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NETTIE'S MISSION:STORIES ILLUSTRATIVEOFTHE LORD'S PRAYER.BYALICE GRAY,AUTHOR OF 'LITTLE KATY AND JOLLV JTTM,' ETC.LONDON:JAMES NISBET & CO. 21 BERNERS STREET.M.DCCC.LXXIV.
CONTENTS.NETTIE'S MISSION.PAGECHAP. I.. OUR FATHER .,, II. THE ORPHAN'S HOME 8, III. NETTIEIS GOOD-NIGHT 14, V. A VISIT TO A STRANGE 19S V. THOUGHTLESS HARRY 25, VI. NETTIE'S LOVE TESTED .,, VII. DOWN ON THE SHORE 37,, VIII. COMING HOME 41, IX. WATCHING AND WAITING 45X. " MY LITTLE DAUGHTER" 50LITTLE MARGERY.,, I. MARGERY'S GRANDFATHER 59,, II. THE FIRST EFFORT 66, III. GRANDPA'S PERPLEXITY 70, IV. SUNSHINE AND CLOUDS 76V. REPENTANCE 82S VI. THE FRESHET 86,, VII. THE RESCUE 91., VIII. WHY FATHER SIGHED 96S IX. UNCLE WILL 101,, X. THE KINGDOM .. 1074\
VI CONTENTS.MARGERY'S CITY HOME.PAGECHAP. I. THE FAIRY IN TROUBLE 117,, II. THE DOCTOR'S VISIT 123,, III. THE SOLDIER'S MESSAGE 129, IV. A FRIEND FOUND 14, V. MISS RAYMOND 137VI. MARGERY'S FIRST EFFORT 143., VII. EDWARD'S VISIT 147,, VIII. THE SUNDAY SCHOOL 151, IX. A HOME MISSIONARY 156,, X. ALMOST HOME 160, XI. REST AND JOY 163THE CROSSING-SWEEPER.,, I. THE CROSSING 171S II. THE PARK BASEMENT 176, III. A HARD DAY. 182, IV. CHRISTMAS EVE .. 188, V. CHRISTMAS EVE IN ANOTHER HOME 196S VI. THE DAILY BREAD SENT 201, VII. TWO LITTLE SANTA CLAUSES. 207,, VIII. MAGGIE'S CHRISTMAS 213ROSY CONROY'S LESSONS., I. ROSY'S SCHOOL 225, II. ROSY'S HOME .. 231, III. A USELESS PLEA 236
CONTENTS. viiPAGECHAP. IV. REPENTANCE 239S V. A BITTER GRIEF 243, VI. ROSY A TRADESWOMAN 248,, VII. THE ARMOUR BUCKLED ON .. 253,, VIII. JOE TURNER'S 259,, IX. THE LOST BROTHER 265, X. ROSY'S REWARD 271NED DOLAN'S GARRET., I. LITTLE DICK 279S II. TEMPTATION 284S III. NEED'S LOSS 290S IV. RESOLUTION 296S V. ROSY AT WORK 304S VI. LEAVING HOME 309SVII. A TRUE FRIEND 314, VIII. IN HOSPITAL 319S IX. HOME 3264
NETTIE'S MISSION."Our Father which art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name.'CONTENTS.CHAP. I. OUR FATHER.,, II. THE ORPHAN'S HOME.,, III. NETTIE'S GOOD-NIGHT.SIV. A VISIT TO A STRANGER., V. THOUGHTLESS HARRY., VI. NETTIE'S LOVE TESTED.,, VII. DOWN ON THE SHORE.s, VIII. COMING HOME.M IX. WATCHING AND WAITING.SX. " Y LITTLE DAUGHTER.""4,v'4
NETTIE'S MISSION.CHAPTER I.OUR FATHER.IN a pleasant little nook, formed by a crevice between twohuge rocks, and roofed over by a slab of stone which hadfallen from the overhanging cliffs above, there sat onemorning a gentleman, who seemed to be more interestedin the scene around him than in the book which lay openupon his knee.He had chosen a very pretty spot for his reading-room.Behind him rose the stern, gray rocks,.while before him,rolling its waves almost to his feet, lay the bright sea,.rippling up on the beach with a murmuring sound; and,away in the distance, he could see the white sails of shipsflapping idly in the slight breeze; while, above all, thesoft April sky smiled down upon sea'and land, as if to winmen's hearts from the beauty of earth to that more gloriousland which lies beyond its blhe depths.He was sitting there, watching the ebb and flow of thetide, and thinking, unwillingly, that it would soon reachhis retreat, when a low sound, like a suppressed sob, struckon his ear. He raised his head and listened, for he hadthought himself alone. It came again, a muffled, uncertainsound, but, unmistakably, the crying of a child. Rising4-
4 XETTIE'S MISSION.from his seat, he went out upon the beach and looked upand down the long stretch of sand; but no one was to beseen, and he was about to return to the cave to listen oncemore for the strange sound, when the flutter of a dresscaught his eye. Walking around. the point which hid itsowner from sight, he almost stumbled upon a little figurecrouching down upon the rocks and crying bitterly. Mi-serably dressed, with her long hair falling in disorder uponher neck, and her cheeks stained with tears, she was cer-tainly a sad sight." My little girl, what troubles you so ?" asked. the gen-tleman, leaning over her and speaking in a gentler voicethan she had heard for many a day.The child tossed back the tangled hair from her eyesand turned toward him with a wondering look, ceasing tocry as she gazed into those dark, bright eyes, which werefixed upon her with such pity. It was a noble face, withits high broad forehead and firm but kindly mouth; andNettie Allen gazed at it with astonishment, that such a faceshould bend tenderly over her.But when the gentleman asked again, "What troublesyou, my child ?" her sobs broke out afresh, and she ex-claimed, half angrily, half mournfully,-"I wish I was dead! Oh, I wish so I was dead !""Hush, hush! You must not say you wish for deathin that violent manner. Try to tell me what makes youcry so;" and he drew away one of the hands which con-cealed her face. "Has any one been unkind to you ?"" Yes; " and the girl snatched her hand from his, placedher elbows on her knees, and, resting her chin on herclasped hands, sat gazing out over the sea without anotherword.But Mr. Thorn was not repelled by her rude answer.Rough as her manner was, she was a child, and a very sadchild, too; he could see that in the mournful eyes, whichlooked so steadily out over the rippling sea.
OUR FATHER. 5" Who is it that has injured you ?" he asked, very gently."Everybody," she answered, in the same brusque tone."Have you no friends at all ?""No, I haven't."" Poor child !"The girl looked toward him again, watching himclosely for a moment, and then, her whole manner changing,said tremulously,-" No, I haven't anybody at all. No mother, nor father,nor nobody."" You have one Father, little one."" No! he died long ago, they say, when I was a baby.All the other children have got one, but not me.""You have a Father. He lives up there."Her eyes followed his pointing finger, then fell again tohis face, with the old questioning look." What do you mean ?"" I mean that away beyond that beautiful sky, far aboveall the din, and toil, and weariness of this earth, yourFather lives-another Father than he who, you say, diedwhen you were a baby."" Who told you that?" asked the child." He told me. Years ago, a message was given me fromHim, telling me that all the little children, whether theywere merry and glad, or sad and lonely, were His children,and that I must tell them about Him tell them that Heis their Father, and that He will take care of them andkeep them safe in His love."The eager, wondering eyes fixed on him, told him hownew and strange this story was to her." I don't know what you mean," she said, as he paused."I never saw Him.""No, you will not see Him until He calls you to thehome to which He brings all His children. But I can tellyou of Him now, so that you may learn how to reach thatbeautiful home. Would you like to go there 2"4
6 NETTIE'S MISSION."Yes, if that Father loves me; 'cause nobody does here."" Do you live in this village?" asked Mr. Thorn." Yes; I live with my aunt. Uncle is a fisherman.""It is strange I never saw you before. I thought Iknew every child in the village."" We've only been here a week," said Nettie. " Weused to live ten miles away; but uncle thinks it's safercoming in here with the boat when it storms. I wishthey'd all go off in the old boat and never come back," sheadded, in a muttering tone." Your Father in heaven does not love to hear you speakso.'""He couldn't hear, away off there," she answered,quickly." Yes, He can hear and see all we do and say. Thisgreat Father is not a man like me, He is the holy God ofheaven; and it grieves Him to hear you speak wicked, re-vengeful words."" Does He watch me all the time ?" asked Nettie. " Idon't see how it is,""You cannot understand it; but you can understandthat He loves you very dearly, and that He wants you tomake ready to go to Him, by being very gentle and kind,even to those who are not kind to you. Will you try todo that for Him ?""Aunt will punish me when I go home," said she,without answering his question, "because I couldn't carrythe basket of fish to the house. It was so heavy I let itfall, and the handle broke. Uncle struck me when I didit; and I know aunt will beat me, too.""I hope she will not; but if she does, what shallyou do ?"" I'll strike But did you say the new Father wantedme not to strike back?" she asked, suddenly checkingherselff."'Yes. I will tell you what He wants you to do. If
OUR FATHER. 7your aunt scolds you, don't answer by one wicked word.Try to tell her gently how the accident happened. If shewill not listen to you, try to bear the punishment quietly;and then go and tell your Father in heaven all yourtroubles, and ask Him to help you."" How will I tell Him, if He's up in the sky ?"" Kneel down by your window, where you can look uptoward heaven, and tell Him all about it. He will hearevery word, even the softest whisper; and He will surelyhelp His child.""Then I '11 tell Him. It '11 be nice-won't it ?"Her new friend had completely won the poor little heart;and now, when he rose from his seat upon the stone besideher, she, too, rose, and, coming close to him, looked upinto his face, as she said,-" Please, will I never see you more ?"" Oh, we shall see each other very often, I hope," said Mr.Thorn, touched by her pleading tone and the entreatinglook in her eyes. " I am the minister. I shall come tosee your aunt some day."" Come now; do come now," said Nettie, eagerly."I cannot come to-day; but you shall see me soon.Now I must say good-bye. But first tell me your name."" Nettie Allen."" Well, Nettie, you must try to remember what I toldyou about that dear Father above the sky."" I'll remember; I can't forget, when He 's all I've got,"said -the child.Mr. Thorn turned back to glance at her, after he hadleft her. She was still standing gazing after him; but,the next moment, he saw her run along the beach and dis-appear within one of the fishing-huts which lined the shore.A sudden impulse led him toward the huts; and, as heneared one of them, he heard a woman's angry voice andthe sound of heavy blows.Quickening his steps, he reached the door, but not in
8 NETTLE'S MISSION.time to save his little friend from her aunt's cruelty ; for ashe lifted his cane to knock, the door was flung open andNettie rushed out, with her hands held tightly over hermouth, and ran swiftly down behind the rocks. Mr. Thornfollowed her; but when he reached the spot where she hadhidden herself, he paused.She stood at the water's edge, with her hands claspedtightly together and her face lifted to the evening sky,whispering, in a choked, sobbing voice,-" Dear new Father, don't let her do so any morePlease take care of me, for there's nobody else; and thegood man said you would."Mr. Thorn turned softly away, leaving the lonely heartto be comforted by God, and resolving, that before anotherevening should fall he would see Nettie's aunt, and trywhat he could do in the child's behalf.CHAPTER II.THE ORPHAN S HOME.EARLY the next morning Mr. Thorn went out, with thepurpose of learning something about his new prote'gee. Hewas a welcome visitor in the low, small huts in which theAshermen lived during the summer months, for he alwayscame to pour a little cheer and comfort into the hearts ofthe toiling men and their no less careworn wives, and to11a a smile into the face of every child who might chanceto meet him in his walk. He was not long in learning allhe wished to know. Many a mother's heart among thosepoor people had been made to ache already by the ill-usage which they knew fell to Nettie's share." Harsh words and blows are what she lives on," saidone woman, with tears in her eyes. " It is a bitter shame
THE ORPHAN'S HOME. 9to treat her so. The girl would be a good child, if shewere let alone."As Mr. Thorn walked on toward the cabin, into whichNettie had disappeared the night before, he saw her sit-ting on the sands beside a tall, half-featured woman, mend-ing a net. She glanced up as she heard his step, and abright look of pleased recognition flitted over her face;but slie did not speak, nor attempt to rise." How does my little friend feel to-day ?" asked thegentleman. " I am the minister of this parish," he con-tinued, turning to the woman, who had looked up fromher work with a surprised stare. " I met your child outon the rocks yesterday, and we had quite a chat together."" Oh, I dare say," replied the woman; " she's alwaysidling round where she's no business to be. What do youmean," she exclaimed, facing round upon the girl, "byputting yourself in the gentleman's way ?"" She did not do so," said Mr. Thorn. " It was Ithat put myself in her way. She was sitting on therocks, and I went up there and began to talk to her. Shetells me that she is an orphan."" Yes, she is; and that's why she's here, a burden onme and my man, when we've got five of our own to feed.Her father was never no good. He set up for a store-keeper, and thought himself above us plain fisher-folk;but when he died he wasn't worth a cent, and left his sickwife and this child for us to look after. She died just afterhim, and the child's been eating of our bread ever since."" Bitter bread it must have been," thought Mr. Thorn,as he looked down at Nettie, who had been listening insilence to these words. " How would you like to put herout to service ?" he said aloud." I'd like it right well. She's always fighting with myboys, and I'd be glad of peace in the house. Are youwanting a girl ?"" Yes. My wife is an invalid. She needs some one to
10 NETTIE S MISSION."wait constantly upon her; and as she is fond of children,I have proposed to her to take Nettie as a handmaid."" She don't know nothing about sickness."" That is not necessary. My wife is not very ill; butshe is helpless, and needs some one to run about for herand attend to all her little wants. Would you like to go,Nettie ?"" I'd like to go to the new Father, if He's there."" What are you saying ?" asked the woman, roughly.But Mr. Thorn laid his hand on the child's head, andturned her face toward himself." Would you like to come and live in my house withme and a good, kind lady ?"" And isn't the new Father there ?" asked Nettie again." You're talking nonsense," interrupted her aunt. " Ihear the baby crying in the house. Go up and bring himdown; and don't you speak a sharp word to him, or I '11punish you well."The girl rose to obey; but, as she passed Mr. Thorn,she looked wistfully at him." I'd like to go with you now," she said, very softly."I do believe the girl's an idiot," said the woman."That's just her way,-talking nonsense that nobodycan understand. She just takes after her father. Youmay take her, I'm sure, if you want her."" Are you willing to bind her out to me ?-to releaseall claim to her ?"" Willing enough. But there comes my man; perhapsyou'd best ask him, as the child belonged to his brother.Come on here, Sam !" she called out to a fisherman, whowas coming up the beach with his lines over his arm." This gentleman is the minister, and he wants John'sNettie for a servant-girl."" Well, I don't object," said the man. " She and youis always a-quarrelling; so the best thing for her is to goWill you clothe her?" he asked, turning to Mr. Thorn.
THE ORPHAN'S HOME. 11" I will take the whole charge of her, if you choose tobind her to me," said the gentleman. " Will you dothat ?"" Yes, and be glad to do it. She's been nothing' but aworry in the house, ever since she was a baby."Poor Nettie! As Mr. Thorn looked at her comingdown from the house, carrying in her arms "the baby,"a stout boy of nearly two years old, his heart ached tothink that she should be so easily and so gladly given upto a perfect stranger, by the only two persons in the worldto whom she had a right to look for love andkindness." It is all settled, Nettie," he said, as she came near." You are to come up to the village to live with me."" When? To-day ?" asked Nettie, creeping close tohim." I suppose that she can come to-day, as well as at anyother time,--can she not ?" said Mr. Thorn." Oh, yes. But she aint got no clothes but those onher back."" I will attend to the clothes. Now Nettie, say good-by."Nettie turned reluctantly to her aunt." Good-by. See that you behave yourself," was herharsh farewell.But the man was less hard. Perhaps some childish re-collections of the dead brother, who had been his playmateand constant companion in their boyhood, came into hisheart, as he saw that brother's child turning willinglyaway from his home to give herself into the care of an en-tire stranger. Something like tenderness must have yetlingered within him, for he kissed her, as he shid, with alittle break in his voice,-" So you 're glad to leave us, eh ?" It aint been a verybright house for you, I confess."Nettie made no reply, but, stealing again, in her timor-4
12 NETTIE S MISSION.ous manner, to Mr. Thorn, stood quietly at his side, as ifto say, " Now that is over, let us go."It had not been his intention to take her with him thatmorning; he had merely expected to engage her servicesas a maid for his wife: but the woman's cruelly roughmanner, and Nettie's evident terror of her, had made himresolve to take her at once from this wretched home.When they reached the village street, and had-left thefishing-huts quite in the distance, Mr. Thorn suddenlyfelt a touch upon the skirt of his coat. He had been verysilent; for he was revolving in his mind the best means ofimproving Nettie's appearance before he should introduceher into his wife's neat sitting-room. He looked downnow with a smile, feeling the little hand touching his coat." Did you think I had forgotten you ?" said he." No. Please, mister -"" Well, what is it ? Do you want anything ?"" Will you keep me with you all the time, and never letme go back ? Oh, please do "" I will never send you back," said Mr. Thorn, stand-ing still in the road and taking her clasped hands in his,holding them in a strong, firm grasp, which quieted theirtrembling. " Don't look so terrified, my poor child. Ifyou will try to be a good, honest little girl, you shall staywith me always, if God wills."" If God will what ? Oh, don't let Him send me away.Who is God ?"" He is the great Father, who loves you."" Oh!"Her face changed in a moment, and she walked alongby his side once more, evidently soothed and calmed. By-and-by, they reached the village store." Mr. Thorn !" exclaimed a pleasant voice, as they en-tered the store; and a round-faced, rosy-cheeked womancame hurrying forward to meet the minister. " I'mreally glad to see you. Come into the parlour."
THE ORPHAN'S HOME. 13" No, I thank you, Mrs. Dixon; I have called on busi-ness to-day. I have picked up this forlorn little damsel,and am taking her home for a pet for my wife. But, firstof all, she must be washed and dressed; and I have comein here to buy some calico and muslin for her."" Surely, surely now, but that child has been hardlydealt with, Mr. Thorn Just see the way she cowers andshrinks when one looks at her !"" Yes, she has had a hard life; but she has left it now.I intend to have her indentures made out this afternoon.She is my charge from henceforth. She belonged to someof those people on the shore."" Oh, I wonder if it wouldn't be the one a neighbourwas telling me of this morning. Dear me! but she fairlymade me cry, telling me of a poor child that had latelycome to the village, and was so sorely ill-used by its aunt."" I dare say it was this girl. And now I want to buysome clothes for her. Have you any dark calicoes ?"" I'll tell you what I have got, sir," said Mrs. Dixon, asif a new thought had just struck her. " 'Twas onlyyesterday I was laying by some clothes that my SarahJane has growed out of; and I do believe as they'd fitthat child. I '11 get them this minute."" But may you not need them, Mrs. Dixon ?"" No, indeed, sir. She's grown beyond them, entirely;so they're no good to me. I meant to give them to someneedy body; and I do think Providence was in it, thatyou should bring the poor thing here. Come, little girl,I think r can fit you with some clothes."But Nettie clung close to Mr. Thorn, and Mrs. Dixonwas forced to bring the clothes into the store." There, now!' she exclaimed, as she held a dress upbefore her to test its length, " wouldn't that fit her realgood? But, oh, the little thing! How dirty she is; andher hair all uncombed, too! I '11 tell you what I '11 do,Mir. Thorn. If you will leave her with me for a couple of4
14 NETTIE'S MISSION.hours, I '11 have her as neat as a new pin when you comeback."" But that will give you a great deal of trouble, Mrs.Dixon."" And surely, if you can do all you have done, youneedn't fret for me, Mr. Thorn. Just leave her to me,and let me fix her up."" You are very good; and I thank you most-heartily.Nettie, this kind friend will see that you are made cleanand neat; and I will return for you in two hours' time,"said Mr. Thorn.But Nettie would, at first, listen to no such arrangement." Oh, don't go away! Please don't!" she said, en-treatingly. " I want to go with you. Don't leave mealone; for the new Father is so far away !"" He is near enough to take care of you, Nettle. Icannot take you with me as you are. You must not beafraid of this good friend; she loves children."And, by-and-by, by dint of Mrs. Dixon's coaxing andMr. Thorn's promises of a speedy return, she consented torelease his coat from the tight grasp in which she had heldit all through the conversation, and submit herself to Mrs.Dixon's kind offices.CHAPTER III.NETTIE'S GOOD-NIGHT.THE pleasant parlour into which Mr. Thorn led Nettlethat afternoon was the prettiest room she had ever seen.The bright carpet and soft lace curtains were beautiful inher eyes; and the wood-fire blazing on the hearth, for theevenings were damp and chilly in that sea-side village,cast a warm glow over all. But the fairest sight there,
NETTIE'S GOOD-NIGHT. 15the picture on which the child's gaze fixed itself most in-tently, was the gentle-looking lady who sat before the fire,turning toward her, as she entered the room, a face lightedwith a smile as sweet and tender as if she were welcomingher own little one." Come to me," she said, stretching out her hand, "forI cannot come to you. So this is the little girl who is tobe my messenger and helper ? She looks as if she wouldsuit me exactly," and bending her head, she touched herlips to the child's forehead.If she had struck her, Nettie could not have been moresurprised. She looked up in perfect bewilderment, andthen, as the sweet face still bent above her, seeming tobless her with its sunny smile, her lip began to quiver, anda great tear rolled slowly down her cheek.Mrs. Thorn put her arm around her, drawing her closeto her side. " We mean to try to make you very happyhere," she said. " Will you try to do your part by beingvery good and helpful?"" Yes, ma'am. I'11 try," said Nettie, earnestly." Now come with me," said Mr. Thorn. "I will takeyou into the kitchen, and Margaret shall teach you someof the lessons you need to learn."Nettie followed him into the kitchen, where Margaret,the maid-of-all-work, was preparing the supper. She re-ceived her very kindly, showed her how to set the tableand to make the tea, and then sent her into the sitting-room again to wait upon her new master and mistress.The table had been placed close by Mrs. Thorn's chair,and Nettie stood near, with a salver in her hand, watch-ing intently lest she might fail in some duty. She wasrather awkward at first, but by-and-by she began tounderstand what was required of her, and when the mealwas over Mrs. Thorn told her that she had done verynicely. Margaret came in and- showed her how to puteverything away in its place, and, when the room was in
16 NETTIE' S MISSION.order, took her out into the kitchen to give her somesupper."I guess you'd better go in and see whether Mrs.Thorn wants you again," said Margaret, when the disheswere all washed and set away. " If she don't, you'd bestto go to bed. You look tired out."So Nettie went to the sitting-room door, and, knockingtimidly, was- told to come in." Please, Mr. Thorn, the woman said I was to go tobed if the lady didn't want me any more."" No, I shall not need your help to-night," said her mis-tress. " Are you very tired ? "" Yes, a little, ma'am."She looked worn out. It had been an exciting day for her." Then you had better let Margaret take you upstairs.Good-night," and the soft lips touched her face once more."Now bid Mr. Thorn good-night, and run away toMargaret."" Nettie," said Mr. Thorn, as she came to his side,"what shall you do when you go upstairs ?"" I 'm going to bed," said Nettie." Shall you do nothing before you lie down to sleep ?"" I must take these new clothes off me," said she, with amystified look." There is something else for you to do, Nettie. TheGod of heaven, your Father, has been very good to youto-day. Do you not mean to thank Him ?"" Did the new Father make you bring me here ?"" Yes, He led me to do it."" Then I 'd like to thank Him. I can do it down herejust as good, can't I ? "" No; you cannot do it as well here as you can whenyou are alone. Come here."He led her to the window, and drawing back the cur-tain, bade her look up into the sky, now thickly studdedwith stars
NETTIE'S GOOD-NIGHT. 17" Who made that glorious sky, Nettie ?"" I don't know. I thought it had always been there."" No, it was made."" Oh, it must have been a big, strong man that madeit!" exclaimed Nettie, so astonished by this new idea, thatfor the moment she forgot her timidity." It was no man that formed the sky. It was the greatand mighty God. He made the heavens and the earth;He made the moon ahd the stars and the great sun, thethunders and the lightning, the stormy winds and thegrand and terrible sea."The child shuddered and drew back; Mr. Thorn'ssolemn tone startled her." I don't like the sea," she said, falteringly. "It makesme afraid."" It need never make you afraid. The God who formedit is your Father, and He will not suffer the things whichHe has made to harm His child. But you must remem-ber, my little girl, that although God is your Father, Heis also the mighty God of heaven; and you must go toHim to thank Him for His love, not lightly, but feelingthat you are coming before a great King. Not that I wouldhave you feel afraid of this holy God; for you have noneed to fear Him. His large heart is so. full of love foryou, that it grieved Him to see the sore trouble you werein, and so He gave you to us that we might comfort you.And He has done far more than this for you. The LordJesus Christ, God's only Son, left His home and camedown to the earth to die on the cross, that you and I mightgo to that bright heaven of which I told you. Do you notwant to thank the great King for all this ?"" I don't know how," said Nettie, in a trembling voice." Shall I thank Him for you ?"She nodded her head, and Mr. Thorn, kneeling besidethe chair on which he had been sitting, drew her downbeside him. And then the deep voice, so solemn and0
18 NETTIE'B MISSION.earnest, yet so full of tenderness, gave the child into thecare and keeping of God. That prayer taught Nettiesomething as she knelt, awed and still, at his side. Theevening before, she had stood on the water's edge, crushedwith the weight of her grief and pain, looking up to the skyin search of the new Friend of whom she had just heard.She did not know how to tell Him all that was in herlonely, desolate heart, and all that she could do was to cryout piteously, " 0 Father Father " And on this firstevening in her new home, when she had been made to un-derstand that it was God who had sent the blessings whichhad been given her, although she was ready to thank Him,it was to her only like thanking Mr. Thorn. Her friend-less heart had gone out toward this Father; but whileshe loved His name, she did not hallow it.Now, as she listened to Mr. Thorn, as he thanked Godfor His boundless love and mercy to all men, but especiallyto this lost lamb whom He had found and brought into asafe fold, and then besought Him to bless and defend her,a new feeling crept into her heart.When Mr. Thorn rose from his knees, she slipped herhand confidingly into his and whispered,-" Why do you speak so soft, and yet so strong ?"" Because, my child, I was talking to God. We mustspeak to Him as we do to no living man. We must useHis name as we use no other; never speaking it lightlyor irreverently, but verysolemnly. When God's Son washere upon the earth, He taught us to ask God to hallow Hisname, to keep it holy. We must never utter it carelessly.We. must remember that it is indeed God's holy name."" Yes," said Nettie, very thoughtfully; and then Ahestood looking silently down upon the floor.By-and-by she lifted her head again." I don't want to thank Him here," she said. "I'd liketo go upstairs. And please, may Margaret stay behind ?I want to be all by myself."
A VISIT TO A STRANGER. 19" Yes; if you know your way, you may go alone."Nettie went up to her room, and entering it, closed thedoor behind her. It was a very cosey little room, and thebed looked soft and inviting as her tired eyes fell on it;but she did not pause there. She walked to the windowwhich looked out upon the garden, which only the starswere watching now, and, kneeling there, rested her armsupon the window-ledge, and laid her head down upon them.It was a serious but very peaceful face that looked up tothe shining sky. The path her childish feet had travelledhad been a hard path. She had found this earth. a wearyland, but she had also found the shadow of a great rock.CHAPTER IV.A VISIT TO A STRANGER." ARE you Mrs. Thorn's little girl ?"Nettie was standing on the porch of the vine-coveredcottage, which had now been her home for more than threeweeks. She had been sent out to play; but play, with her, wassomething different from that which most children under-stand by the word. The greatest enjoyment of her cheer-less childhood had been to creep away to some lonely spot,where no harsh voice nor heavy hand could reach her: andeven now, when all her hours were spent in quiet happiness,she passed her play-time in sauntering through the pleasantgarden, or in standing on the porch watching the sky." Are you Mrs. Thorn's little girl?" repeated themusical voice; for Nettie had not answered. She hadbeen thinking, with delight, that she was " Mrs. Thorn'slittle girl;" for the minister had told her last night, inanswer to a timid question as to whether her aunt wouldever take her away, that John Allen and his wife had no4
20 NETTIE S MISSION.further control over her, having signed papers which gaveher entirely into his guardianship." Yes," she said, when the stranger spoke the secondtime. And she went down the steps toward the child, whostood on the gravel-walk below." Well, I 'm Margery Bray; and I live up there in thatwhite house on the hill, with my aunt."" Oh, poor little thing! " said Nettie.Margery opened her eyes -very wide." Why did you say that ? " she asked."' Didn't you say you lived with your aunt ?""Yes; but that don't make me a poor little thing."" Aint you afraid of her ?""No, indeed I aint," said Margery, with a merrylaugh. " She's the best auntie that ever was. She'staken care of me ever since I was a baby. My motherdied when I was very small," she added, more gravely." So did mine."" Oh, did she ? I 'm so sorry !" and, coming nearer toNettie, Margery put her arm around her neck.The child looked at her wonderingly." Are you ? " said she. " Nobody ever was before, exceptMr. and Mrs. Thorn. What makes you sorry ?"" Because I know you want your mother; for I wantmine so bad sometimes. But we mustn't fret for them,when they're so happy in heaven."Nettie did not reply; and, after a moment, Margery said,-" I almost forgot what I came for. My aunt told meI 'd better come over here and ask you to go and play withme at my house. Will you go ?"" If Mrs. Thorn will let me," said Nettie, quite wonovei by this pleasant little maiden. " Come and ask her."" Ah, Miss Margery, is this you ?" said Mrs. Thorn, asthe children entered her room. " Have you come to payNettie a visit ?""No, ma'am. I came to take her home with me, if she
A VISIT TO A STRANGER. 21may go," said Margery, leaning against the lady's chairwith the freedom of an old acquaintance. "Will you letme take her?"" Yes, if she wishes to go. How is it, Nettie ?""I would like it," said Nettie." How old are you?" asked Margery, linking her armin that of her companion, as they started off together. Shehad taken' this new friend into the very recesses of herwarm little heart; and they were walking along, side byside, as closely united as if they had known each other foryears."I 'm ten years old."" Are you ? You are older than I. I'm pretty smallof my age, too. Father says I'm a tiny mite; but I'mtrying to grow big as fast as I can, so as to take care of thehouse for him ;" and Margery drew her slight figure upto its utmost height. " Aunt Annie is to be married, andto go away to England to live, and father says I shall keephouse for him when his sister leaves him; so you see thatmakes me in a hurry to get big.""I 'm so glad," she went on, after skipping along for awhile by the side of her silent companion, " I'm so glad thatwe 've both got a mother up in the sky. It ought to makeus the realest friends; don't you think so ? It's so niceto think about them, and to know that they are lookingdown and watching their little girls. I wonder, Nettie, ifthey won't come and open the gates for us when Jesus callsus up to heaven. Oh, won't it be beautiful to have themtake us right up in their arms, and kiss us with their brightangel lips ? The dear, sweet mothers !""There's my Aunt Annie!" she cried out suddenly." Let's run and meet her!" and, seizing Nettie's hand inhers, she ran fleetly up the hill toward a woman who wasspreading clothes on the grass to bleach.When she heard the patter of the children's feet upon thegravel, she turned toward them with a smile. " You're a4
22 NETTIE'S MISSION.fine pair of ponies," she said pleasantly, as they paused,breathless, at the top of the hill. "Why, you are quiteexhausted! Take your friend into the kitchen, Margie,and give her a drink of milk. She looks warm and tired."Nettie followed Margery into the kitchen, stepping care-fully over the freshly-scrubbed floor, for it looked so spot-lessly clean that she feared her feet might soil it." Sit down in that little chair," said Margery, " while Igo to the cellar for the milk. That is my chair, and thisis father's-this big one. They always stand close to-gether, because that's the way father and I like to be,always near to each other."She took a small pitcher out of the closet, and, openinga door at one side of the room, went down a pair of stairswhich led into the cellar. Nettie sat still, looking aroundthe kitchen, afraid to move lest the aunt, good-tempered asshe looked, should come in and scold her. By-and-by sheheard the tread of Margery's feet upon the stairs, and soonher head appeared in the doorway. Just as she steppedover the sill she stumbled forward, and splashed some ofthe milk from the pitcher upon the floor."Oh my! oh my!" exclaimed Nettie, springing up with aface of great alarm; " what will we do ? The aunt will see "" Why, what is the matter ?" asked Margery, in asto-nishment." The milk is spilt, and the aunt will be so angry!What can we do ?"" We can wipe it up," said Margery, laughing." Aunt Annie won't care. Where's the floor-cloth, Iwonder ? I '1 ask her. Aunt An-nie " she called,standing in the doorway." I 'm coming," said Aunt Annie." I 've spilled some milk: where 's the floor-cloth ?""_It's hanging on the line; take a clean one from thecloset. If you can't reach the shelf, leave it, and I '11 at-tend to it when I come in !" called back a pleasant voice.
A VISIT TO A STRANGER. 23" TWhat a nice aunt " said Nettie, who had listened insilent amazement to this conversation." Isn't she a dear ?" said Margery, enthusiastically." But I won't leave it for her to wipe up. I can't reachthe shelf, but you can, because you're taller. There,that's the pile-that dark-looking heap of towels. That'sright. Now we '11 have it all nice and clean when shecomes in.""Now let us go and play," said Margery, when shehad carefully cleaned the floor, and they had each drank abrimming glass of the fresh milk. " What shall we do ?Do you like to keep house ?"" Yes, I guess so."" Well, one of us will be the visitor, and the other willbe the lady of the house. Let's play we were real ladies,shall we ? Fine ladies, I mean. Will you be the mis-tress of the house, or the visitor ?"" I'11 be the visitor," said Nettie, thinking that the ea-sier part." Then you must go outside and play ring a bell.You know, in fine ladies' houses they have a bell, andsome one to open the door when the bell rings. Now goout and ring."" Jing-a-ling-a-ling," said Nettie, from without. Shewas beginning to enter into the pastime with some spirit." Pretend that some one let you. in," called Margery." I'm in my parlour, playing on the piano."Nettie came in, but stood still in surprise when her eyesfell on Margery. She had drawn her little chair in frontof her father's, and, with an open hymn-book before her,supported on a huge tin pan which occupied the father'schair, was "playing on the piano."And there she sat and sang to her visitor, keeping timeupon the tin pan, with touches of her quick fingers, to thesweet tunes which warbled from her throat like the musicof a bird. Hymn after hymn floated upon the still air,4
24 NETTIE'S MISSION.for Nettie would not let her pause, but sat with eager, lis-tening face, drinking in this new delight. And AuntAnnie, coming in from her work, stood at the open door,watching the two little figures as they sat there with thesunlight falling in upon them through the vines whichcovered the window, dropping in bits of golden light upontheir dresses, hiding in Margery's fair curls, and fleckingNettie's darker hair; Margery lost to all around her inthe joyous singing of her happy heart, and Nettie whollyengrossed in the sweetest music her ears had ever heard." Oh, that was so nice!" she said, with a long-drawnbreath, when, tired at last, Margery closed her book." Aint they pretty songs ?" said Margery. " I alwaysfeel as if I were near to my mother when I sing hymns.There is one that says,-SYe angels who stand round the throne,And view my Immanuel's face;'when I sing that it seems as if I was talking right tomother."" What is Immanuel ?" asked Nettie." Immanuel? That is another name for our Saviour.You know who He is, don't you ?"" Yes, Mr. Thorn told me."" Didn't you know before ? 0 poor Nettie! But youknow now. Isn't it a beautiful story ? And then tothink it's all true, and that some day we shall see Him!Don't you wish He'd come down here to see us now,-just us two little girls, all by ourselves ? But that's aselfish wish, isn't it ? I'd like to have father and AuntAnnie see Him, and Mr. and Mrs. Thorn, and all thepoor fisher-people, too. Wouldn't He be kind to them ?Just think, Nettie : suppose we should see His shiningfeet standing there on the floor in that spot of sunlight!lh, just think !"
THOUGHTLESS HARRY. 2,She sat on her low seat, leaning forward, with herhands clasped and her eyes fixed on the golden spot, as ifshe almost expected to see the vision of which she spoke.But the next moment she lifted her head, and. turningto Nettie with a smile, said, " We didn't play much afterall, did we ?"" No; but this was so nice," said Nettie.By-and-by they had dinner, and then Nettie saw Mar-gery's father. He looked a little like Aunt Annie, andspoke so kindly to his young visitor that she began towonder whether every one in the world, except her uncleand his family, was kind and good like the great Godwhom she had learned to love so much.After dinner, Nettie said that she must go home. SoMargery put on her hat, and walked over with her, andthey parted at Mr. Thorn's gate, the closest and firmest offriends.CHAPTER V.THOUGHTLESS HARRY."t NETTIE," said Mrs. Thorn, one morning, as the childsat beside her patiently trying to make a neat seam in apiece of work which had been given her to do, " my ne-phew, Harry Gray, is coming to spend the day with us."" Is he, ma'am?" She spoke very quietly; but thecolour flushed painfully over her face and neck." You don't look very well pleased," said Mrs. Thorn." Don't you like boys ?"" No, ma'am," replied Nettie, her thoughts going backto the persecution which she had endured at the hands ofher cousins."Perhaps you will like Harry better than other boyswhom you may have seen. He is a very pleasant fellow.
26 NETTIE'S MISSION.But if you wish to do so you may go for Margery, andbring her down to help you to entertain him.""That would do," said Nettie. "Shall I go now, Mrs.Thorn ?""When your work is done. You will have plenty oftime to finish it before Harry comes."The two children had seen a great deal of one anothersince Nettie's first visit to Margery, and the shy little girlhad lost all fear of Aunt Annie; so that on this morning,when she reached the house and found only the aunt insight, she did not run away, as she would have done sometime before, but walked boldly into the kitchen, and heldup her face for a kiss as naturally as Margery herself wouldhave done. Aunt Annie readily gave her permission totake Margery with her, and sent her to the back-yard tofind her friend, who had gone out to feed the chickens.Nettie found her engaged in driving away the larger fowlsfrom a brood of young chickens, and no persuasions couldmove her from her post until her pets had satisfied theirhunger; but when they had finished their meal she gladlyconsented to go with her, and help her to take care of thedreaded playmate.Harry Gray had already arrived when they reached thecottage, and he greeted the visitor as an old acquaintance."Hallo, Margery! is that you ? Come on, let's havesome fun. Why, who have you got here ?"" This is Nettie Allen. Didn't you know she was livinghere ?""Oh, yes, I forgot. Aunt Fannie told me about her-poor little girl!"Nettie gazed at him in amazement. The merry,laughing face had sobered in a moment. No tender-heartedgirl could have looked at her with more pity and sympathy.This boy was of a different make from those with whomshe. had had to do."Never mind," said he, coming toward her; "we'll
THOUGHTLESS HARRY. 27take good care of you now. What mean folks your peoplemust be !"" Don't let us talk about that," said Margery. "Comeand play.""I'11 tell you what we '11 do," said Harry; "we '11 godown to the shore and" Oh, no !" interrupted Nettie; " don't go to the shore:I can't bear the sea 2"She had never been to the beach since she left her oldhome. No persuasions could induce her to walk there, andshe never spoke of the sea unless forced to it, as in this case.Mr. Thorn often took her with him on his rambles; butshe would never consent to go, unless he promised to avoidthe shore; and her dread of any approach to it was sogreat that he finally desisted from the attempt to overcomeher fears."Nettie don't like to meet those people," said Margery,in explanation, as Harry looked up rather surprised by hervehemence. " We 'li stay here. Let's make mud pies."This proposition met with Harry's hearty approval;and, in a few moments, the three pairs of hands were deepin the mysteries of that art which all children so delight in." We '11 play we're poor people," said Harry. "We '11pretend we had to make mud pies for our living.""How poor shall we be?" asked Margery. " Verymiserable indeed ?""Oh, no about as poor as you are."" Why, we aint poor My father has heaps of things.""Has he ?" said Harry. He was the son of the onlywealthy man in the village, and he thought that ThomasBray the painter, who lived in a one-story cottage, must bequite a poor man. " What has he got ?"" Why, he's got lots of paint-pots and brushes, and acow, and ever so many chickens, and plenty of thingsbeside!"" Oh, I don't call that rich," said Harry; "but it don't4
28 NETTIE'S MISSION.make any difference. We can have just as good timesplaying with mud if we aint rich. There comes UnclePhil; we'll make him buy some."Mr. Thorn bought some pies, paying for them with thebrightest of pennies; at which Margery demurred, sayingthat it was not fair for him to give real money for his ownmud. But he said that he was only paying for the labour;and then, telling them that it was dinner-time, led them intothe house and sent them to wash away the remnants ofpie-making before the bell should ring.After dinner they went out once more, but were soondriven in-doors by a sudden shower which had gatheredwhile they were in the house, and Nettie proposed that theyshould make a visit to Margaret. Margaret welcomed thegirls, but told Harry that she did not allow boys in herkitchen, and threatened to pin a dish-cloth to his jacket;and, when he insisted on remaining, stole softly behind andfastened a long towel on him. But Harry's feelings wereso much hurt by this insult that she had to make up for itby promising to let him butter the patty-pans for some cakewhich she was about to mix.Meantime the storm was growing more and more violent,threatening to keep them in all the afternoon. The girlsplaced themselves at the window to watch the pouring rain;while Harry, with his sleeves rolled up, and his brighteyes dancing with enjoyment, stood at the table besideMargaret, diligently rubbing the butter over the pans, andhanding them to her to be filled." Oh, wasn't that a rare one !" exclaimed Harry, as aloud peal of thunder broke over their heads.No one spoke, but Margery glanced quickly toward him,with a pained look on her face. Another and another pealfollowed, until, at last, there came a crash whi th seemed toshake the house to its foundations."Hallo, Thunder, don't break the house down!" saidHarry, turning from his work to look out at the storm.
THOUGHTLESS HARRY. 29" 0 Harry, don't!" exclaimed Margery." What's the matter ?" asked Harry, rather startled byher face of distress."It's very wrong to speak so. Don't you know it isGod's thunder ? You are taking His name in vain.""Oh,, I didn't!" said Harry, distressed in his turn."I didn't say His name at all."" But you spoke so carelessly to the thunder, and thethunder is God's voice-the Bible says so!""I never thought of that," said Harry, soberly. "I 'msorry I said it."" It seems to me as if we ought to be real still in a stormlike this," said the little girl. " When God speaks so loudI think He means us to listen."Toward evening the thunder-storm quieted down into asteady rain, and when Mr. Bray came for his child, MrsThorn begged him to let her keep her all night, saying thatHarry was storm-stayed, and that she had promised thechildren that their arty should not be broken up.They spent a veqy pleasant evening, playing games, andlistening to stories, of which Mr. Thorn appeared to possessa boundless store. Just before prayer-time he told themthat they might each choose the Bible verse they liked best,and tell why they loved it."I know what my verse will be for this night," saidMargery. " I don't know where to find it, but it says,'The Lord of glory thnndereth.' "" Why did you choose that verse, Margie ?" asked Mrs.Thorn." Because I think it's so nice, when you hear that awfulnoise, to know it is God. It makes me think of one daylong ago. Aunt Annie was out, and I heard a great noiseup in the loft when I thought I was all alone in the house,and I was so frightened I screamed; and father's voicecalled out,' Don't be afraid, little Margie; it's only father.'And now, when it thunders very loud, it always seems as if4
30 NETTIE'S MISSION.I heard God sty, 'Don't be afraid, little Margie; it's onlyFather;' and I don't feel a bit frightened. Don't youthink it's a real nice verse ?"" Yes, dear, I do indeed," said Mrs. Thorn. "What isyour verse, Harry ?"" It is in the fifth chapter of St. Matthew,-' Blessed arethe pure in heart: for they shall see God.' .I like itbecause it makes me think of Aunt Fannie. If we couldlook right into her heart, I'm sure we'd see that it was,just as pure and lovely as her face: wouldn't we, Uncle Phil ?"The affectionate boy was so thoroughly in earnest thatMr. Thorn could not smile at his enthusiasm. He simplysaid " Yes," quite gravely; while Aunt Fannie's soft handstroked the little fellow's curly head, which rested againsther shoulder as he sat beside her." And what verse do you love, Nettie ?"" One you read at prayers this morning,-' Let yourlight so shine before men that they may see your goodworks, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' "" Do you know what that means ?"" Yes, I think so. Doesn't it mean, that if we let otherpeople see that we are trying to do as God wants to haveus, that it will coax them to try, too ? If we show themthat we glorify His name, perhaps they will, too."" What do you mean by glorify His name ?""Keep it holy; hallow it, as the prayer says."She had learned a greal deal since she had lived in thisnew atmosphere of love and kindness. Once released fromthe spell of fear which had bound her, her naturally quickand intelligent mind had seized on all that had been putwithin its reach, and her warm heart had gone out in itsstrength to meet the love which had been revealed to it.She did not know that she was a Christian; but she lovedGod with her whole soul, and strove to serve Him with allher strength; and our dear Father asks no more of HisehildrenD
THOUGHTLESS HARRY. 31When they had finished their talk about the verses, Mr.Thorn read a chapter from the Bible, and then they allknelt together while he gave them into God's loving carefor the night. The two girls were to sleep in Nettie's bed,while Harry occupied a room on the opposite side of thehall." 0 Harry, Harry, do come here !" cried Margery, afterhe had parted from them at the head of the stairs.He came running into the room. in answer to her call." Just look at the moon Isn't it lovely ? "The rain had ceased, and the moon, breaking throughthe heavy masses of clouds, shone out gloriously, touchingtheir dark edges with silver light, and scattering thembefore hbr as she rode proudly in the tempestuous sky."' Isn't she splendid?" said Harry. "I don't see herfrom my room.""No; that is why I called you."" Well," said Harry, with a long yawn, tiring of thepicture before the girls were half satisfied, " I guess I'llgo to bed. I'm sleepy. I've half a mind to say myprayers in here, it's so hot in my room. I guess Iwill, too;" and he threw himself on his knees beside thebed.The two girls looked at one another in dismay." 0 Margery," whispered Nettie, " I should think he'dbe afraid."" So should I. I wonder what he says. He surelycan't say, Hallowed be thy name,' for father says it isblasphemy to say it carelessly, and I know Harry wouldn'tblaspheme."" What are you saying about Harry ?" asked the boy,springing up again as suddenly as he had knelt down." 0 Harry, dear, what dreadful kind of prayers !" saidMlargery." What do you mean?" asked he, in surprise."I should think you'd be afraid to speak to God so."4
32 NETTIE'S MISSION."Why, I said them right enough," said Harry. Idid not stare about, nor do anything."" But you didn't seem to think it," paid little Margery." It was just like what you said about the thunder. Itfrightens me to see you do so. It's real wicked, Harry.Indeed, indeed it is ;" and the quiver in her voice told himhow deeply she felt what she said, while Nettie looked onas much troubled as she, but less ready withrvords to ex-press her feelings."I 'm sorry," said Harry, quite disturbed by their un-happiness. " I didn't mean anything wrong; I '11 be morecareful another time. Good-night- don't you fret, Mar-gery. I'm sorry I bothered you."" 0 Nettie, I don't believe he loves God one bit," saidMargery, sadly. " If he did, he wouldn't only mindfretting us; he'd be thinking how he'd grieved Him.Let's ask God to forgive him."Hand-in-hand they knelt together in the moonlight, thesoft rays falling like a glory upon their earnest, upturnedfaces, as they prayed the great Father to forgive theirgenerous-hearted but thoughtless playmate.CHAPTER VI.NETTIE'S LOVE TESTED.THE morning sun rose brightly on the freshened earth,sparkling in the rain-drops which hung on every leaf andevery blade of grass, until it seemed as if trees and fieldswere set in diamonds.Harry left the cottage quite early, in order to be at hometo meet his tutor at nine o'clock; but Margery waiteduntil Nettie had attended to all her morning duties, andthen bade Mrs. Thorn good-by; Nettle setting out to walk
NETTIE'S LOVE TESTED. 33a part of the way home with her. She had nearly reachedthe house again on her return, when she saw Mr. Thorncoming up the shore-road, which branched off from that onwhich she was walking. He beckoned her to him, and sheran down to meet him."Where have you been ?" he asked, as she gained hisside."I went a little way with Margery. It was so lonelyfor her to go by herself."" You love her very much-don't you, Nettie ?"" Oh, yes, very much indeed!""Let me see -how long have you known each other ?""A good long while. She came here when I 'd livedI with you only two or three weeks.""That was in April; now it is September-nearly sixmonths." ""It has been such a happy, happy time," said Nettie,slipping her hand into his." Yes, it has been a great change for you in every way.Nettie, I have just come from your old home. They arenot very happy there; your aunt is very ill."" What's the matter with her, Mr. Thorn ?"" I cannot tell. I saw her last week, and she com-plained then of headache and great weariness. To-day Iwas visiting a woman who lives near her, and she told methat she was very sick; so I called to see her, and foundher in a miserable condition."" Who takes care of her ? " asked Nettie. "The boys ?"" No. There was no one with her. The women go inonce in a while to see if she needs anything; but she is notliked on the shore, and no one takes much notice of her.Your uncle is out with the boat this morning, and the twoFielder boys are with him. The younger boys were playing(on the beach, and I tried to persuade them to go in andattend to their mother, but they would not listen to me.She was quite alone when I saw her, and was crying outD
34 NETTIE S MISSION.piteously for water. I gave her a little in a glass, and shedrank it eagerly, poor thing. She must have suffered forit, for her lips were parched and dry, and she seemed al-most choking with thirst."She made no answer, and they walked on in silenceuntil they reached the gate." Mr. Thorn," said N&ttie, as he held the gate open forher to pass through, " did Aunt Susan say anything aboutme?"She spoke falteringly, with something of the old fright-ened manner, which she had quite lost of late.",Not to-day. She was quite delirious, and did notknow me. But when I last saw her she asked me how youwere doing; and I told her we hoped that our little Nettiewas a Christian.""Did you ?" and her, face lighted instantly. "Whatdid she say ?"" She did not answer kindly. She told me that she didnot believe your religion would do you any good.""Oh, that wasn't right! God can make even me better.Can't He, Mr. Thorn ?"" Yes; but your aunt knows very little about God."Mrs. Thorn had never seen Nettie so restless as she ap-peared that afternoon. She wandered about the roomwithout any apparent object; took up her sewing for a fewmoments, and then laid it aside; brought out her books asif to study, and then put them away without opening themand finally went out of the house; and Mrs. Thorn sawher from the window pacing, up and down the gravelledwalk, with her head' bent forward as if thinking deeply.After supper she was as uneasy as she had been throughthe afternoon, and when she sat down to study, as washer custom after tea, Mrs. Thorn noticed that, althoughher book lay open before her, her eyes were fixed onvacancy."You had better lay your books aside, Nettie," she said.
lETTIE'S LOVE TESTED. 35" You seem to feel too restless to study to-night. Bringthat dress which you were making for Margery's doll, andI will show you how to trim it."Nettie obeyed, but even the doll's dress failed to interesther, and iri a few moments her hands lay idly in her lap,while she sat gazing into the fire, lost in thought again.So the evening passed away until Mr. Thorn roused herfrom her reverie by telling her that it was prayer-time, andsending her to bring the Bible. As she placed it on thetable beside him she said, timidly,-" Mr. Thorn, if I should go to Aunt Susan and takecare of her till she is better, would that be letting my lightshine so that she would glorify God ?""It would indeed be letting your light shine, my child.Do you want to go to her, Nettie ?"" Oh, no, I don't want to, but I thought perhaps it wasright. Only--only-oh, I 'm so afraid to go !" and sheturned her face away, vainly trying to control the tearswhich choked her voice." You must not go if it is too hard a trial for you.You must think it over seriously, and then decide."He put his arm around, her, and kept her beside himuntil she grew quiet again, and then sent her to call Mar-garet to prayers.Mr. Thorn always closed the family service with theLord's Prayer, in which all joined, Nettie's clear voice risingdistinctly above Mrs. Thorn's low tones and Margaret'sfaint murmur. " To-night, as usual, the young voice re-peated the holy words, " Our Father which art in heaven,hallowed---" But there it fell so suddenly, that, involun-tarily, they all paused with it. For an instant there wassilence in the room, but only for an instant; the next,Nettie had taken up the petition where she had left it, andwithout waiting for Mr. Thorn she repeated, firmly, " Hal-lowed be Thy name," and the prayer was concluded asusual.
"6 NETTIE S MISSION.When they rose from their knees Nettle leaned over thearm of her mistress's chair, and said, " Mrs. Thorn, couldyou spare me for a little while, and let me go to AuntSusan ?"Mrs. Thorn looked at her. Her face was very pale, butvery steadfast." You are undertaking a great task, Nettie," she said."You must count the cost before you attempt it. You willhave much to bear, and, probably, no thanks for your self-denial."" I know it will be very hard, but won't the dear Fatherin heaven help me ? Aunt Susan doesn't love Him now,but perhaps when she sees that He can make such anaughty, wicked girl as I was, kind and gentle to her, shewill learn to love Him too. Don't you think, perhaps, shewill ?""I hope so, most earnestly, dear. But, Nettie, it seemsalmost too much for you."" No, it won't be too much, Mrs. Thorn. I won't be soafraid when I 'm used to thinking about it; and I'd be soglad to glorify His name. Please to let me go."" You shall do just as you think right. You do notwish to go to-night ?""Oh, no!" and Nettie's face grew even paler thanbefore. "I don't think I could begin in the dark night,when the sea roars so; but in the morning I'll go downand try to help her, and to make her more comfortable.'"And then she bade them good-night, and went away toher little room, quiet and composed, the restlessness anduneasiness all gone.
DOWN ON THE SHORE. STCHAPTER VII.DOWN ON THE SHORE.MRS. THORN had thought it more than probable tTat bymorning Nettie might falter in her suddenly-formed deter-mination, and she waited somewhat anxiously for the result.But when Nettie came into her room to aid her to dress,she saw at a glance that her purpose had not changed.There was no sign of indecision in that quiet, resolved face;and when she asked her if she still thought it best to go toher aunt she said, "I ought not to stay here now, dearMrs. Thorn; indeed I ought not," so earnestly, that therecould be no doubt as to her determination.All her duties were attended to with great care, andMrs. Thorn could not but feel touched to see with whatloving thoughtfulness she tried to arrange the room so thateverything which her helpless mistress might need shouldbe within her reach, that she might miss her as little aspossible. And after all was done she came and sat down inher usual seat beside the invalid's chair." I suppose it is time to go now," she said; "but I'dlike to sit here for a few minutes, if I may."" Yes, dear; you had better wait until Mr. Thorn comesin. He is going down with you.""Is he ? Oh, I won't be nearly so much afraid now."It was not long before Mr. Thorn came back, and Nettiewent to bring her hat and the basket of comforts whichMargaret had packed for her. That walk was a verypleasant one to her, in spite of her inability to forget whatits end was to be. With her hand held fast in Mr. Thorn's,and his kind voice speaking words which cheered andstrengthened her for her hard task, she went on very4
38 NETTIE'S MISSION.happily, and it was not until she came in sight of the house,which she had not once seen since she left it, that her heartbegan to fail her.So far as his being of any service to her in the meetingwith her aunt and cousins was concerned, Mr. Thorn's walkto the shore was of no avail. None of the boys were to beseen, except poor Jack, the youngest, who stood besidethe wretched bed on which his mother lay, crying outbetween his sobs, "0 mamma! mamma!" in apiteous wail, of which the unconscious mother took nonotice.It was a miserable sight-the untidy room; the com-fortless bed, tumbled and disordered by the sick woman'stossing; the child, with his tear-stained face, and hisbosom heaving with sobs; and, worse than all, the poorsufferer, moaning and muttering in delirium, lying there inthe desolate place, friendless and alone, save for the littlehelpless child." Oh, I 'm glad I came," said Nettie. "I can make hera great deal more comfortable than this. And poor Jack,too! Don't you know Nettie, Jack ?"The boy stood and stared at her for a moment, and then,with a joyous cry, flung himself into her arms. He wasnot an attractive child. He had inherited his mother'shard, sharp features, and his temper had been ruined byalternate indulgence and tyranny; but still he was some-thing to love and care for, and Nettie held himi closely toher, and called him her dear boy, and kissed and fondledhim, until the poor little fellow began to feel that he wasnot all alone in the world, after all: and Nettie, happy inthe thought that some one in the wretched place was gladto see her, hoped that her task might be less heavy thanshe had feared.But when the time came for Mr. Thorn to leave her shebegan to tremble. All her old terror of the sea and dreadof her aunt and cousins seemed to return upon her with
DOWN ON THE SHORE. 39new force; and she clung so tightly to his hand, thathe began to fear that he had done wrong in bringing herback." It is not too late yet, Nettie,"'he said, gently. "ShallI take you home with me again ?"" No; I will stay here. But, dear Mr. Thorn, don'tleave me alone very long,-will you ? Come to see me asoften as you can."" I shall come down every day while you are here," hesaid, kindly." Oh, I shall be so glad if you could! But that wouldtake too much time. You could not do that."" I can spare the time when it is to comfort my littledaughter."He had never called her by that name before; and whenhe bent and kissed her forehead, asking God to keep her inHis tenderest care, Nettie felt as if she should never fearagain.His "little daughter!" She said the words over to her-self again and again, as she went back into the house afterwatching him out of sight; and they rang like sweet-toned bells in the air, as she set about the almost hopelesstask of making the room look neat and tidy.Mrs. Thorn had given her some instructions before sheleft home, and she proceeded to carry them out at once.First, she took a towel and wash-cloth from the basketwhich Mr. Thorn had carried down for her, and, bringingsome fresh water in a basin, began to wash the flushedface which rested on the pillow. The sick woman ceasedto toss and moan when she felt the cool water upon herfevered cheek, and, opening her eyes, looked at Nettie witha vague, troubled air." Who is it? " she asked, uneasily." It is Nettie, Aunt Susan," said the child, trying hardto keep her voice steady." Nettie ? Nettie has gone away," said her aunt; and,4
40 NETTIE S MISSION.after looking at her for another moment, she shook herVead, as if she could not comprehend, and closing her eyes,began to mutter, as she had done before.Just then, to Nettie's great relief, a woman came in.Mr. Thorn had stopped at her house on his way home toask her to go to the little girl's assistance, and she hadreadily consented. Nettie recognized her at once, for shehad often spoken kindly to the child in her friendless days,and now she proved herself a very willing helper. Herstrong arms were quite able to lift the sick woman fromone side of the bed to the other, while Nettie changed thesoiled sheets for pure, fresh linen, and put clean cases onthe heated pillows. And when Mrs. Allen was neatly andcomfortably arranged, the good-natured neighbour saidthat she would put the room in order while Nettie washedand dressed her little cousin.She was almost afraid to undertake this task; for, indays gone by, Jack had always rebelled fiercely againstany cleansing process, and any attempt on her part tomake him fit to be seen had been met by blows and cries,which brought his mother to punish his tormentor, evenwhen the work had been done by her own order. But to-day he stood quietly beside her, allowing her to use soapand water to her heart's content, and to dress him in aclean frock, which she found in a bureau-drawer. Andwhen all was done, and she had bidden Mrs. Moore good-night, thanking her for her kindness, she sat down beforethe fire, with Jack on her lap, almost happy.The appearance of the room did no violence to the ideasof neatness and order which, for the past five months, hadbeen carefully instilled into her mind. The floor wasclean; the fire burned brightly on the hearth, bringing aglow to her own face and to that of the child upon herknee; and the whole room had an air of comfort and peacestrangely at variance with its morning aspect.Nettie could not help hoping that, when her uncle and
COMING HOME. 41cousins came in, the welcome of this brightened homemight soften their hearts toward her. If it had not been forthe roaring of the sea, and for the dread of meeting thoserough, hard-hearted boys, she would have been quite con-tent; but she could not readily conquer her old fears. Shetried her best to forget them, and sang all the sweet hymnswhich she had learned, over and over, to drive them out ofher mind, until, lulled by the music, Jack fell asleep in herarms.And then she sat and watched the fading light, and sawthe stars come peeping out, one by one, like little messengerssent from God to point His children to their Father'shome. And the trembling heart grew still, and, lookingupward, waited, trusting all to that Father's love.CHAPTER VIII.COMING HOME.THE evening closed in cold and windy, and the world worea very dreary look to John Allen, as he steered his boatinto the cove, and prepared to walk up to his desolatehome. The summer had been an unsuccessful season forhim, and he felt quite unprepared for the winter which thischilly evening heralded. His heart was heavy as hethought of his sick wife lying in that cold hut, unattendedand uncared for, neglected by her children, and without afriend to look to in his necessary absence. He was notvery tender with her in their daily life, but that morning,when he had left her, his thoughts had gone back to thetime when he had taken her from her father's house, ayoung, bright-eyed bride, and his heart had been touchedas he thought of the change which a hard life had wroughtin her,4
42 NETTIE'S MISSION.To-night, with anxiety pressing hard upon him, andthe discomfort and weariness of his life more than usuallyapparent to him, he was very irritable with his boys, thetwo oldest of whom had been with him all day, and thewhole party had come on shore in a very unenviable frameof mind." What are you leaving that sail there for, Sam ?" hesaid, as his sons turned toward home, leaving the sail inthe boat."I aint a-goin' to carry up the heavy thing everynight," said the boy, sulkily. " Let Jim take it."" Carry it yourself, or " and, without finishing hissentence, the father moved forward with a look and gesturewhich warned Sam that it was safer to obey.With a mutter of discontent he lifted the sail, rudelyordering his younger brother to assist him; and,,bearingthe burden between them, they walked away.John Allen followed them, carrying a basket of fish.As he passed along he noticed a hut, apparently in thevicinity of his own home, from the windows of which therefell across the sands the ruddy glow of a blazing fire, sug-gesting thoughts of rest and comfort, which made himwish, with a sigh, that such a welcome awaited him. Ashe drew nearer his steps quickened. Surely that lightcame from his own hut!- was it a-fire ? Startled by thethought he hastily ran on, but when he reached his homehe stood still in surprise. Looking through the windowhe saw a clean, bright room,.in one corner of which, upona smoothly-spread bed, lay his wife; while before the firethere sat a little girl rocking his sleeping boy upon herlap. He entered quietly, and stood with the door open inhis hand, too much surprised to speak." It's only me, uncle-only Nettie. Please shut thedoor; it blows too cold on Aunt Susan."" It blows too cold on Aunt Susan!" he repeated, obey-ing her request. " There was a time when you would
COMING HOME. 435ave been glad to see her cold in her grave. But whatbrought you here, child ?"" Mr. Thorn told me aunt was sick, and I came totend her."" Did he bid you to come ?"" No; but he said that she had no one to take care ofher : so I will stay until she is better."" After all her hard blows and worse words ?" saidJohn Allen, looking at her as if she were something hardto be understood. " Why, what has come to you, child ?"" Jesus has come," said Nettie, softly. " He has comeand taken those naughty, wicked feelings out of my heart,and has made me more kind and gentle. That is whathas come to me, Uncle John."He did not answer, but, as he lifted Jack from her lap,Nettie saw a great tear drop upon the child's sleepingface.When the boys came in they were as much surprised astheir father had been to find Nettie re-established in herold place. They took but little notice of her, however,their time being wholly occupied in quarrelling amongthemselves; and even when they sat down to the supperwhich she had prepared for them, no one thanked her forthe trouble which she had taken. But as they wereleaving her for the night Ben came back to say,-" Good-night, Nettie. If you want anything you canholler for me."The thought of offering to watch with his mother didnot seem- to enter his mind, and yet Nettie rejoiced to hearhim say even those few words, for she knew that six monthsbefore he would not have made that offer, nor have biddenher good-night, and she thanked him as warmly as if thedebt of gratitude had been all on. her side. Her unclehad insisted upon sitting up while she went to bed; but helooked so utterly wearied out that Nettie was afraid thathe might fall asleep at his post, and she dared not leave4
44 NETTIE S MISSION.him to watch alone. It was not long before her fearswere realized; the tired man's head fell back against hischair, and he soon sank into a heavy slumber.During the early part of the night Mrs. Allen lay, asshe had done all day, muttering incoherently, but com-paratively quiet; but as the hours passed on her fevergrew higher, and she became more and more restless, until,frightened by her loud exclamations and violent gestures,Nettie roused her uncle, whose deep sleep had been un-disturbed by his wife's outcries. The remainder of thenight was terrible to Nettie, wholly unaccustomed as shewas to a sick-bed. The elder boys had to be called up toaid their father in holding their mother down in the bed;and when, toward morning, the child crept into the littleinner room to lie down beside Jack, she was too muchexcited, and too weary, to sleep.The loft which the younger boys occupied was aboveher, and she could hear their voices as they talked, for theytoo had been wakened by the noise and confusion." I say, Ben," said Martin, "what do you guess put itinto Nettie's head to come and look after mother ? Sheused to hate her; and a good right she had, too."" Yes, I know she did. I asked father what she wasup to, and he said she told him that God had made herlove mother, or something like that. That's a big story,aint it ?"" Yes: but something's made a big change in her, andno mistake. Don't you remember one time when Jim wassick, and mother wanted her to sit up with him ? Shedeclared she'd die first, and she wished he 'd die, and allthat. Don't you remember how she went on, and howmother punished her ?"" It's queer," said Martin. "But, anyway, I wisishe'd stay if she's goin' to keep things so decent. Iwonder if she got all these new notions from the minister?"" No, not from the minister," thought Nettie, as the
WATCHING AND WAITING. 45boys ceased talking, and she tried to compose herself tosleep. " Not from the minister." He who had put allthese new feelings into her heart was close beside her now;not far away, as Mr. Thorn was. His strong arm wasabout her, His loving hand beneath her head, His gentlevoice whispering in her ear, "Come unto me and I willgive you rest." The tired head sank back, the heavyeyelids closed, and those tender words, " So He giveth Hisbeloved sleep," were fulfilled to His little one.CHAPTER IX.WATCHING AND WAITING.THE breakfast next morning was quite a peaceable meal.Even Sam, the wildest of all the boys, had been awed andsobered by the scene of the past night, and there was anunusual tranquillity in the house.Nettie had hoped that her uncle might remain athome to help her in the care of his wife; but as soonas he had eaten his breakfast he put on a pea-jacket.and, taking up his hat, told her that it was time for himto go."I 'll run up to the village first, and send the doctordown," he said. "It's lonesome for you here I know,child; but it's a good day for fishing, and I've had suchpoor luck this season that I must do all I can now, elseI'd stay with you. I 'd bid one of the boys bide at homeif I thought it would do any good; but they'd be off theminute my back-was turned.""Never mind," said Nettie, who knew by experiencewhat the result of such an order would be. "Aunt ispretty quiet in the daytime.""Yes; she's mostly so wild at night. I '11 ask some of4
46 NETTIE'S MISSION.the neighbour-women to look in on you once in a while.Good-by."G" Good-by, Uncle John," and Nettle turned back intothe house.The four boys were still standing around the table, whereshe had left them, the two eldest preparing to go out withtheir father, and Ben and Martin talking over some plan ofamusement. Nettie looked wistfully at Ben; he caughtthe look, and guessed its meaning instantly. Nothingcould have made him confess that the strange and un-accountable change in Nettie had touched and soft-ened him, nor that he pitied and wanted to help her; but,nevertheless, he began at once to try to think of somereason for giving up the excursion which he had plannedto take."I say, Martin," he exclaimed, as if a thought hadsuddenly struck him, " I can't go to-day, after all. Fathertold me to mend that net yesterday; and I forgot it. Ishall have to do it to-day."" Oh, no. Leave the old thing alone, and comeon."Nettle listened eagerly for Ben's answer." No, I can't. If he comes home to-night and finds itnot mended, he'll cane me, I know."After a little more discussion the excursion was post-poned; and, to Nettie's great relief, Ben went up into theloft for the broken net.When the house was put in order she sat down on thedoor-sill, in the sunshine, with her work; for there shecould both watch her aunt and look up and down thesands, from time to time, to catch the first glimpse of theface she longed to see. Ben was within call; but he hadgone down to the water lest Martin might suspect that hehad remained at home for Nettie's sake; and as he hadtaken Jack with him, she was very lonely. The doctorhad come, had shaken his head and looked very grave
WATCHING AND WAITING. 47when he saw her aunt, and, leaving some medicine, hadgone away again; and that serious face was the only onewhich Nettie had seen since early morning."Water! water!" gasped a faint voice, as she sat therewaiting.She sprang up quickly, and, raising her aunt's head,gave her a drink. As she turned from the bed, aftersmoothing the pillows and laying a wet cloth on theburning forehead, a shadow darkened the doorway, and,cooking up, Nettie saw Mr. Thorn. She was beside him inan instant." Oh, I am so glad !" she said, eagerly. "I began tothink you would not come."" What! after I had promised? You faithless littlegirl! what shall I do to you ?"She did not care what he did, so that he did not leaveher; and when she had told him all that had happened,and he put his arm around her and called her his littleFlorence Nightingale, she felt repaid for what she haddone. He could do nothing for Mrs. Allen. She did notknow him, and made no answer when he spoke to her; sohe sat down in the window, and, drawing Nettie to his side,gave her all the loving messages which Mrs. Thorn hadsent to her. That visit did Nettie a world of good; andwhen he left, promising to return on the morrow, she badehim give her best love to Mrs. Thorn, and tell her that shewas quite content and happy.But as day after day passed on Nettie grew very tired;and, oftentimes, her patience was sorely tried by the boys'rudeness and want of consideration. Mr. Thorn had sug-gested to her, on the second day, that she should comehome at night, fearing that her own strength might giveway; but this she had steadily refused to do; and as heruncle did not allow her to sit up after the first night, Mr.Thorn had not pressed the point, thinking it best to let herdecide for herself. But even he, although Nettie poured4
48 NETTIE'S MISSION.many of her troubles into his sympathizing ear, never knewhow much she had to bear. Only the dear, heavenlyFather, for whose sake she bore it all, knew what that heartsuffered, day by day, for love of Him.One day the doctor came in, as usual, to see his patient;but he did not, as was his custom, leave immediately. Hesat down at the bedside, with his fingers on the sickwoman's wrist, anxiously watching her face. By-and-byhe rose, and, telling Nettie that the house must be keptperfectly silent, led Jack out upon the sands, and bade Ben,who was loitering there, to take care of him; adding, in agrave tone,-" You will do well to think of your mother's comfort, to-day at least. I think that she is dying."Startled by the doctor's manner, as well as by his words,Ben led Jack down behind the rocks, and Nettie was leftin the house with her aunt. But she was not long alone.The physician had called at Mrs. Moore's to ask her to godown to Allen's hut; and, when she reached it, she foundMr. Thorn already there. Soon the doctor returned andbent over the bed again."Can nothing save her ?" asked Mr. Thorn, in a lowvoice." Nothing but God's almighty power. I can do no more."And then they sat and waited silently. There was nota sound in the room save the loud tick of the eight-dayclock, and the heavy, laboured breathing of the sufferingwoman. By-and-by Mr. Thorn rose, and, touching thedoctor on the shoulder, went out. After a moment hebeckoned to Mrs. Moore, and Nettie was left alone oncemore. As she sat there, praying silently but most ear-nestly that God would teach her aunt to love Him beforeshe died, she heard a slight rustle, and, turning toward thebed, saw that Mrs. Allen's/ eyes were open. Her lipsmoved, and, going close to her, Nettie bent her head tolisten.
WATCHING AND WAITING. 49" Who is it ? " whispered the feeble voice."It is Nettie, Aunt Susan.""No; that voice is too gentle, and the eyes are too soft.It can't be Nettie.""Never mind it now, auntie. Let me call the doctor."He came, and his face brightened when he saw hi,patient." This is better than I had hoped," he said, joyfully."The worst is over; if she has good nursing she may re-cover, by God's blessing. Mr. Thorn, I think we mustthank our little girl for this."Nettie looked up quickly."I mean what I say," said the doctor, who had led herto the door, in order that their voices might not disturbthe sick woman. " If your aunt had been left to such poorcare as she had before you came here, she would have beendead long before this."" What do you say to that, Nettie ?" said Mr. Thorn,laying his hand tenderly upon her hair.She did not say anything. She only looked up into theclear blue sky, clasping her hands very tightly together.The words that her joyous, happy heart spoke were forno mortal ear to ear. They saw the dark eyes kindle, andthe pale cheek flush; but only God heard the low-breathedwords of glad thanksgiving."And now, my dear," said the doctor, after a longpause, " I have something to say. You must not be soconstantly with Mrs. Allen. The next thing will be thatI shall have to nurse you through a fever. You must gohome with Mr. Thorn. You may spend your days here,but you must not remain at night.""But who will take care of aunt, and get the boys'breakfast and supper ?""The boys may attend to their own meals. We havetalked the matter over, and Mrs. Moore has promised tostay here at night until it is safe to leave your aunt. Isn'tE4
50 NETTIE'S MISSION.that so, Mrs. Moore?" he asked, as she came towardthem."Yes, sir. I 'm more than willing to help the child, I 'msure. It's very hard for me to free myself of the youngones of a morning; but my man can look after themnights, and I'm ready to do my part for the poor body.She used to anger me sore with her sharp tongue; butshe's quiet enough now, poor thing. I'd do anything Icould for the little lass. She's given all us fisher-folk agood lesson, Mr. Thorn.""I think that she has taught us all a lesson," said Mr.Thorn, stroking the head which leaned against him."Now, Nettie, Mrs. Moore will stay here until your unclecomes home, so we will go at once."'She was very glad to go, when she found that everythinghad been so nicely arranged for her. Her aunt had falleninto a soft sleep; and, giving Mrs. Moore a message forher uncle, she went joyfully homeward.Never was there a happier little girl than the quiet childwho sat that evening on a low stool, with her weary headresting against Mrs. Thorn's knee. It was so still andpeaceful in that bright pleasant room, with no one near butthese two precious friends, whose love was such a blessingto her, and that other Friend, more precious still, for whosedear sake she had endured so much.CHAPTER X." MY LITTLE DAUGHTER."MoRNING after morning, for many days, Nettie might have"been seen walking briskly down the shore-road, alwayswith a basket upon her arm, toward John Allen's hut.Margery Bray protested earnestly against this arrangement,
MY LITTLE DAUGHTER. 5by which her playmate was taken so entirely from her; butNettie was not to be moved." I want you even more than you want me, Margie,'she would say; "but I must go." And no amount ofpersuasion could induce her to remain at home, unless shewas needed by Mrs. Thorn.It was no easy task which she had taken upon herself.As strength returned, Aunt Susan became very irritableand exacting, and Nettie's patience was sorely tried. Onsome days it seemed as if everything that she did waswrong. The broth was either too hot or too cold, too thinor too thick ; if she tried to make Jack mind what she toldhim, she was called hard and cross; if she let him have hisown way, she was told that she spoiled him; until, at last,she almost gave up the hope of winning her aunt by loveand kindness: for Nettie did not know t2at poor AuntSusan was only trying to hide the better feelings which werestruggling for the mastery in her heart-feelings whichwere daily gaining strength and power, but which she wastoo proud to confess.But after a time there came a change in this weary,monotonous life. Mrs. Thorn had been growing more andmore feeble as the colder weather came on, and the doctoradvised her husband to try what the soft southern airwould do for her. The plan was scarcely thought of beforeit was adopted; and it was determined to sail at once forSavannah. And then Nettie realized how much her auntreally depended upon her. Not that Mrs. Allen gave herthe comfort of telling her that she missed the sight of herbright face: she only learned the truth by her querulousfretting at her tardiness when she was detained at home,and her complaints of the shortness of her visits; for shewas now so much needed by Mrs. Thorn that the timewhich she could spend on the shore was necessarily muchshortened.On the day before their departure there was so much to4
52 NETTIE'S MISSION.be done that Nettle could not find time to go down to thefishing-huts until the afternoon, and then Mr. Thorn wentwith her, to pay his final visit to Mrs. Allen. When theyreached the house they found her sitting up in a rocking-chair. She received them very coldly, and after a mo-ment asked Nettie, rather sharply, why she had not cometo see her on the previous day."I could not find time to come, Aunt Susan. Youknow that we are going away to-morrow. The house isto be closed, aud everything has to be put safely away."" Oh, yes, everything must be attended to before me."The colour flushed over Nettie's face and neck. Sheopened her lips as if to speak, and then, turning quicklyaway, bent over little Jack to hide her tears."That was hard, Mrs. Allen," said Mr. Thorn, asNettie went into the next room with the boy. "She did notdeserve that from you."He did not speak harshly, but there was a gravity inhis manner which checked the petulant answer that rose toher lips."I cannot understand," he went on, "why it is that thischild's unselfish devotion to you meets with such a poorreward."She looked at him for a moment, returning his steadygaze with equal steadiness, and then the sharp eyessuddenly softened and a great tear rolled slowly down thepale, sunken cheek." I know I'm hard on her," she said slowly; "hardand cruel. You think I haven't felt her kindness, but Ihave. She's been as patient as a lamb, and we've triedher sorely too. It isn't because she hasn't spirit either.I 've seen her eyes flash often when the boys have beenugly to her. Only the night before last, you remember,she staid late to get the boys' supper; she was pouringout the tea, and Sam was finding fault with everything.SThe bacon was too much cooked, the tea was weak, and
MY LITTLE DAUGHTER. 53so on, until I wondered how the girl stood it; and at lasthe says, This aint fit for a cat to drink,' and pitched thecup full of tea out on the floor that she'd just cleaned up.The colour all went out of her face in a minute, and I sawher clasp her hands together and bite her lips to keep her-self from answering him. I waited to see what wouldcome of it, and all at once she looks up and says, as sweetas could be, I'm sorry it isn't good, Sam. Shall I tryagain ?' The boy was just amazed, so he was. He onlysaid, 'No, I guess not;' but his voice was kind of soft,and after supper he took the mop and washed up the floorhimself. I don't understand her, she's so changed."" The change is easy to understand," said Mr. Thori."' God has put His love into her heart."" And does that make her so good ? You told meonce that she was a Christian, and I thought she'd be al-ways fussing and preaching; but that isn't her way.She's never said a word to me, only I've thought some-times that she talked to Jack about God just so as Icould hear. If the boy minds all she's told him he '11 be agood child; and-and-if I mind all I've seen in her,I'11 be a better woman."She bent her head down on her hands; she was notused to tears, and she would have hidden them if shecould." I never thought of God as she does," she went on." I've had such a hard, busy life, that I thought I hadn'ttime to stop and think about religion; but Nettie hastaught rie different. She seems to rest so on Him, and tolove Him so. I begin to think that God isn't so sternand hard, after all. If He has made her so sweet andgentle, He must be so Himself."" He is our tender and compassionate Father," said Mr.Thorn, kindly. " He holds out His loving hand andsays, 'Come unto me.' All we have got to do is to takeit. If you cling to that outstretched hand, He will putj
5 NETTIE'S MISSION.into your heart the same spirit of love which He has'shedupon Nettie."The door opened as he spoke, and Nettie came in. Shepaused when she saw the traces of tears on her aunt's face,and turned to leave the room again." Come in, child," said Aunt Susan. " Come here tome."Nettie came and stood -beside, her chair, and Mr.Thorn, rising quickly, said, " It is time for us to leave. Imust bid you good-by, praying most earnestly that youmay find help and comfort in the unspeakable love of God.Nettie, I will wait for you on the beach.""Tie shook Mrs. Allen's hand warmly, and went out,leaving them alone together. There was silence in theroom for a few minutes, and then Nettie laid her hand onAunt Susan's, and said,-" Auntie, have you learned to love the Lord Jesus ?"" Not yet," said Mrs. Allen, leaning her head downupon the child's shoulder. "I 'm groping for Him, but I 'min the dark. But if He '11 put out His hand to help meI'll try to live faithful to Him. Surely if He's madeyou what you are, He can do something even with me.Don't you think He can ?" she asked, looking up with apitiful pleading in her face." I know He can, and will," said Nettie, confidently." Oh, Aunt Susan, He's our own dear Father !"" Mr. Thorn," said Nettie, as she walked beside him ontheir way toward home, " I do believe you have taughtAunt Susan to love God."" No, I had nothing to do with this great change inher. God sent one of the lambs of His flock to guide herto Him. My little Nettie has let her light shine sobrightly before her, that she has learned to glorify herFather in heaven. God has given you a great reward."" Do you mean " She hesitated. She could notask the question which trembled on her lips.4
MY LITTLE DAUGHTER. 55" I mean that, by God's blessing, you have taught ahard, cold heart, to love and hallow His name."That night, as they were all sitting around the fire inthe sitting-room, Mr. Thorn said suddenly,--" Nettie, do you remember a name by which I calledyou when I left you at your uncle's on the first day ofyour stay there ?"" Yes, sir," she said, glancing up quickly." I think that you liked it. Is that so ?"" Yes, it made all that hard day easy for me."" Would you like to take and keep it; and to giveMrs. Thorn and me each a new name ?-to be ourdaughter instead of our maid ?"Nettie drew a long breath, but she did not answer; andMr. Thorn went on,-" We want to adopt you as our own--to have ourchild with us when we go away. Will you be glad tohave it so ?"" Glad ?" said Nettie, softly. "It's just next to havingGod for my father."" Then take your father's first kiss," he said, touchinghis lips to her forehead. " And now mother wants herlittle girl, I am sure."And " mother" took " her little girl" in her arms, andlaid her face to hers. There were not many words spoken.Mrs. Thorn only said, " My own little daughter," andNettie answered by pressing her round cheek closer to thewan face, whispering, " Mother, mother," as if the namewere nusic to her,
LITTLE MARGERY." Thy Kingdom come."CONTENTS.CHAP. I. MARGERY'S GRANDFATHER., II. THE FIRST EFFORT.,, III. GRANDPA'S PERPLEXITY.$ IV. SUNSHINE AND CLOUDS.V. REPENTANCE.VI. THE FRESHET.SVrII. THE RESCUE.VIII. WHY FATHER SIGHED.* IX. UNCLE WILL.* X. THE KINGDOM,
\LITTLE MARGERY.CHAPTER I.MARGERY S GRANDFATHER."' THY kingdom come !' Oh, I wish it would come! 'causethen everybody would love the Lord Jesus,- Mr. Thornsaid so.'The little girl who spoke stood upon a rough woodenbridge, looking down into the bright water beneath, witha very serious expression on her face. The noisy brookrushed along, whirling and eddying, tumbling and tossingover the rocks and stones which lay in its bed, seeming tolaugh in Margery's sober face as she leaned over the rail,thoughtfully watching it.The brook flowed at the foot of a high, rocky bank,which rose abruptly from the water's edge, and aroundwhich a narrow footpath wound from the base td the top.But the -bridge upon. which the child stood led over thewater to a piece of smooth, green meadow-land, bounded bya thick forest of dark pines." Come, Duke," said the little girl, laying her handupon the head of a great Newfoundland dog, which hadbeen sitting quietly beside her.As he rose to obey, she crossed the bridge to themeadow, and threw herself down at the foot of a large&.4
60 LITTLE MARGERY.tree. The dog stretched himself at her side, and sherested her head upon his shaggy shoulder and lay watch-ing the dancing waves. By-and-by her eyelids began todroop, slowly the long lashes sank upon her cheek, andMargery was asleep. And there she slept, with the darkpine-forest behind her, the blue sky above, and the spark-ling water at her feet, until the sinking sun, falling inthrough the waving branches of the old tree, paused,for a moment, to kiss her eyelids open with his last softray." Margeryger argery!" called a voice from the oppositebank.Duke pricked up his ears, and raised his head with alow growl: but the next moment his head fell slowly to itsold position upon his folded paws. He knew the voice,and felt that his little mistress was in no danger." Yes, auntie," said Margery, in a very sleepy tone.Then she sprang up suddenly. " Why, I've been asleepin the meadow!"" Margery, come dear."" Yes, Aunt Annie, I 'm coming real quick. What doyou think?" she went on, gleefully, as, running across thebridge, she gainedthe f ot of the winding-path, and proceededto mount it with steady, nimble feet, which evidently knewthe rough path well. " What do you think ? I 've beenfast asleep on the meadow-land. I just laid down thereto watch the waves playing 'Catch if you can,' and thenext thing I knew, the sun was shining in my face, andyou were calling me."" You should not lie on the grass in spring-time,Margery. It is very dangerous; you might be madesick by falling asleep so. Don't do it again, dear."" No, Aunt Annie. I didn't know it was naughty.Is it supper-time?"" Yes; and grandfather has come.""'Grandfather has come!" repeated Margery, opening
MARGERY'S GRANDFATHER. 61her brown eyes to their utmost extent. "Why, AuntAnnie, it is Sunday!"" Yes, it is Sunday."" But I thought it was wicked to travel about on God'sholy day. Father told me so."Aunt Annie made no answer, and Margery walked onbeside her in silence. This visit of her grandfather hadbeen thought of by day, and dreamed of by night, forweeks and weeks. She had never seen him, for he hadlived in the far West for years ; but now he had consented tocome East, and make his home with his son, Margery'sfather. She had often heard of this dear grandfather faraway, and he had sent her little presents, and she had hispicture in her Testament; so she had learned to love theold man, although she had not seen him. But, somehow,the eager joy which she had felt when she heard that hehad really come had subsided. The little feet moved onvery quietly, and the little face was very grave." Ah! here comes my one ewe-lamb," said her father,as she ran up the steps of the porch where he stood withthe old man." Come and see grandfather, Margery. She isn't verylarge, you see, father; but what there is of her is veryprecious."" I should think so, indeed. Will you give grandfathera kiss, darling ?"She looked at him searchingly. It was a pleasant face,with its gentle mouth, and soft, gray eyes; and the beautyof it was enhanced by the crown of snow-white hair whichclustered about the temples." Well," said the old man, " how do you like me ? Isuppose that you will not give me a kiss until you havemade up your mind on that point. Do you think you canlove such a very old grandfather as this ?"She answered by springing upon his knee, and layingher sunny face close to his withered cheek.
62 LITTLE MARGERY." I can love you dearly, dearly !" she said. "I couldn'thelp that, could I, when you are my own grandfather ?"" What a lovely little lass she is, Thomas!" said PeterBray to his son, as he sat watching Margery while sheflitted about the room, aiding her aunt in clearing thesupper-table. "But she is very small for her age."" Yes, she is very small; but she is quite as strong asother children, and as full of life and frolic as a kitten."" Is she ? She seemed to me very old for her years.She looked at me, when I asked her for a kiss, as if shewould read me through with those great eyes. Does shealways study new friends in that way?"" No, I never saw her do so before; but she oftenhas an old way with her. Yet she is very playful.You should see her put her little puss to sleep; youwould think it was a young mother tending her baby.She will sit there rocking, and singing in a low voice,;until the kitten seems about to fall asleep, and then shewill lay it gently on her knee and trot it up and downvery softly. When it sleeps she lays it on a pillow, andcovers it with a shawl, and steps about on tiptoe, hushingevery one that comes near. But ten minutes after youmay find her running races with the dog, or paddling inthe brook, shouting and laughing with the merriest. Sheis very bright and quick with it all. Annie says that sheis really a great help to her in her work about the house."" Come here, little sprite," said her grandfather, catching ,Margery's hand as she passed him; "come and sit on myknee. I'm not very strong, but I can hold such a fairyas you, I think.""In one minute, grandpa," said Margery. "My workisn't done yet. Aunt Annie and I have the tea-things towash."" How many cups' and saucers do you break in aweek ?" asked the old man, laughing at her gravity." Oh, we don't break any! We're very careful of our
MARGERY'S GRANDFATHER. 63things. Aunt Annie wants to leave everything in goodorder when she is married and goes away, for I am tokeep house for you and father."" Are you ? I am glad of that. But I shall have tolook out that the brownies don't carry off my wee fairy inthe mean time. When your work is done, Mrs. House-keeper, I will tell you a nice story about a fairy and abrownie."" But, grandpa-----" She hesitated, and looked at herfather." Well, what is it, little one ?" asked Peter Bray." We don't have stories about fairies and brownies onSunday, grandpa. Did you forget ?"" Do you keep the child so strict as that, Thomas ?"said the old man, turning toward his son." I have taught her to keep the Sabbath-day holy, father."" What nonsense to bind that baby by such laws!"said the grandfather, as Margery left them to return toher aunt. "She is too young to have serious notions putinto her head."" She is not too young to be cherished by my earthlylove," said the father; "then why should she not beblessed by the heavenly ? Why should I hold her backfrom the Lord of glory, when He says, 'Suffer the littlechildren, and forbid them not, to come unto me ?' No,father, you make a great mistake. No child is too youngto know that, in its feebleness, it may lay its head uponthe Saviour's breast, and so be made strong."" Ah, -well! that is your creed, I know, Thomas, butit is not mine. I don't like to see children religious. Itsobers them too much."" Wait until you have seen more of Margery, father.I do not think you will find that her religion has given anycheck to the joyousness and happiness of her life."" Father! father!"Thomas Bray looked around toward the room from
64 LITTLE MARGERY.which the call came. It was now quite late in the evening.Margery had gone to bed some time before, and he hadsupposed her asleep." What is it, darling ? Are you sick ?" he asked,anxiously, stepping quickly toward the little white-robedfigure which stood in the doorway." No; but I want to speak to you. Shut -the door,please."Wondering what was troubling the child, he lifted herin his arms, and, closing the door, sat down with her uponthe bed from which she had crept." What ails my baby?" he asked, pressing the littlehead close to him. " Were you dreaming ?"" No, father: I couldn't go to sleep. Father, is grandpaa bad man?"" Why, no, my child. He is the kindest and best offathers, and a very gentle, tender-hearted old man."" What made him come on Sunday ?" asked Margery." Isn't it wicked to travel on Sunday ?"" Yes, unless it is absolutely necessary, Margie. Butgrandpa does not think of these things as we do. Poorgrandpa does not love God. My little girl must ask herdear Father in heaven to teach grandpa to love Him,"said Thomas Bray, tenderly stroking the fair head; " andshe must be very sweet and loving to him, and try to let,him see what a precious friend our blessed Master is."Margery did not answer. She had been sorely distressedand perplexed by her grandfather's carelessness with regardto the Sabbath: but that he should not love the God to-ward whom her heart went out so gladly she couldscarcely understand. When her father laid her downagain in her bed, saying, "We must try to lead deargrandpa to Jesus, Margie," she put her arms about hisneck, and drew his head down closer, to whisper,-" We '11 pray for him, father; won't we ? And thenGod will surely teach him, you know."
MARGERY'S GRANDFATHER. 65That night, as Thomas Bray lay upon his bed, thinkingsorrowfully of the old gray-haired man, who, through allhis long life of seventy-nine years, had lived in thought-lessness of God and God's commands, he heard a slightrustle in the trundle-bed beside him where Margery slept,and then, in the faintest whisper, a voice said,-" Father dear, are you awake ?"" Yes, Margie."The next moment she had clambered from her bed intohis own, and, nestling close to him, laid her head upon hisbreast." Father, don't you remember what Mr. Thorn said inhis sermon this morning about 'Thy kingdom come ?' "" Yes, dear; did you understand him ?"" I guess so. I can't tell what he said; but I thoughthe meant that to make Jesus' kingdom come, we must tryto teach every one about Jesus. Was that it ?"" Yes, Margie, that was what he meant."" Well, I've been thinking, father, that if we can teachdear grandpa about Him, he will love Him; and that willhelp the kingdom, won't it ? "" Yes, my pet, it will."" Then, that would be doing two things,-it would bemaking grandpa very happy, and it would be helping thedear Saviour too. Oh, father !"" What is it, Margie ?" for she had suddenly clungcloser to him." It seems too much to do. Will our Jesus let us do somuch ?"" Surely He will, darling; and He will help us to do it.You know that, Margie?"" Yes, I do know; only it seemed such a great thing toask. But He is so dear and good, I know He'll help us.I '1l tell you what we 'll do, father; you tell grandpa allyou know, and I'll pray to the Lord Jesus for him.I 'm too small to talk to him about it, but I '11 pray justF4
66 LITTLE MARGERYas hard as such a little girl can. He '11 hear me, won'tlHe?"" He will; I know he will, my child."" Good-night, father."Then she slipped back into her trundle-bed,knd, stretch.ing up one hand to meet her father's, clasped his closelyand so fell asleep.CHAPTER II.THE FIRST EFFORT." JUST hear the little one!" said Peter Bray to himself thenext morning, as a merry peal of laughter rang out on thefresh morning air. It was very early, and he had not yetleft his room, but Margery was already up and out, andit was her voice which he heard beneath his window." Surely," he went on, as another joyous shout reached hisear, " Thomas told the truth when he said her religion hadnot sobered her; she 's as gay as a lark this morning.What can it be that makes her laugh so, the little darling !grandfather's own pet ?"He went to the window as he spoke, and there sawMargery standing on the path just below him, springingSup and down, and clapping her hands in the greatestglee." Why, what is the matter with my fairy this morning ?"asked the old man." Oh, grandpa, look at Duke! Do look at Duke!"she cried, pointing toward her dog, who was rolling overand over on the grass, vainly trying to shake from hislong curly hair something which looked like flour, andwith which he was covered from ears to tail." Aunt Annie was mixing bread, and he ran against
THE FIRST EFFORT. 67the table and knocked a great pan of flour down on hisself.Oh, Duke! Duke !"< and she danced about again, laugh-ing as heartily as before. Suddenly the dog sprang up,shook himself violently, and ran off down the path whichled to the brook." He's going to wash hisself," cried Margery, startingin pursuit; but Aunt Annie's voice checked her." Don't go to the brook, Margie. Breakfast is ready."She hesitated, and her face clouded a little; she wantedto see the end of this frolic: but the next moment her eyecaught her grandfather's as he watched her from his win-dow, and her brow cleared instantly." I won't go, auntie," she said, cheerfully; "I '11 justwait here. Why don't you come out, grandpa ?" she added,turning to him. " It's real pleasant."Just as he left his room in answer to her invitation,Aunt Annie called them to come to breakfast." Well," she said pleasantly, as Margery came in, hercheeks flushed, her eyes sparkling, and her curls somewhatin disorder, " you have had quite a frolic. Are you readyto sit down now, and eat your breakfast quietly?"She was very ready for her breakfast, but she did notseem able to do anything quietly that morning; she wasin a thoroughly merry mood, and over and over againher joyous laugh broke out afresh on the smallest pretence." What a light-hearted little thing it is, Thomas !" saidthe old man to his son, as they left the room together."Yes," said Thomas Bray, "she is always happy.I think that, young as my Margery is, her heart is filedwith 'the peace of God;' and that, father,' passeth under-standing.' "" Grandpa, don't you want to come and see my chickens?"asked Margery, running out after them." You mustn't tire grandpa, Margie," said her father." She won't do that," answered the grandfather. "Yes,I 'd like to see the chickens very much."
68 LITTLE MARGERY."X Well, I '11 be here again in a minute," said Margery." I must go and get their breakfast."She soon reappeared with a basket on her arm, and adish held fast in both hands." Is that the chickens' breakfast in that dish ?" askedgrandpa, as he walked on beside his guide." Yes: we used to give them only corn, but now we're'nomical."" You're what ?" he asked, in a puzzled manner." 'Nomical," said Margery." What does that mean?"" Why, don't you know 'nomical, grandpa ? It meanswhat people do when their father don't get so much workas he used to have. 'Nomical for chickens is eating scrapsinstead of corn, which father must buy at the store; and"nomical for little girls is when they don't have any newdress, but Aunt Annie makes over some old ones. I don'tlike 'nomical at all; do you, grandpa ?"" No, not very much," said he, with an amused look."It is not good to be poor."" Oi, we aint poor!" said Margery. " Poor peopledon't have anything to eat, and no fire when it's cold,and they look sorry all the time. Oh, we aint poor at all!We 're real nice and happy."" You need not tell me that, I can see it plain enough.There seems to be a blessing on the house," he added, asif to himself; but Margie thought that he spoke to her,and she answered him,-" Why, I guess there is a blessing here, grandpa.Father asks G od for it every night and morning, and youknow God gives us everything that's good for us, andblessings must be good. Don't you think so ?"" This is the chicken-house, I suppose," was grandpa'sanswer.She looked up in surprise, but, without saying anythingmore, led the way into the chicken-yard, calling,-
THE FIRST EFFORT. 69" Kip! kip! kip!"She was surrounded in a moment, and the crowd seemedto know her, rushing in close to her feet, and even snatch-ing morsels off the plate as she held it low that they might,reach it. She called them all by name; now authority.tively dismissing those who she thought had received theirshare, and now calling those who had been beaten back bytheir stronger neighbours. After the plate was emptied,she took some corn from the basket and scattered it amongthem." I give them a little corn for dessert," she said, as sheput the cover upon her basket again. " Now there's nomore animals to see, unless you would like to go down andsee Mrs. Duchess and her pups. Duchess is over in themeadow-land, and so is Brindle, the cow."" I think I won't go to see them now," said grandpa."I am rather tired for that walk. Old men can't do verymuch, and you know I had a long ride in the cars yester.day."" Yes."Margery looked very grave." What are you thinking of, little one ? Your facechanged as suddenly as it did when you wanted to runoff with Duke. What became of that cross look thismorning ? "" Did you see it, grandpa ? I'm sorry you saw melook naughty and cross."" What made you come back so quickly? Were youafraid Aunt Annie would scold?"" Oh, no, she don't scold! She only looks very sorrywhen I'm naughty."" And does that make you try to be good ?""Yes, grandpa, that and one other thing. Oh! I'malways so sorry when I 'm naughty, because then I knowJesus is troubled too.""Who did you say, Margery ?'4
70 LITTLE MARGERY."Jesus-our Lord Jesus. I can't bear to think thatI've made Him troubled. Can you, grandpa?"He did not answer. She looked up at him somewhattimidly, for she understood him well enough to know thathe might possibly dislike the question; but he kept hisface from her." Grandpa "He turned and looked down at her."Are you angry with me ?""Angry! no, my pet.""Then don't turn your face away. It makes me thinkyou're angry because I asked you if you wasn't sorry tomake Jesus troubled. Please tell me, grandpa," and sheclasped his hand tighter, and laid her soft cheek upon it,-"Are you sorry ?"Still he did not answer; but he paused in his walk, tookthe earnest, questioning face between his withered hands,and looked into the soft brown eyes with a longing in hisown. Then he bent lower, kissed her tenderly, and, takingher hand once more, went on toward the house.CHAPTER III.GRANDPA'S PERPLEXITY."Now, grandpa, you must lie down on the settle and rest,"said Margery, as they entered the sitting-room. "I knowhow to make you real comfortable, if you '1 let me. Here'sa nice soft cushion for your head, and I '11 pull the window-shade down, so that the sun won't come in your eyes, andyou can lie here and take a good nap while I go to helpAunt Annie."He was quite ready to rest, but not so willing to let hisnurse run away from him; and when she had closed the
GRANDPA'S PERPLEXITY. 71door lest the wind should blow upon him, and drawn downthe muslin curtains to shut out the sunlight, he stretchedout his hand, as she passed the settle where he lay, and drewh.er closer to him."What an old-fashioned little fairy it is!" he said,smiling at her. " Who taught you how to take such goodcare of an old man ?"" I don't know, grandpa; I guess we don't have to bereached to take care of people when we love them dearly.""And do you love grandpa dearly, already ?"" Yes, I do;" and the rosy lips pressed a warm kiss onthe wrinkled forehead. "Father and Aunt Annie andgrandpa are my dear ones.""Father is first of all, eh ? That is right.""Not first of all, grandpa. You forget the dearSaviour.""w You don't love Him more than your father, Margery,do you ?"" Why, it was the Saviour who gave my father to me,grandpa. Surely I ought to love Him best ?"" But do you love Him best?"" Yes, I think I do," said Margery, thoughtfully." Suppose He took your father away from you ?""Oh, grandpa!" The face, a moment before so bright,suddenly paled. " You don't think He will, do you ?" sheasked, in a very tremulous voice."No, my darling, no." He spoke quickly, distressed tohave pained her." I don't think He will either," said Margery. "But ifHe should," and the sweet voice grew suddenly steady andcalm, " if He should, He 'll take care of me Hisself. 'CauseJtsus knows that a little' girl who hasn't aiy father ormother wants her dear Saviour very, very near to her."He looked wonderingly at her, as she stood beside him,her face all radiant with simple, loving trust in that Saviour,of whose tenderness and grace he had never tasted, and
72 LITTLE MARGERY.then with a sigh he closed his eyes, as if to sleep. For afew moments she stood there quietly, and then, seatingherself on the edge of the settle, began to sing in a low,clear voice,-"Jesus loves me; this I know,For the Bible tells me so.Little ones to Him belong:They are weak, but He is strong.Jesus loves me; He who diedHeaven's gate to open wide:He will wash away my sin,Let His little child come in.Jesus loves me, loves me still;Though I'm very weak and ill;From His shining throne on highComes to watch me where I lie,Jesus loves me; He will stayClose beside me all the way:If I love Him, when I dieHe will take me home on high."As the last words warbled from her lips she bent herface close to his'to see if he were asleep, and then, stealingon tip-toe across the room, went out and closed the .door.But still the soft music seemed to ring through the air.Over and over again he heard these sweet words,-"Jesus loves me; He who died."Would the gates be opened for the old man who hadfaced, alone and unaided, the winds and storms of seventy-Snine long winters, as well as for the child who, in her short/ life of seven years, had already learned to rest on the love ofSHim who had died that both might be saved ? or had heI rejected that love too long ? Peter Bray did not sleep thatmorning. Neither soft cushions, nor shaded light, noreven weariness itself, could overcome his wakefulness. He/
GRANDPA S PERPLEXITY. 73lay and thought and thought until his brain grew weary,but he could not sleep." Aunt Annie," said Margery, coming into the roomwhere her aunt was setting the table for dinner, " you haveonly put on three plates."" Yes, dear, I know it. Father is not coming home tcdinner.""Not coming home to dinner?" repeated Margery." Why didn't he tell me ? Where has he gone ?"" He has gone over to Squire Thorn's to paint his barn,and it would take too much time from his work to returnat noon. I thought you knew he had gone."The little face had grown very sober, and the red lipswere quivering fast. For a moment she stood winkingher eyes to keep back the blinding tears, but it wouldnot do, and turning suddenly away she ran out of theroom."Margery, Margery!" called her grandfather; but AuntAnnie stopped him."Let her go, father; she will get over it in a moment.She cannot bear to have her father away all day, but shewill cheer up again. I thought he had told her that hewould not be at home, or I should have spoken of it before.It came too suddenly for her."In a few minutes Margery came back. Her cheekswere somewhat flushed, and there were traces of tears stillto be seen, but she smiled as she seated herself at the dinner-table, and said quite cheerfully,-"I'm not going to cry, Aunt Annie; only," andher voice shook a little, "only I was so very disap-pointed."" I know you were, darling. But we must do the bestwe can without father. Grandpa, and you, and I, will donicely for this afternoon; and then, when father comeshome to-night, we '11 have a gay time together."Margery's face brightened, and she chatted on merrily
74 LITTLE MARG"ERY.through the remainder of the meal. Her grandfatherwatched her curiously, thinking over in his mind thosewords she had spoken in the morning in reference to God'staking her father from her. " If He should, He will takecare of me Hisself." She had said it so quietly, so confi-dently; and yet she loved this father with such a clinginglove, that the mere separation of a day tried her enduranceto the utmost. Margery had told her father, on the nightof the old man's arrival, that she was too small to talk tohim, but she little knew how carefully he watched theprints of her tiny feet as she walked trustfully on in thepath which God had marked out for her.Nothing more was said with regard to the father's ab-sence, and Peter Bray thought it probable that Margeryhad forgotten her disappointment, and would think no moreof it until she saw him again. But as the evening closedin he found that he was mistaken. No sooner had theclock struck six than Margery drew an arm-chair up to thecrackling wood-fire, placed a pair of slippers before it, andher own chair close beside it, and then stationed herself atthe window, with her face pressed against the glass. Thefair morning had been succeeded by a raw, chilly afternoon;the wind whistled drearily around the house, and from faraway on the beach they could hear the dash of the breakersas they rolled heavily in." I would not stand by the window, Margery," saidAunt Annie. "The wind comes in there. I am afr idyou will take cold."" But father likes to see the light when he comes up theroad, auntie.""I know he does; but you can turn the curtain aside,you need not hold it."Margery came back into the room rather reluctantly,and sat down in her arm-chair by the fire. Pretty soonshe rose, and going to the table where Annt Annie sat withher sewing, stood beside her.
GRANDPA'S PERPLEXITY. 75" Aunt Annie," she said, somewhat hesitatingly." Well, dear."" Don't you think that father likes to see something elsebut the light when he comes up the road ?""What does he want beside, Margie ?"" A little face," said the child. "The little face heloves."" Oh, you coaxer!" said Aunt Annie with a laugh." Well, then, the face must be all that he shall see, for thechild he loves must be bundled up in my big shawl."To this condition Margery readily assented, and soonshe stood in the window again, wrapped in a large blanket-shawl. And when Thomas Bray came up the road, weariedwith his day's labour a-An his long walk, and chilled by thekeen east wind, the first zight of his home sent warmth tohis heart.The dancing fire-light fell through the window with abright glow, but the picture which cheered his heart wasthat which Margery had known full well would please himbest,-the curly head covered by the red shawl pinnedbeneath the dimpled chin, the rosy cheek pressed close tothe glass, the eyes peering out into the darkness, lookingfor him. His step quickened, and in another moment thehouse-door was thrown open, and Margery had sprung intohis arms." Thomas," said Peter Bray to his son, as they sattalking together that evening after Margery had gone tobed, " I cannot understand that child of yours : she is sowomanly, and yet such a perfect child.""She is very mature for her years, I know," saidThomas; " but I suppose that is due to her living alonewith Annie and me. She seldom has a playmate,' and,being constantly with grown people, she naturally falls intotheir older ways."" But it is not only that. She is child enough to crybecause you happen to be away at dinner-time, and yet\ 4
76 LITTLE MARGERY.woman enough to tell me that a blessing rests upon thishouse because you ask God for it; and that, if you aretaken from her, God will take care of.her -and to say itfirmly too, devoted as she is to you!""That is not womanliness, father; that is faith. Shemight have grown to be a woman in years without learningthese precious lessons. She might even, father, live to theverge of fourscore years without learning them."As he spoke, the younger man laid his hand tenderlyupon the shoulder of the elder, and bending forward triedto look into his averted face. But his father pushed thehand aside, as he answered, testily,-"There, there! don't preach at me because I 'm near four-score. The child is a lovely child, but you have putstrange notions into her young head."" It was a greater than I who put them there, father,"was the quiet answer." There is a storm coming, isn't there ? " asked PeterBray, anxious to change the current of his son's thoughts."Yes, and I'm afraid it will be a very severe one. Ithas been terrible along the coast, they say; the river isrising already. Even our little brook here is much swollen.I had to caution Margery this morning not to cross to themeadow-land. The water rose so much last night that Iwas afraid our slight bridge might not be quite safe for her.I suppose the storm will reach us by to-morrow, if not to.night."CHAPTER IV.SUNSHINE AND CLOUDS.THE expected storm fell upon the little village before day -break the next morning. Margery woke to find the rainpouring down heavily, and to hear the wind moaning and
SUNSHINE AND CLOUDS. .77shrieking around the house with a dismal sound, anddashing the branches of the trees violently against thewindow-panes. It sounded cold and wintry, so she drewthe quilt a little closer over her shoulders, and lay listeningand thinking what a nice warm nest she had to cuddle into.By-and-by she heard a slight rustle, as if some one weremoving about in the room. She could not see who it waswithout moving, and, too comfortable to do that, she whis-pered softly,-" Father."" Father is not here, Margery," said Aunt Annie's voice."He has gone out to bring Brindle in."" Then it must be time to get up. Oh, what a hard rainthis is !" she said, joyously, as she sat up in bed." You seem to be very glad of it," said Aunt Annie."i Yes, I 'm ever so glad, 'cause father won't go out allday. He said last night, if it stormed to-day he could notgo on with Squire Thorn's job, and he had no other.That's what makes me so glad. I'11 have him home allday."" I wish he was as happy over it as you are," said heraunt." Is he sorry ?" asked Margery, quickly." Yes, he looks so. You must try to cheer him up."" Oh, I can do that!" said Margery, confidently. " Ifhe looks ever so sorry, I can make him laugh. But whydoes he feel badly, auntie ?"" Because he needs the money which he will have whenthe work is finished. He needs it very much."" Does he ? Then I aint so very glad it rains, after all,But, auntie, I can't help being some glad. Poor father 1But I'll cheer him up."She was just dressed when she heard his voice in thekitchen. Away she ran to meet him, and when AuntAnnie came in, a few minutes later, she saw that Margery'smedicine had already begun to work a cure. The cloud
78 LITTLE MARGERY.which had rested on Thomas Bray's face was not so heavyas it had been, and more than once he laughed aloud at herprattle as she sat on his knee.All day long the storm beat down drearily enough, butnone of its dreariness seemed to penetrate within doors.Cheerful and happy as she always was, Aunt Annie hadseldom seen Margery in such a merry mood. The shadowhad been chased from her father's brow, and she seemedquite determined that it should not rest there again iflaughter and fun could frighten it away. But as the hourswore on, and Margery's romping humour still continued,Aunt Annie began to fear it might be followed by dis-agreeable consequences, and she tried again and again tocheck her, but without any success. After dinner, as shewas washing the dishes, she called the little girl to comeand help her, hoping that the task might serve to quiether. Margery came very readily, bpt she had no idea ofgiving up her frolic. She danced across the floor, andseizing a towel, flung it high into the air, intending tocatch at it as it fell; but she missed her aim, and it strucka lamp, which Aunt Annie caught just in time to preventits falling on the floor." Margery, do be quiet, dear. Can't you help me, likethe nice little worker you often are? I will wipe thedishes, but you can put some of them away. Let mesee how carefully you can carry those two plates to thecloset."Margery lifted the plates carelessly in one hand. Justat that moment the kitten ran across the floor; she sprangto catch it with her disengaged hand, and the plate fell witha crash upon the hearthstone, broken to atoms. Thestartled kitten fled in dismay, while Margery, after lookingfor a moment at the ruins of the china, broke out intoanother peal of laughter. Aunt Annie took her hands fromthe water, and, sitting down in a chair while she driedthem, said gently,-
SUNSHINE AND CLOUDS. 7"i Come here, Margery.""Oh, Aunt Annie, I can't. I'm so tired laughing,"said Margery, who had thrown herself on the floor." I want you to come to me, Margery."The little girl looked at her for a moment, then risingsuddenly, started to run toward her." Don't run, Margie. Come quietly."She stopped running, but there seemed to be a lightnessin her feet which made walking impossible, and the roomwas crossed with a half-skipping, half-jumping motion,which, after some turns from the straight path, broughther to her aunt's chair. Aunt Annie drew her to her side,and putting one arm around her, smoothed back from herface the tumbled curls which fell around it." Margery, I want you to listen to what I have tosay," she said, firmly but very kindly." Don't scold me for breaking the plates, Aunt Annie.I'm real sorry, but they were cracked any way; so it aintso bad as if they were good ones, is it ?" and she lookedup roguishly into her sober face."I was not going to speak of the plates, Margie,although I am sorry they are broken. But I want you tounderstand that I am quite in earnest when I say that youmust not romp so."" I'm only having fun, Aunt Annie."" But don't you know a little girl who often falls intotrouble after having so much fun ? I know of one who isapt to be naughty after laughing so very much."" Oh! I'm not going to be naughty," said Margery."Look in my eyes, is there any naughty in them?" andshe lifted them to her face with such a twinkle in themthat Aunt Annie could scarcely keep back a smile." No, there is no naughty in them now," she said;"but I don't want it to be there at all, and I am afraid itwill come if you are not careful.""I'll take care," said Margery very decidedly, and4
80 LITTLE MARGERY.shaking her head with another mischievous look, she ranaway again.Aunt Annie had been sitting busy with her sewing forsome time, when she remembered that she had heardnothing of Margery for the last half hour, and she was inthe act of rising to see what had become of her, when sheheard a knock at the door." Come in," she said, turning to lay her work down onthe table. The door opened slowly, and on the sillappeared a figure clad in a long coat, which swept thefloor all around it, with its head covered by a hat whichfell completely over its face, and its hand grasping a heavycane. The grotesque little image stood quietly in thedoorway, until, after a moment of amazed silence, ThomasBray broke into a laugh, in which his father and sisterjoined very heartily. Then the dwarf pushed the hat upfrom its face, thereby letting loose a shower of light curls,which had been tucked away beneath it, and startingforward tried to run across the room." Why, what has the child got on ?" said grandpa, sud-denly growing grave. " Surely not my best hat and coat ?"Now if there was anything in the world that grandpavalued and cherished, it was his best hat and coat. Notthat they were so very new, for they had been boughtlong years ago; but they were none the less handsome inhis eyes for that, and his great care of them had kept themneat and whole, old-fashioned as they were." Dear, dear! the coat will be ruined!" he said, in avoice of distress, as he saw it dragging on the floor,Margery stumbling and tripping in the skirt, as shestaggered across the room. Aunt Annie rose quickly,and going toward her, said,-" Stop, Margery. You must take that coat off. Youwill spoil it."" No, no, I aint Margie. I 'm grandpa," and she ranout of the reach of Aunt Annie's arm.
SUNSHINE AND CLOUDS. .81" No, no," she cried again, half angrily now, as heraunt followed her, looking quite grave. "I won't takeit off."As she stumbled back, the hat fell over her eyes again,and pushing it hastily up that she might see how to escapeher aunt, she thrust it back too far, and falling from herhead it rolled on the floor." Margery, you must take these things off," said AuntAnnie, catching the little girl's arm as she would havesprung away to pick up the hat. " Grandpa does not likethis."" Don't, don't!" cried Margery, as the coat was drawnoff, clinging to it with all her strength. " Oh! you bad,bad auntie!" she said, stamping angrily on the floor, forshe felt the coat slipping from her grasp." Margery, Margery !" said the father, very sternly; beltshe would not listen even to him." I don't love you, Aunt Annie!" she said, stamping herfoot again and bursting into a passion of crying. " You'reugly and bad! Go away! go away!"" Margery, be quiet !" said her father.For one moment she ceased crying, looking at him,startled by his tone, and then breaking out afresh intosobs, she pushed her aunt from her, exclaiming,-" You've made my father cross to me, you naughtygirl!"Mr. Bray rose from his seat, and taking Margery's handled her into the bedroom." You may stay here, Margery," he said, " until youcan stop crying, and are ready to ask Aunt Annie's par-don;" and he went out again.Margery threw herself upon the floor with a loud cry,and there she lay sobbing violently until her father said,from the sitting-room," If my little girl makes such a noise I shall have toshut the door."
82 LITTLE MARGERY.To this she made no answer except by crying evenharder than before, and her father, after waiting a fewmoments, closed the door between the two rooms.CHAPTER V.REPENTANCE.FOR a long time Margery lay there feeling very miserable,and, to tell the truth, making the most of her misery. Forwhenever she found herself feeling a little less wretched shewould think of her father's stern face, and recall the wordshe had spoken in that strangely grave voice, and everytime that she repeated this her tears flowed afresh. Butby-and-by she grew tired of crying and lay quite still,with her head resting on her arm. Pretty soon the dooropened and Aunt Annie came in. She glanced at thelittle girl, but the moment she looked at her a dimpledshoulder was twisted pettishly up so as to hide the tear-stained face, and without speaking she took a book fromthe top of the bureau and went out, leaving the door ajar.Margery was disappointed. She had hoped that she wouldcome and sit down beside her,-perhaps even take her upon her lap, and pet and coax her into being a good girl,-and when she found that she was mistaken the tears cameagain. But. she cried very softly now. She was afraidthat the door would be shut; so she lay there with thetears slowly raining down, catching her breath now andthen with a very dismal sob.After a while she heard a sound of talking in the nextroom, and Aunt Annie's voice saying,-" You had better let me go to her, Thomas."" No," said the father, " it is best to leave her to herself.I told her she must stay there until she was ready to askyour pardon."
REPENTANCE. 83" Perhaps she will ask it if I go in. It will be veryhard for her to have to come out and do it before fatherand you."" Very well," said Mr. Bray, and then Margery heardAunt Annie's light foot approaching the door. Therewas no cross shoulder raised against her this time. Therewas only a little flushed face lifted to hers, with a look ofpitiful pleading, and a quivering voice saying,-" Oh, please, dear Aunt Annie, do forgive your naughtygirl."Then Aunt Annie closed the door, and lifted her fromthe floor, and, sitting down in a large chair, laid the littlewearied head upon her breast, softly rocking to and fro,until the child grew quiet again." Aunt Annie," said Margery, after a long silence,"4 I 'm very, very sorry."" I 'm sorry too, darling; but don't cry any more aboutit. You will not be so cross to auntie again."" It wasn't only the cross," sobbed M1argery,-" thatwas very bad; but, oh, I told a lie! a naughty, wickedlie! I said you was a bad auntie, and you aint; you'rethe dearest that ever was."" Well, well, I don't think you'll ever call me so again.I 'm sure that you are really sorry for your sin, and thedear Saviour will forgive you if you ask Him."" Even a lie, Aunt Annie ?"" Yes, dear, even a lie. He will forgive anything forwhich we are truly and heartily sorry."" I've been such a great trouble to Jesus to-day," saidMargery, faintly. " I 'm almost afraid."" Shall I ask Him for you ?"" Yes, please do, Aunt Annie."They knelt down together, Margery clinging close tothe kind arm which was clasped around her, while AuntAnnie asked that she might be forgiven. It was a veryshort and simple prayer. It told the dear Master that Hia4
84 LITTLE MARGERY.child had disobeyed Him,-that she had been very sinfuland naughty; but it told Him also that she was very, verysorry, and if He would keep her close beside Him and helpher to be good, she would try never to grieve Him again."" Margery understood it all so well, that when Aunt Anniesaid "Amen," before she had time to rise from her kneesa pair of soft arms stole round her neck, and a voicewhispered in her ear,-" Auntie, was you once very naughty indeed, when youwas a little bit of a girl?"" Yes, Margie."" I thought so," said Margery, "'cause you seemed toknow just what I'd like to say to Jesus when I'd madeHim trouble."That evening was spent very quietly. Margery'sromping mood had been thoroughly checked, and she satin her chair, which she had drawn close to her father's, asstill as a mouse. Aunt Annie and grandpa had both leftthe room, and Mr. Bray had been reading for some time,when, noticing Margery's silence, he turned to look at her.She was gazing steadily into the fire, evidently thinkingvery seriously; and as he looked at her, a great tearsuddenly dropped upon her hands, which lay clasped inher lap. Another followed, and then another, but shemade no sound. Her father laid his hand upon her head,and turned her face toward him." Is my child never going to smile again?" he said,playfully. "Why, you '11 cry the light out of your brighteyes. Come, come, my little maid, you must cheer up.What will grandpa say to a weeping fairy?"Then lifting her from her chair, and seating her on hisknee, he went on in a graver tone:-" You have asked Aunt Annie to forgive you, Margery,and yau have told your Saviour all your fault, and askedHim to forgive it, too. That is all you can do. Jesushas forgiven you, I am sure; and He will help you to
REPENTANCE. 85resist that bad temper if you try earnestly not to bepassionate any more."" But, father, I've-I 'vb spoiled the kingdom."" You've done what ?"" I 'e spoiled the kingdom."" I don't know what you mean, my child."" Don't you remember last Sunday night you told methat I must show grandpa how loving Jesus made a littlegirl, sweet and loving herself, and that would help thekingdom? And-and-oh, I haven't helped it a bit!I 've just gone and spoiled it. Oh, if grandpa only hadnot seen me!"" That would make no difference in your fault, Margery."" No; but, father, it might make a difference with poorgrandpa."" How, dear ?"" You told him," said Margery, very falteringly, "youtold him that I was Jesus' little girl, and-and-I'mafraid he'll think that if Jesus' little girls behave so hedon't want to belong to Jesus. Won't he think so,father ?"" I scarcely think he will, my darling. We will askthe dear Saviour not to let your naughtiness lead to somuch harm as that. This shows you, Margery, what carethe Master's servants, even the youngest of them, musttake to follow Him faithfully, lest their sins should bringevil on others as well as themselves."" Yes-, father," said Margery, softly." And now my tired birdie must go to her nest. Goand say good-night to grandpa and Aunt Annie. Theyare in the kitchen."Margery went into the kitchen, kissed her aunt andgrandfather, and then turned back as if to go into thesitting-room to her father. But instead of doing so, shelingered at the door until her aunt had twice asked her ifshe wanted anything.
86 LITTLE MARGERY." I want to speak to grandpa," she said, when thequestion was asked the second time." Do you want to speak to me?" said he, drawing hercloser to hinA as she came to his, side. " What does thefairy want to say?"" Grandpa," said Margery, speaking very earnestly,and looking -up into his face wistfully, " you won't let mybeing so bad this afternoon keep you away from Jesus,will you ?"" Keep me away, child? What do you mean?""Father told you I was Jesus' little girl; but youknow, grandpa, very good people have naughty girls, likemy dear, good father and naughty me. If I had beenclose by my Lord Jesus, this afternoon I wouldn't havebeen wicked; and the only reason that I love auntie andam a better girl now is because He helped me so much.So you see the dear Lord Jesus is just as good as ever;the badness is all in me, indeed-indeed it is, grandpa.""What makes you so very earnest about your bad-ness ? " said the old man with a smile." Because," said Margery,-" because I was afraid itwould keep you from loving Him. But you won't let it,grandpa, will you ? Do please say you won't let it."The smile faded from the old, worn face as he said,-" No, little Margery, do not fear. I won't let your'badness' keep me back from Him."CHAPTER VI.THE FRESHET.ALL night long the storm raged with increasing violence.The sleeping inmates of the house on the hill were oftenroused by the rushing sound of the river as it rose higher4 I
THE FRESHET. 87and higher, hour by hour, and the roar of the brook,swollen now to a torrent, as it dashed on in its headlongspeed to meet the river. Perhaps there was no house inthe whole village where the tumult of the storm was moreapparent than in that of Thomas Bray. The breaking ofthe surf upon the sea-beach could be plainly heard, al-though at a distance of more than three miles; the risingriver was but a stone's-throw from them, while the brook,flowing almost close behind the house, wound hither andthither through various turnings, only to empty its watersinto the larger stream at the foot of the hill, with a noisewhich to-night sounded like the fall of a cataract.It was a strange sight which met Margery's eyes as shestood at the window in the morning looking out uponthe scene. The low-lying meadow where she had thrownherself upon the grass only two days before, was now apart of the brook, the waters having completely covered it;so that it seemed as if their house stood between two rivers.And as the rushing stream dashed on in its wild race, shesaw shrubs and small trees, torn up from the banks bytheir roots, tossing on the water; while pieces of board,branches of trees, and all kinds of odd things which hadbeen picked up in its course, were whirling in the current.As Margery stood watching the storm a boy ranhurriedly in, to beg her father to go to the assistance ofa neighbour living on the bank of the river, whose housewas in danger of being carried away. The water, he said,had already risen above the lower windows, and the wifeand children had climbed to the roof of the house forsafety. In a few moments her father had left the house,and Margery watched anxiously as she saw him runswiftly down the hill toward the water. She missed himfor a while, and then saw him again. He was in a boatwith two other men, pulling with all his might for thelittle house by the river-side, or rather now in the river,on whose roof she could see a woman with three children
88 LITTLE MARGERY.gathered round her, waiting for help from the land. Theboat reached them. One by one the children were placedin it, then the mother was lifted in, and the rowers bentthemselves to their oars again. The party was safelylanded, and then the boat was off once more on its missionof mercy. Many of the smaller houses on the bank werealready half filled with the water, which every momentcrept higher and higher, driving the frightened inmates tothe roofs, to wait until the boats, of which the river wasnow full, could reach and save them. The Brays' house,perched on the top of the hill, was in perfect safety, andthither many of the homeless had wandered, to avail them-selves of the kindly welcome which was given to all. Themother and three children who had been first rescued hadcome up to the hill at once; rnd when they had all beenfed, and dressed in warm dry clothes, Margery coaxed thethree little girls to the window." I want to watch for father," she said. " I knowhim whenever he comes near, because there's a hand-kerchief tied to his hat. I tied mine on it beforehe went out, so that I'd know him. There, there!That's him! Do you see that tall man standing in theboat, helping the woman out of the window ? That 's myfather."" Yes," said one of the girls, "he lifted me into the boat)oo. I wondered what he'd got that white thing on hishat for. So you. put it on ?"" Yes; he was just running out of the house when Istopped him, and made him let me put it there, so as I'dknow him."" Aint you afraid 'to have him out on that dreadfulwater, when it storms so?"" Oh, no," said Margery, quietly."I should think you would be," said the little girl:" but then, I suppose you think he's so big and strong hecan take care of himself."
A.c i~i''~'k :to"Marery oaxe th thre litle irl to he wndow"-P
THE FRESHET. 89" No," said Margery, shaking her head gravely; "butI think God can take care of him, and He will."" Who did you say ?"" God."" Oh!" said the little girl. After a moment she turnedto Margery again, and asked,-" What makes you so sure that God will take care ofyour father ?"" Because He always does, and because He has promised;and He always means what He says."" How do you mean, He promised ?" asked the child." When father went away this morning," said Margery,with her eyes still fixed on the water, " I was frightened,and I cried. But just as he went out of the door he said,'There's a promise for us, Margery, in the forty-thirdchapter of Isaiah, and the second verse. Read it, andtrust Him who made it to bring me back safe to my littledaughter.' So I found it, and it took away all thefrightened. This is it; I've been saying it over and over,while I stood here watching for father : When thou passesthrough the waters, I will be with thee; and through therivers, they shall not overflow thee.' Isn't that a nice promiseto have, when father is out on the deep, strong water?"Before the child could answer, Margery clapped herhands together joyously, crying out,-" There he is, there he is, safe on shore! And he'scoming home yes, he's surely coming home !"She was not mistaken. A few moments more broughthim id sight again, coming up the slope with the two mexwho had been with him all day in the boat, and she flewto open the door for him." Stand aside, stand aside, little woman," he said,stepping back as she would have thrown herself upon him;" I 'm thoroughly drenched."" But you aint drowned, father, not a bit,--are you 2"said Margery, gleefully.4