Dame Buckle and her pet Johnny


Material Information

Dame Buckle and her pet Johnny
Physical Description:
80 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. (some col.) ; 16 cm.
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
J. and W. Rider ( Printer )
Religious Tract Society
Place of Publication:
J. and W. Rider
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Trust in God -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poverty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Charity -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Adopted children -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1880   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1880
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London


Statement of Responsibility:
by the author of "Steps up the ladder," etc.
General Note:
Date of publication from inscription.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002232532
notis - ALH2926
oclc - 61747532
System ID:

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LD Mary Buckle sat down to her tea on
New Year's eve. It was not a pleasant
eve for the old year to go out and the
new year to come in. Down fell the snow,
mingled with rain,-drip, drip, drip, and had
been doing so for the last twenty-four hours.
The sky was thick and gloomy-indeed, it had
hardly been light that day; and now the evening
fog was stealing over the landscape, and had.
llt tet.l out a good part of it, and made the old
clo.:hli look quite indistinct, and as unlike
itseh as possible.


Mary Buckle's cottage was not very snug
or very warm. I do not think you would
have liked the ugly crack under the door, that
allowed the snow to drift in pretty freely. Nor
would you have liked the wind to blow about the
curtain of the little casement, as if some one were
playing at hide-and-seek behind it. Nor would
you have thought the handful of fire in the
grate large enough to keep Master Frost from
pinching your fingers and toes. Then the room
was so small and low that a man of moderate
height might have touched the ceiling without
any trouble. And the room had very little
furniture. A round wooden table, a couple
of chairs, a stool, another table against the
wall, with a few books upon it, a corner cup-
board-and these were all.
Mary Buckle was poor, as we scarcely need
tell you. She worked hard, and yet did not
earn enough to make herself comfortable. If
you open the door opposite the fire you will go
into a shop. It is so small, you can hardly
find room to turn yourself behind the counter.
But it is the only shop in the village, and here
people come to buy ounces of tea, coffee, and
tobacco, and children run in and out for barley
sugar, or for brass thimbles, or reels of cotton.


By daylight you would see a board over the
door, with the words written on it, "MARY
&c." This is how the old woman gets her
living. But the village people are very poor,
and cannot afford to spend much money. And
there are not many people either, for it is only
a hamlet, with a few scattered cottages be-
longing to it. Mary Buckle has hard work
these severe winters to keep the wolf from the
SStill she contrives to live, and to be happy
as well. She is as cheerful an old woman as
you could find anywhere. No one ever hears
her complain. Look at her as she puts her bit
of tea in the brown teapot, and sets it on the
hob to brew. Did you ever see such a bright,
sunshiny face? Her hair is white as snow,
but her forehead is smooth and almost without
a wrinkle. That is because of the peace and
comfort she has within. We will not say much
about her disposition now, for it will come out
in the course of our story; but Mary Buckle
has a contented mind, and that is a continual
This winter things are going rather hard with
her. There has been a bad harvest, and some


of her customers have got into her debt. She
is a year older, and less able to work. Her
friends are dead and gone-all but One. Ah !
it is that Friend who makes the old woman's
heart to sing for joy. That Friend is God.
Mary Buckle has lived in His fear from her
youth up. She has been a faithful servant of
Jesus Christ, and built all her hopes on Him as
her Saviour. And this has made her happy
through a life of many trials, and it makes her
happy now. God has never failed or forsaken
"Nor will He forsake me in my old age,"
she is saying as she sits by her handful of fire;
"so, Mary, don't you be down-hearted. The
very hairs of your head are all numbered."
Whilst we have been saying this the tea has
been getting its strength out in Mary Buckle's
brown tea pot. It is quite ready, and she
pours it out. Then she cuts a slice of bread
from a coarse, dark-coloured loaf. It is not
such bread as either you or I should relish,
but she seems contented with it, and sits
down to her tea, which she drinks without
sugar or milk.
She has scarcely taken the first sip before
there is a sound of footsteps in the street.


She looks up, for scarcely a person has passed
her cottage the livelong day. It is not likely
that any one who could help it would be out
such weather as this. But now a gentleman
walks by very briskly, and as if he were in a
hurry. It is Mr. Marsh, the village doctor.
The sight of Mr. Marsh has a curious effect
on Mary Buckle. Up she starts, and trotting
to the window, stands a minute looking after
him. She can see to the end of the village
street, and there are two roads leading opposite
ways. One leads to the turnpike, and the
other to a solitary cottage a little removed
from its neighbours. *It is just light enough
to allow her to see that Mr. Marsh turns his
back on the road leading to the turnpike, and
walks quickly down the other.
The old woman seems to forget all about her
tea, though it is steaming up nice and hot.
She forgets the dreary evening, the sleet, the
snow, and the bleak cutting wind, and
reaching down her bonnet and shawl, prepares
to go out.
While she is putting on her shawl she keeps
talking to herself-a way she has got into from
living so much alone. She utters funny little
sentences such as these: "Never mind the


snow, Mary; it won't melt you. You're not
made of sugar; and if you were-." Here
she stops and puts on her bonnet in a great
hurry. Then she takes the key from the lock
opens the door; and steps out into the cold,
bleak night, locking the door behind her.

T was not very pleasant to turn out into
the snow that winter night. Nor was the
road to the cottage very inviting. It was
narrow, and with high banks on either side, so
that the snow had drifted and drifted until the
path was nearly choked up. Every now and
then Mary Buckle had hard work to make her
way; and as for the snow, it blinded her so
that once or twice she had.to stand still and
wipe her face with her shawl, before she could
see what she was about. Still the old woman
struggled on, and presently she reached the
cottage into which the doctor had entered a few
minutes ago.
Now this cottage was better built, and looked
a great deal more comfortable than the other

"cottages in the village. It had small sash
windows and a slated roof, and there was a
garden before it, which opened into the lane
by a wicket gate.
The old woman did not knock at the door;
she merely turned the handle and went in.
The door opened into a room larger and better
furnished than her own. It had a bit of carpet
on the floor, and an old sofa covered with
chintz stood under the window. The doctor
was not there. He had gone upstairs to see
his patient.
But some one was there. A child of two
years old sat on the hearth-rug before the fire,
crying. The fire had nearly gone out, and the
frost was creeping into the room. The shutters
were not closed, nor the blinds drawn, so that
the state of things was cheerless and uncom-
Mary Buckle was one of those persons who
always try to mend matters. First she took
off her shawl, which was thickly covered with
snow, and hung it up to dry. Then she slipped
into the kitchen and fetched a log of wood and
laid it on the fire. Next she closed the shutters
and drew down the blind. Then, as if she
knew exactly how to go on, and what little


Johnny was crying for, she fetched a saucepan
of milk, crumbled some bread into it, and
placed it on the fire. Last of all she sat down,
and smoothing her apron said, Don't cry,
Johnny; come to Dame Buckle, and let her
nurse you."
Johnny was not crying that minute. He
had stopped as soon as Dame Buckle came in.
His blue eyes, still full of tears, had followed
her as she moved about. Sometimes he had
given a short sob, and his rosy mouth was
drawn up as if he might burst out again any
minute. When Dame Buckle spoke to him he
got up and toddled along to where she sat,
making all the time a moaning noise, as if his
heart would break.
Dame Buckle took him on her knee and
began to talk to him, and to chafe his poor
little hands, which were blue with cold.
"Johnny is hungry, is he ? Well, never
mind; we will soon have nice hot milk to feed
him with. Johnny must eat his supper and go
to sleep on Dame Buckle's lap. Johnny loves
Dame Buckle?"
I think Johnny did. He looked up into her
kind face, and presently he began to smile and
to play with her apron strings. Then, when


the milk was hot, she gave him his supper-he
opening his mouth like a nestling when its
mother feeds it. And when he had done his
supper, he laid his head on Dame Buckle's
shoulder, for it was long past his bed time, and
fell fast asleep. Dame Buckle's arms were
round him, and she pressed her withered cheek
to his fresh rosy face. I think she loved
Johnny very much indeed.
But all this time what is going on upstairs ?
'Something very sad, and which I do not wish
to dwell upon. And yet even this something
has a bright side to it. Johnny's mother is
dying, and then he will be left a little homeless
orphan, with no one to take care of him. This
is the dark side. But then Johnny's mother is
a pious woman, and has feared God all her life,
and now she is going to be carried by angels
into a better and happier world, where sorrow
and sickness are unknown.
This is the bright side, and it is very bright
Dame Buckle had not sat many minutes with
Johnny on her lap, when the doctor came down
stairs. Some one still moved about overhead;
it was Nanny Grey, who had come to sit up
with the patient. The doctor looked very


grave, and stood with his back to the fire
without speaking. At length he said, "It is
all over, Mrs. Buckle."
Dame Buckle knew what he meant. He
meant that Johnny's mother was dead. She
did not answer, but pressed Johnny nearer to
her. His head fell back, and showed his face,
with its rosy mouth, and chubby cheeks, and
golden curls. He was still asleep, and nobody
had the least wish to waken him.
"Poor little fellow !" said the doctor; "it's
really a pity."
What's a pity, sir ?" asked Dame Buckle.
"Why, that he should go to the workhouse.
He'll have to go, you know. There is no one
to maintain him now his mother is dead."
Dame Buckle did not speak. Her heart was
very full.
The doctor was a kind man, but he had a
great many patients among the poor, and he
was used to scenes of distress. He had ten
children of his own, so he was not likely to
adopt little Johnny.
"The poor lady does not seem to have a
single friend," continued the doctor, seating
himself opposite the nice warm fire dame Buckle
had made.

t-;- ,':i-- r,,r-- '-"--

T .



He called Johnny's mother a lady, and so she
was. She had only lived in the village a year,
but, from the first, everybody settled that as a
fact. Since her coming to the village she had
kept a little school, and so found bread for her-
self and for Johnny. A few weeks ago she was
taken ill with the fever, and when the fever left
her she was too weak to get over the effects of
it. This is what had caused her death.
Johnny's father was in Australia. He had
been a bad husband, and had spent every
farthing of his wife's money. Then he started
off for the gold diggings, and left her to shift
for herself and child as best she could. The
doctor always got angry when he talked about
Johnny's father.
"It is such a shame," he said; "the man
deserves horse-whipping."
"Perhaps he will come back," said Mary
"Perhaps he will. But in the meantime
Johnny must go to the workhouse; and his
mother, poor woman, was quite a lady !"
Dame Buckle gave Johnny another hug. I-
don't think she could help it, but it woke him
up. His blue eyes- opened with a look of
wonder. They looked first at the doctor, and


then at Nanny Grey, who had just come down
stairs, and he drew his mouth up as if he were
going to cry; but lastly he turned to Dame
Buckle, and her kind old face seemed to com-
fort him. He laid his curly head down again
on her shoulder, as if that were the best place
for it.
Nanny Grey went to take him.
Come, Johnny, it is time you went to bed,"
said she, holding out her arms; come to poor
But Johnny would not. He became very
naughty indeed. He cried and kicked, and
would not let Nanny touch him. Nanny was
getting angry, and so was the doctor; for the
doctor had a great notion of making children
do as they were bidden. But when Johnny
had kicked and screamed to his heart's content,
he sat up on Dame Buckle's lap, his face red
and wet with tears, and his golden curls all
ruffled, and began to cry, Mammy, mammy!"
so piteously, that it must have been a hard
heart indeed that could help being sorry for
I will take him home with me," said Dame
Buckle, giving him another hug.
"Well, perhaps you might till after tha


funeral," said the doctor; "there is no one
here to take any particular care of him. In a
few days they will know all about it."
They meant the overseers of the parish to
which Johnny's mother belonged. This parish
was a straggling village twelve miles off. Close
by it was a hill, on the top of which stood a
great red house: that was the workhouse, to
which Johnny was going to be taken-unless,
indeed, some kind friend came forward to adopt
Then Dame Buckle got up with Johnny in
her arms. She fetched her bonnet and shawl,
and then set him down while she put them on.
Johnny did not like being set down even for
that minute. He cried a little and kept fast
hold of her gown. But when she had put on
her bonnet and shawl, and had taken him in
her arms, he became as quiet as a lamb, and
clung to her as if she were the only friend he
had in the world, not allowing the doctor even
to touch him.
"When Dame Buckle got outside into the
snow and fog and darkness, the doctor, who was
walking behind her, said, Let me carry him,
Mrs. Buckle."
But Johnny would not. He had his arms


tightly clasped round Dame Buckle's neck, and
nothing would induce him to let go.
"Poor little lamb," said Mary Buckle. "1
would quite as soon carry him myself, thank
you, sir."
The doctor knit his brows. "That child
wants a great deal of breaking in," said he to
himself. After this they walked in silence to
Dame Buckle's door.
"Good night," said the doctor when the old
woman took the key from her pocket.
"Good night, sir," replied Mary Buckle,
meekly. She was thankful in her heart when
he was gone, for she felt so afraid that he should
take Johnny from her.
But she need not have been afraid of any
such thing. Mr. Marsh had no idea of the
kind. He was thinking how the next morning
he would ride down to Keddingford and tell the
overseers of Mrs. Williams' death, and that
Johnny must be taken into their great red
house. It was a pity, but there was no way of
helping it. He knew the poor mother had only
left behind her a small sum, just enough to pay
for the funeral. And he knew she had no
friends willing to take care of Johnny. So
what else could be done with him?



AME BUCKLE'S tea was cold, and her fire
-IJ nearly out, when she reached home.
As soon as she had mended her fire, she
sat down with Johnny on her lap, and began to
undress him. Johnny was very sleepy-too
sleepy to trouble himself much about his new
quarters. He could hardly keep his eyes open
while Dame Buckle took off his brown holland
pinafore, and the stuff frock that his poor
mother had made for him, and his tiny boots
and little red socks. When he was ready, the
old woman carried him upstairs, and made a
nest for him in her own bed, and covered him
up snug and warm.
By this time he was fast asleep, and his blue
eyes shut up for that day. Then the old woman
kissed him and went downstairs.
Putting out her candle, for the fire was
bright, and she could not afford many candles,
she fetched a saucepan and warmed up the
tea, and sat down to drink it, and to eat the
brown, coarse-looking bread. When she had
finished she put away the tea-things, and


reaching a half-knitted stocking from the table
drawer, began to knit by firelight.
Dame Buckle was very industrious. She
used up every bit of her time. These long
winter evenings she knitted stockings and sold
them. The village people liked Dame Buckle
to knit their stockings. They used to say
that her stockings lasted for ever. So the old
woman had always plenty to do. I think that
is one reason why she was always so cheerful.
There is nothing like having plenty to do if
people wish to be really happy. And so click,
click went the old woman's knitting pins that
dark, snowy New Year' Eve. And shall we tell
you what she was thinking about? She was
thinking all the time about Johnny.
It would seem quite impossible to keep him
from going to the workhouse. Mary Buckle
was too poor to feed another mouth; she had
hardly enough for herself. And yet she would
like to keep him very much indeed. When
she went to bed and saw the little head on the
pillow, with its pretty curls, and its rosy cheeks,
she could not help saying to herself, Oh, if I
could but keep him!"
And when the next morning she was wakened
by a chirping sound, like that of a bird in its


nest, and felt two soft little hands moving over
her face, and saw Johnny sitting up, and in his
way wishing her good morning, then again she
said to herself, and a great deal more decidedly,
"Oh, if I could but keep him!"
As the day wore on this feeling became
stronger. It was the merriest day the old
woman had spent for a long time. Johnny
was like a sunbeam in her poor little cottage.
She loved to watch him toddle about on the
floor, and to have him follow her backwards
and forwards, holding by her gown, or playing
quietly at her feet as she sat by the fire. The
weather was very bad; scarcely any one was
out of doors. But the hours passed quickly to
Dame Buckle, thanks to Johnny's bright eyes,
his merry crowing laugh, and his hundred pretty
ways. She could hardly believe it when night
came, and Johnny was carried upstairs again to
bed. By this time the wish to keep him was
very strong indeed.
The next day the doctor called in to see her.
It was towards evening, and Dame Buckle
was busy knitting, and Johnny was sitting on
the floor playing with an old tin canister.
"Well, Mrs. Buckle," said the doctor, "and
how is Johnny to night ? "


"Quite well, thank you, sir; bless his little
heart," said Dame Buckle, warmly.
"You must look up his things, and have him
ready by Friday morning, Mrs. Buckle. The
funeral will be on Thursday, you know."
"Yes, sir," said Dame Buckle, sorrowfully.
I've seen the master of the workhouse, and
it is all right. Poor little fellow! It's a great
pity. But there's no one to take him in among
his friends."
"Have you asked them, sir ? asked Dame
Buckle, quickly.
"Yes, I have. The poor lady was an only
child, and an orphan. She has one uncle, and
a few distant relations. The uncle has a family
of his own, and, in fact, it is of no use, Mrs.
Buckle; Johnny.must go," said the doctor, in a
decided tone.
Dame Buckle sighed and felt very unhappy.
She had not quite made up her mind what to
On Thursday was the funeral. Dame Buckle
went, and stood at the grave, with Johnny in
her arms. She and the doctor were the only
mourners. The uncle lived some distance off,
and it was not convenient for him to come.
The truth is he invented an excuse, lest any


one should ask him again to take care of
So Dame Buckle, with Johnny in her arms,
stood at the grave, and was the only real
mourner. Johnny did not understand what it
meant. He was cold and frightened, and cried
piteously. Dame Buckle hugged him close to
her, and covered him with her shawl. She felt
more than half inclined to keep him.
The doctor did not say more than a few
words to her; he was in a hurry to ride off and
see a patient who had sent for him. But those
few words were, "Be sure and have Johnny
ready in the morning."
Dame Buckle felt her heart sink within her.
Johnny had left off crying, but his arms were
clasped round her neck. When she got home,
and sat down by her bit of a fire, he did not
unclasp them. He seemed frightened, and as if
he knew that people were coming to take him
from her.
His bedtime came, but he would not go to
sleep. When he got over his fright his spirits
came back again. His eyes sparkled like
diamonds; he began to chirp, and crow, and
play at bo-peep, his curls all ruffled, and his
cheeks like two roses. Dame Buckle talked to


him, and told him how she loved him, and how
she could not live without him.
Johnny seemed quite to understand her. He
looked up into her face; then, getting on his
little bare feet, he stood up on her knee, and
began to kiss her.
"Johnny, my pet, will you go and leave
me ?"
Johnny said No," as plainly as he could.
He kissed her again with his little rosebud of
a mouth, his two hands holding her as tightly
as possible.
Because men are coming to fetch Johnny!"
Johnny burst out crying, for Dame Buckle spoke
in such a dismal tone that it was enough to
make him.
Then she hugged, and kissed, and rocked
him, and smoothing his curls, undressed and
carried him up to bed, and made a nest for him,
and was going away; but not so willed Master
Dame Buckle's odd manner, together with
the funeral, had frightened him. Instead of
nestling down in the pillow and shutting his
eyes, he kept his eyes wide open, and when
Dame Buckle had got to the door, he burst into
a loud cry.


Dame Buckle had to go back, and then he
was quiet. In a few minutes she tried to get
away, and then Johnny began again. So the
old woman had to watch beside him a long
time, and he kept his eyes fixed upon her, and
nis little hand holding hers.
Sometimes his eyelids would droop, and his
hand relax. Then, a minute after, he would
start up with a cry, as if he were frightened;
but when he saw Dame Buckle's dear old face
he was quiet in a minute, and lay looking at
her as before. At length his eyelids closed as if
penny pieces lay upon them. His hand was
quite still; his mouth opened just a little to
show the pearls inside, and Johnny was asleep.
Dame Buckle looked at him with rather an
odd expression. It was a look of joy mingled
with some anxiety. 'But the joy was the
stronger of the two.
She had quite decided to keep Johnny. Yes,
she would keep him, come what might. She
should never miss the bit and the sup that she
gave to the little homeless orphan. She would
bring him up, and he might work for her when
he grew big and strong. It would break her
heart to let him go, and Johnnmy had better
begin life from her poor cottage than from the


red house on the hill. Then the dear old lady
-for we are sure you will agree with us that
she is a dear old lady-bustled downstairs, and
put on her bonnet and shawl. She was not
afraid of Johnny waking up now he was once
asleep. And she was not afraid of anybody
coming to run away with him at that time of
night. Besides, the doctor's house was close at
hand, and she was going to see the doctor.
She hurried along as fast as she could. The
weather had cleared up. The fog was gone,
and the stars were shining over head, and a
new moon was up yonder in the sky. Dame
Buckle's heart was light as a feather. She felt
as if she had grown quite young again.
It was the thought of keeping Johnny. The
doctor had come home from seeing his patient.
He was sitting by the fire with his children
about him. There was Katy, and Willy, and
Harry, and Susy, and Johnny, and several
more. The room seemed as full of children
as it could hold.
Dame Buckle was asked to walk in. The
doctor was too tired to get up from his easy
chair, and he knew that the old woman had not
come for medicine. Dame Buckle never took
any medicine, and she was not likely to physic


Johnny. Still he felt sure that she was come to
speak about Johnny.
Good evening to you, Mrs. Buckle," said he.
Good evening, sir," replied Mary Buckle,
You have something to tell me about Johnny,
I suppose ?" said the doctor.
Yes, sir," replied Mary Buckle.
"He is quite ready, I hope? I shall start
betimes in the morning. I have a long round
to go to-morrow, all by Hotham, and Greenhills,
and Keddingford, and--"
If you please, sir," interrupted Mary Buckle,
quickly, I don't mean Johnny to go."
"Not go !" repeated the doctor, in a tone of
extreme surprise-" not go!"
No, sir."
Mary Buckle was firm as a rock when she
had once made up her mind.
"Why, how is that? cried the doctor.
Because, sir, I mean to bring him up my-
Now, Mrs. Buckle, you know you are talking
nonsense," said the doctor, sharply.
"I don't think I am sir," replied the old
woman. I can't bear the child to go to the
workhouse while I have a bit to give him."


But have you a bit, Mrs Buckle ?"
"Yes, sir," replied the old woman, boldly;
if I haven't I'll take it out of my own mouth."
"Mrs. Buckle, this is nothing but folly!
Come, come, let the child go; he must rough it
as other folks do. The parish will put him
apprentice if he turn out a good lad."
"He'll turn out a good lad, I've no doubt,
sir; but I mean to keep him, if you please,"
said Mary Buckle, firmly.
The doctor was tired, and did not want to
argue the point.
"Well, well," said he, "I shall give you a
call in the morning. You will have changed
your mind by then."
Now the doctor's wife had said nothing all
this time. She was a motherly-looking body,
very plainly dressed, and with a needle always
in her hand. There was so much stitching to
do to keep all those children tidy.
"While Dame Buckle was talking, Mrs.
Marsh had gone on mending a stocking with
great diligence; but her heart went with
Dame Buckle in this affair of Johnny.
Johnny was just the age of her youngest child,
and she did not want him to go to the work-
house. She hoped Dame Buckle would kesp


Johnny, and she was thinking of a few old
frocks and pinafores she could hunt up for him,
in case the old lady carried her point. But,
like a wise woman, she would not contradict
her husband; so she held her peace, and did
not put in a single word.
As for the doctor, he sent Mary Buckle away
with rather a cross "Good night." He was
angry with her for being, as he thought, so
We shall have her on the parish as well,"
he said to his wife.
The next morning up came the doctor, before
Mary Buckle had time to get her breakfast. He
was in his gig, and he called out, as if in a great
hurry, Now, then, is Johnny ready.?"
No, sir," replied Mary Buckle, coming to the
"Don't be foolish, Mrs. Buckle. Just lift him
in, will you ?"
He is not going, sir. I told you last night
I meant to keep him."
But I hoped you would think better of it
this morning. Don't keep me waiting; I am in
a hurry."
Good morning, sir," replied Mrs. Buckle,
going in.


"Stop, stop, Mrs. Buckle, and listen to
reason, will you? You are sure to be pinched,
and I can't help you-look at my family "
I don't want help, thank you, sir," replied
Mary Buckle. "I can work."
Yes; but you are not a young woman, Mrs.
Buckle," said the doctor; "by and by you may
not be able to work. Just think of that!"
"Johnny will work for me, sir, when those
days come," replied Mary Buckle.
"Mrs. Buckle, you were always obstinate.
It is for your own sake I say all this; it does
not matter to me a bit," said the doctor, angrily.
"Well, sir, I won't hinder you," replied the
old woman, who thought the sooner this con-
versation came to an end the better. Good
day, sir."
"You have quite decided, then ?"
"Quite, sir."
"Well, I can't help it; I am sorry you are
so foolish. Of course you need not look to me
for help. I have more children now than I
know what to do with. Good day, Mrs.
Buckle." And the doctor touched his horse
with the whip, and drove off.
Mary Buckle went in to Johnny.
He had only just been carried downstairs,


and was toddling about in fr3nt of the fire on
his little bare feet. The old woman caught
him up in her arms, and nearly smothered him
with kisses. Would she have parted with
him for all the world ? We do not think she
The news soon spread through the village
that Dame Buckle was going to keep Johnny.
Nanny Grey came up directly for an ounce of
tea, and to hear all about it.
"Ah," said she, for she was of an envious
disposition, and apt to think ill of her neigh-
bours-" ah, some folks are born to be in
luck. It will be a nice windfall for you, Mrs.
Windfall!" repeated Mary Buckle, who did
not in the least understand her.
Why, I mean, of course, that you are paid
for it."
Dame Buckle felt angry, but she only
said, "I am paid for it, Nanny, but not in
"What then ? in things for the shop ? asked
Nanny, who was very curious, and fond of
prying into other people's affairs.
"No, nothing of the sort."
"What then?"


"I am paid for it by this," replied the old
woman, taking Johnny in her arms.
Nanny shrugged her shoulders, and walked
off with her ounce of tea.
She'll never make me believe but what she
has feathered her nest with something better
than that," said she to her husband.
"Ah! folks like Dame Buckle know how to
take care of themselves," replied he, filling his
pipe with tobacco.
Nanny and her husband were very ill-
natured people, and Nanny's husband was too
fond of smoking and drinking ever to feather
his nest with anything, whatever Dame Buckle
might do.


ND now came a very happy time for
Dame Buckle and her pet Johnny; they
were as happy, indeed, as the day was
long. Johnny grew as fast as ever he could, and
began to walk about as brave and as firm as a
man. He would chatter from morning till
night. He used to call Dame Buckle Granny,"


and he seemed to know that his granny was
the best friend he had. He never liked her to
be out of his sight, but would trot about after
her all day long.
Nothing made him so happy as to do any-
thing for his dear granny. He would fetch her
fire-kindling out of the drawer, or hold a skein
of worsted, or lift granny's stool out of the
corner, or run by her side carrying a tin of
milk from the farmhouse yonder.
Everybody in the village liked Johnny, and
made a fuss with him. The doctor even used
to pat him on the head now and then, and
seemed glad that he was not gone to "the
House." The doctor's wife gave Dame Buckle a
large bundle of old frocks and pinafores to be
mended up for Johnny. Others, who could
not afford much money, would from time to
time give Dame Buckle a shilling for the child.
Indeed, Johnny had become quite a person of
consequence. But these happy days did not
last always.
You must not think of the little hamlet of
Eastover as it used to be when the snow was
lying thick on the ground, and the icicles
hanging like a fringe of crystals from Dame
Buckle's cottage. By this time the snow was


gone from the meadows, and instead of it was
a carpet of'young tender grass that the lambs
were cropping. On the high banks the violets
were peeping out, and the primroses nestling
among the moss and ivy. Green leaves rustled
on the tall elms that stood about the church,
and a company of grave rooks had built their
nests among them, and were caw-cawing from
morning till night. As for farmer White's
orchard, you never saw a more beautiful sight
in your life, for the apple trees were as full of
blossom as they could be, and bees were hum-
ming about them all day long, and carrying
away as much honey as they could bear. The
doctor's garden wall, too, was quite a picture of
beauty, with the lilacs and laburnums that
drooped over it.
Dame Buckle used to bestir herself very
early in the morning, almost as soon as the
swallow had begun to twitter in the eaves of
the cottage. But, early as it was, it was none
too soon for Johnny. The first thing Dame
Buckle saw was a pair of bright eyes peeping
from under the coverlet, and two soft arms
would be put round her neck, and she used to
hear a cooing voice lisp out, "Granny !"
Then granny would talk a little nonsense


to her pet, and call him her jewel, her treasure,
her pretty boy, and tell him how she loved
him, and would not part with him for all the
world; and a great many other simple things
she told him-at least they might sound rather
simple and foolish, but they were quite true,
and came warm from the dear old woman's
heart. Johnny would lie listening, his blue
eyes wide open, and seem to understand every
But this sort of thing did not last long, for
Johnny soon began to fidget about, and want
to get up and play. So the old woman would
dress herself as quickly as she could, and go
downstairs to light the fire and put on the
kettle. When this was done, she would come
back to Johnny, and wash and dress him, and
comb his hair, and put on his pinafore, and.
make him as clean and neat as a new
Then Dame Buckle had to fetch the milk for
Johnny's breakfast, and off she went down
the green lane, and over the smooth meadows,
where the lambs were frisking, to the- farm-
house. Johnny always went with her. It was
his great delight to carry the tin that was to
hold the milk, and he flitted along, as brisk and


cheerful as the lark that was carolling his
morning song in the blue sky overhead.
Everything about him was delightful to
Johnny. He loved to see the lambs skipping
by the side of their mothers, and the sleek cows
feeding on the rich grass, and the little rabbits
scampering across the fields.
But, better still, Johnny loved to see the
hens and chickens pecking in the farmyard,
and the great turkey strutting about as if he
were master of the place. Johnny was a brave
little fellow, and not at all afraid of the turkey.
Once the turkey ran at him, gobbling, and
shaking his red comb, as if he were very angry
indeed. But Johnny only laughed and ran at
him in return, and drove him round and round
the farmyard with the mother turkey and all
the little turkeys after him.
So the great turkey learned better manners,
and though he always gobbled, and was very
red and excited, he never meddled with Johnny
any more.
Johnny loved the chickens best of all, and it
delighted him beyond anything if he might
have a handful of corn and feed them. Pretty
little downy things! how they would scamper
up to him and run over his feet, and peep up


into his face with their bright eyes, and open
their beaks to be fed! Johnny liked to see
everything happy. He was very tender-
hearted, as brave little boys generally are; and
when once a poor chicken broke its leg, and
Johnny saw it fluttering on the ground, he
cried for half an hour, and could not be com-
Mrs. White, at the farm, was fond of Johnny,
and liked to have him come. She would not
be paid for the milk just at this summer-time,
when the cows gave so much. And she desired
Dame Buckle never to come without a basket
on her arm. Into this basket she was sure
to put something that was good-perhaps a few
eggs, or a home-made loaf, or a pat of butter,
or a slice of cold pudding, "just because of the
child," she would say, lest Dame Buckle should
be offended, though Dame Buckle was never
likely to be.
The old woman was thankful enough for
these little presents now she had an extra
mouth to feed. Johnny was a hearty child,
and wanted almost as much stuffing as the
young turkeys did.
Then Dame Buckle and Johnny went back
home to breakfast. As soon as they reached


the cottage Dame Buckle spread a clean cloth
on the table, and brought out her brown tea-
pot, and prepared a basin of bread and milk for
Johnny. Then the two sat down to their
morning meal, and the birds sung to them all
the time. When breakfast was over, Johnny
amused himself with his playthings. If you
wonder what these were, I will tell you.
There were no tops, or Noah's arks, or
wooden horses, or picture books, or puzzles for
little people to put together. Oh no nothing
of the kind. Johnny's playthings were an old
tin canister, and a few marbles to rattle inside
it-that was all. But he was quite satisfied,
and never wished for anything else.
. On fine days, when Dame Buckle had put
her house to rights, she would sit at her door
with her knitting, and Johnny would run into
the lane and play on the bank, where she could
see him. He would make posies,and bring them
to his granny, and she would sometimes put
down her knitting and string them into a neck-
lace for him. Then who so proud as Johnny !
He would strut about like any peacock; and
when a customer came to the shop he would
run up to him and point to the necklace, and
cry out, "Fine. fine !"


In the afternoon Dame Buckle put Johnny
to bed for half an hour; and he would nestle
down on the pillow with his thumb in his
mouth, and shut his eyes, and drop off to sleep
in a minute. But he soon woke again, and
Dame Buckle was sure to hear -him running
about overhead, and then beginning to creep
downstairs, laughing and shouting as if he had
done something very clever. This was Dame
Buckle's time for doing her errands. Some-
times she had a loaf to fetch for tea, or a pail
of water to bring from the well, or a sick
neighbour to ask after. Johnny always went
with her, and she used to wash his face and put on
a clean pinafore, that he might look respectable.
Johnny was very lively after his nap, and
would run on before her and hide himself
behind the old thorn bush that grew a little
way from Dame Buckle's door. Then Dame
Buckle would pretend she had lost him,
though his white pinafore was to be seen as
plainly as possible. She would look here and
there, and cry out, "Where is Johnny ? Oh
dear, what has become of Johnny?" And
Johnny would keep quite still, though he was
ready to break out into a loud laugh. But at
last he could keep quiet no longer, and he


would run forward and throw his arms round
Dame Buckle, and hide his face in her apron, as
much as to say, Here I am," and laugh till the
tears ran down his face. After this he would
walk quite steadily, and be "as good as gold."
Sometimes Dame Buckle had occasion to go
to the doctor's house, and of course Johnny went
with her. Then she always felt a little proud
of her pet; for the doctor's boys, though they
were better dressed, had not half such pleasing
manners as Johnny. And then she used to
remember that Johnny's mother was a lady,
though she had fallen into poverty. And she
made up her mind that he should not run in
the street, and mix with the rude village boys;
but she would bring him up as his own mother
would have done. "For he is sure to turn out
well, and more than repay me some day or
other," said the old lady to herself.
Now we must not think, as ill-natured
Nanny Grey did, that Dame Buckle took care
of Johnny only in the hope of some rich
relation coming forward and paying her for her
trouble. She expected nothing of the sort, and
if the child had had no relations at all she
would have adopted him just the same. In-
deed, as his relations had never taken any


notice of him, he might almost as well have
been without them. Besides, when Dame
Buckle said Johnny was sure to repay her, she
did not mean in money: he would repay her,
she hoped, in growing up in the fear of God,
and by being useful in his station, and kind
and dutiful to herself when she would be old
and unable to work. And this, though Nanny
Grey might not believe it, would be far more
precious than money.
Now I do not know which was the more
fond of Johnny, the doctor or the doctor's wife.
The doctor had by this time got over his
vexation with Dame Buckle, and began to think
she was right, and that it would have been a
thousand pities to send Johnny to the work-
house. As we told you before, he would give
Dame Buckle a shilling now and then for
Johnny's pocket-money, as he called it. And
his wife was always finding more old frocks
and pinafores to be mended up for the child.
So Dame Buckle and her pet fared well in those
days, and had nothing to trouble them.
To be sure, the dame would feel a little
anxious when her rheumatism gave her a
sharper twinge than usual, or her eyes reminded
her they were getting worn out. But then she


based to think that surely it was God who had
put it into her heart to love and cherish the
little orphan, and that, if she were called
away, Johnny would not be left without a
friend-ah and an almighty Friend too.
" Leave thy fatherless children; I will preserve
them alive." "In Thee the fatherless find


SOHNNY was now old enough to understand
all that Dame Buckle said to him, and he
could talk quite plainly. So what do
you think was the first thing the old lady tried
to teach him ? It was what every little boy
and girl ought to be taught before all other
things,-to love and fear God. The good old
lady knew that if Johnny was to be happy in
this world and the next, he must love the word
of God, and take it for his guide. And
Johnny, though he was such a little fellow,
had begun already to love to hear the Bible
read to him.
Dame Buckle used to tell him stories from
the Bible, and he was never tired of listening.


lie loved to hear of the mighty acts of God in
the days of old. How He divided the Red Sea
to let the children of Israel pass through it.
And how He caused water to spring out of the
rock for them to drink. He delighted to hear
about Daniel in the lions' den, and how God
shut the lions' mouths so that they did not hurt
him. And how the three pious children
walked in the midst of the burning fiery fur-
nace. She also told him that he must always
speak the truth, and be honest and kind, and
obey those who were set over him. But most
of all he loved to hear about Jesus Christ, who
came to live for us, and at last to die for our
sins upon the cross. Of His healing the sick,
and making the lame to walk, and opening the
eyes of the blind; and of how He took little
children in His arms and blessed them. Then
Dame Buckle taught Johnny to pray to this
blessed Jesus. She told him he had a
sinful heart, but that Jesus could take it away,
and give him a new heart and a right spirit.
She told him that Jesus could take away all
sin, so that God would be his Father and his
Friend for the sake of his dear Son. And one
day she took him to the grave in the church-
yard, and told him that his mother's body lay


sleeping there, but that her soul was gone to
heaven; and that when Johnny died, Jesus
could take his soul there too, where it would be
happy for ever and ever.
The lessons of good Dame Buckle, and the
many prayers she offered for her pet, had a
blessing upon them. It pleased God to send
His Holy Spirit into the child's heart, and to
show him, far better than the old lady could,
the way to eternal life.
As he grew older Johnny felt he was a
sinner, and he knew that the blood of Jesus
must indeed wash away his sins if ever he was
to obtain an entrance into heaven. Then he
would pray in his simple manner for pardon,
and that his heart might be made pure and
holy for Jesus Christ's sake. His lisping
prayers were heard; and it is believed that
God gave him a new heart and a right spirit,
and thus Johnny became one of the lambs in
the fold of the Good Shepherd.
There is a great difference between a child
who fears God, and is one of Christ's little
ones, and a child who is living in sin, and in
forgetfulness of him. Johnny was not like
many other boys in the village. He was never
rude, or passionate, or cruel; he never used bad


words or played on the Sabbath day. No, he
loved Jesus, and, so he grew up gentle, and
kind, and obedient. And so it should be; for
the religion of Jesus is the means God has
chosen to make the world good and happy;
and how can it, unless it cures us of our faults ?
Nanny Grey had some little boys who were
not at all like this orphan child, and a great
plague they were to her. She had never
taught them to read the Bible or to fear God,
so they were going altogether the wrong way.
When Dame Buckle was taken ill in the
autumn, Nanny Grey came to see her. She
could not nurse her as she did Johnny's
mother, because she only nursed people who
paid her for it, and Dame Buckle was not rich
enough to do that. But Nanny thought of one
thing she might do. I can take the child till
you are better," said she, for she fancied
Johnny must be as troublesome as her own
boys were. "You will be glad to get rid of
Johnny troublesome "Oh dear no, Nanny,
you are quite wrong there. Johnny is sitting
on a stool by the fire, as quiet as a lamb. He
has been running about waiting on his granny
till he is quite tired. And now, because a few


minutes ago she dropped into a doze, he will
not stir, or make the least noise, lest he should
disturb her. You have no idea, Nanny, what
great comforts little children can be."
Dame Buckle was very ill, and could not
attend to Johnny. She never meant to part
with him, but she called him to her bedside,
and said, Will you go with Nanny, my pet?
Granny cannot talk to you or take care of you
now she is ill. Will you go ?"
"No, thank you," replied Johnny, in a
decided tone; "please don't send me away."
As if I were likely cried the old woman,
with tears in her eyes. I'm much obliged to
you, Nanny," added she, "but you see that I
and my pet cannot be parted."
Just as you like," said Nanny, rather
offended. It is not that I want the child.
I've children enough of my own."
We should like to tell you how loving Dame
Buckle's pet was to her in that long, sad illness.
He was such a little boy that he could not do
any great thing. He could not wait in the
shop, or keep the house clean, or act the part
of a nurse. That was not to be expected. But
every time she woke up from a sleep she was
sure to see Johnny's blue eyes fixed upon her,


and to hear his soft voice asking her how she
did. And if she wanted her medicine, or a
cup of tea, or a juicy orange to moisten her
parched lips, Johnny would get it for her in a
minute. He would move up and down stairs
without making any noise, and never bang the
door, or disturb her in any way. Once, in the
middle of the night, when the pain in Dame
Buckle's limbs was very bad, and she could not
keep from crying out, Johnny got up and knelt
by the side of the bed, and put his hands to-
gether, and Dame Buckle heard him saying,
" Please, God, make granny well, for Jesus
Christ's sake." Then he got into bed, and with
his soft, warm little hands he rubbed her poor
swollen ankles till the pain was better, and the
old lady fell asleep.
So we see, and we do not mind saying it
twice over, what a great comfort Dame Buckle's
pet was to her.
That was a happy day for Johnny when
Dame Buckle came downstairs again. If he
had been older, he would have felt very anxious
at the sight of her shrunken face and tottering
limbs. But he was too young to think much
about the future, or of what would happen to
him if his granny were to die.


Dame Buckle thought about it. She was
weak and ill, and rather out of spirits; and she
said, "Johnny, my pet, what should you say if
granny were to die ? Who would take care
of you ? "
The child looked earnestly at Dame Buckle;
his little face was very serious, his blue eyes
filled with tears, and his lip trembled. But he
was getting a manly little fellow, and he
brushed away the tears, and said, without any
hesitation, "God will take care of me."
So He will," said Dame Buckle; and she felt
as if a load were taken from her heart.



wo or three years had passed since Johnny
first was taken to the house of Dame
Buckle, and now again the long summer
days were over, and Autumn had come, with
his gold and purple fruits, and his shocks of
ripe corn. Dame Buckle had by this time got
over her illness, at least she was able to attend
to her shop, and to knit her stockings. But

'** t


the effect of that illness was like the beginning
of sorrows.
Johnny did not find this out at first. He
was by nature a merry, joyous little fellow, and
not at all disposed to be sad. It made him so
happy to have his granny about again as usual,
that he hardly knew what to do. He never
noticed how grave Dame Buckle looked at times,
nor how she would shake her head as she sat
by the fire, just as if some troublesome thought
had come into it. Nor how a tear would drop
on her spectacles, and she would wipe it away,
and reach down a great brown book that lay on
the shelf close by, and look into it. What she
read in that book always did her good, and she
would brighten up and be quite cheerful.
Johnny knew very well what the book was.
He knew it was the Bible, and that it had in it
all those beautiful stories he loved to listen to.
And older people than Johnny know that if
they want comfort or advice, there is no book
to give it like the Bible.
But he did not know what made Dame
Buckle want so much comfort and advice. He
was too little to understand that a great trouble
was hanging over granny and her pet, just as a
thunder-cloud hangs overhead in summer.


He did not understand why it was that
people seemed to have left off coming to the
shop. Instead of the little bell on the door
tinkling every half-hour, it would only tinkle
two or three times a day. He had seen the
smart new shop, with large glass windows, that
had been opened at the other end of the
village; but he did not know that nearly all his
granny's customers had left her to go to it.
For the new shop was set up by a young man
who thought he should get on by selling his
goods cheaper than anybody else. Just at first
this plan seemed to answer, and the village
people flocked to the new shop, and quite for-
sook poor Dame Buckle. Many of these very
people owed Dame Buckle money for tea, and
sugar, and candles, which she had let them
have without paying for. And now, when she
wanted her money, she could not get it; and
this was another trouble that Johnny knew
nothing about.
He was not in the way when his granny's
landlord called for the rent, and he did not see
his granny bring out a little box, like a money-
box, and open the lid, and take out the sum
she owed. When that was paid, he did not see
how very few coins were left, and that, when


the landlord was gong; his granny threw her
apron over her face, and sat a few minutes
quite still, the tears trickling down her cheeks.
Dame Buckle was getting so poor that she
hardly knew how to make both ends meet;
that is, she hardly knew how to pay her rent,
and find food for herself and Johnny. Trouble
was coming to her nearer and nearer.
Now all this time the beautiful harvest
weather went on day after day. There were
busy reapers in the fields, and great waggon-
loads of ripe yellow corn kept going by Dame
Buckle's cottage. They went grinding along
nearly the whole night as well as the day; for
the farmers wanted to make the most of the
fine weather, and to get in their harvest as soon
as they c : ld. .
It was J.T:ihhy"s gielt, delight to run into the
corn fields and watch the men reap. He loved
to see the ripe golden grain fall under the
sickle, and then to see the men gather it up
and tie it in bundles, and then to see them set
the bundles up in a stack. When he was tired
of running about he used to sit down by one
of the stacks and talk to the men, and pick out
the ears of corn and eat them. He was then
as happy as a king.


But at length the waggons had fetched away
the stacks of corn, and then the field was left
quite bare, and Johnny could not watch the
reapers any longer. The morning after this
had happened his granny woke him very
early. Get up, my little man," she said, we
must go gleaning to-day."
The little boy got up in a minute, highly
delighted at the idea of gleaning. And oh!
what a long, happy day that was to him In
the first place, as Dame Buckle was lame, and
could not walk so well as she used to do,
Johnny had to carry their dinner into the field,
to save the trouble of her coming home to
eat it.
Then it was such a lovely day. There was
not the slightest fear of rain, Only a few soft,
fleecy clouds hovered about in the blue sky,
and threw cool shadows on the ground. And a
gentle breeze just stirred the trees, and the lark
was singing and the rooks were cawing, and the
swallows skimming backwards and forwards.
How nice it was to run about picking up the
ears of corn that lay straggling all over the
field Granny could not stoop for any length
of time without being tired, so he did all the
stooping, and she made the wheat into a great


bundle to carry home when their day's work
should be over.
How nice it was to have dinner in one
corner of the field, under the shadow of a wide-
spreading tree! To see Dame Buckle open her
basket, and take out a piece of cold pudding,
that kind Mrs. White had given her, and a loaf
of home-baked bread, and a bottle of milk.
And then for Johnny to come and sit down by
her side, quite tired out, and as hungry as a
hunter. And then for Dame Buckle to make
him lie down after dinner with his head on her
lap, and for him to drop off asleep with a mur-
muring sound in his ears of the rooks cawing
and the wind rustling. And then, when he
woke, how nice and cool it was, with the
shadows of the trees stretching far upon the
ground, and the sun dropping behind the hills
in a bank of gold and purple clouds.
There was not much more work done that
day, for Johnny was tired, and so was Dame
Buckle. So they sauntered home, he carrying
the empty basket, and she with the bundle of
wheat fastened on her shoulder. When they
got home, Dame Buckle lighted the fire-for of
course it had gone out long before,-and she
set on the kettle, and made a cup of tea in the

A -t




brown tea-pot. And for a great treat Johnny
had a cup of tea with sugar and milk, as if he
had been a grown-up person. And, all the
time he was drinking it his eyes felt as if
penny pieces lay upon them; he was so sleepy
he could hardly sit up. So the minute tea
was over, Dame Buckle took him in her arms,
as she used to do when he was a baby, and car-
ried him upstairs to bed. His head had
scarcely touched the pillow before he was fast
But Dame Buckle did not go to bed, though
she was more tired than her pet. She went
downstairs and began to knit very fast at her
stocking, as if to make up for lost time. And
while she knitted, the brown book lay open
before her, and she kept looking into it, though
her fingers never stopped.
It was late when she had finished her stock-
ing, and she laid it with its fellow, and made
the two into a bundle ready to take home the
next day. When she had done this she shut
the Bible, and kneeled down and carried her
troubles to God.
They were great troubles, and hard to bear,
but this was the very best place Dame Buckle
could take them to. She knew who had said,
" Call upon Me in the day of trouble."



^ RANNY, I am so hungry! do give me a
"bit of bread," said Johnny one day.
Dame Buckle was sitting by a small
handful of fire in the grate; and yet the day
was very cold. The bleak, cutting wind came
howling past the window, and drove before it
the few yellow leaves that had been left on the
trees. For it was late in autumn, and the
flowers were over, and the swallows had left
their nests, and flown far away over the seas,
out of reach of winter. The stormy months
were coming very fast, with their frost and
snow. It was cold enough for snow to-day,
Dame Buckle thought as she sat by the fire,
and Johnny's face looked pinched and white.
But'Dame Buckle did not say, Johnny, fetch
me a log of wood," or Put on a bit of coal;"
for there was very little of either wood or coal
left, and she could not afford to buy any more
. at present.
Things had not mehded with her, but rather
They had grown worse. The village people
kept on going to the new shop, and those who


owed the poor dame money seemed to have
forgotten all about it.
Nanny Grey was one of those who owed the
aged woman money, and she had promised to
pay it that very week. There was but one
more day left in the week, for it was Saturday,
and Dame Buckle had been expecting to hear
the bell tinkle every minute. But it had not
tinkled yet, and she had been obliged to part
with her last shilling to buy bread.
When Johnny said he was hungry, she got
up and opened the cupboard door, and gave
him a piece of the only loaf there was in the
"Eat it, my pet," said she. Granny does
not know where she is to get any more."
Johnny took the bread and looked at it wist-
fully. Why don't we fetch a loaf from the
baker's, as we used to do ?" said he.
Because granny has not the money to pay
for it."
Never mind that, granny; we will tell him
we are hungry, and then he will give it to us
without the money."
Dame Buckle shook her head. No, he
won't, my pet; he has his own little children
to feed. He can't feed us as well


Johnny thought a few minutes, and then he
said, Granny, did not God send the ravens to
feed the prophet, in that story you told me ?"
Yes, my pet."
Johnny was silent again. Then he said,
"Granny, let us tell God we are hungry, and
He will send us something to eat."
Dame Buckle threw her apron over her face,
but the little boy, who was very eager, pulled
it away. "Granny," he repeated, "let us tell
God we are hungry."
The tears were running down Dame Buckle's
face, though she did not want Johnny to see
them, and as she could hardly speak for cry-
ing, with a faltering voice she said, Tell Him
yourself, my child."
Then he laid down the piece of bread, and
"knelt at her lap. His little white face was very
serious, and he joined his hands together, while
he said in his childish voice, Please, God, we
are very hungry : do send us something to eat."
He did not say another word. He got up
and began to eat his bread. But Dame Buckle
dared not eat a morsel, though she was more
hungry than he was. She knew it was the last
loaf that stood in the cupboard, and where
should she get another? When Johnny had


eaten his bread he came and sat on the stool
close by her side. His little hands were quite
cold, and she took them in hers to warm them.
But, alas! her hands were the colder of the
They did not speak or make the least move-
ment, either granny or her pet. Outside, the
wind rattled the casement and roared along the
lane as furiously as ever. It grew colder and
colder as the handful of fire got less and less.
Presently the fire went quite out, and then it
would be colder and more dreary still. There
were only a few cinders left.
Just at this minute Johnny lifted his head
from Dame Buckle's lap, and said, I know
God will send us something to eat."
Dame Buckle stooped down and kissed him,
but she did not speak. She had been listening
for the bell to tinkle till she was wearied out.
And now it was getting dusk, and almost too
late to expect anybody.
Do you wonder why Dame Buckle did not
ask her neighbours to help her, or fetch the
bread without paying for it ? There are some
people who would always rather stay at home
and starve than beg, or go in debt; and she
was one of these. There was one Friend, how-


ever, whom she had already asked for help;
and as she sat in cold and hunger, and almost
in despair, she sought him again. "Forsake
me not, 0 my God," she said in her heart; and
then she thought of the words, I have never
seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed beg-
ging bread."
Still no help came, and the last glimmer died
out of the fire, and darkness began to creep
over the cottage, and to blot out the lane, and
the church, and every familiar object. Dame
Buckle had given up all hope, when Johnny
lifted up his head, and said again, "I know God
will send'us something to eat." Just as he said
it there was a sharp tinkle of the bell on the
door of the shop. Dame Buckle started, for
she had not heard footsteps, though she had
been listening for them so eagerly. A loud
gust of wind had quite drowned every other
sound. But she got up quickly and lighted a
candle, and opened the door.
It was Nanny Grey, come to pay her bill.
"I'm sorry I've been so long," she said, "but
my husband has been out of work, and that
has put us back sadly. The money is right,
isn't it ? Ten shillings and a penny."
Dame Buckle counted it over in her hand,


trembling as she did so. "Yes, quite right,
thank you," she said, as she wrote paid" on
the bill. "You may keep the penny."
The old lady knew that Nanny was the
worse off of the two, for she was in debt, and
the dame was not; so she could not help doing
this little act of kindness.
Now though there was nothing strange in
Nanny coming at that moment to pay her bill,
and though the money came direct from Nanny's
pocket, Dame Buckle looked a great deal higher
than Nanny, and so did Johnny.
When she came back with the ten shillings
in her hand, she said to her little pet, Reach
out the loaf, and we will have our supper.
Granny has plenty of money to buy another."
And he clapped his hands joyfully.
Granny," he said, I knew God would send
us something to eat. Let us thank Him." And
before granny and her pet touched a morsel
they thanked God with all their hearts. For
God had sent them the money, though it
seemed to come through Nanny Grey-that
same God who had sent the ravens to feed the
prophet, and who rained bread from heaven for
His people to eat. The poor old woman knew
it, and her heart was full of thankfulness.



F we have not told you about the good old
clergyman who came to preach in the
church to which Dame Buckle and Johnny
went every Sunday, it is not because we have
forgotten him; it is only because we have been
waiting for the right moment to do so, and be-
cause we did not wish to break the thread of
our story.
We say he came to preach, for he did not live
at the hamlet; he lived in the parsonage-house
at Greenhills, the very nearest village. Indeed,
it was so near that you could see the church
spire from Dame Buckle's window, and you had
only to go across a few fields, past White's
Farm," as it was called, and just before you
would be a clump of trees on the side of a hill,
and some white cottages peeping out from
amongst them. That was Greenhills.
But Greenhills was not a small village either.
It had a schoolroom, where a great many little
Sboys and girls went every day to be taught to
read and write, and to do sums. There was also
a neat house close by for the master and mis.


tress to live in; and the parish school at Green-
hills was thought to be a very good one, if not
the best in all the country round.
Now when you got over the last stile, and
turned into the lane leading to the village, you
came in sight of a long, low house, with a
pointed roof and gable ends, and a porch over
the front door. The house was quite overgrown
with ivy, and in the summer was gay with roses
and honeysuckles, that climbed up as high as
the chimney. All round the house was a
grassy terrace, that sloped down to the garden,
and the garden was a sheet of flowers when
flowers were in season; and it was shut in by
drooping laburnums, weeping willows, and birch
trees, with their silvery bark and light green
Now this house was the parsonage, and
though it looked so pretty it was very old, and
the next clergyman would be almost certain to
pull it down and build another. But we are
sure the people at Greenhills will be sorry when
that time comes.
Good Mr. Faithful has lived here fifty years,
and he stoops, and his hair is white as snow.
You may see him about the garden any day,
either sitting in the porch, or watching the bees


in and out of the row of hives that stand on
the warm side of the house; or else you may
see him go from cottage to cottage, in his old-
fashioned hat, and with buckles on his shoes. He
has no wife or child, and he and his housekeeper
live quite alone in the parsonage-house. He is
getting so very old that people are afraid he
cannot go on preaching much longer.
Still he is very happy and cheerful. He
has served God all his life, and sought to do as
much good as he could: he enjoys the hope
that when death comes, it will only be to take
him to heaven to be with Jesus Christ for
Every Sunday the good old man used to preach
once at the hamlet where Dame Buckle lived,
and then the little church was quite full; for
people loved their pastor, and no one would
stay away that could help it.
When he had done preaching he would often
call at Dame Buckle's cottage, and very proud
Dame Buckle was of her visitor; very pleased,
too, when the good old man would pat Johnny
on the head, and tell him how fast he was
growing. He had not, however, patted Johnny
on the head lately, nor had he preached at the
little church. The cold weather had made him


ill, and he had been shut up in the parsonage-
house for a long time.
But a few pleasant things were going to
happen to Dame Buckle after all her care and
trouble. In the first place you may think she
was very glad to buy a little more coal, and to
make a better fire to warm herself and Johnny.
So, the day after Nanny had paid her bill, there
was the old lady sitting by a cheerful blaze, and
looking quite happy and comfortable. Johnny
was poring over a very torn and dog-eared
spelling-book, for it had belonged to Dame
Buckle when she was a child. Now, after all
those years, Johnny was learning his letters out
of the selfsame book.
He was not hungry to-day. Dame Buckle
and he had had their dinners, and the kettle
was singing on the hob, for she was an old-
fashioned person, and liked her tea early.
The little bell on the shop door had tinkled
a great many times to-day. First one cus-
tomer and then another had dropped in for an
ounce of tea, or half a pound of sugar, or a
pennyworth of soap. One of these customers
told Dame Buckle that the tea sold at the new
shop was not half so good as her tea, and that
people liked to have good things for their money.


Then when the afternoon was come, and the
hearth was swept up, and the kettle singing,
and Dame Buckle knitting by the fire, there was
another pleasant thing in store for her.
The worthy clergyman came to pay her a
visit. He was a great deal better, and as it was
a fine day, the doctor said he might go out.
So he had walked across the fields to pay Dame
Buckle a visit.
Johnny saw him first, for he had run to the
door to watch the cows go by to be milked.
As he stood looking at them, who should he
behold getting over the stile but Mr. Faithful!
So he ran in to tell Dame Buckle, who got up
and stirred the fire, and set a chair ready for
Mr. Faithful to sit down. She smoothed
Johnny's curls, that the wind had made rather
rough, and then stood with her knitting in her
hand, waiting till she should hear the knock at
the door; for it might happen the clergyman
was not coming to see her.
But he was coming. A minute after there
was a knock at the door, and Johnny ran to
open it. Indeed, it was open, just enough to
show that Mr. Faithful was standing outside.
The dame was very pleased to see her pastor
again, and so was Johnny. The old gentleman


patted Johnny's head, and asked him what he
meant by growing so fast. And the boy laughed,
for he liked to be told he was growing. He
wanted to be a tall man, and wait on the cus-
tomers in his granny's shop.
Then Mr. Faithful asked Dame Buckle if
Johnny could read. And she said he could,
a very little-that is, he could put a few letters
together. Now Johnny was getting a great
boy, and he might have read quite well by this
time if he had gone to school. But Dame
Buckle was not a very good scholar, and she
had not much time to spare in teaching him to
Mr. Faithful said the best thing in the world
for a little boy was to be sent to school and
taught to read and write, and to do sums; be-
cause when he got older he would have to
work, and to earn money, and no one would
employ him if he were a dunce. He hoped
Johnny would not be a dunce.
Oh no," Dame Buckle said; she was sure
the child would not be a dunce. She would
take care of that.
Then Mr. Faithful asked Dame Buckle if she
would like to send him to the school at Green-


Now Dame Buckle would like it very much
indeed. The little boys and girls who went to
school only paid small sum of money every
week. But she could not afford even a small
sum, and this is why she had not sent Johnny.
Mr. Faithful asked Johnny if he would like
to go. And the boy said he should like very
much. For he was quite old enough to know
that he could not wait in his granny's shop
unless he knew how to read and write.
So Mr. Faithful said he did not mean Dame
Buckle to do everything for Johnny. She had
fed and clothed him, and been the best granny
that ever lived; and now he would pay for his
schooling, and have him taught to read and
write, as the other little boys in the village
were being taught. He hoped Johnny would
be a good lad, and mind his book; so that when
he knew how to read, and when he was big and
strong enough, he might work for his granny,
as she had worked for him all these years.
When Dame Buckle wanted to thank her
kind pastor, though her heart was almost too
full to let her speak, he would not hear any-
thing she had to say. But he began to talk to
Johnny, and took an orange out of his pocket
to give to him.


When all this was over, and another long
talk was over between Dame Buckle and her
pastor, it began to get late and cold, and the
old housekeeper would be looking out for her
master, and wondering why he did not come
So the brown book was reached down, and
Mr. Faithful read a chapter, and said a few
words about trusting in God, and that God
would always take care of those who did trust
in Him; also, how happy those people were
because they had the ever-blessed Lord for
their Friend. Then the good pastor knelt down
with Dame Buckle and Johnny, and offered a
short prayer; for he seldom went away from
any house without reading the Bible and pray-
ing. After this the good old man went home,
and Johnny ran to Dame Buckle and threw his
arms round her neck, and kissed her, as he al-
ways did when anything very delightful had
happened. And Dame Buckle kissed him in
return, and told him how nice it would be to go
to school, and that he must be a good boy, and
learn to read as soon as he could; for she
should want him before long to wait in the
shop and be her right hand man.
The thought of that time pleased Johnny


more than anything, for he was always looking
forward to waiting in granny's shop. So he
laughed and clapped his hands, and scampered
down the lane to fetch the milk for tea, with
his heart as light as a feather.
And I don't think granny's heart was very
heavy just then.


OHNNY could hardly sleep on Sunday night
for the thought of going to school on
Monday. When the day arrived, as soon
as ever Dame Buckle opened her eyes, he was up
and dressed, and all in readiness to set off.
Now the old lady had hunted up a few worn-
out lesson books from the cupboard, and she
had made a little bag to put them in, and her
pet was to carry the bag over his shoulder. Be-
sides the books, she had put into the bag a
piece of bread and cheese, and a slice of cold
pudding, wrapped up in a cloth for his dinner.
For Johnny was to have his dinner in the
schoolroom while the winter lasted, because of
the wet days, and the frost and snow. Then


when breakfast was over, Dame Buckle kissed
him, and bade him be a good boy and mind his
book. The boy set off in capital spirits with
the little green bag slung over his shoulder.
He knew every inch of the way, as well as
his granny did. So he went on running, jump-
ing, singing, and enjoying himself as much as a
little boy could. When he came to the farm
he began to walk rather more steadily. He was
quite out of breath, and there was Mrs. White
feeding her hens and turkeys in the field before
the house. Mrs. White was a great friend of
his, and he wanted to tell her he was going to
school. She saw him in a minute, and called
out, Good morning, Johnny. Where are you
going to in such a hurry, and all by yourself ?"
He told her he was going to school, to learn to
read, write, and do sums; and he meant to be a
good boy, and mind his book, because he wanted
to keep the shop for his granny when he grew
Mrs. White patted him on the head, and
asked him if he would like a piece of plum
Johnny's eyes glistened, and he said he
should like it very much. Upon which Mrs.
White took him into the dairy and cut him a


slice from a fine cake that stood on the shelf.
She wrapped it in paper, because Johnny did
not want to eat it just that minute, and put it
in his bag. He thanked her and trotted on his
way, while Mrs. White went back to her hens
and turkeys.
When the new scholar got over the stile into
the lane, and could see the clump of trees and
the white cottages, he saw his kind friend Mr.
Faithful looking out for him. The good man
took him by the hand, and walked with him to
the school. As they walked he told Johnny
what a great blessing it was to a little boy to
be able to read; because he could not only read
his Bible, which was the best book in the world,
but be useful in that station in life where God
had put him. He told Johnny that he must
not play or trifle in school hours, or be late at
school, or do anything that was displeasing to
God. For God saw him every moment-at his
"lessons and at his play, and he could never be
in any spot where God could not see him. He
further talked to the boy about Jesus Christ,
and how He was once a little child, and did all
that His parents told him, that He might set an
example to every child who should live in the
world. He also spoke of the love of Jesus to


'O~N 'T ,;IO


children, and how He had invited them to come
to Him in faith, that they might be saved
through Him.
By this time they had reached the school-
room, where a bell was ringing, and where a
great many girls and boys were standing about
the door. Mr. Faithful led Johnny up to the
schoolmaster, who was standing at his desk, and
told him that he was a little friend of his, and
he hoped he would soon learn to read. Then
he patted him on the head and went away.
The bell left off tinkling, and Johnny had to
sit on a form with a number of other boys who
could not read much better than himself, and
who had to spell short words just as he had
been used to do with his granny.
At twelve o'clock the school broke up, and
the boys and girls went home. Then Johnny
sat down in a corner of the schoolroom and ate
his dinner, and while he was eating it the
schoolmaster stood by talking to him. When
he had finished, the schoolmaster led him round
the room and showed him the beautiful pictures
that hung against the walls. There was one
picture of Daniel in the lions' den, and another
of the little children going to Jesus to seek His
blessing. He knew all about the pictures, al-


most as well as the teacher did himself. The
schoolmaster told him that children could not
begin too soon to love the Bible. And he
taught him a verse of a hymn,-
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child;
Pity my simplicity,
Suffer me to come to Thee."
In a short time school began again; the bell
tinkled, and the boys and girls came scamper-
ing up the village street. And Johnny had to
sit on the form and learn his lesson till the
clock struck four, and then the books were
shut, and the school was over.
The new scholar took up his bag and ran off
along the lane and over the fields. He had
never been away from his granny such a long,
long time before, and he wanted to run and kiss
her, and tell her what he had been doing.
Granny also thought it was a long, long time,
and she put on her bonnet and shawl and went
to meet him. She had hardly got over the first'
stile, when who should she see running towards
her but Johnny! He ran into her arms and
kissed her as if he had been away for a Week.
Then granny and her pet walked home hand in
hand, and he told her about his first day at


school, and what the clergyman had said to
him, and about the pictures, and the boys who
sat with him on the form. Then he took out
of his bag the piece of cake, and begged her to
eat it, which she did, for she knew that he
would not be happy if she said No.
Granny told her pet how the shop bell had
tinkled a great many times that day, and she
was getting quite rich. She laughed, and Johnny
laughed, and they were as happy as ever they
could be.


OHNNY went backwards and forwards to
the school at Greenhills for a long time;
and he could soon read, and write, and
do sums as well as anybody.
What would Dame Buckle now have done
without her pet we cannot think, for by this
time her rheumatism had become so bad, she
could hardly get out of her chair, and it hurt her
sadly to go backwards and forwards to the shop
every time the bell was heard. She had all her
old customers back again now, because people


were tired of the bad tea and the bad sugar they
got at the new shop.
The new shop soon began to be empty, in
spite of the fine puffs that had been printed on
large bills and put in the window. For, after
all, "honesty is the best policy," and people who
tell lies are sure to be found out.
But how could Dame Buckle wait upon her
customers now her rheumatism was so bad ?
For when it was cold weather, or the wind got
into the east, the old lady could not stir from
the chimney corner. What was to be done ?
There was a pair of active little feet, a pair of
nimble hands, a pair of bright eyes, a head that
could add i4-figures almost as fast as anybody
in the village, and last, but not least, there was
a warm, loving heart at Dame Buckle's service
just when she most needed it.
It was Johnny's turn to wait upon his granny.
She had waited upon him, and had nursed and
fostered him when he was too young and feeble
to do anything. Now she was old and feeble,
and he must work for her and take care of her.
Little birds fly awa rom the nest as soon as
they are able. Nature does not teach them
to care about their parents, for their parents do
not need their help. They will build another


nest, and rear another brood, and the little ones
that have flown away will be quite forgotten.
But God teaches little children to love their
parents, and to comfort and cherish them when
they are old. Though Dame Buckle was not
Johnny's parent, he loved her as much asif she
had been; indeed, he never found out till a long
time after that she was not really his granny.
So one morning, when granny's rheumatism
was very bad, he got up and made the fire, and
boiled the kettle. He carried her breakfast up-
stairs to her as she lay in bed. And then, when
the shop bell tinkled, pitter patter went his feet
down stairs into the shop, and the nimble hands
weighed an ounce of tea and a pound of sugar
in a short time; and the clever little head reck-
oned what theywould come to, and down dropped
the money into the till.
The grateful boy also swept out the shop; he
made it quite tidy, and dusted the counter, and
rubbed the scales till they shone like silver.
For it was early yet, and one customer had
come, because she was not a good housekeeper,
and had forgotten her errands the night before,
and was out of tea and sugar when her husband
wanted his breakfast.
Then Johnny had his basin of bread and milk,


and when he had finished he heard his granny
getting up overhead. So he took care to have
"a nice fire, and to set her chair ready, and to put
"a stool for her feet. By this time the shop bell
rang again, and Johnny was behind the counter
in a minute.
The customers soon began to be very fond of
having Johnny to wait upon them; they said he
took such pains to give them what they
wanted. He never gave wrong change, he could
do sums too well for that. So he was his
granny's right hand man at last.
Now when he was about twelve years old a
great event took place. It was not that his
uncle died and left him some money, or that his
father came back from the gold diggings a very
rich man. He never heard of his father, or of
his uncle either. It was something quite dif-
ferent that happened to him.
We told you that the people at the new shop
sold very bad tea and sugar, and that at last
nobody went to buy of them. One fine morning
the shop was shut up, and the people had run
away. They owed a great sum of money, and
could not pay any of it. So, as they were afraid
of being taken to gaol, they ran away.
Then the shop, with its large glass windows,


was shut up for a whole winter, and nobody
lived in it. But the next spring people began
to wish it might be opened again. They wanted
some one to come there who would sell good
things, and not praise up bad ones. They said
Dame Buckle was the person to take it, as she
had all the custom. What a pity it was her
rheumatism was so bad, and that she was getting
such an old woman!
Now Dame Buckle could never have taken
the new shop by herself. She could not have
gone backwards and forwards to wait upon the
customers. She could not afford to pay any-
body to wait upon them for her; indeed, when
she got too old to work, she must have starved,
or else have gone to the workhouse.
But then there was her pet! He would not
let her starve, or go to the workhouse either.
With Dame Buckle's help he could easily manage
the shop. To be sure the rent was more money,
and the house was larger, and there was a little
risk to run. But the doctor came forward to
help, and so did farmer White, and so did some
others of Johnny's friends; and so it came to
pass that dame Buckle took the new shop, and
she and Johnny went to live there.
Now the worthy old woman and her boy got


on. The house was snug and comfortable, and
there was a nice large garden that Johnny
worked in when he had time. He grew
potatoes, and peas, and cauliflowers, and sold
them. He had flower-beds, too; for he loved
flowers, and so did his granny. She could
neither have had the house, nor the shop, nor
the garden, if it had not been for him. So we see
that God blessed and rewarded her for her kind-
ness to the little orphan.
Let us hope that Johnny and his granny will
live together many happy years, for she is quite
well of her rheumatism, thanks to the warm,
dry house; and there are plenty of customers,
and plenty of money drops into the till. He
is fast growing up to be a man in earnest, and
the neighbours are as fond of him as ever; and
they say he has the best business for miles
round, and that Dame Buckle is a very happy
"We are sure you will think so too; and so
now we will shut the book, and say good-bye
to Dame Buckle and her pet Johnny.