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"L L, JEi B YOU GOIN TO DO OW '- 4.
"WFLLL, JESSIE, WHAT ARE YOU OOING TO DO NOW ?V-Page 4.
THE AUTHOR OF UNDER SUSPICION," "CROWN COURT,"
SUNDAY SCHOOL UNION, 56, OLD BAILEY, E.C.
CHAPTER I. ... .. ... ... ... 1
CHAPTER II. ... ... ... ... 22
CHAPTER III. ... ... ... 43
CHAPTER IV. .. ... ... 61
CHAPTER V. ... ... ... .. .. 78
CHAPTER VI. ... ... 96
"WELL, JESSIE, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO
"THE CHILDREN CLOSED THE DOOR SOFTLY BEHIND
THEM, AND WENT OUT" ... ... 17
"SHE TUCKED A LARGE STALE LOAF UNDER IIIS
ARM ... ... ... ... ... 33
"AND SEE LUCY, AND CHARLIE, . M.S. HOWELL
GAVE ME THESE" ... ... 81
H JESSIE, Jessie, what will become of
us now, what can we do now grand-
mother's gone ?". sobbed two children as
they clung round their elder sister, a
girl of perhaps fourteen years old,
whose face was as troubled and tearful as their
own. Well might the children fear, for they
were quite alone in the world now their grand-
mother was dead; that day they had seen her
buried in Elton churchyard, and though they knew
they must leave the cottage which had been their
home so long, they lInew not where to go, or how
2 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
they were to live. It had always been a hard
struggle to get on, for their grandmother had only
been able to earn a trifle by shoe binding for a
shop in the next town; and this, with what the
parish had allowed them, added to two shillings a
week which Jessie earned at a little place she
worked at, was all they had to support them ;
still they had managed to live, for fortunately
rent was low in that part, and they had a nice bit
of garden in which they had grown vegetables
enough to half keep them.
But now everything was changed, the grand-
mother had died suddenly in her bed one night,
and only Jessie was left to take care of Charlie and
Lucy, who were several years younger than her-
self, and who still needed so much looking after.
Well might poor Jessie tremble and cry, as
her little brother and sister clung to her that
night after their grandmother's burial, for she felt
lonely and sad. They had been brought up by
this good old woman, their father's mother, ever
since Lucy was a baby seven years before, and
Jessie was old enough to remember their mother,
who died just then, and their father, who was a
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 3
sailor, and who used to come home after his
voyages, bringing them presents of birds and shells,
and other things from foreign countries where his
ship went to. But at last he did not come any
more, and one day a letter reached the old grand-
mother telling her of his death-that he had been
wasned overboard during a storm. It had been a
great sorrow to the poor woman, though the children
had seen too little of their father to feelit very deeply,
and since then the money he had paid for their main-
tenance had all come to an end, so things began to
Sget harder; still they had struggled on during
that time, and had been very happy, though so poor.
Sometimes the grandmother had felt troubled as
to what would become of these children if she was
taken from them, but she had tried to trust it all
to God, and to bring them up to love Him, and look
to Him as their Father, and from their earliest
infancy they had learnt lessons of His goodness and
mercy which she knew would help them in the
future if life was hard and difficult.
So now in their sudden loneliness, although her
heart was full of fear, Jessie kept saying to Charlie
and Lucy what she was striving hard to be quite
4 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
sure of herself, God will always take care of us,
we must pray to Him to show us what to do."
"Well, Jessie, what are you going to do now ?"
said a neighbour, who came in that evening as the
children drew closely together by their tiny bit of
fire, talking in low whispers of the future. You'll
have to get these two children off your hands and
then do the best you can for yourself."
But Jessie did not like that idea. I'd work
night and day, so as we could all keep together,
Mrs. Thompson," she answered. We've never
been parted yet."
"But you can't live on two shillings a week,
girl; that's what Mrs. Roberts gives you, isn't it ?
And who's to see to things and take care of the
children. Depend on it, they'll have to go into the
Poor little Lucy burst into a storm of crying
at that. Oh Jessie, Jessie, take care of me; oh
don't let them take me away," she cried clinging
to her sister's frock and holding it tightly, as if
some one was going to force her into the workhouse
that moment ; while Charlie drew closer and looked
at Mrs. Thompson with a defiant air.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 5
"Bless me I never saw such a child. One'd
suppose she thought things would go on the same
now her grandmother's gone," said she.
"If you please, Mrs. Thompson, I think perhaps
we'll be able to manage somehow. I wish you
-wouldn't say such things before Lucy, she's little
and afraid, besides she misses grandmother sadly,"
replied the elder girl.
Oh, very well," said the woman, with an
offended air ; its your own look-out, not mine. 1
thought I'd step in and have a bit of talk with you
as you're all alone, but I'm not one to stay where I'm
not wanted," and she walked off banging the door
behind her, before Jessie had time to answer a word.
Then Charlie set his lips and clenched his hands
in anger. How dare she come here and make
Lucy cry," he began, but before he could say any
more another visitor appeared at the door, asking
in a pleasant voice if she might come in.
Jessie knew in a moment who it was, and got up
to welcome her gladly, for it was Mrs. Holmes,
whom everyone in Elton loved, from the richest to
the poorest, who had now come to say a kind word
Sto the lonely orphan children.
6 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
Why, what is amiss ?" she asked, sitting down
and looking round. Lucy sobbing, and Charlie red
and angry, and Jessie quite pale and frightened.
My dear children, it is very, very hard for you, but
you must try and remember grandmother's gone
home-to a bright beautiful home in heaven, where
she will never have any more pain Lucy, and
where she and your father and mother are all, I
trust, happy together. You must not sob and
grieve like this, my dear; God will never leave you."
Please ma'am, it wasn't exactly because of
that," explained Jessie. It's because Mrs.
Thompson's been in talking of how Charlie and
Lucy 'd have to go to the workhouse. You don't
think they will, do you, Mrs. Holmes? I feel as
if I never could bear that," said Jessie, earnestly.
I hope not, I trust we can think of some other
plan," answered the kind lady, who felt so truly
sorry for these desolate children. I have come
down to talk to you, and see what can be done.
Come, cheer up, little Lucy, I shall pay the rent of
the cottage for another week or two until you
have some home, so don't cry any more. Mrs.
Thompson didn't mean any harm."
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 7
I hate her," said Charlie, under his breath,
but Mrs. Holmes heard him, and turned round.
That is wrong, Charlie. She didn't hurt you
by saying that; and even if she had, you know you
should bear it. What would grandmother have
Charlie hung his head. "She made Lucy cry,"
"Yes; and I know you are very fond of Lucy,
and it is quite right to take her part, if it is
necessary, but you needn't fly in a passion;
"besides, as I said before, I don't believe Mrs.
Thompson meant any unkindness."
Then Mrs. Holmes glanced round the room
which had lost the old neat orderly look it had
You've been all busy, and put out of the usual
way during this week, I know," she said ; "but,
Jessie, you must keep things tidy just as if your
grandmother was watching. Suppose now you
were to sweep up the hearth tidily, and put on the
kettle, and give the children their tea ?"
Jessie blushed a little, her grief and anxiety had
made her forget the daily work, but she rose at
8 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
once and did what she was told, and Mrs. Holmes,
opening a small bag on her arm, took from it a
little piece of butter and a basin of dripping. I
thought you might not have any in the house," she
said, putting it on the table, and then produced a
little packet of tea and some sugar.
"Now, Jessie, have you enough bread ?" she
asked; and Jessie said yes, they had sufficient for
tea and breakfast next morning; but when Mrs.
Holmes saw the small piece which was brought out
from the cupboard by the fireplace, she sent Charlie
at once to the baker's for a loaf, and bade him bring
in a pennyworth of milk too, for," she said, you
want a comfortable meal to-night to make you
strong and able to work by-and-bye."
When this kind. friend had seen the children
seated at tea, already looking better and brighter,
she went home after giving some more directions
Get the children comfortably to bed, my dear,.
and then go yourself-you will be better after a
good night's rest ; and then; be up bright and early,
and get all into order, just as if your grandmother
was here. And bel sure you all pray to God to.
take care of you and show you what is best to do,
and to-morrow I will come and see you again and
talk about the future ;" and so Mrs. Holmes went
home thinking very much of the three children,
and asking God to help her to be a real friend to
to them in their great need.
Oh, isn't she a dear lady," cried little Lucy,
almost before the door had closed. She isn't
proud a bit, although she is rich and lives in that
big house ; she speaks so kind-much kinder than
She is so good," said Jessie. I suppose it is
because she loves God so much, that she loves
anyone who is poor, for His sake. How thankful
we ought to be she is our friend; oh I'm sure
we'll get on somehow if we pray for help. Grand-
mother always said God wouldn't let anything
"It's precious hard to believe it always," put
in Charlie, but I mean to try." And they did
try to put aside all their fear that night, as they
knelt together and offered to their heavenly Father
the simple prayer they had learnt as almost infants,
and the two younger children soon fell asleep,
10 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
although their last waking thought brought tears
upon their cheeks, because they missed the old
grandmother's good-night kiss and blessing.
But hour after hour was struck out by Elton
church clock before Jessie closed her eyes. She
was thinking of so many things long past, as
well as of the years to come, years in which every-
thing seemed dark and hard, and yet which she
knew God would guide and help her through if
she only trusted Him.
I remember sometimes, how when things were
bad, and we didn't know how we'd meet the rent,
or get our winter coals, what grandmother would
say," thought Jessie to herself; I know manys
the time I've seen her look anxious and worried,
and then all of a sudden her face would clear up,
and she'd smile and say, We've got bread for
to-morrow, and God will shew us what to do next.
We must trust Him, and go step by step.' "
So Jessie, feeling that their Heavenly Father had
provided for the wants of the coming day, and had
found them a friend, resolved to try and go step
by step," clinging to Him, and not let fear for
coming years press her down, and then at last
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 11
she slept. Next morning she was up betimes,
and with Charlie's help the kitchen was in good
order, and breakfast over and cleared away, long
before Mrs. Holmes appeared; indeed it was nearly
eleven o'clock, after all, when Lucy, who had posted
herself at the window since early morning, called
out that she was coming in sight of the cottage.
Well, this looks better," said the lady, glancing
round the kitchen with a smile. You have been
good, industrious children, I can see. What did
I did the grate, and lit the fire, and filled the
kettle, and cleaned the knives and the windows too,"
That's right; and Lucy ?"
Lucy dusted the chairs, and put the things in
order on the shelves," said Jessie, looking quite
proud of her little sister.
"And Jessie did all the rest," put in Lucy her-
self, who had been hiding behind Charlie, looking
All very nice and right," said Mrs. Holmes.
You see how well things get done when every-
one helps a little. Now, I have been thinking a
12 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
great deal about you all; and really, Jessie, I feel
quite sure the easiest plan would be to get Charlie
and Lucy into some good schools, and you might
manage to get some light place and learn to be a
Jessie burst into tears, and Lucy joined, while
Charlie looked very much inclined to do the same,
if he had not thought it would be babyish in a boy
of nine years and a half old, and now he had such
a great desire to be manly!
Oh, please ma'am, I can't bear to part with
them," said Jessie. I don't care what I do, I'd
work day and night, if only we can keep together.
We only want one room, and we can live on so
very, very little."
Mrs. Holmes felt very sorry for the poor girl,
and yet she could not see how it was at all
possible for them to live like that. I wish you
could have your wish, Jessie," she said kindly;
" I know you would work hard; but, my dear child,
just think how little you can do. You get two
shillings a week and your food now from Mrs.
Robins, who, I suppose, will take you back if you
can be spared ; but that will go a very little way ;
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 13
it might just pay rent, but then what is to keep
you all? "
"I thought Charlie might get a place, too,"
said Jessie, humbly.
"Yes, I have thought of all that, perhaps he
might Jessie; but then the wages he would get
would be very small, because he is so young; and
then he would be losing all he has learnt at school,
instead of getting on with his reading and writing,
so as to do well by-and-bye. And then who is to see
after Lucy? She cannot be left to take care of
herself all day long. No, no, Jessie, you must try
and make up your mind to do what is best for you
all, even if it seems hard. I feel sure your grand-
mother would have seen things as I do."
But the children could not be persuaded to like
Mrs. Holmes' plan. At last she rose to go. Now
don't fret about this," she said, I shall see that
you have all you want for a little while, until
something is settled, and you are ready to leave
here ; meantime you must try and get used to the
thought that, just for a little, you must be parted
until you are old enough to work, and then you
will make a home together again."
14 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
After this friend had gone, and, indeed, for all
the rest of the day, the three children talked of
nothing else but the terrible trouble it would be to
be separated ; until at last, Charlie and Lucy's
distress worked so upon Jessie's heart, that she
promised to take them quite away from Elton,
without telling anyone, saying, they would do the
best they could somewhere else.
If only we could get to London," said Charlie.
" Oh, Jessie, don't you think you could find the
But Jessie shook her head. I know we'd have
to go through Hurst, and along the road to
"Wynham, Charlie," she said, but I suppose if we
asked, some one would tell us how to get on. I
don't know hew we'd do for money and food on
the road though."
Couldn't we take all the bread we had in the
house, sister?" said Lucy. "Yes, dear, but what
would we do when it was gone? Oh I dear, I'm
afraid Mrs. Holmes would be very grieved, and
she's been so kind, too; still, I can't help it, I
couldn't live away from you;" and then the three
children drew closer and cried again.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 15
However, as several days passed on, Jessie's
reluctance to go away became less, as she feared
to hear every time Mrs. Holmes came, that some
plan was made for sending Charlie and Lucy to
school; her own anxiety to keep them, and their
tears and entreaties to her to take care of them,
made her resolve to leave Elton without any
So, one day after Mrs. Holmes had been to pay
them one of her frequent visits, the three children
packed up some clothes into small bundles, and
taking all the food there was in the house, prepared
to start; but first of all Jessie had written a note
to their kind friend, which she left on the table of
the kitchen. This is what it said:
" DEAR MADAM,
"I hope you will not think me ungrateful, but I
couldn't part with Charlie and Lucy ; so if you please, dear
Madam, we have all gone away, and we shall try to get some
work in London. Thank you, dear Madam, for all your
Your humble servant,
It had taken her a long while to compose this
letter, for although she had learnt to write at the
16 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
school, and could spell correctly, she did not know
very well what was best to say in a letter; however,
when she read it out to her brother and sister, they
said it was "beautiful"; so the envelope was
closed with a bit of red sealing-wax, which had
lain in the old grandmother's work-box for many
a year, and sealed with the end of Jessie's thimble,
and that done, there was nothing else to wait for:
so, with a rapid glance round the kitchen, which
made their eyes fill with tears, the children closed
the door softly behind them and went out.
It was late in the afternoon, and the village
with its cottages was nearly hidden in the grey
shadows of the March evening, when the
children left Elton for the neighboring town of
Hurst. No one appeared to notice them or ask
where they were going, though they met several
neighbours who gave them a cheerful "Good-day"
as they passed on, but Lucy's strength soon
flagged, and she was tired of carrying her bundle
very quickly, and Jessie was wondering what they
should do, when, fortunately, a market woman, who
was passing in her cart, overtook them as they
toiled up a steep hill, and although a stranger, she
"THE CHILDREN CLOSED THE DOOR SOFTLY BEHIND THEM, AN]
WENT OUT."-Page 16.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 19
felt so kindly to them that she offered the three a
lift in the cart as far as her home, which was some
miles the other side of Hurst, and as they drove
. on, and she heard of the long journey they had in
view, she insisted upon giving them supper, and a
Nothing could have happened more fortunately
for the children's plan, as besides the help it gave
them, this made sure of their flight not being
discovered until they were a good way from their
old home, and would not easily be found; so their
spirits revived, and in their foolish self-confidence
they imagined everything would go well with
them during their journey, and any regret they
had previously felt was at an end.
Their new friend was quite interested in them,
especially when she found they had neither father
or mother, or any relation in the world.
"And what will you do in:London?" she asked.
"It's a bad place for three little things like you."
But Jessie replied, that though she was only so
young, she had been used to work, and she was
sure she could take care of Charlie and Lucy.
Poor children," said the kind soul, I'm
20 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
afraid you'll be lonesome in a strange, big place
like that, with never anyone to say a friendly word
to you." However, she made them up a basket of
as much food as they could carry, and started
them fairly on their way in the early morning,
first putting two half-crowns in Jessie's hand.
"You'll want it bad enough in London," she
said, and then noticing the child's hesitation, she
added, Nay, child, you needn't mind taking it.
For all we're only working people, we're not in
want of anything, thank God, and there's only my
master and me with never a chick or child to look
to us. Besides, we've got a few pounds put by
for a rainy day, so it would be hard if we couldn't
spare a trifle for them that's all alone in the
To Jessie that five shillings seemed a small
fortune, and with the one and eightpence she had
in the house and had brought with her, she fancied
they could want for nothing before they reached
London. "I think we shall get on beautifully,
Charlie," she said, as they walked briskly on with
light hearts and bright faces. Yet underneath
their smiles, each one of the children had a secret
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 21
consciousness that they were not acting rightly to
good, kind Mrs. Holmes, who no doubt by that
time would have missed them, and be suffering
the greatest anxiety.
SHAT bright March morning, when Jessie
with her brother and sister were walk-
ing so briskly along the Wynham
road, Mrs. Holmes was pacing up a
S basket of eatables to take down to her
three little favourites in their lonely cottage; and
as she walked along the lane which led from her
house into the village, she was thinking a great
deal about them. For sh3 had at last hit upon
what she felt sure would be the best plan for them,
and that day she intended to talk to Jessie, and
tell her that she would take her into her own
service to be trained under the housemaid, while
Charlie and Lucy should live with their coachman's
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 23
wife for the present; so that the boy could learn
to be useful in the stable, while little Lucy could
go on with her schooling as before, and help Mrs.
Morris with her two little children between times.
So with her mind full of this plan, which seemed
both good and pleasant for the children, the kind
lady went on to the cottage.
She tapped at the door-no one answered her,
but she lifted the latch and went in expecting to
find they were too busy to hear her. But the empty
fire-place, and the deserted-looking room, puzzled
her greatly, until she caught sight of the note
addressed to herself upon the table, which
explained it all.
. Poor Mrs. Holmes I she cried over that letter as
if they had been children of her own who had run
away from her; but she was more distressed by
the thought of the troubles and difficulties they
would surely meet with, than at their ungrateful
treatment of herself.
One thing seemed clear; they must be found,
if possible, and brought back to a safe home, for in
London they would surely starve; so all that day
messengers were sent in different directions to
24 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
search for the lost children, but it was all in
When days had gone by, and nothing was heard
of them, Mrs. Holmes was forced to give up waiting
for their return, so the cottage was let, and the old
furniture sold, the little money it fetched being
safely lodged in Elton penny bank in Jessie's
"For surely," said Mrs. Holmes, "the poor
silly children will soon find out their mistake, and
then they will write to tell me they are in trouble,
and I can bring them home."
So after a week or two the villagers left off
talking of the orphans' disappearance, and very
soon they were almost forgotten by their Elton
neighbours, but never by the one good friend who
still watched and hoped for their return.
For the rest of that day on which we have seen
the three children starting afresh on their journey,
everything went well till evening, when they
reached a little village just as it was growing dark,
and Jessie looked about anxiously for some house
where she might beg a night's shelter for herself
and her brother and sister.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 25
Summoning up all her courage, she asked an
old man whom they met if there was any cheap
lodging to be had, but he shook his head. We
don't think much of tramps in our village," he
said. Maybe, if you went to that farm yonder,"
and he pointed with his thumb towards a good
sized house not many yards off, the master'd let
you lie in a corner of the barn, he's a kind body,
Jessie winced under the word tramps." Had it
indeed come to that? That she and Charlie and
Lucy, who had been so carefully reared, should be
called by a name which she knew was applied to
the roughest and lowest; perhaps that one word
did more to convince the poor foolish child of her
mistake, than any of the troubles which followed
Half-an-hour later, the children were sitting
i n the farm house kitchen eating a good supper,
for the master of the house saw they were not
common tramps or beggars, and he pitied them
greatly; then they had a good bed made up in the
hay loft, where they slept comfortably enough,
starting again next morning on their journey.
26 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
Thus, for several days they managed, for every-
one was very kind to them as they passed through
the country villages, and many good wishes and
pence and scraps of food were given to help them
But after four days weary walking, Lucy began
to be feverish and poorly, the child had not strength
to bear the chilly air of night and early morning,
and although they had not walked many miles each
day, the fatigue had been more than she could
stand. Jessie's courage and Charlie's bright hopes
were sinking very fast, when they came to a large
bustling town, where people brushed roughly by
bidding them get out of the way," and took no
notice of their attempts to enquire for a lodging.
Thanks to the kindness and help they had met
with, the five shillings was still untouched, and
Jessie had seven-pence in her pocket besides, so
this, she thought, would last them a few days
if they stayed in this town till Lucy was strong
enough to travel on to London. At last, after frequent
repulses, they succeeded in finding a house in a
dirty back street where they were told they could
stay the night by paying a shilling ; and miserable
JESSIE'S TROUBLE. 27
"as the small attic was, Jessie felt thankful enough
for any place where she could get Lucy rest and
The poor little girl was too ill to eat, her throat
was dry and parched, and her head burning. "Why
Lucy, what ails you? said her sister, "you're
all of a shiver." The child replied that she did
not feel very well, but she lay still, and after awhile
fell asleep, though it was such an uneasy sleep,
with such terrible dreams, that she started up again
and again all trembling and frightened. When
morning came at last, the child was in a burning
fever calling wildly for grandmother," and seem-
ing not to know Jessie and Charlie as they bent
over her. Oh, Charlie, whatever shall we do ? "
sobbed Jessie. "Its all my fault. I ought not
to have brought you both away from Elton. If
Lucy dies, I shall never be happy again. Oh dear!
if we only could get back, I never would do such a
thing again. I'm sure Mrs. Holmes knew best if
only we'd listened to her."
"Oh, perhaps Lucy will be better soon," said
Charlie, who did not at all like even the thought
of returning to Elton when they had got so far on
28 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
the way to London, of which he had thought and
dreamed so long. Cheer up, Jessie, we've got
along wonderfully as yet, and all the money isn't
No, but what shall we do when it's spent,"
said Jessie; I can't be looking for work with
Lucy ill, and it won't last many days with paying
for a lodging."
So after a little anxious conversation, Jessie
sought the woman of the house, and saying her
sister was ill, asked if they could rent the room for
At first the woman was inclined to turn them
out then and there, rather than have illness in the
house, but her heart softened when she saw the
poor girl's distress, and at last she agreed to lBt
them have the attic for a week if they paid her
half-a-crown. Jessie felt it was a great price to
ask, yet she was so thankful for any shelter, that she
went back quite joyfully to tell Charlie they could
stay, although she did not know how they were
going to manage for food.
We must pray to God to help us," she said.
Oh, Charlie, I'm afraid we were very wilful.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 29
We never asked God to guide us before we came
away, and I believe it's all happened to punish us
for doing what we liked instead of what He wished.
Let us tell Him how sorry we are now, and perhaps
He'll shew us what to do."
Two days passed and Lucy seemed no better,
although she knew her brother and sister again.
The child had been upset by exposure and want
of sufficient food, and her little pale wan face, and
feverish hands, made Jessie's heart ache. Oh,
Jessie dear, I do feel so bad. Do you think I'm
going to die ?" she said, on the third night after she
had been tossing and moaning on the bed for a
Jessie's tears fell fast upon the little head as she
bent down over her sister. Don't talk so, Lucy
dear, I can't bear it. It's all my fault, and yet I
meant to take such care of you. Oh! what would
grandmother have said if she knew of this?"
Give me a drink, I'm so thirsty," murmured
the child. Oh dear, oh dear! why doesn't morn-
ing come ?"
Next day Jessie counted her money over with a
troubled face; it was getting so very low.
30 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
"Charlie, couldn't you try and get a little
place? she said. Maybe, if you asked at some
of the shops they'd take you to run errands."
"Oh, I'm afraid," said Charlie, shrinking.
" Come with me, Jessie, do."
But Jessie could not possibly leave her sister, so
after some persuasion, Charlie went out to try and
find employment in the town of Great Felton. It
was wearying work; he was but nine years old,
and most everyone he asked laughed, and told
him he was not big enough to be of any use;
while others said they did not want a boy,-
" There were boys enough, and to spare, all about
the town," so Charlie returned home in the
evening with a heavy heart, and a very sad face.
Jessie was almost as disappointed as he, yet she
tried to cheer him up. "Perhaps you'll have
better luck to-morrow, Charlie," said she, and the
little boy tried to think so; though when he
remembered all the sharp looks and words he had
received that day, it seemed very difficult to have
to begin once more his search.
That night the children prayed still more ear-
nestly for help, kneeling by the side of the miser-
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 31
able bed where Lucy lay almost unconscious; but
when they were saying the Lord's Prayer, and
Jessie came to the words, "Give us this day our
daily bread," her voice faltered, and after trying a
moment to control herself, she burst into a violent
fit of crying, which frightened Charlie. "Oh!
Jessie, don't do that," he said. "Are you going
to be ill, too ? Oh! what shall I do ? "
But his alarm roused the elder sister from her
grief. "No, I'm not ill, dear," she said, "only I
was thinking how we used to kneel by grand-
mother and say that, and though we were poor,
and didn't know how to get on, I never thought
we'd come to this. Oh, Charlie, unless God sends
us some help soon we must starve. The money
will be all gone to-morrow, after I've paid the
Charlie's sleep was very disturbed that night.
He was trying to think, before he closed his
eyes, of some plan to earn money, and uneasy
dreams troubled him till morning; then he dressed
himself, and went out early.
Poor little lad! Often and often he would
have given up in despair, but for the thought of
32 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
Lucy lying ill and weak in the miserable attic,
and Jessie watching her with such a tearful
anxious face. Shop after shop he went into, asking
"if they wanted a boy," until at last a good-
natured woman at a baker's seemed inclined to
You're a little chap," she said smiling, but
it isn't always the big ones who do most work.
Our lad left all of a sudden yesterday, and I want
some one to run errands near home. Who can
speak a word for you, if I try you ? "
Charlie flushed crimson. "Nobody knows us
here," he said. We were on our way to London,
only Lucy was too ill to go on."
The woman began to question him as to why
they were going to London, and so the whole tale
came out, and she felt so sorry for the orphan
children that she promised to give Charlie a trial,
beginning the next day, saying he should have
two shillings a week and his meals to begin with.
When she heard how poor they were, she tucked
a large stale loaf under his arm, and bade him run
home with it, for, said she, "I've got children of my
own, and I know how they eat bread and butter."
I II "
"SHE TUCKED A LARGE STALE LOAF UNDER HIS ARM."--age 32.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 35
Charlie needed no second bidding to "run
home," he was in such a hurry to tell Jessie his
success, and all that Mrs. Franklin had said to him,
that it seemed as if the way had never been so
"Jessie, Jessie, I've got a place !" he cried,
bursting in at the door of their room. It's at a
baker's; and I'm to begin to-morrow."
"Hush, Charlie; Lucy's asleep," whispered
Jessie, with an anxious glance at the sick child,
who opened her eyes. No, I wasn't asleep," she
said, what is Charlie talking about ?"
So Charlie poured forth his tale, and set down
the big loaf on the riketty table with an air of
"There, Jessie, I told you we'd get on. I
don't see why it won't be as well to stay in Great
Felton as to go to London," he said.
"I am so glad, and so thankful," said Jessie;
"its God helping us, Charlie, because we've asked
Him. He is so good to us, even though we've
been so wilful and foolish. Now, if Lucy would
only get better we might be happy."
"I am better," said the little weak voice.
36, JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
" The night before last I thought God would take
me away, and I'm afraid I wasn't sorry to
leave you, Jessie, for I felt so glad to think I
wouldn't be tired or hungry any more; but I'm
getting better now."
Jessie looked at the small white face and sighed,
" You want some meat or something to make you
strong, and I haven't got it for you. Oh, dear, if
we were only back at Elton!"
Don't be so stupid," put in Charlie; I've got a
place, and Lucy's better, what more do "you want,
Jessie,, you're never satisfied?"
Oh,. Charlie, I don't mean to be dissatisfied,
I'm sure, I'm so glad you've got a place, but you
see that will only pay for this room, and I don't
know where the money's to come from to buy
Charlie gave a long, low whistle; in his excite-
ment and pleasure he had forgotten what a very
little way two shillings a week would go.
If I could only get a bit of needlework that
would help till Lucy's better," said Jessie, pre-
sently. Charlie, couldn't you take care of her
this afternoon, while I go out and try to get some?
JESSIES TROUBLES. 37
You know I can sew very neatly, and perhaps I'd
So Charlie agreed, and Jessie tied on her bonnet
and pinned on her shawl, stooping down to kiss Lucy
before she went, and then very timidly she passed
out into the noisy street.
At first she stood still, not knowing which
way to turn; then taking the direction in
which most people seemed going, she soon
found herself amongst the largest shops in the
One after another refused her. All the work
was machine done now-a-days, they said; and she
would have turned away and gone home discouraged
if, in the last outfitting shop she had enquired at,
a lady had not spoken to her.
Can you really sew neatly?" she asked, and
Jessie answered that she could.
It is so difficult to find a good sewer now that
one has to take machine work ; but I have some
baby linen at home I should like done by hand.
Do you live far from here ?"
Jessie said it was some little way, and named
38 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
Not a very respectable part," said the lady.
" Is your home there ? "
So Jessie had to explain that they had only
taken a lodging there, until they could do better.
You can come round to my house now, if you
like, and I can give you the work-it will save
time. If you do it well, I may have more for
Jessie followed the lady into a genteel part of
the town, to a large house, in the hall of which
she was desired to wait until the parcel was ready,
and after a few minutes a neat maid came to her
and said, There are six little shirts and three
petticoats here. Mrs. Dudley would like them
home by the end of the week, if you can manage
That was Tuesday, and Jessie felt sure she
could finish the work by the appointed time, so she
promised to return it on the Saturday, and went
home rather more happily than she had started.
When She got there she found the two children all
excitement-wanting her to come that they might
tell her the wonderful news that they had had a
visitor; and indeed Jessie had guessed as much
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 39
before they had spoken, for as she opened the door
she saw Lucy eating an orange with great satis-
faction, and besides, there were two eggs lying on
the table, and a small packet which looked like
"You are better, darling," said Jessie, looking
delightedly at Lucy, who nodded and gazed up at
her with a brightness in her eyes which had not
been there for many, many days. "The orange is
so nice, Jessie, and she's such a kind lady, and
she's coming to-morrow to see you."
"1 And I told her all about it, and how we'd run
"away from Elton, and how we'd walked ever so
far, till Lucy took ill," said Charlie, "and I told
her, too, I'd got a place."
But who is it, and how did anyone find us
out? asked Jessie, getting very puzzled.
"1 Oh, I forgot to tell you that," said Charlie.
She goes all about to the houses to see anyone
who's sick or poor, she says, and when she came
here, Mrs. Stokes said, maybe she'd best come up
and see us, so she came. And after she'd talked
to Lucy a bit, she pulled two oranges out of her
pocket, and gave them her, and then, when she
40 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
was going away, she took those two eggs and the
little packet of tea out of her bag, and said perhaps
if you boiled one for Lucy with a cup of tea, and
some bread and butter, she'd eat it, most likely."
Jessie did not quite like it. Her naturally
proud spirit shrank for a moment from the idea of
receiving help from a stranger, but she remembered
as quickly that by her own rashness she had left
her former friends, and got plunged in all this
distress, and that she must be grateful to God if
He raised up anyone to assist her.
"I'm so glad you've got an orange Lucy. I've
been longing to buy you one, but they're getting
scarce now. So this lady is coming to-
Yes, she said she would," answered both
children, and Lucy added, She isn't pretty or
young, Jessie, but she speaks so kindly. I like to
look at her face so much."
Jessie soon made some tea, and all three felt
better for it, and talked a great deal about the
lady's visit, and Charlie's place, and the sewing.
Things all seemed brighter, and they said their
prayers that night with very thankful hearts, for
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 41
they were beginning to know for themselves then,
.what their grandmother had often told them, that
wherever they might be, in whatever sorrow, or
trouble, God was always near, and He would never
refuse to listen to them, if they prayed earnestly
from their hearts.
It was very early next morning when Jessie
awoke, but she rose and dressed herself, for she
wanted to get to her sewing; besides, Charlie must
be off betimes to his new place.
He had been told by Mrs. Franklin at the
baker's, to be there punctually by half-past six
o'clock, but long before then Charlie was off,
pacing up and down in front of the shop until he
thought it was the right time.
Meantime, Jessie and Lucy were talking quite
cheerfully, for the child was decidedly better, and
was full of the anticipated visit. "I wish we
could see down into the street," she said, "then
I'd sit at the window and watch for the lady."
However, she was still weak enough to be obliged
to lie patiently on her bed until nearly twelve
o'clock, when the sound of footsteps was heard on
the stairs. "That's the lady," said Lucy, in a
42 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
hurried whisper, just as a pleasant voice was heard
outside the door asking to come in, and Jessie,
blushing very much, rose from her work to set
a chair for her visitor.
^-('' N less than five minutes all Jessie's
-< shyness was forgotten, and she was
".Y.j'' talking to the visitor as confidently
-dr~< as Charlie and Lucy had done the
day before, keeping back nothing as she spoke of
the reasons which had made them resolve on
leaving Elton, and which she felt now had been a
"Yet I really asked God to take care of us,
and show us what to do," she added, looking up
in Miss Cunningham's kind face.
And He has taken care of you in a wonderful
way, dear child," said that lady. "It is quite
right to ask God to shew us what to do, but we
44 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
must not be in a hurry. God often keeps us
waiting for answers to our prayers, but you were
Jessie drooped her head over her sewing, for
she knew this was very true.
"And have you kept near to God in all the
trouble ?" asked their new friend, and this time
little Lucy spoke up saying, Oh yes, ma'am,
Jessie and Charlie never missed their prayers once,
and I said mine too except when I was so very ill,
and then I only asked Jesus to love me and take
care of me."
And who taught you all to love God, and trust
Oh, it was grandmother," replied both children
together. "All our lives she made us pray to Him,
and then she talked of Him as if He was always
"So He is," said Miss Cunningham; "He
is not far from any one of us you know, and
certainly He has watched over you in a special
way, and perhaps some good lesson will come out
of your false step."
I think we shall get on," said Jessie. "Charlie
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 45
has got this place, and I have the sewing, and I'll
try for more ; so between us I think we'll manage
But Miss Cunningham shook her head. It is
not to be thought of. It would never do for three
young children to be living alone in a great town
like this, where there is so much sin and misery.
My dear child, you do not know what evil might
come to you and your brother and sister, with no
one to watch over you."
"L But, indeed, we -will try hard to be good,"
"That is much, but it is not all. We must not
be too sure of ourselves, but keep out of danger
and pray always, Lead us not into temptation.'"
"Will Charlie and Lucy have to go to school
then?" asked Jessie in a low, sad voice.
I cannot say. I seem to have been brought
to you by .God to help you in your difficulty, so I
must do what appears to me best; and that will
be to write to this lady you tell me of, who lives
in your village, telling how you are here, and
perhaps she will still take an interest in you and
46 JESSIE'S TROUBLES,
Neither of the children quite liked that. In spite
of their troubles, and in spite of their consciousness
of having taken a wrong step, there was a pleasure
in being together and free from control which
they were not quite willing to give up; but this
new friend was so kind, and yet so firm, that they
could not make any objection, only when Charlie
came home they told him very sorrowfully that
Mrs. Holmes had been written to.
For the next few days the children struggled on,
Lucy was growing better, and Charlie liked his
place, and the woman once or twice gave him
bread to take home-so with the addition of what
Jessie earned from her sewing, they managed to
live, though it was in a hard rough way.
Then Sunday came, and for the first time since
they had left home, the three went out together to
God's house, and it was a rest and help to them,
for they liked to join in the prayers and singing,
and even in the sermon there were many things
they could understand.
I wonder if there's a Sunday School here,
Charlie; it would seem almost like Elton if there
was," said Jessie, as they were coming out; so,
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 47
after a moment's shyness and hesitation, Charlie
went up to a lad a little bigger than himself to
ask the question, and found that there was a
Sunday School, and that it opened at half-past
So, after their dinner, which consisted of some
tea and bread with a thin scraping of butter on it,
they all went off again, and Jessie and Lucy
were put to sit together in a class of girls, while
Charlie found a place by the side of the boy
whom he had seen outside the chapel, who knew
him again, and made a sign to him to come across
to his class.
Do you want to come to this Sunday School ?"
he asked. And Charlie said he did.
"( All right," replied his new friend, I'll get our
teacher to have you here, you'll like him ever so."
Just then the gentleman who taught the class
came in, and his eye fell upon Charlie directly.
"Who's that," he asked.
He's along of. me," answered Robert Foster,
as the boy's name proved to be. May he stop in
this class, Mr. Grey?"
"We'll see what he knows, and hear what our
48 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
Superintendent says," replied Mr. Grey, smiling
kindly at Charlie. And to the boy's satisfaction
he was allowed to remain when they found he was
up to the rest in his knowledge of Scripture.
Meantime Jessie and Lucy had been getting on
well on the girls' side. At first they felt strange
and dull, for the other children gazed at them, and
then whispered together; and one or two smiled
and tittered in a way which brought a flush to
Jessie's cheek, and tears to little Lucy's eyes. Bit
when the teacher came amongst them, they grew
quite quiet, and forgot the new-comers.
But this little one is too small for my class,"
said the lady turning to Lucy. You must go
with the smaller children, my child."
Lucy clung nervously to her sister, and was just
on the point of crying, when a familiar voice said
close by, "Why, Jessie and Lucy, I am glad
to see you here, and to their surprise it was
their first friend and visitor, Miss Cunningham;
but still more surprising it was to find that she
taught the younger class for which Lucy was
destined, and the child went off with her, quite
happily for the rest of the afternoon.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 49
It was all very pleasant, and as the sisters and
their brother walked home after school had closed,
they felt no longer strangers in the town.
I wonder whether we'll get a letter from Elton
to-morrow," said Jessie, the last thing before they
went to bed, and I wonder what Mrs. Holmes
will say. I think, somehow, she'll forgive us and
help us yet; and though we're happy together here,
I'll be very glad to see Elton once more. I have
had a lesson this time of what comes of taking
my own way."
But Charlie was of a different mind. I don't
want to go back," he said. "I feel sure between
us we shall scrape on very well; and, after all,
town is better than a little poking village like
Elton." Charlie was already feeling the pleasure
Next day came, however, and the next-a week
passed by, and still nothing was heard of Mrs.
Holmes; and Jessie began to be afraid that she
was indeed displeased with their wilfulness, and
did not care any more what became of them. Miss
Cunningham looked very serious about it all when
she came to see the children. "I see nothing
50 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
possible, but for you to struggle on here," she
said, "that is, if we do not get any letter from
this lady who was your friend; but you will find
it hard work, and I am afraid you will have reason
very often to repent leaving Elton. Still I
will do all I can for you," she added kindly,
"and I know several ladies who have promised
to keep Jessie supplied with needlework for the
Jessie thanked her and tried to smile, but her
heart was very heavy; she had not khown before
how much she had been trusting to Mrs. Holmes
to be a friend if they were in any great need;
now, the thought that they had lost her, lost her
too by their own ingratitude, was very hard to
bear. Poor Jessie did not know then that their
kind friend was far away from Elton when Miss
Cunningham's letter reached there, and that it
was months before it came into her hands.
Spring had really come by that time, and the sun
showed its face in the town, but the back streets
looked as dirty as ever, and all the children in
those parts played out of doors from morning till
night, so that there was noise everywhere. Boys
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 51
were trying-not very successfully,-to fly kites,
girls played with skipping ropes or battledore and
shuttlecock, or nursed babies on the doorstep, or
climbed railings. They were merry enough, it
seemed by their chatter and laughter, but unfor-
tunately, you could hear dreadful words sometimes
in the midst of their play,-words which made
Jessie shudder and draw little Lucy aside if they
passed along. They never went out for amuse-
ment, only to go errands, taking needlework home
when it was finished, or fetching some from the
ladies who employed Jessie; but as the days
grew warmer and closer, they longed for fresh
air, and green fields, and bright sunshine sadly
There, in their little room at the top of the tall
house, Jessie sat wearily at her sewing, while Lucy
played with an old doll a lady had given her, or
read in their few little books, or looked out from
the window upon the chimney pots and housetops
all round. And then the children would talk
of Elton, of how the birds were singing in the
big trees there, and the dandelions and blue-bells
and cowslips were all in bloom there, and then the
52 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
talk alwa3 s ended by wondering if they should
ever see the little village again, and if Mrs. Holmes
would forgive them after a while.
Jessie found it was indeed a hard struggle to
live, and if Miss Cunningham and others had
not been very good to them, I know not how they
could have lived; still with all the kindness they
received, they knew what it was to be hungry
very often, and not to be certain of a meal from
one day to the other.
But another trouble was coming, which seemed
worse than anything which poor Jessie had ever
imagined could be, and that was when Charlie
began to alter, and stay away from home more and
more after work was done, and on Sundays. And
then he grew cross and unkind, often speaking
sharp words to Jessie, and pushing Lucy from him
when she heard him coming up the stairs and
went running to meet him, returning to Jessie
with the tears in her eyes, and the news that
" Charlie was so cross."
Many a time Jessie tried to ask her brother
what was the matter, whether he was ill or
unhappy, but he only bade her "mind her own
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 53
business," and stayed away more ; so, that after a
while, she said nothing, but thought of Charlie by
night and day, wondering what had come over
And then Jessie remembered how she had
promised her good old grandmother to watch over
Charlie, and not let him get into bad company.
Ah! she couldn't keep that promise now, for
Charlie was out and about with all the idle lads in
the street, and nothing she could say seemed any
This, then, was part of the fruits of coming
away from their own village, where Charlie would
have been better looked after, and where he would
not have heard words and seen conduct such as
had grown familiar to him now in the back streets
of that big town. The next thing was, that Charlie
left off going with them to chapel on Sundays. "It
was hard if a fellow couldn't sleep a bit one
morning in the week," he said, and he would lie in
bed till Jessie and Lucy were gone, and then rise
just in time to eat some dinner before going off for
a long walk with his idle companions,-for Sunday
School was given up too. Charlie, who for the
54 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
first few weeks had been so pleased with his class,
so regular in his seat, now declared he "wasn't
going to be shut up in that hot place the only
afternoon he had to amuse himself," and in spite
of Jessie's entreaties and Lucy's tears, he refused
to go with them any more.
Things had been like this for several weeks, and
Jessie had kept her trouble and fears to herself,
for somehow she could not bear that anyone should
know that Charlie was not what he used to be ;
even when his Sunday School teacher called to ask
about him she tried to excuse him, saying he had
been working hard at his place and was so tired
he had not been able to come. But as he grew
worse instead of better, more cross, more away,
more determined to be with other boys, who she
knew could do him no good, Jessie at last confided
her secret unhappiness to Miss Cunningham, who
was indeed troubled and grieved by it. Ah, my
child, you see how bad it is for you to live in a
town like this with no one to take charge of you.
I don't want to reproach you for I know you have
seen your own foolishness, but it was a terrible
mistake you made that day you left Elton. I
JESSIE'S TROUBLES, 55
cannot think what is to be done. I will try and
see Charlie, and talk to him, but it is very likely
he won't listen to me. However, God can make
him a good boy again, and you must pray very
often for him."
But at the thought of Miss Cunningham seeing
and speaking to Charlie, Jessie was terribly
Oh, don't say anything to him," she cried,
"he'll know I've been telling you, and he'll be so
vexed, he'll love me less than now ; ah, I ought not
to have told of him, and yet I was so unhappy, I
couldn't help it," and the girl's eyes looked plead-
ingly at Miss Cunningham through the tears which
"(, You were quite right to tell me, Jessie," she
said. How can I possibly be your friend unless I
know how things are really going with you.
However, you may be quite at ease, for I promise
you I will contrive not to let Charlie know you
have spoken to me. I shall ask him, the first
time I see him, why he is never at Sunday School,
and I am sure that will be quite enough.'
Next day an opportunity came, though in a way
56 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
which Miss Cunningham had not expected, for, as
she turned the corner of a street in the part of the
town where her home was, she saw a crowd of
boys gathered round two who were fighting, and
the second glance showed her that one of the two
was none other than Charlie.
For a second she stood still, too shocked and
surprised to speak; then she walked quickly
through the group of boys, and laying her hand
on a shoulder of the two combatants, said,
" Charlie, is this the way you go about your
If a policeman had "collared" him with his
rough grasp, Charlie could scarcely have turned
paler, or looked more scared than he did, as
he caught sight of Miss Cunningham's face,
looking sterner than he could have imagined
"1 What are you doing here ?" repeated the lady,
pointing to the basket of bread which Charlie had
set down upon the pavement, while he had out his
fight. Still the boy was speechless, and the rest
shrunk off, looking very foolish and ashamed of
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 57
He hit me," murmured Charlie atlast, "and
And you did what ?" asked Miss Cunningham.
"I was just giving him one or two hits back
again," said Charlie, getting a trifle bolder at the
mention of his wrongs.
If anyone had told me that you could be seen
amongst a crowd of dirty street lads, fighting, I
would not have believed it," said Miss Cunning-
ham. Is this the way you keep your promise
of being a good boy; is this what you learn at
Sunday School ?"
Charlie hung his head.
"I haven't been there for a week or two," he
"No, I know you haven't for a good many
weeks. I was going to ask you why; but I need
not. I see for myself that you have left off trying
to please God, and I do not wonder that you are
getting a bad boy when I find you with such
wicked companions. Pick up that basket, and
come with me back to the shop. I shall tell your
mistress how you act when you are sent out on
58 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
That was something too dreadful to think of.
Charlie knew what no one else did, that already
Mrs. Franklin was growing dissatisfied with him,
and had threatened to send him away. If Miss
Cunningham carried out her threat, he would
surely lose his place, and then what was to be
done? With all the earnestness he could, he
entreated her to forgive him for "just that once."
Charlie, I don't know what to say," answered
the lady; I am so sorry for you all, so sorry for
Jessie who is working so hard to get a living, that
I don't like to bring you into trouble. But that
would be better if it taught you a lesson of
what happens by getting amongst bad com-
However, as Charlie begged to be excused, and
promised faithfully to begin to do better, Miss
Cunningham let him go his way, but before she
parted with him she spoke kindly to him about
the means of keeping out of temptation.
You promise me now to be a good boy,"
she said. "But you can't keep it by yourself,
The boy muttered No."
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 59
You have been taught over and over again,
Charlie, that no one can do right unless God helps
them. But you know, too, that besides asking
God's help we must try ourselves, and especially we
must put ourselves in the way of good, and keep as
far as we can from seeing or hearing evil. Now
by staying away from chapel and Sunday School,
have you been putting yourself in the way of
good things? "
Charlie blushed all over his face. I'll go next
Sunday. I will indeed," he said, and he meant it
I shall look for you there," said his friend.
"c And now, good-bye; try and be very sorry, and
ask God to pardon you for all you have done to
grieve Him," but as she went to her own home,
Miss Cunningham's heart had many an anxious
fear for the motherless, homeless children.
That evening Jessie and Lucy were surprised to
see Charlie come home straight from his work,
looking and speaking more pleasantly than he had
done for a long while. I'll tell you what, Jessie,"
he said before he went to bed, "I ain't going to
play about the streets like I've been doing of late.
60 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
I'm afraid I've been cross too, but I mean to turn
over a new leaf now."
Jessie kissed him, with all her old hope and
happiness returning; however hard she had to work,
and however difficult things might seem, she felt
that nothing would be very bad if Charlie was his
own better self once more.
T had been Wednesday when Charlie
resolved to "turn over a new leaf."
All Thursday he tried to be a good
boy, in the evening he came home
once more to his sisters, but he felt a
little less inclined to be kind than the
night before ; on Friday he began to try still
less and indulged in sundry games at marbles
with lads in the street, when he had been sent
out on his round with bread; and by Saturday
evening all his good resolutions were scattered
to the wind, and he felt that to keep his promise
was something too hard for him.
Sunday rose, bright and sunny; from every
62 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
church in Great Felton the bells rang out joyously
bidding people come and join in the worship of
God, and Jessie and Lucy said happily to each
other, Charlie is going to chapel with us to-day.
It will be so pleasant again."
But, to their bitter disappointment, Charlie
obstinately refused; though they joined in entreat-
ing him to go, and reminded him of his promise, he
declared he should have a walk-" it was too bright
to mope in-doors; chapel-going would keep for wet
Sunday when there was nothing else to do."
Oh, Charlie, whatever has come to you? "
exclaimed Jessie. "Have you forgotten grand-
mother, and how she taught you to love to go to
God's house ever since you were almost a baby ?
And when we first came here too, you were as
ready to go as anyone, and were so pleased with
your Sunday School, too. But you'll go this
afternoon, won't you? "
No," growled the boy, sullenly; I aint going
to please anybody."
But, Charlie, I thought you liked your teacher
so, and he's been to ask about you, too, and hoped
to see you in your class again."
JESSfE'S TROUBLES. 63
"Let him come, I don't care," said Charlie.
"No one can make me go unless I like. I'll
please myself now; and I tell you Jessie, it's no
use bothering me. I've promised to go for a walk
with some fellows I know and I shan't come home
till evening, so there I" and the boy whistled a
street air, and tried to look as defiant as he knew
"Clang, clang," went all the church bells;
there was no time to be lost before the service at
their own chapel began, Jessie knew, and yet she
lingered one more minute to plead with her
Charlie, I don't ask you to go with us because
it would make Lucy and me so happy, though
you know it would," and her voice faltered. "But
for grandmother's sake, her who's up in heaven
waiting for us to come to her some day, won't you
just this time stop away from those boys, and spend
Sunday as she'd like you too?"
Charlie turned his back and looked steadily out
of the window at the opposite house; he knew well
that in his heart he was wishing to give in-he
felt the struggle between right and wrong within
64 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
him, but he was so sure that Jessie's anxious face
would make him break his resolution, that he
would not meet it, for he was determined not
to be laughed at any more for a "muff," and
a milk-sop," and for going to chapel and school
"like a girl."
So wrong conquered, and with his back well
towards his sisters, Charlie shouted out, "I tell
you I won't. Be off with you and leave a fellow
alone, I say."
They went-then, quickly and so quietly that the
poor unhappy boy hardly knew they were gone
until he heard their footsteps on the stairs;
perhaps those were the most miserable moments
he ever passed in his life.
Quickly through his mind there passed the
memory of Sundays in the old happy time, when he
had been a different boy-of the Sabbath evenings
when he had bade his good old grandmother
good-night, and she had blessed him and bidden
him grow up in the love and fear of God; of the
many resolves he had made when she died, to help
and protect his sisters; of his Sunday School
teacher in the little village they had left, as well
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 65
as the new friend he had found in Great Felton.
All these thoughts passed through his mind
more quickly than I could write them, and he
wished with all his heart that he had never
begun to do wrong; but he had not the courage
to break through the evil influence which was
Eleven o'clock struck out from the parish
church, in a quarter of an hour he was to meet his
bad companions at the end of the street, so Charlie
brushed up his hair and tried to shake off his
gloomy feelings, but he was not very successful.
It seemed as if, do what he might, he could not
rid himself of the thought of his sisters kneeling
in God's house. Jessie, with her thin serious face-
ah it had grown thin and anxious from work and
care-and little Lucy so fair and innocent-looking.
Perhaps they were thinking of him-praying for
him-perhaps, even, they were crying about him;
and, at the thought, Charlie was very near crying
himself, only the fear of red eyes made him brave.
He could almost guess what hymns they might
be singing, and how the minister would look as he
got up to preach, while the sunshine lit up the
66 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
chapel filled with attentive people ; all this came
into his mind, sorely against his will, as he left the
house and went up the street to wait by the lamp-
post, as he had promised Jack Turner and the rest.
Poor Jessie in her seat at chapel, little thought
how Charlie was longing to be with them; how, in
his heart he repented falling away from God, and
how vexed he was that he had spoken to her so
roughly; she only felt that for some -reason he had
ceased to love her, and she was going over and
over to herself all that happened, to see if she
could remember how it all began, and whether at
the first she had put him out about anything. In
vain-she could not recall one thing, beyond the
fact that Charlie had picked up an acquaintance
whom he called Jack," and after that, all his tales
were filled with the doings of Jack and I," and
gradually he came to be less and less at home,
until things got to be as bad as they were then.
All Jessie could do now was to beg of God to shew
her how to win back Charlie's love, how to help
him to do right, and to forgive her if she had led
him into the midst of temptation in the great town
where there was no one to control him.
JESSIE'S, TROUBLES. 67
When service was over, the two sisters came
out with the rest of the people, but Miss Cunning-
"ham's quick eye sought them, and she tapped
Jessie on the shoulder, and bade her walk a little
way along the road towards her own home.
Where is Charlie ?" she asked. I saw him
in the week, and he promised me to be here
Jessie looked distressed. "He promised me
too but he is gone out with some boys."
The lady's face was both sad and displeased as
she said, "I don't know what is to be done.
Charlie has evidently got amongst bad companions,
and he must be saved from them, or he will grow
worse. I saw him fighting, Jessie; fighting in the
midst of a group of lads in the street."
Jessie's face flushed crimson, and the tears fell-
fast, when she heard that.
Oh, Miss Cunningham," she said, "we must
get Charlie away. Won't you please write once
more to Mrs. Holmes and tell her how sorry I am
for coming away ? I wasn't half so sorry at first-
I didn't see it all then as I do now. I thought
we could take care of ourselves if we only got
68 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
work, and I never knew any harm would come of
it. Please tell her I see how wrong I've been,
and if she'll only get Charlie away from this place
I'll work hard, and do anything she wants me to;
indeed I will."
Miss Cunningham promised to write, and tried
to comfort the poor girl; but it was a miserable
Sunday for them, and not until it was nearly dark
did Charlie come home, and then he never spoke,
only said he was tired and would go off to bed at
When Lucy was fast asleep, Jessie lay awake
thinking-most of her thoughts were very, very
sad; but mixed with them was one bright hope
connected with the letter to Mrs. Holmes. Surely
something would come out of it, and he would be
taken away from the bad company she was sure
he had fallen into, and then they might all be
Meanwhile Charlie was tossing restlessly about
from side to side. Tired he was certainly, as he
had professed to be, but his misery kept him
awake,for next daywas Monday, and none buthim-
self knew what trouble and disgrace awaited him.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 69
Those weeks of absence from chapel and Sunday-
school, of idle walks and bad company, had
worked a change far worse than the absence of
his merry laugh and bright smile; his habits of
truth were gone, from one thing to another he had
fallen by little and little," until he had given
way to dishonesty, and that dishonesty had been
In the beginning Charlie had not meant to do
anything very bad, as he told himself; going about
with his companions he had often wanted a stray
penny or so to buy sweets, or apples, or string, or
tops, like the rest did, and it was not always he
had one handy. So at the first he borrowed one
from sixpence which a customer had paid him
when he left the bread, and he fully meant to ask
Jessie for it and return it next day, only it turned
out that when he went home lie hadn't the heart
to ask her for one of her hard-earned pennies to
make up for what he had wasted; so he decided
to wait until his weekly wages were paid and
make an excuse for the money by saying he was
to receive it when he called again." But Charlie
found that having fivepence in his pocket belong-
70 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
ing to some one else brought its temptations; it
happened that he had such special need for a few
halfpence just then, and it would be just as easy
to pay back the whole sixpence as part-that was
the way he tampered with his conscience, although
it reproached him constantly and bitterly.
When Saturday came, Charlie knew Jessie had
not had a very good week's work, and needed all
he had to bring, so he put off his mistress with
another excuse, and thought he should find it easier
to repay the sixpence at the end of another week
than he did then.
He made it all right for that time by a piece of
"good-luck," as he called it. A lady in the street
gave him sixpence for rescuing her little pet dog
from a big mastiff who was fighting it, so Charlie
thought himself highly fortunate that no one knew
anything about it, and that the money was put
right so easily. Poor boy, he forgot then the One
who did know, the watchful eye which did see; he
forgot, too, that one sin unrepented of, generally -
leads on to worse, and his second fall came quickly
after the first, and did not cost him nearly so many
twinges of conscience.
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 71
And thus, finding "borrowing" so easy, he
had gone on with it until somehow, (and he
could not think where the money was gone) he
owed Mrs. Franklin half-a-crown; and, worst of
all, as he thought, she suspected him, and after
receiving a number of excuses, she had told him
that Saturday night when he went home, that she
was going herself to the house where he left the
bread to enquire about it. So, tired as he was,
no wonder he could not sleep, he was thinking
far too nervously of the coming day, wondering
whether Mrs. Franklin had carried out her threat,
if she would be very angry, whether he should lose
his place, and if so, what Jessie would feel, and how
they should manage to live. Monday morning's
dawn was most unwelcome to Charlie, yet, like
other hard things, it had to be faced, although his
face paled and his heart thumped against his
waistcoat as he reached the shop door.
There was nothing said at first. Charlie went
about his work as usual, eyeing everyone rather
nervously to see if he could observe anything in
their looks or manner to set his fears at rest; some-
times he thought Mrs. Franklin spoke more sharply
72 JESSIE' TROUBLES.
than usual, at others he fancied there was a sound
of pity in her voice which there wouldn't have
been if she was angry-still the day seemed sadly
too long, and he had never wished so much for
"1 You needn't come any more," said the mistress,
when all was done. Charlie's eyes widened and he
turned as pale as a sheet of paper. No, you
needn't look so frightened," she said," I've a right to
be angry, I know, for you've treated me badly, and
I've tried to be a friend to you. But I've thought it
over since Saturday night, and I don't forget I've
boys of my own that might go wrong too, if they
were left alone in the world as you are, so I shan't
be hard on you. Yet I'm not going to have a boy
about the place I can't trust, and I'm working
hard for my living, and I can't afford to lose even
a shilling or two, so we'd best part. I shan't say
anything to anyone, for I don't want to harm you,
but I can't give you a character, of course."
And that was all! If she had stormed at him,
boxed his ears, threatened him with the policeman,
it wouldn't have been half so bad to bear, as to see
his mistress looking so sorry for him. Charlie
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 73
gulped down his tears with difficulty, I-I-I'm
sorry, I never meant to steal, I meant to pay it
back," but there he stopped, for he hadn't another
word to say.
"I don't know its much use speaking of it,"
said Mrs. Franklin. I always thought you were
one of those sort who go to church, and such like,
and try to do right. I don't pretend to be a pious
kind of person myself, but I hope I do what's fair
and honest to my neighbours, and I thought, of
course, you could be trusted. There good-night;
and if you take my advice, you'll be warned in
time, and turn over a new leaf."
More ashamed and wretched than could be
described, he went towards home. Turn over
a new leaf!" Oh! if any words could have
cut him deeply, those did; the very words he
had used when he made his promise to Jessie
less than a week before. Where was the use now,
he thought despairingly. How was he to do right
when he'd lost his place and his character, and
there was not a soul in all Great Felton to speak
a word for him. And then what was to be done?
Must poor Jessie work harder and he only be a
74 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
burden to her, and how grieved she would be when
she knew what he had done, for he did not see how
he could keep it from her. Truly the lad was
finding out the bitter consequences of sin just
Why, here's Charlie," cried little Lucy, in
surprise, as he opened the room door. Why
Charlie, you haven't been home so early for ever
"There, don't bother," muttered her brother,
but as the child's face clouded a softer feeling came
into his heart, and he pulled her to him and kissed
her, a thing he had not done foi many a week,
not since Jack had laughed at him for caring about
his sisters. I'm tired, and not quite well, Lucy;
I didn't mean to be so cross."
Jessie looked up from her sewing-that endless
sewing-" I've got a little tea and some bread,
will you have it dear?" "No, no, I've had
my supper," said Charlie. It isn't that I'm
hungry-Oh Jessie, it's no use hiding it, it may
as well come out first as last. I've lost my place,
and worse still, it's my own fault "
For an instant Jessie's cheeks turned a shade
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 75
paler, but for her brother's sake she controlled
herself. "Perhaps you'll get another," she said, as
cheerfully as she could. You must try ; Great
Felton's a big place, and there must be a many
lads wanting in it."
Charlie shook his head mournfully, he knew that
a boy without a friend and without a character
stood but a poor chance in that town or any other.
Jessie saw there was some secret at the bottom
of the story, so she wisely kept from asking any
questions, and Charlie went to the bed in the little
closet which he called his room, without having
owned the truth; but when she heard him sobbing
there under the scanty bed-clothes, the kind little
sisterly heart could restrain itself no longer, and
in spite of the fear of vexing him, Jessie went
in, and kneeling down on the floor with one arm
thrown round him, begged him to tell her what
had troubled him.
You'll be so shocked, Jessie," sobbed Charlie,
for all his got up "big-boy airs were gone now,
and he hid his face on her neck, as he had done
many a time at home in smaller sorrows. "I've
been bad and wicked and you'll not forget it, and
76 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
you'll be telling me of it always-I know you
Oh Charlie, I won't, indeed I won't; said
Jessie. "If I ever did such a thing I'm more
sorry than I can say. Oh please tell me-perhaps
its not so bad as you think, and anyway it will be
better to know."
So, with great difficulty the tale came out, and
grieved and shocked as Jessie certainly was, she
never reproached her brother by a word or look.
Its been all very wrong and dreadful, Charlie,
I know, she said as she wiped his eyes and her
own; but God will forgive you this and every
sin if you are really sorry, and ask him for Christ's
sake to wash the stain away."
"I have asked Him, I do ask Him," sobbed
Charlie. But what shall we do Jessie ? How
can we live unless I get a place ; and you see I've
no one to speak for me. Its all very well for Mrs.
Franklin to bid me turn over a new leaf, but I
can't see what's to become of us."
Jessie tried to cheer him with the hope she
found it hard to feel herself. We must 'trust
and hope,' as grandmother used to say. Dear
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 77
grandmother! how her words do seem to come
back now, most as if I heard her speak them."
Don't, Jessie," groaned Charlie. Don't speak
to me of grandmother. What would she have
done if she had been alive and knew I was a
She'd be grieved, Charlie, I know, but she'd
want you most of all to be sorry and get God's
pardon. Oh its getting so late dear I must go,
for Lucy's not asleep and I've got to be up early
to finish some work. Good-night dear dear Charlie;
its all hard and dark, still God is sure to help us,
quite sure," and Jessie lay down to rest, saying
that over and over to herself, because she felt it so
hard to trust, and it seemed as if the very sound of
the words would help her then.
DON'T know whether Jessie, or
her brother's, face was palest when
They met next morning. Evidently
neither had had much rest, and Lucy
looked from one to the other with an
anxious face. She only knew that Charlie
had lost his place, and that her sister had asked
her not to talk about it; but she guessed that there
was something very sad which could make both of
them look as they did.
Their scanty breakfast was soon over, and Jessie
started on her walk with her completed work,
leaving Lucy and Charlie at home together.
Poor Charlie I he tried to sing and whistle, and
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 79
look out of the window, and forget that there was
anything the matter, but somehow all his efforts
ended in failure, and he looked as cast down as
he felt; whilst Lucy kept shyly in the furthest
corner of the room, trying to read and amuse her-
self, though she glanced across at him once or
twice, wishing he would speak to her. It was so
sad to be left at home there instead of going with
Jessie, and then for Charlie to do like that!
Both were relieved when the elder sister re-
turned with a fresh supply of work, which had
given her new courage. "And see Lucy, see
Charlie," she added, opening a basket which hung
on her arm, and taking from it a piece of meat
for cooking, a packet of rice, and some tea and
sugar. "Mrs. Howell gave me these, because
she said she'd heard from Miss Cunningham what
hard work we had to get along, and she liked to
Meat was indeed a rarity with them, and after
it was cooked and eaten, all three felt considerably
better and brighter. I'll tell you what, Jessie,
I'll go out now, and see if I can get anything to
do," said Charlie. I don't care what it is. I'd
80 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
sooner sweep a crossing than let you slave for
To his surprise, Jessie looked more grieved than
pleased at the proposal; the fact was she was
afraid of Charlie falling in with bad companions
in the streets.
Hadn't you better stay in," she said rather
timidly, for she was so very fearful of being
unkind to him now he was in trouble. Perhaps
Miss Cunningham may come in, and she'd like to
see you, and she might know of a place, or tell us
what to be looking after."
Perhaps she could not have said anything which
would have brought Charlie to his feet more
"Then I'm off," he cried. "I wouldn't see
Miss Cunningham for anything. I felt before as
if I co uldn't look at her ever again, and now, now
when I've lost my place-here give me my cap
But Jessie stood between him and the door.
Just a second Charlie," she pleaded. Listen
"to me for just a second, and then if you wish to
go I won't hinder you. Wouldn't it be better to
"AND SEE LUCY, AD CHARLIE, . . MRS. EOWELL GAVE M
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 83
tell Miss Cunningham? You see she's our only
friend, and she's so kind that we ought to be quite
honest with her; and of course she can't help
knowing you've left your place, and she's sure to
ask why, and oh, if you would but tell her
Charlie looked at the door, and then at his cap.
" I couldn't Jessie," he said. I'd do it if I
could but I aren't. What would she think of
me ? Yet even as he spoke, the thought came
that Jessie was right, and that, hard and disagree-
able as it might be, it was better than to have his
fault and disgrace found out later.
"If we want to get you another place, I don't see
how it's to be done, except she or Mr. Gray speak
for you, Charlie. And I am almost sure they'd be
more willing to do it if you told out the truth,
than if there was something hidden and secret
Charlie's breath came in quick short gasps:
right and wrong were having a hard time of it
within his heart, but this once right got the victory.
"Very well," he said, rather moodily, "it's got
to be as you like now, I suppose. Well, I'll stop."
84 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
Though the words were ungracious, Jessie did
not very much mind, for she knew how hard things
were for Charlie just then. Indeed, when Miss
Cunningham did call in, Jessie looked as timid
and shy as if she, and not he, had been the culprit,
and she helped him tell the tale as much as ever
Their friend was very good to them. She saw
the effort Charlie was making to own his sin, and
believing he was sincerely sorry, she hoped his
fall might be the means, by God's blessing, of
saving him from a bad life; and she talked very
kindly to him, not forgetting the wrong he had
done, not trying to make light of it, but endea-
vouring to show him the cause of his going astray,
and that the only way to avoid it in the future was
to keep nearer to God, and honour His holy day.
Before she left, she promised to let them know
if she heard of any employment suited for
Charlie, and bade them keep up their courage,
and trust in God, who would never leave or
"Have you heard from Elton, Miss? Jessie
asked timidly, as she went downstairs to the door
JESSIE'S 'TROUBLES. 85
with Miss Cunningham. But she was cast down
by hearing that no letter had come, and the tears
were in her eyes as she went back to her sewing.
All this long while, kind good Mrs. Holmes had
not forgotten her little friends. Very often she
talked of them, and still more often thought about
them, wondering where they were, and praying
God to take care of them and keep them from
evil. But directly after they had left the village,
she too had been called abroad by the death of a
near relative, where she had remained; and
although letters were directed to be sent on after her,
by some mischance the one Miss Cunningham had
first written was put aside, and did not come to
light from the corner of a drawer which was
seldom opened, until long after, when Mrs. Holmes
was at home again, and the orphans comfortably
settled after all their troubles. But the second
letter fared differently, for it arrived the beginning
of the week in which the kind lady was expected
back at Elton, and there she found it on her return,
and her heart was full of pleasure when she read
the message Jessie had sent her. For Mrs.
Holmes was not angry with the foolish children;
86 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
deeply pained as she had been by the manner in
which they had acted, her heart was not one in
which an unforgiving spirit could rest. She was
imitating her Master Christ, who loved to do good
to even the thankless and hardened; and Mrs.
Holmes did not consider Jessie and Charlie
amongst those; she believed that they had acted
ignorantly and hastily, and would have learned a
sufficient lesson of the fruits of trusting to them-
That letter gave her some hours' thought before
she answered it, as she hardly knew in what way
to assist them, though her wish to be their friend
was as strong as ever. So she ended by sending
some money to Miss Cunningham for their help
for another week or two, until she had time to
make some plans which would be for their good.
It was indeed a joyful day to the three children
when the news was brought to them that Mrs.
Holmes had written at last, and it was still better
to know the reason of her silence, and to find that
she had never forgotten them, or lost her interest
in them. The money, too, was very welcome, for
Charlie was still unemployed, and they were
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 87
relieved to know it was part of their own which
had been made from the sale of the furniture, as
they felt how unworthy they were of her help and
kindness, after treating good Mrs. Holmes with
such ungratefulness. However, they were all very
anxious about the future, for although they were
helped for the time being, the children had felt
enough of the hardships of real want to make
them dread being left to manage for themselves as
much as they had once desired it.
Ah, Jessie," Charlie would say, "if only
Mrs. Holmes would have us back to Elton, but I
don't suppose she would now, do you ? Besides,
I should feel rather shy at showing myself there.
My! how the boys would laugh at me for turning
up again, 'like a bad penny,' as they'd say."
"I don't think that would matter so much,"
said Jessie, thoughtfully. I don't say I'd like it
myself, but after all, we deserve to be laughed
at, and I think that wouldn't be half so bad as to
be left in this place any more."
"Miss Cunningham is good to us," put in
Lucy, and in that they all agreed, but Jessie was
old enough to know that to have one friend ever
88 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
so kind, in a large town, where all else were
strangers, was very different to being in the place
you were born, where every man, woman, and
child knows you, and would do you a good turn if
That time, although it was not after all very
long, had made a great change in Jessie. I do
not mean only because she was taller, thinner,
and older-looking, after so much care and sorrow,
but because she had learnt some lessons which
would never be quite forgotten, and which, as she
grew older, she felt had been worth going through
all the trouble to have impressed on her mind-the
lessons of mistrust of self, and confidence in God.
The little seeds of faith and love sown in her
heart by her good grandmother's care, were never
quite hidden; all through Jessie had kept clearly
before her one idea that God would help and take
care of them, but when she left Elton she had not
found out her own helplessness, her own weakness,
but had expected to be able to avoid all temptations
and difficulties which she was warned of. God
had taught her by sorrow to be more humble, in
those days and nights of anxious dread about
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 89
Charlie. Jessie had felt that if we brave tempta-
tion, and think ourselves quite secure, we are sure
to fall, and much of her brother's wrong-doing
she considered her own fault, for bringing him
within the sight and hearing of sin. If duty had
ordered their life to be spent in Great Felton,
without friends to guard and watch them, God
could have preserved them unharmed in the midst
of the danger of bad example, and bad companion-
ship; but their own wilfulness, their own self-
trust had put them there, so the lesson came through
the hard way of experience.
Over and over again Jessie had begged God to
pardon her fault; over and over again she had
cried bitterly as she remembered that Charlie had
grieved the Saviour by many a sin which he
might have escaped in his own quiet village, but
she thanked God, too, that He had come to their
help before worse happened, and now she clung to
Him more humbly, and therefore more closely than
she had known how before.
Things were like this for several weeks; Jessie
working hard, Charlie with no employment, all
three very anxious as to what they were going to
90 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
do; for they knew that after awhile winter was
coming, and times would be harder and things
Poor Charlie as he stayed in the close warm
room so many hours in the day, it seemed some-
times that his punishment was more than he
could bear; he longed so much to be helping
Jessie, and besides that, time hung heavily on his
hands always, for though he filled the kettle, lighted
the fire, and did other little things which were
possible, he found he could get through them in
"no-time, as he said.
At first Charlie had been rather disposed to go
out for walks, or wander about the town enquiring
for work, but he found it hard to keep out of the
way of the lads whom he had got to know, and he
had promised Miss Cunninghan to do that, and if
his own resolution was not very strong, he had a
great fear of meeting her at some inconvenient
time or place-for she went about in the town so
much-and somehow Charlie had never got over
the shame of being found by her that day he
blushed to think of, when he was engaged in fight-
ing. Besides this, it had got out amongst the boys
JESSIE'S TROUBLES. 91
of the town why he had lost his place, and since he
had deserted their society they had taken a violent
spite against him, and would follow him up one
street and down another, taunting, teazing, and
calling him names. So, all things considered,
Charlie preferred being cooped up in the room with
Lucy and Jessie, to going out in the town, but he
would have given a great deal to get away from it
all to some place where he had a fair chance, and
no one knew any harm of him.
On the whole, he bore the misery of that time
pretty well, but there were times when he was
cross, and brought tears into Lucy's eyes by his
snappish ways, and there were times, too, when he
was inclined to despair of doing any good, and
would declare that he couldn't try to do right any
more. No one cared what became of him, so it
didn't matter; and this sounded sadly in Jessie's
But, in spite of these passing moods of giving
way, Charlie did try to be a good boy, and perhaps
the thing which helped him most just then was his
sister's love. If Jessie had reproached him,
reminded him of his fall, and complained that
92 JESSIE'S TROUBLES.
because of it she had to work harder and later, his
heart would not have been so tender as it grew
under her gentleness, he would not have become so
firmly determined to strive that this his first great
fall might be the last. Often he would picture
to himself a bright dream of the future when he
should be old enough to work for his sisters and
make them comfortable, and then the prospect
faded, as his thoughts came back to the sorrowful
present, when he felt himself so useless and
All this time Mrs. Holmes had not forgotten
them, she was busy arranging some plan for
them in the future, but while she knew they were
not in real want she let them wait awhile in
uncertainty, because she thought it would do them
good rather than harm. At last a letter came, and
the children were half wild with joy, for they were
to go to Elton directly, and money was sent to
Miss Cunningham for their journey, and to pay
for their lodging to the end of another week.
Now that they were really going away, Jessie felt
as if she saw the town where she had suffered so
much with different eyes; amidst all the trouble