• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Preface
 A winter's wreath
 Sympathy
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: A winter's wreath of illustrative tales : a tale by E.A.M.
Title: A winter's wreath of illustrative tales
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00028248/00001
 Material Information
Title: A winter's wreath of illustrative tales a tale by E.A.M
Physical Description: 124, 4 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Language: English
Creator: E. A. M
George Routledge and Sons ( Publisher )
Dalziel Brothers ( Engraver )
Publisher: George Routledge and Sons
Place of Publication: London ;
New York
Publication Date: [1876?]
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Children's stories -- 1876   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1876   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1876
Genre: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
United States -- New York -- New York
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: edited by Lady Charlotte Law. Sympathy :
General Note: Date pf publication from inscription.
General Note: Frontispiece is printed in colors.
General Note: Illustrations engraved and signed by Dalziel.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00028248
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002232811
notis - ALH3207
oclc - 61118102

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page i
        Page ii
    Frontispiece
        Page iii
    Title Page
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
    Preface
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    A winter's wreath
        Page 11
        Life of george stephenson
            Page 11
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
            Page 21
            Page 22
        The Christmas rose
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
            Page 31
            Page 32
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
        Story of an African negro
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
        Alice St. Maur
            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
    Sympathy
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Part I
            Page 71
            Chapter I: The hayfield
                Page 71
                Page 72
                Page 73
                Page 74
                Page 75
                Page 76
                Page 77
                Page 78
                Page 79
                Page 80
                Page 81
                Page 82
                Page 83
                Page 84
            Chapter II: The nursery
                Page 85
                Page 86
                Page 87
                Page 88
                Page 89
                Page 90
                Page 91
                Page 92
                Page 93
                Page 94
                Page 95
                Page 96
        Part II
            Page 97
            Chapter I: Lilla
                Page 97
                Page 98
                Page 99
                Page 100
                Page 101
                Page 102
                Page 103
                Page 104
                Page 105
                Page 106
                Page 107
                Page 108
                Page 109
                Page 110
                Page 111
                Page 112
            Chapter II: How to amend
                Page 113
                Page 114
                Page 115
                Page 116
                Page 117
                Page 118
                Page 119
                Page 120
            Chapter III: A happy end
                Page 121
                Page 122
                Page 123
                Page 124
    Advertising
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text



Baldwin Library


















C~t t.:;L~~C1























As the fresh lose-bud needs the silvery shower,
The golden sunshine, and the pearly dew,
The joyous day with all its changes new,
Ere it can bloom into the perfect flower;
So with the human rose-bud; from sweet airs
Of heaven will fragrant purity be caught,
And influences benign of tender i L!
Inform the soul, like angels, unawares.

MARY HowIrr









"- _,,-.- I i" T,
>-(tT v -
, -1 ;l-" &




"- i' ',,' '."iil ?fi-'fr- (
;; ,,v;/" 1 "^ ^







--.i "' 4 '.:



14.










7'1I ITER'S WR.I"-TH


OF


,7 .- U TRA TALES.


1'iITED BY LADY CHARLOTTE LAW.




SYMPATI -Y.

A TALE.

BY E. A. M.




LONDON:
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS,
THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.


NEW YORK: 416, BROOME STREET.














CONTENTS.



A WINTER'S WREATH-

LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON
THE CHRISTMAS ROSE .
STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO
ALICE ST. MATA .



SYMPATHY-
PART I.
CHAPTER I.-THE HAYFIELD
,, II.--THE NURSE

PART II.
CLATTER I.-LILLA .
SII.-TIow TO AMEND
,, III.--A HAPPY E'ND


S71
85


. 97
97
S 113
121












P IE FACE,


1 ADDRESS these tales to my numerous
nieces and nephews, who love to cluster
round my knees at that pleasant hour
which intervenes between the early set-
ting of the sun's wintry rays and the
lighting of candles,-when we all, young
as well as old, fold our work, close our
books, form a circle round the cheerful
fireside, and give ourselves up to chat;-
then has many a little gentle hand been
laid on mine, and a pleading voice
untreated for "a story." The request
ofttimes echoed around, and mingled
with the vociferations of sturdy boys,
who, imagining my brain alight with






viii PREFACE.

stories like Aladdin's wonderful palace
with lamps, vehemently clapped their
hands, and demanded a story."
It has always been my pleasure to
contribute to the amusements as well as
instruction of children, and I have
endeavoured in some leisure hours to
note down, for their benefit, recollections
which are woven in my mind; even as I
have entwined my stories with some
spray or flower, bearing allusion to, and
having some connection with its foliage.
As I have chosen varied hues, so must my
tone of writing differ. The sharp thorns
of the holly, which wound when we seek
to gather its pretty scarlet berries, re-
mind those who seek for success in their
undertakings, that, unless, like children
gathering their holly, they patiently bear
with, and are not discouraged by the
scratches and '.I ,I,- they receive in its






PREFACE.


pursuit, it will not be easy for them to
attain to perfection.
Then, the pale beauty of my Christ-
mas Rose tells of love and constancy
surviving nature's darkest hours. We
should disregard it in our summer's
gay parterre, but cherish and welcome it
from the frost-bound earth.
The dark yew speaks plainly of
death to us-not only from its association
with church-yards, but hopefully,-of a
glad fruition at its close; for, look at
the lovely waxen fruit it puts forth at
maturity And it may be no bad addi-
tion to the tale I have chosen in con-
nection with this sombre-hued spray to
say that Old Bob," the African negro,
is no fictitious person, but was known
well to me during a long residence in the
West Indies; and what I have related
of him is strictly true.






X PREFACE.

The ivy figures to us a clinging trust-
fulness, not swayed by each fickle blast,
but tenderly clasping, in storm and in
wind, and adorning with its green leaves
the hollow, decrepid oak, which has
braved the adversity of many a century,













A WINTER'S WREATII.


LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON

"While earth wears a mantle of snow,
The holly looks fresh, bright, and gay,
As the fairest florets that blow
In the beautiful gardens of May."

Do you not love to sport about this grassy
lawn, merry little ones, or stroll through
these shady walks, watching the railway
trains running along their iron way, and
parallel to them the canal-boats dragging
their comparatively slow length along? Do
you not love likewise to stand at our village
station and watch the express shoot like a
bounding arrow past you, or the slow train
wind like a serpent round the curve, or to
travel in one of their comfortable first-class













A WINTER'S WREATII.


LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON

"While earth wears a mantle of snow,
The holly looks fresh, bright, and gay,
As the fairest florets that blow
In the beautiful gardens of May."

Do you not love to sport about this grassy
lawn, merry little ones, or stroll through
these shady walks, watching the railway
trains running along their iron way, and
parallel to them the canal-boats dragging
their comparatively slow length along? Do
you not love likewise to stand at our village
station and watch the express shoot like a
bounding arrow past you, or the slow train
wind like a serpent round the curve, or to
travel in one of their comfortable first-class






A WINTER'S WREATH.


compartments, with your head thrust through
the window, striving to catch the shadows as
you pass, and seeing yon long range of hills
fade dimly in the distance in a moment ? I
know full well you love all this, and, perhaps,
entertain no feeling of wonder concerning it.
You have been ever used to see daily the
same sights-you have watched hourly for
the same express, and learned to distinguish
between the mail and the third-class trains,
and yet, perhaps, you know not that it was
not always so-that even Aunt Maud has
known very different times, and travelled in a
very different manner-by the coach, which
used to change horses every eight or nine
miles, and which, if it were a mail, boasted of
its scarlet-coated guard-whose average pace
was somewhat under ten miles an hour,-
when the voice of the railroad engine was
unknown in the land.
There were certain pleasures though at-
tached to it, which you seek in vain in the
railroad-hills, valleys, rivers, did not then





LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON.


shoot by you, as it were in a flash, but you
could dwell upon, and realise the beauties of
the country through which you passed. But
as, I presume, you are not aware of the
trouble which it caused to construct these
railways in which you so much delight,-as
you know not how much depended upon the
patience and perseverance of one man, that
this boon was granted to the country, I will
tell you as briefly as I can from his eventful
history some facts.
About seventy years ago, in a small cot
near Newcastle-on-Tyne, was born GEORGE
STEPHENSON, of humble, but respectable,
parents: his entrance into the world was
amidst hardships and privations, for Robert
Stephenson, his father, being a fireman, only
worked for twelve shillings a week, and it
required strict economy to live upon this,
without having money to spare for the school-
ing of so large a family. Little George par-
took of his father's love of nature, and even
when he was an old man liked to speak with





14 A WINTER'S WREATH.


delight of the first bird's nest which his
father lifted him on his shoulder to see. It
chanced to be a blackbird's, and the child gazed
with wonder on the little half-fledged things,
with open beaks chirping at the mother's
return with a fly, or gnat, by way of food.
As soon as George could work, his labours
were turned to account: for in a poor man's
house every little helps; his first earnings
were gained from watching some cows, and
preventing their straying over the tram-roads,
and it was also his duty to shut the gates at
night after the waggons had passed. By-and-
bye he was able to do more, and was ap-
pointed as plough-boy at a farm, and gradu-
ally his wages rose from twopence to one
shilling and sixpence per day. Even now
his spare moments were not wasted, but
spent in making whistles; or more frequently
his favourite amusement was in modelling
clay engines-showing us the truth of the
old adage, which says: "The boy is father
to the man."





LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON.


His old propensity for birds still con-
tinued; there was not a hedge between
Dewley and Callerton, where he now lived,
whose feathered inhabitants he was unac-
quainted with. He was also fond of rabbits,
and by his industry, raised many of a supe
rior breed.
It may surprise many of my young readers
to hear that George Stephenson was only
learning to read when he was eighteen years of
age. When a full-grownworkman, receiving his
twelve shillings a week, his parents, by their
honest, sober, and patient example, taught
him much-more literary attainments they
were, from their limited means, unable to
give; few of the workmen could read, but
it was George's delight to gather round
the engine fire with those envied few, and
listen whilst they read aloud from some book
or stray newspaper-his thirst for knowledge
daily increasing, he attended a night school,
and at the expiration of a year had the
satisfaction of writing his name legibly.






A WINTER'S WREATH.


Thus he early showed that will and deter-
mination which is necessary to carry us
through with every thing-from the learning
to read and write, to the gathering of our
Christmas holly. He could now mend shoes
for his fellow-workmen, and became so ex-
pert, that soon he was able to make them.
Fanny Henderson, a high-principled, modest
young woman, living out as a farm servant,
inspired George with a deep affection; he
rejoiced in the intention of making her
his wife as soon as he could procure a com-
fortable home, and for this purpose, out
of his earnings from shoe-mending, he saved
his first sovereign. This, by careful industry,
soon increased to twenty-then came the
realization of his cherished hopes, and he
took his bride home on an old-fashioned
pillion some fifteen miles. His life at Wil-
lington continued steady and regular; whilst
other men idled at the smithys or village
public-house, George sat beside his young
wife in his humble, but happy home, making





LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON.


experimental trials in mechanism and model-
ling machines. It is curious to note in the
life of this remarkable man the complete
success of all his undertakings.
On the 16th October, 1803, was born his
only child-a son, named Robert, after his
paternal grandfather. This child, from the
first, was a great delight to his father, who
endeavoured to teach him to follow in his
steps, and taught him the value of time and
of strenuous exertion.
George had just removed to Killingworth,
where a bitter affliction overtook him in the
death of his beloved wife; her loss to him
was irreparable, and bitterly did he mourn
her.

"For him no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care."

It was a terrible blow, and overwhelming
grief, but George bowed to the chastisement
of the Lord, as those do who have faith in
His promises; he betook himself even more
B






A WINTER'S WREATH.


actively than before to work, which proved
in some sort an antidote to his bitter grief.
Small beginnings often have great end-
ings." Doubtless you have seen the coal
carts running along the tram roads which
lead from the fir-crowned summit of our chace
to the adjacent town, this was the beginning
of railways, to carry coal from the mouth of
the pit to the canal.
George's mind was bent on the improve-
ment of locomotives-but he had many
obstacles to overcome ere he could set them
to work, but never was he discouraged, the
greater the difficulty, the more need of per-
severance, and in 1815, he completed an
engine which far surpassed any before manu-
factured.
Perhaps few of my little readers are aware
of the danger to which the poor miners are
exposed from the explosion of gas in the
coal mines -the many disasters moved
George's compassionate heart, and he set
about and constructed a safety lamp for





LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON.


their use, and to this humane construction,
doubtless, hundreds owe their lives.
It would be too long a task for me to
pursue the career of this son of genius-
improvement followed invention, each
crowned with success, and when some few
years after, George Stephenson proclaimed
to the world that he could impel his engine
at the rate of twenty miles an hour, he was
looked upon as a mad man by many; and
when, after much cross-examination and
opposition, he succeeded in proving his
assertion, he was unanimously appointed
engineer to carry out his pet project.
When, after many years of useful toil,
George Stephenson retired to the enjoyment
of rural felicity, he had reached the summit
of fame, and was accounted the "father of
railways." He gave the greatest encourage-
ment to his pupils and assistants, telling
them often that he could feel with their
struggles, for he numbered but eight years,
of age when he went to work, and that was
B2






A WINTER'S WREATH.


as a poor plough-boy; he warned them that
none could achieve anything without cheer-
fully submitting to the scratches and rubs
of the world.
His remaining days were spent at Tapton
amongst his flowers, and fruit, and various
pets, amongst which birds were conspicuous.
In the 67th year of his age, he was carried
off by a fever, and his body consigned to
the grave in the presence of his workmen,
who truly bewailed a good master and kind
friend. He fought manfully the battle of
life, heeding not the discouragement of the
world-triumphing over its sneers. All
these difficulties he surmounted ere he could
gather his laurels.
Little children, you will perhaps wonder
why I have told you this long story, and
why I have chosen George Stephenson as
my hero; for if I wished to inculcate the
virtues of patience and perseverance under
difficulties, I might have told you of Scot-
land's hero, Robert Bruce, and the spider;






LIFE OF GEORGE STEPHENSON.


or of the little shepherd boy who drew pic-
tures on the sand, and afterwards became a
renowned painter. But George Stephenson
is almost a man of your own time, or at
least of your fathers', and a more remark-
able instance could not be employed for my
purpose. Moreover, I have been recently
reading his history, many of which facts I
stored in my mind, and have related to
you; and, above all, it was brought to my
recollection this evening by your own com-
plaints of the scratches and wounds which
you met with in climbing the holly-bush
to gather its scarlet berries. Remember
George Stephenson, and be not dismayed
by difficulties. Success in any object can-
not be obtained without trouble. So act
that you may obtain, so especially in the
great race of life run with girded loins,
that you may obtain at its close that crown
of glory which fadeth not away."




















































L















THE CHRISTMAS ROSE.


"The charms of the pale Christmas rose
Seem graced with a livelier hue,
And the winter of sorrow best shows
The truth of a friend such as you."

"WHAT folly!" exclaimed Frank Ashcroft,
as he entered the school-room, and on
hearing a sob found it to proceed from his
cousin Elinor, who was seated on the ground,
her face buried in her hands, crying most
bitterly. "I say! do stop that howling-
will you? I know what it is all about; but
you must remember you are not one of us,
so you should not be such a baby as to cry
if mamma cannot take you out a drive when
she does me."






24 A WINTER'S WREATH.


"I am not crying for that," said Elinor,
meekly.
"Then what in the world are you crying
for," urged the unfeeling boy.
Because I am unhappy ; for none of you
love me, or care about me, and I do so want
my own mamma."
Here's Elinor crying, because she says
we are all unkind to her, Miss Grant," said
Frank, as the governess entered the room;
and immediately the poor child was hurried
from her hiding-place, and admonished as to
what became of all ungrateful children, who
repaid such kindness as she had received with
tears and discontent. Elinor sought refuge
in silence. She well knew exculpation would
be fruitless; her silence was construed into
obstinacy, and she was rewarded by being
sent supperless to bed; there to weep for
that fond mother, whose loss she deplored,
in a dull, cold attic, perchance to catch the
occasional laughter of her cousins, as they
prepared for their summons into dessert.





THE CHRISTMAS ROSE.


I must now tell you that Elinor Graham
was an orphan; that her home was at present
with her uncle and guardian, Mr. Ashcroft,
who was a rich banker, residing in one of
those delightful villas which skirt the banks
of the Thames; she was of fragile beauty,
and this, combined with her being heiress to
a large property, rendered her no favorite
with her more common-place cousins; whilst
Mrs. Ashcroft could not but regard her as a
hindrance to the enjoyment of that coveted
wealth to her children, and wondered what
other people saw so engaging in that pale,
sickly-looking child, as she chose to desig-
nate her. Mr. Ashcroft was a man of
business; on the whole, good-natured; but
not troubling himself with the affairs of the
nursery and school-room, he rested content
in the belief that all was well.
"Where is Elinor ?" he asked, as Frank
and his two sisters entered the room.
Oh, in disgrace, as usual," was the ready
reply.






A WINTER'S WREATH.


That child seems very often in punish-
ment," remarked Mr. Ashcroft; "yet one
would have imagined she was most gentle
and docile."
Quite to the contrary, I assure you,"
replied his wife; "her pride and pertinacity
are indomitable. I am really quite grieved
to have such an example before my children."
Mr. Ashcroft shrugged his shoulders, and
remained silent, if not convinced.
Poor, hapless little one Christmas Rose,
as thou wert loved to be named by those dear
ones lost so untimely, for thou camest a fair
blossom to cheer a household at that wintry
season. Little do they know, who pro-
nounce thee proud and obstinate, of thy
gentle, loving heart, which needs but the
silken thread of love to lead thee happy and
rejoicing on thy path !
It was a busy day at Brooklands; the
school-room seemed metamorphosed into a
regular Queen's cupboard," which, we are
told, contains all that is nice;" and by






THE CHRISTMAS ROSE.


the preparations going on, it was evident that
a large party was on the tapiss;" to be
followed by that delight of all children, a
Christmas-tree. I suppose, most of my young
readers have seen one; it is a pretty sight,
the fir illumined with tapers, and adorned
with tasteful, as well as useful, presents,
which are drawn by tickets from a bag. It
is a German custom, generally held there on
New Year's-eve and it is good-humouredly
maintained. St. Claus puts something on it
for all good children, whilst from naughty
ones her presents are withheld. I fancy,
could we take a peep behind the scenes, we
should, a few days before, see St. Claus, per-
sonated by some kind friend, very busy at
work, for the sake of those whose good con-
duct deserves reward.
A merry evening it was. First of all,
they acted charades, and the many discre-
pancies of the juvenile performers were
kindly overlooked by those who liked to see
childhood in its hour of glee. Loud and






A WINTER'S WREATH.


joyous were the peals of laughter when, in
part of one of their charades, the medicine
arrived for the sick old woman, and, after
much puzzling, the directions on the draught
and plaster were deciphered: "To be well
shaken before taken, and the plaister to be
put on the chest."
Forthwith, the strongest person present
was selected to shake the poor old woman
well, before the dose was administered; and
when the plaister was pronounced to have
adhered firmly to the best chest of drawers
in the house, they sat down to await the
result, and were surprised, at the expiration
of a couple of hours, to find their patient
considerably worse for her treatment.
Behold expectation is at its height. The
door is thrown open, and there is the Christ-
mas-tree. Little eager hands are stretched
forth, and many a face beams with content
at the toy which falls to his share. The
bijous were all distributed, when a kind-
hearted lady exclaimed:






THE CHRISTMAS ROSE.


I declare, here is little girl who has had
no present."
And eyes were bent on Elinor, who blush-
ingly faltered:
"There was none for me; I am not one
of them."
The words were inexpressibly touching,-
the accents still more so; and when Mrs.
Ashcroft (who had really not intended this
slight, it arose from a continual habit of
overlooking her niece) brought some little
ornament as a reparation to her, she found
her intentions anticipated, and the child's
lap overflowing with bounty. Such were not
unfrequent incidents in Elinor's life,-tyran-
nized over by her cousins, slighted by her
aunt, the very servants took their tone from
the mistress; but she was patient, meek, and
gentle, and such dispositions seldom lose
their reward. It may be our little rose will
blossom forth in adversity's hour, and what
was regarded with indifference in the height
of summer, will be more highly prized in the
keen wintry blast. *






A WINTER'S WREATH.


It is again the eve of the Nativity-but
not such an one as I last portrayed, though
it is to the same drawing-room I would con-
duct you. Sable garments are there, and
heavy eyes tell of aching hearts. Death had
removed the youngest-born and darling from
the household, and Mrs. Ashcroft's quiver-
ing lips, whenever her eye rested on the
little vacant chair, spoke too plainly of the
wrench in her proudest affections! Frank
is restless and discontented, teasing his
mother with a thousand questions relative to
a projected run with the hounds the follow-
ing week; and the girls are bemoaning the
sad fate which compels them to sit wearily
at home, instead of indulging in their usual
Christmas gaieties: Elinor alone looks
placid and even cheerful, as she strives
gently to divert her Aunt's thoughts from
their usual melancholy channel, and speaks
earnestly (and who knows with what inten-
sity of longing) of meeting those we have
lost in a better world. She is altered since






THE CHRISTMAS ROSE.


Yast we spoke of her, and her position, too,
seems much changed, for it is chiefly on her
that Mrs. Ashcroft now leans.
Can the mother forget whose arms received
the dying breath of her darling? When all
else fled from infection, and she dare not
witness the parting struggle whose self-
control could advise and direct, when all
others seemed paralyzed? What wonder,
then, the conviction arose sometimes, that
she was unworthy of such sympathy !
"It is very late," said Mrs. Ashcroft;
"what can have detained your papa:" and
as she spoke, a clang of the bell announced
a visitor
It was, however, only a clerk of Mr.
Ashcroft's, inquiring if his master were
there, as he had not been at his office since
two o'clock. Moreover, as it afterwards
transpired, he told the butler that his master
looked excited and agitated before he went
out, and that for some days past he had seemed
unusually depressed. All was instantly






32 A WINTER'S WREATH.


bustle and confusion: the servants, to whom
the news of Mr. Ashcroft's unaccountable
absence soon spread, thronged the passage,
and various were the hints and agitating
the surmises with which they added to the
general distress. Mrs. Ashcroft lay in hys-
terics on the sofa, whilst her daughters wept
over her, and Frank easily cowed, as are
most boasters and bullies, gazed stupidly
around. Elinor alone thought of the neces-
sity of action, and addressing the clerk, who
still standing there a spectator of their
grief, she inquired "Whether he had found
any papers likely to throw light on the
matter?"
"No, miss," he replied; "I did not feel,
authorized to make any search; but if you
wish it, I will return and overlook your
uncle's office desk.
"Do so," said Elinor, "and let us know
the result as speedily as possible."
An hour of terrible suspense has passed,
and then to Elinor's intense relief, the clerk






THE CHRISTMA$ ROSE.


brought her a letter which he had found,
directed to Mrs. Asheroft.
I thank you," she said: do not let my
uncle's absence transpire, if possible;" and
kindly dismissing him, and restoring order
amongst the inquisitive servants, she pro-
ceeded quietly to make known to her Aunt
the result of the re-search. The letter was
such as to calm their fears for the personal
safety of Mr. Ashcroft, but not tended to
reassure them on other points,-it was as
follows:-

MY DEAREST ELIZA,
"The bolt long dreaded has fallen
at last. You and my children are beggars;
and not only you, but, alas others equally
innocent have fallen victims to my weakness
and credulity. I have fled from my credi-
tors; still less dare I face my home-the
pale countenances of my loved ones would
ask for the talents entrusted to my
keeping.






A WINTER'S WREATH.


Spare from reproaches, your unhappy,
but affectionate husband,
ANTONY ASHCROFT."

It would be a painful and useless task for
us to investigate the cause of this calamity,
or lay bare the sorrows and hardships which
oppressed these hitherto tenderly nurtured
of fortune. Few of us but what will meet
with reverses of some sort or other in life.
Many there are who can tell like these what
it is to leave their childhoods' home. Well
do they remember with what regret their
last tea was taken in the arbour, round
which their own hands had twined the rose
and the woodbine. Well do they recall the
glee with which they summoned the house-
hold to admire their grotto inlaid with
mother-of-pearl, which striking effect was
produced by the laying down of sundry
oyster shells, discovered and dragged forth
as a prize from a neighboring dust-heap.
Then, again, the swing, that had hung





THE CHRISTMAS ROSE.


securely long years from yon larch's time-
honored boughs, must that too be removed?
And next morning when, with aching heart
and throbbing throat, they closed their eyes
on things familiar, then hugged they closer
to them the basket which contained puss
and her family, and felt there was at least
one connecting link left from the past with
which to associate their new home. And,
oh, joy of joys! when going into the
poultry-yard, a few days after, they are
greeted with a familiar chuck-chuck, and on
looking around, espie the pretty little white
bantam carefully collecting her chicks, and
evidently bent on making herself at home-
this is a hint from their feathered instruc-
tress-and beginning to indulge anew in
visions of happiness, mark out favourite
nooks of resort even in their stranger
land.
Once again must you look forward; at
another fireside, humble, but still happier,
though now in a foreign land, we find the
c2







A WINTER'S WREATH.


Ashcroft family. The goodness and libe-
rality of Elinor had provided this home; for
she had, without hesitation and with re-
joicing, made over to them a portion of her
property. It is true, and I must add that
it was not accepted without reluctance, but
Elinor urged that she was an orphan, there-
fore a sharer of their home and benefits,
and so they were overruled.
Mrs. Ashcroft and her daughters were
busy completing some portion of household
needlework, and in occupation of their
fingers did not find their evenings so long;
Elinor read aloud; and her uncle, worn out
with his day's labour, revelled in home; he
now took an active part at a beet-root manu-
factory of sugar, of which there are many in
Belgium. Frank was pursuing more ac-
tively than heretofore his studies. On
Elinor closing the book, Mrs. Ashcroft
said:
S"Thank you, my dear. You have greatly
contributed to our amusement. But," she






THE CHRISTMAS ROSE. 37

added, her voice faltering with emotion,
" which of us have forgotten that this time
last year the sod closed over our little Daisy.
Then I first proved the value of this dear
girl's affection; since then she has been
with us in many troubles. And is it late,
dear Elinor," she added, "to express my
regret at the indifference often shown you
in hours of affluence? Forgive it," she
exclaimed, throwing her arms around her.
"Forgive me that I slighted you; that I
knew not your value until all else was fled;
when thou alone, sweet flower, blossomed
to cheer the gloom of winter's darkest days."

















STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.



"The evening sun, as loth to say farewell
To his fair mistress, lingered yet awhile,
Gilding my Yew's dark branches with a smile,
And from his bosom fell
SA rich, ripe, ruby berry on the ground."
N. B. YONGE.

"LAND-A-HOY," was the joyful sound that
greeted our ears one morning, and roused us
from our berths, in the cabin of the good
ship Europa, outward bound from London
to the West Indies.
As you may suppose, we were not very
careful to make elaborate toilets that morn-
ing. The very idea of land was delightful
to pent up beings, after a tedious voyage of
six weeks, and indulging in visions of the






A WINTER'S WREATH.


cooling orange and shady lime trees, and
the sea coast, girt with the nodding plumage
of the cocoa-nut, we hurried on deck. Now,
I am sorry to knock down your castles in
the air, my young friend, nevertheless, so
fell mine. I was, from my inexperience,
compelled to apply to my old friend, Bill,
the boatswain, for a confirmation of the
fact.
Land," I said, "Bill-where?"
"Aye, land," he said, "sure enough,
there it is," pointing to what I now dis-
cerned as a small speck on the horizon.
"That's the N.W. point of the Island of
Barbados." We were fain to believe, from
the fact of some very large sea birds follow-
ing in the wake of the vessel, which we had
not seen before, so we contented ourselves
with anticipating the good that was to come,
and waited in eager expectation the realiza-
tion of our hopes.
Look, Wasp, look;" said little Walter
Gresley, seizing upon and holding up a






STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


rough wiry Scotch terrier, which had fol-
lowed him on deck.
"Land, Wappy, are you not glad, old
fellow ?"
Wasp was by no means inclined to enter
into his young master's glee, and with a
significant sniff he made known to us that
he saw nothing like land. The proceeding
being altogether unusual, Wasp conjectured
an untimely end, and with rigid muscles and
averted head, evinced his determination not
to meet with a watery grave, if he could
help it.
It would be a lengthy task for me to
describe the near approach to the Island, or
of the strange sensations we experienced
on making our first acquaintance with
"Darkie."
Two or three boatfuls of them came
alongside of us, and soon they were at work
turning the capstan to heave out the anchor,
merrily singing the while. Presently a dull
grating sound, followed by a slight reverbra-






A WINTER'S WREATH.


tion, told we were happily anchored in Car-
lisle Bay.
I would pass over our first week's sojourn-
ing in this hospitable "Land of the West."
And you must at the end of that time
imagine us comfortably settled at Sunbury,
a large estate, some miles from the chief
town. Having propitiated the Lares, I be-
thought me to look around, and see what
prospect there was of an orchard, or some
pleasant out-door shade. Alas! for me;
should I find (as I feared), its golden apples
guarded by the dragon of an Hesperides,
but I was more fortunate. The garden was
palpable enough, so were the weeds, for the
almost rank vegetation of the tropics is
surprising. At last I found the desired spot,
and attracted by Walter's voice, I entered a
grove of mango trees, from which were
hanging the golden fruit in ripe abun-
dance. I was just going to scold the
truant for having forestalled me in his
selection, when I was arrested from my






STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


purpose by the sight which presented
itself.
Seated on the trunk of a mango tree,
which had been blown down in some hurri-
cane, and taken root in its recumbent posi-
tion, was Walter, and by his side, in earnest
conversation, sat an aged negro. I paused,
for the comparison was so striking, that I
could not but meditate on it. Walter Gres-
ley's fair hair and blue eyes told of his Saxon
birth, poor little fellow. The waxen, delicate
hue of his countenance, and slight, restless
frame, told also, but too plainly, a tale of ill
health. It was for this that he had been en-
trusted to our care, and left his native home,
hoping that a more genial climate would
arrest his complaint, for consumption had
already seized for its prey, a dearly loved
sister, and left a sad and aching void in his
parents' heart. What wonder, then, they
sought thus early to save from a like fate,
their darling boy.
His companion was attired in a coarse,






A WINTER'S WREATH.


striped shirt and trousers-a blue checked
handkerchief the only covering for his
head-and as I advanced, the old man rose,
and "Bade Missie welcome to Sunbury."
I saw by the few and straggling tufts of white
wool which were scattered over his head, that
many suns had gone down on Walter's
friend, for on such terms they evidently were.
"This is old Bob, Aunt Maud," said
Walter, as a sort of introduction between
us, "he is ninety-seven years of age, and, as
he is too old to work, he sits here and plaits
baskets out of cabbage bark, which falls from
those trees, and watches the fruit, which the
bad boys from yonder negro village, think
it no shame to steal."
S" Pray sit down, old man," I said; but
naturally courteous, he would not be seated
in my presence.
His appearance was such as deeply to
interest me; his figure, once tall and erect,
was bowed beneath the burden of years-
his eyes, now mild, though still intelligent,






STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


showed deep fires long quenched within,
and the feeble hands and tottering gait, said
the old man's years were numbered, that
his journey was nearly accomplished It was
a touching sight, the young and old drawn to
each other perhaps by some secret sympathy,
it may have been each felt they were fellow-
travellers.
I turned aside to weep, for I thought of
the tender blossom fading, and contrasted
it with the ripe fruit ready to be gathered
when a loving Father saw fit!
The grass was damp, and I could not let
my little charge remain longer, but I pro-
mised he should return in the course of the
day, for he said he was going to tell Bob all
about the ship, and the big seas he had
crossed, and to read to him out of the Bible
his dear mamma gave him, for poor Bob had
not been taught to read, but he said that he
loved God's holy book.
The friendship thus cemented, increased
day by day-and it was a pleasing sight





A WINTER'S WREATH.


to watch the love which strengthened
between this aged negro and young fair
child. Soon another was added to the party,
and a trio established, built on a very solid
foundation of mutual esteem.
Mr. Wasp demurely took his seat amongst
them, and seldom was tempted to stray,
unless his old predeliction for rats returned,
when he heard one plunge in the adjacent
cane-field-shame on us to tell tales-but I
must confess in Wappy's more vagabond
days, he was wont to be patronised by some
money-seeking individuals, who demanded
so much per rat's head, of the parish.
Wasp, knowing he did the thing well, was
satisfied that his services should go gratis.
One sultry evening in August, I was tempted
out, child in hand, in search of air; there
had been a terrific thunder storm, but we
found our old friend nothing daunted, sitting
at his post.
Bob," said Walter, "where were you in
the storm ?"






STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


"Here, my young massa, here."
"Were you not afraid of the lightning?"
"No," he replied, "I've weathered out
many a worse storm." Old Bob's time isn't
come yet-we put a bit of this (taking up
some Indian corn) into the ground, and there
it stays. Wind blow, sunshine, until God
wants it, then it springs up and gets ripe,
and we cut it-and you'll find it is for some
good, so I think to myself God has put old
Bob upon earth, he need fear nothing, in
God's good time he'll take him, and, indeed,
massa, I shall be right glad to go, for my
poor old limbs are nearly worn out."
Did you always love God, Bobby ?" asked
Walter.
"No, indeed young massa, but indiffer-
ently. The first time I felt there was a God,
was in the great dust.' I dare say you've
heard tell of that ?"
We confessed our ignorance, and Bob
proceeding to enlighten us, we took our
seats beside him under our favourite shade.






A WINTER'S WREATH.


You know," continued the old man, I
was not born here; they brought me over
as a child from Africa, and one year after
that went with me pretty much as another.
I worked when I was driven, danced and
was merry. We had a good master; so we
were well clothed and fed, and the parson
often told us about God; but somehow I
did not heed him. I was now herdsman
on the estate, and one night my wife Juddy
and I had made merry at old massa's ex-
pense, for I saw no harm in stealing some
of the milk if I could, so when I brought
my can to empty it into the churn, I had a
smaller one inside full of milk, which I just
kept steady the while, then put on the cover,
and walked off. So we were laughing, be-
cause they said the cows gave so little milk,
and all the while I was stealing it. Presently
Juddy said it was time to go and turn out
the cattle, but I found it was quite dark,
so we lay and lay, but it got no lighter, and
by and bye the cocks began to crow. I got





STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


up and looked out, but it was dark, dark,
dark, and when I held out my hand I caught
it full of something like dust. Well, massa,
my knees smote under me, and Juddy began
to cry, for we all thought there was going to
be an end to the world, and that after this
lightning would come and burn us up; then
I thought upon all I had heard tell of God
saving those who called upon Him, and I
tried to pray, but I could only think of the
stolen milk, and I was sorry, and vowed if it
pleased God to forgive and save me this once,
I would steal no more-and I wanted words.
Just then I heard people passing, and I called
out to them; then theytold me all the churches
were thrown open and lighted, and that they
were going to one for refuge-for though
it was noon, it was still black as night.
Juddy and I went along too, and there in the
midst of us all stood the parson, and he
spoke calmly, and bid us cease groaning,
and not to be frightened, but to trust in God,
and he hoped it would soon pass over. Well,
I)






A WINTER'S WREATH.


massa, I fell on my knees and prayed, and
and I got up a new man, resolved, if I was
spared, to lead a new life. Just then I looked
towards the east, and there was a little bit
of light in the sky. About three in the
afternoon it got larger, and before night it
had all passed away-only I could never
forget that day, or God's mercy to me; and
then, to remind me of it, lay the dark dust-
like stuff, about a foot deep on the earth."
He ceased, and Walter, breathless with
suspense, inquired:
"But what was it Bob'? did you never
know?"
"Not for some time; then they said a
mountain in St. Vincent, which is the
nearest island to us, threw up that stuff,
and that the wind setting this way brought
over all the dust and ashes to us. This, I
think, was true, and as the parson said:
Who knows, good may come of it;' and
so it did, for it was manure to the ground;
and the next two crops of sugar-canes were





STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


the finest I ever saw; and I've seen many a
one reaped !"
On my return to the house, I inquired
into this circumstance, and found it quite
correct. Many years back such an alarm
had subsisted, and its cause traced to the
eruption of a volcano,* called "The Souf-
friere," in the adjacent island.
Time passed quickly and pleasantly, and
I was surprised at the near approach of
Christmas. There was nothing in outward
circumstances to denote it, for trees bloomed,
and flowers blossomed, as in middle summer,
and I felt indeed it could only be Christmas
in the heart; but even in this short space
changes had taken place; the Atlantic breezes
and soft balmy air of the tropics had greatly
revived little Walter; and here was much
cause for thankfulness. But there was also,
a grief overshadowing us, which I feared
would fall heavily on him. It was in the
increasing feebleness, day by day, of his dear
A fact.






A WINTER'S WREATH,


old friend, Bob. Already was the trio dis-
persed. Wappy, alas slept beneath the old
mango tree. Poor, faithful dog, he bit a
poisonous toad, which caused his immediate
death; and, with streaming eyes, Walter and
old Bob laid him beneath his favourite resting
place; and to perpetuate the memory of this
best of dogs, Walter carved his name on the
trunk of the tree above. This was his daily
occupation; and, until it was finished, there
he sat, chisel in hand, discussing the merits
of his lost favourite.
Whilst poor old Bob could crawl, he was
to be found in the orchard, and Walter was
his tender nurse and constant attendant.
One morning we missed him, and heard he
could not rise from his bed; in fact, that he
was dying and "bade us, with his parting
love, be sure to meet him where black and
white should stand together on God's right-
hand."
It was on a Christmas Eve this news
reached us, and visibly effected by the grief






STORY OF AN AFRICAN NEGRO.


which Walter could no longer control, I
sauntered, to soothe, if I could, my own sad
feelings; and as I strolled, I thought of
Christmas in England, and recalled the
favourite emblems of this blessed season,
which seemed sadly wanting now. But the
holly and mistletoe had no place in this
eve's imaginings. Then I bethought me of
the yew; truly its shadows rested on me.
And as the usual inhabitant of church-yards
and overshadowing graves, it seemed a fit
picture of the darkness of heathenism over-
shadowing "One dead in trespasses and
sin." I went on to connect this with the
story of our dear old Bob's darkest days;
but it was a great comfort to remember that
the yew does not attain perfection until it
arrives at old age; thus with the life whose
ebb we then deplored. It had gathered
beauty from maturity, and staunch and
firmly rooted, and everlasting as the yew,
was, we humbly trusted, the faith of this
aged son of Africa.


















ALICE ST. MAUR.


"See, children, what beauty I bring,
From the shelter of that sunny shed;
The Ivy looks bright as in spring,
Though the gardens' gay florets are dead."

" REST awhile, Katie," were the words gently
spoken by old Simon, long known in the
parish of Dinmore, as Simon the tinker,
whose annual visit there was as regular as
the come and go of each succeeding season.
"Rest awhile, my wee lamb," and he
suited his actions to his words, and stretched
himself beside her, under the shelter of a
friendly holly hedge. The soiled, worn-.
looking feet, and somewhat scant garments
of the old man, bespoke poverty. On the





56 A WINTER'S WREATH.


one it sat habitual, as though he had never
known other, than to eat his bread by the
toil of his hands-it may have been, he
importuned for the very crusts, which, with
a morsel of dry cheese, formed their frugal
dinner-but be it said to the credit of
Simon, dire necessity, the little one at his
side crying for bread, where there was none
to give, alone compelled him to have
recourse to beg of the kind hearted far-
mers for a drop of milk, or handful of
meat.
But if there was anything to be done, he
worked diligently, and lived contentedly on
the proceeds from his old trade of mending
pots and kettles. About Katie there was a
natural grace both of feature and movement,
which seemed indigenous, as it were, to her
nature. Surely those tiny, slender fingers
were formed from some more delicate mould
than Simon's could boast of. Yet it was
difficult to conjecture what relationship
subsisted between them, for Katie seemed





ALICE ST. MAUR.


to cling tenderly, and love devotedly, the
old man whom she called grand-dad.
Long and dreary had been the miles
travelled over by these weary pedestrians,
and no luck had as yet attended their efforts
that morning to obtain employment. Simon
sighed as he gazed on his empty wallet, still
more heavily, when he thought of the inabi-
lity of his young companion to proceed then
to the village. He proposed to leave her
there to find repose if she could, whilst he
went on his way, promising to return for
Katie ere the sun's shadows should be
much lengthened.
My young readers do you not rejoice in
those bright winter days? when the leaves
are crisp, and the ice crackles with a pleasant
sound under your feet-and the hoar frost
adorns the hedges with its tiny filings like
silver; certainly with a beauty not their own,
for that they must owe to spring's tender
garb of green. Then are we comfortably
clothed in warm cloaks and woollen hose,





A WINTER'S WREATH.


with stout boots, bidding defiance to frost
and ice. But not so to poor little Katie,
who, shivering and benumbed, dared not re-
sign herself to that rest she so much needed.
Simon's absence seemed intolerable to her,
and she was fast yielding to her childish
grief, when she caught the sound of laughter
from light hearts, in the lane beyond. As
the dead stillness of the ice-bound earth
brought their voices plainly to her, the sense
of her loneliness was fast fading away, and
their very mirth seemed infectious, for she
too could scarcely refrain from joining in
those merry peals of laughter. She was
going to see whence it proceeded, and as she
turned the corner, caught a glimpse of a lady
with three or four children, all laden with
Christmas evergreens; but she saw no more,
for at that moment Simon appeared, and
with hurried gait, and trembling, anxious
mien, he caught up Katie, and scarcely
waiting to collect his scattered goods, he
strode over the style, and with utmost speed
crossed the nearest fields.





ALICE ST. MAUR.


"Grand-dad," said Katie, Why did you
run away with me from that lady? She
looked so kind and gentle, and her little
boys and girls so pretty: why did you not
let me go and speak to them? "
"Nonsense, Katie," said Simon, more
hastily than he was wont to speak to her.
"Don't let me hear you say that again-
run away indeed. Why should I run from
any one? No; it was that you, my poor
child, should not see the sight of fine things
the little lady had on and want the same,
or perhaps wish to leave me."
"No, grand-dad," said the child, pressing
her soft cheek against the old man's lovingly.
"No, granddad-that could never be-your
Katie would not forsake you for all the fine
things in the world." Then looking up to a
sturdy oak that overshadowed them, and
using one of Nature's own similitudes, she
said, Look at that pretty green ivy sticking
so close to the old tree, grand-dad; it makes it
look pretty when it's own leaves have fallen.





60 A WINTER'S WREATH.


So will your little Katie keep close to you,
and then you can take care of and carry her
safely."
This speech of the little girl's seemed to
restore old Simon's good humour, he pressed
her to his heart, and muttered something
about not deserving such goodness, but the
child heeded not his words, or at most re-
garded them as his fitful mood, for often dark
shadows deepened and crossed his brow; but
then Katie understood him. She wisely kept
silence, and the cloud soon passed away-
only to be followed with renewed and ever
increasing tenderness for herself. Simon
being restored to his ancient self, she thought
no more of his evident emotion, but joyfully
kept on her way, merrily skipping and sing-
ing the while.
On the same day of which I write, there was
a large, merry party assembled at the Manor
House. Children were there, but very dif-
ferent in their warmth and comfort to my
poor Katie. But, perhaps, none happier;






ALICE ST. MAUR.


for she carried with her a conscious desire to
do what was right, and her heart overflowed
with love for her sole friend. Children long
severed from their parents were there,-
" home for the holidays" had given place to
the substantial enjoyment of that home, and
few of us there are who have not rejoiced in
that sweet exchange, and know the comfort
of a fond mother's greeting, compared to
the heavy clang of the school bell, the dim
lighted candles, -and hasty rush into the
school-room.
Dinner over, behold them sitting, oriental
fashion, on the drawing-room floor. Hunt
the slipper, you will exclaim, and quite
right too, for such was their amusement, and
their joyous merriment soon brought papa
and Walter from their nuts, and even grand-
mamma smiled and nodded between sleep and
wake in the arm chair. Who knows, those
voices may have brought back her child-
hood. Eighty years had gone by since then;
perhaps she smiled as she dreamt of her


61






S62 A WINTER'S WREATH.


playmates long since gone before, but from
whom she could not now be long severed.
Poor uncle Walter, after being forcibly seated
in the middle, was compelled to pay innumer-
able forfeits, poor fellow! He had not the
advantage of a skirt to hide the slipper
under, so it was invariably found on him.
In yonder nook there is one who sits apart,
pensively contemplating the scene before
her. Such faces are seldom looked upon,
for there are but few in the world. Calm,
clear cut, and serene (save when an inde-
scribable emotion crosses it), but that quickly
passes away, and calm resignation resumes
its reign over those gentle features. The
tall, graceful, but bending figure, the deep
intensity of eye, and the ebon tresses closely
shaded over the marble brow-but alas be-
neath the widow's cap-told more eloquently
than words, that joy had long since departed
out of her life. Death had bereaved her of
a beloved husband, but surely this was not
the blow that had bowed her so low. For






ALICE ST. MAUR.


once the sharp pang of this separation is
past, it is to many an unspeakable comfort
to feel that their treasure is laid up in heaven.
"Who is that dark, sad looking lady,
sitting all alone?" whispered Ellen Mont-
gomerie to her cousin Edith: "I really feel
afraid to laugh before her, still less to dance
or to sing."
Oh, you need not be afraid of her,"
replied Edith, "she is so kind. Did you
not know she was papa's sister, Lady Olivia
St. Maur? Her house is in Ireland, but
since it became desolate, she has almost
lived with us. She never mingles in com-
pany, because she early became a widow.
She had one little baby, a girl, for I just
remember seeing it once: but I think that
must have died also, for I know she has no
one belonging to her but us now. That
must be the reason she cannot smile. Poor
aunt Olivia! I wish she could be merry
and happy as we are. Somehow," she added,
"I have never seen her so sad as to-day;






64 A WINTER'S WREATH.


she took us out in the lane to gather holly,
she was then very cheerful, but suddenly she
got paler and more sad, and several times
since, I have seen her eyes wet with tears."
Just then a feeble tap was heard at the
window, and on its being repeated, one of
the boys looked out, and exclaimed:-
I declare it is a poor little girl, shivering
and shaking, and looking most piteous.
What can she want?"
Tell her to go round to the front door,"
said Lady Olivia; but the child would not
wait to do her bidding, and only saying:-
"Oh, do come to grand-dad. My own
grand-dad is dying in the old barn up the
lane. Do come to him." And away she ran.
The beseeching tones and tearful, childish
accents touched Lady Olivia's compassionate
heart. She was soon on her mission of
charity, with a blanket, and basket contain-
ing some wine and food for the sufferer,
should he require it.
*






ALICE ST. MAUR.


"Katie, my child," said Simon, "sit
beside me." They were in a barn, and
amongst its nice clean hay had purposed
taking up a night's lodging. There was
something strange in the old man's voice;
his eye looked cold and dim, and Katie
feared her grand-dad was ill.
"Yes," he said, "I am ill. Ill as I have
never felt before."
She covered him up, and tried to soothe
him, and ere long he relapsed into silence.
She hoped he was sleeping; had she more
experience, she would have known that his
tongue had refused its office. And when he
did recover from the fit which had seized
him, he spoke bewilderingly of some great
wrong done-some sin which must be atoned
for ere he could die in peace, and implored
Katie, by all the love she ever bore him, to
seek for some assistance at once.
The child terrified at being alone with
a dying man, and almost frantic with grief,
resolved, in spite of her natural timidity, to






A WINTER'S WREATH.


call some one to her aid. She ran down the
lane, and on seeing a light issue from the
window, she made immediate application,
and we know how promptly her appeal was
responded to.
On Lady Olivia's entering the barn, the
little one was stretched beside her grand-dad,
her face buried in the hay, vainly striving to
check her sobs. She found the old man's
hours were numbered from his heaving
chest and low convulsive gasps. The dim-
ness of death was on his eyes-or in the
pale face before him she may have discerned
cause for even stronger emotion.
"Come at last," he muttered half audibly;
"come to listen to the wrong the old man
did Katie, the child. Oh, never let her
want! Indeed, I only meant to take the
coral and bells; but they were coming. I
could not be called thief, and I fled with the
child. I crossed the sea with her, and dared
not give her back for fear of punishment.
Then my wee lamb, she was my all, clinging







ALICE ST. MAUR.


tenderly to me with her winning ways. She
made me better, and I could not part from
her. Now, oh God! I have my reward."
"In the box," he murmured, "the coral.
Oh, Katie! IRatie darling, come closer-
Katie--" It died upon his lips, and poor
old Simon breathed no more.
A fearful agitation shook Lady Olivia's
frame. Was it, could it be possible?
Merciful Providence May not this be her
child-her long lost-her bitterly mourned
Alice? It was a moment of fearful sus-
pense; hope for one moment predominating,
then fear for the very new born hope.
She raised the child, almost exhausted by
grief, in her arms, and read in the lineaments
every reason to hope that Katie was the
precious child, whose mysterious disappear-
ance had thrown such a dark shadow over
her life. Now a light seemed dawning
through the darkness. Simon had said, he
crossed the sea; the coral and bells, where
were they? She found them in the box
E 2






A WINTERS WREATH.


mentioned. They were the identical ones she
had tied herself round her infant's waist. She
needed no more; it was her child-lost, and
now found. She seized on her flew, rather
than walked home, sought her chamber,
for she could share her reawakened joy with
none as yet, save with Him who had restored.
She laid the sleeping child on her pillow, and
fell on her knees beside her in heartfelt thank-
fulness and prayer.
Little children, Katie woke in her mother's
arms. She did not forget her grandad; but
it seemed natural to rest on her mother's
bosom. Years after, Alice St. Maur was seen
at old Simon's grave. She covered that
simple mound with Ivy, in recollection of
the mutual clinging affection which existed
between them,















SYMPATHY Y

BY A. .

BY E. A. M.














SYMPATHY.

Part 'firott

CHAPTER I.
THE HAYFIELD.

" O, Ada, do look here. Isn't this the very
prettiest little nest you ever saw ?" And
Reggie pushed aside, very gently, the branches
of the spreading box-tree, to display the
beautiful little ball, with its four half-fledged
nestlings.
"Take care, Torrie, dear; you'll frighten
them if you touch the nest," said Ada,
who was herself, indeed, the personification
of gentleness and softness.
"Let Torrie stroke littlee bir's-'ittle bir's
kiss Torrie."











SYMPATHY.

Part 'firott

CHAPTER I.
THE HAYFIELD.

" O, Ada, do look here. Isn't this the very
prettiest little nest you ever saw ?" And
Reggie pushed aside, very gently, the branches
of the spreading box-tree, to display the
beautiful little ball, with its four half-fledged
nestlings.
"Take care, Torrie, dear; you'll frighten
them if you touch the nest," said Ada,
who was herself, indeed, the personification
of gentleness and softness.
"Let Torrie stroke littlee bir's-'ittle bir's
kiss Torrie."





SYMPATHY.


"No, no, Torrie; little birds don't want
to kiss you to-day; they're holding out their
mouths for some breakfast rather; and I
think you might almost jump down their
throats, if you tried hard! Such gaping
little mouths."
My nurse says its very naughty to gape.
Little birds don't gape, I know," said
Brenda, determinedly; and I fear a strong
discussion would now have been started, only
Reggie had just thought of such a funny
new game, that all the five were impatient to
be off and play it.
Away then to the hay-field scampered
Roland and Reggie. AwayflewAda,very little
after-but poor little Brenda, and yet smaller
Torrie, had hard work to keep in sight of
the foremost of their party. Torrie especially,
short as she was and fat, would, I am sure,
have been rolled much quicker than she
could run.
Martin, Martin, Martin, I say, which
hay-cock may we knock down? We want a





THE HAYFIELD.


hay-cock to play with, Martin," exclaimed
Roland, arriving.
"I say, Martin, let's have that big one
down there," shouted Regg.
"Martin, div' hay top to de children,"
explained Torrie, patronisingly, to the grown-
up cousin, who had come up to see what all
the excitement could possibly be about, and
who now was scandalised.
You little grown-up imp,-I'll give you
to the children' for a plaything, presently.
Talk of 'children', indeed !"
Now, Roland, what's going on
here ?" said Mary Asheton. Some new
game ?"
Oh, we were going to make a bird's
nest, and the three little ones are to be in
it, and Ada and I are to be the old sparrows.
Only we want a hay-cock."
"Well, sir, I suppose you must e'en
take that one at the fur end o' the piece.
It's about the last as we will be wanting to
take, I suppose. Only you mind, young





SYMPATHY.


ladies, as you don't get pitched into the
trolley along with the hay."
"Me go in trowey," screamed Torrie,
directly, et me go in towey !"
"Well, sir, its just going down field now,
if any of you does want a ride !"
And who can not picture the joyful rush
there was, and the agonising shrieks, lest
by any chance that most charming convey-
ance should fail to pick them up. Brown
Jack, the waggoner, had quite enough mis-
chief in him, to make, as though he did not
hear, (frightfully deaf he must have been if he
had not done so), and quite enough good
nature he had too, at least to stop and take
up his agitated load (each one now suffering
from a fresh delusion, to the effect that he
or she individually would certainly be left
behind).
However, all were eagerly stowed away at
last, and then the careful bailiff prepared to
walk down by their side, so as to see that the
unruly party came to no very extraordinary





THE HAYFIELD.


grief during their jolting ride. I suppose it
is by virtue of entire vulgarity that "a ride"
in a waggon is considered the proper phrase,
and certainly "a drive in the trolley,
mamma," might sound a little out of
place.
My darling children, what are you
doing ? You will surely be shaken to
atoms stop, Martin, and let them get
out."
Oh, mamma, it is so very nice !"
Please, mamma, let us stop."
"It's a million times nicer than the
carriage, I do assure you, mamma; and really
it doesn't shake at all to speak of!"
"My dear aunt Neville," said Mary,
coming up, if you had only witnessed their
eagerness for this grand preferment. Pray
let them have all the delight they can out of
it-as such are their unlucky tastes."
"Well, I won't make you get out, my
dears, this time, but don't play such tricks
again without asking leave! Where are




SYMPATHY.


you going, Martin? Take care of them, be
sure."
Yes, ma'am-we are just going to begin
to carry this field, and I told the young
ladies and Master Neville that I would take
them right to the bottom of the piece."
"Be off then, children. I shall send Rey-
nold's down with your dinners; so you may
make a long day of it! and on went the
merry, noisy party towards their promised
hay-cock, in delight that was certainly not
silent transport.
Of course its all wonderfully charming,"
said Mrs. Neville, looking after them, to her
niece-"but we may be thankful that Bren-
da had not to choose our carriage for us, I
think !"
Oh, Aunt Neville," said Mary, eagerly,
"Edgar and Beatrice have been talking so
of a good day's sketching, would you let us
have luncheon down there with the children,
it would be so nice, instead of driving to-
day ?"





THE HAYFIELD.


"Certainly, dear-it will be such a fine
afternoon for the sort of thing-we will all
come down."
And accordingly an hour later, there was
to be seen in a shady spot a wonderful bird's
nest-made, as it seemed, of most soft and
fragrant hay-four rosy-cheeked little heads,
cosily settled in, for Mary was acting an old
bird, so that Brenda enjoyed the nest; and
four very wide open little mouths they were,
when some most tempting cherries were
dangled by the representative of the parent
sparrows, in tantalising nearness to them!
There, Edgar. There's a picture for the
Royal Academy."
"A bird's nest! Ah, exactly-and a
pretty task it would be to paint those marvel-
lously active birds I"
And just as he spoke, indeed one side of
the nest did give way, and Torrie rolled
gently down amidst shrieks of delight from
herself and all concerned.
How pretty they look there," said Bea-




SYMPATHY.


trice (she was a niece of Mr. Neville's too-
the child of his only brother). But who
are those children there ? That girl who is
with them seems to me almost perfect in
beauty."
She was a child of about nine years old-
her face exquisitely moulded, so that every
line seemed perfect-and her dark eyes and
eyebrows gave the distinctive touches which,
being nearly colourless, she wanted.
"Come here, Lilla," said Mary to her,
" come here and tell us how your mother is
to-day."
She is very ill, Miss Asheton. She can't
leave her room at all now."
Lilla's eyes had filled up with tears-they
did not fall-but you could see the swelling
of the eye-lid, which in some faces so touch-
ingly betokens sorrow.
Can't you stay, my dear, and play with
the children for a little time? They'll be so
glad to have you."
"Thank you, Miss Asheton, but I am





THE HAYFIELD.


going back to mamma. She only sent me
out for a little while, and I have been down
to the copse to look for some flowers for
her."
What does Mr. Dillon tell you about her,
dear ?" said Beatrice. "Doesn't he want her
to try and get out this nice, warm weather?"
Mary glanced hastily at Beatrice, for she
had heard this morning a very sad account
of poor Mrs. Mellott's state.
Oh, Miss Neville, do you know any
thing?-Mr. Dillon never tells me, and
mamma cried so last night."
Lilla stood quite still while she said these
words-stood as if trying to gather together
all the facts she could.
The others fancied by her way of speaking
that it was all unsuspected by her in its
actual sadness-all the truth-and it took
them by surprise when a sudden catching
sob was followed by a burst of tears. She
had seemed quite as if stunned, poor little
thing, at first, giving perhaps,a few moments'





SYMPATHY.


respite to her terrible grief. People hardly
realise how deeply children feel. Very gently
and very carefully they tried to soothe her.
But the moment she could move, she started
up, and said she must go to her mother, and
so, poor child, she went.
It was in a lonely little cottage that she
was living now-all covered with climbing
roses-the passion flower and the starry
white jessamine climbing together round the
gabled eaves, and surrounded by a very wil-
derness of the trees and shrubs that give to
the cottages in English Parks a look so
peculiarly and beautifully still.
Mrs. Mellott-the wife of an old friend and
distant relation of Mr. Neville's, was very
glad of the quiet home thus offered her near
those who knew and loved her husband, and
who so truly sympathised in the uncertain-
ties of his fate.
She felt, too, that in them her little Lilla
would find truly careful and tender friends,
when, as she knew must be the case ere long,





THE HAYFIELD.


she would no longer be with her only
child.
The wide white curtains were now looped
back, and she lay on her couch near the
open window, where she could breathe the
sweet scent of the many summer flowers,
and hear the gay shouts of laughter from
the hay-field nest.
"My darling, Lilly, you do look so white,
what is it, my precious?"
Oh, mother, mother, it isn't true? You
are getting better, aren't you ?-you will not
die?"
My own darling-don't sob so, my child
-hush love. Does not God know-but my
darling-my own child, His will must be
good-don't grieve so, my darling-you
know how very hard it is for me to leave
you; but I try to be content-don't you
fight against God's Holy will-He will take
care of you, my darling, Lilly."
Lilly and her mother' were to each other
all in all. Mrs. Mellott indeed had the




SYMPATHY.


deepest and truest religious faith and hope-
ful trust to support her amidst her sorrows-
but Lilla, all heart, all feeling, all impulse,
her's was a dangerous formation to be thrown
loose and adrift upon the outer world. She
needed love so much-she promised to be so
beautiful and so gifted, and would the true
and the false be ever apparent to her?
Poor little Lilly-she had not much heart
for play; she went and sat behind the cur-
tain of her mother's bed; but ere the hay-
field party broke up and went away, the kind
and gentle Mrs. Neville had sought to take
away from the mother's pillow its sharpest
thorn, and she had promised her that should
Mr. Mellott never return from the scientific
expedition in which he was engaged-and
alas for so long only named as missing-she
would herself take care of, and train up, the
little orphaned Lilly.
Poor Mrs. Mellott-she knew how the
tender loving firmness of a mother's guiding
hand would be needed by her wayward and





THE HIAYFIELD. 83

yet warm-hearted and most loving child.
She felt the dangers that life would have for
her; but she was a Christian, and having
done herself-in duty and in love-all that
a mother's care could do, she could now
prayerfully and thankfully, trust in her God
for all-looking hereafter, again to find her
child.
















CHAPTER II.


IHE NURSERY.

"COME here, my darlings, I am going to
tell you such a sad, sad story," said Mrs.
Neville, as she came into the large, cool
nursery one evening, just before the dreadful
summons usually came-to bed.
The hay had all been carried now even
from the more distant corners of the great
Home Farm; but summer i'as at its height,
-the swing, and the doves, and the ponies-
and in the cool of the evening the little gar-
dens gave plenty of work and plenty of
amusement to all the happy little people.
They had soon made a cluster round their
mother; Reggie had fixed himself just in
front of her, and his great blue eyes upon





0b SYMPATHY.

her face, while he shook back his mane and
prepared himself to listen, and of course to
rebel against any sadness in the forth-com-
ing tale. Sadness in the language of Regg,
meant tyranny and oppression A column
of spelling, sometimes in the best regulated
nurseries, wrongfully inflicted, under which
Ada sighed, or a compelled quiescence for
Roland and himself, as the sequel of very
uncommon noise, which noise, after all, he
felt it was their right, as free-born Britons,
to make unchecked within their nursery
castle walls at least. Such were most gener-
ally the abuses which Reggie's energies were
devoted to remove. Torrie, always inclining
to ball-shape, had rolled herself up in Mrs.
Neville's lap. Roland held a position on
one arm, Ada leaned against the other side
of the deep cushioned chair. One of those
wonderful lavender-scented old chairs, with
its covers so frequently made clean, of time-
honoured patterned chintz. A sort of chair
which one remembers fondly, and with per-





THE NURSERY.


sonal detail, in long-after years, connecting
it somehow with the memory of one's
mother.
Do you know, dear children, a poor, dear
little friend of yours, Lilla Mellott, is in very
sad trouble. God has taken away her mam-
ma from her, and she has not got any one
now to love her, and take care of her."
"I don't think it was kind of God,
mamma:" Reggie spoke boldly, and de-
fiantly; but he dropped his voice too, and
spoke with awe, the holy name: "If I were
God, I couldn't bear to make people so un-
happy."
Hush, my darling, Reggie; God's ways
are all so great and holy, that we should not
question anything that He does. He loves
you, my children, even more than I do; and
He can see a long way on, and knows ex-
actly what is truly best for every one of us.
You must try and think, dear children, of
God's great love for us, and then you will
come to trust Him more,-to believe, though





SYMPATHY.


even you cannot see that all His ways are
holy, and beautiful, and good. Mrs. Mellott
loved God so dearly."
She didn't like to leave Lilla, mamma ?"
"No; she was very, very sad sometimes;
but don't you think, darlings, that if papa and
I were staying a long way off, and you were all
living here alone: suppose we said that when
you were good, and tried very hard to please
us, we would send for you to come to
us, don't you think the one we sent for
would feel very happy, even though he had
to leave the others, and even though they
did grieve to lose him? Now, Almighty
God loves His creatures so dearly, He made
them on purpose to be with Him, and to
love Him, and they are put in this world
just like a school, to learn to love Him and
to serve Him. Think of heaven as your
great home, dear children, the place where
you may hope at last to live for ever quite
holy-quite good, and beautiful in soul: no
more naughty unruly tempers -no more





THE NURSERY.


disobedience-no more unkind words--all
love, and happiness, and kindness.
But now, tell me, darlings, what shall we
do to comfort poor little Lilly ?"
Bring her here, mamma, for us to take
care of," said Reggie, decidedly.
"I will drive her in my four-in-hand,"
said Roland, with much kindness, no doubt,
but no great deal of self-sacrifice, I fear.
"We would be very kind to her, dear
mamma," whispered Ada, gently, whilst
Brenda added rather sturdily:
"Yes, of course, you know, as long as
she were good."
But fat little loving-hearted Torrie put up
her small mouth to her mamma's, as though
to give a kiss by proxy, and she announced
that Torrie would love littlee girl very much,
-'cause if Torrie had no main': Torrie
would cry all day, very loud indeed:" and
Torrie seemed inclined at the very thought
to begin to make good her words.
Reggie, with his dear old open face, and





SYMPATHY.


his great rambling, tumbling, bushes of
brown semi-curly hair, torment of nurse,
and grief of Regg, was disposed to resent
Torrie's weak-minded behaviour; he began
an uncourteous, and remarkably gruff:
"What a goose you are, Torrie; you-"
but he looked frightfully red, and choking
long before; and- his brotherly admonition
ended very ill, for he threw himself head-
foremost into his mother's gown, and the
sobbing was too catching-poor little Lilla
in her present grief-which my pet Torrie's
speech had made so vividly real to them, was
far too much.
Mrs. Neville, however, did not like at all
to let them spend their sympathy even in
these very heart-felt tears.
"Come, come, my children," she said,
when she had petted and quieted them a little
while, "now let us think what we will do
for dear little Lilla; we are all so sorry
for her, and feel so for her, and now you
know is the time therefore to think how best





THE NURSERY.


to try and make her happy, don't you see,
my own pets; by to-morrow you'll all'be
scampering about the park again, end think-
ing of your games, and of all your work in
the garden. I think we had better fix to-
night what we will do for the poor little
child without any dear, kind mamma and
papa to love her. I know my Regg will take
care of her, just as he would of Ada and
Brenda, won't you, my dear old boy? But,
you know, our girls,' as you call them, are
wonderfully ready to yield to'you."
"Oh, but, mamma, we like it; Reggie
makes such nice games, and he isn't down-
right rough; he makes a great noise, of
course, only we know he is immensely careful
not to hurt us."
"Oh, yes, mamma, to be sure, our girls
are very fair, I must say, for girls; they
don't make a great row, and make out that
a fellow's hurt them out of stuff; but," he
went on extremely earnestly, you know we
boys do mind. Now, for instance, we never





SYMPATHY.


get up half the pace with the drag when
we're driving them, and you know they
could go it quite well, and we are careful to
make them hold up, not to have any great
spill those days."
"Which means that you don't prepare
such frightful catastrophes as when I saw all
the horses down yesterday, in a general
overthrow."
"Yes, you know we drove over a preci-
pice then. Regg had both legs broken, and
young Cartwright cut his head to atoms! "
Dear me Well, I really doubt if Lilla
could be driven even when it is quite a quiet
day, especially hearing of such accidents "
"She hasn't learnt properly, I know,"
said Ada. Our boys have always made us
go well; but I dare say at first she might
not enter into it quite so much. I think,
mamma, if she might have that beautiful
little piece of ground by our gardens, that
she would like that best."
Do you mean the piece with the red rose





THE NURSERY.


tree, dear? That nice little square
bed? "
"Yes, mamma, just above mine, you re-
member? "
Well, love, I dare say papa will give it to
her. He will be pleased to hear that his
little girl likes her friend to have that;" for
it was a much-coveted little slip, and Ada
had been supposed likely to obtain it some
day. She now looked happier though, I
think at getting it for another, and at having
pleased her darling mamma, than two such
gardens for her own would have made her
ever. And that sort of pleasure lasts; it
gives people a generous sort of glow, in
which they become still more generous; for
in that sense, as in others, virtue certainly
holds good the copy-book saying-and it does
bring its own reward. The idea seemed now
so fairly set going that Lilla was to be treated
as they would like to be used, supposing
they had lost their own mamma, that Mrs.
Neville felt a very little supervision would






SYMPATHY.


be quite enough, chiefly to prevent any inju-
dicious kindness; so she stayed to see her
youngest darling safe in her white crib, and
then went away down stairs; but as she
passed their door an hour later, and just
looked in upon the boys, and saw her darling
generous-hearted Regg in all the disorder
of a boy's tumbled sleep-his eyes still
showing that he had thought again of the
troubles he had heard of-his mother felt
as, with little fear of waking him, she gave
him his usual nightly kiss, that he was indeed
a boy she was well justified in dating on!
Curious things those mother's kisses are;
don't we remember of old, going happily to
bed, knowing that the kiss would surely
come-there was no need to worry ourselves,
or to think of lying awake to claim it-and
what a nice feeling that assurance gave of
the waking care and love that watched over
our sleeping pillows. It was not a feeling
like a watching fairy-so much too true for
that-rather like a sweet shadow of the





THE NURSERY. 95

eternal wings which watch and fold us in,
of His wings who once slept Himself, sha-
dowed by a mother's love.
And when she had left her sleeping trea-
sures, Mrs. Neville went to seek for the new
charge-the poor child, for the first time,
sleeping all alone-and to whom that nightly
blessing would come no more for ever.







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