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Karl Krinken and the Breaker.
CARL KRINKEN;OR,THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.BY THE AUTHORS OF"THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD," "QUEECHY," "GOLDEN LADDER,"&c, &c., &c.LONDON:FREDERICK WARNE & CO.,BEDFORD STREET, COVENT GARDEN.1870.
PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANYEDINBURGH AND LONDON
CONTENTS.PAGECARL KRINKEN; OR, THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING, 5THE STORY OF THE THREE APPLES, 13THE STORY OF THE PENNY, 24THESTORY OF THE PURSE, 39THE STORY OF THE TWO SHOES, 70THE STORY OF THE PINE-CONE, 109TIHE TORY OF THE HYMN-BOOK,. 124THE STORY OF THE CORK BOAT, 137THE STORY OF THE STOCKING ITSELF, 139LA1
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CARL KRINKEN;OR,THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.WHEREVBR Santa Claus lives, and in whatever spot of theuniverse he harnesses his reindeer and loads up his sleigh,one thing is certain-he never yet put anything into that sleighfor little Carl Krinken. Indeed, it may be noted as a fact,that the Christmas of poor children has but little of hiscare. Now and then a cast-off frock or an extra mince-pieslips into the load, as it were accidentally; but in generalSanta Claus aims at higher game-gilt books and sugar-plums, and fur tippets, and new hoods, and crying babies,and rocking-horses, and guns and drums and trumpets; andwhat have poor children to do with these 1 Not but thatthey might have something to do with them-it is a singularfact that poor children cut their teeth quite as early as therich, even that sweet tooth, which is destined to be an un-satisfied tooth all the days of its life, unless its owner shouldperchance grow up to be a sugar refiner. It is also remark-able, that though poor children can bear a great deal of cold,they can also enjoy being warm-whether by means of anew dress or a load of firing, and the glow of a bright blazelooks just as comfortable upon little cheeks that are gene-rally blue, as upon little cheeks that are generally red; whilenot even dirt will hinder the kindly heat of a fire of coalsfrom rejoicing the little shivering fingers that are held over it.t
6 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.I say all this is strange-for nobody knows much aboutit; and how can they ? When a little-girl once went downBroadway with her muff and her doll, the hand outside themuff told the hand within that he had no idea what a coldday it was. And the hand inside said that for his part henever wished it to be warmer.But with all this Santa Claus never troubled his head-he was too full of business, and wrapped up in buffalo skinsbesides; and though he sometimes thought of little Carl, asa good-natured little fellow who talked as much about himas if Santa Claus had given him half the world, yet it endedwith a thought, for his hands were indeed well occupied. Itwas no trifle to fill half a million of rich little stockings, andthen-how many poor children had none to fill or if onechanced to be found, it might have holes in it; and if thesugarplums should come rolling down upon such a floor !To be sure the children would not mind that, but SantaClaus would.Nevertheless, little Carl always hung up his stocking, andgenerally had it filled-though not from any sleigh load ofwonderful things; and he often amused himself, on Christ-mas Eve, with dreaming that he had ihade himself sick witheating candy, and that they had a pile of mince-pies as high"as the house. So altogether, what with dreams and realities,Carl enjoyed that time of the year very much, and thoughtit was a great pity Christmas did not come every day. Hewas always contented too with what he found in his stock-ing; while some of his rich little neighbours had theirs filledonly to their hearts' discontent, and fretted because they gotwhat they did not want, or for something that they had notgot It was a woeful thing if a top was painted the wrongcolour, or if the mane of a rocking-horse was too short, or ifhis bridle was of black leather instead of red.But when Carl once found in his stocking a little boardnailed upon four reels for wheels, and with nothing betterthan a long piece of twine to draw it with, his little tongueran as fast as the reels, and he had brought his mother avery small load of chips in less than five minutes. And a
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING. 7small cake of maple sugar which somehow once found itsway to the same depending toe, was a treasure quite too greatto be weighed; though it measured only an inch and a halfacross, and though the maple trees had grown about a footsince it was made."Wife," said John Krinken, "what shall we put into littleCarl's stocking to-night V"" Truly," said his wife, "I do not know. Nevertheless weMust find something, though there be but little in the house."And the wind swept round and round the old hut, andevery cupboard rattled and said, in an empty sort of way,"There is not much here."John Krinken and his wife lived on the coast, where theycould hear every winter storm rage and beat, and where thewild sea sometimes brought wood for them, and laid it attheir very door. It was a driftwood fire by which they satnow, this Christmas Eve, the crooked knee of some ship,and.a bit of her keel, with nails and spikes held in theirplaces by rust, and a piece of green board stuck under tolight the whole. The andirons were two round stones, andthe hearth was a flat one; and in front of the fire sat JohnKrinken on an old box making a fishing-net,.while a splinterchair upheld Mrs Krinken and a half-mended red flannel-shirt. An old chest, between the two, held patches and ballsof twine; and the. crooked knee, the keel, and the greenboard, were their only candles."We must find something," repeated John. And pausingwith his netting-needle half through the loop, he lookedround towards one corner of the hut.A clean rosy little face and a very glossy set of thick curlsrested there, in the very middle of the thin pillow and thehard bed; while the coverlet of blue check was tucked roundand in, lest the drift-wood fire should not do its duty at thatdistance.John Krinken and his wife refreshed themselves with along look, and then returned to their work." "You've got the stocking, wife " said John, after a pause." Ay," said his wife, "it is easy to find something to filL"
8 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."Fetch it out then, and let us see how much it will taketo fill it."Mrs Krinken arose, and going to one of the two littlecupboards she brought thence a large iron key; and thenhaving placed the patches and thread upon the floor, sheopened the chest, and rummaged out a long, gray, woollenstocking, with a white toe and heel, and various darns inred. Then she locked the chest again and sat down asbefore."The same old thing," said John Krinken, with a glanceat the stocking." Well," said his wife, "it's the only stocking in the housethat is long enough.""I know one thing he shall have in it," said John; andhe got up and went to the other cupboard and fetched fromit a large piece of cork. "He shall have a boat that willfloat like one of Mother Carey's chickens." And he beganto cut and shape with his large clasp knife, while the littleheap of chips on the floor between his feet grew larger, andthe cork grew more and more like a boat.His wife laid down her hand which was in the sleeve ofthe red jacket, and watched him."It will never do to put that in first," she said; "themasts would be broken. I think I'll fill the toe of thestocking with apples.""And where will you get apples ?"- said John Krinken,shaping the keel of his boat."I've got them," said his wife, "three rosy-cheeked apples.Last Saturday, as I came from market, a man went by witha load of apples; and as I came on I found that he haddropped three out of his waggon. So I picked them up.""Three apples," said John. "Well, I'll give him a pennyto fill up the chinks."" And I've got an old purse that he "can keep it in," saidthe mother."How long do you suppose he will keep it I" said John."Well, he'll want to put it somewhere while he does keepit." said Mrs Krinken. "The purse is old, but it was hand-
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING. 9some once, and it will please the child, anyway. And thenthere are his new shoes."So when the boat was done, Mrs Krinken brought outthe apples and slipped them into the stocking, and then theshoes went in, and the purse, and the penny-which ofcourse ran all the way down to the biggest red darn of all,in the very toe of the stocking.But there was still abundance of room left." "If one only had some sugar things," said Mrs Krinken."Or some nuts," said John."Or a book," rejoined his wife: " Carl takes to his bookwonderfully.""Yes," said John, "all three would fill up in fine style.Well, there is a book he can have-only I don't know whatit is about, nor whether he would like it. That poor ladywe took from an American wreck when I was mate of theSkeen-elf-had it in her pocket, and she gave it to me whenshe died-because I didn't let her die in the water, poorsoul! She said it was worth a great deal. And I think theclasp is silver.""Oh, I daresay he would like it!" said Mrs Krinken;"give him that, and I'll put in the old pine cone-he's oldenough to take care of it now. I think he will be content."The book with its worn leather binding and tarnishedsilver clasp, was dusted and rubbed up and put in, and theold sharp-pointed pine cone followed; and the fishermanand his wife followed it up with a great deal of love and ablessing.And then the stocking was quite full.It was midnight; and the fire had long l*n 'vered ip,and John Krinken and his wife- were fast asleep, all littleCarl was in the midst of the hard bed and his sweet dreamsas before. The stocking hung by the side of the little fire-place, as still as if it had never walked about in its life,'andnot a sound could be heard but the beat of the surf-uponthe shore and an occasional sigh from the wind; for thewind is always melancholy at Christmas.Once or twice an old rat peeped cautiously out of his hole,
10 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.and seeing nobody, had crossed the floor and sat down infront of the stocking, which his sharp nose immediatelypointed out to him. But though he could smell the applesplainly enough, he was afraid that long thing might hold atrap as. well; and so he did nothing but smell, and snuffand show his teeth. As for the little mice, they ran out andAninced a measure on the hearth and then back again; afterAhi.ch one of them squealed for some time for the amusementtf the rest.But just at midnight there was another noise heard-assomebody says-" You could hear on the roofThe scraping and prancing of each little hoof;"and down came Santa Claus through the chimney."He must have set out very early that night, to have somuch time to spare, or perhaps he was cold in spite of hisfurs; for he came empty-handed, and had evidently no business calls in that direction. But the first thing he did wasto examine the stocking and its contents.At some of the articles he laughed, and at some hefrowned, but most of all did he shake his head over the lovethat filled up all the spare room in the stocking. It was akind of thing Santa Claus was not used to; the little stock-ings were generally too full for anything of that sort-whenthey had to hold candy enough to make the child sick, andtoys enough to make him unhappy because he did not knowwhich to play with first, of course very little love could getin. And there is no telling how many children would besatisfied if it did. But Santa Claus put all the things backjust as he had found them, and stood smiling to himself fora minute, with his hands on his sides and his back to thefire. Then tapping the stocking with a little stick that hecarried, he bent down over Carl and whispered some wordsSin his ear, and went off up the chimney.And the little mice came out and danced on the floor tillthe day broke.S"Christmas day in the morning!" And what a day it
THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING. 11was! All night long as the hours went by, the waves hadbeaten time with their heavy feet; and wherever the foamand spray had fallen upon board, or stone, or crooked stick,there it had frozen, in long icicles, or fringes, or little whitecaps. But when the sun had climbed out of the leaden sea,every morsel of foam and ice sparkled and twinkled likemorning stars, and the Day got her cheeks warm and .glow-ing as fast as she could; and the next thing the sun did %Ato walk in at the hut window and look at little Carl Krin-ken. Then it laid a warm hand upon his little face, and Carlhad hardly smiled away the last bit of his dream before hestarted up in bed and shouted-"Merry Christmas!"SThe mice were much alarmed, for they had not all seentheir partners safe home; but they got out of the way asfast as they could, and when Carl bounded out of bed hestood alone upon the floor.The floor felt cold, very; Carl's toes curled up in the mostdisapproving manner possible, and he tried standing on hisheels. Then he scampered across the floor and began to feelat the stocking, beginning at the top. It was plain enoughwhat the shoes were, but the other things puzzled him tillhe got to the foot of the stocking; and his feet being bythat time very cold (for both toes and heels had rested onthe floor in the eagerness of examination,) Carl seized thestocking in both hands and scampered back to bed again;screaming out, "Apples! apples! apples !"His mother being now awakened by his clambering overher for the second time, she gave him a kiss, and a "MerryChristmas !" and got up; and as his father did the sameCarl was left in undisturbed possession of the warm bed.,-'There he laid himself down as snug as could be, with thelong stocking by his side, and began to pull out and examinethe things one by one, after which each article was laid onthe counterpane outside."Well, my boy, how do you like your things ?" said MrsKrinken,- coming up to the bed ust when Carl and the'empty stocking lay side by side.
12 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."First rate!" said Carl "Mother, I dreamed last nightthat all my presents told me stories. Wasn't it funny I""Yes; I suppose so," said his mother, as she walked awayto turn the fish that was broiling. Carl lay still and lookedat the stocking." Where did you come from, old stocking ?" said he." From England," said the stocking very softly.Carl started up in bed, and looked between the sheets andover the counterpane, and behind the head-board; there wasnothing to be seen. Then he shook the stocking as hard ashe could, but something in it struck his other hand ratherhard too. Carl laid it down and looked at it again, andthen cautiously putting in his hand, he with some difficultyfound his way to the very toe; there lay the penny, justwhere it had been all the time, upon the largest of the reddarns." A penny !" cried Carl "Oh, I suppose it was you whowas talkfng, wasn't it ?"" No," said the penny. "But I can talk""Do you know where you came from 1" said Carl, staringat the penny with all his eyes." Certainly," said the penny."I dreamed that everything in my stocking told me astory," said Carl."So we will," said the penny. "Only to you. To no-body else."Carl shook his head very gravely, and having slipped thepenny into the little old purse, he put everything into thestocking again, and jumped out of bed; for the drift-woodfire was blazing up to the very top of the little fireplace, andbreakfast was almost ready upon the old chest.But as soon as breakfast was over, Carl carried the stock-ing to one corner of the hut where stood another old chest;and laying out all his treasures thereon, he knelt down be-fore it."Now begin," he said. "But you mustn't all talk atonce; I think I will hear the apples first, because I mightwant to eat them up. I don't care which begins."
THE THREE APPLES. 13THE STORY OF THE THREE APPLES."I ASSUME to myself the task of relating our joint history,"said the largest of the three apples, "because I am, perhaps,the fairest minded of us alL The judgment and experienceof my younger sister Half-ripe are as yet immature, andmy little brother Knerly is unfortunately of a somewhatsour disposition, and therefore less likely to represent thingsin a pleasant light. My own name is Beachamwell."At this opening the two smaller apples rolled over in anuncomfortable sort of way, but said nothing."As for me," continued Beachamwell, "I have not onlybeen favoured with a southern exposure, but I have alsomade the most of whatever good influences were within myreach, and have endeavoured to perfect myself in everyquality that an apple should have. You perceive not onlythe fine roundness of my shape, but also the perfect andequal colour of my cheeks. My stem is smooth and erect,and my eye precisely in a line with it; and if I could becut open this minute I should be found true to my heart'score. I am also of a very tender disposition, being what isusually called thin-skinned; and a very slight thing wouldmake a permanent and deep impression on me. My beha-viour towards every one has always been marked by the mostperfect smoothness, and on intimate acquaintance I shouldbe found remarkably sweet and pleasant.""You'd better not say any more about yourself at presentBeachamwell," said Carl, " because I might eat you up beforeyou got through your story, and that would be a pity. Letme hear about Half-ripe and Knerly.""- My sister Half-ripe," said Beachamwell, "though with"the same natural capabilities as myself, has failed to improvethem. Instead of coming out into the warm and improvingI society of the sun and the wind, she has always preferredo' meditate under the shade of a bunch of leaves; andthough in part she could not help doing credit to her family,you will perceive that her time has been but half improved--it is only one of her cheeks that has the least proper colour
14 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.while the other displays the true pale green tint of secludedstudy; and even the seeds of influence and usefulness withinher are bit half matured; but mine will be found as darkas--" As the chimney-back 1" suggested Carl."They are not exactly that colour," replied Beachamwell,.'being in fact more like mahogany.""Well I never saw any of that," said Carl, "so you don'ttell me much. Never mind-I shall know when I cut youup. Now, be quick, and tell about Knerly ; and then give meall the history of your great, great, great grandfather apple.""Knerly," said Beachamwell, " was a little cross-grainedfrom the very bud. Before he had cast off the light pinkdress which as you know we apples wear in our extremeyouth, the dark spot might be seen. It is probable thatsome poisonous sting may have pierced him in that tenderperiod of his life, and the consequence is, as I have said,some hardness of heart and sourness of disposition. As yousee, he has not softened under the sun's influence, thoughexposed to it all his life; and it is doubtful whether he everwill attain a particle of the true Beachamwell colour. Thereare, however, good spots in Knerly; and- even Half-ripe canbe sweet if you only get to the right side of her.""I'll be sure to do that," said Carl, "for I shall go allround. Come, go on.""Unfortunately,' -said Beachamwell, "I cannot give theinformation which you desire about my respected and vener-able ancestors. The pedigree of apples is not always wellpreserved, and in general the most we can boast of is thefamily name: nor is that often obtained except by engraftingupon a very different stock. For one generation back, how-ever, we may claim to be true Beachamwells. From root totwig the parent tree was the right stufE The remarkable wayin which this came about, I am happily able to tell you.A number of years ago, one Thanksgiving Eve, WidowPenly was washing up the tea things, and her little boy.Mark, sat looking at her.
THE THREE APPLES. 15"I wish we could keep Thanksgiving, mother," said he."Why, so we will," said his mother."But how I" said Mark, with a very brightened face."What will you do, mother 1""I'll make you some pies-if I can get anything to makethem of," said Mrs Penly."Ah, but you can't," said Mark, his countenance fallingagain. "There are not even any potatoes in the house. Youused to make potato pies, didn't you, mother, when fatherforgot to bring home the pumpkin?""Yes," said Mrs Penly, but as if she scarce heard him;for other Thanksgiving Days were sweeping across the stagewhere Memory's troop was just then performing." So what will you do, mother I" repeated little Mark,when he had watched her again for a few minutes.S "Do I" said the widow, rousing herself. "Why, my dear,Sijwe cannot make any pies we will keep Thanksgiving with-out them.""I don't think one can keep Thanksgiving without any-thing," said Mark, a little fretfully.S "Oh no," said his mother, "neither do I; but we willthink about it, dear, and do the best we can. And now youmay read to me while I mend this hole in your stocking.Read the 103d Psalm."So Mark got his little old Bible and began to read:-"' Bless the Lord, 0 my soul, and forget not all his benefits,whoforgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases;who redeemeth thy life from destruction ; who crowneth theeSwith lowingkindness and tender mercies.'S "Don't you think, Mark," said his mother, "that we couldkeep Thanksgiving for at least one day with only such bless-ings as these V"""Why, yes," said Mark, "I suppose we could, mother-Sthough I wasn't thinking of that."" "No, of"course not," said his mother "and that is thevery reason why we so often long for earthly things-we arenot thinking of the heavenly blessings that God has showered:. upon us"
16 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."But mother," said Mark, not quite satisfied, "it goes onto say, Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so thatthy youth is renewed like the eagle's.'"And Mark looked up as if he thought his mother must bepuzzled now, if she never was before.It did occur to Mrs Penly, as she glanced at the child, thathis cheeks were not very fat, nor his dress very thick; andthat a greater plenty of pies and other nourishing thingsmight exert a happy influence upon his complexion; but shestilled her heart with this word, " Your Father knoweth thatye have need of such things.""I am sure we have a great many good things,,Mark,"she answered, cheerfully; "don't you remember that barrelof flour that came the other day I and the molasses, and thepickles We must have as much as is good for us, or Godwould give us more; for it says in another part of that psalm,' Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieththem that fear him.' I wouldn't keep from you anythingthat I thought good for you."" But you are my mother," said Mark, satisfactorily."Well," said the widow, "the Bible says that a mothermay forget her child, yet will not God forget His children.So you see, dear, that if we have not a great many thingswhich some other people have, it is not because God hasforgotten to care for us, but because we are better withoutthem.""I wonder why," said Mark. " Why should they hurtus any more than other people ?""God knows," said his mother. "It is so pleasant tohave Him choose and direct all for us. If I could have myway, I dare say I should wish for something that would dome harm-just as you wanted to eat blackberries last sum-mer when you were ill"" But we are not sick," said Mark." Yes we are-sick with sin; and sin-sick people mustnot have all that their sinful hearts desire; and people wholove earth too well must want some of the good things ofthis world, that they may think more of heaven."
THE THREE APPLES. 17S"Well," said Mark, the last thing before he got into bed," "we'll keep Thanksgiving, mother-you and I; and we'lltry to be as happy as we can without pies."" We may have some pleasant thing that we do not thinkof," said his mother, as she tucked the clothes down abouthim."Why, what?" said Mark, starting up in an instant." Where could anything come from, mother I""From God in the first place," she answered, "and He canalways find a way.""Mother !" said Mark, "there are a great many apples inthe road by Mr Crab's orchard."" Wel, dear," said his mother, "they don't belong to us.""." Biut they're in the road," said Mark; "and Mr Smith'spig are there all day long eating them.""We won't help the pigs," said his mother, smiling."Viey don't know any better, but we do. I have causeenough for thanksgiving, Marky, in a dear little boy whoalways minds what I say."Mark hugged his mother very tight round the neck, andthen went immediately to sleep, and dreamed that he wasrunning up a hill after a pumpkin.- But Mark woke up in the morning empty handed. Therewere plenty of sunbeams on the bed, and though it was solate in November, the birds sang outside the window as ifthey had a great many concerts to give before winter, andmust make haste.Mark turndd over on his back to have both ears free, andthen he could hear his mother and the broom moving up anddown the kitchen : and as she swept she sang --" Rejoice, the Lord is King IYour Lord and King adore;Mortals, give thanks and sing,And triumph evermore ;Lift up your hearts, lift up your voice;Rejoice, again I say, rejoice !S "Rejoice in glorious hope,- Jersu the Judge shall comeB
18 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.And take His servants upTo their eternal home;We soon shall hear th' archangel's voice !The trump of God shall sound-Rejoice!"Mark listened a while till he heard his mother stop sweep-ing and begin to step in and out of the pantry. She was notsetting the table, he knew, for that was always his work, andhe began to wonder what they were going to have for break-fast. Then somebody knocked at the door."Here is a quart of milk, Mrs Penly," said a voice."Mother thought she wouldn't churn again before next week,so she could spare it as well as not."Mark waited to hear his mother pay her thanks and shutthe door, and having meanwhile got dressed, he rushed outinto the kitchen."Is it a whole quart, mother I""A whole quart of new milk, Mark. Isn't that good ""Delicious !" said Mark. " I should like to drink it allup. I don't mean that I should like to do so really, mother,only on some accounts, you know."" Well, now, what shall we do with it '" said his mother.."You shall dispose of it.all.""If we had some eggs we would have a pudding," saidMark, "a plum pudding. You can't make it without eggs,can you, mother ""Not very well," said Mrs Penly. "Nor without plums.""No, so that won't do," said Mark. "It seems to me wecould have made moi*e use of it if it had been apples.""Ah, you are a discontented little boy,'? said his mother,smiling. "Last night you would have been glad of any-thing. Now, I advise that you drink a cup of milk for yourbreakfast" -"A whole cupful$" interrupted Mark." Yes, and'another for your tea; and then you will havetwo left for breakfast and tea to-morrow."" But then you won't have any of it," said Mark."I don't want any."" But you pust haye some," said Mark. " Now I'll tell
THE THREE APPLES. 19you what, mother. I'll drink a cupful this morning and youshall put some in your tea; and to-night I'll drink somemore and you shall have cream, real cream; and what isleft I 'l drink to-morrow.""Very well," said his mother. " But now you must runand get washed and dressed, for breakfast is almost ready.I have made you a little shortcake, and it is baking away ata great rate in the oven."" What is shortcake made of 1" said Mark, stopping withthe door in his hand."This is made of flour and water, because I had nothingelse.""Well, don-t you set the table," said Mark, "because Ishall beback directly; and then I can talk to you about themilk while I'm putting on your cup, and my cup, and theplates."It would be hard to tell how much Mark enjoyed hiscup of milk-how slowly he drank it-how careful he wasnot to leave one drop in the cup; while his interest in thedish of milk in the closet was quite as deep. Jack did notSgo oftener to see how his bean grew, than did Mark to seehow his cream rose.Then he set out to go with his mother to church.The influence of the dish of milk was not quite so strong"when he was out of the house; so many things spoke ofother people's dinners that Mark half forgot his own break-fast. He thought he never had seen so many apple trees,nor so many geese and turkeys, nor so many pumpkins, asin that one little walk to church. Again and again helooked up at his mother to ask her sympathy for a littleboy who had no apples, nor geese, nor pumpkin pies ; but"something in the sweet quiet of her face made him thinkof the psalm he had read last night, and Mark was silent.But after a while his mother spoke:-S "There was once a man, Mark, who had two springs ofw ater near his dwelling. And the furthest off was alwaysfull, but the near one sometimes ran dry. He could alwaysfetch as much as he wanted from the further one, and the
20 CHRISTMAS STOCKING.water was by far the sweetest; moreover, he could, if hechose, draw out the water of the upper spring in suchabundance that the dryness of the lower should not benoticed.""Were they pretty springs I" said Mark."The lower one was very pretty," replied his mother,"only the sunbeams sometimes made it too warm; andsometimes an evil-disposed person would step in and muddyit; or a cloudy sky made it look very dark. Also the flowerswhich grew by its side could not bear the frost. But whenthe sun shone, it was beautiful.""I don't wonder he was sorry to have it dry up, then,"said Mark."No, it was very natural; though if he drank too muchof the water it was apt to make him sick. But the otherspring "- and the widow paused, while her cheek flushed,and on her lips weeping and rejoicing were strangelymingled."There was 'a great Rock,' and from this 'the cold flow-ing waters' came in a bright stream that you could ratherhear than see; yet was the cup always filled to the verybrim, if it was held there in patient trust, and no one everknew that spring to fail, yea in the great droughts it wasever full; And the water was life-giving."But this man often preferred the lower spring, and wouldneglect the other when this was full; and if forced to seekthe Rock, he was often weary of waiting for his cup to fill,and so drew it away with but a few drops. And he neverlearned to love the upper string as he ought, until one yearwhen the very grass by the lower spring was parched, andhe fled for his life to the other. And then it happened,Mark," said his mother, looking down at him with her eyesfull of tears, "that when the water at last began slowly torun into the lower spring, though it was very lovely, andsweet, and pleasant, it never could be loved best again.""Mother," said Mark, "I don't know exactly what youmean, and I do know a little, too."" Why, my dear," said his mother, "I mean that when we
THE THREE APPLES. 21lack anything this world can give, we must fetch the morefrom heaven.""You love heaven very much, don't you, mother ?" saidMark, looking up at her quite wonderingly." More than you love me."Mark thought that was hardly possible; but he did notlike to contradict his mother, and besides, they were now atthe church door, and had to go in and take their seats.Mark thought the clergyman chose the strangest text thatcould be for Thanksgiving Day, it was this :-"There is nothing at all, beside this manna, before oureyes."When church was over, and Mark and his mother werewalking home again, they were overtaken by little TomCrab." Come," said little Tom, "let is go and sit on the fence andeat apples. We sha'n't have dinner to-day till ever so late,because it takes so long to get it ready; and I am so hungry.What are you going to have for dinner I""I don't know," said Mark"I know what we are going to have," said Tom, " only Ican't remember everything. It makes me worse than eierto think of it. Come-let us go and eat apples.""I have not got any," said Mark."Haven't got any!" said Tom, dropping Mark's elbowand staring at him-for the idea of a boy without apples hadnever before occurred to any of Mr Crab's family. " Oh,you mean you have eaten up all you had in your pocket ""No," said Mark, "we haven't had any this year. LastSyear Mr Smith gave us a basketful.""Well, come along, and I'll give you some," said Tom."I've got six, and I think three will do for me till dinner.Oh, Mark you ought to see the goose roasting in our kit-chen ? I'11 tell you what-I think I may as well give youthe whole six, because I can run home and get some more;and I might as well be at home, too, for they might havedinner earlier than they meant to have it."And filling Mark's pockets oit of his own, Tom ran off
22 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."It so happened," said Beachamwell, turning herself roundwith a tired air when she got to this point in her story, "itso happened, that Mark, having stopped so long to talk withTommy Crab, did not get home till his mother had herthings off and the table-cloth laid; and then, being in agreat hurry to help her, and a rather heedless little boybesides, there being, moreover, but one table in the room,Mark laid his six apples upon the sill of the window whichwas open. For it was a soft autumn day-the birds givinganother concert in the still air, and the sunshine lying warmand bright upon everything. The apples looked quite bril-liant as they lay in the window, and as Mark ate his queerlittle Thanksgiving dinner of bread and a bit of corned beef,he looked at them from time to time with great pleasure.But when it was almost time for the apples to come ontable as dessert, Mark suddenly cried out, "Mother! whereare my six apples 1""Why, on the window-sill," said his mother."There are but five! there are but five !" said Mark. "Imust have lost one coming home! No, I didn't, either."And running to the window, Mark looked out. There laythe sixth apple on the ground, appropriated as the Thanks-giving dinner of his mother's two chickens,Mark could hardly keep from crying."It is too bad," he said, " when I had but six The uglythings!""You called them beauties this morning," said his mother."But just see my apple," said Mark, "all dirty and peckedto pieces.""And just see my little boy," said his mother, "all red andangry. Did you suppose, my dear, that if apples rolled offthe window-sill, they would certainly fall inside 1""I will take care, I'll never put anything there any more,"said Mark, gathering up the five apples in his arms andletting them all fall again. But they fell inside this time,and rolled over the floor." You had better decide how many apples you will eat now,"said Mrs Penly, "and then put the others away in the closet."
THE THREE APPLES. 23"It is too bad!" said Mark. "I had but six; and Ithought you would have three and I should have three."" Well, you may have five," said his mother, smiling, "thechickens have got my part. And some good may come ofthat yet, if it only teaches you to be careful.""Oddly enough;" said Beachamwell, "some good did comeof it. When the chickens pecked the apple to pieces, theseeds fell out, and one seed crept under a clover leaf wherethe chickens could not find it. And when the snow had lainall the winter upon the earth, and the spring came, this littleseed sprouted and grew, and sent down roots, and sent upleaves, and became an apple tree.""How soon?" said Carl."Oh,dn the course of years, by the time Mark was a greatboy. And the tree blossomed and bore fruit; and from thattime Mark and his mother never wanted for apples. Hecalled it the 'Thanksgiving tree;' but it was a true Beach-amwell, for all that.""But stay!" exclaimed Carl, catching hold of Beacham-well's stem in his great interest, " Mark isn't alive now, ishe?""No," said Beachamwell, twisting away from Carl andher stem together. " No, he is not alive now, but the treeis, and it belongs to Mark's grandson. And the other dayhe picked a whole waggon-load of us, and set off to market;and we three were so tired of jolting about, that we rolledout and lay by the wayside. Thus it was that your motherfound us.""Well, that is certainly a very pretty story," said Carl;"but nevertheless, I'm glad my stocking was full. Now Iwill let you, Beachamwell. and Half-ripe, and Knegly, lie onthe chest and hear the rest of the stories, for I like this onevery much."Carl was tired of sitting still by this time, so he went outand ran about on the beach till dinner time; and afterdinner he went up to his corner again.The sun came in through the little window, looking askance
24 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.at Carl's treasures, and giving a strange, oldfashioned air topurse, and book, and stocking. The shoes looked new yet,and shone in their blacking, and the apples had evidentlybut just quitted the tree ; while the bright penny gleamedaway in the fair light, and the old pine cone was brown asever, and reflected not one ray. Carl handled one thing andanother, and then his eye fell on his small portion of money.He might want to spend it; therefore, if the penny could doanything, it must be done at once; and as he thought on thesubject, the sun shone in brighter and brighter, and the faceof the penny looked redder and redder. Then the sunbeamfled away, and only a dark little piece of copper lay on thechest by the side of the new shoes."Now, penny," said Carl, "it is your turn. I will hearyou before the purse, so make haste.""Turn me over, then," said the penny, "for I can't talkwith my back to the people."So Carl turned him over, and there he lay and stared atthe ceiling.THE STORY OF THE PENNY.I CANNOT begin to relate my history, said the penny, withoutexpressing my astonishment at the small consideration inwhich I am held. "I wouldn't give a penny for it !"-" Itisn't worth a penny!" such are the expressiois which wecontinually hear; and yet truly a nan might as well despisethe particles of flour that nike up his loaf of bread.People say it is pride in me; that may be, and it may not.But if it be, why should not a penny have at least that kindof pride which we call self-respect? I was. made to be apenny, I was wanted to be a penny;I was never expected tobe anything else, therefore why should I be mortified atbeing only a penny I am all that I was intended to be,and a silver shilling can be no more. Pride, indeed I why
THE PENNY. 25even Beachamwell here is proud, I dare say, and only becauseshe is not a russet; while I think-Well, never mind, I havebought a great many apples in my day and ought to knowsomething about them. Only a penny! People cannotbargain so well without me, I can tell you. Just go into themarket to buy a cabbage, or into the street to buy a news-paper, and let me stay at home; see how you will fare then.Indeed, when there is a question about parting with me, Iam precious enough in some people's eyes, but it hardlymakes up for the abuse I get from other quarters. There isindeed one rather large class of the community who alwaysthink me worth picking up, though they are over ready topart with me. To them alone would I unfold the secrets ofmy past life. I might have lain mute in a man's purse forever, an& rubbed down all the finer parts of my natureagainst various hard-headed coins; but there is something inthe solitude of a boy's pocket which touches all the sym-pathies of our nature, even beforehand.I am not, however, continued the penny, I am not at allof friend Beachamwell's temperament,-in fact, I neverhad but one impression made on me in my life. To be surethat was permanent, and such as only Time can efface;though no doubt he will one day soften down my most pro-minent points, and enable me to move through society witha calm and even exterior. For it happens, oddly enough,that while beneath the pressure of years "the humanface divine" grows wrinkled and sometimes sharp, a pennygrows smooth and polished,-a little darker and thinnerperhaps than formerly, but with as good business facultiesas ever.When that time arrives, said the penny, we refuse to tellottr age; but until then we are perfectly communicative. I"wbuld at once tell you how old I am, but that you can seefor yourself.I shall not give you a detailed account of my origin, norof the fire and water through which I passed in order to be-come a penny. If, when you grow up, anid you are still curi-S ous about the matter, you can travel over to England. Down
26 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.in Cornwall, you will find what may be called my birth-place, and learn, with full particulars, why I left it. Neithershall I relate how I was pressed, and clipped, and weighed,at the Mint, nor speak of the first few times that I went tomarket and changed hands. My present history will beginwith the pocket of a rich old gentleman, into which I foundmy way one afternoon, along with a large variety of the"circulating medium."" You do use such big words!" said Carl"Because I have travelled a great deal," said the penny."It is the fashion. But to return to the pocket."What a pocket it was !At the bottom lay an overfed pocket-book, bursting withbank bills new and old, while another of like dimensionsheld more value, snugly stowed away in notes and bonds.The leather purse in which I lay had one end for pence andthe other for gold and silver; but with my usual love ofbright company, when the old gentleman slipped me inamong a parcel of dingy pence, I slipped out again, and ranin among the half-sovereigns. For I was the only new pennythe old gentleman had, and as by right I belonged abouthalf to him and half to the bank, the cashier and he hadsome words as to which should carry me ofE I believe theold gentleman chuckled over me half the way home.If this part of my story teaches nothing else, said thepenny, with a moralising air, as he stared at the ceiling,it will at least show the folly of going out of one's properplace. Had I been content to lodge with the pence, I shouldhave been set to do a penny's work,-as it was I was madeto do the work of shillings, for which I was totally unfit.It fell out thus.The old gentleman walked leisurely home, having verymuch the air of a man with a pocket full of money,-as Ishould think from the deliberate and comfortable way inwhich we were jolted about; and when he rang his owndoor bell it was already quite dark. A dear little girl openedthe door, dressed in a white frock and black apron."Oh, grandpa," she said, " I am so glad you are come, be.
THE PENNY. 27cause a little boy has been waiting here ever so long for fiveV shillings."" Well, my dear," said the old gentleman, " five shillingsare worth waiting for."" But he is in a great hurry to get home before dark, be-cause he says the children have no bread for supper till he"buys it," said the little girl. "He brought a pair of bootsand shoes for you, grandpa, and his father is very poor.""Is he 2" said the old gentleman. "Then I am afraid myboots won't be mended properly. However, Fanny, mydear, you may take him the money for them, if you like.""Shall I fetch you a light, grandpa " said the child."It is too dark to see.""No, no-not a bit of it,-I know how a crown feels, wellenough. He shall have a crown for once in his life, at allevents."And opening the most precious end of his purse, the oldgentleman's unerring thumb and finger drew forth me, andlaid me in the little girl's open palm. The soft little handclosed upon me, and down she ran to the lower entrance."There," she said, "there it is. Grandpa has sent youa crown. Have you got a great many little brothers andsisters ?"" This isn't a crown," said the boy, too busy examining meto heed her last question. " He has made a mistake-this isonly a penny.""Oh, well, I will take it back to him, then," said the littlemessenger. "I suppose he could not see in the dark." Andaway she ran.The old gentleman by this time was enjoying his alippersand the newspaper, between a blazing fire and two longcandles in tall silver candlesticks."Grandpa," said the child, laying her hand on his knee,"do you know what you did in the dark ? You gave thatboy a penny instead of a crown-was it not funny?""Hey what i" said the old gentleman, moving his paperfar enough on one side to see the little speaker, "gave hima penny instead of a crown ? Nonsense "
28 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."But you did, grandpa," urged the child. "See here-hegave it back to me. It was so dark, you know, and he tookit to the window to look; and he said directly it was only apenny."" Which he had kept in his hand for the purpose, I'll war.rant," said the old man. "Took it to the window, did he 1-yes, to slip it into his pocket. He need not think to playoff that game upon me.""But only look at it, grandpa," said the child,-" see-itis only a penny. I'm sure he did not change it."" I don't want to look at it," said he, putting away herhand. "All stuff, my dear-it was as good a piece as evercame out of the Mint. Don't I know the feel of one? anddid I not take it out of the end of my purse where I neverput copper ? Bad boy, no doubt-you must not go back tohim. Here, William "-"But he looked good, grandpa," said the child, "and sosorry."" He will look sorry now, I'll be bound," said the old man."I say, William !-take this penny back to that boy andtell him to be off with it, and not to show his face hereagain."The command was strictly obeyed; and my new owner,after a vain attempt to move the waiter, carried me into thestreet and sat down on the next door-step. Never in mylife have I felt so grieved at being only a penny, as then.The boy turned me over and over, and looked at me andread my date, with a bewildered air, as if he did not knowwhat he was doing; and I, alas, who could have testified tohis honesty, had no voice to speak.At length he seemed to comprehend his loss; for, drop-ping me on the pavement, he sunk his head on his hands,and the hot tears fell fast down from his face upon mine.Then, in a sudden passion of grief and excitement, he caughtme up and threw me from him as far as he could; and I,who had been too proud to associate with pence, now fellto the very bottom of an inglorious heap of mud. As I lythere, half smothered, I could hear the steps of theboy, who,
THE PENNY. 29soon repenting his hastiness, now sought me-inasmuch asI was better than nothing; but he sought in vain. Hecould not see me and I could not see him, especially as therewas little but lamp light to see by, and he presently walked.away.I am not good at reckoning time, said the penny, but II .should think I might have lain there about a week-the mudheap having in the meantime changed to one of dust-whena furious shower arose one afternoon, or, I should rather say,came down; and not only were dust and mud swept away,but the rain even washed my face for me, and left me allnostas bright as-ever, high and dry upon a clean paving-stone.I felt so pleased and refreshed, with being able to lookabout once more, that of what next would become of me Ihardly thought; and very wet and shiny I lay there, bask-ing in the late sunshine.""I thought you said you were high and dry," said Carl."That is a phrase which we use," replied the penny. "Iwas high and dry in one sense-quite lifted above the littlestreams of water that gurgled about among the paving-stones,though the rain-drops were not wiped off my face: and as Ilay there I suddenly felt myself picked up by a most care-ful little finger and thumb, which had no desire to get wetor muddy. They belonged to a little girl about ten yearsold.""You pretty penny," she said admiringly-"how brightand nice you do look! and how funny it is that I shouldfind you I never found anything before. I wonder howyou came here-I hope some poor child didn't lose you.""While she thus expressed her opinion I was busy makingup mine, and truly it was a pleasant one. Her cotton frockwas of an indescribable brown, formed by the fading to-gether of all the bright colours that had once enlivened it--water and soap, and long wear, had done this. But waterand soap had also kept it clean, and a very little starchb spreadit out into some shape, and displayed the peculiar brown tothe best advantage. Instead of an old straw bonnet withS soiled ribbons, she had a neat little sun-bonnet; but thisK:L
30 TIE CIHISTMAS STOCKING.being made of a piece of new pink cotton, made her face lookquite rosy. I could not see her feet and shoes, for my backwas towards them, but I have no doubt they were in niceSorder-she was too nice a child to have it otherwise. Herhair was brushed quite smooth, only when she stooped topick me up one lock had fallen down from under the sun-bonnet, and her face was as simple and good as it could be."With what contented eyes did she look at me !-she did not-wish she had found a piece of gold-indeed I thought itdoubtful whether she had ever heard of such a thing. ButI saw that her cheeks were thin, and that they might havebeen pale but for the pink sun-bonnet. Whatever she meantby "a poor child," little Fanny would surely have given thename to her.Suddenly she exclaimed-" Now I can get it Oh, I amso glad Come, little penny, I must give you away, thoughI should like to keep you very much, for you are very pretty;but you are all the money I have got in the world."Now for the caidyshop, thought I; for as she turned andbegan to walk away as fast as she could, I peeped into thelittle basket that hung on her arm and saw there a small loafof bread-so I knew I ivas not to go for that commodity.She did not put me in the basket, but kept me fast in herhand as she tripped along, till we came to a large grocer's.shop. There she went in." Please, sir, to let me have a penny worth of tea," she said,timidly."Got sixpence to pay for it ?" said one of the shopmen,to make the other shopmen laugh, in which he succeeded." No, sir, I have got this," she said, modestly showing me,and giving me a kind glance at the same time. "It is onlya penny, but it w idl get enough for mother, and she is ill andwanted soiae tea so much."The young men stopped laughing, and looked at the childas if she had just come out of*the museum; and one of themtaking down a canister, measured out two or threegoodpinches of tea into a brown paper and folded it up. Thechild took it with a very glad face, laying me down on the
THE PENNY. 31counter with a joyful " Thank you, sir," which I by no meansrepeated, I wanted to go home with her and see that teamade. But we pence can never know the good that ourpurchases do in the world.The shopman took me up and balanced me upon his finger,as if he had half a mind to give the child back her money,and pay the sum of one penny into the till out of his ownprivate purse. But habit prevailed; and dropping me intothe till, I heard him remark as he closed it, " I say, Bill, Ihave no doubt now that is a good child."I had no doubt either.We were a dull-company in the till that night, for most, of the mongy vas old; and it is a well-known fact that'vorn-oit eqins are not communicative. And some of thepieces wre rusty through long keeping, and one disconsolatelittJe sixpence which sat alone in the furthest corner of thetill was in a very sad state of mind; for he had just laidhimself out to buy some rice for a poor family and now coulddo nothing more for them-and he was the last moneyedfriend they had.In this inactive kind of life some time passed away, andthough some of us were occasionally taken to the marketyet we never bought anything. But one evening a mancame into the grocer's shop and asked for starch, and wehoped for bright visitors; but I had no time to enjoy them,for I was sent to make change. The messenger was a man-servant; and with the starch in his hand, and me in hispocket, he soon left the shop and went whistling along thestreet. Then he put his other hand into the pocket, andjingled me against the rest of the change in a most unplka-Ssant manner-picking me up and dropping me again, just asif pence had no feeling. I was glad when he reached home,Sand ran down the area steps and into the kitchen. He gavethe starch to the cook, and then marking down on a littlebit of paper what he had bought and what he had spent, hecarried it with the change into the parlour. But what was:: my surprise to find that I was in the very same house fromwhence I had gone forth as a crown-piece!f^''i
32 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.The old gentleman was asleep in his chair now, and apretty-looking lady sat by, reading; while the little girl wasplaying with her doll on the rug. She jumped up, and cameto the table and began to count the change."Two and sixpence, mamma-see, here are a shilling andtwo sixpences, and fivepence, and a penny. Mamma, may Ihave this penny V""It is not mine, Fanny-your grandfather gave James themoney."" Well, but you can pay him again," said the child; "andbesides, he would let me have it, I know."" What will you do with it, Fanny" 1""Don't you know, mamma, you said you thought youwould give me one penny a month to spend ?"" To do what you liked with," said her mother. "Yes, Iremember. But what will you do with this one ?"" Oh, I don't know, mamma-I shall see if grandpa willlet me have it."" Let you have what I" said the old gentleman, wakingup." This penny, grandpa."" "To be sure you may have it! Of course!-and fiftymore."" No, she must have but one," said the lady, with a smile."I am going to give her an allowance of one penny a month."" Fiddle-de-dee!" said the old gentleman. " What can shedo with that, I should like to know ?-one penny-absurd!"" Why, she can do just the thirtieth part of what she couldwith half-a-crown," said the lady, " and that will be moneymatters enough for such a little head. So you may take thepenny, Fanny, and spend it as you like; only I shall wish tobe told about it afterwards."Fanny thanked her mother, and holding me fast in onehand she sat down on the rug again by her doll. The oldgentleman seemed very much amused."What will you do with it, Fanny " he said, bendingdown to her. " Buy candy 1"Fanny smiled and shook her head.
THE PENNY. 33S" No, I think not, grandpa-I don't know-I'll see. Per-haps I shall buy beads."At which the old gentleman leaned back in his chair and-laughed.very heartily.From that time, whenever little Fanny went to walk, Iwent too, and she really seemed to be quite fond of me; forthough she often stopped before the candy shops or the toyshops, and once or twice went in to look at the beads, yetshe always carried me home again.* "Mamma, I don't know how to spend my penny," she said,S one day." Are you tired" f taking care of it, Fanny I""No, mamma, but I want to spend it."" Why, mamia-I don't know--money is made to spend,is it not "q " Yes, it is made to be spent-not to be thrown away.""Oh, no," said Fanny, "I would not throw away mypenny fof anything. It is a very pretty penny."" How many ways are there of throwing away money "said her mother."0 mamma-a great many I could not begin to count.You know I might throw it out of the window, mamma, ordrop it in the street-or somebody might steal it; no, thenit-would only be lost.""Or you mightshut it up in your box and never spend it.""Why, mamma!" said Fanny, opening her eyes veryVi wide, " would it be thrown away then ?"" Cetainly-you might just as well have none. It woulddo neither you nor any one else any good."S "But I should have it to look at."S "But that is not what money was made for. Your pennywould be more really lost than if you threw it out of the.window, for then some poor child might pick it up.""How surprised she would be!" said Fanny, with a verybright face. "Mamma, I think I should like to spend mymt ney so. I could stand behind the window-curtain andCp*ec.
3 J THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.Her mother smiled." Why, mamma ? do you think there would not be Tnypoor child passing by i"I should like to see that day, dear Fanny. But yourpenny might fall into the grass in the courtyard, or into themud, or a horse might tread it down among the paving-stones; and then no one would be the better for it.""But it is only one penny, mamma," said Fanny,-"itdoes not matter so much after all."" Come here, Fanny," said her mother, and the child cameand stood at her side. The lady opened her purse, and tookout a little gold piece." What is this made of ?" said she."Why, of gold, mamma."" "Think again."So Fanny thought, and could not tell, while she leanedher head against her mother, and played with the little golLS coin. Then she laid it upon me to see how much smaller itwas, and how njuch brighter. Then she cried otit, "Oh, Iknow now, mamma! it is made of a hundred and twenty"pence.""Then if every day you lose 'only a penny,' in one yearyou would have lost more than a sovereign and a half. Thatmight do a great deal of good in the world.""How strange that is," said Fanny. "Well, I will try andnot lose my penny,. mamma.""There is another reason for not losing it," said her mo-ther. "In one sense it would make little difference whetheror not I threw this little gold piece into the fire-you seethere are plenty more in my purse. But, Fanny, they donot belong to me." And taking up a Bible she read thesewords-" The silver and gold are the Lord's"" Do you think, Fanny, that it pleases Him if we waste 6rspend foolishly what He has given us to do good with ""No, mamma; I won't get mpy beads, then;" said Fanny,with a little sigh."That would not be waste," said her mother, kissing her."It is right to spend eane of our money for harmless
THE PENNY. 35" asure, and we will go and buy the beads this very after.noon."So after dinner they set forth.It was a very cold day, but Fanny and her mother werewell wrapped up, so they did not feel it much. Fanny'sfur tippet kept all the cold wind out of her neck, and herlittle muff kept one hand warm while the other was givento her mamma. When that hand got cold, Fanny changedits plac; she put it in the muff, and took the other out., As for me, I was in the muff all the time; and I was justwbndering, to myself what kind'of a person the bead-womanw|d prove to be, when I heard Fanny say-I a did you see that little girl on those brownstept Shp had no tippet, mamma, and not even a shawl,and her feet were all tucked up in her petticoat; and"-and Fanny's voice faltered-" I think she was crying. 1-id not look at her much, for it made me feel sad; but Ithought so.""Yes, love," said her mother. "I saw her. How goodGod has been to me, that it is not my little daughter whois sitting there.""0 mamma!"Fanny walked on in silence for a few yards-then shespoke again."Mamma-I'm afraid a great many poor children wantthings more than I want my beads.""I am afraid they do, Fanny.""Mamma, will you please to go back with me, and let megive that little girl mny penny? would she not be pleased,mamma ? would she know how to spend it ""Suppose you spend it for her, Fanny. People that arecold are very often hungry, too-shall we go to the baker'sand buy her something to eat ?""Oh, yes!" said Fanny. "Will you buy it, mamma, orshallI I ""You, darling."And when they reached the shop, Fanny looked roundS once more at her mother, and opening the shop-door with
36 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.a pleased and excited little face, she marched up to thecounter."If you please, sir," she said, laying me down on thecounter, "I want something for a very poor little girl."The baker was a large fat man, in the whitest of shirt-sleeves and apron, and the blackest pantaloons and vest,over which hung down a heavy gold watch-chain. He puthis hands on his sides, and looked at Fanny, and then atme, and then at Fanny again." What do you want, my dear 1" said he.Fanny looked round to her mother to reassure herself,and repeated her request."I want something for a very poor little girl, if you please,sir. She is sitting out in the street all alone." And Fanny'slips were trembling at the remembrance. Her mother'seyes were full, too."What will you have, my dear " said the baker.Fanny looked up at her mother."What would you like if you were hungry I" replied hermother."Oh, I should like some bread," said Fanny, "and I amsure the little girl would, too. But all those loaves are toobig.""How would these do I" said the baker, taking some rollsout of a drawer."Oh, they are just the thing!" said Fanny, "and I likerolls so much. May I take one, sir I and is a penny enoughto pay for it ?"The baker gave a queer little shake of his head, andsearching below the counter for a bit of wrapping paper, helaid the two largest rolls upon it."A penny is enough to pay for two," he said. " Shall Itie them up for you V""No, thank you, sir, you need not tie it-if you will onlywrap them up a little. Mamma," said Fanny, turning againto her mother, "I am afraid that poor little girl does notknow that 'the silver and gold are the Lord's,' and she willonly think that I gave it to her."
THE PENNY. 37" You can tell her, Fanny, that everything we have comesfrom God," said her mother; and they left the shop."What a nice little girl!" said Carl. "I think I shouldlike to marry that little girl when I grow up-if I was goodenough."The baker went into the back room, continued the penny,to tell the story to his wife, and I was left to my own re-flections on the counter; but I had reason to be well satis-fied, for it was certainly the largest pennyworth I had everbought in my life. But while I lay there thinking aboutit, a boy came into the shop; and seeing me, he caught meup and ran out again. At least, he was running out, whenhe tripped and fell; and as I am noted for slipping throughpeople's fingers, I slipped through his, and rolled to thefurthest c rner of the shop. There I lay all night; and inthe morning, when the baker's boy was sweeping the floor,he found me and put me in the till, for he was honest. Butjust then, Mr Krinken came in with a string of fish, and thecareless creature gave me, with some other change, for aparcel of miserable flounders. That is the way I came here."Why was he a careless boy 1" said Carl. "I think hewas very careful, to find you at all"" Oh, because I did not want to quit the baker, I suppose,"said the penny. "And I don't like the smell of fish,-itdoes not agree with me."" You won't smell much of it when I've kept you a littlewhile in my purse," said CarL "I'll take good care of you,penny, and I won't spend you till I want something.". The next day Carl had tired himself with a run on thesands. He used to tuck up his trousers as high as theywould go, and wade slowly in through the deepening water,to pick up stones and shells, and feel the little waves splashaboqt his legs. Then, when a larger wave than usual camerolling-in, black and high, to break further up on the shorethan the other great waves did, Carl would run for it, shout-ing and trampling through the water, to see if he could notget to land before the breaker which came rolling and curlingLIig n
38 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.so fastafter him. Sometimes he did; and sometimes thebillow would curl over and break just a little behind him,and a great sea of white foam would rush on over hisshoulders and perhaps half hide his own curly head. ThenCarl laughed louder than ever. He did not mind the wettingwith salt water. And there was no danger, for the shorewas very gently shelving and the sand was white and hard;and even if a large wave caught him up off his feet andcradled him in towards the shore, which sometimes happened,it would just leave him there, and never think of taking himback again; which the waves on some beaches would cer-tainly do.All this used to occur in the summer weather; at Christ-mas it was rather too cold to play with the breakers in anyfashion. But Carl liked their company, and amused himselfin front of them, this sunny December day, for a long time.He got tired at last; and then sat himself down on thesand, out of reach of the water, to rest and think what heshould do next. There he sat, his trousers still tucked upas far as they would go, his little bare legs stretched outtowards the water, his curls crisped and wetted with a dashor two of the salt wave, and his little ruddy face sober andthoughtful,-pleasantly resting, and gravely thinking whatshould be the next play. Suddenly he jumped up, and thetwo little bare feet pattered over the sand and up on thsbank, till he reached the hut."What ails the child ?" exclaimed Mrs Krinken. *But Carl did not stop to tell what. He ran to the cup-board; and climbed up on a chair, and drew forth withsome trouble, from behind everything, a clumsy wooden boxThis box held nobody's treasures but his own. A curiousboxful it was. Carl soon picked out his Christmas purse;and without looking at another thing shut the box, pushedit back, closed the cupboard door, and getting down fromhis chair, ran back, purse in hand, the way he came; thelittle bare feet pattering over the sand, till he reached theplace where he had been sitting; and then down he satagain just as he was before, stretched out his legs towards
THE PURSE. 39the sea, and put the purse down upon the sand betweenthem."Now, purse," said he, "I'll hear your story. Come,-begin."" I don't feel inclined for story-telling," said the purse."I have been opening and shutting my mouth all my life,and I am tired of it."The purse looked very snappish."Why, you wouldn't be a parse if you could not open andshut your mouth," said Car."Very true," said the other; "but one may be tired ofbeing a purse. I am.""Why said Carl" My. life is a failure.""I dob't know what that means," said CarL" It means that I never have been able to do what I was"meant to do, and what I have all my life been trying to do.""What is that " said Carl."To keep money.""You shall keep my penny for me," said Carl"Think of that! A penny! anything might hold a penny,I am of no use in the world.""Yes, you are," said Carl,-" to carry my penny.""You might carry it yourself," said the purse."No, I couldn't," said Carl "My pockets are fulL""You might lose it, then. It is of no use to keep onepenny. You might as well have none.""No I mightn't," said Carl; " and you must keep it; andyou must tell me your story, too.""You may lose me," said the purse. "I wish your motherhad.""No, I shan't lose you," said Carl; and he lifted up histwo legs on each side of the purse, and slapped them downin the sand again; "I shan't lose you.""It would not be the first time," said the purse." Were you ever lost I" said Carl"Certainly I was."" Then how did you get here I
40 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."That is the end of my story-not the beginning.""Well make haste and begin," said Carl."The first place in which I was settled was a large fancyshop in London," the purse began." Where were you before that " said Carl."I was in one or two rooms where such things are made,and where I was made.""Where were you before that ""I was not a purse before that. I was not anywhere.""What are you made of I " said Carl, shortly."My sides are made of sealskin, and my studs and claspare silver."" Where did the sides and the clasp come from ""How should I know I " said the purse."I thought you knew," said Carl." No, I don't," said the purse."Well, go on," said Carl "What did you do in that largeshop 1""I did nothing. I lay in a drawer, shut up with a parcelof other purses.""Were they all sealskin with silver clasps '""Some of them; and some were morocco leather withsteel clasps.""I'm glad you have got silver clasps," said Carl,-"youlook very bright."For Mrs Krinken had polished up the silver of the claspand of every stud along the seams, till they shone gagn."I feel very dull now," said the purse; '"but in thosedays I was as bright as a butterfly, and as handsome. Mysides were a beautiful bright red.""I don't believe it," said Carl; "they are not red a bitnow."" That is because I have been rubbed about in the worldtill all my first freshness is worn off. I am an old purse,and have seen a great deal of wear and tear."" You are not torn a bit," said Carl."If you don't shut your mouth, I will," said the purse."I will," said Carl; "but you must go on."
THE PURSE. 41"My next place was in a gentleman's pocket.""How did you get there ""Hs came to buy a purse, and so a number of us werethrown out upon the counter, and he looked at us and triedus, and bought me and put me in his pocket.""What did you do there ""There my business was to hold guineas and half guineas,and crowns and half crowns, and all sorts of beautiful piecesof silver and gold.""And pence ?" said CarL"No, not one. My master had not any. He threw all hispeinies away as fast as he got them."" Threw them away where I " said Carl"Anywhere-to little boys, and beggars, and poor people,and gat-openers, and such like.""Why did he not keep them ""He had enough besides-gold and silver. He did notwant pennies and halfpennies.""I wish you had kept some of them," said Car."I never had them to keep. I could only keep what hegave me, and not even that. He was always taking out andputting in."" Did he wear the red off ?" said CarLNo; I did not stay long enough with him. He wastravelling in some part of England, with a friend, ridingover a wide lonely plain one day; and they saw at a littledistance before them a cow in the road, lying down, acrosstheir path. "Stapleton," said my master, "let us clear thatcow." "Can't your servant do that ?" said Mr Stapleton."Do what ?" said my master. "Clear that beast from theroad," said his friend. "Pshaw!" said my master,-"I mean,let us clear her at a bound. Leave her in quiet possessionof the road, and let us take ajump over her back." "Supposeshe took a stupid notion to get out of our way just as weare in hers," said Mr Stapleton. "I don't suppose anythingof the soit," aaid my master; "we shall be too quick for her."With that they put spurs to their horses, but it happenedthat Mr Stapleton's horse got the start and was a little47
42 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.forwards He cleared the cow well enough, but unluckilyit gave her an impression that just where she lay was adangerous place to be in; and she was throwing up her hindlegs at the very minute my master came to take the leap.He was flung over and over, he and his horse, over andunder each other-I don't know how. I only know mymaster was killed.His friend and his servant picked him up and laid himby the road-side; and while Mr Stapleton went full speedto the nearest town to get help, the other stayed behind totake care of his master and do what could be done for him.But he very soon found that nothing could be done for him;and then, as nobody was in sight, he took the opportunityto do what he could for himself, by rifling his master'spockets. He pulled out several things which I suppose hedid not dare to keep, for he put them back again after acareful look at them, and after carefully taking off someseals from the watch chain. I did not fareso well He hadme in his hands a long time, taking out and putting in silverand gold-pieces; afraid to keep too much, and not willingto leave a crown that might be kept safely; when a suddenstep was heard near, and the bursting out of a loud whistlestartled him. He jumped as if he had been shot, which wasnatural enough, as he was running a pretty good chance ofbeing hanged. I was dropped, or thrown behind him in thegrass; and before the countryman who came up, had doneasking questions, the horses of Mr Stapleton and hij assist-ants were seen over the rising ground. They carried awaymy unfortunate master, and left me in the grass.I knew I should not stay there long, but I was pickedup sooner than I hoped. Before the evening had closed in,while the sun was yet shining, I heard the tread of light feet,-somebody coming near the road and then crossing it. Incrossing, this somebody came just upon me; and a kindsunbeam touching one of my silver points, I embraced theopportunity to shine as brightly as I could. People say itis dangerous to have bright parts; I am sure I never foundit out. I shone so she could not help seeing me. It was a
THE PURSE. 13girl about fifteen or sixteen years old; very tidy in her dress,with a thin figure, and light brown hair nicely put back fromher face, and that face a very quiet sweet one. She lookedat me, inside and out, looked up and down the road, as ifto see where I had come from, and finally put me in herpocket I was very glad nobody was in sight anywhere, forI knew by her face she would have given me up directly.She left the road then, and went forward over the common,which was a wide, lonely, barren plain, grass-grown, withhere and there a branch of bushes or a low stunted tree.She was going after her cows, to bring them home; andpresently seeing them in the distance, she stood still andb egan to clU them."How did she'call them 1" said Carl"'CQu Cuff Cuff!'-That was while they were a longway off; when they came near,-'Sukey,' and 'Bessie,' and'Jenny.'"" And did they come when she called 1"" They left off eating as soon as they heard her; and then,after they had looked a little while, to make sure it was she,they set off slowly to come up to her.""How many cows were there I" said Carl.Sukey was a great black cow, and always marched first.Dolly was a beautiful red cow, and always came second.Three more followed in a line, and when they got up to theirlittle mistress she set off to go home, and the whole five ofthem followed gravely in order.The common was smooth and wide, and much brokenwith ups and downs, and little foot paths--or cow-paths-tracking it in all directions. We wound along, my mistressand the cows, and I in my mistress's pocket, through oneand another of these; passing nothing in the shape of ahouse,but a large gloomy-looking building at some distance,which I afterwards found was a factory. A little way be.yond this, not mob than a quarter of a mile, we came to asmall brown house, with one or two out-buildings. Thehouse stood in a little field and the out-buildings in anotherlittle field, close beside it. Everything was small; house
44 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.and barn, and shed, and cow-field, and garden-field; but itwas all snug and neat, too."My little mistress-for she was slender, fair, and good,and such people we always call little "-" But she wasn't large, was she 1" said CarLShe was not as large as if she had been grown up, neitherwas she little for fifteen or sixteen. She was just right.She opened a gate of the barn yard, and held it, while all thefive cows marched slowly in, looking around them as if theyexpected to see some change made in the arrangements sincethey had gone out in the morning. But the old shed andmanger stood just where they had left them, and Sukeystopped quietly in the middle of the barn-yard, and beganto chew the cud, and Dolly, and Bessie, and Beauty took theirstand in different places after her example; while Whitefacewent off to see if she could find something in the mangers.She was-an old cow that never seemed to have had enough.""Was Beauty a handsome cow " said Carl."No; she was the ugliest of the whole set; one of herhorns was broken, and the other lopped down directly overher left eye.""What was she called Beauty for, then I""Why, I heard that she had been a very.pretty calf, andwas named Beauty in her youth; but when she grew older,she took to fighting, and broke one of her horns; and theother horn bent itself down just in the wrong place. Thereis no knowing, while they are little, how calves or childrenwill turn out."When their mistress had shut the gate upon the five cows,she opened another small gate in the fence of the field wherethe house stood; and there she went in, through two bedsof roses and sweet herbs that were on each side of the nar-row walk, up to the door. That stood open to let her in.It was the nicest place you ever saw. A clean-scrubbedfloor, with a thick coarse piece of carpet covering the middleof it: a dark wooden table and wooden chairs, neat and intheir places; only one chair stood on the hearth as if some-body had just left it. There was a large, wide, comfortable
THE PURSE. 45fireplace, with a fire burning in it, and over the fire hung alarge iron tea-kettle, in the very midst of the flames, andsinging already. On each side of the chimney, brown woodencupboards filled up the whole space from the floor to theceiling. All tidy and clean. The hearth looked as if youmight have baked cakes on it.The girl stood a minute before the fire, and then went tothe inner door and called, "Mother !"A pleasant voice from somewhere said,-" Here !""In the milk room V""Yes."And mylittle mistress went along a short passage,-brownit wasalso, walls and floor, and all, even the beams overhead,to the milk room; and that was brown too,-as sweet as arose."Mother, why did you put on the tea-kettle V""Because I wanted to have some tea, dear.""But I would have done it.""Yes, honey, I know. You've quite enough to do.""Look here, what I've found, mother.""Can't look at anything, daughter. Go along and milk,and I will hear you at tea-time."Then my little mistress took up her pails and went out byanother way, through another gate that opened directly intothe cows' yard; and there she milked the yellow sweet milkinto the pails, from every one of the five cows she had drivenhome. All of them loved to be milked by her hand; theyenjoyed it, every cow of them; standing quietly and sleepily"munching the cud, excepting when now and then one of themwould throw back her head furiously at some fly on her side,and then my mistress's soft voice would say-"So, Beauty."And Beauty was as good as possible to her, though I haveheard that other people did not find her so.Mrs Meadows took the milk pails at the dairy door, andmy mistress came baf into the kitchen to get tea. She putup a leaf of the brown table, and set a tray on it, and out'S of one of the cupboards she fetched two tea-cups and sau-
46 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.cers; so I knew there were no more in the family. Thentwo little blue-edged plates and horn-handled knives, andthe rest of the things; and when the tea was made, she madeup the fire, and stood looking at it and the tea-table by turns,till her mother showed herself at the door, and came intaking off her apron. She was the nicest looking woman youever saw." She wasn't as nice a my mother," said Carl."Mrs Krinken was never half so nice. She was the best-natured, most cheerful, pleasant-faced woman you could find,as bright as one of her own red apples."" Mine are bright," said Carl." Yours are bright for Christmas, but hers were bright forevery day. Everything about her was bright. Her spoons,and the apples, and the brass candlesticks, and the milk pans,and the glass in the window, and her own kind heart. Themother and daughter had a very cosy tea; and I was laidupon the table, and my story told, or rather the story of mybeing found; and it was decided that I should remain in thekeeping of the finder, whom her mother, by some freak ofhabit, rarely called anything but 'Silky.'""What for I" said Carl."You may find out, if you don't ask so many questions,"said the purse, snappishly. "It is yours, Silky," Mrs Mea-dows said, after looking at me, and rubbing the silver mouqt-ings. "How odd such a handsome purse should have nomoney in it !"" I am not going to put it away out of sight, mother," saidSilky; "I am going to have the good of it. I'll keep it tohold my milk-money.""Well, dear, this is the first," said Mrs Meadows;--"hereis a silver penny I took for milk while you were gone afterthe cows."" Who came for it, mother I"" I don't know-a lady riding by-and she gave me this."So a little silver coin was slipped into my emptiness, andmy little mistress laid me on a shelf of the other cupboard,alongside of an old Bible. But she left the door a little way
THE PURSE. 47open; and I could see them at work, washing up the tea-things, and then knitting and sewing upon the hearth, bothof them by a little round table. By and by Mrs Meadowstook the Bible out and read, and then she and Silky kneltdown, close together, to pray. They covered up the fire afterthat, and shut the cupboard door, and went off to bed; andI was left to think what a new place I had come to, and howI liked it.It was a very great change. In my old master's pocket Ihad kept company with wealth and elegance,-the tick of hissuperb watch was always in my ear; now, on Mrs Meadows'cupboard shelf, I had round me a few old books, beside theBible; an hour-glass; Mrs Meadows' tin knitting-needle case;a very illiterate inkstand, and stumpy clownish old pen; andsome other things that I forget. There I lay, day and night;from thence I watched my two mistresses at their work andtheir meals; from thence I saw them, every night and morn-ing, kneel together to pray; and there I learned to have agreat respect for my neighbour the Bible. I always can tellnow what sort of people I have got amongst by the respectthey have for it."My mother has one," said Carl."Her great chest knows that," said the purse. "I havebeen a tolerably near neighbour of that Bible for ten years;and it rarely gets leave to come out but on Sundays.""She reads it on Sunday," said Carl."Yes, and puts it back before Monday. Mrs Krinkenmeans to be a good woman, but these other people weregood; there is all the difference."My business was to lie there on the shelf, and keep themilk pennies, and see all that was going on. Silky sold themilk. The people that came for it were mostly poor peoplefrom the neighbouring village, or their children going homefrom the factory; people that lived in poor little dwellingsin the town, without gardens or fields, or a cow to them-selves, and just bought penny or a halfpenny worth at atime-as little as they could do with. There were a greatmany of these families, and among them they took a prettyI
48 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.good share of the milk; the rest Mrs Meadows made up intosweet butter-honest sweet butter, she called it, with herbright face and dancing eye; and everything was honest thatcame out of her dairy.The children always stopped for milk at night, when theywere going home; the grown people, for the most part, camein the morning. After I had been on the cupboard shelf awhile, however, and got to know the faces, I saw there wasone little boy who came morning and evening, too. In themorning he fetched a halfpennyworth, and in the eveninga pennyworth of milk, in a stout little brown jug; alwaysthe same brown jug, and always in the morning he wanted ahalfpennyworth, and in the evening a pennyworth. He wasa small fellow, with a quantity of red hair, and his face allmarked with the small-pox. He was one of the poorestlooking that came. He was always without a hat on hishead; his trousers were fringed with rags; his feet bare ofshoes or stockings. His jacket was fastened close up, eitherto keep him warm, or to hide how very little there was underit. Poor little Norman Finch!. That was his name.He had come for several mornings. One day early, justas Mrs Meadows and Silky were getting breakfast, his littlered head poked itself in again at the door with his littlebrown jug, and "Please, ma'am,-a hap'orth."" Why don't you get all you want at once, Norman 1" saidSilky, when she brought the milk."I only a want a hap'orth," said Norman."But you will want a pennyworth to-night again, won't .you ""I'll wait for it till then," said Norman, casting his eyesdown into the brown jug, and looking more dull than usual."Why don't you take it all at once, then 1 "*"I don't want it.""Have you got to go home with this before you go towork 1"" No-I must go," said Norman, taking hold of the door." Are you going to the factory ""Yes, I be."
-THE PURSE. 49" How will your mother get her milk I"" She will get it when I go home."" But not this, Norman. What do you want this for ""I want it-she don't want it," said the boy, lookingtroubled,--"I must go.""Do you want it to drink at the factory I"" No. It is to drink at the factory. She don't want it,"S said Norman.He went off But as Silky set the breakfast on the tableshe said-"Mother, I don't understand,-I 'm afraid there is some-thing wrong about this morning milk.""There ip nothing wrong about it, honey," said MrsMeadowm, who had been out of the room. "It is as sweetas a clovethea. What is the matter ""Oh not the milk, mother; but Norman Finch's comingafter it in the morning. He won't tell me what it is for;and they never used to take but a pennyworth a day, andhis jug is always empty now at night; and he said it was todrink at the factory; and that his mother didn't want it;- and I don't know what to think.""Don't think anything, dear," said Mrs Meadows, "till weknow something more. We'll get the child to tell us,poor little creature I wish I could keep him out of thatplace.""What place, mother '"I meant the factory,""I don't think he can have a good home, mother, in hisfather's house. I am sure he can't. That Finch is a bad man.""Poor child," said Mrs Meadows, "he sees very little ofit. It's too much for such a morsel of a creature to work"* al day long."" "But they are kind at the pin factory, mother. Peoplesay they are."" "Mr Carroll is a kind man," said her mother. " But nineh ia is nine hours. Poor little creature!"" He looks thinner and a ler now than he did six monthst ai D
50 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKINC." Yes, and then it was winter and now it is summer," saidMrs Meadows."I wish I knew what he wants to do with that milk," saidSilky.The next morning Norman was there again. He put him-self and his jug only half in at the door, and.said somewhatdoubtfully-"Please, ma'am,-a hap'orth.""Come in, Norman," said Silky.He hesitated."Come!-come in,-come into the fire; it is chilly out ofdoors. You are in good time, aren't you ?"" Yes-but I can't stay," said the boy, coming in, however,and coming slowly up to the fire. But he came close, andhis two hands spread themselves to the blaze as if theyliked it, and the poor little bare feet shone in the firelight onthe hearth. It was early, very cool and damp abroad."I'll get you the milk," said Silky, taking the jug ; "youstand and warm yourself. You have plenty of time."She came back with the jug in one hand and a piece ofcold bacon in the other, which she offered to Norman. Helooked at it, and then caught it, and began to eat imme-diately. Silky stood opposite to him with the jug."What is this milk for, Norman " she said, pleasantly.He stopped eating and looked troubled directly."What are you going to do with it " *"Carry it-home," he said slowly."Now I-home now i Are you going back home with itnow? "" I am going to take it to the factory.""What do you do with it there I""Nothing," said Norman, looking at his piece of baconand seeming almost ready to cry;--" I don't do nothing withit.""You need not be afraid to tell me, dear," Silky saidgently. "I'm not going to do you any harm. Does yourmother know you get it 1"He waited a good while, and then when she repeated the
THE PURSE. 51question, taking another look at Silky's kind quiet face, hesaid half under his breath-" No.""What do you want it for then, dear I would rathergive it to you than have you take it in a wrong way. Dayou want it to drink ?"SNorman dropped his piece of bacon."No," he said, beginning to cry, "I don't want it-I don'twant it at all!"Silky picked up the bacon, and she looked troubled in herturn."Don't cry, Norman,-don't be afraid of me. Who doeswant it ""Oh, don't tell!" sobbed the child "my little dog.""Now don't cry !" said Silky. ." Your little dog "" Yes!-my little dog." And he sighed deeply betweeithe words:" Where is your little dog "" He's up yonder-up to the factory.""Who gave him to you !""Nobody didn't give him to me. I found him."" And this milk is for him I""He wants it to drink."" Does your mother know you get it t"Norman didn't answer." She don't 1" said Silky. "Then where does the moneyScome from, Norman " She spoke very gently."It's mine," said Norman." Yes, but where do you get it ""Mr Swift gives it to me."Is it out of your wages "Norman hesitated, and then said "Yes," and began to cryagaimn"What is the matter I" said Silky. "Sit down and eatyour bacon. I'm not going to get you into trouble.". He looked at her again and took the bacon, but said hewanted to ga": "What for 1-it isn't time Yet.""Yes-I want to see my liWte dog."
52 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING." And feed him 1 Stop and tell me about him. Whatcolour is he 1""He's white all over.""What's his name I""Little Curly Long-Ears.""What do you call him -all that 1""I call him Long-Ears.""But why don't you feed him at home, Norman 1"" He lives up there.""And doesn't he go home with you 1""No.""Why not ?""Father wouldn't let him. He would take him away, ordo something to him."Norman looked dismal."But where does he live 1""He lives up at the factory.""But you can't have him in the factory 1""Yes I have," said Norman, "because Mr Carroll said hewas to come in because he was so handsome.""But he will get killed in the machinery, Norman, andthen you will be very sorry;""No, he won't get killed; he takes care; he knows hemustn't go near the machinery, and he doesn't; he justcomes and lies down where I be.""And does Mr Swift let him 9"" He does let him, because Mr Carroll said he was to.""But your money-where does it come from, Norman q""Mr Swift," said Norman, very dismally."Then doesn't your mother miss it, when you carry homeyour wages to her I""No.""She must, my child.""She doesn't, because I carry her just the same as I didbefore.""How can you, and keep out a ha'penny a day ?""Because I. get more now-I used to have fourpence-ha'penny, and now they give me fi'pence."
THE PURSE. 53And Norman burst into a terrible fit of crying, as if hissecret was out, and it was all up with him and his dog too."Give me the milk, and let me go !" he exclaimed throughhis tears. " Poor Curly !-poor Curly !""Here it is," said Silky, very kindly. "Don't cry-I'mnot going to hurt you or Curly either. Won't he eat any-thing but milk ? Won't he eat meat F""No-he can't.""Why can't he ?""He doesn't like it.""Well; you run off to the factory now, and give Curly hismilk, and stop again to-morrow.""And won't you tell V" said Norman, looking up."I shall not tell anybody that will get you into trouble.Run, now !"He dried his tears and ran, fast enough; holding the littlebrown jug carefully at half-arm's length, and his bare feetpattering over the ground as fast as his short legs couldmake them.Silky stood looking gravely after him."I'm so sorry for him, mother !" she said. "This won'tdo; it is very wrong, and he will get himself into dreadfultrouble besides."" Poor fellow we shall see, honey;-we will try what wecan do," said Mrs Meadows.The next morning Norman came again, and Mrs Meadowswas there." How is Long-Ears, Norman, and how are you 1" she said,cheerfully; but she did everything cheerfully."He's well," said Norman, looking a little doubtfully atthese civilities."And you are not well V" said Mrs Meadows, kindly."Suppose you come and see me to-morrow ?-it is Sundayyou know, and you have no work-will you 7 Come brightand early, and we will have a nice breakfast, and you shallgo to church with me if you like,"Norman shook his head. "Curly will want to see me,"he said.
54 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."Well, about that do just as you like. Come here tobreakfast-that you can do. Mother will let you.""Yes, she'll let me," said Norman, "and I can go to seeLong-Ears afterwards. You won't tell 1" he added, with- aglance of some fear."Tell what 1""About him," said Norman, nodding his head in the direc-tion of the factory." Long-Ears i-Not I! not a word."So he set off, with a glance of pleasure lighting up his littleface and making his feet patter more quickly over theground."Poor little creature!" Mrs Meadows said again mostheartily, and this time the tear was standing in her eye.The next morning it rained,-steadily, constantly. But atthe usual time Mrs Meadows and Silky were getting theirbreakfast."How it does pour down!" said Mrs Meadows."I'm so sorry, mother," said Silky; "he won't come."She had hardly turned her back to see to something at thefire, when there he was behind her, standing in the middleof the floor; in no Sunday dress, but in his every-day rags,and those wet through and dripping. How glad and howsorry both mother and daughter looked. They brought himto the fire and wiped his feet, and wrung the water from hisclothes as well as they could ; but they did not know what todo; for the fire would not have dried him in all the day;and to sit down to breakfast dry, with him soaking wet ather side, Mrs Meadows could not. What to put on him wasthe trouble; she had no children's clothes at all in the house.But she managed. She stripped off his rags, and tacked twoor three towels about him; and then over them wound alarge old shawl, in some mysterious way, fastening it over theshoulders in such a manner that it fell round him like aloose straight frock, leaving his arms quite free. Then whenhis jacket and trousers had been put to dry, they sat downto breakfast.In his old shawl wrapper dry and warm, little Norman
THE PURSE. 55enjoyed himself, and liked very much his cup of weak coffee,and bread and butter, and the nice egg which Mrs Meadowsboiled for him. But he did not eat like a child whose appe-tite knew what to do with good things; he had soonfinished; though after it his face looked brighter and morecheery than it had ever done before in that house.Mrs Meadows left Silky to take care of the breakfastthings, and drawing her chair up on the hearth, she tookthe little boy on her lap and wound her arms about him." Little Norman," said she, kindly, "you won't see Long-Ears to-day.""No," said Norman, with a sigh, in spite of breakfast andfire; "he will have to do without me.""Isn't it good that there is one day in the week when thepoor little tired pin-boy can rest V""Yes--it is good," said Norman, quietly, but as if he weretoo much accustomed to being tired to feel any rest from it."This is God's day. Do you know who God is, Norman I""He made me," said Norman,-" and everybody.""Yes, and everything. He is the great King over all theearth; and He is good ;-and He has given us this day to restand to learn to be good and please Him. Can you read theBible, Norman V""No, I can't read," said Norman. " Mother can."" You know the Bible is God's book, written to tell us howto be good, and whatever the Bible says we must mind, orGod will be angry with us. Now the Bible says, Thoushalt not steal.' Do you know what that means ? "Mrs Meadows spoke very softly."Yes," said Norman, swinging one little foot backwardand forward in the warm light of the fire; "I've heard it.""What does it mean I""I know," said Norman."It is to take what does not belong to us. Now, sinceGod has said that, is it quite right for you to take that moneyof your mother's to buy milk for Long-Ears ""It isn't her money !" said Norman, his face changing;"and Long-Ears mustn't starve !"
56 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."It is her money, Norman; all the money you earnbelongs to her or to your father, which is the same thing.You know it does.""But Curly must have something to eat," said Norman,bursting into tears. " Oh, don't tell! oh, don't tell !""Hush, dear," said Mrs Meadows' kind voice, and shelaid her kind hand on his head; "I am not going to tell;but I want you to be a good boy and do what will pleaseGod, that you may be one of the lambs of the Good Shep-herd's flock. Do you know what I am talking about l"" Yes-no; I don't know about the lambs," said Norman." Do you know who Jesus Christ is ?""No.""Poor little thing!" said Silky, and the tears fell fromher face, as she went from the fire to the table. Normanlooked at her, and so did her mother, and then they lookedat each other."Jesus Christ is your best friend, little Norman.""Is He ?" said Norman, looking surprised." Do you know what He has done for you, little pin-boy 'Norman looked, and no wonder; for Mrs Meadows' eyeswere running over, and he did not know what to make ofthe dropping tears; but he shook his head."It is all in God's book, dear. Little Norman Finch, likeeverybody else, has not loved God, nor minded His com-mandments as he ought to do; and God would havepunished us all, if Jesus Christ hadn't come down fromheaven on purpose to take our punishment on Himself, sothat we might be saved."" How would He have punished us " said Norman." He would have sent us away from Him for ever, to be ina miserable place, with devils and bad people, where weshould see nothing good nor happy, and we should not begood nor happy ourselves; it is a place so dreadful, it iscalled in the Bible the lake that burns with fire; and Hewould never let us come into His heaven, where God is, andJesus Christ is, and the good angels, and all God's peopleare, who are all as good and happy as they can be."
THE PURSE. 57"And should I have been punished so t" said Norman."Yes, the Bible says so; and every one will now, whowon't believe and love Jesus Christ.""And did He go there ""Where ?""To that place-that bad place; did He go there ?""What, the Lord Jesus I"Norman nodded."Not there. He is God, and He is called the Son ofGod; He could not do that, but He did this: He came tothis world, and was born into the world a little child; andwhen He grew up to be a man, He died a cruel death for youand me-for you and me, little Norman.""And then will God not punish me now 1" said Norman." No, not a bit, if you will love the Lord Jesus, and beHis child."" What did He do that for V" said Norman." Because He is so good that He loved us, and wanted tosave us and bring us back to be His children, and to be goodand happy.""Does He love me ?" said Norman."Yes, indeed," said Mrs Meadows; "do you think Hecame to die for you and does not love you I If you willlove and obey Him, He will love you for ever, and take careof you, better care than any one else can."" There isn't any one else to take care of me," said Nor-man. "Mother can't, and father don't much. I wish Iknew about that."With a look of wonder and interest at her daughter, MrsMeadows reached her Bible without letting Norman downfrom her lap; and turning from place to place, read to himthe story of Christ's death, and various parts of His life andteaching. He listened gravely, and constantly, and intently,and seemed not to weary of it at all, till she was tired andobliged to stop. He made no remark then, but sat a littlewhile with a sober face, till the fatigue of days past cameover him, and his eye-lids drooped, and slipping from MrsMeadows' lap, he laid himself down on the hearth to sleep.
58 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.They put something under his head, and sat watching him,the eyes of both every now and then running over."How much do you think he understood, mother I" saidSilky."I don't know," said Mrs Meadows, shaking her head."He listened, mother," said Silky."Yes. I won't say anything more to him to-day. Hehas had enough."And when the little sleeper awoke they lent all theirattention to give him a pleasant day. He had a good dinnerand a nice supper. His clothes were thoroughly dried; andMrs Meadows said, when she put them on, that if she couldonly get an opportunity on a week-day, she would patchthem up comfortably for him. Towards nightfall the rainstopped, and he went home dry and warm, and with a goodpiece of cheese, and a loaf of plain gingerbread under hisarm. When he was all ready to set out, he paused at thedoor, and looking up at Mrs Meadows, said-" Does He say we mustn't do that In"Who, dear?"" Does Jesus Christ say we mustn't do that 1""Do what I""Steal," said Norman, softly."Yes, to be sure. The Bible says it, and the Bible is God'sWord; and Jesus said it over again, when He was on theearth."Norman stood a quarter of a minute, and then went outand closed the door.The next morning they looked eagerly for him; but hedid not come. He stopped in the evening as usual, butSilky was just then busy, and did not speak to him beyonda word. On Tuesday morning he did not come. At nighthe was there again with his jug."How do you do, Norman ?" said Mrs Meadows, whenshe filled it, "and how is Long-Ears V"But Norman did not answer, and turned to go."Come here 'in the morning, Norman," Mrs Meadowscalled after him.
THE PURSE. 59Whether he heard her or not, he did not show himself onhis way to the factory next morning. That was Wednes-day."Norman hasn't been here these three days, mother," saidSilky. "Can it be that he has made up his mind to dowithout his halfpennyworth of milk for the dog ?""Poor little fellow !" said Mrs Meadows; "I meant tohave given it to him; skim milk would do, I dare say; butI forgot to tell him on Sunday, and I told him last night tostop, but he hasn't done so. We'll go up there, Silky, andsee how he is, after dinner.""To the factory, mother V"" Yes."" And I'll carry a little pail of milk, mother.""Well, honey, do."After dinner they went, and I went in Silky's pocket.The factory was not a great distance from Mrs Meadows'house, which stood about half-way between that and thetown. Mrs Meadows asked for Mr Swift, and presentlyhe came. Mrs Meadows was a general favourite, I hadfound that out; everybody spoke to her civilly; certainlyshe did the same to everybody."Is little Norman at work to-day, Mr Swift ?""Norman Finch --yes, ma'am, he is at work," said the.overseer ;-" he has not done much work, this day or so.""He's not quite well, Mr Swift?""Well, no, I suppose he isn't. He has not hard workneither; but he's a poor little mortal of a boy.""Is he a good boy, sir?""Average," said Mr Swift,-" as good as the average.What, are you going to adopt him ?""No, sir," said Mrs Meadows;--"I wanted to ask a fewquestions about him.""I don't know any harm of him," said Mr Swift. " He'sabout like the common. Not particularly strong in the head,nor anywhere else, for that matter; but he is a good-feelingchild. Yes-now I remember. It is as much as a year ago,that I was angry with him one day, and was going to give
60 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.the careless little rascal a strapping for something,-I forgetwhat; we must keep them in order, Mrs Meadows, let thembe what they will;-I was going to give it to him, for some-thing, and a bold brave fellow in the same room, about sixtimes as big, and six times as strong as Norman, offered totake it, and spare him. I didn't care; it answered my pur-pose of keeping order just as well that Bill Bollings shouldhave it, as Norman Finch, if he had a mind-:-and ever sincethat time Finch has been ready to lay down his body andsoul for Bollings if it would do him any service. He's a good-hearted boy, I do believe."Mrs Meadows and Silky looked at each other."That's it, mother !" said Silky. "That is why he under-stood and took it so quickly.""What a grand boy, the other must be !" said Mrs Mea-dows." Ah, well-that was noble enough," said Mr Swift,-" buthe's a kind of harum-scarum fellow-just as likely to gethimself into a scrape to-morrow as to get somebody else outof one to-day.""That was noble," repeated Mrs Meadows." Norman has never forgotten it. As I said, he would laydown body and soul for him. There's a little pet dog he hastoo," Mr Swift went on," that I believe he would do as muchfor. A pretty creature! I would have bought it of him, andgiven a good price for it, but he seemed fright ned at theproposal I believe he keeps the creature hEre partly forfear he should lose him if he took him home.""Is it against the rules, sir, to have a dog in the fac-tory 1""Entirely !-of course 1" said Mr Swift; "but Mr Carrollhas said it, and so a new rule is made for the occasion. MrCarroll was willing to let such a pretty creature be anywhere,I believe."" I should be afraid he would get hurt."" So I was, but the dog has sense enough; he gets into nodanger, and keeps out of the way like a Christian.""May we go in, sir, and see Norman for a moment 1"
THE PURSE. 61"Certainly," Mr Swift said; and himself led the way.Through long rooms and rows of workers went Mr Swift,and Mrs Meadows and Silky after him, to the one wherethey found little Norman. He was standing before somesort of a machine, folding papers and pressing them againstrows of pins, that were held all in order and with their pointsready, by two pieces of iron in the machine. Norman wasnot working briskly, and he looked already jaded, though itwas early in the afternoon. Close at his feet, almost touch-ing him, lay the little white dog-a very little, and a mostbeautiful creature. Soft white curling hair, and large silkyears that drooped to the floor, as he lay with his head uponhis paws; and the two gentle brown eyes looked almostpitifully up at the strangers. He did not get up; nor didNorman look round till Mrs Meadows spoke to him."Hey, my boy, how are you getting on?" Mr Swift saidfirst, with a somewhat rough but not unkind slap across theshoulders. Norman shrugged his shoulders, and said, "Prettywell, thank you, sir,"-when he heard Mrs Meadows' spft"Norman, how do you do ?"His fingers fell from the row of pin points, and he turnedtowards her, looking a great deal surprised and a littlepleased, but with a very sober face." Where have you been these two or three days ""I've been here," said Norman, gravely."How comes it you have not been for Long-Ears' milkthese three days ?""" I-I couldn't," said Norman."Why ""I hadn't any money-I gave it to mother."He spoke low and with some difficulty." What made you do that, Norman I"He looked up at her." Because-you know-Jesus said so."Mrs Meadows had been stooping down to speak to him,but now she stood up straight and for a minute she saidnothing." And what has Long-Ears done, dear, without his milk?"
62 THE CURISTMAS STOCKING.Norman was silent and his mouth twitched. Mrs Meadowslooked at the little dog, which lay still in the same place,his gentle eyes having, she thought, a curious sort of wist-fulness in their look."Won't he eat meat ?"Norman shook his head and said "No," under his^eath." He's a dainty little rascal," said the overseer;," he wasmade to live on sweetmeats and sugarplums."-And MrSwift walked on."I've brought him some milk," whispered Silky; andsoftly stooping down she uncovered her little tin pail andtried to coax the dog to come to it. But Norman no soonercaught the words of her whisper and saw the pail, than hisspirit gave way; he burst into a bitter fit of crying, andthrew himself down on the floor and hid his face.Mr Swift came back to see what was the matter. MrsMeadows explained part to him, without telling of Norman'skeeping the money." Oh well," said Mr Swift,-" but he mustn't make sucha disturbance about it !-it is against all order; and feedingthe dog too, Lois!--but it is a pretty creature. He'shungry, he is! It's well we don't have ladies come to thefactory every day."Silky's other name was Lois."I will never do so again, Mr Swift," said she, gently." Oh, I don't say that," said he. "I don'tislike the sightof you, Miss Lois; but I must have you searched at thedoor. Keep this boy quiet, now, Mrs Meadows; and don'tstay too long; or take him with you."The boy was quiet enough now. While Mr Swift hadbeen speaking he had raised himself from the floor, half up,and had stopped sobbing, and was looking at Long-Ears andgently touching his curly head; who oh his part was lappingthe milk with such eagerness as if he had wanted it forsome time. Norman's tears still fell, but they fell quietly.By the time the little dog had finished the milk they didnot fall at all. Till then nobody said anything."Come for it every morning again, my child," said Mrs
STHE PURSE. 63Meadows, softly;-" I'11 give it to you. What a dear littlefellow he is I don't wonder you love him. He shall havemilk enough."Norman looked up gratefully and with a little bit of asmile."You don't look very strong, my boy," said Mrs Meadows."You don't feel quite well, do you 2"He shook his head, as if it was a matter beyond his under-standing."Are you tired ?"His eyes gave token of understanding that. "Yes, I'mtired. People are not tired up there, are they "" Where, dear ?""Up there-in heaven 1""No, dear," said Mrs Meadows."I shall go there, won't I ?""If you love Jesus and serve Him, He will take good careof you and bring you there safely."" He will," said Norman."But you are not going yet, I hope, dear," said MrsMeadows, kissing him. " Good-bye. Come to-morrow, andyou shall have the milk."" Will you read to me that again, some day 2" he inquiredwistfully.Mrs Meadows could hardly answer. She and Silky walkedback without saying three words to each other; and I neversaw Mrs Meadows cry so much as she did that afternoon andevening.Norman came after that every morning for the dog's milk;and many a Sunday he and Long-Ears passed part of thetime with Mrs Meadows; and many a reading he listened tothere, as he had listened to the frst one.He didn't talk much. He was always near his little dog,and he seemed quietly to enjoy everything at those times.As the summer changed into autumn, and autumn gaveway to winter, Norman's little face seemed to grow betterlooking, all the while it was growing more pale and his littlebody more slim. It grew to be a contented, very quiet, and
64 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.patient face, and his eye acquired an unusual clearness andopenness; though he never was a bad-looking child. "Hewon't live long," Mrs Meadows said, after every Sunday.The little white dog all this while grew more white, andcurly, and bright-eyed every day; or they at least all thoughtso.It was not till some time in January that at last Normanstopped coming for milk, and did not go by to the factoryany more. The weather was severe. Mrs Meadows wasshut up in the house with a bad cold; and some days weregone before she or Silky could get any news of him. Then,one cold evening, his mother came for the milk, and to saythat Norman was very ill and would like to see Lois and MrsMeadows. She was a miserable-looking woman, wretchedlydressed, and with a jaded spiritless air, that seemed as ifeverything she cared for in life was gone, or she too poor tocare for it. I thought Norman must have a sad home whereshe was. And his father must be much worse in anotherway, or his mother would not have such a look.Silky and Mrs Meadows got ready directly. Silky puther purse in her pocket, as she generally did when she wasgoing to see poor people, and wrapping themselves up warmwith cloaks, and shawls, and hoods, she and her mother setout. It was past sunset on a winter's day; clear enough, butuncommonly cold." It will be dark by the time we come home, mother," saidSilky."Yes, honey, but we can find the way," came from underMrs Meadows' hood; and after that neither of them spoke aword.It was not a long way; they soon came to the town, andentered a poor straggling street in which no good and com-fortable buildings showed themselves, or at least no goodand comfortable homes. Some of the houses were decentlywell built, but several families lived in each of them, andcomfort seemed to be unknown. At least after Mrs Mea-dows' nice kitchen, with the thick carpet, and blazing fire,and dark cupboard doors, these all looked so. The light
THE PURSE. 65grew dimmer, and the air grew cooler, as Mrs Meadows andSilky went down the street; and Silky was trembling allover by the time they stopped at one of these brick dwelling-houses and went in.The front door stood open; nobody minded that; it wasnobody's business to shut it. They went in, through a dirtypassage and up-stairs that nobody ever thought of cleaning,to the third story. There Mrs Meadows first knocked, andthen gently opened the door. A man was there, sitting overthe fire; a wretched tallow candle on the table hardly showedwhat he looked like. Mrs Meadows spoke with her usualpleasantness." Good evening, Mr Finch;-can I see little Norman "" Yes,-I suppose so," the man said in a gruff voice, andpointing to another door; "they're in yonder.""How is he "" I don't know Going, I expect." He spoke in a tonsthat might have been half heartless, half heartful. MrsMeadows stayed for no further questions. She left himthere and went on to the inner room.It was so dark that hardly anything could be seen. Awoman rose up from some corer-it proved to be MrsFinch-and went for the light. Her husband's voice couldbe heard gruffly asking her what she wanted with it, andher muttered words of reply; and then she came back withit in her hand.The room was ill lighted, even when the candle was in it;but there could be seen two beds; one raised on some sortof a bedstead, the other on the floor in a corner. No firewas in this room, and the bed was covered with all sorts ofcoverings; a torn quilt, an old great coat, a small raggedworsted shawl, and Norman's own poor little jacket andtrousers. But on these, close within reach of the boy'shand, lay curled the little dog; his glossy hair and soft out-lines making a strange contrast with the rags and povertyand'ugliness of the place.Norman did not look much changed, except that his facewas so very pale it seemed as if he had no more blood toE
6g THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.leave it. Mrs Meadows and Silky came near, and neitherof them at first seemed able to speak. Mrs Finch stoodholding the light. Then Mrs Meadows stooped down bythe bed's head."Little Norman," she said, and you could tell her heartwas full of tears,-" do you know me i""I know you," he said, in a weak voice, and with a littlesmile." How do you do ""Very well," he said in the same manner."Are you very well? " said Mrs Meadows." Yes," he said. "I'm going now.""Where, dear ?""You know-to that good place. Jesus will take me,won't He ?""If you love and trust Him, dear."" He will take me," said Norman." What makes you think you are going, dear 9 " said MrsMeadows."I can't stay," said Norman shutting his eyes. He openedthem again immediately. "I'm going," he said. "I'm sotired. I shan't be tired there, shall I ""No, dear,' said Mrs Meadows, whose power of speechwas likely to fail her. She kept wiping her face with herpocket-handkerchief. Norman stroked a-d stroked his littledog's head."Poor Long-Ears," said he, faintly,--"poor Long-Ears!-I can't take care of you now. Poor Long-Ears! you arehungry. He hasn't had anything to eat since-since-mother ""He doesn't know how time goes," said Mrs Finch, whohad not before spoken. " The dog hasn't had a sup of any-thing since the day before yesterday. He must be hungry.I don't know what he lives on. My husband don't carewhether anything lives or not."Silky had not said a word, and she did not now, but shebrought out that same little tin pail from under her cloakand set it down on the floor. Norman's eye brightened.
THE PURSE. 67But the dog could not be coaxed to quit the bed; he wouldset only his two fore feet on the floor, and so drank the milkout of the pail Norman watched him, almost with a smile.And when the dog, having left the milk, curled himselfdown again in his old place, and looked into his master'sface, Norman quite smiled."Poor Long-Ears!" he said, patting him again with afeeble hand; " I'm going to leave you,-what will you do l"I'll take care of him, Norman," said Mrs Meadows."Will you 1" said Norman."As long as he lives, if you wish."Norman signed for her to put her ear down to him, andsaid earnestly."I give him to you-you keep him. Will you ""Yes, indeed, I will," said Mrs Meadows." Then you will have milk enough, dear little Long-Ears,"said Norman. "But," he said eagerly to Mrs Meadows, "youmust take him home with you to-night-I'm afraid fatherwill do something with him if you don't.""But you will want him," said Mrs Meadows."No, I won't. Father will do something with him."" Indeed he will, sure enough," said Mrs Finch."Then I'll take him, and keep him, dear, as if he wereyourself," said Mrs Meadows."I shan't want him," said Norman, shutting his eyesagain;-" I'm going.""And you are not sorry, dear I " said Mrs Meadows."No !" he said."I wonder why he should," said Mrs Finch, wiping hereyes."Arid you know Jesus will take you ?""Because I love Him," said Norman, without opening hiseyes." What makes you love Him so, dear ""Because He did that for me," said Norman, opening hiseyes once more to look at her, and then shutting them again.And he never opened them any more. It seemed that hav-ing his mind easy about his pet, and having seen his friends,
68 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.he wanted nothing more on this earth. He just slumberedaway a few hours, and died so, as quietly as he had slept.His little pale meek face looked as if, as he said, he was gladto go.Nothing but a degree of force that no one cared to use,could have moved Long-Ears from the body of his mastertill it was laid in the grave. Then, with some difficulty,Mrs Meadows gained possession of him and brought himhome." Is that all ?" said Carl, when the story stopped." All.""What more of Mrs Meadows and Silky 1""Nothing more. They lived there, and took care ofLong-Ears, and were kind to everybody, and sold milk, justas they used to do.""And what about Long-Ears ""Nothing about him. He lived there with Mrs Meadowsand Silky, and was as well off as a little dog could be.""And is that all 1""That is alL""And how did you get here 1""I've told you enough for this time.""I 'II hear the rest another time," said Carl, as he graspedthe purse and ran off towards home; ir it was nearly noon,aid his mother had called to him that dinner was ready."Mother," said Carl, "I have heard the stories of mypurse, and of my penny, and of my three apples; andthey're splendid I ""What a child!" said Mrs Krinken. "Are the stories notfinished yet ""No," said Carl; " and I don't know which to hear next.There is the boat, and the pine cone, and the shoes, and thebook, and the old stocking-all of them; and I don't knowwhich to hear first. Which would you, mother I""What is all that 1" said John Krinken."He says his things tell him stories," said Mrs Krinken;
THE PURSE. 69"and he has told over one or two to me, and it is as good asa book. I can't think where the child got hold of them.""Why, they told them to me, mother," said Car."Yes," said Mrs Krinken; "something told it to thee,child.""Who told them, Carl " said his father."My penny, and my purse, and my three apples,-or onlyone of the apples," said Carl;-" that was BeachamwelL""Beach 'em what " said his father."Beachamwell-that is the biggest of my three apples,"said CarLAt which John and Mrs Krinken looked at each other,and laughed till their eyes ran down with tears."Let us hear about Beachamwell," said John, when hecould speak."I've told it," said Carl, a little put out."Yes, and it was as pretty a story as ever I heard, or wishto hear," said Mrs Krinken, soothingly."Let us hear the story of the shoes, then," said John."I haven't heard it yet," said Carl"Oh, you can't tell it till you have heard it " said hisfather."I havonly heard three of them," said Carl, "and Idon't know which to hear next.""The old stocking would tell you a rare story if it knem.how," said his father; "it could spin you a yarn as long asits own.""I would rather hear the old pine cone, John," said hiswife. "Ask. the pine one, Carl. I wish it could tell thestory, and I could hear it.""Which first V" said Carl, looking from one to the other.But John and Mrs Krinken were too busy thinking of thestory-teller, to help him out with his question about thestories."Then I am going to keep the stocking for the very lastone," said Carl"Why 1" said his mother."Because it is ugly. And I intend to make the shoes
70 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.tell me their story next. I might want to put them on, youknow."And Carl looked down at two sets of fresh-coloured toeswhich looked out at him through the cracks of his old half-boots.Mr and Mrs Krinken got up laughing, to attend to theirbusiness; and Carl, indignalitly seizing his shoes, ran offwith them out of hearing to the sunny side of the house;where he plumped himself down on the ground with themin front of him, and commanded them to speak.THE STORY OF THE TWO SHOES."I BELEVE," said the right shoe, "that I am the first indi-vidual of my race whose history has ever been thought worthasking for. I hope to improve my opportunity. I considerit to be a duty, in all classes, for each member of theclass "-" You may skip that," said Carl. " I don't care about it.""I am afraid," said the right shoe, "I am uninterestingMy excuse is that I never was fitted to be anything else.Not to press ourselves upon people's notice is the very lessonwe are especially taught; We were never intended to occupya high position in society, and it is reckoned an unbearablefault in us to make much noise in the world.""I say," said Carl, "you may skip that.""I beg pardon," said the shoe, "I was coming to the point.'Step by step' is our family motto. However, I know youngpeople like to get over the ground at a leap. I will do itat once.My brother and I are twins, and as much alike as it ispossible perhaps for twins to be. Mr Peg, the cobbler,thought we were exactly alike; and our upper leathers didindeed run about on the same calf (as perchance they mayanother time,) but our soles were once further apart thanthey are ever likely to be for the future; one having roamed
THE TWO SHOES. 71the green elds of Ohio on the back of a sturdy ox, wnilethe other came from Vermont. However, we are matesnow, and having been as they say "cut out for each other,"I have no doubt we shall jog on together perfectly wellWe are rather an old pair of shoes. In fact, we havebeen on hand almost a year. I should judge from theremarks of our friend Mr Peg, when he was beginning uponus, that he was quite unaccustomed to the trade of shoe-making-shoe-mending was what he had before lived by;or, perhaps, I should rather say, tried to live by; I amafraid it was hard work; and I suppose Mr Peg acted uponthe excellent saying, which is also a motto in our family,that "it is good to have two or three strings to one's bow."It was in a little light front room, looking upon the street,which was Mr Peg's parlour, and shop, and workroom, thathe cut out the leather and prepared the soles for this hisfirst manufacture. I think he had only stuff enough for onepair, for I heard him sigh once or twice as he was fidgetingwith his pattern over my brother's upper leather till it wasmade out. Mr Peg was a little elderly man, with a crownof grayhair all round the back part of his head; and he satat work ihis shirt sleeves, and with a thick, short leatherapron before him. There was a little fire-place in the room,with sometimes fire in it, and sometimes not; and the onlyfurniture was Mr Peg's small counter, the low, rush-bottomedchair in which he sat to work, and a better one for a cus-tomer; his tools, and his chips; by which I mean the scrapsof leather which he scattered about.Hardly had Mr Peg got the soles and the upper leathersand the vamps to his mind, and sat down on his chair tobegin work, when a little girl came in. She came from adoor that opened upon a staircase leading to the upperrooms, and walked up to the cobbler. She was a littlebrown-haired girl, about nine or ten years old, in an oldcotton frock; she was not becomingly dressed, and she didnot look very well."Father," she said, "mother's head aches again."The cobbler paused in his work, and looked up at her.
72 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."And she wants you to come up and rub it-she says Ican't do it hard enough."Rather slowly Mr Peg laid his upper leather and tools down."Will you close this shoe for me, Sue, while I am gone ?"He spoke half pleasantly, and to judge by his tone andmanner, with some half-sorrowful meaning. So the littlogirl took it, for she answered a little sadly-" I wish I could, father."" I'm glad you can't, my dear."He laid his work down and mounted the stairs. Shewent to the window, and stood with her elbows leaning onthe sill, looking into the street.Beachhead is only a small town; but still, being a sea-coast town, there is a great deal of bustle about it. -Thefishermen from the one side, and the farmers from the other,with their various merchandise; the active, strange-lookingboys and women, for ever bustling up and down, make itquite a lively place. There is always a good deal to see in1he street. Yet the little girl stood very still and quiet bythe window; her head did not turn this way or that; shestood like a stupid person, who did not care what was goingon. A woman passing up the street stopped a moment atthe window."How is your mother to-day, Sue ?""She's getting on slowly, Mrs Binch.""Does the doctor say she is in danger 1""The doctor is not coming any more.""Has he given her up ?""Yes; he says there is nothing to do but to let her getwell."" Oh !-she is so brisk, is she 2""No, ma'am-she's not brisk at all.; she says"-But Mrs Binch had passed on and was out of hearing, andthe little brown head stood still at the window again, lean-ing now on one hand. It was a smooth-brushed, roiindlittle head, seen against the open windows. By and byanother stopped, a lady this time; a lady dressed in black,with a sweet, delicate face.
THE TWO SHOES. 73"How is your mother, Sue ""She's just the same, Mrs Lucy.""No better ""Not much,ma'am. It will take a longtime the doctor says.""And are you, poor little tot, all alone in the house to doeverything 1""No, ma'am-there's father."The sweet face gave her a sort of long, wistful look, andpassed on. She stood there still at the open window, withher head leaning on her hand; and whatever was the reason,Sso dull of hearing, that her father had come down, seatedhimself in his chair, and taking up his shoe, several minutesbefore sheouad it out. Then she left the window and cameto him."What shall I do, father 1""She will want you directly," said the cobbler. "She'sasleep now."Sue stood still." Don't you want some dinner, Sue V"She hesitated a little, and then said " Yes."" Well| see, dear, and make some more of that porridge.Can you ""Yes, ather, there is some meal. And there is a littlebread, toil""You may have that," said the cobbler. "And I'l go outby and by and see if I can get a little money. Mr Shiphamhad a pair of boots new soled a month ago, and Mr Binchowes me for some jobs-if I only could get the money forthem."And the cobbler sighed." If people only knew, they would pay you, father, wouldn'tthey I""There is One that knows," said the cobbler. "And whythey don't pay me He knows. Maybe it is to teach you andme, Sue, that 'man does not live by bread alone.'""'But by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of'God doth man live,'" his little daughter went on, softly, asif she were filling up the words for her own satisfaction.. -'* "* ... -^
74 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."But we knew that before, father ?""Perhaps we didn't know it enough," said the cobbler."I'm afraid I don't now"--And as her back was turned, he hastily brought his handto his eyes."But, father, can one help feeling a little sorrowful, when-when things are so bad 1""A little sorry --perhaps one might feel a little sorry,"said the cobbler; " but if I believe all that I know, I don't seehow I could feel very unhappy. I don't see how I eould;and I ought not."His little daughter had been raking the fire together andsetting on the coals a little iron sauce-pan of water. Sheturned and looked at him when he said this, as if she hadnot known before that he did feel "very unhappy." He didnot see the look, which was a startled and sorrowful one;he was bending over his shoe-leather. She then left theroom and went after the meal, which she brought in a yellowearthen dish, and began silently to mix for the porridge."The Bible says, father"- she began, stirring away."Yes, dear-what does it say " said Mr Peg."It says, Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thoudwell in the land, and-verily' "---Susan's voice broke. She stirred her porridge vehemently,and turned her back to her father."'Verily thou shalt be fed,'" said the cobbler. "Yes-Iknow it. The thing is to believe it.""You do believe it, father," Susan said, softly."Ay, but I haven't trusted in the Lord, nor done anygood to speak of. It will stand good for you, daughter, if itdoesn't for me."She had stirred her meal into the sauce-pan; and nowsetting down her dish she came to his side, and putting hertwo arms round his neck, she kissed him all over his face.The cobbler let fall leather and ends and hugged her to hisbreast." That has done me more good than dinner, now," said he,when he had, albeit tearfully, given her two or three sound4
THE TWO SHOES. 75kisses by way of finishing. "You may have all the porridge,Susie.""There is enough, father, and there's some bread too.""Eat it all up," said the cobbler, turning to his workagain; perhaps to hide his eyes. She stood leaning on hisshoulder, so as not to hinder the play of his arm." Shall I keep the bread for supper, father I ""No, dear; I may get some money before that.""Whose shoes are those, father?""They are not anybody's yet.""Whose are they going to be ""I don't know. The first pair of feet that will fitthem. If I sell them, I can get' some leather and makemore.""Is that the last of your leather, father ?""Ay-the last that is large enough; the rest is allpieces."She stood a little while longer, laying her head on hisshoulder; then there came a knocking up-stairs, and she ranaway. The cobbler worked at his shoe for a while, thenturning his head, he dropped everything to go and see afterthe porridge; and he sat over the fire, stirring it, till hethought it was done, and then he drew back the sauce-pan.>q e went to the foot of the stairs and looked up and listenedfora minute, and then left it and came back without callinganybody. It was plain that he must eat his dinner alone.His dinner was nothing but porridge and salt, eaten withwhat would have been a good appetite if it had had goodthoughts to back it. And the cobbler did not seem uncheer-ful; only once or twice he stopped and looked with agrave face into the fire on the hearth. But a porridgedinner after all could not last long; Mr Peg put away hisplate and spoon, placed the sauce-pan carefully in the cornerof the fireplace, took off his leather apron, put on his coat,and taking his hat from the counter he went out.There were no more stitches set in the shoe that afternoon,for Mr Peg did not get home till dark. The first thing thathappened after he went away, a gust of wind blew round
76 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.the house and came down the chimney bringing with it ashower of soot which must have sprinkled the open sauce-pan rather thickly. Then the wind seemed to go up thechimney again, and could be heard whistling off among theneighbouring housetops. After a while little Susie camedown and looked for her saucepan. She pulled it out, andfetched her plate and spoon and began to skim out the soot;but I suppose she found it rather indifferent, or else that shewould lose a good deal of her porridge; for at one time sheset her plate, and spoon down upon the hearth beside her,and laid her face in her apron. She soon took it up again,but she did not make a large meal of the porridge.She then went up-stairs, and -when she came down thesecond time it was nearly evening. She stood and "lookedabout, to see that her father was not come in; then shemade up the fire, and when it was burning she stood andlooked into it just in the same way that she had stood andlooked out of the window. Suddenly she wheeled about,and coming behind the counter took her father's Bible froma heap of bits of leather on which it lay, and went and satdown on the hearth with it; and as long as there was light'she was bending over it. Then, when the light faded, sheclasped her hands upon the closed Bible, and leaning backagainst the jamb fell fast asleep in an instant, with her headagainst the stone.There she was when her father came home; her feet werestretched out upon the hearth and he stumbled over them.'hat waked her. By the glimmering light of the fire some-thing could be seen hanging from Mr Peg's hand."Have you got home, father ?-I believe I have been tosleep instead of waiting for you. What have you got inyour hand ---Fish !-O father I"You should have heard the change of little Sue's voicewhen she said that. Generally her way of speaking was lowand gentle like the twilight, but those two words were like aburst of sunshine."Yes, dear. Blow up the fire so that you may see them.I've been to Mrs Binch's-I've been all over town, almost
THE TWO SHOES. 77--and Mrs Binch's boy had just come in with some, and shegave me a fine string of them-nice blue fish-there."Susan had made a blaze, and then she and the cobbleradmired and turned and almost smelt the fish, for joy."And shall we have one for supper, father ""Yes, dear. You put on some coals, and I'll get thefish ready directly. Has mother had all she wanted to-day "" Yes, father. Mrs Lucy sent her some soup and she hadplenty. And I savea the bread from dinner, father, isn't ita good thing? and there is some more porridge, too."What a fir Sue had made by the time her father cameback -with the fish, nicely cleaned and washed. She put itdown, and then the two sat over it in the fire-light andwatched it broil. It was done as nicely as a fish could bedone; and Susan fetched the plates and the salt and thebread; and then the cobbler gave thanks to God for theirsupper. And then the two made such a meal! there wasnot a bone of that fish but was picked clean, nor a grain ofsalt, nor a scrap of bread left from that supper; and I wasas glad as anything of my tough nature can be, to knowthat there were several more fish besides the one eaten. Suecleared away the things when they had done; ran up to see\i her mother was comfortable; and soon ran down againI rstep had changed too."Now, darling," said her father, "come and let us haveout talk by this good fire-light."Susan came to his arms and kissed him; and his armswere wrapped round her as she sat on his knee."It is one good thing, you have no lights to work by, sowe can talk," said Sue, stroking his face. "If you had, wecouldn't.""Well," said the cobbler. "Let us talk to-night of thethings we have to be thankful for.""There are a great many of them, father," said Sue, withher twilight voice."The first thing is, that we know we have a Friend inheav& and that we do love and trust Him."
78 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."O father!" said Sue, "if you begin with that, all theother things will not seem anything at all.""That is true," said Mr Peg. "Well, Sue, let us havethem all. You begin.""I don't know what to begin with," said Sue, looking intothe fire." I have you," said her father, softly kissing her."0 father!-and I have you; but now you are takingthe next best things.""I should not care for all the rest without this one," saidthe cobbler;-" nor should I mind anything but for this," headded, in a somewhat changed tone."But, father, you must not talk of that to-night; we areonly going to talk of the things we have to be thankful for.""Well, we can take the others to-morrow night maybe,and see what we can make of them. Go on, Susie," said thecobbler, putting his head down to her cheek,-"I have mydear little child, and she has her father. That is somethingto thank God, and to be glad for,-every day.""So I do, every day, father," said Susan, very softly."And so do I," said the cobbler; and while I can takecare of thee, my dearest, I will trouble myself about nothingelse.""Now you are getting upon the other things, father," saidSue. "Father, it is something to be thankful for, that wecan have such a nice fire every night,-and every day, ifwe want it.""You don't know what a blessing that is, Sue," said herfather. "If we lived where we couldn't get drift wood-ifwe lived as some of the poor people do in the great cities-without anything but a few handfuls of dry sticks to bur inthe hardest weather, and what wretched stuff for making afire-I am glad you don't know howdifferent it is, Sue !"said he, putting his arms round her. "There is not amorning of my life but I thank God for giving us wood,when I set about lighting it.""How do they do in those places without wood " saidSue, sticking out her feet toward the warm ruddy blaze..I,'
THE TWO SHOES. 79" He who knows all only knows," said the cobbler, gravely."They do without. It seems to me I would rather gewithout eating, and have a fire.""I don't know," said Sue, thoughtfully, "which I wouldrather do. But those poor people haven't food either, havwthey?""Not enough," said the cobbler. "They manage to pickup enough to keep them alive, somehow." And he sighed,for the subject came near honie."Father," said Sue, "I do not believe God will let usstarve.""I do not think He will, my dear," said the cobbler."Then why do you sigh "" Because t deserve that He should, I believe," said thecobbler, hanging his head. "I deserve it, for not trustingHim better. 'Cast all your care upon him, for he careth foryou.' Ah, my dear, we can't get on without running to ourupper storehouse, very often.""Father, I believe God doesn't mean that we should.""That's just it !" said the cobbler. "That is, no doubt,what He means. Well, dear, let us learn the lesson He setsus.""Then, father," said Sue, "don't you think we have a nicelittle house It is large enough, and it's warm." &"Yes, dear," said the cobbler; "some of those poor peoplewe were talking about would think themselves as well off askings if they had such a house as this.""And it is in a pleasant place, father, where there are agreat many kind people.""I hope there are," said the cobbler, who was thinking atthe moment how Mr Shipham had put him off, and Mr Dillhad avoided him, and Mr Binch had objected to every one cthis moderate charges."Why, father," said Sue, "Mrs Lucy every day sendsthings to mother, and Mrs Binch gave you the fish, and MrsJackson came and washed ever so many times, and-andMrs Galatin sent the pudding and other things for mother,you know."
80 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."Well, dear," said the cobbler, "yes,-it seems thatwomankind is more plenty here at any rate than man-kind.""Why, father 1" said Sue."I hope you will never know, dear," he answered. "Itwas a foolish speech of mine.""And I'm sure it is a blessing, father, that we have somany things sent us for my mother,-she has almost as muchas she wants; and things we couldn't get. Now, Mrs Lucy'ssoup-you don't know how nice it was. I tasted just theleast drop in the spoon; and mother had enough of it forto-day and to-morrow. And then the doctor says she willget well by and by; and that will be a blessing."It was a blessing so far off that both the cobbler and hislittle daughter looked grave as they thought about it."And I'm well, father, and you are well," said Sue,pleasantly."Thank God !" said the cobbler." And, father, don't you think it is a little blessing to livenear the sea; and to have the beautiful beach to walk upon,and see the waves come tumbling in, and smell the fresh airWe used to go so often, and by and by we may again. Don'tyou think it is a great deal pleasanter than it would be ifBeachh ad was a long way off in the country, out of sight ofthe ocean ?""Ah, Sue," said her father, "I don't know;-I havelived a great part of my life in one of those inland places,and I didn't want to hear the sea roar then, and I could geton without the smell of salt water. No,-you don't knowwhat you are talking about exactly; every sort of place thatthe Lord has made, has its own pleasantness; and so has thesea; but I love the green pasture-fields as well as I do thegreen field of water, to this day."" "But one might be in a place where there was not the seanor the pasture-fields either, father.""So one might," said the cobbler. "Yes, there are plentyof such places. The sea is a blessing. I was thinking ofmy old home in Connecticut; but the world is not all green
THE TWO SHOES. 81IlUls hndsea shore,-there is something else in it-somethingelse. Yes, dear, I love those large waves too."" And then, father," said Sue, laying her head on his breast,"we can come back to the best things,-that you werebeginning with.""Ay," said the cobbler, casting his arm round her. Andfor a little space they sat silent and looked into the fire, andthen he went on."Poor as we sit here, and weak and dying as we know weare, we know that we have a tabernacle on high-a housenot made with hands, eternal in the heavens. It won'tmatter much, Sue, when we get there"-What wbuld not, matter, the cobbler did not say; some-thing came in his throat that stopped him."It won't matter, father," said Sue, softly.They sat still a little while; the flame of the bits of woodin the chimney leaped up and down, burned strongly andthen fell; and the red coals glowed and glimmered in placeof it, but with less and less power."Now, Sue, let us read," said the cobbler on a sudden.She got up, and he put on the coals two or three pieces oflight wood, which soon blazed up. While he was doing this,Sue brought the Bible. Then she took her former place inher father's arms; and he opened the book and read by thefirelight, pausing at almost every sentence. "' Praise ye theLord.'--We will do that, Sue," said the cobbler, "forever.""' Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delightethgreatly in his commandments.'""You do that, father," said Sue, softly.,' I do fear Him;-I do delight in His commandments," saidthe poor cobbler. "I might do so a great deal more. Butsee how it goes on :-"' His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation ofthe upright shall be blessed.' No doubt of it;-only let us seethat we are upright, my child."' Welt' and riches shall be in his house.' So they are,4 ; are wp not rich"A.;*- ''
82 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."Yes, father. But don't you think that means the otherkind of riches too ""I don't know," said the cobbler; "if it does, we shallhave them. But I don't know, daughter; see-"' Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteous-ness endureth for ever.' It seems as if that riches had to dowith that righteousness. You know what Jesus says,--'Icounsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayestbe rich.' I think it is the kind of riches of that man whois described 'as having nothing, and yet possessing allthings.'""Well, so we do, father, don't we ""Let us praise Him," said the cobbler."'Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness.What a promise !""Unto the upright, again," said Sue."Mind it, dear Sue," said her father, " for we may see darkertimes than we have seen yet."Sue looked up at him gravely, but did not speak."' Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he isgracious, and full of compassion, and righteousness.'""That is, the upright man," said Sue."' A good man showeth favour and lendeth: he will guidehis affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved forever : the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.' Youremember who says,-' I have graven thee upon the palms ofmy hands; thy walls are continually before me I'""That is Zion, father, isn't it I" said Sue." And just before that,-' Can a woman forget her suckingchild, that she should not have compassion on the son of herwomb ? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.'""We oughtn't to be afraid, father," said Sue, softly."I am not afraid," said the cobbler."'The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. Heshall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trustingin the Lord.' There it is, Sue."' His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he seehis desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed, he hath given
THE TWO SHOES. 83to the poor, his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shallbe exalted with honour. The wicked shall see it, and be grieved;he shall gnash with his teeth and melt away, the desire of thewicked shall perish. '"The cobbler closed the book; and he and his little laughterknelt down, and he prayed for a few minutes; then theycovered up the fire, and they went up-st airs together. Andthe night was as quiet in that house as in any house in theland.The next morning the cobbler and his daughter broiledanother fish; but the breakfast was a shorter and less talk-ative affair than the supper had been. After breakfast thecobbler sat down to his work, but before the shoe was halfan hour nearer to being done, Sue appeared at the bottom ofthe stairs saying, "Father, mother says she wants a piece ofone of those fish."The cobbler's needle stood still. "I don't believe it is goodfor her," said he." She says she wants it.""Well, can't you put it down, my daughter I""Yes, father; but she says she wants me to do her roomup; and she's in a great hurry for the fish."Mr Peg slowly laid his work down. Sue ran up-stairsagain, and the cobbler spent another half-hour over the coalsand a quarter of a fish. Sue came for it, and the cobblerwent to his work again.It was a cold day; the wind whistled about and broughtthe cold in; and every now and then Sue came down andstood at the fire a minute to warm herself. Every time shecame, the cobbler stayed his hand and looked up, and lookedwistfully at her." Never mind father," said Sue. "I'm only a little cold.""You are blue," said he.And at last Mr Peg couldn't stand it. Down went theleather on one side of him and the tools on the other; and"he went and lugged an armful or two of sticks up-stairs andmade a fire there, in spite of Sue's begging him to keep onwith his work and not -mind her.I;
84 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."But we shan't have wood enough, father," she said atlast, gently." I'll go at night to the beach, and fetch a double quantity,"said the cobbler, "till your mother is able to come downstairs. That I can do. I can't bear to see you cold, if you can."And Sue stayed up-stairs, and the cobbler worked afterthat, pretty steadily, for some hours. But in the middle ofthe afternoon came a new interruption. Two men came intothe shop and gave an order or two to the cobbler, who servedthem with unusual gravity." When is court day, sheriff " he asked in the course ofbusiness."To-morrow, Mr Peg.""To-morrow I" said the cobbler." What is the matter 1 has it come on the wrong day ? Italways does.""I had forgotten all about it," said the cobbler. " Can'tI be let off, sir.""From what V" said the other man." Why, it is rather an ugly job, some think," returned theSheriff " He has got to be one of the jury that is to trySimon Ruffin.""I must beg to be let off," said the cobbler. "I am notat all able to leave home.""You must tell the court, then," said he who was calledthe Sheriff; "but it would not do any good, I believe.Everybody says much the same thing, nobody likes the job;but you see, this is a very difficult and important case; agreat many have been thrown out; it is hard to get just theright men, those that are altogether unobjectionable ; andevery one knows you, Mr Peg."" But my family want me," said the cobbler: "they can'tdo without me. Can't you let me goMr Packum I""Not I," said the Sheriff; "that is no part of my duty;you must ask the court, Mr Peg."" To-morrow V" said the cobbler."Yes, to-morrow; but I tell you beforehand it won't doany good. What excuse can you make 1"
THE TWO SHOES. 85"My family want my care," said the poor cobbler."So does every man's family," said the Sheriff, with alaugh; "he is a happy man that does not find it so. Youhave not much of a family, Mr Peg, have you ?-if you hadmy seven daughters to look after now. Well, Mr Jibbs,-shall we go i"They went; and sitting down again in his chair the porcobbler neglected his work and bent over it with his head inhis hand. At length he got up, put his work away, and leftthe room. For a while his saw might be heard going at theback of the house; then it ceased, and nothing at all wasto be heard for a long time; only a light footstep overheadnow and then. The afternoon passed, and the eveningcame.The cobbler was the first to make his appearance. Hecame in, lighted the fire which had quite died out, and satdown as he had sat before, with his head in his hand. Sohis little daughter found him. She stepped lightly, and hedid not hear her till her hand was on his shoulder. Thenshe asked him, "What was the matter V""Oh, nothing that should make me sit so," said thecobbler, rousing himself."We have'got more fish left yet," said Sue."Yes, dear,-it isn't that; but I have to go away tomorrow.""Away I" said Sue."Yes, away to court.""What for, father i"" Why they have put me down for a juryman, and I'mafraid there will be no getting off The Sheriff says therewon't.""What have you to do, father 1""Sit on the jury, dear, to decide whether Simon Ruffin isguilty or no '""Simon Ruffin ?-that shot that man O father !""It is very sad," said the cobbler." How long will you be gone 1""I can't tell at all," said the cobbler. "A day !-No. They(;
86 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.can't take the evidence in two days ; I don't know whethelit will be two or three days, or a week, dear."" A week! And what shall we do ?" Sue could not helpsaying."If I can get off, I will," said the cobbler; "but in case Ican't, I have, or at least I will have by the morning, as muchwood as will do till I come back. I have two and sixpencebesides, which I can leave you, darling; and I can do no-thing more but trust.""Father, isn't it hard to trust, sometimes " Sue said,with her eyes full of tears. The poor cobbler wrapped herin his arms and kissed them away, but he did not try toanswer." It may not do us any harm, after all," said Sue, morebrightly; "or you may be able to come back, father. Father,you know we are to talk over to-night the things that wehave that we cannot be thankful for.""' In everything give thanks,'" said the cobbler."Yes, father, but it doesn't say for everything V"" Perhaps not," said the cobbler. " Well, darling, we shallsee. Let us have our supper first.""We '11 have the largest fish to-night, father."The fish was not just out of the water as the one theyhad eaten the night before, but it was eaten with a goodwill. Sue sighed once or twice as she was putting the dishesaway, and did not step quite so lightly. Then she came toher former place in her father's arms; and her head restedupon his shoulder, and his cheek was laid to her forehead,and so they sat some minutes without speaking."Come, father," said Sue, " will you talk 1""Yes, dear. Let us tell over what we have to bear, andsee how we can bear it.""We must go to our 'upper storehouse'again for that,father.""Ay, dear; always.""The first thing, I suppose," said Sue, "is that we havenot quite money enough."
THE TWO SHOES. 87"We have just what God gives us," said the cobbler. "Iwill never complain of that.""Why, you never complain of anything, father. But itisn't pleasant.""No, dear," said the cobbler; "and yet if we had moneyenough, could we trust God as we do I It is a sweet thingto live by His hand only; to feel that it is feeding us to-day, and to know that it will to-morrow, for 'was He ever awilderness to Israel No, dear; I don't mean to say thatpoverty is not hard to bear sometimes; nor that I wouldn'tgive you plenty of everything if I had it to give; but I dosay that there is a sweet side even to this.""Father, our fish ovuld not have tasted so good if we hadalways had plenty of them."" I suppose not," said the cobbler, with a little bit of astifled sigh, " and maybe we shouldn't know how to loveeach other quite so well, Sue.""Oh, yes, we should!" said Sue."I don't know," said the cobbler. "I should not knowwhat my little daughter can do and bear, if she had not hada chance to show me."" Why, I have not much to bear, father," said Sue." Mother wouldn't know what a good nurse you can be.""I wish she hadn't a chance to know that, father."" Yes," said the cobbler, "your mother's sickness; thatseems the hardest evil we have had to do with. It is noteasy to find any present comfort in that, nor any presentgood; for I am afraid it makes me more impatient thanpatient. Perhaps that is why this is sent to me. But if we-can't see the reason of a great many things now, we shall byand by. We shall know, Sue, what the reason was. Thoushalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led theethese forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to provethee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldestkeep his commandments or no.'Sue lifted up her head, and her little face was beautifulfor the strong patience, and bright trust and love, that was
88 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.in it. Her eyes were swimming; and her lips were speaking,though they only moved to tremble." We can't wait, Sue," said the cobbler, gently. Sue laiddown her head again." So it seems we have got the reason of it, already," MrPeg went on-"if not the good."" We may have got some of the good too, without knowingit," said his little daughter."Still we shall be very glad to have mother well again.""Oh, won't we !" said Sue."And it will teach us how to be thankful for the commonthings we forget."There was a little pause." Then you would like me to go to school," said Sue; "andI can't.""And if you could, I should not have the pleasure ofteaching you myself," said the cobbler. "I can bear that.""But then I can't learn so many things," said Sue."Of one kind you can't, and of another kind you can,"said her father. "I don't believe there is a school-girl inBeachhead that can broil a fish as you can.""O father but then you showed me how.""Do you think broiling fish comes by nature?" said thecobbler. "I can tell you there are many people that can'tlearn it at all. And that is only one of your accomplish-ments.""0 father!" said Sue again, smiling a little."You can nurse a sick mother, and mend a hole in yourfather's coat, and clean a room, and make a bed, with any-body.""Still, father, you would like me to go to school""Yes, I would," said the cobbler. "Maybe I shall not besorry, by and by, that I couldn't.""And then, father," said Sue, "you can't get work enough.""Yes !" said the cobbler. "If I could do that, it would beall smooth. But God would give it to me if it pleased Him,and if it does not please Him, there must be some reason;can't we trust Him and wait 1"
THE TWO SHOES. 89Sue looked up again, not so brightly as before; meeklyand rather tearfully."And then I must leave you to-morrow," said her father,kissing her brow-" that seems just now the worst of all.""Perhaps you will come back again, father," said Sue."I am afraid I shall not-till this trial is over."" It is a disagreeable business, isn't it, father I ""Very disagreeable-as frightful as can be, to look at."They were silent a while."There may some good come of it, after all," said Sue, inher twilight voice."Good will be the end of it," said the cobbler. "There isa kind hand doingsit, and an almighty arm upholding us init; 'we shall not be utterly cast down;' so we must bear tobe poor, and to be sick, and to be separated; and just leaveit all with God.""Father, it is pleasant to do that," said Sue; but youcould tell by the tone of her words that she was crying alittle."Why, darling, if we are poor, and sick, and in trouble,we have our dear Saviour, and we know that the Lord is ourGod. We are not poor -people-not we. Having nothing,and yet possessing all things.' Who would we change with,Sue?"- Sue had to wait a little while before she spoke, but thenshe said-" I wouldn't change with anybody.""No fiiore would I,' said the cobbler, giving her anotherkiss.And so they went to bed, a couple of very rich poor people.But the house looked poor the next day-empty and cold.The cobbler was off betimes; the little breakfast fire diedout; dust lay on the counter; the tools and the unfinishedSwork were here and there; the wind slipped in and slippedout again; and nothing else paid us a visit, except Sue, whoonce or twice looked in and looked round as if to seewhether her father were there. Once she came into the roomand stood a few minutes, with her little brown head andquiet ave face, looking at the ashes in the fireplace, and
90 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.the neglected work, and her father's chair, with a wistfulsort of eye. It said, or seemed to say, that however shemight have felt last night, she would be very glad to-day ifthey were not poor, nor sick, nor separated. She looked paleand weary too; but she did not stay long to rest or think.Her feet could be heard now and then up-stairs. The cob-bler did not come home; the night darkened upon just suchan afternoon as the morning had been.The next day began in the same manner. Towards noon,however, the outer door opened, and in came a puff of freshcold air, and another visitor, who looked fresh, but not coldat all It was a boy about thirteen or fourteen; healthy,ruddy, bright-eyed, well-dressed, and exceedingly neat in hisdress. He came in like one familiar with the place, and tooknote of all the unusual tokens about as if he knew well whatwas usual and what was unusual He looked at the coldchimney and scattered work; he went to the foot of thestairs and stood listening a moment; and then coming awayfrom there, he loitered about the room, now going to thewindow and now to the chimney, evidently waiting. Hehad to wait a good while; but he waited. At last he gotwhat he wanted, for, tired with being up-stairs, or wantingto gather some news from the outer world, Sue slowly camedown the stairs, and showed her little face at the staircasedoor. And almost before it had time to change, the newcomer had called out-" Sue !"And with an unknown light breaking all over her face,Sue exclaimed joyously, "Roland !"-and springing acrossto him, put her sweet lips to his with right good will." Oh, you have got back," said Sue, with a gladsomenessit did, or would have done, any one's heart good to hear."Here I am. Haven't I been a long while away ""Oh, so long !" said Sue."But what is the matter here, Sue; what's become of youall ""Why, mother is sick, you know-she hasn't got well yet;and father is away.""Where is he 1"
THE TWO SHOES. 91"He had to go to the court-he had to be a juryman totry Simon Ruffin.""When "" Yesterday morning. And we hoped he would be able toget leave to come away-we wanted him so much; but hehasn't been able to come.""Has he been away since yesterday morning 1 Who istaking care of you I"" Why, nobody," said Sue." So there is nobody in the house with you ""Nobody but mother. Father left wood enough allready."" Wood enough for how long I"Oh, for a good many days."" Are you not afraid 1""Why, no, Roland !""Who goes to market for you, Sue 1""Nobody.""What do you live on 2""Oh, people send mother nice things: Mrs Lucy sent hera whole pail full of soup the other day.""How big a pail ""Why, Roland!-I mean a nice little tin pail: so big.""And do you live on soup too "" "No," said Sue."On what then ?""Oh, on what there is.""Exactly. And what is there I""Mrs Binch gave father a string of fish the other night;and since then I have made porridge.""What sort of porridge ""Corn-meal porridge.""Why, Sue !-do you live on that ?""Why, porridge is very good," said Sue, looking at him.But there was a change in his eye, and there came a glisten-ing in hers; and then she threw suddenly her two armsround his neck and burst into a great fit of crying.If Roland had been a man, his arm would not have been
92 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.put round her with an air of more manly and grave supportand protection; and there were even one or two furtivekisses, as if between boyish pride and affection; but affectioncarried it."I don't know what made me cry," said Sue, rousing"trself after she had had her cry out." ton't you I" said Roland."No. It couldn't have been these things; because fatherand I were talking about them the other night, and weagreed that we did not feel poor at all; at least, of course,we felt poor, but we felt rich too.""How long have you been living on porridge ?""I don't know. Have you had a pleasant time, Roland?""Yes, very. I'll tell you all about it some day, but notnow.""Is Merrytown as pleasant as Beachhead?""It is more pleasant.""More pleasant!" said Sue. "Without the beach, andthe waves, Roland ""Yes it is; and you would say so too. You would like itbetter than anybody. There are other things there insteadof beach and waves. You shall go there some day, Sue, andsee it.""I can't go," said Sue, meekly."Not now, but some day. Sue, have you not any money?""I have two and sixpence, that father gave me ; but I wasafraid to spend any of it for fear he or mother might want itfor something. I must though, for I have got but a verylittle Indian meal."" Sue, have you had any dinner to-day ?""Not yet. I was just coming down to see about it."" Your mother does not eat porridge, does she ""Oh, no. She has had her dinner.""Well, will you let me come and have dinner with you I"She brought her hands together, with again a flush of greatjoy upon her face; and then put them in both his." How pleasant it is that you have come back! " she said." It'will take a little while to get the porridge ready, won't
THE TWO SHOES. 93it ?" said he, beating her hands gently together and lookingas bright as a button."Oh, yes-it will take a little while," said Sue. "I haven'tgot the water boiling yet.""Have you got meal enough for both of us ?"" Yes, I believe so ;-plenty."Just then Mrs Lucy opened the front door and broughther sweet face into the room. She looked a little hard atthe two children, and asked Sue how her mother was. Ro-land bowed, and Sue answered." May I go up and see her "Sue gave permission. Mrs Lucy went up the stairs.Roland stopped Sue as she was following."Sue, I'1I go to market for you to-day. Give me two-pence of your money, and I '1 get the meal you want.""Oh, thank you, Roland!" said Sue;-"that will be sucha help to me ; "-and she ran for the pennies and gave theminto his hand." I'll be back presently," said he; " and then I'll tell youabout my journey. Run up now after Mrs Lucy.""I don't think I need go," said Sue; "they don't wantanything with me.""Run up, though," said Roland; "maybe Mrs Lucy willask your mother too many questions.""Why, that won't hurt her," said Sue, laughing; but Ro-land seemed in earnest, and she went up.Immediately Roland set to work to light a fire. He knewwhere to go for wood, and he knew how to manage it; hesoon had the hearth in order and a fine fire made ready;and it was done without a soil on his nice clothes and whitelinen. He was gone before Mrs Lucy and Sue came down;but the snapping and the sparkling in the chimney told talesof him."Why he has lit the fire for me !" cried Sue, with a verypleased face."Who has I" said the lady."Roland.""That boy who was here when I came I"
94 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING."Yes, ma'a ; he has made it for me.""Who is he ?""He is Roland Halifax," said Sue." What, the son of the widow, Mrs Halifax I""Yes, ma'am.""", "And how came you to know him so well ?""Why, I have always known him," said Sue; "that is,almost always. I used to know him a great many years ago,when I went to school; and he always used to take care ofme, and give me rides on his sleigh, and go on the beachwith me; and he always comes here.""Is he a good boy ?""Yes, ma'am; he is the best boy in the whole place," Sueanswered, with kindling eyes."I hope he is," said Mrs Lucy, "for he has nobody tomanage him but his mother. I fancy he has very much hisown way.""It is a good way," said Sue, decidedly. "He is good,Mrs Lucy."" Does your mother want anything in particular, Sue V"Sue hesitated, and looked a little troubled." Tell me, dear; now while your father is away you haveno one to manage for you. Let me know what I can do.""Oh, Roland would manage for us," said Sue,-"but"-"But what ?"The lady's manner and tone were very kind. Sue looked up." She has nothing to eat, ma'am.""Nothing to eat !""No, ma'am; and I have only two shillings and sixpence-two shillings and fourpence, I mean,-to get anythingwith; and I don't know what to get. She can't eat whatwe can.""And what have you in the house besides ?-tell me, dear.We are all only stewards of what God gives us; and whatyou want perhaps I can supply."Sue hesitated again."We haven't anything, Mrs Lucy, but a little Indian meal.Roland is going to buy me some more."
THE TWO SHOES. 95"Are your father's affairs in so bad a condition, my child T'"He can't get work, ma'am; if he could there would beno trouble. And what he does get he can't always get paid for.""And how long has this been the case, dear ""A long time," said Sue, her tears starting again; "eversince a good while before mother fell sick-a good whilebefore; and then that made it worse."Mrs Lucy looked at Sue a minute, and then stooped for-"ward and kissed the little meek forehead that was raised toher; and without another word quitted the house.Sue, with a very much brightened face, set about gettingher porridge ready; evidently enjoying the fire that hadbeen made for her. She set on her saucepan, and stirred inher meal; and when it was bubbling up properly, Sueturned her back to the fire, and stood looking and meditat-ing about something. Presently away she went, as if shehad made up her mind. There was soon a great scrapingand shuffling in the back room, and then in came Sue, pull-ing after her, with much ado, a large empty chest, largeenough to give her some trouble. With an air of businessshe dragged it into the middle of the room, where it wasestablished solid and square, after the fashion of a table.Sue next dusted it carefully, and after it the counter andchairs and mantel-shelf; the floor was clean swept always;and Sue herself, though in a faded cotton frock, was as niceher ways as her Triend Roland. Never was her littlebrown head anything but smoothly brushed; her frockclean; her hands and face as fair and pure as nature hadmeant them to be. Roland looked as if dust could not-stick to him.When the room was in a due state of order, Sue broughtout and placed the two plates, the salt cellar, with a littlewooden spoon in it, the tumblers of blown glass, a pitcher ofwater, and the spoons. She had then done all she could ; andshe turned to watch her porridge and the front door both atonce; for she did not forget to keep the porridge from burn-irg, while her eye was upon the great brown door everyother minute.
96 THE CHRISTMAS STOCKING.The porridge had been ready some time before the door atlast opened, and in came Roland, bearing a large marketbasket on his arm." It is astonishing," said he, as he set it down, " what aheavy thing Indian meal is !"" Why, Roland," said Sue, " did you get all that with two-pence ""No," said Roland; "the basket I borrowed. It is mymother's."" But have you got it full " said Sue."Nearly full," said Roland complacently."I never thought that twopence would buy so much!" saidSue."Didn't you," said Roland. " Ah, you are not much of amarket woman yet, Sue. My arm is tired.""I'm sorry," said Sue. " But I'm so glad you have got itfor me.""So am I. Now is that porridge ready ?""Ready this long while," said the little housekeeper,carefully pouring it out. "It has been only waiting foryou."Roland looked at her with a curious, gentle, sorrowful ex-pression, which was as becoming as it was rare in a boy ofhis years."Are you hungry, Sue ?""Yes," said Sue, looking up from her dish with a facethat showed her to be perfectly satisfied with the dinnerand the company. "Are not you 7""Why, I ought to be. The air is sharp enough to giveone an appetite, Sue !""What!""Do you eat your porridge alone ?""Not to-day," said Sue smiling, while an arch look cameacross her gentle eye."Does that mean that you are going to eat me withit? I shall beg leave to interpose a stay of proceedingsupon that."And sitting down, with an air of determination, he drew