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The Baldwin Library
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AUNT MILLY'S DIAMONDS,
OUR COUSIN FROM INDIA,
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER Row; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
.. --- ... ', -
", : ,' '
I.-GRANDMAMMA'S STORY. 5
IL.-DENESFIELD AND ITS OWNER 12
III.-THE BEST TREASURE 18
IV.-MORE ABOUT DENESFIELD 25
V.-AN UNEXPECTED VISITOR 30
VI.-A PLEASANT ENDING 38
Dntr uotini front 3nbtia.
I.-BALANCING DAY 45
II.-COWSLIP STREET .55
AUNT JMILLY'S DIAMONDS.
( .,ES, children, I will tell you
the story of Aunt Milly's
"diamonds; and in telling
// ~about them, you must hear
the tale of my own life
almost, because one is so mixed
c, up with the other that they can
scarcely be separated."
The speaker, an old lady, looked pleasantly at
a group of grandchildren, her Christmas visitors;
who, tired with many a merry game, were clus-
tering round her and asking for the story. It
was Christmas Eve, and they had been making
the old hall at Denesfield Manor ring with happy
voices. And now, in the dim twilight hour, they
came into the drawing-room, and begged that
6 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
before the gas was lighted grandmamma would
tell them all about "those diamonds."
A charming group they made. The girls with
their young, fair faces, and streaming curls, the
boys full of life and strength and fun; yet all so
loving and courteous to the silver-haired lady
who delighted to see them round her at happy
Christmas-tide. Picture them for yourselves:
some, the elder girls, demurely seated, ready to
listen; two little ones on footstools by grand-
mamma's knees, each holding a hand tenderly
imprisoned; the lads just stretched here and
there upon the rug, while on their upturned
faces the blaze of a Christmas fire shone and
But listen. Grandmamma is beginning her
Aunt Milly and my own dear mother were
sisters; but there was a great difference in their
ages, and still more in their worldly positions.
My aunt married, while very young, the owner
of Denesfield Manor, where we are now gathered
to spend our Christmas, you know, children.
Her husband, Squire Dene, was a very rich
man, and the diamonds you have heard so much
about were his wedding-gift to Aunt Milly.
Grandmamma's Story. 7
They were worth many thousands of pounds,
and were talked about all over the county.
But though they were so much admired,
both for their cost and beauty, I do not think
anybody envied Aunt Milly the possession of
You know, dears, there is a great difference
in the way persons use jewels. If people think
themselves the better for possessing them, and
look down upon their neighbours because they
cannot have such costly things, they show a
foolish pride and a wrong spirit.
But if they look upon them as beautiful
things that God has created, and to which He
has been pleased to compare His own beloved
servants and children in Christ, just using them
in a spirit of thankfulness to their Maker, they
will stir up no envy amongst those who see,
without possessing, jewels themselves. I believe
that Aunt Milly looked at her diamonds in this
way. She used to say that she never put them
away so carefully in their cases, and locked them
.up in their strong box, without thinking of God's
promise to them that feared Him, and spake
often one to another. The text is in Malachi,
and the words are: "And they shall be Mine,
saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I
8 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as
a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
Aunt Milly told me that the sight of her hus-
band's costly gift made her often pray to be
numbered amongst the jewels of the Lord of
My dear mother's home was very different
from Denesfield. Her husband was a clergy-
man; and though for a few years the sisters
lived near each other, my parents removed to
Welland Vicarage whilst we children were quite
young, and then we were a hundred and fifty
miles from Aunt Milly and Denesfield.
Soon after came a great sorrow. Mr. Dene
and my aunt went abroad for the winter; and
while travelling together in Southern Italy he
met with an accident, from the effects of which
he never recovered.
My father went to try and comfort my aunt,
and thought she would return to England with
him. But she could not bear to think of that
fair home where her brightest and happiest
years had been spent, and he came back alone,
leaving her in Italy. Beautiful Denesfield was
deserted, and only a few old servants remained
in charge, and looked longingly, year after year,
for the return of their mistress.
Grandmwmnma's Story. 9
"Welland Vicarage, where my youth was
passed, was a happy, peaceful place. My dear
father was the honoured pastor, and his wife
and children found a welcome in every house,
from the cottage to the hall.
We knew little of such great wealth as Aunt
Milly could command, for Mr. Dene had left all
to her; but on the other hand, we were free
from those small economies and anxieties which,
alas! harass so many. The income of the
vicarage was not large; but my mother's little
fortune, and a small property of my father's,
made our means abundantly sufficient.
Possessing plenty without luxury, and having
occupation without wearing toil, surely we could
say that, "the lines were fallen unto us in
There was no small excitement in our country
home when, one day, my mother, after reading
a long letter from her sister, exclaimed, "How
glad I am! Aunt Milly is coming home at
My father looked up with an expression of
pleased surprise; and we four girls plied our
mother with questions as to when Aunt Milly
would arrive. Would she stay with us at
"Welland ?-and if not, where ?
10 Aunt Mily 's Diamonds.
"Aunt Milly is going to her own home.
They are now preparing Denesfield, and in a
month she hopes to be settled there."
As children we had always been warmly
welcomed under our aunt's roof; but during
the long years which had passed since our
removal to Welland, we had forgotten what
Denesfield was like. We told our mother so,
when she spoke of its beauty.
"You will soon have an opportunity of
refreshing your memories,", she answered.
"Listen to what your aunt writes;" and she
read from the letter : "I hope my young nieces
will be my guests as often and for as long a time
as you can spare them. As Mildred is my name-
sake and god-daughter, you must let her come
as soon as possible after I reach home. Alice,
Ellen, and Miriam will forgive me this prefer-
ence. Tell them, with my love, that I hope Aunt
Milly's house will be a second home to them all."
There was no feeling of envy because I
received the first invitation. We sisters loved
each other, and if one had a special pleasure the
rest rejoiced with her. There was no striving
amongst us; and, as I look back, I often feel
how the sympathy which reigned amongst us
increased our happiness.
Grandmamma's Story. 11
I own that I was nearly wild with delight at
the prospect of leaving Welland for a time. I
longed to take all my dear ones with me; but in
that quiet spot, with its round of duties and
pleasures, the days seemed so much alike that I
was eager for change.
The time came to an end at last, and I started
on my journey. Travelling was not so easy then
as now; but I was able to go nearly the whole
distance under the care of an old friend. Two
miles from Denesfield I changed my seat in the
mail-coach for one in my aunt's carriage, which
was waiting for me. But I received my welcome
before I reached the house. A tall, stately-
looking lady stood on the pavement as the coach
drew up, and having seen her likeness, I recog-
nised my aunt. I sprang forward, exclaiming,
"You must be Aunt Milly, I am sure !"
What a beautiful, hearty smile of welcome
lighted her face as she answered, "And you are
my niece, Mildred Corsor, my dear sister Ellen's
child. I am so glad to see you."
She kissed me tenderly, and then, bidding the
footman see to my luggage, she led me to the
carriage, and we started for Denesfield.
Denletfielb anb itos iamer.
k s we drove through the beautiful
^ ^( !T park and wide grounds, I was
S'full of wonder that my aunt could
have left such a lovely spot for so
many years. I was used to visit with
,. all the country gentry round Welland;
but how insignificant all their homes
seemed in comparison with Denesfield. And
my aunt, with her tall, graceful figure and
stately carriage, looked fit to be the mistress
of such a home.
We had not much talk that night. My aunt
asked questions about my parents and sisters;
but beyond telling her of them, and delivering
the loving messages with which I was charged,
there was little time for conversation. It was
evening when I arrived, so Aunt Milly kindly
insisted that I should go to bed early. "I want
you to be quite rested after your long journey,
dear," she said, "so as to be ready to make
Denesfield and its Owner. 13
acquaintance with all the ins and outs of
"Indeed, aunt," I replied, "I am not at all
weary. It is very nice to travel when one leaves
home so seldom."
"True, my child. At sixteen we know little
of weariness; but when you rise, feeling fresh
and looking bright in the morning, you will
thank me for having given you a long night
At breakfast we had much pleasant talk.
Aunt Milly seemed anxious to hear as much as
possible about those I had left behind. Nothing
was uninteresting that related to my home. To
me, the subject was a very delightful one. I
have said before, that the members of our family
realized the blessedness of dwelling "together
in unity." So it was very sweet for me to be
led on to speak of all its branches, and to picture
our daily home-life to my aunt.
"I have never yet seen Welland," Aunt
Milly remarked; "but I hope to do. Your
father and mother went there just before I left
England. I shall want to be really amongst you
all in your own home, before I can know you
properly. That cannot be just yet, so I must
have the family piecemeal, at Denesfield, first."
14 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
My aunt rose from the table as she spoke, and
added, "I dare say you will like to go over the
house and grounds, first of all."
"I should like that better than anything,
aunt, if you will go too."
"Certainly, dear. You and I will be com-
panions for a time, at any rate. Soon we shall
have more of our neighbours about us; for some
have called already, and you will find acquaint-
ances nearer your own age."
"I shall not care about them, aunt. I could
not enjoy being with them more than yourself."
Aunt Milly smiled, and kissed my forehead.
"I shall be glad to have you, Mildred; but I
am neither so selfish as to desire that you should
give yourself wholly to me, nor so sanguine as
to expect it. Now, put on your hat, dear, and
let us enjoy the fresh morning air."
My aunt spent some time in showing me her
lovely home and its surroundings. After ram-
bling till we were tired, we sat down to rest, and
I said, "Oh, Aunt Milly, this place is a perfect
Paradise! What could any one desire that
cannot be found at Denesfield F"
Once I should have said the same, Mildred,"
replied my aunt; "but for a long time past,
Denesfield is the place I have least wished to
Denesfield and its Owner. 15
see. You know why-I lost my dear husband;
and then, though so much was left me, I closed
my eyes to the light, and selfishly shut myself
up with my great sorrow. But now, Mildred, I
am able to look back, and thank God for the
past happy years. I have been awakened from
my selfish dreams to see that there is yet some-
thing left for me to do in the world, and that I
have lost many an opportunity of comforting
others during the years given up to nursing my
I hardly knew what to say, except that we
were all so glad at home to think of having
Aunt Milly back in England again, and how we
all hoped she would have many happy years.
"You must be my helper, Mildred. My
desire is that we may together find a welcome,
not only in rich homes, but in those of the poor,
whom I have neglected too long."
"I have been used to such work, aunt," I
said. "As papa is a clergyman, he has found
us plenty of visiting; so I will either be your
companion or messenger."
Then Aunt Milly told me of plans she had
formed for the good of those around her, and of
her anxiety to consult my father, whose experi-
ence was so much greater than her own. "I
16 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
wanted him to come here at once; but that
cannot be, it seems. I do hope that Christmas
will bring not only him, but your mother and
sisters to Denesfield. With the whole family-
gathered round my fireside, Mildred, I should
feel as though I belonged to somebody."
My father was always busy amongst his
people at Christmas-time, contriving comforts
for the old, and pleasures for the young; yet,
all the while striving to link the present with
that far past, when Jesus, the long-promised
Messiah, was first revealed in the flesh-
expected as a king, given as a helpless babe,
and cradled in a manger in Bethlehem.
I said to my aunt, I doubted whether my
father could be spared. Welland people would
hardly think it could be a merry Christmas,
scarcely a happy one, if the parson were away;
though to me the prospect of seeing all the
members of our dear family circle collected
together at such a season in my aunt's beautiful
home was the most delightful thing possible.
It was only the beginning of October when I
arrived at Denesfield, so there was plenty of
time to plan, hope, and prepare. More voices
to sound in those noble rooms, more feet to
awaken the echoes in the long corridors, more
Denesfield and its Owner. 17
happy faces round hearth and table-these were
to my mind, the only things needed to complete
the charms of Denesfield.
While I expressed my doubts and fears about
the possibility of bringing papa, Aunt Milly
would entertain none. They must come, Mil-
dred," was her answer. They must teach me
how to work and use my talents for God's glory.
I have been so long out of the way, and I want
a guide. Do you suppose your father's people
would keep him away ? Why, he has spent the
best years of his life in teaching them to be un-
selfish. Nonsense, child! His precept and
example cannot have been thrownaway."
Aunt Milly spoke and looked as though she
should be quite certain to have her own way in
the matter; and while I feared, I wished she
might prove to be right.
^he zest 'rtaatre.
ONG before Christmas came, Aunt
",- 4 Iit( Milly and I had become closely
Attached to each other. I
,i r had learned to love her second
S.:.ly to my parents, and her own
Swords taught me how much she
cared for me.
"I shall never part with you for long to-
gether, Mildred, if I can help it. Denesfield
must always be your home, and I shall give you
all the love that I believe every true woman has
stored up in her heart ready to be lavished on
her children. I have had no children of my
own to draw from that store; but you are
making me pour out, on you, my long-hidden
treasure of affection."
I could hardly reply, for my eyes and my
heart were full; but I am sure she did not need
words to tell her how warmly my affection was
given in return.
The Best Treasure. 19
Perhaps the fact that my aunt was still a
young woman-only thirty-six years of age-
and young-hearted, despite her past sorrow, drew
us still more closely to each other. She never
forgot her own girlish tastes and likings; and,
whilst giving me the benefit of her larger ex-
perience, she was full of sympathy and con-
sideration for me. She won my entire confidence,
not so much by asking for it as by giving me
The days passed quickly. We had, as Aunt
Milly expected, plenty of visitors and invita-
tions; and in the village, too, we had become
well-known both to young and old. My aunt
did not wait for papa's coming before com-
mencing her school-building and work for the
good of the poor people round Denesfield; but
she consulted him by letter, and followed his
advice as closely as possible.
We were not quite sure he would be with us
for Christmas until three days before, and then
Aunt Milly, with a bright smile, gave me a
letter to read, saying, "I was right, you will
see, dear. You might have spared all your
fears and misgivings."
The letter was in my dear mother's hand, for
papa was far too busy to write; but it told that
20 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
they, with the three girls, would be with us on
Now I must tell you that, during all the time
of my stay at Denesfield, and I had been there
nearly three months, I had never either seen or
heard a word about Aunt Milly's diamonds. I
often caught myself wondering that these costly
jewels, so much talked of by others before I
came, were not alluded to now by the owner.
My aunt spoke of everything else, I thought;
but not of these. Perhaps, after all, she had
not kept them. During those years of mourning
she would not care to wear such things; but
still, it would be strange for her to part with
her husband's gift.
My curiosity was set at rest on the morning
of Christmas Eve, when all was ready for our
expected dear ones; and there were only the
few last hours to while away before their
"Come up into my room, Mildred," said my
aunt. "When we are expecting very dear
friends the hours seem as long as days. I will
show you some things that you have not yet
seen; and looking at them will occupy a little
I followed, saying, "Indeed, Aunt Milly, I
The Best Treasure. 21
do feel eager and restless. As long as there was
anything to employ myself about, in the way of
preparation, I could not move fast enough; but
now everything is done."
"Well, Mildred; I am going to show you
my diamonds. They have not seen the light for
a long time, for they were left at the banker's
when my husband and I went abroad; and there
they remained until a few days ago, when I had
them brought home."
My aunt took out a key, the ring of which
she slipped over a flower carved on one of the
panels in her room. As she did so a little iron
plate flew back, and showed a key-hole, into
which my aunt put the key, and on turning it,
what I had thought to be a wooden panel,
moved slowly out, and I found that it was the
massive door of an iron safe. Inside were a
number of cases; and, taking them out, one
after another, she showed me their glittering
I was full of astonishment and delight at the
beauty of the gems; and, as Aunt Milly took
them out and placed the bracelets on my wrists,
the rings on my fingers, and the larger orna-
ments on neck and hair, I moved about to see
their ever-changing hues, and that curious
22 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
shimmering light which makes them seem
"They are very beautiful, Mildred," said my
aunt; "and when, sixteen years to-day, my
husband gave them to me, I thought I should
never be tired of looking at and wearing them.
I wore them first on Christmas Day, and for
seven Christmas Days after that. Then for
eight long years they lay hidden and unused.
I almost forgot I possessed them, so absorbed
was I with the thought of the treasure of love I
had lost. Now, I hope I have learned a better
lesson. I believe my treasure is not lost, only
laid up amongst my heavenly Father's jewels,
to be restored to me again when the summons
comes to call me from earth in my turn."
"Do you never mean to wear these again,
aunt?" I asked.
"Yes, dear. I intend to wear them to-
morrow. I shall try to use all the beautiful and
good gifts that have been bestowed upon me in
their season; and I thank God that He has
made the world so fair as well as so admirably
fitted to supply our daily wants. Now I must
lock up these sparkling things, Mildred, for
earthly treasures are a temptation to thieves to
break through and steal. What a happy thing
The Best Treasure. 23
that no one can rob us of our heavenly
I do not know what possessed me to say,
"What are your heavenly treasures, Aunt
"My dear, I hope your heart can answer
such a question as well as my voice. But I
must not forget-you are young; and when I
was a girl, I am afraid, I thought more about
possessing such things as these diamonds than I
did about heavenly riches."
Aunt Milly paused a moment, then she turned
her face to me, lighted up with such an expres-
sion as I had never seen there before, and said,
"I have a long list, Mildred, all bought for me
at a vast cost. There is 'an inheritance, in-
corruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not
away.' A place in one of the 'many mansions'
-a welcome into the family of God, whose
child I am, through adoption in Christ. Yes,
Mildred, Denesfield is fair, but it will crumble
and decay; these diamonds glitter, but I look
for a 'crown of glory, that fadeth not away,'
and a home in 'a city that hath foundations,
whose Builder and Maker is God.' I can dress
here in costly clothing; but what is that to the
robes washed, the raiment made white, in the
24 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
blood of the Lamb ? Then there are the beloved
friends who are gone before, all kept safely in
the same treasure-house. My dear," exclaimed
Aunt Milly, "if I were to go on speaking for
ever so long, how could I tell you all? My
earthly treasures were the purchase and gift of
my beloved husband, who bestowed them for
time. My heavenly ones were bought for me
by the precious blood of Jesus, and will be mine
for all eternity."
Never while I live shall I forget my aunt's
face and words. Never before had I understood
so well as then, the difference between earthly
and heavenly things. My aunt, possessing all
that earth could give-fair home, glittering
gems, costly raiment, obedient servants ready to
do her bidding-regarded and used them thank-
fully, yet counted them as but dross in com-
parison with the enduring inheritance of God's
children. Her words kept coming into my mind
even after the arrival of my father, mother,
and sisters had given me something else to
think of and to do.
*Itore about 3tnetfielb.
ti, .1. HILE my aunt and mother were
'. enjoying each other's society, I
Shad the pleasure of taking my
dear father up and down both
". I park and village. The girls stayed
indoors; but my father declared
"he was not tired. All he wanted
after his long ride was the change which would
be afforded by walking in the frosty December
air. He had a bright word for everybody. To
the grooms who were busy in the stables he
gave a pleasant greeting, and said, "When you
are filling your mangers with hay, doesn't it put
you in mind of the Babe, born as at this time,
whose first bed was in one?"
I can't say that I have thought of that, sir;
but I shall do now," replied one; and wishing
them a "Happy Christmas," we passed on.
Old Maurice, the shepherd of the home farm,
had his word. He was a sturdy, grizzled old
26 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
fellow, and my father said, "Well, Maurice,
haven't you wished you had been amongst those
shepherds who heard first that angel chorus of
' Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good will towards men?'"
"Ay, sir; that I have. And I've thought to
myself, if it had happened in this country, the
angels wouldn't have found us in the fields at
this time o' year. They'd have had to come to
us in the home pens."
My father laughed, and on we went, he scat-
tering kindly questions and good wishes-words
for the little nurses who were tending the
babies; words for the mothers who must strive
to teach their young ones to know and heed the
voice of the Good Shepherd.
I think I never enjoyed a walk more; and as
it was that most delightful of Christmas seasons,
not only frosty, but with the moon rising to turn
all the frail crystals into water gems, our stroll
home through the park was very lovely.
"We had no other guests that night; but we
were to have quite a gathering of various ages
on Christmas Day. My aunt had taken good
care that there should be plenty in every home
round Denesfield. There should not be festival
in the hall and pinching want in the cottage;
More about Denesfield. 27
no thought of spiritual blessings sent at that
season disturbed by thoughts of temporal needs
My sisters and I had a great deal to say to
each other; and many questions were asked and
answered by us, while the elders sat and talked,
at some distance from us, in the great drawing-
During a little pause in our conversation, I
heard my father say to Aunt Milly, "Will any
of the Denes be here to-morrow ?"
My aunt's face flushed as she answered, No;
I have seen nothing of the Denes since my
return to England. They have neither written
to nor come near me."
I am sorry for that, Milly," said my father.
"I did not like to name it in a letter; but
somehow, knowing how your views were
changed in so many things, I hoped that those
old differences were now only like shadows of a
nearly forgotten past."
"What could I do, Stephen ?" said my aunt.
"You know quite well that all the enmity was
on the side of the Denes. You must remember
that I did nothing to provoke it. The only
fault they could bring against me was, that I
inherited what was never theirs, and what my
28 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
husband had a right to dispose of as he
I did not hear my father's answer; but Aunt
Milly spoke again, in that earnest way which
proved how she felt all she said.
"No, Stephen, believe me, I have not the
smallest feeling of anger or revenge. How could
I entertain bitter thoughts in my heart when I
remember that, as a disciple of Christ, my love
towards my neighbour must not be 'in word,
neither in tongue, but in deed and in truth?'"
Then if one of Edmund Dene's children had
come to Denesfield, you would have welcomed
"Most certainly I would. Edmund himself
is dead, you know; so there is no brother of my
Just then the servants came trooping in as
usual to prayers, and the conversation was not
resumed. But what I had heard set me think-
ing of things belonging to that far-away past
that my father spoke of, and of the circum-
stances which made Aunt Milly's husband
owner of Denesfield.
He-William Dene-was the younger of two
brothers. Their father had run through his
inheritance, and left his children almost beggars.
More about Denesfield. 29
There were but the two-Edmund and William.
William was adopted by his uncle, a successful
merchant, who had been winning great wealth
while his brother had squandered his own.
The merchant bought back the old home, re-
built the house, added to the estates, and passing
over his elder nephew, left everything except a
few thousands to William Dene, Aunt Milly's
Edmund, disappointed and angry, said bitter
things to and of his brother, as well as of my
aunt. So they parted-not kindly, or in a
brotherly spirit-and met no more on earth.
William died abroad, and Aunt Milly inherited
all his wealth; and now it seemed as though a
wall were built up between Denesfield and the
much humbler home where Edmund's widow
strove to make her little income suffice to bring
up her three boys, and educate them to make
their way in the world.
As I thought about this wall of estrangement
and division, I could not help hoping that my
dear father would somehow contrive to break it
down. I had so often seen him in the character
of peace-maker, that I could scarcely imagine his
failing if he once took the matter fairly in hand.
,ltn illc\pltctlc b izittr.
\ AM not going to tell all
about our doings that happy
...c.e Christmas-tide. All I can
!' V : TY say is, that I hope every
Sone who listens to my story
S ". may spend this Christmas
.' l ppily as we spent ours that
'.. ., Aunt Milly duly wore the
famous diamonds, and we girls as
duly admired them, and wondered at their
My mother made the remark that they must
have cost a fortune, and Aunt Milly said, "Yes
they did;" and laughingly added, "They are
to be part of Mildred's. She is my namesake
and godchild, and years hence, when your girls,
perhaps, have children and homes of their own,
Mildred will be mistress here, and the young-
sters will talk about another 'Aunt Milly' and
An Unexpected Visitor. 31
My mother exclaimed, "Hush, dear Milly!
Please do not put such a thought into the girl's
head. I should never like to think of Mildred
filling your place at Denesfield."
"Not while I live, Ellen, of course. Now
she is as a daughter to me. You can hardly
think how much happiness she has brought to a
lonely woman. You must give Mildred to me.
She must be my child, without ceasing to be
yours; and if she fills the position of daughter
here, what would there be unnatural in her
stepping into her mother's place ? "
*" You are very good to her, Milly," said my
mother; "but while I shall be only too glad for
her to be all you wish, neither her father nor I
would like you to carry out your present design.
Stephen is not anxious that his children should
have great wealth. We have enough to provide
for them in the station of life they are accus-
tomed to-a very happy state, as they all feel."
Then would you have me find some stranger
to bestow my wealth upon, Ellen? "
Certainly not, Milly. If you like, I will
tell you what Stephen says you ought to do
My aunt asked the question; but I feel
32 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
certain she knew what the answer would be, for
that quick flush rose to her cheek, and her
manner was excited.
"You will not be vexed at me, dear sister, if
I tell you. Stephen says that Edmund Dene's
children are the only fitting heirs of Denesfield.
He does not, for an instant, deny your perfect
right to dispose of the property which is your
own, as much as wealth can be by any human
law. We neither of us believe you will ever
marry again, therefore the responsibility of dis-
posing of this wealth rests upon you. But after
all, dear, we are but stewards in God's sight,
and this wealth is one of the talents to be
"I am striving to use it rightly, Ellen,"
replied my aunt, gently; "and I am thankful
for advice and guidance."
"Yes, dear; and while you hold it, I shall
have no fear of its being turned to good
"Yes; but I often fear for myself. I feel
that I have years of indolence and neglect to
regret-all that long time when I neither used
the money nor gave it to those who needed it.
Still if, when I no longer want the wealth, I
may not leave it to the friends I really love, but
An Unexpected Visitor. 33
to people I have only known as enemies, my
stewardship would be a burden, indeed."
"I would not say enemies, Milly. Edmund
Dene, being the elder brother, thought it very
hard when all the riches of his uncle, as well as
the old estates, went to your husband. He had
no claim to anything; but the disappointment
must have been hard to bear. Think, dear
Milly, had you been in his place, would you have
said no sharp word-had no envious feeling ? "
"It was a hard thing to bear, no doubt of
that," returned Aunt Milly, frankly.
"And now," resumed mamma, "the young
Denes are growing up; the eldest, William, is
about twenty, I believe. Stephen has heard a
good deal about him from an old college friend,
and he says what a fine young fellow he is, how
hard he is working, denying himself every in-
dulgence that he may not be a burden to his
mother, and earning money by private teaching
even while a student himself. I have told you
all these things, Milly, because I want you to
think of them. And, in this blessed season of
peace and good-will, remember your husband's
kindred. Forget all past differences. Love and
forgive, even as God, for Christ's sake, loves and
34 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
The tears were in my dear mother's eyes as
she thus pleaded so eloquently; and as she
ended she heard a quick sob, and saw that Aunt
Milly's eyes too were wet. Then after a short
silence, my aunt said, "Ellen, you have done
right to speak boldly and frankly. I will think
over this conversation, and I will pray to be
guided aright." Then, with that little im-
petuous way of hers, she drew her hand across
her eyes, and with a smile, exclaimed, "Say
what you like, I will not go back from my reso-
lution in one thing. No person but my niece
and adopted child, Mildred Corsor, shall ever
own Aunt Milly's diamonds."
My mother was contented with the answer;
and having been allowed to speak so freely to
her sister about a subject which she was at first
half afraid to introduce, she would not attempt
to combat this last sentence. This conversation
took place in my aunt's room, at the close of
that happy Christmas Day, when the guests had
departed and the sisters were lingering over the
fire, as if unwilling to say the final good-night.
During the rest of the time that my father
and mother stayed at Denesfield, no further
mention was made of Edmund Dene's widow
An Unexpected Visitor. 35
It was a happy season to all of us. At the
end of three weeks my parents returned home;
a fortnight later the girls followed, laden with
gifts, and full of delightful memories of their
stay under my aunt's roof. They had the
promise, too, that when their holidays should
come round again, they might reckon on spend-
ing them-if not at Denesfield, in some place of
summer resort with Aunt Milly and me.
A few more weeks passed, and for the first
time since I came to live with her, my aunt had
some secret from me. She wrote letters and re-
ceived answers, without telling me a word about
her correspondent. In all else she was, if
possible, more tender and kind than ever; so I
comforted myself with the thought that she was
not displeased, and that she had a perfect right
to use her own judgment in trusting a girl
One morning, about a week before Easter, I
was sitting preparing an Italian lesson to read
with my aunt, who was a very accomplished
linguist, when a gentleman was shown into the
room. As I raised my head I could not help
thinking I had seen him before; but I could
neither remember when or where. He had
scarcely time to speak, when the servant came
36 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
back, and said, "Please to step into the library,
sir. Mrs. Dene will be glad to see you there"'
It was no uncommon thing for my aunt to
receive such visits. Many a young man, whose
path in life was made smoother through her
kind help or effort, came with a full heart to
But most of an hour passed, and still the
visitor was in the library with my aunt. My
task was done, and I had laid my books down,
and now stood looking out of the window at the
trees just beginning to break out into bud, and
thinking to myself how lovely the place would
be in the green glory of spring.
All at once came again the memory of that
visitor's face, and a new idea flashed across my
mind. I ran out of the room and into the
picture gallery, where hung a very fine full-
length portrait of Aunt Milly's husband, taken
when he was just of age. I saw the likeness at
once. It might have been that of the young
man whose face had struck me some little while
before as so familiar. I stood for a few moments,
and then exclaimed aloud, "How like he is to
the picture! He must be a Dene "
"You have guessed rightly, Mildred," said
Aunt Milly's voice. This is my dear husband's
An Unexpected Visitor. 37
nephew and namesake, William Dene. And
this girl, William, who recognized a sort of
kinsman in you, is the child of my only sister.
She is my namesake, too, and adopted daughter,
In my haste and anxiety to look at the por-
trait, I had not noticed Aunt Milly and her
companion, who were entering the gallery by a
door which led to it from the library. I was
quite confused for a few moments; but dear
Aunt Milly soon made me feel at ease again. I
shook hands with William Dene, and told him
most heartily how glad I was to see him. I
knew what pleasure it would give my dear
father and mother, for mamma had intrusted me
with the story of that conversation with my
aunt on Christmas night, and what she hoped
might be the result of it.
"You know my secret, now," said Aunt
Milly, "or at least you can guess who was my
mysterious correspondent. Here he stands,
Mildred. And now, to make amends for my
seeming want of trust, you shall write to your
father and mother and tell them that I have
taken their advice. I hope, for the future, only
peace and good-will may be known amongst us
10. jaazant (nbiung.
S task was a very pleasant one.
S I had to tell my parents that
SAunt Milly, acting on their
advice, had made many in-
Squiries respecting her late hus-
^ band's nephews; and that all
`p she had heard confirmed my
father's account, especially of
SWilliam, who, everybody said,
was a kinsman to be proud of.
So then Aunt Milly had written to him, just
in her own brave, frank way, alluding to past
differences between the elder people only so far
as was needful, and expressing her hope that
they would agree with her in forgetting them
and beginning a new life of family unity such
as befitted their near connection.
"When my dear father and mother heard this,
they were delighted, and papa exclaimed, Time
will do the rest. All will work right now, and
A Pleasant Ending. 39
there will soon be no question about the inherit-
ance of Denesfield. Aunt Milly will find a son
in William Dene."
And so, in the end, it proved. William's
mother and brothers also came to visit my
aunt. The widowed mother had no longer to
pinch and contrive for the education of her
children, for Aunt Milly did nothing by halves.
She at once made an ample provision for her
sister-in-law and the younger boys, but "Wil-
liam," she said, "I must look after myself. He
is so like what my dear husband was when I
first knew him."
I think that year was one of the happiest I
ever spent during my early life. Every day
that William Dene was with us, we saw more
and more of the truth and goodness of his
character. By degrees, Aunt Milly learned to
consult and trust him just as a mother does a
beloved son. How proud, too, she was of his
College honours Indeed, I doubt whether his
own mother, who was of a very quiet, placid
disposition, thought as much of her son's well-
won place as did Aunt Milly.
One day, during the long vacation, my aunt
said to him, William, when will your birth-
40 Annt Milly's Diamonds.
"Did I never tell you, aunt ?" said he. "I
am a Christmas child. I was born on the
twenty-fifth of December."
"And you will be of age next Christmas ?"
"Yes, aunt; and I come into my whole in-
heritance at once. A pair of long legs that can
get over as much ground as most, a pair of
strong hands, and a head which I have done my
best to furnish. These are my capital and stock
to trade with, and I hope they will bring me a
"Not to be despised, William: good health,
good education, and the will to use them in a
right way, are things to thank God for with all
"I feel that, dear aunt; and there is another
blessing I have to thank you for-an easy mind.
You have removed the anxieties I used to have
about my mother and the boys by your generous
kindness to them."
My aunt put her hand to his lips to hinder
the further expression of thanks, and replied,
"Do not speak of that, William. It reminds
me that I might have saved you all these years of
suffering and anxiety if I had only thought less
of myself and more of others. Now about your
birthday. Our C'lini .. this year, please God,
A Pleasant E,.', .,. 41
will be a double festival. We shall gather all
your people, William, and all mine, and we will
have our friends and neighbours, rich and poor,
to rejoice with us."
When Christmas Day did come, it was such a
one as I shall never forget. The old church at
Denesfield was full to overflowing; and there
was one special prayer offered for him who that
day attained to man's estate, that the blessing
of God would rest upon him-that indeed he
might be blessed and made a blessing to those
amongst whom he would, in course of time, be
called to dwell.
Those who heard that prayer guessed rightly
that my Aunt Milly was asking the united
petitions of the congregation for him who was,
after her, to be the master of Denesfield. I
believe every lip and heart echoed the prayer,
for all the people were learning to know and love
William Dene, and they rejoiced that one of
the old stock would be heir to Denesfield.
My father and mother rejoiced with all their
hearts. They never desired the inheritance for
their children; and when Aunt Milly took the
course they always hoped she might be led to
take, with regard to her I1 l. oil's relatives,
they were abundantly contented.
42 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
There was one thing which excited my sur-
prise, and that was their anxiety that my aunt
should arrange all her affairs and make William
Dene's inheritance certain. I did not know that
dear Aunt Milly was even then suffering from a
disease which left no hope of long life, and that,
when she talked to me of her heavenly treasures,
she was expecting ere long to enter upon her
I was only twenty when Aunt Milly died,
rejoicing in her sure and certain hope; her one
regret being for those who so tenderly loved and
would so sadly mourn for and miss her.
She bequeathed Denesfield to William; but
left legacies to the rest of his family-to my
sisters and myself. In addition, she gave me
the famous diamonds, as she had always declared
she would do; but she made one condition-
that, should I desire it, William Dene should
pay me the sum of ten thousand pounds instead
of the most important ornaments.
My father had experienced some losses a
little time before, of which he would not let
Aunt Milly know anything; but now I was
glad that by leaving the diamonds for the future
mistress of D..!.. ti. 1, I could far more than
replace the money. So I wrote and told William
A Pleasant Endiig. 43
Dene that the articles named by my aunt were
fit for a lady holding a different position from
that of a country clergyman's daughter, and
that I would only keep those which she ex-
pressly wished me to retain.
The money was duly paid to me; and in
having the pleasure of devoting it to my parents'
use, I was happier than I could have been in
possessing the most gorgeous jewels.
The old lady, who had been listened to with
the greatest attention by the youngsters round
her, here paused for a moment, and a thought-
ful-looking lad raised his face, and said,
"Grandmamma, I think I can finish the
She smiled gently, and replied, Go on, Will;
and if you are wrong I will correct you."
"In the first place, then, you got your Aunt
Milly's diamonds after all; and you were, and
you are, mistress of Denesfield Manor. Grand-
papa's name is William Dene, and I am called
Quite right, dear Will. A year after Aunt
Milly's death, William Dene brought me here
as his wife, and gave me back my home and
Aunt Milly's diamonds. I have had such a
44 Aunt Milly's Diamonds.
happy married life as wives have who can
honour their husbands and see in them disciples
of the Saviour. We have been spared to see our
children grow up and come in their turn bring-
ing their boys and girls to keep Christmas at
Denesfield. God grant to us and all a happy
one this year! "
"But," said a little girl, were you not very
glad and proud when you got the diamonds
"I was glad, dear; but not so glad as I
should once have been; for I had, in the mean-
time, found a more precious jewel. I wear
Aunt Milly's diamonds still on Christmas Day,
for grandpapa will have it so; but I have the
better jewel always about me-'the Pearl of
great price.' That means very much the same
thing as Aunt Milly's heavenly treasure.
And now we must go and listen, for I hear
children's voices ringing through the air, and I
catch the words of the old carol.
"Hark! the herald angels sing
Glory to the new-born King:
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."
OUR COUSIN FROM INDIA.
'l lived in a pleasant home just
S outside a large and busy city.
"Our house was surrounded by
s .. '" green fields and trees, and it
stood on a little rise which
gave us a view of the country
and the distant hills. If we
looked in one direction we saw
a few tail chimneys here and there; but we
were not near enough to be inconvenienced by
the smoke of factories, or the noise and bustle
which must accompany them.
There were four children-three of them girls
46 Our Cousin from India.
-at our house, but not all sisters, though our
names were the same-Graham.
Isabel Graham was our cousin, and when she
came to us she was eleven years old-the same
age as myself.
My sister's name was Lucy; my own, Jessie.
Lucy was two years older than me; our little
brother James was only five.
When we first received a letter from Uncle
Edward, telling us that his little daughter was
left motherless, and asking that she might come
and live with papa and mamma, I do not know
whether we were most sorry for her or ourselves.
We had heard a great deal about Uncle Edward's
riches, for he had made a large fortune in India,
and was still adding to his wealth; but we had
also been told that Isabel was a spoiled child.
Report said she spent as much pocket-money as
she liked; that no one dared to contradict her;
and that she was alike the idol and the plague
of her father's life.
,I can just think I see mamma's sweet smile
as she replied to our forebodings, after having
listened patiently to all we had to say, "If all
these things were true we would welcome Isabel
just the same. I do not think they are; but
supposing she were what has been represented,
Balancing Day. 47
is that a reason why we should not help her to
conquer these evil habits?"
So a letter was written to Uncle Edward, and
in due time Isabel came amongst us. As I
have mentioned, our home was a very pleasant
one, and we were surrounded with everything
really necessary for our comfort. Papa used to
say, God had given to him and his family what
the wise Agur asked for, "neither poverty nor
riches," and that it was the happiest state.
When Isabel came to us she was disappointed
both in our home and ourselves, though she
arrived in summer, when everything was at its
best. We soon found out that there was much
truth in the tales we had heard about our cousin.
She was very proud of being a rich man's
daughter, and talked a great deal about the
splendours to which she had been accustomed,
the number of servants her papa had, and the
money she was allowed to spend just as she
"And I am to have as much money to spend
now as I had before," she said; and she showed
us a purse, her father's parting gift, which
seemed to have a great deal of gold in it.
Now, we children were never without money.
From the time we knew the difference between
48 Our Cousin from India.
a penny and a sixpence we had a little weekly
allowance from mamma, who taught us to look
upon it as ours, but not to be selfishly used.
When there were collections at church she never
gave us money at the time to put into the box,
but she accustomed us to devote a part of what
we had to the service of God. If we had but a
penny left to bestow, she bade us remember
how Jesus looked on the two mites of the poor
widow, because she gave not out of her abund-
ance but of her poverty; that "God loveth the
cheerful giver," not he who doeth alms to be
seen of men.
Lucy understood mamma better than I did;
and when I talked of Isabel's boastful words
and haughty temper, she said, "I daresay
mamma thinks that she will fall gradually into
different ways. Isabel is affectionate; and no
one could live with mamma long without being
influenced for good."
I must tell you that one of our great delights
was to go out visiting poor people with mamma.
She used to tell us that, though by God's good-
ness we had every comfort, we must not forget
those who were less favoured. We should be-
come selfish, and neither value our own blessings
nor feel real sympathy with the poor and suffer-
Balancing Day. 49
ing, unless we went amongst them. Also, that
every good lesson could be best learned when
we were young. So many a time we went off
together, laden with parcels and satchels, and
returned lightened of our loads, hardly knowing
whether we were most happy or tired after our
It was drawing very near the close of the
year, and Isabel had for the first time sat by an
English fireside a.t Christmas, and far away
from her father in his Indian home.
He had not forgotten either his child or our-
selves, for she received many beautiful tokens of
his affection; and each member of our family
had costly gifts-far too costly, papa said, for
people living in such a quiet fashion as ourselves,
though he thought much of them as tokens of
remembrance from his absent brother.
Isabel felt it a great trial to be separated from
her father, and we were all very anxious to
make her as happy as possible. But the arrival
of her presents from India affected her dif-
ferently from what we expected. Instead of
boasting or talking about their cost, we saw that
Isabel's eyes filled with tears, and she said to
papa, "Uncle James, I would rather have the
50 Our Cousin from India.
least thing from papa's own hand than all the
wealth in the world without him."
"I believe you would, Isabel," said papa.
"But you must be patient for a time; and,
when your father can join you in England, you
must give him a present which will be worth
more than all the wealth of India to him."
"How can I, uncle ?" asked Isabel.
"You can give him a very loving, obedient,
dutiful daughter, Isabel; and I know that
fathers value such gifts more than anything in
"I am afraid papa has not had a very good
daughter in me, though I do love him dearly,
Uncle James," said Isabel, with a little sigh.
"I have been away from him six months now;
and since I have seen Lucy and Jessie with
aunt and you, I have often thought how much
more trouble they take to please you than ever
I did to please papa. I'm afraid I thought that
it was his place to please me; and he was
always giving me new things, which did make
me happy for a little while, till I had more.
When I saw you give little presents to my
cousins, and noticed how delighted they were, I
thought to myself, If I had only my own dear
papa, I should care for nothing else.' And now
Balancing Day. 51
all these things are come I seem not to care;
only they tell me that he loves and thinks of me
as much as ever."
"I am sure he does, my dear. And there is
another Father, who from day to day, and year
to year, watches over His children. He never
forgets their wants or their troubles. He is
always ready to listen, and even more ready to
give. You, dear Isabel, are absent from your
earthly parent, but not from this Father. Do
you think of Him ? The new year is very near
at hand; and when we welcome it, with its
budding blessings and prospects and opportu-
nities, we feel that, if we are spared through it,
we shall have to thank our Father' for all the
good it brings. Now, at the close of the old
year, we can only look back at past mercies, I
hope with thankful hearts, and a prayer that we
may use all the talents intrusted to us for the
glory of God."
The day after Christmas mamma said, "I
suppose you will be late every evening now
until the New Year, shall you not, papa ?"
"Yes, dear. We are preparing for balancing,
He kissed us all, and went off directly; and
52 Our Cousin from India.
as soon as he was gone, Lucy said, "We must
all prepare for 'balancing day.' "
Mamma smiled, and Isabel looked very
curious to know what was meant, and inquired,
"What do you mean by balancing ? "
"Your uncle is a merchant, my dear, as you
are aware; and men in business never allow the
year to close without reviewing it. They look
carefully over their books, reckon their profits
and losses, and find out how their accounts
stand. If a man has done well in business his
face will beam with pleasure; if he has lost
money he becomes anxious, and, most likely,
works harder than ever to make up for it. It is
quite right for him to do this. God's Word
bids us be 'diligent in business, fervent in
spirit;' but, at the same time, 'serving the
Lord.' That means, we should take our religion
with us into every work and business of life."
"But what do Jessie and Lucy mean by
Mamma looked thoughtful for a moment,
then said, "I will try to make you understand
all about it, Isabel; and I think I can best do it
by telling you how I was brought to have what
the girls call a 'balancing day.'
"I was a very young wife, only three weeks
Balancing Day. 53
married, and had just settled in my new home,
when a dear Christian, my mother's old friend,
called to see me. It was at the close of the
year, and your uncle was busy at his books, just
as he is now. We talked about its being
balancing time, and my friend said, 'Yes, it is
the Christian's balancing time, too.' I looked a
little surprised, and she continued, 'Is it not
well for us, when the new year is beginning, to
look into the doings of the past, and see if we
are becoming richer towards God ? It is fitting
that we should ask whether we have given Him
more of our thoughts, our love, our service, and
our means. Even amongst our money accounts
there should be one account dedicated to God.
We did not begin to keep it when first mar-
ried. But one year my husband and I found
that we had spent a great deal more than usual,
and imagined we must have given more. We
taxed our memories to discover all that we had
given. We could tell from our books what had
been spent on ourselves, and we were ashamed
to find that self had absorbed nearly all. From
that time to this we have put aside a portion of
our income, which we call the Lord's account."
No money pays such interest in happiness as
what is laid out in His service.'
54 Our Cousin from India.
"Well, dear Isabel, my old friend's words
made me think seriously about the matter.
The new year was opening very brightly for me;
and, though I could not but feel that the old
year might have had a much more satisfactory
record of my life, I was anxious to make a
better use of all the blessings I enjoyed. When
your uncle James came home he was in high
spirits about his balancing. God had prospered
him, and he was thankful. Then I told him of
my old- friend's visit and our conversation, and
he at once said, Let us begin as she did. We
will follow her example. We will do what we
can, and, should more be given us, our account
shall be increased in proportion.' I could never
tell you, Isabel, how much happiness we have
enjoyed in spending the money dedicated to
God, and in being His messengers to the poor
"Aunt," said Isabel, "I have never in all
my life thought that it mattered how I spent
my money, or that I ought to use any of it to
help other people. The year is nearly at an
end, and what a shocking account I have to
give But I will begin at once to have one of
a different kind."
S were sitting at break-
S fast on New Year's Day
If morning when a note
was given to mamma.
-- It was a soiled-look-
ing epistle, with a queer,
crooked direction; but
.L-- such letters were not
uncommon at our house, as all mamma's poor
friends were encouraged to write and tell their
troubles, or seek advice in a case of difficulty.
I will give the contents of this one:
"Honoured Madam,-I am sorry to tell you
ihy wife is very ill. She has been in bed for a
fortnight, and it goes rather hard with us,
because, being tired with being disturbed at
nights, I am hardly fit for work in the daytime.
If you could come and see her we should both
be thankful. Wishing you and master and the
children many happy new years,
"Your humble servant, W. GARDENER."
56 Our Cousin from India.
"P.S. We have moved to Cowslip Street, No.
18, right-hand side, since you saw us last. We
have the front room upstairs."
"Cowslip Street; where is that?" asked
"You may be sure it is a street miles away
from the sight or smell of cowslips," said papa.
"Most likely named by a person who remem-
bers a childhood spent in the country where
flowers were common."
"Just as Grove' in the City means some
place where not a vestige of a tree is to be
seen," remarked Lucy.
"But I have a notion where Cowslip Street
is, and I will direct you." Then papa, with
one of his funny faces, told mamma she was to
go into Queen Street, take the third turning to
the right, pass down Market Place, through
Weaver's Square, into Milton Street: then, by
the first turning to the left, into Cannon Street,
when she had better inquire at the corner shop,
as he was getting confused, and did not like to
be responsible beyond that point.
Mamma laughed, but put all this down in a
business-like fashion, saying, "I suppose you
have directed me rightly so far?"
Cowslip Street. 57
"Most certainly. At Cannon Street you are
close to it."
"Then it only sounds a long way off. Who
is going with me ? "
Isabel looked wistfully at mamma, who at
once said, "My dear, I shall be glad of you for
my companion, and Jessie, too, as it is her turn.
Lucy and Jem have an errand of their own.
Put on your old frock, dear, or you will be
stroked and patted by dirty little hands belong-
ing to admiring little children, as you pass
along, after we get out of the omnibus."
It was a bright clear morning, and even the
new year's sun, wintry though it must needs be,
made our home look very cheery. But when,
after our ride to the City, we turned into the
narrow, crowded streets to which we were bound,
there seemed, especially to Isabel's eyes, only
dirt and desolation. But we told her that in
these poor dwellings there were many bright
firesides; that we knew little children as tenderly
loved as herself under those humble roofs, and
felt certain that many a New Year's gift had
gladdened their young hearts as costly to their
parents, because of their scanty means, as any
mark of love we received from ours.
We found No. 18, Cowslip Street at last, and,
58 Our Cousin from India.
after rapping at the door without receiving any
answer, a neighbour advised us "never to mind,
but just go up, as we were safe to find Mrs.
Isabel had never before seen a place which
was parlour, bed-room, pantry, coal-cellar-in
fact, everything in one-and she was astonished
at the many uses to which it was put.
"This is my granddaughter Mary," said
Mrs. Gardener, pointing to a child. "My little
' right hand,' I call her. She's my son George's
child; but she has no father, and her mother
has a houseful of them, poor things It's well
for me she can be spared, for I don't know
what I should do without her."
The child's sober little face lighted up with
pleasure at her grandmother's words of praise;
and, after speaking to the visitors, she went
quietly round the room, mended the fire, looked
after the bit.of cookery, and was about to give
some barley-water to the invalid, when mamma
"I think the doctor ordered good beef-tea for
your grandmother," said she.
"Yes," replied Mrs. Gardener; "but it's
like making fun of poor folks to order such
Cowslip Street. 59
"I believe the doctors would often give in-
stead of ordering if they could; but not being
able, I have no doubt they think some neigh-
bour will do the rest. Remembering the value
of beef-tea in your complaint, I brought some-
thing to make it. Give me a cup, Mary."
A quicker hand interposed-that of my cousin
Isabel-who took one from the little pile of
crockery on the drawers. Then after listening
with a look of much interest to a conversation
between mamma and Mrs. Gardener, she drew
little Mary aside, and talked in a low voice to
the child. I did not guess what was the subject
which interested them, but I saw Mary's face
brighten, as she replied, with a droll little con-
fidential nod to some request of Isabel's; and
there was a look of importance about the child
that amused mamma very much, as we bade
her good-bye, and wished her "a happy New
We did not pay any more visits, because we
expected papa home early, as all the large places
of business closed at noon on New Year's Day
in our city. This little holiday he always gave
to us children. We had him and mamma to
ourselves, and most heartily we enjoyed their
60 Our Cousin from India.
As you may guess, we had our sober talk
about the past year--our balancing, as we
called it-and then we used to try and think
especially of all the many things which our
Heavenly Father's love had given us to cheer
the opening one, and seek His blessing to enable
us to turn them to good account.
The evening was always the merriest possible,
and a time to be remembered until the first of
January came round again. Isabel entered into
everything as heartily as the rest, and looked
happier than we had ever seen her. We were
engaged in a merry game during the early
evening, when a ring came at the door, and
mamma was told that a man, called William
Gardener, wished to see her. Isabel's face
flushed on hearing the name, but she went on
with the game whilst mamma went to speak to
her visitor. We soon heard the outer door
close again, and then mamma returned to us.
She whispered something to Isabel; we knew
what it was afterwards, though not at the time.
It seems our cousin had given little Mary a
sovereign as a New Year's gift, and that the
child, nearly wild with delight at possessing
what would buy so many comforts for grand-
mother, had at once gone out and bought a
Cowslip Street. 61
little parcel of much-needed articles, at a cost
of five shillings, and presented them, with the
rest of the money, to Mrs. Gardener. The gift
would have been most welcome, but the good
woman was troubled at receiving so large a sum
from a child; and when her husband came home
he agreed with her that he ought to tell our
mamma, as it was evidently given without her
Mamma assured William Gardener that the
money was Isabel's own, and that she was very
glad a portion of it should go towards making
his little home happier and more comfortable to
begin the year; so he went back to Cowslip
Street, leaving many thanks behind for the
little miss who had been so generous to his
"So, Isabel," said mamma, "you have the
first item to put down to your new account.
Does not the thought of giving happiness to
others increase your own ?"
"Yes, aunt," replied my cousin. "I thought
this morning, when we wished the Gardeners
a happy New Year, that if we had the power
to make it a little happier, and never used it,
we were, as the poor woman said, 'making fun
of her,' as the doctor seemed to do by ordering
62 Our Cousin from India.
what she could not get. To see that little
Mary's eyes sparkle was so nice. Papa has
accustomed me to have so much money and so
many indulgences, that I never knew the value
of a sovereign before."
"And I think little Mary never did, either,"
replied mamma, with a smile, "though her igno-
rance arose from the opposite reason to yours."
But, aunt, I could not help feeling as if I
could envy little Mary when her grandmother
told me about her doing so much; but I was
more sorry than envious, because it is hard for
a child to have such care at her age."
"Indeed it is, Isabel. Little Mary is like a
small woman, not a child."
I have a plan in my head, aunt; but I am
very ignorant, and I want you to help me. I
should like this year to know that some child all
through the year is made more comfortable by a
part of my pocket-money. What would it cost
to get some person to do the work for old Mrs.
Gardener, and put Mary to school ? "
Mamma made a calculation, and found that
for quite a small sum a person in the neighbour-
hood would do the greater part of the work,
leaving for little Mary only such lighter duties
as the child delighted to perform for her old
Cowslip Street. 63
grandmother's comfort; that Mary's schooling
would be abundantly paid for at a school close
at hand for sixpence per week; and that, even
were she to clothe her in addition, the whole
might be managed for much less than Isabel
often wasted in one month out of the twelve.
My cousin's face shone with pleasure, while
her eyes filled with tears. "Aunt," said she,
"I am so glad you are showing me a way to
be happy, and to make others the same. But
how much happiness and how many opportu-
nities I have lost which I can never regain !"
"That is true, dear Isabel. We cannot
bring back the past; but we can ask that these
old sins may all be forgiven, and, like St. Paul,
'forgetting those things which are behind,' let
us' press towards the mark for the prize of the
high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' If you
forget the past in this way, by forsaking all
that you are beginning to feel worthless and
unsatisfying, and seek after a better and more
enduring joy, you will not seek in vain."
"I hope I may have a happier 'balancing
day' next year, aunt," replied Isabel, smiling
through glistening tears.
It is a delightful thing, after many years, to
look upon that day as the turning point in
64 Our Cousin from India.
Isabel's life. She carried out the plan she had
formed for little Mary Gardener's benefit; and,
having once tasted the happiness resulting from
doing good, she became eager to enjoy it more
fully. The new thoughts and pursuits in which
she interested herself made the time pass more
quickly, and the letters to her papa were no
longer filled with repinings or fault-finding.
Uncle Edward was not slow to notice the
change, and to him every month spent at a dis-
tance from his dear and only child seemed a
new trial. It had to be borne, however, and
Isabel was quite fifteen before Uncle Edward
could leave India to reside permanently in
England. It was well for Isabel that she had
these four years of training before she was
called upon to live with her father in the
luxurious home that his large means enabled
him to provide. He was prepared, from the
tone of her letters, for the great change in his
child, but found it far beyond his expectations.
Often, through happy years since then, he has
told mamma that in the training and teaching
of Isabel she had given him one of the best of
LONDON 1 KNIGHT, PRINTER, MIDDLE STREET, B.C,