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SUSY'S FLOWERS;OR,"BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEYSHALL OBTAIN MERCY."BY THE AUTHOR OF"HOPE ON," "KING JACK OF HAYLANDS," &cLONDON:T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORIK.1872.
"Blessed are the merciful;"They strew the way with flowers,And scatter sunshine on the pathThat glistens wet with showers."Blessed are the merciful;"Their path has once been trodBy Him, the Merciful, who cameTo bring us all to God.Thoughts for the fHard-worki)ig and Suj'e' ing.
--o------I. SUSY'S HOME, ... ... .. ... ... ... ... 7II. MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON, ... ... ... .. ... 20III. WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT, ... ... ... .. ... 35IV. SUSY'S HOLIDAY, ... ... ... ... ... ... 51V. AUNT RACHEL, ... ... ... ... .. ... ... 61VI. THE WEDDING, ... ... ... ... ..... ... 71VII. LITTLE MIKE GOES HOME, ... ... ... ... ... 88VIII. LOTTIE'S FAREWELL, .. ... ... ... ... ... 99IX. SUSY'S FIRST JOURNEY, ... ... ... ... ... 114X. HOME WITH UNCLE BEN, ... ... ... ... ... 129XI. CHARLIE'S COMFORT, ... ... ... ... .. .. 141XII. THE WHITE NARCISSUS,... ... ... ... 152
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^ lAR' .UrN *TH^h1 AD Or THlS JH/^<II. _.SUSY'S FLOWERS.CHAPTER I.SUSY'S HOME." Ye happy children, who belowStill share a father's love,Remember earthly love is taughtTo lead to things above."" CI HEN will he come ? Joe LangtonS, has gone home. Sally Parkinsonhas passed with her milk-pails;and there is Miss Florence herself,going back from her ride. Whenwill father come ?" And Susy ran for thethird or fourth time to the little green gateat the end of the garden path, to look down
8 SUSY'S HOME.the shady lane, and returned, with a disap-pointed face, into their cottage room.Tea was ready, the little table spread nearthe open door, that the evening breeze andthe sweet perfume of the honeysuckle mightcome in. Two tea-cups, two plates, and twoknives were laid; two chairs were placed sideby side; the loaf of bread, the fresh butter,and a dish most carefully covered with greenleaves, were spread on the clean thoughcoarse cloth, and this dish contained thecause of Susy's impatience.She looked once more all over the tableto see that nothing was wanted, and thenslipped out into the garden, and busied her-self with pulling the dead leaves and tinygreen insects off some plants in the narrowborder under the window.Susy Grey was the caughter of the headgardener at the Hall, in the village of Nor-ton. She once had a little brother, who hadplayed with her and loved her very much;but God took Willie up to heaven, and left
SUSY'S HOME. 9Susy to play alone. And not very long be-fore my story begins she had a gentle, tendermother, who watched over her, and kissedher lovingly, and taught her to pray to God,and led her to church when the bells rangout on Sunday, and came to her little bedevery night, and sometimes sang her tosleep; but God had taken her dear motherto live with himself also, and Susy had togo to church with her father only, and shewore a little black frock, and her bonnetwas tied with black ribbons, and people saidwhen they looked at her, "Poor little SusyGrey has lost her mother." But Susy didnot feel as if she had; she looked up intothe sky where it was bright and blue, andshe fancied that her mother was watchingover her still, and somehow she felt quitesure that she and ",-illie were loving hereven then. And better than this, she knewthat her Saviour loved her more than anyone else could, and was taking care of herall day long, and that made her feel very
10 SUSY'S HOME.safe. And then there was her father too,who petted her when he came in from work,and placed her on his knee, telling her thather eyes were like mother's, and that shemust grow up to be a good woman, as shewas; and so little Susy's life was a veryhappy one.If you had asked in Norton where JohnGrey's cottage was, you would have beentold to go straight on through the villagestreet till you came to the large gate of theHall, and then, instead of turning in, to goalong the shady lane outside the walls untilyou reached a little white house standing ina garden, which was always full of brightflowers in the spring and summer. At thetime I am speaking of, it was filled with tallhollyhocks, bright red roses, and prettywhite blushing ones, which contrast withthem so well. Geraniums, verbenas, andmignonette chiefly filled the border underthe window, and-this was Susy's own garden,and the flowers in it were her special trea-
SUSY'S HOME. 11sures. Honeysuckle and jasmine clusteredover the porch, mingling with the deepcrimson of a damask-rose; and they grew sohigh that they could not help peeping intoSusy's little bed-room. And a very niceroom it was. Her small bed took up onecorner of it, covered with a bright patch-work quilt; there was a little shelf upon thewall near it, where her Bible, prayer-book,and hymn-book were kept when she was notusing them down-stairs, together with thelittle books which Miss Florence Norton,one of the young ladies at the Hall, hadgiven her in the Sunday school. Thenthere was her chest of drawers on the otherside of the room. Susy's mother had taughther to be very tidy, so they were always theperfection of neatness; and over them hunga picture, which was what the little girlloved best of all her possessions after hermother's Bible and her flowers, and so youmust hear what it was. It was a picture ofthe Good Shepherd taking a poor little lamb
12 SUSY'S HOME.into his arms who had been caught in thethorn bushes, and underneath were thesewords: "Jesus said, I am the good shep-herd: the good shepherd giveth his life forthe sheep." Susy felt as if she was thatlittle lamb, and the Good Shepherd wascarrying her in his arms, and that was whatmade her so safe; and every night andmorning, when she knelt beside her littlebed to pray, she asked him to put his HolySpirit into her heart, that she might becomegentle and meek as the lambs in his flockought to be, and that he would guide herand take care of her until it was time forher to go to his heavenly fold above.The room down-stairs was very pretty andneat also, and it was Susy's pride to keepit so. Mrs. Burden, their next neighbour,came in to help in cleaning it once a week;and Susy rubbed the furniture, and dustedit, and kept the things tidy, and was re-warded for her work by her father's smile ofpleasure as he looked round his cottage home.
SUSY'S HOME. 13We left the little girl in the garden anx-iously watching for the sound of his footstep ;but she had not to watch very long, for thelatch of the little gate was soon raised, anda cheery voice called out,-" Susy, my lassie, Susy !""0 father, what a long time you havebeen to-night! I've been watching for anhour nearly, and tea's ready, and I've got asurprise for you.""I couldn't come sooner, little one; themistress gave me a parcel to leave at WidowClarke's, and I found the poor old womanso low, that I sat with her a bit, and boiledher kettle, and made her a drop of tea. Itis sad when one sees a poor infirm creaturelike her left in want, and that son of hersseldom brings her any of his wages."" But come in, father; tea's ready," andSusy dragged him into the house.In a few minutes they were seated at thetable, and John Grey had his attentiondrawn to the dish covered with leaves.
14 SUSY'S HOME."Now, father, what's under there, do youthink ? ""Well, let me see.""No, father, you must guess.""Well, is- it new potatoes ?""No; do you think I'd put new potatoesfor tea, and cover them with leaves? ""Well, green gooseberries.""No; they are for puddings and pies.""Then I give up," said John, though hehad a shrewd guess about it; but still helooked properly surprised when his littledaughter took the leaves slowly away, andrevealed some fresh, ripe strawberries. Hereyes were dancing brightly with pleasure,and her cheeks were nearly as red as thestrawberries themselves, so pleased was sheat having kept her secret so well."Aren't they beauties, out of our owngarden, father; ain't you surprised? ""They lok nice enough," said John, smilingat his child's delight, and taking up one veryred one, which lay nestling under a green leaf.
SUSY'S HOME. 15" Eat it, father. I haven't eat one, be-cause I wanted you to have the first."He did so, and pronounced it very good,and then began piling up her plate with theglowing fruit.Susy gave him his tea, and then proceededto test the strawberries for herself. It wasvery good that first 'large juicy mouthful,and then she took another and a third; butafter that she paused."Well," said her father, " ain't they good,lassie ?""Yes, very, but-""But what, little woman; what's thatgrave face about ?""I was thinking-that is, Miss Florencetold me-""Never mind Miss Florence now, child;she's got plenty of strawberries. I got awhole dishful to send in for dessert."" It wasn't her; it was what she told meabout giving up for others, and I don't thinkWidow Clarke has got any strawberries."s~VVVVLL
16 SUSY'S HOME."No, she hasn't.""Well, father, I thought perhaps I oughtto give her mine; " and Susy looked up athim as if she hoped very much that hewould say she need not. John caught thewistful glance, and said,-"This is the first night you've had them;there will be more ripe to-morrow, and thenyou can get some for her."Susy did not hesitate much longer, anotherlook at her plate decided her, and she quicklyfinished its contents."Well, little one, do you want to hearmy news now ? " asked her father when thestrawberry question was settled."Yes, father dear. Have you got news ?Is there going to be a school treat, or areyou thinking of taking me for a day to Mel-combe ? or-""Well, how many more things ? " saidJohn Grey, laughing; "none of those areright, lassie.""Please tell me, then."(290)
SUSY'S HOME. 17"Well, first, Aunt Rachel is coming herefor next Sunday; she sent word by the car-"rier to-day.""Oh, I'm so glad! Is there anythingelse ?""Yes, Mr. Herbert's coming home, MissFlorence told me to-day, and there is agentleman coming with him who's a greatfriend of the family, a Mr. M'Donald, and-"But John paused here, and did not finish hissentence.Tea was over by this time; and after shehad washed the things and put them away,Susy got out her work and sat on the littleseat in the porch next her father, talking tohim about Aunt Rachel's visit and Mr.Herbert's coming home; for Mr. Herberthad been abroad for several years, and hewas such a kind merry young gentleman,that he was sadly missed at Norton. Andso the evening passed, until the blue of thesky grew darker, the sounds from the vil-lage were hushed, the birds were silent in(290) 2
18 SUSY'S HOME.9SUSY AND HER FATHER.their little nests, and glittering stars cameout one by one above their heads. Susy'swork had long ago been folded up, andshe was nestling in her father's arms, withher head upon his shoulder, and one littlehand clasping his large one very tightly.They had been talking of her mother, for
SUSY'S HOME. 19they often did so in this quiet eveningtime." It's your bed-time now, little one; I thinkyour eyes are beginning to close up already,"said the father at length."Oh no !" said Susy, looking up; but thewords were accompanied with a yawn, andJohn Grey laughed as he stooped to kissher, and say "Good-night." Half an hourlater and little Susy was fast asleep, anddreaming of Mr. Herbert and strawberrybeds.
SiH P, T H A T LO V E H _R A N_ _CHAPTER II.MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON." They whisper hope, they comfort manWhene'er his faith is dim;For whoso careth for the flowersWill much more care for him."W HE next morning, as soon as herfather had gone to his work, Susyput on her sun-bonnet, and took alittle basket into the garden togather strawberries for Widow Clarke.What fun it was, stepping so carefullyamongst the plants, lifting the shady greenleaves, and discovering here and there the"lurking berries," looking so fresh, so red,and so cool, as they glowed in the mosthidden places, wet with the morning dew.And then how daintily she picked them,
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 21and laid them amongst their own leaves inher little basket, and thought of the pleasurethey would give the lonely old woman.The little girl was much too busy to hearthe sound of approaching horse's hoofs, andit was with a start that she turned roundwhen she heard her own name pronouncedin a sweet, clear voice, which she knewcould belong to no one except "Miss Flor-ence."" Good-morning, miss," she said, advanc-ing to the gate with her basket, and blush-ing as red as the fruit it contained."Good-morning, Susy," said the younglady, bending her head down over her horse'sneck; " what are you doing ?"Susy thought there was no one in theworld so pretty as her Miss Florence, andtruly she looked so this morning, as she re-turned from her early ride. Her gray ridinghabit fitted exactly to her graceful figure,and her small hat with its drooping blackfeather shaded a face of more than ordinary
22 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON.-IMISS FLORENCE AND SUSY.sweetness. Generally very pale, the fresh0 0morning air had brought a bright colourinto her cheeks; her soft hazel eyes were
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 23sparkling with the excitement of the exercise.There was a sweet smile upon her lips asshe spoke to the little cottage girl, and thebreeze played in her dark-brown hair, blow-ing it back from her high white forehead.Yet, without a doubt, Miss Florence had aface that it was a pleasure to look upon, for,besides the beauty of her well-formed fea-tures, there was a trustful and contented lookabout her that seemed to tell of an inwardpeace which the world could neither give nortake away."I was picking strawberries, ma'am, totake to Widow Clarke," said Susy." Oh, how kind of your father to let poorWidow Clarke have his strawberries.""Please, ma'am, I'm going to give themto her."" Yes, Susy; but they are your father'spresent, you know."" No, ma'am. Are they ?"" They belong to him, don't they ?""Yes, but I wanted to give them because
24 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON.of-" She paused, as if hardly knowing howto say what she wanted." Because of what, Susy ?""Because of what you told us last Sundayabout giving to others."Miss Florence smiled. "I am glad youthink of your lesson in the week, Susy; butdid I speak so much of your giving to othersas giving up for others ? Are you giving upyour own strawberries to Widow Clarke ?""No, ma'am; I had mine last night.""Well, then, these are yourfather's present."Susy began to see what the young ladymeant, but her face became very sorrowful."Don't you see, dear, it is not any self-denial to you to take these to Widow Clarke?You have only the fun of picking them, andthe pleasure of giving them, and you do notfeel that you have taken them from yourselfto give to her.""Yes, ma'am," replied Susy slowly, "butI did so want to do my Sunday lesson.""Well, is there nothing else you could
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 25do ? Have you not got anything of your ownthat you could give ? "" I haven't got anything except my flowers,and I can't spare them."" Your garden looks very gay, Susy. Ithink some of your geraniums and roseswould cheer up the poor widow's room verymluch.""But I don't like to pick my flowers. Ilike to see them growing."" Ah, that's just it, Susy. You were readyenough to give away that which it didn'tcost you any pain to part with, but-"Miss Florence did not go on, for she sawthat Susy's eyes were filling with tears, soshe added gently, "' Remember that Christpleased not himself,' Susy, he gave up every-thing for us; and if we want to show ourlove to him, it must be by trying to pleasethose around us. For his sake, won't you try,dear ? He said it was 'more blessed to givethan to receive.' Now, my pony is gettingimpatient to be off, and it is near breakfast
26 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON.time. Good-morning,"-and she rode awayquickly.Susy stood gazing after her for a fewmoments, then, turning to her garden, shelooked long and earnestly at her cherishedflowers, and ended by cutting off the finestblossoms, and tying them into a pretty nose-gay, which was laid with the strawberriesready to be taken to the widow on her wayto school that morning.What a lonely, dull room it was that whichthe poor widow inhabited; she was too weakand infirm to be able to do much in it, andthere was nobody to help her. Her onlyson was married, but his wife had died lately,and he now lived on the common, in a smallcottage which only just sufficed to hold him-self and his two little children. He was adrinking, bad man; and, quite forgetting allthe love and care which his mother hadshowed towards him in his youth, he wascontent to leave her to starve. Poor WidowClarke! she had just crept out through the
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 27open door, and taken a drink of water fromthe pump, and then gone back to her chair,and taken up some stockings which she some-times tried to knit. One long, deep sigh burstfrom her as she looked round her dingy, un-comfortable, and untidy little room, and thenher features settled down into the harsh, un-happy expression which they generally wore.Just then a little knock came at the dooi-a trembling, timid little knock, as if theperson outside almost dreaded being told tocome in.The widow looked up wonderingly. Whocould it be ? Ralph never knocked. " Comein!" she said, rather eagerly, and little SusyGrey entered the roohm. In one hand sheheld the little basket of strawberries, and inthe other the bright flowers. " Oh, it's onlythat child," said the widow to herself. "Whatdo you want, Susy ? ""Please, father said I might come andbring you these strawberries; he thoughtyou'd like them, and-"
28 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON."Put them down, child, and thank yourfather, he's a good man, he is,-would toGod my Ralph was like him! -put themdown, child."Susy obeyed, and then, holding out theflowers, she said,-"These are my very own, out of mygarden. I thought you'd like them."The poor woman looked at the flowers,
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 29and then at the sweet, gentle little face bend-ing over them, and wondered what made thechild care to bring them to her."Thank you, child, but flowers aren't forthe like of me; they do all very well forbright little ones like you.""Please, Mrs. Clarke, they'd look prettyon your table; may I put them inwater ? ""No, child, leave them down; when I'verested a bit, I'll put them in myself; but Iget so tired dressing I don't know what todo.""Doesn't it tire you doing the room, Mrs.Clarke ? ""Yes. I throw my cloak over the bedmost days, and I don't make it until I amgoing to sleep at night."" It isn't school-time-might I make it,Mrs. Clarke ?"" If you like, child."So little Susy set to work with a goodwill, but just as she had completed it, and
80 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON.was spreading the ragged quilt over it, theschool bell began to ring, and, with a kindlygood-morning, she ran off.The widow gazed after the little retreat-ing figure as it ran along the road, until itentered the school gate, and then she tookthe flowers in her hand and looked at themlong and earnestly, first with a kind ofpleased smile, and then large tears gatheredin her eyes and fell one by one upon thebright blossoms. " Heaven bless the child!"she whispered; "it seems as if a ray ofsunshine had come in with her; " and thenshe put the flowers into a little cracked mug,and placed them just in front of her.Susy little knew, through the long hoursof that sultry day, how her little offeringwas brightening and cheering that drearyroom-how often the widow looked up fromher work and gazed upon it, until thoughtsof the home of her childhood came into herwearied mind, and she almost fancied thatshe could hear the- bees humming amongst
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 31the pinks in her own cottage garden in thedays gone by, when all the world was brightto her; and then the thought of little Susy'sgentle words and pitying face came back toher again and again, and she felt less lonelywhen she looked upon the flowers whichreminded her that some one had a kindthought for her. No, little Susy, your self-denial was not in vain. Towards evening,the latch of the widow's door was lifted, anda little ragged figure came in. It was agirl, of about twelve years of age, with anuncared-for, half-starved look. She advanceda little way into the room, looking half-sullenly and half-timidly towards the widow." What do you want, Lottie ? " said WidowClarke at length."Summat to eat, granny," replied thegirl, in a low voice."And do you think you're likely to findthat here ? Be off with you! ""It isn't me, granny, it's Mike."" What about Mike ?"
32 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON." He's had nothing to eat these two days,and he'll die, I'm thinking."An angry frown came over the widow'sface, as she muttered, " Ralph, Ralph,there'll be a heavy judgment on your headsome day."Lottie came over to her grandmother'sside, and looking up into her face, said in a,voice trembling with eagerness,-"Please, granny, give us a bit of bread;we're so hungry. Mike lies there lookingso bad, and he cries till I think my heartmust break, and at last I couldn't bear it,and came off to you.""Where's your father, child ? ""He went to the fair at Melcombe, andhe hasn't come back yet.""Is Mike worse ? ""I don't know. He groans and cries, andthen he wants bread, and I've got none, andthen he cries again, and he can't hardly lifthimself up."The widow stood up, and with difficulty
MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON. 33walked over to the cupboard, from which shetook a crust of dry bread-the strawberrieshad served for her meal in the middle of theday, and she had reserved this for her tea.While she was thus engaged, Lottie's eyes7. fell on the flowers, and a quick, short cry of- pleasure broke from her, "0 granny, theflowers where did you get them ?""Susy Grey brought them."" Please give me one for Mike. I broughthim a couple of marigolds out of our borderyesterday, and he looked at 'em all day long;but these be much better than marigolds.""Take one, child."So Lottie put her dirty fingers out towardsthe cracked mug, and pondered which sheshould choose. A geranium would bepretty; Mike wouldn't ever have seen one,she thought, because he had lived in a backstreet in Melcombe before they came toNorton Common, and he had always beenso sickly that he could never get far fromhome. But then a geranium would not(290) 3
84 MISS FLORENCE'S LESSON.smell, so at last she decided on a rose-adeep crimson rose-with a bud beside it."This 'un, granny.""Very well; here's the bread for Mike."Lottie held out her ragged apron to receiveit, and then, taking the flower, she ran awayas fast as she could.S&t.... I
CHAPTER III.WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT."The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,The young birds are chirping in the nest,The young fawns are playing with the shadows,The young flowers are blowing toward the west;But the young, young children, 0 my brothers,They are weeping bitterly;They are weeping in the playtime of the others,In the country of the free."SHE next morning Susy was standingat Widow Clarke's door half anhour before school time. She hadrisen earlier and finished her house-hold work, that she might be able to dosomething for the poor, lonely old woman,who could not work for herself."Good-morning, Mrs. Clarke," she saidbrightly, as she raised the latch; "father
36 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT.said I might come this morning, and ask ifI could help you any way, as you are sopoorly.""Bless you, child, it's right glad I'll beof your help.""Well then, if you'll just sit down onyour chair, I'll make the bed, and dust theDOING THE WIDOW CLARKE'S ROOM.room a little bit." And taking off her bonnetand shawl, she set to work, while the widow
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 37watched her movements with grateful, ad-miring eyes. When it was finished to thebest of Susy's abilities, the little girl cameover to the old woman's side, and said,-"Isn't it lonesome, Mrs. Clarke ?""Ay, truly," replied the widow; "butthose blessed flowers kept me company yes-terday."Susy's eyes brightened with pleasure, andshe was just telling her that she wouldbring her some more when those were dead,when the door was pushed open, and Lottiecame in, looking if anything dirtier andmore wretched than on the previous day.When she saw Susy she stood still,gazing first at her grandmother, and then atthe clean, tidy little girl by her side, andthen casting furtive and ashamed glancesupon her own rags. "Granny," she brokeforth at length, "I say, I want another bitof bread!"The widow took no notice, except byshaking her head.
38 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT."I've got to go to Melcombe. Fathersent word he's got some work there, and I'veto fetch over his tools, and I'm hungry."" I gave you some last night.""Ay, but I gave it to Mike."" But I gave enough for both.""You didn't. I gave him his own bit lastnight, and my bit this morning."" You shall have some of my dinner,"said Susy, shyly opening her little basket,and taking out a large slice of bread andbutter, which she gave to Lottie with akind smile." Thank ye," said Lottie, eying it withmuch satisfaction. "I say, granny, I didn'ttake the rose to Mike.""Why not, you naughty girl ?""Because I lost it. The rain came on,and I tried to cover it up, and so I knockedthe head off.""It's no good giving you anything.""I will take great care if you will give meanother when I'm passing back this evening."
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 39"I won't then; now be off with you.Wait a minute; how is Mike to-day ?"" He ain't no better; he cried dreadfully"in the night.""Is that your brother ?" asked Susy."Yes; he's eight years old, and he's ill;he can't move from his bed, nor hasn't forever so long," said Lottie, who felt the sliceof bread and butter a bond of friendshipbetween herself and Susy. "Well, I'mgoing, granny; good-bye," and she was slip-ping out through the door, when Susystepped up to her, and whispered, " If you'llstop at our gate as you come home thisevening, I'll give you some flowers forMike."Lottie smiled, and nodded her assent asshe ran away; and Susy looked after herpityingly for a moment, and then went backinto the cottage." Is that your grandchild ? " she asked, asshe began tying on her bonnet."Yes; she's a regular bad one," replied
40 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT.Widow Clarke; "but it's not her own fault.Thank you, child, the room looks quitewonderful."" May I come again to-morrow ? "" If you will, you're a good little lass."And as Susy ran along to school she said toherself, " I don't think my flowers evermade me so happy before; Miss Florencesaid quite true, 'It is more blessed to givethan to receive.' I wonder if the Lord Jesuscan see down into my heart, and know thatI gave them because I loved him; I thinkhe can. Oh dear! how happy it is to lovehim! I wonder if Lottie does, and Mike!"Evening came, and Susy had just beganto wonder that her new acquaintance hadnot kept her promise, when, on turninground, she saw her leaning over the gate,looking very wistfully into the pretty garden."Come in," cried little Susy; and Lottieopened the gate, and walked slowly up thepath."This is my garden ; all the flowers in it
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 41are my very own to do what I like with. Ican't spare a great many, because I pickedthem yesterday; but what do you thinkyour little sick brother would like best ? "Lottie was silent, only looking down uponthe bright flowers at her feet." Which? " asked Susy again."I'd like best to take him a rose," saidLottie slowly.Susy had but one red rose-tree, and onewhite one in her garden, and there were notmany flowers on either; but she gladlygathered the best crimson rose she had got,and picking a sprig of jasmine and twowhite pinks, she handed them to Lottie,saying, "There, please take those to him.""Thank ye. But Lottie lingered." Do you go to school ever ?"" School no, 1 should think not.""-Can you read ? ""Just a bit; mother taught me."" Is your mother gone to heaven ?" askedthe little girl, in a low gentle tone.
42 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT." I don't know; she was away in Mel-combe at work when she died. I don't knowwhere she went to, except they buried herin the ground."" Have you got a garden ?"" No; there's a plant of marigolds outsidethe door, that's all."" Poor Lottie I've got such a nice home."Lottie's eyes were cast down on theground, but she answered eagerly, "Ain'tyou glad your father's out all day ?""No!" said little Susy, her eyes openingvery wide with astonishment. "I want theevening to come all day long, because hecomes home then."" But do you want him to kick you, andbeat you, and call you names ? "" He never does that," said Susy, verygravely."Don't he ? mine does, and shakes Mikeif he cries, and then I--"" Oh! don't tell me-don't," cried Susy,looking much inclined to cry.
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 43"Well I won't. I'm going to take Mikeon my back, and run away some day whenhe's out."" Oh! hush, hush, please " said Susy. " Imust go in now, and get tea for father."But still Lottie lingered."Do youwant anymore flowers? "said Susy."No; but, I say, give me some of themstrawberries growing over yonder in theleaves. Mike would like 'em."" They ain't mine," said Susy; "I mustnot take them without father's leave."" He won't know. Give us a few.""No, I can't, Lottie; it would be likestealing. I mustn't do that; but I'll askfather to let me have some, and then, if youlike, I'll bring them to Mike, if father willlet me, and I'll bring him one of my picturebooks, shall I ?""Yes," said Lottie; but still she did notgo away. At last, coming up close toSusy, she whispered, " I say, I like you;you've been kind to me. Good-bye."
41 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT."Good-bye," said Susy, with a bright,happy smile." Will you come and see Mike and me ? "" If father will let me."And then, with one of her grave nods,Lottie ran away with her flowers.And now let us follow her and see wherethe flowers went, and what kind of a homeLottie had. It was a small tumble-downcottage, built far out on the common, withno other house near it. Some broken bitsof wood and an old hen-coop lay outside,and the window was choked up with dustand cobwebs; while here and there a paneof glass was broken, and some rags stuffedin to keep out the draught.Lottie paused before opening the door, tolisten to a sound which came from the in-side; it was the low, pitiful wailing of achild, as if he was tired of crying and yetcould not restrain himself."There, he's at it again," muttered Lottie;and then she pushed open the door and
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 45entered. It would be impossible to imaginea more wretched abode. Everything was asuntidy and dirty as it could be; there wasvery little furniture to be seen, and whatthere was, of the very worst description.But the object to which Lottie's wholeattention was directed was a small mattressin one corner of the room, from whence thecrying proceeded. On it was stretched thewasted form of a little boy, between theages of eight and nine; his tangled fair hairnearly covered his face, which was white andwan in the extreme; his large blue eyes werefull of tears, and his thin arms were tossedout on the scanty covering which was overhim: and still there went on that pitiful cry,as of excessive weariness and pain."Mike, lad, here I am," said Lottie,going over to his side and kneeling down,"and I've got something so nice for you;only you mustn't cry."" I can't help it," sobbed the little fellow,turning wearily round, " I be so tired."
46 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT."Well, don't ye cry, and I'll tell yousomething."But still he went on, until at lengthLottie said impatiently, " If you cry anymore I'll give you to the bag-man."This only made matters worse, and so shechanged her tone." Look, Mike, here's pretty flowers, andthey're for you, if you're a good boy, anddon't make that noise."Mike looked round, his face all ready tocry immediately if he was disappointed;but as his eyes rested on the flowers, some-thing like a smile came over his sicklyfeatures and sparkled in his eyes, and hestretched both his hands out eagerly to-wards them."Will you be good ?" said Lottie, hold-ing them back a little."Yes," with a great sob, which escapedin spite of himself.So Lottie broke all the thorns off thestalk of the rose, and then put the flowers
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 47into his hand; and pain, weariness, hunger,all were forgotten in the delight with whichMike smelt them, and looked wonderinglyat their beautiful colours; and certainlythey did look a strange contrast to the dirtand squalor around him.Meanwhile Lottie was hanging up herragged bonnet, and then proceeded to untieher apron, from which she took severalpieces of broken bread." Here, Mike, father's not coming homefor a day or two, and this is to last ustill he does; here's a bit for you;" andas she spoke, she chose the piece whichshe thought looked most tempting andleast dry, and laid it beside him; but Mikeonly answered by looking up from theflowers into her face for a moment, andsaying in a low, weak voice, "Who makes'em so pretty ? ""I don't know; I suppose they grow"so!"" Yes; but who makes 'em 2 "
48 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT.Lottie knew very well who made them,but she did not choose to say, so she turnedoff the question by saying, "You like 'embetter nor marigolds, don't ye ""Yes!" And then Mike began eatinghis bread."Shall I put the flowers into water tokeep 'em alive ? ""Oh no, no, you mustn't take themaway; " and Mike's little fingers held themvery firmly." But they'll die.""No, no, I want to hold them;" and atrembling in the child's voice told that hewas very near crying again; so Lottie lethim have his way, and taking out a basketwhich she was trying to make, she sat onthe end of his bed at her work, occasionallylooking over at the little white face oppositeto her, and always seeing his eyes intentlyfixed on the treasures in his hand; until atlength, as the long shadows of evening creptinto the room, she saw that his eyelids were
WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT. 49closed, and his little hand had dropped be-side him, still clasping the flowers, while thesmile of pleasure lingered on his lips, andMIKE AND THE FLOWERS.she knew that the weary little boy wasasleep.0 Susy, you do not know how much goodyour flowers have done! You have beenthe means of giving more pleasure than youdream of, though it is but to a sick child,who has few to care about him; but Hewhom you love, and for whose sake youmade the gift, has said, "Inasmuch as ye(290) 4
50 WHERE THE FLOWERS WENT.have done it unto one of the least of thesemy brethren, ye have done it unto me."But when the morning came, Mike foundthat his flowers were dead, and then hecried again.,~ 4
CHAPTER IV.SUSY S HOLIDAY." God will surely ask,Ere I enter heaven,Have I done the taskWhich to me was given?Little drops of rainBring the springing flowers,And I may attainMuch by little powers."/ US Y obtained the leave she wantedfrom her father to visit little Mike,.so as the next day was her holiday,she got through her work early inthe morning, and then went to WidowClarke's house, where she was greeted witha smile from the old woman, who had begunquite to look forward to the daily sight ofher bright little face.
52 SUSY'S HOLIDAY.And that morning Susy worked harderthan ever, that the room might be mademore comfortable for Sunday; and while shedusted and arranged she sang to herself, andthe widow listened,-"' Let us, with a gladsome mind,Praise the Lord, for he is kind;For his mercies shall endure,Ever faithful, ever sure.''""What words are those ?" asked the oldwoman at length." Some I learn at school.""Will you sing them to me ?"So Susy sung through the whole psalm,but she did not see how tears ran down theold woman's cheek as she sang,-"'He hath, with a piteous eye,Looked upon our misery;For his mercies shall endure,Ever faithful, ever sure.'"" Can you read, child ?" she asked." Oh yes, Mrs. Clarke; I'm ten years old.""Will you read a bit to me before you go?
SUSY'S HOLIDAY. 53I /-i 1 II/- tWi -I i ll i -SUSY READING TO WIDOW CLARKE.My eyes are so weak, I can't see at all; butI'd be glad to listen."Susy looked about, and at length spied a
64 SUSY' S HOLIDAY.large Bible covered with dust lying on thelittle table in the dark corner of the room.She opened it at the Hundred and thirdPsalm, and as it was one with which shewas familiar, she read it all through, and""the Holy Ghost, the Comforter," blessedthe words of peace to the lonely old woman,and made her feel that she too had a portionin the words, "As the heaven is high abovethe earth, so great is his mercy towardthem that fear him." When the book wasclosed and the little reader gone away, thewidow thought of all the mercy which hadfollowed her in past days, and said to herself," He has watched over me, and taken careof me through the past, and shall I not trusthim for the future ? I have been forgettinghim, but he has not forgotten me. Whatwas it the child sang ?-"' For his mercies shall endure,Ever faithful, ever sure.'Ay, and I'll trust them."
SUSY'S HOLIDAY. 55Meanwhile Susy was in the strawberrybed picking the ripest and best of the fruit,and then some fresh flowers. After this shewent into the house and got a book full ofcoloured Bible pictures, and then she set outon her long hot walk across the common.But she did not find the way very weari-some, for her heart was full of joy, and shesang snatches of songs as she went merrilyon; and as for the heat, why need she mindit when she remembered the pleasure whichshe was bringing to poor little Mike, andbesides, her little sun-bonnet shaded her face.Poor Lottie had to take longer walks, andshe had no sun-bonnet.At last she reached the cottage and tappedat the door, but she got no answer; so, afterknocking once or twice, she lifted the latchand went in. A cry from the corner toldher that the room was not empty; and asshe went over towards Mike's bed, the littlefellow half sprang up, his eyes wide openwith terror at the sight of a stranger.*
56 SUSY'S HOLIDAY.Susy suddenly became very shy, andstood beside him not knowing what to say.At last she held out the flowers." Look here; I've brought these for you,and some strawberries."Mike did not answer, but stretched outhis hands for the flowers." Where's Lottie ?" asked Susy."She's gone out." The words werewhispered, and the little fellow, having gotthe flowers, turned away."What are you crying for?" said Susy,proceeding to unpack the strawberries." I'm so tired, and it hurts.""Poor Mike! will you have a strawberry ?"He ate it, and smiled, and then asked formore, so Susy gave him several; and thenhe lay back contentedly, looking at theflowers in his hand. At last he looked upwistfully into Susy's face, and said,-"Who made 'em so pretty ?"" God," replied Susy, in a grave voice."Who's he ?" asked Mike, wonderingly.
SUSY'S HOLIDAY. 57" Don't you know ?""Is he the same that's going to send badpeople to hell?"" Yes," said Susy."Are you sure ?""Yes ; why ? ""Because I don't think he could makeem. Why did he ?"" Because he loves us.""How does he love us ?"Susy was rather puzzled, but after think-ing a minute, she answered, "Like Lottieloves you, only much better.""Lottie's going to take me away someday, and we're going to have a fine houseand plenty to eat, and a coach to drive in,'cos she loves me."Susy was not quite sure how Lottie wasgoing to get all these things, but she didnot like to disturb the little boy's dream ofhappiness, so she only said,-" I've brought a picture book; would youlike to look at it, Mike ?"
58 SUSY'S HOLIDAY." Yes."And so she began turning over the pages,and explaining the pictures to him as wellas she could: At last she came to one of"Christ blessing the little children."" Look, Mike, I like this one best of all;which little child will you be ? I'm this one,because it's the nearest to him, and he's gothis hand upon its head. I always call it Susy.""What is it about?" asked little Mike,who was beginning to get quite friendly." Don't you know about the kind Saviour,who left his bright beautiful heaven andcame down and died for us; and when hewas on earth some women brought theirlittle children to him to be blessed, and hisdisciples wanted to send them away-look,those men at the side who have got angryfaces-but Jesus said, 'Suffer the littlechildren to come unto me, and forbid themnot, for of such is the kingdom of heaven:and he took them up in his arms, laid hishands upon them, and blessed them.'"
SUSY'S HOLIDAY. 59"Why were they to come to him ?" saidlittle Mike."Because if they came he made themvery happy, and took away their naughtyhearts, and gave them nice new hearts thatliked to be good; and then when they diedhe took them up to his bright heaven.""Where's heaven ?"" I don't know. We can't see it, but it'sa very happy place, because Jesus is there;and people who go there are never sorry anyhnore, and they never cry, and never havepain, and never are ill."" I wish he was here now," whisperedMike, half to himself; "I'd go and get himto bless me, and take me up to heaven.""Miss Florence says he does it still; hestill tells little children to come to him.""But I can't walk," said little Mike, verymournfully." But Jesus can hear us if we just whisper,Miss Florence says," replied Susy, " becausehe's everywhere, and knows what we are
60 SUSY'S HOLIDAY.thinking about; and so we must just askhim to let us come to him, and then he will.Now, shall we turn over to the next page ?""No; I'm tired," said Mike."Then I will go away, and come againsoon.""Yes; come soon." And then little Mikelaid his head down on the pillow and closedhis eyes. Susy thought he was going tosleep, and stole out of the house very quietly;but the little sick child's heart was full ofwhat he had heard, and a whispered prayerwent up to God's throne from that lonelycottage room: "Please, Lord Jesus, makeme a good boy, and take me up to heaven,where nobody cries no more." The simpleprayer was heard in heaven.
CHAPTER V.AUNT RACHEL."Oh, count thy mercies, own the loveThat draws thee to the home above."S[UNDAY came. It was always aS happy day to little Susy; but thatSSunday was peculiarly happy, be-cause Aunt Rachel was with her.Aunt Rachel was her mother's only sister,and was a young woman of about five-and-twenty, who was in service as nurse. Shewas just about leaving her last situation,and was very anxious to see her little niece,to whom she was much attached, beforegoing to another.It was a great pleasure to Aunt Rachelto find that Susy was growing up as her
62 AUNT RACHEL.mother would have wished, though sheknew that she was by no means perfect.On Sunday evening, when church wasover, John Grey stopped in the churchyardto join one of his friends, and Aunt Rachelproposed that she and Susy should go for awalk in the meadows. This gave unboundeddelight to the little girl, who skipped alongby her aunt's side for some time, talking asfast as her tongue could go, there was somuch to tell Aunt Rachel about MissFlorence's lesson, and her flowers, andWidow Clarke, and Lottie, and Mike.Her aunt listened with pleased attention.But at length they came to a bank whichlooked most inviting to sit down upon, anddrawing Susy to her side, she said kindly,"Dear child, you ought to be very thankfulfor your happy life; think how much betteroff you are than Lottie and Mike."" Indeed I am.""And, Susy, you must not think thatbecause God has given you many things
AUNT RACHEL. 63that he has not given them, that you arebetter than they. Remember what Godgives us are all free gifts, and not moredeserved by one than another.""No, Aunt Rachel; I wonder why every-body in the world doesn't love him and tryto serve him.""To some it is harder than others to servehim, dear.""Why ?""Because they are more severely tried.Now, for instance, it would be more difficultfor the poor little children you have beentelling me of."" Yes; but why doesn't God make it easyfor everybody to serve him ?""Sometimes to try them. Don't you re-member how he tried Abraham's faith ?""Yes; quite well."" I wonder if my little Susy would findit as easy to serve him, if he took her out ofher happy home, and placed her in the midstof trouble, like poor Lottie and Mike."
64 AUNT RACHEL.Susy looked very thoughtful for a minute,then placing her hand gently in her aunt's,she said, "Aunt Rachel, if God did that, Ishould ask him to teach me how to showhim my love more than ever, that he mightsee that I did really love him, besides allthe nice things he gives me."Was it a glimpse of what was before herthat the child was given ? Ah, she did notknow how soon this love was to be tried!Aunt Rachel smiled a smile of pleasure ather answer, and kissed her forehead; thenneither of them spoke for a few minutes, tillSusy said abruptly,-"Aunt Rachel, what shall I do when thewinter comes and my flowers are dead ?""Give away flowers that won't die,"replied her aunt." What do you mean ?" asked Susy; " I'venot got any everlastings in my garden."" Can't you guess what I mean ?"" No.""Give away kind words and thoughtful,
AUNT RACHEL. 65loving actions, and they will live on in thehearts of them to whom you give them,and blossom there."Susy did not forget those words of AuntRachel's, and in future she never gave awayreal flowers without trying to accompanythem with some everlasting ones, which wouldblossom still when the others were dead.The next morning Aunt Rachel wentaway, and it was a long, long time beforeshe and Susy met again.And now a piece of news was proclaimedin Norton, which caused a great stir amongstthe quiet villagers. Miss Florence wasgoing to be married to Mr. M'Donald, thegentleman who had come to the Hall withMr. Herbert, and there was to be a greatfeast in the Park and a grand day of re-joicing. Susy was sorrowful at first when,she heard the news, because she knew whata kind friend and teacher she was about tolose; but she soon forgot her grief in thethought of the pleasure in which she was to(29U) 54
66 AUNT RACHEL.share. And then a little plan came into herhead, which she only whispered to herfather, and this was to pick her choicest andbest flowers on the morning of the weddingand bring them to Miss Florence; for thoughshe would have beautiful hot-house flowers,her father said he was quite sure that shewould value any that Susy brought her.Meanwhile Susy and poor little Mike werebecoming great friends, and many of herspare hours were spent by his side, eitherreading to him, or singing to him, or showinghim pictures, and the one he always likedbest to look at was that of the little childrencoming to Jesus. One day, when Susy hadbeen with him some time, and they werelooking at this favourite scene, he said,thoughtfully, "Susy, I'd like to be that one,"pointing to a little boy in the throng aboutthe Saviour's feet, "because the Lord Jesusis just stretching out his arms towards himas if he was going to take him up, and that'sthe way I want him to do with me."
AUNT RACHEL. 67Susy thought it would be very nice forMike to be that one, and Lottie peeped overher shoulder to see his choice. Day by daythe Saviour was drawing the little boy nearerto himself. He was no longer fretful andpeevish-at least, very seldom; he could notalways keep from crying when the pain wasvery bad, but whenever he did so it was veryquietly. And he thought of the bright hometo which his Saviour was going to take him,where there would be no more crying and pain;and God's Holy Spirit was preparing him forthis home of joy by teaching him to bear whatGod appointed for him with patience andmeekness. Thus the lessons which Susy readto him from the Bible were not thrown away." Susy, I want you to sing; will you ?""Yes, Mike. What shall it be?"" 'There is a happy land,Far, far away,Where saints in glory stand,Bright, bright as day.'"Susy sung it for him, and then, as the
68 AUNT RACHEL.evening was beginning to close in, she pre-pared to go away, and Lottie came withher part of the way. Neither of the girlsspoke for a few moments, but then Lottiesaid,--"I say, Susy, Mike's very different towhat he was; he hardly ever cries now,though he grows thinner and paler everyday, but he lies there looking at your flowers,or the pictures, as quiet as possible, andsaying words to himself. And yesterday Ihad put his flowers in a mug, and fathercame in, and he wanted the mug to drinkout of, so he just took the flowers out of it,squashed them all up in his hand, and threwthem out at the door. I jumped up in apassion, and the colour came dancing up intoMike's face. I thought he would havescreamed, but instead of that, he lay backquite quietly, and said something to himselfwith his hands together, and by-and-by heturned round and smiled at me.""tHow good of him !" said Susy. " I will
AUNT RACHEL. f,bring some beautiful flowers for him to-morrow."Lottie suddenly stopped, and looking intoSusy's face, said quickly,-"I'll tell you what it is, I don't thinkMike's going to live long.""Nor do I," said Susy, very gravely.The tears rushed into Lottie's dark eyes,and she went on in broken tones-" If hedie, Susy, I'll die too; I can't live then-Iwon't--" Hush, dear Lottie, don't say that.""I say, Susy, you're good, and you pray;will you ask God to make him well, or ifnot, to kill me too ?"Susy did not answer, and Lottie went onvehemently, "I've loved him, and done forhim, and thought o' nothing else, and if hedie-0 Susy, he can't, he shan't!" Andwithout waiting for any reply, Lottie ranback towards her home, and Susy went onquickly till she reached hers.Poor Lottie she did not know what a
70 AUNT RACHEL.bright exchange it would be for little Mike,or how gladly he would give up the weari-ness and pain of his earthly life for the joysof heaven and the presence of the Saviour,who loved him "with an everlasting love,"and was "drawing him with loving-kindness"towards himself and "the rest which re-mained" for him when his short race wasfinished.
ENTER NOT INTO THE ^>^f^P 'p^ PATH OFTHE WICKED. P,,ACHAPTER VI.THE WEDDING."The roads should blossom, the roads should bloom,So fair a bride shall leave her home!Should blossom and bloom with garlands gay,So fair a bride shall pass to-day !"HE wedding morning had come.There had been several wet daysI previously, so that Susy's firstthoughtl was whether it was likelyto be fine or not; and she was not a littlepleased to find that the sun was shining, andgave promise of continuing to do so for somehours. Her next thought was about hercherished flowers, and she was anxious to seeif the rain had washed any of them away.The number in blossom was certainly lessthan she had hoped, but still there were
72 THE WEDDING.some very pretty ones; and as soon asbreakfast was over she proceeded to cut hernosegay. Scarlet geraniums, a damask-roseand a white one, several sprigs of whitejasmine, some clove pinks and mignonette,made a very bright show; and Susy tiedthem up with great satisfaction, and set offfor the Hall, picturing to herself the kindwelcome which the good housekeeper wouldgive her, and wondering if she should beallowed a glimpse of Miss Florence in herwedding-dress. But her reverie was inter-rupted by the sight of Mr. Herbert comingdown the lane, and she stopped and made alow courtesy to him."Well, Susy," said the young gentlemankindly, "where are you going to withthose beautiful flowers ? Ah! I think I canguess."Susy could only courtesy again, and say,"Yes, sir." She was too shy to say more,though she was pleased that Mr. Herbertshould notice her nosegay.
THE WEDDING. 73SUSY GOING TO THE HALL."Isn't it a very fine day for the wed-ding ?" said Mr. Herbert." Yes, sir."" I suppose you will be at the feast in thePark this evening ?"" Yes, sir," with another courtesy."Well, trot on now, before your Dretty"flowers begin to wither."And Susy went on, thinking what apleasant gentleman Mr. Herbert was, and
74 THE WEDDING.wondering how he knew that she was goingto take the flowers to Miss Florence, whensuddenly she heard quick footsteps behindher, and some one caught hold of her dress.She turned round and saw Lottie by herside, but oh, how unlike the Lottie of a fewdays ago!The girl's cheeks were flushed crimsonwith the speed with which she had come;her dress was even wilder than usual; herdark eyes were swimming in tears, whichoccasionally rolled down her cheeks, andeach time that she tried to brush them awaythey left a dirty streak on her face; her hairwas blown about with the morning breeze;and she would have frightened any one whodid not know her as well as Susy did, byher eager, vehement manner." Susy, he's dying-he can't live long-hehardly knows me-father's out-Mike'scalling for flowers-and to see you!" Thesebrief, incoherent sentences were rolled out,one after another, as quick as Lottie could
THE WEDDING. 75say them, and between each came a greatheart-rending sob." 0 Lottie! are you sure? Don't youthink he may get better again ? You knowhe's been very bad once or twice before.""Not so bad as this. Besides, I went andfetched the parish doctor, and he says it--oh, he says it! and Mike says it too-hekeeps muttering to himself, 'Suffer the littlechildren to come unto me;' and then hesays, 'Yes, Lord Jesus, I'm coming; pleasetake me soon.' 0 Susy, Susy! what shallI do ?" And poor Lottie clung round herfriend's neck, as if she could save her fromthe blow she so much dreaded; but at last,rousing herself, she said eagerly, "But Tmust go-he'll want me; give me thoseflowers-I came to ask you for some."A sudden thrill of disappointment ran toSusy's heart. The flowers she had cherishedfor Miss Florence, the pleasure she hadlooked forward to with so much delight--how could she give them up ?
76 THE WEDDING."0 Lottie !" she answered, "these arefor Miss Florence; I'll run back and getyou some more, but not these. Indeed, Ican't."Lottie's face fell. "0 Susy! I thoughtyou loved Mike. Oh dear! I wish I hadn'tleft him, and all for nothing. I thoughtthey'd amuse him, and the doctor says hecan't hold out more than three or fourdays.""Well, I'll run and get some more! ""No; I've been away too long already.I must go; " and she began to run on.Susy stood still, looking at her flowers, andthen after Lottie's retreating figure, andthen darted into her mind the lesson MissFlorence had taught her, " It is more blessedto give than to receive." Yes, but she wasgoing to give. Ah, but she expected some-thing in return! She hoped that MissFlorence would give her a smile and thanks,and that she should be allowed to see thepreparations for the breakfast, and every-
THE WEDDING. ,77thing that was going on; and if she had noflowers to take, she would have no excusefor going up to the Hall. And if she senther flowers to Mike, probably no one wouldever see them; he would be almost too illto know where they came from, he wouldnever be able to thank her for them. Ohno! it would be much better to take themto Miss Florence, who, she knew, wouldappreciate them.Thoughts like these passed through hermind in quick succession, but still sheseemed to hear, above them all, a voicewhich kept saying, "It is more blessed togive than to receive." "What would theLord Jesus have done ? Did he think of hisown pleasure when he was on earth ? No;you have heard how 'even Christ pleasednot himself.' Here is an opportunity ofdoing something for him." Susy looked upfor a moment and asked him to help her todo what he would wish, and then, withouttrusting herself to think any longer, she ran
78 THE WEDDING.after Lottie as fast as she could. She soonovertook her, and, putting the'flowers intoher hand, said, "I'm sorry I refused; hereare the flowers for dear Mike, and I'll comeGIVING UP THE FLOWERS.ISto-morrow to see him. Please, forgive me,Lottie, for being so cross."Lottie looked amazed. She had thoughtit very natural that Susy should want tokeep her flowers; and when she was oncerefused, she did not ask her again to givethem up. But this quiet little act of self-denial touched her, and she said earnestly,-
THE WEDDING. 79"How good you are, Susy! I wish I werelike you. Thank you.""I hope he'll like them," said Susy, asheartily as she could."You don't know how he loves 'em.Susy, will you give me a kiss ?"Susy complied very gravely, and thenbegan walking homewards slowly and sor-rowfully. She had not given the flowersgrudgingly, but still she could not stop thetears of disappointment which kept runningdown her cheeks, though she felt verymuch ashamed of herself as she saw Mr.Herbert standing at the garden gate talkingto her father. She tried to slip by un-noticed, but Mr. Herbert saw her, and saidinstantly,-"Well, Susy, did Miss Florence like theflowers ""-No, sir."Mr. Herbert laughed. "What do youmean, child?""Please, sir, she didn't get 'em."
80 THE WEDDING.MR. HERBERT AND SUSY'S FATHER AT THE GATE."Why ? Was Mrs. Longfortb too busyto take them to her ?""No, sir.""What was it then, my dear?" said herfather, putting his hand down on. her head." She's been nursing them flowers, Mr. Her-bert, like so many babies, to take them toMiss Florence to-day. Has anything hap-pened to them, Susy?"A sob was the only answer at first, but
THE WEDDING. 81then came the hurried words, "Mike's dying,and Lottie wanted them, and so I let herhave them." And then Susy ran past theminto the house, leaving her father to explainmatters to Mr. Herbert, which he did mostfully. And Mr. Herbert walked home say-ing to himself, "Florence shall know this-the fruits of her teaching. How it will cheerher when she is leaving us! And may itnot teach me too ? I have not been watch-ing for the opportunities of doing good aslittle Susy has been. I doubt if in all mylife I have done as great an act of self-denialas that girl has performed this morning.The lesson shall not be thrown away. Iwill see what I can do for these poorpeople, at least old Widow Clarke and thechildren. Ralph Clarke is, I fear, pastmending."(Yes, past man's mending he was, but notpast God's.)About two hours after this, Susy stoodbeside her father in Norton Church, watch-(290) 6
82 THE WEDDING.ing her dear Miss Florence coming up theaisle leaning on the old squire's arm.How beautiful she looked in her whitedress Little Susy never had seen anythinglike it. She thought it was more what shehad fancied the angels must be like thananything else. And then, when the servicewas over, and the merry bells pealed outfrom the old gray tower, and the youngbride came down the aisle with her husbandand stepped into the carriage, Susy beganto think that she wished Mr. M'Donald hadnot come to take Miss Florence away; andshe walked home with her father verysoberly and quietly."What are you thinking of, little one ?"said the gardener, looking into his child'sthoughtful face." Of Miss Florence going away.""She ain't 'Miss Florence' now, mydear; she's Mrs. M'Donald. Ah! well,she'll be happy, I'm certain, because she hasalways tried to make others so. But, Susy,
THE WEDDING. 83lass, I've been thinking about somethingyou could do for her. She's to drive off forthe station at half-past one; couldn't youget some flowers and strew them before heras she gets into the carriage ?"Susy's face brightened. "0 father, dearfather, how nice! I've got some white pinksand honeysuckle, and a few common roses,and-""Never mind; no fear but you'll haveenough.""And I'll get Mary and Jane Carter, andBessie Taylor, and Charlotte Black, to cometoo, because they'll all like to do it.""Very well," said her father, smiling athis child's pleasure.SAccordingly, when Miss Florence (for wecannot help calling her by that familiarname, though it belongs to her no longer)went down the steps of her father's Halldoor, she found a row of little girls all neatlydressed, with flowers in their hands, whichthey threw down before her as she went to
84 THE WEDDING.the carriage; and nearest to the carriagedoor stood the gardener's little daughter.Mr. Herbert had found an opportunity to tellhis sister about Susy's flowers; and as shepassed the little girl, the bride stooped andpicked up two or three white pinks and arosebud which Susy had thrown down,smiling at the child as she did so, and say-ing in a low, kind voice,-"Good-bye, Susy; I shall take these withme.And Susy looked up into her face andsaw that she was crying. Then her fatherhelped her into the carriage, and she droveaway with Mr. M'Donald. Susy went intothe housekeeper's room, and Mr. Herbertand Miss Norton brought some cake forall the girls; and then Mr. Herbert put alittle book into Susy's hands just as shewas going away, saying, "That is for you;I have written something in it."The little girl eagerly opened it, andfound that it was a nice hymn-book, with
THE WEDDING. 85i i _\ 1ADEPARTURE OF THE BRIDE.her own name written on the first leafand underneath was the text, "To do good,
86 THE WEDDING.and to distribute, forget not; for with suchsacrifices God is well pleased." And asshe walked home, Susy thought about themeaning of these words. They seemed likeMiss Florence's parting injunction to her.Yes! she would ask God to teach her inwhat way she might "do good, and dis-tribute." Well, it was true, her flowerswere the only things she could distribute,and she would do that as long as they lasted ;and after that she knew that there wouldalways be the everlastings, which AuntRachel had told her of, to fall back upon.And as for the last part of the text, Susythought she never had understood themeaning of it before that day-"with suchsacrifices God is well pleased." She had notgiven up her own pleasure in the morningthat she might have the praise or commen-dation of any earthly being; but she feltthat God was well pleased. And she wasnot wrong in thinking it, for the Lord JesusChrist himself said, "That thine alms may
THE WEDDING. 87be in secret, and thy Father, which seethin secret, himself shall reward thee openly."And so Susy had a quiet gladness in herheart, which no one knew of, during thefestivities of the evening; though her joywas a little sobered by the thought of thedying boy in that lonely cottage on thecommon, and the deep grief of poor Lottie,whom Susy had learned to love in spite ofher rough blunt manners and odd ways.
CHAPTER VII.LITTLE MIKE GOES HOME." Around the throne of God in heavenTh3usands of children stand;Children whose sins are all forgiven-A holy, happy band;Singing glory, glory, glory!"E next morning was wet and windy,but, nevertheless, Susy set off afterbreakfast to see Mike, settling inher own mind that she would gothere before school, and call at WidowClarke's on her way home.It was a very disagreeable walk throughthe rain, and along the muddy roads and thewet common, and Susy was very glad whenthe cottage appeared in sight.When she opened the door, Mike stretched
LITTLE MIKE GOES HOME. 89out his hand to her with a smile of recogni-tion, though he was not able to speak abovea whisper.Lottie was holding him in her arms, as hewas too weary and restless to stay in bed,and his pale face, which already bore tracesof death's finger, formed a strange contrastto the flushed and tear-stained one whichbent over him. In one of his hands was arose, the choicest which Susy had gatheredfor Miss Florence. It had been in waterduring the night; but little Mike had afancy to hold it as the long hours of themorning wore on, and so Lottie gave it tohim, and now it was dying like the child.Susy crept timidly to his side and tookhis other hand, and heard him whisper,"Susy, they were so pretty; I love themSO."" He means the flowers," said Lottie.Susy knew that, but she did not knowwhat to answer, and Mike went on, in a low,broken whisper,-
90 LITTLE MIKE GOES HOME."Jesus has said, Come ;' I'm going." 'Come to this happy land,Come, come away.'""Yes, Mike," said Susy, while the tearsrolled down her cheeks.Mike looked wonderingly into her face."Susy, you mustn't cry, because I'm veryglad; I'm going to be so happy.""Yes, I know that, Mike dear; only-""No more crying; no bad pain; nonaughty bad people; all nice, and good, andhappy; and he says, Come!""I'm glad for you, Mike."".Yes, I'm glad, good Susy, dear Susy;"and he stroked her cheek with his littleweak hand. "Sing, Susy.""What shall I sing ?""Something about the children coming toJesus."Susy thought for a moment, and thenbegan, though in rather a tremblingvoice,-
LITTLE MIKE GOES HOME. 91"'I think, when I read that sweet story of old,How Jesus came down among men,How he called little children like lambs to his fold,I should like to have been with him then.I wish that his hands had been placed on my head,That his arms had been thrown around me,That I might have seen his kind looks when he said-"Let the little ones come unto me ""'But still to his footstool in prayer I may go,And ask for a share in his love;And if I thus earnestly seek him belowI shall see him and hear him above-In that beautiful place he has gone to prepareFor all who are washed and forgiven:And many dear children are gathering there;For of such is the kingdom of heaven."'But thousands and thousands who wander and fallNever heard of this heavenly home;I should like them to know there is room for them all,And that Jesus has bid them to come.I long for that blessed and glorious time,The fairest, the brightest, the best,When the dear little children of every climeShall crowd to his arms and be blest.'"Mike smiled brightly at the end of it, andrepeated to himself the lines,-"'In that beautiful place he has gone to prepareFor all who are washed and forgiven.'Am I washed and forgiven, Susy ?"
q2 LITTLE MIKE GOES HOME."Yes, Mike, I think so.""Everybody who comes is, aren't they ? "" Yes."There was a long silence, then Susy saidshe must go; and bending over little Mike,she kissed him tenderly; and he, puttingboth his arms round her neck, tried toreturn it. And as he did so, he whispered," You'll come too, Susy ?" And then he laidhis head wearily back on Lottie's shoulderand closed his eyes, while Susy hurriedthrough the driving rain in the direction ofthe school.And on through all the long hours of thatdreary day Lottie sat silently clasping inher arms the little wasted brother, who wasall the world to her, watching the strugglefor breath, the exhaustion creeping over him,and the evident signs which told her thatshe would not have him much longer in herkeeping.Sometimes Mike would raise his head fora moment to ask for some water; sometimes