The Baldwin Library_mG FlUnivcrsi
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.-.e ftCrs*-
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IIO7 ,MISS MASON AND LOLLY
~~~C\.~~~LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE;OR,THE SUNNY HEART.LONDON:T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROWEDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.1880.
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LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.CHAPTER I.HE rain was pattering, patter-ing steadily upon the roof ofa little brown cottage thatstood alone by the countryroadside.There had been a long ana drearywinter, and now the bright spring wascoming, with its buds and leaves andflowers, to gladden the earth, that hadall the time seemed to be dead.As the shower came down, the littlegreen blades of grass sprang up tocatch the drops; and they seemed
6 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.almost to laugh and sing, so full ofjoy were they when they could lifttheir heads from the dust.It was so much sweeter to be outonce more from their prison-house andto exult with all God's fair creation;so they bathed themselves in the fall-ing shower, and made themselves freshand clean; and nobody would everhave believed that they came outfrom their dark beds in the earth.Little Alice looked out of the win-dows of the brown cottage, and sawthem nodding gaily to her as theywere taking their bath; and so shesmiled back again, and talked to themfrom her perch in the window-seat asif they were brothers and sisters, witheyes and ears to see and hear, andhearts to return her love. -Indeed,there was no one else to wh6m shecould talk the livelong day. Nofather, for he was dead; no living
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.7brothers and sisters; no mother athome, for they were very poor, andher mother must be gone at earlydawn to labour for their food andclothing.and shelter;-and so Alicehad to make companions of the bladesof grass that nodded at her throughthe drops."Oh, you beauties!" said shegladly; "and I know who made you,too, and what a great, good God heis to send you here-bright littlecreatures that you are. How pleasantit will be down by the brook-side whenthe sun comes out, and you and I andthe blue violets and the dandelionshave our visiting time together !Never a little girl had such joy as Ihave " And Alice'put her face closeto the pane, and looked up into thesky to thank her kind heavenly Fatherfor sending her such blessings. Itseemed as if she could see him bend-
8LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.ing graciously down towards her, asher Sunday-school teacher had oftenrepresented him to her; and then shethought of Him who was upon theearth, and who took up little chil-dren in his arms and blessed them;and she put out her hands towards theheavens, saying earnestly, "Me, too,dear Saviour: bless me too "So absorbed was she that she didn'thear anybody enter the room until atimid voice said,-" Who were you speaking to,Alice ?"There was such a woful figure bythe door as she turned her head-nobonnet, no shoes, and a tattered frock,all draggled with dirt and rain, andthe long, uncombed locks stragglingabout the child's shoulders, and sucha blue, pinched look in the thin face !" Oh, it's you, Maddie, is it ?" saidAlice, jumping from the window and
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.9taking the hand of the new-comer."But it was a pity to get so wet. I'mglad you've come. We'll keep housetogether till it clears away, and thenmaybe we'll have a nice walk. Firstwe must dry your clothes, though."And she put some sticks in the fire-place, and putting a match to them,stationed Maddie before the blaze,while she held the skirt out to dry."Isn't it pleasant here ?" askedAlice, with a beaming smile.Maddie looked around, with a halfshrug, upon the cheerless room, withits bit of a table and the one chairand the low, curtainless window, andthen her eyes fell upon the scantily-clad little girl by her side; and thenshe shivered, as the .dampness of herclothes sent a creeping chill through-her frame; but she didn't say it wasAl pleasant.A "Aren't you afraid to stay here so
10 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.much alone, Alice ?" she asked, givinganother glance about the room."But I never stay alone, Maddie!"answered the dear child. "I haveplenty of company-' Tabby,' and theflies, and now and then a spider, andeverything that goes by the door, andthe clouds and the sunshine and theleaves and the-oh dear! so manythings, Maddie, that I can't begin totell you." And she stopped short forwant of breath."And somebody you were talkingto. Who was that?" asked Maddie."Ah, yes, best of all! Don't youknow, Maddie ? " said Alice, sinkingher voice to a whisper, and gazingearnestly at her young companion."Miss Mason told me how He iseverywhere, and sees and hears us,and that he loves us better than ourmother or father can do, and watchesover us and keeps us from all harm.
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.11If you go to the school with me you'lllearn all about it, Maddie dear. No,no; I'm never alone though mother isgone all the long day.""Do you see Him, Alice'?" askedMaddie earnestly."Not as I see you, Maddie," re-turned her companion with reverence;"but when I look up into the sky,and sometimes when I sit here bymyself and speak things that I havelearned from my Bible, I seem to feelsome strange brightness all above andaround me; and it's so real to me thatit's just like seeing with these eyes.Miss' Mason says 'it's my soul thatsees.' Whatever it. is, it's verybeautiful, Maddie." And Alice claspedher hands in a sort of ecstasy, anddrew near to the window to look uponce more into the heavens, whitherher eyes and her heart so continuallyturned.
12 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.CHAPTER II.THE shower did not last long, and thewarm sun melted the diamonds fromthe grass, so that it was soon fit forthe little girls to go out into the fresh-ness and enjoy the pleasant air."Don't you think this a pretty cot-tage ?" asked Alice, as they steppedoutside and stood looking upon herhome. "See the moss all over theshingles; how velvety it is 1 Tabbygoes up there to sleep on the softcushion in the sun. And here's whereI put my convolvuluses, and theyclimb up and run all over the windowand make such a nice curtain, withthe pink and blue and white andpurple mixed with the green; andthey reach up to the very chimney,Maddie, and hug it round, and thentrail down upon the roof. Oh, I:think it's elegant! And here's my
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.13flower-bed, right under the window,where mother can smell the blossomsas we sit sewing when she has a dayat home. We take real comfort here,mother and I, Maddie." And so thelittle blithesome child prattled abouther humble home, while her com-panion looked in astonishment uponher, wondering why it was that Alicealways seemed so happy, while shewas so miserable."We'll go down by the brook-sidenow," said Alice. " There's my grandpalace. Such hangings all blue andgold and crimson; and carpets thatyour feet sink into; and a great mir-ror, such as the richest man couldn'tbuy. Don't you know what I mean,Maddie ?" And Alice laughed glee-fully as they reached the brook-side,and pointed to the heavens above, sobrilliant in the sunny radiance, and:o||Wn to the green and flowery turf
14 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.beneath their feet, and to the clearstream that reflected all things, likethe purest glass. And she said,'Now, don't you like my palace,Maddie ""Yes, it's very pretty here," saidMaddie; but she didn't seem to feelabout it as Alice did, who was insuch good spirits that she could keepneither her feet nor her tongue still,but frisked about the green like ayoung deer, and chattered like a mag-pie, only in far sweeter tones." This is my bower," said she, liftingup the drooping branches of a willowand shutting herself and Maddie with-in. " Here I come for a nap when Iam tired of play; and the leaves rustlein the wind, making a pleasant sound,and the birds sit on the boughs andsing me asleep, and I dream alwayshappy dreams. When awake, I hnkabout the pure river that my-jBiibleA "1
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.15speaks of, and the tree of life that ison either side, and the beautiful lightthat isn't like the sun, nor the moon,nor the blaze of a candle, but comesfrom the face of God, and is neverhidden from us to leave us in dark-ness."Maddie sat down upon a large stonethat Alice called her throne, andlooked eagerly up at her companionfor more; for Alice's words seemed toher like some beautiful story out of abook."Did you ever go into any greathouse, Maddie ?" asked Alice."No, never," said Maddie. "Ipassed by Mrs. Cowper's one day, andlooked in at the open door when some-body was coming out, but I couldn'tsee much.""That's just where I went withmother," said Alice; "and little Marytook me into a high room, the wallsI2f
16 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.all velvet and satin and gold, so thatmy eyes ached for looking; and therewere such heaps of pretty things onthe tables and all about the place;but it didn't make me feel glad as Ido when I get out here in my grandpalace with these living, breathingthings around me. 0 Maddie, thereisn't anything on earth so beautiful aswhat God has made !""Do you stay out here always?"asked Maddie."Oh no," said Alice; "that wouldbe idle. When mother has work Istay at home to help her. I've learnedto sew nicely now, and can savemother many a stitch. To-day's myholiday, and I can play with you aslong as you please. I've broughtsome dinner, and we'll set a table inmy dining-hall." And she took fromher pocket a little parcel, and ledMaddie from the bower to a hollow
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.17.near the brook, where was a flatrock, ard there she spread her frugalfare.There were two pieces of home-made bread and a small slice of coldbacon, which she put upon leaves inthe middle of the rocky table; andgathering some violets, she placedthem in bunches here' and there, tillthe table was sweet with their deli-cious fragrance.Just as the- children were about to,help themselves to the food, there camesome little tired feet over the grass; anda more forlorn figure than Maddie'sstood a few yards off, looking shyly,but wistfully, at them."Now, Lolly, you may just run'-home again as quick as you can,"said Maddie sharply. "We haven'tenough dinner for Alice and me. Go,now! " And she went towards her and'ggave her a slight push, at which the-1< 2
18 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.child cried, but without turning awayor making a step towards home." Is that your sister ? " asked Alice,going up to Maddie."Yes; she's always running afterme," returned Maddie, with an ill-natured frown."Poor little thing I" said Alice."I wish my sister Nellie had lived.I shouldn't be cross to her, I know.Come here, Lolly: you shall havesome of my dinner." And she led thelittle grateful child to the wild table,that seemed to her like a'fairy scene,with the fresh leaf-plates, and the puresweet flowers breathing so delightfully."Mother makes capital bread--doesn't she, Maddie ?" said Alice, asshe ate her small portion with evidentrelish, while she shared the remnantwith her guests."Now, Maddie," said she, as theyfinished the repast, "you clear the
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.19table and wash the dishes, and Lollyand I'll go to my mirror to make our-selves nice to sit down, and then I'lltell you the story my teacher told methe other day, if you would like tohear it."Maddie gladly agreed to this; andLolly gave herself up to the gentlehands of her new friend, who took herto the brook and washed her face untilthe dirt all vanished and her cheekswere like two red roses. Then shetook her pocket-comb, and, dipping itinto the water, made the child's hairso smooth that Lolly didn't know her-self when she looked into the brook,and asked, "What little girl it waswith such bright eyes and fresh rosycheeks ? " And when Alice told herthat it was herself, she laughed withdelight, and said "she would come;: very day to dress herself by Alice'sl mirror if she could look so nice."
.20 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.And then Alice and Maddie andLolly went to the bower for the story.Alice sat down on the grassy bank,land Lolly laid her head upon herfriend's lap, while Maddie crowdedclose to her to listen." I don't know that I can rememberit very well," said Alice; "but I'lltell it as nearly as I can like MissMason. She called it 'The LittleExiled Princess,' and this is it."CHAPT-ER III.ONCE upon a time there was a littlegirl no bigger than Lolly here, sittingin the dirt by the roadside, crying.Her frock was all ragged and soiled,and the tears had run over the dustupon her face, making it streaked, anddisfiguring it sadly.Altogether, she was a very miser-
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.21able little object, when a lady, walk-ing along the road, suddenly cameupon her, and stopped to see what wasthe matter.As the lady gazed upon the strange,ragged little creature, there came tearsinto her eyes, and she said softly, as ifspeaking to herself,-"Who would think that this is thedaughter of a great King ? "The child, seeing a beautiful ladybefore her, jumped from the ground,and, with shame, began to shake her-self from the dirt that clung to hergarments; but the stranger, takingno notice of her untidy condition,clasped the child's fingers in her whitehand, and told her to lead her to herhome.It was a brown cottage, very likemine, only that one was hung withcobwebs, and the dust was an inchthick upon the floor, and the window
22 LITTLE ALICE'S.PALACE.was so begrimmed that scarcely anylight came through."Ugh !" said the lady, as she stoodupon the threshold and looked in."Bring me a broom I" And shebrushed away the hanging webs, andmade the floor neat and clean, andtaught the child to wash the window,until the bright sun came in and playedabout the floor and upon the walls;and then she made the little girl washher face and hands, and put on a betterfrock, that she found in the chest." Now, my little princess," said she,"come outside for a while, in the freshair,- and I will talk. to-you.""Why do you call me 'little prin-cess'? " asked the child, as they satdown upon the cottage-step, while thebirds twittered about themr=d- thesweet breath of summer touched theircheeks. .."Because -you are the daughter
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.23a great King," said the lady, gentlystroking her soft, brown hair, thatshe had found so tangled and shaggy,but had made so nice and smooth."My father was a poor man, andhe lies in the graveyard," said thelittle girl, as she looked wonderinglyat her friend."Yes; but I mean your heavenlyFather," said the lady--"he whomwe call GOD. Surely you have heardof him, my dear child "The little girl said that she hadheard of him; but, from what shecould learn, the lady knew that shelooked upon him as one that is afaroff; and she wished to teach her howvery near he is continually, even roundabout her bed and about her path, andspying out all her ways."Do you live here all alone, dearchild ?" asked she kindly.Her words were so sweet and gentle
24 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.that they sounded like the murmur ofthe brook near the little child's home."All day long alone, while motheris away at her work," answered thechild, with her eyes full of sad tears."And what do you do with theweary hours ? Do they not seem verydull and dreary to you? " asked thelady." Ah, yes," said the little one. "Ihave nobody to play with or talk to;and I'm glad when the night comeSand I can creep into bed and shut myeyes and forget everything."" What if you had some kind friendever near, to smile on you and blessyou,-somebody to whom you couldtell all your little sorrows as you arenow doing to me?" said the lady."Would that be pleasant ?""Oh yes, indeed! " returned thechild. "Will you stay ? " for she hadfelt it very sweet to be sitting there
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.25with the kind lady's words falling likemusic upon her ear, and her heart waslighter and happier than it--had beenin all her life."I cannot always be with you," saidthe lady. "But there is One who'will never leave you.' How beauti-ful he has made everything aboutyou!" And she looked upon thegreen earth, with the peeping flowers,and upon the delicate shrubs thatskirted the roadside, and the wild-rosesand creeping plants along the hedges,and then she looked up into the blueheavens, with such an expression oflove that the child gazed at her withrapture." Such a good God! " said the lady,still looking up with the bright lightupon her face. "And such a won-drously beautiful world, where wemay walk joyously, with his love inour hearts as well as all about our
26 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.path; and yet we sit in the dustweeping, and forget that he is ourFather, and that he is watching forus to turn towards him-poor, wan-dering, wayward children that weare !"Though the lady spoke as if to her-self, the child knew that she was think-ing of her; for she had not quite putaway the shame of her first appear-ance; and she touched her white handtimidly with her brown finger, andsaid, really in earnest, "I won'tsit in'the dirt again.""That's a dear child," said her friend."You must never again forget that,although you are poor, and must livein this world for a while, you are intruth a little exiled princess, and yourglorious home is'with the great King,your Father, in the skies; and it doesnot become the daughter of so great aKing to put herself on a level wv ?
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.27the beasts; but you must lift yourselfup more and more towards heaven."The little girl looked at her, andstraightened her figure to its greatestpossible height."Not to carry yourself proudly, asthe daughter of an earthly king mightdo," continued the lady, " but be abovedoing a mean or low thing, and try tobe heavenly and pure, like your blessedLord and Father; and then he willlift you up to his beautiful, highthrone."The child's head drooped again, andshe looked despondingly at her teacher,as if she did not really know what to do."I'm going now," said the lady;"but I shall come once a week to seehow you get on. I shall not expectthe cobwebs to gather any more inthe cottage, nor the dust to collectupon the floor, nor to shut out thesun from the window, nor the little
28 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.princess's face to be dirty and ugly;because that would offend the pure andholy God, who made this world freshand clean and beautiful, and expects hischildren to keep it so. Do you thinkyou will remember 'Our Father'?""'Who art in heaven,'" said thechild, calling to mind the prayer taughther some time in her life, but longsince almost forgotten."Not in heaven only, dear child,"said the lady. " I want you to thinkof him as close beside you always,wherever you go. Can you read ?"" A little."The lady opened a pocket-Bible,and drawing the little girl closer toher, said, " Now, say after me,-"'Whither shall I go from thySpirit ? or whither shall I flee fromthy presence ? If I ascend up intoheaven, thou art there; if I make mybed in hell, behold, thou art there.
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.29If I take the wings of the morning,and dwell in the uttermost parts ofthe sea; even there shall thy handlead me, and thy right hand shall holdme. If I say, Surely the darknessshall cover me; even the night shallbe light about me. Yea, the dark-ness hideth not from thee; but thenight shineth as the day: the dark-ness and the light are both alike tothee.'"You see, my dear child," said she,as she reverently closed the book, " wecannot get away from God if we would,and surely we would not try to hideourselves from so kind a Friend andFather if we could. Only when weare doing something that we areashamed of do we shun the face ofone who loves us; and if we try toflee from the eye of God we may besure we are guilty of some wicked-ness. How much sweeter is it to do
30 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.what we know will please him, andlook freely up into his face, as a goodchild delights to meet his earthlyparent's smile !"The lady rose to go, and the childlooked wistfully at her and then atthe little Bible."Ah yes; I will give you this. Itwill tell you what to do." And sheput the book into the child's-hands."You will read a chapter every daytill I come?"The little girl gladly promised, butwas sad at the parting -for never anhour passed so cheerily as the hourwith the kind teacher."You may be sure I'll come again,for He sends me," said the lady. Andshe looked up once more with theheavenly face, and then stoopd tillher soft lips touched the child's fore-head; and, while the pressure of thegentle kiss thrilled through the very
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.31soul of the little girl, her friend wasgone.CHAPTER IV."DID she come again?" asked Maddie,who had got upon her knees in front.of Alice, with mouth and eyes andears wide open for the story." Oh yes; many and many a time,"said Alice. "And she taught thelittle girl to see her Father's love inthe trees, and the flowers, and allabout, as she walked amid his beauti-ful creation; and she learned to be aneat, tidy little girl, instead of thedirty, miserable creature that sat cry-ing in the dirt by the roadside whenshe first saw her friend. The ladytaught her to look upon herself asgreatly beloved by her Father, andafter that she was rot miserable anymore."
82 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE." Did you ever see the little prin-cess?" asked Lolly, raising her headfrom Alice's lap and looking earnestlyat her."Yes, indeed. Every day sincethe lady came to her," said Alice." She lives in the same cottage now;but it has grown to be a beautifulplace; for God's flowers are all aboutit, and God's sun streams in at thewindow, and all over the mossy roof,like a golden flood,-and God himselfis always with her to keep her fromharm and from being lonely or sad."And as Alice said this, the tearsglistened in her blue eyes, as the dew-drops sparkle through the sunlight inthe violets."We'll go and see her now," con-tinued she; "and I'll show you twoother little exiled princesses." Andshe took Lolly and Maddie down bythe brook-side, and bade them look in
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.83her great mirror; and there they sawthemselves and Alice-all children ofthe. great King."Ah, now I know.!" said Maddie,clapping her hands. "You are thelittle princess, Alice, and Miss Masonis the good lady. Is she so nice asall that ?""Just as nice, dear Maddie," re-plied Alice; "and if you and Lollywill go with me to the Sunday-school,she'll tell us a great many morebeautiful stories, to help us on ourway to our heavenly home."But come. It is nearly time forus to go now. Mother will be lookingfor me. Good-bye."And the little girl with the sunnyheart bounded into the cottage witha smile and a kiss for her mother.3
34 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.CHAPTER V.WHEN Alice left the children, theywent sauntering along the road to-wards home. Very slowly theywalked, and not joyously and hope-fully, as little children do who thinkof their father's house as the brightestand dearest spot in the whole world.It was a long distance from thebrown cottage of their friend; butthe freshness of the evening made itdelightful to be out, and they hadbeen resting so many hours that theywere not weary. Besides, the twink-ling stars came out in the sky, an(dthere was shining above them thecalm, bright moon; and altogether itwas so serene and lovely, that theyalmost wished they could be alwayswalking in some pleasant path thatshould have no unpleasant thing atthe end-such as they felt their home
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.35to be. Presently they came to a bendin the road, and a few steps from thecorner was a low-roofed house, a ruin-ous-looking place, with rags stuffedin the broken window-panes. Therewere green fields around it, and talltrees gracefully waving near it; butthe old house spoiled the landscapeby its slovenly, shabby appearance.A dim light was burning in theroom nearest the children; and asthey approached, they could see theirfather and mother sitting at a table,eating their coarse supper of breadand cold salt pork.Lolly thought what a pleasant tableAlice had by the brook-side, and thescent of the violets seemed even nowto reach her, and the music of thewaters was in her ears, and the bright,happy face of her little playmatecame freshly before her, making thedingy room where her parents sat.
36 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.with the gloom of the dim light andthe tattered dusty furniture, still moreuninviting and cheerless.Lolly lingered outside the door,while Maddie entered. She sat downupon the step, and called to mind allthat Alice had said to them that day.She was younger than Maddie bya year or two, but her soul was older-that is, it was more thoughtful andearnest; and instead of dwellingalways on the things of earth, shehad a wistful longing for somethinghigher and better, which Alice's wordshad begun to satisfy.The cool breeze played upon hercheek, and the sound of the air, as itrustled the leaves, and the breath ofthe flower-scented meadows fell sooth-ingly upon her senses; and as shelooked up into the starry sky, withits myriads of gleaming lights, andrecalled the story, she felt within her-
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.37self that indeed she was a little .prin-cess as well as Alice, and that farabove all the glory of the heavens herFather was awaiting her return to theheavenly palace."Macddie and I mustn't' forgetthese things," said she to herself;"but must try to get ready for ourbetter home." ,So much was Lolly thinking of thethings she had heard in the story,that she might have sat there in thedew all night, but that her mother0 called her to eat her supper and go tobed. *Maddie was already fast asleepupon a trundle-bed,.that was pushedunder the great bed by day, and drawnout at night; for there were only thetwo rooms in the house, and they hadto make the most of all the space.Lolly had never felt the house sosmall and close as on this night ; for
38 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.her soul was swelling with such largefree thoughts, that the four narrowwalls of the bedroom seemed to pressin upon her and almost to stop herbreath.She could not go to bed until shehad opened the window and lookedup once more into the bright sky; andas she did so, she said very earnestly"0 my Father !"She did not know any prayers.She had never been taught to callupon God. Most that she had everheard of the -other life was throughAlice's story that day; and her heartwas so glad of the knowledge, that italready began to go out towards herheavenly home and her graciousFather.As she spoke these words, therecame such a happy feeling to herspirit-a feeling that she was notalone, but that she was watched over
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.39and protected; and with a sense ofsecurity and safety, such as she hadnever before known, she lay downbeside her sister, and was soonsweetly slumbering.CHAPTER VI.LOLLY was awakened in the morningby the fretful voice of her mother, asshe went scolding about the house,trying to pick up something for break-fast; and she heard her father answer-ing her in no pleasant mood, andkicking about the floor whatever camein his way.It was a sad awakening for poorLolly, and, for the minute, it putwholly out of her mind the pleasureof the previous day, and the lessonlearned in the green and sunny placeby the brook-side; and she was sorely
Sy6340 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.tempted to cover her head with thebed-clothes, and sleep again until herparents were off to their work, andthen give herself up to idleness andplay, as she had always done. Butthe bright happy face of Alice camebefore her to help her, and she wasout of bed in a minute."Maddie, Maddie !" said she, lean-ing over her sister and giving her theleast bit of a shake in order to arouseher; "come, get up. The sun isshining on the wall, and it is a beau-tiful day. I want you to go with mefor Alice.""Get away!" returned Maddie ina huff. " I haven't slept half enough !"And, settling herself again, shedropped off into a heavier slumber;while Lolly, seeing that it would dono good to disturb her, dressed her-self and went into the other room.Her mother was baking a cake, and
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.41her father sat near, idle. Both lookedsurprised to see Lolly up so early.There was a woollen-factory in thevillage, perhaps half a mile away, andthey were off generally long beforethe children were -up; and Maddieand Lolly usually ate such pickingsas they left upon the table, and spenttheir days as they pleased, with littlethought or care from-their parents.Lolly could not wait to get herbreakfast. She cared for nothing toeat, now that her mind was intentupon some great thing, and she spedaway over the dewy grass to find hernew friend. She had never been inAlice's house, for they had only liveda little while in the place where theynow were, and Maddie alone hadfound out their neighbour. Hersister would not always let her playwith her, and it was only a merechance that led her to follow Maddie
42 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.the day before and get acquaintedwith Alice.I did not mean to say chance. Iwould rather say a kind watchfulProvidence-which is the true andright word for a' Christianrto use;because everything that happens inthis world is governed by God's over-ruling power for some good purpose;and Lolly was led to the spot whereher sister and Alice were at play,expressly that she might learn some-thing of her bright, eternal home.Now that she had seen the sunny-hearted little girl once, it took herbut very few minutes to find heragain.The distance seemed nothing at all;and, from the time she left her owndoor, she could see the cheerful faceall along her way, making her walkvery pleasant and not in the leastlonely.
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.43The cottage door' was wide open,and the sunlight lay in golden streakson the floor at the entrance, whereTabby had stretched herself comfort-ably. Lolly could see into the littlesquare room-at the right.The table was spread with a neat,white cloth, and Alice and her .motherwere eating their breakfast together.There were two white plates on thetable, and white cups and saucers, anda smoking dish of porridge. All thisLolly could see as she' stood hesitat-ing near the door; but, in a minute,Alice caught a glimpse-of her little,shy face, and ran to lead her in."You must have some of this nicebreakfast," said she, giving Lolly aplateful of the porridge, and pouringsome milk on it from a small whitepitcher..-Lolly looked timidly at Alice'smother, to see if she might eat it; and
44 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.the kind pleasant smile she receivedmade her feel quite at home, so thatshe needed no further urging.Soon after the mother went away,and left Alice to put the room inorder; and, when all things wereright, Alice said "she could go withLolly as well as not thati day, andthey would make a pretty place ofthe shabby cottage; for it was just inthe best spot-so wild and shady andgreen."It was rather a sorrowful task atthe beginning, and almost any otherlittle girl than Alice would have beenquite discouraged.There was a great deal of rubbishin the sitting-room, and the floor andwindows looked as if they had neverknown anything of soap and water.Maddie sat upon the top of a half-barrel, swinging her brown, soiledfeet, and playing with a black puppy,
LITTLE-ALICE'S PALACE.45that was snapping at her toes; whilethe table was strewn with crumbs anddirty dishes from the morning's meal,and chips and sticks and bits of ragswere upon the floor.She looked as if she had just gotout of bed. Her face was dull, andher hair showed no touch of brush orcomb, and her nails were long anddirty; but she jumped from her perchwith some signs of shame as she sawAlice, so neat and tidy, at the door;and she began to scramble about asif she wished to make things a littlebetter."May I help you to-day, Maddie?"asked Alice. "I haven't any workat home, and I like to get things tidy.We'll make such a room of this beforenight! " And, without another word,she began in earnest to bring orderout of strange confusion.Lolly was a-capital helper, because
46 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.her heart was in the matter, and shereally wanted a pleasant, cheerfulhome; but Maddie was content tolook on, and scarcely moved a fingerto help.They packed away the wood andchips in the closet under the lowestshelf, and washed the dishes and setthem up edgewise in their properplaces; and they mop]gqd the floor,and scrubbed the windows and table,and brought boughs of evergreen tohang upon the nails around the wallsand make it cheerful and pretty.Alice thought of this. She said,"Rich folks hang paintings on theirwalls-and these are God's pictures,the work of his almighty fingers, andso beautiful! Why not put themwhere we can always look at them,and in them see his love and kind-ness ?"Lolly thought her the most won-
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.47derful little girl in all the world, andclapped her hands for joy as she lookedupon the altered room.Then they went outside, and sweptthe sticks and chips from the lawn;and Maddie managed to hunt up ahammer and some old rusty nails,and to help Alice to fasten the looseboards upon the door, which improvedit more than anything else could do.It was so low from the roof to theground that by stepping on a chairthey could easily reach; and theytrained a running rose-bush, that hadbeen long neglected, and hung, trail-ing, over the grass, so that it nearlycovered the whole side of the cottage,and would soon be like a bright greenmantle over the dark walls.
-8S LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.CHAPTER VI1.JUST as they had finished their labours,and Alice had prevailed upon Maddieto put herself in a little better order,and the three young friends had seatedthemselves upon the step to get some-thing from Alic's Bible-some wordsof love and blessing, as Alice said,from their heavenly Father-therecame a lady up the road towards them.She was walking very slowly along,with her parasol shielding her face,so that it was quite concealed fromthe children; but Alice knew herdress, and ran quickly to meet her,crying joyously, "It is Miss Mason,dear Lolly !"Maddie ran into the cottage andhid behind the door, like a foolishlittle girl; but Lolly sat still, veryglad that the good teacher was comingto speak to her, yet trembling with a
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.49sort of nervous fear; because she wasa shy little girl, and so seldom sawstrangers.She wondered that Alice dared goso fearlessly up and walk along, withher hand in Miss Mason's hand, andher face upturned towards the lady's,while she talked as freely as if it hadbeen herself or Maddie listening. Butwhen Miss Mason stood by the stepand stooped down to kiss her sun-burned cheek, and said sweetly, "Sothis is your little friend Lolly, is it,Alice ?" she did not wonder anylonger; for her heart leaped to meetthe gentle lady, and she could nottake her eyes from such a kind andloving face."Where's Maddie ?" asked MissMason, with a smile.She could see her peeping throughthe crack of the door; and, understand-ing the case, she said carelessly,-4
50 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE." I suppose she will join us by-and-by. We will sit here and read inAlice's book until she comes, and thenI want to talk to you. Alice toldme you lived here, Lolly, and I wantyou to go to the Sunday-school. Weare very happy there, are we not,Alice?"Alice answered with a beaming face,and she and Lolly sat, one on eachside of the teacher, and listened asshe read to them from God's holyWord.She read first about the creation ofthis beautiful world, and the gardenwhere Adam and Eve were placed;and, when she had made Lolly andMaddie understand all about how sincame-for Maddie, attracted by thesweet voice and pleasant manner, hadcrept softly from her hiding-place andcurled herself upon the step behindthe lady-Miss Mason turned to the
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.New Testament and read to them afew verses about Jesus, who tookupon himself our nature and sufferedfor our sins.The children were much impressedby the story of the Saviour's suffer-ings and death; and when the teachertold them that every naughty wordand deed of theirs was like a nail inthe Saviour's feet or hands, they feltthat they would never again do awicked thing.Then she told them how impossibleit would be for them to keep from sinwithout God's continual help; and shetaught them how to look up to himand ask for his aid and blessing. Andwhen she had made sure that theycould say a short prayer, and had ob-tained a promise from them that theywould go every Sunday to the Sunday-school, she kissed them all three veryaffectionately, and went on to search
52 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.for others of her heavenly Father'swandering children.When she had gone quite out ofsight, and they were taking anothergood look at the changed rooms, thatseemed so grand to them all, Lollysaid thoughtfully to Alice,-"Do you think thegreat King willlike to come here now. "" He is here," said Alice reverently."Don't you feel it, Lolly? We neversee him, you know, as we see eachother; but we feel that he is near,just as you feel that your mother isin -the room even when the darknesshides her from your eyes."Lolly repeated the little prayersoftly, "0 my heavenly Father, Iwill try to love thee. Wilt thou notcome unto me, and be with me wher-ever I am, adiifhelp me to be thychild? " An as she said the words,she knew that God was with her, and
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.that from that hour there was a Pre-sence in the house that would driveaway all the gloom, and make suchbrightness as filled the cottage of herlittle friend.It was time for Alice to go; butshe lingered a little while longer toteach Maddie how to prepare thesupper, so that when her mother camehome weary from her labour, theremight be no more hard work for herto do, but real comfort and rest."Now, don't get tired of house-keeping," said she, as she tied on hersun-bonnet to go. "I shall run over'some day to see how you get on; andI'm sure it's so much prettier to besweet, and clean, and tidy, that you'llloveDto keep the house nice." Andaway she tripped to make things plea-sant for her own dear, hard-working:mother.Sunny little girl! She knew how
54 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.many tiresome steps her diligenthands and loving heart could saveher poor widowed mother; and ineverything she did there was a tenderthought of the warm heart againstwhich her infant head had lain whenher little feet and hands were weakand helpless.She was glad now that they hadgrown strong to aid, that she couldgive back some of the care and effort.Alice never dreamed of growing im-patient in her mother's service. Shedid not wait to be asked to help her,but watched for opportunities, and soproved a great blessing and treasurein the lowly cottage home, that wouldhave been very dismal and sad with-out her sunny, buoyant little body.
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.CHAPTER VIII.PETER RAND and his wife came lag-ging up the road as the sun was set-ting. They had passed an uncom-monly laborious day, and were com-pletely tired out with their toil. Theywere very, silent, and were thinkingwhat a sad, miserable home was theirs,and how little of cheer they had inlife. Nothing seemed bright to them,although the earth was like a paradisefor greenness and fragrance and beauty.XAs they drew near the house, Mr.Rand was very much surprised bythe great change in the outwardaspect of the place. He could scarcelybelieve that he had not mistaken theroad, and come to some other cottagethan the slovenly one that he had leftin the morning.His wife, intent upon the supperthat her hungry appetite craved, hadI
56 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.pressed forward in haste to pre-pare it.As she entered the door, however,she started back with the strange feel-ing that she was in the house of someneighbour; but Pug, the little dog,ran frisking about her, and convincedher that is was indeed her own house.The table was set in the middle ofthe room, and the dishes were arrangedin nice order; and just in the centrewas Lolly's pewter mug, with a bunchof sweet, blue violets to grace it all.There was the savoury odour of thebaking cake from the fire, and thefumes of the steeping tea filled theroom, and already gave a sense of re-freshing to the weary work-people.The rags were taken from the win-dows, and square bits of paper werepinned over the openings; and thefloor was neat and clean, and thebeautiful green boughs hung upon the
LIrTTLE ALICE'S PALACE.walls, and the children sat, with cleanhands and faces, awaiting the returnof father and mother.They looked so bright and happythat the weary couple quite forgottheir fatigue, and chatted merrily overtheir pleasant meal, praising the chil-dren for their thoughtful work, andsaying they didn't believe there was amore beautiful home in the worldthan theirs.Altogether, it was a very happyevening. Maddie and Lolly madetheir father and mother sit downquietly while they cleared off thetable, and washed the dishes, andswept the crumbs away; and thenthey all had a cozy little time, talk-ing of new hopes and plans. For thechange was so comfortable that it putlife and spirits into every soul; andthe father said he would get someglass and putty and mend the win-
58 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.dows; and the mother would makesome white curtains, and the childrenwould get evergreen and form it intowreaths to loop them up. Oh, ittakes so little to make a cheerful,happy home It is only the idle andvicious that need be really miserable.If God does not always give u9plenty of money, he furnishes us withso many rich things in this world ofhis, that we may adorn even a lowlyand barren place until it shall appearricher than the gayest palace. Maddieand Lolly found this out throughAlice; and every day they huntedthe woods for mosses and flowers, andtheir father made little shelves to putthem on, and formed many a prettyseat of twisted branches of trees; sothat by-and-by their cottage was one ofthe prettiest places anywhere around,and attracted the notice of everybodythat passed it.
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.59Miss Mason came very often, novthat she had found them out; and shenot only prevailed on the parents tosend their children to Sunday-school,but they themselves went regularly tochurch, and tried to serve the greatand holy God who had put it into thehearts of their children to make theirearthly place of abode something akinto the better home.So soon as they began to feel thepresence of the heavenly King, all thedespondency and gloom vanished, and,even though poor and hard-working,they were happy in the possession ofsuch riches as nothing but the loveand favour of our heavenly Fathercan give.CHAPTER IX.IT was not very long after the chil-dren learned to look away from earth
60 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.to the blest abode beyond the skies,when Lolly began to droop and growweak and listless; and, althoughher parents and Maddie thought itwas but a trifling illness, she her-self felt that her Father was aboutto call her home. She was notafraid to die; and, when she grew solanguid that her little feet lost thepower to take her to the Sunday-school, Miss Mason and Alice and thekind minister came often to talk toher of her approaching joy.There was one beautiful little storythat the minister used to tell her overand over againshe liked it so much.I do not know whether he made it, orwhether he got it from some book;but I want to tell it to you, for I likeit as well as Lolly did. It is this:-"There was a bright,-beautifulbutterfly that was about to die. Shehad laid her eggs on a cabbage-leaf in
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.61the garden; and, as she thought ofher children, she said to a caterpillarthat was crawling upon the leaf, Iam going to die. I feel my strengthfast failing, and I want you to takecare of my little ones.'"The caterpillar promised, andthe butterfly folded her wings andbreathed her last." Then the caterpillar did not knowwhat to do. She wanted some in-struction with regard to her charge:so she thought she would ask a lark;that went' soaring up into the bluesky. At first the lark was silent, andplumed his wings and went up--up-up, as .if to gather wisdom for hisanswer; and then he came, singing,-down and said,-"'I'll tell you something about yourcharge; but you won't believe me.These young butterflies that you lookfor will become caterpillars.'(
62 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE."'Poh poh!' said the old cater-pillar. 'I don't believe a word of it.;"'No; I told you you wouldn't.And what do you suppose they willlive upon?' said the lark."' Why, the dew and the sweethoney from the flowers, to be sure,'replied the caterpillar. 'That is whatall butterflies live on.'' They won't, indeed,' said thelark. 'They will eat cabbage-leaves.'And he went soaring away-again intothe clear heavens."Presently, back he came and saidto the caterpillar,-"' I'll tell you something strangerstill about yourself. You'll be abeautiful butterfly.'" The caterpillar laughed at theidea; butgas she turned around andsaw the eggs upon the leaf all hatchedinto little crawling caterpillars, shewas forced to believe what the lark
LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.63had said concerning herself; and shewent about as happy as could be, tell-ing everybody what a glorious changewould come to her after she hadfolded herself in her close chrysalis."The minister told Lolly that thiscaterpillar in the chrysalis was like usworms of the dust when lying in thenarrow grave enshrouded in our death-robes; and that, like as the caterpillarbursts his darksome bonds and soarsaway upon butterfly pinions, so shallwe come forth from the tomb on theresurrection day, and with angel-wingsmount upward to the world of lightand peace. Then he read a few versesto her from that beautiful accountof the rising from the dead, in thefifteenth chapter of the First Epistleto the Corinthians.Lolly would lie upon her sick-bedand fasten her earnest eyes upon himas he read and as he spoke so sweetly
64 LITTLE ALICE'S PALACE.to her of the other life; and then shewould look away through the openwindow to the heavens above, andseem to see the face of her Father,.who was drawing her slowly to him-self.
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