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OUT OF SCHOOL
GROOMBRIDGE AND SONS.
PSINSON A D RBY
SI-MSON AI)- GROOVBIUDGRKi,
IN SCHOOL AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
ETHE young people of the little village of .- rI'"-..,.. were
looking forward with anxious expectation to the first of
September. It was the day fixed for the examination of
the girls in the village school, after which the prizes were
to be delivered which had been promised by Mr. Brookbanks,
the rector, and the Miss -,., I- who lived up at the Hall,
mAd w\,-ho t, k a great interest in the school. There was to
be a prize given to the best reader, the best writer, the
neatest worker, and to her who had always attended school
during the past year most regularly and punctually. The
mistress of the school, Mrs. Presgrove, of course kept a
register of the attendance of all the scholars each day, so
that matters could be easily settled; but the other prizes
were to be given in accordance with the manner in which
they had acquitted themselves on the day of examination.
Almost every day after school was over, and Mrs. Presgrove
had dismissed the classes, did the girls saunter home talking
about the prizes, and the nearer they got to the examination
day, the more anxious they all felt about it. Younger sisters
who had no hope of a prize, were anxious about their elder
sisters, and those who thought they had a chance calculated
that chance over again and again in their own minds, and
did their best to find out what were the opinions of the rest
regarding it. As the summer wore away however, it almost
seemed as if some of the doubt and suspense were set aside
by the general feeling with respect to a girl named Phoebe
Gibbons. It was impossible not to see that she had a better
chance than any one; indeed there were some even who
thought that she would carry off all the prizes that were to
be given, so wonderfully did she exert herself, and so very
evident was her improvement. The Miss Shirleys could
not but take great notice of Phoebe in their visits to the
school, and Mrs. Presgrove, however she might pride herself
on not having favourites, could not help showing how very
proud she was of Phoebe. She did not always appeal to
Phoebe every time she wanted an answer to a question,
because she wished to make others in the class give her
an answer; but after two or three wrong replies were given,
or when she was tired 6f appealing to the rest, her eye
would turn to Phoebe with as much confidence in getting
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
the right answer, as if she were to read it from a book.
Eaoh morning, too, when the time came for unlocking
and setting open the school-room door, Mrs. Presgrove
would put her head out, and be sure to see Phoebe within a
,few yards of the gate, with her bag on her arm, and perhaps
a book in her hand, out of which sho was conning a lesson.
Her twin sister Ruth was often with her, but occasionally
Ruth would not make her appearance for quite ten minutes
after, which was not to be wondered at, for Ruth was
decidedly slow in all her movements.
There might have been some among her school-fellows a
little envious of Phcebe's great success in all that she
attempted, but. she was too good-natured a girl herself for
any very unkind feelings to be harboured against her; and
if some of the girls of her own age were occasionally dis-
couraged by the superiority she showed, they could not help
feeling at the same time proud of having such a clever girl
Sin the school, and found the convenience of having some
oni:. always at hand who could help. them over their dif-
ficulties, or explain what puzzled them when they could
not apply to Mrs. Presgrove. Mrs. Presgrove herself used
to call Phoebe her second right hand-and so she really
was; always so bustling and active in 1.. 1-:1'-.ii, Lui
the spirit of all the classes to which she belonged, and
always ready to teach a class of little ones when Mrs.
Presgrove was particularly busy cutting out work, or
finishing-off some that was to be sent home.
Phoebe and Ruth Gibbons were the daughters of very
respectable parents in Stapleford. Their cottage was the
very last in the village before you came to where the
palings of Shirley Park began, and the garden which lay
behind it on the hill-side was also theirs. Their father was
a nursery-man and florist, so that at all times and seasons
there were square patches of some bright-coloured flowers
or other to be seen on that sloping garden, and unusually
choice creepers and climbers about the windows and porch
of the cottage. The boundary of the garden at the top was
part of the pine and fir plantation which skirted Shirley
Park, and by shutting out the cold winds from the flower-
beds, was considered to be one of the causes for Andrew
Gibbons succeeding so well with the more delicate kinds of
herbaceous plants, though his industry and good knowledge of
gardening had of course much to do with it. To look at the
Gibbons' cottage, one would almost fancy them to be better
off than any of their neighbours, so neat and comfortable
was the air of the place, but the rent of their house and
garden was high, and the profit from the sale of plants and
the produce of their fruit-trees was uncertain; besides
which, Andrew Gibbons had built his greenhouse and
forcing-frames with borrowed money, for which he had to,
pay high interest until he could manage to pay it off by
instalments. Still, as he said, he could see his way very
clearly, and as soon as his girls were able to maintain
themselves, all would go well. In the meantime, however,
he was ready to make every sacrifice for the sake of their
getting a good education. Phoebe might, a year before the
time we write of, have had a place at a neighboring farm-
house, but her father and mother could not bear the thought
of taking her away from her book," especially as she wa.
making such very satisfactory progress, and they willingly
made the necessary sacrifice for the schooling and mainten-
ance of both the girls for yet another year, seeing, as they
said, the wonderful start Phoebe was making, and consider-
ing that Ruth was somewhat backward. Both father and
mother were thrifty and industrious, and the former, who
was a Scotchman by birth, set a high value on education.
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
Reports of Phoebe's reputation at school were most gratify-
ing to them, and they, too, looked forward with no little
interest to the display which would be made of her
"forwardness" on the important examination day.
. The summer wore on, and nothing interfered with the
general expectation of Phoebe's success. The most that any
of her companions could hope for was, that one out of the
"four prizes to be given might fall to their lot; and their
mistress, Mrs. Presgrove, had difficulty in keeping up their
zeal in those matters where, after all, the proficiency of the
whole school was to her of more importance than the
excellence of one pupil. She said a great deal to the girls
about none of their efforts being lost, even if they did not
secure a prize; and she reminded the more timid ones, who
were sure of not being seen to advantage in anything like
a public examination, that the feeling that we have done
our best, is the next best thing to the satisfaction of gaining
a prize. Among these timid ones was Ruth Gibbons,
Phoebe's sister. The two sisters were so different in this
respect, that they could hardly understand each other's
"How could you be so stupid, Ruth," said Phcebe one day,
as they returned hom6, after having been questioned by one
of the Miss Shirleys about the different countries of Europe,
and asked the names of their capitals ; "how could you say
that Portugal was the capital of Spain ? I am sure you
"Oh, yes, I really did know better; but I was so flurried
by Miss Louisa's taking the class instead of Mrs. Presgrove.
It made me so frightened that I did not know what I was
"How strange of you, Ruth. Why, that was the very
thing that made me so particular about giving right
answers. I should have been so ashamed of making a
blunder before Miss Louisa."
Ah, you! Phcebe-but you're so different from me," said
Ruth in a humble tone of voice.
Among other things which were preparing for the ex-
amination day, was the recitation of some little poems and
hymns, and Miss Louisa Shirley had taken the greatest
pains with the girls to get these nicely learned and well
delivered. She was very particular about the accent and
tone of the girls as they repeated poetry, and she had taken
care that they learned nothing which they did not under-
stand. Nothing was to be jabbered or gabbled, and to
prevent this, she taught the girls to repeat the verses after
her without seeing the book, so that they got right sound and
right sense from the very first. Now, even in this Phoebe
Gibbons showed a greater quickness than all the other girls
in Miss Louisa's class. She liked poetry, and she recited it
in a pleasant tone, and with correct accent, as if she felt it
all. It was really a pleasure to hear her repeat, amongst
other things, the beautiful lines beginning Prayer is the
soul's sincere desire;" and she could go through all the
verses of the poem without her memory once failing her.
After taking so much pains with the girls as Miss Louisa
Shirley had done, it was no wonder that she was proud of
her success with Phoebe. Her sister Gertrude was in
delicate health, and could not often get down to see what
was going on at the school-house, so that it was quite
natural, that Phoebe should be asked to come up to the
Hall one evening, to recite to her her favourite poems, and
that some strange ladies, who were visiting there, should be
in the room when she went through them. Phoebe was on
this occasion a little nervous, and blushed very red when
she saw the circle of listeners around Miss Gertrude's sofa;
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
but she acquitted herself very well, and gained great credit
to her teacher, Miss Louisa. She recited not only Mont-
gomery's "Prayer," but his lines on the Grave :" and she
herself offered to repeat The Better Land," if Miss Louisa
liked; and really astonished them all, by the very expressive
way in which she marked the difference between the
questions of the child and the answers of the mother in
this little poem.
As Phoebe went home that evening, she met Mr. Brook-
banks, the clergyman, as she crossed the park to her father's
cottage; and he found out, from her answers to his inquiries,
what had been the object of her visit up at the Hall. He
made no remark to Phoebe, but that evening he sat down
by the side of Miss Louisa as she was making tea in the
drawing-room, and drawing his chair close up to her's he
.said-" So you have had Phoebe Gibbons here this evening
showing off, have you ? Take care that you do not make
Oh, Mr. Brookbanks, do you think I would do that ?
You don't know how modest she is, and well behaved. I
"Well, it may be so. my good young lady, but at all
events take care."
-~- 1 1
.~L; i~ /
I :i S~i~S
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
THE examination-day came at last; and if there were any
who dreaded what it might bring, they certainly kept their
fears to themselves, for it seemed as if there had never been
any event in the village of Stapleford which made a day so
much of the nature of a festival. This was principally
owing to the kind plans of Mr. Brookbanks, and the family
at the Hall. It was determined that it should be made
quite a holiday in the village, and that all the parents of the
children should be invited to take tea in the school-room,
after the business of the day was over. Mrs. Yates, the
housekeeper at the Hall, was deputed to see after the cake
.and bread and butter for the large party that was expected
to assemble; and Mrs. Brookbanks, the rector's lady, under-
took to superintend the arrangements for the tea ana coffee;
and everything was to be so contrived, that when the
examination was over, and the prizes given, only a short
interval of time would be requisite, in order to convert the
school-room into a tea-room, in which accommodation
would be found for all.
Mrs. Presgrove, perhaps, from among those who were to
"be present, was the least able to look upon it as a day of
pleasure. She could not help feeling nervous as to how her
girls would acquit themselves. She assembled school that
morning at the usual hour, but nothing was attempted
beyond getting things in order for the afternoon. Some of
the classes were heard in a hurried sort of way, just to
make herself sure of one or two points, where she dreaded
"that there might not be as creditable an amount of pro-
ficiency shown as she could wish-then the books were all
put away, the slates collected together, and the work locked
up. Two or three of the elder girls stayed behind, after
the rest were dismissed, to help Mrs. Presgrove in arranging
the school-room. The floor was carefully swept, tables
and benches dusted again and again, and the black board
cleared of every particle of chalk. Phoebe and Ruth
Gibbons were among the girls chosen for these offices. In
"the midst of all the bustle, they were observed to cast
wistful looks every now and then up the lane towards home ;
and this was explained soon by their little brother David
making his appearance with an immense clothes-basket full
of flowers, almost more than. he could carry, which were
sent by his father for the decoration of the school-room.
Almost every dahlia that his garden contained had been
cut, as well as lots of asters, and phlox and scarlet geraniums.
Mrs. Presgrove was delighted at the sight of the flowers,
and a number of ambitious schemes came into her head as
to how they should be disposed of. It was just what she
wanted to conceal some ink-stains on the tables and desks-
and the places where the plaster had fallen off the walls-
what a charming thing if these could be covered! A number
of plans were tried, when all at once a happy thought
struck her. The dahlia flowers could not only be arranged
against the wall, but they might have a motto with them,
like the Victoria and Albert, which had been so much
admired at the flower show at N- the autumn before.
Then came the difficulty about what should be the inscrip-
tion; and after rejecting many good proverbs as too long,
and not sufficiently appropriate, she decided upon request-
ing the assistance of Mr. Brookbanks. A deputation was
going up to the Rectory, to fetch some cups and saucers,
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
and Mr. Brookbanks should be asked to furnish them a
motto-a single word, in fact, if one could only be found
"which would mean a great deal. Back with the cups and
saucers, after being kept by Mr. Brookbanks a wonderfully
short time, as the girls thought, came a piece of paper for
Mrs. Presgrove, on which was written the word "Excelsior,"
and a message to say, that if she did not know what it
meant, he would take occasion to explain it after the
examination was over.
After a private look into her dictionary, where it was not
to be found, Mrs. Presgrove frankly confessed to the girls
that she did not know the meaning of the word; but it
was just the right length for the scar upon the wall, and
that it meant a great deal, she had no manner of doubt.
They set to work; and with the help of a strip of white
calico stretched across the wall at the head of the room,
they contrived to write in flowers the mysterious word.
Nothing could look better than it did-each letter being
formed of a separate colour, and there being among the
dahlias quite as many as nine distinct and brilliant hues,
from the red, which was almost as deep as black, to the
This inscription, together with the large nosegays placed
about the room-bough-pots, as Mrs. Presgrove called them
-seemed to convert their well-known school-room into
something as like fairy-land as any of those girls were able
to picture for themselves; and if it had not been for the
table at the end of the room covered with a green cloth,
behind which Mr. Brookbanks was to sit when he examined
them, and before which the different classes were to stand
-a part of the arrangements which made their hearts beat
whenever they looked that way-they would never have
been tired of gazing around them, and admiring the results
,if their labour. But three o'clock struck, when all was
ready, and the girls were sent home to dress themselves in
their Sunday frocks, in time for the assembling of all the
:company at four.
It was really a pretty sight to see the turning out of the
whole of the village children, dressed in their best, and
marshalling in order to walk to the school-house, while
such of the parents as were disengaged at that early hour.
were also wending their way to it in their neatest and
smartest attire. A much larger group of ladies than was
expected issued, too, from the gates of Shirley Park, and
Mr. and Mrs. Brookbanks had friends with them from the
It had struck four before the carriage from the Hall drove
up with Miss Gertrude, who was not able to walk down;
.and then the proceedings began. Mr. Brookbanks was at
his post at the head of the room, with the ladies on each
side of him. The children were in the middle on their
benches, and the mothers were around Mrs. Presgrove's
chair at the other end. People had hardly time to look
around them at the pretty decorations, and to wonder at
the curious flower-word, before Mr. Brookbanks summoned
Mrs. Presgrove to tell him in what she wished her pupils to
be examined. A paper was given to him, and then the
different classes were called up in the order arranged
beforehand, while Mr. Brookbanks took notes, as he went
*on, of the manner in which each member of the class ac-
Better, of course, than any one, Mrs. Presgrove knew,
directly a question was asked, whether it would get an
answer. She would wince, and flush quite red, when one
came that was decidedly too difficult, or so differently put
from the way she was accustomed to ask it, that she feared
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
it would not be understood. She was allowed, on several
occasions, to explain, which was only fair; and at other
times she at once said, that "that was one of the branches
of the subject to which she had not yet turned their atten-
tion." No one thought the worse of Mrs. Presgrove as a
teacher for frankly acknowledging this; but on the con-
trary, only wondered how she had been able to teach them
so much. The answers of some of the girls quite surprised
even the very well educated listeners. They were quite
sure, indeed, that at their age they had not known so
much. In arithmetic, especially, when it came to the
black board being brought forward, and the chalk sums
set on the different rules, every one was astonished at the
quickness of even the little ones, and Mrs. Presgrove got
"great credit. Mr. Brookbanks asked, too, some very puz-
zling questions, "to be done in the head," and got wonder-
fully correct and ready answers.
"How remarkably well that nice-looking tall girl, whom
they call Phmebe, answers !" said one of the ladies.
"Oh yes," said Miss Gertrude, in a whisper, "that is our
favourite, Phoebe Gibbons. But you will hear her recite
poetry, presently, quite ... ,;iii She is :.. I! a very
The examination of copy-books came next, and then tl e
work. Specimens of all sorts of stitches-sewing, hem-
ming, stitching, herring-boning, and gathering-were neatly
arranged on sheets of coloured paper ; and even make-
believe darns and button-holes were exhibited; and as
each of these specimen papers was filled with one girl's
work, and marked with a number which only Mrs. Pres-
grove knew, the prize could be awarded quite fairly before
it was known who would claim it. With the writing it was
the same. There were no names in the copy-hooks, but
the one which all should determine to be the best was to be
set aside for the prize.
The reading and recitations then followed ; and, as every
one had expected, Phobe Gibbons was, beyond any doubt,
the one who did best. After her clear, distinct, and well-
toned reading of the Sermon on the Mount had been
heard, together with her correct answers to Mr. Brook-
banks' rather difficult questions, there was no one who felt
a moment's hesitation about her deserving the prize which
Miss Louisa Shirley had offered. The neatly bound gilt-
edged bible was handed to her by Mr. Brookbanks, with a
few kind and earnest words, which sank deep into Phoebe's
heart. He said she had shown that she was well acquainted
with the letter of its contents, and he hoped' that her future
life would show that she also understood its spirit.
A neat little work-box was then handed by Mrs. Brook-
banks to the girl who claimed the best specimens of needle-
work,-Mary Groves. There -was then a long discussion
among the ladies over the copy-books-two of them show-
ing such decided superiority over the rest, that the matter
could not be settled, until Mr. Brookbanks, who had offered
this prize, decided that he would give two books, one to
each of their owners. It turned out that these were Phebe
and Ruth Gibbons ; and every one was glad that the good
and quiet Ruth was to have a prize as well as her sister.
Last of all came the prize for punctual attendance at
school. Mrs. Presgrove produced her book, which kept a
report of the daily attendance of the girls,. The numbers
were cast up, and there was quite a murmur of applause in
the room when Phoebe Gibbons was also declared to have
gained this prize. Mr. Brookbanks pointed out that it was
not to be wondered at that punctual attendance at school
should have secured progress ard excellence in other
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
matters. 'It was the cause, in a great measure, and the
other was the effect. He hoped that it would encourage
the others to be steady in their attendance at school in
future; and he remarked to Phcebe, as she advanced to.
receive it, that no doubt she had to thank the early good
habits implanted by her industrious father and mother for
this additional prize. It was observed how, at these words,
Phcebe blushed a deep crimson, and looked across at Ruth,,
who sat on an opposite bench. She seemed as if she
wanted to say something; but no sound came from her
"Poor Phoebe seems quite agitated with her great success,"
said Miss Louisa, and she kindly told her that she might go
to her seat again.
Everybody agreed with Mr. Brookbanks now in regretting
that there were not more prizes to be bestowed. No one
doubted that they had been most fairly awarded ; although
one girl had alone carried off three of themn-but there were
many of the other girls who had acquitted themselves so
very well, that the mere mention of their names, with words
of approval and praise, was scarcely enough to satisfy the
judges. Mr. Brookban'ks, however, pointed out, in his con-
cluding little speech, that those had after all the reward
& of knowing that they had done their best, and of being able
to perceive themselves how much progress had been made
since that day last year. "And now," said he, pulling out
his watch, "who will get the prize for the best cup of tea
in half an. hour's time; for I shall certainly be back to
The ladies then withdrew-all but Miss Louisa and
Mrs. Brookbanks, who stayed to make tea, and take it, too,
with the large party of parents and children that was to
In the little garden in front of the school-house was seen
a crowd of girls round Phoebe Gibbons, to look at her
beautiful prizes; and there were many of the elder girls
who were not sorry to remember that they were not likely
to have such a formidable rival at the next year's examina-
tion; for Phoebe was most certainly to leave school in the
spring; so that some of their exertions were sure to be
crowned with success, and there was no doubt but that Mr.
Brookbanks and the Miss Shirleys would give as many
prizes next year. This was all said amongst themselves,
and it prevented a too deep feeling of mortification at their
ill-success, and very luckily, too, prevented any feeling of
jealousy towards Phoebe. In less time than had been
thought possible, and before the appointed half-hour had
expired, the long tables down each side of the room were
set out and spread; the white cloths and numerous tea-trays,
and piles of bread and butter and cake, giving good promise
of plenty for the very large party of old and young. All
were seated-'tea-cups were rattling, and voices buzzing in
happy talk-when Mr. Brookbanks returned, bringing a
nice little book for the extra prize to Ruth. He took his
place at the headof one of the tables, and it was generally
expected that, after tea, he would make something of a
speech or address, which many of the fathers and mothers
who had never heard him, except in the pulpit, were very
anxious to hear.
When the last cup of tea was poured out and drunk, and
the plates began at last to stand still, and Mr. Brookbanks
arose, and began his address by saying how much pleasure
it gave him to meet so large a number of his parishioners
on so pleasant an occasion-an occasion which had shown
them what good progress had been made during the last
year in the knowledge of those whose duty it was to learn.
"AND OUT OF .ISC(lOL.
The young people had proved that they were doing their
best to avail themselves of the means of instruction and
improvement which were offered to them. They had gained
knowledge which, for the whole of their lives afterwards,
might be conc'dered a valuable possession, which neither
time nor change could take from them, and which night, if
they liked, go a great way towards helping them forward in
the world. But he must remind them that knowledge
was not all that was to be desired. He had been asked
to furnish a motto for the decoration of their room, and he
had chosen a word which, though perhaps unknown to most
present, was yet full of meaning-and he turned and pointed
to the pretty dahlia-word across the wall--
Should he tell them why lie fixed on that word ? He
happened to have been reading, that very morning, a little
poem, which told a sort of allegory or parable about a
pilgrim who bore this word on a banner, and who, climbing
onwards and upwards among the high mountains called the
Alps, had died at last far up among the snow which covers
their summits, still crying "Excelsior," and when dead, still
grasping the banner on which was written-Excelsior!
Now the word Excelsior meant higher, or more high, and
no better motto could any one. adopt. And in saying this
he did not mean that the beat thing to do was to try to get
higher in position or rank, or worldly advantages, so much
as higher in character. This, Mr. Brookbanks said, was the
very best thing that a human being could aspire after-that
is, to raise himself in character, to strive after perfection.
The pilgrim in the poem had rejected all the offers of
comfort and luxury made to induce him to stay in the
valley; and through storms, and snow and ice had journeyed
on still higher and higher, and after reaching the highest
point, of the mountain, he fell, overcome with cold and
fatigue, and dying-may we not imagine that he ascended
even still higher into ? and Mr. Brookbanks paused,
and, looking round at some of the young people near him,
as if waiting to have his sentence finished by them, several
voices said, in a low tone, the word, "heaven." "Yes,
heaven," said Mr. Brookbanks. "Striving, when here on
earth, to get higher and higher still in character, is the same
as striving to reach heaven-the highest object that any can
attain. And how can we get higher, but by leaving behind
us all that is low-low feelings, low habits of mind, and
low pursuits. Let us set these aside. Let us seek after
everything that is excellent and of good report; and then
shall we certainly rise higher and higher. And let us do
this in all humility of spirit, taking for our example Him
who was Most High, and yet humbled himself as a little
child, and who told his disciples that unless they became as
little children, they could not enter the kingdom of heaven;
and who when they disputed as to which of them should be
highest in rank, said "He that humbleth himself shall be
exalted." And this was the end of Mr. Brookbanks' speech,
which was most attentively and eagerly listened to, by both
young and old. They liked it because they understood it;
and many silent resolves were made at its conclusion by the
hearers, that they would try what they could do to raise
themselves higher, still higher in character. They looked
with reverence now at that once unmeaning word, Excelsior;
for they understood its meaning. No one would ever forget
it; and they only wished that its letters would flash into
SAND OUT OF SCHOOL.
their eyes at times when they were tempted to do something
low or base. What a pity that those flowers would not
In rising to go away, many crowded to the end of the
room to look still closer at the beautiful dahlias; and it was
then that Andrew Gibbons, Phoebe's father, promised that
he would supply flowers next year on the examination-day,
to write that word again. "And a very well-chosen word
it was," said he, as he walked home with his wife and
daughters. "A word to my mind, with good sense as well as
good sound. I'm thinking, wife," continued he, after being
silent for some time, "that to help me to remember those
excellent remarks of our good minister, I'll name my new
pelargonium after it. Pelargonium Excelsior it shall be
called, and I'll never look at it without saying to myself
" higher, more high-higher in character."
19 B 2
OUT OF SCHOOL.
THE flower-word had not faded on the wall of the school-
room, before the girls of the Stapleford school were all busy
at work again, after two or three days' holiday; and distant
as the next examination now was, there were still among
them some who had begun to hold it steadily in view, and
were determined that they would never so far forget it as
to relax in any of their efforts through the long year which
lay before them. As we have before observed, it was a
comfort to them to know, that Phoebe Gibbons could not
run away with all the prizes next year; for it was quite
decided that she and Ruth were to leave school in the spring..
Somehow or other, it had got reported in the village, through
Mrs. Yates, the housekeeper at the Hall, that the Miss
Shirleys had thoughts of engaging Phmbe in the place of
Allen, their own maid, who was going to be married. Miss
Gertrude Shirley was to go abroad for her health early in
the spring; and was to travel in Germany and Italy for more
than a year, so that it was enough to make Phoebe's heart
beat with delight, when she thought that she might perhaps
be taken with them on this journey. It was, it is true, only
a report, but still there was sufficient likelihood in it to
make her full of hope. Something which Miss Louisa had
said to Phoebe one day, as she was showing a class all the
countries of Europe on a map, seemed to confirm what Mrs.
Yates had said. She had asked Phabe if she would not
like to see foreign countries ; and she turned to her in par-
ticular, when she traced on the map the route of the journey
ANDT OUT OF SCHOOL.
which she and her sister were going to take in the spring
with their father-across the country called Belgium, and
up the river Rhine till they came to Switzerland, and then
over the Alps into Italy. There had also been made,
privately, a sort of promise to Phoebe's mother, on the part
of Allen, Miss Shirley's maid, that in case her daughter
should be her successor, she would teach her how to dress
the young ladies' hair, and give her some notions of mantua-
making. Far more did the thought of this situation fill
Phoebe's mind than even the prizes of the former year, and
:she exerted herself more than ever to win approbation at
school. It seemed, indeed, to the whole family as if Phoebe's
"' getting on" was a matter to which everything else was to
give way. Her mother would at times keep Ruth at home
to help her on days when she was particularly busy with
her clear-starching and ironing, for she washed the muslins
and fine things for the Hall; but she never thought of
encroaching on Phoebe's time. On market mornings, if
Andrew Gibbons wanted his breakfast unusually early, or
any assistance in tying up his plants, it would sure to be
Ruth or little David who was called up an hour sooner, rather
than Phoebe; and at all times Phoebe had only to say some-
thing about "my lessons," or "getting ready for my class,"
in order to be excused from an errand or little household
Things were in this state as the winter drew to a close;
but it was at the beginning of February that an event
occurred which brought about many changes, and led to
some important results in the Gibbons' cottage. This event
wps a very serious accident which befel Miss Louisa Shirley,
and which, owing to the kindness which she always showed
every one, gave much concern to all the inhabitants of
Stapleford. It seemed afterwards, as if everybody remem-
bered the events of the day on which it occurred better
than any day in the year; perhaps because it was so often
talked about among them. Just at that time, Andrew
Gibbons had some very fine hyacinths in bloom in his
greenhouse, and a particularly brilliant Van Thol tulip.
There had been some talk about the ladies from the Hall
coming down to see them, which was perhaps the reason
that he told Phoebe that morning to be sure and put some
ashes on the steps of the greenhouse, as the sharp frost in
the night had frozen again some melted snow, so.as to make
them slippery. Phcebe was up late that morning, and knew
quite well afterwards how it was her bustle to get off to
school which made her forget her father's request about the
ashes. She and allthe school children remembered well,
how that morning Miss Louisa Shirley came into the school
for a few minutes, to speak to Mrs. Presgrove about some
work. She had got off her horse at the door, and was in
her riding-habit, in which dress some of the children had
never before seen her. They remembered not only her
looks, but the few pleasant words she said in passing down
between the rows of forms; and ah! how well did Phoebe
recollect her kind greeting, and her question as to whether,
if she called at her father's cottage, she should find him at
home. For many a year, every word and look, and every
small circumstance which made up the importance of that
day, remained deeply impressed on Phoebe's mind. She
remembered glancing up from the page she was reading, to
look through the window at Miss Louisa assisted on to her
horse by the groom. She remembered seeing her canter off
in the direction of her father's cottage, her veil and feather
streaming back from her hat, and the white steam puffing
out from the nostrils of the horses in the cold frosty air.
It did not seem more than half-an-hour from that time,
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
when Miss Louisa seemed so well and gay, that the groom
went galloping past the school-house to Mr. Hammond, the
surgeon's gate, and little David, her brother, came running
into the school-room to desire her and Ruth to go home
directly, to help her mother with Miss Louisa, who had
fallen down and hurt herself. No one knew-no human
being knew the pang that shot through Phcebe's heart when
ilie got home and saw Miss Louisa lying in dreadful pain
upon a mattress, in her mother's kitchen, and was told that
hbe had slipped down the greenhouse steps, and it was
S Eared had broken her leg. Between the times when the
pain was too great for speaking, Miss Louisa said something
a .:.ut her riding-habit. It had, she thought, got entangled
ij...nd her feet. She had let go of it to take a white camellia
which Mr. Gibbons had held out to her just as she went
v lt at the door of the greenhouse. She did not seem to
ki.:.w that the steps had been slippery; and it was only in
a Iw voice that.Phcebe's father said something about them.
Si.:k, and trembling, and bewildered, did Phoebe run about
at the command of her mother, as preparations were made
f'.,' the setting of the leg, which Mr. Hammond, when he
c(.ie, pronounced to be broken, with a compound fracture.
Mr. Shirley, Mrs. Yates, and Allen came quickly down from
S the Hall; and there was the greatest grief'and consternation
about the accident, although Miss Louisa bore it so wonder-
fully well, and tried to convince everybody that it was no
great matter, and that she should soon be well. There were
some arrangements begun for carrying her up in the carriage
to the Hall, or upon the mattress as she lay; but Mr. Ham-
mond pointed out the very great advantages of her remaining
where she was. If she could but stay where she was for a
week or two, the cure could be affected so much more easily;
indeed, he said, that he could warrant her walking in half the
time, than if she were carried home, whether after or before
the setting. Miss Louisa then decided herself to remain. It
would altogether be better, she said, and would spare her
sister the sight of her sufferings-and so it was all arranged,
that the little inner parlour at the Gibbons' should be fitted
up into a bed-room as quickly as possible, and that the
sufferer should be at once laid in the position in which she
must remain until the knitting together of the broken bone
had taken place, so as to admit of her being conveyed home
in a carriage. Within an hour from the painful operation of
setting the leg, and bandaging and splintering it up, poor
Miss Louisa was able to look composedly around her in
Mrs. Gibbons' little bed-room, and declare that she felt
herself quite composed, and quite thankful, as the accident
was to happen, that it should have happened there. The
three weeks prescribed by Mr. Hammond, would, no doubt,
pass very comfortable; and with Mrs. Gibbons' kind care,
and the attendance of Phoebe and Ruth, with visits once a
day from Mrs. Yates and Allen, to say nothing of the calls
which her father and sister and other friends and acquaint-
ances would pay her, there would be nothing left to wish
Through the whole of that day, Phoebe Gibbons was more
unhappy than she had ever before been in her life. She
said to herself, that it was her fault Miss Louisa was suffer-
ing so much; and though no one reproached her for it, or
thought of it as an a6cident that could have been avoided,
she felt sure herself that it was caused by her own negli-
gence. Every time that Phoebe saw her father, she dreaded
to receive from him reproaches about her neglect; but
strange to say, though he actually spoke of the steps being
slippery, and said that some ashes or sand ought to have
been thrown down, he never seemed to remember his having
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
given orders for it to be done. This forgetfulness of her
Father's, together with Miss Louisa's own belief that it was
her riding-habit which threw her down, silenced at last the
reproaches of Phoebe's conscience. She persuaded herself,
that after all, it was no fault of her's, and that it would be
quite nonsenseto speak of having had any share in the
accident. What good could it possibly do to Miss Louisa,
now that all was over ? And how zealously she would wait
upon her, and try to make amends for this little piece of
negligence; and if she should ever be her maid-servant, how
devotedly she would attend to her and Miss Gertrude,
through weeks, and months, and years. While these feelings
were in her mind, it was a relief to her now to have many
little offices to perform for her kind friend who was so help-
less and dependent upon others; and Miss Louisa seemed
to like no one to wait upon her so well as Phoebe. For a
day or two she and Ruth were to stay away from school,
that they might assist their mother and read to Miss Louisa
when she was free enough from pain to be able to give her
attention to a book; but by the beginning of the next week
Miss Louisa was sure that she should not require so much
assistance, and was determined that the girls should only
stay away from school on alternate days, and she wished
that everything else would go on in the usual way, so that
they were, if possible, to forget that she was there.
It was as well for Phoebe, perhaps, that Miss Louisa de-
cided this; for before the end of the week, she began to
find the sort of employment that now fell upon her rather
irksome. She felt herself awkward, and wanting in aptness
in doing several things which Miss Louisa seemed to take
it for granted that she could do well; arid it seemed strange
to her to have to set aside so completely her books and
lessons. Almost unconsciously to herself, she allowed Ruth
to do many little matters in Miss Louisa's room, which she
had at first undertaken to do, bat which she felt dissatisfied
with herself for not managing well; and Miss Louisa had
not arrived at the fourth day of her imprisonment at the
cottage without finding out that Ruth Gibbons was not the
slow girl that she had fancied her, but was most active and
alert as an assistant nurse.
The little room in which Miss Louisa lay was separated
from Mrs. Gibbons' kitchen only by a wooden partition, and
down one side of it passed the staircase which led up to the
bedroom of the girls, separated also only by a wooden par-
"tition. As she lay there alone and in silence, she could hear
nearly everything that passed in the little cottage, and she
liked to listen to all their doings. It never occurred to her
that she should by this means find out some family secrets;
on the contrary, it gave her at first pleasant thoughts to
dwell on, as she seemed for the first time in her life, really
to know well what life in a cottage was. How thrifty and
contented were the lives of that father and mother With
the faintest glimmering of morning twilight, Andrew Gib-
bons was up, down stairs, and out in his garden; and not
long after, was heard the mother lighting the kitchen fire,
and then filling the kettle at the pump, ready for breakfast.
Then came the sweeping of floors and scouring of hearths.
These were evidently rather hushed for fear of disturbing
her; and after the first stirring of the family, she generally
dozed again until near the time of her own breakfast being
brought to her, but not until she heard little David's merry
laugh or whistle, as he put on his boots, or washed his face
in the back-kitchen, before going out to father in the garden.
Half between sleeping and waking, she heard the mother
talking to one of her girls, as the pigs and chickens were fed,
and in the intervals of fetching the bread from the baker's,
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
the milk from the dairy-farm at the end of the village---and
then the rattling of cups and saucers for breakfast. She
said to herself-" Now Phoebe has gone for the bread, and
Ruth is at home." But the talking had ceased, and pre-
sently it was Ruth who came in with a story about the roll
for Miss Louisa not being out of the oven yet. Where, then,
was Phoebe? She dozed again, and was awakened by a
"Make haste, Phoebe; Miss. Louisa's breakfast is nearly
ready to take in to her."
-There was a second summons, and the breakfast evidently
waited until Phcebe came down. But before this, Ruth had
been in to bring the basin and water that she liked to re-
fresh herself with before her breakfast came. The pillows
were all shaken, and the support for her back so nicely con-
trived, and the room made airy and tidy-all so quickly and
yet so noiselessly, before Phoebe came in with the tray. After
breakfast Allen came down from the Hall to dress her young
mistress, and comb and brush her hair, and make her com-
fortable for the day. It was the end of the first week after
the accident, that Allen was later than usual one morning,
and Miss Louisa grew impatient, so that Ruth begged to be
allowed to supply her place. She had seen how Allen
arranged her hair, she said, and was sure that she could do
it in the same way. And so she did, most skilfully and
nice. Seeing how comfortable Ruth had made Miss Louisa,
rendered Phoebe more anxious than ever that day for the
time when she should read aloud while Miss Louisa worked
at her embroidery frame. But it was Saturday, and Miss
Louisa was sure that the girls would be wanted by their
mother, and she had a great fancy for assisting Mrs. Gib-
bons in some of her household concerns. She would darn
some stockings for her, she said, and insisted on having
Andrew Gibbons' coarse worsted stockings and little David's
socks brought in to her. But there were no holes They
had all been so carefully mended, that there was nothing
It really does you great credit, Mrs. Gibbons," said Miss
Louisa, when she found she was too late. "I cannot think
how you can find time for work."
"It is Ruth, Ma'am, who mends them generally; for my
sight is bad, and I have no time for needlework, except at
"Ruth, indeed!" said Miss Louisa, surprised, and not
"Why, yes, you see Ma'am, Phoebe has always her lessons
to attend to. She must mind her book."
These words caused some thoughts to pass through Miss
Louisa's mind, that she had never had before. Was it pos-
sible that Phoebe's minding her book had interfered with
her minding her duties at home ?
The next day being Sunday, the father and mother were
not up quite so soon as usual; yet still there was great stir
in the family at an early hour, and a good deal of brushing
of coats and hats ready for church.
Only look here at my jacket, mother," cried little David,
in the midst of his operations, and in a louder voice than he
would have spoken, had he remembered their new inmate,
"only see this rent that you told sister Phoebe to mend.
What shall I do for church ?"
"Really I must say Phoebe is too bad to have forgotten
that, so often as I have told her of it," said her mother.
Phoebe was so late down that morning, that Mrs. Gibbons
herself brought in Miss Louisa's tray; and it was Phoebe's
,ioot heard running down stairs after all the rest were
dressed, and had started for church.
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
Sitting by Miss Louisa's bedside in the afternoon, it was
really quite surprising to hear how well Phoebe read aloud
the evening service, and afterwards she repeated quite
beautifully one of Heber's hymns; yet still it did not give
performances. She said nothing to Phobe then, but she
thought to herself that she should be glad if the coming
week should alter her impression about Phoebe's character
at home. She resolved to notice more particularly.
Now, unfortunately for Phbe, her doings at home would
by no means bear this close observation; and it was im-
possible for Miss Louisa not to discover how much difference
it made to her comfort, according to whether it was Phebe's
or Ruth's day for being at home; although, perhaps, Phlebe
was the most fussy in her attentions to her. For a long
time one morning she was left by Phcebe with the window-
curtain so that the sun came full in her eyes, after every
one knowing that a certain adjustment of it was necessary
to. prevent this; and Miss Louisa had not liked to call
Phoebe to alter it, because she thought that she was engaged
with her mother, when it turned out afterwards that she
had gone into a neighbour's to gossip. Another afternoon,
she left the room, when Miss Louisa was sending her up to
the Hall, and neglected to move the table near enough for
her to reach her embroidery silk when she wanted a needleful,
and forgot to bring her the glass of water that she had par-
ticularly begged before she went away. Now Ruth never
seemed to forget these kinds of little matters, which are of
so much importance to a helpless invalid, who is wholly
dependent on others. She seemed always to foresee, as well
as to remember what was necessary to Miss Louisa's com-
fort. It was Ruth, too, who found out the best way of
rubbing her leg so as to prevent the cramp, which very
much troubled her, from lying so long in one position, and
even Mr. Hammond could trust her to loosen the bandage
occasionally, she did it so expertly and well.
Out of Miss Louisa's room, too, it seemed as if, on the
days when Phcebe was at home, all went wrong. The pots
boiled over on the little kitchen fire. The shower came
down before the clothes on the hedge were taken in, in
spite of her mother telling Phoebe to run out at the first
threatening of rain. While her mother had gone up the
village on an errand, the fire under the kettle for tea was
let to die out-in fact it would seem as if Phcebe had not
always her wits about her, and that the cleverness for which
she was distinguished at school was. never called forth upon
those little household matters, which, though simple and
easy enough, yet require, after all, some thought, and are
"AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
of importance, because by their neglect, the comfort of all
: around is destroyed. Miss Louisa was thinking how she
S, should make this plain to Phoebe, and by what means she
should prove to her the worthliness of knowledge gained
by a neglect of such duties, when her sister Gertrude came
down one day to talk over the question of finding a sub-
stitute for Allen, their maid. Allen's lover, it appeared,
was getting impatient for the wedding to take place, and
it seemed desirable to make a'selection from among the
young girls in the village, so that she might get into good
training before their journey abroad was fixed. Would it
not he better, Miss Gertrude said, to speak to Phoebe and
.her mother at once? Miss Louisa hesitated. She said she
would rather defer the decision for another week, and ex-
pressed a hope that neither Mrs. Yates nor Allen would
talk to Phoebe before the matter was quite settled; and her
sister left her, wondering what could have led Louisa to
hesitate after all the praise that she had given to the
-Gibbon* family generally. She had spoken of their kind-
ness to herself, and of their truly respectable and indus-
trious manner of life; and as for Phoebe-it was scarcely
to be supposed that she was less of ,a favourite than
It was in the middle of Miss Louisa's last week at the
cottage that an occurrence took place, which settled this
question, with regard to Phobe, in a very painful manner.
Spring was fast advancing at that time, and yet there were
sharp frosts at night, which made it necessary for Andrew
Gibbons to continue all his precautions with regard to his
more delicate plants; and the chimney of his little green-
house still smoked each evening, and his frames each after-
noon were carefully closed, and covered with matting. One
day, which had been particularly fine and warm, it hap-
opened that he had to leave home to go to the other side of
the neighboring town; and he started after dinner, taking
little David with him, before it was necessary to arrange
these matters for the night. He did not expect to be home
till late; so he gave strict injunctions to Phoebe to go up
the garden at three o'clock, and close the Frames he had left
"open, that they might get all the warm sun that was still to
be had. Phoebe said to herself that she would not forget
the charge, when she went to read to Miss Louisa after
dinner; and she was the less likely to forget it, because
Miss Louisa was now frequently in the habit of asking her,
when she came into her room, if she was sure that she had no
little jobs to do for her mother. She thought to herself
how she would jump up as the clock struck three, and run
up the garden, and Miss Louisa should see how she remem-
bered her father's request. All turned out, however, that
afternoon, differently to what Phoebe had expected. She
had not read many pages to Miss Louisa, before Mr.
Brookbanks called to sit with her, and sent Phebe up to
the Rectory for a book which he wanted to lend Miss
Louisa. Mrs. Brookbanks kept her sometime waiting, be-
cause she had a lady calling at the time, and could not get
away to seek out the book. Then, Phebe, on her return.
fell in with Allen, who had been taking down some jelly
from the Hall to Miss Louisa. Phoebe was not sorry to
have a talk with Allen, and was much interested and ex-
cited by hearing from her that the wedding-day was fixed,
and, "as far as she knew," no one yet engaged to take her
place. Allen renewed her conditional promises to Phoebe
of assistance in the hair-dressing and mantua-making de-
partments, and took Phoebe with her into the village-shop
while she chose a ribbon for her wedding bonnet. By the
time that Phoebe got home again, her mother was impatient
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
for her to see after getting Miss Louisa's tea; and after
that Miss Louisa sent her up to the Hall with a message
to Mrs. Yates. It was, of course, quite dark by the time
that Phoebe returned home, and her father only coming
back quite late-just before bed-time-there was nothing
which helped to remind her that his commands about the
frames had been forgotten. She never once thought of
them-not even when she looked out in the morning and
saw how everything was white with frost and sparkling in
the sunshine. And that morning, though cold, was so very
fine It seemed as if everybody in the cottage was feeling
unusually cheerful from the brightness of the day. Miss
Louisa, as she lay on her mattress, waiting for breakfast,
S' was thinking how delightful was the feeling of getting well
from any complaint, and considering to herself how merciful
it was in a kind Providence that pain and suffering should
be the means of making us conscious of the blessing of
health. She then wondered to herself when the day would
come that her sister Gertrude would feel this certainty of
getting well that she did herself. She counted the days
that were left before she was to be removed from the cot-
tage, and thought of the pleasant week she should spend,
lying on the sofa in the drawing-room or library at home,
chatting and reading with her father and sister; and then
of the first walk she should be able to take with crutches
on the lawn; and then how the crutches would be ox-
changed for a stick; and lastly, how the stick would be
thrown away, and all the preparations be begun for the
journey abroad. How very delightful were all these antici-
pations; and while they passed through her mind, she was
listening to such a sweet bit of warbling from a robin that
was perched near the window, waiting for some crumbs
from her breakfast.
And within the kitchen, where Mrs. Gibbons and Phobe
were busy, things were quite as pleasant. Phoebe had risen
in good time that morning, and was in good spirits, because
she was satisfied with herself for so doing. She was chat-
ting cheerfully with her mother, who was busy sprinkling
some muslins; and her mother was particularly cheerful,
because it promised to be such a fine day for getting the
rest of her things dried. Alas that anger and sorrow
should have entered the cottage that morning, as well as
the sunshine and song of the bird !
Phebe was setting the breakfast things, when she hap-
pened to look up as her father came down the garden path.
He had something in his hand, and seldom had Phebe seen
him look as he did that moment. He was red with anger
and vexation. Coming into the kitchen, he threw down on
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
the clean table-cloth a number of young plants that had
evidently been just pulled up. "There," said he, "see
what comes of my, trusting to a good-for-nothing idle girl !
Look at my young seedling balsams, destroyed with the
frost last night; all because you, Phcebe, never shut the
frames, as I desired you. I tell you, girl, you are good-for-
S-Phoebe stood aghast. I quite forgot, father-indeed I
"Quite forgot, indeed !" said her father, still more angry,
"and how many shillings are lost out of my pocket by
your quite forgetting? Was it not enough to have caused
Miss Louisa to break her leg with your forgetting, as you
know you did "
"Oh father, spare me-spare me Don't say that,
father !" cried Phoebe, bursting into an agony of tears, and
covering her face with-her hands, as she sunk upon a chair.
"Oh mother, mother, what will become of me-what will
become of me V"
"" Andrew," said her mother, reproachfully, "Andrew
Gibbons, do you speak in this way to your own child ? It
is cruel of you to say such things. Do you remember,"
said she, lowering her voice, "who hears us?" and she
pointed tothe door of Miss Louisa's room.
Andrew Gibbons checked himself in the midst of his
anger; but Phcebe, starting up, said, amidst her sobs, "No,
mother; father is right. It was my fault that Mi-s Louisa
fell down-I know it was; and I am rightly punished that
she should know it. I will go and tell her that it was all
my fault;" and opening Miss Louisa's door, she went in,
and almost falling on her knees beside the bed, she told
what had happened the day of her accident. She entreated
her forgiveness; and accusing herself of being, as her father
had said, "good for nothing," owned her thoughtlessness
and negligence. Ever was any one more penitent than
Phoebe, nor more completely awakened to a sense of her
own faults. She not only told Miss Louisa all about the
forgetfulness that had been the cause of her accident, but
she confessed to having stifled the feeling which, at the
time, should have induced her to frankly own her negli-
gence, She described what she had suffered during those
first days, and how anxious she had been to make
amends. "But you see, Miss Louisa, I am so fixed in
my careless habits. Father is right in calling me
good for nothing," and she burst again into tears and
"No, Phoebe, you are not good for nothing," said Miss
Louisa, kindly and encouragingly; ." you are good for
much, when you can only cure yourself -of this want of
thought and care. And do nIt fear that this can be done.
You love God, Phoebe; and it has been a pleasure to you
to learn much of what God has made so beautiful and good
around us. You have beef taught how all things are
" ministers of his which do his pleasure," from the sun in
its daily course, to the meanest flower that blossoms at its
appointed season, so that through obedience to his will, all
is order, and regularity, and beauty. ,And must not we too
obey and faithfully perform our allotted part in life ? Are
not the commands of your parents, and all these little
affairs which belong to your daily life--do not these form
the task which your heavenly Father has given you to do ?
Do you think that merely to perform well your school tasks
for the sake of gaining praises and prizes-D6 you think
that this is all which God requires of you?"
"Oh, no, Miss Louisa; I see it all now. I know that I
have been thinking too much of praise at school. I know
SAND OUT OF SCHOOL.
that Ruth is much more of a comfort to mother than I have
ever been. And father-oh, Miss Louisa, to think of your
leg being broken, all because I nbver minded father's bid-
ding Oh, you never will be able to forgive me, and I
never shall be happy again,' And Phoebe's tears flowed
faster than ever.
It need hardly be said that Miss Louisa most freely and
frankly forgave Phoebe for the injury done to herself by
her thoughtlessness; but she did not scruple to point out
to her the punishment which would -very naturally fall
upon her for her faults. She told her how her sister and
herself had formerly thought that she might supply the
place of Allen to them-but that now it was out of the
question. Her sister Gertrude-was too delicate, and re-
quired too much the assistance of a careful and thoughtful
attendant, for her to like that any one should be engaged
upon whom she could not quite depend. "And though I
depend, Phoebe, upon your never forgetting your promises
of amendment, I cannot feel sure that it may not be lopg
before you acquire that clear and strong sense of duty,
which will enable others to trust to your preferring at all
times to do that which is right, rather than that which is
SPhoebe submitted in silence and sorrow. She had feared
it would come to this, and she knew that she deserved the/
punishment ; but when she remembered how disappointed
and grieved'her another and father would be at her having
lost such a place as that of Allen's at the Hall, her grief
knew no bounds. Suddenly she rose from her knees at
the side of Miss Louisa, and ran up stairs to her bed-room.
"She returned bringing with her the prize which had been
given her for her punctual attendance at school-the nice
little gilt-edged book which Mr. trookbanks had presented
) : .
her with such wotds of kipdness and praise. She' begged
Miss Louisa,to take this book back again from her, and to
tell. Mr. Brookbanks that she did not deserve it.' She
owned that without Ruth, she never would have been at
school in time each morning. She confessed that many
and many a time, it was only by Ruth urging her to get up,
and staying behind to make their bed and assist her
mother, that she had been able to get so'soon to school;
and she ended by entreating Miss Louisa to take into
consideration having Ruth for her, maid instead of her-
"It is not for me, I know, Miss'Louisa," said she humbly,
"to be asking a favour at this time; b,ut if you only
knew how careful and steady Ruth is, and how nicely she
would tend Miss Gertrude-and then she is quite as old
as I am, though she is;, not so tall--oh, Miss Louisa, if
you would only have Ruth, how pleased my mother would
Miss Louisa was only too ready to grant this request of
Phoebe's in behalf of her sister, and did not think her quite
unworthy of such a favour; but she refused to receive back
the unmerited prize. "Accept it from me again," said she,
"in remembrance of this hour;" and laying her hand upon
Phoebe's much valued prize for good reading, which she had
also brought and laid upon the bed, it was in a tone more
earnest and impressive than usual, that she added, "Study
'this book, dear Phoebe, more carefully than ever, and seek
from it the lessons of faith and love, which will amend
your life. Read here of Jesus, the beloved son of God-
how he was obedient even unto death, and who said of
us who should follow his high example, 'that he who is
faithful even in that which is least, is faithful also, in
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
"And Ruth was engaged to be the Miss Shirley's maid;
and while the decision brought happiness again to the
Gibbons' cottage, all thought the better of Phoebe for the
kind and generous pleasure that she shewed at her sister's
;A . ^ .".~~e ^ .Ji ..- ^
ONWARD AND UPWARD.
DURING the first week of Miss Louisa's return to the Hall,
and as she realized her pleasant anticipations connected
with home and health, Phoebe Gibbons was the subject of
many of her talks with her father and sister as she lay on
her sofa, while Mr. Brookbanks, in his calls, was confided
in, and enlisted for assistance in settling what was best to
be done for her. In spite of the preference which had been
given to her sister, Phoebe was by no means to be neglected
or lost sight of; and there was still so much of good in
her character, that her friends did not despair of her be-
"coming one day a good and useful woman. They saw, too,
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
that her faults had partly arisen out of the notice and
admiration bestowed on'her quickness and cleverness, and
by the too great indulgence which had been shown to her
at home; so they hoped that, under new circumstances,
she might be able to acquire new. and better habits and a
higher sense of duty."
After much consideration on the subject, it was found,
that during the absence of the family abroad, and while a
great many changes and "clearings up" were going on at
the Hall, a young assistant to Mrs. Yates would be a very
desirable addition to the number of servafits to be left
behind. Mrs. Yates had always been fond of Phoebe, and
liked greatly the idea of getting her into good training for
a yet better place, could one be found for her. She pro-
mised to watch over her most carefully, and to endeavour
to make her punctual, active, and diligent, pledging herself
that her partiality for Phoebe should not lead her to over-
look her failings. Phoebe was still to be allowed to go
down to assist her mother on days when she was particu-
larly busy, and was to -attend as usual the Sunday school,
where she had begun to give assistance as a teacher among
the little ones.
All these kind plans and arrangements made the parting
between the twin sisters less painful than they had ex-
pected, as Ruth departed with her young mistress on their
foreign travels. They were happy in the'thought that they
should hear of each other through the letters which came
to or went from the Hall; and Phoebe was determined that
there should be no mention of her name by Mrs. Yates
without expressions of satisfaction at her conduct as
And Ruth Gibbons proved to be exactly the kind of at-
tendant that Miss Gertrude wanted. She quite surprised
'her young mistress by the readiness with which she fell into
the performance of all fer duties; and as a travelling com-
panion, her expertness in packing and unpacking, and,
more especially, her punctuality on all occasions, made
her a great comfort to them. The carpet-bags and boxes,
which were her particular charge, were always ready
packed by the hour appointed; and on no occasions were
things left behind at hotels, or Ruth and her packages too
late for steamboat or railway train. She was, besides, not
too much excited or bewildered by the succession of novel
:sights which followed quickly on each other, as they passed
through foreign countries; and when Miss Gertrude was
tired, and was obliged to stop at home and rest while her
father and sister went out to see old churches and fine pic-
tures, it was a real pleasure to her to have a quiet com-
panion like Ruth to read to her, and talk to about what
they had seen.
Ruth learnt a great deal from her kind mistress during
this journey, and she learnt yet more from what she saw
of the habits and manners of other countries. She saw
that it was not only in Stapleford, or in England, that the
greater number of human beings have to live by labour;
and she observed, too, that living by labour was no reason
why people should not be contented and happy. How
happy seemed to her the women and girls that she saw in
Belgium, sitting at their house-doors, weaving the beautiful
lace for which the country is remarkable. And it quite
delighted her to walk about their markets, and observe the
white-capped peasant women with their beautiful fruit and
vegetables, eggs and flowers. She wished that these things
were more often sold in the open air in England, instead of
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
in close shops; and she regretted that in England people
of that rank in life did not wear a dress peculiar to them-
selves, so clean, and tidy, and compact looking, instead of
being more often dressed in the old clothes of ladies and
And when they came to the great river Rhine, she was
astonished, as they went up it in the steamer, to see the
great rafts of timber which they met floating down to the
sea-the timber of trees, as Mr. Shirley told her, that had
grown in the forests of Switzerland and the south of
Germany, and of which many of our houses and ships are
made. She saw upon these rafts, which were sometimes as
large as a good-sized field, how numbers of men lived on
them, to steer and take care of them; and how they even
built little huts upon them, in which they cooked their
food, so that their chimneys smoked, arid women sat at
the doors and knitted stockings. She saw the steep banks
of the Rhine, all covered with vine bushes, which the people
most carefully weeded and tended, turning to account every
little patch of earth on the most barren rock for the growth
of vines, of which, as she was told, they afterwards made
the grapes into wine. Then in Switzerland she saw how
industrious and thrifty were the people, whether working
in large factories to manufacture silk and ribbon, or in
little workshops to make clocks and watches, or in the
fields and on the sides of mountains, to tend cattle and
make cheese and butter in their little huts or chdlets high
above where the grass grew. All this she saw, and much
more; and she liked to see how cheerfully and contented
the people looked, and wished that in England people
could sing over their work so merrily, and dance in the
evening, and find time for pleasant walks ; while she saw,
at the same time, that there was one thing in which
foreigners and English people were quite alike, and which
you could observe even in passing quickly through a
country, and this was, that the thrifty and industrious
were the prosperous ones, and that good character in all
stations and ranks meets with respect and esteem;
As Ruth saw and learnt all these things, pleasant
accounts from Stapleford were found from time to time at
post-offices in towns and cities. Messages from her father
and mother and Phoebe, at the ends of letters from the
butler at the Hall, and Mrs. Yates. Notices, too, of Phoebe
in the letter as being all that she could wish, which Miss
Louisa and Miss Gertrude were very glad to receive.
It was about a year after their leaving home that one of
these reports of Phoebe was more than usually lengthy.
Mrs. Yates described her as "greatly improved ;" and while
she spoke of her as having been of great assistance to her
in getting the new bed-furniture and window-curtains
made, she told also of how Phcebe had been busy latterly
in dusting and setting to rights all the library books, and
saying that she was sure Mr. Shirley would be pleased
with the beautiful copy she had made of the old catalogue,
to which she had added all the new books and pamphlets,
and written out so very neatly. The only bad news in this
letter was the failing health of Mrs. Presgrove, who was
beginning to fear that she could not get on at the school
without an assistant in her labours. The Miss Shirleys
were in Italy, where they had spent the greater part of the
time of their absence, and where Miss Gertrude had re-
covered so much strength, that they were beginning to
think of fixing the day of their return, when a letter arrived
from Mrs. Yates, in which was the news of Phoebe having
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
met with a very advantageous situation, through the re-
commendation of Mr. Brookbanks, and as no particulars
were given, it served Ruth as a subject for guessing and
wondering over as they journeyed slowly home, where it
could be that Phoebe had gone-how far from Stapleford,
and in what capacity; but she hoped that it might not be
long after her return before she should see her.
It was at the end of August when the Shirleys reached
England, and they were staying to rest a few days in
London, when it occurred to Miss Louisa how much she
should like to be back on the first of September, in time
for the school-examination. They had at first thought that
this would be out of the question, and had sent word to,
Mr. Brookbanks and Mrs. Presgrove, that all must go on as
usual without them; but Miss Louisa said she was sure.
everybody would be so glad to have them present, that it
was worth while making an effort to reach home on the
morning of the very day, if Ruth thought she could get all
their new purchases packed, and if Gertrude did not mind
getting up in time for a very early train. Ruth and Miss
Gertrude were only too willing to do this, and an announce-
ment was sent home, that their presence at the examination
might be confidently expected, should nothing unforeseen
Something unforeseen did occur that day, but not of the
nature to prevent their being present at the examination..
They left town very early on the first of September, and the
train reached the station near Stapleford at noon, where a
carriage waited to take them to the Hall. As they drove
through the village, they looked anxiously from side to side
to see the well-known faces that looked out from the doors
and windows. Tliuy were about to pass the school-house,
when Miss Louisa hastily putting her head out, desired the
coachman to stop. She must run in for a moment, she
said, to greet Mrs. Presgrove, and take a look at the
children. Ruth must get down too, and go at once to her
Miss Louisa hurried up the little school-house garden,.
but had not crossed the threshold when she called back
Ruth. She had caught a glimpse of her brother David-
little no longer, and she must see Ruth's surprise to find
how much he had grown. He stood at the entrance of the
school-room, with a large pile of dahlias and asters before
him, which he had emptied from a basket on the floor-" If
here isn't sister Ruth come home," exclaimed David, as he
sprang forward to meet her.
"Miss Louisa Shirley!-Ruth Gibbons!" cried a number
of voices from among the crowd of girls who were clustered
together at the end of the room. The flower decorations
for the examination had begun, and the favourite old word
was now being written in gay autumnal flowers, for the
third time, on the walls. The portion that they had com-
pleted stood there not unmeaningly, for they had written as
far as Excel-
But Mrs. Presgrove was not busied with the flowers, but
"was seated as a spectator only in her chair of state, and
though, in answer to Miss Louisa's kind inquiries, she pro-
nounced herself much better, yet she showed that she was
not as strong as formerly, as she slowly arose, and turning
to the busy group of children, who fell back as she spoke;
she said, "I must introduce my new assistant to you,
ma'am-my very able and excellent assistant, I may
"Phmobe Phoebe Gibbons !-you don't say so exclaimed
AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
Miss Louisa, in delighted surprise-" Ruth !-your sister
Phoebe and Phoebe taller than ever, and womanly grown
and dressed, advanced, blushing, and happy to meet her
kind friend and sister.
"Yes, ma'am," said Mrs. Presgrove, r. Brookbanks
was quite sure that you would approve of the step, when
"you knew how improved and steady Phoebe has become.
She has won all our confidence, I assure you, Miss Louisa,
and is very well able to fill the post, considering her for-
wardness in learning. But I tell her, ma'am, that her
knowledge would never have fitted her for the task, or
made me feel that I might trust my girls to her, if it had
not been for the improvement that has taken place in her
character. As Mr. Brookbanks said to us, you know, ma'am,
on a former occasion, she has raised herself in the best
possible way that any one can do, for she has risen higher
in character, and left behind her faults."
Andrew Gibbons and his wife were not a little proud and
happy as they took tea that evening in the school-room,
seated between their two daughters, and knew in what,
respect and esteem they were held, on account of their
excellence in character and conduct.
And after being for some years an assistant to Mrs. Pres-
grove, Phcebe became at last the sole mistress of the Staple-
ford school. She filled the office ably and well. She proved
a good teacher and manager, and her own experience helped
her much in forming the characters of her pupils. She
never allowed herself to be satisfied with mere forwardness
at school, without making herself well acquainted with the
character and conduct of her girls at home, nor was she
satisfied to observe in them a love of knowledge, unless she
could feel sure that they loved duty too; and she, above all
IN SCHOOL AND OUT OF SCHOOL.
things, endeavoured to encourage in them a loving submis-
sion to the will of God, which is best shown in a faithful
performance of all the duties of that station of life in which
He has thought fit to place us.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
AFTER this affair, poor Jack found his home at the Hall far
less happy than it used to be. Master Lionel took every
opportunity of annoying him, and he often had it in his
power to do so, though Jack was no longer his servant.
We must say, that though Jack was thoroughly honest, and
very kind and obliging to those who were kind and obliging
to him, he did not bear injuries quite so patiently as he
ought to have done. He was irritated under the ill-treat-
ment he received, and he sometime said what would have
been better unsaid. This only made his situation more
unpleasant, and roused Lionel's bad feelings still more ; so
at last Jack, with tears in his eyes, begged Mr. Brooksby to
let him try to get another place. The 'Squire and his lady
were very sorry to part with him; but when they saw he
was really unhappy, they consented to his going, and they
said they would try to find him a comfortable situation,
and that his mother should live in her cottage the same.
Mrs. Honest was very sorry for Jack to leave Mr.
Brooksby, but she did not object; she said, however, that
he must engage himself to any one else only till he was
fourteen, then the little money she had put by would
apprentice him to a business. She mentioned this plan to
Mr. Brooksby, and he quite approved of it; so he asked
Jack what business he would like to follow. The boy said
he thought he should like to be apprenticed to the same
trade his father had followed : that was a saddler's,-so it
was arranged that it should be so.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
Little Rosa cried when she heard that Jack was going to
leave them; and Mabel and all the other servants were
very sorry. Jack was sorry too; for he did not like to part
from all his kind friends, and above all, he did not like to
be parted from his mother, for he could not come home to
her every night in any other situation. However, he could
not make up his mind to put up with Master Lionel's con-
duct. The young gentleman did not behave quite so bad to
his uncle and aunt as he did to people he thought beneath
him. He tried, too, to please them in some things, because
he did not wish to be sent off to a boarding-school, where
he knew he should not have so much liberty as he had at
A near neighbour of Mr. Brooksby's took Jack into his
service, and was kindly treated, but he was not quite happy;
he often longed for the pleasures he had before enjoyed.
However, in little more than twelvemonths he had become
fourteen years old, and then he left his situation and entered
on his apprenticeship. Mrs. Honest still remained at the
cottage, and the 'Squire and his lady were as kind as ever to
her; and little Rosa and her nurse often came to spend an
afternoon with her : but she did not recover her health-
she did not get strong and well as she used to be. Jack
longed for the time when he should have a home of his own
to offer her, and when he should be able to save enough at
his business to keep her comfortably, and a servant to wait
on her, that she might not be wearied with any kind of work.
That was the height of his ambition. But the widow said
she did not wish to have nothing to do. She had been used
to be employed all her life, and she thought people were
happier when they were employed than when they were
doing nothing. Jack would only smile, and reply that he
did not care how hard he worked himself; he was never
THE WIDOWS SON.
happier than when he was at his work, he said, but he
wanted to make a lady of her.
Jack's conduct gave his master so much satisfaction, and
he became so fond of him, that he gave him half what he
earned long before his term of apprenticeship was over.
Then Jack began to put by money towards furnishing a
house, and setting up in business for himself. He did not
wish to have his house furnished very smartly, for he
thought that would be unsuitable to his station; but he
wished to have every thing in it that could make it comfort-
able for his dear mother. He wished also to set up business
in or near his native village; for he thought it would be so
pleasant to live amongst his old friends still.
Time flew rapidly on. Time will fly on, and little boys
become tall men, sometimes in what seems a very little
while. It was so with our hero, Jack Honest. But he has
now attained the object he so long desired-a comfortable
home for his mother, and a good business to support her
Here we must leave him, hoping that those of our young
readers who have been interested in this story, will try to
imitate his conduct, by practising honesty in the most ex-
tended meaning of the word, being assured that they will
find it at all times the happiest and safest plan. For-
He that walketh uprightly walketh surely ; but he that
perverteth his ways shall be known."-Prov. x. 9.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
A FATHER'S LAST COUNSEL.
JACK HONEST was only eight years of age when his father
died. "Jack Honest !" cries the young reader, "What !-
was the boy's name Honest ?' It was-Honest is a sur-
name, though rather an uncommon one. We often wonder
how people come by some of the names they have. We are
not surprised to hear of Smiths, and Carpenters, and
Painters, and Bakers, and Butchers, because such surnames
were no doubt given to people who followed those trades.
Well, Honest was most likely given to one of our hero's
gireat-grandfathers, who was distinguished for the virtue of
Honesty. That is the only way by which we can solve the
mystery of how he came by his name. Jack's father and
mother were poor, but they had brought him up very
creditably. They had sent him to school, and he had never
played in the streets with idle or vicious children, which is
the ruin of many boys. He had one or two companions of
his own Age, but they were such as his parents approved of.
A short time before Mr. Honest died, he called his little
son to his bedside, and talked to him. He gave him much
good advice, and, amongst other things, he said, "I lost
my father when I was only a year or two older than you
are, Jackey, and I am going to tell you something that he
said to me. It made a great impression upon my memory,
THE WIDOW'S SON.
you may be sure, by my remembering it till my dying day.
"John," said he, looking me very earnestly in the face,
" never let your actions give the lie to your name." I was
surprised, and almost offended, that he should say such a
thing to me, so I replied, "Why, father, do you think I
shall ever become a thief ?" Then he told me that' there
were many ways of being dishonest without being a thief.
He said, "To conceal the truth when it ought to be told, is
dishonest-to take advantage of another person's ignorance,
is dishonest-to waste time or property which is not our
own, is dishonest; and there are a great many other things,
besides what I have mentioned, which people often do with-
out thinking that they are doing very wrong either. Now,
my dear boy," Mr. Honest added, "I want you to take
heed to this advice, as I hope I have done. I can promise
you, that if you do, it will make you a happy man, though
it is possible it may not make you a rich one. However, I
am sure there is nothing lost in the end by doing what is
right; for God sends his blessing on honest upright actions."
The sick man then spoke to Jack about the duty he owed
to his mother. "When I am gone," he said, "you must do
all you can to make up for my loss. You are but a little
boy now, still you may do something-you can be kind to
her, and attentive to her wishes ; and when you grow older,
you must work for her, and do all you can to make her life
i, '''y. Jack cried a good deal when his father spoke of
dying, and of leaving him and his mother alone, but he
promised that he would follow the good advice which lie
had given him.
As Mr. Honest had been a steady man, and his wife was
a careful well-managing woman, they had put by a little
money : so though the widow was of course in great grief
at the loss of her husband, she and Jack were not left
THE WrnDOW SON.
-- .. . '
- - -' ' ' '".. .
--- .--'._ .
z -i. '_' -- .
A FATII1C'iS ADVICE.
THE WIDOW'S SOY.
wholly without means for their support. Some of her
neighbours advised her to open a little shop, and they
promised to deal with her if she did so. She took their
advice, and laid out her money in that way. For two or
three years the shop answered very well. It brought in
profits enough to keep them very comfortably, aqd Jack
was still sent to school; but after a while a dashing new
shop was opened a few doors off, and Mrs. Honest, in con-
sequence, lost many of her customers. Then the poor
woman began to be very anxious; for when her rent be-
came due, and her landlord came for it, she had not got
the money to pay it; and when the time came for her to
settle her accounts with the wholesale dealers she had her
goods of, she had not enough to meet their demands, for
most of the articles were still in her shop unsold. All this
was a great trouble to Jack as well as to his mother, for he
was a thoughtful boy, and was almost as much concerned
at being in debt as she was; besides which, he was very
much grieved to see her look distressed and unhappy again.
"Jackey, my dear," she said to him one evening, when they
were sitting together, "You are now nearly eleven years
",ld, and I have been thinking, that if you could serve in
the shop, I could earn a few shillings a week by getting up
fine linen. I would go round to the gentlefolks in the
neigbourhood, and ask them to give me some employment
in that way."
"That's a capital thought, mother," cried Jack, "I could
take care of the shop very well, I think."
But you would have to give up going to school."
"Yes, mother, and I shall be sorry for that; still you
have been kind enough to send me to school for a good
many years, and now it is time that I did something to help
you. Besides, I need not give up learning altogether; 1
can read and write and cypher in my over time."
THE WIDOWS SON.
"' You are a very good boy, Jackey," said Mrs. Honest.
" Well, we will try this plan. We must do our best, and then
look to God for his blessing."
A few days after, Jack took up his station behind the
counter. He was so civil to the customers that everybody
liked him: but I must tell you, dear young readers, one
very important thing he did-that was, he was very par-
ticular to weigh and measure everything very exactly. He
had net forgotten his father's dying counsel-he had already
tried to follow it in every way he could, but now his
honesty was put to the test constantly. He though to him-
self, If I give my mother's customers a little short weight
or measure, my mother would have a little more profit on
her goods; but then that would be dishonest, and be an
offence in the sight of God." Then he thought, "If I am
careless, or in too great a hurry when I am weighing or
'measuring an article, I cannot be strictly honest, for I must
injure either my mother or her customers." So by these
means he made a very excellent little shopman.
THE WIDOW S SON.
THiE WIDOW'S COTTAGE.
AN ADVENTURE AND A TRIAL OF HONESTY.
THE widow's plan succeeded very well, and she and Jack
got a comfortable living again. But in the course of a few
months another trouble came on. Poor Mrs. Honest was
taken ill of a fever. She was so bad for some weeks that
she was not expected to live, and was obliged to have a
person to wait on her ; for though Jack would have cheer-
fully done his best to nurse her, he was wanted to take
charge of the shop. The customers now became fewer, for
many were afraid to come to the house lest they should
catch the fever. However, a few of the ladies who had
employed Mrs. Honest were very kind to her, and sent her
some little help, so she did not want for anything whilst
THE WIDOW'S SON.
she was ill. But when she got over the fever she was not
able to take to her washing and ironing again, because the
disease had brought her into a sad state of weakness; indeed
it appeared to have injured her so much, that there was
very little hope of her ever being quite strong again, and
able to work as she had done. Once more there was not
enough money to pay the rent and meet the demands of
the trades-people, and poor Mrs. Honest could form no
fresh plan to get out of her difficulties. She did not de-
spair, however; she said that they must trust in the good
providence of God, and hope that something would turn up
for their relief.
One afternoon Mrs. Honest sent Jack on an errand to
take a bill to a person who owed her a little money, but
when he got to the place he found the person was gone
away, no one knew where. The bill did not amount to
quite a pound, still it was a large sum for the widow to lose
in her present circumstances, and poor Jack was in great
trouble, and dreaded going back with the ill news.
As he was walking along the road looking very sorrow-
ful, he saw a carriage with two ladies and a gentleman in
it coming up. Al," thought he, these people are rich,
and they would not miss that little sum." This thought
made him a little envious, but the feeling was gone the
next moment, and seeing a gate just before, he ran on to open
it that the coachman might not have to stop the carriage
and get down. The gentleman drew out his purse and
threw him a piece of money. Jack bowed, but stood hold-
ing the gate back with his other hand till the carriage had
gone on, before he stooped down to pick it up.
Surely it is gold," cried he as he saw it glittering in the
sunshine. He was not mistaken ; it was a sovereign. "Oh!
joyful, joyful," cried Jack; "This is to make up for my
THE WIDOW'S SON.
poor mother's loss." But his joy was only for a moment or
two; his second thought was, "Surely the gentleman did
not mean to throw a sovereign to me. He thought he was
giving to me a sixpence or a shilling. It is scarcely likely
_._.._=- _ --
that any one would throw a sovereign to a boy for opening
a gate. At all events it would not be honest to keep it
without asking whether he meant it for me." Then he re-
membered his father's words. It is not honest to take
advantage of another person's ignorance. The carriage was
still within sight, though it was a good distance on, so he
began to run and shout out," Hoy, hoy." No one heard him,
however, and then it turned an angle in the road. Just at
this moment a man came up, and Jack thinking that he
could perhaps tell him who the gentleman was that had
just passed him in the carriage, and that he could find some
means of seeing him if he did not live far off, stopped him
THE WIDOW'S SON.
and asked the question, but without stating his reason for
"Why it was 'Squire Brooksby; don't you know him ?"
returned the other.
"No, I don't," replied Jack, "and I shall be much oblige:1
to you if you will tell me where he lives."
Why he lives at the great house there, on t'other side
the common. But what do you want with him, if you don't
know him ?" he asked.
Jack felt that he was not exactly called upon to state the
circumstance to a stranger; he thought also that if he were
a dishonest man he might try to take the money from him,
as they were quite alone in a lonely road. So he said,
Oh I have some business I want to see him about.
Thank you for telling me," and he walked briskly on. .
When Jack got home, he told his mother of his ill-
success, and then of his adventure. He did not at once tell
her quite all, and what he meant to do, for he thought ie
would hear what she would say first. He felt pretty sure,
however, that she would think the ,same as he did. And
he was right.
Oh my dear boy," she cried, we must not keep that
money. The gentleman never could have meant to give
.you so large a sum as that."
"I thought so, mother," said Jack, and then he told her
the rest of his story. . .
The good woman was so affected at this proof of her son's
right principle that she burst into tears. That is just
what your dear father would have done, Jackey," she said,
throwing her arms round his neck and kissing him. "You
deserve to bear his name. Oh I shall never, never think
myself unhappy whilst I have such a son," she added, "we
will still trust in God's goodness. He will take care of us
as long as we look up to Him and do what is right."
THE WIDOW'S SON.
JACK'S RECEPTION AT THE HALL.
JACK proposed going to 'Squire Brooksby's in the morning
before it was likely the 'Squire would be gone out, and as
his mother was quite willing he got up early and made him-
self as clean and neat as he could. He had never been into
a large house in his life, and he felt rather awkward at the
thought of going and asking to see a stranger; for his
mother thought it would be best for him to ask to see the
gentleman himself in case the servants should not carry
his message as he wished. His mother tried to give him
courage, by telling him he was going on an errand he need
not be ashamed of, and then he laughed at his own foolish-
It was a beautiful bright morning, and he went whistling
along and putting his hand in his pocket every minute or
two to feel if his piece of gold was safe. At length he
came to the lodge-gate, for there was a park and an avenue
of tall trees before thd house. The gate-keeper asked him
several questions before he would let him pass, for he had
orders not to admit any one into the, grounds who would
not state their business. So Jack told what his errand was,
and to show that what he said was the truth, he drew out
the sovereign. The man looked surprised, but pleased.
" Well, you are an honest boy," he said; "I'll let you pass
certainly; go to the end of the grove, and then turn to the
right, you will see a side-door, ring the bell, and you may
say I told you to ask to see the 'Squire if you like."
"Thank you," said Jack, and he bounded joyfully on.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
At the end of the avenue was a very large and handsome
house, with a broad flight of steps and a terrace above,
which led to the principal door. Jack tried to count the
windows, but there were so many that they quite confused
him, and he could not count them. This gentleman must
be very rich to live in such a great house," he said to him-
self ; "a sovereignmust be very little to him; still if he
did not mean to give it to me, I have no right to keep it.
What he has, has nothing to do with the matter; it is as
much my duty to return it, as if he were a poor man." And
Jack reasoned quite right, my dear reader. It is very
wrong to say that there is no harm in robbing the rich,
though people will sometimes say so.
Jack went as he had been directed, and seeing the door,
pulled the bell, his heart beating a little quicker than usual
as he listened to the sound it made. A footman answered,
and then Jack said what the man at the lodge had told him
to say. "I suppose you are come to see master about the
situation," said the servant, eyeing him a little curiously.
"I am afraid you are not tall enough, my man; but you
shall see Mr. Brooksby in a few minutes, if you'll sit down,"
he added, pointing to a seat. Jack was just going to reply
that he had not come about a situation, but the footman
went off, so he sat down on a chair in the lobby, and once
more thrust his hand into his pocket to feel whether his
gold was safe.
In a fLw minutes the servant re-appeared. "Come here,
my boy," he said, beckoning to him and smiling good-
humouredly. Master's at breakfast, but he says he'll see
Jack got up in great haste and in some agitation. He
felt a sort of choking in his throat, but he said to himself,
"What a foolish fellow I am !-what have I to be afraid
THE WIDOW'S SON.
of?" He followed the servant down a passage : at the end
was a door opening into a very large and beautifully fur-
nished apartment, and never having seen anything of the
kind before, it appeared to him more like one of the en-
chanted palaces he had read of in fairy tales, than anything
real. A gentleman and lady were sitting at a table, on
which the breakfast was spread, and they smiled at the
amazement which the boy's countenance expressed as he
entered the room. Politeness was, however, natural to
Jack; and bewildered as he was, he did not forget himself
so far as not to make a bow.
So you want a situation, my lad," said the gentleman.
"So you want a situation, my lad," said the gentleman.
"No, sir, I am not come about a situation, but I was bold
enough to ask to see you, sir, because- "
"Why, surely I have seen you before," said Mr. Brooksby,
starting as if a thought had suddenly crossed his mind.
"Yes, sir," Jack replied-and his throat was clearer now
THE WIDOW'S SON.
-" You saw me yesterday afternoon, in the road on the
other side of the common. I opened a gate for your car-
riage to pass, sir, and you threw me this"-holding out the
sovercign. "I thought, directly I saw what it was, that
you must have thrown it to me by mistake ; so I called
after you, and ran after you, but I couldn't make you hear,
so I have brought it to you now, sir."
The lady and gentleman looked at each other, and then
at the poor boy, and they looked very much pleased.
What is your name, my lad ?" asked Mr. Brooksby.
"John Honest, sir."
Honest did you say? Why, then you are honest by
name, and honest by nature."
"Yes, sir, I hope so. My father and mother have always
taught me to be honest."
Ah I should think you had been well taught. Who is
"My father is dead, sir. He died about three years ago;
but my mother lives in the vale yonder: she keeps a little
shop in the village, sir."
"I did give you the sovereign by mistake," said Mr.
Brooksby; I thought it was a -1 .1l;- for it was mixed
with some silver, and I did not look at it; but I found out
my mistake afterward, and I did not expect ever to see it
I am afraid there are not many boys who would have
had the honesty to bring it back to you," said the lady;
"but I daresay your good mother has taught you, that if
we keep what we know is not our own, it is just the same
thing in the sight of God as if we had stolen it," she added,
turning to Jack.
"Yes, ma'am, she has, and so has my dear father," he re-
THE WIDOW'S SON.
"It is a great blessing to have had good parents to teach
you what is right," said the lady. I have no doubt you
think so, and that you thank God for it."
Yes, ma'am, I do indeed," Jack replied very earnestly.
He had laid the sovereign down on the table before Mr.
Brooksby, but that gentleman, smiling and nodding, said,
"Put the money back into your pocket, my lad; I. give it
Jack looked up in his face, but did not offer to take it
up. Thank you, sir," he said, after a little hesitation,
"but I should not like to take it now. It would be taking
a reward for being honest, and mother says we ought to be
honest without any reward. No, sir, if you will be good
enough to give me the shilling you meant to give me at first
instead, I'll take that and be glad; for my mother is very
This is a noble-minded boy," observed the lady in a low
tone to her husband. Give him the shilling now, but we
must not lose sight of him."
"Well, as you are so very scrupulous, here is a shilling,"
said Mr. Brooksby.
Jack received it with another low bow.
"You like sweet cakes, I *i ,, -, said the lady ; "if so,
take some out of that plate; perhaps you are hungry after
"No ma'am, I'm not hungry, thank you," he answered;
"but if you will give me leave, I will take one of the cakes
home to my mother. She has been very ill, and she cannot
eat common victuals now, and she would like one of these
nice cakes, I think."
"You are a very good boy to think of your poor mother,
so you shall have them all, if you like," the lady rejoined.
"I thank you, ma'am, I wont say 'no' to that," said Jack,
THE WIDOW'S SON.
his eyes brightening with pleasure. Here I've got a nice
clean handkerchief in my pocket. Mother gave it me this
morning when I came out. I'll tie them up in that, if you
So you shall, and if your handkerchief will hold them,
we will put these little tarts in too. Shall we ?"
Jack smiled, and he began to contrive a little that he
might find room for the tarts.
". You say your mother is very poor, and that she is ill,
too," said Mr. Brooksby. "Now, would not this sovereign
you have refused be of great service to her ?"
Yes, sir, indeed it would; for she is in great trouble for
want of money just now-but--but I don't like to be paid
for being honest, and doing what was only my duty, sir."
Well, well, it shall be so, then," said the gentleman, as
he put the piece of gold back into his purse. "Perhaps
we shall call and see your mother some day before long.
We shan't forget your name, I promise you." Jack smiled,
and after making another bow, he went out of the room.
THE WIDOW' SON.
A VISIT FROM THE 'SQUIRE'S LADY.
JACK went home very well pleased with his morning's ad-
venture. He was pleased with the kind reception he had
met with, and he was pleasedwith what he had seen. He was
delighted, too, to be laden with nice things for his mother;
and though they smelt very savoury and looked very tempt-
ing, he would not bite a bit out of one of them. But more
than all he felt happy because he knew he had done what
was right. There is no satisfaction so great as that we feel
when we have done right.
Jack's tongue ran very fast when he got home. The first
thing he did was to open his handkerchief and display his
good things-then he told his story. He was so much
pleased with the gentleman and lady he had been intro-
duced to, especially with Mrs. Brooksby, that he could not
help talking about them all the rest of the day. He said he
thought her the prettiest lady he had ever seen in his life,
" Excepting you, mother," he added, looking up in her face
and smoothing the few hairs which peeped from under her
But you don't call me a lady, Jackey," said Mrs. Honest,
"You would be a lady if you were dressed like one,
mother," he replied.
"No, I should never be a lady, Jackey; it is not dress
that makes a lady. It is being brought up amongst gentle-
folks, and being taught good manners, and having a good
education, that makes gentlemen and ladies."
THE WIDOW'S SOS..
Jack could not at all,see why his mother could never be
a lady. He said he meant to keep her without doing any-
thing when he was a little older, and then he should like to
see her dressed in a silk gown. "And I am. sure," he
added, "you will look like a lady then."
Two days after, as Jack was serving in the shop, he
heard the sound of carriage wheels not far off. It was not
often that a carriage passed that way, because their little
house stood in a lane turning out of the high road. Jack's
thoughts were full of his new friends, and he concluded
it must be the 'Squire and his lady coming to see them.
He was not far from right, for the next minute the carriage
stopped at the door, and Mrs. Brooksby got out of it and
came into the shop.
"Ha you are very busy, I see," she said, smiling and
nodding to him. That is right. How is your mother, my
good boy ?"
Mother's very poorly, ma'am. Will you walk in and
see her? She is in here," he replied, and as he spoke, he
opened the door leading to their little sitting-room behind
the shop. The widow was sitting in an easy chair beside
the fire. She was evidently very weak, and her face was
very pale, but she tried to get up when the lady entered.
Don't disturb yourself, I pray," cried Mrs. Brooksby,
taking the chair which Jack was placing for her by the side
of his mother's. I am sorry to see you looking so ill."
"I have been very ill indeed-keeping my bed for
weeks, but I am getting better now, ma'am," Mrs. Honest
said, in a low faint voice.
"Yes, it is strength you want, I see. Well, my good
woman," she added, "you have a great blessing in your
son"-Jack had left the room to go back to the shop by this
time-" Mr. Brooksby and I," she continued, "were very
THE WIDOW'S SON.
much pleased with the manner in which he acted about the
sovereign that was thrown him by mistake. We are look-
ing out for a lad to assist the footman, and we should like
to take him into our employ very much, if you would like
to part with him. Though he is not quite so old as we
could wish, he will be getting over that disadvantage every
day, you know," she added, smiling.
"You are very kind, ma'am," replied the widow, "and I
should like my dear boy to have such a comfortable situa-
tion, if it should please God to take me from him ; but I
don't know how to part with him whilst I live. I have
nothing to keep me but my little shop, and I am not able
to serve in it myself now; besides which, I am a lone
widow. I have nothing on earth to love but my dear boy."
Yes, I see-I see, my good friend," said the lady, wiping
a tear from her eye. "There would be no kindness in
taking him from you-nay, it would be cruel to do so."
Ah, ma'am, it is very good of you to say so," said the
widow. Some gentlefolks think that we poor people
haven't got the same kind of feelings as they have them-
selves, and they are offended if we don't like to do what
they think will be for our good. But my dear Jackey is
everything to me. He is all my comfort."
I don't wonder at your being unwilling to part with so
good a son," said the lady. I could not wish you to do
such a thing in the state of health you are in, but we must
see what can be done to get up your strength. Now, do
tell me," she added, looking very kindly at her, if there
is any other way in which we can help you."
You are so good, ma'am, that I think I will tell you all'
my trouble," said the widow.
Ah that is just what I wish you to do," cried the lady,
"but tell it quietly, in your own way. I am not in a hurry;
THE WIDOW'S SON.
I am out this morning for the purpose of paying you a
Mrs. Honest, thus kindly encouraged, stated the difficul-
ties she was in, in consequence of her long illness and the
losses she had had. All this made the lady feel more sur-
prised and pleased at their good principle. When people
are in circumstances of great want, they are sometimes
tempted to do what they would not do at another time, but
it ought not to be so, for no circumstances can alter wrong
into right, or justify us in doing evil that good may come.
Mrs. Brooksby said she would send some nourishing
things by one of her servants for the invalid, and she
Legged her not to make herself unhappy about her little
debts, for that Mr. Brooksby and herself would help her to,
settle them. As she went back through the shop, she put a
crown-piece into Jack's hand, smiling and saying, he was
to spend it just as he pleased.
"Oh! I shall spend it, ma'am, in getting something to
do my mother good," he answered.
You need not do that," said the lady; I am going to.
send some nice things-you may spend it on yourself."
Then I'll give it to her to help to pay her, debts with,
if you please, ma'am," Jack added.
That is a good boy, I like to hear you say that," she
said, you are honest in every way. However," she added,
"suppose Mr. Brooksby and I pay all your mother's debts
for her, what will you do then ?"
Then I'll put this five shillings into a savings' bank, and
I'll add all I can to it so as to make up a good sum of
money that my poor mother may never want any more."
That is a very good idea. When we are not in debt to
any one, it is quite right to save if we can, if it be ever so(
little, for a time of sickness or want.-But how do you-
think you can add to your little store ?"
THE WIDOW'S SON.
"Oh .! I am getting a big boy now, ma'am," Jack replied,
"and I hope I shall be able to take some situation, and
keep my mother soon."
The lady again expressed her approval, and then she
stepped iiho her carriage and it drove off.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
KIND OFFERS FROM NEW FRIENDS, AND A NEW HOME.
MRS. BROOKSBY came to see Mrs. Honest again in a few
days, and then she gave her the means to get her debts
settled. They amounted to but a few pounds altogether,
so she and Jack were relieved of that trouble. The lady
then made a proposal to the widow, which she and Mr.
Brooksby had been talking over together that morning.
This was, that Jack should enter their service, and that his
mother should live in one of the little cottages on their
estate. The lady said that Mr. Brobksby had had some
little houses built on purpose for two or three of his late
father's servants who had grown old in the service of the
family, and that one of them was now vacant.
She said that they would pay Jack liberal wages, and
allow her a small sum yearly, which, together with a house
rent-free, would be enough to keep her in comfort. "Then,"
added the lady, "you may get stronger in time and be able
to earn a little to increase your income, and we will not
part you and your son; he shall come to you every night
after his day's duty is over, and he shall spend nearly the
whole of his Sundays with you. The cottage is not many
minutes' walk from the Hall."
Mrs. Honest was more thankful than she could express
at this kind offer-indeed she felt too grateful to speak at
all, she burst into tears of joy. But Jack's delight shewed
itself in other ways, he capered about the house looking the
very picture of happiness. And he could think and talk of
nothing else but the good gentlefolks at the Hall.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
The cottage, which was to be the widow's home, was small;
there were but four rooms in it, but it was very pretty, and
comfortably fitted up. Mr. Brooksby was one, of those
liberal-minded gentlemen- who liked to see poor people in
comfortable houses, and he encouraged all his tenants to
make their homes as tasteful as they could. He did not
wish'to see poor people trying to vie with the rich, but he
liked to see them have a few simple articles as decorations
to their rooms, as well as what was absolutely necessary for
their use. He thought that cultivating such taste improved
people's character, and made them more fond of their
homes.; so he often made his tenants presents of things of
that sort. The cottage had a pretty little parlour with
papered walls, representing jessamine running up trellis-
work, so as you sit in it you might almost fancy yourself in
a greenhouse. The window of this room looked upon a
field where sheep were grazing, and a beautiful oak tree
stood just by, and stretched its broad arms over the roof.
The room was very neatly furnished too, and there were
three pictures in gilt frames hanging over the chimney-
piece, and pretty muslin curtains at the window, and flower
pots in a rustic basket, with some flourishing plants in them.
Behind was a little kitchen furnished with everything that
a small family would be likely to want, and the window
of that room looked out upon a good-sized garden which
was well stocked with vegetables, and which had narrow
beds on each side the walks filled with flowers. Then above
were two neat bed-rooms ; the one in front, being rather the
largest and best, was for Mrs. Honest, and the back one was
The widow disposed of the good-will of her shop, as it
is called, and also her furniture, excepting a few things she
wished to keep for old acquaintance sake. People often get
THE WIDOW'S SON.
attached to articles of furniture which they have had a
great many years, especially if they remind them of any
one who was very dear to them, and that person is away or
dead. Mrs. Honest would rather have gone without food
than have parted with the old arm chair that her dear
husband used to sit in in the winter evenings, when they
gathered round the fire, and she loved the old clock too,
that had so long told them how fast time flew; and she kept
these and a few other things that were not of much worth
in themselves, but only valuable for the feelings and
thoughts that were connected with them.
The little sum of money she got for the things she sold,
she put into the savings' bank; for she thought that it
might enable her to apprentice Jack to some trade when he
should be fourteen.
Jack set about his duties with a very cheerful spirit.
Some of the things he had to do were not exactly pleasant,
and some were a little difficult at first-for he had not been
used to work of that kind-but nothing seemed hard to
him, he thought it a pleasure to work for such a kind
master and mistress. After awhile, however, he had a
trouble to bear which he little expected.
"" . --
THE WIDOW'S SON.
CHANGES-A FRESH OFFER TO JACK.
THE foreign post one morning brought Mr. Brooksby a
letter, bordered and sealed with black, which threw the
family into great trouble. It contained news of the death
of one of Mr. Brooksby's brothers. This gentleman had
been living in America for a great many years. He and his
wife had gone over there when he was quite a young man ;
but his wife had died three years before, leaving a son and
a little daughter. The boy was now about twelve years
old, and the girl not quite four, for she was quite a baby
when her poor mamma died, and these orphan children were
consigned to the care of Mr. and Mrs. Brooksby. They
were already on their journey to England, under the charge
of an old negress who had lived with the family ever since
they had settled in America, so preparations were imme-
diately made for their reception. Mr. and Mrs. Brooksby
meant to have the children to live with them, and to treat
them just as if they were their own. They had never had
any children of their own. A nursery was fitted up for
Miss Rosa, and Master Lionel was to have his suit of rooms
and a tutor. His kind uncle thought he would be happier
if he lived with them than at a boarding school. When the
rooms were fitted up, Mr. Brooksby asked Jack if he would
like to be Master Lionel's servant instead of helping the
footman as he did then. He said that if he would like it
he might. Jack was quite pleased with the proposal. He
felt a great deal for the poor boy, for he well remembered
his own grief at losing his father; he had often thought if it
THE WIDOW'S SON.
had pleased God to take both his parents, his condition
would have been very deplorable. So he thought he should
like to wait on this young gentleman.
Mr. Brooksby said to him, "You may, perhaps, find
Master Lionel rather hard to please sometimes. I don't
know that he is so, but I expect he has had his own way a
great deal, and he has been used to have slaves to order
about him; so you must take all this into consideration
before you decide on changing your office, that you may
not be disappointed and repent of it afterward."
Oh I am sure I shan't repent of it, sir," Jack replied;
for his warm feelings of gratitude led him to think that he
could bear with any thing from a person who belonged to
Mr. and Mrs. Brooksby's family.
When he was alone he began to wonder what Mr. Brooks-
by could have meant by saying that Master Lionel had
been used to have slaves about him to order. So in the
evening when he went to his mother, he asked her if she
knew. "Yes, my dear," she answered, "many of the rich
people in America (and in some other places as well) have
a number of black men and women waiting on them, and
working on their estates as Mr. Brooksby has you and all
his other servants in his house and on his grounds; only
instead of being hired, and paid wages, and being able to
go away and engage themselves to another master if they
please, as servants can in England, they are considered their
master's property, and are called slaves. The master
reckons them as much a part of his property as his. horses
and sheep, or whatever other live creatures he may have,
and his slaves can never leave him unless he chooses to sell
them to another person."
Oh mother, and is that right ?" exclaimed Jack, look-
ing greatly surprised and shocked.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
"No, it cannot be right, my dear boy," Mrs. Honest re-
plied; "God never meant that one man should sell his
fellow-man as he does his cattle. But if this young gentle-
man has been taught to think there is no harm in it, you
must be careful what you say Jack, or you will give him
Oh I wont offend him," Jack returned, "I'm not likely
to offend any one called by the name of Brooksby; but I
wont promise you that I wont tell him that it is not right
to keep slaves; I think it would but be honest to do it."
Well I don't know, my dear. If you thought you could
do any good by it, it would certainly be right to say out the
truth, but it will not be your place to teach him, but to
wait on him. You know his uncle and aunt, and his tutor
will tell him what is right."
Here the conversation ended, but Jack thought about it
for a long while.
THE WIDOWmS SON.
AN ARRIVAL.-JACK'S NEW MASTER.
VWHEN Mr. Brooksby thought that the vessel in which his
nephew and niece were would reach England, he set out
for the sea-port town of Liverpool to meet them. The
children had enjoyed the voyage very much, for every thing
they saw was new to them, and that had taken off their
grief for the loss of their father a little.
Little Rosa's black nurse, Mabel, was a kind-hearted and
faithful creature, who was much attached to the family,
though she was a slave. That is she was a slave when she
left America, for she was included in the property Mr.
William Brooksby left his son; but she was no longer a
slave when she set her foot on English ground. Slavery is
not allowed in England, or in any of our colonies now.
Our laws forbid it.
They touch our country and their shackles fall."
The children were much pleased to see their uncle, and
with all they saw in England, and little Rosa sat on Mr.
Brooksby's knee in the carriage, and prattled nearly all the
Mrs. Brooksby was looking out anxiously for their ar-
rival, and so was Jack; for he considered the young gentle-
man as his new master. When the carriage drove up the
avenue, he looked as glad as if he had been going to see
some relations of his own. He run out to the door, and
made himself very busy in carrying in the trunks.
Master Lionel was the first to jump out of the carriage.
THE WIDOWS SON.
He was a tall boy for his age, and rather handsome, but
there was something in his countenance which was not
altogether pleasing. It was a curl of the lip which seemed
to express contempt.
You have a. fine old mansion here, uncle, he said,
standing erect and taking a deliberate survey of the Hall.
"AAh! I've heard my father speak of it many times. He
was born here."
"Yes, my dear Lionel, said Mr. Brooksby, who was just
then lifting little Rosa out of the carriage, He was born
in that room," pointing to one of the upper windows.
"Oh let us go in and see aunt. I do so want to see
aunt," cried the little girl, catching hold of her brother's
hand, and looking first at him and then at her uncle.
Mr. Brooksby smiled. "Well," he said, "we will go in
when Lionel has done admiring the outside of the house,
for I fancy your aunt is as eager to see you as you are to
"Oh, I'm quite ready," said the young gentleman.
"Stop one moment," cried Mr. Brooksby, who now
caught sight of Jack. "This lad, Lionel," lie added, "is to
be your man Friday. You have read of Robinson Crusoe,
and his man Friday, I suppose Well, his name is John
Honest, and you'll find him true to his name, I promise you."
Oh, then, you will look after my trunks, and see that
they are put into my dressing-room," said the young gentle-
"Yes, sir," Jack replied, bowing.
"Take particular care of the one marked No. 5. If you
drop it, you will do a pretty deal of mischief. Do you hear,
Boys are very careless sometimes," le added, turning to
THE WIDOW'S SON.
his uncle. "There are all my mathematical instruments in
"Boys !" Jack murmured to himself. "Well, he is a little
taller than I am, but I think mistress told me he is only a
few months older."
George will help you to carry the trunks, Jack, they are
too heavy for you to manage alone," said Mr. Brooksby
kindly. He then went up the flight of steps which led to
the front entrance, leading his nephew by one hand and his
niece by the other.
The windows of the dining room opened upon the terrace.
Mrs. Brooksby had been sitting if that room, and she now
came out with open arms. She was too eager to fold the
dear children to her heart to wait for any ceremony. Lionel
kissed her very affectionately, and said he was sure that
she and his uncle would try to make up for the dear parents
they had lost; but from the way he spoke, it seemed as if
he had prepared his speech beforehand. Not so little Rosa :
she laughed, and cried, and hugged her aunt by turns, but
she did not speak a word.
Some refreshments were already on the table for the
travellers, but Master Lionel said he could not eat anything
till he had seen that his trunks were quite safe. My ser-
vants will take care of everything-they don't need looking
after," said Mr. Brooksby; "and as to that little Jack
Honest, he is a gem. I'll tell you the story some day of
how we came to know him first. I assure you we prize him,
and that you are well off in having him for a man Friday."
Well, uncle," replied the young gentleman, holding his
head up higher than usual, "I am much obliged to you
for giving me your gem; but I don't think it is well to make
too much of servants, they are sure to presume upon your
"Jack will never do that, my dear," said Mrs. Brooksby.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
"He knows how to keep his station. I hope you will treat
him with kindness," she added, "for he is prepared to de-
vote himself to you. First, because your name is Brooksby ;
and further because you have lost your dear father ;-and
he knows what it is to lose a father."
Oh, I don't want to be pitied, aunt," he returned. "I
"am very grateful for your sympathy and kindness, but I
don't want to be pitied by servants."
"Well, my dear boy, I think sympathy is not to be des-
pised from any one," said the lady. We are all members
of one great human family, you know; but we wont settle
that point now. Sit down and take a sandwich, or shall I
give you a slice of fowl P"
"I can't eat till I see that my trunks are all safe, indeed,
aunt," he replied.
Well, then, I will ring for a servant to show you to your
rooms. Now, darling," she added, turning to little Rosa,
you will have a tart, wont you ?"
The little girl smiled and took a tart, but she did not
attempt to eat it, but sat looking up in her aunt's face.
Have I got a little dumb girl here 1" asked the lady,
looking first at the child, and then at Mr. Brooksby.
"Oh no! I'll answer for that," he cried. "Her tongue
has run so fast all the way. But I suppose that is the
reason why it is quiet now," he added, patting Rosa's cheek.
"It is tired-is it so ?"
No, no, I am not tired," she now murmured out, but I
like to look at aunt. Oh! I wish she would let me call her
mamma," she added, with great earnestness, I should so
like to call her mamma, and to love her dearly."
Mrs. Brooksby was affected to tears; and once more fold-
ing her little niece in her arms, she said, "You shall call
me mamma if you like, darling. I will indeed be a mother
to you." 31
THE WIDOW'S SON.
LITTLE ROSA AND HER BLACK NURSE, AND A VISIT TO THE
POOR JACK was woefully disappointed in his young master.
He would gladly have been under the footman once more,
but he did not like to say so. He did not even hint at his
trouble to any one, excepting his mother. She said all she
could to cheer him, and encourage him to do his duty, and
she said he must hope that the young gentleman would
improve on further acquaintance.
About a week after the arrival of the orphans, Jack went
up to Mrs. Brooksby as she was walking in the garden one
morning, and said he had a very great favour to ask.
"Well, what is it?" said the lady, smiling. She had
always got a smile for Jack, and she treated him more
kindly than ever now she saw that he was not quite so
happy as he used to be.
Oh it's a .ery great favour. It is, that you will let me
take Miss Rosa to see my mother. Mother would so like to
see her, and Miss says she would like to see mother."
"Then you and Miss Rosa are good friends, I suppose,"
"Oh yes ma'am, she's such a sweet little lady, who
could help loving her ? I've talked to mother about her so
much-for I could not help it, I like her so much-and
mother said I might ask you to let me bring her to the
cottage for an hour. I'll take such care of her."
"I don't doubt that, Jack," the lady returned, but you
wont mind having good old Mabel with you. Mabel and
THE WIDOW'S SON.
Miss Rosa shall go to your mother's cottage under your
protection, for an hour, if you like."
"Oh thank you, thank you, ma'am," he cried. "No;
I like Mabel : she is a kind good creature, though she is
Though she is black, Jack Why, you don't suppose any
one is the worse for having a black skin, do you ?"
"No, ma'am, no; mother says our hearts are all alike,
whether we be white or black."
"To be sure, Jack. We are all God's family, and we
ought to love one another more than we do. But there is
Mabel and little Rosy just coming out for a walk ; you
may run and ask them if they would like to go now."
"Then will you be pleased to tell Master Lionel that I
am absent with your leave 1" Jack asked.
"Oh yes, 11 settle that."
THE WIDOW'S SON.
JacK oowed, and ran off highly delighted. Little Rosa
had grown very fond of him, and she was quite pleased
with the thought of seeing his mother. Jack was a favourite
of Mabel's too; she did not, therefore, raise any objections,
so they set off for the cottage in company. As they went
along, Jack did all he could to amuse his little charge. He
ran about seeking for the most beautiful wild flowers he
could find, then he tried to think of some pleasant stories
to tell her. When they were in sight of the cottage, he
asked her and Mabel to be kind enough to stop for a
minute whilst he ran to tell his mother that they were
coming. So the little lady sat down on the grass, and said
she would make a wreath of the flowers Jack had gathered
for her, and put it round her bonnet. Then I shall be so
smart," she added, laughing.
Mrs. Honest was much pleased to hear that Jack had
brought the sweet little lady, as he called her, to see her,
and she went out herself to fetch her into the parlour. Rosa
was soon at home with her, and no one could take her for a
dumb girl then.
She would have stopped at the cottage all day, she was
so much pleased with her new acquaintance ; but Jack did
not forget that Mrs. Brooksby had only given him leave to
keep her for an hour, and he would not overstay the time.
Whenever he felt tempted to do anything of the kind, he
always thought of his father's dying words. "To waste
time or property that is not our own is dishonest."
Come, Miss Rosy," he said, looking up at the old clock
which was clicking in a corner of the room, "Come we
must go back to the hall now, if you please, for our time is.
"Yes else missus no let Miss Rosy come see Jack's moder
any more," said Mabel.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
"Oh Mabel, you should not say so to Miss Rosa," cried
Jack; "you should say you must keep your time because
you were told to do so, and because God bids children obey
their parents, and those who have the rule over them."
"Well me tink you right Jack," replied the old woman,
smiling good-humouredly, why you good as parson," she
Mother has taught me that," said Jack, looking grate-
fully up in his mother's face, "and I've read it in the
"Me no read Bible," said Mabel, shaking her head
sorrowfully. "Nobody taught poor Mabel to read Bible."
"Cannot you read ? Oh what a sad thing," cried Mrs.
Honest. "But the 'Squire and his lady are so good, I am
sure they will let you learn to read now if you wish it,"
No, me too old to learn now."
"Oh no you are not too old," cried Jack, "I've heard of
people older than you are learning to read. I would teach
you if I might."
Mabel, however, repeated, "No, me too old to learn ;"
and Jack, whose eyes were once again raised to the clock,
said, "we will talk about that another time,-we must
go,-good bye mother."
Little Rosa threw her arms round Mrs. Honest's neck,
saying, Good bye, Jack's mother. I'll ask aunt to let me
come and see you again soon." Then she took her black
nurse by the hand and tripped away.
35 c 2
THE WIDOW'S SON.
ONE morning, a week or two after, as Jack was busy putting
away a number of little articles which his new master had
left on his dressing-table, the young gentleman came running
back into the room in a great hurry, saying, Where's the
pin I left there ? I forgot to put it in."
"I have not seen any pin, sir," Jack replied.
"Not seen any pin? what do you mean by saying that?
you must have seen it. I left it not ten minutes age,
sticking in the pincushion."
"You could not have left it here, Master Lionel, or I
must have seen it," said Jack. "I have been standing here
putting the things into the dressing-case ever since you
went out of the room."
I tell you, I did leave it there," cried the young gentle-
man, now growing very angry. "What do you mean by
contradicting me, you impertinent fellow. You have si olen
"I stolen your pin !" exclaimed Jack, in his turn, growing
very warm. "I'll let you know, Master Lionel, that I ant
not to be accused of thieving in this house. Ask Mr.
Brooksby if he thinks I have stolen it."
Oh my uncle is too kind to you, and you fancy you
can do as you please with him; but he'll find you out some
day. Give me my pin instantly, or I'll expose you to the
"Expose me! I have nothing to fear from you," Jack
THE WIDOW S SON.
"What do you mean by repeating my words, fellow ?"
"What do you mean by accusing an honest boy of being
a thief ?" demanded Jack. I can tell you, sir, you are not
amongst your slaves now," he added.
'j i I i I H '\I' I = I II I
,t-' '! "'t
"Insolent fellow, you shall repent of this," cried the
young gentleman, and raising his arm, he struck Jack a
heavy blow on the head, which brought him to the grlmid.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
Jack cried out, and the noise of his crrand his fall together
drew several persons to the spot; amongst others, Mabel
and little Rosa, who happened to be passing the end of the
passage at the time.
Oh, brother, naughty brother, have you hurt poor Jack!"
cried the child bursting into tears, and running up to him.
Jack's head had struck against one of the legs of the
dressing-table, and he was still lying on the floor with his
face streaming with blood.
Go along with you, Rosa; he is a thief; he don't deserve
pity," exclaimed Lionel.
"Jack no tief, me tink, cried Mabel;' you make mistake,
"What does it signify what you think, old woman,"
returned Lionel, scornfully; I say he is a thief, and I'll
have him put in prison. He has stolen my pin, and it was
set with diamonds."
"Oh you would not have Jack put in prison, brother,
I'm sure," cried the little girl. "What would his poor
mother say ?-she would cry so, for she loves him so much."
Go along with you," Lionel repeated, trying to push her
and Mabel back; I'll not allow anybody to interfere with
me. I'll do as I please with my own servant."
"Indeed you shan't, sir," cried Jack, now recovering
himself a little, and rising up. I'm not your slave, young
sir; and I can tell you English boys are not to be treated
The other servants had by this time called Mr. Brooksby;
and now entering the room, he asked, in a tone of deep
concern, what was the matter.
Lionel was foremost in telling his tale; and Jack let him
do so, for he knew that he had a friend in the 'Squire, and
that he would see that justice was done him.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
"You have acted very wrong, Lionel, in striking the boy,"
Mr. Brooksby said; "you ought not to have done that
under any circumstances. I never allow a servant to be
struck in my house; and after all I am sure you will find
the pin if you only have patience."
"But he was so insulting to me, uncle."
"Perhaps you provoked him by calling his honesty in
question. However, let us hear no more of this. Jack, are
you much hurt?" he added, turning to the boy and examining
"Hurt no; I scarcely touched him. He only made a
"great noise to make people think he was hurt," cried Lionel.
But here is a deep wound," cried Mr. Brooksby : run,
Mabel, to the housekeeper, and ask her for something to
wrap it up with. Now, Lionel," he added, "go to the
library, and wait there till I come to you. I must talk with
you alone a little."
"I shall not go from here till I have got my pin," he
replied, "I value it very highly. It was my mother's
"There is no doubt it will be found if you will wait
patiently. I desire that you do as I bid you."
"Yes, it will be found in the possession of that young
thief, and I should just like to detect him. He will make
you believe he is as innocent as a lamb, I know."
I have not even seen the pin, sir," cried Jack, making
an effort to speak.
"'Tis a falsehood," exclaimed Lionel, furiously, "I left
it on the dressing-table, in the pincushion, and no one else
came into the room after. He acknowledged that himself.'
He could not have left it there," said Jack, or I must
have seen it."
"I'll not have any more said on either side now," cried
THE WIDOW'S SON.
Mr. Brooksby. "Licnel, once more I desire that you go
qu etly to the library, and wait there till I come to you."
I don't choose to go, sir," he answered; "I am not used
to be ordered about, as if I were a servant. I am my own
"No, you are not your own master, Lionel; you are
placed under my care, till you become of age. But I do not
wish to enforce authority," Mr. Brooksby added; "I thought
you would obey me from a sense of duty."
The quiet, yet decided manner in which Mr. Brooksby
spoke, made his nephew a little ashamed of himself; and
he now walked out of the room. As he went along the
passage, he happened to put his hand into his bosom,
between the collar of his waistcoat and the front of his
shirt, when, to his great surprise, he drew out the very pin
he had accused poor Jack of stealing. It was evident that
he had stuck it carelessly in his shirt-front, and that it had
slipped out and fallen within his waistcoat; indeed, he re-
membered now having attempted to stick it there. His con-
science told him in a moment that it was his duty to go back
and state the truth. It told him, also, that some apology
was due to Jack for the manner in which he had treated
him-conscience will speak to us, whether we will hearken
to it or not-but Lionel Brooksby would not hearken: his
pride revolted from the thought of confessing that he had
been in the wrong, or even confessing that he could have
been mistaken; and he had the meanness and the wicked-
ness to think to himself-" I will not let uncle know that I
have found the pin, but I'll hide it for a few days; and
then I'll pretend to find it accidentally." So he slipped it
hurriedly into his pocket.
Jack Honest would have scorned such a base action; and
so would any good-principled person.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
When Mr. Brooksby joined hiM nephew in the library, he
talked to him a good deal about the sin of giving way to
his passions. He reminded him that anger had led to the
first murder that was committed in the world; and then he
told him how wrong it was to accuse any one of the crime
of thieving, without having very good reason for doing so.
He related the incident which had first introduced Jack to
him; and he said he was sure a boy who could behave so
nobly at one time, could not be guilty of a theft at another;
because the same principle which had led him to do the one
honest act, must be his guide at all timcs.
Lionel attempted to excuse himself by sayig that Jack
had provoked him to strike him by being so saucy. Mr.
Brooksby replied that he would talk to Jack about that
when he was better. He had then left him, he said, very
faint and ill from the blow and loss of blood. "I am sure,"
he added, "that if Jack has been saucy, he will be honest
enough to confess it, and he shall make an apology to you.
I will not allow my servants to ill-treat you; but then I
feel that it is my duty to protect them f:om insult as well."
THE WIDOW'S SON.
THE TRUTH COMES OUT.
JACK was ill for several days, and his mother was sent for,
to nurse him. She was very much grieved to find him in
such a state; but she did not encourage any ill-feeling in
him towards his young master. Jack declared that he would
not be his servant any longer-that he would beg Mr.
Brooksby toilet him take his old place again, for no one had
yet been found to fill it. His mother thought it would be
best for him to do so; but she told him that it was his duty
to forgive the young gentleman, and to treat him with
respect still. She said such conduct would not only be
pleasing to his kind friends the squire and his lady, but that
God would be pleased with him too. She read some texts
from the Bible to him, which speak of the duty of forgiving
.our enemies, and returning good for evil; and Jack listened
to her patiently at last, though he was at first inclined to
be very angry at having his honesty called in question.
Avoid the beginning of evil" is a very wise proverb, and
.one we should do well to practise at all times. Jack, by
his good mother's advice, checked his inclinations to do
what was wrong; but Lionel, on the contrary, went on froni
one sin to another.
We before said that he determined on pretending to find
his pin accidentally. That would have been very wrong,
but that did not satisfy him; he afterwards resolved on
making it appear, after all, that Jack had stolen it; so he
found an opportunity of slipping it into a box of Jack's,
which stood in a sort of landing near his dressing-room.
THE WIDOW'S SON.
He thought he was not seen by any one, but he was
mistaken; one person saw him do it, and that was the poor
old black woman. She wondered what he was about at
the time, but she did not say any thing, as she saw he did
not notice that she was so near.
Then, dear young reader, God saw him. God sees every
wicked action we do, whether it be done in the dark or in
the light, in secret or openly. That is a solemn thought.
Master Lionel thought his plan for making it seem that
he was right and that Jack was guilty, was very clever, and
when nothing was heard of the lost pin for three or four
days, he proposed that Jack's box should be searched. He
said that if the boy were innocent he had nothing to fear.
This seemed reasonable, and Mr. and Mrs. Brooksby con-
sented to it. They were both very unhappy about the
affair, for they loved Lionel for his father's sake, and they
were much attached to Jack too, though he was only their
Jack was as bold as a lion in this matter; he said he did
not care how much his box was routed over, for he was
sure there was nothing in it but what was his own. How-
ever, when the search was made, and the pin was found in
it, he was in great distress, and so was his poor mother.
Jack was himself too much amazed to speak; but Mrs.
Honest, who knew a little more of the wickedness of the
world than he did, said that she was sure there had been
some foul play. She said she would risk her life on Jack's
Mr. and Mrs. Brooksby looked as if they did not know
what to think. They could not suppose it possible that
their nephew could be guilty of so base an action, as that
of trying to ruin the boy's character when he knew him to
he innocent; so they really benn to doubt Jack a little.