• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Chapter I
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII
 Chapter IX
 Chapter X
 Chapter XI
 Chapter XII
 Advertising
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine














Group Title: "What she could"
Title: "What she could" /
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00025364/00001
 Material Information
Title: "What she could" /
Physical Description: 2, 259, 8 p., 4 leaves of plates : col. ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Warner, Susan, 1819-1885
James Nisbet and Co. (London, England) ( Publisher )
James Ballantyne and Co ( Printer )
Westleys and Co ( Binder )
Publisher: J. Nisbet
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Ballantyne and Company
Publication Date: 1870
Copyright Date: 1870
 Subjects
Subject: Family life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Baptism -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wealth -- Religious aspects -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bands (Music) -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Westley's and Co -- Binders' tickets (Binding) -- 1870   ( rbbin )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1870   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1870
Genre: Binders' tickets (Binding)   ( rbbin )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Susan Warner the author of "The wide wide world.".
General Note: Bound by Westley's and Co.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00025364
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAB7498
notis - ALH9993
oclc - 10980919
alephbibnum - 002239465

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
    Half Title
        Half Title 1
        Half Title 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece 1
        Frontispiece 2
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Chapter I
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Chapter II
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 20a
        Page 20b
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Chapter III
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Chapter IV
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
    Chapter V
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 80a
        Page 80b
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
    Chapter VI
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
    Chapter VII
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
    Chapter VIII
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 160a
        Page 160b
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
    Chapter IX
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Chapter X
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
    Chapter XI
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
    Chapter XII
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
    Advertising
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
    Back Matter
        Page 269
        Page 270
    Back Cover
        Page 271
        Page 272
    Spine
        Page 273
Full Text
This page contains no text.


























I~TheMdinUo
Lm "J'qQ"




This page contains no text.


"-h
.i;lol~isUr
I5 (C t












"WHAT SHE COULD."













































PRINTED BY BALLANTYNE AND COMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON




This page contains no text.

















L~


I I he Bble he e uLt,









"WHAT SHE COULD."









BY THE AUTHOR OF

"THE WIDE WIDE WORLD."
















LONDON:
JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.
MDCCCLXX.




This page contains no text.













"WHAT SHE COULD."




CHAPTER I.

" GIRLS, there 's a Band! "
A what? "
A Band-in the Sunday-school."
I am sure there is a careless girl in the house,"
put in another speaker. Go and wipe your feet,
Maria; look at the snow you have brought in."
But, mamma-"
Go and get rid of that snow before you say
another word. And you too, Matilda; see, child,
what lumps of snow are sticking to your shoes.
Was there no mat at the door ? "
There was a cold wind there," muttered Maria,
as she went to obey orders. What harm does a
little snow do ? "
But while she went to the door again, her sister,
A






" WHAT SHE COULD."


a pretty, delicate child of fewer years, stood still,
and adroitly slipped her feet out of the snowy shoes
she had brought in, which she put in the corner of
the fireplace to thaw and dry off; the little stocking
feet standing comfortably on the rug before the
blaze. It was so neatly done, the mother and elder
sisters looked on and could not chide. Neatness
suited the place. The room was full of warm com-
fort; the furniture in nice order; the work, several
kinds of which were in as many hands, though
lying about also on chairs and tables, had yet the
look of order and method. You would have said
at once that there was something good in the family.
The child in front of the fire told more for it. Her
delicate features, the refined look and manner with
which she stood there in her uncovered feet, even
a little sort of fastidious grace which one or two
movements testified, drew the eyes of mother and
sisters, and manifestly stopped their tongues; even
called forth a smile or two.
What is all this Maria is talking about,
Matilda ? "
Why, we have been to the Sunday-school meet-
ing, mamma."
I know that; and it was not a night fit for you
to go. What ever possessed you and Maria?"
remarked one of the sisters.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Why, Mr Richmond wanted to see all the
Sunday-school," said Matilda, thoughtfully. He
wanted you too, I suppose; and you were not
there."
There is no use in having a meeting such a
aight. Of course, a great many people could not
be there. It ought to have been put off."
Well, it was not put off," said Matilda.
What did he want? What was Maria talking
about ?"
She is the best one to ask," said the child.
At the same moment Maria came in from getting
rid of the snow, and inquired if Tilly had told them
everything ? Finding all was right, she sat down
contentedly before the fire and stretched out her
feet towards it.
We've had a splendid time, I can tell you,"
she began.
What was done in particular?" asked one of
the older girls, who was making a bonnet. More
than usual ? "
"A great many things in particular, and one in
general. We 've made a Band."
I have made several since you have been away,"
the other sister remarked.
You know we cannot understand that unless
you explain," said the bonnet-maker.






" WHAT SHE COULD.


You must let Maria take her own manner,"
said their mother.
Well, now, I'll tell you all about it," said
Maria. There weren't a great many people there,
to begin with."
Of course not! such a night."
So there were plenty of empty benches, and
it didn't look like a meeting at all, at first; and I
wondered if it would come to anything, but then
Mr Richmond came in, and I saw he meant some-
thing."
Mr Richmond always does mean something,"
interrupted Matilda.
You hush, Tilly! Well, there were prayers
first, of course; and then Mr Richmond stood up
in the aisle, and said he wanted to know how
many of us all there were willing to be really
good."
'" The servants of Christ, he said," Matilda
explained.
Yes, the servants of Christ, of course; and he
said he didn't know any better way to get at it than
that we should all stand up."
A burst of laughter from all Maria's audience a
little confused her. Only Matilda looked gravely
at her sister, as if she were making bad work of
it. Maria coloured, stammered, and began again.





" WHAT SHE COULD."


You all know what I mean! You know what
I mean, mamma? Mr Richmond did not say that
we should all stand up."
Then why did you say it ?"
I thought you would understand. He said
that all those should stand up, so that lie might see
who they were, who were willing to be real workers
for Christ; those who were willing to give them-
selves to the Lord, and to do everything or anything
he gave them to do for him. So we stood up, and Mr
Richmond went round and took our names down."
Everybody who was there ? "
Why, no!-those who were willing to do as
Mr Richmond said."
Did you stand up ? asked one of her sisters.
Yes; I did."
Who else ? "
After a pause-
Oh, a great many people! All the members
of the church, of course; and then a good many
more that aren't. Esther Trembleton rose, and
Ailie Swan, and Mattie Van Dyke, and Frances
Barth, and Mrs Rice. And little Mary Edwards,
she was there, and she rose, and Willie Edwards;
and Mr Bates got up and said he was happy to see
this day. I think he was ready to cry, he was so
glad."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


And is this the Band' you spoke of? "
"This is the Sunday-school Working Band;
that is what Mr Richmond called it."
What work are you going to do ?"
I don't know! Mr Richmond said he could not
tell just yet; but we are to have meetings and all
sorts of things. And then Mr Richmond talked."
What about ? "
Oh, I can't tell. You know how he talks."
He said what the Band were to do," remarked
Matilda.
I told what that was."
"You did not tell what he said."
"Why, yes I did; he said they were to do all
the work for Christ that they could; and they were
to pray a great deal, and pray for each other a
great deal; and they were to live right."
"Uncompromising Christian lives, he said.
Mamma, what does uncompromising mean ?"
"Why, you know! put in her sister.
"Tell, then, Maria," said the mother.
"Matilda must know, mamma; for Mr Rich-
mond explained it enough."
Then certainly you must."
I can't talk like Mr Richmond, though," said
Maria. Letty, you '11 spoil that bonnet if you
put red flowers in."





" WHAT SHE COULD."


"That's as you think," said Letty. Blue
would be very dull."
Mamma, what is uncompromising ? pursued
Matilda, a pair of large, serious brown eyes fasten-
ing on her mother's face to await the answer.
Did not Mr Richmond tell you? "
"If he did, I did not understand, mamma."
Then he ought to use words you can under-
stand; that is all I have to say. I cannot under-
take to be Mr Richmond's dictionary. Uncompro-
mising means different things at different times.
It isn't a word for you, Tilly," the mother added,
with a smile at the child.
There is only one thing Tilly will ever be un-
compromising about," her oldest sister remarked.
What is that ? the little one asked quick.
Girls, stop talking and go to bed," said their
mother. Letitia and Anne, put up work; I am
tired. Maria, you and Tilly go at once and be out
of the way."
I can't see how I am in the way," remarked
Maria. Letty has not done her bonnet yet, and
she will not go till she has."
"Letty, I am not going to-wait for that bonnet."
No, ma'am; there is no need."
I am not going to leave you up, either. I
know how that works. The bonnet can be finished





" WHAT SHE COULD."


to-morrow. And Anne, roll up your ruffles. Come,
girls! "
What a lovely mantilla that is going to be;
isn't it, mamma?" said Maria. Won't Anne
look nice when she gets it on? I wish you'd let
me have one just like it, mamma."
I do not care about your having one just like
it," said Anne. What wouldbe the use of that?"
The same use, I suppose--"
"Maria, go to bed! said her mother. "And
Matilda. Look what o'clock it is."
I can't go, mamma, unless somebody will
bring me some shoes. Mine are wet."
Maria, fetch Tilly a pair of shoes. And go,
children."
The children went; but Maria grumbled.
Why couldn't you come upstairs in your stock-
ing feet? I should."
It isn't nice," said the little one.
"Nice! you're so terribly nice you can't do
anything other people do. There is no use in our
coming to bed now; Anne and Letty will sit up
till eleven o'clock, I shouldn't wonder; and we
might just as well as not. Mamma can't get them
to bed. Letty and Anne ought to have been at
the meeting to-night. I wonder if they would
have risen ? Why did you not rise, Matilda? "






" WHAT SHE COULD."


"I had not thought about it."
Can't you do anything without thinking about
it first ? "
"I do not understand it yet."
Understand! why, nothing is easier than to
understand. Of course, we are all to be as good
as we can be, that's all."
You don't think that is much," said the little
one, as she began slowly to undress herself. The
work of undressing and dressing was always slow
with Tilly. Every article of clothing taken off
was to be delicately folded and nicely laid away at
night; and taken out and put on with equal care
and punctiliousness in the morning. Maria's
stockings went one way and her shoes another;
while Tilly's were put exactly ready for use under
her chair. And Maria's clothes presently lay in a
heap on the floor. But not till some time after
Matilda's neat arrangements had been made and
she herself was safe in bed. Maria had dallied
while the other was undressing.
I think you are very curious, Matilda!" she
exclaimed, as she followed her sister into bed.
" I shouldn't think it required much thinking, to
know that one ought to be good."
You haven't put out the candle, Maria."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Maria bounced from her bed, and bounced in
again.
0 Maria! said Matilda in a moment or two,
plaintively; you've blown it out! and the room is
all filled with smoke."
It doesn't make any difference," said Maria.
It is very disagreeable."
It will be gone in a minute."
"No, it won't, for I can see the red spark on the
end of the candle now."
You are so particular, Tilly said her sister.
" If you ever take a notion to be good, you '11 have
to leave off some of your ways, I can tell you. You
needn't mind a little smell of candle-smoke. Go
to sleep, and forget it."
Don't good people mind disagreeable things?"
said Matilda.
No, of course, they don't. How could they get
along, you know? Don't you remember what Mr
Richmond said ? "
I don't remember that he said that. But then,
Maria, would you mind getting up to snuff out that
candle ? It's dreadful! "
"Nonsense! I sha'n't do it. I've just got
warm."
Another minute or two gave tokens that Maria





"WHAT SHE COULD." 11

was past minding discomfort of any sort. She was
fast asleep. Tilly waited, panted, looked at the
glimmering red end of the candle snuff; finally
got out of bed and crept to the dressing-table where
it stood, and with some trouble managed to put a
stop to smoke for that night.













CHAPTER II.


THE house in which these things happened was a
brown house, standing on the great high-road of
travel which ran through the country, and just
where a considerable village had clustered round it.
From the upper windows you caught a glimpse of
a fine range of blue mountains, lying miles away,
and with indeed a broad river flowing between;
but the river was too far off to be seen, and hidden
behind intervening ground. From the lower win-
dows you looked out into the village street; clean
and wide, with comfortable houses standing along
the way, not crowded together; and with gardens
between and behind them, and many trees shielding
and overhanging. The trees were bare now; the
gardens a spread of snow; the street a white way
for sleigh-runners; nevertheless, the aspect of the
whole was hopeful, comfortable, thriving, even a
little ambitious. Within this particular house, if
you went in, you would see comfort, but little pre-
tension; a neat look of things, but such things as
had been mended and saved, and would not be






" WHIAT SHE COULDD"


rashly replaced. It was very respectable, therefore,
and had no look of poverty. So of the family
gathered around the breakfast-table on the morn-
ing after the Sunday-school meeting. It was a
fair group, healthy and bright; the four girls and
their mother. They were nicely dressed; and good
appetites spoke of good spirits ; and the provision
on the table was abundant though plain.
Maria asked if Letty had finished her bonnet last
night ? Letty said she had.
And did you put those red flowers in ?"
Certainly."
That will be gay."
"Not too gay. Just enough. The bonnet would
be nothing if it had not flowers."
Maria's spoon paused half way to her mouth.
" I wonder," she said, gravely, if Mr Richmond
likes red flowers ? "
He has nothing to do with my bonnet," said
Letitia. And no more have you. You need not
raise the question. I shall wear what becomes me."
What is the difference whether one wears red
or blue, Maria ?" said her mother. Do you think
one colour is more religious than another ?-or more
wicked ? What do you mean ?"
"Nothing, ma'am," Maria answered, a little
abashed. I was only thinking."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


I think Mr Richmond likes flowers everywhere,"
said Matilda; and all colours."
People that are very religious do not wear
flowers in their bonnets though, do they ? said
Maria.
Mr Richmond did not say any such thing "
said Matilda, indignantly.
What did he say? What was all this last
night's talk about ? said Anne. I did not
understand half of it. Was it against red flowers,
or red anything ? "
"I did not understand any of it," said Mrs Engle-
field.
Why mamma, I told you all, as plain as
could be," said Maria. I told you he made a
Band--"
"He didn't," interrupted Matilda; "the Band
made themselves."
But at this, the shout that went round the break-
fast table threatened to endanger the dishes.
"It's no use trying to talk," said Maria sullenly,
" if you laugh so. I told you there was a Band;
ever so many of us rose up and agreed that we
would belong to it."
Matilda, are you in it too ?" the mother asked.
No, mamma."
Why not ? How comes that ? "






"WHAT SHE COULD."


She wasn't ready," her sister said.
Why not, Tilly ? "
Mamma, I want to understand," said the child.
"Quite right; so do I."
Wouldn't you do what Mr Richmond says,
whether you understand or not ? inquired Maria
severely.
"I would rather know what it is, first," said
Matilda in her way, which was a compound of cool
and demure, but quite natural.
And when is the next meeting ? said Letitia.
" I guess I'll go."
It won't be for a week," said Matilda.
"And will you join the Band, Letty ? Maria
asked somewhat eagerly.
How join it?"
"Why, rise up, when you are asked."
What does rising up' mean, Maria ? What
(do you rise for ? "
Why it means just that you promise to be good,
you know."
But I have heard you promise that a number
of times, it seems to me, without rising up,' as
you call it. Will the promise last better, if you
make it on your feet instead of sitting ? "
Now, mamma," said Maria, flushing; isn't
that just wicked in Letitia ? "





" WHAT SHE COULD."


My dear, I do not understand one word at
present of what this is all about," her mother
answered.
Perhaps Matilda was in the same mood, for she
was a thoughtful little child all the way to school
that morning. And at the close of the school day,
when the children were going home, she went
slowly and demurely along the icy street, while her
sister and companions made a merry time. There
had been a little thaw in the middle of the day,
and now it had turned cold again, and the side-
walks were a glare of ice. Matilda was afraid, and
went cautiously; Maria and the others took the
opportunity for a grand slide, and ran and slipped
and slid and sailed away homewards, like mad
things. One after another they passed her and
rushed along, till Matilda was left the last, slowly
shuffling her little feet over the track which the
feet of the others had made doubly slippery; when
quick steps came up behind her, and a pleasant
voice spoke-
Are you afraid you are going to tumble
down? "
Matilda started, but lifted her eyes very content-
edly then to the face of the speaker. They had a
good way to go, for he was a tall young man. But
he was looking down towards her with a bright






" WHAT SHE COULD."


face, and two good, clear blue eyes, and a smile;
and his hand presently clasped hers. Matilda had
no objection.
Where is everybody else? how come you to be
all alone?"
"They have gone ahead, sliding on the ice."
And you do not practise sliding ? "
I am always afraid I shall fall down."
The best way is not to be afraid; and then
you don't fall down. See ; no hold fast. I shall
not let you slip "
And the gentleman and Matilda slid along the
street for half a block.
How do you like that ?"
Very well, Mr Richmond, with you holding
me."
It doesn't give you courage, eh ? Well, we
will walk on soberly together. I didn't see you
stand when Maria did last night ? "
Mr Richmond, I did not know just what it all
meant; and so I sat still."
You do not know just what it all meant ?"
No, sir."
Then you were perfectly right to sit still. But
that means that I did not speak so that you could
understand me ? Was it so ? "
I did not understand--" said Matilda.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


It comes to that, I suppose. It is my fault.
Well, I shall remember and be very careful what I
say the next time. I will speak so that you will
understand. But in that case I want you to do
one thing for me, Tilly; will you ?"
If I can, Mr Richmond."
Do you think I would ask something you could
not do? "
Matilda looked up to the blue eyes again;
they were fastened upon her gravely, and she
hesitated.
Mr Richmond-I don't know. You might."
I hope not," he said, smiling. I will try not.
You won't promise me ?"
If I can I will, Mr Richmond."
I am only going to ask you, when you hear
what I have to say next time, if you understand
it, will you do what you think you ought to
do?"
There fell a silence upon that. Mr Richmond's
firm step on the icy ground and Matilda's light
footfall passed by house after house, and still the
little one's tongue seemed to be tied. They turned
the corner, and went their way along Matilda's
own street, where the light of afternoon was now
fading, and the western sky was throwing a reflec-
tion of its own. Past the butcher's shop, and






" WHAT SHE COULD."


the post-office, and house after house; and still
Matilda was silent, and her conductor did not
speak, until they stopped before the little gate
leading to the house, which was placed somewhat
back from the road. At the gate Mr Richmond
stood still.
What about my question, Matilda? he said,
without loosing his hold of the little hand which
had rested so willingly in his all the way.
Aren't you coming in, Mr Richmond? "
Not to-night. What about my question ? "
Mr Richmond," said the child, slowly,-" I do
not always do the things I ought to do."
No; I know you do not. But will you do that
thing, which you will think you ought to do, when
you have heard me, and understood what I say, the
next time the Band has a meeting? "
Matilda stood silent, her hand still in Mr Rich-
mond's.
What 's the matter ?"
Perhaps I shall not want to do it," she said,
looking up frankly.
I ask you to do it all the same."
Matilda did not move; and now her face showed
great perplexity.
Well ? said Mr Richmond, smiling at last.
Perhaps I cannot do it, Mr Richmond! "





" WHAT SHE COULD."


Then, if you think you cannot do it, will you
come and tell me ? "
Matilda hesitated and pondered and hesitated.
Do you wish it very much, Mr Richmond ? "
she said, looking up appealingly into his face.
"I do wish it very much."
Then I will! said Matilda, with a siglh
He nodded, shook her hand, and turned away
with quick steps. Matilda went in and climbed
the stairs to the room she and Maria shared to-
gether.
What were you talking to Mr Richmond so
long about ?" said Maria.
I wasn't talking to Mr Richmond. He was
talking to me."
What's the difference? But I wish he would
talk to Ailie Swan; she wants it, I know. That
girl is too much "
What has she done?"
Oh, you don't know; she isn't in your set. I
know. She's just disagreeable. I think people
ought to be civil, if they are ever so good."
"I thought good people were civil always."
Shows you don't know much."
Isn't Ailie Swan civil?"
I do not call it civility. What do you think,
Tilly? I asked her if my South America wasn't




This page contains no text.

































-- J -






44 WHAT SHE COULD."


good ? and she said she thought it was not. Isn't
that civility ? "
What did you ask her for ?"
"Because! I knew my South America was good."
Let me see it."
Nonsense! You do not know the first thing
about it." But she gave her little sister the sheet
on which the map was drawn. Matilda took it to
a table under the window, where the dying light
from the western sky fell brightest; and putting
both elbows on the table and her head in her hands,
studied the map.
Where is the atlas ? "
What do you want of the atlas ? "
I want to see if it is like."
It is like, of course, child."
I can't tell without seeing," Matilda persisted.
And Maria grumblingly brought the atlas, open at
the map in question. Matilda took it and studied
anew.
It is getting dark," said she at length. But
your South America is crooked, Maria."
It isn't! said Maria, vehemently. How
should it be crooked? when we angle it on, just
according to the rules."
"Angle it on?" repeated Matilda, looking at
her sister.






WHAT SHE COULD."


Yes. Oh, you don't understand, child; how
should you ? I told you you didn't know anything
about it. Of course, we have rules and things to
go by; and my South America was put on just
right."
It is not straight, though," said Matilda.
Why, no, it isn't straight; it is not meant to
be straight; it is all crookly crawly, going in and
out, all round."
But it don't stand straight," said Matilda;
" and it looks thin, too, Maria; it don't puff out as
much as the real South America does."
Puff out! Maria repeated. It's as good as
Ailie's, anyhow; and a great deal better than
Frances Barth's. Frances got a great blot on
hers ; she's so careless. George Van Dyke is mak-
ing a nice one; and Ben Barth is doing a splendid
map ; but then Ben does everything-"
Here there was a great call to tea from below,
and the girls went down. Down-stairs there was
excitement. A letter had come from Mrs Candy,
Mrs Englefield's sister, saying that she herself with
her daughter Clarissa would be with them the be-
ginning of the week.
To stay, mamma ? 0 mamma, is Aunt Candy
coming to stay ? Do tell me. Is she coming to
stay ? Maria exclaimed and questioned.





" WHAT SHE COULD."


She will stay a night with us, Maria. Don't
be so eager."
Only a night, mamma ? Won't she be here
longer ? "
She is coming to stay till summer, Maria," said
her eldest sister. Do be reasonable."
I think it is reasonable to want to know," said
Maria. You knew; so you didn't care about it."
I care a great deal; what do you mean ? said
Anne.
I mean you didn't care about knowing, 0
mamma, can't I have my dress finished before they
come?"
What dress, Maria ? her sister went on; fur
Mrs Englefield was busy with the letter.
My new merino. It is almost done; it only
wants finishing."
"There 's all the braid to put on, isn't there ?"
"Well, that isn't much. Mamma cannot I have
my red merino finished before they come ? I have
got nothing to wear."
What can you mean, Maria ? You have every-
thing you want. That is only for your best dress."
But, mamma, it is just when I should want it,
when they come; you'll be having everybody to
tea. Won't you have it done for me ? please
mamma! "





" WHAT SHE COULD."


I think you can do it for yourself, Maria. I
have no objection to your finishing it."
I cannot put on that braid-in that quirlicue
pattern, mamma; I never did such work as that;
and I haven't time, besides."
"Nor inclination," said Letitia, laughing. "Come,
Maria, it is time you learned to do something for
yourself. Matilda, now, might plead inexperience,
and have some reason; but you are quite old
enough."
The dispute would have gone on, but Mrs Engle-
field desired silence, and the family drew round the
tea-table. Other plans for the following weeks
filled every tongue. Mrs Candy was well off; a
widow with one child, her daughter Clarissa; she
had been in Europe for several years; coming
back now to her own country, she was bending
her steps first of all to her sister's house and
family.
We shall have the new fashions, straight from
Paris," Anne remarked.
Has Aunt Candy been in Paris? I thought she
was in Scotland, mamma? "
People may go to Paris, if they have been in
Scotland, Maria. It is not so far as around the
world."
But has she been in Paris ? "






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Lately."
Mamma, what is Aunt Candy going to do with
herself when summer comes ? She says, till
summer.' "
When she tells us, I shall know, Letty. At
present I am as ignorant as you."
Do you think she will buy a house here, and
make her home here ? "
That depends on how well she likes Shadywalk,
I imagine."
I hope she will! "
I would like to see, first, what she is," said
Maria. We shall have time enough for that, if
they stay with us till summer. How old, mamma,
is Clarissa Candy ? "
Over your age, Maria, by a year or so."
"Will she go to school with us, do you suppose,
mamma ? "
I really cannot tell, Maria. I think it very
likely."
Is Aunt Candy very rich ? "
You talk like a foolish girl. Why do you want
to know ?"
I was thinking whether Clarissa would be
dressed a great deal better than we are."
"And what if she is ? "
Nothing. I was thinking. That's all."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


I don't think it signifies," said Matilda.
Oh Matilda has found her tongue I was
waiting to see when she would speak," cried Anne.
" What don't signify, little one "
It don't signify, I think, whether any one is
dressed better than another; anybody-Clarissa or
anybody else."
Well, you are mistaken then," said Anne;
"for it does signify. All the world knows it; and
what is more, all the world feels it."
I don't think I do," said Matilda.
Your time has not come."
Your time had come, though, before you were
as old as she," said her mother; and Maria's and
Letty's."
I know, Matilda, is a wonderful child," said
Anne, but her time will come too, mamma; and
she will find it makes a difference whether she is
dressed one way or another."
I think that now," observed Matilda.
Anybody that has to fasten Tilly's dresses
knows that," laughed Maria. I don't make half
so much fuss."
I wish you did," said her mother. You are
not near careful enough in putting on your things.
Now putting on is half the battle."
The argument lasted till Tilly and Maria went






" WHAT SHE COULD."


back to the consideration of South America, which
was brought down-stairs to the lamp.
You haven't got the Amazon right," said
Matilda; and Rio Janeiro is too far down; and
it 's all crooked-don't you see ? "
No! said Maria; and if it is Ailie Swan
needn't have said hers was better."
You asked her."
Well, what if I did ? "
What could she say ?"
I don't care; it was awfully rude; and people
ought to be polite, if they 're ever so good.
"What is all that?" said Mrs Englefield.
That is not Tilly's map ? "
Oh no, mamma ; she can't draw maps ; she is
only setting up for a judge."
She would do it as well as that, if she would
try," said her mother. I wish you would love
your studies, Matilda. You could do so well if you
pleased."
Clarissa Candy will make you both ashamed,"
said Anne. She has learned everything, and is
terribly smart; going on to learn everything else,'
her mother says."
Mamma," said Maria, I have only my
green silk and my blue delaine for nice dresses;
and the silk is old-fashioned, you know, and






28 WHAT SHE COULD."

the delaine is too short; and I want my merino
finished."
Finish it, then."
Maria pouted.
I cannot afford every indulgence to you, as
your aunt can to Clarissa; you must make it up
by your own industry."
But can I, mamma ?"
Can you what ? "
If I am very smart, can you give me things, if
I make them up, that I can be as well dressed as
Clarissa Candy ? "
Let us see the merino made first," said her
mother.














CHAPTER III.


THERE was great interest now at I,,i, '. ,1i., at
least in one house, to know when the Liverpool
steamer, City of 1Pride, would be in. C... .1'ies
proving' unsatisfactory and uncertain, the whole
family took to -. n -. ;, the marine lists in the daily
papers ; and when everybody else had looked them
over, the last one of the family did it again with
extra care; lest by some singular coincidence the
letters forming the City of Pride might have
escaped the eyes so keen set to find them. The
paper grew better than a novel. It l I- Ih.i a
great deal of matter for conversation, besides ; for
all the steamers which had got in were talked over,
with their dates of sailing, and number of days on
the passage ; with each of which the times, certain
and probable, of the City of Pride were compared.
Then there was the question, whether Aunt Candy
might have changed her mind at tihe last minute,
and waited for another steamer ; and the reports of
the weather lately experienced at sea were anxi-






" WHAT SHE COULD."


ously read, and put alongside of the weather lately
experienced at .',, ,, !i-.
Preparations in the house went on diligently;
whatever might help it to make a better impres-
sion, or afford greater comfort to the expected
guests, was carefully done. Mrs Englefield even
talked of getting a new stair-carpet ; but contented
herself with having the old one taken up and put
down again, the stairs washed, and the stair-rods
brightened; the spare room, the large corner
chamber looking to the north and west, was
scrupulously swept and dusted ; furniture rubbed ;
little white knitted mats laid on the dressing-table;
the chintz curtains taken down and put up again;
a new nice chamber set of white china was bought
for the pitcher of the old set had an ugly nick in it
and looked shabby ; the towel rack was filled with
white napery; the handsomest Marseilles quilt was
spread on the bed; the stove was blackened and
polished. It looked very respectable," Anne
said, when all was done.
What private preparations went on, besides, on
the part of the girls, it would be hard to say.
Maria worked hard at her braiding-that was open
to anybody's observation; but there were less ob-
vious flutings and ironing down in the kitchen,
and :i.11,ii.o-.- of ribbons and :i.., ..i in secret con-






"WHAT SHE COULD."


sultations up-stairs. And one piece of care was
made public by Maria, who announced that Letty
had trimmed her old bonnet three times over be-
fore she would be suited.
Very well," said Letty, contentedly. I should
like to know who would wear an old thing when he
could have a new ; and mine is like new now."
Things can't be new always," said Matilda.
What then ? her sisters asked laughing.
Then it must be respectable for them to be old,
sometimes."
Respectable Not very pleasant, when they
are to be set alongside of things as new and nice
as they can be. I like to be as good as anybody,
for my part.'"
N3 mn i," said Matilda, do you know there
is a great hole in the door mat? "
It is worn out a great deal too soon," said Mrs
Englefield; I shall tell 3Mr LHard that his goods
do not last; to be sure, you children do kick it to
pieces with the snow."
But, mamma, I should think you might get
another, and let that one go to the kitchen."
And then, wouldn't you like me to buy a new
Lall cloth ? there is very nearly a hole in that."
Oh yes, mamma! "
I cannot do it, children. I am not as rich as






"c WHAT SHE COULD."


your Aunt Candy. You must be contented to let
things be as they are."
The girls seemed to take it as a grave fact, to
judge by their faces.
And I think all this is very foolish talking and
feeling. People are not any better for being rich."
But they are a great deal happier," said Letitia.
I don't know, I am sure. I never was tried.
I think you had better put the thought out of your
heads. I should be sorry if you were not as happy
as your cousin, and with as much reason."
Mamma's being sorry doesn't help the matter,"
said Letitia, softly. I know I should be happier if
I had what I want. It is just nonsense to say I
should not. And mamma would herself."
That evening, the end of the week it was, the
newspaper rewarded the first eyes that looked at its
columns, with the intelligence that the City of Pride
had been telegraphed. She would be in that night.
And the list of passengers duly showed the names
of Mrs Candy and daughter. The family could
hardly wait over Sunday now. Monday morning's
train, they settled it, would bring the travellers.
Sunday was spent in a i ii i. But however, that
Monday, as well as that Sunday, was a lost day.
The washing was put off, and a special dinner
cooked, in vain. The children stayed at home and






" WHAT SHE COULD."


did not go to school, and did nothing. Nobody did
any thing, to speak of. To be sure, there was a
great deal of running up and down stairs ; setting
and clearing tables ; going to and from the post-
office ; but when night came, the house and every-
thing in it was just where the morning had found
them ; only, all the humanity in it was tired with
looking out of windows.
That's the worst of expecting people Mrs
Englefield observed, as she wearily put herself in
an arm chair, and Letitia drew the window cur-
tains. You never know what to do, and the
thing you do is sure to be the wrong thing. Here
Judith might as well have done her washing as
not; and now it's to do to-morrow, when we
don't want it in the way, and it will be in the
way."
Don't you think they will come to-nigh t,
mamma ? said Matilda.
I don't know, I am sure. I know no more
than you do. How can I tell? Only don't ask
me any more questions."
Would you have tea yet, mamma ? said
Letitia.
There 's a question, now I tell you, don't
ask me. Just when you like."
There 's no train due for a good while, mamma;
C






" WHAT SHE COULD."


they couldn't come for two or three hours. I think
we had better have tea."
So she went off to prepare it, just as Matilda,
who had put her face outside of the window cur-
tain, proclaimed that somebody was coming to the
door.
Only one person though, mamma. Mamma !
it's Miss Redwood-Mr Richmond's Miss Red-
wood."
It wanted but that! Mrs Englefield ex-
claimed, with a sort of resigned despair. Let
her in, Matilda. I locked the door."
The person who followed Matilda to the sitting-
room was a slim woman, in black costume, neither
new nor fashionable. Indeed, it had no such pre-
tentions; for the fashion at that time was for small
bonnets, but Miss Redwood's shadowed her face
with a reminiscence of the coal-scuttle shapes, once
worn many years before. The face under the
bonnet was thin and sharp-featured; yet a certain
delicate softness of skin saved it from being harsh;
there was even a little peachy bloom on the
cheeks. The eyes were soft and keen at once; at
least there was no want of benevolence in them,
while their glance was swift and shrewd enough,
and full of business activity
Miss Redwood, how do you do ? I am glad to






" WHAT SHE COULD."


see you. Do sit down," was Mrs Englefield's
salutation, made without rising.
"How do you do, Mis' Englefield? Why-
seems as if you was expecting' folks here ? "
Just what we are doing; and it is some of the
hardest work one can do."
Depends on who you expect, seems to me.
And I guess 'tain't harder work than what I 've
been doing to-day. I've been making' soap. Got
it done, too. And 'tain't to do agin till this time
next year comes round."
Can you make enough at once for the whole
year? I cannot."
'Spects you use a passel, don't ye ? "
Of course-in so large a family. But you 're a
great handfor soap, Miss Redwood, if folks say true?"
Cellar ain't never out of it," said Miss Red-
wood, shaking her head. It's strong, mine is;
that's where it is. You see I've my own leach sot
up, and there's lots o' ashes; the minister, he
likes to burn wood, and I like it, for it gives me
my ley; and I don't have no trouble with it; the
minister, he saws it and splits it and chops it, and
then when all 's done he brings it in, and he puts
it on. All I have to do is to get my ashes. I did
think, when I first come, and the minister he told
me he calculated to burn wood in his room, I did






" WHAT SHE COULD."


think I should give up. Why, sir,' says I, it 'll
take a load o' wood a day, to fill that ere chimney;
and I hate to see a chimney standing' empty with
two or three sticks a making' believe have a fire in
the bottom of it. Besides,' says I, stoves is a
sight cleaner and nicer, Mr Richmond, and they
don't smoke nor nothing and they 're always
ready.' 'I 'll take care of the fire,' says he, if
you '11 take care of the ashes.' Well, it had to be;
but I declare I thought I should have enough to do
to take care of the ashes; a-flyin' over everything
in the world as they would, and nobody but my
two hands to dust with; but I do believe the
minister's wood burns quieter than other folks,'
and somehow it don't fly nor smoke nor nothing ,
and the room keeps decent."
Your whole house is as neat as a pin. But you
have no children there to put it out of order, .1;--.
Redwood."
Guess we do," said the minister's housekeeper
quietly ; there ain't any sort o' thing in the vil-
lage but the minister has it in there by turns.
There ain't any sort o' shoes as walks, not to speak
of boots, that don't go over my carpets and .
little and hig, and brushed end unbrushed. I tell
you, ilis' Englefield, they're going' in between them
two doors all the week long."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


I don't know how you manage them, I'm sure."
Well I don't," said the housekeeper. The
back is fitted to the burden, they say; and I al-
ways did pray that if I had work to do, I might be
able to do it; and I always was somehow. And it's
a first-rate place to go and warm your feet, when
the minister is out," she added after a pause.
"What ? said Mrs Englefield, laughing.
"The minister's fire, to be sure, that I was talking'
about. Of course, I have to go in to see it's safe,
when he ain't there; and sometimes I think it's
cheaper to sit down and watch it than to be always
running. "
Mr Richmond was a lucky man when he got you
for a housekeeper," said -.i. Englefield.
Well, I don't know," said Miss Redwood, con-
templatively, with rather a sweet look on her old
face. I 'spose I might as well say I was a lucky
woman when I got his house to keep. It come all
by chance, too, you may say--"
Mamma, tea is ready," Maria here interrupted.
Miss Redwood, will you come down and have
tea with us ? "
No; but what I come to ask was something'
different. I was so taken up with my soap-kettle
all day, I just forgot something' more important, and
didn't make no new risin'; and I hain't got none






38 WHAT SHE COULD."

to-night for the minister's bread. I know you're one
of the folks that likes sweet bread, Mis' Englefield,
and has it; and I've come to beg a cup o' your
risin'."
One of the girls was sent for the article, and Mrs
Englefield went on.
The minister's an easy man to live with, I sup-
pose ; isn't he ? "
What sort do you mean by that, Mrs Engle-
field ? "
Why I mean he is easily suited, and don't
give more trouble than can be helped, and don't
take it hard when things go wrong."
Things don't go wrong, fur's I know," said
Miss Redwood. Not with him, nor with me."
Easily pleased, isn't he ? "
When folks do just what they ought to do, he
is," said the housekeeper with some energy. I
have no sort of patience, for my part, with the folks
that are pleased when they hadn't ought to be
pleased."
But isn't that what Mr Richmond preaches to
us all the time ? that we ought to be pleased with
everybody? "
Why, no, mamma !" said Matilda.
I thought he did."
I take it t'other way," Miss Redwood observed.





" WHAT SHE COULD."


" It comes close, it does, some of the minister's
talk; but I always think, if I had a right to be
better pleased with myself, maybe other folks' one-
sidedness wouldn't worry me. I'll do as much for
you, next time, Miss Letty," she said, rising to
take what that young lady had brought her. And
therewith away she went.
Well, we have got off with our lives this time,"
said Mrs Englefield. Now, girls, let us have
tea."
Mamma, I believe here they are this minute,"
said Matilda. The omnibus is stopping."
It was declared to be impossible; but nevertheless
found true. The omnibus was certainly at the
door, backing down upon the side walk; and two
figures did get out of it and came through the little
courtyard to the house. And then all doubts were
resolved; Mrs Candy was in the arms of her sister,
and the cousins were looking at each other.
That is, as soon as people could get their wrap-
pings off. Letty and Maria were assiduous in their
endeavours to relieve Miss Clarissa of her hood and
furs and the cloakings and mufflings which a night
ride had rendered necessary; while Anne waited
upon her aunt; and impressions were forming and
opinions taking ground, under all the confused
chatter about the journey, the train, the omnibus,





"WHAT SHE'COULD."


and the Cidy of Pride; opinions and impressions
which were likely enough to get turned topsy-turvy
in another day or two ; but for the present nobody
knew that.
"And here is somebody who says nothing!"
Mrs Candy remarked, stooping down to touch
Matilda's hair with a light finger.
Tilly does the thinking for the family," said
Mrs Englefield. Now do come down and have
some tea.
"Down? Where are we going? said Mrs
Candy. Your house stands on the ground level,
I noticed."
Oh, we have a very nice basement; and just
for eating, you know, it does not make much differ-
ence where you are-and it is so much more con-
venient, being near the kitchen."
In Germany we used to take our meals in the
open air a great deal," Mrs Candy went on, as the
party filed down the narrow stairs.
In the open air! Not at this season ?"
Well, not with the thermometer at zero," said
Mrs Candy, laughing a little. Nor at quite so
high a temperature as you have here "
The room down-stairs was bright enough, and
looked chreeful, with its well-spread table and tea
urn ; but it was low, and full of close stove heat.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


The travellers got as far from the source of this
as the limits of the table would let them, and pre-
sently begged for an open door. But Mrs Engle-
field's tea was good; and very soon the family talk
began to move naturally. Mrs Candy pleased her
nieces. A fine-looking and also a kind-looking
woman, with a good figure, well clothed in a hand-
some travelling dress; a gold watch and chain;
and an easy, good-humoured, and at the same time
sensible air and way of talking. It was not difficult
to get acquainted with her; she met all advances
more than half way ; and her talk even that first
evening was full of amusement and novelty for the
young people. It was less easy to know what to
think of Clarissa. Her cousins held a consultation
about her that night before going to sleep.
She looks as old as Letty."
But she isn't. Oh, she don't, either."
She 's well looking ; don't you think so ? "
I'll tell you what I think," said Matilda.
" ,, 's beau-ti-ful."
I don't think so," said Lotty; "but she's an
uncommon looking girl."
How old is she ? "
She is sixteen."
Well Maria's only half a year younger than
that."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


She hasn't said three words yet; so I cannot
tell what she is," Anne remarked.
She didn't like going down into the basement,"
said Letty.
How do you know ?"
I know she didn't! "
"I should like to know where she would go;
there is no other place," said Maria.
I suppose that is just what she didn't like,"
said Letitia.
There might be, though," Matilda began again.
" If mamma would open the back room behind the
parlour, and move the table and things up there,
-I think it would be a great deal pleasanter."
"That's like Matilda!" the other girls exclaimed
in chorus.
Well, I don't think that basement room is
pleasant," said the girl. I never did. I am
always glad to get out of it."
And now, I suppose, you wilJ be taking all
(' ...-.- 's dainty ways, in addition to your own "
said Letitia. I wonder what will become of tho
rest of us."
What dainty ways has Clarissa? Matilda
inquired.
You can see for yourself. She doesn't like the
heat of a stove and she must look at her watch to






" WHAT SHE COULD."


see what time it is, though the clock was right
opposite to her."
I am sure I would look at a watch, if I had it,"
Matilda added.
And did you see what travelling gloves she
wore ? "
Why not ? said Matilda.
Why not, of course you will have no eyes for
any one shortly but Clarissa Candy ; I can see it.
But she is a member of the Church, isn't she ? "
What if she is ? said Matilda. Mamma
read that in one of Aunt Candy's letters I remem-
ber."
We 'll see what Mr Richmond will say to
her. Maria reports that he does not like red
flowers; I wonder what he will think of some
other things."
That is only Maria's nonsense," Matilda in-
sisted. I know Mr Richmond likes red flowers:
he has got a red lily in his room."
"In his room-oh yes! but not in people's
bonnets, you know; nor in their heads; if they
are Christians."
I can't imagine what people's being Chris-
tians has to do with red flowers," said Matilda.
" Besides, (! ,i-- hadn't any flowers about her
at all. I don't know what you are talking of."






" WHAT SHE COULD.'


Didn't you see her gold chain, though, that
hung round her neck ? "
"Her watch was on that. M 2. n't ('lh ir; i,;
wear gold chains? What nonsense you do talk,
Letitia! "
I shouldn't want to be a Christian if I thought
I couldn't wear anything," Maria remarked.
Nor would I," said Letitia. So I advise
you, my dears, to be a little careful how you join
Bands and such things. You may find that Mr
Richmond is not just the sort of Christian you
want to be."
The conclave broke up, having reached a ter-
mination of general dissatisfaction common to
such conclaves. Maria went to bed grumbling.
Matilda was as usual silent.
The next day, however, found all the family as
bright as itself. It was a cold day in January;
snow on the ground; a clear sharp sunshine
glittering from white roofs and fence tops and
the banks of snow heaped against the fences, and
shining on twigs and branches of the bare trees;
coming into houses with its cheery and keen look
at everything it found, as if bidding the dark sides
of things, and the dusty corners, to change their
characters and be light and fair. In the basement
the family gathered for breakfast in happy mood,






"WHAT SHE COULD."


ready to be pleased with each other; so pleasure
was the order of the day. Pleasure had a good
deal to feed on, too; for after the long breakfast
was over and the conversation had :..1.i...i ,i..1 to
the parlour, there came the bestowing of presents
which Clarissa had brought for her friends. And
they were so many and so satisfactory, that the
criticisms of the past night were certainly for the
present forgotten; Letitia forgave her cousin her
daintiness, and Maria overlooked the gold watch.
Matilda as usual said little, beyond the civil
needful words, which that little girl always spoke
gracefully.
You are a character, my dear, I see," her
aunt observed, drawing Matilda to her side
caressingly.
What is that, Aunt Candy ? "
Well, I don't know, my dear," her aunt
answered, laughing; you put me to d, 1...- and
prove my words, and you bring me into diffi-
culty. I think, however, I shall be safe in
saying, that a character' is a person who has
his own thoughts."
But doesn't everybody? "
Have his own thoughts ? No, my dear; the
'By have the thoughts of other people."
How can they, Aunt Candy ?"






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Just by not thinking for themselves. It saves
a great deal of trouble."
But we all think for ourselves," said Matilda.
"Do we? Reflect a little. Don't some of you
think like other people ? about ways of doing, and
acting, and dressing, for instance? "
Oh yes. But, Aunt Candy, if people think for
themselves, must they do unlike other people ? "
If they follow out their thoughts, they must,
child."
That suits Matilda then," said her sister Anne.
Well, it is very nice for a family to have one
character in it," said Mrs Candy.
"But, Aunt Candy, isn't Clarissa a character
too ? "
I don't know, Tilly; I really have not found it
out, if she is. Up to this time she always thinks
as I think. Now she has given you the tokens of
remembrance she has brought home for you; what
do you think I have got?
0 aunt, nothing more exclaimed Anne.
(I ,i and I are two people, if neither of us
is a character, however," said Mrs Candy. Her
gifts are not my gifts. But mine shall be -i,. i It
from hers. And if there is more than one cha-
racter among us, I should like to find it out; and
this will do it."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


So saying, she fetched out her purse and pre-
sented to each of her sister's children a bank-note
for twenty-five dollars.
Mrs Englefield exclaimed and protested. But
Mrs Candy laid her hand on her sister's mouth and
declared she must please herself in her own way.
What do you want us to do with this, Aunt
Candy ?" Matilda inquired in a sort of contempla-
tive wonder.
Just whatever will please you, will please each
of you, best. Only that. That is my condition,
girls, if I may call it so. You are not to spend
that money for any claims of duty or conscience;
but simply in that way which will afford you the
highest pleasure."
Thanks were warm and gratification very high;
and in the best mood in the world the new relations
sat down to talk to each other and study each other
for the remainder of the day. Clarissa pleased her
cousins. She was undoubtedly extremely pretty,
with big brown honest eyes, that gave a good full
look into the face she was speaking to; beautiful
hair a little lighter in colour, and great sweetness
of outline and feature. Yet she was reserved; very
quiet; very self-possessed-to a degree that almost
carried an air of superiority in the minds of her
cousins. Those large brown eyes of hers would be





" WHAT SHE COULD."


lifted swiftly to the face of some one speaking, and
then go down again, with no sign of agreeing or
disagreeing, indeed, with no sign of her thought at
all; but she ehad thoughts of course; why should
she not show them, as her cousins did? It was
almost supercilious, to the fancy of Anne and
Letitia; Matilda and Maria were fascinated. Then
her hands were more delicate than those of Mrs
Englefield's children; and there were one or two
costly rings on them. Anne and Letty did not
understand their value, but nevertheless even they
could guess that they belonged to a superior de-
scription of jewellery from that which was displayed
beneath the glass cases of Mr Kurtz, the watch-
maker of Shadywalk. Then Clarissa's dress was of
fine quality, and made beautifully, and her little
gold watch with its chain "put a finish upon it,"
Anne said. A little hair necklace with a gold
clasp was round her neck besides; and her comb
was real tortoise-shell. ( i.- i-.- was dainty, there
was no doubt; but her sweet mouth was grave and
modest; her words were few; her manners were
very kindly and proper; and her cousins on the
whole were obliged to approve her.














CHAPTER IV.


` What is all this hurry about ?" Clarissa inquired
one evening, as they were going down-stairs in
answer to the tea-bell; why are we earlier than
usual ? Anne says we are."
Oh, because it is prayer-meeting night-no,
not prayer-meeting, it isn't either, but our Band-
meeting; and we have to be early for that, you
know. Oh, you don't know anything about our
Band ; but you will, to-night. You 'll join it,
won't you, ('1 ,--'? "
I know something about bands," said Clarissa;
"but I never belonged to one. Is it the custom
here for ladies to do such things ? "
What things ? And do you know about bands ?
like ours ?"
I daresay I shall find I have something to
learn," said Clarissa.
There is a great deal to learn from Mr Rich-
mond, I can tell you," said Maria. Oh, you
don't know Mr Richmond, you haven't seen him,
D






" WHAT SHE COULD."


because Sunday was so stormy. Well, you '11 see
him to-night."
Aunt Englefield," said Clarissa, when they
were seated at the tea-table,-" is your Mr Rich-
mond Band-master as well as clergyman ? "
"Bands are a mystery to me, (l.',,-..," said
Mrs Englefield; I do not understand Maria
when she gets upon that subject. I hope you will
be able to enlighten me some time. Are you going
to-night?-well, then, I shall hope to be wiser
when you return."
Tea was hurried through, cloaks and furs and
hoods and all sorts of wrappings were put on ; and
the party set forth ; Anne and Letitia this time
going along. It was pleasanter out than in.
White streets and clear starlight, and still, cold,
fine air. About the corner a few men and boys
were congregated as usual; after passing them
and turning into the other street, few passengers
were to be seen. Here and there one, or a group,
making for the lecture-room ; here and there some-
body seeking a friend's house for pleasure ; nobody
was out on business at Shadywalk in the evening,
and no ,- -. or sleighs got belated in the dark-
ness. It would have been very dark, but for the
snow and the stars. There were no shop-windows
illuminated, and no lamps along the street and no





" WHAT SHE COULD."


gas anywhere. Past the shut-up houses and stores,
in the dim snowy street, the little cluster of girls
went swiftly on.
"You are in a great hurry," said Clarissa.
Ohl, we want to get there before anything
begins," Maria said. And it's cold besides "
What church is this we are passing ? "
Oh, this is our church. You haven't seen it.
It is real nice inside."
Not outside ? said Clarissa. Well, I can-
not see it in this light. And is that next place the
one we are going to ? "
"Yes, that's our lecture-room. That's wery
nice."
So it was. Pleasant light from withinside
streamed warm through the hanging window-
blinds of the long windows, and promised welcome
before they got in. At the door, under the pro-
jecting hood, a lamp shone bright upon the
entrance steps. People were flocking in. The
opening door let them into a cheerful room, not
large, with long rows of seats on either hand of a
wide matted aisle ; the view closed by a little desk
at the further end on a raised platform. Right and
left of the desk, two small transepts did somewhat
to enlarge the accommodations of the place; which
had a cozy, home look, comfortable and bright.





" WHAT SHE COULD."


Where do those doors lead to ? Clarissa
whispered;-" behind the desk ? "
Oh, those open to the infant class room. Isn't
it nice ?" Maria answered.
It is small," said Clarissa.
It is large enough, though. We shall not fill
it to-night."
And they did not. There was only a little com-
pany gathered, of various ages. Some quite grown
people; many who were younger. They had drawn
towards the upper end of the room, and clustered
near the platform.
"There is Mr Richmond," Maria whispered, pre-
sently ; do you see him ? he is up there near the
desk talking to Mr Barker,-Mr Barker is one of
our teachers, but he has got nothing to do with the
Band. That is Mrs Trembleton, isn't she pretty?
-sitting down there in front; she always sits
just there, if she can, and I have seen her ever so
put out if she couldn't-when somebody else had
got it, you know. And there--"
But, Maria," whispered ('I - i, gravely, 1" do
you think it is quite proper to whisper so in
church ?"
This isn't church Maria replied, with great
readiness.
What then ? "






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Why, it is only our Sunday-schoolroom; and
this is a Band meeting."
It looks very like church to me," said ( I .-- .
" Hush !-don't whisper any more."
For the minister now took his stand at the little
desk before mentioned; and even Maria was quiet
enough during the prayer with which he began the
proceedings. But then Mr Richmond came in front
of the desk, and began to speak, seriously indeed,
but with an easy simplicity which Clarissa thought
was not like church."
It may not be known to everybody present,"
Mr Richmond began, exactly what was done at
our last meeting here on "1 n -I -- night. Iwish it
to be very well understood, that every one may join
with us in the action we took, intelligently ;-or
keep away from it, intelligently. I wish it to be
thoroughly understood. We simply pledged our-
selves, some of us who were here on Thursday night,
to live and work for ('I, i- to the best and the
utmost of our ability, as He would give us grace to
do. We pledged ourselves to each other and to
our Master; to the end that we might the better
help each other, being so pledged; and that we
might enter into some system and plan of work by
which we might accomplish much more than we
could hope to do without plan or system. I have






" WHAT SHE COULD."


a list in my hand of various kinds of work which
it may be well for us to attempt ; some kinds will
suit some people and other kinds will suit other
people; but before we go into a consideration of
these, I will read something else to you. We
must do this thing--we must enter into this
pledge to God and each other, those of us who
enter into it,-knowing exactly what we do, and
if possible, why we do it. I have drawn up in a
few words what we mean, or what we ought to
mean, in giving this pledge ; and now I am going
to read it to you ; and after I have read it I shall
ask all of you who have heard it and agreed to it,
to rise up, without any regard to the question
whether you were among those who rose last
Thursday or not. I wish no one to stand who
does not fully and intelligently agree to every
word of this covenant ;-but I hope that will be
the case with every one of you all. The children
can understand it as well as the grown people.
This is the covenant.
We are the servants of Christ.
And as He died for all, that they which live
should not live unto themselves but unto Him; so
we do not count ourselves to belong to ourselves.
We are the Lord's.
We want to do all we can do, that would





" WHAT SHE COULD.'


please Him and honour Him, whether it be in our
own hearts or in the world.
So we stand ready to do His will ; in telling
the good news to others ; in showing how precious
we hold it; in carrying help of every sort to our
neighbour, upon every opportunity; walking as
children of the Light; if by any means we may
advance our Lord's kingdom and glory.
And all this we will try to do, by His help,-
trusting in His grace and resting in His promises,
whose word cannot fail.'
Now," said Mr Richmond, when lie had read
this, which lie read very slowly and deliberately, as
if he wished that every one should weigh every
word, I am going to ask you to rise and so
declare your agreement with this covenant-all of
you who have heard and understood it, and who
are ready to pledge yourselves to its responsi-
bilities. Every one whose own mind and wish this
covenant expresses will please rise."
The little stir which this request occasioned
through the room, left few of the assembly in their
seats. Maria, as soon as she was upon her feet,
looked to see how it was with her companions. To
her great satisfaction, Clarissa was standing be-
side her; but Anne and Letitia were sitting in
their places, and so was Matilda in hers beyond





" WHAT SHE COULD."


them. Maria frowned and nodded at her, but
Mr Richmond had desired the people to sit
down again before these signs could take any
effect.
"It is as I hoped," Mr Richmond said, in a
,li.- i-I voice. I have no alteration to make in
my lists, beyond the addition of one or two new
names ; and that sort of alteration I shall be glad
to make whenever people will let me. 1 will re-
ceive new names at any time, of those who wish to
join our Band-our Working Band. I do not
know what we shall call ourselves ; but one thing
is certain, we mean to be a working people. Now,
suppose we see what kinds of work we are prepared
to undertake-each one of us in particular. Of
course, we are all to do all we can and of all kinds;
but there are some kinds of work that each one
can do better than he can do others ; and to those
particular lines of effort each one will pledge him-
self to give special attention.
The first thing on my list is-
Bringing new scholars to the school.' Who
will take this as his special work? Observe, it is
not meant that you should ask any children to
come to our school who are already members of
some other school. We do not wish that. But
who will undertake to look out and bring in some






4 WHAT SHE COULD. 5


of the children that go nowhere ? All who want to
do this, raise your hands."
There was a show of hands.
We must have a secretary," said Mr Richmond.
" Mr Van Dyke, here is paper and ink ; will you
kindly come and write for us? We want to put
down all the names that enlist in this department
of work. This is Number One. Put down, op-
posite to Number One, Mattie Van Dyke, Willie
Edwards, Mary Edwards, Maria Englefield."
Mr Richmond went on giving the names until
some eight or ten were registered. The children
looked delighted. It was great doings.
The next thing on Mr Richmond's list was the
" School-singing." He explained that he wished
the special attention of those who could give it to
this matter; that they should always stand ready
to help the singing in the Sunday-school, and
make it just as good as it could be, and keep it
good; that they should not wait for others, if there
was no one to lead, but start the hymn themselves
and carry it through with spirit.
There were not so many that pledged themselves
to this work; but, as before, Maria was one.
The third thing, was Welcomning strangers and
newv scholars in the church and in the school.
lHere a breeze sprung up. Mr Richmond had re-





"4 WHAT SHE COULD."


marked upon the great importance of this duty
and the common neglect of it ; nevertheless there
seemed to be some prospect that the neglect would
continue. Mrs Trembleton asked, ; How were
!-uch strangers to be welcomed ? "
What would you like y .m -. it, Mrs Tremble-
ton ? Suppose you were to go to a strange church,
where you knew nobody. Would it be pleasant to
have some one come up and take your hand and
say you were welcome ? and give you a greeting
when you met in the street ?-perhaps come to see
you?"
I think," said Mrs Trembleton, after a pause, it
would depend a good deal on who it was did it! "
"Whether it would be pleasant ? said Mr
Richmond, smiling. But you do not doubt that
it would be pleasant to any stranger to have you
come up and speak and shake hands, and do such
offices of kindness ? "
It might be pleasant to them," said Mrs
Trembleton. I don't think I should like to do
it to everybody."
What do you say, Miss Benyon? Mr Rich-
mond asked.
Oh, I couldn't, Mr Richinond the young
lady answered, shrinking.
I'll do it," spoke out one of the boys.






" WHAT SHE COULD.'


George Lockwood will welcome strangers, Mr
Van Dyke," said the minister. And Willie
Edwards holds up his hand,-and Ben Barth.
But shall we have none but the boys to do the
welcoming ? The new scholars will not be all boys.
Ah! there is Miss Peach; Ellen Peach, Mr Van
Dyke;-and Maria Englefield,-and Sarah Bent."
Won't it make confusion in the school ? Mr
Van Dyke -U ,.- t-.
Will not what make confusion ? "
Why, if half-a-dozen scholars are jumping up
and leaving their classes, to receive somebody who
is coming in ? "
I did not say that they should choose lesson
time-or school time at all-for their kind civilities.
After school is over-or when meeting in the street
-or going into church. Opportunities will present
themselves. It is rather the will that seems to be
wanting than the way."
It seems to me," spoke out another lady, this
welcoming of strangers is everybody's business."
Proverbially nobody's business, Miss Fitch,"
Mr Richmond answered with a smile. You will
leave it for me to do; and I shall conclude that
Mrs Trembleton will attend to it; Mrs Trembleton
does not like the charge;-and there we are. Esther,
what do you say ? "






4 WHAT SHE COULD."


Oh, I should not like to do it, Mr Richmond "
Nobody seemed to like to do it. Some were shy;
some were humble, or thought they were ; some
fancied themselves of too little consequence; some
of too much Mr Richmond went on to the next
thing, which which was Temperance ork." Here
there was no want of volunteers. Boys and girls
and young ladies, and even men, were ready to
pledge themselves to this cause. The names were
many. It took some time to get them all down.
Then came what Mr Richmond's list called Aid
and Comfort; and which he explained to mean,
the giving of all sorts of material and social aid
that the cases of sick and poor and distressed might
call for. Anybody who would visit such cases, and
provide or procure what they needed, or anybody
unable to visit who would furnish the necessary
supplies if called upon, might be enrolled on this
committee. Plenty of people were ready for this.
Visiting absent scholars" '. .ii 1 quite a number
willing to engage in it. The cause of Missionary
Collections" and Sunday-school prayer-meetings"
found but few; evidently those were not popular
l.. I -. Promoting attendance upon church" did
not meet with much favour. The tenth department
of work was Carrying the Message." This Mr
Richmond explained to mean, the telling the good





1 WHAT SHE COULD."


news of Christ to all who have not heard or who do
not accept it; to everybody we can reach, at home
and abroad, wherever we may. There were not a
few who were ready to pledge themselves to this;
as also to Bible Reading," in houses where
sickness or poverty or ignorance made such work
desirable. But Tract Distributing," which one
would have thought a very kindred effort with the
two last, was much more cautiously undertaken.
Some boys were ready for it ; a few girls; very few
grown up people of either sex.
The young people of Mrs Englefield's family
walked home more silently than they had come.
To be sure, there was a little throng of persons
going their way; they could not speak in private.
So under the still, bright stars, they went home
without telling any of their thoughts to each other.
But perhaps the air was chilly after coming out
of the heated lecture-room; for they all poured into
the parlour to get warm, before going up-stairs to
take off their things.
"Well, you are late," Mrs Englefield said.
"Yes; but we had, oh such a nice meeting!"
Maria answered.
What was it all about ? Now, I hope, we
shall get at some light on the subject."
But the light was not in a hurry to come. Anne






" WHAT SHE COULD."


and Letitia loosened their bonnet strings, and sat
down; Maria and Matilda threw off their cloaks
and hoods and sought the fire; nobody volunteered
to be spokesman for the party.
"What was done, Clarissa ? her mother
asked.
I can hardly tell, mamma. A sort of associa-
tion formed, for doing parish work."
"I do not think much of associations," Mrs
Candy said. People can work just as well in
private, if they would only be content. Did you
join this association ? "
"What is parish work, Clarissa ?" Matilda
asked.
"Why, work in the parish, of course," Mrs
Englefield answered.
"I don't know what the parish is, mamma ? "
"Don't you? Well,-all the people that Mr
Richmond has the care of, I suppose; isn't it,
sister ? "
"But who has he the care of?" Matilda per-
sisted, looking up at her mother earnestly.
"Well, child," said Mrs Englefield, half laugh-
ing, in a sort, he has the care of all the people
he preaches to."
"Does he?" said Matilda. But at that the
laugh became general.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


"Why not, Tilly ? said Mrs Candy.
Who gave him the care of us ? said Matilda,
thoughtfully.
"A minister always has the care of a church
when he has a church," said Mrs Candy. Is
this Tilly's way of going into things in general,
Marianne ?"
But," said Matilda,--" can anybody take a
church and take care of people, if he has a mind ? "
No; only a man who has been properly edu-
cated and appointed."
"Then how comes he to have the care of us ?"
Come here, Tilly," said Clarissa. And she
began a whispered explanation to which the little
girl listened intently.
I do not hear yet what was the business done
to-night ?" Mrs Englefield went on.
Why, there were committees formed," said
Letitia, for doing every sort of business under
heaven."
"Committees!" said the two ladies who had
stayed at home.
"Maria can tell you," said Anne. "Maria, on
how many committees are you ? "
Maria hugged the fire and did not answer.
"On how many, Maria ? "
"I don't know. I didn't count."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


I lost count, too," her sister said. Let me
see. Mamma, Maria has undertaken to find and
bring in new scholars for the school."
I hope she will be punctual in going herself,
then," said Mrs Englefield. She hasn't been this
six months past, to my knowledge."
Oh, but I am now, mamma," said Maria.
-ih. has undertaken to practise for the school
singing."
I didn't," said Maria. I only said I would
help in it."
Your help will not be worth much without
practising. She has promised to undertake temper-
ance work, too. HIow she will manage it, I do not
know ; unless she is going to begin upon us here at,
home. We are all such hard drinkers."
Almost all the Sunday-school are engaged to
help in temperance work," said Maria, standing on
her defence.
"How are you going to do anything?" her
mother asked. You have neither brothers, nor
father, nor cousins, in danger, that you can go to
work upon them. What are you going to do, Maria?"
That is but the beginning, mamma," Anne
went on. Maria is also engaged to visit the sick
and afflicted, and make soup and give medicine for
them."






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Why I did not, Anne !" Maria exclaimed
again.
What did you mean, then, by joining the Aid
and Comfort' committee ? "
I did not say I would make soup, or give medi-
cine. Everybody does not make soup."
"No; and so I thought that is just what the
'Aid and Comfort' committee agreed to do."
"And the doctors give the medicine," said Ma-
tilda. Clarissa is on that committee too."
"We can go together;" said Maria; and we can
find something to do."
Something for somebody else to do," said Anne.
" You can find who would like some soup, can't
you? "
There are next to no poor people in Shady-
walk," said Mrs Englefield. "I don't believe there
is anybody in the village who would like some soup
better than I should."
"There are several doctors," said Anne; so I am
afraid there are sick people occasionally. Else the
doctors will soon be in want of soup. But, mamma,
that is not the whole of Maria's engagements. She
has pledged herself, to carry the message,' read
the Bible, and distribute tracts."
"Don't you read. the Bible now, Maria? her
mother asked.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Oh yes, mamma," said Matilda. This
means reading the Bible to somebody who is blind,
you know, or sick and can't read, or who doesn't
know how."
There are no such people in Shadywalk," said
Mrs Englefield, promptly.
Shadywalk is a happy village then," said her
sister.
When do you expect to find time for all these
things, Maria? her mother continued. Do you
know what a state your bureau drawers are in at
this minute ? You told me you had been too busy
to attend to them. And the frock that you spilt
ink on, the week before last, at school, you have not
mended; and you need it-and you said you could
not get a minute."
I have been busy about something else,
mamma," Maria said.
That braiding. Yes. But there is always
'something else.' There are other things that
ought to begin at home besides charity. Do you
belong to this association, Matilda ? "
"No, mamma," came in a low voice from the child.
"Why not?"
The answer was not ready.
Have you joined it, Clarissa ? her mother
asked.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


"Yes, mamma."
"And what have you pledged yourself to
do ?"
I think nothing, mamma, that I was not pro-
perly pledged to before."
"Such as what? "
I gave my name for the visiting and helping
sick and poor people; for the singing in the
school;-I believe that is all, mamma."
I shall not let you go where there is sickness,"
said Mrs Candy. When did you pledge yourself
to that ever ? "
When I took the vows of the church, mamma,"
Clarissa said, with a little hesitation, I suppose I
engaged to do some of these things."
Some of them; I have no objection to your
singing as much as you like; but as to your going
where there are fevers and bad air, and all that sort
of thing, I should not be willing at all."
There will not be much occasion for it in
-I 1, d,, 11:," said Mrs Englefield. We have few
poor people; there are not many who have not
1i. n.- of their own to take care of them."
"Anne and Letitia, you have nothing to do with
all this ? their aunt asked.
I have enough to do as it is, Aunt Candy,"
said Anne.






08 WHAT SHE COULD."

And I don't like the new sorts of work, Aunt
Erminia," said Letitia.
I know you wanted to stand up with us this
evening, though," said Maria. You felt bad
because you didn't."
This remark threatened to disturb the harmony
of the party; so Mrs Englefield broke it up, and
sent everybody to bed.
How do you like our Mr Richmond, Clarissa ?"
she asked, as they were separating.
11 I don't know, Aunt Marianne; it struck me
he was something of an enthusiast."
That is just what I think," said Mrs Englc-
field.
Those people are dangerous, Marianne," said
Mrs Candy.













CHAPTER V.


THE next day but one, in the afternoon, a little
figure set out from Mrs Englefield's gate on a
solitary expedition. She had left her sisters and
cousin in high debate, over the various probabilities
of pleasure attainable through the means of twenty-
five dollars. Matilda listened gravely for a while;
then left them, put on her hood and cloak and went
out alone. It was rather late in the short winter
afternoon; the slanting sunbeams made a gleam of
cheer, though it was cold cheer too, upon the snowy
streets. They stretched away, the white streets,
heaped with banks of snow where the gutters should
be, overhung with brown branches of trees, where
in summer the leafy canopy made a pleasant shade
all along the way. No shade was wanted now; the
air was growing more keen already since the sun
had got so far down in the west. Tilly turned the
corner, where by Mr Forshew's hardware shop there
was often a country waggon standing, and always
a knot of loitering men and boys gathering or re-
tailing the news, if there was any; when there was






" WHAT SHE COULD."


none, seeking a poorer amusement still in stories
and jests, mingled with profanity and tobacco.
Tilly was always glad to have passed the corner;
not that there was the least danger of incivility
from any one lingering there, but she did not like
the neighbourhood of such people. -',. turned up
towards the church, which stood in one of the
principal streets of the village. Matilda herself
lived in the other principal street. The two were
at right angles to each other, each extending per-
haps half a mile, with comfortable houses standing
along the way; about the corner" they stood
close together, for that was the business quarter,
and there were the stores. 'i-. ,' the stores and
shops, there came next a succession of dwelling-
houses, some of more and some of less pretension;
in general it was less. The new houses of the suc-
cessful tradesmen were for the most part in the
street where Matilda's mother lived. These were
many of them old and low; some were poor. Here
there was a doctor's shop; there a heap of dingy
sheep skins and brown calf hides cast down at a
door, told of the leather store; here and there hung
out a milliner's sign. A few steps further on the
other side of the way, a great brick factory stood;
M. i i 1., had no very distinct notion of what wares
it turned out, but the children believed they were





4 WHAT SITE COULD."


iron works of some sort. A cross street here led to
side ways which extended parallel with the main
thoroughfare, one on the north and one on the south
of it, and which, though more scatteringly built up,
were yet a. considerable enlargement of the village.
A little farther on, and Matilda had reached the
church; in her language the church, though only
one of several in which the villagers delighted. A
great creamy-brown edifice, of no particular style
of architecture, with a broad porch upheld by a row
of big pillars, and a little square tower where hung
a bell, declared to be the sweetest and clearest of
all in the neighbourhood. So, many thought, were
the utterances inside the church. Just beyond,
Matilda could see the lecture-room, with its tran-
septs, and its pretty hood over the door, for all
which and sundry other particulars concerning it
she had a private favour; but Matilda did not go so
far this afternoon. Short of the lecture-room, a
gate in the fence of the church grounds stood open;
a large gate, through which waggons and carriages
sometimes passed; Matilda turned in there, and
picked her way over the ridgy snow down the lane
that led to the parsonage.
The parsonage sat thus quietly back from the
sights and noises of the street; a little brown
house, it looked, half hidden in summer by the






C WHAT SHE COULD."


sweeping foliage of the elms that overarched the
little lane; half sheltered now in winter by a
goodly pine tree that stood in the centre of the
little plot of grass round which swept the road to
the front-door. Wheels or runners had been there,
for the road was tracked with them ; but not many,
for the villagers needed no such help to get to the
minister, and there were few of the church people
who lived at a distance and could leave their work
and take their teams on a week-day to come
a-pleasuring; and still fewer who were rich enough
to do as they liked at all times. There were some;
but Matilda ran little risk of meeting them; and
so mounted the parsonage steps and lifted the
knocker with no more than her own private reasons
for hesitation, whatever those might be. She
knocked, however, and steps came within and Miss
Redwood opened the door.
Well!" she said, here's the first one this
blessed afternoon. I thought I was going to get
along for once without any one; but such luck
don't come to me. Wipe the snow off, dear, will
you, clean ? for my hall's as nice as-well, I don't
know what; as nice as it had ought to be. That
will do. Now come in, for the air's growing' right
sharp. What is it, my dear ?"
Is Mr Richmond at home ? Matilda asked.






c WHAT SHE COULD."


Well, I s'pose he is. I hain't earn him nor
seen him go out since noon. Do ye want to see
him, or is it a message ?-ye want to see him,
elh ? Well, I s'pose he '11 see you-if he ain't
too busy-and I don't know when he gets time for
all he has to do, but he gets it; so I s'pose I had
ought to be satisfied. I don't, I know; but I
s'pose men and women is .Ii ..i.. ,. Some folks
would say that's a reason why men was created
the first and the best; but I don't think so myself.
And here I am an old goose, a-talkin' to little
Tilly Englefield about philosophy, instead o' lettin'
her into the minister's room. Well, come in,
dear; round this way; the minister has taken a
notion to keep that door shut up because of the
cold."
Miss Redwood had not been idle during the
utterance of this speech. First she had been
shaking the snow from the door mat on which
Matilda's feet had left it ; then she seized a broom
and brushed the white masses from the hall carpet
out to the piazza, and even .- the painted boards
of that. Finally came in, shut the door, and led
Matilda to the back of the hall, where it turned,
and two doors, indeed three, confronted each other
across a yard of intervening space. The house-
keeper knocked at the one which led into the front






74 WHAT SHE COULD."

room; then set it open for Matilda to go in, and
closed it after her.
A pleasant room that was, though nothing in
the world could be more unadorned. Deal shelves
all around were filled with books ; a table or two
were piled with them; one, before the fire, was
filled as well with papers and writing materials.
This fronted, however, a real blazing fire, the very
thing -);- Redwood had once been so uneasy
about; in a wide open chimney-place, where two
great old-fashioned brass andirons with round
heads held a generous load of oak and hickory
sticks, softly snapping and blazing. The sweet
smell of the place struck .,i il.1 's sense, almost
before she saw the minister. It was a pure, quiet,
scented atmosphere that the room held; where
comfort and study seemed to lurk in the very folds
of the chintz window-curtains, and to shine in the
firelight, and certainly seemed to fill Mr Rich-
mond's arm-chair even when he was not in it.
He rose out of it now to meet his little visitor and
laid study on the table. Of one sort.
All's well at home, Tilly ? he asked, as he
put her into his own chair.
Yes, sir."
And you do not come to me with any message,
but to see me yourself ?"






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Yes, sir."
That's nice. Now while you are talking to
me, I will roast you an apple."
"Matilda looked on with great curiosity and as
great a sense of relief, while Mr Richmond took out
of a cupboard a plate of apples, chose a fine one
with a good bit of stem, tied a long pack-thread to
this, and then hung the apple by a loop at the other
end of the string, to a hook in the woodwork over
the fireplace. The apple, suspended in front of the
blazing fire, began a succession of swift revolutions;
first in one direction and then in the other, as the
string twisted or untwisted.
Did you ever roast an apple so ? "
No, Mr Richmond."
It is the best way in the world-when you
haven't got any other."
We haven't got that way at our house," said Ma-
tilda; for we have no fires ; nothing but stoves."
You speak as if you thought fires were the best
plan of the two."
Oh, I do, Mr Richmond! I do not like stoves
at all. They 're so close."
I always thought stoves were rather close,"
said Mr Richmond. Now what did you come to
see me roast apples for, this afternoon ? Did you
come to keep your promise ? "






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Yes, sir," Matilda answered, rather faintly.
Are you sorry you made the promise ? Mr
Richmond inquired, looking- at her. But the look
was so pleasant, that Matilda's could not keep its
solemnity. She had come in with a good deal.
I don't know but I was sorry," she said.
And you are not sorry now ? "
I think not."
That is all the better. Now what did you want
to say to me, Matilda ? "
You know you made me say I would come,
Mr Richmond."
"I Did I ? I think not. I do not think I made
you say anything-do you think I did ? "
Well, you asked me, Mr R ichmond."
Just what did I ask you ? "
You asked me if I would come and tell you-
you said you wished I would come and tell you-
if -"
And Matilda made a great pause. The eyes of
her friend seemed only to be watching the apple,
yet perhaps they knew that her little lips were un-
steady and were trying to get steady. IHe left his
seat to attend to the roast; got a plate and put
on the hearth under it; arranged the fire ; then
came and with his own hands removed Matilda's
hood and loosened and threw back her cloak ; and






9 WHAT SHE COULD."


while he did this he repeated his question, in tones
that were encouragement itself.
I wished you would come and tell me if-if
what ? "
Yes Mr Richmond-if I thought I could not
do something that I thought-I ought."
"Yes, I believe that was it, Tilly. Now, to
begin with one thing at a time, what do you think
you ought' to do? "
Last night, I mean, Mr Richmond; I mean,
the night before last, at the meeting."
I know. Well, what did you think then you
ought to do ? "
Mr Richmond, I think, I thought that I
ought to rise up, when Maria and the others
did."
I knew you thought so. Why did you not,
then, Matilda?"
I couldn't."
Do you know why you could not? "
Again there was difficulty of speech on the child's
part. Mr Richmond's saying that he knew" she
had had such feelings, was an endorsement to her
conscience; and Matilda could not immediately
get over a certain swelling in her throat, which
threatened to put a stop to the conversation. The
minister waited, and she struggled.






" WHAT SHE COULD."


Why could you not do what the others did,
Matilda ?"
"Mr Richmond I didn't want to do the
things."
What things ? Bringing new scholars to the
Sunday-school, for instance ? "
Oh no, sir, I wouldn't mind doing that, or
some other things either. But--"
You mean, you do not want to pledge yourself
to be a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ ?"
No, sir; after a pause, and low.
Well, Tilly," said the minister, I can only
be very sorry for you. You keep yourself out of a
great joy."
But, Mr Richmond," said Matilda, down
whose cheeks quiet tears were now running, one
after another; don't you think I am very young
yet to be a member of the church? "
Do you think Jesus died for you, Tilly ? "
Yes, sir."
Do you believe He loves you now? "
Yes, sir."
You understand all about that. Does IHe want
you to be His obedient child and dear servant ?"
Yes, Mr Richmond."
You know all about that, too. Can you think
of any reason why you should for another year re-





" WHAT SHE COULD."


fuse to love Him, refuse to mind Him, and do all
that your example and influence can do to keep
others from loving and minding Him, when He
so loves and has loved you ? "
Tilly's little hands went up to her face now, and
the room was very still; only the flames softly
flickering in the fireplace, and the apple sputtering
before the fire. Mr Richmond did not say a word
for several minutes.
Mr Richmond," said Matilda at last, do you
think anybody cares what I do ?-when I am so
little?"
I think the Lord Jesus cares. He said nobody
was to hinder the little children from coming to
Him. And I would rather be in His arms and have
Him bless me, if I were you, than be anywhere
else, or have anything else. And so would you,
Tilly."
But, Mr Richmond-it is because I am not
good."
Yes, I know it. But that is a reason for
giving yourself to the Lord Jesus. He will make
you good; and there is no other way."
But Tilly's trouble at this got beyond man-
agement. She left her seat and came to Mr
Richmond, letting his arm draw her up to him,
and dropping her head on his shoulder.





" WHAT SHE COULD."


0 Mr Richmond," she said-" I don't know
how! "
Don't know how to give yourself to Jesus ?
Do it in your heart, Tilly. He is there. Tell
Him He may have you for His own child. He is
at the door of your heart knocking ; open the door
and bid Him come in. He will make it a glad
place if you do."
Mr Richmond," said the child, with great
difficulty between her sobs-" won't you tell
Him that I will ? "
They kneeled down and the minister made a
short prayer. But then he said-
Now, Tilly, I want you to tell the Lord
yourself."
I can't, Mr Richmond."
I think you can. And I want you to try."
They waited and waited. Tilly sobbed softly,
but the minister waited still. At last Tilly's tears
ceased; then with her little hands spread before
her face, she said very slowly-
0 Lord, I am a naughty child. I want to be
good. I will do everything that you tell me.
Please take my heart and make it all new, and
help me to be strong and do right. Amen."
They rose up, but Mr Richmond kept the child
within his arm, where she had been standing.



































.I .....




This page contains no text.


" WHAT SHE COULD."


Now, Tilly, how do we know that our prayers
are heard ? "
God has promised, hasn't IHe, Mr Rich-
mond ? "
Where ? in what words ? "
Tilly hesitated, and then repeated part of the
verse, "Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek,
and ye shall find."
"And look here," said Mr Richmond, half
turning, so as to bring her and himself within
reach of the Bible that lay at his elbow on the
table-" see here, Matilda. Read these words."
If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will
do it.' "
"And here,"-
Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My
name, He will give it you.' "
Does Jesus ever break His promises ? "
No, Mr Richmond; He can't."
"Then remember that, whenever you think of
to-day, and whenever you feel troubled or weak.
You are weak, but He is strong; and He cannot
break His promises. So you and I are safe, as
long as we hold to Him."
There was silence a little while, and Mr Rich-
mond set the apple to twirling again. It had
untwisted its string and was hanging still.





" WHAT SHE COULD."


I am to put your name now, I suppose, Tilly,
among the names of our Band; am I ? "
Yes, Mr Richmond."
What work would you like specially to do ?"
I do not know, Mr Richmond; I will think."
Very well; that is right. And there is another
place where your name ought to go-is there not?"
I don't know, sir."
"Yes; among those who desire to be members
of the Church; to tell the world they are Christ's
people."
Oh no, Mr Richmond."
"Why 'oh no, Mr Richmond ?' "
"I am not good enough. I want to be better
first."
How do you expect to get better ? "
Silence.
I suppose your thought is, that Jesus will
make your heart new, as you asked Him just now,
and help you to be strong. Is that it ?-Yes. And
you do not expect to accomplish the change or grow
strong by your own power? "
Oh no, sir."
Don't you think Jesus loves you now as well
as He will by and bye, and is as ready to help you ? "
Yes, Mr Richmond."
Then, Tilly, I call it just distrust of Him, to





" WHAT SHE COULD."


hold off from what He commands you to do, for
fear He will not help you to do it. I would be
ashamed to offer such an excuse to Him."
But-has He commanded that, Mr Rich-
mond?"
He has commanded us to confess openly that
we are His servants, hasn't He ? and to be baptized
in token of the change He has wrought in us, and
as a sign that we belong to Him ? How can we
do either the one or the other without joining the
Church ?"
I thought"-Matilda began, but seemingly did
not like to tell what she had thought.
Let us have it, Tilly," said her friend, drawing
her closer to him. You and I are talking con-
fidentially, and it is best in those cases to talk all
out. So what did you think ? "
I thought there were people who were the ser-
vants of Christ, and yet did not join any church,"
Matilda said softly.
By not doing it, they as good as say to the
world that they are not His servants. And the
world judges accordingly. I have known people
under such a delusion; but when they were honest,
I have always known them to come out of it. If
you give all you have to the Lord Jesus, you must
certainly give your influence."





" WHAT SHE COULD."


"But, I thought I might wait," Tilly said
again.
Till when ? "
I don't know," she whispered.
"Wait for what?"
"Till I was more like what-I ought to be, Mr
Richmond."
Till you were more like the Lord Jesus ?"
Yes, sir."
Do you not think the quickest way to grow like
Him would be to do and obey every word He says ?"
Matilda bowed her head a little.
You will be more likely to grow good and
strong that way than any other; and I am sure
the Lord will be more likely to help you if you
trust Him, than if you do not trust Him."
I think so too," Matilda assented.
"Then we will do everything, shall we, that we
think our Lord would like to have us do ? and we
will trust Him to help us through with it ? Mr
Richmond said, with an affectionate look at the
child beside him; and Matilda met the look and
answered it with another.
"But, Mr Richmond- "
"What is it ? "
"There is one question I should like to ask."
"Ask it."




" WHAT SHE COULD."


Why ought people to be baptized ? "
Because our Lord commands it. Isn't that a
good reason ? "
"Yes, sir; but-what does it mean, Mr Rich-
mond ? "
"It is a way of saying to the world, that we
have left it, and belong to the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is a way of saying to the world, that His blood
has washed away our sins and His Spirit has made
our hearts clean ; or that we trust Him to do both
things for us. And it is the appointed way of say-
ing all this to the world; His appointed way. Do
you understand ?"
"Yes, sir."
Now do you not think that those who love the
Lord Jesus, ought to be glad to follow His will in
this matter ? "
Yes, sir," Matilda said again, raising her eyes
frankly to Mr Richmond's face.
Would you be willing to be left out, when
next I baptize some of those who wish to make it
publicly known that they are Christ's ? "
No, sir." And presently she added, When
will that be, Mr Richmond ? "
I do not know," he answered, thoughtfully.
" Not immediately. You and I must have some
more talks before that time."




" WHAT SHE COULD."


You are very good to me, Mr Richmond,"
Matilda said, gratefully.
Have we said all we ought to say this time ?
Are there any more questions to bring up ? "
"I haven't any to bring up," Matilda said.
Is all clear that we have been talking about? "
I think so."
Now will you be good to me, and stay and
take supper with me ? That knock at the door
means that Miss Redwood would like to have me
know that supper is ready. And you shall have
this apple we have been roasting."
Mr Richmond, I think mamma would be
frightened if I did not go home."
She does not know where you are ? "
"Nobody knows," said Matilda.
"Then it won't do to let you stay. You shall
come another time, and we will roast another apple,
won't you? "
I should like to come," said Matilda. Mr
Richmond, didn't you say you were going to talk
to the Band and explain things, when we have our
meetings?"
"I did say so. What do you want explained? "
Some time,-I would like to know just all it
means, to be a servant of Christ."
"All it means," said Mr Richmond. Well, it




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs