• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Half Title
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 A game at forfeits
 The Christmas-tree
 The jeweller's shop
 The empty box
 The search for the necklace
 The paper of beads
 The lame boy
 The omnibus at the door
 Conclusion
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Truth is always best, or, "A fault confessed is half redressed"
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028173/00001
 Material Information
Title: Truth is always best, or, "A fault confessed is half redressed"
Alternate Title: Fault confessed is half redressed
Physical Description: 160, 8 p., 2 leaves of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Kirby, Mary, 1817-1893
Kirby, Elizabeth, 1823-1873 ( Author )
Thomas Nelson & Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: T. Nelson and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Edinburgh
New York
Publication Date: 1875
Copyright Date: 1875
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Honesty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Theft -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Truthfulness and falsehood -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Grandmothers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1875   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1875   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
 Notes
General Note: Added title page and frontispiece printed in colors.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Statement of Responsibility: by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028173
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - ALH2953
oclc - 60787563
alephbibnum - 002232559

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Frontispiece
        Page 1
    Title Page
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    A game at forfeits
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    The Christmas-tree
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    The jeweller's shop
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
    The empty box
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
    The search for the necklace
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    The paper of beads
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
    The lame boy
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
    The omnibus at the door
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
    Conclusion
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
    Advertising
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
    Back Cover
        Page 169
        Page 170
    Spine
        Page 171
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TRUTH IS ALWAYS BEST;

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"A FAULT CONFESSED IS HALF
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BY

MARY AND ELIZABETH KIRBY,
AUTIIORS OF "THE WORLD AT I1M0E," '1illE S E AND IT.1
WONDERS," ETC.













LGNDON:
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.

1875-






















gfnnteints.






I. A GAME AT FORFEITS, ... ... ... ... 7

II. THE CHRISTMAS-TREE. .. E. ... 27

III. THE JEWELLER'S SHOP, ... ... ... ... 43

IV. THE EMPTY BOX, .. ... ... ... ... 55

V. THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE, ... ... ... 74

VI. THE PAPER OF BEADS, ... ... ... ... 86

VII. THE LAME BOY, ... ... ... ... ... 102

VIII. THE OMNIBUS AT THE DOOR, ... ... ... .. 122

IX. THE CONCLUSION, ... ... .. .. ... 136













TRUTH IS ALWAYS BEST.



CHAPTER I.
A GAME AT FORFEITS.
NE winter's afternoon, just as it was
,~J getting dusk, a little girl named
-.-- Amy Herbert stole up-stairs to her
grandmamma's best bed- room.
Now this best bed-room had its furni-
ture all covered up with brown holland,
and was very seldom used except on state
occasions. Amy and her sister Isabella
were strictly forbidden to enter it, except
by their grandmamma's permission; and this
permission, it was evident from Amy's man-
ner, had not been granted. Every minute





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


she looked behind her, to make quite sure
that no one saw her; and peeped first to the
right and then to the left, as if afraid of be-
ing detected.
But no one was in sight, and Amy reached
the door in safety. She turned the handle
without making any noise, and went on tip-
toe across the carpet to a chest of drawers
that stood by the side of the bed. Her
hand trembled a little as she opened one
of the drawers; and she hesitated a few
moments, as if uncertain whether or not she
should proceed. But her scruples did not
last long, and she took a beautiful pearl-neck-
lace out of its box, and held it up to the light.
"I should so like to wear it just this
once," said she to herself. "Isabella is
twenty miles off, and will not be home for a
fortnight at least." A step on the stairs
made her start, and the necklace was thrust
hastily back. But no, it was a false alarm
and after listening a minute, she drew it out,
and continued her soliloquy.





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


Grandmamma might just as well have
given me one too. Isabella is only a year
older than I am. How nice it does look
over this white frock!" and she clasped it
round her neck. I have a great mind-"
She stopped; the colour went from her
cheek. "Suppose I were-nobody would
know. I could carry it in my pocket, and
put it on when I got there."
Jane, grandmamma Herbert's little wait-
ing-maid, was busy in the kitchen, and
grandmamma herself sat knitting by the
parlour-fire. There was no one at hand to
remonstrate, yet a little voice whispered,
quite loud enough to be heard, that Amy
was going to do a very naughty thing; and
from the expression of her face in the glass,
it was evident she thought so too.
Amy Herbert was a quick, clever child,
and had a great many good qualities. She
was attentive to her lessons, and kind and
affectionate to her grandmamma, with whom
she and her sister Isabella had lived ever





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


since they could remember. But Amy had
one fault, and a very sad fault it was. She
did not always speak the truth, and more
than once had been guilty of some little act
of deceit. These acts of deceit were, to be
sure, very trifling; but then Amy had to tell
a story to hide them, and that made two
faults instead of one.
It was a bad thing for her that grand-
mamma Herbert was an old lady, and not
very quick-sighted, and did not always find
her out. Her sister Isabella, too, was at a
boarding-school, and only came home for
the holidays; so that Amy's habit of false-
hood grew upon her, and in the end led her
into a great deal of mischief, as you
will see.
She was going that evening to a child's
party at the house of her play-fellow, Laura
Douglas; a treat she had been looking
forward to for the last week with great
delight, and she had scarcely slept for
thinking of it. But now the happy moment





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


was come, and Jane, the little waiting-maid,
had dressed her all ready to go.
You would have thought how very pretty
Amy looked, had you seen her in her clean
white frock and blue sash, and with her
hair so nicely curled and tied with bows of
ribbon. But Amy did not think so herself.
She was discontented because she had not
a pearl necklace like Isabella's; and this
feeling had made her creep up-stairs like a
culprit to take at least a peep at it.
One act of deceit always leads to another;
and Amy, having gone into the spare room
without her grandmamma's knowledge, just
to take a peep at the necklace, was seized
with a great longing to wear it. She had
not the courage to ask for it openly, and
was about to yield to the temptation of
getting it by unfair means.
But hark! some one was really coming,
and in another minute it would be too late.
She dared not stay to argue the matter any
longer. It was now or never; and, unclasp-






12 A GAME AT FORFEITS.


K'"


.---~-i LE~

AMY AND THE NECKLACE.
ing the necklace, she slipped it into her
pocket.


or1


~"""""""'""""Fm~





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


"It cannot do any harm just to wear it
for one night," thought she. "Grand-
mamma will never know; she is not going
to be there. Besides, I shall put it back
again directly I get home."
But in spite of this resolve, the moment
Amy hid the necklace in her pocket her
peace of mind was gone, and a thousand
dangers and anxieties she had never dreamt
of sprang up before her. She felt very
unhappy, and was afraid of bidding her
grandmamma good-bye, lest by any chance
the old lady should find out what she
had been doing. But to set off with-
out was quite impossible. So Amy shut
the drawer, and stole out of the room,
trying to look as if nothing had hap-
pened.
Well, darling, and what have you
been so long about ?" said Mrs. Her-
bert, as her little grandchild entered the
parlour.
Grandmamma spoke just as kindly as





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


usual; but Amy had a guilty conscience,
and she started and turned pale, as though
she expected to be punished.
"I-I-I have been doing nothing,
grandmamma," stammered she, hardly
knowing what to say.
Mrs. Herbert was too busy warming a
shawl for her little grandchild to notice her
alarm; and when this was pinned on, she
looked first at one foot and then at the
other, to see that they were well defended
from the wet.
Amy felt a pang of remorse. "How I
wish I had not done it! thought she. I
have a great mind to run back and put it in
its box!"
But there was no time now. Jane stood
in the hall with her bonnet on, ready to
accompany her young mistress; and Amy
set off to Mrs. Douglas's with the necklace
in her pocket.
It was a cold, rainy night, and the streets
were nearly deserted. Amy felt ill at ease,





A GAME AT FORFEITS. 15

and trudged on without speaking a word.
In vain she tried to rally her spirits by
thinking how pretty the necklace would
look, and how easily she could put it into
its box without any one knowing a word
about it; the little voice would not be
silenced, and kept on telling her of her
fault, until she felt half inclined even then
to go back. But all the time Jane was
hurrying along, for fear Miss Amy should
get wet; and as soon as Mrs. Douglas's
house was in sight, she ran forward to
knock at the door.
I must wear it for this one night,"
thought Amy, as she entered the hall;
" but the very minute I get home I will put
it back, and never touch it any more "
The cheerful lights, the sound of music,
and the merry voices of children at play,
were quite enough to turn the current of
Amy's thoughts, and she ran up-stairs as
happy and light-hearted as ever. Her little
friend Laura helped her to take off her





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


wrappings, laughing and talking all the
time, telling her what a number of games
they were going to play at, and how late
they meant to sit up, and how her mamma
had given them a whole holiday, because,
with such a party as that in their heads, it
was impossible to think of lessons.
"But come along, Amy!" cried she, as
the little girl still lingered before the glass,
after her bonnet and shawl had been taken
off.
"Stay a minute ; I have not quite
finished," said Amy, in a hesitating tone.
" I have to put on my necklace ;" and she
drew it out of her pocket.
What! has your grandmamma given
you a necklace too ?" said Laura, as Amy
was putting it round her neck. "How
very good of her, to be sure And it is just
like Isabella's. I could think it was the
same.
Amy made no reply; but, turning very
red, pretended the clasp would not hold.
(383)






A GAME AT FORFEITS.


Let me do it for you," said Laura good-
naturedly. "I never saw such a pretty


PUTTING IT ON.


necklace; but did your grandmamma give
it you ?" said she again.
Amy did not mean to tell a story, but
she was driven to it. There was, indeed,
(383) C





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


no escape; for Laura, who was very inquisi-
tive, kept repeating the question.
"Yes," said she, hesitating, and turning
quickly from the glass; "but I am ready
now to go down-stairs. Do let us make
haste! I believe they are playing with-
out us."
"Ah, I wish I had a grandmamma to
give me such a beautiful necklace!" said
Laura, as she followed her little friend out
of the room.
A terrible uproar was going on in the
parlour when the little girls entered. A
game at blindman's-buff had just begun,
and there was such screaming, and shouting,
and laughing, such skipping from one side
of the room to the other, such scrambling
under chairs and tables, and trying by all
manner of means to avoid being caught, that
the noise was actually deafening. Amy
dearly loved to play at blindman's-buff, and
for a few minutes entered into it as heartily
as the rest. But all at once the thought of





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


her necklace brought her to a stop. It was
quite sure to get broken. How could she
help it, with the children running against
her, and jostling her on every side ?-to say
nothing of what would happen were she to
get caught, and the rough little boy who
was blinded were to feel all over her face
and neck to find out who she was. So she
left off playing, and crept into a corner,
where she stood trembling with fright lest
any accident should befall her. She
screamed if any one came near her, and
kept her hand tightly clasped upon her
necklace, as if to protect it from danger.
Blindman's-buff went on a long time, and
it seemed as if the children would never be
tired. Then followed Jack-lost-his-supper,
and turn the trencher; in neither of which
delightful games Amy dared to join. It
would have been as great a risk as blind-
man's-buff: so she pretended to be tired,
and went and sat again in her corner. It
was very dull work to sit still and see others






A GAME AT FORFEITS.


play, and Amy felt that the pleasure of
wearing the necklace was very ill repaid by
the loss of so much fun.
Laura Douglas was sadly disappointed
that Amy would not play. It is so tire-
some of you," said she, coming up to her;
" I cannot enjoy myself a bit if you sit there
looking so dull and dismal. Come, do have
one game "
Oh yes, do have one game! cried the
children, stopping in their play, and hem-
ming Amy up in her corner.
Oh yes, do have one game was echoed
on all sides, and some even tried to drag her
into the middle of the room. Amy was now
more frightened than ever. I will play--
I will play," cried she hastily, "only do not
pull me so; please, pray, do not!" added
,she in a tone of distress.
"Very well, then, you shall be 'my lady's
necklace,'" said Laura Douglas, taking up
the trencher and twirling it round. Amy
was called out directly; and the children, as





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


if to make up for the play she had lost, took
a delight in keeping her on the full run.
This would have been capital fun to Amy
if it had not been for her necklace. But as
it was, she moved so slowly, and was so occu-
pied with trying to save it, that she had more
forfeits than any one else in the room. She
very soon lost her handkerchief, then fol-
lowed her gloves, and by-and-by a merry
little urchin pounced upon her sash.
"It is of no use crying 'Forfeit,' for I
have nothing left to give," said she in a
pitiful tone, as the trencher again fell to the
ground before she could reach it.
Oh yes, you have !" cried the children,
dancing for joy. "There is your necklace.
Come, Miss Amy, off with your necklace "
"Oh, pray don't touch it!" cried Amy,
keeping them at a distance with both her
hands. I would not have it broken for
all the world "
"Broken! who would think of breaking
it?" cried Harry Glover, the little boy who





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


had been blinded. "But you must pay
your forfeit, Amy, or else go to prison.
Come, off with your necklace!" and he
pressed upon her to try and undo the clasp.
Amy actually screamed with terror, and
kept him off as well as she could. But
Harry was more than a match for her, and
in the scuffle that took place he had a great
deal the best of it. In spite of all her efforts
to prevent it, he undid the clasp, and getting
possession of the necklace, he waved it
triumphantly in the air.
"I have it! I have it!" exclaimed he.
Hurrah, hurrah for the necklace "
Give it me back," cried Amy, quite pale
with fear; "give it me back this very
minute, you naughty, rude boy !" and she
tried to snatch it out of his hand.
"The necklace is not yours now," said
Harry, holding it behind him; "it is a for-
feit; keep off, will you?" for Amy had
thrown herself upon him to try and get
it back. She exerted all her strength;






A GAME AT FORFEITS.


THE STRUGGLE FOR THE BRACELET.


for the fright she was in prevented her
from thinking what was best to be done.
For a few moments there was a furious
contest between the two, while the chil-





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


dren, who thought it was all meant for
play, stood round and shouted with glee.
"That's right, Harry cried one.
Amy will get it! shouted another.
See, he can't keep it long!" added a third.
"Now! now! Amy has got it!" ex-
claimed a fourth.
Amy had got it-that is to say, she had
caught hold of one end of the necklace.
Alas the threads were too brittle to bear
such rough usage. They gave way, and in
a moment the floor was scattered over with
the delicate little pearls !
Amy burst into a violent fit of crying.
No greater misfortune could possibly have
happened, and the children's faces were
quite blank with dismay.
"It was not my fault, was it?" said
Harry Glover, who still held the fragment
of the necklace; "you know, Amy, you
tried to pull it out of my hand."
You need not cry so, Amy," said Laura
Douglas, who was carefully picking up the





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


beads. "your grandmamma will not be
angry with you if you tell her the
truth."
But Amy sobbed as if her heart would
break, and nothing her companions could
say gave her any comfort.
It was of no use wishing she had not
done it; the broken necklace lay before her,
and she felt it would be quite impossible to
help her grandmamma knowing. Had it
been her own necklace, it would not have
mattered; for Mrs. Herbert was too good
and kind ever to punish the children for a
mere accident. But it was not her own-
not even lent her-but stolen out of its box
without any one's knowledge or permission.
What would become of her when she got
home, she could not imagine.
"I dare not tell grandmamma, I am
sure," thought she, "she would be so very
angry; and yet, how am I to hide it from
her ? Oh, how unhappy I am !" And
Amy's tears burst forth afresh.





A GAME AT FORFEITS.


The children tried in vain to comfort her.
Laura Douglas assured her again and again
that Mrs. Herbert would not be angry; and
Harry Glover even offered to tell the old
lady how it was, and take all the blame of
the accident upon himself. Amy refused
his good-natured offer in great alarm, and,
drying her eyes, endeavoured to be a little
cheerful. But there was no more enjoyment
for her that night. She did nothing but
wish that the party were over, and wondered
how it was Jane had not come to fetch her.
At length the clock struck ten, and Jane
knocked punctually at the door. Amy did
not keep her waiting an instant; indeed,
she could hardly stay to bid her little play-
fellows good-bye. The unfortunate neck-
lace was wrapped in paper, and Amy, slip-
ping it into her pocket, set off homeward,
with a heart even heavier than before.


,~Ct t't-F; C















CHAPTER II.


THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.
SMY would gladly have slunk up-
stairs to bed the moment she
reached home; but grandmamma
Herbert was sitting up in the
easy-chair by the fire, and she
was obliged to go into the parlour and bid
her good-night.
"Well, child, and how have you enjoyed
yourself?" said the old lady, as she began
to take off Amy's wrappers, and rub her
little cold hands to warm them; I hardly
expected you back so soon."
"It is past ten o'clock, grandmamma,"
said Amy quickly.





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


Ah, so it is, my dear; but when young
folks are at play, they don't often listen for
the clock," said Mrs. Herbert. But how
tired you do look! Come, off to bed with
you, and you can tell me all about it to-
morrow."
"Oh, what will become of me ?" said
Amy, when at last she was left alone in her
room. "I would give all the world if I
had never meddled with that odious neck.
lace! How can I mend it without grand-
mamma knowing ?"
It would be better to confess the whole
ti uth at once," whispered the little voice.
But grandmamma would never forgive
me," thought Amy. "There is nothing she
hates so much as story-telling."
The only plan Amy could think of was to
get up very early the next morning, and
thread the beads before any one else was
awake. Full of this idea, she laid her head
upon the pillow; but to go to sleep was
quite impossible, and she tossed to and fro,





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


waiting and wishing for the morning to
come.
If, every now and then, she fell into a
little doze, she was sure to awake in a
fright, dreaming that her grandmamma had
found the necklace, or else that she herself
was trying to mend it, and the beads would
not hold together, but as fast as she threaded
them, they dropped upon the floor.
As soon as it was light, Amy sprang out
of bed, and dressing herself in a great hurry,
sat down to her task. The house was per-
fectly quiet, and it was not nearly time for
grandmamma Herbert to get up. Amy
thought nothing would be so easy as to
thread the beads, and put the necklace back
into its box; and then how happy should
she be! But, alas! in the very beginning
she was stopped by an insurmountable dif-
ficulty. She had no needle fine enough to
go through the delicate little pearls !
"Dear me, how provoking!" said she,
as she broke a bead in trying to force it on.





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


"I wish I could get to grandmamma's
work-box. I know she has plenty of
needles there, of all sorts and sizes."
But then her grandmamma's work-box
stood in the parlour; and besides that, it
was locked up. This was a new dilemma.
I know where the keys are," thought
Amy. Grandmamma always takes them
up-stairs, and I daresay they lie upon her
dressing-table. Suppose I were to fetch
them I could steal in on tip-toe. She is
fast asleep, and would never hear me."
But it was a terrible risk to run; and so
Amy felt, as she stood for a few minutes,
screwing up her courage, and wondering
whether she should ever dare to go.
"I cannot get on without a needle, that
is quite certain," said she, stealing towards
the door. Whatever happens, I must get
the keys and open grandmamma's work-box."
Accordingly, she crept noiselessly along
the passage, and gently opened her grand-
mamma's door.





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE. 31
The room was perfectly silent, the curtains
were closely drawn, and Mrs. Herbert lay
sleeping as soundly as Amy herself could
desire. The keys lay upon the dressing-
table, and Amy, snatching them up, hurried
away as though an enemy had been at her
heels.
The work-box was opened, and the needle
taken out, without displacing anything. But
just as she was going to relock it, the sound
of footsteps made her start; and, pulling
hastily at the key, she upset the box, and
all its contents-cotton, scissors, and thim-
bles-were scattered on the floor Amy
was now terribly frightened, and set to work
picking up the things as fast as she could,
and trying to fit them into their places.
But most haste, worst speed. In the hurry
of the moment she put them in all wrong,
and do what she would the work-box could
not be made to shut !
"Dear me, how provoking! Jane will
be here directly!" thought she, as she






THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


pressed down the lid with all her might.
A crash ensued, and, to her unspeakable


A CATASTROPHE.


terror, she found she had broken her grand-
mamma's ivory thimble! At the very
same instant, Jane began to open the din-
ing-room shutters; and Amy, more alarmed
than ever, turned the key, and flew up-stairs
without daring to look behind her.
Mrs. Herbert's room was silent as before;


,?.
~





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


and putting the keys in their place, Amy
ran back, all eagerness to use the needle.
But her hand shook so much, it was some
time before she could thread it; and what
with listening, and running to the door, and
hiding the necklace, and bringing it out
again, her work got on very slowly. She
had finished threading one row, and was
just beginning another, when the ringing of
the breakfast-bell warned her she must put
it away.
"After all, I shall not have done it!"
cried she in a tone of vexation. "And
there is grandmamma going down-stairs !
Oh, this hateful necklace! How am I to
get it mended ? "
It was altogether very tiresome and per-
plexing; but Amy dared not stay to think
about it. She was afraid of being late, lest
her grandmamma should ask her what she
had been doing; so she put the necklace
back into its drawer, and hurried down to
breakfast.
(383) 3





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


Mrs. Herbert was standing before the
fire, reading a letter, when her little grand-
child came in. Amy did not run up to her
as usual, to kiss her and bid her good-morn-
ing, but took her place at table without
speaking a word, and as if she did not wish
to be noticed.
"Well, Amy," said Mrs. Herbert, turning
round when she had finished her letter, you
are just the person I wanted. But how pale
you look! added she, in a tone of concern;
" and your hand trembles almost as much as
mine! What is the matter ?" and the old
lady looked anxiously over her spectacles.
Oh, nothing, grandmamma !"stammered
Amy, who became every minute more and
more confused.
"Ah, I see how it is These late hours
do not suit young people at all," said Mrs.
Herbert, sitting down to breakfast. "But
are you too tired to hear a piece of good
news ? If you are, I must keep it till to-
morrow."





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


Oh no, grandmamma Please do tell it
me !" cried Amy eagerly.
Well, then, I have had a long letter this
morning; and can you guess who it is from? "
"0 grandmamma, you know what a bad
guesser I am. I can never find it out by
myself. Please tell me; who did it come
from ? and Amy got up, and came round
to her grandmamma's chair.
"It comes from your Uncle Richard, and
has in it something about you that I daresay
you will like to hear." And Mrs. Herbert
read aloud: "I am pleased to receive such
a good account of Amy, and hope by this
time she has left off telling stories, and be-
come a very truthful little girl."
At these words Amy hung down her
head, and blushed deeply. Her grand-
mamma thought it was from shame at being
reminded of her fault, and said kindly,-
"Never mind, Amy; we shall soon for-
get old grievances, and I am sure you will
not deceive me any more. But come, hold





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


up your head I have not half done yet.
Uncle Richard says: 'I am going to have
all my little nephews and nieces to spend
the Christmas holidays with me; and I
hope you will allow Isabella and Amy to
come too, and help us make the Christmas-
tree.'"
Amy's face brightened with joy. 0
grandmamma, I should like it so much!"
interrupted she;-" but do you really mean
us to go ?"
"I do indeed," replied Mrs. Herbert.
"You have been a good child, Amy, and so
has Isabella; and I think we cannot do
better than take Uncle Richard at his word."
Oh, how delightful! cried Amy. I
have never been to London in my life!
Dear, good grandmamma, I am quite wild
at the thought!" And she skipped and
jumped round the table until the cups and
saucers actually chattered with fear.
"Well, come and have your breakfast,
child, at all events," said Mrs. Herbert,






THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


laughing. "I must send for Isabella home
at once, and we must set the dressmaker to
work to make you some new frocks. There
is not a moment to lose."


GOOD NEWS.

Send for Isabella home faltered Amy,
turning very pale.
"Yes, my dear; she can come by the
coach to-morrow. It wants but a week or


`-r





THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


so to the holidays, and a few days more or
less cannot signify."
At these words Amy's delight received a
sudden check. Her Uncle Richard, the
journey to London, the Christmas-tree,
were all forgotten; and she looked so pale
and anxious, that her grandmamma again
thought something must be the matter.
Everything now depended on her getting
the necklace mended in time. She remem-
bered there were many minutes in the day
when she might steal up-stairs, and finish
threading the beads. To be sure there was
no fire, and her fingers had ached sadly with
the cold. "But then I must do it," said
she to herself. "Isabella is coming home
to-morrow; and what will she say if she
finds her beautiful necklace is gone ?"
Just as Amy was leaving the room, a ring
at the bell and a rubbing of shoes announced
a visitor, and her friend Laura Douglas met
her in the doorway. There was no one in
the world Amy less wished to see at this






THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


identical moment. "Laura is sure to tell
all about it," thought she, and to ask what
I did when I got home; and then what am
I to say ?"
I called to see how you are this morn-
ing, Amy," said Laura, "and to say how
sorry we were about that unfortunate
neck-"
Oh, I am quite well, thank you," inter-
rupted Amy, whose fears of discovery were
stronger than ever. "What a delightful
party we had last night, to be sure! I
never enjoyed anything so much!"
Indeed! You looked miserable enough,
however," said Laura, laughing; "that ter-
rible affair of the neck-"
0 Laura, I wanted to show you my
last new book !" cried Amy, running to the
shelves.
Terrible affair of the what, Miss Laura?"
said grandmamma, looking over her spec-
tacles, with an expression of great curiosity.
0 grandmamma, only look at your ball






THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


of worsted, and where it has rolled to !" in-
terrupted Amy. See! it is under the table,
and the kitten is playing with it!
"Dear me! so it has!" exclaimed Mrs.
Herbert; and how she has ravelled it!
You see, Miss Laura, accidents will happen
to the most careful people."
"But Amy could not help it; could she,
Mrs. Herbert ?"
Oh dear, no! I should never think of
blaming Amy," said her grandmamma, laugh-
ing. "But now, will any one give me my
work-box ? "
Amy moved so slowly, that Laura, who
was quick as thought, anticipated her. Mrs.
Herbert took the box, and putting the key
in the lock, turned it with some difficulty.
The lid, which was forcibly held down, flew
open with a jerk, and exposed to view a
terrible scene of ruin and disorder.
"Oh, my ivory thimble!" cried she.
"Who has done it? Amy, have you been
meddling with my work-box ?"






THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


Amy's complexion varied so much from
vhite to red, that a sharp-sighted person
mast have detected her at once. But the
old lady's eyes were getting dim, and the
confusion into which her little grandchild
was thrown escaped her notice.
Have you been meddling with my work-
box, Amy? she repeated, half angrily.
Poor Amy was compelled to save herself
by another falsehood.
"No, grandmamma," she replied, as firmly
as she could.
"Because, if ever I knew you to do such
a thing, I should punish you very severely,"
continued Mrs. Herbert, as she examined
still further into the mischief. "Dear me!
if the reels of cotton are not all in their
wrong places; and the stiletto is gone!-my
silver stiletto! What a thousand pities "
And she went on bemoaning her misfortune.
Laura Douglas, who was a good-natured
girl, did her best to put the work-box in
order. But it was high time to go to






THE CHRISTMAS-TREE.


school, and she was obliged to run away
before she had nearly finished setting it to
rights. It was a great relief to Amy when
she was fairly gone, though her situation
was not a very pleasant one. Mrs. Her-
bert took the box upon her lap, and began
to hunt in every part of it for her silver
stiletto, wondering all the time who could
possibly have taken it. She then rang the
bell for Jane, and questioned her closely on
the subject; but Jane declared she knew
nothing about it; and the whole affair was,
as Mrs. Herbert said, "a perfect mystery."




., "% . __
.-.-;... ? .










* I_: -- I




CHAPTER III.
THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.

.-V MY usually said her lessons to her
grandmamma the first thing after
breakfast, and then did her task
of plain sewing; after which she
was allowed to amuse herself till
dinner. She knew this would be a golden
opportunity to go on with her necklace, and
felt all eagerness to get through her morn-
ing's work as quickly as she could. But
Mrs. Herbert, whose mind was wholly
occupied with the loss of her stiletto, seemed
in no haste at all. In answer to Amy's
repeated question of "When am I to say
my lessons, grandmamma?" she replied,






THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


" Stay a minute, child. What a hurry you
are in! Just look again under those cur-
tains, will you? Or perhaps it may have
fallen into that crack in the floor. Dear
me! I would not have had such a thing
happen on any account! "
Amy did as her grandmamma bid her;
and when the old lady was quite satisfied
that no stiletto was there, she ventured to
say again, "And now, grandmamma, will
you hear me my lessons ? "
"Not just this minute, child. I must
rest a little first," said Mrs. Herbert, set-
tling herself in her easy-chair. "How I
wish I could find out who has been med-
dling with my work-box! "
Amy sat down on a stool by the fire, and
bent her head over her spelling. But
though her eyes were fixed upon the book,
she was all the while thinking what would
become of her if the necklace were not
mended before Isabella came home.
And now, Amy, I am ready to hear





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


you, and the sooner the better," said Mrs.
Herbert, when she had rested long enough;
"but first of all, I want you to fetch me
your sister Isabella's necklace. You know
where to find it."
"The necklace, grandmamma ? stam-
mered Amy.
"Yes, your sister Isabella's pearl-neck-
lace, that I gave her on her birth-day. I
want it for a particular reason. However,
as you seem so very eager, you may say
your lessons first," replied Mrs. Herbert,
taking the book from Amy's hand.
Alas, poor Amy! At the fatal word
"necklace," grammar, geography, and spell-
ing, had all skipped out of her head. She
confounded nouns with verbs, continents
with islands, and put letters in or left them
out at random.
Mrs. Herbert had no idea of the secret
that was causing Amy so much trouble, and
felt extremely angry.
I suppose it is going out last night that





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


has made you so troublesome," said she,
giving her back the lessons to learn over
again. If you do not take care, you will
be in disgrace when Isabella comes home."
The thought of Isabella's coming urged
Amy to unusual exertion. She gave her
whole mind to her lessons, and in a few
minutes they were learned, and said without
missing a word. She then sat down to her
task of sewing, and worked away so fast, that
it was finished almost before Mrs. Herbert
could believe it possible. The old lady put
on her spectacles, to see that there were no
long stitches, but none were to be found;
and she kissed Amy affectionately, and told
her she might now amuse herself till dinner.
Amy was greatly relieved that her grand-
mamma had forgotten the necklace, and
flew up-stairs all eagerness to get it done.
There it lay, in the corner of the drawer,
just as she had left it, with the little heap
of beads close by. She threaded the needle,
and set to work as quickly as she could,





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


For some time there was nothing to inter-
rupt, and her heart grew quite light and
cheerful as she began to thread the very
last row. But, alas! she now became
aware of the whole extent of the damage.
Full half the row was missing! and Amy
sat and looked at the necklace with a face
of blank dismay. This was the crowning
catastrophe, and how to remedy it seemed
beyond her power.
"It is of no use going back to Mrs.
Douglas's, for the beads are sure to be lost,"
thought she. "Suppose I were to try and
get some more. I know the way to the
jeweller's shop. I could easily match them;
only grandmamma does not often send me
out by myself."
As Amy was busy thinking what she
had better do, she heard her grandmamma
call her from the foot of the stairs. She
jumped up, put the necklace hastily away,
and ran down to see what the old lady
wanted.





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


"Amy, child, I have been calling you
two or three times," said Mrs. Herbert
impatiently. Why did you not bring me
the necklace ? "
"The necklace, grandmamma ?" repeated
Amy, trembling with fear.
"Yes, child;-you look as if you had
just dropped from the clouds, and did not
know what you were talking about. I
want it for a particular reason; and if
you knew what that reason was, perhaps
you would move a little quicker."
"I will go and fetch it, grandmamma,"
said Amy, speaking as if she were in a
dream.
Run along then, child," said Mrs. Her-
bert ; "but see added she, "here comes
the dressmaker to try your frock on. I
sent for her the first thing after breakfast.
Dear me, what a great deal there is to
be done when young folks are going a
journey!"
The arrival of the dressmaker at this






THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


precise moment was a reprieve that Amy
had not dared to hope for. Her new frock
took a long time to make fit; and grand-
mamma Herbert, with her spectacles on,
walked round and round, suggesting this
improvement, and that alteration, how a bit
was to be taken in here, and a bit let out
there, and her mind seemed so fully occu-
pied that Amy hoped the necklace would
be again forgotten;-and so it was.
As soon as the dressmaker was gone, Mrs.
Herbert took a letter out of her desk. I
don't often send you of an errand by your-
self, Amy," said she, "but I want you to
post this letter. Jane is busy mending and
getting your clothes ready, and I am tired
to death with looking for that stiletto.
What a thing it is, to be sure !" cried the
old lady. "I have had all the chairs
moved, and have looked in every hole and
corner; but it seems as if it had sunk into
the earth. I am determined to find out
who took it. I feel sure it must have
(383) 4





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


been Jane, for there was no one else
to do it."
Amy felt so shocked at the idea of an
innocent person being suspected, that she
was on the point of confessing the whole
matter. But then her visit to London, and
the Christmas -tree! No, no she had
gone too far, and whatever happened there
was no going back. Besides, her grand-
mamma was about to send her of an errand,
and here was a glorious opportunity of
matching the beads. So she took the
letter, and putting on her bonnet, set off
to the post-office, with the necklace in her
hand.
She darted along the streets like an
arrow from a bow, and soon reached the
jeweller's shop, where the name of "Gild-
man and Sons" was painted up in large
letters. Before going in, she cautiously
peeped through the window, and, to her
great annoyance, who should be there buy-
ing trinkets but her friend Laura Douglas !






THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


Amy had a guilty conscience, and was
very much afraid of being seen. A van of
goods was standing at the door, and she


THE SHOP-WINDOW.


stepped behind it to hide herself, and to
keep watch for Laura's coming out. There
were several people in the shop, and they


c

ii


-?





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


did their errands and came away again, but
Laura's errands seemed to have no end, and
Amy thought she would never have done.
The clock in the market-place chimed more
than once, and still Laura was in the shop.
Amy was sadly perplexed. She dare not
stay much longer, or her grandmamma
would wonder what had become of her;
and there was nothing for it, but to take
the necklace home again without matching
the beads. It was very provoking, and the
tears came into Amy's eyes, as, still intently
watching Laura, she stole from behind the
van. Mr. Gildman's assistant was just
taking down a bale of goods, and Amy,
whose whole attention was fixed upon
Laura, stepped in his way. She was very
nearly knocked down; but, alas! a worse
misfortune happened to her. The paper
containing the necklace was jerked from
her hand, and in one moment Mr. Gildman's
assistant had thrown the box of goods upon
it, and crushed it to atoms !





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


At the very same instant Laura Douglas
came running out of the shop.
"Well, Amy," said she, who would
have thought of seeing you here? And
how frightened you look! What is the
matter ?"
"Nothing,-only that disagreeable man
has knocked against me, and nearly pushed
me down," replied Amy, trying to collect
her ideas.
"And made you drop something, has he
not? asked Laura.
"Me drop anything!" cried Amy, very
much excited, and the colour rushing to her
cheeks. "What can have put that into
your head?"
"Well, you need not be so cross," said
Laura. I thought you seemed to be look-
ing for something on the pavement. But I
cannot stay, so good-bye;" and she scam-
pered away as fast as she could.
Amy thought at first she would tell the
young man of the mischief he had done, and





THE JEWELLER'S SHOP.


ask him to lift up the box. But, alas! it
could do no good. The necklace was spoilt,
there was little doubt of that,-crushed so
entirely Amy would hardly know it again.
Besides, he had been called to attend to
the shop, and there was no knowing how
long he would be before he came back. It
was quite useless to wait for his return, and
she was obliged, very reluctantly, to leave
the unfortunate necklace to its fate.







^- :.-: -
-" r-,q: ;. "7: ,







> -P. L -
r_ ; ,- -'*.,





CHAPTER IV.
THE EMPTY BOX.

-S '.MY walked home full of sad and
bCL; b bitter reflections. Into how many
S', ~ troubles and disasters had her one
>w. act of deceit led her Her sister
SIsabella's necklace spoilt, herself
in constant fear of detection, and her peace
of mind gone !
The little voice again whispered to her to
confess.
"But grandmamma would be so very
angry with me if she knew her beautiful
present was broken Oh, how I wish I had
told her the truth at first! How much
happier I should have been! When I get





THE EMPTY BOX.


home she will be sure to send me 'for the
necklace, and I shall be obliged to tell her
it is gone."
It was a clear, bright frosty morning, and
the streets were full of people running
about on their different concerns. Here
and there Amy met with a group of children
going out for a walk, chattering and laugh-
ing as if there were at all events nothing
but sunshine for them. There seemed, too,
a world of happiness in the faces of the
merry little people that filled the shops,
intent on buying presents for their Christ-
mas-tree; and as they rushed out, loaded
with tempting parcels of all shapes and
sizes, Amy could not help looking at them
with envy. She thought herself more un-
happy just then than any one else in the
world; and the only thing that could restore
her peace of mind was what she had not
the courage to do. Christmas-day in Lon-
don !--how could she give it up? And
Uncle Richard's Christmas tree dazzling





THE EMPTY BOX.


with lights and presents, and the dancing
and the fun, and the playing all day long
with puzzles and bagatelle, and everything
that was delightful!
"Oh no, no!" thought Amy, as she
reached her grandmamma's door; "the
necklace is gone for ever, and if I were to
tell, it would not bring it back again.
After all, I need not make myself so very
unhappy. It cannot be helped now; and
if I do not say a word, nobody will ever
find it out."
Ah, Amy! and do you think the little
voice you have heard speak to you so often
will ever let you alone ? Will it not
whisper to you of your fault when you lie
down and rise up, when you are at your
lessons and your play ? Will it not make
itself heard above all the bustle of your
journey, above all the merriment of your
Christmas tree ? Will it ever cease to
threaten you with a time when your false-
hood may come to light, and the broken





THE EMPTY BOX.


necklace appear again, to involve you in
confusion and disgrace ?
When Amy reached home, she met her
grandmamma in the hall.
"It seems as if we were always to forget
the necklace, Amy," said she. Be sure
and bring it down with you when you have
taken off your things."
Amy's heart sank within her. The mo-
ment was come at last when the fact of the
necklace being gone must be known, and
no power of hers could prevent it. As she
took off her bonnet and tippet, she tried
to think how she should ever have the
courage to give the empty box to her
grandmamma, and tell her that her beauti-
ful present was gone. Gone! and where ?
That would be the worst question of all.
"But no one saw me fetch it out of the
best bed-room," said Amy to herself; "and
grandmamma will not think of my going
there after she has forbidden us. I will
say nothing about it; at all events, just now,





THE EMPTY BOX.


till we have been to London. If it were
not for that, I would tell the truth at once ;
but I could not bear to be left at home
after I have been reckoning so much
upon it."
Having settled this point, Amy took the
empty box in her hand, and went slowly
down-stairs, her heart beating very fast,
and her colour going and coming every
minute. Grandmamma sat knitting as
usual by the fire, and Jane stood waiting
with her bonnet on, as if she were going
out of an errand.
Ah, here it is," said Mrs. Herbert,
looking up. "Now, Amy, guess what I
am going to do with it ? "
I don't know, grandmamma," stammered
Amy, holding the box tight in her hand,
and with a frightened air, as if she expected
to be punished.
"I am going to send Jane to Mr. Gild-
man's to get one for you exactly like it,"
replied Mrs. Herbert. "I have had it in





THE EMPTY BOX.


my mind this month past, because you have
been a good child, Amy, and good children
deserve to have presents. Besides," con-
tinued the old lady, "now you are both
going to London, I should not like one to
be smarter than the other.-But what is
the matter with you, child ? and why do
you stand staring at me as if you did not
understand what I said? "
Grandmamma Herbert had expected
Amy would come running to throw her
arms round her neck, and that she should
be nearly smothered with kisses. But no
such thing. Amy stood still as a statue,
and did not move an inch, but kept her
eyes fixed on her grandmamma without
speaking a word. At last, when Mrs. Her-
bert seemed out of patience, Amy stam-
mered out, still holding the box quite tight,
"It is gone, grandmamma Isabella's neck-
lace is gone!"
"Gone!" exclaimed Mrs. Herbert, get-
ting up to look; what do you mean, child ?





THE EMPTY BOX.


Give me the box. Gone! it is quite im-
possible !"
"It is true, grandmamma," cried Amy,


















"No necklace anywhere cried Mrs.
Herbert in alarm, "perhaps Isabella has
there is no necklace anywhere "



put it somewhere else. I will go up-stairs
and look for it myself;" and she put on
her spectacles in a great hurry.





THE EMPTY BOX.


"It is of no use your going, grand-
mamma," sobbed Amy, "for it is not there;
I am sure it is not."
Well, well, child, give over crying,"
said the old lady kindly; "I daresay Isa-
bella has taken it with her. It was very
naughty, for I told her to leave it behind
for fear it should get broken. I suppose
the box was in its proper place ? "
"Yes, grandmamma," said Amy, burst-
ing into a fresh flood of tears.
"My dear child, why need you distress
yourself in this way ?" said Mrs. Herbert,
tenderly caressing Amy, and wiping away
her tears; "the necklace is sure to come
back again to-morrow-at least, I hope so;
I would not have it lost for the world. I
shall be very angry with Isabella if any
mischief has happened to it.-Well, Jane,
you must take off your bonnet. I am
determined to have the necklaces alike;
and Mr. Gildman might have a dozen, and
not one that would do. Surely it cannot be





THE EMPTY BOX.


really gone." And Mrs. Herbert looked
very grave, and examined the box carefully,
as if she expected to find in it some clue to
the matter.
As soon as Jane was gone, Amy, who
dreaded to be questioned, crept up-stairs to
her own room. Here she sat shivering
with cold and fear, and bitterly repenting
her wicked and deceitful act.
What a silly girl I have been thought
she. If I had only waited I should have
had a necklace of my own,-a real beautiful
necklace, as good as Isabella's! Oh, why
did I not put it back "
While Amy was indulging these sad
reflections, the dinner-bell rang, and she had
again to meet her grandmamma, and run
the risk of hearing the unfortunate necklace
talked about. But Mrs. Herbert did not
allude to the subject. She was entirely
occupied with thinking of the journey to
London, and with the fear that Amy was
going to be ill. All the time they were





THE EMPTY BOX.


having dinner, she kept looking very
anxiously at her; and when the cloth was
taken away, she gave her a glass of wine,
and made her sit down on a stool close by
the fire. "You do not look at all as I
should like you, child," said she. "I hope
those roses of yours will come back by-
and-by, or I do not know what Uncle
Richard will say."
"There is nothing the matter with me,
grandmamma," said Amy, "only-," and
her secret seemed to rise to her lips and
almost to come forth.
Only you are a little disappointed about
the necklace, I suppose," said the kind-
hearted old lady; "and frightened, too, at
finding that some fairy has run away with
it. Ah! naughty Isabella, she does not
deserve to go to London! However, I
must not be angry with her. Christmas
comes but once a-year, and we cannot set
old heads on young shoulders. But what
should you say, Amy," continued Mrs.





THE EMPTY BOX.


Herbert, trying to divert her, "what should
you say if I were to go to London with you
myself? Only think how funny it would
be for an old lady of seventy going to help
make a Christmas-tree Well, I daresay I
should enjoy it as much as the rest of you,
though I cannot play at blindman's-buff,
and turn the trencher."
Amy could not he'p laughing at the idea
of her grandmamma playing at blindman's-
buff and turn the trencher, and Mrs. Her-
bert laughed too, and began to tell stories
of what happened to her when she was a
little girl, and how they used to spend
Christmas in the olden time.
Amy was always delighted to hear about
the great old hall where her grandmamma
was born, and the wide, old-fashioned chim-
ney, and the fire upon the hearth. Then
she wanted to be told about the long table,
where, at dinner-time, the master and mis-
tress used to sit at the top, and the servants
to take their places at the other end; and
(383) 5





THE EMPTY BOX.


what grand doings there used to be at
Christmas, when the misletoe bough was
hung up in the middle of the ceiling, and
the boar's head was carried in on a great
dish, with a great deal of ceremony. As
grandmamma went on talking, Amy's
spirits began to revive. Her eyes sparkled,
and the roses came back to her cheeks.
For a little while Isabella's necklace was
forgotten, and it seemed as if it must be
safe in its box up-stairs, and that no mis-
chief had ever befallen it.
But by-and-by grandmamma grew tired,
and gave signs of wanting to have a nap.
First, she spoke seldom, and her words had
great gaps between them; then her head
began to nod, till her spectacles nearly
dropped into her lap; and, at last, she
leaned back in her chair, and went fairly off
to sleep.
Amy sat on the little stool by the fire,
her eyes fixed on the bright cinders in the
grate. But her thoughts were busy pictur-





THE EMPTY BOX.


ing to herself the journey to London, the
bustle of starting, the delight of finding her-
self in the train, the whirling along of the
carriages, how the trees and hedges would
seem to be flying past, while in reality they
stood still and it was only she who moved.
Then she thought of Uncle Richard's grand
house that she had never yet seen, and how
he would come out to meet her; and the
happy faces of her cousins, and how they
would crowd round her, and how much
there would be to tell,-how much to play
at.
"I do so wish the day were come !" said
Amy to herself, "and that we were really
setting off."
Just at this moment she heard a little
bustle in the hall, and who should come in
but her friend Laura Douglas!
Amy's fears were roused in an instant,
for her grandmamma opened her eyes, and
seeing who it was, began to ask Laura how
she did.





THE EMPTY BOX.


"I am very well, thank you, ma'am,"
replied Laura. "I called to tell you,"
added she, turning to Amy, "that we had
found some of your-"
0 Laura! interrupted Amy in a great
hurry, "what do you think ? just guess if
you can I forgot to tell you this morning.
We are going to London ? "
"Going to London! dear me, what a
treat! Amy, you are a happy girl!" re-
turned Laura, making believe to be jealous,
" what with the beautiful present of the-"
"We are going to Uncle Richard's, and
there is to be a Christmas-tree, and I don't
know what besides," continued Amy, her
voice trembling with eagerness and terror;
"and all my cousins will be there, and
Isabella is coming home to-morrow on pur-
pose to get ready." And Amy went rattling
on, telling Laura about her new frock,
about the packing up, about everything she
could think of, to divert her grandmamma's
attention.





THE EMPTY BOX.


Happily for Amy, Mrs. Herbert had not
finished her nap, and was very tired and
sleepy, so while her little grandchild was
talking, she again began to nod, and actually
dropped fast asleep. This was a great relief


AN UNWELCOME VISITOR.
to Amy, and she hoped, by speaking in a
whisper, that the rest of the conversation
would be unheard.
Laura now took a small paper parcel from
her pocket. "I called to bring you this,
Amy," said she; "it has in it the beads be-





THE EMPTY BOX.


longing to your necklace ; we picked them
up this morning, and mamma wrapped them
in paper."
"What is that about the paper ?" said
Mrs. Herbert, rousing herself on a sudden;
" did you say your mamma had sent me the
paper ? "
"Oh no, grandmamma said Amy, with-
out giving Laura time to speak; "we did
not mean to disturb you. We were talking
in a whisper that you might not hear."
Mrs. Herbert was only half awake, so
she did not repeat the question, but very
soon dozed off again.
"What did you do about the necklace
when you got home, Amy ?" continued
Laura; "did you tell your grandmamma at
once ?"
"Tell her grandmamma what?" asked
Mrs. Herbert, catching up the words,-
"tell her grandmamma what? "
Oh, nothing, grandmamma! it is only
about that unfortunate necklace," said Amy,





THE EMPTY BOX.


driven to despair, and in a tone of extreme
distress.
Of course she did," said Mrs. Herbert,
without opening her eyes; "but it will all
come right to-morrow. She need not make
herself unhappy about the necklace."
"What a kind, good grandmamma yours
is !" cried Laura; "now if I had-"
Amy laid her finger on her lip; "I
am sure we are disturbing her," whis-
pered she; grandmammaa always goes to
sleep after dinner, and does not wake up
till tea."
Well, I am going, so I shall not disturb
anybody," said Laura, laughing. Good-
bye, Amy, and if I should find any more
of your-"
Hush hush!" said Amy, in great
alarm; "pray, do not talk so loud; good-
bye, and thank you for the beads," added
she, in a tone so low it could scarcely be
heard.
When Laura was gone, Amy's perils for





THE EMPTY BOX.


that day were over. Grandmamma slept
quietly till tea, and after tea Amy read
aloud, while Mrs. Herbert knitted, and
they spent a very pleasant evening.. To
be sure, there were moments when the
thought of the necklace caused a pang to
Amy's heart, and it did not seem quite
clear what would happen when Isabella
came home without it. There was, besides,
Laura Douglas with the whole story on
her lips, ready to tell it whenever she
could gain a hearing. At such times Amy
felt her situation to be very dangerous, and
her journey to London appeared to hang
upon a thread.
But it was not till bed-time came, and
Jane had undressed her, and drawn the
curtains close, and she was left alone, that
these thoughts became almost intolerable.
Then the little voice talked to her afresh, and
try as she might, she was not able to silence
it. Still and small it was, and seemed to
make no noise, but Amy heard it in her






THE EMPTY BOX.


very heart of hearts, and again she could
not sleep, and tossed to and fro till morning,
struggling with her better feelings, yet
without the moral courage to let them have
their way.












S --.. F. .

'1

















SE next morning was cold and
CHAPTER V.
THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.

"iH[E next morning was cold and
winterly. The snow was coming
down in great flakes, and had been
iloing so for a long time before
Amy got up. Icicles were hanging from
the windows, and the frost had made all
manner of odd-looking pictures on the glass.
The garden in front of the house was hidden
by the snow, and the trees looked as if they
were covered with feathers. People in the
street were hurrying about in furs, and
cloaks, and woollen comforters, and nobody
seemed to enjoy the snow except the little
boys, who found plenty of fun in making





THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.


slides and pelting each other with snow-
balls.
Within doors it was a bustling morning.
The children were to start on Tuesday, and
there was scarcely a week, as grandmamma
said, in which to do the work of three.
Mrs. Herbert was busy plaiting up the
children's new caps, Jane was busy getting
their clothes in order ready to pack up,
cook was busy making plum-puddings and
mince-pies to take with them, and Amy
was busy threading her grandmamma's
needle, and running to wait upon every-
body. Altogether the morning passed very
quickly, and dinner-time came before they
were aware.
"And now," said grandmamma, after
dinner, as she seated herself in the easy-
chair,-" and now, I suppose, we shall
have Isabella home in about an hour. I
hope the child will not take cold;" and she
stirred the fire to make it burn brighter.
Isabella coming home in an hour! The





76 THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.
words sunk into Amy's heart like a stone.
She loved her sister very dearly, and at any
other time would have been rejoiced to see
her home again. The house was always
dull without Isabella, for there was no one
to play with or talk to while her grand-
mamma was asleep. But the necklace the
fatal necklace !-there seemed no end to the
mischief it would cause. Amy alone knew
what had become of it; every one else was
in ignorance; and how they would search
from the top of the house to the bottom,--
and what running up and down stairs there
would be,-what ransacking in drawers,-
how grandmamma would fuss and Isabella
would cry,-and how it would end it was
quite impossible to say !
But time passed, and the little clock on
the mantelpiece had just struck five when
the omnibus came rattling down the street,
and stopped at Mrs. Herbert's door. It
was Isabella come home, and the old lady
jumped up and went into the hall to meet





THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.


her. First a great box was brought out,
then a bag, and then what looked to be a
bundle of shawls and tippets, but which in
reality was Isabella, in the highest possible
spirits, and quite ready to start off to Lon-
don that very minute.
"0 grandmamma, so we are really going!"
cried she, dancing about the room,-" going
to Uncle Richard's! of all places in the
world, there is not one I like so much !"
"But you have not kissed me, Isabella,"
said Mrs. Herbert affectionately; "and
you must have your bonnet taken off, and
your hands warmed,-what little cold things
they are, to be sure!" added she, as she
drew off the little girl's gloves. "Here,
Jane, take away the shawls and tippets,
and let us have some tea."
0 grandmamma, I am so happy !" cried
Isabella, kissing Mrs. Herbert again and
again; "and I was in such a hurry to come
away this morning to hear all about it, and
how we are to go, and everything.--But,





78 THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.

Amy, you don't look a bit glad; what is
the matter ? "
Amy has not been very well since she
went to Laura Douglas's party," said Mrs.
Herbert; "I cannot think what is amiss
with her."
0 Amy, it will never do to be poorly
now, just when we are going to Uncle
Richard's," said Isabella, with a look of
concern. You have no idea how delightful
it is I never enjoyed myself so much in
my life as last Christmas, when I was there
for the holidays."
"Do tell me what sort of a place it is,"
cried Amy eagerly. "Grandmamma has
never been, and I do so want to know."
"By-the-by, Isabella," said Mrs. Herbert,
in a very serious tone, "how could you
think of taking your necklace to school,
when I desired you to leave it behind? "
"I take my necklace! Oh no, grand-
mamma, I should never have thought of
doing anything so naughty," replied Isabella





THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.


firmly ; I left it in the drawer, as you told
me."
But Amy has been to look for it, and
says it is not there," said Mrs. Herbert
quickly.
Oh yes, I am sure it is, grandmamma,"
cried Isabella, jumping up, and running to
the door; "I will fetch it in a minute."
Mrs. Herbert and Amy heard her go
up-stairs, open the spare-room door, and
pull at the drawer, as if she were in a great
hurry. Then there was a pause, and in a
few minutes Isabella came running down
again.
0 grandmamma, who has taken it?
What have you done with it ? My beauti-
ful new necklace!" cried she in a tone of
distress.
I have done nothing with it; and it is
the strangest thing I ever heard of," cried
Mrs. Herbert;--" the necklace is gone,
actually gone, and nobody knows a word
about it!"





80 THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.
Oh but, grandmamma, I left it quite
safe in the drawer, indeed I did, in its box,
just as you gave it me. Somebody must
have taken it. It could not go of itself.-
Amy, have you been meddling with my
necklace ?" and she turned quickly round
upon her sister.
It was getting very dark, and the candles
had not been lighted, or the deep crimson of
Amy's cheeks would have been seen.
"I meddle with it! faltered she; "you
know, Isabella, it was in the spare-room,
and grandmamma never lets me go there."
Well, but did you meddle with my
necklace ?" repeated Isabella, fixing her eyes
sharply on her sister's face.
Amy's journey to London and the Christ-
mas-tree seemed to tremble in the balance.
She shook from head to foot, but replied
immediately, in a hurried yet decided voice,
"No, Isabella, I did not meddle with your
necklace."
Oh no what has Amy to do with it ? "






THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.


interrupted Mrs. Herbert, with whom the
little girl was an especial favourite. She
cried as if her heart would break at the very


DENIAL.


idea of its being gone. Oh no Amy had
nothing to do with it."
Isabella did not seem quite satisfied.
Still there was no reason to suppose that
Amy knew anything about it; and the only
thing to be done was to hunt for the neck-
lace from the top of the house to the
bottom.
(383) 6





82 THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.
After tea was over the search began in ear-
nest, and, as Amy had foreseen, drawers were
turned out, and cupboards emptied, and every
place, possible or impossible, thoroughly
looked into. It took a long time to do,
and the little girls were tired, and Grand-
mamma Herbert quite knocked up; but
still the necklace was not found. It was
hard work for Amy to be looking for what
she knew, all the time, was not there; and
the little voice kept whispering to her again
and again to confess.
"You do not know what you are about,
Amy," it said, "or to what the falsehood of
the necklace may lead. Confess your fault
at once; tell your grandmamma the whole
story, and bear patiently whatever punish-
ment she may inflict."
But no, it was harder to do it now than
ever; and Amy found out what older per-
sons than herself have often experienced,-
that the further you go in any wrong path,
the more difficult it is to turn back. So she





THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.


was silent. And the search went on, till
grandmamma gave it up in despair, and
proposed that they should go back again to
the parlour. But there was no pleasant
evening as Isabella had expected, for an
uncomfortable feeling seemed to have crept
into the happy little circle. Grandmamma
was fidgety, and began to talk about her
work-box, and her ivory thimble, and the
stiletto that was missing, and to wonder
what had become of it, and whether it was
gone to look after the necklace.
Poor Isabella's spirits were depressed.
She was peevish and irritable, and did
nothing but bemoan her loss, and say what
a hard case it was to come back and find
that some one had run away with her neck-
lace; that she had only worn it once, and no
one would ever give her another.
But Amy was the most miserable of all;
and as she sat upon her little stool, with
her head resting on her hand, her heart felt
ready to break.





84 THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.
That night, when the servants came in to
prayers, Mrs. Herbert did not read the
chapter that was next in order, but turned
to the Old Testament, and chose out one
she thought more suitable. It was the
story of Gehazi, and how he was struck
with leprosy for having told a lie.
The old lady looked very sorrowful as
she closed the book, and began to say in a
few words the trouble she was in for think-
ing that some one in her house must be
guilty of theft and lying.
"I cannot tell who it is," said she, "that
has been so wicked as to take the necklace
and the stiletto; but she may be quite sure
that God sees her, and will not let her sin
go unpunished."
While grandmamma was speaking, Amy
kept her eyes fixed upon the carpet; and
when prayers were over, she was glad to
make her escape to bed. She slept that
night, for she was too tired for even the
little voice to keep her awake. But she





THE SEARCH FOR THE NECKLACE.


heard it in her dreams, and sometimes
would wake up suddenly, and think that
when morning came she would go to her
grandmamma's room, and tell her the secret
that was preying on her mind.
Morning did come, and Amy's fears
revived. She could not give up the journey
to London, and the Christmas-tree. She
would, indeed, confess, but not just then.
She could not bring the necklace back by
telling, and she resolved, at all events, to
wait till her return.






I ^ *. "-._







- ,,. . ,







the next morning, a tap was
CHAPTER VI.
THE PAPER OF BEADS.

': PI[ILE Mrs. Herbert was dressing,
.'A.jr' the next morning, a tap was
''1 heard at the door, and Jane
:4.: entered the room.
"If you please, ma'am, I have
found your stiletto," said she, holding it out
to her mistress.
My stiletto ? dear me, how glad I am
to see it !" cried Mrs. Herbert. My
silver stiletto, that I have been in such
distress about! But where did you find
it ?"
I found it in the parlour, ma'am, as I
was sweeping. It had fallen down under





THE PAPER OF BEADS. 87
the window-seat, close by where your work-
box stood."
Mrs. Herbert looked sharply at her little
maid, but there was no sign either of con-
fusion or embarrassment. Jane had told a
plain, straightforward tale, yet still Mrs.
Herbert felt puzzled.
"It is very odd that we never saw it
before," said she, "when we looked for it
over and over again, and moved all the
chairs and tables."
"I don't know anything about that,
ma'am," said Jane, in a firm yet respectful
tone; "I only know I saw it this morning
under the window-seat, just as if it had
dropped out of your work-box."
Dropped out of my work-box !" repeated
Mrs. Herbert, as, when Jane had retired,
she finished putting on her cap at the glass.
"Of course the person who opened the
work-box took out the stiletto. What else
could she have meddled with it for ? It is
very strange that Jane should not have





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


found it till this morning. I cannot under-
stand it at all. Perhaps she will find the
necklace next."
When Mrs Herbert came down to break-
fast she was very grave and sad. She did not
pat her little grandchildren on the cheek, and
talk to them as usual; indeed, she hardly
spoke at all, and was so occupied with
thinking of something else, that she sugared
the tea twice over, and left the urn running
till the tea-tray was swimming with water.
Isabella and Amy both saw that something
was amiss; and Isabella began to talk
about going to London, and tried to get up
a little merriment. But it would not do.
Grandmamma answered Yes or No at ran-
dom; and Amy seemed too much occupied
with studying the figures on her cup and
saucer to hold any conversation at all.
After breakfast, as the sun was shining,
Mrs. Herbert sent the little girls out for a
walk; and when they were gone, she sat a
long time by the fire with her knitting in





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


her hand, but without doing a stitch. She
was thinking over and over again the affair
of the stiletto and the necklace; and the
more she did so, the more she felt convinced
that the loss of one had to do with the loss
of the other. The only person she could
possibly suspect was Jane, for the cook had
lived with her more than twenty years, and
was as upright and honest as the day.
Jane had only been in the house six months,
and Mrs. Herbert had taken her into her
service from motives of charity. She was a
well-behaved, industrious girl, and, till the
affair of the stiletto, everything had gone
on smoothly. But now the feeling of not
being able to trust her was in Mrs. Herbert's
mind, and every minute this feeling grew
stronger and stronger. There was, to be
sure, no clear proof of her guilt, but then,
neither the stiletto nor the necklace could
have gone away of their own accord, and
who else was there to take them ?
Just as Mrs. Herbert was discussing this





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


difficult point, there was a tap at the door,
and Jane herself entered the room. She
had a little screw of paper in her hand,
which she laid down before her mistress.
"I have just found this paper, ma'am,"
said she, "and it has in it some pearl-
beads like those on Miss Isabella's neck-
lace."
"Isabella's necklace!" cried Mrs. Her-
bert, hastily unwrapping the paper; "and
where did this come from, I wonder ?"
"It dropped out of the pocket of Miss
Amy's frock that I had taken down into
the kitchen to brush," replied Jane quietly,
and without the least hesitation.
The old lady's hand trembled so much,
that some of the beads were shaken out of
the paper and rolled upon the floor. Amy's
frock !" repeated she quickly; "what do
you mean ? what frock ?"
"Her brown merino, ma'am, that you
told me to be sure and brush before she
wore it again. I took it down this morning





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


the first thing, and the little parcel dropped
out of the pocket."
Mrs. Herbert's face turned very red, and
then all the colour went away, and it became
quite pale.





--


1/ \. '. . -I-_._



TIHE PAPbER OF BEADS.
"Are you sure that you are speaking
the truth, Jane ?" said she earnestly. "I
can forgive anything rather than a false-
hood."
It is the truth, ma'am, and nothing but





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


the truth," replied Jane, in a resolute tone ;
"this little paper-"
"Well, well, you need not say it over
again," said the old lady impatiently.
"After all, the beads may not belong to the
necklace. They look very much like it
though, I am afraid," added she, examining
them closely; "and there are so many of them
too-half a row, at least. Go, Jane; I will
question Miss Amy as soon as she comes in."
"It cannot be Amy," continued the old
lady when she was alone. "No, no; I will
never believe that it was Amy, my pet
child, my darling, who has never done any-
thing to vex me in her life, except-; and
here Mrs. Herbert remembered the one or
two acts of deceit and story-telling that
Amy had been known to commit. "But
that was a year ago," said she, still talking
to herself, "and she has not deceived me
once since then. No, no; it is quite impos-
sible it could be Amy. If it were, it would
break my heart."





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


But, however fully Mrs. Herbert might
be convinced of her grandchild's innocence,
she became very anxious and fidgety for her
return, that the matter might be settled
beyond any doubt. She kept getting up
and looking out of the window, and listening
eagerly to the rings at the bell, and thinking
that Isabella and Amy must have gone a
very long walk indeed. At length, just as
her patience was exhausted, the bell rang
once more, and immediately after the well-
known voices of the children were heard in
the hall.
Amy was in high spirits, and her cheeks
glowed like a rose. Isabella had been
giving her a description of Uncle Richard's
house, and the play-room, with the great
swing from the ceiling, and the rocking-
horse, and the doll's house, and all the
delightful things that were to make them so
happy on Christmas week. As Amy
listened, her spirits grew more and more
elated. She seemed to tread on air; and





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


all thoughts of the necklace vanished from
her mind.
In one moment these bright prospects
were clouded. As soon as she entered the
house her grandmamma called her.
"Amy," said she, "do you know any-
thing of this paper of beads ?"
At this sudden address Amy started and
turned pale. "What beads do you mean,
grandmamma? asked she timidly.
"Come here, child, and don't look so
frightened," said Mrs. Herbert in an en-
couraging tone. "These beads are like
Isabella's beads, that Jane says she found
in your pocket."
Amy recognized the beads in an instant,
and knew what her grandmamma meant
but too well.
"I must deny it," thought she, as she
stooped to pick up Mrs. Herbert's knitting.
Confess," whispered the little voice more
earnestly than ever. Confess, or the blame
will be laid upon some one who is innocent."





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


But Amy did not confess. She laid the
knitting on the table and said, "Let me
look at the beads, grandmamma."
There they are, child," said the old lady,
her voice becoming very tremulous. "You
see they belong to Isabella's necklace; there
is no doubt about it. All I want to know
is, how they came into your pocket."
Amy did not hesitate a moment. From
one falsehood she was driven to another;
and, stifling the voice of conscience within
her, she replied, "I do not know, grand-
m mmma."
"Then you did not put them there your-
self? you had nothing to do with it? said
Mrs. Herbert quickly. "You never meddled
with your sister's necklace, did you, Amy ? "
It would have been almost cruel to say
"Yes," so eagerly did the old lady bend
forward in her chair to hear Amy's denial;
and when this was repeated, she pressed her
in her arms, and nearly smothered her with
kisses !





THE PAPER OF BEADS.


"Amy, my own child," said she, as great
tears dropped from her eyes, "if you had
done it, I should never have been happy
again. It would have broken my heart
to have you deceive me. I have never
been harsh with you, Amy, have I, that
you should be afraid of speaking the
truth ?"
Amy did not know what to say or what
to do. Her grandmamma's affection caused
her the greatest pain, and yet it was impos-
sible to undeceive her. So she declared over
and over again she had nothing to do with
the beads; and every time Mrs. Herbert
cried for joy, and said the loss of the neck-
lace was trifling compared to the distress of
suspecting Amy of telling a falsehood.
That afternoon, as Amy was going up-
stairs, she heard voices talking very loud.
The door of her grandmamma's room was
ajar, and Amy stood a moment to listen, for
she caught the sound of her own name.
Mrs. Herbert seemed very angry indeed,






THE PAPER OF BEADS.


and was speaking louder and faster than
Amy had ever heard her before.
I could forgive you taking the stiletto,
and the necklace too, Jane," said she; "but
to try and fix it upon Amy, who is as inno-
cent as I am, is more than I can bear. No,
no I can never forgive you that."
But I did not take the necklace, or the
stiletto either," cried Jane, who was sobbing
bitterly. I never took the value of a pin
that did not belong to me-mother knows I
did not. Ask my mother, ma'am, and she
will tell you that I have never told a story
in my life."
"You are telling one now," said Mrs.
Herbert angrily. "Why do you not con-
fess your fault instead of obstinately deny-
ing it ?"
Because I am innocent, and have nothing
to confess, ma'am," said Jane proudly.
"How dare you tell me you found the
beads in Miss Amy's pocket, when she de-
clares over and over again that she never
(383) 7




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