The Baldwin Lbnary
THE OLIVE BRANCH
JLub Othet .Stories.
A. L. O. E.,
AUTHOR OF EXILES IN BABYLON," ( TRIUMPH OVER MIDIAN,"
THE YOUNG PILGRIM," ETC.
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW.
EDINBURGH; AND NEW YORK.
I. THE OLIVE-BRANCH, ... ... ... ... 7
II. TIE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN, ... ... .. ... 19
III. NEVER MIND SCOFFS, ... .. ... ... 23
IV. A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCHEN, ... ... ... 26
V. THE TWO PATIENTS, ... ... .. ... 33
VI. IT'S VERY HARD, ... ... ... 37
VII. THE PIC-NIC, ... ... .. ... 39
VIII. CATCHING AT A SHADOW, ... .. .. 45
IX. GO AND DO LIKEWISE, ... ... ... 56
X. THE BEST FRIEND, ... .. ... ... ... 65
XI THE THICKET OF FURZE, ... ... .. ... 76
XII THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST, ... ... ... 85
XIII. SENDING HORSES TO TRAVELLERS, ... ... 92
XIV. THORNS AND FLOWERS, ... .. ... ... 97
XV. HEIR TO SOMETHING BETTER, ..... .. ... 106
XVI. THE TWO PETS, ... ... .. ... ... 112
XVII. THE TWO STANDARD MEASURES. ... ... ... 11
"cc F you are going for the fodder for
our cow, Carlo, what say you to
taking our little Rosina with you?
It is long since she has been be-
yond our village, and a ride upon
our trusty old Duchessa will do her good."
It was Bice, the wife of an Italian
peasant, who spoke these words to her
husband, as she stood at her cottage door,
with her bright little girl at her side.
"What say you, Rosina?" asked the
smiling father; "have you a mind for a
The little girl clapped her hands for joy.
"Oh, if we are going to the farmer's for the
8 THE OLIVE-BRANCH.
fodder," she cried, "then we will pass by
Aunt Barbara's cottage. May I go in and
see her, father, and carry her one of mother's
little goat-milk cheeses that she always likes
so much ?"
Rosina saw with surprise a shade of sad-
ness gathering upon her father's sunburnt
face; and when she turned to look at her
mother, Bice was brushing a tear from her
"You cannot go to your aunt, Rosina,"
said Carlo; and his voice sounded almost
stern to his child.
Is poor aunt ill ? asked the little girl;
for she saw that her mother was greatly dis-
"Ask no questions, my child," said Carlo.
Then, turning to his wife, he went on: She
cannot understand, poor lamb, why a woman
should quarrel with an only sister, who
never meant to give her cause of offence."
Rosina heard her father's words with in-
creasing wonder. She knew that her Aunt
Barbara had a peevish and angry temper;
but she could not think how she, or any one
else, could possibly quarrel with that gentle
THE OLIVE-BRANCH. 9
mother who had always taught Rosina to
love and forgive. The child did not, how-
ever, venture to ask any more questions,
though her heart was sad at the idea that
any one could by unkindness bring a tear to
her mother's eye.
Perhaps, after all, Carlo," said Bice,
looking up earnestly into the face of her hus-
band, "it might be as well for you to let our
little one run in and see her aunt, as you are
passing her very door. Barbara has always
been kind to Rosina; it might "--Bice's voice
dropped to a whisper as she added, "it
might do good-it could scarcely do harm."
It would look like an attempt to make
up with her," said Carlo, rather proudly;
"and after her insolent conduct to you, I
"would not choose to take the first step."
I would take not the first step only, but
go the whole way, if I could but win back
my sister to love me," said Bice, clasping
her hands. "0 Carlo, 'Blessed are the
peace-makers, for they shall be called the
children of God "
"I never knew any one more ready to
forget and forgive than you are, Bice," said
10 THE OLIVE-BRANCH.
her husband; "it is all the greater shame
to Barbara that she quarrels with such a
sister. But she is a woman who would
snap at any one who chanced to stand in her
light. However, as you wish it, our little
Rosina shall run in and wish her aunt good-
day; a child should never be mixed up with
the disputes of older people."
"And may I carry aunt one of your nice
cheeses?" whispered Rosina, standing on
tip-toe, and drawing down her mother to-
wards her, that she might breathe the words
in her ear.
"Alas! Rosina, my darling, she would
now accept nothing from me !"
"Not even a kiss?" whispered Rosina.
The mother's heart was too full for reply;
for, notwithstanding Barbara's unkindness,
she was dear to her only sister. Bice could
only lift her darling up in her arms, and half
cover her rosy face with kisses.
"Half of these are for your own little
girl, half are for auntie," said simple Rosina;
and she resolved to be a trusty messenger,
and deliver faithfully what she considered to
be tokens of love and forgiveness.
THE OLIVE-BRANCH. 11
Carlo started on his way to the farm, lead-
ing the patient and trusty Duchessa, while
Fidele, the dog, ran by his side. The day
was warm and bright; sunshine lay on the
valley and gilded the distant hills; but
Rosina sat on her ass more quiet and silent
than usual-she had scarcely a word even
for her old friend Fidele. Carlo might have
missed her merry prattle had not his own
thoughts been painfully occupied with the
family quarrel. He little guessed what was
passing through the mind of the child
scarcely four years of age.
Barbara, it is true, had hitherto been
always kind to Rosina; the child had seen
her angry with others, but had never had a
harsh word herself. Yet Barbara's temper
was such that Rosina's love for her had al-
ways been mixed with some fear. What
the child had just heard and seen had in-
creased that feeling of fear to a painful
degree. Rosina quite dreaded having to go
alone into the presence of her aunt, the
stern black-eyed woman, whose unkindness
had made even her mother cry. Rosina
would far rather have quietly passed the
12 THE OLIVE-BRANCH.
door on her ass; and she knew that a word
to her father would be enough to make
him spare her what she now felt to be a
very great trial of courage. But then her
mother's tears and her mother's kisses!
Rosina could not forget these, and she ought
to deliver them. Besides, her mother had said
such beautiful words from Scripture; oh, if
Aunt Barbara could but have heard them,
surely she would become a peace-maker too,
and never be angry or cross any more !
So, while the ass went on at her slow,
steady pace, little Rosina was repeating to
herself over and over again, "Blessed are
the peace-makers." Her young heart beat
faster as Duchessa stopped, as she often had
done before, at the vine-covered porch of
Barbara's door, over which hung clusters of
ripe dark grapes. Rosina felt almost in-
clined to cling to her father's arm, and beg
him to drive on Duchessa, for she dared not
go in by herself; but even one as young as
Rosina may be guided by conscience, and
conscience was whispering to the child that
her mother wished her to go, that it was
right to go, and that the great God of peace
THE OLIVE-BRANCH. 13
could put kind thoughts into the heart of
Barbara was sitting alone in a darkened
room: it was dark because she had made it
so; she had so choked up her window with
thick-growing plants that the light which
shone so brightly outside could hardly creep
in through the leaves. And so poor Barbara
was shutting out the sunshine of love from
her home and her heart, and making them
both dull and cheerless when they might
have been so bright. Do you think that
the proud, quarrelsome woman was happy ?
Ah, no, dear reader; for there never is
true happiness with sin. It has been truly
said that a little sin disturbs our peace more
than a great deal of sorrow. Barbara was
in her secret soul vexed at having quarrelled
with her sister; she was vexed, but she
would not own it, for her heart was full of
pride. Barbara had resolved never to con-
fess herself wrong, and rather to live all her
life unloving and unloved than to bend her
haughty spirit to make friends with her
There sat unhappy Barbara, with no com-
14 THE OLIVE-BRANCH.
panion but bitter thoughts. She felt terri-
bly alone in the world; but it was her own
pride and temper that had made a desert
around her. She could not help thinking
of the happy days of childhood, when she
and her sister had been merry playmates to-
gether. Barbara's eyes chanced to rest on
a little olive-plant in her window; and the
sight of that plant had brought back to her
memory days of old. She recollected how
Bice, then a rosy-cheeked child, had once
asked her what shrub or tree she would
choose for her own especial favourite.
I would choose the laurel," had been
Barbara's proud reply; "for that is the
plant of which wreaths are made for those
who conquer in war."
I would choose the olive," little Bice
had said; "for it was the leaf of the olive
that was brought by the dove to Noah; and
it always seems as if the plant, with its
juicy fruit and silvery hue, made one think
of gentle peace."
So from that day the olive had always
been connected in the mind of Barbara with
the thought of her gentle sister.
THE OLIVE-BRANCH. 15
"I'll throw that plant away; I'll pull it
up," muttered Barbara; "I don't care to
keep anything now to remind me of her."
The proud woman had hardly uttered the
words when a soft-a very soft-knock was
heard at the door. At Barbara's rough
"Come in," the door slowly opened, and a
little child appeared, so like to what Bice
had been at her age, that Barbara could
almost fancy that she was looking again at
her earliest playmate. Rosina crept in
timidly at first, for she thought that her
aunt looked terribly stern.
"Why do you come here? asked Bar-
bara, with a little softening, however, in her
"I have something to give you from
mother," said the child.
I will take nothing from her," replied
Barbara; I'll return it, whatever it be."
Will you ?" cried Rosina, suddenly run-
ning up to her aunt, and opening wide her
little arms. The next moment the arms
were clasped tightly round Barbara's neck,
and the soft little lips were printing kisses
on her cheek.
16 THE OLIVE-BRANCH.
Barbara was a proud, ill-tempered woman,
but she still had a heart, and a heart that
might be conquered by love. She would
have spurned a gift, but she could not refuse
a kiss. Barbara could not help pressing
her sister's child to her bosom, and a strange
choking sensation appeared to rise in her
Those are mother's kisses-dear mother's
kisses-and you promised to return what-
ever she sent," cried Rosina. "Give me
the kisses back for my mother !"
And if Barbara did give the kisses, and
if her proud eyes were moist as she did so,
who can wonder ? She would have mocked
at words of reproach; she would have re-
torted insult or scorn; but the kiss, the
fond kiss, sent through the little child, sub-
dued both her anger and pride.
Barbara rose from her seat, and slowly
walked to the window; perhaps it was
partly to hide her eyes that she did so.
She broke off a large branch from the olive,
and suddenly turning round, held it out to
her little niece.
"Take this to your mother from me,
THE OLIVE-BRANCH. 17
Rosina," she said, "and tell her to remem-
ber our early choice. The laurel, I have
found, bears but a poisonous berry; the
fruit of the olive is good-I will cultivate it
from this day."
If Rosina did not fully understand the
message, she understood the smile which
followed it, which looked so pleasant on a
face so lately furrowed with gloomy frowns.
And when Rosina, bearing the olive-branch
in her little hand, ran out to her father,
and told him all that had passed, his look of
amusement and pleasure more than rewarded
the child for the effort she had made.
"Brava, my brave little messenger !" ex-
claimed Carlo, giving Rosina a hearty kiss
as he lifted her up to Duchessa's back.
"Brava, little peace-maker So you made
her give back the kisses again! That bit of
olive will bring as much joy to your mother's
heart as if it were made of silver, with
blossoms of pearl and leaves of gold."
Very joyful was the return of Rosina to
her home. The fodder which Carlo pro-
cured from the farm, and heaped high on
the patient Duchessa, looked like a little
18 THE OLIVE-BRANCH.
throne for the child, who, as she saw her
mother standing at her door to welcome her,
merrily waved her branch of olive, the token
of joy and success.
Carlo planted the olive-twig in his garden,
where it took root, and in time grew up to
be a goodly tree with blossoms and fruit.
Barbara, who was often a guest at her
sister's cottage, watched the growth of the
olive with peculiar interest; and Rosina
always on her aunt's birth-day bore to her
a little spray from the tree. And when
Rosina herself had grown up to be a woman,
and married, and had little children of her
own, their favourite spot for play was under
the shadow of what was called "the peace-
Dear children, plant in the gardens of
your own little hearts the olive-branch of
THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN.
N ass finding the skin of a lion, put
it on, and in the disguise of the
king of beasts soon sent the more
timid animals scampering in terror
before her. The fox alone showed
"What!" brayed the ass, "are you not
frightened ? Do you not dread the lion's
terrible jaws ?"
"Ah, my good friend," said the fox,
"creatures at a distance may be alarmed at
sight of the tawny hide of the lion; but I
have come near enough to hear the bray
and spy the long ears of the ass "
Those who try to inspire respect by false
20 THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN.
pretences are sure to betray themselves in
"You say that your father keeps a butler
and footman, why that's nothing! ex-
claimed Master T Tom Talkaway in a pom-
pous tone to one of the group of school-
fellows amongst whom he had come for the
THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN. 21
first time. My father keeps six men and
two boys," added the young boaster, look-
ing round him with an air of triumph.
"I say!" exclaimed Jack, one of the
boys whose mother could only afford to have
one general servant.
"Oh, you should see how we go on in
London I" cried Tom; "you've not a notion
of real high life in a poor little village like
this. Why," he continued in his swaggering
way, sticking his thumbs into the pockets
of his waistcoat, "I've seen five, six, seven
carriages waiting before father's door, and
the most of them had coronets on them."
I say! repeated poor Jack; while the
other boys exchanged looks of surprise,
scarcely knowing whether to believe their
companion or not.
Mr. Gilbert, the usher, who had been
sitting by the window reading, raised his
eyes from his book.
"Tom Talkaway," he quietly said, "I
happen to know about your father: he is a
respectable haberdasher in London, and, for
aught that I know, may keep six men in his
shop and two boys to carry his parcels; nor
U2 THE ASS IN THE LION'S SKIN.
should I be surprised if some of his cus-
tomers came in carriages even with coronets
Tom was thunderstruck at these words;
his thumbs were pulled out of his pockets,
he flushed up to the roots of his hair. There
was a general roar of laughter from his
school-fellows, and cries of "Look at the
great son and heir of the haberdasher!"
which increased the boy's confusion.
"Hush!" cried the usher, raising his
hand to command silence. There is nothing
to be ashamed of in honest trade, but a great
deal to be ashamed of in dishonest pretence,
and," he added, looking sternly at Tom, it
is only the ass that puts on the skin of the
lion, and he is sure soon to be found out,
and to meet the scorn which he merits."
NEVER MIND SCOFFS.
"_'LL splash that duck all over! I'll
Make it as wet as a sponge in the
water! I'll soon take out all the
shine from its green and glittering
So cried little Guy, as with both hands
he flung water at the beautiful bird. But
calmly the duck swam on; its rich plumage
was dry, not a drop would rest upon it, and
bright as ever in the sunlight shone its green
and glittering neck.
"I shall pelt it with water from my
squirt!" cried Guy; "I shall certainly wet
it at last, and make its feathers like those
24 NEVER MIND SCOFFS.
of the dead pigeon which I found yesterday
in the brook !"
Yet calmly the duck swam on its rich
plumage was dry, not a drop would rest
upon it, and bright as ever in the sunlight
shone its green and glittering neck.
Why was the duck never wet, though the
THE BOY AND THE DUCK.
boy in his malmly the duck so much wam on; its richter upon
plumage was dry, not a drop would rest
upon it, and bright as ever in the sunlight
shone its green and glittering neck.
Why was the duck never wet, though the
boy in his malice threw so much water upon
it ? Because Nature has given it oil on its
feathers, that throws off the moisture at
once. Even when the bird dives in the
stream, it rises unwetted and unstained.
NEVER MIND SCOFFS. 25
When we are pelted with scoffs and words
of unkindness, let the oil of patience keep
our temper unruffled, and then they have no
more real power to harm us than water to
injure a duck. There are those who laugh
and mock at others for refusing to join them
in evil: they pelt them with bitter jests,
and try to throw shame upon them. Are
not such acting the part of Guy ? Let all
who are laughed at for doing right go
steadily on their way; shame cannot rest
upon them, nor dim the brightness of a
character that will shine but the more
clearly for such vain attempts to blot it.
A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCHEN.
HAT can a little boy of seven
years of age do?" I would ask
of my young readers. Perhaps
they will answer, "He can read,
perhaps write in a very big round
hand; he can bowl a hoop, toss a ball, spin
a top, and fly a kite."
"But can such a child be of any real use
in the world ? "
Let me answer this question by giving a
truthful account of a visit which I paid a
few days ago to a family in one of the poorer
streets of London.
My ring at the door of a lodging-house
for the poor was answered by little Ben, a
A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCHEN. 27
boy of about seven years of age. The sound
of a baby's cry was heard from the back-
kitchen, from which he had just come, and
which was the dwelling-place of the family.
No wonder was it that the poor baby cried,
for I found, on descending the pitch-dark
staircase, that Ben was the sole nurse for
the time of the sickly infant. That scene
in the dark dull kitchen was a strange pic-
ture of life amongst the poor. There was
Ben, after he had followed me down-stairs,
hushing the baby in his little arms, and
soon succeeding in quieting it, for he was
evidently an experienced and skilful nurse.
There were two other children under his
care; Polly, about four years old, and
Annie, not two. One might almost have
said that Ben 1had three babies to look after,
but I soon found that Polly was already to
be reckoned as his little assistant. Annie
began to cry; Polly went up to her sister,
put her hands on either side of her face, and
tried, as well as she could, to soothe her.
Annie, however, cried still. Ben said a
word or two to Polly, and the little nurse-
maid, four years of age, hastened to get a
28 A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCHEN.
cup, into which she poured water from a
jar which stood on the ground, and she then
brought the drink to her thirsty little sister.
The boy had guessed the cause of the cry-
ing, and Polly having thus removed it, we
had again quietness in the back-kitchen.
Ben, a very intelligent little fellow,
entered freely into conversation with me,
while he nursed the baby in his arms. That
boy had been in sole charge of the three
children for two hours, while his poor half-
blind mother was out, procuring necessaries
for the family.
"Are you happy?" I inquired. The
question seemed a strange one to be asked
in so gloomy an abode.
"Yes, I'm happy," replied the boy, with
an honest smile on his face.
What a lesson for many a pampered,
peevish child, grumbling and discontented
in a comfortable home !
"Does Polly ever go out?" I inquired,
for the low dark room looked something
like a prison.
"Yes; I sometimes take her out."
"And does Annie go out ? "
A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCIIEN.
"Qb- -. i----_ __ _
1 M -_ _
BEN NURSING THE BABY.
Yes, when Polly goes, she goes; I take
them in the chay."
30 A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCHEN.
This chayy" was twice mentioned by
Ben, which rather surprised me, for I cer-
tainly did not suspect that the family kept
a carriage. My attention was, however,
directed at last to a substantial-looking
perambulator, which in the dim light I had
not noticed before.
"Father made that," said Ben.
This was almost too much for me to be-
lieve. I questioned the boy closely, but he
was sure of the fact. I found afterwards,
from the mother's account, that the father
had bought the wheels and other iron parts,
the wreck of a former perambulator, for
ninepence, as they were to be sold as old
iron. He had actually made all the rest of
the carriage for his little ones, stuffing the
cushion with hay. It was a striking proof
of the father's ingenuity, that labour of
love! B-- must be a very industrious
man. He goes to the docks in hope of
getting a day's job there, and then, after his
return, "cleans his potatoes," as little Ben
told me; for when the labours of the day
are over, B-- is glad to go out at night
to sell baked potatoes, that he may thus
A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCHEN. 31
help by double work to support his almost
blind wife, and four little children.
What do you get for breakfast, Ben ?"
"Bread and butter-no," said the child,
correcting himself; "father gets bread and
butter, I get bread and drippings. But I
like the drippings best," he added, with a
nice feeling which pleased me.
The poor mother soon came in, half ex-
hausted from wandering about for two
hours, for in her blindness she could hardly
find her way. She was, however, calm and
contented. When I asked her what mes-
sage she had for a lady who had sent her a
present by me, Tell her that I am in better
circumstances," was the pale, thin woman's
reply. As her husband had succeeded in
getting four and a half days' work that
week, Mrs. B-- seemed to feel that she
had nothing to complain of. Her greatest
trouble was the illness of her babe, as she
feared that the little one might die. Very
thin and wasted the poor infant looked, but
the other three children appeared plump
and well-fed. Mrs. B- must be an ex-
32 A PEEP INTO A BACK-KITCIIEN.
cellent manager, notwithstanding her blind-
ness, and it is clear that her husband's earn-
ings do not go to the ale-house. I have
reason to hope that she is a God-fearing
woman, and that she and her husband pray
as well as labour. Ben is to attend the
Sunday school. He would go to the week-
day school also, which he used to enjoy
attending, but so useful a child cannot be
spared from his home.
I left that dark back-kitchen with a feel-
ing rather of respect than of pity. Little
Ben, brought up in the midst of poverty,
with three young children to care for, and
an almost blind mother to help, may lead a
life of happiness, as he certainly does of
usefulness, with hope before him, and love
around, and the blessing of God upon him !
THE TWO PATIENTS.
away, as if I meant to do you harm.
If a thorn has been left in your
finger for days, and if the poor
finger is swelled and sore, and
cannot get well till the thorn is out, is it
wise to cry, and pull back your hand, and
not let your mother look at the place?
There, hold it out now, like a brave little
man; and while I am doing all that I can to
relieve you, I'll tell you a tale of a poor
dog that was much more hurt than you
A doctor found in the street a poor spaniel
that had broken one of its legs. The man
35 THE TWO PATIENTS.
had a kindly heart, so he took the dog to his
home, set its bone, put splinters round it,
and wrapped it up in bandages, in hopes
that the leg might be healed. I do not
think that the spaniel struggled and howled
as you did two minutes ago, though the
doctor, kind as he was, must have given a
good deal of pain.
There, Tommy, the thorn is out; you can
see it on the point of my needle, and like a
good brave boy you never uttered a cry
when you felt the prick. Now, while I
bathe and bandage the finger, I will tell you
more of the dog.
The spaniel's leg grew quite strong and
well. The doctor sent the dog home, as he
knew to whom he belonged. But he had
not seen the last of his patient. Some time
afterwards the doctor heard a whining and
scraping at his door, and when he opened it,
who should be there but his old friend the
spaniel, and with him a poor lame dog that
could hardly limp along. The spaniel jumped
and wagged his tail, rubbed his nose against
the doctor, and looked up in his face, asking
him, as plainly as dog could ask, to do the
THE TWO PATIENTS. 35
same kind office for his friend as he had
done for himself. The doctor could not
resist the sensible creature's appeal. He
THE SECOND PATIENT.
bound up the leg of the second dog both
with kindness and skill, and the poor creature,
much relieved, limped slowly away with the
friend who had so wisely brought him to
the place where he himself had found a
36 TIIE TWO PATIENTS.
Now your finger is bandaged up, Tommy.
I have played the doctor's part, and hope in
a few days to see that all is as well as ever.
And if Mary or Lucy, when gathering black-
berries in the wood, manage to run a thorn
into a poor little finger, do not let her wait
till it fester and swell like your own, but
play the part of the wise little dog, and
bring her here to the doctor at once.
IT'S VERY HARD.
"T'S very hard to have nothing to eat
but porridge, when others have
every sort of dainty," muttered
Charlie, as he sat with his wooden
bowl before him. "It's very hard
to have to get up so early on these bitter
cold mornings, and work hard all day, when
others can enjoy themselves without an hour
of labour. It's very hard to have to trudge
along through the snow while others roll
about in their coaches." It's a great bless-
ing," said his grandmother, as she sat at
her knitting-" it's a great blessing to have
food, when so many are hungry; to have a
roof over one's head, when so many are home-
"38 IT'S VERY HARD.
less. It's a great blessing to have sight, and
hearing, and strength for daily labour, when
.._- :.- -. ,
CHAIRLE, AND HTS GRANDMOTIIR.
,so many are blind, deaf, or suffering." "Why,
grandmother, you seem to think that nothing
is hard," said the boy, still in a grumbling
tone. "No, Charlie. There is one thing that
I think very hard." "What's that ?" cried
Charlie, who thought that at last his grand-
mother had found some cause for complaint.
"Why, boy, I think that heart is very hard
that is not thankful for so many blessings."
" .'-T HAT a delightful morning for a
ride !" exclaimed Mina, as she
,: patted the pretty black pony
Which her brother Felix was
S about to saddle for her. "I al-
most wish that the place fixed on for the
pic-nic were three times as far away, that I
might have a longer gallop over the common,
gay with golden furze, and along the green
"You forget," said Felix with a smile,
"that if you have to ride, we have to walk;
and that two miles each way is enough to give
us an appetite for the chicken-pie and cold
tongue which are stowed away in the basket."
40 THE PIC-NIC.
'" .. t --
BiEFOE THE PIC-NIC.
This is just the day for a pic-nic!" cried
Mina ; I am sure that e shall enjoy our-
THE PIC-NIC. 41
selves much in the wood. There is only one
thing that may damp our pleasure," she
added; I almost wish that mamma had not
invited Priscilla Grey; and yet it is unkind
to say so. It would have been hard on the
poor girl to have left her behind."
"She's as ill-tempered a wasp as ever I
met with! cried Felix; "and it seems as if
she had an especial spite against you, for
no reason that I can think of, except that our
parents being richer than hers, you ride on
Frisky, while she has to go upon foot."
I have never willingly done anything to
vex her," said Mina.
"Youwould never vex any creature living!"
exclaimed Felix, who was very fond of his
sister. But Priscilla is always on the look-
out for some cause of offence, and those who
do so can always manage to find one. If you
only heard how she was speaking of you the
other day It made me so angry, that if she
had not been a girl, I think that I really
should have struck her. She said-"
I don't want to hear what she said, dear
Felix," observed Mina, who was a peace-
42 THE PIC-NIC.
But I've a bit of good news to give you.
Priscilla, after all, will not be at the pic-nic
to-day. She slipped her foot yesterday
going down-stairs, and has sprained her
ankle-not badly enough to lay her up, but
enough to make it quite out of the question
for her to walk four miles."
It must be owned that Mina's first feeling
was one of relief at being rid of the com-
pany of so disagreeable a girl. But at that
moment the sun, which had been hiding
behind a cloud, darted out his glorious beams,
lighting up the landscape around, smiling on
the weedy waste as well as the beautiful
garden. Those rays brought to the mind of
Mina part of a verse from the Bible, "He
maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on
the good." Mina remembered what she
should do as one of the children of Him who
bade us love our enemies, and do good to
them that hate us.
"Felix," said the gentle girl, "if Priscilla
cannot walk, she can ride."
"Of course, if she has anything to ride
upon better than a dog or a cat!" laughed
THE PIC-NIC. 43
I could lend her my pretty Frisky, and
walk with you to the wood."
Felix gave a loud whistle of surprise.
"Lend her your pony, and lose your ride !
How can you dream of doing such a thing !"
Indeed, Felix, I feel that I must do it
As you have kindly saddled Frisky, we will
go together-it is but a step-and lead him
to the door of Priscilla."
"Well, you are wondrously kind," cried
Felix. I could understand your giving up
your ride for a sister, or a friend, but to
think of your doing so for the sake of such
a girl as Priscilla !"
It is not just for her sake," said Mina;
and she thought to herself, it is for the sake
of Him who is kind to the unthankful and
to the evil.
With a little difficulty Mina persuaded
her brother to yield to her wishes, and they
led the black pony to the door of the small
house in which Priscilla lived with her
mother. Priscilla, who was in worse temper
than usual, from being disappointed of her
expected treat, caught sight of them through
44 THE PIC-NIC.
"Ah, there's that girl Mina!" she ex-
claimed, with a burst of spiteful passion.
"She's bringing that ugly beast that she is
so proud of, just to let me see how much
better off she is than I am. I wish that it
would rain. I wish that a thunder-storm
would come and spoil the fun of the pic-nic."
But very different were Priscilla's feelings
when Mina ran into the room, inquired kindly
after her ankle, and then offered to lend her
Frisky that she might ride to the wood.
Shame and something like gratitude mingled
with pleasure and surprise, and Priscilla
owned to herself, what she never had owned
before, that it was not only in worldly wealth
that Mina was richer than she.
No rain fell, no thunderstorm came to
spoil the pleasure of the pic-nic. There
were few clouds in the sky, and none over
the spirit of Mina. She enjoyed her walk,
she enjoyed her feast, she enjoyed seeing and
adding to the pleasure of all; but her richest
enjoyment came from the whisper of an
approving conscience, that she had not been
overcome of evil, but had overcome evil
CATCHING AT A SHADOW.
-IH. Alice dear, won't it be fine fun to
'. drive into London and spend the
.-. day with grandmamma to-morrow!"
"cried little Minnie Davis to her
"I hope that you may find it so," was
Alice's reply; "as for me, I will not be
"Not go to London!" exclaimed her
brother Charlie, looking up in surprise from
No; I hope to go somewhere further
than to London, and have better fun still.
"What say you to the Crystal Palace ?"
asked Alice, with a beaming smile.
46 CATCHING AT A SHADOW.
You don't mean to say that the Brownes
have asked you to drive down there in their
carriage to-morrow ?" said Charlie eagerly.
"Well, no, not exactly asked me, but I
think that they will call for me on the way;
indeed I'm almost sure of it, for when Lizzie
told me that they were all going, she smiled
and squeezed my hand, just as much as to
say, 'I hope you'll be one of the party.'"
"Oh, if you've nothing better to go upon
than a smile and a squeeze of the hand,"
laughed Charlie, "I should advise you to
come with us to grandmamma, and not give
up a certain pleasure for one so very un-
"But I have something more to go
upon," said Alice, who was not pleased at
her brother's laugh; Mrs. Browne knows
that I have never been to the Crystal
Palace, and that I long above all things to
see it; and a month ago she said to me,
'We must take you there with us some
Charlie smiled and shook his head.
"Alice," said he, "don't you be like the
dog in the fable, that when crossing a brook
CATCHING AT A SHADOW. 47
with a bone in his mouth, saw his own re-
flection in the stream, and was so eager to
snatch at what he thought another bone in
the jaws of another dog, that in the attempt
to get it he dropped his own bone into the
Alice was a little out of humour at being
compared to so foolish a dog, and coldly
replied, "If I choose to take my chance of
a treat, I don't see that it matters to you."
48 CATCHING AT A SHADOW.
Oh, but, Alice dear," said gentle little
Minnie, "won't grandmamma be disap-
pointed not to see you, and wouldn't papa
like to have you with him, and wouldn't it
be such a pleasure for us all to drive up to-
gether ? Minnie was a loving, coaxing
little girl, and Alice was very fond of her:
besides, there was reason in what she said,
so that it was in a hesitating tone that her
I don't think-at least I hope that dear
grandmamma won't much mind my staying
away just this once; I daresay that I'll
have another opportunity of seeing her be-
fore the winter sets in. You will take her my
love, and tell her that nothing but a visit to
the Crystal Palace"-("The shadow .of a
visit," interrupted Charlie)-"would prevent
my enjoying the pleasure of going to her,"
continued Alice, without appearing to notice
the interruption. "As for papa, I have his
leave to remain behind if I wish it, and he
has allowed me to go with the Brownes."
That is to say, if they wish to have you,"
laughed Charlie; "remember the dog and
the bone, Alice, remember the dog "
CATCHING AT A SHADOW. 49
The morning came, sunshiny and bright:
all breakfast-time the children were talking
of the coming pleasures of the day. The
chaise drove up to the door; Charlie and
Minnie were eager to start for London, the
only damp on their enjoyment being that
their sister was not going with them.
"Oh, Alice darling, do come!" pleaded
Minnie; "we shall miss you so sadly, and
so will grandmamma: we should all be so
"We'll be happy together this evening,
dear, when I tell you about all the wonder-
ful things that I shall have seen-the
stuffed beasts and the living birds, the
huge tree, and the splendid Alhambra
"Alice, my girl, I hope that we are to
have you with us," said Mr. Davis, coming
out of his room with his driving-whip in
"Dear papa-if you don't mind-I think
I'd rather stop behind just this once."
"Well, do as you please," said the.father;
but Alice thought that she saw a little
shade of displeasure on his face, and she felt
50 CATCHING AT A SHADOW.
much inclined to run after him, and beg to
be taken with him in the chaise.
"Alice is changing her mind!" cried
Charlie. It was an unfortunate observa-
tion; Alice was foolish enough to pride her-
self upon never changing her mind, even
when she had made a mistake, and she did
not choose that Charlie should be able to
laugh at her for so doing. She therefore
stayed within the gate of her father's pretty
little garden at Hampstead, bade good-bye
to the party, and saw them drive off towards
Alice could not help a feeling of mis-
giving as the chaise rattled away down the
road, but she turned from the gate with the
remark, They will have a pleasant visit, I
hope, but nothing to be compared to my
treat. I will run and put on my best hat
and my new kid gloves, and be all ready to
start; for the Brownes are likely to set off
at ten, and I wouldn't keep them waiting-
no, not for one minute."
But if Alice would not keep the Brownes
waiting, it was out of her power to prevent
being kept waiting herself. Very impatient
CATCHING AT A SHADOW. 51
she grew as she watched by the gate, count-
ing up to a hundred again and again, to
make time appear to pass less slowly.
"Dear me! what can be delaying them
so long ? What if they should not be going
to the Crystal Palace after all-if I should
have to stay here the whole day all alone,
after disappointing Minnie, and running the
risk of vexing dear kind grandmamma, who
always gives such an affectionate welcome ?
There's the sound of wheels-they're coming
at last! Oh no, it is only the butcher's
cart! what a dust it stirs up! And here
comes the great lumbering omnibus." Alice
drew back a little from the gate, to be out
of the way of the dust. The omnibus was
crowded with passengers within and with-
out-it seemed to Alice as if all the world
were going pleasuring except herself, and it
was her own fault that she was not at that
moment driving through London. Had she
been less selfish and self-willed she would
have given up for the sake of others her
chance of the much-desired treat.
Scarcely had Alice returned to her post
close behind the gate, when she uttered an
52 CATCHING AT A SHADOW.
exclamation of joy, clapped her hands, and
could hardly refrain from jumping.
"Oh! here they are coming at last-I
know the blue liveries and the spanking
gray horses. There is Mrs. Browne's green
bonnet, and there is Lizzie leaning out from
the carriage; she sees me--she is smiling-
she is kissing her hand-and-"
Poor Alice stopped short in the middle of
her joyful sentence, for, alas! the carriage
did not stop, the spanking grays did not
slacken their pace as they dashed along the
road in front of the gate! The smile of
eager delight on the face of the poor child
changed to a look of blank dismay when the
carriage had actually passed, and no one
had called to the coachman to pull up, and
Lizzie and her party had actually disap-
peared from view, hastening on their way
to the Crystal Palace !
When carriage, blue liveries, and all,
could be no more seen, and even the rumble
of the wheels could be heard no longer,
Alice burst out crying; she could not help
it, so bitter was her disappointment, so
great her regret at her own folly. She ran
CATCHING AT A SHADOW. 53
into the house, threw herself down on a
sofa, and sobbed. She had dropped the
pleasure which she might have enjoyed,
trying, like the dog, to snatch at another;
she had disregarded advice, she had acted a
selfish as well as a foolish part, and now all
her delightful hopes had ended in disap-
Alice cried violently, but she did not cry
long; presently she lifted her head, dried
her wet eyes, and began to try to bear her
misfortune more bravely.
"This has been a sad lesson for me," said
Alice to herself with a sigh. "I should
not have minded the disappointment so
much if it had been through no fault of my
own. What a miserably dull day I shall
spend Papa and the children will not be
back till the evening,-I have nothing to
amuse me, or take up my thoughts. Oh,
that I had gone up to London!"
But Alice was, after all, too sensible a
child to give herself up for hours to vain
regrets. "What can't be cured must be
endured." She had made one mistake
which could not be repaired, but to havo
54 CATCHING AT A SHADOW.
remained all the day long in dull idleness,
fretting over her disappointment, would
have been to make another.
I had better occupy myself about some-
thing," thought Alice, rising up from the
sofa. "Charlie's garden wants weeding, it
is half covered with groundsel and chick-
weed; shall I give him a surprise by clear-
ing it all nicely before he comes back?
Dear little Minnie has her stockings to
mend, and I know that she finds darning so
difficult; shall I save her the trouble by
doing the work myself? Papa asked me
yesterday to put his papers in order; here
is leisure time in which I can arrange every-
thing as he likes. If I cannot be happy to-
day, I may at least be useful: I'll weed, I'll
work, I'll sort the papers, and so pass the
Alice had this time made a wise resolu-
tion, and she found that while her little
fingers were so busy, her mind had less time
to dwell upon the sad disappointment of the
morning. She had almost regained her
cheerfulness at last, before she heard the
sound of the returning chaise, and ran out
CATCHING AT A SHADOW. 55
to meet the party from London at the gate
of the garden.
"Well, Alice, where have you been ? "
cried Charlie, as he jumped down from the
"What have you seen?" asked Minnie
eagerly, as she followed her brother.
Alice tried to give a good-humoured smile
as she made reply-" When you go to your
garden, Charlie, and you to your work-
basket, Minnie, you will easily find out
where I have been; and as for what I have
seen, I have seen that it is best to be con-
tented with pleasures within our reach, and
that he was a foolish dog indeed that
dropped his bone to catch at a shadow !"
GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
"I TAKE ha,te, make haste, or I do be-
Il. lievew that, the train will be off!"
-, .ex,\':l-i,:.-d Arthur, hurrying with
S' hi two: brothers along the high-
r:,i.l, tw-ards a small station at
which the train was to call at ten.
"I really can hardly keep up with you,
Arthur," said Peter. "You rush on like a
If any of us had only a watch to tell us
the exact time. But the train comes so
fast, and gives so little notice; and only
think, if we were to miss it! "
"What a splendid day we have for our
trip!" cried Mark. "Not a cloud to be
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 57
seen in the sky! I do long to see the
Crystal Palace. They say that it is the
most beautiful thing in the world !"
How kind it is in uncle to give us such
a treat! said Arthur, his rosy face beaming
with pleasure. "We have never had such
a holiday before. Oh, let's make haste-
come on, come on!"
"What's that sound?" exclaimed Mark,
"Not the railway whistle, I hope," cried
It's a loud cry of distress from the end
of that field," said Peter, looking alarmed.
There it is again," cried Arthur. Some
one is in terror or in pain."
I daresay," said Mark impatiently; but
you know we've no time for delay."
"I suspect that it is some one hurt by
the bull that is kept in that field," cried
Peter. I can see the creature through the
Can you see any human being ?" said
No, no one; but the voice shows where
the person must be."
58 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
We cannot wait any longer," said Mark.
" Remember that if we are late for this train
we must give up the treat altogether."
"I cannot bear to go with those shrieks
in my ears," replied Arthur.
"Then I will go on without you," said
Mark; and he ran on, as if to make up for
Peter, we should get over that stile, and
go to see what is the matter," said Arthur.
"Perhaps we ought; but-but you know
that there is the bull in the field."
He is a very quiet one."
"Yes, generally; but he may be in a
savage mood now. I feel sure," added the
boy, grasping his brother's arm, "that he
must have gored the poor child whose
screams we hear."
Arthur looked grave and anxious. His
brother was older than he, and Arthur had
been accustomed to lean upon his opinion.
"Will you go, Peter ?" he said, at last.
Not I-it would be folly-we will send
some one from the station."
"Ah, if they would attend to us boys;
and even if they would, help might not
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 59
arrive for half an hour, and then it might
come too late. O Peter, that is a terrible
"I can't bear to stay and hear it!" ex-
claimed Peter; and so saying, he turned
and ran along the road as fast as Mark had
done before him.
And did Arthur follow his brothers? No,
he did not. He went back to the stile,
hastily clambered over it, and with many an
uneasy glance at the bull, that was cropping
the grass at no great distance-fearful of
running, lest it should draw him after him
-Arthur made his way to the spot whence
the cries proceeded.
Was Arthur less eager than the other
boys to enjoy his treat? was he less afraid
of being gored by a bull? By no means,
for Arthur was the youngest of the three.
He had hardly slept the night before from
thought of the coming pleasure, and he was
by no means particularly courageous by
nature. Why, then, did he turn back and
cross the field? It was that the love of
God was shed abroad in his heart, that he
had learned in the Bible to forget self, and
60 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
that he sought every opportunity, by kind-
ness and compassion to his fellow-creatures,
to show his love and gratitude to his heav-
Resolute, therefore, neither to let fear nor
pleasure stop him in the course of duty,
Arthur proceeded on his way, though I
cannot say that his ears were not anxiously
listening for the sound of the railway whistle,
or that he did not often fearfully turn to see
if the bull were running after him. He
neither heard the whistle, however, nor was
pursued by the bull, but reached in safety
the other end of the field, where he found,
lying in a dry ditch, just beneath the hedge,
a poor girl of about his own age.
"What is the matter with you ?" said
Arthur, stooping to help her to rise. I
am afraid that you are very much hurt."
The girl was crying so violently that it
was some time before Arthur could make
out the cause of her distress. It appeared
that she had fallen in getting over the hedge,
and had sprained her ankle so severely as
to be unable to rise.
I thought that no one would ever come,"
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 61
sobbed the girl, "though I screamed as loud
as I could."
But what can I do for you? said Arthur.
" I am not strong enough to carry you away."
Oh, do you see that little white cottage
there, just on the side of the hill? My
father lives there. If you would only go
and tell him, I am sure that he would come
and help me."
If I go all that distance," thought poor
Arthur, I shall be quite certain to miss the
62 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
But he looked again at the suffering girl,
and thought of the holy history of one who
had compassion on a poor injured traveller.
He remembered the words, Go, and do thou
likewise; and determined to give up his own
pleasure for the comfort of another. Per-
haps only a child can tell how great was the
sacrifice to the child !
Arthur ran in the direction of the cot-
tage, arrived there breathless and heated,
and found the girl's father standing at his
door talking to a baker, who, in his light
cart, was going his daily round. A few
words from the panting boy explained to
the man the accident that had happened to
I am much obliged to you," said the
cottager. I will go to poor Joan directly."
The eye of Arthur fell upon the Dutch
clock hanging up near the fireplace. The
hour was not quite so late as his fears had
imagined; but still it wanted only eight
minutes to ten.
I cannot be in time for the train," said
the tired boy sadly, half to himself. "My
brothers will be off without me."
GO AND DO LIKEWISE. 63
"Did you want to meet the train? and
have you been delayed by your kindness?"
said the baker, leaning from his cart, with a
look of interest. "Jump up here beside me.
You've a chance of it yet. The train may
not be punctual to a minute, and Dobbin
trots as fast as any horse in the county."
In a moment the eager boy was up in the
cart, and the baker seemed as eager. You
might have thought, too, that the horse
knew the state of the case, he dashed on at
such a fine rate! And the train was five
minutes beyond its time. Not till Arthur
had sprung down from the cart at the station,
and stood thanking the kind baker who had
helped him in his need, was the long shrill
scream of the whistle heard, and the dark
rattling line of carriages appeared. He was
in time Oh yes, he was in time !
Mark and Peter enjoyed their visit to the
Crystal Palace; but their pleasure was as
nothing compared to that of Arthur. His
whole soul was overflowing with pure de-
light. He felt inclined to go springing and
bounding along, his heart was so free from
a care! As a good man once said, "How
64 GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
pleasant it is when the bird in the bosom
If my reader would know what is real
happiness, real delight, let him seek it in
forgetting self, and following the steps of
his Lord. Where there is sorrow which
you can cheer, or distress which you can
relieve, remember the Samaritan, who be-
held a wounded stranger, and would not
pass by on the other side. Do not turn a
deaf ear to the voice of pity, but oh, Christian
child go and do likewise !
THE BEST FRIEND.
A. Carl Von Orlich; well met!"
"*'\ 'S 'exclaimed the veteran Strasse, as,
on the night after one of the
:-, : fiercest fights in the Seven Years'
"-' 2 War, he suddenly came upon his
comrade, and recognized his features by the
red light of the watch-fire, over which he
Von Orlich started up, and wrung the
hand of his friend.
I little thought a few hours since," said
he, "to see you or any other man in the
land of the living."
"You have much cause to thank Him
who has covered your head in the day of
66 THE BEST FRIEND.
battle," observed Strasse, who was one who,
in a godless age, did not shrink from openly
confessing his faith, and by so doing had
drawn upon himself many a scoff, some even
from his friend Von Orlich.
It was hot work," said the officer, wip-
ing his brow.
When I saw you from a distance dash
into the midst of what seemed a circle of
smoke and fire, through which one could
scarcely catch a glimpse of the flashing
swords, I never expected, Von Orlich, to
see you come forth alive."
It was to rescue him-the gallant Hel-
den," said Von Orlich. I saw him sorely
beset; and if I had had a thousand lives, I'd
have ventured them all for his sake. I bore
him safe out of it all," added the officer, with
a proud smile of triumph on his lip.
Helden is a man who deserves a friend,"
He does-better than any other man in
Prussia!" exclaimed Von Orlich. Did
you never hear what he did when he was a
gay young page in the service of our last
king, Frederick William ?"
THE BEST FRIEND. 67
THE TWO COMRADES.
Not I," replied Strasse, seating himself;
for he was weary with the struggle of the
68 THE BEST FRIEND.
day, and glad to warm himself for awhile
beside the red glowing fagots. "Tell me
the tale of his youth. It may serve to
while away a few weary minutes ; for as my
turn for duty will soon come, it is not worth
while to lie down and sleep."
"Helden, like most of our Prussian youth
of gentle blood, was brought up at a mili-
tary academy. There he formed a warm
friendship with a lad of somewhat lower
rank and much poorer family than his own.
They were never separated, Carl and he-
studies, sports, hopes, pleasures, everything
they had in common. Never did brothers
cling more closely together than they. When
the youths left the academy their paths
divided. Helden, who had relatives of rank,
became a page at the court of the king;
Carl, who had neither money nor interest,
entered the ranks of the army. But the tie
was not broken between them, as with most
men it would have been. The page, midst
the splendours of a court, remained true to
the friendship of his boyhood.
Carl was of a somewhat wild and reck-
less nature. Perhaps it stung his pride to
THE BEST FRIEND. f9
find himself in a position so much below
that of his late companions. Be that as it
may, he had not been a month in the army
before he got into serious disgrace-over-
stayed leave, was out of barracks till mid-
night, and was sentenced to receive a public
flogging. You know, Strasse, with what
terrible severity that punishment is inflicted
in the army. To many it is equal to a sen-
tence of death-to Carl it was far worse
than death! The agony might be great,
but it was the shame that was intolerable
The very horror of the idea of a public flog-
ging threw the young soldier into a fever,
and threatened to turn his brain."
"I do not marvel at that," observed Strasse,
as he stretched his hands to the warming blaze.
Helden heard of the sentence passed
upon his friend, and resolved to make every
effort to save him. He drew out a simple
but touching petition to the king, and ven-
tured himself to present it-a task requiring
some courage, for you know the character
of Frederick William, and his excessive
severity in whatever related to the discipline
of his army."
70 THE BEST FRIEND.
"It was something like presenting a peti-
tion to a lion to spare the prey under his
paw," observed Strasse, with a smile.
"And the king received it much as the
lion might have done," rejoined Von Orlich.
" He was roused to one of his storms of fury,
tore the petition in pieces, and Helden was
fortunate enough to escape with nothing
worse than a torrent of abuse."
So Carl underwent his sentence, of
course ? asked Strasse.
Hear to the end," replied his comrade.
"Any one but Helden would have given up
in despair all further attempt to rescue his
friend; but, true as steel as he was, he re-
solved to make yet another. Helden drew
out a second petition; and on the night
before the morning on which the flogging
was to take place, he went to the ante-
chamber with it in his pocket, with the in-
tention of presenting it to the monarch."
"He was a bold youth," remarked Strasse.
"When we recall how nearly our late king
put to death his own son and heir for a very
trifling cause, one cannot but marvel at the
perseverance of Helden."
THE BEST FRIEND. 71
The king," continued Von Orlich, "was
engaged, till far into the night, in secret
conference with one of his ministers. Hel-
den, full of deep anxiety, remained in the
ante-room waiting. So long had he to wait,
so weary he grew, less perhaps from the
lateness of the hour than the wear upon his
own spirits, that sleep overcame the poor
youth. The king, happening to come out of
his cabinet, found his page in deep slumber
in an arm-chair, with what looked like a
second petition sticking half out of his pocket.
"'If that audacious young scapegrace
dare to pester me again with his petitions,
he shall get something sharper than words.'
Such, I suspect, was his majesty's thought
when, without awakening the page, curiosity
made him draw forth the scroll. Perhaps,
however, his countenance changed when his
eye glanced over the strange petition which
it contained. It was very brief, but to the
purpose ; and was, as well as I can remem-
ber, in these words: Sire, if the sentence
passed on Carl must be executed, I entreat
your majesty's permission to suffer instead
of my friend.'"
72 THE BEST FRIEND.
THE KING TAKING THE PETITION.
"A strange petition, indeed," exclaimed
Strasse. "What said the king to the offer?"
Stern and rigid as he was," replied Von
Orlich, such generous friendship, such
brave self-devotion, could not but touch his
heart. I know not how long Helden slum-
bered. He was startled from his sleep by
the sound of the bell rung by the king in
THE BEST FRIEND. 73
"' Now for the effort!' thought Helden,
as he sprang forward with a beating heart
to obey the desired and yet dreaded sum-
mons. He found the king sitting alone,
looking more than usually stern. Helden
received some trifling order from the mon-
arch, who then motioned to him to retire.
"'Now, or never!' said Helden to him-
self; 'the day will soon dawn, and at sun-
rise poor Carl is to suffer.'
"'Why do you delay ?' asked the king
very harshly, fixing his freezing gaze on the
"' Sire, pardon !' exclaimed Helden, and
bending his knee, he drew forth a scroll, and
presented it to his sovereign.
"' Will you stand by the consequences ?'
demanded the king, without touching the
"'I will, sire,' replied the generous friend.
"'Read the contents, then, young man !'
said the king.
Helden opened the scroll, and started to
his feet with an exclamation of joyful sur-
prise. The paper contained, not his own
generous offer, but a full free pardon for his
74 THE BEST FRIEND.
friend, drawn out and signed by the monarch
"God had touched the king's heart," ob-
"Be that as it may," said Von Orlich,
"Carl was saved from a punishment which
would have driven him mad; and he lived
to pay back this day part of the debt of
gratitude which he owed to the best of
"What!" exclaimed Strasse in surprise,
" you yourself are the Carl of whom you
speak ? "
Ay; I have struggled upwards in life,
won honours "-a star was glittering on his
breast-" I have gained the wealth and
position which are the prizes held out by
war; but were the king to make me a duke,"
continued Von Orlich with emotion, "the
pleasure and the honour would be small
compared to what I felt to-day in proving
my gratitude to the man who once offered
to suffer in my stead !"
"It is strange," observed Strasse with a
thoughtful sigh, as he looked into the flicker-
ing fire, "how apt we are to reserve all our
THE BEST FRIEND. 75
gratitude for our fellow-man, forgetful of the
Friend who not only offered to suffer, but
actually did suffer in our stead You braved
fire and sword for one who had loved and
saved you; shall our love be cold, and our
courage faint, only when our debt is infinite,
and our benefactor divine ?"
Von Orlich made no reply; but as he
silently gazed up into the blue starry
heavens, almost for the first time in his life
the heart of the war-worn veteran rose in
thanksgiving to God!
THE THICKET OF FURZE.
" '- HAT a plague lessons are ?" ex-
Sclaimed Rosey, with a long weary
yawn, as she bent over her French
exercises, wishing from her heart
that grammar had never been
Work on, little one said her brother
George, who had overheard the exclamation;
"remember that it is doubly your duty to
be steady and industrious while mamma is
"It is so difficult! sighed the child.
Many a duty is difficult," answered the
elder brother; "but that is no reason for
shirking it. Attending to little duties while
THE THICKET OF FURZE. 77
we are young helps us to perform great ones
when we are old. Do your lessons bravely,
dear Rosey, and if they be finished by
twelve, you shall have a little story to re-
ward your diligence."
The word "story" called up a dimple upon
Rosey's round cheek; she turned with more
resolution to her tiresome lesson, and the
task was ended by twelve.
"Now for my story," cried the child,
bringing her little chair close to her brother,
and resting her arm on his knee, as-looking
up gaily into his face-she claimed the ful-
filment of his promise.
George looked into the fire for a few
moments, as if to draw some ideas from the
cheerful blaze; stirred it, and then leaning
back on his chair, began the following little
Methought I lay down and slept, and
dreamed; and in my dream I beheld a path
through a verdant meadow, along which
many a child gaily tripped, gathering the
lovely wild flowers that grew on either side.
But at one end of the meadow the path was
crossed by a thicket of sharp prickly furze,
78 THE THICKET OF FURZE.
and the name of the thicket was Difficulty.
The bushes grew so thick and close, that I
wondered whether any child would be able
to pass them; and I sat me down to watch
how the little travellers would get through
the Difficulty in their way."
"I suppose that I was one of the little
travellers," laughed Rosey, "and the furze-
bushes were my horrid French verbs!"
"There are a great many 'Difficulties' in
a child's life," replied George with a smile:
"some find it difficult to rise early, some to
be punctual or neat, some to control their
tempers, others to be generous and kind.
There are plenty of furze-bushes in our path,
but we must not, like lazy cowards, suffer
them to stop us in our onward course."
"Please tell me about the children in
your dream," said Rosey.
The first who reached the thicket was a
little girl, with ruddy cheek and curly hair,
who had been one of the gayest of the gay,
as she went dancing through the flowery
mead. But as soon as she came to Diffi-
culty all the cheerfulness fled from her face,
she shrank from the first touch of the
THE THICKET OF FURZE. 7S
prickles as if she had expected that life was
to be all sunshine and flowers, and sitting
down on the grass by the side of the path,
she burst into a flood of tears."
"Oh, the cowardly little creature !" cried
Then there came up to the spot a young
boy, whose appearance to me was not pleas-
ing. He never looked straight before him,
but had a kind of cunning side glance, which
made me fancy him less open and frank
than a Christian boy ought to be. He made
no attempt to push through the thicket, but
went creeping along the edge of it, hoping
to creep round Difficulty instead of passing
straight onwards. I watched him to see if
he would succeed in his aim, but he had not
gone many steps before his feet stuck fast
in a bog, and it was only by violent and
painful efforts that he could struggle out
again, to return to the point whence he had
started, with his shoes all clogged with clay,
his time lost, and his object not gained."
"I suppose that he was a lazy boy," re-
marked Rosey ; "putting off does not help
us over our difficulties. I have sometimes
80 THE THICKET OF FURZE.
tried that plan of creeping round, and I
always stuck in the bog !"
"Then," pursued George, "a boy with
firm step and resolute air came up to the
thicket. I saw something like a smile on
his face as he looked at the Difficulty before
him. He set his teeth hard together,
clenched his hands, and then with bold de-
termination made a dash at the thicket. On
he went, that stout-hearted lad, dashing
aside the prickles, pushing forward as if he
scarcely felt the scratches upon his bleeding
hands. Trampling down, struggling through
Difficulty, he was soon safe and triumphant
on the opposite side !"
Little Rosey clapped her hands. "He
was a fine fellow!" cried she. "I think
that Nelson and Wellington went dashing
through difficulties like that. But I can't
do so," added the child more gravely; "I
have not that bold, strong spirit. I am
afraid that I am most like the little cow-
ardly girl who cried when she saw the
"Is not that because you do not look
upon your childish troubles as a means of
THE THICKET OF FURZE. 81
testing your patience and obedience; is it
not because you do not seek for help from
above, even in the little trials of your life ?"
They seem such trifles to look at in that
way," said Rosey, gazing thoughtfully into
"A writer has said that 'trifles form the
sum of human things;' and the life of a
child, more especially, is made up of what
we call trifles. Yet children, as well as
those who are old, are required to glorify
God; and as they can do no great thing for
him, it is by their cheerful obedience, dili-
gence, and sweet temper, that they must
show their gratitude and love. And does
not this thought, dear Rosey, make the per-
formance of simple daily duties a bright and
a holy thing? If what we do, we do as
unto the Lord, feeling that His eye is upon
us, and seeking in all things to please Him,
we find pleasure even in irksome tasks, sweet-
ness in what otherwise would be bitter."
Rosey looked as if she scarcely under-
stood the words of her brother, so, to make
their meaning clearer, George went on with
his tale :
82 THE THICKET OF FURZE.
"There was one other child whom I saw
in my dream advancing towards the thicket
Difficulty. I felt sorry for the little girl, for
she was feeble and pale, and as she moved
over the grass I saw that she was both lame
and barefoot 'Alas!' thought I, 'if she
TIHE LAME GIRL.
can scarcely make her way along the smooth
and pleasant path, how will she ever struggle
through the prickly furze before her !' Per-
haps the same thought was in the mind of
the little traveller, for she paused before the
thicket, and looked forwards with a scared
THE THICKET OF FURZE. 8S
and troubled air. Then she clasped her
hands, and raised her eyes towards the soft
blue sky above her, and all trace of fear or
care left her smiling face. What was my
surprise to see two beautiful little wings,
glittering like gold in the sunlight, and
bright with the rainbow's tints, gradually
unfold from her shoulders! The child shook
them for a few moments, as if to try their
powers, and then rising above earth, and all
its thorns, she gently flew over the painful
place, and alighting safely on the ground
beyond, looked back with a bright and
thankful smile on the Difficulty which she
"Oh !" exclaimed Rosey, what would I
not give to have such beautiful wings !"
"Those wings, dear Rosey, are faith and
love, which lift us above the world, which
bear us onward in a heavenly course, which
make us find our chief delight in doing the
will of our heavenly Father."
I have not these wings "
George drew his little sister closer to him,
and bending down his head towards her,
whispered, "Ask and ye shall receive. God
84 THE THICKET OF FURZE.
only can cause those wings to grow, by the
power of his Holy Spirit; He can give them
strength to bear us unharmed over all the
rough places of life; and the waters of the
river of death shall not wet even the soles
of the feet of those who pass their depths,
buoyed up on the glorious pinions of faith
THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST.
-7V kRY, my love, all is ready; we
must not be late for the train,"
S. -. said Mr. Miles, as, in his travel-
S ling dress, he entered the room
",4 where sat his pale, weeping wife,
ready to start on the long, long
journey, which would only end in India.
The gentleman looked flushed and excited;
it was a painful moment for him, for he had
to part from his sister, and the one little
boy whom he was leaving under her care.
But Mr. Miles's chief anxiety was for his
wife; for the trial, which was bitter to him,
was almost heart-breaking to her. The car-
riage was at the door, all packed, the last
86 THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST.
band-box and shawl had been put in; Eddy
could hear the sound of the horses pawing
the ground in their impatience to start.
But the clinging arms of his mother were
round him-she held him close to her em-
brace, as if she would press him into her
heart, and the ruddy cheeks of the boy were
wet with her falling tears.
0 Eddy !-my child-God bless you !"
she could hardly speak through her sobs.
My love, we must not prolong this,"
said the husband, gently trying to draw her
away. "Good-bye, Lucy- good-bye, my
boy-you shall hear from us both from
Southampton." The father embraced his
sister and his son, and then hurried his wife to
the door. Eddy rushed after them through
the hall, on to the steps, and Mrs. Miles,
before entering the carriage, turned again
to take her only son into her fond arms
Never could Eddy forget that embrace-
the fervent pressure of the lips, the heaving
of his mother's bosom, the sound of his
mother's sobs. Light-hearted boy as he
was, Eddy never had realized what parting
THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST. 87
was till that time, though he had watched
the preparations made for the voyage for
weeks-the packing of those big black boxes
that had almost blocked up the hall. Now
he felt in a dream as he stood on the steps,
and through tear-dimmed eyes saw the car-
riage driven off which held those who loved
him so dearly. He caught a glimpse of his
mother bending forward to have a last look
of her boy before a turn in the road hid the
carriage from view; and Eddy knew that
long, long years must pass before he should
see that sweet face again.
Don't grieve so, dear Eddy," said Aunt
Lucy, kindly laying her hand on his
shoulder; "you and I must comfort each
But at that bitter moment Eddy was
little disposed either to comfort any one or
to receive comfort himself. His heart
seemed rising into his throat; he could not
utter a word. He rushed away into the
woods behind the house, with a longing to
be quite alone. He could scarcely think of
anything but his mother; and the poor boy
spent nearly an hour under a tree, recalling
88 THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST.
her looks, her parting words, and grieving
over the recollection of how often his temper
and his pride had given her sorrow. He
felt, in the words of the touching lament,-
And now I recollect with pain
How many times I grieved her sore;
Oh, if she would but come again,
I think I would do so no more !
"H Iow I would watch her gentle eye !
'Twould be my joy to do her will;
And she should never have to sigh
Again for my behaving ill!"
But boys of eight years of age are seldom
long unhappy. Before an hour had passed,
Eddy's thoughts were turned from the part-
ing by his chancing to glance upwards into
the tree whose long green branches waved
above him. Eddy espied there a pretty
little nest, almost hidden by the foliage.
Up jumped Eddy, eager for the prize; and
in another minute he was climbing the tree
like a squirrel. Soon he grasped and safely
brought down the nest, in which he found,
to his joy, three beautiful eggs !
Ah I'll take them home to-." Eddy
stopped short; the word "mother" had
been on his lips; it gave a pang to the boy
THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST. 89
EDDY AND THE NEST.
to remember that the presence of his gentle
mother no longer brightened that home-
that she already was far, far away. Eddy
seated himself on a rough bench, and put
down the nest by his side; he had less
pleasure in his prize since he could not show
it to her whom he loved.
90 THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST.
While Eddy sat thinking of his parent,
as he had last seen her, with her eyes red
and swollen with weeping, his attention was
attracted by a loud pitiful chirping, which
sounded quite near. Though the voice was
only the voice of a bird, it -expressed such
anxious distress, that Eddy instantly guessed
that it came from the poor little mother
whose nest he had carried away. Ah what
pains she had taken to form that delicate
nest !-how often must her wing have been
wearied as she flew to and fro on her labour
of love! All her little home and all her
fond hopes had been torn from her at once
to give a little amusement to a careless but
not heartless boy.
No; Eddy was not heartless. He was
too full of his own mother's sorrow when
parting from her loved child to have no
pity for the poor little bird, chirping and
fluttering over the treasure which she had
How selfish I have been !-how cruel !"
cried Eddy, jumping up from his seat.
"Never fear, little bird! I will not break
up your home; I will not rob you of your
THE BOY AND THE BIRD'S NEST. 91
young. I never will give any mother the
sorrow felt by my darling mamma."
Gently he took up the nest. It was no
easy matter to climb the tree again with it
in his hand; but Eddy never stopped until
he had replaced the nest in its own snug
place, wedged in the fork of a branch.
Eddy's heart felt lighter when he clambered
down again to his seat, and heard the joyful
twitter of the little mother, perched on a
branch of a tree.
And from that day it was Edith's delight
to take a daily ramble to that quiet part of
the wood, and have a peep at the nest, half
hidden in its bower of leaves. He knew
when the small birds were hatched; he
watched the happy mother when she fed
her little brood; he looked on when she
taught her nestlings to take their first airy
flight. This gave him more enjoyment than
the possession of fifty eggs could have done.
Never did Eddy regret that he had showed
mercy and kindness, and denied himself a
pleasure to save another a pang.
SENDING HORSES TO TRAVELLERS.
" .U')OR old Matthew !" said Lucy,
"I hear that he is almost dying
', with cold!"
Ben was amusing himself with
spinning on the table four bright
half-crowns, with which his grand-
father had presented him-that morning; but
he stopped for a moment to listen to his
sister's account of the sufferings of his aged
neighbour, and in a tone of pity said, I'm
sure that I wish that he were better off, he
is such a good old man!"
He had nothing but a crust all yester-
day," said Lucy.
"Dear me!" exclaimed Ben, balancing
SENDING HORSES TO TRAVELLERS. 93
his coin between his finger and thumb; I
wish that he had had as good a dinner
as I !" Twirl, twirl, went the half-crown,
looking like a half transparent ball, as it
spun rapidly round; then gradually its shape
BEN AND THE HALF-CROWNS.
altered, it sank lower and lower, then rattled
down to its old position on the table.
I wish that some one would help him !"
said Lucy, glancing at the money.
"So do I, with all my heart!" replied
Ben, in a manner that told pretty clearly
that his charity would not go beyond his
94 SENDING HORSES TO TRAVELLERS.
There was a pause, which was first broken
by Lucy. I read such a funny account,
in a book about Thibet," said she, "of a
curious piece of superstition, that I put a
mark in the place, just that I might read it
to you; I thought that it would make you
Let's have it !" cried Ben, pocketing his
half-crowns, for he dearly loved anything
funny. So Lucy opened a volume of Hue's
Travels, and read the following account of
the strange ideas of a young student of
medicine at Kounboum:-
One day," writes the missionary Huc,
"he proposed to us a service of devotion in
favour of all the travellers throughout the
whole world. 'We are not acquainted with
this devotion,' said we; will you explain it
to us ?' This is it: You know that a good
many travellers find themselves from time
to time on rugged toilsome roads, and it
often happens that they cannot proceed by
reason of their being altogether exhausted.
In this case we aid them by sending horses
to them.' 'That,' said we, 'is a most ad-
mirable custom; but you must consider tha+
SENDING HORSES TO TRAVELLERS. 95
poor travellers such as we are not in a con-
dition to share in the good work. You
know that we possess only a horse and a little
mule, which require rest in order that they
may carry us to Thibet.' He clapped his
hands together, and burst into a loud laugh.
'What are you laughing at? What we
have said is the simple truth; we have only
a horse and a little mule.' When his laugh-
ter at last subsided, It was not that which
I was laughing at,' said he; I laughed at
your mistaking the sort of devotion I mean.
What we send to the travellers are paper
horses.' And therewith he ran off to his
cell, and presently returned, his hands filled
with bits of paper, on each of which was
printed the figure of a horse, saddled and
bridled, and going at full gallop. 'Here,
these are the horses we send to the travel-
lers! To-morrow we shall ascend a high
mountain, and there we shall pass the day,
saying prayers and sending off horses.'
'How do you send them to the travellers ?'
'Oh, the means are very easy. After a
certain form of prayer, we take a packet of
horses,. which we throw up into the air;
96 SENDING HORSES TO TRAVELLERS.
the wind carries them away, and by the
power of Buddha they are then changed to
real horses, which offer themselves to tra-
"Ha ha ha !" laughed Ben, when she
had finished; I never heard anything so
odd in my life. We have nothing in Eng-
land like these paper horses."
"Well, I could not quite say that," ob-
served Lucy; "there was something that
reminded me of them just now."
What was that ?" said Ben, glancing up
at his sister.
Sending only good wishes to those to
whom we are able to send real help," Lucy
replied with a smile. They go just as far,
and are exactly as useful to the poor, as the
paper horses to the travellers in the deserts
THORNS AND FLOWERS.
" I1 HAT can be the difference between
Martha and Susan Williamson? "
said old Dame Phillips. "They
are as like as two cherries-the
same rosy cheeks, the same height,
the same hair, you could hardly know one
from the other."
"No wonder, for they are twins," replied
"And yet, how is it that when one of
them comes in, it seems as if a sunbeam
were shining into the room; yet, when the
other is near, you would think that she
brought the cold east wind with her? "
One lives for others, and one for herself;
98 THORNS AND FLOWERS.
that's the difference between Martha and
Susan," said Mrs. Green, as she poured out
her cup of tea.
"Ah I often think that they are like
two travellers, walking through the world
with baskets on their arms. Susan has
filled her basket with roses, and wherever
she goes there's the sweet smell and the
pretty flowers to make every one round her
glad. Martha has filled her basket with
thorns; you fear to come near her for the
prickles; she is scattering thorns wherever
she passes, and leaves pain behind her
wherever she has been !"
I pity the children when they are left
to her care," said the widow.
"Poor little lambs, they have their full
share of the thorns. It is a word and a
blow with her; and as for poor Albert,
with his weak ankles, he may walk on till
he drops afore she will take the trouble of
carrying him one step.-Why, here she is!"
added the old woman, as Martha entered
the house with a bold, careless air.
"Good day, Mrs. Phillips: I've come to
borrow your warm new shawl. You see,"