Il[ adi n ibrar
Explaining the Motto. Pae 19.
Secont S eris.
lummie Tnap nd Wintrr Ygigtts.
IN SCHOOL AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
GROOMBRIDGE AND SONS,
IN SCHOOL AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
THE young people of the little village of Stapleford
were looking forward with anxious expectation to
the first of September. It was the day fixed for the
examination of the girls in the village school, after
which the prizes were to be delivered which had
been promised by Mr. Brookbanks, the rector, and
the Miss Shirleys, who lived up at the Hall, and who
took a great interest in the school. There was to
be a prize given to the best reader, the best writer,
the neatest worker, and to r who had always
attended school during the p year most regularly
and punctually. The mistress of the school, Mrs.
Presgrove, of course kept a register of the attend-
4ance of all the scholars each day, so that matter
could be easily settled ; but the other prizes were
to be given in accordance with the manner in
which they acquitted themselves on the day of
examination. Almost every day after school was
over, and Mrs. Presgrove had dismissed the classes,
did the girls saunter home talking about the prizes,
and the nearer they got to the examination day, the
more anxious they all felt about it. Younger sisters
who had no hope of a prize, were anxious about their
elder sisters, and those who thought they had a
chance calculated that chance over again and again
in their own minds, and did their best to find out
6 IN SCHOOL
what were the opinions of the rest regarding it. As
the summer wore away however, it almost seemed
as if some of the doubt and suspense was set asidb
by the general feeling with respect to a girl named
Phoebe Gibbons. It was impossible not to see that
she had a better chance than any one-- indeed there
were some even who thought that she would carry
off all the prizes that were to be given, so wonder-
fully did she exert herself d so very evident was
her improvement. The W Shirleys could not but
take great notice of Phoebe in their visits to the
school, and Mrs. Presgrove, however she might pride
herself on not having favourites, could not help
showing how very proud she was of Phoebe. She
did not always appeal to Phoebe every time she
wanted an answer to a question, because she wished
to make others in the class give her an answer; but
after two or three wrong replies were given, or when
she was tired of appealing to the rest, her eye would
turn to Phoebe with as much confidence in getting
the right answer, as if she were to read it from a
book. Each morning& too, when the time came for
unlocking and setting open the school-room door,
Mrs.tPresgrove would put her head out, and be sure
to see Phoebe within a few yards of the gate, with
her bag on her arm, and perhaps a book in her han4,
out of which she was conning a lesson. Her twbl
sister Ruth was often with her, but occasionally
Ruth would not make her appearance for quite tea
minutes after, which was not to be wondered at, for
Ruth was decidedly slow in all her movements.
There might have been some among her school-
fellows a little envious of Phoebe's great success in
all that she attempted, but she was too good-natured
a girl herself for any very unkind feelings to
harboured against her; and if some of the girls of
her own age were occasionally discouraged by the
superiority she showed, they could not help feeling
AND 0VT OF SCHOOL. 7
at the same time proud of having such a clever girl
in the school, and found the convenience of having
some one always at hand who could help them over
their difficulties, or explain what puzzled them when
they could not apply to Mrs. Presgrove. Mrs. Pres-
grove herself used to call Phoebe her second right
hand-and so she really was ; always so bustling
and active in school- -keing up the spirit of all
the classes to which sheonged, and always ready
to teach a class of little ones when Mrs. Presgrove
was particularly busy cutting out work, or finishing-
off some that was to be sent home.
Phoebe and Ruth Gibbons were the daughters of
very respectable parents in Stapleford. Their cot-
tage was the very last in the village before you came
to where the palings of Shirley Park began, and the
garden which lay behind it on the hill-side was also
theirs. Their father was a nursery-man and florist,
so that at all times and seasons there were square
patches of some bright-coloured flowers or other to
be seen on that sloping garden, and unusually choice
creepers and climbers about the windows and porch
of the cottage. The boundary of the garden at the
top was part of the pine and fir plantation which
&irted Shirley Park, and by shutting out the cold
Finds from the flower-beds, was considered to be one
bf the causes for Andrew Gibbons' succeeding so well
with the more delicate kinds of herbaceous plants,
though his industry and good knowledge of gardening
had of course much to do with it. To look at the
Gibbons' cottage, one would almost fancy them to be
better off than any of their neighbours, so neat and
comfortable was the air of the place, but the rent of
their house and garden was high, and the profit from
the sale of plants and the produce of their fruit-trees
was uncertain; besides which, Andrew Gibbons had
built his greenhouse and forcing-frames with bor-
rowed money, for which he had to pay high interest
6 IN SCHOOL
until he could manage to pay it off by instalments.
Still, as he said, he could see his way very clearly,
and as soon as his girls were able to maintain them-
selves, all would go well. In the meantime, however,
he was ready to make every sacrifice for the sake of
their getting a good education Phoebe might, a
year before the time we write of, have had a place
at a neighboring farm-house, but her father and
mother could not bear thqthought of taking her
' away from her book,' especially as she was making
such very satisfactory progress, and they willingly
made the necessary sacrifice for the schooling and
maintenance of both the girls for yet another year,
seeing, as they said, the wonderful start Phoebe was
making, and considering that Ruth was somewhat
backward. Both father and mother were thrifty
and industrious, and the former, who was a Scotch-
man by birth, set a high value on education. Re-
ports of Phoebe's reputation at school were most
gratifying to them, and they, too, looked forward
with no little interest to the display which would be
made of her 'forwardness' on the important exami-
The summer wore on, and nothing interfered with
the general expectation of Phoebe's success. Tha.
most that any of her companions could hope for w
that one out of the four prizes to be given might fall
to their lot ; and their mistress, Mrs. Presgrove, had
difficulty in keeping up their zeal in those matters
where after all, the proficiency of the whole school
was to her of more importance than the excellence of
one pupil. She said a great deal to the girls about
none of their efforts being lost, even if they did not
secure a prize; and she reminded the more timid
ones, wh]o were sure of not being seen to advantage
in anything like a public examination, that the
feeling that we have done our best, is the next best
thing to the satisfaction of gaining a prize. Among
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
these timid ones was Ruth Gibbons, Phoebe's sister.
The two sisters were so different in this respect, that
they could hardly understand each other's feelings.
How could you be so stupid, Ruth,' said Phoebe
one day, as they returned home, after having been
questioned by one of the Miss Shirleys about the
different countries of Europe, and asked the names
of their capitals; 'how couid you say that Portugal
was the capital of Spain ? I am sure you knew
'Oh, yes, I really did know better; but I was so
flurried by Miss Louisa's taking the class instead of
Mrs. Presgrove. It made me so frightened that I
did not know what I was saying.'
'How strange of you, Ruth. Why, that was the
very thing that made me so particular in giving
right answers. I should have been so ashamed of
making a blunder before Miss Louisa.'
'Ah, you! Phoebe-but you're so different from
me,' said Ruth in a humble tone of voice.
Among other things which were preparing for
the examination day, was the recitation of some
little poems and hymns, and Miss Louisa Shirley
had taken the greatest pains with the girls to get
these nicely learned and well delivered. She was
very particular about the accent and tone of the
girls as they repeated poetry, and she had taken
care that they learned nothing which they did not
understand. Nothing was to be jabbered or gabbled,
and to prevent this, she taught, the girls to repeat
the verses after her without seeing them in a book,
so that they got right sound and right sense from
the very first. Now, even in this Phoebe Gibbons
showed a greater quickness than all the other girls
in Miss Louisa's class. She liked poetry, and she
recited it in a pleasant tone, and with a correct
accent, as if she felt it all. It was really a pleasure
to hear her repeat, amongst other things the beau-
tiful lines beginning Prayer is the soul's sincere
desire ;" and she could go though all the verses of
the poem without her memory once failing her.
After taking so much pains with the girls as Miss
Louisa Shirley had done, it was no wonder that she
was proud of her success with Phoebe. Her sister
Gertrude was in delicate health, and could not often
get down to see what was going on at the school-
house, so that it was quite natural, that Phoebe
should be asked to come up to the Hall one evening,
to recite to her her favourite poems, and that some
strange ladies, who were visiting there, should be in
the room when she went through them. Phoebe
was on this occasion a little nervous, and blushed
very red when she saw the circle of listeners around
Miss Gertrude's sofa; but she acquitted herself very
well, and gained great credit to her teacher, Miss
Louisa. She recited not only Montgomery's "Prayer,"
but his lines on the Grave ;" and she herself offered
to repeat "The Better Land," if Miss Louisa liked;
and really astonished them all, by the very expressive
way in which she marked the difference between the
questions of the child and the answers of the mother
in this little poem.
As Phoebe went home that evening, she met Mr.
Brookbanks, the clergyman, as she crossed the park
to her father's cottage; and he found out, from her
answers to his inquiries, what had been the object
of her visit up at the Hall. He made no remark to
Phoebe, but that evening he sat down by the side
of Miss Louisa as she was making tea in the drawing-
room, and drawing his chair close up to hers, he
said--' So you have had Phoebe Gibbons here this
evening showing off, have you ? Take care that you
do not make her vain.'
Oh, Mr. Brookbanks, do you think I would do
that ? You don't know how modest she is, and well
behaved. I am sure'-
'Well, it may be so, my good young lady,' said
Mr. Brookbanks, 'but at all events take care.'
amount of proficiency shown as she could wish-
then the books were all put away, the slates collected
together, and the work locked up. Two or three of
the elder girls stayed behind, after the rest were dis-
missed, to help Mrs. Presgrove in arranging the
school-room. The floor was carefully swept, tables
and benches dusted again and again, and the black
board cleared of every particle of chalk. Phoebe
and Ruth Gibbons were among the girls chosen for
these offices. In the midst of all the bustle, they were
observed to cast wistful looks every now and then up
the lane towards home ; and this was explained soon
by their little brother David making his appearance
with an immense clothes-basket full of flowers,
almost more than he could carry, which were sent
by his father for the decoration of the school-room.
Almost every dahlia that his garden contained had
been cut, as well as lots of asters, and phlox, and
scarlet geraniums. Mrs. Presgrove was delighted
at the sight of the flowers, and a number of ambi-
tious schemes came into her head as to how they
should be disposed of. It was just what she wanted
to conceal some ink-stains on the tables and desks-
and the places where the plaster had fallen off the
walls-what a charming thing if these could be
covered! A number of plans were tried, when all
at once a happy thought struck her. The dahlia
flowers could not only be arranged against the wall,
but they might have a motto with them, like the
Victoria and Albert, which had been so much
admired at the flower-show at N- the autumn
before. Then came the difficulty about what should
be the inscription ; and after rejecting many good
proverbs as too long, and not sufficiently appropriate,
she decided upon requesting the assistance of Mr.
Brookbanks. A deputation was going up to the
Rectory, to fetch some cups and saucers, and Mr.
Brookbanks should be asked to furnish them a motto
THE examination-day came at last; and if there were
any who dreaded what it might bring, they certainly
kept their fears to themselves, for it seemed as if
there had never been any event in the village of
Stapleford which made a day so much of the nature
of a festival. This was principally owing to the
kind plans of Mr. Brookbanks and the family at the
Hall. It was determined that it should be made
quite a holiday in the village, and that all the parents
of the children should be invited to take tea in the
school-room, after the business of the day was over.
Mrs. Yates, the housekeeper at the Hall, was
deputed to see after the cake and bread and butter
for the large party that was expected to assemble;
and Mrs. Brookbanksf the rector's lady, undertook
to superintend the arrangements for the tea and
coffee ; and everything was to be so contrived, that
when the examination was over, and the prizes
given, only a short interval of time would be requi-
site, in order to convert the school-room into a tea-
room, in which accommodation would be found for
Mrs. Presgrove, perhaps, from among those who
were to be present, was the least able to look upon
it as a day of pleasure. She could not help feeling
nervous as to how her girls would acquit themselves.
She assembled school that morning at the usual
hour, but nothing was attempted beyond getting
things in order for the afternoon. Some of the
classes were heard in a hurried sort of way, just to
make herself sure of one or two points, where she
dreaded that there might not be as creditable an
AND OUT OF SCHOOL. IU
-a single word, in fact, if one could only be found
which would mean a great deal. Back with the
cups and saucers, after being kept by Mr. Brookbanks
a wonderfully short time, as the girls thought, came
a piece of paper for Mrs. Presgrove, on which was
written the word Excelsior," and a message to say,
that if she did not know what it meant, he would
take occasion to explain it after the examination
After a private look into her dictionary, where it
was not to be found, Mrs. Presgrove frankly con-
fessed to the girls that she did not know the meaning
of the word ; but it was just the right length for the
scar upon the wall, and that it meant a great deal,
she had no manner of doubt.
They set to work ; and with the help of a strip of
white calico first stretched across the wall at the
head of the room, they contrived to write in flowers
the mysterious word. Nothing could look better
than it did-each letter being formed of a separate
colour, and there being among the dahlias quite as
many as nine distinct and brilliant hues, from the
red, which was almost as deep as black, to the purest
This inscription, together with the large nosegays
placed about the room-bough-pots, as Mrs. Presgrove
called them-seemed to convert their well-known
school-room into something as like fairy-land as any
of those girls were able to picture to themselves ; and
if it had not been for the table at the end of the room
covered with a green cloth, behind which Mr. Brook-
banks was to sit when he examined them, and before
which the different classes were to stand-a part of
the arrangements which made their hearts beat when-
ever they looked that way- they would never have
been tired of gazing around them, and admiring the
results of their labour. But three o'clock struck,
when all was ready, and the girls were sent home to
dress themselves in their Sunday frocks, in time for
the assembling of all the company at four.
It was really a pretty sight to see the turning out
of the whole of the village children, dressed in their
best, and marshalling in order to walk to the school-
house, while such of the parents as were disengaged
at that early hour, were also wending their way to it
in their neatest and smartest attire. A much larger
group of ladies than was expected issued, too, from
the gates of Shirley Park, and Mr. and Mrs. Brook-
banks had friends with them from the Rectory.
It had struck four before the carriage from
the Hall drove up with Miss Gertrude, who was
not able to walk down; and then the proceedings
began. Mr. Brookbanks was at his post at the head
of the room, with the ladies on each side of him.
The children were in the middle on their benches,
and the mothers were around Mrs. Presgrove's chair
at the other end. People had hardly time to look
around them at the pretty decorations, and to wonder
at the curious flower-word, before Mr. Brookbanks
summoned Mrs. Presgrove to tell him in what she
wished her pupils to be examined. A paper was
given to him, and then the different classes were
called up in the order arranged beforehand, while
Mr. Brookbanks took notes, as he went on, of the
manner in which each member of the class acquitted
Better, of course, than any one, Mrs. Presgrove
knew, directly a question was asked, whether it
would get an answer. She would wince, and flush
quite red, when one came that was decidedly too
difficult, or so differently put from the way she was
accustomed to ask it, that she feared it would not be
understood. She was allowed, on several occasions,
to explain, which was only fair; and at other times
she at once said, that that was one of the branches
of the subject to which she had not yet turned their
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
attention.' No one thought the worse of Mrs. Pres-
grove as a teacher for frankly acknowledging this ;
but on the contrary, only wondered how she had
been able to teach them so much. The answers of
some of the girls quite surprised even the very well
educated listeners. They were quite sure, indeed,
that at their age they had not known so much. In
arithmetic, especially, when it came to the black
board being brought forward, and the chalk sums
set on the different rules, every one was astonished
at the quickness of even the little ones, and Mrs.
Presgrove got great credit. Mr. Brookbanks asked,
too, some very puzzling questions, 'to be done in
the head,' and got wonderfully correct and ready
How remarkably well that nice-looking tall girl,
whom they call Phoebe, answers !' said one of the
Oh yes,' said Miss Gertrude, in a whisper, 'that
is our favourite, Phoebe Gibbons. But youvill hear
her recite poetry, presently, quite beautifully. She
is really a very clever girl.'
The examination of copy-books came next, and
then the work. Specimens of all sorts of stitches-
sewing, hemming, stitching, herring-boning, and
gathering were neatly arranged on sheets of
coloured paper; and even make-believe darns and
button-holes were exhibited ; and as each of
these specimen papers was filled with one girl's
work, and marked with a number which only
Mrs. Presgrove knew, the prize could be awarded
quite fairly before it was known who would claim it.
With the writing it was the same. There were no
names in the copy-books, but the one which all
should determine to be the best was to be set aside
for the prize.
The reading and recitations then followed; wad,
as every one had expected, Phoebe Gibbons was, be-
yond any doubt, the one who did best. After her
clear, distinct, and well-toned reading of the Sermon
on the Mount had been heard, together with her
correct answers to Mr. Brookbanks' rather difficult
questions, there was no one who felt a moment's hesi-
tation about her deserving the prize which Miss
Louisa Shirley had offered. The neatly bound gilt-
edged bible was handed to her by Mr. Brookbanks,
with a few kind and earnest words, which sank deep
into Phoebe's heart. He said she had shown that
she was well acquainted with the letter of its con-
tents, and he hoped that her future life would show
that she also understood its spirit.
A neat little work-box was then handed by Mrs.
Brookbanks to the girl who claimed the best specimens
of needle-work,-Mary Groves. There was then a
long discussion among the ladies over the copy-books
-two of them showing such decided superiority over
the rest, that the matter could not be settled, until
Mr. Brookbanks, who had offered this prize, de-
cided that he would give two books, one to each
of their owners. It turned out that these were
Phoebe and Ruth Gibbons; and every one was glad
that the good and quiet Ruth was to have a prize as
well as her sister. Last of all came the prize for
punctual attendance at school. Mrs. Presgrove pro-
duced her book, which kept a report of the daily
attendance of the girls. The numbers were cast up,
and there was quite a murmur of applause in the
room when Phoebe Gibbons was also declared to have
gained this prize. Mr. Brookbanks pointed out that
it was not to be wondered at that punctual atten-
dance at school should have secured progress and
excellence in other matters. It was the cause, in a
great measure, and the other was the effect. He
hoped that it would encourage the others to be steady
in their attendance at school in future ; and he re-
marked to Phoebe, as she advanced to receive it, that
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
no doubt she had to thank the early good habits
implanted by her industrious father and mother for
this additional prize. It was observed how, at these
words, Phoebe blushed a deep crimson, and looked
across at Ruth, who sat on an opposite bench. She
seemed as if she wanted to say something ; but no
sound came from her lips.
Poor Phoebe seems quite agitated with her great
success,' said Miss Louisa, and she kindly told her
that she might go to her seat again.
Everybody agreed with Mr. Brookbanks now in
regretting that there were not more prizes to be
bestowed. No one doubted that they had been most
fairly awarded : although one girl had alone carried
off three of them-but there were many of the other
girls who had acquitted themselves so very well, that
the mere mention of their names, with words of ap-
proval and praise, was scarcely enough to satisfy the
judges. Mr. Brookbanks, however, point out, in
his concluding little speech, that these ha ter all
the reward of knowing that they had done t r best,
and of being able to perceive themselves how much
progress had been made since that day last year.
' And now,' said he, pulling out his watch, 'who will
get the prize for the best cup of tea in half an hour's
time; for I shall certainly be back to drink it.'
The ladies then withdrew-all but Miss Louisa
and Mrs. Brookbanks, who stayed to make tea, and
take it, too, with the large party of parents and
children that was to re-assemble.
In the little garden in front of the school-house
was seen a crowd of girls round Phoebe Gibbons, to
look at her beautiful prizes; and there were many
of the elder girls who were not sorry to remember
that they were not likely to have such a formidable
rival at the next year's examination; for Phoebe was
most certainly to leave school in the Oring; so that
some of their exertions were sure to be crowned with
success, and there was no doubt but that Mr. Brook-
banks and the Miss Shirleys would give as many
prizes next year. This was all said amongst them-
selves, and it prevented a too deep feeling of morti-
fication at their present ill-success, and very luckily,
too, prevented any feeling of jealousy towards Phoebe.
In less time than had been thought possible, and
before the appointed half-hour had expired, the long
tables down each side of the room were set out and
spread; the white cloths and numerous tea-trays,
and piles of bread and butter and cake, giving good
promise of plenty for the very large party of old and
young. All were seated-tea-cups were rattling, and
voices buzzing in happy talk-when Mr. Brookbanks
returned, bringing a nice little book for the extra
prize to Ruth. He took his place at the head of one
of the tables, and it was generally expected that,
after tea, he would make something of a speech or
address, which many of the fathers and mothers who
had nejA heard him, except in the pulpit, were very
anxious to hear.
When the last cup of tea was poured out and
drunk, and the plates began at last to stand still,
Mr. Brookbanks arose, and began his address by
saying how much pleasure it gave him to meet so
large a number of his parishioners on so pleasant an
occasion-an occasion which had shown them what
good progress had been made during the last year in
the knowledge of those whose duty it was to learn.
The young people had proved that they were doing
their best to avail themselves of the means of in-
struction and improvement which were offered to
them. They had gained knowledge which, for the
whole of their lives afterwards, might be considered
a valuable possession, which neither time nor change
could take from them, and which might, if they
liked, go a great way towards helping them forward
in the world. But he must remind them that know-
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
ledge was not all that was to be desired. He had
been asked to furnish a motto for the decoration of
their room, and he had chosen a word which, though
perhaps unknown to most present, was yet full of
meaning-and he turned and pointed, to the pretty
dahlia-word across the wall-
Should he tell them why he fixed on that word ?
He happened to have been reading, that very
morning, a little poem, which told a sort of allegory
or parable about a pilgrim who bore this word on a
banner, and who, climbing onwards and`jgywards
among the high mountains called the Alps, rad died
at last far up among the snow which covers their
summits, still crying Excelsior,' and when dead,
still grasping the banner on which was written-
Now the word Excelsior meant' higher, or more
high, and no better motto could any one adopt. And
in saying this he did not mean that the best thing
to do was to try to get higher in position or rank,
or worldly advantages, so much as higher in character.
This, Mr. Brookbanks said, was the very best thing
that a human being could aspire after-that is, to
raise himself in character, to strive after perfection.
The pilgrim in the poem had rejected all the offers
of comfort and luxury made to induce him to stay
in the valley ; and through'storms, and snow and ice
had journeyed on still higher and higher, and after
reaching the highest point of the mountain, he fell,
overcome with cold and fatigue, and dying-may
we not imagine that he ascended even still higher
into ? and Mr Brookbanks paused, and, looking
round at some of the young people near him, as if
waiting to have his sentence finished by them,
several voices said, in a low tone, the word, heaven.'
'Yes, heaven,' said Mr. Brookbanks. Striving,
when here on earth, to get higher and higher still in
character, is the same as striving to reach heaven-
the highest object that any can attain. And how
can we get higher, but by leaving behind us all that
is low-low feelings, low habits of mind, and low
pursuits. Let us set these aside. Let us seek after
everything that is excellent and of good report ; and
then shall we certainly rise higher and higher. And
let us do this in all humility of spirit, taking for our
example Him who was Most High, and yet humbled
himself as a little child, and who told his disciples
that unless they became as little children, they could
not enter the kingdom of heaven ; and who when they
disputed as to which of them should be highest in
rank, said He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'
And this was the end of Mr. Brookbanks' speech,
which was most attentively and eagerly listened to,
by both young and old. They liked it because they
understood it ; and many silent resolves were made
at its conclusion by the hearers, that they would try
what they could do to raise themselves higher, still
higher in character. They looked with reverence
now at that once unmeaning word, Excelsior ; for
they understood its meaning. No one would ever
forget it; and they only wished that its letters would
flash into their eyes at times when they were tempted
to do something low or base. What a pity that
those flowers would not last !
In rising to go away, many crowded to the end of
the room to look still closer at the beautiful dahlias ;
and it was then that Andrew Gibbons, Phoebe's
AND OUT OF SCHOOL. 21
father, promised that he would supply flowers next
year on the examination day, to write that word
again. And a very well-chosen word it was,' said
he, as he walked home with his wife and daughters
'A word to my mind, with good sense as well as
good sound. I'm thinking, wife,' continued he, after
being silent for some time, that to help me to re-
member those excellent remarks of our good minister,
I'll name my new pelargonium after it. Pelar-
gonium Excelsior it shall be called, and I'll never
look at it without saying to myself higher, more
high-higher in character.'
OUT OF SCHOOL.
THE flower-word had not faded on the wall of the
school-room, before the girls of the Stapleford school
were all busy at work again, after two or three days'
holiday; and distant as the next examination now
was, there were still among them some who had
begun to hold it steadily in view, and were deter-
mined that they would never so far forget it as to
relax in any of their efforts through the long year
which lay before them. As we have before observed,
it was a comfort to them to know, that Phoebe
Gibbons could not run away with all the prizes next
year ; for it was quite decided that she and Ruth
were to leave school in the spring. Somehow or
other, it had got reported in the village, through
Mrs. Yates, the housekeeper at the Hall, that the
Miss Shirleys had thoughts of engaging Phoebe in
the place of Allen, their own maid, who was going to
be married. Miss Gertrude Shirley was to go abroad
for her health early in the spring, and was to travel
in Germany and Italy for more than a year, so that
it was enough to make Phoebe's heart beat with
delight, when she thought that she might perhaps
be taken with them on this journey. It was, it is
true, only a report, but still there was sufficient like-
lihood in it to make her full of hope. Something
which Miss Louisa had said to Phoebe one day, as
she was shewing a class all the countries of Europe
on the map, seemed to confirm what Mrs. Yates had
said. She had asked Phoebe if she would not like to
see folign countries; and she turned to her in par-
ticular, when she traced on the map the route of the
journey which she and her sister were going to take
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
in the spring with their father-across the country
called Belgium, and up the river Rhine till they came
to Switzerland, and then over the Alps into Italy.
There had also been made, privately, a sort of promise
to Phoebe's mother, on the part of Allen, Miss Shirley's
maid, that in case her daughter should be her suc-
cessor, she would teach her how to dress the young
ladies' hair, and give her some notions of mantua-
making. Far more did the thought of this situation
fill Phoebe's mind than even the prizes of the former
year, and she exerted herself more than ever to*win
approbation at school. It seemed, indeed, to the
whole family as if Phoebe's getting on' was a matter
to which everything else was to give way. Her
mother would at times keep Ruth at home to help
her on days when she was particularly busy with
her clear-starching and ironing, for she washed the
muslins and fine things for the Hall; but she never
thought of encroaching on Phoebe's time. On market
mornings, if Andrew Gibbons wanted his breakfast
unusually early, or any assistance in tying up his
plants, it would be sure to be Ruth or little David
who was called up an hour sooner, rather than
Phoebe; and at all times Phoebe had only to say
something about my lessons,' or getting ready for
my class,' in order to be excused from an errand or
little household job.
Things were in this state as the winter drew to a
close; but it was at the beginning of February that
an event occurred which brought about many
changes, and led to some important results in the
Gibbons' cottage. This event was a very serious
accident which befel Miss Louisa Shirley, and which,
owing to the kindness which she always showed
every one, gave much concern to all the inhabitants
of Stapleford. It seemed afterwards, as if every
body remembered the events of the day on which it
occurred better than any day in the year; perhaps
because it was so often talked about among them.
Just at that time, Andrew Gibbons had some very
fine hyacinths in bloom in his greenhouse, and a
particularly brilliant Van Thol tulip. There had
been some talk about the ladies from the Hall coming
down to see them, which was perhaps the reason
that he told Phoebe that morning to be sure and put
some ashes on the steps of the greenhouse, as the
sharp frost in the night had frozen again some melted
snoy, so as to make them slippery. Phoebe was up
late that morning, and knew quite well afterwards
how it was her bustle to get off to school which
made her forget her father's request about the ashes.
She and all the school children remembered well,
how that morning Miss Louisa Shirley came into the
school for a few minutes, to speak to Mrs. Presgrove
about some work. She had got off her horse at the
door, and was in her riding-habit, in which dress
some of the children had never before seen her.
They remembered not only her looks, but the few
pleasant words she said in passing down between
the rows of forms; and ah! how well did Phoebe
recollect her kind greeting, and her question as to
whether, if she called at her father's cottage, she
should find him at home. For many a year, every
word and look, and every small circumstance which
made up the importance of that day, remained deeply
impressed on Phoebe's mind. She remembered
glancing up from the page she was reading, to look
through the window at Miss Louisa assisted on to
her horse by the groom. She remembered seeing
her canter off in the direction of her father's cot-
tage, her veil and feather streaming back from her
hat, and the white steam puffing out from the nos-
trils of the horses in the cold frosty air. It did not
seem more than half-an-hour from that time, when
Miss Louisa seemed so well and gay, that the groom
,went galloping past the school-house to Mr. Ham-
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
mond, the surgeon's, gate, and little David, her
brother, came running into the school-room to Aesire
her and Ruth to go home directly, to help her mother
with Miss Louisa, who had fallen down and hurt
herself. No one knew-no human being knew the
pang that shot through Phoebe's heart when she got
home and saw Miss Louisa lying in dreadful pain
upon a mattress, in her mother's kitchen, and was
told that she had slipped down the greenhouse steps,
and it was feared had broken her leg. Between the
times when the pain was too great for speaking, Miss
Louisa said something about her riding habit. 'It
had, she thought, got entangled round her feet. She
had let go of it to take a white camellia which Mr.
Gibbons had held out to her just as she went out at
the door of the greenhouse. She did not seem to
know that the steps had been slippery ; and it was
only in a low voice that Phoebe's father said some-
thing about them. Sick, and trembling, and bewil-
dered, did Phoebe run about at the command of her
mother, as preparations were made for the setting of
the leg, which Mr. Hammond, when he came, pro..
nounced to be broken, with a compound.fracture..
Mr. Shirley, Mrs. Yates, and Allen came quickly
down from the Hall; and there was the greatest
grief and consternation about the accident, although
Miss Louisa bore it so wonderfully well, and tried to
convince every body that it was no great matter,
and that she would soon be well. There were some
arrangements begun for carrying her up in the car-
riage to the Hall, or upon the mattress as she lay ;
but Mr. Hammond pointed out the very great
advantages of her remaining where she was. If she
could but stay where she was for a week or two, the
cure could be affected so mu4h more easily ; indeed,
he said, that he could warrant her walking in half
the time, than if she were carried home, whether
after or before the setting. Miss Louisa then decided
herself to remain. It would altogether be better,
she said, and would spare her sister the sight of her
sufferings-and so it was all arranged, that the little
inner parlour at the Gibbons' should be fitted up
into a bed-room as quickly as possible, and that the
sufferer should be at once laid in the position in which
she must remain until the knitting together of the
broken bone had taken place, so as to admit of her
being conveyed home in a carriage. Within an hour
from the painful operation of setting the leg, and the
bandaging and splintering it up, poor Miss Louisa
was able to look composedly around her in Mrs.
Gibbons' little bed-room, and declare that she felt
herself quite composed, and quite thankful, as the
accident was to happen, that it should have hap-
pened there. The three weeks prescribed by Mr.
Hammond, would, no doubt, pass very comfortably;
and with Mrs. Gibbons' kind care, and the attendance
of Phoebe and Ruth, with visits once a day from Mrs.
Yates and Allen, to say nothing of the- calls which
her father and sister and other friends and acquaint-
ances would pay her, there would be nothing left to
Through the whole of that day, Phoebe Gibbons
was more unhappy than she had ever before been in
her life. She said to herself, that it was her fault
Miss Louisa was suffering so much; and though
no one reproached her for it, or thought of it as an
accident that could have been avoided, she felt sure
herself that it was caused by her own negligence.
Every time that Phoebe saw her father, she dreaded
to receive from him reproaches about her neglect;
but strange to say, though he actually spoke of
the steps being slippery, and said that some ashes or
sand ought to have been thrown down, he never
seemed to remember his having given orders for it
to be done. This forgetfulness of her father's, to-
gether with Miss Louisa's own belief that it was
hhr riding-habit which threw her down, silenced at
last the reproaches of Phoebe's conscience. St per-
suaded herself, that after all, it was no fault o hers,
and that it would be quite nonsense to speak of
having had any share in the accident. What good
could it possibly do to Miss Louisa, now that all was
over ? And how zealously she would wait upon her,
and try to make amends for this little piece of negli-
gence ; and if she should ever be her maid-servant,
how devotedly she would attend to her and Miss
Gertrude, through weeks, and months, and years.
While these feelings were in her mind, it was a
relief to her now to have many little offices to per-
form for her kind friend who was so helpless and
dependent upon others ; and Miss Louisa seemed to
like no one to wait upon her so well as Phoebe. For
a day or two she and Ruth were to stay away from
school, that they might assist their mother and read
to Miss Louisa when she was free enough from pain
to be able to give her attention to a book ; but by
the beginning of the next week Miss Louisa was sure
that she should not require so much assistance, and
was determined that the girls should only stay away
from school on alternate days, and she wished that
everything else should go on in the usual way, so
that they were, if possible, to forget that she was
It was as well for Phoebe, perhaps, that Miss Louisa
decided this; for before the end of the week, she
began to find the sort of employment that now
fell upon her rather irksome. She felt herself
awkward, and wanting in aptness in doing several
things which Miss Louisa seemed to take it for
granted that she could do well; and it seemed
strange to her to have to det aside so completely
her books and lessons. Almost unconsciously to
herself, she allowed Ruth to do many little matters
in Miss Louisa's room, which she had at first under-
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
taken to do, but which she felt dissatisfied with
hersef for not managing well; and Miss Louisa had
not arrived at the fourth day of her imprisonment
at the cottage without finding out that Ruth Gibbons
was not the slow girl that she had fancied her, but
was most active and alert as an assistant nurse.
The little room in which Miss Louisa lay was
separated from Mrs. Gibbons' kitchen only by a
wooden partition, and down one side of it passed
the staircase which led up to the bedroom of the
girls, separated also only by a wooden partition.
As she lay there alone and in silence, she could hear
nearly everything that passed in the little cottage,
and she liked to listen to all their doings. It never
occurred to her that she should by this means find
out some family secrets ; on the contrary, it-gave
her at first pleasant thoughts to dwell on, as she
seemed, for the first time in her life, really to know
well what life in a cottage was. How thrifty and
contented were the lives of that father and mother !
With the faintest glimmering of morning twilight,
Andrew Gibbons was up, down stairs, and out in
his garden and not long after, was heard the
mother lighting the kitchen fire, and then filling
the kettle at the pump, ready for breakfast. Then
came the sweeping of floors and scouring of hearths.
The voices were evidently rather hushed for fear of
disturbing her ; and after the first stirring of the
family, she generally dozed again until near the
time of her own breakfast being brought to her, but
not until she had heard little David's merry laugh
or whistle, as he put on his boots, or washed his
face in the back-kitchen, before going out to father
in the garden. Half between sleeping and waking,
she heard the mother talking to one of her girls, as
the pigs and chickens were fed, and in the intervals
of fetching the bread from the baker's, the milk
from the dairy-farm at the end of the village-and
AND OUT OF SCHOOL. 29
then the rattling of cups and saucers for breakfast.
She said to herself-' Now Phoebe has gone fg* the
bread, and Ruth is at home.' But the talking had
ceased, and presently it was Ruth who came in with
a story about the roll for Miss Louisa not being out
of the oven yet. Where, then, was Phoebe ? She
dozed again, and was awakened by a knocking above.
Make haste, Phoebe; Miss Louisa's breakfast is
nearly ready to take in to her.'
There was a second summons, and the breakfast
evidently waited until Phoebe came down. But
before this, Ruth had been in to bring the basin and
water that she liked to refresh herself with before
her breakfast came. The pillows were all shaken,
and the support for her back so nicely contrived,
and the room made airy and tidy-all so quickly
and yet noiselessly, before Phoebe came in with
the tray. After breakfast, Allen came down from
the Hall to dress her young mistress, and comb and
brush her hair, and make her comfortable for the
day. It was the end of the first week after the
accident, that Allen was later than usual one
morning, and Miss Louisa grew impatient, so that
Ruth begged to be allowed to supply her place.
She had seen how Allen arranged her hair, she said,
and was sure that she could do it in the same way.
And so she did, most skilfully and nice. Seeing
how comfortable Ruth had made Miss Louisa, ren-
dered Phoebe more anxious than ever that day for
the time when she should read aloud while Miss
Louisa worked at her embroidery frame. But it
was Saturday, and Miss Louisa was sure that the
girls would be wanted by their mother, and she had
a great fancy herself for assisting Mrs. Gibbons in
some of her household concerns. She would darn
some stockings for her, she said, and insisted on
having Andrew Gibbons' coarse worsted stockings
and little David's socks brought in to her. But
there were no holes! They had all been so carefully
mended, that there was nothing to do.
'It really does you great credit, Mrs. Gibbons,'
said Miss Louisa, when she found she was too late.
'I cannot think how you can find time for work.'
'It is Ruth, Ma'am, who mends them generally;
for my sight is bad, and I have no time for needle-
work, except at nights.'
Ruth, indeed !' said Miss Louisa, surprised, 'and
not Phoebe V'
Why, yes, you see Ma'am, Phoebe has always her
lessons to attend to. She must mind her book.'
These words caused some thoughts to pass through
Miss Louisa's mind, that she had never had before.
Was it possible that Phoebe's minding her book had
interfered with her minding her duties at home ?
The next day being Sunday, the father *and
mother were not up quite so soon as usual; yet still
there was great stir in the family at an early hour,
and a good deal of brushing of coats and hats ready
'Only look here at my jacket, mother,' cried little
David, in the midst of his operations, and in a louder
voice than he would have spoken, had he remembered
their new inmate, only see this rent that you told
sister Phoebe to mend. What shall I do for church ?'
Really I must say Phoebe is too bad to have for-
gotten that, so often as I have told her of it,' said
Phoebe was so late down that morning, that Mrs.
Gibbons herself brought in Miss Louisa's tray; and
it was Phoebe's foot heard running down stairs after
all the rest were dressed, and had started for church.
Sitting by Miss Louisa's bedside in the afternoon,
it was really quite surprising to hear how well
Phoebe read aloud the evening service, and after-
wards she repeated quite beautifully one of Heber's
hymns; yet still it did not give Miss Louisa as much
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
pleasure as usual to hear her pupil's performances.
She said nothing to Phoebe then, but she thought to
herself that she should be glad if the coming week
should alter her impression about Phoebe's character
at home. She resolved to notice more particularly.
Now, unfortunately for Phoebe, her doings at home
would by no means bear this close observation ; and
it was impossible for Miss Louisa not to discover how
much difference it made to her comfort, according to
whether it was Phoebe's or Ruth's day for being at
home; although, perhaps, Phoebe was the most fussy
in her attentions to her. For a long time one
morning she was left by Phoebe with the window-
curtain so that the sun came full in her eyes, after
every one knowing that a certain adjustment of it
was necessary to prevent this; and Miss Louisa had
not liked to call Phoebe to alter it, because she
thought that she was engaged with her mother,
when it turned out afterwards that she had gone in
to a neighbour's to gossip. Another afternoon, she
left the room, when Miss Louisa was sending her up
to the Hall, and neglected to move the table near
enough for her to reach her embroidery silk when
she wanted a needleful, and forgot to bring her the
glass of water that she had particularly begged for
before she went away. Now Ruth never seemed to
forget these kinds of little matters, which are of so
much importance to a helpless invalid, who is wholly
dependent on others. She seemed always to foresee,
as well as to remember what was necessary to Miss
Louisa's comfort. It was Ruth, too, who found out
the best way of rubbing her leg so as to prevent the
cramp, which very much troubled her, from lying so
long in one position, and even Mr. Hammond could
trust her to loosen the bandage occasionally, she did
it so expertly and well.
Out of Miss Louisa's room, too, it seemed as if, on
the days when Phoebe was at home, all went wrongs
The pots boiled over on the little kitchen fire. The
shower came down before the clothes on the hedge
were taken in, in spite of her mother telling Phoebe
to run out at the first threatening of rain. While
her mother had gone up the village on an errand, the
fire under the kettle for tea was let to die out-in
fact it would seem as if Phoebe had not always her
wits about her, and that the cleverness for which she
was distinguished at school was never called forth
upon those little household matters, which, though
simple and easy enough, yet require, after all, some
thought, and are of importance, because, by their
neglect, the comfort of all around is destroyed. Miss
Louisa was thinking how she should make this plain
to Phoebe, and by what means she should prove to
her the worthlessness of knowledge gained by a
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
neglect of such duties, when her sister Gertrude
came down one day to talk over the question of
finding a substitute for Allen, their maid. Allen's
lover, it appeared, was getting impatient for the
wedding to take place, and it seemed desirable to
make a selection from among the young girls in
the village, so that she might get into good training
before their journey abroad was fixed. Would it not
be better, Miss Gertrude said, to speak to Phoebe and
her mother at once ? Miss Louisa hesitated. She
said she would rather defer the decision for another
week, and expressed a hope that neither Mrs. Yates
nor Allen would talk to Phoebe before the matter
was quite settled ; and her sister left her, wondering
what could have led Louisa to hesitate, after all the
praise that she had given to the Gibbons family
generally. She had spoken of their kindness to her-
self, and of their truly respectable and industrious
manner of life; and as for Phoebe-it was scarcely
to be supposed that she was less of a favourite than
It was in the middle of Miss Louisa's last week at
the cottage that an occurrence took place, which
settled this question, with regard to Phoebe, in a very
painful manner. Spring was fast advancing at that
time, and yet there were sharp frosts at night, which
made it necessary for Andrew Gibbons to continue
all his precautions with regard to his more delicate
plants; and the chimney of his little greenhouse
still smoked each evening, and his frames each after-
noon were carefully closed, and covered with matting.
One day, which had been particularly fine and warm,
it happened that he had to leave home to go to the
other side of the neighboring town ; and he started
after dinner, taking little David with him, before it
was necessary to arrange these matters for the night.
He did not expect to be home till late ; so he gave
strict injunctions to Phoebe to go up the garden at
three o'clock, and close the frames he had left open,
that they might get all the warm sun that was still
to be had. Phoebe said to herself that she would
not forget the charge, when she went to read to
Miss Louisa after dinner ; and she was the less likely
to forget it, because Miss Louisa was now frequently
in the habit of asking her, when she came into her
room, if she was sure that she had no'little jobs to
do for her mother. She thought to herself how she
would jump up as the clock struck three, and run up
the garden, and Miss Louisa should see how she
remembered her father's request. All turned out,
however, that afternoon, differently to what Phoebe
had expected. She had not read many pages to Miss
Louisa, before Mr. Brookbanks called to sit with her,
and sent Phoebe up to the Rectory for a book which
he wanted to lend Miss Louisa. Mrs. Brookbanks
kept her some time waiting, because she had a lady
calling at the time, and could not get away to seek
out the book. Then, Phoebe, on her return, fell in
with Allen, who had been taking down some jelly
from the Hall to Miss Louisa. Phoebe was not sorry
to have a talk with Allen, and was much interested
and excited by hearing from her that the wedding-
day was fixed, and, 'as far as she knew,' no one yet
engaged to take her place. Allen renewed her con-
ditional promises to Phoebe of assistance in the hair-
dressing and mantua-making departments, and took
Phoebe with her into the village-shop while she
chose a ribbon for her wedding bonnet. By the
time that Phoebe got home again, her mother was
impatient for her to see aftet getting Miss Louisa's
tea; and after that Miss Louisa sent her up to the
Hall with a message to Mrs. Yates. It was, of
course, quite dark by the time that Phoebe returned
home, and her father only coming back quite late-
just before bed-time-there was nothing which helped
to remind her that his commands about the frames
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
had been forgotten. She never once thought of
them-not even when she looked out in the morning
and saw how everything was white with frost and
sparkling in the sunshine. And that morning,
though cold, was so very fine It seemed as if every
body in the cottage was feeling unusually cheerful
from the brightness of the day. Miss Louisa, as she
lay on her mattress, waiting for breakfast, was
thinking how delightful was the feeling of getting
well from any complaint, and considering to herself
how merciful it was in a kind Providence that pain
and suffering should be the means of making us
conscious of the blessing of health. She then won-
dered to herself when the day would come that her
sister Gertrude would feel this certainty of getting
well that she did herself. She counted the days that
were left before she was to be removed from the
cottage, and thought of the pleasant week she should
spend, lying on the sofa in the drawing-room or
library at home, chatting and reading with her
father and sister; and then of the first walk she
should be able to take with crutches on the lawn ;
and then how the crutches would be exchanged for
a stick ; and, lastly, how the stick would be thrown
away, and all the preparations be begun for the
journey abroad. How very delightful were all these
anticipations and while they passed through her
mind, she was listening to such a sweet bit of
warbling from a robin that was perched near the
window, waiting for some crumbs from her breakfast.
And within the kitchen, where Mrs. Gibbons and
Phoebe were busy, things were quite as pleasant.
Phoebe had risen in good time that morning, and
was in good spirits, because she was satisfied with
herself for so doing. She was chatting cheerfully
with her mother, who was busy sprinkling some
muslins ; and her mother was particularly cheerful,
because it promised to be such a fine day for getting
the rest of her things dried. Alas that anger and
sorrow should have entered the cottage that morning,
as well as the sunshine and song of the bird !
Phoebe was setting the breakfast-things, when she
happened to look up as her father came down the
garden path. He had something in his hand, and
seldom had Phoebe seen him look as he did that
moment. He was red with anger and vexation.
Coming into the kitchen, he threw down on the
clean table-cloth a number of young plants that had
AP / /
evidently been just pulled up. 'There,' said he,
'see what comes of my trusting to a good-for-
nothing idle girl! Look at my young seedling
balsams, destroyed with the frost of last night ; all
because you, Phoebe, never shut the frames, as I
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
desired you. I tell you, girl, you are good-for-
Phoebe stood aghast. 'I quite forgot, father-
indeed 'I quite forgot.'
Quite forgot, indeed !' said her father, still more
angry,' and how many shillings are lost out of my
pocket by your quite forgetting ? Was it not enough
to have caused Miss Louisa to break her leg with
your forgetting, as you know you did-'
Oh father, spare me-spare me Don't say that,
father !' cried Phoebe, bursting into an agony of
tears, and covering her face with her hands, as she
sunk upon a chair. Oh mother, mother, what will
become of me-what will become of me V?'
'Andrew,' said her mother, reproachfully, 'Andrew
Gibbons, do you speak in this way to your own
child ? It is cruel of you to say such things. Do
you remember,' said she, lowering her voice, who
hears us ?' and she pointed to the door of Miss
Andrew Gibbons checked himself in the midst of
his anger ; but Phoebe, starting up, said, amidst her
sobs, No, mother; father is right. It was my fault
that Miss Louisa fell down-I know it was; and I
am rightly punished that she should know it. I will
go and tell her that it was all my fault ;' and opening
Miss Louisa's door, she went in, and almost falling
on her knees beside the bed, she told what had hap-
pened the day of her accident. She entreated her
forgiveness ; and accusing herself of being, as her
father had said, 'good for nothing,' owned her
thoughtlessness and negligence. Never was any one
more penitent than Phoebe, nor more completely
awakened to a sense of her own faults. She not only
told Miss Louisa all about the forgetfulness that had
been the cause of her accident, but she confessed to
having stifled the feeling which, at the time, 'should.
have induced her to frankly own her negligence
She described what she had suffered during those
first days, and how anxious she had been to make.
amends. But you see, Miss Louisa, I am so fixed
in my careless habits. Father is right in calling me
good-for-nothing,' and she burst again into tears and
'No, Phoebe, you are not good-for-nothing,' said
Miss Louisa kindly and encouragingly; 'you are
good for much, when you can only cure yourself of
this want of thought and care. And do not fear
that this can be done. You love God, Phoebe; and
it has been a pleasure to you to learn much of what
God has made so beautiful and good around us. You
have been taught how all things are ministers of
his which do his pleasure," from the sun in its daily
course, to the meanest flower that blossoms at its
appointed season, so that through obedience to his
will, all is order, and regularity and beauty. And
must not we too obey and faithfully perform our
allotted part in life ? Are not the commands of your
parents, and all these little affairs which belong to
your daily life-do not these form the task which
your heavenly Father has given you to do ? Do you
think that merely to perform well your school tasks
for the sake of gaining praises and prizes-Do you
think that this is all which God requires of you ?'
'Oh, no, Miss Louisa; I see it all now. I know
that I have been thinking too much of praise at
school. I know that Ruth is much more of a com-
fort to mother than I have ever been. And father
-oh, Miss Louisa, to think of your leg being broken,
all because I never minded father's bidding Oh,
you never will be able to forgive me, and I never
shall be happy again.' And Phoebe's tears flowed
faster than ever.
It need hardly be said that Miss Louisa most
freely and frankly forgave Phoebe for the injury
done to herself by her thoughtlessness ; but she did
AND OUT OT SCHOOL. im
not scruple to point out to her the punishment
which would very naturally fall upon her for her
faults. She told her how her sister and herself had
formerly thought that she might supply the place of
Allen to them-but that now it was out of the ques-
tion. Her sister Gertrude was too delicate, and
required too much the assistance of a careful and
thoughtful attendant, for her to like that any one
should be engaged upon whom she could not quite
depend. 'And though I depend, Phoebe, upon your
never forgetting your promises of amendment, I
cannot feel sure that it may not be long before you
acquire that clear and strong sense of duty, which
will enable others to trust to your preferring at all
times to do that which is right, rather than that
which is pleasantest.'
Phoebe submitted in silence and sorrow. She
had feared it would come to this, and she knew that
she deserved the punishment ; but when she remem-
bered how disappointed and grieved her mother and
father would be at her having lost such a place as
that of Allen's at the Hall, her grief knew no bounds.
Suddenly she rose from her knees at the side of Miss
Louisa, and ran up stairs to her bed-room. She
returned bringing with her the prize which had
been given her for her punctual attendance at school
-the nice little gilt-edged book which Mr. Brook-
banks had presented with such words of kindness
and praise. She begged Miss Louisa to take this
book back again from her, and to tell Mr. Brook-
banks that she did not deserve it. She owned that
without Ruth, she never would have been at school
in time each morning. She confessed, that 'man
and many a time it was only by Ruth urging he
to get up, and staying behind to make their bed and
assist her mother, that she had been able to get so
soon to school; and she ended by entreating Miss
Louisa to take into consideration having Ruth for
her maid instead of herself
'It is not for me, I khow, Miss Louisa,' said she
humbly, to be asking a favour at this time; but if
you only knew how careful and steady Ruth is, and
how nicely she would tend Miss Gertrude-and then
she is quite as old as I am, though she is not so tall
-oh, Miss Louisa, if you would only have Ruth,
how pleased my mother would be !'
Miss Louisa was only too ready to grant this
request of Phoebe's in behalf of her sister, and did
not think her quite unworthy of such a favour ; but
she refused to receive back the unmerited prize.
'Accept it from me again,' said she, in remem-
brance of this hour ;' and laying her hand upon
Phoebe's much valued prize for good reading, which
she had also brought and laid upon the bed, it was
in a tone more earnest and impressive than usual,
that she added, Study this book, dear Phoebe, more
carefully than ever, and seek from it the lessons of
faith and love, which will amend your life. Read
here of Jesus, the beloved Son of God-how he was
obedient even unto death, and who said of us who
should follow his high example, "that he who is
faithful even in that which is least, is faithful also
in much." '
And Ruth was engaged to be the Miss Shirley's
maid; and while the decision brought happiness
again to the Gibbons' cottage, all thought the better
of Phoebe for the kind and generous pleasure that
she shewed at her sister's good fortune.
ONWARD AND UPWARD.
DURING the first week of Miss Louisa's return to thq
Hall, and as she realized her pleasant anticipation
connected with home and health, Phoebe Gibbons
was the subject of many of her talks with her father
and sister as she lay on her sofa, while 'Mr. Brook-
banks, in his calls, was confided in, and enlisted for
assistance in settling what was best to be done for
her. In spite of the preference which had been
given to her sister, Phoebe was by no means to be
neglected or lost sight of; and there was still so
much of good in her character, that her friends did
not despair of her becoming one day a good and
useful woman. They saw, too, that her faults had
partly arisen out of the notice and admiration.
bestowed on her quickness and cleverness, and by
the too great indulgence which had been shown to
er at home; so they hoped that, under new cir-
instances, she might be able to acquire new and
better habits and a higher sense of duty.
After much consideration on the subject, it was
found, that during the absence of the family abroad,
and while a great many changes and clearings up'
were going on at the Hall, a young assistant to Mrs.
Yates would be a very desirable addition to the
number of servants to be left behind. Mrs. Yates
had always been fond of Phoebe, and liked greatly
the idea of getting her into good training for a yet
better place, could one be found for her. She pro-
mised to watch over her. most carefully, and to
endeavour to make her punctual, active, and dili-
gent, pledging herself that her partiality for Phoebe
should not lead her to overlook her failings. Phoebe
was still to be allowed to go down to assist her
mother on days when she was particularly busy, and
was to attend as usual the Sunday-school, where she
had begun to give assistance as a teacher among the
All these kind plans' iand arrangements made the
parting between the twin sisters less painful than
they had expected, as Ruth departed with her young
mistress on their foreign travels. They were happy
in the thought that they should hear of each other
through the letters which came to or went from
the Hall; and Phoebe was determined that there
should be no mention of her name by Mrs. Yates
without expressions of satisfaction at her conduct
And Ruth Gibbons proved to be exactly the kind
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
of attendant that Miss Gertrude wanted. She quite
surprised her young mistress by the readiness with
which she fell into the performance of all her duties ;
and as a travelling companion, her expertness in
packing and unpacking, and, more especially, her
punctuality on all occasions, made her a great com-
fort to them. The carpet-bags and boxes, which
were her' particular charge, were always ready
packed by the hour appointed; and on no occasions
were things left behind at hotels, or Ruth and her
packages too late for steamboat or railway train.
She was, besides, not too much excited or bewildered
by the succession of novel sights which followed
quick on each other, as they passed through foreign
countries; and when Miss Gertrude was tired, and
was obliged to stop at home and rest while her
father and sister went out to see old churches and
fine pictures, it was a real pleasure to her to have
a quiet companion like Ruth to read to her, and
talk to about what they had seen.
Ruth learnt a great deal from her kind mistresses
during this journey, and she learnt yet more from
what she saw of the habits and manners of other
countries. She saw that it was not only in Sta-
pleford, or in England, that the greater number
of human beings have to live by labour; and she
observed, too, that living by labour was no reason
why people should not be contented and happy.
How happy seemed to her the women and girls that
she saw in Belgium, sitting at their house-doors,
weaving the beautiful lace for which the country
is remarkable. And it quite delighted her to walk
about their markets, and observe the white-capped
peasant women with their beautiful fruit and vege-
tables, eggs and flowers. She wished that these
things were more often sold in the open air in
England, instead of in close shops; and she re-
gretted that in England people of that rank in life
did not wear a dress peculiar to themselves, so clean,
and tidy, and compact looking, instead of being
more often dressed out in the old clothes of ladies
And when they came to the great river Rhine,
she was astonished, as they went up it in the
steamer, to see the great rafts of timber, which they
met floating down to the sea-the timber of trees, as
Mr. Shirley told her, that had grown in the forests
of Switzerland and the south of Germany, and of
which many of our houses and ships are made. She
saw upon these rafts, which were sometimes as
large as a good-sized field, how numbers of men
lived on them, to steer and take care of them ;
and how they even built little huts upon them, in
which they cooked their food, so that their chimneys
smoked, and women sat at the doors and knitted
stockings. She saw the steep banks of the Rhine,
all covered with vine bushes, which the people most
carefully weeded and tended, turning to account
every little patch of earth on the most barren rock
for the growth of vines, of which, as she was told,
they afterwards made the grapes into wine. Then
in Switzerland she saw how industrious and thrifty
were the people, whether working in large factories
to manufacture silk and ribbon, or in little work-
shops to make clocks and watches, or in the fields
and on the sides of mountains, to tend cattle and
make cheese and butter in their little huts or
chdlets high above where the grass grew. All this
she saw, and much more; and she liked to see how
cheerfully and contented the people looked, and
wished that in England people could sing over their
work so merrily, and dance in the evening, and
find time for pleasant walks ; while she saw, at
the same time, that there was one thing in which
foreigners and English people were quite alike, and
which you could observe even in passing quickly
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
through a country, and this was, that the thrifty
and industrious were the prosperous ones, and that
good character in all stations and ranks meets with
respect and esteem.
As Ruth saw and learnt all these things, pleasant
accounts from Stapleford were found from time
to time at post-offices in towns and cities. Mes-
sages from her father and mother and Phoebe, at
the ends of letters from the butler at the Hall,
and Mrs. Yates. Notices, too, of Phoebe in the
letter as being all that she could wish, which Miss
Louisa and Miss Gertrude were very glad to receive.
It was about a year after their leaving home that
one of these reports of Phoebe was more than usually
lengthy. Mrs. Yates described her as greatly im-
proved;' and while she spoke of her as having
been of great assistance to her in getting the new
bed-furniture and window-curtains made, she told
also of how Phoebe had been busy latterly in dusting
and setting to rights all the library books, and
saying that she was sure Mr. Shirley would be
pleased with the beautiful copy she had made of the
old catalogue, to which she had added all the new
books and pamphlets, and written out so very neatly.
The only bad news in this letter was the account of the
failing health of Mrs. Presgrove, who was beginning
to fear that she could not get on at the school with-
out an assistant in her labours. The Miss Shirleys
were in Italy, where they had spent the greater
part of the time of their absence, and where Miss
Gertrude had recovered so much strength, that they
were beginning to think of fixing the day of their
return, when a letter arrived from Mrs. Yates, in
which was the news of Phoebe's having met with a
very advantageous situation, through the recom-
mendation of Mr. Brookbanks, and as no parti-
culars were given, it served Ruth as a subject for
guessing and wondering over as they journeyed
,slowly home, where it could be that Phoebe had
gone-how far from Stapleford, and in what ca-
pacity ; but she hoped that it might not be long
after her return before she should see her.
It was the end of August when the Shirleys
reached England, and they were staying to rest a
few days in London, when it occurred to Miss
Louisa how much she should like to be back on the
first of September, in time for the school-examina-
tion. They had at first thought that this would be
out of the question, and had sent word to Mr. Brook-
banks and Mrs. Presgrove, that all must go on as
usual without them ; but Miss Louisa said she was
sure everybody would be so glad to have them pre-
sent, that it was worth while making an effort to
reach home on the morning of the very day, if
Ruth thought she could get all their new purchases
packed, and if Gertrude did not mind getting up in
time for a very early train. Ruth and Miss Gertrude
were only too willing to do this, and an announce-
ment was sent home, that their presence at the
examination might be confidently expected, should
nothing unforeseen occur.
Something unforeseen aid occur that day, but not
of the nature to prevent their being present at the
examination. They left town very early on the first
of September, and the train reached the station
near Stapleford at noon, where a carriage waited to
take them to the fall. As they drove through the
village, they looked anxiously from side to side to see
the well-known faces that looked out from doors and
windows. They were about to pass the school-
house, when Miss Louisa hastily putting her head
out, desired the coachman to stop. She must run
in for a moment, she said, to greet Mrs. Presgrove,
and take a look at the children. Ruth must get
down too, and go at once to her mother's.
Miss Louisa hurried up the little school-house
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
garden, but had not crossed the threshold when she
called back Ruth. She had caught a glimpse of her
brother David-little no longer, and she must see
Ruth's surprise to find how much he had grown.
He stood at the entrance of the school-room, with a
large pile of dahlias and asters before him, which he
had emptied from a basket on the floor-' If here
isn't sister Ruth come home,' exclaimed David, as
he sprang forward to meet her.
Miss Louisa Shirley !-Ruth Gibbons !' cried a
number of voices from among the crowd of girls
who were clustered together at the end of the room.
The flower decorations for the examination had
begun, and the favourite old word was now being
written in gay autumnal flowers, for the third time,
on the walls. The portion that they had completed
stood there not unmeaningly for they had written
as far as Excel-
But Mrs. Presgrove was not busied with the
flowers, but was seated as a spectator only in her
chair of state, and though, in answer to Miss Louisa's
Yinal inquiries, she pronounceQ'neraedi muc'n'etteTr
yet she showed that she was not as strong as for
merly, as she slowly arose, and turning to the busy
group of children, who fell back as she spoke; she
said, 'I must introduce my new assistant to you,
ma'am-my very able and excellent assistant, I may
Phoebe! Phoebe Gibbons!-you don't say so!'
exclaimed Miss Louisa, in delighted surprise-
Ruth !-your sister Phoebe!' and Phoebe taller
than ever, and womanly grown and dressed, ad-
vanced, blushing, and happy to meet her kind
friend and sister.
Yes, ma'am,' said Mrs. Presgrove, Mr. Brook-
banks was quite sure that you would approve of the
step, when you knew how improved and steady
Phoebe has become. She has won all our confidence,
48 IN SCHOOL AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
I assure you, Miss Louisa, and is very well able to fill
the post, considering her forwardness in learning. But
I tell her, ma'am, that her knowledge would never
have fitted her for the task, or made me feel that I
might trust my girls to her, if it had not been for the
improvement that has taken place in her character.
As Mr. Brookbanks said to us, you know, ma'am, on
a former occasion, she has raised herself in the best
possible way that any one can do, for she has risen
higher in character, and left behind her faults.'
Andrew Gibbons and his wife were not a little
proud and happy as they took tea that evening in
the school-room, seated between their two daugh-
ters, and knew in what respect and esteem they
were held, on account of their excellence in character
And after being for some years an assistant to
Mrs. Presgrove, Phoebe became at last the sole
mistress of the Stapleford school. She filled the
office ably and well. She proved a good teacher and
manager, and her own experience helped her much
in forming the characters of her pupils. She never
allowed herself to be satisfied with mere forwardness
at school, without making herself well acquainted
with the character and conduct of her girls at home,
nor was she satisfied to observe in them a love of
knowledge, unless she could feel sure that they loved
duty too ; and she, above all things, endeavoured
to encourage in them a loving submission to the
will of God, which is best shown in a faithful per-
formance of all the duties of that station of life in
which He has thought fit to place us.
RICHARD BARRETT, PRINTER, MARK LANE.
Gerald at Court.
Gerald at Court.
The Happy Discovery.
OF THE WRECK.
FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
IF our young readers will take a map of Europe,
and look to the west, they will see a broad wide sea
called the Baltic, stretching northward and separating
the countries of Norway and Sweden from Russia.
To the east of this sea is a gulf, called the Gulf of
Finland, and at the extremity of that gulf, at the
mouth of the river Neva, stands the city of St.
Petersburg, the capital of Russia in Europe.
St. Petersburg is at the present time a populous
and beautiful city. It contains so many splendid
buildings, that it is sometimes called a city of palaces,
but about the beginning of the eighteenth century
(which is a hundred and fifty years ago,) the ground
on which it stands was an immense bog, or marsh,
surrounded by dreary forests. The only persons who
dwelt on the then desolate spot were some fishermen
who built a few little cabins near the water's edge ;
but as the river at certainseasons of the year fre-
quently overflowed its banks, and the cabins were
sometimes washed away, even these few little tene-
ments were often deserted.
I dare say most of our young readers have heard
or r&d of Peter the Great, the celebrated Emperor,
or Czar of Russia. He built the city of St. Peters-
burg, and called it after his own name ; but of that
6 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
we shall speak hereafter, at present we have to do
with a humble individual, named Michael Kopt,
who lived in one of the cabins we have spoken of.
Michael's father was a, Swede, and could read
and write, and was therefore far in advance of
the ignorant Russian serfs, among whom he lived.
Having been carried prisoner to Russia, during
one of the numerous wars between the Russians
and Swedes, he had been compelled to obtain
his living as a fisherman. He taught his son
Michael all that he had himself learned, and also
brought him up this trade. When Michael became
a man, he married a young woman, the daughter of
one of the same craft ; they were very poor, but
they lived happily together, for Margaret was thrifty
and affectionate, and Michael steady, sober and
industrious. During the fishing season, Michael
applied himself very diligently to his business, and
with his wife's assistance, dried and salted the
greater part of the fish which he caught, then, when
the floods were expected, they removed to a village
some miles distant, and lived on the produce of
their joint labour.
One season Michael and his wife remained in the
fishing-hut, a few weeks later than usual, on account
of the fineness of the weather, and there being no
signs of the floods. However, on the day before that
fixed for their departure, a violent storm suddenly
arose, and it was evident that the cabins were in
danger of being swept away, either by the strong
gale which blew from the sea, or by the water.
Terrified by the prospect, the two or three fishermen
who had been their companions hurried off, even in
the midst of the storm, hoping to reich a place of
safety, before the floods overtook them ; and M ael
and Margaret were preparing to follow their exiple,
when they were startled by hearing the firing of guns
as from a ship in distress. The fisherman and his
THE POUNDLING OF THE WRECK. 7
wife looked at each other in deep concern, but
neither spake. What could they do to assist the
unhappy mariners, and the delay of one hour might
be death to themselves.
Shall we go Margaret?' Michael at length brow||
the silence by saying.
Can we help those poor creatures ?' she asked.
'We cannot do anything to save the ship,' he
replied, 'but we may perhaps be of some service
should any of the people be thrown upon the strand.'
'Then we will stop awhile, and trust to God's
protecting care' she nobly rejoined; and as she
spoke, she laid down the little handle of clothes
which she had hastily put together, intending to
carry with them.
Michael now ran to the front window of the cottage,
with the idea of getting a view of the vessel in dis-
tress, but he only reached the spot in time to see her
go down. The wind had driven her with violence
against a rock, which had made a large opening in
her keel, through which the water rushed so fast, that
all attempts to check it proved vain, and she sunk
almost instantly to the bottom.
All are lost!' exclaimed Margaret, who had
followed her husband, and was now standing behind
him with her hands clasped together, and her eyes
raised toward heaven in an attitude of prayer.
'Nay, dear Madgy, it is possible that some poor
creature may be drifted on the shore,' cried Michael;
'I will at all events go and see.'
Margaret's heart quailed with fear, lest her hus-
band's life should fall a sacrifice to his humanity ; but
she could not oppose his generous resolve, so shq
suffered him to go without a word of remonstrance.
As soon as he left the door, she fell on her knees
and prayed that he might be protected in his perilous
She arose in a more composed state of mind, and
8 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
then sat down to await her husband's return. Her
patience was not long tried, he came in shortly after,
bearing in his arms a wicker-basket bound up in a
sheet of oil-cloth. The poor woman's first words
i gre an exclamation of thankfulness for his safe
return; she next eagerly inquired what he had
brought with him.
'I have brought thee a child, Madgy, what say you
to that '' cried the fisherman looking at her with a
'A child!' she repeated.
Yes, a brave boy. I found him in one of the holes
in the rock.'
Is he alive ?' asked Margaret, drawing back the
oil-cloth that she might get a sight of the babe.
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK. 9
'Alive, yes; the urchin seemed to be quite enjoy-
ing his new home.'
'Don't jest, dear Michael,' cried Margaret; 'the
mother of this poor little creature has most likely
found a watery grave.'
'True, but you will be a mother to him, wont you ?'
'Aye, that I will,' responded the kind-hearted
woman, catching the child in her arms, and folding
him to her bosom. Aye, that I will, Miche, I'll carry
him myself, if you will take the baggage. But is this
poor babe the only creature who has escaped ?'
'I have reason to believe so,' returned the fisher-
man; but I could not remain longer on the shore,
the water flowed in so fast. We must haste now,
dear Madgy, or we shall be too late.'
Margaret wanted not a second bidding, but after
having hastily wrapped the babe in a bear's skin, she
and her husband quitted the hut..
A JOURNEY AND A WELCOME HOME.
MICHAEL and MARGARET had, as our young readers
may suppose, a very unpleasant and perilous journey
over boggy land, in the midst of a violent storm too.
The charge of an infant of three or four months old,
of course added to their cares and difficulties; but
both the fisherman and his wife had stout hearts
which would not soon sink under dangers ; and the
Russians are naturally a hardy people. Their winter
abode was the cottage in which Margaret had spent
her childhood and early youth, which was still occu-
pied by her parents, they were therefore sure of a
hearty and affectionate welcome when their journey
was over. The old people had been very anxious
about them, fearing from their long stay, that some
evil had overtaken them, so the present meeting was
every way delightful.
Wehave brought some live-stock with us, mother,'
said Michael, smiling and looking significantly at his
'Live stock,' repeated the dame, 'why, what have
you got ?'
Margaret here took off the bearskin covering and
displayed her little charge to view.
'What, a baby!' cried the old woman in a tone
Wet and weary as the travellers were, it was not
a time to keep up a jest, otherwise Michael would
have let the old people guess for a while, before he
told them in what way the little foundling had been
thrown upon their protection, as it was, he explained
all in a sentence, and then begged that they would
let him have something to eat.
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
Margaret felt more disposed for taking rest than
for sharing in the meal, so she and her mother
retired together into one of the sleeping-rooms, taking
the infant with them.
The storm subsided in the course of the night, but
no effort could be made to rescue the shipwrecked
people, even should any of them have drifted to the
shore, for the river had by this time so far overflowed
its banks, that the path the fisherman and his wife
had so recently trodden, was not now to be seen. As
there appeared but little probability that the child
would ever be claimed, Michael and his wife resolved
on adopting him, and treating him in every respect as
if he were their own. The little fellow seemed very
well satisfied with his new friends. He smiled and
cooed at Margaret, in return for her caresses, and
tried to imitate Michael's loud ringing laugh.
With Margaret's mother too, he was an especial
favourite, and even the old man was much pleased
with this addition to their family,
The matter to be decided on next was, what name
the little stranger should bear. Margaret was re-
minded by his wicker-cradle and the perils of his
infancy of Moses in his ark of bulrushes, on the
banks of the Egyptian river. She could not help
thinking, she said, that a mother's tender hand had
fastened him so securely in his little bed, and that
a mother's prayers had saved him from a watery
grave, and she proposed that he should be called by
the name of Moses. However, when the swaddling-
clothes in which he had been found were closely
examined, an almost indistinct mark was found on
one of them, which after some little difficulty, was
discovered to be Gerald. It was therefore deter-
mined to call him by that name.
A GLANCE AT RUSSIAN HISTORY.
TEN years glided away and very little change took
place in the fisherman's family, excepting that the
infant foundling grew up, by degrees, into a fine
intelligent boy. In the long nights of the Russian
winter, unless there is some kind of mental employ-
ment, time passes very wearily. Michael had so far
profited by his father's instructions, as to be able to
impart the elements of useful knowledge to Gerald,
who was both an apt and eager scholar. His natural
intelligence had thus been quickened, and his thirst
for knowledge increased by the humble but use-
ful instructions of his kind foster father. While
they used to sit round the large warm stove, when
they had read from the Bible or some other of the
one or two books, which Michael inherited from his
father, Michael would then relate incidents in the
history of Sweden, or talk about the great protestant
reformers-or the learned men his father had known
or heard of at Upsal, his native city. Gerald was
never tired of hearing about these things, and the
thoughts that came into his mind when Michael
talked about the famous university of Upsal, where
so many people passed their time in acquiring or
imparting knowledge were quite exciting, and he
could not help hoping that something or other might
occur that would place him in the way of acquiring
more knowledge than he was likely to obtain in the
hut of a poor fisherman, dearly as he loved his kind
benefactors. Gerald was a good and grateful child, and
desirous of doing all he could to assist those generous
friends who had acted the part of parents to him.
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
Even when quite a little boy, he tried to help his
father, as he called him, in his craft. He was very
fond too, of his good mother, as he called Margaret,
and you may be sure they loved him very dearly.
Previous to the reign of Peter the great, the Russian
empire had been far behind the other nations of
Europe in the progress of civilization. Even the
highest classes amongst the people were extremely
ignorant, very few of them could even read or write,
and they spent the principal part of their time
in feasting and drinking. They had neither ships,
nor sailors, and no manufacturing class of people,
except a few of the serfs who worked for the sole
benefit of their masters. The fine arts were un-
known, and the most useful arts were very im-
perfectly understood. At that time Peter, shared
the throne with his elder brother, Ivan but
Ivan, being only a little above an idiot in mind,
was a mere cipher. Peter, on the contrary, was
possessed of a powerful intellect and great sagacity,
and he had moreover an enterprising spirit. One of
his early acts on ascending the throne, was, to send
a number of the young nobles of his court into Italy,
Germany, and Holland, to gain instruction in mili-
tary and naval affairs. He also sent to foreign
countries for ship-builders and various artisans, but
not satisfied with that, he afterwards resolved on
visiting some of those countries himself, for the
express purpose of learning how his own kingdom
might best be benefited.
In pursuance of this plan, he, together with a few
chosen associates, first went to Holland, at which
place he worked as a common labourer in the dock-
yards, no one but those of his own party knowing
who he was. He next came to England. It was his
purpose to visit Italy likewise, but a revolt amongst
his people at home, and rumours that his sister
Sophia was trying to make herself empress of
14 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
Russia, obliged him to return after an absence of
only two years.
Having now acquired considerable knowledge in
ship-building and other valuable arts, Peter began
to see the advantages which would accrue to his
country, by the establishment of a port on the Baltic
sea, at the mouth of the Neva. There were many
difficulties in the way of such an undertaking, and
one of the most formidable was, the low marshy state
of the land. These difficulties however, he deter-
mined upon conquering. Had the Czar attempted to
accomplish the same ends by justifiable means, we
should admire his forethought and genius, but as on
the contrary, he carried them out by force and cruelty,
every humane heart must condemn the act as one of
tyranny and oppression. No seemingly desirable end
can justify us in using unlawful means.
To provide workmen for the undertaking, the
Emperor in the year 1703, sent bands of soldiers into
the villages with orders to compel those men who
were capable of labour to engage in the task. Our
young friends have no doubt heard of the press
gangs which were at one time allowed in England,
and of the conscription in France. Well, this
was a somewhat similar procedure, only instead
of being forced to become sailors and soldiers, as
the pressed men and conscripts were, these poor
people were compelled to make roads and rear a city
in an immense bog. The peasants, or serfs, as they
are called in Russia, were at that period in a very
degraded state. They were considered as much the
property of the nobles on whose estates they lived,
as any other live stock. Their houses mostly con-
*isted of but one room. In the centre of this room
was a large brick oven: in this they baked their
black rye bread ; and the top served for a bed for
the whole family at night. Their only articles of
furniture were, a lamp suspended from the ceiling,
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
and a rough bench or two fastened to the walls.
They were clothed in sheepskins, and their food was
of the coarsest kind. Bad as was their lot, however,
very few, if any of them, were willing to exchange it
for labour on public works of any kind, especially in
such an unhealthy situation as the marshes we have
spoken of. The impure air which rises from swampy
ground is almost sure to bring on fevers and other
disorders. Then no care was taken to make them
as comfortable as the circumstances would have per-
mitted ; no houses were provided for them to sleep
in, and the tools they had given them to work with
were so unsuitable and bad, that their labours were
thereby made much harder than they would other-
wise have been.
Exposed thus to hardships of every kind, the men,
as might be expected, perished by hundreds. But
these disastrous results were not allowed to interrupt
the work : for as fast as they died off, others were
pressed into the service and marched off to the place.
In Russia the Emperor has absolute power over all his
subjects: even the nobles, therefore, dared not to op-
pose the mandate, had they been so disposed. Among
the unhappy individuals who were chosen for the
purpose of filling up vacancies made by the sick and
deceased, was our friend Michael Kopt. His general
home being away from any of the villages, he, for
some time, escaped observation; but when strong,
healthy men became scarce in the neighbourhood,
he and some of his companions were pressed into the
service, only a few minutes being given them for
preparing, and bidding adieu to their weeping friends.
Poor Margaret was for some time inconsolable,
and Gerald was almost in as much grief at seeing
her suffer. He tried to cheer her by every means in
his power ; but finding that she was hopeless of ever
having her husband back again, l4e formed a resolu-
tion which our young readers shall hear at another
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
came into the port should bring thirty stones, and
every boat ten, towards the erection of bridges and
other public buildings. Every peasant's cart was
likewise compelled to bring three stones; and by
these means materials were raised free of cost for the
As the place at which Michael was set to work
was not many miles distant from the abode of his
family, he had an opportunity of seeing them occa-
sionally, which was a pleasure denied to most of the
labourers. Margaret and Gerald often went together,
and though it was frequently the case that they were
only allowed to speak with him for a few minutes,
they were glad to undertake the journey even for
that brief joy.
As Gerald was too young to carry on the fishing
craft alone, he, and Margaret resided wholly with
her parents. Gerald helped the old man to make
and mend fishing-tackle, which was now their
principal means of support; and Margaret did
anything she could to earn a trifle, still their
circumstances were very much worse than when
Michael was at home following his trade. Though
Michael was naturally strong, and had all his life
been used to hardship, he could not bear the labour
to which he was set, so well as many of his com-
panions. The air of the marshes was very different
from the sea-breezes, but the principal cause of his
sinking under his toil was, his spirit was crushed.
While a man possesses a feeling of independence,
he may meet difficulties and hardships with a bold
front ; but when he feels himself to be a slave, (and
these poor people were slaves though they bore not
the name,) his energies are in most cases benumbed,
and his spirit is broken.
Margaret used to look very sad and often to weep,
when she and Gerald returned from their visits to
the works, for with the keen eye of affection she saw
A GENEROUS RESOLVE.
AT the mouth of the river Neva were several little
islands; on one of these islands the Emperor had a
hat built for himself, and a wooden house for his
favourite minister Prince Mentzikoff, who was his
companion in all his enterprises. It was Peter's
fancy to take up his abode on that wild spot and
watch the progress of the city he had planned. On
another of these little islands a fortress was reared,
surrounded by a rampart of earth. This fortress
was the station of the engineer who directed the
works, and the home of a few of the soldiers. The
inhabitants of Moscow were at first jealous of the
new city. They foresaw that it would, in the course
of time, from its very situation, be a more de-
sirable abode for purposes of trade than the ancient
capital; and they greatly opposed the plan, lest
their dignity should decrease as well as their inte-
rests suffer; but the Czar was not a man to yield to
any, however high their rank might be; and he
persevered with his plans without regarding the
dissatisfaction which was so generally expressed.
The houses of the new city were at first built
wholly of wood, and chiefly inhabited by foreign
artisans. Peter, seeing that the Russian nobles and
wealthy merchants would not of their own free-will
take houses in St. Petersburg, published a decree
obliging them to do so. At the same time, however,
he gave orders that the houses in the best part of the
city should be built of bricks and roofed with tiles.
He also made a law (there being no stone-quarries
in the neighbourhood) that every large vessel which
18 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
what he was suffering, though he said not a word.
On the contrary, when in her presence, he put on as
cheerful an aspect as possible. At such seasons
Gerald always tried to comfort her, Good mother,'
he said one day, do not, I beg of you, give way so
to grief, I am sure you will have father at home
again before very long.'
How can that be child ?' she asked. You see
the Emperor does not let any of the men give up the
work until they are carried off by death. No, there
is no hope for my poor Michael; for he will die
before this huge city is finished.'
Oh no, he will not die, mother,' cried the boy,
'I feel sure he will not die! You know you have
yourself taught me that God takes care of good
people, and I am sure father and you are good. You
have taught me, too, that God hears our prayers if
we pray to him with sincerity ; and I have prayed
very earnestly and very often that he would bring
dear father back. Courage, good mother, do not
weep; you will have him with you again, and that
We must now tell our young readers that Gerald
had formed a determination to offer himself as a sub-
stitute in Michael's place. He made this resolution
very soon after the fisherman was taken from his
family; but he well knew that would not be the
time to put it into practice, as he was not then
eleven years of age. He hoped however, in about
two years' time, to be suitable in appearance as well
as strength, and otherwise fitted to undertake the
THIS one idea was so constantly in Gerald's mind,
that it could scarcely be said to be ever absent from
his thoughts. He dwelt on it as he sat over his work
by day ; he dreamed of it at night; and he prayed
constantly for the blessing of God upon it. Still he
said not a word to any one, being afraid that should
he do so, his plan might meet with opposition, He
feared that Margaret would say he was too young to
engage in such work.
When a little more than two years had elapsed,
he began to think that he might make known his
plan with some hope of success. He was by this
time a fine tall lad of nearly thirteen. He thought
the most suitable season for making such a proposal
would be as he and Margaret were returning from
one of their visits to the works. The state of health
in which they found poor Michael; at the next visit,
favoured the project. He was evidently much worn,
and Margaret was almost broken-hearted when she
parted from him, thinking it probable that she should
never see him again alive.
As they walked home, the poor woman leaned on
Gerald's arm and wept bitterly. 'Now,' thought he,
'is the time for me to name my plan ;' so, looking
up tenderly in her face, he said,' I have something
to say to you, dear mother, which I .hope will make
you dry up your tears. I have often tried to cheer
you with the prospect of a happier time, but now I
think it is nearly come.' .
You mean,' said Margaret sorrowfully, that I
and my poor Michael shall soon be together in a
20 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
'No, good mother, I don't mean that,' Gerald
eagerly returned, I hope you will meet together in
Heaven at last; but not very soon. Oh no, I mean
that you will ere long be happy together in our own
'Never, never, my dear boy,' she cried, weeping
Don't weep so, mother, but listen to what I am
going to say to you' Gerald added, and a bright
smile lighted up his intelligent face. I am now a
tall, strong boy-almost as tall, and quite as strong,
I think, as dear father was when he was carried off;
and I mean to take his place and let him come home
Margaret looked up in amazement, ibut she did not
speak, for her feelings were too powerful to admit
'I mean,' Gerald proceeded, 'to go to the Czar
myself. I hear that he is generally to be found,
either at his cottage in the island or else overlooking
the works. I am not afraid of the Czar, mother:
the errand on which I shall go will take away all
fear. I feel as bold as a lion-aye, and as strong too.'
Thou art a noble boy, Gerald,' cried Margaret, at
length finding utterance. 'Go,' she added, 'and
may God bless thee.'
You consent then, good mother, you consent ?'
cried Gerald in an ecstacy of delight. My only fear
was, lest you should oppose my plan; but if you
consent, it will-it shall be done.'
Nay, my dear child,' Margaret said,,' I am not the
only person likely to oppose your plan; the Czar
may not be willing to make the exchange.'
'Surely he will,' cried the boy, surely this strong
limb-holding out his right arm-can do him better
service than poor father's now weak one can do;
and gratitude and affection for one who has done so
much for me will nerve it for its work.
Gerald then begged Margaret not to, say anything
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK. 21
at home concerning his design, and that she would
allow him to put it into operation immediately.
He had heard that it was the Emperor Peter's con-
stant practice to rise at five in the morning, and he
determined on seeking him at that early hour, before
his attention was taken up with the buaineq& of the
day. There were difficulties, however, .in the way of
his carrying out this purpose. The little island on
which Peter made his homl was a good day's
journey from their village, ai as the only houses
built upon it were the Czar's (which was but a mere
hut,) the prime minister's and a sort of inn, where
Peter and his friends mostly spent their Sundays, he
was fearful lest he should not be able to get any
conveyance across the water.
Nothing daunted, by these seeming obstacles, he
resolved on setting out for the place the very next
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE PRIME MINISTER.
LEAVING it to Margaret to explain to the old people
the reason for his absence, Gerald started the next
morning soon after dawn. When she saw him ready
to set out, the good woman almost repented of having
consented to his going ; still she made no attempt to
dissuade him from his purpose. She provided him
with the best food the cottage could afford, and
with tears in her eyes, bade him God speed." The
day was favourable, and he tripped along with a
light heart and a light step. No one, to see him,
would have imagined thht he was seeking to be
placed in circumstances, at the thought of which
many stout-hearted men quailed. He did not dwell
however, on the hardships and dangers that might
await him; he only thought of how he should gladden
the spirits of those who had so long acted the part of
parents to him. He knew that they would be grieved
to purchase their own comfort at the sacrifice of his
liberty, and it might be of his health also; but he
hoped that his youth and good constitution would
enable him to bear the toil for a time, 'and perhaps,'
thought he, 'I may find favour in the sight of the
Czar, and he may not doom me to spend all my best
days at such work.'
In his way to thp island where the Emperor's
humble court was kept, Gerald passed the spot where
Michael's cottage had once stood, the spot where he
had been rescued by his kind guardian from a watery
grave. The view of this place, and the recollections
it called forth, seemed to give him new strength and
spirit for his undertaking and though wearied with
his journey, he went on even brisker than before.
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
Some of the fishermen's huts were still occupied,
and Gerald stopped at one of them to inquire his way.
One of the men directed him, supposing him to be
the bearer of a message from some person in autho-
rity; for he took the precaution to keep his plan
secret from every body, lest the telling it should
by any means mar its success.
It was nearly dark when he reached that part of
the river's banks which faced the island, but late as
it was he resolved on trying to get over that night.
While he was standing considering what would be the
best means to adopt, three men came within sight, and
jumped into a boat which was moored hard by.
Gerald ran eagerly down to the beach, calling loudly
to attract their attention, May I ask, whither are
you going my friends.'
We are servants of his excellency, Prince Mentzi-
koff, and are going to his house,' replied one of the
Will you row me over with you r asked Gerald,
at the same time holding out a small coin.
'Have you any business with his excellency ?'
'My business is with the Czar, but I should be
glad to see Prince Mentzikoff first, if I could get
admittance to him,' Gerald replied.
What is your business with the Czar Y demanded
'I have a favour to ask of him.'
'If that's the case, you cannot do better than get
his excellency to introduce you,' rejoined the first
speaker ; 'come hasten into the boat, we must not
tarry, or we shall be put into too hot an oven, and
so repent of it.'
This speech of the man's had reference to the
prime minister's origin. Mentzikoff was, when a
boy, in the service of a pastry-cook at Moscow, and
he first attracted the attention of the Emperor by
24 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
the humorous manner in which he sang a song ex-
tolling his master's pies. Peter offered him'a menial
office in his household, but afterwards discovering
that he had a genius for military affairs, he placed
him in his army, where he rose rapidly. This young
man was one of the Czar's companions on his journey
to Holland and England.
As the men rowed the boat across the river, one
commenced a song, and the others joined in chorus.
The Russian people are noted for their love of music,
and they generally lighten their labours by singing.
On reaching the island, they conducted our hero
at once to the house of the minister.
The house of Prince Mentzikoff was very superior
to the one occupied by his sovereign, for Peter took
pride in demeaning himself when he was in the mood
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
to do so ; still it was but a rude affair, as our young
readers will no doubt think when they hear it
It consisted of a number of wooden beams, so pre-
pared as to fit readily into each other. Lattices and
shutters for windows were also made to fit in, and
these detached pieces could be packed up and carried
to any place that the owner chose to reside in. Most
of the houses in the towns and cities of Russia were,
at that time, so constructed ; and ready-made houses
were common articles of merchandise in the public
markets. The furniture of these dwellings was as
rough and portable as the outside ; a few shelves and
some wooden benches were fixed to the walls, and
a few tables were added. The benches served for bed-
steads as well as for seats, and when these houses were
put up in the country, it was seldom that they afforded
the luxury of a bed.
Little ceremony was used at that period, especially
in such a retired place, and Gerald was introduced at
once into the presence of the Prince. Menztikoff was
seated on oneof the benches, having a table before
him, on which stood a bottle of spirits and a large
horn cup. He had evidently been drinking rather too
freely, which bad practice, though sanctioned by the
example of the Czar, and the custom of the country,
was a new spectacle to our hero, who had always been
accustomed to see sobriety in his humble home.
What is your business with me ? the Prince
somewhat roughly demanded as Gerald advanced.
Will your excellency do me the favour of intro-
ducing me to the Czar before he leaves the island in
the morning,' Gerald said, at the same time making
a low bow.
For what purpose do you wish to be introduced
to his Majesty ?' Menzikoff abruptly asked.
'Please your excellency, I have a favour to request.'
What, boor ? Dost thou think to enter the Czar's
26 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
service ? Thou art a dainty lad for thy station, but
thou'rt not quite to his mind I fancy.'
'I do wish to enter the Czar's service,' Gerald
replied; 'my request is that he will let me labour
on the public works.'
The minister looked up as if doubting whether he
heard aright :-' Art thou in earnest, boy,' he de-
manded, or art thou jesting with me ?'
'I would not take the liberty to jest with your
excellency,' Gerald replied: 'indeed my errand is
not a matter for jest. I am in earnest. I wish
to take the place of a man who has been more than
a father to me.'
One Michael Kopt, once a fisherman on the Neva,
has been upwards of two years upon the works, but
his strength is failing, he can now be but of little
use to his Majesty, and I have a strong arm.'
Come hither at the dawn of day,' said the Prince.
Gerald again bowed, and was about to leave the
room, when Mentzikoff calling after him said, Bid
my servants find thee a lodging and a meal,' and
added, 'come hither at the dawn, I'll take thee to
the Czar myself.' Here he turned aside to re-fill the
horn cup and quaff off another draught of spirits.
AN INTERVIEW WITH THE CZAR.
GERALD was true to his appointment, and he found
the Prince prepared to receive him. But few words
were exchanged; Mentzikoff beckoned him to follow,
and they proceeded together to the Czar's hut. It
is an odd fancy for an Emperor to live in such a
place when he might live in a grand palace, thought
our hero ; however, he wisely kept his thoughts to
Peter had been put out of temper the night before,
by meeting with some trifling opposition to his
wishes and plans; and the minister, though a very
great favourite with his sovereign, was not quite
sure that even he could get a hearing at that time.
He had taken a fancy to Gerald, however, and he
was determined to do all he could to serve him.
Bidding him, therefore, wait without till he called
or sent to him, Mentzikoff entered the Czar's hut
Peter was up as usual and busy with his plans for
the new city. The Prince did not, therefore, at once
state the object of his early visit, but quietly listened
to all lis sovereign had to say.' After a while, how-
ever, he ventured to lay the business before him.
The Emperor's brow darkened and became more
and more contracted as the Prince proceeded. What
were the boors made for but to serve their country
in that way ?" he fiercely asked.
True, Sire ;' returned the Prince, 'but this poor
man is it appears unable to serve his country by
manual labour any longer, and as the youth is so
28 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
desirous of taking his place the exchange will be for
your Majesty's benefit.
Bring him hither,' was the Czar's abrupt re-
Gerald was the next minute ushered into the
presence of the Emperor.
Come here, boy,' he cried in a loud stern voice.
Gerald obeyed, but without shewing any signs of
Thou'rt not Russian V' the Czar added, surveying
his person with a scrutinizing glance.
'I know not to what country I belong, Sire,' the
youth replied ; I was shipwrecked on the coast
hard by, and I owe my life and everything else I
possess to Michael Kopt.'
'And who is Michael Kopt 7'
'Sire, Michael Kopt is the man whose place in the
public works I wish to fill.'
Thou art of too slight a make for such work,
boy,' cried the Czar. 0
Nay, I have a stronger arm than I may seem to
have, Sire ; and if anything can nerve it for the
work surely gratitude will do so.'
'By what name art thou called V?' demanded the
'My name is Gerald, Sire.'
'And how many years ago was it that thou wert
shipwrecked on these shores V'
It was a little more than twelve years ago, Sire,
I was then an infant of only a few months old.'
And you have never heard anything of your
parents or friends '
'Never, Sire. The river was at that time begin-
ning to overflow its banks, and I have reason to
believe that I was the only person who escaped the
The Czar mused for a few moments, then snatching
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
up a piece of parchment from the table before him,
he wrote a few words upon it, and gave it into the
hand of the minister.
Give the boy that, Mentzikoff,' he said; 'let him
present it to the master of the works, and his re-
quest will be promptly attended to.'
The Prince handed the parchment to Gerald who
took it with a countenance radiant with delight.
He could not speak, but making a low obeisance first
to the Czar and then to the minister, he withdrew
from the royal presence.
As may be supposed, our hero lost no time in re-
turning to the cottage with the joyful news of his
success. But much as they all loved Michael, Mar-
garet and the old people could scarcely rejoice in
the thought of his restoration to his home when his
liberty was to be purchased at such a cost. To the
grateful boy, however, every task seemed light, and
even his humiliation appeared honourable. Nor was
this a delusive idea, for the most laborious employ-
ment derives dignity from a noble motive.
The different circumstances under which Michael
and Gerald commenced the same task made a wide
difference in their feelings when engaged in it. With
the former it was compulsory, with the latter it was
voluntary. Michael felt himself to be the unwilling
servant of a tyrannical master. Gerald overlooked
the fact of working for the emperor in the anima-
ting idea that he was conferring a benefit on those
who had done so much for him. He had more-
over the delightful consciousness that his sacrifice
of self met with the smile of his Father in Heaven.
Nor did Gerald repent of the noble sacrifice he had
made, when the first excitement was over, and he
came to endure the severe, and in some instances,
unexpected hardships it had brought upon him. He
not only commenced his work cheerfully, but con-
30 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
tinued to pursue it with the same happy spirit. His
joy and thankfulness were unbounded when he
received intelligence that Michael was gradually
recovering his health under Margaret's careful
nursing. At length the good woman herself came
to visit him, bringing the news that her husband
was now so nearly restored that he hoped to be able to
walk as far himself ere long. Gerald thought, how-
ever, that it would not be wise for him to come,
lest it being known that he was again capable of
labour, he should be pressed a second time into the
service, and his fears were not without foundation ;
for where there is a despotic government, the hum-
bler classes of the people are looked upon as little
better than machines, made for the sole purpose of
executing the plans of those in power.
A GREAT AND UNEXPECTED CHANGE-OUR HERO IN
WHEN Gerald had been about'six months at his new
employment, to his great surprise he was one morning
told by an inspector of the works, that an order had
just come from the Emperor signifying that he was
to be sent immediately to Moscow.
This intelligence created a little alarm in the
breast of the youth, for he could only suppose that
he was suspected of having committed some offence.
Conscious, however, of having discharged his ap-
pointed duties with faithfulness, he asked the officer
whether he were sure that he was the person men-
tioned in the royal letter.
The person signified is called by the name of
Gerald Kopt. His person is described, and the
description answers exactly to you.'
I am called by the name of Gerald Kopt,' the
youth replied, 'and if the Czar commands me to go
of course I must obey. Indeed I have no objection
to going. But should my mother come here and
miss me, who will let her know whither I am gone ?'
I will engage that your mother shall be told all
that we know concerning you,' replied the officer.
'Many thanks for that kindness,' cried Gerald,
looking gratefully in the man's face, I am now ready
to attend the Czar's orders.'
Could Gerald have divested himself of the idea
that he might be going as a culprit to be tried for
an unknown offence, he would have been delighted
with the journey, for he had long had a strong
desire to see moro of the world.
32 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
The distance from St. Petersburg to Moscow,
which is upwards of four hundred miles, was a
formidable journey in a country where the roads
were bad, and there were very few inns. At a sub-
sequent period the Emperbr Peter had good roads
made between the large towns, and inns and posting-
houses were built upon them. Canals were also dug
to connect the great rivers, and there were many im-
provements of a similar kind; but these things were
the work of considerable time. Some of them were
only just commenced at the period of which we are
On their way to Moscow the party passed through
the town of Novogorod, the seat of the earliest
government, and afterwards so noted as a republic.
Gerald was greatly pleased that he had an opportunity
of visiting this place, for Michael and his father-in-
law had told him something of its ancient history.
How about the middle of the ninth century, Rusic,
a Norman pirate chief, when cruising about the
Baltic with his followers had sailed down rivers and
through lakes till they came to this city, which was
then a mere cluster of wooden huts inhabited by
barbarians, and how the Norman had made himself
master of the place, assumed the title of Grand
Duke, and laid the foundation of the present powerful
and extensive empire of Russia.* Many legendary
tales were told of the adventures of these wild
Normans, and most of these adventures were asso-
ciated with the city.
On reaching Moscow our hero was so interested
in the place as to forget the painful circumstances
under which he was visiting it. The city was at that
Igov, the son of Rusic, afterwards made Kirow the
capital of the country; but Novogorod was for a considerable
time a place of importance, and the chief city of a republican
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
period enclosed with three walls ; one built of brick,
surrounded that portion called the Kremlin, where
the Czar's palace and the residences of the chief of
the nobility stood ; another built of stone, took in
a larger extent of the city ; and a third formed of
wood, enclosed the suburbs. On the banks of the
river Moskwa, which runs through the city, were a
number of wooden hvtts, the public baths. These
baths were constantly frequented by the inhabitants,
as bathing was at that time a religious ceremony
amongst the Russian people. The poorest classes
never failed to attend the baths at least once in the
It was Palm, Sunday when Gerald and his coni-
panions arrived, the place was consequently in a
state of universal excitement. The bells too were
ringing merrily. Moscow was famous for the size
and number of its bells. To present a large bell to
a church was considered by some a very pious act,
therefore almost every new sovereign had a bell cast
larger than that which had been given to the city
by his predecessor.* Palm Sunday was a day on
which a verygrand festival was always held. The
religion generally professed in Russia is according to
the Greek Church, which is very similar to the
Roman Catholic religion. At that time the church
was governed by persons called Patriarchs, who
were something like the Popes. The Patriarch
lived in Moscow, in a palace adjoining that of the
Emperor where he kept a court, and lived in as much
state as the Czar himself.
On the festival of Palm Sunday the emperor
always walked to church, gorgeously arrayed in a
The Empress Anne, the daughter of Ivan, who reigned
soon after Peter's death, presented a bell to the city of Moscow
which weighs 432,000 pounds, and is the largest bell in the
34 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
dress made of cloth of gold, two princes holding up
his train. He was followed by a grand foot pro-
cession consisting of the whole court splendidly
attired. Behind the nobles were a number of the
chief citizens and lawyers, each having a branch of
willow, to represent palm, in his hand, and beyond
these were the guards of the palace. In this pro-
cession the Patriarch always rode beside the Em-
peror, who held the bridle of his horse, and he was
the only person mounted, excepting the guards.
Our hero and his companions met the proces-
sion as it was just leaving the palace, and they
stood for a while to watch it pass. Gerald's asso-
ciates were delighted at having arrived in time to
witness it, and Gerald was himself pleased with the
sight, for he had never seen anything of the kind
before. But looking on it as a religious festival he
could not help feeling pained. These men he knew
were about to fall before images and offer up prayers
to saints and angels, and they would afterwards
spend the sacred hours of the Sabbath in feasting
and drinking ; for no religious festivals were at that
time held in Russia without feasting and drinking
to excess. Happily for our young hero he had been
taught a purer faith. The Bible, Michael's best in-
heritance from his father, had not been made such
poor use of, as to allow Gerald to imbibe the super-
stitions, and. practice the foolish ceremonies of the
OUR HERO AT THE COURT OF PETER THE GREAT.
ON entering the palace Gerald was at once taken to
a comfortable apartment, and supplied with refresh-
ment.. 'Surely,' thought he, the Czar has some
kind intentions respecting me, or he would not give
orders that I should be treated in this manner;' and
he was much relieved by this thought. Having
finished his meal, he was conducted by a domestic or
slave (for all the domestics in Russia were slaves) to
one of the baths prepared for the household, and
then to a wardrobe, from whence a handsome robe
was given him to put on in the place of his sheepskin
garments. He was further told that he would most
likely be summoned to attend on the Emperor in the
The robe in which Gerald was arrayed was of dark
green cloth, trimmed with fur. It was loose and
flowing, only confined round the waist by a leather
girdle, in the manner of the dresses of the east. This
kind of dress was in fashion in Russia at that time,
though Peter afterwards, with some difficulty in-
duced the Russian nobles and citizens to give it up,
and adopt the costumes of England and France.
The change was certainly a great improvement to
our hero's appearance ; and he began to wonder
what all this would lead to.
With evening the expected summons came, and
Gerald was conducted by a superior officer of the
household to the royal presence. The Emperor was
not now, as when our hero first saw him seated on a
rude bench, but on a throne of state. He did not
wear the gorgeous robe in which he had attended
36 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
the church in the morning, for that was held sacred
to the occasion, but he was dressed in one equally
splendid. A number of nobles and ladies elegantly
attired, stood on either side of the throne, and the
blaze of light which was thrown upon the company
by means of the brilliant chandeliers, gave the whole
scene a dazzling aspect.
The Czar and his suite were greatly amused at
observing the wonder and admiration which marked
the expressive countenance of the youth, as he entered
the grand saloon. Gerald's thoughts, were not how-
ever, long so occupied, he was too inuch interested in
ascertaining the object of his summons there.
Ha my lad,' exclaimed the Czar, in a familiar
tone, as Gerald bowed low before the throne, 'I've
not forgotten you, you see. Well, how did you get
on at your new work?'
'I hope, Sire,' Gerald replied with modest dignity,
'I hope, Sire, I did my duty, and to the satisfaction
of your Majesty's officers.'
-' I've heard nothing to the contrary, at all events,'
said the Czar, but what say you to leaving off that
sort of work, and taking to something else ? Have
you become so fond of it that you desire to end your
days at it.'
Gerald could not help smiling at this question.
'Nay, Sire,' he replied, I did my work cheerfully,
because I felt it to be my duty to do so, and I had
moreover, an animating motive, but I should rejoice
to be engaged in some employment better suited to
'What employment would be suited to yojit taste ?'
the Emperor asked. Would you like to be a soldier ?'
A soldier's profession.gould not be .quite suited
to my taste, Sire,' Gerald replied.
'Why ? it is thought to be the most honourable
calling by many of my subjects. I am a soldier,
myself, but I wish not to put a restraint on your
THE FOUNTILING OF THE WRECK.
inclination-nay, should you prefer following some
useful art, I would give you all encouragement. My
nobles here know that I patronise the useful arts,
and have set them an example by working at some
of them myself.'
My inclination, Sire, has always been to pursue a
studious life,' Gerald ventured to say.
'Ha!' exclaimed the Czar, 'I am now founding
a university in Moscow, would you like to enter it ?'
That is what I desire above all things, Sire,' Gerald
replied with great earnestness.
Your desire shall be gratified then,' cried the
Emperor, 'I wish to serve you, but I had another
object in bringing you here. I took notice of the
account you gave me at our former meeting of your
singular deliverance from shipwreck, and I think I
have some clue to the discovery of your family.'
Gerald looked up more earnestly than ever. To
enable me to discover my kindred, would indeed,
Sire, be conferring on me a favour beyond any other,'
he exclaimed wFith great energy.
Can you write V
'Yes, Sire,' I can write, though but indifferently.
My good father, Michael Kopt, taught me to write
to the best of his ability.'
Good-make out a clear statement then of all
you know concerning your earlier history, in writing
-be very particular as to dates, and send the docu-
ment to me. You may withdraw now. My servants
will attend to your comfort and provide you with
anything you ask for.'
Oh Sire,' exclaimed the youth, bursting into a
flood of tears, 'I can find no words to express my
gratitude. But my heart thanks you a thousand-
Peter was naturally a stern man, and not easily
moved, but he could not witness the youth's emotions
without feeling something like a response.
38 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
Gerald still lingered at the foot of the throne.
SWill your Majesty pardon me if I ask the addition
of one favour more,' he at length said, 'it is, that
I may be permitted to send a messenger to my friends
to let them know that I am here safe under your
Majesty's gracious protection.'
Aye, if that will afford you pleasure,' returned
the emperor, smiling, and he waved his hand in
token of an adieu.
A HAPPY DISCOVERY.
THE slave who waited on Gerald, told him that he
had orders from the Czar to take him to any part of
the palace and grounds he might wish to see. He
was told also, that if he would like to see the city, and
the public buildings, he should have an escort from
the Emperor's own guards.
Our hero gladly availed himself of these offers,
and thus spent several days very pleasantly. He
previously, however, complied with the Czar's re-
quest regarding the particulars of his early life.
It was but little that he knew of the matter ; but
that little he stated with great clearness, both as
respected time and place. Nor did he fail to avail
himself of the license given him by the Czar to send
to his friends. He wrote a brief account of all that
had passed since his removal, and cheered them with
hopes of ere long seeing them again uider happier
circumstances than when they had parted last.
Gerald had been at the palace about a week,
when he received a message from the Emperor,
bidding him prepare himself for an interview with a
lady who, he said, had taken a great interest in his
story. The officer who delivered the message further
informed him that the lady, whose name was Madame
Koski, was the widow of a Polish noble who had
been personally attached to the Czar; and that
having lost her property in Poland, she was now
living on a pension which was allowed her by the
* Our hero listened to these particulars with great
40 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
eagerness; for he could not help thinking that this
lady was in some way connected with his family, and
that her interest for him was owing to that circum-
It is possible,' he said to himself, that I am of
Polish origin:' his cheek grew flushed and his eye
kindled at the thought. He had occasionally heard
portions of the history of that brave and interesting
people; and from some cause which he could not
quite account for himself, he felt deeply concerned
in all that related to them. The Emperor of Russia
and the renowned King of Sweden, Charles XII., had
long been contending for power over the Poles; and
the principal question relating to that unhappy
country seemed to be, which of the two should be
At one time the Czar gained the ascendancy for
the King of Poland, Frederick Augustus, who was
also Elector of Saxony, was his friend and ally.
Again Charles XII. became the superior in power,
and Frederick Augustus was then obliged to abdi-
cate the throne of Poland and retire to Saxony, and
Stanislaus Leczinski was chosen in his room-a
measure which gave no satisfaction to the declining
Gerald awaited the arrival of Madame Koski with
intense anxiety. At length the door of the apart-
ment was slowly opened, and a lady dressed in the
Polish fashion appeared, leaning on the arm of a
female domestic. She glanced hurriedly at Gerald,
who immediately rose and bowed. She then motioned
with her hand for the attendant top withdraw, and
entered the room alone.
Madame Koski was still in the meridian of life;
but ill-health and deep grief had whitened her hair
and left such marks upon her countenance that she
had the appearance of being rather advanced in
years. She entered the room with a trembling step,
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
and sunk into the seat which Gerald politely offered
Your name,' she said with great effort, looking
very earnestly in his face.
My name, Madame, is Gerald,' he replied ; 'but
I am called Gerald Kopt, from one Michael Kopt,
who has been to me as a father.'
As the youth spoke, the lady became still more
agitated. 'It must be so-I cannot be deceived,'
she murmured; that brow-those eyes-the voice
-so like my own, own Gerald-you are-you must
be my child.' Here she threw her arms round the
boy's neck, and burst into a flood of tears.
'Did I hear aright? Did you say you are my
mother V' exclaimed Gerald, disengaging himself a
little from her embrace, that he might look up in
her countenance to read her answer even before
her tongue could speak it.
I am,' she answered in a calmer tone; I lost an
infant on the coast of Russia at the very time stated
in your document; and my heart tells me you must
This is happiness beyond anything I could have
expected,' cried Gerald, warmly returning her em-
brace. I never hoped to find a mother living.'
And I never hoped to find my long-lost child,'
replied the lady; 'but God is good, and his ways
'God has indeed been good to me, my mother,'
Gerald responded, now twining his arm fondly round
her neck ; he provided me with friends who have
been as parents to me, and he has by a wonderfid
provide, brought me here. But tell me dear
lady. mother,' he added, his countenance
lighting up with great animation-' tell me; is it
true that I am by birth a Pole V'
You are,' Madame Koski replied; 'your father
was a Pole of noble birth.'
42 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
'I have learned to call those great and noble who
perform great and noble actions, dear lady,' cried
Gerald. But I do rejoice in hearing that I belong
to that brave and patriotic land.'
Ours is a fallen country,' said the lady despond-
ingly. As for myself,' she added, I am obliged
to live on the bounty of the man who is desirous of
holding my country in a state of thraldom; but
the circumstances which led to it are these :-Your
father and the Czar met in early youth; and your
father had then an opportunity of rendering the
Emperor an essential service, which was repaid by
an act of equal generosity. Thus they were bound
together by ties of gratitude.'
'Ah and the ties of gratitude are strong,' Gerald
They are, my son,' said the lady. Many years
after, when Peter of Russia and Charles of Sweden
first contended for mastery over our fallen country,
your father and the Czar met once more. Your
father was then a prisoner in Peter's camp, and I
and my three children were without a home. Under
these circumstances, the Czar contrived to get our
children on board one of his ships, which was then
about to sail up the Baltic. I purposed joining
them ; but an accident preventing, the ship set sail
without me; and the children were only under the
care of a female slave who was their nurse. The
next tidings I heard was, that the vessel had been
wrecked, and that every one on board had perished.'
Madame Koski wept as she related these par-
ticulars; nor could Gerald listen to them without
shedding tears also. .l en what became of my
father ?' he asked, with breathless interest.
'The Czar generously gave him his liberty.
Your father,' she continued, was one of those patriots
who did not take part with either the Swedes or
the Russians; but who nobly stood out for Polish
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK. 43
independence and the right of electing a king
for ourselves. This being the case, he fared ill
when Charles of Sweden got the mastery; and he
would have done the same when Peter of Russia had
the supreme power, but for the private friendship
which I told you existed between him and the Czar.
He fell at last, however,' and as she ceased, the lady
buried her face in her hands and wept afresh.
'He fell in the defence of his country,' asked
He did, dear boy.'
'I have told the Czar that I am desirous of pur-
suing a studious life, and he has offered to place me
in the University he has recently founded in this
city. But your tale, dear mother,' added Gerald,
'has stirred feelings within me, which I scarcely
knew that I possessed. Surely it would be ignoble
for me to live at ease in an enemy's land, when my
own requires my services.'
'I should have thought as you do, at one time,
my son,' replied the lady; 'but now I view the
matter otherwise. Though there are many gallant
spirits still in Poland, the power of our conquerors
is too great for us. Nothing can be done for our
unhappy country now, her freedom is entirely lost.'
MADAME KOSKI, now proceeded to question Gerald
regarding his humble friends, the fisherman and his
wife, and nothing loth was he to talk of them, and of
their kindness to him. She listened with great
interest to his account Qf Michael's being carried off
to the public works, and of his interview with the
Czar, to plead for the exchange. She had heard
nothing of these particulars-she had only been told
that a youth who had been shipwrecked when an
infant, near the mouth of the Neva, was then, at the
Emperor's palace, and on her arrival, the paper which
Gerald had written out had been put into her hand.
Peter, on first seeing him, had himself been struck
with the resemblance he bore to his early friend, and
when Gerald proceeded to give the account of the
wreck, he immediately surmised that the son of the
Polish noble stood before him.
Though Peter was a man of fierce passions, and
had little feeling, he was known to attach himself
firmly to a few individuals. Madame Koski and her
son, therefore felt some confidence in the continuance
of his friendship and protection.
Gerald at last came to a determination to enter
the University, though his own inclination would now
have led him to go to his native land, and make a
stand with the few brave men who would have joined
him in another struggle4i8r independence. deed, he
did not wholly relinquish the idea, though he resolved
at present on making the most of the advantages
offered him for education,
Previous, to his entering, however, he and his
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
mother took a journey to the village in which Michael
and his wife were residing. Madame Koski was
anxious to see the worthy couple who had acted so
kindly to her son, that she might have an opportu-
nity of expressing her deep gratitude, and she and
Gerald were both desirous of ascertaining whether
they could do anything to make the family more
The meeting was affecting, and it gave mutual
pleasu Madame Koski was much pleased with
the fis Mrman's family, especially with Margaret,
towards whom she thought she could never show
sufficient kindness in return for the motherly part
she had acted towards her friendless infant. The good
woman brought forward the clothes in which Gerald
46 THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
was dressed when he was first cast upon their pro-
tecting care. And if any further proof of his identity
had been needful, the sight of them would have quite
satisfied Madame Koski that he was indeed her
child. The view of the clothes, however, called forth
many painful recollections, for though Gerald was
restored to her, her two other children, who had
been equally dear were lost. She was affected too
when told of the careful manner in which the babe's
little ark had been enclosed, in order to shelter him
from the waters. 'Poor Jaqueline,' she said, with
tears in her eyes, 'you were faithful to your charge
to the very last. Oh !' she added, turning to her
son, 'what a wonderful providence has followed thee,
my child, from the moment I parted from thee,
thou has never wanted a mother's tender care.'
Madame Koski was a christian woman. She had
been taught in the rough school of adversity, and
she had learned, not only to submit with patience
to the ills of life, but to see God's gracious and
merciful hand in all.
Madame Koski's income was not very large, still
she insisted on sharing it with Michael and his wife,
who really stood in need of aid, though they were
unwilling to receive it from her. The good couple
had done all without any hope or prospect of reward,
but they both repeatedly declared that Gerald had
already more than repaid them for the services they
had rendered him by the generous sacrifice he had
made, which had, they said, been the means of
saving Michael's life.
Gerald returned with his mother to Moscow, and
then commenced his studiesywith a cheerful spirit.
He lived to be a comfort to his widowed parent, and
an ornament to society ; but he never had an oppor-
tunity of serving his country beyond what he could
do as a private individual.
Within two or three years of the time when the
THE FOUNDLING OF THE WRECK.
above related events took place, Peter the Great
once more gained ascendancy over the Poles, by a
victory he won over his rival Charles the Twelfth.
In consequence of this victory, Stanislaus was de-
posed and Frederick Auguptus was restored to the
Most of our young readers are no doubt aware
that Poland is no longer a kingdom, but a Russian
province. Subsequently to the period of which we
have been speaking, the fall of the Polish nation
was rapid, and their final overthrow took place about
twenty years ago, under Nicholas, the present Em-
peror of Russia.
It now remains for us, young readers, to in-
quire what moral may be learned from the little
history before us. Every book we read should do
something more than amuse the fancy and interest
the feelings. It should inform our minds and teach
us some valuable lesson for practice. We have seen
that our hero's generous action was made in the
Providence of God to lead to its own reward. Had
he not sought an interview with the Czar he would
not have discovered his mother. Again we may
observe, that circumstances do not affect the con-
duct of individuals so as to prevent the possi-
bility of their performing noble deeds. The fisher-
man and his wife practised generosity and kindness
of the highest order, lowly and poor though they
were ; and the seemingly disadvantageous situation
of the boy who was cast upon their bounty did not
prevent his achieving a truly heroic action. Think
not, therefore, that your circumstances, whatever
they may be, shut you out from the exercise of
exalted virtues, for there are no circumstances,
however unfavourable, which exclude the perform-
ance of generous and self-denying deeds.
RICHARD BARRLETT, PILINTER, mARX LANS.