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THE OLD CASTLE.
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THE OLD CASTLE"ANDOtber Stories.LONDON: THOMAS NELSON AND SONS.EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.i88r.
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onteants .THE OLD CASTLE, 7... .. .. ... ... 7GEORGE AND ALICK, ... ... ... ... 2THE SIXPENNY CALICO, ... ... ... ... 42A WESTMORELAND STORY, ... ... ... 51
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THE OLD CASTLE.BOW pleasant the parlour lookedon the evening of "Flaxy's"birthday. To be sure it wasNovember, and the wind was setting thepoor dying leaves in a miserable shiverwith some dreadful story of an iceberg hehad just been visiting. But what caredDicky and Prue, or Dudley and Flaxy, orall the rest sitting cosily around that charm-ing fire, which glowed as if some kind fairyhad filled up the little black grate withcarbuncles and rubies ? Over the mantle-piece were branches of pretty white spermcandles, whose light fell softly on the heavy
8 THE OLD CASTLE.red curtains and the roses in the carpet,and danced in the eyes of the happy chil-dren.They, the children, had been having a"splendid time." They had played games,and put together dissected maps, and triedpuzzles, and read in Flaxy's wonderful books;and since tea they had had a grand rompat " fox and geese," even such big boys asBernard and Dudley joining in; and nowthey were resting with pretty red cheeksand parted mouths." Well, what shall we do now ?" criedlittle Prue, who could not bear that aminute of the precious time should bewasted in mere sitting still."Why, isn't it a good time for some oneelse to tell his story ?" asked Flaxy."Just the thing," was the unanimousresponse. "Another story! a story !" andthen a voice cried, "And let Dudley Wyldetell it."
THE OLD CASTLE. 9"Well," said Dudley, slowly, "if I musttell a true story about myself, I'm afraid itwon't be much to my credit, but as Flaxywasn't a coward about it, I'll try to be asbrave as a girl. Shall I tell you somethingthat happened to Bernard and me when welived over in England ?""Oh, please don't tell that story, Dud,"pleaded Bernard with reddening cheeks, butall the rest cried, " Oh, yes, go on, go on,"and Dudley began."You all know that Bernard and I wereboth left orphans when we were almostlittle babies, and Uncle Wylde sent for usto come and live with him-me first, andBernard about a year afterwards. I wasonly six years old when Bernard came, butI remember I was very angry about it.Old Joe, the coachman, and I, had had aquarrel that morning, and he told me uncle' would never care for me any more afterCousin Bernard came, for he was a much
10 THE OLD CASTLE.finer boy than I, and looked like a youngEnglish lord, with his blue eyes and whiteskin, but I was a little, dark, ill-temperedforeigner (my mother was Italian, you know),and he wondered how uncle could like meat all.'""But uncle did love you dearly, youknow," broke in Bernard."A great deal better than I deserved,that's certain," said Dudley, "but I almostworshipped him, and I couldn't bear thethoughts of his loving any one better thanme. So all the day that Bernard wasexpected I stood sulkily by the window,and would not play, nor eat, nor even speakwhen Uncle Wylde came and took me inhis lap."' Poor child,' said uncle, at last, 'he needssome one of his own age to play with. Ihope the little cousins will be fine companyfor each other.'"Just then the carriage drove up, and
THE OLD CASTLE. 11uncle ran out and took such a lovely littleboy in his arms; but when I heard him say,almost with a sob, 'Darling child, you arejust the image of your dear, dear mother,'then I thought, 'There, it is all true whatJoe said, uncle loves him the best already;'and I bit my fingers so that when unclebade me hold out my hand to my cousin,he was frightened to see it covered withblood, and drew back with a shiver; andthen I grew angry about that, too, and calledhim 'proud,' and went and hid away everyplaything I could find."Well, I won't have time to tell youevery little thing, only that as Bernard andI grew up together, I did not love him anybetter. He was almost always kind andgood.""Now Dud, you must not say so," saidBernard, blushing. "I did everything totease you."" You must not interrupt," cried Dudley.
12 THE OLD CASTLE."This is my story, remember. You neverteased me much, but the great thing Icouldn't forgive you was that uncle lovedyou best.""No, I'm sure he didn't," cried Bernard."No more interruptions," said all thechildren, and Dudley went on."Well, you see I was very suspicious andmiserable, and I always thought Bernardwanted to make fun of me. When he firstbegan to call me 'Dud,' for short, I thoughthe meant that I was like the old rags thatJoe used to clean the carriages with, for healways used to call them 'old duds.' Andthen sometimes when I came in from ridingon Lightfoot's bare back, with my hairblown every sort of a way, if he said,' Shallwe have our lessons now, uncle? herecomes Wylde,' I always thought he was try-ing to make uncle think I was wild likethose horrid Indians we used to read about,while he, Bernard, was always neat and
THE OLD CASTLE. 13smooth like a little gentleman. So you seethere was nothing that Bernard could do orsay, that I did not twist around to makemyself miserable."One day, when I had been playingwith my dog Sambo half the morning, andriding Lightfoot the rest of the time, I wascalled on to recite Latin to uncle, and didn'tknow one word. But Bernard recited likea book, and when it was over, uncle did notscold me, he never did, but just gave Bernardthe pretty picture I had long been wanting,of the boy climbing up over crag and ice,shouting 'Excelsior.'"That very afternoon we had planned totake a walk together to an old ruinedcastle, but I was so cross and sullen Iwonder Bernard did not slip away and goalone. I can't begin to tell you howenvious and unhappy I felt, and I quarrelledso with him about every little thing, that atlast he scarcely opened his mouth."
14 THE OLD CASTLE." I don't believe this story is true," saidFlaxy indignantly. "I'm sure the Dudley"Wylde we know was never so bad andquarrelsome."Dudley smiled, while Bettine whisperedsoftly, "But he's different now, Flaxy. Doyou know his uncle says he is trying to bea Christian ?"Flaxy looked up with a bright tear ofsympathy, as Dudley continued." At last we reached the castle, where wehad often been before, and for a while Iwas more good-natured, for there was nothingI liked better than climbing up and downthe broken stairway, which wound roundand round like a great screw, or lookinginto every queer little room hid away in thethick walls, or climbing to the turrets towave my handkerchief like the flag of aconquering hero."But this afternoon there was somethingnew to see. In the great hall just under
THE OLD CASTLE. 15the stairs, the floor had lately caved away,and you could see down into a deep vault.Bernard and I lay down with our faces justover the edge, and tried to see the bottom,but it was dark as pitch, and we couldn'tmake out anything."' I shouldn't wonder if they buried deadpeople there, a great while ago,' said Bernard,with a little shiver; and when we both gotup, feeling very sober, he said, just to raiseour spirits,-"' Let's have a race up the steps, and seewhich will get to the roof first.'"Off we started. I could generally climblike a wild cat, but in some way I stumbledand hurt my knee, and Bernard gained veryfast. I felt my quick temper rising again.'Shall he beat me in everything?' I said tomyself, and with a great spring I caught upto him, and seized his jacket. Then begana struggle. Bernard cried 'Fair play,' andtried to throw me off; but I was very angry,
16 THE OLD CASTLE.and strong as a young tiger, and all of asudden-for I didn't know what I wasabout-I just flung him with all my mightright over the edge, where the railing washalf broken down !""Oh dear! oh dear!" cried little Prue,bursting into tears, "did it Iill him ?"A merry laugh from Bernard, followedby a hearty chorus from the rest, restoredbewildered little Prue to her senses. ButDudley went on very soberly."Bernard screamed as he went over, andwith that scream all my anger died in aminute, and I sat down on the stairs, shak-ing from head to foot. Then I listened,but I didn't hear a sound. I don't knowhow long I sat there, but at last I got upvery slowly, and began to come down justlike an old man. It was so dreadfully stillin the old castle, that I felt in a queer way,as if I must be very careful, too, and Istepped on my tip-toes, and held my breath.D
THE OLD CASTLE. 17"When I got to the foot, I felt as if a bighand held my heart tight, and when I triedto walk towards the spot where I thoughtBernard must have fallen, I could not movea step. But after a great while-it seemedlike a year-I managed to drag myself tothe place, and, do you know, no one wasthere !""Why, where could he be ?" cried theastonished children."Well, I thought he might have fallen,and rolled off under the stairs into thatdreadful vault."" Oh, don't have him get in there, please,"cried tender little Prue."Then," said Dudley slowly, "I leanedover the vault, and called his name, 'Bernard!Bernard!' and then I jumped back, andalmost screamed, for I thought some otherboy had spoken. I did not know my ownSvoice; it sounded so strange and solemn.But no one answered, and I dragged myselfD 2
18 THE OLD CASTLE.away, feeling as if that awful hand grewtighter on my heart, and thinking, as I wentout of the door, how two of us went in, andwhy I was coming out alone. Then I satdown on the grass, and though it was warmsummer weather, I shivered from head tofoot, and I remember thinking to myself,'This queer boy sitting here isn't DudleyWylde-this boy couldn't get angry, he'sas cold as an icicle-and Dudley Wylde'sheart used to beat, beat, oh! so lively andquick, but this boy's heart is under a greatweight, and will never stir again-this boywill never run again, nor laugh, nor care foranything-this boy isn't, he can't be DudleyWylde;' and I felt so sorry for him I almostcried. Then, all of a sudden, I remember, Ibegan to work very hard. I picked upstones out of the path, and carried them agreat way off, and worked till I was justready to drop. Then I took some flowers,and picked them all to pieces-so curious
THE OLD CASTLE. 19to see how they were put together, and Iworked at that till I was nearly wild withheadache. Then I sat very still, and won-dered if that boy who wasn't, couldn't be,Dudley Wylde-was ever going home; andthen I thought that perhaps if he sat therea little while longer he would die, and thatwas the best thing that could happen tohim, for then he would never hear any onesay-' Where is Bernard ?' So I sat therein this queer way, waiting for the boy todie, when I heard a noise, and, looking up,saw-""Oh, what ?" cried little Prue, claspingher hands, "a griffin, with claws ?"But Dudley could not speak, and Bernardwent on. "It's too bad for 'Dud' to tellthat story, when he makes himself so muchworse than he really was. I was as muchto blame as he in that quarrel, and I oughtto have had my share of the misery. Yousee, when he threw me over, my tippet
20 THE OLD CASTLE.caught on the rough edge of the railing, andheld me just a minute, but that minute:saved me, for in some way, I hardly knowhow, I swung in and dropped safely on thesteps just under 'Dud.' Then I hurriedinto one of those queer little places in thewall, and hid, for I was angry, and meantto give him a good fright; and as I happenedto have a little book in my pocket, I beganto read, and got so interested that I forgot-everything till it began to grow dark. ThenI hurried down, wondering that everythingwas so still. But when I saw 'Dud,'" saidhe, turning with an affectionate glance tohis cousin, "I was frightened, for he was sochanged I hardly knew him, and I wasafraid he was dying. So I ran to him, andtook him right in my arms, and called himevery dear name I could think of; but heonly stared at me, with the biggest, wildesteyes, you ever saw. 'Dud,' said I, 'dearfellow, what is the matter, don't you know
THE OLD CASTLE. 21me ?' Then all of a sudden he burst outcrying. O girls! you never cried like that,and I hope you never will,-great big sobs,and I helped him. Then he flung his arms'tight around my neck, and kissed me forthe first time in his life-kissed me overand over, my cheeks and my hair and myhands, and then he laughed, and right inthe midst cried as if his heart would break,and I began to understand that poor 'Dud'thought he had killed me. No one knowshow long we laughed and cried, and kissedeach other, but when we grew a littlecalmer we went back into the old castle,and on the very steps where we had ourquarrel, we knelt down, holding each other'shands, and promised always to love eachother, and try to keep down our wickedtempers.""And we asked some one to help us tokeep the resolution," said Dudley, gently."Well, how is it!" said little Prue with
22 THE OLD CASTLE.a bewildered air; " was it you and' Dud'that went and knelt on the steps to pray?""Yes, 'Dud' and I.""Well then, what became of that otherwicked boy that wasn't Dudley Wylde atall ?"Another shout covered poor Prue withconfusion, as Bernard answered,-"Would you believe it, you dear littlePrue, we have never seen anything of himfrom that day to this ?"
GEORGE AND ALICK." ELL, you know, Annie, it is allvery well to try to be kind toand help nice people-peoplewhom you like. It is the nicest thing inthe world to help you, Annie, because youare always so good, and kind, and gentle.But there are people to whom I never couldbe kind, let me try ever so much.""But Georgie," his sister began.He interrupted her with some impatience."Oh, I know what you are going to say.You always say that we ought to likeeverybody. But that is nonsense. Every-body is not likable, and I don't like people
24 GEORGE AND ALICK.who are not likable, and I never shall, andnever can.""I did not mean to say that. I don'talways say it; I don't think I ever said it,"she answered quietly. "I know that onecannot like people who are not likable.But Georgie," (with much earnestness,) "Iknow, and you know, that it is God's will,that it is God's command, that we shouldbe kind, and tender, and gentle, and pitifulto every one, whether we like them or not."Yes, Georgie did know that. Often hadhe been reminded of it. But as this was acommand he often broke, he did not like tothink of it. He moved restlessly and im-patiently on his chair, and said, with somefretfulness:-"Well, but how can one; at least howcan a rough boy like me? You can, Annie,I know. You do. Although you are oftenconfined to this stupid bed for weeks ata time, you do more good, and make more
GEORGE AND ALICK. 25people happy and comfortable, than anyone in all the house. You are so good. Itis easy for you.""No, Georgie, it is not easy for me," sheanswered, her sweet, pale face, flushing athis praise. "I am not always kind. Buta thought came into my mind about a yearago that has always helped me a greatdeal. I think God must have put it intomy mind. Indeed I am sure he did, it hashelped me so much."" And what was the thought ?" Georgeasked eagerly."I was thinking how difficult it was tofeel kindly, to feel rightly towards thosewhom we don't care for, who are notpleasant; and then it came all in a minuteinto my head, that we should find it mucheasier if we could only remember ever andalways that everybody we meet must beeither God's friend or God's enemy."" But how could that help ?" George
26 GEORGE AND ALICK.asked, knitting his brows, as if greatlypuzzled.Annie tried to explain."You know," she said, "that there areno two ways about it,-that we must eitherbe God's friend or his enemy.""Yes," he answered thoughtfully; "papamade me see that long ago.""And every boy you meet is either theone or the other, whatever else he may be,nice or not, pleasant and likable, or un-pleasant and unlikable. If he be God'sfriend-if he be a boy who loves our dearLord Jesus Christ," she went on, with anearnestness of feeling which brought tearsto her eyes,-" a boy whom Christ loves,and for whom he died-a boy that Christcares for, and is ever watching over, and inwhose troubles and pleasures, joys andsorrows, Christ is tenderly concerned-OGeorgie, if he be Christ's friend, must notwe like to be kind to and help him, to do
GEORGE AND ALICK. 27him as much good and as little harm aswe can ?""Yes, yes, I see," he answered softly,and with much feeling. Annie went on." And if he be a boy who does not loveGod," she said solemnly, "then must he beone of the wicked with whom God saysthat he is angry every day. And oh,Georgie, think what it must be to haveGod angry with you every day! to gothrough the world without God, never tothink of him with love! to have no God toserve, no God to care for you; never tohave your troubles made easy by knowingthat the loving God has sent them, neverto have your joys made sweet because theyare his loving gift! 0 Georgie, howdreary, how desolate! Can you help beingpitiful to any one who is in such a state ?""No, oh no," was said by Georgie's eyeseven more earnestly than by his tongue.He said no more; for boys cannot speak of
28 GEORGE AND ALICK.what they feel so readily as girls. ButAnnie's thought had gone deep into hisheart, and as he went a few minutes afterdown towards the village on an errand forhis father, his whole thoughts were occu-pied by it. Much more soberly than usualdid he walk down the avenue, thinkingover again all that Annie had said, andpraying earnestly that God would keep itin his memory, and bring it strongly beforehim each time he had occasion to use it.Such occasion was close at hand. As hecame out of the gate into the road, he saw,a little way before him, a boy who, as hefeared-nay, rather as he knew-was oneof those wicked of whom Annie had beenspeaking. His name was Alick. Poorfellow, he was a cripple; he had been acripple from his very babyhood. He hadnever been able to put his feet to theground, to walk or run about like otherboys, but could only get along slowly and
GEORGE AND ALICK. 29painfully by the help of crutches. He wasbesides very delicate, and often sufferedviolent attacks of pain in his back andlimbs, so that every one must have feltsorry for him, had he not been such a bad,cruel, selfish boy, that anger often drovepity away from the softest hearts. Butthere was this excuse for him, he had neverhad any one to teach him better. Hismother died when he was a baby. Hisfather was very rich, but was a coarse, hardman-one who, like the unjust judge,feared not God, nor regarded man. Hewas fond of his poor boy, who was his onlychild, but he showed his fondness by in-dulging his every wish, and suffering himto do in all things exactly as he pleased.So that Alick grew more and more wicked,cruel, and selfish every year, until he hadcome to be disliked and avoided by everyone who knew him. Georgie had a par-ticular dislike to him. For Alick, knowing
30 GEORGE AND ALICK.that Geprgie was far too brave to strikea cripple who could not help himself, tookthe greatest pleasure in teasing, and pro-voking, and working him up into passionswhich George could not vent upon him.The two boys saw each other a goodwhile before they met, and Alick had timeto prepare a taunting speech which heknew would be particularly provoking toGeorge. But George also had time tothink of Alick, time to recollect whatAnnie had said about the utter drearinessof going through the world without God;and God, answering George's earnest prayer,caused this recollection to move his heartto the tenderest pity and concern for poorAlick. So when the mocking, provokingspeech was given forth in the bitterest way,George's only answer was a look of tender,even of loving compassion.Alick misunderstood George's feeling.He thought that look was meant to express
GEORGE AND ALICK. 31pity for his infirmities, and pity on thataccount he could not bear. His cheekflushed crimson with anger, and he pouredforth a volley of fearful oaths and cursesupon George, who was now passing himupon the opposite side of the road. AgainGeorge only answered with that look sostrangely full of deep, tender pity, thatAlick's heart was stirred by it, he knewnot how nor why. He felt half provoked,as if he were being cheated out of his anger,and taking up a small stone from the oldwall against which he leaned, he threw itat George, hitting him pretty smartly uponthe arm. George took no further noticethan merely to turn round and walk back-ward, so as to be able to watch for andavoid future compliments of the same kind.Many such were sent after him withouteffect. But just as he was getting beyondreach, Alick, in a last violent effort tothrow far enough, overbalanced himself, one
32 GEORGE AND ALICK.crutch slipped from under him, and he fellforward on his face in the mud!In an instant George was by his side,helping him to rise, and asking tenderly ifhe were hurt. He was covered with mudfrom head to foot, his face was sorely cutand bruised by some sharp stones lyingunder the mud, and his teeth had cutthrough his upper lip. Georgie raised himinto a sitting posture, and did all he couldfor him. A little burn ran by the way-side. Georgie dipped his handkerchief init, and kneeling beside him, tried to washaway the mud and blood from his face withthe utmost tenderness and gentleness, say-ing all the time words of kindness and con-cern, and giving him those looks of deep,wistful pity.At first Alick submitted to his kindoffices without speaking; but after a fewminutes he turned his head from him witha fretful, impatient, " There, that'll do," and
GEORGE AND ALICK. 33stretched out his hand for his crutches.Georgie brought them to him, and helpedhim to get upon them. But poor Alickhad severely sprained his shoulder in tryingto save himself as he fell, and the attempt touse his crutches gave him the most violentpain. Selfish boys are never manly. Theyalways think too much of their own troubles.This new pain, and the fear that he shouldnot be able to get home, were too much forAlick. He gave way to a most unrestrainedfit of crying. At another time Georgewould have been either provoked or amusedat the big boy crying thus like a baby.But now the pity God had planted in hisheart swallowed up every other feeling.He thought only of comforting and helpinghim." Oh, don't cry," he said encouragingly;"I'll get you home, never fear. See, sithere a minute, and, I'll run for Annie'sgarden-chair, and wheel you home in it."D 3
34 GEORGE AND ALICK.And having seated him comfortably leaningagainst the wall, he ran off, and was backwith the chair before even the impatientAlick could have expected him.It was not easy to drive the chairthrough the soft mud, where hidden stoneswere constantly turning aside the wheels,jarring George's arms, and calling forthbitter complaints from the fretful Alick.But Georgie bore complaints and jarringswith equal patience and kindly good humour,and as the homes of the two boys were notfar apart, he got Alick safe to his own doorin no very long time.The next afternoon when Georgie camehome from school, he heard from his motherthat the doctor had been there to see Annie,and had told them that Alick was very ill.He had sprained his back as well as hisshoulder, and was suffering great pain, andmust, the doctor said, be confined to bed formany weeks. Georgie felt very sorry for him.
}GEORGE AND ALICK. 35"Sickness and pain are bad enough," hethought, "even when one can feel that it isour good and loving Father who has sentthem; but what must they be to him ?"And he asked his mother's leave to go tosee if he could be of any use to Alick.His mother consented, and resolutely turn-ing his mind from the cricket-match justbeginning in the school-yard, George went.He found the poor boy in a pitiablestate. His face was swelled from the effectof the cuts and bruises; one eye was quiteclosed up, and the other he could only opena little way, for a minute at a time. Hecould not turn himself in bed,-the sprainedarm was bound to his side; he could donothing to amuse himself; and in thatmotherless, sisterless home, there was noone to devise amusement for him. Hisfather was kind and anxious about him;but it never occurred to him to sit by hisbedside, and try to make the time pass
36 GEORGE AND ALICK.pleasantly; and even if it had occurred tohim, he would not have known how to doit. All that money could buy Alick hadin abundance; but tenderness and kindcompanionship were what he most wanted,and these could not be bought.He seemed pleased to see Georgie, andgladly accepted his offer to sit for a littlewith him and read to him. Georgie readaloud very well, and with great spirit,and Alick was delighted with an amuse-ment which was quite new to him. Thehour Georgie was allowed to give himpassed most delightfully, and when Georgierose to go away, he was eagerly asked tocome back the next day.The next, and the next, and many suc-ceeding afternoons, Georgie spent by Alick'sbedside, reading or chatting to him; andwhen he was able to use his arms, playingwith him at chess, draughts, or any suchgame that Alick liked. That tender pity
GEORGE AND ALICK. 37which God had put into Georgie's heart forthe poor wicked boy, he kept fresh andwarm from day to day; and Georgie nevergrudged the time or trouble which he gaveto Alick,-never lost patience with him,however fretful and unreasonable he mightbe, but was ever ready to do what Alickwished, whether he himself liked it or not.One afternoon they had played for along time at a favourite game of Alick's,but one which Georgie thought very tire-some."Well, that is one of the nicest games inthe world," said Alick, stretching himselfback upon his pillows when the game wasdone. "Isn't it ? Don't you like it ?""No," said Georgie, looking up with anamused smile; "I don't like it much.""Why then did you play so long with-out saying that you did not like it ? " Alickasked, much surprised."Because you like it. I wanted you to
38 GEORGE AND ALICK.have what you like," Georgie answeredsimply; and having put away all the things,he stooped over Alick and asked him verykindly, nay, I may say very lovingly, if hethought he should have a better night, ifhe thought his pain was less than it hadbeen."Yes,-no,-I don't know," Alick said,looking earnestly up into Georgie's eyes."But, Georgie, I say, why do you care somuch ?""Because I am so very sorry for you,"burst from Georgie's very heart."You well may," muttered poor Alick,glancing down at his useless, shrunkenlimbs. But this time there was no angerin his thoughts."It is not for that, not at all for that,"Georgie cried eagerly, as if guessing thatpity for his infirmities might be painful."For what then ?" Alick asked, lookingat him keenly.
GEORGE AND ALICK. 39"Because you do not know, you do notlove God," Georgie answered with deepfeeling. "O Alick, how heartless, howdreary it must be!" and the tears rose tohis eyes, and ran down his cheeks withouthis knowing it.His words, spoken in that tone of intensepity, thrilled Alick to the heart. This wasthe meaning of all those looks of tender,yearning compassion which Georgie so con-tinually cast upon him. And was it thensuch a terrible thing not to know God ?Georgie's "how heartless, how dreary!"sounded again in his ears, and seemed toanswer the question. He said nothing toGeorgie nor to any one; but all night longthese words came back and back to hismind. He could not get rid of them.They were pressed down into his heart bythe recollection of all that exceeding tenderpity which Georgie's eyes had so long ex-pressed for him, and of Georgie's loving,
40 GEORGE AND ALICK.patient kindness, during his illness. Andever deeper and stronger grew the sensethat his life was in truth, and ever hadbeen, more heartless and dreary thanGeorgie could imagine.Next day, when Georgie came to his bed-side, Alick looked him full in the face andsaid:" Georgie, can you teach me to knowGod ? "You may imagine how Georgie's heartleaped with joy at the question. Oftenhad he longed to speak to Alick of his Godand Saviour, but hitherto he had beenafraid to do it; not afraid of what Alickmight say to or of him, but afraid to hearhim speak against the Lord whom he hadso often blasphemed. Now his mouth wasopened, and in simple, boyish speech, hepoured out his heart to Alick, and told himall he new of Christ's love in taking uponhimself the sins of those who were his
GEORGE AND ALICK. 41enemies. And God's Spirit going with thewords he taught Georgie to speak, Alick'sheart was touched, and the poor boy wasbrought to take Christ as his Lord and hisGod.
THE SIXPENNY CALICO.NE day a new scholar appeared inschool, and as usual was the markof public gaze. She was gentleand modest-looking, and never ventured tolift her eyes from her books. At recess, tothe inquiries, " Who is she ? " " What's hername ?" nobody could satisfactorily answer.None of us ever saw or heard of her before."I know she's not much," said one of thegirls."Poorly off," said I."Do you see her dress? Why, I believeit is nothing but a sixpenny calico.""Poor thing, she must be cold."
THE SIXPENNY CALICO. 43"I can't imagine how a person can wearcalico in winter," said another, whose richplaid was the admiration of the school." I must say I like to see a person dressedaccording to the season," remarked another;"that is, if people can afford it," she added,in a manner plainly enough indicating thather father could.Such was recess talk. None of us wentto take the stranger by the hand and wel-come her as the companion of our studiesand our play. We stood aloof, and staredat her with cold and unfeeling curiosity.The teacher called her Abby. When shefirst came to her place for recitation, shetook a seat beside the rich plaid. The plaiddrew haughtily away, as if the sixpennycalico might dim the beauty of its colours.A slight colour flushed Abby's cheek, buther quiet remained the same. It was sometime before she ventured on the play-ground,and then it was only. to stand aside, and
44 THE SIXPENNY CALICO.look on, for we were slow in asking her tojoin us.On one occasion we had a harder arith-metic lesson than usual, completely bafflingour small brains. Upon comparing notesat recess, none of us had mastered it."I'll ask Abby of her success," said oneof my intimate associates."It is quite unlikely she has," I replied;"do stay here; besides, what if she has ?""I will go," she answered.Away she went, and as it appeared, Abbyand she were the only members of the classready for recitation. Abby had been moresuccessful than the rest of us, and kindlyhelped my friend to scale the difficulties ofthe lesson."Shall we ask Abby to join the sleigh-ride ?" asked one of the girls, who was gettinga subscription for a famous New Year's ride."Judging from her dress," I said, "if shegoes, we must give her the ride."
THE SIXPENNY CALICO. 45"But how will it do to leave her out ?"they asked." She does not of course expect to beasked to ride with us," I said; "she is evi-dently of a poor family."As a sort of leader in school, my wordswere influential, and poor Abby was leftout. How often did I contrast my whitehands and warm gloves with the purplefingers and cheap mittens of my neigh-bour Abby. How miserable I should bewith such working hands and no gloves.By-and-by I took to patronizing her."She is really a very nice creature, andought to join us more in our plays," we said.So we used to make her " one of us" in theplay-ground. In fact, I began to thawtowards her very considerably. There wassomething in Abby which called out ourrespect.One Saturday afternoon, as I was lookingout of the window, wishing for something
46 THE SIXPENNY CALICO.to do, my mother asked me to join her in alittle walk. On went my new cloak, warmfurs, and pink hat, and in a trice I wasready. We went first to the stores, whereI was very glad to be met by severalacquaintances in my handsome winter dress.At last I found my mother turning off intoless frequented thoroughfares." Where, mother," I asked, " in this vulgarpart of the town ?"" Not vulgar, my dear," she said. " A veryrespectable and industrious part of ourpopulation live here.""Not fashionable, certainly," I added." And not vulgar because not fashionable,by any means," she said; for you may besure my false and often foolish notions werenot gained from her. She stopped before ahumble-looking house, and entered the frontdoor."Where are you going ?" I asked withmuch curiosity.
THE SIXPENNY CALICO. 47She gently opened a side door, and hesi-tated a moment on the threshold."Caroline, come in," said a voice fromwithin. "I am very happy to see you.""Pray, don't rise, dear," said my mother,"going forward and affectionately kissing asick lady who sat in a rocking chair."You look better than when I saw youbefore. Do not exert yourself."I was introduced, and I fancied the in-valid looked at me with a sort of admiringsurprise as she took my hand and hoped Ishould prove worthy of such a mother.Then, while my mother and she were talk-ing, I sat down and took notes with my eyesof everything in the room. It looked beau-tifully neat, and the furniture evidently hadseen better days. By-and-by mother askedfor her daughter."Gone out on some errands," said thesick lady. "The dear child is an inexpres-sible blessing to me," and tears filled her eyes.
48 THE SIXPENNY CALICO."A mother might well be thankful forsuch a daughter. She is a pattern my childmight safely imitate."I thought I should be exceedingly gladto see the person my mother was so willingI should copy."She will return soon," said the invalid."She has gone to carry some work whichshe has contrived to do in her leisuremoments. The self-sacrifice of the child iswonderful. She seems to desire nothingthat other girls of her age generally want.A little while ago, an early friend who hadfound me out and befriended me as youhave done "-tears came into the speaker'seyes-" sent her a handsome winter dress.'0 mother,' she said, this is too expensivefor me, when you want some warm flannelso.' I told her it was just what she needed.A few days afterwards she went out andcame home with a roll of flannel and acalico dress. 'See, mother,' she said, 'I
THE SIXPENNY CALICO. 49shall enjoy this calico a hundred times morethan the finest dress in the world, whenyou can have your flannel.' Excuse mefor telling it, but you know a mother'sheart. There is her step; she is com-ing."The outer door opened. How I longedto see the comer! "A perfect angel," Ithought, "so generous, so disinterested, sogood; I should love her." The latch waslifted. A young girl entered, and myschool-fellow Abby stood before me! Icould have sunk into the earth for veryshame. How wicked my pride! how falseand foolish my judgments Oh, how meandid my fine winter dress appear before theplain sixpenny calico !I was almost sure my mother had man-aged all this, for she had a way of makingme see my faults, and making me desire tocure them, without ever saying much di-rectly herself. This, however, had not come"D 4
50 THE SIXPENNY CALICO.about by her intervention; God taught meby his providence.As we walked home, my mother gave mean account of Mrs. G---, an early friendwho made an imprudent marriage. Butthat story is no matter here. I will onlyadd, my judgment of people was formedever after according to a better standardthan the dress they wore, and that Abbyand I became intimate friends.
A WESTMORELAND STORY.HO among my little readers arenot older than ten years ? Comeand I shall tell you a story ofwhat happened to six poor children, allunder that age, about fifty years ago. Itwill be a good lesson for us all, to see whatGod helped one brave little girl to do.Agnes Green was nine years old, and hadfive brothers and sisters younger than her-self. Their father was a respectable work-ing man, and they all lived in a small cot-tage in a wild valley of the mountains ofWestmoreland. If you take a good mapof England, and look in the north for West-
52 A WESTMORELAND STORY.moreland, you may see Grasmere marked.It is the name of a beautiful valley andalso of a lake and a village in it. Beyondthis is a smaller valley called Easdale, quitesurrounded by high hills, with just one nar-row opening into Grasmere. Here, in alonely cottage, the Greens lived. In fairweather the older children could go to theGrasmere school. Their mother did allshe could to keep them neat and comfort-able; but she could not afford to have aservant, and so little Agnes was taught todo many more things than are common ather age. She was a very good and cleverchild, and learned to milk the cow, mendthe fire, cook the dinner, nurse the littleones-do all that was possible for her ageand strength. Which of you is at all likeher ? You may say, perhaps, that there isno need for you to learn such things. Butyou cannot begin too soon to be useful.Had poor Agnes been as helpless as some
A WESTMORELAND STORY. 53of you, she and her brothers and sistersmust have died of cold and hunger in thesad time I am going to tell you of.One winter day, Mr. and Mrs. Greenhad business which made them very anxiousto go to a farm-house at some distance fromEasdale. There was snow on the ground,but the morning was fine; and to save along road round by Grasmere, they deter-mined to take a short cut right over themountains, which they had sometimes donebefore. So Mrs. Green made everythingstraight for the day, bidding Agnes takegood care of the little ones, and expect herand their father back in the evening beforedark; and then both parents kissed thechildren, and set out on the journey, fromwhich they were never to return. Theygot safe to the farm, where a number ofpeople were assembled at a sale, did theirbusiness, and said they would go home bythe same way, although many of their friends
54 A WESTMORELAND STORY.advised them not to attempt it, for more snowwas evidently coming on.Evening came, and Agnes made a brightpeat fire, which all the children gatheredround, expecting every minute to hear theirparents' voices at the door. But it beganto get dark and late, and still they did notcome. Agnes had often heard of the dan-gers of snow among the hills, and she soongot uneasy. Her little brothers were afraidtoo, though they hardly knew for what.They listened to every sound of the wind;they started at times, thinking it was theirfather's step; but all in vain. At lastAgnes said they must go to bed; and as theyhad all been well trained to be obedient,they came and said their prayers at herknees, and then went to rest with fearfulhearts.Next morning, when Agnes looked out,she saw there had been a heavy fall ofsnow, so that the cottage was almost shut
A WESTMORELAND STORY. 55up, and it would be impossible for themeven to reach the nearest neighbours. And,oh! there was no sign of their dear fatherand mother's return. She had a lingeringhope that they might have been detainedall night at Grasmere; but her fears werefar greater. It was, indeed, a terrible situa-tion for six little children to be left in, andher mind being advanced beyond her years,she felt all the danger. But she knewwhere to look for help; and He who is thesame yesterday, to-day, and for ever, heardthe cry of this forsaken child, and gave herwisdom and ability for her time of need,as truly as he gave to Solomon on the throneof Israel, long ages before.She wound up the clock, dressed the in-fants, and made the older children come andsay their prayers as usual. She knew thattheir greatest danger would be that of star-vation, should the storm last long. Theirmother had left plenty milk in the house,
56 A WESTMORELAND STORY.and Agnes scalded it carefully, to preventit turning sour. Then she examined themeal-chest, and finding there was not muchin it, she put all except the babies (thesewere little twins) on a short allowance ofporridge, but baked some flour cakes as akind of treat. Then, as the day went on,she took courage to open the door, and withher brothers got as far as the peat-stack atthe cottage side, and among them theymanaged to carry within doors as manypeats as would keep up the fire for a week.She examined the potatoes, which wereburied among withered ferns; but as therewere not many, only brought in enough fora day, afraid of heat spoiling them.Then she thought of the cow, and madeher way to the byre. She milked the pooranimal, but got very little from her, andhad great difficulty in pulling down hayout of the loft for her to eat; besides, itwas getting dark, and poor Agnes felt very
A WESTMORELAND STORY. 6?frightened and unhappy. So she wasthankful to get into the cottage again, and,barring the door, she put the infants com-fortably to bed, and allowed the others tosit up with her until midnight, in the fainthope that some token of their dear parentsnot being lost might reach them beforethen. It was a wild night of wind andsnow, and though the little watchers some-times fancied they heard voices in thestormy blast, when the lull came, all wassilence. Agnes did what she could to keepthe snow from drifting in below the dooror through a chink of the window, and alsoto make sure that the fire would not go out,and then they sadly went to bed.Next morning the snow-drifts were higherthan ever! There was no possibility ofgoing out; but the brave little mother-for so we may call her-still kept herfamily quiet and comfortable-never omit-ting the morning and evening prayers, and
58 A WESTMORELAND STORY.struggling hard against her own fears andsorrows.At last, either on the third or fourth day,I am not sure which, the snow-drifts hadchanged in such a way that Agnes thoughtit might be possible to try the road to Gras-mere. Her brothers went with her part ofthe way, till they saw she was safe, andthen went back to the little ones, and Agneswent to the nearest cottage. When thepoor weeping child told her sad story, thegood people were overcome with astonish-ment, distress, and sympathy. The newsspread like lightning through Grasmere,that Mr. and Mrs. Green had not been seenby their children since the day of the saleat Langdale. Before an hour had passed,all the men in the parish gathered together,arranged the best plans for a search, andthen dispersed over the mountains. In thestate of the weather, it was a dangerousduty, and great was the anxiety of their
A WESTMORELAND STORY. 69wives and mothers left at home. The menreturned at night, without any success, andthis went on for several days. They will-ingly gave up all other work, and morningafter morning set out on their toilsome, sor-rowful pilgrimage, while the poor orphans,of course, were most tenderly cared for now.At length some one thought of taking saga-cious dogs up the hills to help the search;and on the fifth day, about noon, a loudshout, echoed by the rocks, and repeatedfrom one band of men to another, told thewomen in the valley that the bodies werefound. Poor John Green lay at the foot ofa precipice, over which he had fallen; hiswife, whom he had wrapped in his owngreatcoat, was found above. They hadwandered far out of the right course, andmust have died in the darkness of thatfirst stormy night, while their children werewatching for them round the fire at home.They had been such respectable, worthy
60 A WESTMORELAND STORY.people, that their loss was greatly lamented,and rich and poor were alike desirous tohelp and care for the orphans. You willask what became of Agnes afterwards. Icannot tell you. If she is alive now, shemust be an old woman; but she can neverhave forgotten the story of her parents'death, and I trust she has never forgottenhow the Father of the fatherless was thenher helper and protector.Let me point out only two lessons fromthis sad tale. One is, that if God be withus, we need fear no evil. Can you thinkof anything more dreadful than to be leftshut up in the snow-storm, as these chil-dren were, with their parents dying on thewild hills above ? Yet God did not forsakethem. He sent no angel, he wrought nomiracle for their deliverance; but he gavewisdom and courage to the little girl, in hertime of sore distress and danger. And soevery one of you, if you trust in Him, may
A WESTMORELAND STORY. 61be sure of finding the promise fulfilled-"As thy days, so shall thy strength be."Another lesson is, the happiness of beingloving towards one another, and obedient tothose older than yourselves. Had thesechildren been like many others, quarrel-some and unruly, what a sad difference itwould have made! But they obeyed theiryoung sister as if she had been their mother;and so the days of captivity were far lesshard to bear for all.Think of these things when you remem-ber the story of little Agnes Green, andpray and try to be like her.
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