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THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEYAND OTHER STORIES
THE CHILDREN'SJOURNEY Inb Oth)n storiesBY THEAUTHOR OF "OUR CHILDREN'S STORY," "VOYAGEEN ZIGZAG," ETC.,/4? -clorc- l eSTRAHAN & CO., PUBLISHERS65 LUDGATE HILL, LONDON1872
LONDON:PRINTED BY VIRTUE AND CO.,CITY ROAD.*<(
UR CHILDREN'S STORY wasso lovingly welcomedby many little heartsSone Christmas time,that I have writtenanother book for you.These are not stories about our children, but storiesthat were told to them, and which are partly true,and partly pretend; only all the love in them isalways real.I promised to tell you something more aboutHarold, if there should be anything to tell, but Ireally don't know that there is, except that he hasbeen growing as fast as he can, growing tall, andcleverer, and good, and that he has learnt to ride,
viand that he says still he is much prettier than hisauntie, but we hope he will grow wiser when heis older.Marjory is just as happy as ever, but we areafraid she is a little fatter, and, as last time I wroteabout her, she was as broad as she was long, that israther a serious matter.We have six more children now, about whomyou shall hear some day; they are not a bitlike the old ones, except that they are all fond ofstories.A great many happy things have been sent toour children, and also sorrows, which come to all.They have a little sister now with God. She wasgiven to them when the snow was on the ground,and she stayed for the violets and the roses, butwhen the leaves began to fall, the angels gatheredher very gently and carried her back again toheaven; but all the love the children had for herstayed with them, and will make their lives morebeautiful.For love is the one thing on earth we can neverlose; it is like a cool river, growing broader and
viideeper as it flows towards the sea, which makesall the fields greener where it passes, and sweetflowers bloom. It flowed through Paradise longago, and they called it the River of Life.If you like my stories, dear little ones, it willmake me very happy; they are written by someone who loves you all!
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CONTENTS.PAGETHE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY ISOMETHING THAT REALLY HAPPENED 54LITTLE MARMOTTE 58ORANGES AND LEMONS 71HEREAFTER 83CHRISTMAS IN A BARGE. .. 184BY THE SEA-SHORE 204AUS HIMMEL 213LITTLE ELSIE'S CHRISTMAS 215ON THE HIGH MEADOWS 2456
-ITHE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.AUD, I've a great secret to tellyou. Let us climb on to thewindow-seat in the dining-room, and wrap ourselves upin the curtain tIat no one may hear, and then Ican whisper it."The speaker was little Geoffrey, Maud's brother.The two children were very great friends andshared all their toys, and games, and pleasures, andtroubles together; just now they were in a gooddeal of trouble, or at least they thought they were:things didn't go exactly right, Maud had said toherself many times. Mrs. Brown, who was thehousekeeper, was cross with Nurse, and Nursewouldn't speak to the other maids, and Cook neverB
2 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.made their favourite puddings now, and when theygrumbled Nurse would sigh, and say if their poormamma were there, things would be different." I do wish, Geoffrey, mamma was here, or thatthings would get different somehow. Nurse saidonly this morning, when I wanted to have my bestdoll out of the top drawer in the wardrobe, that Imight take a book or keep quiet, for this was avale of tears, and she hoped that some day trialsmight prove a blessing to Mrs. Brown's temper;and Mrs. Brown, who was in the passage, said veryloud to Jane as she was taking out the linen, thatshe forgave poor Nurse freely, as was her Bibleduty; and then Nurse slammed the door, and saidshe only wished poor dear missus could hear her.Oh dear! it's very uncomfortable, Geoffrey, and Ican't tell why, only things are different somehow,and I do wish mamma was here. I shall write andask her to come back.""1 They wouldn't get your letter for ever so long,and you couldn't write the direction plain enough,it's all in German, and we don't know a word, andforeigners can't read round hand, Charlie Whitetold me, and he knows: he says the French don'tunderstand pot-hooks even. No, Maudie, I'll tell
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 3you what we'll do, we won't write to anybody, butwe'll go to grandpapa right off.""By ourselves ?" cried Maud."Yes, of course. The servants wouldn't let usgo if they knew, and what do you and I want witha maid? I'm eight years old, and you're nearlyseven, we ought to be able to manage! That's mysecret, Maudie."" Do you mean that we're to run away ? ""Run away! That's so like a girl, you're afraiddirectly. We shan't run away, we're only going totravel like papa and mamma-only they travel inSwitzerland, and we shall travel in England,where it's quite easy. We can go to grandpapa.We can't go by the train, because we haven't gotmoney enough; besides, the porters would tellMrs. Brown or Nurse, and they'd stop us; butwe'll go by the road, it runs all the way fromTaunton to Bristol, and when we get there anybodycan tell us where grandpapa lives.""_But do you mean we are to walk, Geoffrey?""cJust at first, perhaps, till we see a coach.Travellers very often walk. Robinson Crusoe didwhen he'd got on his island, and Arctic explorerswhen their dogs die-the 'African Travellers'B2
4 THE CHILDREN' S JO URNEY .walked, and they'd an awfully jolly time-and-and-lots of others, the Alpine Club, you know.I believe men and boys always walk now. DonQuixote used to ride, but I'd much rather walk thanride an old broken-knee'd animal like Rosinante-why, a blacksmith wouldn't have made shoes for<f_such a beast as that; and besides, that was ever solong ago. Of course we shall like to walk. I'vegot some money, and luggage, and things all ready.I made it all up in bed this morning, and that's mysecret. I can show you the way on the map in thelibrary; we can't get lost if we go on the road, it's
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 5quite straight; besides, there'll be sign-posts andthings. Let's start to-morrow, Maudie. Won'tgrandpapa be pleased to see us! It'll be so jollyto be at Nunthorpe again, and they'll give us lotsof cakes.""u But, Geoffrey, do you think we really can doit ? I wonder if mamma would mind ? She saidwe must be such good children."" Well, haven't we been good children," saidGeoffrey, "as good as good? But the maids areso aggravating I can't stop here. If they'd let mego out more and keep with the men, I shouldn'tcare; but it's 'Master Geoffrey, come here,'and 'Master Geoffrey, don't do that, and do bequiet, and don't dirty your clothes, and youmustn't cut the chairs, and come and have yourhair brushed,' till I'm sick of it all. What's a boyfor if he mayn't get dirty and cut things, and enjoyhimself? I hate women, they're such milksops,and they do bully one so. You're only a girl, soI'll take you with me: we'll tell mamma theydrove us to it, and I know grandpapa '11 take ourside. Look here, I'll show you the luggage: it'sin an old box in the play-room. Come softly."So slipping down from their seat both children
6 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.stole noiselessly up-stairs, and crouching down by anold trunk, Geoffrey carefully unknotted the cordwith which it had been fastened across the top." See, Maudie, there are two pieces of bread andbutter I saved from yesterday, and my knife: it'sgot two blades, so that will be a great help to us."" How will it be a help to us, Geoffrey ?""Why, in cutting things, you know, for robbers,or anything, or to get loose with in case peoplefastened us in anywhere, or "-seeing Maud's dis-mayed face-" for eating our breakfast; loaves ofbread, you know. Why, we could spread thebutter beautifully with it, and then wipe it on the
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 7crust-so it wouldn't hurt it a bit. I'm very gladwe've got it; it's a great thing to have such aknife. Then there's ever so much string, and threemarbles ""They won't be any good; you can't eat mar-bles, or cut with them," said Maud." That's only because you're a girl. They'll bevery useful for something; we might want to playat marbles-I could teach you, and when we aretired of travelling, sometimes we might like toplay; then there's six biscuits-they're for provi-sions, and four apples Charlie White gave me-they are not very ripe, but they'll keep all thebetter, and some nuts; and I say, Maud, we shallfind blackberries, lots, on the roadside, and we canlive on them, they are first-rate; and I dare saythere'll be nuts somewhere, and I can cut offbranches with my knife, so that you needn't climb;won't it be jolly ?"Maud said she thought it would be very jollyindeed." And here's a bright new fourpenny-piece, andtwo-and-sixpence in. pennies and half-pennies, soyou see we've plenty of money.""Oh, Geoffrey!" cried Maud, "you naughty
8 THE CHILDREN'S JO URNE Y.boy, you've broken the cover of our poor-box andtaken all the pennies; how could you !""When people travel," said Geoffrey, "theymust have money; we can screw on the top of thebox again, 'tisn't hurt, so don't make a fuss, andI'll ask grandpapa for ever so much for the poorpeople: we shan't want it for them before Christ-mas. I'm only borrowing it; besides, it is our ownmoney, and we want it dreadfully; and you know,Maud, we shall be rather like poor people our-selves, a boy with a bundle, and a little girl totake care of, so it's quite right to spend it; and weshall want tea and sugar very likely, so it's allright.""But when are we to go, Geoffrey?" askedMaud, whose perfect faith in her brother's wisdomhad been a little shaken by his appropriation oftheir poor-money." To-morrow morning, after breakfast, when theservants are all busy, we'll set out," said Geoffrey;" I don't think I shall sleep a bit to-night, I shallbe in such a hurry to pack.""Let us pack now, Geoffrey! there's a bighandkerchief in mamma's room I know we mayhave, which will make a bundle, and we can
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY 9put the things in it. And then you'll want astick.""I shall take a stick from the hall; you'd betterhave an umbrella, it may rain sometimes."" Then I must take my cloak.""And shall we wear goloshes or boots ? ""I think," said Maud, " we'll wear our newboots, because they will last and look tidy. Nursealways puts on our best boots when we go toTaunton, only I don't know how I can lace them:yours are buttoned.""1 You must ask Jane to lace them before we start,and then keep them on always. You'll have tosleep in them, but that won't matter."" Where are we to sleep, Geoffrey ? ""Why, at hotels, of course, as travellers alwaysdo, and perhaps we may find somebody who'll takeyour boots off."Before the children were put to bed that nightthe bundle had been made up, and a list carefullyprepared of its contents, to be taken with them, andlooked over now and then to prove that nothing hadbeen lost by the way. It was printed by Maud asneatly as possible, and had only one blot on thepaper, and that was made when Geoffrey touched
10 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.her elbow, in his excitement, wanting to hurry her,which only made her lose time, as she told him. Itwas headed-FOR OUR JOURNEY.A knife, Clean shoes and stockings,Three marbles, Maud's text-book,Some string, Two pinafores,Bread and butter, Six biscuits, four apples,A comb, A purse.The sun shone brightly on the garden, and thefields, and the blue hills in the distance, and on thechildren's glad little faces as they ate their break-fast in a state of suppressed excitement which wasvery wonderful to Nurse, who sighed as she cut thebread and butter, and said it was all very well, poordears, with their troubles before them; but as forher, she couldn't eat with them in the house, aswas that unchristian in their feelings as she didn'twish to think of, knowing it was her duty to over-look it, however grievious, which her duty shewould do according to her spirit; but flesh wasweak, when trod on, and would turn. With whichremarks she made herself generally agreeable inthe nursery, arranging cups and saucers with piousresignation, and pouring the hot milk upon thechildren's bread as though she were steaming asacrifice.
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. IBut Maud and Geoffrey were much too full oftheir own projects to pay any attention to her.Geoffrey v dged Maud when Nurse asked, in amelancholy voice, if they wanted more bread andbutter, and pointed to his pocket and winked; andMaud grew very red, and said, " A little, please,"in a hesitating voice; and when Nurse's back wasturned Geoffrey seized it, and doubled it up, andhid it away in a moment; and then both childrenlaughed so, and made such a noise, that Nursedeclared they drove her poor head distracted, andhad better have their hats on and run and play,and let her have peace for half an hour, if such athing might still be attainable. This suggestionwas so perfect, that Geoffrey was forced to pinchMaud, to express his rapture without committinghimself, and then to give a war-whoop of joy anddefiance, and in five minutes they were runningdown the avenue as fast as their little feet couldcarry them. There was a pleasant air, which madethe brown and golden leaves rustle above them,and blew one or two into their faces as they ran,and a sweet fresh smell of morning, and flowers,and dewy red earth; and the birds sang, and thecows in the field chewed their grass as though
12 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.they found it particularly good that morning, andone gave a little satisfied moo of content as thechildren passed it. They felt very hapy and veryimportant, warm all over, and not at all hungry orfrightened. They went across the grass by a littlepath which led to a side gate. This was not veryeasy to open, but they managed it at last, and foundthemselves in a green Devonshire lane, which theyknew led into the high-road to Taunton."I think travelling in England is quite as niceas Switzerland; don't you, Maud ?" said Geoffrey." You must tell me when you're hungry, and I'lllook for nuts.""We've only just had breakfast; we mustn'tthink about being hungry yet, but walk as fast asever we can, or they'll send people after us."So, still holding each other's hands, the childrenran along the lane, rejoicing in each fresh turningthat made the old home seem still further behindthem, and casting many anxious looks across thefields, where a gap in the hedge gave them moment-ary glimpses of it as they passed."* "Don't you hear steps, Geoffrey?" cried Maud,at one moment stopping in sudden terror; "Ibelieve Nurse is coming, or old Martin-it sounds
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 13lame. Let's run again, and he won't overtakeus."Hobble and stump hobble and stump It camenearer, onlyrthe sound seemed to meet them, andthe children stood aghast, not daring to face the- .(i' /.-> "jangry messenger whose ominous limp was cominground the next turning of the lane."Oh, do hide!" cried Maud, and in suddenterror she rushed towards the shelter of the hedge,and holding Geoffrey tightly by the arm, cowereddown behind a large mass of fern, whose spreadingbranches nearly covered the children. Then camea moment of horrible suspense; the children heldtheir breath and grew pale.
14 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.Hobble and stump hobble and stump Nearerand nearer it came, and then the long ears andpatient face of a poor quiet old donkey appearedin sight, walking slowly along, and dragging -awooden clog fastened to one of his legs. Hestopped suddenly as he drew close to the children,and shook his long ears meditatively, biting off thehead of a thistle with a troubled air, and glancingfirst at Geoffrey and then at his own off hind-leg.Perhaps he thought the log of wood had somehowgot fastened to the wrong ankle. Things in thisworld are sometimes rather unfairly adjusted. Butthe donkey was a patient soul, and did not troublehimself much about other people's business; he atehis thistle and passed on, trying to believe that lifewas pleasant. Geoffrey flushed red with indigna-tion behind the shelter of the fern." Noah's donkey! Why, Maud, you'll be afraidof the robins next. I wouldn't be a girl for a greatdeal.""But, Geoffrey, you were frightened too whenyou heard it," pleaded Maud humbly." I shouldn't have been frightened a bit if youhadn't made such a fuss with your Cold Martins.'Besides, Martin couldn't touch me. I'm not afraid."
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16 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.It only being a question of Noah's donkey,Geoffrey, after the manner of boys, grew valiantand self-asserting; and now another ten minutesbrought them to the high road, and for half an hburthey walked on with steady perseverance rather tobe wondered at; but their purpose was still strong,anid their courage rose with every half mile theyaccomplished. One or two carts passed them, andthey met a drove of sheep, but the road was lonelyfor the most part, straight, and level, and unin-teresting. At last they came to a long hill, and hadclimbed wearily some distance up the slope, whenMaud said her foot hurt her, and she wanted to rest." Let's sit here, Maud, on these stones," saidGeoffrey, " and eat some bread and butter; it mustbe time for luncheon. We can make a table of thisbiggest stone, and cut up our provisions with myknife; it will be quite a picnic."So they made themselves comfortable, and atethe bread and butter, which tasted better thananything had ever tasted before." I've got an old medicine-bottle in my pocket,"said Geoffrey, "and P11 go and find some water.There must be a river somewhere, and you sit hereand rest."
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 7Maud said she would, and at first it was verypleasant, but then a dog came by, and ran up toMaud, and sniffed at her boots, and frightened her.It was so quiet and lonely, that she began to think,and to wonder whether Nurse would. be very angry,and also how far they would have to travel thatday, and then how she would ever be able to getoff her boots. It is always the small troubles thatare the hardest to bear, and Maud's philosophybroke down at her boots; besides, she rememberedthat her foot was hurting her, and began to cry, atfirst very quietly, the tears slowly running downher cheeks; then sobs came, and she called" Geoffrey! Geoffrey !" but no one answered, andleaving all their treasures by the side of the hedge,she began running down the hill again, cryingbitterly, and calling to Geoffrey.There was a dog-cart coming slowly towards her,but in her distress she hardly saw it, till she felta hand on her shoulder, and a man's voice said:" Heighday what's the matter now?"" I want Geoffrey," Maud said, still crying."Who's Geoffrey ?" asked the man. "There,don't cry, and I'll find him."" He's gone for some water," sobbed Maud, " andC
18 THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY.I'm afraid he's lost. We are travellers, and we'regoing to Bristol, and we were only having someluncheon, and now Geoffrey's gone.""Well, this is the queerest lot I ever comeacross," said the man. " So you're going toBristol, little missy, are you? and here's the boy.Well, there's a pair of you.""Who are you ? " cried Geoffrey, who had comeup at the moment; " and why are .you talking tomy sister ? "" Well, you see," said the new-comer, with alook of comic amusement in his face, "we're twoof a trade, I take it. You're a traveller ? "" Certainly,) said Geoffrey, with a grand air."As it happens, I'm a traveller, and I'm goingto Bristol; or at least along the road to it."" We are going to Bristol," said Geoffrey." And where are your traps ? " asked the man."Travellers don't have traps: we've luggage.That's our luggage, on those stones.""Well, then," said the man, "suppose you putyour luggage behind my horse, and yourselves onthe top of it? The weight won't kill him or breakthe springs, and as we're all travellers we'll traveltogether."
THE CHILDREN S JOURNEY. 19" Thank you," said Geoffrey; "you're very kind.Will you lift us up ? the step's rather high."The children were safely seated, and the umbrella,and the bundle, and the stick laid beside them.Their new friend wrapped Maud up in her cloak,and told her to hold on; then whipping up hishorse, they started at a pace that was indeeddelightful. Geoffrey was in a state of highdelight, and even Maud felt quite reassured andcomfortable." This is jolly said Geoffrey. " I think you'vea very good horse. What's his name ?""Traveller," said the man."How odd!" said Maud. " I'm very glad wemet you," she added, confidentially." Are you going only to Bristol or to Switzer-land ? " asked Geoffrey." Bless me," said the man, " what a queer boy "" Our papa and mamma are in Switzerland, butwe're going to Nunthorpe, to our grandpapa. It'sno _end of a jolly place, with lots of trees andsticks, and haymows, and ponies, and ladders, youknow, and they let you get in a horrid mess anddon't jaw, and grandmamma lets us choose our ownpuddings and jam and things, and we sit up late
20 THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY.and make toffee. Shall I tell you about Nun-thorpe ? "The man said he might if he liked, and whileGeoffrey talked, he lit a pipe and smoked, andthought over a conversation he had had the nightbefore in the travellers' room at the King's Arms,at Tiverton, and whether Jack Mason had had anyfoundation for that story of his about the bay mare,or whether he hadn't pulled the long bow a littlestronger than usual. He was a silent man, kind-hearted-or he would not have troubled himselfabout the children-but slow in his thoughts; anabsent-minded man, who gave what small intellecthe had to studying the events of the road and hisbusiness as a salesman. Any one else would havebeen staggered by the boy's story, and have quicklyput an end to such a runaway journey, but to thisman the meeting with the children was simply anincident of the road, possibly an unusual one, butnothing more; and so Geoffrey prattled on, un-heeding the irresponsiveness of his companions, forlittle Maud was by this time fast asleep with herhead on her brother's shoulder.They drove through Taunton without halting,the man having finished his business there a day or
THE CHILDREN 'S JOURNEY. 21---------------------------two before, but he pulled up at a homish-looking"wayside inn soon after leaving the town, and whilethe horse was led round to the stable its mastertook the children with him into a clean sandedparlour. There was a broad low window, witha great many small panes of glass, through whicha cluster of bright pink cabbage roses nodded atthe children, and on the window-seat stood a jugfull of lavender and marigold and sweet-williams,a pleasant old-fashioned posey."HIere's three uncommonly hungry tiravellers,missis," said the man, as they encountered thesmiling landlady in the passage; " so what can youdo for us ?"" There's beans and bacon and beautiful potatoes,hot as hot, and a good tap of Burton. And blessand save us, mister who 'av' ye got this morning ?Why, my pretty, a travellin' so early And where'syour ma, dear ? And little master, there! Well,I never "" They're on a journey, they are," said the man,winking at the landlady, " and I gave them a lift.You see, we're going the same road, only theirs ispleasure and mine' business."" It isn't pleasure," said Geoffrey gravely; our
22 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.papa and mamma are travelling for pleasure, butthey're in Switzerland; people don't travel forpleasure in England.""I believe you," said the man, seating himselfat the table.The way that landlady behaved would have doneyour heart good to see. She hugged Maud andlaughed over her, taking off her hat and smoothingher pretty hair with a tender pride in it; she kissedGeoffrey, which made him very angry, and calledhim " Sir," at which he felt very important; shedusted the chairs and made them sit down, andheaped their plates with big floury potatoes andrashers of bacon, and fresh bread and golden butter;she made them drink a glass each of her sweethome-made wine, "to warm their little hearts,bless 'em! " and then she suggested pancakes."Did the young gentleman like pancakes ?"He should think so and "Oh, thank you !"cried Maud, " we are very fond of them, indeed;and please may we come and see you make them ?"That they should; and what a kitchen it was!with a fire that roared a welcome, and made thepancakes splutter in helpless expostulation. Andhow that landlady tossed them, and laughed at the4*
THE CHILDREN 'S JOURNEY 23children, and the children laughed back at her;her face grew red, and shone so with heat andkindliness that she looked like concentrated sun-shine, as though her heart was so warm it sentout rays everywhere: and to see the children eatthose pancakes was something never to be for-gotten. Maud helped to put them on the dish,while Geoffrey made the plates warm, and thenthey formed a triumphal procession to the sandedparlour. The man wouldn't eat any, actually didn'tcare for pancakes After that the children's faithj.'IV..care for pancakes8! After that the children's faith
24 THE CHILDREN 'S JOURNEY.in him was gone; they were much obliged to him,but didn't care much to travel with him farther.It was a grievous moment for Geoffrey when hefelt he could not eat any more: such moments mustcome to all of us, but it saddened Geoffrey to feelthat it had come so soon.Then the man got up, and said, " What's to payfor the lot, missus ? for I must be off.""A shilling for your dinner and fourpence forthe beer, one and four," said the landlady, " andthe children's welcome to all they've eat, and I'dkeep 'em for a week and gladly, that I would, andpay myself with kisses of that pretty dear, as isa picture, and young master there, as is that noble,he'd make a soldier, and a gallant one, in no time,when he's growed a little. Good-bye, my preciousdears, and are you sure you're warm, my pretty?and tuck your cloak round your little legs, there'sa dear! and you hold tight by brother. Bless 'emfor two innocents, as the robins might look out forand feel it come quite natural. I do hope and praythat man '11 take good care of them, for how theycome to be together is more than I can credit, andif harm should follow those two. children I nevercould sleep easy again to think I'd let 'em go."
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY Y. 25At the next long hill on their road, Geoffreyasked their companion to lift them down, andtaking his sister's hand he said-" We're very much obliged to you, but I thinkwe'd rather walk now."'" Do you mean you don't want to go anyfarther ?" asked the man." Not to drive, thank you," said Geoffrey,"we're rather tired of driving, so good-bye.""Good-bye," said Maud, " and -thank you verymuch."" Tired of driving, are you ?" said the man;"well, good-bye then. I advise you to travel theother way now, and you'll get home to tea.The man whipped his horse, and he and his dog-cart were soon out of sight.Geoffrey was very indignant; Maud said he hadbeen very kind and a great help, and they oughtto be grateful: nevertheless both children enjoyedbeing alone again, and walked along cheerily, run-ning up and down the little heaps of dry mud bythe roadside, and then chasing each other. Theway seemed to grow narrower, and there was moregrass near them, and the hedges were greener, theafternoon sunshine .made everything bright, and
26 THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY.the pleasant country sounds that came to the chil-dren soothed and rested them. They met no one,no carriages or carts passed them, and the roadwound about, as only West-country roads knowhow, up little hills and down through grassycombes, and by sparkling watercourses, till at lengthit passed between two high hedges that were so neartogether that if the children had been still sittingin the dog-cart, as they went along they couldhave plucked the flowers from either bank. Merrilythey ran along this wonderful lane, which endedsuddenly in a little wood full of pleasant shade andsunlight, where the shadows played at hide-and-seek amongst the leaves, and the birds sang storiesto each other, and the wind whispered pleasantgossip to the beech-trees who rustled all over withinterest, and told it to the oaks with variations;the oaks were beginning to turn brown and weregrave in their talk, but there was an undergrowthof larches and hazels who were glad of anything inthe way of variety, and turned their leaves up withcuriosity whenever the wind blew their way.Grasshoppers lived among the green herbage andchirruped confidentially to each other, and there wasa damp place well in the shadow, where a family of
' THE CHILDREN' S JOURNEY. 27frogs had resided for a great number of years,croaking loudly, to any one who would listen, as tothe benefits of a water-cure.As the children came under the shelter of thetrees a little squirrel with a nut in its mouthran up a branch above, and sat down to enjoy hisprize."c Oh Maud, look, there's a squirrel !" criedGeoffrey; I'll see if I can catch it."" Oh, no, Geoffrey, don't please; we'll sit downhere and watch it, it's so pleasant on the soft moss.We'll sit on my cloak and enjoy ourselves. Don'tyou think it is time for dessert, and that we mighteat an apple ?"It was certainly very pleasant to travel, theyboth thought, as resting against the trunk of a treethey munched their apples and watched the squirrel,who looked at them with his little head very muchon one side and its bright eyes twinkling. Thebirds sang louder than ever, and Geoffrey began towhistle; then he found a piece of stick, and cutthe bark off with his knife to make a fork of it, hetold Maud, who looked on with great interest." It's very jolly, isn't it, Maud ? and how thebirds are singing !"
28 THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNE Y.The children began to sing too, softly to them-selves, out of the gladness of their hearts."Tweedle-dum and tweedle-de,Who so gay as you and me ? "-, ^" And we don't want any tea,""said Why, that's poetry, Ghands. eoffrey,It's much nicerLet's make another line.""Becasuse we've run away, you see,"sang Geoffrey."And we don't want any tea,"said IMilaud, clapping her hands. "It's much nicer
" THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 29to eat apples out of doors. Oh, isn't travellingdelicious, Geoffrey ?"" Awfully," said Geoffrey, " and we're gettingon so well; I think it's perfectly easy to travel. Ifeel as if we'd been doing it all our lives. I thinkgrandpapa will be quite surprised; we shall be soused to travelling soon that papa and mamma willhave to take us to Switzerland next year. I'm veryglad Fraulein had to go in such a hurry; this ismuch nicer than lessons. I don't mean ever todo what women tell me again; now one's older,one can't stand it.""Oh, Geoffrey, mamma !""Well, she's different. Mamma's mamma;that's different from being a woman; but I meanto do a good deal what I like now, and keep in thestable, and play at cricket, and just learn perhapsLatin and Greek; but I shan't spell, or do Mang-nall' or 'Use of the Globes,' or have women inter-fering, and I daresay now papa '11 let me sit upquite late. I should think we should have grownbefore they come back. How much should youthink a boy could grow in six weeks if he triedhard ? I believe travelling makes one grow fast;it must, you know."
0 o THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY.Maud said she thought it was " very likely."" Well," said Geoffrey, lying on his back in thesunshine and kicking, I don't mean to do any-thing I dislike again.",, -"# Oh my!" said a voice so close to them thatMaud gave a little scream, and Geoffrey jumped onhis feet. A very small girl stood before them,carrying a very large baby. She was dressed in ashawl and a big bonnet, and very big boots, butshe had a thin white face, a little shrunk figure,and very shaky legs, and the children hardly knewwhether she was a very tiny old woman, or a veryold little girl. The big baby was large and fat and
THE CHIL DREN 'S JO URNEY. 3flabby; it clutched at her, and slobbered over her,and hung upon her like a great succulent juicyovergrown parasite that was drawing the life out ofa very sickly plant; and every time the baby grewrestless and made a fresh clutch at his support, thesupport's legs quivered in a manner feebly sugges-tive of instability, as though, in regard to its boots,which were so much too big for it, it had beenbadly potted."Oh my!" said the small girl, and she lookedwonderingly at the children." What do you want ? " said Geoffrey; " why doyou keep on saying 'oh my' at me ?""IWell, but," said the girl, "you do talk so-' never do nothing but what you like,' oh,law "Here the baby clutched at its own throat, andchoked in the attempt in a manner very awful towitness, but the small girl was equal to the occa-sion. Sitting on the ground, she made a frame-work of her legs, and laid the baby across them onits stomach, patting its back softly."It's only fat," said the girl; "it'll come allright; it's always doing of it; they says it's wind,but I know better, there ain't room; it's all fat,
32 THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY.solid; heft it," and she held the baby towardsMaud." I'm afraid I should drop it, thank you," saidMaud, timidly; "I can quite believe it's solid, it'sso-so-such a fine baby."Here the baby howled, and had to be pattedagain."Is it your baby ? " asked Maud."No, it ain't our'n, it's my aunt's, but I nussesit, I walks it about regular; it don't take muchnotice, not to know you like, which would make itpleasanter; but aunt says I ought to be-proud onit, and it is big, ain't it ? " said the poor little nursewistfully, anxious for her charge's credit." It is, rather," said Maud.Geoffrey declined to talk to a girl; he lay onthe grass again and kicked."It give me a turn," said the girl, " to hear yousudden, so it did; and to think as you didn't donothing' but what you liked, oh my !""There you are again," cried Geoffrey. "Iwish you wouldn't say 'oh my !'like that aboutme."" But what 'ud you do if you was me? " saidthe girl; "if you had to get up in the dark and
THE CHILDREN 'S JOURNEY. 33clean up the place, and get that sloppy as you wasfroze before breakfast, and a aunt a 'ollerin' afteryou from morning' to night, and nothing' you coulddo to please her, and a baby, as was a fine child ofits age, as no one can't deny, to have its exerciseregular, and in the open air until your arms is thatstiff and your legs shaking, and your head thatweak when bed-time comes, you can hardly tellwhich is you and which is the baby. It ain't abad child to sleep when I'm moving, and it is big,and I'm proud on it. Teacher said as how it wasthe station in life along of which Providence hadplaced me; if the station could have been cooking ,instead of a baby, I'd 'ave taken it kind; but I tryto do my best, you see," said the little girl; " andwhen I'm growed up, p'raps I shall get alongeasier, only sometimes I think as how it's the babyas 'ud grow and not me."" I'd run away," said Geoffrey, who pretendednot to be listening, but had heard every word." Oh, law !" said the girl, just hark to 'n, howhe do talk. Why, what good would that do ?things is contrary go where you will. I've got amother, and she ain't much good to me 'cause she'sin Africa with a lady as she's, nuss to, but I loveD
34 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.her," and two great tears stood in the eyes of thebaby's slavey; "and she told me, Sairey, you doyour duty, and the Lord 'll take care of you. Do"what you're told, and keep to that station, &c.:'and I said, 'Mother, I will;' and then she kissed""k\moment. But where's your father/ \ " \ \I"I aren't got none.""Do you mean your father's gone to heaven?"asked Maud in a solemn voice.
THE CHILDREN S JO URNEY. 35" He were took when I were little," said the girl."Did the angels take him?" asked Maud in awhisper." No, 'twas the fits, mother said, and she had towork, and so I'm with aunt; and uncle he drinks,which ain't pleasant, for when he's been drinkinguncommon badly he hits me over the head 'causeI'm so small: he says I aggravate him, he says Iwon't grow a purpose."" Oh " cried Maud, with a gasp of sympathy.Here the baby suddenly threw itself flat on itsback and roared; the girl rose from the ground,and lifted it over her shoulder." It ain't nothing it's only howling 'cause it'shungry; it do howl uncommon when it thinksthings is contrary; but, law! what's the use ? Itwouldn'tt be no good for me to howl were it ever so,I shouldn't get nothing' by it. I know the Lord 'llhear without that, and there ain't nobody else tolook after me; but He will, I do believe, as long asI does my best; and bless you, why He can seethat far, it don't matter whether you're grow'd ornot, He never overlooks you, and I shall.get alongsomehow. There then," to the baby, " do'ee giveover, and we'll go." And with a vigorous effort
36 THE CHILDREN 'S O URNEY.she hoisted her burden a little higher, and, totter-ing under its weight, turned her patient face to thechildren, as she moved away, and said:" We're going now. I'm glad as you kissedme; I won't forget. I'm afraid," to Geoffrey, "ifyou're allers doing nothing' but what you like,you'll do something some day as you didn't ought,and then you'll catch it, which ain't pleasant, if it'sgive sudden over the 'ead."" I don't care," said Geoffrey." But, oh my " said Slavey, " Don't Care cometo a bad end."She moved slowly off staggering under herburden, the baby's ominous choking and criesgrowing fainter and fainter as the pair vanished inthe shadow of the wood.The children looked at each other, but did notspeak out their thoughts as rapidly as heretofore;somehow the gilding seemed a little gone fromtheir pleasure. They had both a vague undefinedfeeling that it was so, and their hearts sank a little;they were not quite so sure as to what was to bethe end of it all; there was a little uncomfortablevoice somewhere talking to each of them, theyseemed to see the girl's story and their own story
THE CHILDREN 'S JOURNEY. 37side by side, and somehow it seemed to them thatif the Lord had been looking down on the threechildren, He might have liked the girl's story best,though there was so little pleasure in it. A newthought had come into their hearts, that life wasnot meant to be all pleasure, that there was such athing as duty in it, and that they had been runningaway from theirs. It was very disagreeable to beordered about by women, and to feel that thingswere somehow going wrong in the nursery; but itwas much worse to get "sloppy " before breakfast,and be hit over the head by your uncle. Maudeven began to think it would be almost pleasant tohave some one to scold her a little, and just to takecare of her; and she was getting tired of apples,and wanted her tea and some nice toast, and to bedressed and have her hair brushed, and be able toplay with her doll, and then go to bed earlybecause she was tired. She did not like to admitall this even to Geoffrey, and, indeed, wouldhardly have known how to put her thoughtsinto words, but Geoffrey was beginning to feeluncomfortable." Where are we to sleep, Geoffrey ?" said Maud,suddenly.
38 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY." Where are we to sleep? why, at an hotel, ofcourse.1"" But won't it be difficult to find one ? isn't itgetting rather late ?" suggested Maud.The shadows were lengthening very fast now,and seemed to deepen suddenly, and to shut thechildren in; the sunshine was all gone. And nowthey began to notice how strangely silent it hadgrown-the birds had all ceased singing; the wind,too, which had made everything so merry a littlewhile before, had almost died away, and what wasleft of it had taken to moaning wearily, as thougheverything was tired and the day knew it wasdying; there were purple bars across the skywhere an opening in the wood left it visible, andthese grew and grew and darkened slowly till theyseemed to fasten out the brightness; and the palegreen light faded behind them, and a cold greymist rose from the ground and hung like a shroudabout the trunks of the trees, and made thechildren shiver. They did not know what wastaking the moral starch out of them, but the frogscould have told them." Bless you!" they were croaking among therushes in the ditch, " no one can stand it but us :
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 39if you ain't made of vulcanized india-rubber, orbest green gutta-percha warranted to stretch easy,you're sure to shrink, you can't be off it."The children were shrinking mentally; theirhearts fell lower and lower as though there was adead weight about them. They felt damp andchilled; and Maud's pretty golden hair seemed tohave lost its sunshine, and hung sadly about therosy cheeks." Let us go, Geoffrey," she cried; " I don't likethis wood, it's growing so lonely and so dark. Dolet us run, I'm frightened."Geoffrey took her hand, and shouldered theirbundle with a grand air, and tried to feel brave fortwo."I Come along," he said, "I'll take care of you; "and so, half afraid of their own footsteps whichechoed through the stillness, the children hastenedalong the path. The road they were on grewrougher and narrower, and in one place, where itdipped suddenly into a hollow, it was almost a bog;and they slipped about, and once Geoffrey fell andhurt his face and elbow a good deal, though hewastoo proud to complain, and little Maud's boots weresoaked through, and her feet felt very cold and
40 7HE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.miserable, and her legs ached so with running, andfelt stiff and tired after the long rest in the wood.It was very dark, too, now, for a great rock hungover them with gnarled and mossy trunks clingingto its sides, and a deep cavern under it whichreminded the children of the approach to the castlein Pilgrim's Progress; perhaps there were lionshere, or wolves, or even bears; there used to bereal wolves in England, they knew, and somemight be alive still. In mortal terror they stolealong, and then they heard something comingbehind them, a heavy tread that crushed the stonesin its path, and made a squishing noise in thewater as it floundered through the bog, and thegreat pools; and then an angry voice swearingawful words that made the children shake withfear and crouch under the shelter of the rock. Thegreat black staggering figure of a man came closeto them, whirling round a thick stick with anangry arm, and muttering with an oath betweeneach word," he'd like to see any 'un as 'ud do it;they'd better not try to have their own way withhim; if anybody 'ud go for to say as it warn't hisbusiness, he'd break every bone in their skin. He'dlike to know where that there girl were, as was a
THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY 41eatin' 'im out of 'is house a guzzlin' and a feastin'and a wallerin' in comfort. And who'd think it tolook at her ? She did it a purpose, she did; " andthen he swore again, and hit savagely at a littleplant beside him, and broke its head: and so withangry mutterings the dark figure staggered by." It's her uncle," said Geoffrey in a whisper;"what an awful man! 0 Maud, ain't you gladhe's gone ? "" 0 Geoffrey, Geoffrey !" cried Maud, with aburst of sobs, " I want to go home. Oh! mamma,mamma, mamma i!" Don't cry so, Maudie; we'll run back, andthen we shan't see him again; we'll get back tothe broad road, where it'll be lighter. I don'tbelieve we were right here; I think somehowwe've lost our way."But Maud could only say, "I want to go home,"between her sobs, as she dragged her weary littlefeet back along the muddy path and by the mossyglade where they had watched the squirrel andenjoyed themselves so much only an hour or twobefore. It seemed already to the children asthough days had passed since then. Holding eachother tightly by the hand they retraced their foot-
42 THE CHILDREN' S O URNEY.steps, and at length found themselves clear of thewood, and then that the green lane ended in abroad high road which looked almost like an oldfriend to them as they regained it." Let us go home," Maud was still sobbing." We can't go home," said Geoffrey, gulpingdown something in his throat that may have beena piece of apple that had lodged there; "it's sofar; we must go on now. We shall find an hoteldirectly, and then we shall be all right."But Maud still shuddered, and cast frightenedglances behind her, fancying always she heardthose heavy footsteps and the angry voice. Geoffreycomforted, and then scolded her as she clung tohim screaming in a fresh agony of terror; some-thing was coming behind them,-a steady tramp ofmore than one pair of feet, however; and presentlythey saw an old grey horse trotting leisurely alongthe road with the tilt of a big waggon loomingabove his head, and heard the rumbling of wheelsand a low monotonous sound as of some one sing-ing. At the child's scream the old horse stopped,and a man got down and came up to Geoffrey.", Is the little 'un hurt ?" he asked kindly." No, thank you," said Geoffrey; but we're
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY 43very tired, and she's frightened; we want to findan hotel and to have our tea."" You get right up in the cart," said the man," and I'll take care on 'ee. Why, my pretty love,what is it, then? Don't 'ee fret so; you'll ridebeautiful up in the cart, same as any little queen,and old Dobbin 'll take you into Bridgewater,. andglad to do it."Maud liked the kind voice and the strong arms,and let their new friend lift her carefully into thewaggon, where she nestled down among some drywarm straw, and, quite wearied out, she fell into adeep quiet sleep, in which she dreamed she was athome again in her own bed, with her mother'sloving kisses on her lips.Geoffrey sat on the board in front by the driver.He was tired, too, and did not care to talk much;the old horse trotted on, and the man sang softly tohimself the words of an old hymn:-" God forgive us when we sin !Open, Lord, and let us in;Long and weary is the wayWhen from Thee our feet would stray.Silly sheep, we bleat and cry;Blessed Shepherd, then be nigh:Lonely is the night, and cold;Open, Lord, for us the fold."
44 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.Over and over and over again he sang it, with acracked unmusical voice, but which had a gladpeacefulness in it, and the creaking waggon andthe wheels and the horse's feet all seemed to keeptime to the rhythm: almost unconsciously Geoffreyfound he was singing it too-" God forgive us when we sin :"it was like a prayer, he thought, and a prayer thatwas perhaps meant for him. He wasn't quite sureyet that he had done anything wrong, or that hewanted to be forgiven, only he felt dimly that Maudwas like a little lamb that had been bleating andcrying, and that the night was very dark and cold.He liked the man, and felt as though he belongedsomehow to the Good Shepherd, and that while theywere there on the road, it was pleasant to hear goodwords, and to feel warm and safe, instead of beingin that terrible lonely wood. When they got toBridgewater he shouldn't care so much. He shouldfeel like a traveller again, and know what to do."Where have 'ee come from, little master ?said the man suddenly; "where do 'ee bide when'ee be to home ?"Oh, a long way off," said Geoffrey; "we're*
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 45on a journey, and just mean to sleep at Bridge-water on our way to Bristol, that's all.""You poor lambs," said the man, " howevercould 'ee think of such a thing ? And what's yourmother doing to let two children be all astray likethat ?"" Our mamma's in Switzerland, she doesn't know,she's travelling with our papa; and we're travellingtoo," Geoffrey added with a grand air that hethought ought to have been conclusive." And so you've bin and run away? But yououghtn't fur to have done it, little master; wemayn't none on us go nowhere without leave; andyou'll have to ask the Lord to forgive 'ee and goright back. You ought to obey your parents, andthey'd say, 'You bide to home.' The Lord won'tlove 'ee if you go agin that; but if so be asyou confesses your sin, why then, my dearie,He'll make it all right, for He do love a honestboy as '11 speak up true, and honour his fatherand mother, be they travellin' ever so, let aloneSwitzerland."" But I haven't done any sin," said Geoffrey." I have got nothing to confess, except to tellgrandpapa how the women bullied me, and that I
46 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEYwouldn't stand it. You are quite mistaken aboutus. I'm quite old enough to go on a journey andto take care of my sister, and you oughtn't tospeak to me like that."The man said no more, only sang his hymnslowly over and over; and soon the waggon beganto jolt on the stones, and lights flashed from theshop windows, and then Dobbin suddenly stopped;his master got down, and whispered a word or twoto a man who stood at the door of a large housewhere there was a big lamp burning, and in anothermoment returning to the waggon helped out littlesleepy Maud tenderly in his arms, saying toGeoffrey-" This is a hotel, young master, and good evento you; and, my dear heart, don't 'ee forget whatI've been saying of to you."The bundle and the stick and the umbrella weretaken out, and then the waggon and its kind olddriver moved slowly away."Is this Bridgewater ? " asked Geoffrey."Yes, sir," said the waiter, "this is Bridge-water, sir.""And is this a good hotel ?"" The werry best, sir."
THE CHILDREN' S JO URNEY. 47"And have you some rooms- can we stophere ? ""1 Dear me, yes, sir, certainly, sir. If you'llstep in, I'll attend to the young lady; she seemsrather tired; been havingg a nap, miss, I should say,and not quite awake. Shall I carry you ?"M IK P-- -- /-('" Thank you, my sister can walk," said Geoffrey;" be good enough to show us the way.""He spoke up like a lord, he did," saidthe waiter to the women, "and said, 'Willyou see that our luggage is brought up?' thatgrand he most killed me with larfin, seeing thebits of sticks and a bundle, as was all they'd got."
48 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY." Put 'em into No. 7," said the chambermaid," and I'll look after 'em."Geoffrey led little Maud into the parlour, andtalked in a loud, cheerful voice to reassure her andhimself."Now, Maudie, we're all right, let's enjoy our-selves.""I What'll you please to order, sir ?" said thewaiter."4 Well, what can we have ?" asked Geoffrey." Weal and 'am pie, sir; werry good fowls, sir;roast beef; werry good cut o' cold sirloin, sir;mutton-chops, sir; beefsteak-a nice juicy steak,sir; kidneys, Stilton cheese, sir; Bass's pale ale, anddry sherry-whatever you're pleased to order, sir.""I What do you advise ? asked Geoffrey, confi-dentially."1 What 'ud you say to two weal and 'ams, sir,and a puddin' ?"" Let's have pancakes," said Geoffrey, decisively." Werry good, sir, pancakes for two. Hany-think else? Tea, now ?" said the man." Yes, tea certainly," said Geoffrey: " but Ithink my sister would like milk best; wouldn'tyou, Maudie ?"
THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY. 49" I'm not hungry. I want to go to bed," saidthe child."And so you shall, miss," said the chambermaid;"you eat a bit first, and I'll get No. 7 ready foryou in a half-hour; let me take your things off,dear, and your boots, as is quite wet; and, James,you put a light to them sticks, and let 'em warmtheir little feet, and give 'em a drop of something .She's all of a tremble, pretty dear."Maud laid her little head on the woman'sshoulder, and cried quietly, while she undressedand comforted her; then a big old sofa was drawnup to the fire, and the two children seated in itwith the round table before them, and a steamingurn and bright tea-pot and a plate of hot toast, andsuch a dish of pancakes! But they didn't taste asthose pancakes in the morning had done; theflavour seemed to have gone out of everything.Maud was very unhappy, and something seemedalways speaking to Geoffrey, and making him feelmore and more uncomfortable; the very urn seemedto be singing the old man's hymn again, and hiswords sounded in his heart.SSuddenly Maud put down her unfinished piece oftoast, and laid her head on her brother's shoulder.E
50 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY." Oh, Geoffrey, think of that poor little girl; doyou believe that dreadful man is there? Oh! Ihope God won't let him hurt her, she's such a goodlittle girl, and we're so naughty, Geoffrey-I'msure now we're very, very naughty. Do you thinkGod will ever love us any more?"" I don't know, Maudie," said Geoffrey, ruefully."He'll love you, because it wasn't your fault. It'sall my doing, and it was horrid of us to run away.It's only'cowards do that. I thought we were onlygoing to travel, but somehow it's all turned outso differently. I'm afraid now papa will beangry.""1 He won't be angry, Geoffrey, but he'll be very,very sorry. I can't bear to think we've made themsorry. I wonder if they'll ever know ? "" Of course they'll know," said Geoffrey; " I shalltell. them, and shall ask grandpapa to take us backdirectly, and we mustn't mind if the maids areCross; they will be, horribly, of course."" Oh, Geoffrey," said Maud, presently, " I'm soglad we're going to tell and going back, and thatwe're sorry; it's so much nicer. I feel happieralready, as though some one had forgiven us.Perhaps God has; He can see into our hearts, and
THE CHILDREN 'S JO URNEY. 5will know that we are sorry, and that we didn'tmean to do wrong, not very. Won't it be nice tobe home again with papa and mamma ? I don'tthink I shall ever care to travel, not even when I'mgrown up; but, Geoffrey, I think I should like alittle bit of pancake now. I wasn't hungry before."The children slept soundly that night, and saidtheir little prayers very earnestly, with a newmeaning in the words, before they lay down. Thenext morning, when they went into the parlour,they heard a kind, cheery voice saying, " Well, isthere any breakfast for me ? I'm a traveller too, sothere's three of us."" Grandpapa !" cried the children, as theyrushed into his arms. For a minute there wasnothing to be said; Maud was crying with delight,and half smothered with kisses, but Geoffrey drewback, and said bravely:"u Grandpapa, you ought to know that we've notbeen good, only it was all my fault, so you may.forgive Maudie; I wanted to travel, and I per-suaded her to come too; I'm very sorry, grand-papa, and I know I ought to be punished, but-but-were you ever bullied by a lot of womenwhen you were a boy ? "
52 THE CHILDREN'S JOURNEY.I don't think their grandfather scolded themmuch, but he carried them off to Nunthorpe, andthat same evening their papa and mamma arrivedfrom Switzerland, and they were all very happytogether.Maudie gave her grandpapa no rest till he pro-mised to take care of her poor little girl, her dearlittle girl, who was so good and so unhappy.Nobody punished the children; they had a greatdeal of love and kisses instead, and grandmammaallowed them to make some toffee; but Geoffreynever forgot all through his life the sad, loving lookin his mother's eyes, as, holding him in her arms,
THE CHILDREN 'S JOURNEY 53she said, " My boy, I thought I could have trustedyou.," She should never have to say that again-never," thought Geoffrey; "he would bear any-thing, but she should never be sorry for him !"I think the children had learnt something intheir journey, though it had only lasted one day.
SOMETHING THAT REALLYHAPPENED.----^----SiHE little children'sangels singing inthe glory of heaven,Said to each other," Christmas is com-' ing, what do youthink can be given ?What do you fancy our children would like best for their tree ?If the dear Christ gave them a beautiful gift, what would theywish it to be ?" They have books and toys and goodies safely hidden away,The air is so full of secrets they are too happy to play."" I know," said a sweet little angel, very quiet and bright,For I was listening to my dear little boy, as he said his prayersto-night.
SOMETHING THAT REALLY HAPPENED. 55"He had counted on his fingers the presents for all the rest,And then said,' Please God, send Gerald a baby, for I shouldlike it best.'Let us tell the angel that lives in the garden where all the babiesgrow,Let us ask whether there is one for Gerald, perhaps the angel willknow !"And they went in their little dresses, shining and white and fair,Like a soft downy cloud of doves, went singing on through the air!Till among the tall sweet lilies, and the roses white and red,They came where the dear little babies slept on the violet bed.There were such a number of babies, with brown eyes and blue,Shining between the violet beds like forget-me-nots peepingthrough.Little soft babies, all crowing, sweet and pink and fair,The angels said, " May we have one, please, because of Gerald'sprayer?"
56 SOMETHING THAT REALLY HAPPENED.And one day when the children were sleeping, and the earth wasall at rest,The angels brought the present they all thought was the best:The little shining things came down softly, when no one couldsee,And said, " This is a Christmas present for Gerald and Margery."And there in the early morning the baby lay and smiled," Such a sweet, dear little baby," cried every happy child.They thought it was glad to see them, it could not speak and say-" I am thinking of my beautiful garden in Heaven far away."
SOMETHING THAT REALLY HAPPENED. 57But the children's angels whispered to each little heart that night," You must all be good, and teach the baby nothing but what isright;Never let it forget the garden, it is your garden too,And some day a Christmas Tree will be there shining for all ofyou.")
LITTLE MARMOTTE.F thou wilt not get me a greenparrot in a fine cage, likeSusette's, that can talk, I willnot love thee, Pierre, and Iwill never be thy little wife !"At which Pierre laughed,S saying, " Thou must be pa-S tient, little one, and I will"get thee a blackbird that shall" ------ sing better than Susette's fineparrot, and I will make thee a cage of wicker workthat may hang in the sunshine where the fathercan see it from his bed."The speakers were a fine sturdy lad of twelve withthe blue eyes and fair curling hair of the Bretonpeasant, and a dainty little maiden of five, with
LITTLE MARMOTTE. .59saucy brown eyes and a look about her of beingeverybody's spoilt darling, which she certainly was,though Annette tried daily in her little womanlyfashion to rule the small wilful creature, and tomake her good and docile.Annette and the little one had lost their motherthree years before, and their good kind father, soonafter this great sorrow, had fallen from the roof ofthe small homestead and so injured his back thatthough the doctor said he might live for manyyears, he could never hope to walk again, or doanything but lie patiently on his bed, and tell hislittle comforter and nurse and housekeeper, Annette,how to look after their tiny farm.The great sorrow and the sore need made awoman of the ten-year-old maiden, and there was aquiet wisdom and understanding in the soft, seriouseyes that met yours so gravely and unshrinkingly,and a strength and independence in the very soundof the busy little sabots that kept up a ceaseless,cheerful clatter from the first gleam of sunshinein the morning, to the happy evening time whenshe could lay her head on her father's pillow andhear him tell of the days when another Annette hadbeen his joy and pride, and life had seemed so full
60 LITTLE MARMOTTE.of hope and blessing; and then he would smoothher soft brown hair lovingly, and say,-" The good God is very kind to me, for He hasleft me one of his own little sunbeams, and wemust love and trust Him always."The cure would stand sometimes on his way tothe sick man's bed, and watch the busy little armsthat buried themselves up to the elbows in thewhite flour, whilst soft, kind eyes followed the fatfingers of the small sister, and the cheerful voicehelped her in her hard and desperate task of master-ing the letters in her spelling-book; and he wouldoften say, " The Saints watch over thee, Annette,and love thee for thy love to their little ones."Everybody called the little sister Marmotte, be'-cause when she was born, and Annette had flownto her dear friend and playfellow, Pierre, the son ofthe village carpenter, their nearest neighbour, to tellhim of the wonderful gift the good God had sent,and to bring him to see the marvellous little being,Pierre had looked at the brown head in the cradlewith its soft hair, and had said, " Why, Neta, it isjust like a little marmotte !" and so, although theyhad christened her Elise after her godmother, noone ever gave her any but the pet name.
LITTLE MARMOTTE. 61Pierre and Annette were the same age, and theywere always together; no game was possible, nohappiness complete, when they were apart; andwhen the cares of the house fell on Annette, Pierrewas made prime minister, and every difficulty andperplexity taken to him for help. Long and deeplywould they ponder over the mysteries of sous andcentimes, when Annette had taken her eggs andchickens to the Chateau, and how proud and gladthey looked when, after long counting of fingersand much puzzling of brain, the desperate sumcame right, and the money might be taken intriumph to the good father.Sorely sometimes was Annette tried by her dearlyloved Marmotte, who tyrannized over them all, andmade Pierre into a horse, or a builder, or a toymanufacturer, as the whim seized her, constantlyholding out as a brilliant reward the promise of hergracious approval and affection if he would obeyher, and falling into fits of childish passion if shecould not have her wish. She had the tenderestlove all the time for Annette, and would imploreher forgiveness for her fits of petulance, and tryafter one of her outbursts to show how good shemeant to be by diligently helping in the household
62 LITTLE MARMOTTE.work, often undoing more than she accomplished;and then after a little time of self-restraint shewould dance off again into the sunshine, her pet kidfrisking'round her, and her clear sweet voice filingthe air with the music of her simple little songs,whilst her quick fingers gathered the flowers thatshe and Annette loved to carry for the adorning ofthe little shrine by the village fountain; there theyoften knelt together, and Annette would pray forher father and little sister and Pierre, and if some-times she forgot to ask for a blessing for herself, Ido not think the angels watched the less lovinglyover her.Annette had learned to read and write before shelost her mother, and though she had very little timefor anything but her daily work, she liked to findsome quiet minutes for her book, and would read.to her father, and take her difficulties to him toexplain away when he could. She rejoiced forMarmotte when the kind ladies at the Chateau,taking a fancy to the pretty little maiden whobrought them eggs and fruit and flowers, began toteach her many things and to give her books andencourage her to learn.Annette had often hard work to provide for their
LITTLE MARMOTTE. 63daily needs, and they had been obliged to part withtheir cow and to give up nearly all the land that herfather had cared for when he was well and strong,but they never lost courage or felt afraid about thefuture, excepting when Annette's heart sunk at thethought that the dear father was growing weaker,and his hair more like the snow that lay everywinter about their door.So the years passed on, and Annette was really awoman now, and Pierre hard at work with hisfather, but never too busy to help, and always thesame strong wise friend to them all. Annette neverlooked forward much, but when she did it wasalways to remember that she had a Father in heavenand a kina Pierre here on earth, who would everbe near to care for and protect them,-as in all thepast and present, so in all the future he must takea part, and without ever questioning what that partwould be, she rested on his strength and shared allher troubles with him as if they were his by right,and most tenderly and faithfully did Pierre respondto the trust.One autumn evening they had gone out to walkthrough the wood to the little mill by the waterfall,whilst Marmotte watched over, her father, whom
64 LITTLE MARMOTTE.they never left alone now; and after a long silenceAnnette had laid her hand on her companion's arm,and said-" Pierre, I don't think it will be long before ourfather and mother are together again ;" and Pierre,looking down on her tenderly, spoke-" Thouwouldst not wish to hold him back, Neta ? Thoudost not fear to be left alone ?"Lifting her clear truthful eyes to his, she said," No, Pierre, for we shall not be alone."Then after another silence, with a little tremblingin his voice he began again-" Annette, I mustwait a little longer, and then I shall ask thee toput a great trust in me, and to give me the mostprecious thing in all the world."Her face glowed with a quiet happiness andcontent as she answered him softly,-" Thou canstnot ask anything, my friend, that I would not givethee."The air seemed clearer, the song of the birdssweeter, and the turf softer to her tread, becauseall at once her heart knew it had found its rest andshelter; time seemed an empty sound to her-years she would wait, and feel it but as one daywith the certainty of that strong protecting love
LITTLE MARIMOTTE. 65round about her. And she had need of strengthand comfort soon, for the tenderly-loved father, theobject of such devoted unselfish care, was fadinggradually away, and her heart clung all the morefondly to him now that she realized how soon hewould be beyond the reach or the need of her lovingservices.One evening when the autumn sun was settingbehind the threatening clouds, and sending fortha last stormy gleam which lighted up the fields andthe little wood, and the old pear tree in the garden,and stealing in among the drooping roses at thewindow fell on the sick man's bed, he called hischildren to him, and laying his hand lovingly ontheir bowed heads told them gently that the endwas very near, that his life was setting like thesun, and that though the clouds of poverty andignorance and sickness had rested on him, he toolike that glorious sun might hope to rise againafter the short night of death, clear and brightand joyous for ever; then he thanked them fortheir love and care, blessed them tenderly, and erethe morning light he was at rest, and Annette andMarmotte were alone.And so another year stole by, and thoughF
66 LITTLE MARMOTTE.Annette sometimes wondered why Pierre did notclaim her promise, she had too perfect a trust inhim not to feel sure he had some wise reason forwaiting.' And now when September had c6meround again, and the air was crisp and fresh, andnature was beginning to put on her gold and crim-son robes, Pierre came to tell them with a smile ofhappy content, that his father was going to giveup his work and rest in his old age, having been asuccessful man and having laid by a little store forhis declining years, and he was to fill his father'splace, and have a home of his own at last.How strangely these words thrilled throughAnnette, and how lovingly she glanced round theold familiar house, wondering how she could everleave it! And then a bright picture rose before herof the home that Pierre would take her to, and oftheir happy life, and how Marmotte would be withthem like bright sunshine all day long until some-one-ah! who could ever be worthy of theirdarling-came to claim her to make another homejoyful.It was a glorious moonlight night, and she hadsent her two companions away together, whilst shesat quietly, her knitting resting on her knee, and
LITTLE MARMOTTE. 67her heart full of thankfulness and peace. Soquickly did the time pass, that she was startledwhen two shadows fell across the threshold, andthen Marmotte's arms clasped themselves roundher neck, and with a fond embrace the little sistervanished into the next room.Pierre's voice came out of the moonlight-"Neta, wilt thou come and see how lovely thissilver world is ?"She went quietly and stood by him in the oldporch, where they had played together, had puzzledtheir little heads over the difficult lesson books,and had shared each other's daily cares andanxieties and joys and sorrows as the years wentby. Now, stooping down to her, Pierre took oneof her hands and said softly-"Annette, thou promised me thy dearest trea-sure. I do not think thou need fear to trust eventhy Marmotte to me, for I have loved her all herlife as dearly as thou, and even thy heart shall notwish tenderer care for her than I will give; andthou will be our good angel still, my Neta, and weshall love thee all the more for loving one anotherso much."The shadows of the vine leaves over the old
68 LITTLE MARMOTTE.porch fell on Annette's bent face, and Pierre inhis happy content never noticed how white it grew,or how the little hand shook, or ever guessed thestorm that was sweeping through that brave, faith-ful heart; he onlyrwondered a little at her silence,and said half sorrowfully," Art thou not glad, dear little sister ?"Then she answered softly, " I shall be contentto-morrow, Pierre;" and so she left him.That night the moon poured its flood of silverlight into the little room where Marmotte laysleeping, and where Annette knelt hour after hourby her bed, striving to make the sacrifice of all herhope and joy perfect, by a complete renunciation ofself; and when the first faint streak of dawn stoleinto the room, she rose up with a calm face, andkissing her little sister gently, she thanked God forsending her the sorrow, and Marmotte the joy.Bravely she bore herself through all those days,even smiling when the neighbours came and slap-ping the happy Pierre on the back, cried-" Ah, thou sly one we thought it was Annettethou would have carried home !" to which healways answered merrily-"I never had any other sister, and I could not
LITTLE MARMOTTE. 69do without my wise one; she will take care ofus both."Pierre and Marmotte tried vainly to shake An-nette's resolve to live on in the old home; she saidshe could not be happy anywhere else, and theyshould be all together still, and in the end sheprevailed.On the wedding morning, when she claspedround her sister's throat her mother's necklace,her greatest and long-cherished treasure, Marmottethrew herself into her arms in a sudden passion ofgrief, and cried-"Not that, not that, my Neta thou shalt wearit at thy own wedding;" but Annette kissed hercheek and said, " I shall never marry, sweet one;thou could not do without thy old sister."No one who saw that peaceful face, or watchedthe busy hands intent on household work, or occu-pied in deeds of love for others, could dream fora moment that Annette was unhappy. Was shenot the best beloved of all the children, the chosenconfidante of all the village maidens, the one to besent for in every house which sickness and sorrowhad entered? And as the years went by, camethe patter of merry little feet about her home, and
70 LITTLE MARMOTTE.another Neta climbed her knee, and coaxed herinto joyous play, whilst a sturdy little Pierre wouldproclaim himself her champion, and tell how noone but he should ever care for her, and no -oneelse lead her to church when she was old andfeeble like Mere Grenouette at the mill.C. F. T.
ORANGES AND LEMONS.OR, JEAN BAPTISTE OF MENTONE.'I.ASCAL, I have'been thinkingit all over, and I know nowwhat we must do; we mustlive here, and you can gowith Jean Baptiste and earn money, and I willkeep house, and grow the vegetables, and attend tothe baby, and make the soup: I am quite oldenough to do that. Let us talk in whispers, or oldJeanne Lebceuf will hear, and she wants to havethe donkey and take you into her service, and I amto go to the laiterie, Madame Bonnerot says, andher grand'm're will look after the baby; and Pierreand Marie are to have the house, and there will be
72 ORANGES AND LEMONS.no home any more, and we shall never be happyagain. Mere Jeanne and Madame Bonnerot talkedit all over when they thought I was asleep; butthey can't do anything to us if we are strong -andbrave. Pascal, you must be very brave.""And I shall be brave, strong as a lion," saidPascal. "Do you think a boy is afraid of two oldwomen ? Don't be frightened, Pauline, I will takecare of you. I don't mind their noise. They maytalk and talk, it won't hurt us : talking breaks nobones."" You are brave now," answered Pauline, " be-cause we are whispering together in the dark, andno one can hear us; but when the sun rises andJeanne says, 'Hold, Pascal, you are to come withme,' what will you do then ? ""I shall say, Thank you, good Mere Leboeuf,but I have so much to do here, I must attend tomy family.'""Oh, Pascal! "" Well, we are a family, you and I, and JeanBaptiste and Antoinette; we can be a family,though there is no mother any more."" Ah, mother mother " sobbed Pauline,stretching out empty beseeching hands, and burst-
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 73ing into tears; "why did you leave us ? Whydid you die ? Your poor little children are so sadand so desolate."" Don't cry," said her brother; 1' mother wouldlike us to be good and take care of each other.Why, Pauline, you are twelve years old, and whenyou carry the baby you look like a woman; and Iam so tall and strong, people think I am much morethan fourteen; and if we are very grave and wisethey may almost forget we are only children, andthink we are grown up, only rather a short sort ofrace, you see. And we can't help being a realfamily, with Antoinette and Jean Baptiste; sodon't cry, little sister; if our mother can see us itwould make her unhappy."" Oh, Pascal! Do you think she can ? Do youthink she will know how hard I mean to try to dothe best for the baby, and to make good soup?She liked my soup when she was so ill, and said,'Good !' and Good!' and smiled at me; andthen again, Pascal, when the cure had left us, andI laid the baby's face against hers, she tried to kissit, and she looked at it and then at me, and smiledjust a little beginning of a smile, and then shedied; and I have tried to think all this sad weary*
74 ORANGES'AND LEMONS.week that she was smiling on just like that fromheaven on baby and me, and on you too, Pascal," andthe little hand slid into her brother's ; " mother wasso proud of you when you brought back your medalfrom the Convent. Perhaps when we get toheaven she will have the same smile there, onlybrighter, only so much happier, because it willnever be a last one any more."The two children talked on long and earnestly.The sun rose, sending its golden rays down uponthe wooded hills, and lighting up the higher cragswith sudden radiance; the little cottage was still incool shadow, the dewdrops hung on the lemon-trees, and shone on the bright yellow fruit, and onthe small beds of lettuces, and early peas andbeans. Jean Baptiste woke from his morning napand shook himself, and hee-hawed cheerily for hisbreakfast. Pascal slept in a room near the stable;it was a very small stable and a very small room,but there was plenty of straw in each, and bothPascal and Jean Baptiste were good sleepers; littlePauline had climbed up into the loft to talk withher brother, and both the children were sittingcurled up in the straw, when a croaking voicesounded from below.
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 75" Eh, what pish, chut chut What's becomeof those children ? Here are the fowls litteringround under my feet, and had nearly thrown medown; it's high time'they were plucked for market.Shish shish tiresome things, you'll all be boileddown into good consomme before -you're many daysolder, for all your flapping and pecking. Where'sthat boy ? We must be off, neighbour, and thesooner the better: he can drive the donkey downnow, and you can follow with the baby and Pauline,and be sure you put the key in your pocket.Pauline's handy enough, and you'll have a goodbargain, Luise; but as for that boy and JeanBaptiste, they'll eat as much as they're worth.But that's always my luck, my loaf's mostly allcrust," grumbled old Jeanne."Come, come, Mere Leboeuf," said a cheerfulvoice from the cottage; "there's some folks eattheir bread wrong side up, so that they never knowit's buttered; the boy's a good boy, and everybodyknows Jean Baptiste; try your loaf and be thank-ful, never fear, you'll find the crumb; and for thatmatter little Pauline's a girl with two hands, andit's no work of charity to mother her; and thebaby, poor little one, must take its chance with
76 ORANGES AND LEMONS.the rest. I shan't make money by it, but the goodGod will send enough for that little mouth to takeits bite with the others."" Pascal, Pascal! " cried Jeanne, " where are youhiding ? We must be off, do you hear ? ""Pauline, my lamb, come and hold Antoinettewhile I look for the bread," said the voice from thecottage.The children slid down the ladder and appearedin sight holding each other's hands, and with redfaces, ashamed and tear-stained, they came up tothe old woman."Do you hear, Pascal ? " she said, pointing athim with one lean shaking finger to emphasize herwords; "the cure says, 'Ah, heaven! what willbecome of these orphans, these incapables ?' andhe wrings his hands; then I come forward, I say,' Monsieur the cur, blessed is holy charity! I ampoor, but I will do my possible; I will take theboy and the donkey and care for them, I will feedand clothe him and look after the poor beast, theycan perhaps earn a little, and that will help.' Thecure answers, 'My good Mere Leboeuf, it is ablessed work, and you will find your reward inheaven.' And now see, Pascal, in return, thou art
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 77to obey, thou art to work, and hold! while thouart good no one shall beat thee. Put the saddleand bridle on Jean Baptiste, and let us be off."Pascal had been growing redder and redder withfright and shame at his own audacity till the oldwoman ended her little speech with her promiseas to the beating, then he turned pale and breathedhard.Pauline whispered Dot mind Pascal befright and shame at his own audacity till the oldwoman ended her little speech with her promiseas to the beating, then he turned pale and breathedhard.Pauline whispered, "Don't, mind, Pascal; be
78 ORANGES AND LEMONS.a good boy, be polite, she is such an old woman;don't be cross to her, perhaps she does not meanto be unkind !"He gulped down something in his throat, andsaid, speaking very fast, " Pauline and I are notgoing away anywhere, we shall take care of An-toinette and Jean Baptiste and live here. Wethink you mean to be kind, and we thank you,Mere Lebceuf, but our mother would not like meto desert Pauline, and this is our house; " and nowPascal began to speak with a firm, strong voice:"I can earn a good deal, and we shall not need toeat much while we are small, and there is Nanette'smilk for the baby. Pauline will have the goat tomilk, and so you see, Madame Bonnerot, she cannotbe spared to go to the laiterie; and there are thevegetables, and the lemons, and-and-lots ofthings to be done."" What !" screamed the old woman, shaking nowwith anger, "you are going to live here, indeed,and you won't come-will and won't! When I wasyoung, boys and girls did what they were told, andthe Blessed Madonna was content with them; butnow indeed--. Well, well, I wash my hands ofyou. I will take the poor donkey and keep it for
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 79you, and I only hope you won't come to a badend !"" We shan't come to a bad end!" said Pascalindignantly, " and I dare say our Lady will thinkPauline quite as nice a girl as she did you when youwere little; but you are not to take Jean Baptiste,he is part of the family, and no one shall havehim !"This made Jeanne so angry that she screamed atthe children, and shook her fist at Pascal, .and madesuch a noise that Madame Bonnerot had to comeout of the cottage to pacify her." Hold, hold, neighbour, the boy has reason!"she said in her kind quiet voice; " let him keep hisdonkey, and earn bread for the little one. It is truewhat he says, they have a home still, and eachother; who knows ? Perhaps the poor mother hassaid to the Madonna, 'Let them live still in thelittle cottage, and love each other, and rememberme;' and if she has answered, 'Don't cry, then,Marie, it is a good plan,' shall we go against ourBlessed Lady ? No, no, Jeanne; thou art a worthywoman and a charitable, but begin at home: letthese little ones rest in peace. Heaven help them,they are brave little souls; and so small, so young,
80 ORANGES AND LEMONS.and the father and mother both gone!" and thekind-hearted Luise ran to the children and heldthem in her arms, regardless of Pascal's strugglesto free himself from an embrace which he consideredderogatory to his dignity. Then wiping her eyesshe stood up and looked at them laughing, herhands on her sides. "Eh, well, if you are goodand work, who knows but it will answer? but it'shard to find old heads on young shoulders, andmaybe Jean Baptiste will be the wisest among you.I can't stay now, but I will come and see youto-morrow, and if anything goes wrong, Pauline,send to me; and if the baby's ill you bring it togrand'mere, she knows a deal about migraines;keep up a good heart, little one. And you, Pascal,you're a brave boy, and you've a look of yourfather in your eyes; your poor father-ah, he wasa good honest man! Speak the truth and workbravely, that's a gimlet will bore a way throughanything !"By this time old Jeanne had recovered her breath,and declared with emphasis that it was out of thequestion that such children should be allowed theirown way, and pay no attention to her advice. Ifshe left them she should return to-morrow with
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 81an instruction from the judge, with a gendarme, ifnecessary, who would know how to manage bad, ob-stinate boys, and then let him disobey her if he dared." Let the boy be," said a deep voice from behindthe lemon-tree; " the beans grow best where they'replanted; if God sends sunshine they'll do, it'sonly bothering women who sow weeds and tares,to say nothing of some one else. Be off with you,MAre Jeanne, we can manage without you up here,and when we're anxious for bad weather we'll letyou know."Mere Leboeuf stared speechless with astonishmentas a little old man advanced towards her. He wasdressed all in brown, and wore a very broad-brimmed hat that left all his face in shadow excepthis chin, which was so long that the point justcaught the light, and shone like a mountain peakin the sunshine. His eyes twinkled angrily; hisvoice was so much bigger than he was, that itsounded as though there was a deep echo in hisboots. He carried a very big scarlet umbrella, forhis mother had been a German, and had broughtit with her from Tyrol. He was a very strangeold man, very gentle and harmless, but he didqueer things which made people talk about him,G
82 ORANGES AND LEMONS.and tell odd stories of his life, some of which weretrue and some were false, but, as is the way of theworld, people believed the false ones most.Some said he was bewitched, and some that hewas weak in the head, and some that he was amiser, and had great hoards of gold in deep holesin the rocks. His name was Monsieur Lebrun,but the gamins of Mentone called him 1' OmbrelleRouge; and when the babies cried and wouldn'tgo to sleep, they were told that if they didn't stopthat minute, and shut their eyes directly, the RedUmbrella would come and take them.It was very wrong to say such a thing, whichwas a great untruth, as you may believe, for thepoor old man was not at all fond of babies, andwould have run anywhere to get out of their way;only, as the poor little things couldn't know this,it always frightened them very much when theyheard he was expected. Now Mere Jeanne wasa very superstitious old woman, as people are aptto be who are ignorant and selfish and a littledishonest; she never did anything to help others,and she was always fancying that people would tryto injure her. She believed in all the stories aboutMonsieur Lebrun, even in the most foolish of all,
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 83which was that he had an evil eye, and that if helooked very hard at you, and wished something badmight happen to you, it was sure to come true:one would have a fever, or the kitten would breakthe milk-jug, or the best donkey fall lame, or yourgrandson would be drawn in the conscription-whatever it was she would have been sure to say itwas all the fault of that terrible old Red Umbrella!So when Monsieur Lebrun cried in his deepvoice, "Be off with you, Mere Jeanne," she didnot want to be told twice, but catching up herbundle hurriedly departed, saying under herbreath, as she passed them," Only wait till to-morrow, children, and I willpay you out for this."Now Monsieur Lebrun could hear almost any-thing, and he heard Jeanne."I forbid you to return," he said in a moreawful voice than before, " with or without a judgeand a gendarme. I take these children under myprotection, and it will be a bad day for those whointerfere."Mere Leboeuf was too thoroughly frightened tostay to answer him, but hobbled away for good andall. Then Madame Bonnerot came out of theG2
84 ORANGES AND LEMONS.cottage with her distaff in her hand, and said,looking at the old man with her kind eyes," I am glad you have come, Monsieur, and thatyou will'befriend these-little ones; we are all of usthe better for a kind word now and then, but theyare strong, and can work, and will do well. Goodmorning to you, my children, and God send yougood fortune," and she too passed out of the littlegarden towards the town."That's a good woman," said Monsieur Lebrun," and they're scarce articles, scarce articles. Howfrightened that old Leboeuf looked! Ha! ha! ha !we might have kept her here for a scarecrow tochase the birds from the peas. He i he he! whata noise she would make! But it would be dear atthe price, dear at the price," and the old manwalked away slowly, laughing to himself, andwithout noticing the children.When they were quite alone Pauline put botharms round her brother's neck, and, laying herlittle cheek against his, said, " Don't let us ever benaughty and cross or disobedient any more, butlove each other very much, and be good children."Pascal hugged her very tightly, and said, " I'llwork hard, and love the baby, and you, little sister,
ORANGES AND LEMONS. 85and never bully you, or make you play if you don'tlike; and I'll be as good as ever I can, and try not tobe disobedient, but oh Pauline "--and he brokeoff with a sob,-" what's the use of saying that ?There's nobody left to be disobedient to, any more.""Yes, there is," she answered in a low voice;"there's God, Pascal, and perhaps too our motherwill know; and besides, there are ever so manythings she used to tell us we were not to do, orthat we ought to do, and I mean to try hard to begood and obedient all my life. I shall say over allthe things every day before I go to sleep that Imayn't forget, because now there's no one to tellus, and when we get to heaven, mother will say,'I'm so glad you remembered,' and her face willlight up in a minute,-don't you know how,Pascal ?-like sunshine coming into her eyes whenshe was pleased. I think, even in heaven, whereit is all so bright, there would be some more lightin her heart that would shine as she smiled at us."Pascal said nothing, but he gave her anotherhug, and wiping his eyes on his sleeves, said,"We've forgotten Jean Baptiste, I must go andget him his breakfast."The hay was stored in Pascal's room in the loft,
86 ORANGES AND LEMONS.and he had to climb up the ladder and bring somedown on his head. The ladder was not like thoseyou see in England: it was a long pole withalternate pieces of wood sticking out from it, justexactly like the pole the bears go up when theywant to beg for a bun. Pascal was a capitalclimber, and could run up his ladder and downagain much faster than old Bruin could manage todo with his.Pauline meanwhile washed the baby and dressedit. It was a pretty little creature, a fat placidbaby, with round rosy cheeks and dimples, andwith big blue eyes that gazed contentedly into itssister's face, and only blinked a little when thesoap and water ran into them. When Pauline hadwashed it, she rolled it up very. tightly, like acocoon, so that it could not kick its legs, and thesmall rosy toes were all covered up and hiddenaway, till it was bound up so stiffly that whenPauline was busy, and had no time to spare toamuse it or play with it, she could put it to rest inthe corner, bolt upright, or lay it on the table, oracross a chair, and the poor little mortal could notdouble up, or roll over, or do anything but staywhere it was placed, until somebody came to carry