"Willie is anxious how the new jack-jumper will turn out.
THE HISTORY O25
TH] HISTORy OF A pl .
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
BY E. M. S.
BY R. T. ROSS, A.R.S.A.
ALEXANDER STRAHAN AND CO., EDINBURGH.
HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO., LONDON.
EDINBURGH : T. CONSTABLE,
PRINTER TO THE QUEEN, AND TO THE UNIVERSITY.
1 CHAPTER I.
CRANDMAMMA'S WARDROBE, AND HOW THE PIN CAME TO TELL
ITS HISTORY, 1
MRS. PIN'S FIRST IMPRESSIONS IN THE BEGINNING OF LIFE, 4
THE DELIGHTS OF COMING OUT, AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER-
SINKS INTO LOWER SOCIETY AND GOES TO A FAIR, . 11
LIFE IN A COTTAGE, 20
AUNTIE'S CHARITIES, WHEREBY MRS. PIN MAKES THE ACQUAINT-
ANCE OF BAT, 28
MRS. PIN FINDS HERSELF IN BAD COMPANY, 36
BAT IN DIFFICULTIES, 44
AN UPWARD STEP AND WHAT CAME OF IT, 51
FEELS AN INCREASING RESPECTABILITY AND PLEASURE IN LIFE, 61
GOES TO LONDON AND SEES A LITTLE OF HIGH LIFE, 69
A SUDDEN REVERSE OF FORTUNE, 76
AN OLD FRIEND, 81
MORE CHANGES, . 93
OLD AGE AND LAST WORDS OF MRS. PIN, 99
AND FINAL, 103
j4 Nistorv of a Vin.
GRANDMAMMA'S WARDROBE, AND HOW THE PIN CAME TO
TELL ITS HISTORY.
s- SUPPOSE.that most people have had grandmammas;
and, as far as my personal knowledge goes, I am
/ equally certain that all grandmammas have some
7 wonderful receptacle of valuables, kept secure
from meddlesome little fingers and prying little
The character of this place of treasure varies with
grandmamma's peculiar tastes and habits: sometimes it is
the storeroom; sometimes it is the "big box," the lid of
which does duty as an ottoman, and is much too heavy for any
one, except grown-up people, to lift.
But the place of all places to which my mind reverts with
delight is Grandmamma's wardrobe. What a wonderful place it was,
and what inexhaustible stores of wealth it contained and only being
opened, and part of the contents judiciously bestowed upon us on
wet days, it preserved the continued charm of novelty. I dare say
you would like to know where grandmother lived, but I shall not
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
tell you, as I fear you would wish to visit the wardrobe ; though, if
you like, I will describe her residence.
It is a curious old house, with all sorts of queer corners, and long
passages. I don't mind telling you, little reader (in the strictest
confidence, of course), that in those days I made a point of never,
on any consideration, going about these passages alone on dark
winter nights. No doubt it was very foolish and wicked, but so it
was; and I hope you never act in such a silly manner! But it
may give you an idea of what an "eerie" old place it seemed.
It really was a nice, cheerful, old-fashioned house, with very
thick walls, deep windows, and panelled rooms. It stood, and still
stands, in a sort of court, of which it forms two sides; the third is
the garden wall, and the fourth the back wall of another garden.
The entrance is through a very old arched gateway, which is a con-
tinuation of the house itself. And in the court there is a well, and
some beautiful old trees.
I recollect often hearing that our old house had at one time be-
longed to a great man, which conferred a certain feeling of grandeur
on its present inhabitants. I never exactly understood who the
great man was, and so preferred fancying him a fairy prince, who
would suddenly return to his possessions, and after doing great
things in the way of beautifying our residence, end the romance by
marrying me. But the fairy prince never came; and there still
stands St. Swithin's Court just the same as it ever was, and Grand-
mamma is there too, a little older, a little greyer, a little more deaf,
and a little less upright than I first remember her. There also is
her bedroom, opening off the hall, where last, not least, is her ward-
robe, still, I suppose, full of great riches.
On one particularly wet day, more years ago than I should like
to mention, we-that is to say, Grandmamma, my own Mamma,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
my sister Ellen, and myself-were all in Grandmamma's room; and
after Ellen and I had been made happy and busy for the rest of the
day, with bits of silk, old feathers, flowers, and ribbons, once lovely
in their day-now, alas sadly spotted with mildew, but with a little
management they looked splendid still on doll's dresses. We-
Ellen and myself, I mean-were consulting over our treasures near
the window, Grandmamma and Mamma were putting away other
things, when we were all startled by a sort of squeaking noise,
which frightened us all dreadfully, but, on investigation, turned
out nothing at all alarming, being only the voice of an old yellow
motherly-looking pin, with a big head; indeed, altogether of large
dimensions. It had pinned up a bundle of old lace, which Grand-
mamma had taken down and put up again. Apparently this had
aroused our pin, for, stretching her solitary limb, it-I beg her par-
don, she; pins are always ladies-began to talk, and asked if we
should like to know her history. Grandmamma said, "Yes;"-
we had not so far recovered as to speak; and as we had often
heard people say they would like to know the history of one
individual pin, Mamma said she would write down what Mrs.
Pin was kind enough to inform us.
Thus encouraged to be confidential, Mrs. Pin, after a proper
degree of modest hesitation, proceeded to fulfil her promise of tell-
ing us her history as follows; and, as it is her own history, we
shall leave her to tell it in her own way, and in the first person
singular, indicative mood, past tense, as every decently grammati-
cal individual, whether pin or person, ought to do.
MRS. PIN'S FIRST IMPRESSIONS IN THE BEGINNING OF LIFE.
RECOLLECT nothing of the first few stages of my
existence. I have heard it said on good authority,
t ?. that I must have lived for ages, deep down in
r the bowels of the earth, long before any of the
S present company knew the value of myself and family.
S Also, that after being brought from the mine at great
4'L expense and trouble, I underwent a variety of horrible
processes, of burning, cutting, etc., though of these, as I
said before, I have fortunately no recollection. My tortures,
however, must have been excruciating, and this part of my history
is too painful to be dwelt upon.
So please consider my torments at an end, and myself converted
into a perfect new pin, beautifully proportioned, and a little above
the middle size-I always despised small people, and so clean and
orderly in my appearance as to give rise to an excellent proverb,
with which you are all no doubt well acquainted. After being
fully grown and well polished, I was sent out to seek my fortune
in the world, for which purpose I was put into a most uncomfortable
little box, with about two hundred others, at least as nearly as we
could calculate, for we were so shamefully squeezed, that, lay our
heads together as we might, we could not collect our few ideas.
And what was of more consequence to me, I had the misfor-
R THE HISTORY OF A PIN. 5
tune to receive a most undeserved and undesired number of
scratches. I repeat this was of more consequence to me, as the
experience of all the others must have been precisely similar to my
own, and they were all pins of a very taciturn and uninteresting
How long this depressing state of things continued I cannot say;
it seemed endless ; the only change being that now and then our
box received a violent shake, and was turned upside down.
I shall tell you presently how and where my release from prison
tookeplace, but must now rest a while, as, having been for some time
unused to conversation, I begin to feel extremely fatigued !
I will, however, premise,-as Mrs. is kind enough to write
down my poor words,-that as many of the persons mentioned in
the following history are still alive, of course it would not be
pleasant for them to recognize their own names, and I shall there-
fore take the liberty of giving them false ones.
THE DELIGHTS OF COMING OUT, AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTERWARDS.
Y ESCAPE from prison was effected in a small-ware
shop, in what I afterwards learned was Kirktoun,
the county town of Lintshire, and the humane
person who released me was a tall, hard-favoured
.) woman, about the middle age, whose name I soon dis-
covered to be Mrs. Margery Poke, and no less a per-
Ssonage than own maid to Lady Dripley, for whom she
Shad come into Kirktoun that day to make purchases, in
preparation for a great dinner party to be given by her
ladyship in honour of her brother who had lately returned home
after a long absence.
These particulars I gathered from the conversation of Mrs. Poke,
and the old lady who kept the shop, when she opened the box to
show that we, the inmates, were (as a body) pins of first-rate con-
dition. And the pin which had fastened one end of it dropping out,
I was selected on account of my fine proportions to supply its place.
I was then, box and all, wrapped in paper, with eight reels of
cotton, five pieces of tape, four papers of needles, and a few very
impertinent corking-pins, and our parcel consigned to Mrs. Poke's
capacious basket, in which was an immense variety of other matter
of an inferior kind, such as dried fruit and sugar-plums, muslin
and ribbons, tea and sugar, flannel, tapioca, etc. And in this
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
kgnified receptacle we were carried to some distance. There
-- particular parcel was taken out, and to my great mortification
iot, unwrapped, but laid aside with the casual notice, "Small
things from Smith's." Small indeed And pins there !
I am afraid Mrs. Poke was narrow-minded, but the loss was her
We were suffered to lie in quiet for some time; indeed, I had
nearly got over my disappointment, when we were hurriedly un-
S done with the exclamation-
Oh, here they are at last! One never does find a decent pin
when one wants it!"
SThis was no doubt not a pretty speech, but the speaker, never-
theless, was a very pretty young lady, to whose toilette my old
Friend Mrs. Poke was putting the last finishing touches; and the
cause of whose agony was, that just at once she could not find
S a pin to fasten her sash. She went on-
"Poke, do take that pin! Not that one; that other big one.
That'll do. Oh, it won't go in; it hasn't got a bit of a point !"
"Now, Miss," rejoined Poke, with the most provoking gravity
and slowness, "it's a capital pin; only you're just so inpatient;
always was so; heavy handful the man '11 have that gets ye !"
While she was thus speaking, I successfully fastened the.sash,
and off went my young mistress with the words: Oh, what fun !
Don't I look nice ? But we'll be late, all of us !" Then coming
Poke, that's just a hideous cap of yours, but you never take
"Never mind, dearie," meekly replied the unfortunate Poke;
* So down stairs we went to the well-lighted, handsome old drawing-
room, and, in spite of our fears, we were not late, and my mistress
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
had further time to look at the room, her mother, uncle, and self;
and I had time to realize the full dignity of my position. It was
an interesting one, for I had the power of knowing what passed in
the bosom of my wearer. This knowledge was pleasant in the
present instance, for a merrier, kinder, and more innocent creature
than Miss Milly did not exist.
Well, the company came, and she seemed glad to see every one,
but I felt she was expecting some one else; for, even when she
was speaking to the stately old ladies and gentlemen, and the
smart young ones, she always watched the door! At last some
one came, and she felt so very glad. Not that she said anything
particular, but she felt so very happy to have him come and stand
by her; and so glad that he (this time) "looked nice."
I could not tell you, nor would it be proper, all she felt that
night, for no one but myself saw it; but a good long time after the
company had gone away, she first laughed, then cried, and said,
"Mamma, Henry asked me to marry him, and I said, Yes!
He is coming to see you to-morrow."
I was prepared for a most interesting scene, but, alas for the
hopes of earth, none such took place. I fell to the ground, and
for a few seconds, heard no more. When I recovered consciousness,
I heard only a few words of congratulation and approval from
Lady Dripley; and after a hearty kiss and good-night to her
uncle, Milly followed her mother out of the room. After they
left, I amused myself by watching the evolutions of Mr. Trimitt.
He first poked the fire, and sat down before it; then got up and
began a progress round the room, putting everything in its wrong
place, evidently under the sober conviction that he was "setting
to rights;" then with something between a growl and a smile,
resumed his position before the fire, and took up the Times.
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
That also proving unsatisfactory, I could hear him say in broken
sentences, Can't read to-night, somehow; great bore; very odd
Milly should think of marrying, especially on 300 a year. It
counts for even le.- il England than in Scotland. Henry, if he'd
been a sensible fellow, would have hanged himself before pro-
posing. Fools people are. She's a perfect baby. I remember
when she was I:orn; don't know what she undertakes, etc. Sup-
pose I'll have to make them a wedding-present, and stand sponsor
to all the babies; people ought to be more considerate." Then,
as if something had just struck him, he started up very unlike a
sensible and considerate person, with-
"Good gracious! there's all the waxlights burning; what will
my sister say? After my promising to put 'em every one out, if
she would only go to bed."
On which consideration he set to work, and put every light out,
and left me in peace to my own meditations.
I did enjoy the soft carpet whereon I lay; I also liked to look
at the firelight dancing on the polished furniture and picture-
frames. But there was an undefinable feeling of sadness stealing
over me. Where was the merry party who so lately had been
there ? All quiet. The bright lights all extinguished: the room
silent as death. Do all things end thus ? This I strove in vain
to understand and could not, till the fire seemed to read my
thoughts, and said to me-
"Poor pin, you are puzzled This is the end of your first day
in the outer world; it is the end of mine too; but there is this
difference between us, I have no more days to come, you have
many. You have begun your experience, I have ended mine, and
it is this :-Everything in this world ends thus. It is so with the
children of men; it is so with fires also. In the morning I was
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
called into life, nursed with great care, fed before I knew I required
it, and once when I threatened to become sickly and feeble, was
tended with assiduity. The useful part of my life was bright,
joyous, and happy ; now my work is done, and consequently I die."
I replied, "No wonder, dear fire, you are melancholy; but tell
me what you meant by saying that it is thus also with the children
of men ? Will Milly and Henry, and all I have seen, die thus ?
It is sad to think of!"
"It is even so," replied my friend; "when Milly and Henry
have done their work, they too shall pass away, and their works
crumble to nought, like the ashes of myself under the grate. I
can tell you no more. My time is past; find out what you can."
And the last spark of life fled, and left me trying to make out
in the dark the cold grey ashes. I suppose my sad meditations
made me sleepy, for I remembered no more. Next morning I was
picked up and stuck in the housemaid's gown, where I was carried
about all day-in the course of which I heard Mrs. Poke announce
at dinner that Miss Milly is going to be married to Mr. Henry,
bless her he's a lucky man:" rather contradictory of Poke, con-
sidering the advice to Milly the previous night. And the audience,
headed by Cook, drank a good mug of beer to her health, and re-
joined, "Bless her !"
SINKS INTO LOWER SOCIETY AND GOES TO A FAIR.
HE morning after my conversation with the dying
fire, you will recollect that I was picked up by
Nelly, and that I passed that day in her posses-
Ssion; nor that day only, for I remained with her
for many succeeding weeks. And a very happy life
we both had. It was a further advantage to me, as 1
S was thereby enabled to remain among my first friends.
You are already acquainted with some members of the
household. The family, when I came first to the house,
consisted, as you are aware, of Lady Dripley, Milly, and occasion-
ally her uncle; but besides these there soon appeared her ladyship's
sister, Miss Trimitt, who had been away on a visit at the time of
my arrival. Then there was Mrs. Poke, the lady's-maid, whom
you no doubt remember; then Cook, a large, stout woman, with a
face the colour of her kitchen-fire; a kindly body, fond of being
comfortable herself and seeing other people so, for which end she
considered no trouble too great; next my friend Nelly the house-
maid, who also waited at table, as tidy, pleasant, and good a servant
as you could find; but every one has trials, and Nelly's was, that
Miss Trimitt, Poke, and Cook all considered it to be their duty to
tell her what hers was, which they did with praiseworthy punctu-
ality and minuteness. But by the time I knew her, Nelly had got
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.'
used to it, and was not in the least dismayed at the high estimate
they were so kind as to form of what she ought to be, nor low-
spirited at her own shortcomings.
I have no doubt all the good advice she received was not lost;
to be sure, if she could have remembered and digested it all, she
would have been a perfect wonder; as it was, even Miss Trimitt
became quite fond of her, and when in her presence any one spoke
of Nelly, used always to say, Yes, Nelly is fair, very fair, that is,
considering her easy temper."
The only other person to be mentioned in the household was
Joe, whose business was to work in the garden under the eye of
Miss Trimitt, mind the pony, and drive the little carriage wherein
his lady was accustomed to take her daily airing. Now, here was
to me, and I believe other people, a great mystery: I mean how
the nervous Lady Dripley ever came to submit to be driven out
in that carriage with that boy of all others as charioteer. However,
it formed one of Joe's duties; his others were to clean knives and
shoes, and in Cook's brief but comprehensive expression, "Do as he
was bid." Biddings from her he got plenty; whether he followed
them was never discovered by me or any one else.
Such was the family in which some of the happiest days of my
life have been spent. Very happy in a quiet way we all were, and
the days went swiftly by, one after another, all exactly alike, till I
quite lost all account of how long I had been there.
What a regular life we led! You could have told the hour by
the divers and sundry occupations of the household, almost as well
as by the hands of the great hall clock by which we were all
regulated, at least, except Joe's occasional outbreaks and devia-
tions, which could not be counted on.
I was occasionally in the company of different members of the
Nel~f teaching Joe to write o an even inj.
THE HISTORY OFA PI al9e 13
STHE HISTORY OF A PIN. 13
family, but Nelly was my chief friend, and I always came back to
her at every opportunity. She suited me better than any of the
others, as Poke was crabbed, Cook careless of the way she treated
one, and, to say the truth, the kitchen-fire was my horror I sup-
pose from a recollection of my early sufferings in the furnace.
And as to Joe he kept me for the one day I passed in his com-
pany in such a state of mental agony by his inconsiderate proceed-
ings and deliberate mischief, that I escaped as soon as I could, and
always avoided him ever after, and wondered how Nelly could have
the least patience, or take so much trouble in teaching him to write
of an evening.
But Joe was not a bad boy for all that, only his good qualities
lay so far below the surface, and his bad ones so near it, that it
was trying to his friends' patience to be in any way connected with
him. Indeed, as Mrs. Poke once impressively informed him, "he
seemed born as an affliction to his family, and a nuisance to so-
ciety," at which assurance poor Joe was terribly awed, and only
comforted by Cook bestowing on him a particularly fine piece of
fruit tart which she had intended for herself, but seeing Joe (after
Mrs. Poke left the kitchen) blubbering fearfully, her kind, fat heart
was moved towards him. I hope the lecture did him good; he cer-
tainly ate the tart, and I don't think he teased her cat for a whole
But we have lost sight of Nelly in speaking about Joe. It used
to be so nice when she got through her work, and arrayed in a
pretty cap, print dress, and clean white apron, sat down to her
afternoon sewing. She certainly was a very nice-looking girl, and
so neat and well set, it did one good to look at her. Miss Trimitt
had succeeded in her so far. And so she sat in the window and
sewed, while Cook went about her own work, with now and then a
14 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
pleasant word; and then, when evening came, after Joe's writing
lesson was given, and Nelly's tea things washed up, Mrs. Poke
came down, and Cook being cleaned up, the women settled to their
work, and made Joe read to them. He was, you must know, very
proud of his reading, having once got a prize for it at school. Miss
Milly and her aunt kept them supplied with books, and I think
the whole party were the better for these readings; I know I
picked up a great deal of knowledge from them.
All this time I saw my friend Miss Milly constantly, and now
her approaching marriage became a great interest. It was to take
place in a few months, when Mr. Henry's new house should be
finished; and her clothes had all to be made: besides, as she said,
"they were to be poor, and she must learn all sorts of managing
ways." For which information she applied to Cook, and used to
come down and see things done, besides learning to make puddings
herself. After these lessons, Cook always used to moralize over
such a sweet young lady going to live in such a place as London,
which she (Cook) had always heard was an awful wicked part !"
Oh, dear! how strange it all seems now; and yet I like to think
of these old times when I was young myself. But I must get on
to the time when I left the happy party and all my kind friends.
One day Joe came into the house in a state of immense excite-
ment, and announced that the great spring fair was to take place in
less than three weeks, and expressed a hope that he might be
allowed "to go and see the fun." He likewise strove to persuade
Nelly to ask his mistress to let him go; but Nelly was firm.
No, no, Joe; you must ask for yourself. If mistress allows me
to go, I hope she will let you go too; and then I should like to
take you to see my father and mother, who will-be there; but you
must ask for yourself, and promise to be a good, quiet boy."
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Both which, on consideration, he faithfully promised to do.
About a week after this, Lady Dripley said to Nelly, as she
mended the drawing- room fire, "I hear the fair is to be held in
Kirktoun on Thursday-week; if your parents come to it, I should
be glad to allow you to go and meet them, and see the fair for two
or three hours. Neither Poke nor Cook seem to care for going;
so, if you like, you can go after lunch, and come back to lay the
cloth for dinner."
"Thank you, my lady, I shall be very glad. I shall be sure to
be back in time, for father and mother always leave early."
"My only difficulty," continued Lady Dripley, "is about Joe,
poor fellow! He seems to want very much to go, and asked me
this morning. He really has behaved so well of late, I should like
him to have a little pleasure, only his friends are too far away to
come to it, and I fear trusting him alone. Could he go with you ?
Do you think you could manage him ?"
"No fear of that, my lady; he'll come to no mischief with us;
and he does so long to go. I'll never lose sight of him."
"Very well, then; send him to me."
And with a curtsey, and "Thank you my lady," Nelly left the
room. So that was settled.
Joe's intense delight at the announcement was a sight to see.
He laughed, danced, threw up his cap, walked on his hands, and,
in short, testified his satisfaction in so many ways, known only to
boys, that doubts of his sanity were entertained by those who
witnessed his uncouth demonstrations. Of course, he talked of
nothing for the next fortnight but "the market." But everything,
however far off it seems, comes at last; and so did the fair. On
the eventful day, Nelly and he were particularly active in getting
all their work done by the early dinner, at which they appeared
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
very smartly dressed, and creaking about in wonderfully heavy
boots. Nelly was too much pre-occupied to eat much, but the
quantity Joe bolted was alarming, in spite of Cook's well-meant
warning "to take time and mind his disgestion." So, while he
finished the repast, Nelly went to put on her bonnet and shawl,
sticking me in as an extra pin in case of accidents.
Now the hour of Joe's expectation had come, and we all three
set out for the market. Nelly was glad to meet her parents, and
her companion wild with delight at a day's "outing," besides
being the fortunate possessor of a bright half-crown, given him by
Miss Milly as lucky fairing.
On we went along the country road, meeting at first one or two
pedestrians, like ourselves going to the fair, who soon began to
thicken into half-dozens, and finally ended in a stream either
going or returning from the scene of action. There were substantial
farmers in gigs, then labourers stalking heavily along, then women
with babies and baskets, followed by troops of rosy children (those
returning were not so rosy, but rather sick, and decidedly sleepy).
Then, as we got into the town, there were the caravans, and booths
for sweeties, shows, and toys; but I need not go on telling you
what we saw, for who has not seen the same, and heard the buzz of
voices, and din of drums, penny whistles, and the like instruments
of torture, only present at fairs.
But before we had almost entered on the hubbub, a strong hand
was laid on Nelly's shoulder, and a big, rough voice said, "Eh,
woman, but ye're in unco haste ? Do ye no ken yer ain feyther?
Gudewife, whar's yer een? Here's Nelly, that ye ha'e been aye
glowerin' into a'-body's face seeking' for." Thus addressed, a tall,
elderly woman-with, I think, the nicest face I ever saw-turned
hastily round, and giving back to its own mother the baby in her
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
arms, clutched hold of Nelly, and bestowed on her a hearty kiss;
after which followed such vigorous shaking of hands, laughing and
crying all in one, that the poor object of it was quite exhausted,
and Joe for the time forgotten; but when they remembered him,
there he was, all right, already fast friends with a smaller boy, by
name Tom, who he found was of the party also-a very fortunate
fact for him, as it gave him something to do, and somebody to
patronize. I have not time to recount all they did at the fair,
but you will be glad to hear that they had as delightful a time as
they expected, and Joe saw the shows, and spent two shillings of
his half-crown to his entire satisfaction, reserving sixpence to keep
his pocket warm, at the recommendation of Mr. Caw (Nelly's father),
who also gave him a great deal of sage advice, which his wife
sweetened by a handful of strong peppermint-drops. The event of
the day to me was one which Nelly no doubt has long forgotten-
simply this;-Mrs. Caw startled us all, by suddenly exclaiming,
"Eh, me! yes-no-yes; it's gane! my silk handky!" when, as
suddenly changing her tone, as the missing article was handed to
her by a passer-by, Thank ye, kindly, sir; the prin had just come
out olt;" whereupon Nelly remembered me as an extra pin, and I
was pulled out to fasten the "silk handky" again in its place.
After this we left the fair, and as Mr. Caw was in charge of a
cart belonging to his master, which was to collect and carry the
parcels, it was thought advisable that we should all go home in it,
taking Nelly and Joe so far on their way, which we did, and set
them down at the cross-road, to make the best of their way home,
in good time, and well pleased with the day's excursion.
We, that is, Mr. and Mrs. Caw, Tom, and myself, all arrived at
my new home in due course too, after much jogging along behind
the old white horse. When we came to the farm where the gude-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
man" worked and the horse lived, Mrs. Caw got out and walked
home with Tom.
Home meant a small cottage at the road-side, with just a "but
and a ben," or two rooms, one on each side of the door. I did not see
the outside, as it was dark when we got there; but there was a
bright light in one of the windows, and as we came close, two little
children came trotting out with "Auntie come hame Mysie been
washing Jamie's face," etc. In fact, poor Auntie could scarcely get
into the house for the small torments, each helping (or hindering)
to carry the parcels, Mysie anxious to tell of her housekeeping,
and Jamie echoing the last word, till, by the able assistance of
Tom, the way was cleared, and the tired Auntie fairly pushed into
the comfortable depths of the big chair.
After she had taken breath, and been divested of her bonnet
and shawl and basket, her first words were addressed to a pale,
quiet boy, older than Tom, though only half the size, who, during
the confusion, had sat in the chimney corner, smiling and trying
gently to check the zeal of the little ones.
"Weel, Willie, and how ha'e ye been ? The pain hasna been
sair, I hope."
"No," replied poor Willie, cheerfully; "I've ha'en scarce ony,
and the bairn's been rale gude. We had dinner; Mysie's a fine
cook turning she did a'thing fine. Mrs. Bell cam' to see if we
needed anything, but we didna. I hope ye'll ha'e something frae
the market to the bairns "'
Something truly there was A box for Mysie, and such a penny
whistle for Jamie; besides a beautiful two-bladed knife for Willie's
own work, a present from Nelly,-Tom, of course, had made his
own purchases,-and sweeties for all!
Mr. Caw, with the children's father, now made his appearance,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN. 19
and after the presents had been duly examined and admired, the
little ones were put to roost, and after family worship, they all
went to bed.
You will wonder who these children and their father were. He
was a younger brother of Mr. Caw who had married early, and
when his wife died was left with these four helpless children, the
eldest of whom, who might have been of some use, was lamed by
an accident soon after his mother's death. And so his father,
finding it impossible to struggle on alone, came to settle near his
brother, who, having no child but Nelly, took poor lame Willie to
live entirely with them. So now you know my new friends.
LIFE IN A COTTAGE.
HEN all was quiet in the cottage, I had time to look
around me, and make my own reflections on what
I saw. My post of observation was a red cloth
pin-cushion, hanging against the wall just above
r the mantelpiece, and into which I had been put to take
` s /care of me. I often wished I had had a more comfort-
able bed; not that I was very ill off, but from long use
Smy cushion had got so filled (at the corners especially) with
dust, and was so gritty to my smart bright point, that it
made me very discontented; though I have often since been
ashamed of my feelings on the occasion, and thought how very
selfish and luxurious I had been; for with all its disadvantages,
it was the best of all places for an onlooker, as it commanded
a view of the whole room, which was a great delight to me, as it
afforded an opportunity of noticing the daily life and character
of the inmates, wholly unknown to themselves.
The room itself was of a tolerable size, though certainly not large.
The door opened from the tiny passage in one corner, and there
were two windows, the larger to the front, facing the south, the
smaller one in the gable at one side of the fire. Directly opposite
to me was the big bed, with its clean patchwork quilt, and at the
foot of it was another door, opening into a press where were
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
stowed away Auntie's common crockery and cooking utensils.
Willie's bed stood next to the wall, on the other side of the small
window, where hung his bird-cage and tool-box. In the opposite
corner was the oaken aumrie, polished to the highest degree, and
containing within its funny little glazed doors all the grand china
of which the house could boast. I think this piece of furniture
was the pride of Auntie's heart, even as the eight-day clock was of
the gudeman's. There was, of course, a table and a few chairs, and
the "big kist" where lay the Sabbath clothes. I think I have told
you all that was in the room, except the geraniums in the window,
and the "handy" things hung upon nails over the mantelpiece, of
which my cushion was one; the rest were a looking-glass, irons,
scissors, pincers, etc.
And that was exactly how the room appeared to me, as I looked
down upon it the night after the fair, when honest James Caw and
his wife were sound asleep, and poor Willie lying patiently awake,
looking at the bright moonlight shining in at the window and
down upon his little bed. I fancied once or twice that he smiled
placidly, and murmured some simple words to himself, but so low
that I could not hear what they were, though the smile recalled
very forcibly to my mind a verse of a hymn of which Milly had
Oh, blessed are the eyes that see,
Though silent anguish show,
The love that in their hours of sleep,
Unthanked may come and go.
And blessed are the ears that hear,
Though kept awake by woe."
Next morning the household was early afoot, much earlier than
I had been at all accustomed to at Lady Dripley's, for,,by six
o'clock, James Caw and his brother the shepherd had to be at
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
their work on the farm a good bit off. Now began the business of
the day, the little ones had to be washed and dressed, and then
Tom and Mysie helped Auntie to clean up both their own room
and hers, which took all the time till eight, when Tom was de-
spatched for the milk, and Auntie made the porridge. By the time
the milk arrived the men came home hungry, and breakfast en-
gaged the general attention. After that they went off again to
work, and the children were again rubbed up, and sent to school
under the guardianship of Tom, who, to do him justice, often quite
surprised me by his carefulness and sense, after what I had seen of
boys' nature as manifested in Joe. But then Joe was not used to
being looked up to and trusted in, which perhaps accounted for the
When the house was quiet, Auntie dressed Willie, and having
settled him in his window with his work and his bird, left him to
pursue his own avocations while she went about hers. Auntie's
avocations were certainly of the most numerous and various de-
scription. All the cleaning, washing, cooking, mending, and
contriving to be done for two men and four children, by one
pair of hands, certainly left no room for idleness; and if in addi-
tion Auntie had not possessed a thrifty, managing head, and a
kindly willing heart, she never could have undertaken or got
through the amount of work she did. Quite contented all the
time, not thinking she did anything very meritorious, or that she was
much to be praised and pitied in the doing of it, but considering
herself well off in being able, and having the means to do it.
And yet you children, who live in nice houses with a full dinner
every day, would be quite surprised, and perhaps smile at what
Auntie counted riches, often making a dinner, of what my old
friend Cook would have consigned, without a moment's hesitation,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
to the pig's tub. Certainly Auntie had one thing in her favour; if
she had more to work for, she had more space to do it in than falls
to the lot of every working woman, for had she not two rooms?
and as the shepherd was often away for whole days at a time with
his sheep, she had his room to work in pretty much as she liked;
and she did like to have things nice and comfortable for him as
well as for her own husband.
It happened that this was washing-day, but it was luckily fine,
and so although the house was in confusion for a while, it did not
long remain so, as the clothes could be dried on the lines outside,
-a great relief to Auntie's mind, as there was nothing her husband
disliked so much, or had so little patience with, as a lot of wet
clothes flapping about on ropes across the room when he came
So as Auntie is busy with her washing, let us go and see what
Willie is about. His smile has gone, and it is with a face of grave
anxiety that he is shaping and carving the legs of a wooden jack-
jumper, the body and arms of which lie before him. Now you are
not to suppose that Willie looks grave because he does not under-
stand his work, or finds it more difficult than he expected. Not at
all. But this is a jumper on an entirely new principle, so, of
course, Willie is anxious till he sees how it will turn out as a dancer.
He has long known the use of his fingers, and works at toy-making
every day when he is able; the fruit of his labours, in the shape
of jack-jumpers, puzzles, boats, and tiny furniture, being disposed
of at the curiosity-shop of Kirktown. And a tolerably good profit
they realize, at least so the maker thinks, considering the mate-
rials, only a knife with two blades, a bit of sand-paper, some pieces
of soft and hard wood, a few tiny tacks, a little glue and common
paint, and, be it remembered, a great deal of patience and in-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
genuity. To be sure, he cut his fingers at first, but the cuts soon
healed, and Auntie wisely thought any honest work is better than
idle-set," besides diverting his attention from that weary pain,
sometimes better, sometimes worse, but never ending, and yet
which it was his lot to bear; indeed, he became so used to it as
scarcely to understand anything else !
Well, the morning slipped away, and dinner-time came, with
the children rushing in ravenous from school; only, Father and
Uncle not appearing, Auntie judged it best to send their dinners in
a basket by Tom. 'And then again the house was quiet The
washing ended, and everything put in its place, and Auntie ready
to come and admire the new jumper, now complete in red-paint
coat and yellow cap; and after inquiring into his merits, and
pronouncing him and his inventor "a wonder o' cleverness," she
sat down to the consideration of the best way of making two new
frocks for Mysie out of an old gown of her own-a new one having
been bought yesterday;--which took up her whole attention till
the said Mysie came in with her brothers from school, when she
was made to tuck up her frock, and help Auntie to gather the
clothes from the lines, damp and fold them, and lay them all
straight on the top of the big kist, which served as a dresser, and
a very convenient one too for Mysie's height. At six, the men
came home to tea, or rather supper. And after "cracks" at the
fireside over the paper (generally very old), and family worship,
they all went to bed; and on the morrow began the daily work
Now, you are not to suppose, from anything I have said, that
these good people were all and each of them patterns of perfection;
that Auntie was never "overtaken" by her work, never "put out;"
Willie never heard to speak a hasty word; the little ones never
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
troublesome; and the men always amiable, considerate, and gen-
tlemanly, even when wet, tired, and hungry! Cottagers are just
like other people, strange to say! And therefore it was no more
wonderful that these things should happen in this house than in
any other,-my only wonder being that they did not happen
twenty times a day oftener than they did.
But this I must say, that these feelings and ways were not
cherished! They were striven against, and kept down by a great.
power, which was to me for a long time a mystery. I dare say you
have nearly forgotten my conversation with the dying Fire the first
night of my life in the outer world, but the remembrance of it had
often troubled me, and it was only about this time that I began to
get any real light on the subject of it, viz.,-is what we see really
the end of people and their actions? Does everything end with
this present life ? If so, what a weary life for many like my poor
friends in the cottage; labour with no reward, and hard times with
nothing to look forward to! While thinking this the truth, what
had often surprised me more than anything was how Willie, with
a boy's nature in him, could go on in his corner, just doing his
work from day to day, and be content if, as the Fire said, when
his work was done, he and it were to crumble away.
I was sorely perplexed; yet, often as I thought of it, I could
make out no more. And so I went on till one Sabbath morning,
when the rest were gone to church, Willie was sitting alone in the
sun, with old Rover at his feet. He had a large book on his knee,
and was using me as a pointer, when he came to the words:
" There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither
shall there be any more pain, for the former things are passed
I looked at the reader. His whole face was bright as he read
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
on, the description of the Happy Land, and then laying his hands
Oh, Lord how long ? I'm whiles sair wearying; but keep me
frae wearying till my work be dune Then take me hame to
Now I saw, as I had never done before, what it was that gave
such patience of hope, and happy looking forward to the lame boy,
and not only so, but contentment with his lot in this present life,
looking not so much to "the things seen and temporal, as to the
things not seen and eternaL"
Happy boy, with such a bright home before him, and a dear
Friend there, who once lived on the earth a painful life, and died a
dreadful death, that He might be able in that bright and happy
land to prepare a glorious mansion for His weary lamb, so that,
when he should be ready for it, and it for him, he might be a
welcome inhabitant of his Father's house for ever.
Happy Willie no longer did I wonder that be should be con-
tent. How should I ?
Nor was I surprised when a few days after he said to Auntie,
"I 've been thinking it 1 no be lang noo, afore I be called to my
Eh, my bairn, what gars ye think that ?" said Auntie; "ha'e ye
pain ? or are ye dowie ? or what will it be that ails ye ?"
Naething ails me, but I feel it; and in the night-time I think
I hear the angels calling me."
Poor Auntie threw her apron over her head, and wept quietly,
as he went on.
"Dinna greet and vex me; it'll maybe be a good while yet;
dinna tak' on. I '1 come and see ye, gin I can, tho' ye see na me;
I winna forget ye."
THE HISTORY OP A PIN. 27
Oh, my bairn, my bairn! we'll miss ye sair; ye've haen a
weary time, but the white speerits round about the throne are them
that cam' out o' great tribulation, and ye'll be far happier nor we
could keep ye."
Just then a succession of small knocks came to the door, and
Auntie jumped up, wiped her eyes, settled her cap, and went
to open it. We must leave it to another chapter to tell who the
AUNTIE'S CHARITIES, WHEREBY MRS. PIN MAKES THE ACQUAINTANCE
I HEN she opened the door, there at first seemed no
cause for the noise, but on her inquiries-" Wha's
there ? and what are ye wanting ?" there appeared
1 a small child, who delivered with great fluency
and no stops, the following oration:-
"My mither sent me to ye, Mrs. Caw, and if ye
- *please to come, she'll be muckle obleeged to ye; she's
no sk eelly herself ; folk say ye are."
Having come to the end of her message, she was running
away, when Auntie stopped her, and succeeded in finding out her
name and abode, and proceeded to inquire what her mother wanted
her to do.
"I dinna ken," was the answer.
"Which o' ye's ill?"
"The baby's took bad."
"What's the matter with it?"
"I dinna ken."
"Dinna stan' there telling me ye dinna ken; ye ken fine, so tell
me this minute."
Thus adjured, the small ambassadress began to cry, and whim-
He's chokin', and mammy's feared he's gotten the hoast."
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Auntie had all this time been leisurely putting on her bonnet
and shawl (taking me), but now fairly startled, exclaimed, Bairn,
rin for yer life, and tell mammie to put the big kettle fu' o' hot
water into a tub, and put him in it, if I dinna get there first." So
the bairn set off, and Auntie, who was a great doctress, hastily
made a mustard blister, covered it with an old piece of linen, and
started for the cottage, to which she had been directed, like a
giantess in seven-league boots.
When we arrived there, we found everything in dire confusion
and the messenger just telling about the hot water to her mother,
a sickly, helpless-looking woman, with a child of eighteen months'
old in her lap, evidently far gone in croup. Auntie saw in a
minute she had no time to lose, so poking up the dull fire she soon
made a bright blaze, filled up the kettle, made the little girl fetch
a bucket, and blow the fire, so that by the time she had undressed
the struggling baby, there was a fine hot bath to put him into.
And what with that and the mustard blister, he soon began to
breathe more freely. And all that remained to be done was to
amuse and divert his attention from the smarting mustard; how-
ever, Auntie stayed to give him his medicine, and wrap him up in
his little bed; his poor mother all the while looking helplessly
on, no more able to do anything for him than if she had never seen
a baby before, though, poor creature, she was most grateful and
profuse in her thanks, and even wanted to give Auntie something
for her trouble, which was of course refused. "Hout, woman!
keep the siller; you'11 do as muckle for me ony day if I needed
it; ye ken puir folk maun aye help ane another," and with a kindly
" Good-day, neighbour; I think he '11 do fine now, but if he doesna
ye can aye let me ken," Auntie returned home, her heart all the
lighter for her deed of charity. When we got home I was put
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
again in my cushion, and as I heard no more of baby, I hope and
believe his recovery was perfect.
Things went on much as usual, and you might have thought
that Willie's words were forgotten by both, so little was said; not
so, however, for to him it was the pleasantest subject of meditation.
Into Auntie's heart they sank deep, and she pondered them there;
perhaps that was the reason she said so little. I fancied her man-
ner more quiet, and her words, if fewer, more gentle ; her great
thought seemed to be how to do enough for Willie.
One day, a cold, wet, wretched day-such as we sometimes have
towards the end of summer, and which seem like a taste of the
coming winter-in the afternoon, for I remember the house was
"redd up," Auntie had had a baking of oat-cakes, too, which were
cooling in tempting piles on the dresser. Oh, they did smell so
Well, she had just sat down to knit when some one knocked at
the door, and then it opened, before Aunty had time to reach it,
and a small sharp face, with a pair of keen dark eyes, half-buried
by a quantity of tangled black hair, thrust itself into the room.
What are ye wanting ?" demanded the astonished inmates in
a breath. As an answer to this question, the owner of the head, a
girl about eight or nine years old, walked into the room, and
dropping an apologetic curtsey, began to beg in the whining tone
peculiar to her class, stringing together a long rigmarole of sen-
tences, which had apparently not much connexion with each other,
the substance of course being that she wanted a penny or ha'penny,
or bread, or, in short, anything she could get. And, certainly,
poor thing! she did look sufficiently wretched standing there, her
half-starved figure barely covered with her ragged clothes, and all
so cold, wet, and dirty.
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Whether it was this fact, or the bad day, or the smell of the new
cakes, or Auntie's softened state of mind, or all these put together,
but she immediately rose and gave the child a cake, and then put
her out of the door. She had scarcely closed it when she was
startled by a sharp cry of pain, and going quickly out to see what
was the matter, found the beggar-child trying to rise from the
ground crying bitterly. Auntie's kindly heart was fairly roused
now, so she picked up the child, and carried her across the room,
to save her clean floor, and set her down on a chair before the fire.
The injury was found not to be serious; she had it seemed stum-
bled on a sharp stone and cut her feet, which had been tender
before; but the poor little feet were all swelled, and so dirty that
nothing could be done before a good washing; then Auntie put
some cooling ointment on a piece of rag, and bandaged it nicely,
putting me in to keep all straight. While this was being done, the
little beggar was enjoying the fire and the nice cake.
In answer to Auntie's questions, she told her that her name was
Bat; that her mother was dead; she did not know who her father
was; that she belonged to a gang of tinkers, then in the neigh-
bourhood; and that the only people who she supposed knew or
cared anything about her were Granny Grip and Shooter Ben, also
that they just went about the country doing as they could."
"Ye dinna speak like the bairns hereabout," quoth Auntie;
"ye'll no be Scots, I'm thinking' ?"
I don'no; I hear'n Granny say I were born some place i' the
"Do ye bide ony gate mair regular than either "
"We tramp Scotland most, 'special when the gentry's north;
but I've been in England, and once was in Ireland;-just where
we can pick up ought."
32 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
"And what do you do?"
I beg; and they say I'm real clever; but I must be steppin';
I've this village to beg before dark: good-day. Thank ye, ma'am;
I'll never forget yer kindness." And so saying we left the cottage
in company, Bat and I, to enter on what was to one of us an
entirely new scene.
My companion begged from door to door all through the village,
and very quickly she performed her work. She was evidently a
practised hand, and it was wonderful how many pennies and scraps
found their way into her dirty little wallet. Towards the end of
her journey we were joined by a woman and another girl, much
older than Bat, to whom she related as much of her tale as she
judged prudent, and by whom we were conducted to the rendezvous
of the party, where they proposed to encamp for the night, where
we arrived after dusk.
It was an old ruined cottage in a wood, just on the borders of a
gentleman's park, in fact, so close to the house that I wondered at
the audacity of my entertainers in ever choosing such a place.
The only persons there, when we arrived, were an old woman
busily engaged in lighting a fire, and two or three children gather-
ing sticks for the same.
Bat, and the others as they came in, presented the old woman
with the gains of the day. She was evidently a person of con-
sideration, and addressed by all as Granny, from which I con-
cluded that she was that Mrs. Grip, mentioned aforetime by Bat.
As time went on, our party was increased by the appearance of
three men; one older than the others-a tall, strong-made, swarthy
fellow. He might be about forty years old. He was called
Shooter Ben, from being the cleverest and most daring poacher
known, and one whom no gamekeeper would meet alone at night,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
if he could help it. The other two were mere lads, ignorant, rough,
and brutal, but not so hardened or deliberate as Ben. By this
time Mrs. Grip had succeeded in making a famous fire, and was
now reposing in the light which she had kindled, solacing herself,
at the same time, with the fumes of a short black pipe. She had
fixed a tripod of sticks over the fire, and hung the pot after the
most approved gipsy fashion. She might have been a picturesque
figure at a distance, but the nearer you approached the more
unprepossessing her aspect became. Her outer man (or rather
woman) was enveloped from head to foot in what had been a
green tartan cloak, apparently as venerable as herself, with two or
three capes, and holes to let her arms through, a black beaver bon-
net of the same age, and a red handkerchief tied loosely round her
skinny throat. A basket, with a hole in the side, lay close to her,
and in it were the tapes, glass beads, ballads, etc., which she made
a pretence of going to back-doors to sell; in reality (I fear) to
convey to this receptacle anything that struck her fancy or con-
venience. She seemed to be treated with great respect by all the
rest; even by Ben, the acknowledged master of the party.
He had laid himself down on a heap of dead leaves and twigs,
and, with his unshaven visage and rough clothes, looked a good
deal like a wild beast in his lair. He and Mrs. Grip preserved a
dignified silence, while the lads and women talked in low tones at
the other side of the fire. Bat was in a far-off corner, rehearsing
to an admiring circle of the other children some of the most
exciting of the day's adventures, showing off her bandaged foot;
but, I noticed, carefully abstaining from all mention of the oat-
cake, or of having been inside the cottage, knowing that, if this had
come to Mrs. Grip's ears, it would have been sure to give rise to an
energetic remonstrance on the sinfulness of wasting so excellent
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
an opportunity of adding to the general store, in the way of any
little fancy article on which she might have been able to lay her
hands, an opportunity which Bat, from some weak and unaccount-
able feelings of gratitude, had not duly improved.
So matters went on, till the conclave was broken up by Ben
expressing his desire for supper, in terms more decided than
polite; whereon Mrs. Grip slowly rose, and producing from some
unknown corner a few battered tin bowls, uncovered the pot, and
with a species of small pitchfork fished up from its depths sundry
pieces of meat, rabbit, etc., which, with a fair allowance of veget-
ables, got nobody knows where (unless, indeed, Mrs. Grip herself
could have told); but wherever they came from, they were now in
the form of a most excellent stew, very likely made after the
famous recipe of Meg Merrilees, on the occasion of her entertaining
Dominie Sampson to supper. This is the more probable, as I have
been told Mrs. Grip (or, more familiarly, Granny) was descended
from Meg on the mother's side. Anyhow, her stew was excellent,
and fully appreciated, by no one more than by Bat, who, as she had
done a good day's work, and her friend happened to be in
tolerably good humour, came in for her full share.
After eating, there seemed to be no thought of washing up; but
all settled themselves, as best they might, for the night. Poor
little Bat crept under a bush which grew in one corner, and,
tired out with the day's work, was soon sound asleep; and so
seemed all the rest,-at all events, they were quiet. And the
moon shone out just as it had done on Willie's bed the first
night I spent in the cottage. But on what a different scene! No
cozy room here; the four walls, or, rather, three and a half,
were in a very tumble-down condition, in fact, nothing but bare,
loose dykes, not a vestige of a roof; for, as the night had
THE HISTORY OF A PIN. 35
cleared up dry and mild after the rain, Ben had not thought it
worth while to put up the tent. And yet Bat slept as soundly
under her bush as Mysie had ever done beside Jamie in their nice
comfortable bed. I sometimes wonder what the moon thinks of
the different scenes on which she looks. Whatever her pale
majesty thinks, it dbes not seem to disturb her, so I don't suppose
we shall ever find out.
MRS. PIN FINDS HERSELF IN BAD COMPANY.
i HE life which I now led was, as may be supposed,
v very different from anything I could have con-
S. ., ceived before.
S,' II had always been a very staid, respectable sort
of individual heretofore, and, like many other excel-
Slent people, plumed myself not a little upon this
fact. You can, therefore, imagine how far I sank, and
j' how grievously I suffered in my own good opinion, at find-
ing myself the daily companion of rogues and vagabonds.
Their friend I tried not to be, for hitherto I had always been in
the service of estimable, upright, and honest persons, whom I could
heartily respect. Now, I felt this impossible, for there was nothing
more characteristic of my new acquaintance than their utter con-
tempt of respectability and public opinion. Neither was there a
dishonest action they would not perform, if they could only make
pretty sure of dodging the county policeman, whom we always
allowed a few miles' start of us when we travelled.
For these reasons, therefore, I strove not to be friendly with
any one of the gang with whom my lot was cast, for although Bat's
foot was well long ago, yet there was a large rent in her skirt,
which I fastened to the body of her frock, and there I remained
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
In regard to Bat, however, I found it more difficult than you
would have expected to adhere strictly to these my excellent and
highly commendable resolutions. No doubt, she was a very
wicked, ugly, dirty, and as a lady (of whom she one day begged
upon the road) remarked to her companion, "a singularly unin-
teresting child." Probably she was. Indeed, she must have been,
for no one, except in the way of cultivating her talents in the art
of pilfering, seemed to take the slightest interest in her.
I believe it was this friendlessness of the neglected child that
awakened my sympathy, and after all, poor thing, was it to be
wondered at that she should be what she was? Beaten at night
if she did not bring in a sufficient store of pence and scraps to
satisfy Granny Grip's avarice, was it wonderful that she should
steal if she had opportunity, and garnish her begging tale with a
variety of touching circumstances, which might or might not have
taken place ? Poor Bat she did not know how wrong it all was;
how should she ? Who had ever thought of taking the trouble to
tell her ?' How could she guess that in so doing she was grieving
Willie's Friend, who, when He was on the earth, loved the little
children, even such as she? How could she know that He is still
loving even the poor lost lambs of His flock? How could the
little outcast know all or any part of this, when she had never
even heard of the existence of a friend upon the earth! and as to
Heaven, there was no such place to her! Was it then wonderful
that she was just the idle, wicked, beggar's brat I found her ? Are
you sure, young lady, that you would have been so very much better
if in her place ?
And oh! when you think it so dreadful (and are right in so
thinking) for such as Bat to lie, and swear, and steal, think how
much worse it must be in you, with a nice house and kind friends,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
warm clothes and plenty to eat, to tell the little fib, or take what is
not your very own, or give way to the fit of temper, and sulk for an
afternoon, because Mamma or your governess thinks it not fit for
you to go out. And then you know so much more of what Jesus
wishes than little Bat did, and remember there is a text in the
Bible about people who have and know much, being expected to
do more, and those who know less not being punished for not
doing what they were ignorant of.
We on some days (particularly if there were one or two villages
in the neighbourhood) used to separate into pairs, and agree to
meet at some place a few miles farther on, each pair taking a
different route, and so scouring the country pretty effectually, and
not attracting so much attention as one large party would have
done. Bat generally went with one of the women, and many were
the clothes-lines she helped to thin; and on different occasions
she actually ventured into three hen-houses, and made spoil of
the eggs, with such composure and dexterity, that she was
openly commended by Ben, who, so far from regarding the
theft as any crime, saw in it only the promise of future usefulness
And this brings to my recollection a circumstance that happened
shortly after the last and most daring depredation on the hen-
houses. It was a fine morning in the end of September, and as
the tramhp was to be a long one, we started early, about four or five
o'clock, I should say. Bat was in company with Granny and one
of the women. We had not gone far before we came to a "bien
farm-steading," the mistress of which had on the previous night
roughly refused a bit of bread to one of the gang. So they were
not sorry to find, on peeping cautiously about, that none of the
inmates were visible, and from sounds proceeding from a washing-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
house at a little distance, that the servants were engaged there,
and not likely to disturb our movements; also, that the kitchen-
door had been left "on the sneck," i.e., unlocked. To my horror
Mrs. Grip took Bat aside, and said in a significant tone-
"I warrant there's sum'mat in that kitchen worth having.
Ye're a sharp young 'un. If ye make no noise, ye'll never be
found out. I'll watch about for ye."
Bat hesitated, and then said, "Oh, Granny, I'se afeard; it's awful
wicked like," and was going on further to beg off, when Granny
caught hold of her arm like a vice, and shaking her furiously,
exclaimed in as loud a tone as she dared,-
"What you got to do wi' bein' wicked, eh? Ye're as wicked
a brat as ever I set eyes on! It's no good you botherin' about
beinn' wicked.' You got to do as ye're bid, I tell ye, or I'll
tell Ben on ye, and what did ye get last time for botherin'?
Poor Bat was by this time fairly cowed. And the old hag
seeing that she was too much frightened for her purpose, changed
Come now, dearie, ye're Granny's own jewel when ye're good.
Poor old Gran, ye oughter do anything for her, when she loves ye
I certainly should not myself have taken Granny as a picture
of maternal love. Nor, I suspect, did Bat; but the fear of offend-
ing her had the desired effect. And taking the bag that was held
out to her to hold the spoil, she went to the. door, opened it
quietly, and, though trembling at first, soon became excited at
seeing some cold meat and bannocks on a shelf, which she hastily
put into her bag, together with some linen which had been airing
at the fire. Then waxing bolder (at the sight of Granny's approv-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
ing face outside the window), she opened all the drawers in the
dresser, and rifled them of whatever she fancied would be least
likely to be known, and was going away when something bright
tempted her eye. It was a tin money-box, and very heavy, so she
took that too, and well burdened, walked quickly off, closing the
door carefully behind her. She was received with applause by
Granny and the other woman, and then the trio hurried as fast as
they could across the fields to the high-road, without meeting any
one,--it not being more than half-past six, and the sun had not
been long up.
We kept on the high-road for some time, Granny expecting to
meet the rest of the party, which at last we did. The account of
Bat's prowess was most graciously received by Ben, who declared
she should have one shilling of the money, besides a full share of the
meat and bread.
And then we adjourned to a wood near, to examine the contents
of the bag, and to consider how to dispose of it in the manner least
likely to be detected.
It was decided, after much cogitation, that Ben should pro-
ceed to the nearest town, where was a receiver of stolen goods,
a person with whom they had transacted business of a similar
But, as it was very probable that Ben might be recognized as
having been in the neighbourhood at the time of the robbery, it
was thought advisable for him to change his dress. For that pur-
pose he untied a small bundle in Granny's charge, took from it
various articles, and retired for a few minutes.
Presently there appeared an aged man, with long white hair and
beard, and only one arm; the other was an empty sleeve pinned up
to his breast. His dress consisted of a long brown coat, whole but
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
threadbare, knee breeches, and grey stockings. He had no hat,
but when he drew near he made a low bow, and began' in a
cracked, meek sort of voice, which trembled very much, "Chris-
tian people, have mercy; pity the poor! I'm an would man. I'm
could and hungry. I've had twelve childer, and seventy-two
grandchilder. Christians, be pitiful! I'm a harmless crayture.
I lost me arm a matter of forty year ago, and never done a hand's
turn with it since. I'm could and hungry," etc. Here he was in-
terrupted by Mrs. Grip.
"Hould yer noise ye'd a first-rate feed o' the meat and bread,
and if ye tell me that wig's not warmer than any two hats, I say
ye're an would hypocrite."
The old gentleman burst into a roar bf laughter, in which he
was joined by all present, and pronounced to be perfectly dis-
guised. To complete his costume, he selected from Granny's
basket a few of the least vile of the songs, and one or two stray
tracts, which he was supposed to be selling; and, accompanied by
the big girl in the character of his daughter, and to carry the
bundle of stolen articles, the worthy pair set forth. They were
absent for a week or more, and did not rejoin our party till we
had put twenty-five miles between us and the scene of Bat's
When Ben came back, his news was very satisfactory. The
aged Irishman, Thady O'Flanagan, had never been mistaken for
Shooter Ben, the able-bodied poacher. And, moreover, no one
suspected any of their gang of the theft; in fact, a paragraph had
appeared in the local paper, headed, in large letters, "Daring
Burglary!" which set forth, in glowing colours, the danger of the
inmates from three, if not four men, whom a servant-girl (now she
thought of it) remembered having seen about the night before; and
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
one of the farmer's daughters was certain she had heard men's
voices in the kitchen;-it was her father snoring in an adjoining
room, for I had heard it too.
Nobody suspected poor, little, frightened, tempted Bat, driven to
it by the fear of a cruel beating. Better far for her if they had !
Many a laugh the tinkers had about it; they all thought it such a
I doubt whether Bat agreed with them fully; if she differed, it
was not from conscientious views. But now the cold weather was
coming on, the child's life was harder than ever. And sometimes,
when she met troops of merry children coming from school, all
comfortably dressed and happy, oh, how she envied them! Why
could she not do so? but she was still the tinker's child, and she
couldn't be good if she tried. So Granny had often told her, and
enforced the precept as we have seen. In fact, she found favour
in the eyes of her friends, just when she had done things which
even she felt to be wicked.
One day a little girl, less than Bat, was sitting at a cottage-door
eating her dinner. Bat went up to her, eyeing the plate hungrily,
and begged. The little girl looked wonderingly at her, got up, and
then said, "I've just done, so I'll give you my potato; sit down."
Bat sat down on the stool, took the plate on her lap, and finished
the remains of the dinner, her hostess watching her with delight.
When she had done, the little one said, "Do you know why I gave
you a bit of my dinner ?" Bat did not answer, so she continued,
"Because my verse in school to-day was, 'Do unto others as
ye would that they should do unto you;' and I thought if I was
hungry, and had seen you eating your dinner, I would have liked
you to have given me a bit."
Bat was quite taken by surprise. This was a new light to her,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN. 43
so she asked her friend to say it over, and repeated it after her till
she could say it herself.
And they parted, the one to her school, where she learnt to be
good; the other to hers, where she was taught only evil con-
But like the tiny seed dropped into the ground, the word of the
little child (or, rather, her Master) was not forgotten; it was hid-
den, but not lost.
BAT IN DIFFICULTIES.
) HE lessongivenbythe cottar's child was indeed hidden.
SDays and weeks passed by, and it bore no visible
F fruit; but, sharpened by the act of kindness, it had
Gone home to the heart of the little heathen, and
that was no small thing; for the heart of the outcast,
Sif you can but touch it, is just as powerful and respon-
,. 'J sive a spring as is yours, my dear friend, who please
yourself, and annoy your friends with the delicate intri-
cacies of your sensitive feelings. I confess I was disap-
pointed that the seed thus sown did not immediately spring up,
and bear fruit an hundredfold, quite forgetting an ancient story in
which this same process is represented as taking a certain time, and
going through gradual stages, even in the best soil. And the heart
of my small friend was far from that, being already overgrown
with evil weeds, all in a most flourishing state. The wonder to
me was, how it ever found its way through them at all But there
it was, and it must grow.
Bat being now, as Granny and Ben considered, fairly entered
on a course of crime, they used to trust her by herself on short
begging expeditions, hoping thus to awaken sympathy for a lonely
child, which might not be felt if she were in the company of
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
On one occasion, when the gang were living at the town of
Drumbie, she was despatched to Craig, a country house in the
neighbourhood. We had never been there before, but Granny had
found out that it was the residence of a rather strict Justice of
Peace, by name Mr. Hepburn, who had an especial dislike to
trampers, which made it inconvenient for her to venture to the
house; but he was known as a kindly man, not at all likely to be
hard upon a child.
So off we went, Bat feeling quite important and happy at getting
away from her dear friends.
We passed the lodge unperceived; and now the difficulty was to
choose which way to go to the house; whether by the winding
approach, neatly gravelled and rolled, or by the humbler back road.
Bat decided on the latter, as being less likely to meet the gentle-
man, whom she looked upon as a sort of "police," a class she
regarded with unmixed horror.
How beautiful the place looked on that autumn day! The
beech hedge had turned red, and the woods all manner of splendid
colours. The sun had a sort of clear glow, making everything look
brilliant, even to the spider's web on the rough fence. It was a
day to make even the homeless feel for the time happy.
Bat was enjoying it in her own way, and amusing herself with
tossing up the fir-cones and horse-chestnuts which lay upon the
path, when, as she drew near some out-buildings, her pleasure was
stopped by a boy rushing out of the hedge and pouncing upon her,
followed by an immense Newfoundland dog.
Bat was always dreadfully afraid of dogs, and gave a startled cry.
I don't think the boy at first meant to do anything to her; but, seeing
her fright, could not resist adding to it for fun. The first thing he did
was to ask her what she was doing there; and, without waiting for
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
an answer, informed her "he didn't let thieves go to his house,
and if she tried, he'd make the dog bite her.
"It's not your house," replied Bat; "it's Mr. Hepburn's house."
"So much the worse for you, then; for Mr. Hepburn runs girls
down with his dogs, and eats them for dinner." So saying, he
placed himself directly in her way, and, stooping to bring his face
on a level with hers, began a series of hideous grimaces. Bat was
used to ugly faces, and, not caring, tried to pass him, when he
suddenly said, "Here, Nep, bite her;-hiss, boy, bite her !"
Nep stood still, wagging his tail, shook his head, and said as
plainly as he could, "Won't; you're not my master."
The amiable youth had managed to get Bat between the dog
and himself, knowing that she dare not pass the dog, and pulling
a strap out of his pocket, took care not to let her past himself.
Nep thought the strap was meant for him, stopped wagging his
tail, and gave an ominous growl
The lad caught hold of Bat, and again ordered the dog to bite
her, at the same time threatening him. Nep growled louder than
before, and poor Bat shrieked with terror. That scream saved her.
It reached the ears of some one whom her tormentor had in
reverence, and before she knew where she was, a middle-aged
gentleman caught hold of the boy with one hand, and applied the
strap pretty sharply to his shoulders with the other, saying, "You
young wretch, you ought to be ashamed of yourself! Let me
catch you teaching my dogs tricks and frightening girls again, and
I'll give you some more, my man! Be off to your work !"
The lad went off whimpering, and his master coolly took out a
knife and cut the strap in pieces. He then asked Bat what she
wanted, and what the boy had said, and hearing her errand, and
that he ate girls, said--
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
He was right so far about my not liking beggars, but I don't
eat 'em. I would rather be excused. I lock them up though,"
looking very fierce, "but you may go now; never come back
again, or I can't answer for what may happen to you. Stop, here's
a biscuit for you. I meant it for you, Nep, but you'll get another.
And he turned away to the stables, and Bat went the way she
came, much relieved, but hardly knowing what to say to Granny.
She ate the biscuit, however, lest questions should be asked.
When she got back to the town, she went straight to the
lodging-house where some of the party had put up for the time.
It was a dismal contrast to the lovely country we had just left.
The narrow close with houses nearly meeting overhead, into
the dirtiest of which Bat turned, up a filthy stair, on which we
passed a disreputable-looking woman, who saluted her with a
snarl for being back sooner than was expected, and pushed her
into the back-room, whence issued sounds of rude merriment
and loud voices, and the mingled smell of stale tobacco and
There was Granny busily occupied in sorting their unlawful
gains into several heaps on the floor, grumbling to herself the
while. Nearer the window the two other women, and three or
four strange men, were sitting and lounging round a broken table,
with a bottle, some mugs, and a torn greasy pack of cards,-also
in the middle a very considerable pile of money, copper and
silver. They were evidently gambling as fast as they could. Ben
was not there. So engrossed were all with their own business,
that the entrance of Bat seemed not at first noticed. She was in
no hurry to draw attention to the fact, but slunk into a corner, too
thankful to escape observation. Granny's watchful eye soon
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
detected her, however, and calling her from her retirement, com-
manded her to show what she had got."
Bat, of course, had nothing to show, and on the reason being
demanded, at first told the truth. That not believed, and her
memory sharpened by a few cuffs and oaths, she strung together
an impossible string of lies, which were equally unsatisfactory.
The interest of the game had flagged, or perhaps all the money
had changed hands, so, for want of something better to do, the
majority of the gamblers turned on poor Bat; and in the scene of
confusion that ensued, fighting, screaming, blows and curses flying
about, the unfortunate child seemed likely to be seriously ill-
treated, when a heavy step was heard on the stair, and a voice of
authority demanded, What is the row about ?" Of course, there
were contradictory replies in plenty, but the combatants fell back
before Ben, the new-comer. Even Granny (who had never lost
hold of Bat) resigned her prey into Ben's hand, who held her till
he heard the story, and then gave as his verdict, that they ought
to mind their own business, and leave him to manage his'n. Bat
belonged to him, and he wasn't a-going to have her licked by
anybody else." So saying, he pointed to a heap of straw in one
corner, and ordered her to lie down, warning everybody not to
touch her at their peril. I daresay it arose from the spirit of
contradiction on Ben's part. He was always glad to oppose
Granny, and at times his conduct was shocking enough, but when-
ever he had an opportunity of doing so, he invariably took Bat's
part. The child, too, regarded him with an odd mixture of affec-
tion and dread. There were dark rumours of his once having
killed a child. And once when Bat had more than usually
offended him, he reminded her of it, and set before her how easily
he could do it again. To-day Granny twitted him with it in
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
reference to his being tender-hearted about Bat, and was informed
that doing it easy wasn't in his mind half as bad as by inches,"
and that "he wasn't going to have any 'chaff' on the subject;"
which he enforced by an exhibition of his clenched hand and
brawny arm, with such effect, that the old lady returned quietly
to sorting her rags and stuff.
Before Bat went to sleep that night, she thought a great deal of
the kind gentleman, and wondered if he would have given her
leave to beg if he had seen the consequence of coming home
empty-handed? Also, if it would be so very much worse to be
locked up than to be in the midst of scenes like what had just
taken place? Could it really be worse than the kicks, curses,
threats, and blows which were almost her whole life ? Then she
wondered if there were any people in the world who didn't do
these things, but followed the words of the cottage child, "Do
unto others as ye would that they should do unto you." If there
were any, how happy they must be! And how happy their
children and people that lived with them must be! But, then,
were there any such? Yes; she was sure there were! Mr. Hep-
burn was one. The woman who washed and bound up her foot
was another. Bat was not philosopher enough to know meta-
physically that in order to be happy we must be good ourselves;
but she felt that her only companions, as well as herself, were very
wicked, and she knew that she was very miserable. And her
notions of earthly good were just the reverse of all this. While
thus wondering, she fell asleep.
Next day, and the next, and the next, no notice was taken of
what had occurred; but after making pilgrimages to all the farms
and villages round, Ben took it into his head to make another trial
of Mr. Hepburn's back-door, and hoped to elude him. So Bat was
50 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
to be sent again, but to make a round of several miles under the
charge of one of the women, and be left at a certain cross-road
to come home by Craig later in the day, when she might expect to
be more successful than before.
This plan was communicated to her, and she was told that if she
did not bring home something it would be the worse for her.
Strange to say, Bat seemed charmed with the prospect, and pro-
In the next chapter we shall see how she succeeded.
AN UPWARD STEP AND WHAT CAME OF IT.
HE ready agreement of Bat with what was required
of her completely satisfied her master, and he
Remarked to his companions, "What a likely
young'un she was when spoke fair," adding that
S "Mrs. Grip was enough to spoil the best hand with
her crabbedness; there never was no satisfyin' of her !"
Bat meantime had formed her own plan, and young as
she was, had long ere this discovered the value of keeping
her own counsel So she and the elder of the women set
forth on their round, and making a good wide circuit, found them-
selves at the cross-road, on the other side of Craig, where Bat was
to part company at about four o'clock. .
The days were now shortening, and on this dark afternoon, with
the leaves falling thickly from the trees at the roadside, it looked
very dismal I thought what a dreary position for so young a child
to be alone on an unfrequented road on such an errand It would
be dark, too, long before she could reach her wretched lodging.
But she seemed quite to have formed her own plan, as I said before,
and prepared to act on it. It was nothing very mysterious, only
When she got to the gate (it was not the one she had passed
before, and there was no lodge), she meant to avoid the back road
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
for fear of her enemies, the boy and dog, but to keep to the car-
riage-drive, hiding behind the evergreens if she heard any one, and
so to reach the back-door; if she met Mr. Hepburn, to tell him
her story, and ask if he would let her get something at the house.
While thus turning the possibilities of the case in her mind, she
espied something gleaming among the leaves on the road. She
went and picked it up, and found it to be the steel fastening of a
leather purse, which from its weight must be full of money, and
not being tarnished, could not have lain more than a few minutes.
Bat's thievish propensities at first prompted her to hide it and
take it home to Granny; but then she thought, "It's no mine;
maybe better lay it down." She stood contemplating it, much
tempted. There could be no harm in taking care of it ? No; but
if she took it home it would be no longer in her power to do so.
A sudden thought flashed upon her; something said to her, This
is the time to do unto others as ye would that they should do unto
you !" Conscience triumphed, and Bat hid it in her bosom, and
ran to the gate as fast as she could and along the approach. She
might yet be in time to find the owner. To her great joy she saw
at a turn of the road a stout figure in a grey suit and wide-awake,
whom she knew to be Mr. Hepburn. The purse must be his She
ran on till, when within a few yards of him, she ventured to ad-
dress him with, "If ye plase, yer honour !" No reply. "Maister !"
As little success; his honour certainly must be dull of hearing I
But Bat's profession was to be pertinacious, so she shot past him
like an arrow, and turning sharp round, faced the astonished
gentleman, who stood like one transfixed.
"Humph! what d'ye want ?"
"If ye plase, kind gentleman 1" began Bat, but he recognized his
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
No, I don't please. I tell you what I told you before, I'll have
all beggars locked up."
"Ye'll maybe keep a' yer siller locked up syne," responded
Bat; belikee ye'll no ken this ?" slowly producing the purse. "I
fun' it on the road."
Mr. Hepburn hastily passed his hand over his pockets. His
purse was gone This one looked very like it: yes, there was his
name on the back! Had she picked his pocket ? He had heard
of such things. No, he had seen no one on the road; besides,
there was the mark from lying in the wet mud. He had no doubt
the child's story was true. But it was a very strange act for a
tramper's child; little doubt a thief too! He must make acquaint-
ance with so singular a specimen.
"What's your name ?"
Bless my soul, what an odd name! Is it a boy's or a girl's ?"
"Don'no; leastways I'm a lassie."
Did you ever notice people always say humph! when they
don't know what else to say?
"Who's your mother?"
"Who's your father? Where is he?"
"Whom do you live with ?"
Lives with our folk,-Granny and them. Ben says I belongs
"I suppose you beg and steal round the country ?"
Bat pondered for a moment, and then replied evasively--
"You'll be a police?"
54 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Mr. Hepburn smiled. "Not exactly. You need not be afraid
of me just now. I suppose you never tell lies ?"
"Humph! that's honest for once. Were you sorry when your
mother died ?"
"Don'na mind; it's lang syne."
"Are Granny and them, as you call your friends, good to you?"
The child looked shrewdly at him, grinned, and returned the
question,-" Do you think I looks like it ?"
There was a pause.
What made you give me my purse back again, eh ?"
Bat's eyes filled; she looked wistfully in his face, and said-
"Ye was good to me t'other day when I was fear'd, and ye gae
me a bite when I was hungry. I was sent to see what I could
pick up at yer doors, and ye gae me a kind word. Bless ye it's
no sae mony I gets. I thocht I'd do as muckle for you if I had
the chance. Ye tell'd me no to gang to the house, and I didna;
and I took naething frae the drying-green, and this" (pulling up
her ragged sleeve to show a blue mark all down the arm) "was
what I got by no doin' it. But I minded the day, when I foun'
the pouch, 'Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto
I saw something twinkling about the old gentleman's eyes, and
after fumbling in his purse, he produced half-a-crown.
"Poor little one, take this. Ugh! the brutes. Take it, child."
But Bat was too prudent for that.
Na, na, if I hae that, they'll ken I seed ye, and I'll be half
kilt; but if ye'll let me gang to the door, and get a when scraps,
I'll thank ye kindly." And, drawing nearer to him, she added
in a low hurried tone, as if afraid of being overheard, Dinna let
'*' 7127 ""r^ '
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
on ye hae seen or spoken wi' me the day, or my life's no safe!
We'll leave this part in a wee while, sae just haud yer tongue."
"Hold my tongue! Pretty way to speak to a magistrate, let
alone John Hepburn of Craig, Esquire! Well, Bat, you are
blessed with coolness. But you shall have the scraps; come to
Bat followed at a respectful distance. Presently her conductor
"Well, child, wouldn't you like to be taken away from these
horrid relations of yours, and lead a different sort of life ?"
This was an unfortunate question, as it aroused all Bat's old
suspicions. So, instead of eagerly catching at the implied offer,
she merely said,-
"Don'no what ye ca' revelations; but I wouldna seek to be
We were now at the back-door; and by the order of the master,
Bat was enriched with a good store of broken meat and bread,
though Cook obeyed the order with a toss of her head and upturned
When we got home we found all the party in a "great taking."
Something had come to their knowledge which made it desirable
for them to move out of the lay of the police; and the removal
was going on actively, Bat's ains were a peace-offering, and her
services made available, as were those of the men who were in the
house the day of the "row." So by nightfall we were all-now a
larger party of six men and four women, besides children-en-
camped in a sort of ravine in the side of Drumbie Craig, a hill
about four miles from the town, and on the outskirts of Mr.
The ravine was a capital place for an encampment. It had
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
formerly been the bed of a mountain torrent. Now it was all
covered with thick green sward, except just in the hollow, where
some immense boulders and loose pebbles showed where the stream
had been. The upper part of the banks and towards the foot of
the hill, was thickly planted with young fir and larch trees, with
an undergrowth of whins, so that we were likely to remain unseen
and undisturbed for a long time, if only we could keep quiet.
Here, then, we were concealed, and at rest for several days, only
lighting a fire at nights, and the men venturing out early in the
morning, and not returning till dark. No questions were asked
in the hurry as to how Bat had found such favour at Craig, so
nothing was heard of her interview with Mr. Hepburn.
As quietness was the order of the day, her talents were turned
to the peaceful occupation of making brooms of the heather
which grew in quantities on the top and sides of the hill. Thus
matters went on, and no idea of moving seemed entertained,
though there were as many brooms made as could be conveniently
carried for sale. One evening, the men who had lately joined us
came home without Ben. One of them proposed lighting a fire.
Granny objected that the smoke would be seen too far off so early;
and the man in reply whispered something in her ear, the effect
of which was that Bat and the other children were sent to gather
sticks a good way off. Bat for some reason suspected that the
man's words had to do with her, so she managed to get back
before the rest, laid down her bundle of sticks, and creeping
round the bushes, came close to the party. They were, as she
suspected, sitting in solemn conclave, and she heard her own
name several times. The man who had spoken first seemed
uneasy about something his companions were urging him to do.
One of them said, "There'll be no peace if she takes to that.
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
She'll be peachin' on us to every old magistrate she meets. Gals
is worth nothing' if they turns soft."
"What are ye afear'd of? It's over in a twinkling. Nothing
easier," said another.
Not in the camp, though, or old Hepburn '11 'speck us. Do it
quick in the wood, and maybe she'll be dead o' cold," was the advice
of a third. "Do it yourself, then," returned Mike impatiently.
"Nay, lad, here's courage to thee !" chimed in Granny, tossing off a
glass of whisky, and refilling it for him. As for Ben, he need ken
nought about it. Say we lost the bairn, and think she fell i' the
dark into Drumbie Loch. I's not going to be bothered wi' Ben's
fancies a' my days. He aren't speak; I know what'll silence him
if he do;-som'thin' he don't like to hear tell o'." Bat had heard
enough to frighten her, so she crept back to her bundle of sticks.
Soon after her name was called, and she walked into the circle.
Granny began in a coaxing voice, "Bat, darlint, gang wi' Mike
to meet Ben: he's to bring the supper frae where it's been left.
See here's the cloth to put it in."
Bat knew it was useless to refuse; it would only hasten her fate
whatever that might be. She obeyed, trembling in every limb.
The man took her hand, and went before her, talking not unkindly
all the way. When they had gone a good bit, he dropped the cloth
he held in his hand, and told Bat to pick it up. She now quite
saw the plan, and began to pray for mercy. His tone then changed.
An oath, a heavy blow, and the child lay motionless at his feet.
He scarcely looked at her. I fancied his heart smote him, ruffian
as he was. He hurried away; I heard the branches clash as he
All was still for many hours; no one came near the place where
58 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Bat lay; but the little pale face was turned up to heaven, and the
shadows of the trees, in the moonlight, flickered and danced upon
it. And One looked pityingly down on the forsaken child, the
same who cares for the little sparrows, and tempers the wind to
the shorn lamb.
So the long night passed, and Bat knew not that she lay upon
the brown heather, with nothing but the trees between her and the
sky. It might have been a bed of down, it would have been the
same to her. She felt not the sheet of hoar-frost gently stealing
over her; she was too quiet and still for that; so still, I thought
she was dead, so no doubt did Mike, for he never came back
But at early dawn there was a stir among the branches, and out
sprang, not a man; no, but as good a friend for Bat-Mr. Neptune
Hepburn, the dog whom the boy had vainly tried to set upon her.
Mr. Nep had been on a hunting expedition on his own account,
and, smelling mischief, had come to inquire into it.
There he stood, very much surprised, and not at all certain what
a humane dog in his circumstances ought to do. So he first
approached Bat cautiously on tiptoe, and snuffed all round her;
sat down at her feet, and peered gravely into her face; touched her
mouth with his nose to feel if it were warm, and said Humph !"
exactly like his master. Having satisfied himself of the reality of
her position, he did the best thing possible, and lay down on the
top of her, keeping his weight off her chest, and set to work to lick
all over and round her face, neck, and hands, putting his paw
under her head, that he might perform the operation at greater
convenience to himself.
This he continued for a long time, apparently with no effect.
At last, Bat drew in her hand, and buried it in his warm, curly
go the long niht paFsed and Bat lay upon the brown heather.'
THE TOR OF A F. Pae 58
THE HISTORY OF A f1l.
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
black hair. She then sneezed. Nep lifted up his voice and said,
" A-yow, oo-oo-oh!" which extraordinary congratulation caused the
sleeper to open her eyes. She was too ill to fear anything, but
poor Nep was so wild with delight and eccentric in his language as
to be enough to frighten any one not used to dogs. She smiled in
his face; and he then got up, and tried to make her do the same;
but, not succeeding, gave vent to a series of howls, for help, I sup-
pose. After one prolonged howl, more dolorous than the others,
there was a far-off whistle, and a voice, far down the hill, called,
"Nep, Nep, Neptune hie, boy! and then the whistle clear and
long. Nep replied as loud as he could, and scampered off, return-
ing in about five minutes with a man in gamekeeper's dress, with
a gun in his hand, on whom Nep seemed expending all his over-
flowing affection. He seemed quite relieved of his responsibility
now, and kept dancing round his friend, telling him all how and
about it as plainly as dog could, and, what was more, was under-
stood. Bow-wow-I found her. Bow-wow-I did: not dead.
Bow-wow-wow-I warmed her. Clever Nep! Bow-wow-oo-oo-
ooh! aye, ow! and Nep yawned and stretched himself in the
fulness of his ecstasy.
"Good dog! capital fellow! down Nep, good dog!" reiterated
the man, as he lifted Bat, now fast relapsing into unconsciousness
from cold and exhaustion. The kind man took off his coat, rolled
her in it, and carried her off in his arms, silently, except now and
then applauding Nep, who trotted contentedly beside him, with
his nose at Bat's feet. She continued insensible for the rest of
When she again opened her eyes, she was aware of lying in a
soft bed, all wrapped up in blankets, and that the curtains had a
great many bright colours in them. She felt, on trying to move,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
that her head was decidedly queer too; but, beyond this, had no
idea how she came there, or of anything that had happened.
The motion brought a figure to the bedside, a cheerful-looking
woman, with pretty soft eyes, and a thick white cap. Bat mur-
mured some question, and the woman smiled, and held up her
finger. "Hush! you're not to speak; you're all right now, just
be quiet." She gave her a warm drink out of a jug at the fire, and
advised her to go to sleep. Bat lay still and soon forgot all. I
Robin Howe, who had found Bat, was gamekeeper to Mr. Hep-
burn. He took her to his own house, and the good wife did what
she could for her: the result we have seen. The only difficulty
now was to know what was to become of the unfortunate little waif.
This was referred to Mr. Hepburn. He thought the child (if
sufficiently well) had better appear at a Justice of Peace Court to
be held the following day, when she could explain how it all hap-
pened, as from the marks on her head there must have been blows.
On the morrow Bat was taken to court, and gave her evidence very
distinctly, telling where the camp had been, and what she had
heard the gipsies say. Robin Howe confirmed her story, and the
result of it all was, that the magistrates determined-
"That this child Bat, aged nine, whose murder has been at-
tempted by some person or persons unknown, having no lawful
protectors, or means of subsistence, shall be found guilty of the
crime of vagrancy, and be placed in the Female Reformatory and
Industrial School at Biggin, for the next six years, or till such time
as she shall be able to go to service and provide for herself."
So Bat and I went to Biggin, under the guardianship of Mr.
Hepburn, who promised to deliver her himself 'into the hands of
FEELS AN INCREASING RESPECTABILITY AND PLEASURE IN LIFE.
T was late in the day when we arrived at Biggin,
and stopped before a large house a little out of the
town. Mr. Hepburn lifted Bat out of the dog-
) cart, and rang the bell. The door was opened by a
,, young girl about fifteen, who being asked if Mrs. Brown
'- were at home, curtseyed, said yes, and invited him to
walk in, at the same time leading the way across the
(_/) stone lobby to a room at the other side. It was a tiny but
cheerful sitting-room, with a few pictures on the walls, and
a large arm-chair by the fire, of which Mr. Hepburn took possession.
He had relieved Bat of the horse-cloth that had done duty as her
cloak on the journey ; and she stood by him in her old clothes.
After a few minutes, the matron came in. Mr. Hepburn seemed
to be an old friend; and he briefly explained his business, stating,
that as the Magistrates had understood there would soon be a few
vacancies, they had sent the child straight to the school, not know-
ing what else to do with her. He was going on to further par-
ticulars about Bat, when Mrs. Brown, wisely thinking she had
better be absent, asked her if she were not tired, and rang the bell,
which was answered by the same girl who admitted us. Mrs.
Brown called her Mary, and said, "Take this little girl to the
workroom; there is a fire, I think ?"
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
"Keep her till I come : I need not tell you to be kind to her,
Mary took Bat's hand, curtseyed, and led her out. We went along
several passages, and passed many doors. All was very quiet, ex-
cept that in one room we heard children's voices singing a hymn.
Mary did not speak much till we got to our destination. It was a
much larger room than the last. There was no carpet on the floor,
but the boards were very white. The sides of it were fitted with
large unpainted presses, which jutted out a long way into the room.
A large deal table in the middle, and a few wooden chairs, also un-
painted, were the only furniture. An immense wicker basket
stood at one end of the table, and beside it some pieces of cloth
and flannel, evidently waiting to be cut out. It all looked awfully
business-like and regulated.
Mary drew a chair towards the fire for Bat, another for herself,
and sat down, looking just as business-like as the room, but very
pleasant too. She asked Bat if her head were painful Bat shook
it, and did not speak. Then there was an opening of doors, and a
great trampling of feet under the window, likewise shouts of
Mary said, "They are gone to play in the yard; wouldn't you
like to see them ?"
They looked out of the window, and saw about twenty little girls,
and two or three older ones. Some of them were settling to differ-
ent games, some talking, some listening, some little, some big, but
all happy, and all dressed exactly like Mary, in brown frocks,
blue and white aprons, and white caps. Perhaps that was what
made Bat forget her shyness in surprise, for she began to cross-
question her new friend, who was much amused by it.
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Why do you wear that ?" pointing to her cap.
"We all wear it, for the same reason as the miller wears his
white cap !"
Bat was still in the dark as to why, so Mary good-naturedly
"We should be cold without it. Our hair is short; besides,
caps look nice and keep it clean."
"Is this prison ?"
"Oh, dear no Why ?" exclaimed Mary, laughing.
"I didn't know; Mr. Hepburn said he locked up beggars."
"Oh no, it's not prison. We are all poor children who had no
one to take care of us, and we got to mischief, so we were sent
here till we can work and take care of ourselves. We are all very
happy; but we have to learn some lessons and work as we are
able. I am going away soon to a place in service."
Bat looked satisfied, and now began to make comparisons be-
tween Mary's dress and her own, who, noticing it, comforted her by
saying if she were good she should have one like it.
Mrs. Brown now entered, and after a few kind words to Bat, said
something to Mary about hot water and the No. 1 dormitory.
Thither they proceeded. Mary cut off the elf-locks of the new
arrival, and thoroughly washed her. I don't think Bat liked that
much; but it was probably the first time she had undergone the
-operation, and so she felt it strange Her attention was diverted
by a new suit of clothes, stockings, shoes, and all!
What did you say was your name ?"
"Bat is not a nice name; it must have been meant for Betsy, so
we'll call you that instead; and your number is 23."
They then went down to tea, and each girl had a great slice of
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
bread, and a good mug of milk and water. After that each brought
her own work from the cupboard, and they sat down in classes.
I was now transferred to Mary's pocket-pincushion, an extra
elegance in which she indulged herself. While lying on the desk
before her, I had time to look around the school-room.
There were thirty girls of different ages. Mary was among the
six oldest, and there were some of five or six years. There were
present the matron and a younger school-mistress; besides these I
afterwards saw an experienced cook, laundress, and housemaid.
These had their evenings to themselves if they chose, as their busi-
ness was to instruct a different class of girls each week, in cooking,
washing, and housework, the class each time being composed of five
young and two older girls; the nine youngest being exempt from
hard work, except as an occasional variety, when they regarded it
rather as a "ploy."
The first night after prayers at eight, Mary and her equals in age
helped to undress and tuck in the little ones, and when they were
safe in their respective nests, the six oldest read, separately, in Mrs.
Brown's room for an hour.
There were three "dormitories," long rooms running side by
side, and in each there slept eight little and two big girls, in small
beds ranged down the sides of the room. At one end there was a
larger bed for the superintendent, at the other, long deep tubs for
washing. The discipline, if strict, was necessary, and they were
treated, as Mary said, kindly on the whole; certainly in a very
different manner from that to which Bat had been accustomed.
Of course I only saw my companion now as one of a number,
and not being in-her possession, had lost the power of reading her
thoughts; but I watched her with greater interest than the other
children, and I thought, in the course of the time I stayed at the
THE HISTORY OF A PIN. 65
school, I perceived a marked improvement in her appearance and
manner. She became more gentle, and lost that wild, careless sort
of defiant look. Good regular food, exercise, and sleep, soon told
their own tale.
Soon after new-year's day, Mary and I left the school for her
new place. It was a sad parting from the only home she had ever
known: for, as she said to Mrs. Brown, "she minded the day she
came from the court, where she had been taken for begging on the
streets, a wretched, starving object;" even further sunk in the
scale of intelligence than Bat.
Mary's place was in the family of a respectable draper in the
town of Ardmill. Her mistress had taken a succession of girls
from the school, and as from her service they always got places in
steady, good families, it was looked upon as quite an advantage to
be engaged by Mrs. Lister. Therefore, as you may suppose, Mary
felt quite happy about her future prospects, though cast down at
leaving her companions and everybody at school. She travelled by
coach, and was set down giddy, cold, and weary, at seven o'clock
at night, in the inn-yard of the Blue Bell." She stood beside her
papered trunk in the midst of the bustle, not knowing which way
to turn. At last the guard, remembering his promise to see her
safe home, shouldered her box and bade her follow. Very soon he
turned up a dark entry, lighted only by the solitary street-lamp in
front of it, paused before a door at one side, set down her box, and
gave a modest rat-tat at the brass knocker, which glistened like
gold in the darkness. Some one opened the door; I could not see
who it was. The guard said, Here's the lass frae Biggin; good
night!" and hurried off.
The voice of the portress now made itself heard for the first
time. Weel, can ye no come in? What ails ye, stan'in' atour
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
yonder? My patience! gin ye had the rheumatiz into yer held
like me, ye wadna be sae keen for cauld air." Mary apparently
rather mollified the speaker by lifting in her box, and saying she
was sorry to have kept her in the cold, for she resumed, Hows'ever,
ye'll be nane the waur o' a drap tea. The mistress is no in the
nicht herself. "
Indeed, ma'am !" put in Mary, greatly rejoiced to find this was
not the mistress.
"Deed me! I just winder whiles what she thinks cam' o' folk
afore she was born, or will after she's deid-what atween bairns
bein' born, and auld folk deein', and silly bodies that canna tak'
care o' theirsels. I'm sure I dinna ken what gars the minister let
a'body come fashion' here; to be sure his ain leddy's no stout, puir
thing maybe that's the way !"
By this time we were in the kitchen, and I saw the speaker, a
great, big, raw-boned old wife, with a vinegar countenance, a
perfect curiosity of wrinkles. She was still speaking when inter-
rupted by a little delicate-looking woman-
"Hush, Eppie, for shame! let the girl have some tea and no
more talking. I daresay the children are in mischief'by their
being so quiet !"
This supposition had the desired effect of sending Eppie off to
see. Then Mrs. Lister showed Mary her room up stairs, opening
off the children's.
I liked what I saw of Mrs. Lister exceedingly. She was just
an active, sensible woman, with no pretension to anything more
than her position warranted. She had none of that nonsense, too
often mistaken for "gentility," which is so common among persons
who don't sufficiently respect themselves and their position in life,
whatever it be, to be content with it, but are always imitating some-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
thing higher. Yet Mrs. Lister was more looked up to and respected
than half-a-dozen fine ladies would have been. If a poor woman
had two babies when only one was expected, she went to Mrs.
Lister for a loan of a set of baby-clothes. If old Widow Dowie
was "by ordinary' bad," Mrs. Lister had to go and doctor her.
And so it went on, till, as Eppie said, when anybody was born, or
anybody else died, they all came to her, well knowing that there
would be sympathy with their distress, and advice how to mend it.
So well was she known, that ladies used to apply to her when they
wanted to know anything about the poor, and did not like to find
out for themselves. This would have tried my patience more than
anything; and so it did Mrs. Lister's, but she always gave a polite
answer, and all the information she could.
I was truly glad that Mary had fallen into such good hands;
for her mistress was not so much taken up with out-door work as
to neglect her home. On the contrary, she always seemed quite
aware of what went on, and a more artful person than Mary would
have found it difficult to deceive her.
I was one day stuck very firmly into a bundle of plain work, all
cut out ready for sewing, and carried by the eldest girl, who accom-
panied her mother, to Martha Stitcher's, the sempstress, whose
name I had heard several times in the course of the morning. For
instance, "I must tell Martha this, I must not forget that, these
seams are to be half an inch when finished," etc.
At last all the orders were given, and Martha understood them
(more than I did, or, I suspect, little Jane Lister, wise as she
Her mother wound up by saying, "Well, Martha, as your first
parcel of work is done, you will take it to Miss Fitzrobbe to-night,
68 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
and then you will have your money. Pray do this as neatly as
you possibly can, as you see the articles are finer than the last."
"I will, ma'am; thank you."
I was removed from the first bundle, and put into the second;
so did not remain long enough with Martha to tell you much
about her. I was taken to Miss Fitzrobbe, and after having had
the pleasure of seeing Martha liberally paid, and her work praised,
was consigned to the bottom of a drawer in Miss Fitzrobbe's room,
where I lay quietly resting for a long time.
GOES TO LONDON AND SEES A LITTLE OF HIGH LIFE.
]HEN Miss Fitzrobbe's maid came to pack up for
'\- the journey to London, I was taken out of my
^ /parcel, and put into the pin-cushion in that lady's
) dressing-room. While there, I heard a great deal
of the splendours of London, and that Miss Fitzrobbe
Swas going to spend the season" with an aunt, and to
be brought out, with great pomp and distinction, by
L; Lady Julia Fitzrobbe, a very grand person, not her own
aunt, but the wife of her father's eldest brother. Miss
Fitzrobbe never impressed me with any very violent interest or
affection, but she was, I have no doubt, a very fair sample of a
young lady of her class.
Everything about her could be described by one little word,
"well." Well-bred, well-looking, well-mannered, well-dressed;
playing, singing, drawing, walking, talking, and dancing all
sufficiently well; and, I presume, thinking well too; though, all the
time I was in her society, I never heard her give utterance to, or
evidence of the existence of a single thought that might be called
her own. Still she was to me a specimen of a class, and I observed
her with the same sort of interest she bestowed on a new species
of giraffe at the Zoological Gardens, -as she languidly surveyed
him by means of her eye-glass, and dreamily remarked, Dear me,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
what an odd creature! Pray, could you tell me what is the
use of such an animal?"
Poor Miss Fitzrobbe! I have no business at this date to be
retailing her faults, and drawing morals from them, and as she her-
self would have said, I do excessively dislike being considered
unpleasant," so I stop all comment upon her. However, it was
to her I owed my carriage to London; and when there endeavoured
to make myself as useful as I could. I also hoped, and, in fact,
felt sure, to see Milly again. How little I knew what "London"
Many were the dinners, balls, routs, concerts, and operas to
which I accompanied my mistress; besides an endless round of
shopping, visiting and receiving visits, which occupied all the
morning, i.e., from one o'clock to six at least, then dressing for
dinner at seven; and two or three parties filled up the time pretty
well till three or four in the morning.
My mistress seemed always satisfied with the amount of atten-
tion she received. Indeed, she would have been difficult to please
if she had not. Lady -Julia made an excellent chaperone, never
sleepy, and rarely cross, and with a handsome house and carriage,
plenty of servants, and a large as well as fashionable acquaintance,
was as delightful as any young lady of moderate desires could
wish. Do you remember the day when I went with Nelly and
Joe to the fair ? I daresay it's an extraordinary question to ask,
just after speaking of Lady Julia and Miss Fitzrobbe's fashionable
gaieties, but the delight manifested by Nelly and Joe in going to
the fair was pretty much the same feeling in substance (though if
anything more keen and real), as that experienced by Miss Fitz-
robbe in looking forward to going to Court. Yes, the great
ambition of her past life was to be gratified; she was to be
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
"presented." Now, this was a ceremony, from hearing so much of
it, which I had for some time felt a strong desire to witness, and,
perhaps infected by Miss Fitzrobbe, to participate in. My wishes
were to be gratified,-I, too, was to be presented! though, up to
the last moment, I was kept in woful uncertainty. But, oh, how
my head flushed and my point glistened when I was called to
perform the duty of fastening the bouquet to the bosom of Miss
Fitzrobbe's new Court dress! Lady Julia's own French maid, a
person of sorrowful aspect and lanky garments, had superintended
the toilette, and now, when all was finished, pronounced the effect
to be "ver' prattie; not tink you so? c'est trss-jolie, n'est ce pas,
We went to Court,-that is to say, to the Queen's drawing-
room at St. James's Palace; but really, I being unused to the royal
presence, can scarcely tell you what I saw there, for what with
beautiful ladies, and gentlemen in splendid uniforms, jewels, gold-
lace, flowers, feathers, and everything magnificent in a great crowd,
my poor head was quite turned, and I am afraid my recollections
of it are rather confused! But I saw the Queen; and when Miss
Fitzrobbe curtseyed to her Majesty, I'made the best obeisance in
my power,-a sort ofjerk was all I could ever attain to i Altogether
I don't think I enjoyed it as much as I expected, but I am very
glad to have been there; and I've no doubt if many right honour-
able persons were to make known to you their candid feeling on
the subject, it would be precisely similar to my own.
Some time after the presentation at Court, Miss Fitzrobbe had
been to an unusually quick succession of balls and parties, and
one fine soft morning felt peculiarly ennuyde and out of sorts, so, as
a cure for low spirits, her aunt proposed a turn in the garden, to
which, in common with a select number of people in the neigh-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
bourhood, who could pay for it, they had a key, and the privilege
of walking within its gates whenever they chose. It was a small
space railed off one of the parks, and laid out as a garden,-that is
to say, there was grass kept very close and smooth, intersected
with walks, once gravelled, and planted at regular intervals with
sooty shrubs and evergreens, which, in spite of the smoke, seemed
tolerably happy. Within these precincts those ladies fortunate
enough to have access to them, used to take an occasional airing;
and their nursemaids and children resorted thither for their morn-
ing walk, which meant, as in other places, that the former met
their friends and talked over things in general, and the details of
their respective families in particular, while their charges dug
holes in the walks, and rolled upon the grass, with no fear of being
"run over" before their infant vision. Well, Miss Fitzrobbe was,
as I have said, taking her airing in the garden one fine day, and
some subject appeared to be painful and irritating to her mind, for
she seemed utterly to forget the words she used, and said, I don't
care a pin about it !" as if a pin were the most worthless object in
My feelings were so shocked that I felt I could no longer re-
main in the company of so inconsiderate a person, and, jerking
myself out of her dress, fell to the ground: the first and last per-
son I ever parted from in bad humour, which has, perhaps (though
unwittingly) tinged my recollections of her.
There I lay on the walk for long. Many feet passed over me,
and many snatches of conversation I heard: a tantalizing position,
you will allow, for an intelligent pin,-to lie on the ground, rained
upon and trodden under foot, utterly slighted and forgotten every
hour of the day.
At last, the fat little personage, called Lady Mary something,
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
though usually addressed as Baby, being not yet two years old,
escaped from the vigilance of her fine nurse, and sat herself down
on the walk, regardless of her smart pelisse, to pick up the stones.
She all at once gave a shout of delight, seized hold of me, and
conveyed me to her ladyship's little, red, soft mouth, which, how-
ever sweet it might be for her lady-mother to kiss, did not at all
suit me as a lodging. My anxiety on the point of choking my
finder, being agonizing-not to speak of feeling the place damp--I
gave her a gentle prick on the lip, which elicited a roar. Her nurse
caught her up, and took me from her. I went home with them,
-and congratulated myself on my happy exchange from Miss Fitz-
robbe's society to that of Lady Mary, or, as she called herself,
"'Ady Baby." She was a happy little mortal when let alone, and
not yet old enough to be spoiled by the attention she had paid to
her; indeed, it was no more than most babies receive, whether
.'adies or not.
The little one, at this time, was no better taken care of than
many babies of fashionable mammas often are. Her mother had a
very small portion of her time to devote to "her darling," as she
always called the child when they did meet; but then the excuse
was always ready, "I am so very fortunate in my nurse; such a
very superior person; she manages Mary a great deal better than I
do. The little thing is always wilful, after a time, when with me.
In the country, however, I shall have more time." Probably her
ladyship was not aware how much of the management was kept up
and exercised by terror of various kinds, the very vagueness of
which powerfully affected the baby mind. Sometimes it was "the
black men who ate naughty children as don't sleep;" then the big
white lady, all white and cold, who "told nurse she was coming
for Lady Mary if she didn't be good, and not cry at leaving
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
mamma;" and, oh, dear! how often the vicious shake and hasty
whipping forced the child to instant obedience and silence !
There is no telling how long this state of things might have con-
tinued, or the evil effect of it upon poor 'Ady Baby, as there were
no other children, and the rest of the servants were either ignorant
of it, or considered it "no business of theirs;" but it was brought
to light, and ended soon after the family left London for my Lord's
place in the country. Most of the London servants were either
dismissed, or left in town. The nurse, however, was supposed to
be such a treasure as to be kept on any terms. She made some
fuss about increased wages, as a compensation for the dulness of
the country; and her lady foolishly gave it, though rather sur-
prised, as she had hitherto understood Miss Vickson's affection for
Lady Mary to be so overwhelming, that nothing short of death
could separate them.
And to the country Miss Vickson accordingly went, but trouble
awaited her there in the person of Mrs. Boardman, the old house-
keeper, who had been "My lord's nurse when he was a baby, bless
him! a fine one he was to be sure." And the old woman used to
come up to the nursery (much against the will of Vickson), and
laugh till she cried again, as she recounted the doings of her boy.
The little Lady Mary would crow and dance with glee, and one
night wanted to climb on Mrs. Boardman's lap, when Vickson drew
her back with, "Be still, Lady Mary! Well, Mrs. Boardman,
ma'am, that's not my way of doing. Children give a deal of trouble
if you only let 'em. Now, I just show 'em they are to obey me, and
all the fuss is over then." Whether it was this speech, or the set-
ting aside of all her old-fashioned notions, I don't know what
aroused her suspicions, but Mrs. Boardman never felt easy about
the London nurse. One night, when the house was full of com-
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
pany, she came up to the nursery, fancying all was not right, to
see what her pet was about. I shall never forget the old nurse's
look of horror, when, instead of the child's usual welcome as she
entered the room, there was a low sob; and, on going to the bed,
she saw the poor little victim staring at a pillow, with a night-
cap on, at the foot of it.
Mrs. Boardman spoke soothingly to her, but the only answer
was another sob. "What's the matter with my pet?" at the
same time lifting the terrified child, who clung to her, quiver-
ing like a leaf. "What have they been doing to it, pretty,
"'Ady Baby's frightened. Nusey say dat bitee me if I no
s'eep," lisped the poor little one, pointing to the pillow.
Mrs. Boardman laughed loud out, and threw the pillow on the
ground. She rapped a blanket round Lady Mary, and took her
down to her own room; then rang the bell, and sent the girl who
answered it for Vickson.
Miss Vickson appeared, flushed with wrath, especially at being
interrupted in a vigorous flirtation in the servant's hall, where
she had no business to be. An angry colloquy ensued, and as
Mrs. Boardman persisted in refusing to allow the child (who
screamed at the sight of its nurse, now that it had a better protec-
tor) to return to the nursery without her, Miss Vickson stated her
intention of giving warning, which the housekeeper accepted,
adding that, "as the sight of her appeared to affect the
child's nerves, she had better keep out of its sight to-night, and
refer it to her ladyship in the morning."
I need not say that Miss Vickson departed for London next day,
and a worthier person was put in her place, to the evident relief of
A SUDDEN REVERSE OF FORTUNE..
i 7-' HE new nurse, Mrs. White, was a widow, and a
much plainer sort of person than Miss Vickson;
and my lady engaged her at the recommendation
of Mrs. Boardman. Perhaps Lady Mary was not
S in such thorough discipline as she had been, but I
J never grieved over the change, as the life in the nursery
S was a much pleasanter one than under the rule of
S) Vickson. Things now went on in their even course; the
little woman grew fatter and rosier than ever. Indeed,
her temper was much less fretful and passionate than formerly, and
Mrs. Boardman was every evening a visitor in the nursery to see
'Ady Baby put to bed, often recounting to Mrs. White the horrors
of the night "she found it out," and dwelling at length on imaginary
ones, which "she had no doubt were true, though she had never
exactly known of them." In this, I think, the worthy dame
exaggerated, but I have no doubt it was quite bad enough.
I felt quite a person of respectability in the family, as Mrs.
Boardman had taken a fancy to my large head and stout figure,
somewhat like herself.
But every lane has its turning, and so happiness does not last for
ever. At this time it was my misfortune to fall into the hands of
a small boy named Charley, whose principal amusement, I am
sorry to say, consisted in doing mischief. What do you think the
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
young varlet did ? He was seized with a brilliant idea how nice
it would be if he could catch fish! And the piece of water most
accessible to him being a horse-trough near his father's door, he
determined to fish there. I should not have desired to interfere
with his plans, particularly as there was nothing to be caught, if
he had not, in a most cruel manner, crooked up my back to make
a fish-hook of me! What I suffered you cannot conceive, nor
would I harrow your feelings by describing it to you.
This dreadful state of things lasted only a few days (they seemed
to me a few ages), when the bit of thread to which I was attached
became untied, and I was precipitated to the bottom of the horse-
trough. You may not believe me, but my first sensation was that
of extreme pleasure at escaping from the clutches of Master Charley.
If you have ever heard of the cold-water cure, now known by the
fine name of Hydropathy, you will readily understand how the
immersion soothed the frightful pain in my back. I must have
been endowed with a remarkably fine constitution not to have sunk
under the injuries I had received as Charley's fishing tackle; by
the bye, I wonder how he would have liked to be doubled up into
something a boy was never intended to be ? I just wish little boys
and girls would ask themselves that question before they commit
acts of wanton mischief. After the pain of my ill-treatment had
subsided, I began to weary of my watery solitude, and to feel an
intense longing for a more varied and stirring life. I can quite
sympathize with and understand the feeling of the man-wasn't
it Robinson Crusoe ?-who composed and transmitted to posterity
as his experience the lines-
0 Solitude where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face ?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place."
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
Solitude is much the same to a pin whether in a desert island or
a horse-trough. To be sure I occasionally heard a faint murmur of
voices when the men came to water their horses. But that only
added to my misery, for though I tried again and again to make
myself heard, no one ever would understand there was an intelli-
gent individual in the watery prison. Indeed, could any of my
old friends have seen me they would never have recognized me, so
altered was my appearance. I used to ponder as I lay there over
the different stages of my life, the ups and downs, the changes of
place and people I had seen. And as I thought over my increased
knowledge of men and things, I could scarcely believe I was the
same pin who reposed on the hearth-rug in Lady Dripley's draw-
ing-room, and was thankful for even the meagre information of the
fire. At last there was a stirring of the water. I heard grating
sounds on the outside of the trough, and oh, joy of joys a plug
near the bottom was taken out, and I saw day-light through the
hole, for the first time for long! The water flowed out in an un-
broken stream, till it was all drained off, leaving only the mud and
dirt at the bottom; this a man shovelled out upon the road, and I
of course was thrown out with the other refuse. Ah, dear heart!
as Mrs. Boardman would say, what changes! But fallen as were
my fortunes, my native value was not lost sight of. An old man
chanced to pass that way, and seeing a lot of rubbish on the road,
came poking about and turning it over with a sort of hooked stick
he carried in his hand. He apparently found little that even he
cared to carry away, but his sharp eyes fell upon me; he stooped
and picked me out of the muddy slime; he rubbed me clean be-
tween his finger and thumb, saw that I was all crooked up, but
stuck me in his ragged coat-sleeve, mumbling, A pin a day is a
groat a year," and that I might do if I was fettled up,"-a remark
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
as good as music to my ears. My new master was a perfect pic-
ture of misery. He was an old, old man, who might once have
been a sturdy labourer, but was now doubled and bent with age;
he was clad in tattered clothes, which were only kept on his attenu-
ated figure by means of a rope tied round his waist. His feet and
legs half-way to the knee, were encased in wisps of straw, wound
round and round them, and fastened in some unknown manner.
His physiognomy was even a clearer indication of the miser than
the extreme poverty of his garments, so full was it of shrewd cun-
ning and grinding avarice. Such was my deliverer, and, faithful
to his word, he took me home to be fettledd up;" not that in this
he was actuated by any feeling of benevolence; don't fancy that;
no, pure avarice was Miser Scrape's one idea, for which he lived, or
rather sacrificed his life. The home to which he took me was a
species of hut, even worse-looking than its master, which suited his
taste precisely, as he got leave to burrow in it undisturbed, for no
one else would consent to live there. The utterly ruinous state of
the place led folks to believe his own version of the story, that he
was a miserably poor old man, who could not afford to pay for a
better house. In reality he liked the place because there were
many hiding-holes in the turf walls and roof where he had secreted
considerable sums of money, what would have seemed, for any one
in his rank of life, immense. Yet there they were in bags made of
old stocking feet, and cracked tea-pots, probably found on the
road,-such a luxury he never would have purchased. And at
nights (when the moon shone, for he never was guilty of the ex-
travagance of a lighted candle) he would take down his hoards and
count his money.
Well, but I must tell you what became of me all this time. The
old man took me from his sleeve, and, with great pains and care,
80 THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
straightened my back so successfully that hardly any trace re-
mained of my misfortunes; of course, the operation was painful in
the extreme, but it was made bearable by pride and hope of again
going about the world as a useful member of society. I was then
consigned to a box with several others, the result of the day's gains
in the pin way. There were many other pins in the box, and some
of them said we were to stay there till there were enough of us to
sell as pound pins. This supposition proved correct, for although
the process of collecting our number was slow, it went steadily
on, and I have no doubt brought the miser more than one groat
at the year's end. Each pin of the number had a history: some
longer, some shorter; some quite new with the gloss still on them;
but all had a history, whatever it might be, whether more or less
interesting. Few of them had seen as much of the world as my-
self, and not one had ever been to Court-a circumstance which
gave me great importance among them.
When our master thought he had nearly enough of us, he used
to weigh us every night till the pound of pins was complete, or as
little short as he thought safe to risk. And then we were taken to
a dealer in odds and ends, who often exchanged Mr. Scrape's col-
lections for shillings and pence.
And so it came about that I was passed from hand to hand as
a fraction of a pound of pins, till I arrived, in course of time, at
the grocer's shop, No. 110, High Street, Kirktown, Lintshire, which
was a curious coincidence enough, for, as you may or may not re-
member, it was in that good old town, though in a different shop,
that I first entered active life as a pin of first-rate quality. Many
things had come and gone since then, and here I was again as a
AN OLD FRIEND.
_, _Y WAS sold by the grocer's boy to a fine-looking
-young man, whom I knew directly from his fresh
(i colour as from the country. He did not seem
.a used to dealing with such delicate things as pins,
) for when the boy asked him how many he wanted, he
S said in a tone of good-humoured contempt, "A good
few; the gudewife's aye needin' them; an ounce'll
maybe do ; it'll tak' a gey hantle o' their to mak' an ounce !"
The boy showed him what an ounce was, and then he said
"he'd have some more." So another ounce was weighed, and I was
I heard my purchaser say to the master of the shop in answer to
his inquiries, "He was getting' on fine wi' his business as a smith,
and the wife and bairns were real well !" He put us in his pocket,
and we went to stow away his purchases in the cart, already well
laden with cumbrous iron implements, and other things. I soon
.remembered the road as the one we had travelled from the fair,
and we kept on it till we came to the entrance of the village. We
stopped before the white gate of a cottage of rather higher preten-
sions than the rest. It had windows in the roof, betokening two
storeys, a little porch, and a fresh muslin curtain in each of the
windows, except the kitchen, which had flowering plants instead.
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
It stood in the middle of an exceedingly pretty thriving garden,
with plenty of roses, stocks, and pinks, besides common vegetables
and berry" bushes. Altogether it was as pretty a picture of a poor
man's home as you could wish to see on a long summer's day, as
that had been. Not such a very poor man either, for was not Alick
Saunders the village smith ? and was not there aye as much work
in his smithy as he could get through ? He was a lucky man
Alick, too, in other ways, if one might judge by the blythe voice
singing a sweet old song, the tune of which (coming through the
open door we could not hear the words) sounded marvellously like
"There's nae luck aboot the house!" Alick opened the gate
gently, but not so gently as to deceive the singer, for in an instant
she was at the door with her baby in one hand, and a half-finished
blue stocking in the other. A three-year-old boy ran down the
walk before her, and was rewarded with a jump by his father. The
minute I saw the smith's wife, I recognized a friend of my youth,-
Nelly, the spruce table-maid at Lady Dripley's, whom I used to be
so fond of long ago. I had left her at the cross-road going home
with Joe from the fair, a pretty slight girl, with no thought of care
in her head, except the dread of a reproof from Miss Trimitt and
Poke. And after what seemed to me now but a short absence,
here I found her a sober matron, with a husband and two children
to think of and care for. To be sure the change was all gain to
her; her husband steady and affectionate, her children merry
chubby elves. But even their presence startled me, for it made me.
feel how time had flown. Still, Nelly's cares seemed to agree with
her remarkably well, and I am not sure that, on the whole, her
appearance had not improved.
The kitchen and house were quite a pattern of cleanliness and
order, and Nelly seemed so thoroughly at home in all the details
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
of house-keeping, and so accustomed to being wife and mother,
that I was soon quite ashamed of myself for thinking of her as the
girl whom all and sundry considered themselves privileged to reprove
and direct. She really made a capital gudewife, and I was each
day more provoked with myself for ever doubting her capability.
Their garden was a source of never-failing interest to her and
Alick; and it really was wonderful how they managed to keep it
so neat, as Alick was all day at his forge, and his wife had her
children, besides a dairy of four cows to look after. She used to
get her cousin, Mysie, whom I remembered Auntie teaching to
fold the clothes when a little trot of six or seven years old, now
grown a comely lass of sixteen, to come and stay all day to help
her when washing or churning was in hand. An important person
was Mysie; her father still lived in his old room in the same
house with Auntie, the difference being, that, instead of Auntie
working for him and his children, as well as her own husband,
Mysie now did all the rough work of both rooms,-besides cook-
ing, except, of course, on the days she went to Nelly's, when, like
other people, she could not be in two places at once. How Nelly's
children, especially wee Alick, enjoyed those days! for though
mammy was always merry, and very fond of her chicks, still she
could not be expected at her age to jump about and play hide-and-
seek with them as Mysie did. After her work was done, Mysie
could spin a top, make a daisy-chain, plait rush-caps, bark like a
whole kennel of dogs, play at cocks ;" in short, there was no end
to her accomplishments.
Nelly had not forgotten the lessons of tidiness she learned as a
girl; and many things she had thought unco fashious then, she now
found to be of great use to her. Perhaps you don't understand
what uncoo fashions" means? It means just the thing I often
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
heard Miss Fitzrobbe call "a great bore!" Oh how many nice
useful things, even the very highest and most interesting, are stig-
matized by foolish children, and older children too, as "great
bores 1" And yet some time or other how glad we should often be
to know, and be able to do, the very thing we most scorned as a
bore. Now if Nelly, instead of setting herself to learn and remem-
ber these tiresomely necessary sort of things, had contented herself
with slurring them over, and listened to that lazy "It'll do well
enough," do you think she would have been as good a wife now ?
I suspect not. I suspect that the fact of his wife saying, "it 'll do
well enough," would not have made Alick in better humour with
a half-cold dinner, tasting of grease and soot, or the children
happier and cleaner while mammy was taking twice as long as
necessary to prepare the said dinner.
I suspect ill-temper, unhappiness, and perhaps whisky and
utter ruin, would have been the result, however well (at first) Nelly
might have comforted herself with "it'll do well enough." But
that having never been her way, none of these dismal consequences
took place. And Alick and the bairns and herself were as happy
as the day was long, except those little vexations to which we are
I was not always stationary in the pin-cushion, but went about
with Nelly. I liked going to milk the cows; they were placid,
gentle creatures, with sleepy faces and smooth sleek skins. It was
quite a pleasure, too, to go into the dairy, all so nice and clean;
new milk standing to cream in the wooden milk-pails, which were,
oh, so white; and once a week there was the beautiful golden but-
ter. Nelly never had any difficulty in selling her butter, for there
were always plenty of customers in Kirktown market, if, indeed, it
were not all bought by the gentry round. It may seem wonderful
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
that I should have been so long in Nelly's possession, and have seen
so little of her father and mother, who lived so near. But you will
please to recollect that, although a pin of most wonderful powers,
the faculty of walking was denied me, and I was entirely dependent
on others for moving from one place to another. So, as you per-
ceive, the simple reason was, that as I had never yet been taken to
Auntie's cottage, I had not seen her, except now and then for a
few minutes at her daughter's. After a sojourn with Nelly, which
I enjoyed extremely (indeed there was nothing to be seen or
felt but industry and prosperity; time had made changes indeed,
but they were all of a cheerful kind), I was put into the shawl
one evening that baby was wrapped in, and taken along to his
grandmother's. There was to be a tea-drinking in the cottage,
and little Alick and baby were going, in great feather, with their
father and mother.
It will be such a long story about my return to the cottage that
I shall defer it to another chapter.
SNEVER felt so sad in all my life before, as I did
\-that first night of my return to the cottage. I
was so depressed that I could not pay the slight-
Sest attention to the frolicsome capers of the
children, or the amusement and pride of their
S Grandmother. When we went in, I was taken
out of baby's shawl, and dropped upon the floor.
However, in a short time, I was discovered, and, for fear
S of accidents to the youngsters, placed in the pin-cushion
on the wall.
I looked around the room I had known so well. There was the
same furniture standing in the self-same places; the same fire, it
seemed-though that could not be, casting the same flickering,
ruddy shadows on the floor; but oh, how sad and sore the change
in other ways!
Auntie, to be sure, wore marvellously well; and, while her
daughter and grandchildren were there, you would not have per-
ceived any difference, except, perhaps, that her hair was greyer,
and her manner more that of an old woman.
But on her husband time had laid his heavy hand. James
Caw, when I last knew him, was a hale, strong, elderly man, and
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
though he had a slight stoop about the shoulders, was as able for a
good day's work as ever.
Ten years had passed over his head, and left him an almost
helpless paralytic, just able to potter about the doors, and give his
opinion of the weather to passers-by, in a weak, tremulous voice.
Before they sat down to tea, the shepherd entered, looking not very
different, for ten years, one way or other; and with him a boy,
whom I recognized as Tom. Fancy my astonishment when he was
saluted as Jamie, the "toddle-ben" of old times! So he was.
Tomn by this time was a stalwart mason, going to be married.
And where was Willie, the patient watcher through the long
nights ? Ah, Willie's was now a happier lot than any of his dear
ones had yet attained to; he had gone to that glorious land, the
expectation of which had strengthened his fainting heart. His
Friend had long ago sent for him to dwell in the light of His
countenance, whose smile had so often brightened the dark days of
the suffering boy. Yes, Willie's place was empty, his bed unused,
and, instead, there was a small grave in The Auld Kirkyard,
where the wild forget-me-nots and daisies grew, and where Auntie
would take wee Alick sometimes on a Sunday, and tell him about
his cousin Willie, who was not dead, but living in Heaven; and
then bring him home, and show him Willie's box of tools, now
carefully put by in the aumrie, and only taken down periodically
to be dusted.
Now, strange as you may think it, all this did not make Auntie
wretched by any means: Do you think that was because she did
not miss Willie ? or did not really care so very much about him ?
Oh, no! that was not the reason; but Auntie had read (in the same
book where Willie had learned patience) about the country where
death, sorrow, and parting could never enter, and where "the in -
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
habitant shall no more say, I am sick;" and there, after a little
while, Auntie knew she should meet Willie again.
So, looking to that time, she lived on in humble faith and
patient hope, knowing, as he had done before, that it was, at most,
but "a little while." Still, his absence made a blank that could
never fail to be felt; and even now, the men and Jamie were
silent at the mention of Willie's name. But the shepherd, though
his father, I don't think felt it so much as Auntie. He looked on
the boy's removal as a release from pain, and his friends were re-
lieved from seeing him suffer. And then the shepherd's work took
him away from home all day, and that made a great difference.
The various things in the room were wonderfully little altered.
The bird was dead, and his place not filled up, but there was no
other change, except a new pin-cushion, another red cloth heart. I
was glad of it; for really the old one was very uncomfortable, so
gritty and horrid; but I felt, too, as if its departure were a mark
In short, you perceive, I was myself fast lapsing into old age,
and always regretting the past, as is the wont and privilege of those
who have lived a long time in the world; a wearisome one, no
doubt, to their juvenile friends, but a great satisfaction to them-
Nelly being settled so near them was a great pleasure to the
old people, and, besides, they looked upon her marriage and
position as Mrs. Saunders as something quite above the common.
She had been their only child, and though Willie, while he lived,
divided their interest, "now that he was better provided for," as
Auntie said, "we have nane but Nelly and her bairns; and as for
Alick, nae son o' our ain could hae been mair attentive, just a'
as me and the gudeman could wish."
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
I wish that everybody had reason to be as well satisfied, and
that all young men deserved it as well, as Alick Saunders.
Another change had place taken in my absence, and I think I
could explain it best in Auntie's own words, as I heard her tell it to
the minister's wife, who one day asked her what first made her think
of it; so Auntie said, Ye'll mind, mem, as long as my gudeman was
able, he was foreman to Mr. Spence, at the farm up by, and he aye
made a gude regular wage; and there just bein' like him and me
(puir Willie, dear lamb, didna eat muckle), sae lang as that lasted
we did fine, and I had nae occasion for doing mair than just mind
the house, and docker awa' among the bairns: but when he grew frail,
and no able for's work, syne the shoe began to pinch, ye under-
stan'? Nelly and John--that's the shepherd-and Alick, and
Maister Spence, and 'abody was real kind, and aye for helping' wi'
the siller-it's money you ca' it-but I couldna bide bein' obleeged
like to some or onybody; and sae, it was putten into my heid,
'There's mony a puir body wad be glad to leave their bairns safe
when they gang to work;'-I mean bairns owre young for the
parish schule, wi' a' thae laddies ruggin' and reivin' at the puir
wee things; and sae I just thocht that I could easy keep as mony
as would come, and charge, maybe, a penny i' the week, if they
brocht a mid-day piece wi' them; and I would gi'e them the
Questions and Ready madeasy (anglic, 'reading made easy');
and I gar the biggest o' them knit (no the wee anes, for they're aye
pokin' the wires into ilk either and it's dune fine. I've, in a
general way, maybe ten or a dizzen; whiles I'll hae only five or
six; and whiles I've haen as mony as twenty."
"What age are your pupils ?"
"Oh, maybe the youngest '11 be eighteen months. I dinna tak'
them aulder nor five or six. Laddies comes wild by that, and, as
THE HISTORY OF A PIN.
I dinna feel empowered to lick them, the little brats disna care ior
It must be very troublesome."
"'Deed, mem, they're just wonderful' quiet. Jeames disna bide
that muckle i' the house to weary o' them. He's aye daunderin
aboot some gate. I've been used wi' bairns a' my days; there's a
deal in custom-and they're fond o' Auntie: our ain (or, at least,
the shepherd's bairns) aye can's me Auntie, and the wee things hae
learnt frae them, I'm thinking. Puir things, I wad miss them
noo if they didna come D'ye no find, mem, that ye miss even
the bather o' a thing, an aince ye be used wi't ?"
I have no doubt myself that Auntie would have quite pined
without her small pupils. They came dropping in about nine
in the morning, and most of them (except those whose homes were
quite close) stayed all day, being provided with a mid-day piece,"
which was given into Auntie's charge on their arrival, and delivered
to them again at one o'clock. Many of them were quite babies,
not two years old. These did nothing but play with each other on
the floor. There would sometimes be a difference of opinion, and
on such occasions Auntie would find it necessary to separate
the combatants, but this was all that ever happened to disturb
the harmony of the proceedings. And the older ones learnt
their letters, and two or three questions of the Shorter Cate-
chism, besides being instructed in the art of knitting; and
all who could speak sang hymns suited to their age, led by
As Mysie did the housework, Auntie was able to give her whole
attention to her school; and, at the same time, knit for her own
benefit. At twelve o'clock, on fine days, the meeting adjourned to
play on the green for an hour, under the superintendence of Mysie.