, which Alice said it would very
easily do when once it began to boil again. Mean-
while, Ellen wanted to know what chocolate was

made of-where it came from-where it was made
best,-burning her little face in the fire all the
time, lest the pot should boil over while she was not
looking. At last the chocolate began to gather a
rich froth, and Ellen called out,-
Oh, Alice! look here-quick! here is the shape
of the spoon on the top of the chocolate do look
at it."
An iron spoon was in the pot, and its shape was
distinctly raised on the smooth frothy surface. As
they were both bending forward to watch it, Alice
waiting to take the pot off the moment it began to
boil, Ellen heard a slight click of the lock of the
door, and, turning her head, was a little startled to
see a stranger there, standing still at the far end of
the room. She touched Alice's arm without look-
ing round. But Alice started to her feet with a
slight scream, and in another minute had thrown
her arms round the stranger and was locked in his.
Ellen knew what it meant now very well. She
turned away as if she had nothing to do with what
was going on there, and lifted the pot of chocolate
off the fire with infinite difficulty; but it was going
to boil over, and she was determined to do it. And
then she stood with her back to her brother and
sister, looking into the fire, as if she was deter-
mined not to see them till she could not help it.
But what she was thinking of, Ellen could not have
told, then or afterward. It was but a few minutes,
though it seemed to her a great many, before they
drew near the fire. Curiosity began to be strong,
and she looked round to see if the new comer was
like Alice. No, not at all,-how different !-darker
hair and eyes-not at all like her; handsome enough,
too, to be her brother. And Alice did not look like
herself; her usually calm sweet face was quivering


and sparkling now,-lit up as Ellen had never
seen it,-oh, how bright Poor Ellen herself had
never looked duller m her life;-and when Alice
said gaily, "This is my brother, Ellen,"-her con-
fusion of thoughts and feelings resolved themselves
into a flood of tears; she sprang and hid her face
in Alice's arms.
Ellen's were not the only eyes that were full just
then, but of course she did not know that.
Come, Ellen," whispered Alice, presently, look
up!-what kind of a welcome is this ? come!-we
have no business with tears just now,-run into the
kitchen for me, love," she added more low, and ask
Margery to bring some bread and butter, and any-
thing else she has that is fit for a traveller."
Glad of an escape, Ellen darted away that her
wet face might not be seen. The brother and sister
were busily talking when she returned.
"John," said Alice, "this is my little sister
that I wrote to you about-Ellen Montgomery.
Ellen, this is your brother, as well as mine, you
Stop! stop!" said her brother. "Miss Ellen,
this sister of mine is giving us away to each other
at a great rate,-I should like to know first what
ou say to it. Are you willing to take a strange
brother upon her recommendation."
Half inclined to laugh, Ellen glanced at the
speaker's face, but, meeting the grave though some-
what comical look of two very keen eyes, she looked
down again, and merely answer Yes."
Then if I am to be your brother, you must give
me a brother's right, you know," said he, drawing
her gently to him, and kissing her gravely on the
Probably Ellen thought there was a difference


between Mr. John Humphreys and Mr. Van Brunt,
or the young gentleman of the apple-paring; for
though she coloured a good deal, she made no ob-
jection, and showed no displeasure. Alice and she
now busied themselves with getting the cups and
saucers out of the cupboard, and setting the table;
but all that evening, through whatever was doing,
Ellen's eyes sought the stranger as if by fascina-
tion. She watched him whenever she could with-
out being noticed. At first she was in doubt what
to think of him; she was quite sure from that one
look into his eyes that he was a person to be feared;
-there was no doubt of that; as to the rest she
did not know.
And what have my two sisters been doing to
spend the evening ?" said John Humphreys, one
time that Alice was gone into the kitchen on some
kind errand for him.
Talking, sir," said Ellen, doubtfully.
"Talking! this whole evening ? Alice must
have improved. What have you been talking
about ?"
Hares-and dogs-and about Mr. Cowper-
and some other things,-"
"Private affairs, eh P" said he, with again the
look Ellen had seen before.
Yes, sir," said Ellen, nodding and laughing.
How came you to be talking about Mr. Cow-
per ?"
"I was reading about his hares, and about John
Gilpin; and then Alice told me about Mr. Cowper
and his friends."
Well, I do not know after all that you have had
a pleasanter evening than I have had," said her
questioner, though I have been riding hard, with
the cold wind in my face, and the driving snow


doing all it could to discomfort me. I have had
this very bright fireside before me all the way."
He fell into a fit of grave musing which lasted
till Alice came in. Then suddenly fell a fumbling
in his pocket.
"Here is a note for you," said he, throwing it
Into her lap.
A note! Sophia Marshman! where did you get
it ?"
"From her own hand. Passing there to-day I
thought I must stop a moment to speak to them,
and had no notion of doing more; but Mrs. Marsh-
man was very kind, and Miss Sophia in despair, so
the end of it was, I dismounted and went in to
await the preparing of that billet, while my poor
nag was led off to the stables, and a fresh horse
supplied me,-I fancy that tells you on what con-
"Charming !" said Alice, "to spend Christmas,
-I am very glad; I should like very much-
with you, dear. If I can only get papa-but I
think he will; it will do him a great deal of good.
To-morrow, she says, we must come; but I fear the
weather will not let us; we shall see."
"I rode Prince Charlie down. He is a good
traveller, and the sleighing will be fine if the snow
be not too deep. The old sleigh is in being yet,
I suppose ?"
Oh yes in good order. Ellen, what are you
looking so grave about ? you are going too."
"I !" said Ellen, a great spot of crimson coming
in each cheek.
"To be sure; do you think I am going to leave
you behind?"
"But what ?"

"There will not be room."
"Room in the sleigh ? Then we will put John
on Prince Charlie, and let him ride there, postilion
"But--Mr. Humphreys ?"
"He always goes on horseback; he will ride
Sharp or Old John."
In great delight Ellen gave Alice an earnest kiss ;
and then they all gathered round the table to take
their chocolate, or rather to see John take his,
which his sister would not let him wait for any
longer. The storm had ceased, and through the
broken clouds the moon and stars were looking out,
so they were no more uneasy for Mr. Humphreys,
and expected him every moment. Still the supper
was begun and ended without him, and they had
drawn round the fire again before his welcome step
was at last heard.
There was new joy then; new embracing, and
questioning and answering; the little circle opened
to let him in; and Alice brought the corner of the
table to his side, and poured him out a cup of hot
chocolate. But after drinking half of it, and neg-
lecting the eatables beside him, he sat with one
hand in the other, his arm leaning on his knee, with
a kind of softened gravity in his countenance.
"Is your chocolate right, papa said Alice, at
Very good, my daughter !"-
He finished the cup, but then went back to his
old attitude and look. Gradually they ceased their
conversation, and waited with respectful affection
and some curiosity for him to speak; something of
more than common interest seemed to be in his
thoughts. He sat looking earnestly in the fire,
sometimes with almost a smile on his face, and


gently striking one hand in the palm of the other.
And sitting so, without moving or stirring his eyes,
he said at last, as though the words had been forced
from him,
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift!"
As he added no more, Alice said gently, "What
have you seen to-night, papa ?"
He roused himself and pushed the empty cup to-
wards her.
"A little more, my daughter;-I have seen the
fairest sight, almost, a man can see in this world.
I have seen a little ransomed spirit go home to its
rest. Oh, that 'unspeakable gift!'"-
He pressed his lips thoughtfully together while
he stirred his chocolate; but having drunk it he
pushed the table from him and drew up his chair.
"You had a long way to go, papa," observed
Alice again.
Yes-a long way there-I do not know what
it was coming home; I never thought of it. How
independent the spirit can be of externals! I
scarcely felt the storm to-night."
"Nor I," said his son.
I had a long way to go," said Mr. Humphreys;
"that poor woman-that Mrs. Dolan-she lives in
the woods behind the Cat's Back, a mile beyond
Carra-carra, or more-it seemed a long mile to-
night; and a more miserable place I never saw yet.
A little rickety shanty, the storm was hardly kept
out of it, and no appearance of comfort or nicety
anywhere or in anything. There were several men
gathered round the fire, and in a corner on a miser-
able kind of bed, I saw the sick child. His eye
met mine the moment I went in, and I thought
I had seen him before, but could not at first make
out where. Do you remember, Alice, a little ragged


boy, with a remarkably bright pleasant face, who
has planted himself regularly every Sunday morn-
ing for some time past in the south aisle of the
church, and stood there all service time?"
Alice said No."
I have noticed him often, and noticed him as
paying a most fixed and steady attention. I have
repeatedly tried to catch him on his way out of
church, to speak to him, but always failed. I asked
him to-night, when 1 first went in, if he knew me.
I do, sir,' he said. I asked him where he had seen
me. He said, 'In the church beyant.' So,' said
I, 'you are the little boy I have seen there so re-
gularly; what did you comic there for ?'
'To hear yer honor spake the good words.'
What good words ?' said I; about what ?'
"He said, 'About Him that was slain and washed
us from our sins in his owni blood.'
"' And do you think he has washed awan yours ?'
I said.
He smiled at me very exl)ressively. I suppose
it was somewhat difficult for him to speak ; and to
tell the truth so it was for me, for I was taken by
surprise: but the people in the hut had gathered
round, and I wished to hear him say more, for their
sake as well as my own. I asked him why he
thought his sins were washed away. He gave me
for answer part of the verse, 'Suffer little children
to come unto me,' but did not finish it. 'Do you
think you are very sick John ?' I asked.
"' I am sir,' he said,-' I'll not be long here.'
'And where do you think you are going then ?'
said I.
"He lifted one little thin bony arm from under
his coverlid, and through all the dirt and pallor of


his face the smile of heaven I am sure was on it,
as he looked and pointed upward and answered,
"I asked him presently, as soon as I could, what
he had wished to see me for. I do not know whether
he heard me or not; he lay with his eyes half closed,
breathing with difficulty. I doubted whether he
would speak again; and indeed, for myself, I had
heard and seen enough to satisfy me entirely;-for
the sake of the group around the bed I could have
desired something further. They kept perfect still-
ness; awed, I think, by a profession of faith such
as they had never heard before. They and I stood
watching him, and at the end of a few minutes, not
more than ten or fifteen, he opened his eyes and
with sudden life and strength rose up half way in
bed, exclaiming, 'Thanks be to God for his un-
speakable gift!'-and then fell back -just dead."
The old gentleman's voice was husky as he
finished, for Alice and Ellen were both weeping,
and John Humphreys had covered his face with his
I have felt," said the old gentleman presently,
-" as if I could have shouted out his words-his
dying words-all the way as I came home. My
little girl," said he, drawing Ellen to him, do you
know the meaning of those sweet things of which
little John Dolan's mind was so full ?"
Ellen did not speak.
"Do you know what it is to be a sinner ?-and
what it is to be a forgiven child of God ?"
I believe I do, sir," Ellen said.
He kissed her forehead and blessed her; and
then said, Let us pray."
It was late; the servants had gone to bed, and
they were alone. Oh what a thanksgiving Mr.


Humphreys poured forth for that unspeakable
gift;"-that they, every one there, had been made
to know and rejoice in it; for the poor little boy,
rich in faith, who had just gone home in the same
rejoicing; for their own loved ones who were there
already; and for the hope of joining them soon in
safety and joy, to sing with them the new song"
for ever and ever.
There were no dry eyes in the room. And when
they arose, Mr. Humphreys, after giving his daugh-
ter the usual kiss for good night, gave one to Ellen
too, which he had never done before, and then going
to his son and laying both hands on his shoulders,
kissed his cheek also; then silently took his candle
and went.
They lingered a little while after he was gone,
standing round the fire as if loth to part, but in
grave silence, each busy with his own thoughts.
Alice's ended by fixing on her brother, for laying
her hand and her head caressingly on his shoulder
she said, And so you have been well all this time,
He turned his face towards her without speaking,
but Ellen as well as his sister saw the look of love
with which he answered her question, rather of en-
dearment than inquiry; and from that minute
Ellen's mind was made up as to the doubt which
had troubled her. She went to bed quite satisfied
that her new brother was a decided acquisition.


The night was winter in his roughest mood,
The morning sharp and clear .
......... The vault is blue
Without a cloud, and white without a speck
IThe dazzling splendour of the scene below.
BEFORE Ellen's eyes were open the next morning--
almost before she awoke -the thought of the Christ-
mas visit, the sleigh-ride, John Humphreys, and
the weather, all rushed iuto her mind at once; and
started her half up in the bed to look out of the
window. Well frosted the panes of glass were, but
at the corners and edges unmistakable bright
gleams of light came in.
"0 Alice, it is beautiful!" exclaimed Ellen;
"look how the sun is shining! and it is not very
cold. Are we going to-day ?"
"I do not know vet Ellie, but we shall know
very soon. We will settle that at breakfast."
At breakfast it was settled. They were to go,
and set off directly. Mr. Humphreys could not go
with them, because he had promised to bury little
John Dolan; the priest had declared he would have
nothing to do with it; and the poor mother had
applied to Mr. Humphreys, as being the clergyman
her child had most trusted and loved to hear. It
seemed that little John had persuaded her out of
half her prejudices by his affectionate talk and
blameless behaviour during some time past. Mr.


Humphreys therefore must stay at home that day.
He promised however to follow them the next, and
would by no means permit them to wait for him.
He said the day was fine and they must improve it;
and he should be pleased to have them with their
friends as long as possible.
So the little travelling bag was stuffed with more
things than it seemed possible to get into it.
Among the rest Ellen brought her little red
Bible, which Alice decided should go in John's
pocket;-the little carpet-bag could not take it.
Ellen was afraid it never would be locked. By
dint of much pushing and crowding, however,
locked it was; and they made themselves ready.
Over Ellen's merino dress and coat went an old fur
tippet; a little shawl was tied round her neck; her
feet were cased in a pair of warm moccasins, which
belonging to Margery were of course a world too
big for her, but "anything but cold," as their
owner said. Her nice blue hood would protect her
head well, and Alice gave her a green veil to save
her eyes from the glare of the snow. When Ellen
shuffled out of Alice's room in this trim, John gave
her one of his grave looks, and saying she looked
like Mother Bunch, begged to know how she ex-
pected to get to the sleigh; he said she would want
a footman indeed to wait upon her, to pick up her
slippers, if she went in that fashion. However, he
ended by picking her up, carried her, and set her
down safely in the sleigh. Alice followed, and in
another minute they were off.
Ellen's delight was unbounded. Presently they
turned round a corer and left the house out of
sight; and they were speeding away along a road
that was quite new to her. Ellen's heart felt
dancing for joy. Nobody would have thought it,


she sat so still and quiet between Alice and her
brother; but her eyes were very bright as they
looked joyously about her, and every now and then
she could not help smiling to herself. Nothing
was wanting to the pleasure of that ride. The day
was of winter's fairest; the blue sky as clear as if
clouds had never dimmed or crossed it. None
crossed it now. It was cold, but not bitterly cold,
nor windy; the sleigh skimmed along over the
smooth frozen surface of the snow as if it was no
trouble at all to Prince Charlie to draw it; and the
sleigh-bells jingled and rang, the very music for
Ellen's thoughts to dance to. And then with
somebody she liked very much on each side of her,
and pleasures untold in the prospect, no wonder
she felt as if her heart could not hold any more.
The green veil could not be kept on, everything
looked so beautiful in that morning's sun. The
long wide slopes of untrodden and unspotted snow,
too bright sometimes for the eye to look at; the
shadows that here and there lay upon it, of wood-
land and scattered trees; the very brown fences,
and the bare arms and branches of the leafless trees
showing sharp against the white ground and clear
bright heaven;-all seemed lovely in her eyes.
"It is content of heart
Gives nature power to please."

She could see nothing that was not pleasant. And
besides they were in a nice little red sleigh, with a
warm buffalo robe, and Prince Charlie was a fine
spirited grey that scarcely ever needed to be
touched with the whip; at a word of encourage-
ment from his driver he would toss his head and set
forward with new life, making all the bells jingle


again. To be sure she would have been just as
happy if they had had the poorest of vehicles on
runners, with old John instead; but still it was
pleasanter so.
Their road at first was through a fine undulating
country, like that between the Nose and Thirlwall;
farm-houses and patches of woodland scattered here
and there. It would seem that the minds of all the
party were full of the same thoughts; for, after a
very long silence, Alice's first word, almost sigh,
This is a beautiful world, John !"
Beautiful !-wherever you can escape from the
signs of man's presence and influence."
"Is not that almost too strong ?" said Alice.
lie shook his head, smiling somewhat sadly, and
touched Prince Charlie, who was indulging himself
in a walk.
"But there are bright exceptions," said Alice.
"I believe it;-never so much as when I come
"Are there none around you then in whom you
can have confidence and sympathy?"
He shook his head again. Not enough, Alice.
I long for you every day of my life."
Alice turned her head quick away.
"It must be so, my dear sister," lie said pre-
sently; "we can never expect to find it otherwise.
There are, as you say, bright exceptions,-many of
them; but in almost all I find some sad want. We
must wait till we join the spirits of the just made
perfect, before we see society that will be all we can
What is Ellen thinking of all this while ?" said
Alice presently, bending down to see her face.


" As grave as a judge!-what are you musing
"I was thinking," said Ellen, "how men could
hinder the world's being beautiful."
"Do not trouble your little head with that ques-
tion," said John smiling;-"long mayit be before you
are able to answer it. Look at those snow-birds!"
By degrees the day wore on. About one o'clock
they stopped at a farm-house to let the horse rest,
and to stretch their own limbs, which Ellen for her
part was very glad to do. The people of the house
received them with great hospitality, and offered
them pumpkin pies and sweet cider. Alice had
brought a basket of sandwiches, and Prince Charlie
was furnished with a bag of corn Thomas had
stowed away in the sleigh for him; so they were
all well refreshed, and rested, and warmed before
they set off again.
From home to Ventnor, Mr. Marshman's place,
was more than thirty miles, and the longest, be-
cause the most difficult, part of the way was still
before them. Ellen, however, soon became sleepy,
from riding in the keen air; she was content now
to have the green veil over her face, and sitting
down in the bottom of the sleigh, her head leaning
against Alice, and covered well with the buffalo
robe, she slept in happy unconsciousness of hill and
dale, wind and sun, and all the remaining hours of
the way.
It was drawing towards four o'clock, when Alice,
with some difficulty, roused her to see the approach
to the house, and get wide awake before they
should reach it. They turned from the road and
entered by a gateway into some pleasure-grounds,
through which a short drive brought them to the


house. These grounds were fine, but the wide
lawns wore a smooth covering of snow now; the
great skeletons of oaks and elms were bare and
wintry; and patches of shrubbery offered little but
tufts and bunches of brown twigs and stems. It
might have looked dreary, but that some well-
grown evergreens were clustered round the house,
and others scattered here and there relieved the
eye:-a few holly bushes, singly and in groups,
proudly displayed their bright dark leaves and red
berries;-and one unrivalled hemlock on the west,
threw its graceful shadow quite across the lawn, on
which, as on itself, the white chimney tops, and the
naked branches of oaks and elms, was the faint
smile of the afternoon sun.
A servant came to take the horse, and Ellen,
being first rid of her moccasins, went with John
and Alice up the broad flight of steps and into the
house. They entered a large handsome square
hall, with a blue and white stone floor, at one side
of which the staircase went winding up. Here
they were met by a young lady, very lively and
pleasant-faced, who threw her arms round Alice
and kissed her a great many times, seeming very
glad indeed to see her. She welcomed Ellen, too,
with such warmth, that she began to feel almost as
if she had been sent for and expected; told Mr.
John he had behaved admirably; and then led
them into a large room where was a group of ladies
and gentlemen.
The welcome they got here was less lively but
quite as kind. Mr. and Mrs. Marshlnan were fine
handsome old people, of stately presence, and most
dignified as well as kind in their deportment. Ellen
saw that Alice was at home here, as if she had been


a daughter of the family. Mrs. Marshman also
stooped down and kissed her herself, telling her she
was very glad she had come, and that there were a
number of young people there who would be much
pleased to have her help them keep Christmas.
Ellen could not make out yet who any of the rest
of the company were. John and Alice seemed to
know them all, and there was a buzz of pleasant
voices and a great bustle of shaking hands.
The children had all gone out to walk, and as
they had had their dinner a great while ago, it was
decided that Ellen should take hers that day with
the elder part of the family. While they were
waiting to be called to dinner, and everybody else
was talking and laughing, old Mr. Marshman took
notice of little Ellen, and drawing her from Alice's
side to his own began a long conversation. He
asked her a great many questions, some of them
such funny ones that she could not help laughing;
but she answered them all, and now and then so
that she made him laugh too. By the time the
butler came to say dinner was ready, she had
almost forgotten she was a stranger. Mr. Marsh-
man himself led her to the dining-room, begging
the elder ladies would excuse him, but he felt
bound to give his attention to the greatest stranger
in the company. He placed her on his right hand,
and took the greatest care of her all dinner-time;
once sending her plate the whole length of the
table for some particular little thing he thought
she would like. On the other side of Ellen sat
Mrs. Chauncey, one of Mr. Marshman's daughters;
a lady with a sweet, gentle, quiet face and manner,
that made Ellen like to sit by her. Another
daughter, Mrs. Gillespie, had more of her mother's
stately bearing; the third, Miss Sophia, who met


them first in the hall, was very unlike both the
others, but lively, and agreeable, and good-hu-
Dinner gave place to the dessert, and that in its
turn was removed with the cloth. Ellen was en-
gaged in eating almonds and raisins, admiring the
brightness of the mahogany, and the richly cut and
coloured glass, and silver decanter stands, which
were reflected in it; when a door at the further
end of the room half opened, a little figure came
partly in, and holding the door in her hand, stood
looking doubtfully along the table, as if seeking for
some one.
"What is the matter, Ellen?" said Mrs.
"Mrs. Bland told me,-mamma,-" she began,
her eye not ceasing its uneasy quest, but then
breaking off and springing to Alice's side, she
threw her arms around her neck, and gave her cer-
tainly the wannest of all the warm welcomes she
had had that day.
"Hallo !" cried Mr. Marshman, rapping on the
table; "that is too much for any one's share.
Come here, you baggage, and give me just such
The little girl came near accordingly, and hugged
and kissed him with a very good will, remarking,
however, Ah but I have seen you before to-day,
grandpapa!" '
Well, here is somebody you have not seen be-
fore," said he good-humouredly, pulling her round
to Ellen,-" here is a new friend for you,-a young
lady from the great city; so you must brush up
your country manners. Miss Ellen Montgomery,
come from-pshaw what is it ?-come from-"
"London, grandpapa ?" said the little girl, as,


with a mixture of simplicity and kindness, she took
Ellen's hand and kissed her on the cheek.
From Carra-carra, sir ?" said Ellen smiling.
Go along with you," said he, laughing and
pinching her cheek. Take her away, Ellen, take
her away, and mind you take good care of her.
Tell Mrs. Bland she is one of grandpapa's guests."
The two children had not, however, reached the
door, when Ellen Chauncey exclaimed, Wait, oh!
wait a minute I must speak to aunt Sophia about
the bag." And, flying to her side, there followed
an earnest whispering, and then a nod and smile
from aunt Sophia; and satisfied, Ellen returned
to her companion and led her out of the dining-
"We have both got the same name," said she, as
they went along a wide corridor: "how shall we
know which is which ?"
Why," said Ellen, laughing, when you say
Ellen I shall know you mean me, and when I say it
you will know I mean you. I should not be calling
myself, you know."
"Yes; but when somebody else calls Ellen, we
shall both have to run. Do you run when you are
called ?"
Sometimes," said Ellen laughing.
"Ah, but I do always; mamma always makes
me. I thought, perhaps, you were like NMarianne
Gillespie-she waits often as much as half a minute
before she stirs when anybody calls her. Did you
come with Miss Alice ?"
"Do you love her?"
Very much!-oh very much !"
Little Ellen looked at her companion's rising
colour with a glance of mixed curiosity and plea-


sure, in which lay a strong promise of growing
"So do I," she answered gaily; I am very
glad she is come, and I am very glad you are
come, too."
The little speaker pushed open a door, and led
Ellen into the presence of a group of young people
rather older than themselves.
"Marianne," said she to one of them, a hand-
some girl of fourteen, "this is Miss Ellen Mont-
gomery-she came with Alice, and she is come to
keep Christmas with us-are you not glad ?"
Marianne shook hands with Ellen.
"She is one of grandpapa's guests, I can tell
you," said little Ellen Chauncey; "and he says we
must brush up our country manners-she is come
from the great city."
"Do you think we are a set of ignoramuses, Miss
Ellen ?" inquired a well-grown boy of fifteen, who
looked enough like Marianne Gillespie to prove
him her brother.
"I do not know what that is," said Ellen.
"Well, do they do things better in the great city
than we do here ?"
"I do not know how you do them here," said
"Do not you ?-Come Stand out of my way,
right and left, all of you, will you? and give me a
chance. Now then!"
Conscious that he was amusing most of the party,
he placed himself gravely at a little distance from
Ellen, and marching solemnly up to her bowed
down to her knees-then slowly raising his head
stepped back.
Miss Ellen Montgomery, I am rejoiced to have
the pleasure of seeing you at Ventnor. Is not that


polite now ? Is that like what you have been ac-
customed to, Miss Montgomery ?"
"No, sir-thank you," said Ellen, who laughed
in spite of herself. The mirth of the others re-
May I request to be informed then," continued
Gillespie, what is the fashion of making bows in
the great city?"
I do not know," said Ellen; I never saw a boy
make a bow before."
Humph!-I guess country manners will do for
you," said William, turning on his heel.
You are giving her a pretty specimen of them
Bill," said another boy.
For shame, William ;" cried little Ellen Chaun-
cey ;-" did I not tell you she was one of grandpapa's
guests ? Come here, Ellen, I will take you some-
where else."
She seized Ellen's hand and pulled her towards
the door, but suddenly stopped again.
O, I forgot to tell you!" she said,-" I asked
aunt Sophia about the bag of moroccos, and she
said we should have them early to-morrow morning,
and then we can divide them at once."
We must not divide them till Maggie comes,"
said Marianne.
0, no-not till Maggie comes," said little El-
len; and then ran off again.
"I am so glad you are come," said she;-" the
others are all so much older, and they have all so
much to do together-and now you can help me
think what I will make for mamma. Hush! do not
say a word about it!"
They entered the large drawing-room, where old
and young were gathered for tea. The children
who had dined early, sat down to a well-spread table


at which Miss Sophia presided; the elder persons
were standing, or sitting, in different parts of the
room. Ellen not being hungry had leisure to look
about her, and her eye soon wandered from the tea-
table in search of her old friends. Alice was sitting
by Mrs. Marshman, talking with two other ladies;
but Ellen smiled presently, as she caught her eye
from the farther end of the room, and got a little
nod of recognition. John came up just then to set
down his coffee-cup, and asked her what she was
smiling at.
"That is city manners," said William Gillespie,
"to laugh at what is going on."
I have no doubt we shall all follow the exam-
ple," said John Humphreys, gravely, if the young
gentleman will try to give us a smile."
The young gentleman had just accommodated
himself with an outrageously large mouthful of
bread and sweetmeats, and if ever so well disposed,
compliance with the request was impossible. None
of the rest, however, not even his sister, could keep
their countenances, for the eye of the speaker had
pointed and sharpened his words; and William,
very red in the face, was understood to mumble, as
soon as mumbling was possible, that "he would
not laugh unless he had a mind to," and a threat to
"do something" to his tormentor.
Only not eat me," said John, with a shade of
expression in his look and tone which overcame the
whole party, himself and poor William alone re-
taining entire gravity.
What is all this? what is all this ?-what is all
this laughing about ?" said old Mr. Marshman,
coming up.
This young gentleman, sir," said John, has been


endeavouring-with a mouthful of arguments-to
prove to us the inferiority of city manners to those
learned in the country."
Will ?" said the old gentleman, glancing doubt-
fully at William's discomfited face; then added,
sternly, "I do not care where your manners were
learnt, sir, but I advise you to be very particular as
to the sort you bring with you here. Now, Sophia,
let us have some music."
He set the children dancing, and as Ellen did not
know how, he kept her by him, and kept her very
much amused too, in his own way; then he would
have her join in the dancing, and bade Ellen Chaun.
cey give her lessons. There was a little backward-
ness at first, and then Ellen was jumping away with
the rest, and thinking it perfectly delightful, as
Miss Sophia's piano rattled out merry jigs and
tunes, and little feet flew over the floor as light as
the hearts they belonged to. At eight o'clock, the
young ones were dismissed, and bade good night to
their elders; and pleased with the kind kiss Mrs.
Marshman had given her, as well as her little grand-
daughter, Ellen went off to bed very happy.
The room to which her companion led her was
the very picture of comfort. It was not too large,
but furnished with plain old-fashioned furniture,
and lighted and wanted by a cheerful wood-fire.
The very old brass-headed andirons that stretched
themselves out upon the hearth with such a look of
being at home, seemed to say, You have come to
the right place for comfort." A little dark maho-
gany book-case in one place-an odd toilet table of
the same stuff in another; and opposite the fire an
old-fashioned high-post bedstead with its handsome
Marseilles quilt and ample pillows looked very


tempting. Between this and the farther side of the
room, in the corner, another bed was spread on the
"This is aunt Sophia's room," said little Ellen
Chauncey;-"-this is where you are to sleep."
"And where will Alice be?" said the other
0, she will sleep here, in this bed, with aunt So-
phia; that is because the house is so full, you know;
-and here is your bed, here on the floor. 0, de-
licious! I wish I was going to sleep here. Do not
you love to sleep on the floor ? I do. I think it is
Anybody might have thought it fun to sleep on
that bed, for instead of a bedstead it was luxuriously
piled on mattresses. The two children sat down to-
gether on the foot of it.
"This is aunt Sophia's room," continued little
Ellen, and next to it, out of that door, is our dress-
ing-room, and next to that is where mamma and
I sleep. Do you undress and dress yourself?"
"To be sure I do," said Ellen,-" always."
So do I; but Marianne Gillespie will not even
put on her shoes and stockings for herself."
Who does it then?" said Ellen.
"Why, Lester-aunt Matilda's maid. Mamma
sent away her maid when we came here, and she
says, if she had fifty, she would like me to do
everything I can for myself. I should not think it
was pleasant to have any one to put on one's shoes
and stockings for you, should you?"
"No, indeed," said Ellen. Then, you live here
all the time?"
0, yes-ever since papa did not come back from
that long voyage-we live here since then."

"Is he coming back soon?"
"No," said little Ellen, gravely,-" he never will
come back-he never will come back any more."
Ellen was sorry she had asked, and both children
were silent for a minute.
"I will tell you what!" said little Ellen, jumping
up,-" mamma said we must not sit up too long
talking, so I will run and get my things and bring
them here, and we can undress together; will not
that be a nice way?"


He that loses anything, and gets wisdom by it, is a gainer
by the loss. L'ESTRANGE.
LEFT alone in the strange room with the flickering
fire, how quickly Ellen's thoughts left Ventnor and
flew over the sea. They often travelled that road, it
is true, but now perhaps the very home-look of
everything, where yet she was not at home, might
have sent them. There was a bitter twinge or two,
and for a minute Ellen's head drooped. To-mor-
row will be Christmas eve-last Christmas eve-
oh mamma !"
Little Ellen Chauncey soon came back, and sit-
ting down beside her on the foot of the bed began
the business of undressing.
"Do not you love Christmas time ?" said she;
"I think it is the pleasantest in all the year; we
always have a houseful of people, and such fine
times. But then in summer I think that is the
pleasantest. I suppose they are all pleasant. Do
you hang up your stocking ?"
"No," said Ellen.
Do you not! why I always did ever since I can
remember. I used to think, when I was a little
girl you know," said she laughing,-" I used to
think that Santa Claus came down the chimney,
and I used to hang up my stocking as near the
fireplace as I could; but I know better than that
now; I do not care where I hang it. You know
who Santa Claus is, do not you ?"


"He is nobody," said Ellen.
0 yes he is-he is a great many people-he is
whoever gives you anything. My Santa Claus is
mamma, and grandpapa, and grandmamma, and
aunt Sophia, and aunt Matilda; and I thought I
should have had uncle George too this Christmas,
but he could not come. Uncle Howard never gives
me anything. I am sorry uncle George could not
come; I like him the best of all my uncles."
"I never had anybody but mamma to give me
presents," said Ellen, "and she never gave me
much more at Christmas than at other times."
I used to have presents from mamma and grand-
papa too, both at Christmas and New Year, but
now I have grown so old, mamma only gives me
something at Christmas and grandpapa only at
New Year. It would be too much, you know, for
me to have both when my presents are so good. I
do not believe a stocking will hold them much
longer. But 0! we have got such a fine plan in
our heads," said little Ellen, lowering her voice and
speaking with open eyes and great energy,-" we
are going to make presents this year!-we chil-
dren-won't it be fine ?-we are going to make
what we like for anybody we choose, and let nobody
know anything about it; and then New Year's
morning, you know, when the things are all under
the napkins we will give ours to somebody to put
where they belong, and nobody will know anything
about them till they see them there. Won't it be
fine ? I am so glad you are here, for I want you
to tell me what I shall make."
Who is it for ?" said Ellen.
0 mamma; you know I cannot make for every-
body, so I think I had rather it should be for


mamma. I thought of making her a needlebook
with white backs, and getting Gilbert Gillespie to
paint them-he can paint beautifully,-and having
her name and something else written very nicely
inside-how do you think that would do ?"
"I should think it would do very nicely," said
Ellen,-" very nicely indeed."
I wish uncle George was at home though to
write it for me,-he writes so beautifully; I cannot
do it well enough."
I am afraid I cannot either," said Ellen. Per-
haps somebody else can."
"I do not know who. Aunt Sophia scribbles
and scratches, and besides I do not want her to
know anything about it. But there is another
thing I do not know how to manage, and that is
the edges of the leaves-the leaves for the needles
-they must be done-somehow."
"I can show you how to do that," said Ellen
brightening; mamma had a needlebook that was
given to her that had the edges beautifully done;
and I wanted to know how it was done, and she
showed me. I will show you that. It takes a good
while, but that is no matter."
0 thank you; how nice that is. 0 no, that is
no matter. And then it will do very well, won't
it ? Now if I can only catch Gilbert in a good
hmnour-he is not my cousin-he is Marianne's
cousin-that big boy you saw down-stairs-he is
so big he won't have anything to say to me some-
times, but I think I will get him to do this. Don't
you want to make something for somebody ?"
Ellen had had one or two feverish thoughts on
this subject since the beginning of the conversation;
but she only said,-


"It is no matter-you know I have not got any-
;hing here; and besides I shall not be here till
'ew Year."
"Not here till New Year! yes you shall," said
little Ellen, throwing herself upon her neck; "in-
deed you are not going away before that. I know
you are not-I heard grandmamma and aunt Sophia
talking about it. Say you will stay here till New
"I should like very much indeed," said Ellen,
"if Alice does."
In the midst of half a dozen kisses with which
her little companion rewarded this speech, some-
body close by said pleasantly,-
What time of night do you suppose it is ?"
The girls started;-there was Mrs. Chauncey.
0, mamma," exclaimed her little daughter,
springing to her feet, I hope you have not heard
what we have been talking about ?"
Not a word," said Mrs. Chauncey, smiling, but
as to-morrow will be long enough to talk in, had
you not better go to bed now ?"
Her daughter obeyed her immediately, after one
more hug to Ellen and telling her she was so glad
she had come. Mrs. Chauncey stayed to see Ellen
in bed and press one kind motherly kiss upon her
face, so tenderly that Ellen's eyes were moistened
as she withdrew. But in her dreams that night
the rosy sweet face, blue eyes, and little plump
figure of Ellen Chauncey played the greatest part.
She slept till Alice was obliged to arouse her the
next morning; and then got up with her head in a
charming confusion of pleasures past and pleasures
to come,-things known and unknown, to be made
for everybody's New Year presents,-linen collars
and painted needle-books; and, no sooner was


breakfast over, than she was showing and explain-
ing to Ellen Chauncey a particularly splendid and
mysterious way of embroidering the edges of
needle-book leaves. Deep in this they were still an
hour afterwards, and in the comparative merits of
purple and rose colour, when a little hubbub arose
at the other end of the room on the arrival of a
new-comer. Ellen Chauncey looked up from her
work, then dropped it, exclaiming, There she is !
-now for the bag !"-and pulled Ellen along with
her towards the party. A young lady was in the
midst of it, talking so fast that she had not time to
take off her cloak and bonnet. As her eye met
Ellen's, however, she came to a sudden pause. It
was Margaret Dunscombe. Ellen's face certainly
showed no pleasure; Margaret's darkened with a
very disagreeable surprise.
My goodness!-Ellen Montgomery !-how on
earth did you get here ?"
"Do you know her ?" asked one of the girls, as
the two Ellens went off after aunt Sophia."
"Do I know her ? Yes-just enough,-exactly.
How did she get here ?"
Miss Humphreys brought her."
Who is Miss Humphreys ?"
"Hush!" said Marianne, lowering her tone,-
"that is her brother in the window."
Whose brother ?-hers or Miss Humphreys'?"
Miss Humphreys. Did you never see her ? she
is here, or has been here, a long time. Grandma
calls her her fourth daughter; and she is just as
much at home as if she was; and she brought her
And she is at home too, I suppose. Well, it is
no business of mine."
What do you know of her ?"


0, enough-that is just it-do not want to
know any more."
Well you need not; but what is the matter with
her ?"
"0 I do not know-I will tell you some other
time-she is a conceited little piece. We had the
care of her coming up the river, that is how I come
to know about her; mamma said it was the last
child she would be bothered with in that way."
Presently the two girls came back, bringing
word to clear the table, for aunt Sophia was com-
ing with the moroccos. As soon as she came,
Ellen Chauncey sprang to her neck and whispered
an earnest question. Certainly!" aunt Sophia
said, as she poured out the contents of the bag;
and her little niece delightedly told Ellen she was
to have her share as well as the rest.
The table was now strewn with pieces of morocco
of all sizes and colours, which were hastily turn-
ed over and examined with eager hands and spark-
ling eyes. Some were mere scraps, to be sure;
but others showed a breadth and length of beauty,
which were declared to be first-rate," and "fine ;"
and one beautiful large piece of blue morocco
in particular was made up in imagination by
two or three of the party in as many different
ways. Marianne wanted it for a book-cover; Mar-
garet declared she could make a lovely reticule with
it; and Ellen could not help thinking it would
make a very pretty needle-box, such a one as she
had seen in the possession of one of the girls, and
longed to make for Alice.
"Well, what is to be done now ?" said Miss So-
phia,-" or am I not to know ?"
Oh you are not to know-you are not to know,
aunt Sophy," cried the girls ;-" you must not ask."


"I will tell you what they are going to do with
them," said George Walsh, coming up to her with
a mischievous face, and added in a loud whisper,
shielding his mouth with his hand, they are going
to make pr-."
He was laid hold of forcibly by the whole party
screaming and laughing, and stopped short of finish-
ing his speech.
Well then, I will take my departure," said Miss
Sophia;-" but how will you manage to divide all
these scraps?"
Suppose we were to put them in the bag again,
and you hold the hig. and we were to draw them
out without looking," c... Ellen Chauncey,-" as we
used to do with the sugar plums."
As no better plan was thought of, this was agreed
upon; and little Ellen, shutting up her eyes very
tight, stuck in her hand and pulled out a little bit
of green morocco about the size of a dollar. Ellen
Montgomery came next; then Margaret, then Ma-
rianne, then their mutual friend Isabel Hawthorn.
Each had to take her turn a great many times; and
at the end of the drawing the pieces were found to be
pretty equally divided among the party, with the ex-
ception of Ellen, who besides several other good
pieces had drawn the famous blue.
"That will do very nicely," said little Ellen
Chauncey;-" I am glad you have got that, Ellen.
Now, aunt Sophy!-one thing more-you know,
the silks and ribbons you promised us."
"I have not done yet, eh ? Well, you shall have
them, but we are all going out to walk, now; I will
give them to you this afternoon. Come! put these
away, and get on your bonnets and cloaks."
A hard measure! but it was done. After the
walk came dinner; after dinner aunt Sophia had to


be found and waited on, till she had fairly sought
out and delivered to their hands the wished-for
bundle of silks and satins. It gave great satisfac-
"But how shall we do about dividing these?"
said little Ellen;-" shall we draw lots again ?"
"No, Ellen," said Marianne, "that will not do,
because we might every one get just the thing we
do not want. I want one colour or stuff to go
with my morocco, and you want another to go with
yours; and you might get mine, and I might get
yours. We had best each choose in turn what we
like, beginning at Isabel."
Very well," said little Ellen, I agree."
Anything for a quiet life," said George Walsh.
But this business of choosing was found to be
very long and very difficult, each one was so fearful
of not taking the exact piece she wanted most.
The elder members of the family began to gather
for dinner, and several came and stood round the
table where the children were; little noticed by
them, they were so wrapped up in silks and satins.
Ellen seemed the least interested person at table,
and had made her selections with the least delay
and difficulty; and now as it was not her turn, sat
very soberly looking on with her head resting on her
"I declare it is too vexatious!" said Margaret
Dunscombe;-" here I have got this beautiful piece
of blue satin, and cannot do anything with it; it
just matches that blue morocco-it is a perfect
match-I could have made a splendid thing of it,
and I have got some cord and tassels that would
just do-I declare it is too bad!"
Ellen's colour changed.
"Well, choose, Margaret," said Marianne.


"I do not know what to choose-that is the
thing. What can one do with red and purple mo-
rocco and blue satin ? I might as well give up.
I have a great notion to take this piece of yellow
satin, and dress up a Turkish doll to frighten the
next young one I meet with."
"I wish you would, Margaret, and give it to me
when it is done," cried little Ellen Chauncey.
It is not made yet," said the other, dryly.
Ellen's colour had changed and changed; her
hand twitched nervously, and she glanced uneasily
from Margaret's store of finery to her own.
"Come, choose, Margaret," said Ellen Chauncey;
-"I dare say Ellen wants the blue morocco as
much as you do."
"No, I do not," said Ellen 'abruptly, throwing it
over the table to her;-" take it, Margaret,-you
may have it."
"What do you mean ?" said the other, astounded.
"I mean, you may have it," said Ellen,-"- I do
not want it."
"Well, I will tell you what," said the other,-
"I will give you yellow satin for it-or some of my
red morocco?"
"No,-I had rather not," repeated Ellen; I do
not want it-you may have it."
Very generously done," remarked Miss Sophia;
I hope you will all take a lesson in the art of be-
ing obliging."
Quite a noble little girl," said Mrs. Gillespie.
Ellen crimsoned. No, ma'am, I am not, in-
deed," she said, looking at them with eyes that were
filling fast,-" please do not say so-I do not de-
serve it."
I shall say what 1 think, my dear," said Mrs.
Gillespie, smiling, but 1 am glad you add the


grace of modesty to that of generosity; it is the
more uncommon of the two."
I am not modest! I am not generous! you must
not say so," cried Ellen. She struggled; the blood
rushed to the surface, suffusing every particle of
skin that could be seen;-then left it, as with eyes
cast down she went on,-" I do not deserve to be
praised,-it was more Margaret's than mine. I
ought not to have kept it at all-for I saw a little
bit when I put my hand in. I did not mean,-but
I did!"
Raising her eyes hastily to Alice's face, they met
those of John, who was standing behind her. She
had not counted upon him for one of her listeners;
she knew Mrs. Gillespie, Mrs. Chauncey, Miss
Sophia, and Alice, had heard her; but this was the
one drop too much. Her head sunk; she covered
her face a moment, and then made her escape out
of the room, before even Ellen could follow her.
There was a moment's silence. Alice seemed to
have some difficulty not to follow Ellen's example.
Margaret pouted; Mrs. Chauncey's eyes filled with
tears, and her little daughter seemed divided be-
tween doubt and dismay. Her first move, however,
was to run off in pursuit of Ellen. Alice went after
Here is a beautiful example of honour and ho-
nesty, for you!" said Margaret Dunscombe, at
"I think it is," observed John, quietly.
An uncommon instance," said Mrs. Chauncey.
I am glad everybody thinks so," said Margaret,
sullenly; 1 hope I shall not copy it, that is all."
I think you are in no danger," said John again.
"Very well!" said Margaret, who, between her


desire of speaking, and her desire of concealing her
vexation-did not know what to do with herself;
-" everybody must judge for himself, I suppose;
I have got enough of her, for my part."
Where did you ever see her before ?" said Isa-
bel Hawthorn.
0, she came up the river with us-mamma had
to take care of her-she was with us two days."
And did not you like her ?"
No, I guess I did not! she was a perfect plague.
All that day on board the steam-boat she scarcely
came near us; we could not pretend to keep sight
of her; mamma had to send her maid out to look
after her I do not know how many times. She
scraped acquaintance with some strange man on
board, and liked his company better than ours, for
she staved with him the whole blessed day, waking
and sleeping; of course mamma did not like it at all.
She did not go to a single meal with us; you know,
of course, that was not proper behaviour."
"No, indeed," said Isabel.
"I suppose," said John, coolly, she chose the
society she thought the pleasantest. Probably Miss
Margaret's politeness was more than she had been
accustomed to."
Margaret coloured, not quite knowing what to
make of the speaker or his speech.
It would take much to make me believe," said
gentle Mrs. Chauncey, that a child of such refined
and delicate feeling as that little girl evidently has,
could take pleasure in improper company."
Margaret had a reply at her tongue's end, but
she had also an uneasy feeling that there were eyes
not far off too keen of sight to be baffled; she kept
silence till the group dispersed, and she had an op-


portunity of whispering in Marianne's ear that
that was the very most disagreeable man she had
ever seen in her life."
What a singular fancy you have taken to this
little pet of Alice's, Mr. John," said Mrs. Marsh-
man's youngest daughter. "You quite surprise
Did you think me a misanthrope, Miss Sophia?"
0 no, not at all; but I always had a notion you
would not be easily pleased in the choice of favour-
"Easily When a simple, intelligent child of
twelve or thirteen is a common character, then I
will allow that I am easily pleased."
"Twelve or thirteen!" said Miss Sophia; "what
are you thinking about ? Alice says she is only ten
or eleven."
In years-perhaps."
"How gravely you take me up !" said the young
lady, laughing. "My dear Mr. John, 'in years,
perhaps,' you may call yourself twenty, but in
everything else you might much better pass for
thirty or forty."
As they were called to dinner, Alice and Ellen
Chauncey came back; the former looking a little
serious, the latter crying, and wishing aloud that
all the moroccos had been in the fire. They had
not been able to find Ellen. Neither was she in
the drawing-room when they returned to it after
dinner; and a second search was made in vain.
John went to the library, which was separate from
the other rooms, thinking she might have chosen
that for a hiding-place. She was not there; but
the pleasant light of the room, where only the fire
was burning, invited him to stay. He sat down in
the deep window, and was musingly looking out


into the moonlight, when the door softly opened
and Ellen came in. She stole in noiselessly, so that
he did not hear her, and she thought the room
empty; till in passing slowly down toward the fire,
she came upon him in the window. Her start first let
him know she was there ; she would have run away,
but one of her hands was caught, and she could not.
Running away from your brother, Ellie ?" said
he, kindly; what is the matter ?"
Ellen shrunk from meeting his eye, and was
"I know all, Ellie," said he, still very kindly,-
I have seen all;-why do you shun me ?"
Ellen said nothing; the tears began to run down
her face and frock.
You are taking this matter too hardly, dear
Ellen," he said, drawing her close to him ;-" you
did wrong, but you have done all you could to re-
pair the wrong ;-neither man nor woman can do
more than that."
But though encouraged by his manner, the tears
flowed faster than ever.
Where have you been ? Alice was looking for
you, and little Ellen Chauncey was in great trouble.
I do not know what dreadful thing she thought you
had done with yourself. Come !-lift up your head
and let me see you smile again."
Ellen lifted her head, but not her eyes, though
she tried to smile.
I want to talk to you a little about this," said
he. "You know you gave me leave to be your
brother,-will you let me ask you a question or
two ?"
0 yes-whatever he pleased," Ellen said.
Then sit down here," said he, making room for
her on the wide window-seat, but still keeping hold


of her hand and speaking very gently. You said
you saw when you took the morocco--I do not
quite understand-how was it ?"
Why," said Ellen, "we were not to look, and
we had gone three times round and nobody had
got that large piece yet, and we all wanted it; and
I did not mean to look at all, but I do not know
how it was, just before I shut my eyes, I happened
to see the corner of it sticking up, and then I took
With your eyes open ?"
No, no, with them shut. And I had scarcely
got it, when I was sorry for it and wished it back."
You will wonder at me, perhaps, Ellie," said
John," "but I am not very sorry this has hap-
pened. You are no worse than before;-it has
only made you see what you are-very, very weak,
-quite unable to keep yourself right without con-
stant help. Sudden temptation was too much for
you-so it has many a time been for me, and so it
has happened to the best men on earth. I suppose
if you had had a minute's time to think, you would
not have done as you did ?"
"No, indeed!" said Ellen. "I was sorry, a mi-
nute after."
And, I dare say, the thought of it weighed upon
your mind ever since ?"
Oh, yes !" said Ellen;-" it was not out of my
head a minute, the whole day."
"Then let it make you very humble, dear Ellie;
and let it make you, in future, keep close to our
dear Saviour, without whose help we cannot stand
a moment."
Ellen sobbed; and he allowed her to do so, for a
few minutes, and then said-
"But you have not been thinking nuch about


Him, Ellie." The sobs ceased; he saw his words
had taken hold.
Is it right," he said, softly, that we should be
more troubled about what people will think of us,
than for having displeased, or dishonoured Him ?"
Ellen now looked up, and in her look was all the
answer he wished.
"You understand me, I see," said he. "Be
humbled in the dust before Him-the more, the
better; but whenever we are grealy concerned, for
our own sakes, about other people's opinion, we may
be sure we are thinking too little of God, and what
will please Him."
I am very sorry," said poor Ellen, from whose
eyes the tears began to drop again,-" I am very
wrong-but I could not bear to think what Alice
would think-and you-and all of them-"
Here is Alice, to speak for herself," said John.
As Alice came up with a quick step, and knelt
down before her, Ellen sprang to her neck, and they
held each other very fast, indeed. John walked up
and down the room. Presently, he stopped before
All is well, again," said Alice, and we are go-
ing in to tea."
He smiled, and held out his hand, which Ellen
took; but he would not leave the library, declaring,
that they had a quarter of an hour still. So they
sauntered up and down the long room, talking of
different things, so pleasantly, that Ellen nearly for-
got her troubles. Then came in Miss Sophia, to
find them, and then, Mr. Marshman, and Marianne,
to call them to tea ; so the going into the drawing-
room was not half so bad as Ellen thought it would
She behaved very well; her face was touchingly


humble that night; and all the evening she kept
fast by either Alice or John, without budging an
inch. And as little Ellen Chauncey and her cousin
George Walsh chose to be where she was, the
young party was quite divided; and not the least
merry portion of it was that mixed with the older
people. Little Ellen was half beside herself with
spirits; the secret of which perhaps was the fact,
which she several times in the course of the even-
ing whispered to Ellen as a great piece of news,
that "it was Christmas eve!"


As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,
The minutes winged their way wi' pleasure.
Kings may be blest, but they were glorious,
O'er all the ills o' life victorious.
CHRISTMAS morning was dawning gray, but it
was still far from broad daylight, when Ellen was
awakened. She found little Ellen Chauncey pull-
ing and pushing at her shoulders, and whisper-
ing "Ellen! Ellen!"-in a tone that showed a
great fear of waking somebody up. There she
was, in nightgown and nightcap, and barefooted
too, with a face brimful of excitement and as wide
awake as possible. Ellen roused herself in no little
surprise and asked what the matter was.
"I am going to look at my stocking," whis-
pered her visitor,-" do not you want to get up and
come with me ? it is just here in the other room,-
come!-do not make any noise."
But what if you should find nothing in it ?" said
Ellen, laughingly, as she bounded out of bed.
Ah, but I shall, I know;-I always do;-never
fear. Rush! step ever so softly-I do not want to
wake anybody."
It is hardly light enough for you to see," whis-
pered Ellen, as the two little barefooted white
figures glided out of the room.
0 yes it is-that is all the fun. Ilush !-do
not make a bit of noise. I know where it hangs


-mamma always puts it at the back of her easy
chair; come this way-here it is! 0, Ellen, there
are two of them! There is one for you!-there is
one for you!"
In a tumult of delight, one Ellen capered about
the floor on the tips of her little bare toes, while
the other, not less happy, stood still for pleasure.
The dancer finished by hugging and kissing her
with all her heart, declaring she was so glad she
did not know what to do.
But how shall we know which is which ?"
Perhaps they are both alike," said Ellen.
No-at any rate one is for me, and the other is
for you. Stop! here are pieces of paper, with our
names on I guess-let us turn the chair a little bit
to the light-there-yes !-Ellen-M-o-n,-there,
that is yours; my name does not begin with an M;
and this is mine!"
Another caper round the room, and then she
stopped in front of the chair where Ellen was still
"I wonder what is in them," she said; "I want,
and-I do not want to look. Come, you begin."
But that is no stocking of mine," said Ellen,
a smile gradually breaking upon her sober little
Stuffed, is it not ?" said Ellen Chauncey. 0,
do make haste, and see what is in yours. I want
to know so, I do not know what to do."
"Well, will you take out of yours as fast as I
take out of mine?"
0 mysterious delight, and delightful mystery, of
the stuffed stocking! Ellen's trembling fingers
sought the top, and then very suddenly left it.


"I cannot think what it is," said she, laughing,
-" it feels so funny."
0, never mind! make haste," said Ellen Chaun-
cey; "it will not hurt you, I guess."
"No, it will not hurt me," said Ellen,-" but-"
She drew forth a great bunch of white grapes.
"Splendid! is it not?" said Ellen Chauncey.
"Now for mine."
It was the counterpart of Ellen's bunch.
"So far, so good," said she. "Now for the
The next thing in each stocking was a large horn
of sugar-plumbs.
Well, that is fine, is it not ?" said Ellen Chaun-
cey;-" yours is tied with white ribbon, and mine
with blue; that is all the difference. O, and your
paper is red, and mine is purple."
"Yes, and the pictures are different," said Ellen.
"Well, I had rather they would be different,
would not you ? I think it is just as pleasant. One
is as large as the other, at any rate. Come-what
is next?"
Ellen drew out a little bundle, which being
opened, proved to be a nice little pair of dark kid
I wonder who gave me this!" she said,-" it
is just what I wanted. How pretty! O, I am so
glad. I guess who it was."
look here," said the other Ellen, who had
been diving into her stocking,-" I have got a ball
-this is just what I wanted too; George told
me, if I would get one, he would show me how to
play. Is it not pretty ? Is it not funny, we should
each get just what we wanted ? O, this is a very
nice ball. I am glad I have got it. Why, here is


another great round thing in my stocking I-what
can it be ? they would not give me two balls," said
she, chuckling.
"So there is in mine!" said Ellen. "Perhaps,
they are apples ?"
"They are not, they would not give us apples;
besides, it is soft. Pull it out and see."
Then they are oranges," said Ellen, laughing.
"I never felt such a soft orange," said little
Ellen Chauncey. "Come, Ellen! stop laughing,
and let us see."
They were two great scarlet satin pincushions,
with "E. C." and "E. M." very neatly stuck in
"Well, we shall not want pins for a good while,
shall we ?" said Ellen. "Who gave us these ?"
"I know," said little Ellen Chauncey,-" Mrs.
She was very kind to make one for me," said
Ellen. "Now for the next!"
Her next thing was a little bottle of Cologne
"I can tell who put that in," said her friend,
-"aunt Sophia. I know her little bottles of Co-
logne water. Do you love Cologne water ? Aunt
Sophia's is delicious."
Ellen did like it very much, and was extremely
pleased. Ellen Chauncey had also a new pair of
scissors, which gave entire satisfaction.
Now I wonder what all this toe is stuffed with,"
said she,-" raisins and almonds, I declare! and
yours the same, is it not ? Well, do not you think
we have got enough sweet things ? Is not this a
pretty good Christmas ?"
What are you about, you monkeys ?" cried the


voice of aunt Sophia, from the dressing-room door,
"Alice, Alice! do look at them. Come, straight back
to bed, both of you. Crazy pates! It is lucky it is
Christmas day-if it was any other in the year we
should have you both ill in bed; as it is, I suppose
you will go scot free."
Laughing, and rosy with pleasure, they came
back, and got into bed together; and for an hour
afterwards, the two kept up a most animated con-
versation, intermixed with long chuckles and bursts
of merriment, and whispered communications of im-
mense importance. The arrangement of the painted
needlebook was entirely decided upon in this con-
sultation; also two or three other matters; and the
two children seemed to have already lived a day since
daybreak, by the time they came down to breakfast.
After breakfast, Ellen applied secretly to Alice,
to know if she could write very beautifully; she ex-
ceedingly wanted something done.
I should not like to venture, Ellie, if it must be
so superfine; but John can do it for you."
"Can he? Do you think he would?"
I am sure he will, if you ask him."
But, I do not like to ask him," said Ellen, cast-
ing a doubtful glance at the window.
"Nonsense! he is only reading the newspaper.
You will not disturb him."
"Well, you will not say anything about it ?"
Certainly not."
Ellen accordingly went near, and said gently,
Mr. Humphreys,"-but he did not seem to hear
her. "Mr. Humphreys!"-a little louder.
"He has not arrived yet," said John, looking
round gravely.
He spoke so gravely, that Ellen could not tell,


whether he was joking, or serious. Her face of ex-
treme perplexity was too much for his command of
countenance. "To whom do you want to speak ?"
said he, smiling.
I wanted to speak to you, sir," said Ellen, if
you are not too busy."
Mr. Humphreys is always busy," said he, shak-
ing his head; but Mr. John can attend to you, at
any time, and John will do for you whatever you
please to ask him."
Then, Mr. John," said Ellen, laughing, if you
please, I wanted to ask you to do something for me,
-very much, indeed, if you are not too busy;
Alice said I should not disturb you."
Not at all; I have been long enough over this
stupid newspaper. What is it ?"
I want you, if you will be so good," said Ellen,
"to write a little bit for me on something, very
"' Very beautifully I' Well-come to the li-
brary; we will see."
But it is a great secret," said Ellen; "you will
not tell anybody ?"
"Tortures shall not draw it from me-when I
know what it is," said he, with one of his comical
In high glee, Ellen ran for the pieces of Bristol
board which were to form the backs of the needle-
book, and brought them to the library; and ex-
plained how room was to be left in the middle of
each for a painting-a rose on one, a butterfly on
the other; the writing to be as elegant as possible,
above, beneath, and round about, as the fancy of
the writer should choose.
"Well, what is to be inscribed on this most ori-


ginal of needlebooks ?" said John, as he carefully
mended his pen.
"Stop!"-said Ellen,-"I will tell you in a
minute,-on this one, the front, you know, is to go,
'To my dear mother, many happy New Years;'-
and on this side, From her dear little daughter,
Ellen Chauncey.' You know," she added, "Mrs.
Chauncey is not to know anything about it till
New Year's Day; nor anybody else."
"Trust me," said John. If I am asked any
questions, they shall find me as obscure as an ora-
"What is an oracle, sir?"
Why," said John, smiling, this pen will not
do yet--the old heathens believed there were cer-
tain spots of earth, to which some of their gods had
more favour than to others, and where they would
permit mortals to come nearer to them, and would
even deign to answer their questions."
"And did they ?" said Ellen.
"Did they what ?"
"Did they answer their questions ?"
"Did who answer their questions ?"
"The-oh! to be sure," said Ellen,-" there
were no such gods. But what made people think
they answered them ? and how could they ask ques-
tions ?"
I suppose it was a contrivance of the priests to
increase their power and wealth. There was al-
ways a temple built near, with priests and priest-
esses; the questions were put through them; and
they would not ask them except on great occasions,
or for people of consequence who could pay them
well by making splendid gifts to the god."
"But I should think the people would have


thought the priest or priestess had made up the
answers themselves."
Perhaps they did, sometimes. But people had
not the Bible then, and did not know as much as
we know. It was not unnatural to think the gods
would care a little for the poor people that lived
on the earth. Besides, there was a good deal of
management and trickery about the answers of the
oracle that helped to deceive."
"How was it ?" said Ellen;-." how could they
manage ? and what was the oracle?"
The oracle was either the answer itself, or the
god who was supposed to give it, or the place where
it was given; and there were different ways of
managing. At one place, the priest hid himself in
the hollow body or among the branches of an oak
tree, and people thought the tree spoke to them.
Sometimes the oracle was delivered by a woman
who pretended to be put into a kind of fit-tearing
her hair and beating her breast."
But suppose the oracle made a mistake ?-what
would the people think then ?"
"The answers were generally contrived so that
they would seem to come true in any event."
I do not see how they could do that," said
Very well-just imagine that I am an oracle,
and come to me with some question ;-I will answer
But you cannot tell what is going to happen ?"
No matter-you ask me truly, and I will answer
you oracularly."
"That means, like an oracle, I suppose?" said
Ellen. "Well-Mr. John, will Alice be pleased
with what I am going to give her New Year ?"


She will be pleased with what she will receive
on that day."
"Ah, but," said Ellen, laughing, "that is not
fair; you have not answered me; perhaps some-
body else will give her something, and then she
might be pleased with that and not with mine."
"Exactly, but the oracle never means to be un-
"Well, I will not come to you," said Ellen. "I
do not like such answers. Now for the needle-
Breathlessly she looked on while the skilful pen
did its work; and her exclamations of delight and
admiration when the first cover was handed to her
were not loud but deep.
"It will do, then, will it? Now, let us see-
'From her dear little daughter,'-there-now
'Ellen Chauncey,' I suppose, must be in hierogly-
"In what ?" said Ellen.
I mean, written in some difficult character."
"Yes," said Ellen. "But whatwas that you said?"
Ellen added no more, though she was not satis-
fied. He looked up and smiled.
"Do you want to know what that means?"
"Yes, if you please," said Ellen.
The pen was laid down while he explained to a
most eager little listener. Even the great business
of the moment was forgotten. From hieroglyphics
they went to the pyramids; and Ellen had got to
the top of one, and was enjoying the prospect, (in
imagination) when she suddenly came down to tell
John of her stuffed stocking and its contents. The
pen went on again, and came to the end of the


writing by the time Ellen had got to the toe of the
Was it not very strange they should give me so
many things ?" said she;-"people that do not know
me "
"Why no," said John, smiling,-" I cannot say
I think it was very strange. Is this all the busi-
ness you had for my hands ?"
This is all; and I am very much obliged to you,
Mr. John."
Her grateful affectionate eye said much more,
and he felt well paid.
Gilbert was next applied to, to paint the rose and
the butterfly, which, finding so elegant a beginning
made in the work, he was very ready to do. The
girls were then free to set about the embroidery of
the leaves, which was by no means the business of
an hour.
A very happy Christmas day was that. With
their needles and thimbles, and rose-coloured silk,they
kept by themselves in a corner, or in the library,
out of the way; and sweetening their talk with a
sugar plum now and then, neither tongues nor
needles knew any flagging. It was wonderful
that they found so much to say, but there was
no lack. Ellen Chauncey especially was inexhaust-
ible. Several times too that day the Cologne bottle
was handled, the gloves looked at and fondled, the
ball tried, and the new scissors extolled as "just
the thing for the work." Ellen attempted to let
her companion into the mystery of oracles and hie-
roglyphics, but was fain to give it up; little Ellen
showed a decided preference for American, not to
say Ventnor, subjects, where she felt more at home.
Then came Mr. Humphreys; and Ellen was glad,
both for her own sake, and because she loved to see


Alice pleased. Then came the great merry Christ-
mas dinner, when the girls had not talked them-
selves out, but tired themselveswith working. Young
and old dined together to-day, and the children not
set by themselves, but scattered among the grown-
up people; and as Ellen was nicely placed between
Alice and little Ellen Chauncey, she enjoyed it all
very much. The large long table surrounded with
happy faces; tones of cheerfulness, and looks of
kindness, and lively talk; the superb display of
plate, and glass, and china; the stately dinner; and
last, but not least, the plum-pudding. There was
sparkling wine too, and great drinking of health;
but Ellen noticed that Alice and her brother smil-
ingly drank all theirs in water; so when old Mr.
Marshman called to her to "hold out her glass,"
she held it out to be sure and let him fill it, but she
lifted her tumbler of water to her lips instead, after
making him a very low bow. Mr. Marshman
laughed at her a great deal, and asked her if she
was "a proselyte to the new notions;" and Ellen
laughed with him, without having the least idea
what he meant, and was extremely happy. It was
very pleasant too when they went into the drawing-
room to take coffee. The young ones were permit-
ted to have coffee to-night as a great favour. Old
Mrs. Marshman had the two little ones on either
side of her, and was so kind, and held Ellen's hand
in her own, and talked to her about her mother, till
Ellen loved her. After tea there was a great
call for games, and young and old joined in
them. They played the Old Curiosity Shop; and
Ellen thought Mr. John's curiosities could not
be matched. They played the Old Family Coach,
Mr. Howard Marshman being the manager, and
Ellen laughed till she was tired; she was the coach


door, and he kept her opening and shutting, and
swinging and breaking, it seemed all the while,
though most of the rest were worked just as hard.
When they were well tired, they sat down to rest
and hear music, and Ellen enjoyed that exceedingly.
Alice sang, and Mrs. Gillespie, and Miss Sophia,
and another lady, and Mr. Howard; sometimes
alone, sometimes three or four, or all together.
At last came ten o'clock, and the young ones
were sent off; and from beginning to end that had
been a Christmas day of unbroken and unclouded
pleasure. Ellen's last act was to take another look
at her Cologne bottle, gloves, pincushion, grapes,
and paper of sugar-plums, which were laid side by
side carefully in a drawer.


But though life's valley be a vale of tears,
A brighter scene beyond that vale appears,
Whose glory, with a light that never fades,
Shoots between scattered rocks and opening shades.

Mn. HUMPHREYS was persuaded to stay over Sun-
day at Ventnor; and it was also settled that his
children should not leave it till after New Year.
This was less their own wish than his; he said
Alice wanted the change, and he wished she looked
a little fatter. Beside, the earnest pleadings of the
whole family were not to be denied. Ellen was
very glad of this, though there was one drawback
to the pleasures of Ventnor,-she could not feel
quite at home with any of the young people but
Ellen Chauncey and her cousin, George Walsh.
This seemed very strange to her; she almost thought
Margaret Dunscombe was at the bottom of it all,
but she recollected she had felt something of this
before Margaret came. She tried to think nothing
about it; and, in truth, it was not able to prevent
her from being very happy. The breach, however,
was destined to grow wider.
About four miles from Ventnor was a large town
called Randolph. Thither they drove to church on
Sunday morning, the whole family; but the hour of
dinner and the distance prevented any one from
going in the afternoon. The members of the family
were scattered in different parts of the house, most


in their own rooms. Ellen, with some difficulty,
made her escape from her young companions, whose
manner of spending the time did not satisfy her
notions of what was right on that day, and went to
look in the library for her friends. They were
there, and alone; Alice half reclining on the sofa,
half in her brother's arms; he was reading or talk-
ing to her; there was a book in his hand.
"Is anything the matter ?" said Ellen, as she
drew near; are you not well, dear Alice ?-Head-
ache ? oh, I am sorry. 0 I know--"
She darted away. In two minutes she was back
again with a pleased face, her bunch of grapes in
one hand, her bottle of Cologne water in the other.
Will you not open that, please, Mr. John," said
she;-" I cannot; I think it will do her good, for
Ellen says it is delicious. Mamma used to have
Cologne water for her headaches. And here, dear
Alice, will you not eat these ?-do !-try one."
Has not that bottle been opened yet ?" said
Alice, as she smilingly took a grape.
"Why no, to be sure it has not. I would not
open it till I wanted it. Eat them all, dear Alice,-
please do!"
"But I think you have not eaten one yourself,
Ellen, by the look of the bunch. And here are a
great many too many for me."
Yes I have, I have eaten two; I do not want
them. I give them all to you and Mr. John. I
had much rather!"
Ellen took however as precious payment Alice's
look and kiss; and then with a delicate conscious-
ness that perhaps the brother and sister might like
to be alone, she left the library. She did not know
where to go, for Miss Sophia was lying on the bed
in her room, and she did not want any company.


At last with her little Bible she placed herself on
the old sofa in the hall above-stairs, which was per-
fectly well warmed, and for some time she was left
there in peace. It was pleasant, after all the hub-
bub of the morning, to have a little quiet time that
seemed like Sunday; and the sweet Bible words
came, as they often now came to Ellen, with a heal-
ing breath. But after half an hour or so, to her
dismay she heard a door open and the whole gang
of children come trooping into the hall below, where
they soon made such a noise that reading or think-
ing was out of the question.
What a bother it is that one cannot play games
on a Sunday!" said Marianne Gillespie.
"One can play games on a Sunday," answered
her brother. Where is the odds ? It is all Sun-
day's good for, I think."
"William !-William sounded the shocked
voice of little Ellen Chauncey,-" you are a really
wicked boy!"
Well now!" saidWilliam,-" how am I wicked ?
Now say,-I should like to know. How is it any
more wicked for us to play games than it is for aunt
Sophia to sleep, or for uncle Howard to read novels,
or for grandpa to talk politics, or for mother to talk
about the fashions ?-there were she and Miss
What's-her-name for ever so long this morning
doing everything but make a dress. Now which is
the worst ?"
"O,William!-William !-for shame! for shame!"
said Ellen again.
"Do hush, Ellen Chauncey! will you?" said
Marianne sharply ;-" and you had better hush too,
William, if you know what is good for yourself. I
do not care whether it is right or wrong, I do get
dolefully tired with doing nothing."

"Oh so do I !" said Margaret yawning. I wish
one could sleep all Sunday."
I will tell you what," said George, I know a
game we can play, and no harm either, for it is all
out of the Bible."
0 do you? let us hear it, George," cried the
I do not believe it is good for anything if it is
out of the Bible," said Margaret. "Now stare,
Ellen Chauncey, do!"
"I am not staring," said Ellen indignantly,-
"but I do not believe it is right to play it, if it is
out of the Bible."
"Well it is though," said George. Now listen;
-I will think of somebody in the Bible,-some
man or woman, you know: and you all may ask
me twenty questions about him to see if you can
find out who it is."
"What kind of questions ?"
Any kind of questions-whatever you like."
That will improve your knowledge of scripture
history," said Gilbert.
"To be sure; and exercise our memory," said
Isabel Hawthorn.
Yes, and then we are thinking of good people
and what they did, all the time," said little Ellen.
Or bad people and what they did," said William.
"But I do not know enough about people and
things in the Bible," said Margaret; I could not
0 never mind-it will be all the more fun,"
said George. "Come! let us begin. Who will
take somebody?"
"0 I think this will be fine!" said little Chaun-
cey ;-" but Ellen--where is Ellen ?-we want her."
"No, we do not want her !-we have enough


without her-she wont play !" shouted William, as
the little girl ran up-stairs. She persevered how-
ever. Ellen had left her sofa before this, and was
found seated on the foot of her bed. As far and
as long as she could she withstood her little friend's
entreaties, and very unwillingly at last yielded and
went with her down-stairs.
Now we are ready," said little Ellen Chauncey;
"I have told Ellen what the game is; who is going
to begin ?"
"We have begun," said William. Gilbert has
thought of somebody. Man or woman?"
"Young or old ?"
"Why-he was young first and old afterwards."
"Pshaw, William what a ridiculous question,"
said his sister. "Besides you must not ask more
than one at a time. Rich or poor, Gilbert ?"
"Humph!-why I suppose he was moderately
well off. I dare say I should think myself a lucky
fellow if I had as much."
Are you answering truly, Gilbert ?"
Upon my honour!"
Was he in a high or low station of life ?" asked
Miss Hawthorn.
"Neither at the top nor the bottom of the
ladder-a very respectable person indeed."
"But we are not getting on," said Margaret;
"according to you he was not anything in parti-
cular; what kind of a person was he, Gilbert ?"
A very good man."
"Handsome or ugly ?"
History does not say."
Well, what does it say ?" said George,-" what
did he do ?"
He took a journey once upon a time."


"What for P"
Do you mean why he went, or what was the
object of his going?"
"Why the one is the same as the other, is
it not ?"
"I beg your pardon."
"Well, what was the object of his going "
He went after a wife."
"Samson! Samson! shouted William and Isa-
bel and Ellen Chauncey.
"No-it was not Samson."
"I cannot think of anybody else that went after
a wife," said George. "That king-what's his
name P-that married Esther ? "
The children screamed. He did not go after a
wife, George,-his wives were brought to him.
Was it Jacob ? "
"No-he did not go after a wife either," said
Gilbert; "he married two of them, but he did not go
to his uncle's to find them. You had better go on
with your questions. You have had eight already.
If you do not look out you will not catch me.
Did he get the wife that he went after P asked
Ellen Chauncey.
"He was never married that I know of," said
"What was the reason he failed ? said Isabel.
"He did not fail."
"Did he bring home his wife then ? you said he
was not married."
He never was, that I knew of; but he brought
home a wife notwithstanding."
"But how funny you are, Gilbert," said little
Ellen,-" he had a wife and he had not a wife;-
what became of her ?"


She lived and flourished. Twelve questions;-
take care."
"Nobody asked what country he was of," said
Margaret,-" what was he, Gilbert ?"
He was a Damascene."
"A what ?"
Of Damascus-of Damascus. You know where
Damascus is, don't you ?"
Fiddle !" said iMarianne,-" I thought he was
a Jew. Did he live before or after the flood ?"
"After. I should think you might have known
"Well, I can't make out anything about him,"
said Marianne. "We shall have to give it up."
No, no,-not yet," said William. Where did
he go after his wife ?"
Too close a question."
"Then that does not count. Had he ever seen
her before ?"
Was she willing to go with him ?"
Very willing. Ladies always are when they go
to be married."
And what became of her ?"
She was married and lived happily,-as I told
But you said he was not married ?"
"Well, what then ? I did not say she married
Whom did she marry ?"
"Ah! that is asking the whole; I cannot tell
Had they far to go ?" asked Isabel.
Several days' journey-I do not know how far."
"How did they travel ?"
On camels."


"Was it the Queen of Sheba ?" said little Ellen.
There was a roar of laughter at this happy
thought, and poor little Ellen declared she forgot
all but about the journey; she remembered the
Queen of Sheba had taken a journey, and the
camels in the picture of the Queen of Sheba, and
that made her think of her.
The children gave up. Questioning seemed
hopeless ; and Gilbert at last told them his thought.
It was Eleazar, Abraham's steward, whom he sent
to fetch a wife for his son Isaac.
Why have you not guessed, little mumchance F"
said Gilbert to Ellen Montgomery.
"I have guessed," said Ellen;-" I knew who it
was some time ago."
"Then why did you not say so ? and you have
not asked a single question," said George.
No, you have not asked a single question," said
Ellen Chauncey.
She is much too good for that," said William;
"she thinks it is wicked, and that we are not at all
nice proper-behaved boys and girls to be playing
on Sunday; she is very sorry she could not help
being amused."
"Do you think it is wicked, Ellen?" asked her
little friend.
"Do you think it is not right?" said George
Ellen hesitated; she saw they were all waiting to
hear what she would say. She coloured, and looked
down at her little Bible, which was still in her hand.
It encouraged her.
I do not want to say anything rude," she began;
-"I do not think it is quite right to play such
plays, or any plays."

She was attacked with impatient cries of Why
not? Whynot?"
Because," said Ellen, trembling with the effort
she made,-" I think Sunday was meant to be spent
in growing better and learning good things; and I
do not think such plays would help one at all to do
that; and I have a kind of feeling that I ought not
to do it."
"Well, I hope you will act according to your
feelings then," said William; "I am sure nobody
has any objection. You had better go somewhere
else though, for we are going on; we have been
learning to be good long enough for one day.
Come! I have thought of somebody."
Ellen could not help feeling hurt and sorry at
the half sneer she saw in the look and manner of
the others as well as in William's words. She
wished for nothing better than to go away, but as
she did so her bosom swelled, and the tears started,
and her breath came quicker. She found Alice
lying down and asleep, Miss Sophia beside her; so
she stole out again and went down to the library.
Finding nobody, she took possession of the sofa,
and tried to read again; reading somehow did not
go on well, and she fell to musing on what had just
passed. She thought of the unkindness of the
children; how sure she was it was wrong to spend
any part of Sunday in such games; what Alice
would think of it, and John, and her mother: and
how the Sundays long ago used to be spent, when
that dear mother was with her; and then she won-
dered how she was passing this very one,-while
Ellen was sitting here in the library alone, what
she was doing in that far-away land; and she
thought if there only were such things as oracles


that could tell truly, how much she should like to
ask about her.
"Ellen!" said the voice of John from the
She started up; she had thought she was alone;
but there he was lying in the window-seat.
"What are you doing ?"
"Nothing," said Ellen.
Come here. What are you thinking about? I
did not know you were there till I heard two or
three very long sighs. What is the matter with
my little sister?"
He took her hand and drew her fondly up to him.
"What were you thinking about ?"
I was thinking about different things,-nothing
is the matter," said Ellen.
Then what are those tears in your eyes for F"
"I do not know," said she, laughing,-" there
were not any till I came here. I was thinking just
now about mamma."
He said no more, still, however, keeping her be-
side him.
"I should think," said Ellen presently, after a
few minutes' musing look out of the window,-" it
would be very pleasant if there were such things as
oracles-do not you, Mr. John ?"
"But would you not like to know something
about what is gomg to happen ?"
I do know a great deal about it."
"About what is going to happen ?"
He smiled.
Yes-a great deal, Ellie,-enough to give me
work for all the rest of my life."
"0, you mean from the Bible!-I was thinking
of other things."

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