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GREAT RICHES:f-2cllp Uibiero' ltor^.BYAUNT FANNY." I 'ove God, and little children."EDINBURGH:WILLIAM P. NIMMO.I87 3.
EDINBURGH:PRINTED BY JOHN GREIG AND SOS.
CONTENTS.CHAP. "AGi\INTRODUCTION, 9I. DISCONTENT, 20II. TRYING TO BE (;il>, 28III. MRS RIVERS'S SIOiYV, 32IV. A LETTER FROM "AUNT FANNY," TELLING HOWALICE SPOKI IN CIIURCI, 49V. THE ROBBER RAIBli11 I':S. .56VI. REVENGE, 61VII. DISCOVERY, 71VIII. TRY, TRY AGAIN, 79IX. NEILY IN TOWN, IO1X. TEMPTATION, 10XI. CONCLUSION, I
GREAT RICHES.INTRODUCTION.NE Sunday evening the children had beensinging hymns, as usual, with their parents.They were now sitting quite silent andstill, when suddenly, Fred, looking veryearnestly up in his mother's face, said,-" Mamma,I wish Aunt Fanny would write a Sunday story; I dodeclare, I mean to ask her!""Oh, do, do, do !" cried all the rest, with such aracket that you could hardly believe they were thesilent children of a moment before. "Tell her aSunday story is very much wanted to keep us inorder.""We shall do something dreadful some Sunday orother," said Peter, "if she don't take us in hand; andwe'll promise not to go perfectly wild with joy, but
S0 GREAT T RICHES.put on our most serious good-boy and good-girl lookswhen it comes. We'll even behave better than whenwe are fast asleep."The rest laughed at this, and their papa said," That is a very rash promise, Peter; for old MrsSnarling says you are a tolerably good boy when youare asleep, but a great torment at all other times."Peter was just on the point of exclaiming, " Botherold Mrs Snarling!" but he recollected himself intime, and made a loud "hem " instead; upon whichSophie quietly remarked,-" You seem to have a remarkably large frog in yourthroat, Peter.""I was swallowing Mrs Snarling," he answered; atwhich they all tried not to laugh, out of politeness tothe old lady.But some chuckles would come, and their mothergravely advised them to sing one more hymn, andthen be off for Bedfordshire.This is the hymn they sung. It is like a prayer.I want you all to learn at least to say it, my darlinggood little hearts:-" Hear my prayer, 0 Heavenly Father,Ere I lay me down to sleep;Bid Thy angels pure and holyRound my bed Thy vigils keep." Great my sins, but oh Thy mercyFar outweighs them every one;
INTR iOD UCTIONA 1Down before Thy cross I cast them,Trusting in Thy help alone." Keep me through this night of peril,Underneath its boundless shade;Take me to Thy rest, I pray Thee,When my pilgrimage is made." None shall measure out Thy patienceBy the span of human thought;None shall bound the tender merciesWhich Thy Holy Son has brought." Pardon all my past transgressions,Give me strength for days to come;Guide and guard me with Thy blessing,Till Thy angels bid me home."The next morning Fred spread a very large sheetof letter-paper before him, and wrote this importantepistle:-FRED'S LETTER."DEAR AUNT FANNY,-A very learned old gentle-man came to see father last week. In the evening heamused us very much with what he called 'tricksin language.' He wrote the letters of the word'time,' and made what he called an 'anagrammaticpalindrome.' I'm sure I haven't the least idea whatthese awful hard terms mean, but he twisted andturned 'time' into four words, which can be read up anddown, backwards and forwards, in all kinds of fashions,and still make the same words, which is very curious.Here they are:-
12 GREAT RICHES.TIMEITEMMETIEMITThey are all Latin words except ehe English one,'time.' Item' means 'likewise ;' 'meti,' to bemeasured ;' and 'emit,' 'he buys.' There, AuntFanny! I think I'm getting quite learned; don'tyou?" He asked us to spell the fate of all earthly thingsin two letters. Can you I could,-after I was told,-D. K. He said a young lady once asked whatphonography was. He took out his pencil and wrotethis,-' U. R. A. B. U. T. L. N. !' (You are a beauty,Ellen.) That was phonography; 'at which she washighly delighted.'" Then this funny, learned old gentleman told us ofa curious conversation of a backwoodsman who didnot like to waste words:-"' Whose house '"' Mog's.'"'Of what built?'"' Logs.'"'Any neighbours ?'"' Frogs.'"'What is the soil?'"'Bogs.'"' How is the climate 1'
INTR OD AUCTION 3"'Fogs.'" What do you eat '"'Hogs.'"'How do you catch them 1'"'Dogs.'"And here is one more-I think the best of all:-"' I came for the saw, sir,' said a little fellow."' What saucer '"'Why, the saw, sir, that you borrowed.'"'I borrowed no saucer.'"'Sure you did, sir; borrowed our saw, sir.'"' Be off! I never saw your saucer !'"'But you did, sir; there's the saw, sir; now, sir."'Oh, you want the saw!'"I must tell you the compliment the old Quaketpaid :-"' I wish thee and thy folks loved me and my folksas well as me and my folks love thee and thy folks.For sure there never was folks, since folks was folks,that ever loved folks half so well as me and my folkslove thee and thy folks.'" Now, Aunt Fanny, haven't I amused you ? anddon't you want to do something very particularly kindfor us I Of course you do, and you are perfectlycrazy to know what it is,-so I will hurry and tellyou."' We do so want a story written expressly for Sun-day,-a Sunday story. We think we are getting to be
14 GREA T RICHES.remarkably good children, owing to the excellent ex-amples set us in all your books; but then, you see,if you were to write one which fitted Sunday exactly,we should become little wonders immediately; andthis would delight all the cats in the house, for 1 amafraid we chase them more on Sundays than on otherdays." You see, it is so hard to live without making anoise. There is a poor little boy they call Dan, wholives in a lane not far from us, with just the verycrossest old grandmother you ever heard of. Shemakes him keep so quiet that it's perfectly awful. Sowe gave him a nice tin trumpet one day, and toldhim to go into the woods and have a good blow-out." But, oh dear! one day as we were peaceablywalking down the lane, the cross old grandmotherrushed out of her cottage in a perfect fury, to beat uswith her cane for giving Dan the trumpet."' Oh, you little rascals she cried, you want Danto crack my ears! You gave him a tin trumpet onpurpose! I'd rather hear twenty-seven cannons goingoff at once.'"Didn't we have to run I first, then Peter, thenlittle Bob, and the old woman after us shaking herstick, scolding us roundly. Poor old thing I feelsorry for her too. I daresay she has many troubles,and no wonder she's cross.
INTRODUCTION. 15"I think this is enough for one letter,-don't you1And you will write a Sunday story, darling AuntFanny,-won't you? and we promise to be more'lovinger' than ever. Bob told me to write it so.Next week, I shall go to old Mrs Marble, the post-mistress, and ask her for a letter for your affectionatenieces and nephews,"SOPHIE, FRED, and Lou;"PETER, KITTY, and BOB."The letter was read over to the "subscribers," asFred called the children, and heartily -approved of.It was carefully sealed up and directed; and, a grandformal procession being formed, it was conveyed ingreat state to the post-office, to the mistress of whichit was given, along with strict injunctions as to itssafe and speedy delivery. Every Monday for severalweeks, Fred called at the post-office to inquire if anyanswer had come from Aunt Fanny. At length onemorning all the children were down at the post-officewhen the mail-coach drove up with the letter-bag.Mrs Marble, the post-mistress, took the bag into theoffice, and emptied its contents on a table. She hadno sooner done so than Fred, who had followed herin, seized a big letter and ran off with it, leaving MrsMarble standing nearly paralysed with excitement andindignation at his conduct." Here it is-hurrah !" he shouted; and off they
i GREAT RICHES.all scampered home as fast as their legs could carrythem. With eager haste they all rushed into thelittle parlour, where Fred broke open the envelope;and clearing his voice with a great "hem 1" he pro-ceeded to readAUNT FANNY'S ANSWER." MY DEAR CHILDREN,-I should call you a set oflittle crazy cormorants, never to be satisfied, were Inot rather pleased than otherwise by your asking mefor a 'Sunday story.' You are not the first one by agood many, and some of these days I mean to writea whole series of them." Oh, my darlings, I do so hope and pray that everyyear it pleases my Heavenly Father to permit me tolive I shall write better than the last. There is aChinese proverb which says-' With time and patiencethe mulberry-leaf becomes silk;' and an English onewhich declares that We may be as good as we please,if we please to be good.' I do please to be good, andto do good. Won't you pray that God will help me" I send you with this your 'Sunday story.' It does,ot differ in style from many others I have written,because I have made the children in it natural; andso of course they are by no means any better than-than-you are."Ilere Fred set up a loud laugh, and said,-
INTRODUCTION 17"Hurrah Aunt Fanny! Now we'll see what we arelike.""But if it will strengthen you" (Fred read on) "ina determination to resist every temptation to dowrong, and renew your desire to love and obey thecommands of your Maker, I shall be so glad,-soglad."I send you a beautiful little hymn, which I begyou to learn, and feel in your inmost heart when yousay it. Here it is:-"Mary's love may I possess,Lydia's tender-heartedness,Peter's ardent spirit feel,James's faith by works reveal;Like young Timothy, may IEvery sinful passion fly."Most of all, may I pursueThat example Jesus drew;By my life and conduct showHow He lived and walked below;Day by day, through grace restored,Imitate my Blessed Lord."Give my kindest regards to your dear papa andmamma, and believe me ever your loving" AUNTr FANNY."Sunday came,-a soft, shining day,-and the littlebirds sang their hymns of praise all through the leafytrees.B
18 GREAT RICHES.The children went to church with their parentsmorning and afternoon, and then gathered round thetea-table, talking pleasantly. The sweet breath ofhoneysuckles came in through the open windows;bird after bird flew by in the golden sunset air, chirp-ing "Good-night;" the bees were hurrying homeladen with honey; and all the sweet little whispering,drowsy insect-sounds, which are only heard in thecountry as God made it, came gently breaking throughthe stillness.Many a time did the little feet of the younger chil-dren go pattering down the stone path of the garden,so that they might peep out in the lane to see if MrsMarble, who had been invited by their mamma, wasin sight. She had been invited to hear the story read,as a return for the rude manner in which Fred hadbehaved in running off with the letter; for she wasa good old soul, and very fond of the children whenthey did not tease her, which, however, they veryoften did. When she did appear, a wild burst ofjoy broke from the children, and they all ran out tomeet her; and the good old lady arrived in the midstof a sort of triumphal procession, quite breathless andrather flustered.But the kind greeting of the children's parents soonput her at her ease; and when she sat down withthem in her nice black silk dress, which her good sonGain, the blacksmith, had given her seven years ago,
INTRODUCTION. 19she looked, as Fred said, "like a perfect old dar-ling."It was intensely interesting to the children to ob-serve the careful manner in which Mrs Marble tookout of her pocket an immense red silk pocket-hand-kerchief, unfolded it, and spread it over her lap, andthe anxiety with which she made sure that it wastwitched square, and straight, and then to see her giveher wig a little pull on the right side, and a little pullon the left, and settle her iron-bound spectacles firmlyon the bridge of her nose.At length everything was arranged. So Fred gotthe manuscript ready, and with the warm sunset glow-ing on the page he began to readAUNT FANNY'S SUNDAY STORY.
CHAPTER I.DISCONTENT.ELLY RIVERS was so tired of that room!She had counted every spot in the dark.blue ingrain carpet. She had gazedwearily upon the bare blue-painted walls,and blue chintz-covered furniture, the plainest of itskind, until her great dark eyes fairly ached for thesight of something pretty.The room was the parlour of her father's parsonage,for Mr Rivers was a clergyman. The ministers ofsome rich city churches find it hard to live uponfifteen hundred pounds a year, and expect to havetheir houses refurnished and themselves sent abroadevery two or three years besides; and it is not to bewondered at if Mr Rivers was unable to buy beautifulfurniture with only a hundred and twenty pounds ayear for his salary.If the things of this world were all that Christianshad to hope for or desire, little Nelly would not have
DISCONTENT. 2been to blame in wishing for some pretty picture ortasteful ornament to brighten up the plain parlourof the rectory. She was an imaginative little body,with a great admiration for beauty in every shape; soit came to pass that in her eyes the scantily-furnishedroom and dusty village street so close to the door,which formed the only view from the window, wererather forlorn.There she sat, her hands folded listlessly, until atlast out came a loud " Oh dear I am so tired of thisold house I almost wish it would burn up !"The door leading from the parlour to the study wa,ajar. As Nelly said these words, it suddenly opened,and Mr Rivers's kind, smiling face looked down uponher."Why, what a dreadful wish!" he said, coming to-wards her, and taking a handful of her shining curlsin his grasp. "What can be the matter with mylittle Nelly ""Oh, I'm tired of everything, papa.""Everything " repeated her father. "That is aterrible feeling in a grand, beautiful world like this,which God has made and called 'very good.' I didhope you were not tired of me, for one thing.""Oh no, papa!" cried Nelly, earnestly. "I loveyou dearly;" and she gave his hand a loving littlesqueeze against her cheek." Well, is it either of your brothers or baby-sister ?"
22 GREAT T RICHES."Oh no, no, papa! that is not what I meant. Inever could get tired of you, or dear mamma, or mysister or brothers; but this room-it's so stupid!If we only had some pretty pictures to hang up, orsome vases, or great looking-glasses and beautiful cur-tains, all lace and gold, like Mrs Gray's. I do wish Iwas rich."" Come here, my little girl," said Mr Rivers, and heled Nelly gently into the study, which was at the backof the house, and seating himself in his arm-chair,took her on his knee. Then looking gravely in herface, he said,-" So, if God had seen fit to give youwealth, you would selfishly and foolishly spend it onworthless ornaments which could be of no possibleserviceI Do you believe this is the right use ofmoney, Nelly ""Well, perhaps not, papa.""I think I am a very happy man, yet there arecertainly no pictures in my room," continued herfather, smiling. " If I want a painting, only see whata beautiful one I have there!"He pointed, as he spoke, from the study-window,to where a glimpse of the river could be seen shiningthrough the yellow-green leaves of the willows, andthe white spire of the village church, with its goldenarrow on the top, made a bright spot in the pleasantsummer sunlight.Nearer by, Nelly's two little brothers were watch-
DISCONTENT 23ing with delight some young ducks who were waddlingabout and tumbling sideways into a small pond. Be-hind them two little dogs were frolicking, pretendingto bite each other's ears off, and barking such funny,quick barks that it must have been laughing, dog-fashion; while in the distance could be seen the largehandsome mansion in which Flora Gray lived.Nelly looked through the blinds at all this in silence.The study-window was at the back of the house, andthe view was really a peaceful, charming scene; so,when Mr Rivers asked, "Don't you call that pretty,Nelly " she was forced in truth to answer, "Yes,papa."" Then, if you have such a lovely picture paintedby the hand of God, you surely need not be unhappybecause you cannot buy the inferior work of men'shands.""I suppose not," said Nelly, in a hesitating tone."Then, what is it you want so much, littledaughter ""Well now, let me tell you, papa. Of course Iwould give to the poor, if I were rich but there areso many things that rich people can do and have be-sides! Yesterday, mamma sent me with a note toMrs Gray's, at Woodlawn, and while I waited for herto answer it, Flora Gray showed me all her prettythings. You don't know what a beautiful baby-dollshe has !--almost as large as sister Bessie,-and such
24 GREAT T RICHES.a sweet little cradle for it I and a whole book-case toherself, full of story-books; and that morning herpapa had given her a box of sugar-plums, as big asyour sermon-paper box! such good ones 1 Then theroom was so beautifully furnished, and Flora had onsuch a pretty dress! But just as we were beginning anice play, Mrs Gray finished her note, and I had togo; for though Flora begged me to stay, I knew Imust get home at once to take care of the children.Now, if we were like the Grays, mamma could have anurse, and I could have pretty dresses and dolls too;-and, O dear papa! then you need not write sohard and long, and if anybody gave you the least nicelittle thing, you need not send it right away to somesick person;" here Nelly paused rather suddenly inher torrent of talk, for she saw that her father waslooking both surprised and somewhat grieved."Ah, now we come at the root of the matter," hesaid. " My Nelly is fretting and making herself un-happy because she has the care of her little brothersand sister a part of the day, and because Flora Grayhas more playthings and books than herself! Wouldshe be willing to let poor old Aunt Betsy, or the lameshoemaker, want the comforts that I can give them,so that I might take the money and buy toys and fineclothes for her Does she feel as if her mother wasimposing cruelly upon her, by asking her little girl'sassistance in a few of very many cares "
DISCONTENT. 21Nelly blushed deeply, and hung down her head."I am sorry I was so ungrateful and naughty, papa,"she murmured at last; "please forgive me Indeed,I will never be so bad again I did feel when I wascoming from Flora's as if I was an ill-used little girl,-and-I 'm afraid I was cross to Willie afterwards.Oh, papa, I am sorry! " and she burst into tears.Mr Rivers drew her gently to his breast and kissedher cheek. Then he said, in a sorrowful tone,-" Mydarling, you are envious of those better off than your-self; did you ever think that poor old bedridden AuntBetsy and the lame shoemaker could with the samefeeling wonder why you or I should be more prosper-ous and happy than they Would you care to belike Aunt Betsy ?""Oh dear, no papa.""Then you think God has been kinder to you thanto her?""Oh, papa, I see I have been very wicked.""Yes, Nelly, guilty of envy and discontent: twoterrible sins. Pray to be delivered from them; letyour entreaty be,-' Create in me a new heart, O God,and renew a right spirit within me.' God will helpyou to conquer these sinful feelings. Now, wouldyou like me to show you God's way to become rich? ""Why, yes, papa," answered the little girl, lookingup in his face with wondering eyes. "I did not knowthe Bible told us anything aoout that."
26 GREAT RICHES.Mr Rivers took a Testament from his desk, andopening it at the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy,pointed out these words,-" Godliness is great riches.""Does that mean that if we are good, it is just thesame as being rich ?" asked Nelly."Read the rest of the verse," answered her father,and she repeated, " Godliness is great riches, if a manbe content with that he hath."" Oh," said Nelly, pondering, with her finger on herlip; "we must be content then; that is the reason oldAunt Betsy is so thankful and happy the whole time.She is content,-is she not ?""Yes; whatever God pleases to give her is justright. 'Thy will be done,' is her heart's prayer.Make it yours, little Nelly, and you will care less andless for the perishing riches of this world, and moreand more for that everlasting treasure which 'neithermoth nor rust doth corrupt.' Will you try to dothis?""Yes, papa," said Nelly, softly." Well, then, suppose we make a plan for you, littledaughter. When you find yourself feeling discon-tented, remember the text and try to gain that 'godli-ness' which is better than all the gold and silver inthe world. Promise me to try this for a whole year,and at the end we will see how it has succeeded, andwhether poor little Nelly Rivers has not become avery rich little girl."
DISCONTENT. 27The child's eyes filled with tears. She did notspeak, but curled her arms round her father's neckand gave him a "good hug;" then slipping downfrom his knees, she ran out of the room and up-stairsto the nursery.1W~i
- :- K 7', " 4 :. 7, _-. -CHAPTER IT.TRYING TO BE GOOD,- .'; 1,S RIVERS was seated near the windowS f I' sewing,- that never-ending sewing of'- I mothers with young children. Rover, a. great dog, lay at her side, one paw foldedover the other, lazily winking at the flies, and babyBessie, who was just a year old, was in her cradle,-her blue eyes wide open, watching the bright spots ofsunlight on the wall, and pretending to be trying togo to sleep as soon as possible; but though she wasquite good and quiet as long as her mother rocked thecradle with her foot, the moment she chanced to stop,a pitiful wail was set up, two chubby legs were raised,and off went the pretty white blanket, kicked on thefloor.Here was a chance for Nelly. " Mamma," saidshe, "you go into the next room with your work, andI will rock Bessie and sing her to sleep."
TRYING TO BE GOOD. 29As the baby made no objection to this arrange-ment, Mrs Rivers went softly out, first kissing Nellyand giving her a glance so full of love that the child'sheart thrilled with happiness. Some of the " riches"had come already.She ran to a closet and took out her own dear doll,and laid it in the cradle beside little Bessie, whohugged it to her little breast with delight; then softlyrocking, she sang in her sweet voice this little song :-"God intrusts to allTalents few or many;None so young and smallThat they have not any." Though the great and wiseHave a greater number,Yet my one I prize,And it must not slumber." 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."Every little mite,Every little measure,Helps to spread the light,Helps to swell the treasure."Long before the pretty song was finished, the baby's
30 GREAT T RICHES.eyelids began to creep down over her blue eyes, andsoon she was in a sound, quiet sleep.Then Nelly stepped on the very tips of her littletoes into the next room and whispered to her mother,"-"Can I help you, dear mamma Bessie is fastasleep.""You may mend these stockings of your brothers,dear," she answered, lifting a bundle from the heaped-up work-basket beside her.A great frown gathered on Nelly's face, and hermouth opened to ask in a fretful tone,-" What! allthose ?" when she checked herself, and saying in herheart this little prayer,-" Dear Jesus, help me to begood," she spoke out cheerfully,-" Yes, mamma, Iwill do them immediately;" and bringing her littlechair and basket, she sat down with the big bundleof stockings, determined to mend every one of them.Her two little brothers, tired of watching the youngducks, had come into this room. One was crawlingabout the floor, looking for pins. His mamma hadpromised to give him a penny for fifty pins, and hefound a number every day. The other little fellowwas very busy cutting paper with a pair of old scissors,saying he was making a paper elephant for thebaby.Presently he got tired of making elephants, andthrowing down his scissors, he ran to the back ofNelly's chair, and climbing up with great difficulty,
TRYING TO BE GOOD. 31put his chubby arms around her neck, reached downand snatched the stocking out of her hand."Come, play with me," he said."Nelly must do her work," said his mother." But I am so tired," pleaded little Willie."And I can't find any more pins," said Maitland,who was called " Maity," hotness."Well, then," said his m., " shall I tell you alla story 1"This delightful offer w receivedd with such a shoutof joy, that Nelly had to run into the next room, torock the cradle, for fear the baby might wake up in afright; but the dear little thing only opened one eye,and the next moment was just as sound asleep asbefore.The good child came softly back, and Mrs Riverssaid,-" What shall the story be about 1"Nelly thought a moment, with her finger on herlip; then she said,-" About when you were a littlegirl, mamma.""Oh, yes, yes!" chimed in the boys, their eyessparkling; and she began as you will read in the nextchapter.,, -- .A- ,* : ', I. T ""
CHAPTER III.MRS RIVERS'S STORY." yrI lIEN I was a little girl, my father said to/ me, one pleasant summer morning,-.' 'I'm going to Newburgh, on business,and you may go with me if you choose.'"You may be sure I was perfectly delighted, andskipped off to tell my mother and get ready.""Where was I then? " asked Willie, in a grievedtone. "Why didn't you take me?"Nelly laughed merrily at this question, and hermother smiled, as she replied,-"You were not inthe world at all, or I should certainly have takensuch a dear little tot with me on my excursion.""Oh, would you " said Willie, much comforted;and Mrs Rivers continued,-" So my father had thelittle carriage brought to the door, mother kissed me,and bid me be a good girl, and brother Robert, who
MRS RIVERS'S STORY. 33was a great tease, pretended to be crying his eyesalmost out with grief at my departure. Meanwhile,father put a basket in the carriage that had in it twowhite chickens, and stood waiting for me to come."" Grandpa Woodward wasn't a farmer,-was he "asked Nelly."No; but he was very proud of his chickens, andhe meant to give these to a minister in town, whomwe were going to visit."Mrs Rivers had lost both her father and motherwhen she was a young girl, and her children werealways very much interested to know about the deargrandma and grandpa, whom they could never see onearth.Nelly's question answered, her mother went on withthe story, thus:-" We rode along for some time insilence, and then I began to ask some questions."'How far is it to Newburgh, father 1' I said."'About fourteen miles,' he replied."' Fourteen miles oh, what a long way Will ittake us all day to get there 1'"'Why, no,' said my father, laughing; 'we shallget there in about two hours and a half.'"'Do people who go to see ministers always haveta take them chickens?' was my next question."'I'm sure I don't know,' said father, laughingagain. 'I am going to give these chickens to MrRussell, because I know he can't get such another
34 GREAT RICHES.pair to purchase anywhere.' Here the two chickensgave such a Cluck, cluck !' together, as much as tosay, 'That's a fact.'"Presently we came to a toll-house, and had tostop and pay toll. There was an old gray cat sunningherself on the window-seat, with three little kittensnestled up against her. One had a blue ribbon tiedround its neck, the second a pink, and the third a redribbon." Oh, what dear little things !' I cried."'Would you like to have one, Miss asked thetoll-keeper's wife." Oh may I, papa I exclaimed."'You can take one if you choose, Nelly,' he replied; 'but don't you think it will be rather in theway '"'Why, papa, a dear little kitten couldn't be inthe way. May I have the one with the whitenose 1'"Why was your name Nelly, too ?" interruptedNelly opening her eyes wide." My name is Nelly now," answered her mother,smiling."Oh, no, it isn't. Papa calls you 'Pussy.'""Well, that is a pet name, just as I call you mylittle robin."" Oh," said Nelly; and she jumped up to give hermother a little affectionate squeeze round her neck,
MRS RIVERS'S STORE 1: 35and whisper,-" I'm so dreadful glad your name isNelly. I love you, mamma."Mrs Rivers kissed the dear little girl, and thenwent on with her story."The good-natured woman gave me the kittenwith the white nose, and I kissed and thanked her,and off we rode. The poor little thing didn't seemvery happy at being carried off from its mother, andmewed piteously at first, but after a while it cuddleditself down in my lap and went sound asleep."We had a pleasant ride to town, and when werattled at last over the stones of the streets, I wasvery much interested in looking at the numbers ofpeople;,and the shops, which seemed quite grand to"a little country girl like me. Presently we drew up at"a confectioner's, and my father stopped the waggon,and went in to buy me a luncheon.""What did he bring you I" asked Nelly." He brought me some rice-cakes, and some rusks,and a pie."" Oh, how good! I wish you had taken me !" criedboth Willie and Maity."Next time I go, I will," said Mrs Rivers, laugh-ing."Very well," answered Willie. "Then what didgrandpa do ""He got into the carriage again, and we drove to asaddler's, where he stopped once more. 36 GREAT RICHES." 'Now, Nelly,' he said, I am going to be heresome time; do you think you will be afraid to stayin the waggon alone I'" Oh, no, father I should like to stay here verymuch.'"'Very well,' he said. 'I will fasten Lennox,(that was the horse,) so he cannot get away, and beback as soon as possible.'"So saying, he entered the saddler's store. Therewere blue blinds to the lower part of the window, andthe door was made of thick, rough glass, so that itwas not very easy to look out, I suppose, and impos-sible to see in."There I sat, munching my cake and nursing mykitten, quite contented and happy."Presently a very odd-looking old man camealong. He was dressed in dirty, ragged clothes,and had a long peacock's feather, and some flyingpaper-streamers fastened to his broken straw hat, forthe poor old fellow was crazy." I was looking at him, and wondering what couldbe the matter with him, when all at once he came upclose to the carriage and stared in."' Ho little gal!' he said in a hoarse voice, grin-ning at me,-' what's that I cake '"I was terribly frightened, but managed to stam-mer out,-' Yes, sir.'"' What do you mean by calling me sir ?' he ex. MRS RIVERS'S STORY 37claimed, in a sudden, angry tone. How dare you 1Give me that cake I it's mine !' And before I couldhelp it, he snatched my pie, and ate it up at twomouthfuls.""Oh what did you do ?" exclaimed Nelly breathlessly. "What a dreadful old man!""Poor mamma! Maity so sorry !" said littleMaity."I was so frightened," continued Mrs Rivers,"that I stared at him without saying a word,-thenI exclaimed,-' Oh, please don't,- please go away !'and began to cry." Then give me some more cake !' said the sillycreature, fiercely, or I'11 get into the waggon and rideyou off to the moon The man-in-the-moon knowsme, and he's very fond o' fat little gals Ow !' andhe made a sort of snap at me with his mouth wideopen." Oh, take it all,-only go away I cried; and Iheld out all the rusks and cake I had had, except theone I had eaten,-and, hiding my face in my hands,cried harder than ever.""Why didn't somebody see him and stop him 7'asked Nelly, half crying herself."Partly, my dear child, because in a large town,people seem to think of no one but themselves. Nomatter what happens in the street, if a little child isbeing abused, or a lady injured, nine people out of
38 GREAT 7 RICHES.ten will think, 'Oh, it's none of my business,-Isha'n't interfere;' and they walk on, like the priestand Levite of old, without caring what becomes ofthe poor traveller. Besides, the old man was wellknown in Newburgh, and no one thought him likelyto do any harm, I suppose.""Well,-go on,-please," said all the children atonce."As I told you, I hid my face in my hands, andwished for my father. Suddenly I heard a loud shoutof Hoo Hurrah the waggon was jerked suddenlyforwards,-I raised my head, and found the old manhad unharnessed Lennox, and was shouting at the topof his voice to set him running !"The poor terrified horse started off at full speed,I holding to the sides of the carriage, and screamingfor help. I fortunately remembered what father oncetold me, never to try to get out of a waggon when ahorse was running away, or I might have been killed.The boys shouted, people on the footpath stopped tostare at the show, and several men ran after thecarriage, trying to catch the dragging reins, and shout-;ng Whoa !' at the tops of their voices. This onlyfrightened the horse more than ever, and in his terrorhe turned the corner of another street, and rusheddown that, till we were far away from the place whereI had left father, and yet seemed no more likely tostop than at first,-particularly as the crowd followed
MRS RIVERS'S STORY 39us and increased by the way. At last, not seemingto see where he was going, Lennox ran right upagainst a large country waggon, struck one of theshafts against it, and broke it directly in two! Theshock stopped him, and one of the men catching thereins at the same moment, guided him to the side ofthe road. Of course everybody else stopped to seethe fun, on the spot ;-a crowd of little boys staredand grinned at me,-and one, more kind-hearted thanthe rest, climbed up on the carriage-step, and offeredme a very sticky bit of candy to comfort me, saying,-'Don't cry, Missy; here, take that.'"But I could not take the candy. I was toofrightened. I only hugged my kitten, who all thistime had been clinging to my dress with its littleclaws, and mewing piteously, and sobbed out,-" Oh,please take me back to father! oh, please take meback to father !'"'Where is your father asked the man who hadstopped the horse, in a kind voice."' He went into a saddler's shop, sir,-a shop withblue blinds, and a kind of thick glass door; and thenthe old crazy man came and untied the horse, andset him off with me Oh, dear, dear !'"Here little Willie, who was very sensitive, and hadbeen listening to the story with quivering lips andtearful eyes, exclaimed, " Oh, dear !" too, and, hidinghis face against Nelly's shoulder, began to cry very hard.
40 GREAT RICHES."Why, don't cry, little boy!" said his mother,cheerily. " It is all over now, and you see I got offquite safely, or I should not be here to tell you thestory,-should I 1""Oh, but Willie so sorry!" said the child, lookingup in his mother's face."Shall I stop the story, then ?""Oh no! please go on, mamma. I won't cry anymore."" Well, when I gave this description of the saddler'sshop, the man said,-' Oh, I think it's Hartley's; Ican take you there.' So he sent one of the staringboys into a shop for a piece of stout cord, and havingtied the broken shaft together as well as he could, hegot into the carriage beside me and drove Lennoxslowly back the way we had come."My father met us on the road; he had heard thenoise in the street, and rushed out of the saddler'sjust in time to see Lennox disappear round the corner.I can't tell you how glad he was to find me unhurt,nor how, as he hugged me up to his breast and kissedme twenty times, he declared over and over that hewould never leave his little Nelly alone again. Hethanked the kind man for bringing me back, andwanted to give him some money, as he looked poor,but he would not take it, and so we bid him good-byeand left him."" Then did you go to the minister's 1" asked Nelly.
MRS RIVERS'S STORE Y 41"Yes; we drove there directly, and found themjust sitting down to dinner, thinking we were notcoming. Kitty and I had as much roast lamb andmashed potatoes as we could eat-and hungry enoughwe were, I can tell you.""Oh, I so glad you had lamb !" said Willie."Then, after that, what do you think we had fordessert 1" said Mrs Rivers, smiling."What?" asked the children in a breath."Why, nice apple pies! So I had one, after all.""How nice Well, what happened after that "they all asked."I think the next thing was that my father went offto the blacksmith's to get the shaft of the carriagepatched somehow or other, and I went up-stairs withthe minister's wife. I felt so tired and sleepy aftermy long ride and the fright, that, when Mrs Russellasked me if I would like to lie down a short time, Isaid 'Yes, ma'am,' directly; and my head had hardlytouched the pillow when I went fast asleep."About half-past five Mrs Russell woke me gently,and told me father was ready to start. The carriagewas at the door, and in a few minutes we were in itonce more,-with the empty basket riding in state onthe back seat, and kitty in my lap. It was a veryclose, sultry afternoon; and as we got out of New-burgh, and were toiling slowly along the up-hill road,my father said,-' I rather wish I had waited an hour
42 GREAT RICHES.longer, Nelly; it seems to me we are going to have athunder-shower.'"'Oh, father,' I cried, a thunder-storm! howdreadful! Do, please, drive back,-I am so afraid ofthunder.'"Just as I spoke we heard the first distant peal,and saw the bright flash of lightning far away." Oh, papa what shall we do !' I cried."'Do said my father; 'why, go on, of course.Is it possible, Nelly, that you are afraid of thunder V'"' Indeed I am, father I said."'But, my dear child, if there were any danger,have you not faith to believe that God would protectyou i A thunder-storm is a great benefit and bless-ing to the earth; and if God can keep the little birdsand all other living creatures from harm, will He notcare for you iiso '"'But perhaps the lightning will strike us !'"'No; it cannot harm us while there are no treesnear us to attract it; and as for the thunder, that isonly a noise ; and you are not afraid of a noise,-areyou '"'Why, no,' I said, beginning to laugh at myfoolish terror. Just then, however, a much loudercrash than before set me trembling again, and I hidmy face against kitty's soft fur, while father got outof the carriage, and, bidding me hold the reins, un-fastened the leather curtains on each side and behind,
AMRS RIVERS'S STORY. 43and fastened them down securely. Then he took thereins again, while I scrambled over to the back seat,and seating himself beside me, just as the first heavydrops pattered down, we drove along through thestorm."I can never forget how kindly he soothed andtalked away my silly terror at the thunder and light-ning, instead of scolding me, as some fathers wouldhave done, and told me some beautiful verses abouta thunder-storm, which made me quite forget to beafraid.""Won't you tell me the verses ?" said Nelly."I will if I can remember them. It is so long agonow, that I have nearly forgotten what they were.Let me think." Mrs Rivers paused for a moment,and then said,-" Oh, now I believe I can repeatthem. They are called"TIE LITTLE BOY AND THE THUNDER-STORM." The thunder-storm is coming II hear its distant roar !Oh, hide me, sister, hide me quick,Until its rage is o'er." The brilliant lightning blinds me !I see the pouring rain;The thunder deafens me to hear,-Hark! there it comes again."'Oh, take me, sister, on your lap,And let me hide my eyesAgainst your breast, who love me well,Till shine the gloomy skies.
44 GREAT RICHES."' For GOD is in the thunder,I heard my nurse-maid say;It is His wrathful voice we hear;-Oh, sister, let us pray !'" 'Nay, then, my darling brother,'The loving sister said,'If GOD is in the raging storm,We need not be afraid." His anger, like the thunder,Comes pealing from above;The lightning seems His awful eye,-But ah! the rain's His love."' It moistens and refreshesThe hot and thirsty plain,Until the drooping corn and flowersAre fresh and bright again." 'The lightning purifieth,Like sorrow's fearful shock;It smites the noxious weeds of sin,But cannot touch "our Rock."'"Then, looking up to heaven,-'Behold! His grace divineHas made upon the brilliant blueA bow of promise shine."'And His kind voice doth whisper-"Weep, little one, no more;My love has cleared the gloomy skies:The thunder-storm is o'er!"'"As my father finished these verses, the cloudsbroke away, the sun came out in all its splendour, andright before us we saw a magnificent rainbow !" Oh, how it seemed to cheer and lighten my heart i
JfM S RIVERS'S STORE : 45I gave father a good hug and kiss for his kindness,and promised I would never again feel any foolishdread of a thunder-storm.""And didn't you?" asked Nelly."No, never; if ever 1 began to have some of myterrors, I always repeated to myself,-' But ah! therain's His love !'-and then I grew cheerful again.""Well, what happened after that "" Why, after that, I and papa, and kitty and Len-nox, and the basket, and the carriage, all got homesafe together, and had a famous tea of bread andmilk,-that is, kitty and I did. So there's the endof my history-book, rorum, corum, torum " said MrsRivers, smiling."And my stockings too !" cried Nelly. " Why,there weren't so many, after all! Thank you, mamma,for your story. I mean to learn that piece of poetryby heart, if you will copy it for me.""Will you copy it for me, too ?" said Willie."Oh, you little goose you can't read yet! " criedNelly."Am I a goose " asked Willie, putting up hislip."I think your sister forgot when she said that,"said Mrs Rivers, gently.Nelly blushed. "I am sorry, mamma. No, Willie,you are not a goose, and I will teach you the verses,if you like."
46 GREAT RICHES.The little boy curled his chubby arms round hissister's neck. "I love you, Nelly," he said, softly;and the mother smiled sweetly on her good children.It was now nearly dinner-time, and Mrs Riverswent down-stairs to direct the servant; while Nelly,looking into the next room, and seeing that the babywas still asleep, gave each of her little brothers apencil and a piece of paper, and sat down herself toread a nice new book which had been sent to her.It was called "The Standard-Bearer," and containeda letter from "Aunt Fanny."This letter was written when Dr Anthon, one ofthe best and purest of God's ministers, was alive,-not long after he went to sit for ever at the feet of theBeloved Master, whom he had served so faithfullywhile here upon earth.Nelly knew and loved "Aunt Fanny" dearly, soshe read her letter the very first thing. Here it is.No, here it isn't; because I think my good littlehearts reading this will like to know, what I omittedto mention in the letter,-namely, that the childrenthere spoken of had learned some verses in the Bible,besides their Catechism; and as these verses wereabout a most touching incident in the life of ourSaviour, which happened shortly before His death, Iwill repeat them here. They are from the twelfthchapter of the Gospel according to John, beginningat the twelfth verse:-
MRS RIVERS'S STORE Y. 47" On the next day much people that were come tothe feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming toJerusalem,"Took branches of palm trees, and went forth tomeet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the Kingof Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord." And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, satthereon ; as it is written," Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy Kingcometh, sitting on an ass's colt."See, my darlings, how the prophecy was fulfilledwhich was written in the book of the Old Testament,called Zechariah, ninth chapter, ninth verse,-writtenyears and years before our Saviour was born.Here it is:-" Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion;shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy Kingcometh unto thee : He is just, and having salvation ;lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, thefoal of an ass."This was on the first day of the week in which ourSaviour was crucified. He entered Jerusalem, theHoly City, riding in this lowly fashion, while themultitude waved palm branches before Him, andsang hosannas, strewing their garments in His path.And yet, before the week was out, the same multi-tude cried, "Away with Him crucify Him " Heknew this was to be, so He rode on in silence andfull of grief.
48 GREA T RICHES.On this day, also, Jesus scourged the money.changers, and the buyers and sellers in the Temple.He healed numbers of the sick, lame, and blind;and many of the chief priests did in fact believeon Him, though they were afraid to confess Himopenly.In the evening our Saviour returned to Bethanywith the twelve apostles, and was probably the guestof Lazarus and his good and pious sisters.Now I will give you the little story from the"Standard-Bearer." Every word is true; and it wasmy Alice who made the speech in church.
CHAPTER IV.A LETTER FROM " AUNT FANNY," TELLING HOW ALICESPOKE IN CHURCH."-,.. EAR LITTLE FRIENDS,-I am almost cer,tain you would like to hear what hap,opened in our church one pleasant Sundayafternoon; and so I mean to tell you."Dr Anthon's class of dear little children hadgathered round his chair in the afternoon, to saytheir Catechism for the last time that season. Thebeloved rector, after the services were over and therest of the people had left the church, had seatedhimself, as usual, within the chancel, with a pleasantsmile upon his face, and the little ones hastened upthe aisles, and knelt around the railings." They had a pretty long task to recite, for they hadagreed to learn a hymn,-each to select his or herfavourite one, and as many as five verses long,-inD
5o GREAT RICHES.addition to two pages of Catechism. No wonder onelittle girl said it was quite a heap of lessons;' but,notwithstanding, she meant to 'learn them all per-fect.' And so she did." The hymns of the children were all beautiful, andall well spoken; and tender and loving tears glistenedin the eyes of the good mothers who sat near andlistened."When all the lessons were through, the kind rectormade this little speech:-"' Children, you will remember I promised that youshould decide what I was to do with your chance-offerings. I have a little memorandum here, whichsays you have given me twenty-one shillings andeightpence. Now what shall I do with this moneyYou know that there are foreign missions and homemissions. One good minister told you, some timeago, what was doing in China, and it was very inter-esting; and another one, a little while since, told youwhat had been done in Africa. He said to me after-wards that there were two young coloured men inAfrica, who were very anxious to be educated so as tobecome God's holy ministers in their own country.It would require about fifty pounds to do it, and hewas afraid he would not be able to get the money.Then I told him to take hope and comfort to hisheart, for I thought I could promise him the money;--and what do you think has happened! Why, this
LE:TTE"R F.tROM AUNT fANNY: 51very morning the congregation have given very nearlyenough for this excellent purpose, which makes mefeel very happy. Now, what do you say 7 Shall yourmoney go with the other to educate the young men 7Will you give it to Africa ? Who says yes 1'"Then a thoughtful-looking, dark-eyed little girl,whom Aunt Fanny calls Evangeline in her heart, but"whose real name is Mary, ran to her father to knowWhat she should do and Alice, another little one,-whom you all know, asked her mother, and whenthey turned back they said, 'Yes, sir, give it toSAfrica;' and little Emma, the tiniest of the flock,said, 'Yes!' and Laura, after glancing her brighteyes towards her mother, said, 'Yes !' and the goodrector was looking very much pleased, when quite un-expectedly, Clara said, 'No/' and William, one ofthe brightest boys I ever saw, said No too, verydecidedly indeed." What was to be done 1 The kind rector lookedpuzzled, and the good mothers smiled and whisperedto each other that the children knew perfectly wellwhat they were about, and meant to have this mo-nientous business of giving their money to the mis"sionaries settled to their own minds; the only troublewas, they were not all of one mind. This sometimeshappens with grown-up people,-but perhaps I oughtto have kept that a secret."'Well,' said Dr Anthon, pleasantly, 'this is quite
52 GREAT RICHES.a difficulty; four against two. Still, I have greathopes for Africa.'"Then Alice, in a sweet little piping, lisping, voicewas heard to say,-' Dr Anthon, suppose we dividethe money evenly, and give half to Africa, and hall .to home missions,-wouldn't that be better '"'Ah !' said the good rector, while a smile brokeall over his face, 'that's an excellent idea! verygood indeed; we will put it to vote.' So he askedall the children one by one, and a joyful 'Yes!' wasthe answer from all. They seemed so glad thus tosettle the difficulty, and to help both; it was reallydelightful to think, that, if they were only little chil-dren, they could help along God's work and thustheir tiny offerings were doubly blest."'And now, children,' said the rector, 'I do notintend you shall learn the Catechism when we meetagain, as some of you have been through it more thanonce. I mean to form you into a little Bible-class;-how would you like that '"I only wish you could have seen the row of dimplesthat came out on their bright little faces when he saidthis"Why, just think of it! A Bible-class, like greatgrown-up people It was perfectly delightful. Theyreally began to think they were not such little bodiesafter all; and when the good minister had made abeautiful prayer, asking a blessing upon the lessons
LETTER FROM A UNT FANNY 53they had received, the little ones left the chancel, ajoyful happy group."As they were walking down the aisle, Laura turned- her bright face up to her mother and whispered,-' Mamma, I did wish to speak out, and say I wantedthe money to go to building the new Sunday school,or else to be given to the church-building fund.'"'Well, my dear,' answered her mother, kindly,'I think it will do just as much good where it is"going;' which opinion completely dispelled the littlegirl's regret, and she was quite satisfied."And Alice whispered to her mother, -' Oh,mamma! wasn't it good that we divided the moneyevenly, because you know Africa might be jealous,-mightn't she V'" Her mother smiled at the word 'jealous,' and toldher it was quite right to avoid any risk of that kind,as jealousy among Christians was a very sad thing"I wish I could tell you all that Mary, and dearlittle Emma, and Clara, and that bright little fellow,William, said,-but my letter is already too long. Ofthis, you may be sure, they were all pleased, andloved their kind rector more than ever, and lookedforward with delightful anticipations to the time whenthey would be his dear little Bible-class."When that time comes, perhaps you may hearmore about them from your loving,"AUNT FANNY"
54 GRE AT RICHES.Ah that good time never came for the next year,just at the season when the dear little Bible-classwould have been formed, Dr Anthon went home tohis Father in heaven."Coo, coo !" said a soft voice, just as Nelly wasabout to read the next story; and two little fat feetwere raised up in the air, and the baby-blanket waskicked out of the cradle and over on the floor." Oh, you darling !" cried Nelly; " how you kick !I must pat your little toes."She took hold of a chubby foot, and giving eachlittle toe a shake in turn said :-"This little pig went to market,This little pig stayed at home;This little pig had apple-dumpling,This little pig had none;This little pig said, 'Squeak,Squeak, squeak !' my apple-dumplingIs as hard as a stone."This tickled the baby very much, and she put outher other foot to be served the same way, when thedinner-bell rang.Then Nelly took her up, brushed her few soft hairswhich made one darling little round curl at the backof her neck, and calling Willie and Maity, they wentdown to dinner.All the afternoon the little girl tried to win some ofthose riches of which her father had told her. You
LETTER FROM A UNT FANNY 55see her resolution was fresh and strong, and this madeit easy for her to be perfectly good all this first day.We shall see, as we go on with her story, whetherthis resolve remained steadfast through every trial andtemptation.
CHAPTER V.THE ROBBER RABBITS.LORA GRAY was very fond of Nelly. Shewas constantly sending for her to come toWoodlawn, which was the name of theirbeautiful place; and Nelly, I am sorry torelate, would be all smiles, skips, and happinesswhile there, but very often came home with an ex-pression as if somebody had just thrown a glass ofcold water in her face.There were so many delightful things at Woodlawn.Besides Flora's playthings, of which there seemed no"end, there were swans swimming gracefully on thebeautiful little lake; peacocks strutting up and down,displaying their gorgeous tails; a pet lamb, thatwould eat out of your hand; little white bantams,and three pretty lop-eared rabbits, which Nelly nevergrew tired of feeding. It was not strange, therefore,that the little girl should like to go to see Flora,-
STHES ROBBER-RABBITS. 57-and perhaps we ought not to blame her for sometimeswishing she could live as Flora did.In the very next house to Woodlawn dwelt asharp-featured, cross-grained, old fellow whose namewas Squire Dusenberry. He seemed to think thathis eyes were made for nothing but to look as crossas possible at everybody, and his mouth for no otherpurpose but to eat and scold. There were man-trapsand spring-guns all over his place, to catch tres-passers; and you could not enter the gate without abig dog making a rush at you, and trying to snap atyou.ir legs. If you screamed with fright, Squire Dus-S enberrv would come out smacking his lips, and say,"Think you a'n't fond of dogs;" and that was all thecomfort you got.One unlucky Friday, one of the pet rabbits belong-Sing to Flora found a small round hole in the fence- between Squire Dusenberry's grounds and Woodlawn.He immediately called a meeting of the rest of therabbits, and proposed that they should burrow under:" this hole, and find out what was on the other side."- "My friends," he said, standing up on his hind-legsand eagerly erecting his ears,-" my friends, I thinkI smell something remarkably nice on the other sideof this fence. I'm quite tired of staying here for ever,and having my meals regularly served up four times aday like two-legged animals. Come, let's hunt up adinner for ourselves."
5S GREAT RICIES.On this, a fat old white rabbit, as round as a dump-ling, turned her back, observing, " That little cat ofa rabbit wants to get us all into mischief. I had mypaw well pinched once when I poked my nose whereI had no business to go. I shall stop at home."But the others were overjoyed at the chance for anadventure. They did not pay the slightest attentionto the sensible remarks of the old rabbit, but beganwith might and main to throw up the dirt under thehole in the fence.Meirily they worked,-their long ears twisting andturning every way, ready to scamper off and hide,if the gardener or Flora or her brother Charleyshould come that way. But nothing happened, andat last the hole was large enough for them to squeezethrough.How perfectly enchanting I They were in the verymiddle of Squire Dusenberry's cabbage-bed. Nothingcould be more splendid or complete to the eyes aridappetite of a rabbit. Just imagine, my good littlehearts, your having a present of a whole barrelful ofcandy, and you will know how perfect this was.In the greatest glee the robber-rabbits commencedeating, and made such a prodigious snip, snip, snip-ping! that the fat old rabbit heard them distinctly,and what is more, she smelt such a delightful odour,that her very whiskers curled up, and her ears seemedstarting out of her head.
THE ROBBER-RABBITS. 59"I can't afford to lose all the fun," she said to her-self; so she quietly riggled through the hole in thefence. She gave a start of delight when she saw thelovely green cabbages sitting up so round and crisp":- in every direction; after which, you may be sure, theold soul never waited for the dinner-bell to ring, butfell to eating as bold as a lion, just as if all the cabbagesbelonged to her, and she had nothing to do but toHelp herself."And now all the rabbits were so absorbed in thisdelightful employment, that they did not hear oldSquire Dusenberry shuffling along in his carpet-slippers, coming to see and admire his fine vege.table garden.All at once he observed two large white ears wavingback and forth."Hullo!" he exclaimed, softly, "if it a'n't themplaguy rabbits-from Woodlawn eating up my very bestScabbages! I'll punish 'em!"Breathing hard with rage, he shuffled back to thehouse, marched up into his bedroom, and took downhis double-barrelled gun. It was already loaded withshot enough to kill a dozen rabbits. Then he cameout again so softly that the poor things did not hearShim, or else they might have given the alarm to each\other by thumping on the ground with one of theirhind-feet.BANG!! BANG!!
60 GREAT RICHES.With a cry like a human being, two of the rabbitsleaped up in the air and fell dead while the poorold white rabbit lay panting and bleeding on theground, both of her forelegs broken by some of thecruel shot.Then this terrible old Squire, what does he do buttie all three up by the hind-legs, with a piece of twinehe took out of his pocket, and hang them over thefence,-a warning, he said, to evil-doers.The old white rabbit soon died, drawing long gasp-ing breaths; and there the three hung so still,-theirlong ears stiffened back, their large prominent eyeswithout lustre, only fit now to be made into a pie.It was really dreadful
CHAPTER VI.REVENGE.* _--HE next day being Saturday, Nelly was in-vited to spend it at Woodlawn; and asshe had sincerely tried to be a good childall the week, her kind mother gave herpermission to go.With joyful skips and bounds the happy little girlsoon arrived at the great house; and of course thefirst thing to be done was to go and visit all the pets.The beautiful swans were coaxed to come up and befed with cake; the peacocks were begged to displaytheir splendid tails; the pet lamb was hugged andkissed; and then Flora, Charley, and Nelly went tolook for the pretty white rabbits.They looked and looked. " Why, where can theybe '" they asked of each other."Perhaps they have got into the stable," saidCharley, "and are feeding with the horses. What
62 GREAT RICHES.fun! to see them trying to chew up long straws,which will only tickle their whiskers. Come, let'sgo."Off they ran to the stable, and looked into all themangers; then they climbed and scrambled up aladder into the hay-loft, and forgot the rabbits for alittle while, racing around in the. greatest glee, andtumbling the hay about in a way that made the loftlook as if a regiment of disorderly rats had all builttheir nests in it;-and no doubt its condition set thehead-groom half crazy the next time he went there."Isn't this jolly!" cried Charley, turning head-over-heels into a great pile of sweet-smelling hay."Perfectly lovely," said Nelly, tumbling down ina heap beside him,-her curls tossed all over herface, and bits of straw sticking up in them in everydirection; while Flora was trying to walk up whatshe called " Straw Hill," and fell on her nose at everystep, screaming and laughing with delight, and creat-ing such a dust that all three were seized with atremendous fit of sneezing, which, with the laughingand screaming, seemed enough to take the roof off,and quite frightened all the horses below.At last, breathless with fun, they sat down close to-gether in the hay, and began to wonder again whathad become of the rabbits.Presently Flora jumped up and looked through around window at the back of the loft.
KRE VENGE. 63The sun was shining brightly upon some whiteobject which seemed hanging over the fence at thevery end of the lawn."What can it be l" she thought to herself. "Comehere, Nell !-come, Charley!" she called. "Thatcan't be Bunny, down there-can it ?""Shouldn't wonder," answered her brother. "Let'sgo and see."Up they jumped, and down the ladder they hurried,Nearly breaking their necks, and scampered as fast aspossible to the very end of the green lawn, and rushedv- pell-mell up to the poor white rabbits.For one instant they stood quite still, astonishmentSand grief depicted in their faces; then Charley,i springing up on the fence and looking over, saw the- half-eaten cabbages. He understood it at once, and- jumping down, his face crimson with rage, stampinghis foot, he cried out,-" That abominable old Squirei Dusenberry has shot them! I know he has! I" could beat him to powder Ugh I could scrunchhim ?""The hateful thing!" exclaimed Flora, burstinginto tears." " The bad, cruel man! " said Nelly, also cryingwith all her might.S"I'11 do something to him I'11 kill somethingke loves; I'11--I'11. Oh, I'11 punish him!" criedSCharley, growing more and more angry, as he tenderly
64 GREAT RICHES.lifted the poor rabbits down. "Just as if he couldn'tspare two or three of his old cabbage-heads !""I wish somebody -would eat his head," saidFlora."Oh, dear me! " sighed Nelly, "what can we doto him "Charley untied the string with which the hind-legsof his favourites were fastened ; and each taking one,the children walked slowly back to the stable.At the door they met Sam the stable-boy, and, alltalking together, informed him of Squire Dusenberry'sshameful conduct.Sam rubbed the cuff of his coat over his dirty faceStwo or three times, to hide a grin, while the dismalfate of the poor rabbits was related to him; then, ashe was a regular glutton, and was always for gettingthe most out of everything, he said, "Well, MasterCharley, I don't see no occasion to feel so bad aboutthis here; rabbit-pie is first-rate feedin', and they hadgot to come to that sooner or later."" Oh, you awful boy !" exclaimed Flora, "Doyou suppose we can eat our poor rabbits ""No, indeed !" cried Charley; "we are going tobury them. Come, Sam, get the spade and dig agrave for us.""Oh, Miss Flora! they are so very plump 1 justfeel their backs,"-and Sam lifted poor Bunny andbegan pinching her.
REVENGE. 65"Let her alone, you wicked boy !" screamed Flora."We are going to bury her,-the others too. Find anice box for us, and then hurry and dig a grave."Sam grinned again; and then going into the barn,he brought out an old empty box. Some hay was putin the bottom, and the three rabbits were laid in thebox, side by side,-the children looking on withquivering lips; then the top was nailed on by Sam,who always kept his tools in the barn; a hole was"lug under a tree, and the box was put in and care-fully covered up.The three children, with anger still burning in theirhearts, then went and sat down on a green bank,talking over their wrongs till the dinner-bell rang.Of course, the violent death of the rabbits was theonly topic of conversation at the table, and Charley'spapa promised to have a very solemn talk with SquireDusenberry about his conduct."Tell him I hate him !" cried Charley, his eyesflashing. "Tell him I'11 get our swans to hiss athim, he's so mean !""Oh, Charley !" said his mother, "don't talk so.You must learn to forgive those who despitefully useyou. Remember your rabbits were stealing theSquire's cabbages, and no doubt he was very angry,and perhaps he is sorry enough now.""Yes, but that won't bring them back; he ought tohave been sorry first."E
66 GREAT RICHES.His father laughed at this comical way of statingthe case, and the children ran off to play.But somehow, though they tried to enjoy them-selves, and Flora had every one of their dolls out inthe arbour, and gave them a party, the sad fate of therabbits would come into their minds every moment,and steal all the dimples out of their faces.All of a sudden Charley sprang up, with an ex-clamation of, "I'll do it !-see if I don't I""Do what " cried both the girls, staring at him inastonishment." Iknow I'll do it! " said Charley, again shakinghis head fiercely. "I'11 punish him! He won'tshoot rabbits again in a hurry!"" Oh, the Squire you mean !" cried the girls. "Tellus what you are going to do, Charley. Is it somethingdreadful ""You won't tell, will you ?"" Oh, no " they both declared." Well, you know how very particular he is abouthis front-door. I do believe he has it painted everysix weeks,-at any rate, it is just as white as snow,-and I mean to go down to the store,-" here Charleyshook his head eagerly, and laughed with a joyfulgiggle. "I mean to go to the store and buy somebright red paint, and paint his door for him to-night,after dark."Flora and Nelly fairly screamed with ecstasy at this
RE VENGE. 67delightful bit of mischief, and in an instant all threeheads were close together, settling the very best wayto carry it out. Flora proposed to run in and beg thecook for a small tin kettle to put the paint in. Nellyoffered to go with her to help her to beg, if the cookshould happen to be cross; while Charley rememberedthat there were some old paint-brushes in the garret,and he would hunt them up; then they would all goto the store to choose the paint, and after dark theywould steal softly out and take turns in painting thedoor.Nelly had permission to stay at Woodlawn untilnine o'clock; and as Squire Dusenberry made all hisfamily go to bed as soon as it was dark, and wassnoring himself by half-past eight, they had not theslightest fear of being discovered."We 'll make the most dreadful bogy on the doorthat ever was seen,-won't we I" said Charley, jump-ing on and off his seat with glee at the thought;" we 'll give him seven rows of teeth and ten horns.""And all the people going to church to-morrowwill be so frightened they will jump half over themoon," cried Nelly, laughing and clapping her hands."Just fancy Squire Dusenberry," said Flora; "thisis the way he will look at it;" and she opened hereyes till they seemed ready to pop out, and stretchedher mouth very nearly from ear to ear; and then allthree laughed and jumped and wished it was dark,
68 GREAT RICHES.so that they might begin painting the bogy rightaway.Oh, oh! what naughty children! Squire Dusen-berry had done wrong, certainly, but two wrongsnever did make a right, and never will.Nelly by this time had quite forgotten her goodresolutions, and waited impatiently with the othertwo. They could hardly eat enough tea, they werein such a hurry, and ran all the way to the little storein the village, where for some coppers Charley gotthe old tin mug the cook had given them half full ofsuch bright red paint, that one look at it would havemade a bull as mad as forty March hares.Soon after the sun set behind the hills, the gor-geous red and purple faded out of the clouds, andMadam Twilight softly laid her gray mantle upon theearth. Mr Rivers sat with his wife in the cosy littleporch at the back of the parsonage, admiring thepeaceful scene, and talking lovingly about Nelly,-how good she had been lately, and how she had madeherself so dear, so dear to their hearts.Where was Nelly at this moment? One of threelittle crouching figures before what had been SquireDusenberry's clean white door, trembling, half-re-pentant, watching, while Charley, brush in hand,was daubing the sides with streaks of red paint, criss-cross, up and down, here and there, in every direc-tion; while in the middle a dreadful bogy, with star-
REVENGE. 69ing eyes and many horns, seen in the dim light of thestars, had already been painted, and looked perfectlyfearful."There!" whispered Charley, as he put the laststreak on, and turned up his tin cup quite empty,-"there that's elegant! Walk up, ladies and gentle-men, and you will see Squire Dusenberry with sixhorns on his head, and all the rest eyes and ears.Nothing to pay. Walk up !"But the girls did not walk up,-they ran away; fornow that the mischief was done, they began to beboth frightened and sorry; and when they got backto Woodlawn, Nelly was glad that it was nine o'clock,and hastened home, with Sam the stable-boy to escorther, ashamed to meet the eye of Flora's mother.Once at home, she did not run as usual to sit uponher kind father's knee, and tell him and her motherall she hid seen and done. No. Guilty conscience,looking exactly like the bogy on the Squire's door,seemed staring her in the face from all the doors inthe parsonage, and she hurried up to her own littleroom.Undressing herself as quickly as she could, andgabbling over her prayers in a nervous, frightenedway, she jumped into bed.Ah! I fear she had lost some of her "greatriches.""I wonder what can be the matter with Nelly "
70 GREAT RICHES.said Mrs Rivers down-stairs to her husband. "Sh:must have tired herself out with play.""I hope she has done nothing wrong at Wood-lawn," said Mr Rivers."Oh, dear, no She is so happy there that shebehaves beautifully. Poor little darling she is onlytired," answered the loving mother.
rCHAPTER VII.DISCOVERY.HE sun rose the next morning bright andhot, and long before the church bellsbegan to ring it had dried up the dew,and shone with a quivering melting glareall over the land, and away out to the wide shiningsea, where the ships lay like little white specks on itsbosom.It shone just as bright and hot on Squire Dusen-berry's front-door, and baked the dreadful bogy therehard and fast. As it was Sunday, no one passed thehouse before church time. Squire Dusenberry andhis family always went out of the house, Sundays andevery other day, by the back-door, so as to leave nofootmarks on the steps. If any one chanced to visitthem, the very instant they left, one of the Squire'sdaughters came out to sweep and dust the steps-i
72 GREAT RICHES.after them, and rub the finger-marks from the brasskniocker.The Squire went stumping about in his kitchengarden before breakfast, with his hands under hiscoat-tails, and saying to himself, " Oh, dear me justlook at my cabbages! just look at my cabbages!"and he wasn't a bit sorry for killing the poor rabbits.Then the breakfast-bell rang, and he stumpedback into the house, sat down at the table, tookhis hands from beneath his coat-tails, mumbled outa grace in a very disrespectful manner, ate twopork-chops, three baked potatoes, four slices ofbread, and drank a great cup of coffee,-enoughbreakfast for one man, I should think, and a littleover.But all these good things did not make him anatom better tempered, for he kicked the dog themoment he got up from the table, scolded his wife,boxed his daughter's ears for not finding his pipe ina quarter of a minute, and sat down in a corner tosmoke and twiddle his thumbs one over the other,until it was time to go to church. As to reading theBible or some good book, he never thought of such athing.Ding-dong! Ding-dong! Ding-dong!The people began to move along the wide pleasantvillage street on their way to church. Stout old far-mers, with white hair, but still hale and strong, their
DISCO VER Y. 73good old wives hanging on their arms, and half adozen children following on behind, passed up thequiet street; waggons and carriages, bringing theirowners from a distance, rattled past; and one and allstared in astonishment at Squire Dusenberry's door,and thought he must certainly have gone raving mad.But the old Squire and his family saw nothing. As Ihave told you, they came out of the house by theback-door, and never looked behind them when theywalked round to the front gate.Everybody watched him in church. They sawhim take his old iron spectacles out of his pocket,find the hymn, and tune u'p through his nose, justthe same as ever. Charley, Flora, and Nelly wereperhaps more astonished than the rest, for they could: not understand why he took the mischief so quietly.As to the good minister and Mrs Rivers, they hadnot seen the door, for they always looked straightbefore them when they went to church, with theirThoughts on things not of this world.But when the service was over, and the people, asusual in country places, greeted each other standingoutside around the church porch, an old deacon saidto the Squire,-"Glad to see you taking it so easy."" Taking what so easy " growled the other."Why, the scandalous red picter on your front-door, for I don't 'spose you did it."
74 GREAT RICHES." What ? red picture Are you performing on along bow for my benefit ?"The Squire meant by that, that he .thought thedeacon was telling a lie."I don't shoot long bows," said the deacon,"specially on Sunday. I saw a great red goblinpainted on your door, and I thought you knew allabout it.""I saw it too,-an awful figure!" said a weazen-faced old farmer, who was leaning on a stick."So did I," cried a fat old lady, busy eating a largeslice of gingerbread.I wish you could have seen Squire Dusenberrythen! He started out of the churchyard at a pace asif he meant to beat a railway train. His wife anddaughters tried to keep up with him, but without sucocess, for the old Squire had got into his gate, and wasalready dancing up and down with rage, in a way tocrack the very flagstones, before the dreadful bogywhich was staring at him from his door. He hadbeen thus dancing five minutes before his family gotthere, and that was very lucky for them."Who did it' who did it F" he screamed. "I'llhave them put in prison! I'll beat them to pow-der?"He was still dancing and screaming in this way,-bad enough, goodness knows, for week days, but oh !how dreadful on the Sabbath,-when the good minis.
DISCOVER Y 75ter came along, with Mrs Rivers, and Nelly holdingfast to her father's hand.Surprised at such unusual sounds, Mr Rivers andhis wife looked up,-and then they saw the frightfuldoor,-at the same moment Nelly gave a violentstart." I '11 have them tarred and feathered I I '11 duckthem in the horse-pond !" cried Squire Dusenberry;at which awful threats Nelly turned ghastly white,and so giddy, that it seemed as if the trees and housesand church-steeple were all bobbing around; but itwas she who was staggering and reeling, as if she hadsuddenly become tipsy." "Why, Nelly, my child, are you ill What isthe matter" said her father, taking her up in his arms." Oh, papa l" she gasped, with white and trem-bling lips, "don't let him do it,-take me home withyou; oh don't let him touch me "A miserable unhappy suspicion darted into bothparents' minds, as they listened to Nelly's entreaty.They quickened their steps, and were soon safe withinthe parsonage."Oh !" cried Nelly, bursting into tears, "howpleasant this room looks I I don't want ever to leaveit."It was the very same room of which she had beenso tired, and her parents were still more surprised tohear her say this."I
76 GREAT RICHES."Nelly, my little daughter, tell me,-have youbeen doing anything wrong Do you know whopainted the Squire's door 1" asked her father in a sad,kind tone.The blood rushed in great tides over the child'sface and neck. She had never told a lie since sheknew how very wicked it was. She could not tell onenow. Oh, no! Nelly would have SCORNED to utter alie.And so, after a great struggle, her quivering lipsopened, and the words " I helped" came like a greatsob from them.And then, with many tears, the whole story cameout, about the rabbits and the children's anger, andthe revenge they took; and the kind loving reproofand teachings of her father made the little girl feelmore and more sorry that she had returned evil forevil, and was farther away than ever from that "god-liness" which is "great riches." Grieving and re-pentant, she was quite ready to promise that shewould go with her father and beg Squire Dusenberryto forgive her share in the mischief which had enragedhim so.But more than this,-when she went to bedthat night, Nelly prayed from her inmost heartto become a better child, and said with a newand solemn reverence this beautiful prayer inverse:-
DISCO VERY. 77" Make me, 0 Lord a sinless child,As Christ was pure and undefiled.Help me to come to Thee each day,As Christ has bidden us, to pray.May I forbear to seek my own,For Christ has said,-' Thy will be done,'And to myself prefer my brother,For Christ has said,-' Love one another.'Give my dear mother honour fit,As Christ to Mary did submit.Be ever candid in my youth,For Christ commandeth,-' Love the truth.'May I to others e'er be mild,As Christ was silent when reviled.And still with meekness bear my part,For Christ has blessed 'the poor in heart.'And when upon my dying bed,May Christ's dear arms be round my head.There, folded on the gentle breastOf Christ, I'll find my perfect rest."The next morning, immediately after breakfast,Nelly went with her father to Woodlawn, where hehad a very serious conversation with the kind parentsof Flora and Charley. All three felt that the Squirehad been very cruel in killing the poor rabbits, andreally deserved some punishment, though not the onehe got.Flora and Charley were very willing to say theywere sorry. So they all marched over, the three littlepenitents, begging Mr Rivers and Mr Gray to go firstand break the dreadful news.It did not make them feel any more comfortablewhen they saw a man scraping away for dear life,
78 GREAT RICHES.trying to get the red goblin off the door, and I amsorry to tell that Squire Dusenberry did not receivetheir apologies in the very best spirit. "Fiddlesticksand nonsense I" he jerked out; " keep your rabbitsto yourself next time. You've got to pay for daubingup my door So you see you have advanced threesteps backwards in your fun, for it will take the wholeof your pocket-money for the next three months; andall the tarts you buy will be very sour ones."AX
CHAPTER VIII.TRY, TRY AGAIN.OR several weeks after the dreadful affairof the bogy on Squire Dusenberry's door,Nelly was just as good as it is possiblefor a human being to be in this world,-and that is by no means perfect. We shall all beable to travel down through the world to China, in-Sstead of going all the way round it, before we findabsolute perfection in any one, big or little. And asit is not at all probable that this will take place inour day, we 'll give up looking for perfection, likesensible people, and go on with the story.So Nelly took care of the baby, and helped hermother to work, and learned her lessons and said heiprayers all these weeks, with not above a dozen cross
8o GREAT RICHES.faces coming down over her own, which I considerremarkable. Her father thought it remarkable too,and one evening, to reward her, he wrote somethingon his best sermon-paper and handed it to her, say-ing,-"Here, Nelly; this is to be read to you to-morrow.""Did you write it on purpose for me, papa " sheasked, in a joyful tone."Yes," he said." It is a little sermon 2""Yes, a week-day one,-such a sermon as oughtto be preached to children, for it is a story witha moral; and I want you to make the application.my darling.""How application,' papa ?""Why, after you have read the story, I want youto tell me what lesson it teaches to you, and that ismaking an application.""Oh, yes, I will, papa," the little girl replied, withan affectionate kiss; and off she ran to bed, for itwas time to go.The next morning after breakfast, Nelly calledWillie and Maity, who sat down with their thumbsin their mouths, so as to be sure not to interrupt orlose a single word; and taking up a pillow-case whichshe was overhanding, cried, "Now, mamma, we'll bethe congregation and you shall be the minister, forpapa said this was a sermon for children; and it's a
TRY, TRY AGAIN 81story too. Come. baby Bessie is fast asleep; pleasebegin, dear mamma."So Mrs Rivers took the paper and read as follows:-OVER A BRIDGE.A Faby Tale of Home.In the snuggest of little toll-houses, in the centre ofa long bridge, its cosy doorway nestling beneath theshadow of the sloping roof, there once lived an oldtoll-gatherer named Job Hapgood.The toll-house was the merest baby-house of aplace, with only three tiny rooms within, but thenThey fairly shone all over with the constant scrub-bings and rubbings of Trot Hapgood, Job's onlydaughter, who was the neatest and nicest little bodyyou can imagine.The walls of the sitting-room were half coveredwith staring red and blue bills setting forth the gloriesof various travelling-shows, mingled with advertisingpictures, in which people were represented in the actof dyeing their clothes the colour of indigo with"Huzzard's Blueing," or looking with amazement attheir faces reflected in their own shoes, polished with"Buzzard's Blacking;:' but, after all, this was ratherornamental than otherwise, and if Job Hapgood hadbeen a good-natured man, they might have amusedhim very much.F
82 GREAT RICHES.But he was not good-natured. He did nothing butgrumble because he was obliged to put them up, andwould have liked to make Huzzard swallow all Buz-zard's blacking, and painted up Buzzard like anancient Briton with all Huzzard's blueing, and sogot rid of both out of hand.Well one bright summer's day, just as the clockstruck twelve, old Job Hapgood popped his grizzledhead out of the little sentry-box on one side of thedoor, where he stood to take tolls, and sniffing some-thing like cooking in the air, concluded it must beabout his dinner-time. So he shuffled into the house,with his nose all wrinkled up in a discontented sort ofway, plainly taking it for granted that there was no-thing particular for dinner, and it was just his luck."Ah, there you are, father !" cried Trot's cheeryvoice; "and here's your dinner, all piping hot.""Yes, yes, my dear," replied Job, shuffling off toone side, to pretend he didn't see what Trot wasdishing up,-" yes, yes, I'm coming in a minute."" Oh, no,-you must come now !" said Trot, merri-ly. "Just take your seat,-that's a dear old daddy,-and see what I've got for you! First, here's anice dish of boiled beef and potatoes; and there youare,"-setting down the first dish; "and your teadrawn just the way you like it; and there you areagain,"-setting down a small brown tea-pot: "andfor a treat, a delicious little bit of-what do you
TRY, TRY AGAIN. 83think " asked Trot, mysteriously clasping herhands."I'm sure I don't know," said Job, disconsolately."Anything's good enough for me.""Tripe !" cried Trot, fairly clapping her hands injoyous triumph. "I bought it for you myself, andstewed it with onions; and there you are!"-andTrot set the tripe on the table, in a brown earthenbowl, and tripped round to give her father a littlesqueeze, and a little kiss on the very tip of his nose,-laughing all the time with a trill like a happy bird."Yes, yes, Trot, my dear," replied the toll-gatherer,-" you're a good little girl to your poor old daddy.I don't know what would become of me withoutyou;" and his eye rested on the staring placards ofHuzzard's Blueing and Buzzard's Blacking with aninward discontent which even tripe couldn't makehim forget."Oh, never mind the bills now, father," said Trot,cheerily; "your dinner will be stone-cold. Come;"and drawing her chair up to the table, she bowed herpretty golden head to ask a blessing, and the toll-gatherer was fairly settled to his dinner.Then to see Trot hover about him, so anxious that"he should be comfortable To see her now puttinga savory bit of meat on his plate,-now pouring outhis tea and taking a saucy sip from the cup herself,-anon running to the door to receive a toll, then
84 GREAT RICHES.back again, singing like some blithe little bird; andpresently cutting bread for her father, in a profoundfiction that he was quite unable to help himself!Darling little Trot!Then, when dinner was over, how she took hispipe from the mantel-shelf, and with a thousandgraceful little gestures-still very like a bird-beganfilling it! pressing the tobacco down with her chubbyforefinger in proper style, and then putting it betweenhis lips to be lighted, with an approving pat on hisbrown cheek, and setting the cricket under his feetfor him to take his afternoon nap, before she trippedaway to clear the table. Busy little Trot!Now, surely, if never before, Job Hapgood oughtto have felt contented with his lot, as he sat in hisarm-chair smoking and looking absently about theRoom. And yet he was thinking, not of the blessingshe enjoyed, but how many years he had been toll-gatherer on that bridge, and after all, what a poor,mean, scraping, toiling kind of life it was for an oldman. Gradually these thoughts became mixed upwith his dislike for the show-bills, and he was justbeginning to feel rather drowsy, and a little confusedas to whether Huzzard's Blueing was the GrandCalithumpian Moral Egyptian Caravan, or Buzard'sBlacking was the Real, Living Jackass with FourTails, or both together, when suddenly he wasaroused by some one's calling him from without.
TRY, TRY AGAIN. 85The voice was rather an odd one too,-high andshrill, like the whistling of the wind through a key-hole, and, moreover, whoever was calling seemed tobe in the greatest possible hurry to pay their toll andbe off again."Coming " shouted Job, sleepily; and rousinghimself as well as he could, he hurried to the door,and there he saw a very curious-looking vehicle in-leed.There certainly was something out of the waybout this conveyance! It wasn't a travelling-coach; it bore not the slightest resemblance to atilbury, a dog-cart, a phaeton, a trotting-waggon, ora hearse; it didn't look like a caravan, and nobodywould have suspected it of being a perambulator;yet it seemed to be made up with little bits out ofeach and all these vehicles. Harnessed to it werefour spirited horses, which plunged and reared, andall but stood on their tails with impatience; butneither driver nor passenger could be seen anywhere.Job stood staring with all his eyes at this queeraffair, when once more the voice from within ex-claimed, "Come here, and take your toll, Job Hap-good."Half-scared out of his wits, yet compelled, as itseemed, by some spell, the toll-gatherer went up tothe strange conveyance and laid his hand on the knobof the door.
86 GREAT RICHES.The instant he did so, the door flew open of itself,he was whisked into the carriage, he could not tellhow, and, like a flash, off they went down the road,pell-mell, helter-skelter !"Oh, good gracious !" yelled Job Hapgood at thetop of his lungs. "Oh, my goodness! For pity'ssake Help Murder Fire Oh, Trot, Trot,Trot!"But of what use was it to snout and bawl in anenchanted coach for such this must certainly havebeen. Moreover, the toll-gather's voice seemed tosink into a whisper, like a person's in a nightmare,and his tongue to become glued to his palate withfear, when on looking round him he found himself-ALONE.Yes, there he sat,-alone with the Voice whichhad summoned him from his home,-no shadowyform, no gauzy garment hovering at his side, yet hefelt that invisible eyes were piercing to his very soul.A cold chill crept over his limbs, his hair rose onend, and in the extremity of terror his teeth chat-tered in his head.Suddenly the silence was broken by a mockinglaugh close at his ear."Oh, my heart alive, what's that I" gasped Job."Why, Job, my fine fellow !" said the Voice, "youdon't seem grateful for your good luck Ten minutesago you were a miserable man, disgusted with your
TR1Y, TRY AGAIN. 87lot in life; yet now you find yourself in a splendidcarriage, rolling straight towards happiness, and allyou say is, 'Help !' and Murder !' Ha, ha, ha!""B-but who-but what-" stammered the toll-gatherer."Who is with you I A friend of yours, Job,-onewho is going to put you in a new situation," returnedthe Voice, with mock gravity."But please your-your-dreadful majesty," fal-tered Job, who really began to think he had falleninto the hands of somebody he called Old Goose-berry,-" I want my daughter Trot with me, whereverI am.""Well, it's you for making conditions !" retortedhis unseen companion. "Suppose you sit still and-only speak when you're spoken to !" and with thatdown came a sounding whack on Job Hapgood'shead, which made darkness, besprinkled with a curi-ous pattern of stars, swim before his eyes, and ad-vised him pretty strongly to say nothing more butwait and see what would happen next.All at once, plump! they pulled up, and stoodstock-still. The door flew open, Job was impelled,as before, to get out, and in an instant strange carri-age, fast horses, and all disappeared in a flash oflightning, and left him alone once more with theVoice.The place where he now found himself was a long
88 GREAT RICHES.bridge, spanning a rapid river, whose dark watersflowed with a murmuring sound among the massivebeams and abutments below, until they fell, with asubdued, yet ceaseless roar, over vast masses of jaggedrocks, cutting the waters into myriad wreath of foar,and spray. The sun shed a dreary and awful lightthrough the thick dun-coloured mist which com-pletely shrouded either shore, and the whole sceneoppressed and weighed upon the soul like the heavyshadow of some dreadful dream.In the centre of the bridge one familiar objectappeared,-a toll-house, whose weather-beaten wallsand sloping roof reminded Job very much of hisown home,-once so despised, though now he wouldhave given anything on earth to get back again."Well, there's a toll-house, at any rate," hethought; "it must be a common bridge, after all.""Oh no, it is not, Job," said the Voice,-whichseemed to know his inmost idea,-" it is the site ofall your happiness.""What! am I to be a toll-gatherer again " criedJob,-that is, he thought he cried, for in reality hisvoice was the lowest whisper. "No, thank you. Ifthat's the best luck you've got for me, why let's goback to the old place.""Not just yet, Job," returned the Voice. "Youhave a lesson of happiness to learn first.""Oh, of course. I'm bound to be contented and
TR Y, TRY AGAIN. 89happy with toiling and moiling from morning tillnight, and night till morning,-and one's very sitting-room invaded with show bills!-which, if I couldhave the fixin' of things, I'd Huzzard and Buzzard"em,-a pack of four-tailed jackasses! At my age,too,-rising sixty! If you could make me youngagain, that would be something like happiness. Therewere good times then,-ah, dear, dear!" Here histirade was interrupted by the Voice."Look, Job," it said,-and its tones were deepand solemn now as the murmur of many waters,-"something is passing over the bridge."The slow rumbling of a heavy waggon sounded inthe distance, and in a moment more it emerged fromthe mist on the left bank of the river, and the timbersof the bridge resounded under the tread of two strongfarm-horses.A sturdy fellow walked beside the waggon, whichwas half filled with hay, making a soft nest for twomerry children who rode within.As it approached the toll-house, one of the chil-dren, a pretty fair-haired boy, sprang up, exclaiming,-"Oh, uncle! let me pay the toll,-won't you tLook, Grace; now I'm a General waving his swordin battle I Hurray!" and the child flourished along cornstalk as he spoke, his eyes sparkling withglee." Do you recognize that boy, Job t" said the Voice.
90 GREAT RICHES.The toll-gatherer turned ghastly pale, and his voicehad a strange, hollow sound as he answered,-"Myself ""You were happy then, Job I" said the Voice."Very, very happy!" groaned the toll-gatherer.The waggon stopped at the toll-house, and the boyheld out an ancient Continental coin. Moved by apower he could not resist, Job came forward to re-ceive it, when the boy, fixing his eyes upon him,uttered a terrified cry. In an instant the waggonhad passed swiftly on, and was lost in the shadowsbeyond." My poor uncle !" sighed Job. " He was shot inthe field of battle fifty years ago."As he spoke, he looked once more towards theleft bank of the river, and saw a singular change inthe dark mist that overhung the shore like a funeralpall. Slowly it rolled backwards on either side; andjust where it was parted, the toll-gatherer saw thedistinct picture of a room in an antiquated farm-house. A dim light, burning within the wide chim-ney, gleamed over the time-worn furniture; a high-backed chair beside the hearth; a bedstead coveredby a patch-work quilt; and on the wall above, afaded sampler wrought with texts from Scripture.In the centre of the room, on rough trestles, reposeda child's coffin, covered with a sheet."My mother's room I" exclaimed Job, the cold
TRY, TRY A GAIN, 91dew starting to his brow. "But whose coffin isthat "As he spoke, the clouds rolled heavily back andhid the vision from his sight. At the same momentthe awful toll of a funeral bell filled the air, andissuing from the dim mist, with the sound of manyhorses' feet, a burial train passed on over the bridge.Solemnly it moved along and stopped opposite thetoll-house. Suddenly the side of the hearse becametransparent, and the child's coffin was revealed within-the lid partly drawn aside. The toll-gatherermoved closer, and fixed his terrified eyes upon themarble face of the corpse."Whose funeral is this, Job I" asked the Voice." My little sister's " sobbed the toll-gatherer.Like the swift passage of a dream the burial trainpassed onwards, amid the doleful clangour of thebells, and vanished in the gloom."Then there were sorrows clouding your earlyyouth 1" asked the Voice." She was the darling of the house " cried the poortoll-gatherer. "Oh, Ruth, dear- little Ruth!""The clouds are parting again," continued theVoice. "See what they bear on their dark bosoms!"Within the framework of the first shadowy pictureappeared another vision. It showed the outside ofthe same farm-house, surrounded by an old-fashionedgarden. Fruit-trees drooped their loaded branches
92 GREAT RICHES.over the wide beds whe4rwflowers and sweet-herbsgrew together. The porch in front of the door wasfaintly lighted by the new moon, and there sat ahandsome young man and woman.You could see in their happy faces a strong like-ness to the children who rode so merrily in the hay-cart long ago, and from the way her dark glossy curlsrested against his breast, it seemed as though theywere newly married."Who are these happy ones, Job?" questioned theVoice."Me and Grace Trueman," murmured Job. "Wewere just married then, and living as happy as a pairof little birds. We had our bit of money laid upagainst a rainy day, and everything nice around us.Oh dear! oh dear A hard thing for a man to cometo poverty at last when all began so well."The vision passed away as he spoke. It seemedto carry with it some of the uncertain light that beforeshone over bridge and river, or else the day wasreally drawing to a close, when, plodding wearily fromthe hidden shore, two wayfarers appeared on thehither end of the bridge. The principal figure wasa man in the prime of life, but sadly worn and hag-gard as though with many troubles. He supportedon his arm a woman, whose dark hood, pushed backfrom her face, revealed her pale beautiful featuresand raven hair. Each of them carried a bundle,
TR Y, TRY AGAIN. 93which seemed to contains all their worldly posses.sions, and the dust of the weary road hung heavilyupon their garments.As they passed the toll-house they turned theirheads, and looked Job Hapgood full in the face.A deadly chill seemed to strike into his veryheart; he shuddered from head to foot; for inthese way-worn figures he recognized himself andhis wife."You suffered like this in your manhood?" saidthe Voice, with strange gentleness in its tones."There was one hard season after another," criedJob, clasping his thin hands in bitter grief. "Mycrops failed more than any of the neighbours'; andthough I strove and struggled against poverty andsickness, there came debt upon debt, and at last thevery homestead went from us. Ah, Grace! poorbirdie 1 That I should have brought thee to this !Cruel! cruel!""Look, Job!" broke in the Voice,-" see what fig-ure this is that passes over the bridge !"The daylight had faded away, a gloomy nightfallsettled blackly down on the river. As the thickclouds drifted sullenly apart, the dim, watery lightof the moon streamed between them, and fell on theform of a man hastening over the bridge. His clotheshung in tatters round his wasted form, and his long,tangled hair and beard mingled in wild confusion
94 GREAT RICHES.about a wan face which still bore some shadowy like.ness to the fair boy of years ago.He paused as he reached the centre of the bridge,where a wooden seat was placed for poor wayfarers,and placing gently upon it a sort of bundle that hecarried in his arms, wrapped in an old shawl, he stoodgazing downwards at the rushing water."This is the place," he said at last, in hoarse andbroken tones. " Here, where we toiled along, heart-broken, from our happy home,-where I saw the lightfade out of my darling's eyes, and did not die! I,who had brought her to such a pass Here I havecome at last, to join her Trot, little birdie, oh fare-well for ever!" and his voice choked with sobs, his des-perate hands clenched above his head,-the wretchedman hovered one instant over eternity-"Stop !" rang out a voice, loud and commanding,as the tall form of a man darted towards the suicide,and clasped him firmly in his arms. "For Heaven'ssake !-what would you do?""Ah, let me die !" cried the figure, cowering andgrovelling under the strong grasp. "What have I tolive for but starvation and despair ?"The other pushed him down on the bench, andtaking the seeming bundle in his arms, drew asidethe old shawl. The fair face of a sleeping infantappeared, the moonbeams falling like a glory onits little golden head.
TR Y, TRY AGAIN. 95"My child !" cried Job Hapgood, falling on hisknees. "My little darling, innocent child !"The shadows fell deeper and darker on the bridgeas the toll-gatherer, lifting his head from his claspedhands, raised his eyes towards the Voice." You do not condemn me utterly I" he humbly en-treated. " I was mad-lost-I know not what, undermy heavy load of troubles. He pitied me even inmy wickedness, although he was a man of God"-"And took you and the child to his home, feedingand sheltering you there, until, through his unweariedkindness"-"I got the place as toll-gatherer!" cried Job;"and, please GoD, I'11 pray for and bless him manya long year to come.""Look at the shadows once more, Job," said theVoice. "See what they show you now."Job looked toward the shore, and there, limnedforth on the dark background of the mist, he beheldhis little sitting-room at home. The blazing fire sheda rosy light upon the whitewashed walls, gay with thefamiliar signs of Huzzard and Buzzard, which thecheerful gleam transformed into charming pictures;while the bright tins on the mantel-shelf glittered likehomely diamonds. In the centre of the room stoodthe tea-table, spread with its clean brown cloth andwell-known china; no sound could be heard but thebusy tick of the Dutch clock and the singing of the
96 GREAT RICHES.kettle on the fire; and close beside the hearth, hersweet face illumined with a tender blush, as the fire-light played on it, sat Trot at her sewing."Oh, Trot, dear, darling little Trot!" cried JobHapgood, springing to his feet. "If I only can getback to you again, I'11 be the most contented man inthe whole country.""What! with Huzzard, Buzzard, and all " in-quired the Voice, which had recovered somewhat ofits former sarcastic tone."With every one of 'em!" shouted Job at the topof his voice, giving a frantic flourish with his feet,half-joy, half-impatience, which kicked over-The Voice?No, the cricket. .... "Why, bless me,father !" cried Trot, running up to him, "what's comeover you t Haven't you had a good nap 1""Nap! my birdie," exclaimed Job, staring at herin amazement; " have I been asleep ? ""Yes! the best part of an hour, and snoring away withyour dear old mouth as wide open as the drawbridge."Job paused for a moment to give Trot a delightedhug and kiss, to make sure he had really got her allsafe; then raising her face by the round, dimpledchin, so as to look in her eyes, he said,-"Tell me, birdie, do you love the old house? V'"Why, surely, father," said Trot, looking in hisface with a wondering smile.