The Baldwin Library
m q University
LITTLE CHARLOTTE'S HOME
BY THE AUTHOR OF
'TRUE STORIES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE,' 'LITTLE ANIMALS,'
SEELEY, JACKSON, AND HALLIDAY, 51 FLEET STREET.
LITTLE CHARLOTTE'S HOME IN BURMAH,
'THE ship will weigh anchor as early as possible
to-morrow morning, Ellen, so you must be ready
to go on board when it gets cool this evening; I
told you there was no time to lose, and you see I
am right: and now can I help you with your
packing, or do you, as usual, disdain all assist-
ance ?' These words were spoken by Major
Dunbar, as he entered the room where his wife
was preparing breakfast on his return from morn-
Mrs. Dunbar looked up in dismay.
'Herbert,' she said, 'then we must wait till
another opportunity occurs; it is not only the
packing, of course that could be done, but I have
not said goodbye to a creature yet; there are
several of our friends whom I must see before
leaving; it would be so unkind, so uncivilized to
go off without taking leave of them.'
'Then you must go and say goodbye to them
at once, and trust me to see to the packing; for
go to-morrow we must, my orders are positive,
and I am resolved not to leave you to travel
Mrs. Dunbar was silent; it was a thing she
particularly disliked to have to take a journey in a
hurry; besides which, her Indian life had been
very pleasant, and the idea of leaving it for a new
home in Burmah was by no means agreeable to
her. But her husband's 'must,' as usual, carried
all before it; the packing was accomplished; the
goodbyes were said, and by seven o'clock that
evening the little company of passengers had as-
sembled on the beach of Madras.
Several other passengers were preparing to
embark, but we will confine our attention to the
Dunbars and their children. These were three in
number, two only being their own. The third, a
tall, slight child of seven, was the orphan daughter
of a brother officer of Major Dunbar. Captain
Lewis-for that was his name-had died a few
months before of cholera, having previously lost
his wife and two children of the same complaint.
On his death-bed he had begged his friend to take
HOME IN BURMAH.
charge of his little orphan till he should be able to
send her safely to England. So Charlotte had
remained with her kind friends ever since, and
already began to love Mrs. Dunbar as a second
mother, and to look upon Edwin and Mary as a
brother and sister.
Unfortunately for both the children, Mary and
Edwin were both younger than Charlotte; and as
the latter had been sadly indulged by her poor
father after her mother's death, the little ones had
sometimes cause to wish themselves older and
more able to contend with her. But I must not
forget that I left the whole party on the shore
waiting to embark. A serious undertaking that is
off the coast of Madras, where the surf runs so
high, that the sea- not untrequently washes clean
over the little boats by which the passengers reach
The 'Dolphin' was lying at anchor at some dis-
tance from the shore when the travellers reached
the beach. A boat was soon procured,-not a very
strong one, it is true; but the natives think nothing
of having to bale out the water incessantly; and
Captain Dunbar was used to their ways and did
not trouble himself about it. The family and, their.
baggage were stowed away in it; the half-clothed
boatmen pushed it off, and the struggle with winds
and waves began.
Poor Mrs. Dunbar's hard day's work had tired
her out, the excitement of leaving many dear friends
was weighing down her spirits, and she longed to
be safely settled in her little cabin. The children,
too, were cross and fretful, tired and sleepy, and
moreover considerably frightened. At last, when
the boat had made several bounds, now up on the
top of a gigantic wave, and now down, down, ever
so deep, little Mary fairly began to cry. Edwin
held out for some time longer; but when the
shouts and yells of the boatmen, who think to
gain more money by doing all they can to make
it appear that they have great perils to undergo;
when these fearful noises had gone on for some
time, he, too, joined his little sister and hid his face
in his mother's lap.
Charlotte alone sat still and quiet, though her
lips quivered, and her face grew very pale,
when a huge wave broke over the boat, and
carried off one or two of the smaller parcels, at
the same time drenching them all through and
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'Why, Charlotte, you are a brave little woman!'
cried Major Dunbar: 'keep up your courage; we
are close to the ship now. No, we are not, though,'
he added, after a moment's pause, during which a
violent gust had blown them back a considerable
distance, 'you stupid fellows pull hard, I tell you:
are you going to keep us here all night ? if so, don't
expect any bucksheesh from me, I warn you,-you
won't get it.'
Th3 men growled and grumbled, but they
deemed it best to exert themselves a little more
vigorously, and before long the weary party were
safely on board.
The children were quickly undressed by their
ayah, and soon forgot their fatigue and fright in a
sound sleep. At sunrise the anchor was weighed,
and the 'Dolphin' and her crew bade farewell to
the shores of India.
A short voyage brought them to the port on
the coast of Burmah, for which they were des-
tined; and then began the more fatiguing journey
across the country to a distant station, where
1ajor Dunbar's regiment was quartered.
It was just in the middle of the hot season,
and the journey could therefore be but slowly per-
bormed. It was not till the third evening that
they reached their new home, which was situated
just outside the village, and with its cool verandahs
"-- _- -
and shady rooms looked very pleasant to the weary
HOME IN BURMAH.
SMajor Dunbar had taken the place of an officer,
who had been suddenly compelled to return to
Europe for his health, leaving his home and furni-
ture all ready for his successor. This, of course,
saved Mrs. Dunbar a great deal of trouble; the
unpacking was soon performed, and in a few days
the house was quite neat and comfortable.
'And now, Charlotte,' said Mrs. Dunbar, when
all the more important business had been de-
spatched, 'I cannot let you be idle any more; we
really must begin lessons to-morrow; you are
getting such a great girl to know nothing, and I
should be ashamed to send you home to your
aunt not knowing how to read.'
Charlotte's merry face clouded over directly
she heard the word 'lessons;' but she had already
found out that Mrs. Dunbar's must meant some-
thing more than her poor papa's had done, and she
bethought her of another way of delaying the
dreaded day a little longer.
'Mrs. Dunbar,' she said, soberly, 'is not to-
morrow my mamma's birthday; may I not wait
one day longer before I begin my lessons ? I am
sure to be naughty over my lessons, and I should
not like to be naughty on mamma's birthday.'
'I am sure I hope you do not mean to be always
naughty over your lessons, Charlotte,' said Mrs.
Dunbar; 'but I suppose I must grant your request
for one more day, and then after that we must go
on very regularly.'
'Oh, yes, we will indeed!' replied Charlotte,
who never troubled herself with events so far off
as the day after to-morrow, and who was com-
forting herself with the secret hope that as Mrs.
Dunbar was weak and ill, it might be easy some-
times to avoid lessons without appearing to wish
to be lazy; for whatever faults Charlotte had, and
they were certainly not few in number, she was at
least anxious that they should not be too con-
spicuous. Her great ambition was to be loved
and admired. Hitherto, she had been loved in
spite of her faults, which had not been much
noticed or reproved; but now something told her
things would be different; it was not likely Mrs.
Dunbar would love her as well as Edwin and
Mary, unless she was as good as they, and Char-
lotte's conscience told her she would have to be
very careful if this was to be the case.
Lessons were Charlotte's great abhorrence, not
because she was particularly stupid, but simply
HOME IN BURMAH.
because she hated anything that gave her any
'I can be good as long as I can get off those
horrid lessons,' she said to herself 'Oh, I wish
there were no such things as lessons in the world!
I hope when I go to England my aunt will say I
need not do any just yet. I am sure I don't want
to learn to read; it is much nicer to play in the
garden and watch the parrots in the trees.'
So thought Charlotte, like many a silly, self-
willed child before and since; but the next day
was to prove whether it was only lessons that made
Now it happened that at the very end of the
garden, where the children used to play, there was
a long deep trench. In the wet season this trench
was filled with water and made a little river; but
just now it was very dry and hot, and, instead of
water, this trench was filled with long straggling
plants, on'which grew delicious melons.
It is the custom in Burmah to plant these
plants in the dry beds of rivers, and the sweet
fruit is very abundant.
SThe children used often to look at the fruit,
but as yet none was ripe enough to gather; and
their mamma had told them they were on no ac-
count to touch it without her leave. But this
morning a wicked thought had come into Char-
lotte's head, and I am sorry to say she took no
trouble to get rid of it.
She had made up her mind, that as this was
the last day of her holidays, she and Edwin and
Mary would have a little feast. Mrs. Dunbar gave
her leave, and promised her many little things for
the treat. But Charlotte was not satisfied. The
one thing she must not have,seemed the one thing
she could not do without., She had long watched
one of the finest melons, and though she knew it
was not ripe, and that even if it had been she had
no right to touch it, she determined, if she could,
to steal down by her herself to the river-side and
get possession of it. Silly little Charlotte! she
never thought how impossible it would be for her
to carry it to the house, or show it'to Edwin and
Mary without Mrs. Dunbar finding out her dis-
obedience. All her thoughts were intent on her
plan for getting this melon, and so full was her
mind of this one idea, that as soon as ever her
ayah had finished dressing her the next morning
she scampered down into the garden to see if she
HOME IN BURMAH.
had any chance of reaching the dry bed of the river
without being observed.
Generally there were a great many servants
about in the compound at that time in the morn-
ing; and very often Major Dunbar was out there
giving directions about the garden, and superin-
tending some alterations that were being made;
and Charlotte hardly expected the coast would be
clear enough for her operations.
But to her surprise and wicked delight, when
she reached the garden-door, all was as still and
silent as possible. Not a creature was stirring in
the garden, except a few sweet birds, which Char-
lotte thought to herself would tell no tales. So on
she went, as quickly and quietly as possible,
along the long garden-path, which led down
a gentle slope to the place where the melons
How lucky it is,' she said to herself, 'that I
thought of coming before breakfast; it is so quiet
nobody will know anything about it; and I shall
get in again before Mrs. Dunbar comes down 4
So the river-ditch was reached, and the tempt-
ing melon was singled out. Charlotte's little hands
are already busy with its thick stalk, when she
feels something tickle her neck. Hastily she put
her hand up to discover what it was, then she felt
a sharp prick, and a crushed bee fell to the ground.
The sudden pain made her start back, and then she
saw that while busy with the melon she had dis-
turbed a nest of bees, which were feasting on a
bruised melon close by.
The insects, angry at being disturbed, came
buzzing forth, swarming around the frightened
child. Some settled on her arms, some on her
neck; she tried to drive them away, but they all
buzzed and hummed more vehemently. One sting
was more than she could bear, but when Charlotte
felt their sharp weapons on her face, neck, and
arms, she could no longer keep quiet, but began to
scream violently. The place was some little dis-
tance from the house, and at first no one heard her
cries. At last little Mary, who was playing with
her doll in the verandah, recognized Charlotte's
voice in the garden, and ran down to see what she
But when she saw her surrounded with her
angry enemies, some of whom she had succeeded
in knocking down and trampling under foot, the
~ I .I
'" "I ~~ 1
HOME IN BURMAH.
little girl knew not what to do, and ran back crying
to the house.
Her tale soon brought her father and mother
to the spot. Major Dunbar took Charlotte up in
his arms and carried her struggling and screaming
still into the house, where her clothes were taken
off and the wounded places were bathed. The pain
lasted a long time; and as, unfortunately, Charlotte
had never learned to bear suffering patiently, the
whole household was disturbed with her groans
and complaints. At last she cried herself to sleep,
and then Mrs. Dunbar began to wonder how it had
happened that she had gone down such a long way
by herself so early. Mary did not know anything
about it, nor the ayah either, so Mrs. Dunbar made
up her mind to wait till Charlotte was better, and
then to ask her about it. So when she woke up
in the evening, and began to moan and cry again,
Mrs. Dunbar said, quietly,-
'Charlotte, you have not told me how you
came to get stung this morning; what were you
doing down there all by yourself?'
'I wasn't doing anything,' replied Charlotte,
rather sullenly, while her face got very red; I
didn't know there were any bees there till one
horrid thing got on my neck, and then, before I
could get away, a lot more flew out and stung me
But I can't think what made you go down so
early all by yourself, Charlotte; you are not gene-
rally fond of playing by yourself.'
'Mary and Edwin were not ready,' said Char-
lotte, doggedly. I had only gone for a minute.
I wasn't doing anything at all, Mrs. Dunbar.'
Mrs. Dunbar was not satisfied. Unhappily, she
had several times had reason to doubt Charlotte's
word; and she very much suspected something
Charlotte, too, was very unhappy; her con-
science told her she had not spoken the truth, and
she very much feared that Mrs. Dunbar did not
believe her. So for some days she continued to be
so cross and tiresome, that little Edwin began to
think it was very disagreeable to have her always
with them. Little Mary remonstrated, and ob-
served that 'she thought he would have been just
as cross if he had been stung all over as she had
But this accusation Edwin firmly denied.
'People never die of stings, and so Charlotte
HOME IN BURMAH.
can't be so very bad. If she were going to die, of
course, I should not wonder at her being cross, but
people are often stung; papa was stung when he
carried Charlotte in, but he was not cross all day
about it.' Then looking earnestly at his little
sister, he added, 'I wish people did die of stings
sometimes; don't you, Mary ?'
Mary was inexpressibly shocked; the bare idea
of wishing anybody to die was so horrible, so
wicked, she said, that she could never have thought
Edwin would have been so wicked.
Well, I do wish it,' said her brother. Char-
lotte is so cross and disagreeable that I am sure we
should be a great deal happier without her. I like
her very much when she is good-tempered; but
now she is always cross, and I can't bear her.'
Mamma says we should remember she has no
mamma of her own, no papa, or brothers and sisters,
and be kind to her because of that,' replied little
'Well, I am kind to her, and I do pity her;
who said I didn't?' said Edwin, at the same time
cutting short the conversation by running off into
the garden after a large dog, which was a great pet
But, quite unknown to the children, their con-
versation had been overheard by Charlotte herself,
who was learning her lessons in the. next room,
the door of which stood ajar. What feelings of
anger and hatred filled her little heart when she
heard Edwin's uncharitable wish respecting herself,
I am sure you can better imagine than I can de-
scribe. And then little Mary's words of reproof to
her brother, which reminded Charlotte that if she
were loved at all here it would be merely out of pity,
and not because there was anything to love in her.
'That was worse than being hated,' she said to
herself. 'Oh, I would much rather they did not
love me at all, than love me merely because I have
no papa and mamma!'
The little prattlers had gone away, but their
words still rang in Charlotte's ears, and her little
proud heart swelled as if it would burst. Several
times the tears came into her eyes, but she was
resolved she would not cry; no, if they did not
love her, what did she care ? she would not love
It was with this amiable resolution, giving a
very unpleasant expression to her face, that she at
last took her lesson to Mrs. Dunbar. That kind
HOME IN BURMAH.
friend could not help seeing it, but at first she
took no notice, hoping it would pass away.
But as this was not the case, she at last called
Charlotte to her, and inquired what was the matter.
'Nothing,' Charlotte replied, sullenly; but she
took care not to meet Mrs. Dunbar's eye, and it
was very plain she was not speaking the truth.
'Are you sure you are quite well, my dear ?' said
Mrs. Dunbar, quite puzzled. 'You look so wretched
I can't bear to see you. You know, my dear child,
how much I love you for your dear mamma's sake;
surely you can tell me if anything troubles you.'
Still Charlotte refused to speak; and at last
Mrs. Dunbar, seeing it was useless to question her,
let her put away her books and run away to play.
But Charlotte was not inclined to play; as soon
as she was free she ran up-stairs to her own room,
and shutting the door threw herself on the bed,
and indulged in a long cry over what she considered
her hard lot. Mrs. Dunbar had said she loved her
for her mamma's sake; so she supposed that, like
Edwin and Mary, she thought her the most dis-
agreeable child in the world, whom nobody could
love except out of pity. It was very, very hard,
and so she cried, and cried till she finally fell asleep.
But that cry, and the long sleep that followed
it, did Charlotte good. The next morning she
seemed to have forgotten all about her trouble.
She was aroused by little Mary's voice calling her
to wake up, for papa was waiting for her to go
out with him for a ride on the pony. In a mo-
ment she was up and dressing, bright and merry
as if yesterday's grievance had been nothing but
a dream. A ride with Major Dunbar was a treat
she did not often enjoy, and she wisely deter-
mined to make the most of it. The Charlotte that
came in from her ride was quite a different-looking
child from the Charlotte that had sulked over
her lessons the morning before. So Mrs. Dunbar
thought, and she hoped the change would last.
And so it did for a little while; but Edwin's
rough manner often brought back the remembrance
of those unlucky words of his, and little Mary's
attempts at peace-making often failed.
For, like most spoiled children, Charlotte could
not bear contradiction. She thought her word
ought to be law, if not with Major and Mrs.
Dunbar, at least with the children, who she never
forgot were two and three years younger than her-
self But this fact was by no means so clear to
HOME IN BURMAH.
Edwin, who was a fine sturdy boy of five, and who
often declared that as he was quite as strong as
Charlotte, he did not see why he should do what
she told him.
So there were many little quarrels, for which
Charlotte certainly was the most to blame, though
she could never be brought to admit it herself.
Her lessons, too, were a continual source of trouble,
and many were the tears shed over them just be-
cause she could not bring herself to set to work in
earnest to conquer any difficulty.
In this way many months passed away, during
which Charlotte had two attacks of fever, which
left her very weak. Major Dunbar often said he
wished he could find anybody sailing to England
who would be willing to take charge of her, for he
was sure she would never get strong till she was
away from that hot climate. But week after week
passed away and no opportunity occurred, so Char-
lotte still remained with her kind friends.
Nearly a year had passed since they had come
to Burmah, and Mrs. Dunbar was getting quite
fond of their new home, when one evening the
Major came in with a look on his face which his
wife knew very well. 'He has something to tell
me,' she said to herself, 'and something he does
not think I shall like, too;' but she did not ask him
what it was, for she thought bad news always come
Perhaps the Major thought so too, for he waited
till he had done his tea before he told his tidings;
then, when the children had been kissed and dis-
missed to bed, he began,-
'So, Ellen, we have to be moving again; you see
it is of no use for you to take such elaborate pains
to make our home a little paradise, for it is plain
we are not destined to settle down anywhere.'
'Moving again, Herbert! where to now,-New
Zealand or Canada, or where, I wonder ?'
SNot quite so far as either of the places you
iiave named; we are only ordered to exchange
stations with the 43rd, now quartered at R- ,
some two hundred miles north. You have an un-
comfortable journey before you, but no sea-sickness
Mrs. Dunbar was silent for a few minutes, then
'Are we to march with the regiment or go
before, Herbert ?'
Oh, before, of course. I hate your being any-
HOiME IN BIURTAH.
where in the neighbourhood of all that swarm of
blacks that follow the regiment; and by a lucky
chance I can go with you too this time.'
Mrs. Dunbar heaved a sigh of relief, at which
her husband laughed, and said,-
What business had you, Nellie, to marry a
soldier ? this rambling life is the bore of your
Oh, I shouldn't mind it if it were not for the
children,' replied his wife, trying to smile; 'but I
have a great dislike to dragging them about on
these long journeys; it makes them sickly, fretful,
'Well, one good thing is,' said the Major, 'that
R- is said to be healthier than this place; and
perhaps it may suit little Charlotte better. That
child's long, pale face makes me terribly uneasy.
I should be glad indeed to ship her off to England.
And another thing strikes me. I used to know a
good many of the officers of the 43rd; it isn't im-
possible some of them may be sending their wives
to Europe this season, and so we may get an escort
for the child.'
'I hope we .may,' replied Mrs. Dunbar, and
there the conversation ended.
The few days following were days of bustle and
confusion, hurry and turmoil, such as always pre-
cede a,move. Charlotte and Edwin enjoyed them
vastly, thinking it far more amusing to run about
on errands than to do lessons. Little Mary, how-
ever, did not seem to relish the noise and bustle;
and having concluded her own little preparations,
which consisted of dressing her doll for the journey
and packing up its clothes in the most careful way
in a tiny portmanteau, which had been given her
for that purpose, she remained in the old deserted
nursery as still as a little mouse. Nobody thought
of troubling themselves to take care of her, for
when had Mary been known to get into mischief?
Charlotte tried to induce her to run about with
them, but in vain; little Mary only lisped out,
'Mamma says not to get in the way,' and resolutely
returned to her seat by the window, from whence
she could see all that was passing outside. Edwin
said she was ill, and certainly the little girl had
not been looking like herself for some days, but
amidst the general confusion no one had noticed it,
nor thought to ask the reason.
The preparations were finished, and the palan-
keens came to the door to carry them away from
HOME IN BURMAH.
their second home in a strange land, Mrs. Dunbar
and the children got in, and they were off. Major
Dunbar intended, while it was cool enough, to
make the first part of his journey on horseback,
and in this order the cavalcade started.
The first day's journey was much the same as
many they had been before in India, but on the
second day they entered a thick forest of trees.
The shade was cool and pleasant, and they deter-
mined to rest, and if it seemed advisable to pass
the night there.
Like many of the forests of Burmah, the ground
under the trees where they were resting was cov-
ered with an underwood of pine-apple plants, the
fruit of which is so plentiful in that country that
the natives give them to their pigs.
This being, however, the first year of the Dun-
bars' residence in Burmah, they had not yet become
accustomed to seeing this delicious fruit in such
abundance; and they were delighted to find such
a refreshment on their hot and dusty journey.
'The fruit was just ripe, sweet, and juicy, and the
children seemed as if they could not be satisfied,
but repeatedly asked for more.
Their stay in the forest was, however, destined
to be longer than they had intended. Their tents
were pitched, and they were making themselves as
comfortable as they could, when little Mary, who
had slept a greater part of the journey, became
very pale, and began to complain sadly of pains in
Mrs. Dunbar was very much alarmed; she
feared that the child. had either had a sun-stroke,
or that an attack of jungle fever was coming on.
Whichever it might be, she was equally at a loss
what to do; far away from any medical aid, with
only her husband, who knew no more than she did
what to do, and black servants, who could give her
little aid, she could do little more than sit gazing
at her child in hopeless despair.
But Major Dunbar was determined not to give
We must stay here for the present, at all
events,' he said, 'that is certain; so I shall send
off one of the Coolies to B- the town we left,
and another to L which they say is not more
than twenty miles from here. They must be able
to find a doctor at one or the other place; so,
Ellen, cheer up. I would go myself, only I do not
like to leave you.'
HOME IN BURMAH.
The Coolies were sent off, and then the anxious
parents could do nothing but wait. Little Edwin
and Charlotte stood watching the little sufferer as
she lay tossing about in her mother's arms, vainly
wishing her head would get better, and trying in
their childish way to amuse her. In this way hour
after hour passed away, and the night closed in on
the anxious watchers. The other children were
put to bed, and, in spite of their terror at sleeping
in such a strange place, were soon fast asleep.
Very slowly the hours seemed to pass of that
long dark night in the dismal place, where there
was no sound to break the stillness, except the
melancholy cry of the jackals, or the savage growl
of the tiger in the distance. Inside the tent all
was quiet; the sick child was lying in an uneasy
slumber, and her parents hardly dared to breathe
for fear of disturbing her.
Gradually the first faint streaks of blue, light
increased, and the day broke on the dark forest;
then little Mary woke up with a faint cry, and a
piteous wail of I so head-ache,' which went to her
mother's heart. It was in vain to try and soothe
her, the sad moan continued, varied only by a
fretful cry of' I want it.'
'Want what, my darling?' said Mrs. Dunhar,
bending over her: what is it you want; some-
thing nice to drink ?' and she held a cup to her
'No, no!' cried little Mary, pushing it away.
'I want it; the little round one: please, please
give it me!'
'What can it be?' said Mrs. Dunbar : 'what
can she want ? I can't imagine!'
'Nothing, dear; she is wandering,' replied
Major Dunbar. 'She does not know us in the least.'
'Not know us Oh, yes, she does !' exclaimed
the poor mother, passionately. 'Mary, my darling,
look at me; speak to mamma!'
The heavy eyelids unclosed, and the dull blue
eyes roamed vacantly around the tent, but they
closed again without resting on her mother's face.
Mrs. Dunbar looked at her husband in despair.
'Will the doctor never come? Oh, I cannot
give her up like this; it is too hard !'
Major Dunbar shook his head, The doctor
could not be here yet for some time; those Coolies
never hurry themselves; but I will send another
to see if he can meet the doctor, and hurry him on
a little faster.'
HOME IN BURMAH.
He left the tent accordingly, and having des-
patched the man on his errand he was returning
to his wife, when he saw little Charlotte sitting on
the grass outside the tent, with her face buried in
her hands. He was astonished to see this child,
whom he had always considered selfish and un-
loving, so overcome with sorrow for her little play-
fellow. Kind as he was to her, he had never
loved Charlotte till that minute; he had felt an
interest in her for her father's sake, but now that
his own heart was heavy with anxiety and sorrow,
it comforted him to see her tears.
He called her to him, but no sooner did
she hear his voice than she started up, and
rushing back into the tent where she had been
sleeping, she hid her face from him in the pil-
lows of her bed. Major Dunbar said no more,
but went back to ,his wife with the reflection
that she was the strangest child he had ever met
Mrs. Dunbar was still holding the unconscious
infant in her arms when he returned to her; but
she looked so thoroughly exhausted with her
night's watching and anxiety that he insisted on
her lying down to rest for a little while, while he
fetched her some breakfast. Very unwillingly she
consented, and gave up her precious charge to the
ayah, while she lay down on a couch (which he
made for her out of shawls and rugs), with her
eyes still fixed on her little one.
Her husband urged her to go to sleep, but she
shook her head, and only replied, When will the
doctor come ?'
At this moment a little hand lifted up the
curtain of the tent, and Edwin's little face ap-
peared timidly peeping in. His mother held up
her finger to silence him, and he hesitated a
moment; then seeing that his little sister's eyes
were half open, and therefore concluding that she
was not asleep, he ventured his request.
'Mamma, may I come and say my hymn and
prayers; I am ready dressed now?'
Mrs. Dunbar did not speak, but beckoning to
him with her hand, the little fellow crept in on
tiptoe, and began to repeat in a hushed voice his
'Lord, look upon a little child,
By nature sinful, rude, and wild;
Oh, put Thy gracious hands on me,
And make me all I ought to be.
HOME IN BURMAH.
Make me Thy child, a child of God,
Washed in my Saviour's precious blood;
And my whole heart from sin set free,
A little vessel full of Thee.
A star of early dawn and bright
Shining within Thy sacred light,
A beam of grace to all around,
A little spot of hallowed ground.
Dear Saviour, take me to Thy breast,
And bless me that I may be blest;
Both when I wake and when I sleep
Thy little lamb in safety keep.'
Edwin repeated these verses in a low tone, for
he was not quite sure whether he ought to be
there at all; there was something almost awful to
him in the stillness that reigned in the tent,
and even his little feet seemed to make a terrible
noise. He had forgotten all about his prayer till
his mamma gently reminded him, and then, as he
mechanically repeated the words, his eyes and
thoughts were wandering off to the baby sister
on the nurse's knee. She was not asleep now, her
blue eyes were wide open, and were fixed on
Edwin with a strange earnestness, as if she were
trying to remember who he was. Then the anxious
look was relaxed, the heavy lids closed again, and
murmuring,' Jesus littlee 'amb,' she fell asleep.
Mrs. Dunbar sprang to her feet, exclaiming,-
'She knows him! Oh, what a comfort! She
must be better now !'
But her husband laid his hand on her arm, and
drawing her back as she was preparing to take the
child in her arms again, he said,--
'Yes, she is better, for she is in heaven !'
Many sad days succeeded that dreadful one
when the bright baby, who had been so dear to
all of them, had ended her short life on earth, and
gone to rest in her Saviour's bosom. They laid
the little one to rest under the shadow of that
dark forest, and then continued their journey.
Edwin and Charlotte had stood beside the little
grave while Major Dunbar read the funeral ser-
vice, and when it was over they had thrown some
beautiful wild flowers on the coffin. Charlotte,
too, had taken from her pocket a tiny pine-apple
that she had gathered a few days before, and had
dropped it into the grave. Major Dunbar noticed
the act and thought it strange, but he said no-
HOME IN BUR]AH.
thing, and very soon they were all far away from
the spot were they had left their darling. In a
few days more they had reached their new home.
A prettier home they could not well have had, but
no one but Edwin seemed to care to notice any-
thing about it.' The parents weee pining for their
lost baby, and at present could think of nothing
else. Charlotte, too, seemed to feel her little play-
fellow's death in a way that Mrs. Dunbar could
'I always thought that child cared for nobody
but herself,' she remarked to her husband; 'I
cannot understand her fretting for Mary in this
'No, I certainly did not give her credit for so
much feeling,' replied Major Dunbar; 'but her
grief is like herself,-passionate and impetuous, it
will soon wear itself out.'
I must try and comfort her,' said Mrs. Du-
bar; 'I wonder what she is doing now? Ay
says she generally cries herself to sleep every night.'
Major Dunbar made no answer, and soon after
went out. His wife sat thinking for some time
longer, pondering first over the wayward child
towards whom she had been called to act the part
of a mother, longing that Charlotte would show a
little love and tenderness in return for all that had
been lavished upon her, and loving her far more
than she had ever done before for the sorrow she
had shown at little Mary's death.
And that thought brought her back to her
baby,-her little loving and lovely baby, with her
pretty winning ways, so unlike Charlotte, whose
coldness had often chilled her heart. And yet
something seemed to tell her that the love they both
felt for that baby might be a bond between them,
if only she could succeed in drawing Charlotte out
of hershell of icy coldness, and induce her to believe
she really loved and cared for her; for Charlotte,
having once got the idea into her head that she
was disliked by every one, had persisted in it as
resolutely as if it gave her real satisfaction to
'She can never take my darling's place,' mur-
mured the fond mother, as she roused herself from
her sad reverie and prepared to go in search of
Charlotte; 'but I wish I could make her love me.'
Charlotte was not at once to be found; she
was somewhere in the garden, Edwin said, but she
was cross and ill-natured, and would not play with
HOME IN BURMAH.
.him, so he had left her. Mrs. Dunbar was too sad
to reprove the child for his unkind words, but he
saw at once he had grieved her, and came to show
his repentance by little caressing ways which were
'I wish Mary were here to play with me again,'
was on his lips, but he checked himself and asked
if he should go and look for Charlotte. She was
at the other end of the garden most likely.
'No, Edwin, you stay here, I will go and find
Charlotte,' said his mother, 'and keep near the
house, my dear.'
Charlotte was at the other end of the garden,
as Edwin had said, and so busy with her doll that
she did not hear Mrs. Dunbar's step as she ap-
preached. She had chosen a pretty little nook to
hide herself in; thick bushes behind her screened
her from the sun, and the long grass, which had
been uncut for some time, made her a most luxu-
She started as Mrs. Dunbar sat down beside
her, and. seemed half inclined to run away. But
Mrs. Dunbar put her arm round her and gently
'I was beginning to think you were lost, Char-
lotte,' she began. 'Edwin said you would not
play with him, he was quite dull all by himself,
poor little fellow!'
'I can't play,' said Charlotte, trying to free
herself from Mrs. Dunbar's grasp: 'he seemed
very happy by himself, I thought.'
'I hope he is, for he will have to play by him-
self now, I am afraid: but, Charlotte, my child,
what makes you so unhappy?'
Charlotte burst into tears, and struggled to
speak, but the words would not come; and Mrs.
Dunbar went on,-
'Is it all about our. dear little Mary, Charlotte ?
Tell me, my dear child, for I cannot bear to see you
HOME IN BURMAH.
Charlotte choked and sobbed, but at length it
all came out. How the day before Mary was ill
they had been playing with the little pine-apples
they had found in the wood; how Mary had cried
for one which she had found, and how she had
refused to give it. How, too, she had heard the
little one asking for it iiinher delirium, and had
not liked to give it up even then. The story was
told with many tears and sobs, and many promises
that she would never be so selfish again. But
Mrs. Dunbar did not speak; Charlotte mistook
her silence for anger, and at last, looking timidly
up in her face, inquired if she were very much
displeased, at the same time repeating the assur-
ance that she would never do such a thing again.
Then Mrs. Dunbar put her arm round her and
drew her close to her. All Charlotte's strange
behaviour since Mary's death was now explained,
and she could understand and feel for the child's
grief at thinking that she had refused her little
playmate's last request. She could now under-
stand, too, her darling's piteous cry the night be-
fore her death; but she repressed all thoughts of
anger, and told the weeping Charlotte that little
Mary did not know what she was saying when she
cried for the little pine-apple in the night, and that
therefore she need not think that her refusal had
made her worse.
This suggestion greatly comforted Charlotte;
and she again repeated her resolution not to be
so selfish again. But Mrs. Dunbar shook her head,
and told her not to be so sure.
'Mrs. Dunbar, I will conquer it; my selfish-
ness, I mean! I am determined I will; why
won't you believe me ?' inquired Charlotte, almost
'I did not say I did not believe you, Charlotte,'
replied her friend; 'I only said don't be so
'But I am sure I will try, and if I try, I don't
see why I should not succeed as much as other
'No more do I, Charlotte; but then, other
people have sometimes found it very hard indeed
to conquer their selfishness; and I am sure you
will not find it so easy as you expect.'
'Then I suppose you do not wish me to try,'
said Charlotte, turning her head away, pouting.
Did I say so, Charlotte ?'
'No; but you seem to think it is no use; and
HOME IN BURMAH.I 39
you don't seem to like my making any good reso-
lutions; and how am I to be good if I don't ?'
You may make as many resolutions as you
like, dear Charlotte,' said Mrs. Dunbar, half smil-
ing, 'if you promise me this,-that you will never
make one without asking God to help you to
Charlotte turned half round, and seemed about
to speak, then checked herself, and after a few
minutes' silence, said,-
'Mrs. Dunbar, if I did do all you want me to
do,-if I could be a good child, would you let me
be your little daughter instead of Mary ?'
'If,-Charlotte! No, I don't think we need
wait for that; be my little daughter now, and try
and be good afterwards. My little daughter must
not be a disgrace to her mother.'
Charlotte did not promise this time in words,
but with a very grateful and loving kiss, which
made Mrs. Dunbar hope that better days were
coming; and they went back to the house together
to begin Charlotte's lessons with very different
feelings to those with which they had left it.
For a few days Charlotte's life went on much
more smoothly. The old idea, that nobody cared
40 LITTLE CHARLOTTE'S
for her,-that she was a black :J- ,-, who was in
every one's way, seemed to have quite vanished,
and Mrs. Dunbar could hardly believe she was the
same child. As a natural c'.ii-'._.,j- :I.!... Charlotte
herself was much happier, for it is very pleasant to
feel ourselves loved, and especially so when we
have been accustomed to think ourselves -lijLt-l.
Mrs. Dunbar rejoiced over the change, and
looked forward with pleasure to the time when
she should see Charlotte, by God's grace, tri-
uiL, .Lit over her besetting sin, which she had
already set herself diligently to conquer.
It was so pleasant to mark her little struggles
with herself when told to do something which she
disliked; or to go on an errand instead of, as for-
merly, sending Edwin, for it was in little things
that Mrs. Dunbar looked for the improvement., Of
course, there were many failures, many, many
nights when Charlotte had to own that she had
forgotten all about her resolutions, and then Mrs.
Dunbar had again to remind her that she was
trusting too much to her own strength, which was
sure to prove perfect weakness when put to the test.
It was a much harder task than she had ex-
pected to conquer her selfishness, and sometimes
HOME IN BURMAH. 41
she was half inclined to give up the attempt, and
lazily to relapse into her old habits. But Mrs.
Dunbar would hear of no such thing, Charlotte
was to be her little daughter, and no child of hers
must be selfish. So once more Charlotte resolved
to turn over a new leaf, which should be better
than any that had gone before.
And so days and weeks went on till Mrs.
Dunbar and her new little daughter had grown
very fond of each other, and neither of them
seemed very much to long for the time when
Charlotte would have to go to England. She had
been so much better, too, lately, that Major Dun-
bar had not been so anxious to find an escort for
her, and the time had slipped by almost without
their knowing it.
But the time came at last. Major Dunbar was
very late home one evening, and the children had
been sent to bed without waiting to say good-night
to him. His wife was just beginning to wonder
what could have kept him, when she heard his
well-known step in the verandah, and the next
moment he entered the room.
'I am very late,' he said, in answer to her look
of inquiry; 'don't be frightened, there is nothing
the matter; but I have been a long ride into the
country and could not get back till late. Where
are the young ones ?-gone to bed, eh ?'
'Yes; they did not like to go without saying
good-night to you; but it does not do for them to
sit up so late. Charlotte always gets pale if she
keeps late hours.'
'I 'll go and see them presently,' said her hus-
band. 'And now, Nellie, what do you think I've
been doing to-day ?'
'I am sure I don't know, Herbert; anything
Something very particular. I've been settling
a plan to get our little Charlotte safely delivered
to her aunt, and, I flatter myself, I've done it
'Charlotte! Oh, I am so sorry,' exclaimed
Mrs. Dunbar; 'but I suppose it is for the best.
When is she to go? Who are the people, and
how did you hear of them ?'
One question at a time, if you please. She
is to go by the "Clyde," which sails next week;
and the people who have kindly promised to
take care of her are an uncommonly nice family.
Their name is Fraser,-Dr. and Mrs. Fraser; he is
HOME IN BURMAH.
surgeon to the 57th, and having been laid up with
repeated attacks of fever is obliged to go home for
a couple of years; they have two little children,
and altogether it is just what I have been looking
out for so long.'
'I am very glad they are nice,' said Mrs. Dun-
bar, after a long silence. 'I shall miss my little
Charlotte; but it is best as you say.'
Four days afterwards a very disconsolate little
face was seen peeping over the side of the 'Clyde'
as a little boat left the ship to carry the Dunbars
back to the shore. Once more Charlotte felt alone
in the world, and as she watched that little boat
getting more and more indistinct in the distance,
a choking feeling seemed to come over her, and a
LITTLE CHARLOTTB S
miserable blank and sense of loneliness oppressed
her. What would she not have given to have
been in that boat with Mrs. Dunbar's arm around
her, and to see Edwin's bright face opposite to her ?
But a new home was before her, and she had
promised Mrs. Dunbar she would be a good child,
and love her aunt, and she would keep her pro-
mise, that she would. So she bravely fought
against her misery, and comforted herself with
the hope that she might one day go back to live
with Mrs. Dunbar.
Children's sorrows are not generally very last-
ing, and, like most little people, Charlotte soon got
over this trouble, and became the merriest, hap-
piest inmate of her aunt's home. It was well for
her that she had learned to struggle against her
selfishness before she came to live at Hollybank,
as Miss Lewis's house was called, for before long
all her patience and gentleness were sorely needed.
Her aunt became a confirmed invalid, and Char-
lotte, when only twelve years old, had to act the
part of nurse to her. This was often very trying,
for the patient's sufferings made her fretful and
hard to please, and even her much-loved little
niece could not always succeed in pleasing her.
VOME IN BURMAH.
It was a good school for Charlotte, but it would
have been a very hard one if she had not learned
beforehand to deny herself for others.
After five years of suffering, Miss Lewis died,
and then Charlotte's old dream was accomplished,
and she went to live wi' her kind friend Mrs.
Dunbar. But her homewas not now in India or
Burmah.. Mrs. Dunbar had lost her husband in
the war in Burmah, and with her son Edwin had
come to live in England again. Very glad she
was to have her adopted daughter back again.
'Not a bit altered,' Edwin said, but his mother
did not quite agree with him; she did not think,
she said, that it was any compliment to say so;
the Charlotte who had left them at nine years old
could hardly have been such a nice little house-
keeper as the Charlotte of seventeen was proving
herself, and the rough school-boy Edwin soon found
cause to agree with her.
Two or three years passed away, and Edwin
left school to enter the army. It was a great grief
to Mrs. Dunbar to part with him to go to India;
at one time she thought she would return with
him, but her health had suffered too much from
the hot climate before, and she gave up the idea.
46 LITTLE CHARLOTTE'S HOME IN BURMAH.
Edwin was, of course, sorry to leave her, but
the love of adventure was very strong in him; and
then, as he said, it was such a blessing to think
she had such a good daughter to take care of her
So, merry and light-hearted as a bird, Edwin
sailed from England, and Charlotte and Mrs. Dun-
bar lived quietly together in their cottage home.
They had plenty to do, for there were many poor
around them, and it was not long before Char-
lotte became a great favourite with all the village
Many years thus passed quietly away, and
Edwin had married in India. Now there was a
new work for Charlotte, for Edwin had two little
girls whom he confided to her care, and very dear
they were to her. They made that cottage home
so much more lively than it had ever been before,
that Mrs. Dunbar often said she did not know
what Charlotte would do without them, and I am
sure I need not tell you how fond they soon be-
came of' Aunt Charlotte.'
London:-Printed by STRANGEWAYS AND WALDEN,
28 Castle St. Leicester Sq.
ebxo ifxsfxraftbr Noh for t9ibren.
AUNT ANNIE'S STORIES;
THE BIRTHDAYS AT GORDON MANOR.
BY THE AUTHOR OF 'TRUE STORIES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE.'
In large 16mo. with Twelve Coloured, and Twenty Plain Illustrations,
Price 5s. cloth gilt.
I. LITTLE JOE AND HIS STRAWBERRY PLANT.
II. NORMAN AND ADA; OR, THE FIRST VISIT.
III. DONALD'S HAMPER.
IV. THE BUNCH OF GRAPES.
V. LITTLE CHARLOTTE'S HOME IN BURMAH.
VI. LITTLE NELLIE; OR, THE WAY TO BE HAPPY.
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