• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Sweet Spring-time
 Lottie's half-sovereign
 Lost in the wood and other...
 Cousin Davis's wards
 The angel unawares
 Coraline; or, "after many...
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Sweet spring-time
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00049545/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sweet spring-time
Physical Description: 1 v. (unpaged) : ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Miller, Thomas, 1807-1874
Gray, Russell
Howitt, Margaret, b. 1839
Gilchrist, Alexander
Howitt, Mary Botham, 1799-1888
Mackarness, Henry S., 1826-1881
Lydon, F ( Illustrator )
Friston, David Henry ( Illustrator )
Whimper, E ( Engraver )
Groombridge and Sons ( Publisher )
Publisher: Groombridge and Sons
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1879
Copyright Date: 1879
 Subjects
Subject: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1879   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1879
Genre: Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
 Notes
General Note: Some illustrations signed F. Lydon or D.H. Friston; some engraved by E. Whimper.
Statement of Responsibility: by Thomas Miller ; and other stories.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00049545
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: notis - AHP7110
oclc - 24899022
alephbibnum - 001622475

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Sweet Spring-time
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
    Lottie's half-sovereign
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
    Lost in the wood and other adventures
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
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        Page 113
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        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
    Cousin Davis's wards
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
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        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
    The angel unawares
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
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        Page 206
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        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
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        Page 219
        Page 220
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        Page 222
        Page 223
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        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
    Coraline; or, "after many days"
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
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        Page 255
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        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
    Back Cover
        Page 279
        Page 280
    Spine
        Page 281
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SWEET SPRING-TINE.
BY THOMAS MILLER.

.-r you would like much to live
.__:_.- -__cI there, and exclaimed, "Oh
what a pretty place !" had you
only seen it in Sweet Spring-time, when all the orchard
trees were powdered with blossoms, and there was a noise
of rooks high up among the tall elm trees. Then there
was the old hall, which you could see as you looked
through the quaint iron scroll-work of the park gates
which swung on the tall red-brick pillars where two
grim griffins kept watch, and seemed to look down upon
you savagely with their dead, stony eyes, making you
feel thankful that they were not alive. There was the
church, too, with its strong, square tower, so ancient
that no record remained to tell in what century it was
built, though there were monumental brasses let into the
hoary walls about the altar, that dated as far back as the
days of the Crusaders. Then there was Netherby

B*






SWEET SPRING-TIME.

Grange, a large, old, rambling farmhouse, which was fint
built early in the reign of Elizabeth, and in which tie
Lords of the Manor had lived up to the time of G-eorge
II., when the last heir was borne to the family valt,
the estate thrown into Chancery, then sold to Squire
BLindmarsh, with no better title than what the coart
rave. O what delightful reading a good topographical
work, all about the pretty village of Netherby would be !
telling us who lived in the Hall, and who in the Grange,.
and-who inhabited those old timbered-tenements that
are bill standing, and sat in the richly-carved oaken
pews of that ancient church, in the centuries that have
departed. They have gone and "their place knowefb
them no more for ever," though the pale golden prim-
roses yet bloom, and the deep-dyed bluebells still wave
in the wind, and the purple violets betray their hiding
places by their delicious perfume, in the same spots
where, in Sweet Spring-time, those who are gone once
gathered them. Though the Hindmarshes had been
farmers in Netherby for above three hundred years-as the-
old parish registers kept in the iron-bound oaken chest
in the church proved-yet they were never called Squires)
until they purchased the Grange estate. The old family,
living at the Hall in the park, had borne the title of
Baronets ever since their ancestor purchased his knight-
hood of King James, who would have sold the same
honour to a chimney-sweep had he brought the purchase-
money, without even washing the soot from his black
hard-working hands. As for the long-since extinct race-
of the ancient Netherbys-from whom the village, no,
doubt, derived its name-there was no record remaining,
excepting a ,few monumental brasses, and the ruins of
a castle on the hill, to tell of the good or evil they had&





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

done in the days of their power. But it is Sq*w,
Hindmarsh of the Grange--as the wealthy farmer was
called-and his son Harry, to whom we must now tr
our attention.
Everybody who knew him liked Harry Hindmarsh.
There was something so open, and cheerful, and sincere,
about the lad, that all felt in a moment he was just what
he looked. His was one of those countenances ht
shine with the light of truth ; there is a brightness aboiA
such faces, especially in the eyes, which at a glance pro--
claim that falsehood has no abiding place there. Only
to think a lie, without giving it utterance, would cause
such eyes to droop and become clouded, and cover such
open features with the burning blush of shame. His
father was a stern, cold, upright, proud, and, many said,
unfeeling man. He had never exchanged a word,
good nor bad, with his sister since she married an un-
fortunate young farmer, who was compelled to work ag
a common farm-labourer at the period -of which we are
writing. Not even when he buried his beautiful young
wife, and he walked side by side with his sister at tho
funeral, did Squire Hindmarsh speak to her one word.
He never once objected to her engagement, while all
looked bright and prosperous that surrounded her in--
tended husband; it was because she continued faithful.
and married him after the clouds of adversity had drifted.
over and darkened his prospects, that caused Squir
Hindmarsh to turn his back on his truthful and devoted
sister. Her husband's father had died suddenly, and
never made known to his son that there was a heavy
mortgage on their little freehold.. She might have been
the Lady of Netherby Hall, if she would have ace pted
the hand of the young Baronet, but Amy Hindmarsk





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

refused; then he foreclosed-for his father had advanced
the money--showing his savage white teeth as he passed
her ruined lover, and leaving her, as he said, to marry
a beggar."
Squire Hindmarsh and his true-hearted sister were
married in the same year. She went to the altar with the
man she had pledged her faith to, with only a prospect.
of poverty before her, because she believed by doing her
duty she could make him happier than he ever could be
unless she became a sharer in his troubles. Her brother
led to the altar a beautiful young heiress, who by her
death added twenty thousand pounds to his already
ample fortune, bequeathing half that amount to her son
Harry when he came of age, free from his father's control
in any way, according to her marriage settlement. Harry
Hindmarsh and Jane Hartwell were born in the same
spring-time-the son of the brother the heir of wealth,
the daughter of the sister the child of loving poverty,
and not the less adored because her parents were poor.
During the lifetime of Mrs. Hindmarsh she scarcely ever
allowed a week to pass without visiting Mrs. Hartwell,
her husband's sister, and taking Harry with her, so that
the little cousins became friends from the time they
commenced to run. Whatever objection the wealthy
farmer might have to these visits, he kept to himself;
for he well knew that his wife would have her own way
in matters which she considered to be right and con-
sistent with her duty.
So Harry and Jane-for she was named after Harry's
mother -grew up side by side, played together, and
rambled vhithersoever they pleased, as soon as they
were big enough to be trusted out by themselves; for
there was but little danger to fear in the green lanes and





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

pleasant footpaths that went winding in and out every-
way through the quiet fields around Netherby. By the
time they were eight or nine years of age, they knew
almost every warm and shady nook, and sloping sunny
embankment for three or four miles around the village,
where the flowers peeped out earliest under the primrose-
coloured skies of Sweet Spring-time. They clapped
their little hands with delight when they found the red
dead-nettle in bloom, often before the winter snow had
melted; and as the good curate had presented Harry
with a pretty magnifying-glass, he was able to show
Jane those rich, ruby tints, which lie-like jewels on a bed
of velvety down, and soft as the hue of the blush-rose, in
its beautiful flowers, which too many consider only an un-
sightly weed. Then Harry would ask her, as she peeped
through the tiny glass, how she should like a frock of
such bright and gaudy colours, and she would reply
that "such a splendid garment would only become the
queen of the fairies." Beautiful, also, did the many-
petalled star-shaped chickweed appear, nestling in its
little green calyx like a bird with its white plumes out-
spread, as it crept timidly from out the last fringe of
snow; and late in the spring they knew where to search
for the large mouse-ear chickweed, which often bears
blue or crimson flowers, and hangs down gracefully in
long trails when planted in pots, which Jane well knew
how to manage. The good curate, who was their tutor,
had told them how it seeds and flowers six or seven
times in the course of a year, and that though only con-
sidered a simple weed, it belongs to the grand family of
stichworts, that grow so tall, and make quite a light
under the hedgerows with their large white silvery-
looking flowers as spring draws nearer to the flowery





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

gates of summer. Long before a primrose had opened,
they:also gathered the handsome blue periwinkle, that
looks like a convolvulus before its twisted buds unfold;
for this, though a rather scarce wildflower, grew plenti-
fully on the south banks of Netherby Common, and was
often in bloom before that earliest of all builders, the
raven, began to make its nest.
What a common that was to ramble over! so vast
that you could scarcely see across it; and there a great
battle had been fought in former times, and many a
rusted weapon, used in ancient warfare, had been found
there by the labourers while deepening the drains. Oh,
what a shout Jane gave when she first discovered a large
bed of pale golden celandines, as she called on Harry to
come and look at the great buttercups she had seen;
not then knowing it would be full two months before a
yellow. buttercup could be found in flower. What a
summer look the large bright green leaves of the celan-
dine gave to that embankment, for it was only the end
of rainy February when she first saw that bed of golden
bloom, though the gorse had already begun to hang its
thorns with beautifully basket-shaped and bellied flowers.
But the first primrose-buds, just peeping from out their
tiny hoods of green, which they seemed to have drawn
,closely around them to keep out the cold, pleased Jane
"the most, for she liked the pretty name; and when
.Harry told her that he had heard the curate say, if the
stalk was only long enough to push itself out like the
pretty cowslip, instead of only one flower, the primrose
would be a large truss of bloom on a single stalk like
the polyanthus, which. grew in his father's garden. Jane
.'wished it had grown. so, and wondered why it had not;
\and, Harry did not understand enough of botany to tell





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

her why it did not. carry all its flowers on o.n sialkE, like
the cowslip. Then they examined the leaves of the
primrose through their wonderful glass, and Jane said
they were like a field she had seen covered all over with
molehills, which were green with grass, for such they
really appeared, so filled with hills and hollows, whick
Harry said must be rough travelling for the little insects
that went over them, and which were so small that they
could not be discovered by the naked eye. In low-
lying shady places they came upon great patches of
blue-bells, that almost seemed like another sky, as they
lay beneath the trees, while beyond, the beds of prim-
roses appeared like streaks of sunshine-a blue sky with
golden clouds curtaining the earth, and looking too
beautiful to tread upon. And the first time Harry and
Jane discovered those far-stretching beds of mingled
blue-bells and primroses, they stood silent for some
moments, hand. in hand, as if their speaking might
break the charm that seemed to reign in silence over that
enchanted Land of Flowers.
The woodmen, labourers, ploughmen, shepherds,
bark-peelers, and all such as were employed in out.
of-door work around. the pastoral neighbourhood of
Netherby, knew Harry and his pretty cousin Jane, as
well as they knew the road to the village church, and
delighted in telling the children where they had dis-
covered a nest, or come upon a bed of earlywblowing
flowers; so that Harry had only to. ask, and they directed
him to secluded places, where the first violets were iu
bloom, where lilies-of-the-valley hung out their ivory
urns, and whole armies of beautiful anemones nodded
their heads in the March winds.
Mrs. Hindmarsh was an indulgent mother-and





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

almost as fond of a rural ramble, when the spring days
were mild and warm, as the children-and had many a
time been their companion when they visited the hidden
nooks and secluded corners where the rarest wildflowers
were only to be found. When God had called her away
and numbered her amongst His angels, the appearance
of Harry again recalled her image, as she had moved
noiselessly about among the poor cottagers, holding
him kindly by the hand; for she dealt out her charity
like the rain, which falleth alike on the just and on the
unjust; and her calm forgiving eye could not look on
tearless, and see a poor family starve, through the mis-
conduct of a vicious father. There were drunkards, and
poachers-men who were ever breaking the laws, who
could never forget what she had done for them and
their families, and who would have laid down their lives
for Harry, only for his gentle mother's sake. His father
they feared, for he was never backward in enforcing the
law; and many were bold enough to say, that but for
Harry and Jane, whom everybody loved, he would have
suffered,- either in person or property, for having caused
so many of these lawless men to be committed to
prison at one time or another. There was a gipsy
named Black Boswell, who swore a wicked oath, that
when he got out of prison he would carry off Harry; and
there were rough men of Netherby who also vowed, that
if the gipsy ever dared to show his face within ten miles
of the neighbourhood after having uttered such a threat,
they would leave him in such a condition that he would
ever quit it again, unless carried off on the shoulders
of his tribe. And they would have kept their word.
Through conversing with such men as these, who
passed their days in the open air,.and knew more about





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

the habits of birds, beasts, and insects, than can ever be
known by the in-dwellers of cities, excepting through
books, Harry became a good naturalist before he had
attained his fourteenth year. He knew how the birds
lived that never quit our island, for he had watched
them in their haunts, before the trees showed a sign of
spring, and while the insects lay wrapped up in their
winter sleep. He had seen them foraging among the
dead grass and the withered bushes, hunting about
%mong mouldering walls, and in the hollows of decayed
trees; watched the water-wagtail perching about spring-
heads, where a few gnats were on the wing, and seen
the pretty titmouse draw the long straws out of the
thatched roofs of cottages and corn-stacks, to feed upon
the insects that were hiding underneath. From out the
mtoist moss, from under the sheltering hedges, he had
startled them; had seen the blackbirds and thrushes
dart out of stables, cart-sheds, and cow-houses, when
there was not even a bud on the early elder, nor a sil-
very catkin on the willow, and he knew they visited
these out-houses in search of food. Before March was
a week old, and when only little rounded buds made a
faint show of green on the hedges, he would show Jane
the blackbirds' and thrushes' nests he had found, and if
he could make an opening through the branches, get her
to look at the inside of the nests, that were as round,
and smooth, and hard as a basin; for these early-building
birds make quite a wall, of hard cement, so that the
chilly spring-winds cannot blow upon their young, when
they nestle at the bottom of their hard-set nests. Both
Harry and Jane loved to look at the little birds that
remain with us all the winter, such as the tiny wren,.
and prettily-marked titmouse, and thought how brave-





SWEET SPERNG-TIME.

startedd they must be to stop here throaagh all the cold
season, when birds six times their size fly away to ceek
warmer climates. And when they heard their sweet
voices singing in the spring, long before the birds of
passage had arrived, Jane would say, "If I knew what
food they liked best, and- could find plenty of it, I would
get all I could to throw to them before the other birds
arrived, for I am sure they deserve it for staying with
us." Nor could the tender-hearted little maiden under-
stand why they did-not pick up the bread-crumbs and corn
she threw down for them in. the warm spring days, as
they had done a few weeks before, until Harry showed
her what quantities of insects were then humming in
the air, and pointed to where the chickweed and ground-
sel were already in flower, and the early grasses begin-
ning.to seed.
They were returning from a long morning stroll in
Sweet Spring-time, and loitering every now and then on
their way home, as they crossed Netherby Common-
watching some old woman in her red cloak as she passed
with a basket on her head, or a shepherd lad driving
his lambs before him, or some light cart, or farmer as
he trotted by, all on their way to the little town, two or
three miles beyond the common, for it was market-day,
-both of them merry and light-hearted-when they
stopped suddenly to listen to the singing of a bird.
"That is a blackcap," said Harry, the first we have
hoard this spring. Old John King, who knows all
about birds, says it is the first that crosses the sea.
There it is, Jane, on the end of that branch. What a
funny little fellow he looks in that black-wig, which
seems too big for him by half. Look how he shakes his
pretty throat."





SWEET SPRING-TIMEI

"What a sweet singer he is !" replied June, standing
to listen with her head a little aside. "'Don't speak
loud, Harry. Oh! how delicious those low notes sound!
I am sure the nightingale has no notes so low and sweet
as those. I could stand and listen all day to such
music. How happy it seems! How I should like it!
and yet it would be a pity to keep it prisoner in a
cage."
While they stood listening so intently to the song
of the blackcap near the guide-post, they paid no re-
gard to the ringing of a horse's hoofs, that came up at ^
smart trot, until the rider drew his rein suddenly and
pulled up close beside them.
"What are you doing here, Harrym, so far from
home ?" said the horseman, in rather stern voice.
Harry looked up suddenly, with his:open happy face,
and saw it was his father, on his way toi, the little
market-town. "We have been getting blxat ells and
primroses in the old park closes, father,"' said Hlarry,
while Jane hung down her head ,anu blashhd..
"I think you might be better employed,"" said the
father, "and find plenty of such common fibers as
those nearer home."
"But there. are none so tall and. large- asa these,
father, anywhere nearer Netherby,"' replied Harry,
holding up his hand, which was filled wit thhosen: beauti-
ful wild flowers, many of the blue-bells full a foot long.
They are very pretty," he replied, coldly. Then,
giving his horse the rein, he pursued his journey with-
out uttering another word.
Like birds who cease from singing, the instant they
see the broad-winged hawk. hovering in the air, so
Harry and Jane moved along slowly, silent and de.





bSEET SPRING-TIME.

ejected, for they both felt the coldness of his manner, and
could not forget the harsh tones in which he first spoke.
Harry turned his head, and seeing the tears coursing
down the rosy bloom, with which the sun and air had
stained Jane's soft cheeks, said, as he took her hand-







xi













F; t





while he had great difficulty in keeping back his own
tears-" Never mind, don't cry, Jane. Father has met
with something at home that put him out of temper a
little this morning, I dare say, and that was what made
him speak so cross to us."
"But he never spoke to me at all, Harry," said





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

Jane, now beginning to sob bitterly; "nor hasn't
done for this many weeks, though I never told you be-
fore, and I'm sure I love my uncle almost as much as
I do my mother, and father, and you." And the little
maiden's tears fell like rain, as she sobbed out the
words.
A sudden light flashed into Harry's eyes, while his
face crimsoned as he said, "Don't take it so to heart,
Jane; you know my dear mother said we were always
to love one another, whatever happened, and that I was
to be a brother to you always, and so I will. I would
sooner tend cattle i. the lanes, and scare birds from the
corn, and work as hard as little Jack Jobson for a
shilling a week and my victuals, than see you cry. I
would indeed, Jane, and the unkinder father is to you,
the more he'll make me love you. I'll get a place,
I'. t"
Here poor Harry broke down, and began to cry in
earnest-not a still cry like Jane's, only revealed by its
tears, but a downright hearty blubber-with a threat of
vhat he would do between every sob, if his father was
unkind to his pretty cousin Jane.
Then it was Jane's turn to console him, and sh6
sealed up the fountain of her tears in a moment, pulled
out her little handkerchief, and wiped his cheeks, and
would have given all she possessed in the world to have
recalled what she had said about her uncle's unkindness,
and she said, I'm so sorry I told you. I didn't want
you to know, but I couldn't help it, when he seemed to
look so cross at me. But it makes me more unhappy to
see you cry, Harry, and I dare say uncle doesn't mean
anything, and has too many things to do and think
about to stop and speak to me. But here's Mr. Booker





SWEET SPRING-TIME,

arcoming, don't let him see we've been crying. Do look
cheerful, Harry."
Harry rubbed his eyes hard with his knuckles, mak-
ing them redder than they were before, and when the
good curate approached, with his hands behind his back,
enjoying leisurely his morning walk on the common, he
saw at a glance, from Harry's truth-telling face, that
something had gone amiss, and seizing both his hands,
the first words he uttered were, Why, my dear Harry,
you've been crying. Whatever has happened ?"
Harry hung down his head in silence, and as the
ourate caught a glance of the troubled expression of
Jane's countenance, he remembered that Mr. Hindmarsh
had ridden past him just as he was entering the com-
mon, and the suspicion instantly entered his mind that
the father had been speaking unkindly to the boy. So,
turning to Jane, he said, My dear, will you be kind
enough to go on first, and give my love to good Mrs.
Curtis, and if she can. spare the paper, be kind enough
to leave it at my lodgings. We shall be home almost as
soon as you." He stooped, parted her hair, which had
blown all about her face, and kissing her fair forehead,
sent her away with a smile on her sweet face.
No sooner had she gone beyond hearing, than he
turned round, and looking earnestly in the boy's face,
said in his calm, soothing voice, that voice which had
soothed many a sorrow, Now, my dear Harry, she is
gone, tell me all about it."
What Harry had to tell the worthy curate had long
since known, and had even ventured so far as to tell the
wealthy farmer, that the cold unkindness he showed to
his sister and niece was unworthy of a man professing
to be a Christian, and very unbecoming, supposing even





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

they were strangers, instead of being allied to him so
closely as they were. But, crying, my little friend," he.
said, clapping Harry kindly on the back, "is setting
your cousin Jane a very bad example. Look at that
skylark, how it goes singing, as Shakespere says, 'at
the gates of heaven.' I have no doubt its mate, sitting
on her nest, somewhere near to us, is looking up at it,
and listening with delight to that sweet song. And
that when he soars so high, and carols so loud, it is to
please her, for it must tire both his little wings, and
strain his sweet throat, to ascend to that great height,
"and still rain down such a shower of music; almost as
much as it would you, to run full speed from here to
where Jane is just vanishing out of sight, as she is
entering the village, especially if you were shouting all
the time. So you see, to give pleasure, we must- give
up ease and indolence, and even sacrifice our own feel-
ings at times, when we find that by concealing them we
spare others from pain."
Harry looked up at the skylark, understood the allu-
sion perfectly, and linking his arm in his tutor's, while
the old happy light again returned to his face, walked
and talked as tranquilly as if nothing had happened, as
they crossed the common, in the sunshine-the gold of
heaven-which God scatters alike on the evil and on the
good. As they passed along the winding footpath,
through a daisied meadow, the curate said, You, re-
member, Harry, my reading a few extracts from our old
English poet, Chaucer, to you a few weeks ago, and tell-
ing you that he-lived and wrote nearly five hundred
years ago? No poet ever wrote such beautiful lines on
the daisy as Chaucer, which he calls the 'eye-of-day,'
and the 'day's-eye.' So- great was his love for this
4f
a^





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

pretty simple flower, he would rise at the first peep
of day to see it open, and walk out again in the fields in
the evening, and lie down beside it, to see it close. He
tells us he knew of a valley 'with daisies powdered
over;' and I believe he was as familiar with the sleep of
plants as Linnaeus, though the great botanist has, got all
the credit of that discovery, for Chaucer tells- us how
'the daisy will go to rest for fear of night;' those are
the very words he makes use of. He also calls its open-
ing in the morning its resurrection.' "
He stooped down as he ceased speaking, gathered
one, pointed out the beauty of its silver frill, and open-
ing one of the yellow florets, which forms its golden
crown, showed his intelligent pupil that it was a perfect
compound flower.
On a sunny bank facing the south they found the
germander-speedwell, the prettiest of all our blue flowers,
which for colour can only be matched by those deep
azure openings we see at times in the sky, that seem to
lie in deep chasms far beyond the silvery piles of clouds.
They stopped beside an orchard hedge, behind which the
old trees were beginning to show their white and crim-
son blossoms, to watch the motions of a little wryneck,
which kept continually twisting its neck about, as if it
were impossible for the bird to keep its head still for
many moments together.
"That is the bird," said the curate, "that lays its
eggs in the hole of any tree which suits its fancy, with-
out taking the trouble to make a nest, and if you get
your fingers in to take out the eggs, and the bird is in
the hole, it begins to make an angry hissing noise like a
snake, and many a one has drawn his hand back much
quicker than he pushed it forward, affrighted at that





'SWEET SPRING-TIME.

strange sound. It is a. famous ant-eater, and draws its
long glutinous tongue in and out so rapidly, when feed-
ing on those insects, that, watch however narrowly you
may, it is impossible for the eye to detect the motion,
except by looking at the ants, which seem to be sucked
up in one continuous stream. It is also one of the few
birds that can hop, as if both its legs were tied together,
the same as a sparrow, and also walk like the rook, or
water-wagtail, by putting out one foot before the other.
Listen! that is the wheat-ear singing in the old apple-
tree, and is as curiously marked about the face as if it
had been quarrelling, and some bird had given it a black
eye. How lazily it seems to sing, taking it easily like a
fat bird as it is, as if determined not to put itself at all
out of the way, but just whistling a little low tune to
please itself, and not caring whether any other bird
hears it or not. Like the blackcap and wryneck, it is
one of the earliest of that great band of birds which
are now following each other from over the sea, to sing
in the green orchestras which sweet spring is fitting up
in our trees and hedges."
They had loitered so long on their way to the village,
stopping to listen to a bird here, and to gather a flower
there, and peeping into openings in the edges, or looking
for some' stir of insect life in the warm embankments,
that the good curate had succeeded in clearing away
every cloud from Harry's open brow, and restoring him
to his usual happy humour.
They met one of the woodmen in the village-street,
walking along with slow steps, and head bent towards
the ground, as if bowed down by some great trouble.
"What is the matter, John?" asked the curate,
withdrawing his arm from Harry's, and stepping into





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

the middle of the road, where the woodman was
walking.
"Matter bad enough for poor William Hartwell,"
answered the woodman, touching his hat. I have
just been helping him home, your reverence, for he was r
so fainty-like, he couldn't walk by himself. We were
felling that big tree by the farm gate, at the park, which
was decayed in the middle, when it came down, before
we had cut wholly through it; without giving us any
warning at all. One of the big branches struck poor
"William's right arm, and has lamed him very badly.
It's a great mercy he wasn't killed on the spot. The
doctor's with him now, and he says it will be many a
long day, he's afraid, before William will be able to
-use his arm again. But, thank God, his life isn't in
danger."
"My poor dear uncle !" exclaimed Harry, turning as
pale as the sprig of blackthorn blossoms he carried in
his hand. Not able to work for weeks; whatever will
become of aunt and Jane ?"
God tempereth the wind to the shorn-lamb, Harry,"
said the curate. You go on, and sit down to your
lesson. I will be with you speedily. You had better
not go in with me at present. I will send Jane to you."
With an aching heart Harry parted from his beloved
tutor, at the little wicket-igate that led to his uncle's
lowly cottage, full of grief for the poor sufferer that
lay maimed within; full of sorrow to think of what
Jane must have suffered when she reached home, only
an hour ago, full of regret that he was not rich enough
to help them in their great distress, for he knew that
they had just struggled through a long, hard winter;
during which his poor Uncle Hartwell had had but litti

iI





SWEET f SPRINGTIME.

work. Keeping down his tears, he entered the curate's
lodgings, his heart full to overflowing, his handsome
young face clouded with trouble; entered the little red
brick-floored parlour, which was the school-room, and
sitting down leaned with his elbows on the writing-des],
his face buried in his hands, and there let loose his
great sorrow.
He heard not that light footstep approach, he had
shut out the light with his hands, as he sat blinded by
his fast-falling tears; the flowers he had gathered, like
the bright hopes he set out with on that sweet spring
morning, were all scattered at his feet, when a pair of
gentle arms enfolded him, and a soft cheek pressed
against his wet with tears; and a low, sad sweet voice,
sorrowful but sweet as the notes of a bird singing a
dirge over the empty nest, from whence its young ones
had been stolen, said, Oh, cousin Harry, it will break
my heart if you go on so; and I left my dear mother cry-
ing, and Mr. Booker said he would stay and comfort
them, and I was to come here, as I should be happier
with you, and now you are so full of trouble for our sake,
and-and I have no one to console me."
Gently, tenderly, brotherly, Harry placed one arm
,around her waist, his other hand -still covering his falling
tears, and drawing her towards him, said, "How we
want my dear mother with us now," and poor Jane only
replied by low, deep sobs, as her arms enfolded him.
Poor children! their tender hearts and sensitive feelings
found trouble where hardened and vicious natures would
have remained untouched, and felt no sympathy in the
sorrows which they shared.
Just at that moment, in a beautiful laburnum, that
swOng its yellow chains before the open window, where





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

it stood like an ancient forester in its livery of green and
gold, some newly-arrived bird struck up its joyous song,
and Jane raising her head, and drying her tears, said,
"They say the birds are God's messengers, and He may
have sent this little one to comfort us. Let us do our
lessons. Mr. Booker said our tasks would drive away
sadder thoughts."
Mr. Booker was one of those earnest, hard-working,
honest clergymen, who, not half paid for their arduous
labour, are compelled to take a few pupils to make both
ends meet; for he never allowed one of his poor flock
to starve while he possessed a single shilling. He lived
in lodgings at a farm-house, having a chamber, a sitting-
room, and a little parlour for his pupils, paying a pound
a week for his board- and lodging, and giving away
nearly the whole of the remaining twenty-eight in
charity, for his whole income was but eighty pounds a
year, excepting what he made by his pupils. He sat
down at the same table, and ate the same brown bread
and cheese and bacon, as supplied the farmer and his
family. Yet this poor curate was one of God's true
ministers, who never neglected his duty, who cared both
for the bodies and souls of his poor parishioners, and had
been known to give away his only great coat in winter,
and to go out and brave the cold at midnight, to pray
by some sick bedside, wrapped in one of the farmer's
horsecloths. As old John, the woodman, said, "No
matter what road he takes, it is always leading him
nearer heaven."
Though they seldom agreed in opinion, Harry's
father could not help feeling a great respect for him.
The wealthy farmer had objected to his giving Jane such
an education as he was bestowing upon her.





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

"You might be bringing her up for a governess,"
said Mr. Hindmarsh, one evening.
"That is what I am doing," replied the curate, "and
have no doubt of getting her into some good family
when she is a year or two older. Jane has talent of no
common order, too good to ever become a common
household servant. And as you won't do anything for
your niece, why I must."
"I never said I would'nt do anything for her," an-
swered Mr. Hindmarsh, with some warmth; but I'm
not the man to go down on my knees to my sister, after
marrying so disgracefully as she has done, to ask her to
allow me to do her a favour."
"William Hartwell is a good, downright honest
man," said the curate, and I feel a pride in calling
him my friend. I wish you were as good a man in
heart and soul as he is, and as well prepared for heaven.
Your sister refused the hand of the Baronet. What is he ?
a fellow-for I will not call him a gentleman-who cares
only for his dogs and horses, his wine-bottle, and his
drunken fox-hunting acquaintances, and utterly neglects
his wife and children. Your sister made a wise choice,
and is happier in her poverty than the lady of the park
and hall is with her drunken Baronet."
Well, I see we shall never agree on these points,"
said Mr. Hindmarsh, and at that moment the servant
came in to inquire if she might serve up supper.
"You will sup with me," he added; "I have got a
brace of the finest partridges I have shot this season,"
"No, I thank you," answered the curate, "roast
partridge is too rich a supper for me;" though he
thought to himself, your sister has been ailing for some
time, and has only a poor appetite, if you offered me one






SWEET SPRING-TIME.

to take to her I dare say she might enjoy a mouthful of
it." And so thinking, he walked back to his lodgings,
to make his supper off spring radishes, a slice of brown
bread and butter, and a glass of home-brewed beer, over
which he thanked God for all his blessings."
This interview took place some days before Jane's
father met with the accident that crippled his right arm.
When Harry went home with Jane in the afternoon,
after having finished their lessons, he found his uncle
Hartwell in bed, with his arm bound up, suffering great
pain. As he put out his left hand to shake hands with
Harry, he said, I was just thinking of the Dutchman,
Harry, who, when he broke his arm, and his friend who
came to see him said a worse accident could'nt have hap-
pened to him answered, 'Yes it could, it would have
Deen worse if I'd broken my neck.' "
I'm glad to find you in such good spirits," said
Harry, smiling pleasantly, to see his uncle suffer with so
much good humour and patience. "It will be some
time I'm afraid before you'll be able to use your arm
again. You must let me and Jane manage the garden;
we can put in the early peas and sow the onions, and
plant out the cabbages, and such-like things. Aunt will
look on, and see that we do our work properly. I manage
my own little garden."
"I'm very thankful, Harry, you thought of this,"
replied the uncle; for it's been troubling my mind all
this afternoon, ever since I laid down. There's a many
things that want doing in the garden, and Jane's a capi-
tal one to help. It is pretty well dug, and the potatoes
are all in. But I'm afraid your father would'nt be very
well pleased if he happened to come by, and saw you
helping Jene. to garden."





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

Just at this moment his aunt came in with a cup' of
tea, and said something which diverted her husband's
thoughts from his garden for the moment, and prevented
Harry from saying what he intended regarding his
father.
That Harry's mother must have rendered his aunt
great assistance during her lifetime was pretty clear,
through his uncle giving up the house they lived in after
her death, and taking the little cottage which they still
inhabited. Jane used to visit the Grange in those days,
for whatever Mr. Hindmarsh might think, he could not
very well offer any opposition to his niece accepting his
wife's invitation, though there would no doubt have been
an altercation had Jane's mother and father been included
among her visitors.
But there were sharp tongues in Netherby, and as a
row of little cottages faced the gate that led up to the
Grange, the inhabitants could see everybody who went
in and came out, and were not backward in making their
remarks on whatever they saw. A child soon knows
who is kind to it, and where it is welcome, and Jane
was not long in finding out, after the death of her aunt,
that she was not wanted at the Grange. Her uncle's
sharp "Well Jane !" or "You here again !" made her
hang down 'her head, and often brought the tears into
her eyes, until at last instead of venturing inside the
gate, she waited outside for Harry.
"Do look at that dear, pretty girl, hanging about her
uncle'ss gate, Mrs. Harrison," said Betty Barton, as she
-stood knitting in the sunshine at the entrance of her
neighbour's doorway. The world has gone hard with
:her, poor thing, since she lost her aunt. Ah, she
Swas a good lady, Nanny, to all of us, and how prettily






SWEET SPRING-TI3ME.

she used to dress little Jane when she took her out with
her. She's waiting about for Harry, bless her."
"I should like nothing better than to throw this tub
full of soap-suds over her uncle when he comes out,"
said Nanny Harrison, who was scrubbing away, enve-
loped in steam as she bent over her washing-tub; "he
ought to be ashamed of himself, so rich as he is,-to let his
sister live in such a tumble-down, ruination, ramshackle
dog-hole as she does, and she brought up a lady-and all
because she would marry William Hartwell, who had
sweet-hearted her for years, and happened to come down
a bit in the world. But she was as true to him as the
flowers are to spring, and that's more than her proud,
stuck-up brother's ever been to her. Bless the child,
I would call her in and ask her to rest herself a bit, and tell
her you'll watch for Harry coming out, if I had not got
my washing about, and wet clothes laying on every chair
I've got. For I never forget her mother was a born
lady."
"There's Harry coming out, or I would have asked
her in myself," said Betty Barton. "Bless her sweet
face; how pleased she is to see him! It does one good,
Nanny, to look on such a.face as hers, it's so pleasant and
so innocent, and puts one in mind of the good pictures
we see of angels. And I've often fancied angels must
look just like her when she's singing in the church of a
Sunday, with her blue eyes, looking up to heaven. I wish
I was rich for her sake, she shouldn't wear that common
cotton frock and those heavy boots, only fit for a farm-
house wench. But our curate's bringing her up to be a
lady some day, and God will bless him for it."
"What a difference this money does make in some
people surely," said Nanny, wringing out a coarse towel,





SWELT SPRING-TIME.

and twisting her face into almost as many wrinkles as
the cloth in her hands. "I remember when they lived
at the farm on the hill, and William Hartwell first
courted Miss Hindmarsh, that he used to go out with
his dogs and his gun, and keep company with the first
gentlemen in the neighbourhood. And now he's a poor
hard-working man! We know that we're born, Betty,
but we none of us know what may happen to us before
we're buried."
That's as true, Nanny, as if our good parson had
said it from the pulpit," remarked Betty.
"And Jane's father didn't fall into poverty through
idleness, or drinking, or misconduct, as a many do,"
continued Nanny; "but through his father becoming
security to stock a large farm for a good-for-nothing
brother of his, who took to gaming, and horse-racing,
and brought himself to the dogs, and everybody that
belonged to him-more's the pity."
And so these hard-working homely women passed
judgment on their neighbours, talking about who had
got up, and who had gone down, and who had done
well, and who had done ill in the neighbourhood, and
ending with Ned Brown, who, as Nanny said, "got into
debt and then run away, which was all she ever knew
him to do."
Meantime, Harry and Jane worked hard at the
garden early and late, and got it into such capital order,
and everything in season in the ground so neatly, that
Mrs. Hartwell said they could hardly have done their
work better if they had served an apprenticeship to
gardening. It had been well dug during the winter,
so that they were spared the hardest part of the labour.
But there was one portion of the garden where a few





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

hardy 'greens had stood throughout the winter, and this
Harry said he should dig himself, to plant out the few
lettuces that were standing under a frame. His aunt
stood at the cottage door watching him, with her sew-
ing in her hand, while Jane was busy with her little
flower beds.
Harry began digging at the easb end of his bed, and
carried full a dozen spadefuls of the earth he dug out
to the west end, leaving a hole big enough to bury a
baby in at one end, and a little embankment of earth at
the other, scraping his spade clean with a smooth, thin-
edged bit of wood, every time it was clogged heavily
through the earth adhering to it. Into the deep trench he
had made across the bed he threw in the topmost spade-
ful of earth, which did not near fill it; but when he had
dug a spade deeper, and brought up the bottom-earth,
and buried the first spadeful under it, then the trench
was filled up and level, and the ground higher than it
was before, while the earth which had been buried two
spades deep all the year, was now on the top, to be
mellowed and enriched by the sun, air, and rain. So
he went on until he came to the west end of the bed,
where he would have left a deep unsightly hole, had he'
not had.the little bank of spare earth to fill it up with,
which he had carried in his spade from the other end of
the bed, when he first commenced. So tired was Harry
when he had finished that he was compelled to sit down
*and rest himself, while Jane raked the bed after he had
dug it.
While Harry was wiping the perspiration from his
forehead, he saw his father on horseback, gazing fixedly
at him above the garden hedge. Neither his aunt nor
Jane had seen him. before, so intently had they been







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SWEET SPRING-TIME.

watching Harry digging, so that none of them knew
how long he had been there. He rode away slowly
with his head down as if in deep meditation. A lad
who will work like that, without any reward for his
labour beyond that of pleasing those he is attached to,
would make his fortune in any quarter of the world
where labour is wanted," thought the wealthy farmer
to himself. I might as well try to silence an echo by
shouting to it, as to separate him from that girl while
they live so near together. Poor Jane! she is a sweet
child, and can no more help her father's faults than
yonder stray lamb can get through that thick fence by its
bleating."
And dismounting, he threw his bridle over a gate-
post, and drove the lamb lower down the road, where
there was a gap in the hedge, and sent it bleating
happily to its dam, which was making a piteous outcry
in the field. Thinking of Harry and Jane had some-
what softened his proud heart that fine spring morning;
but for that he very likely would have left the pretty
lamb to have, strayed whithersoever its silly will
might have led it, unconscious of any danger. It may
be too that the image of gentle Jane was in his mind
when he parted the tangled brambles which had thrust
through the gap, so as to let the little wanderer pass
into the field more easily, for trifles light as air," for
the moment, often carry the mind into strange new
channels of thought on currents over which we seem to
have no control, and by so doing awaken that "still
small voice," which every now and then speaks to us
unaware, warning us against evil, or stirring us up to
do that which is good.
ThK. very afternoon when Harry went out for a walk





SWEET SPRING-TIM3E.

with Jane, he saw the same lamb which had strayed in
the morning running a race against another, while the
dam, which had left off grazing, stood on a little daisied
mound, as if she had elevated herself on purpose to
see which won, and Harry remarked that "it was the
Grand Stand which overlooked the lamb race-course."
What a noise those rooks are making !" said
Harry. I'm afraid they often quarrel. Old John
the woodman tells me they fight dreadfully at times,
and steal the sticks from one another's nests; and
that he has.seen a dozen or more at a time attack
a couple of thieves, and drive them clean away from the
neighbourhood of the rookery."
I like to see them walking along the furrows of a
ploughed field," said Jane, picking up one foot care-
fully after the other, then hopping over the large clods
of earth, just as we jump over a stone-heap in the road.
They used to tell me when I was a very little girl, that
the rooks said their prayers when they got into their
nests at night, and I was silly enough to believe it, and
have often stood under the trees listening to the low
cawing they make when it begins to be twilight."
"I like to hear them of a morning before I am up,"
said Harry, "and to see their dark shadows thrown
upon the window blind, just as the sun rises. They say
the old elm trees behind our grange have been a rookery
for two or three centuries."
They went up to a farmer's daughter they knew, who
was singing while she milked a red and white cow
behind a high hawthorn hedge, and who gave them
some warm milk out of her pail that was all of a foam,
and left a froth on their lips after they had drank, like
the creamy mark often seen when any one has been





SWEET SPIRING-TIME.,

quaffing from a foaming tankard of ale. TLey listened
to the jingling gear of the ploughman's horse, as he rode
home sitting sideways on the leader, after his day's
labour, with the whip resting idly over his shoulder,
and sometimes humming a stave while the black-
birds and thrushes, from the hidden coverts that
concealed their nests, joined in chorus, as they sang
their evening songs in the golden sunset. They saw
two pretty yellow-hammers wrangling over a head
of grounsel, as they both tugged at the same single
flower, which was the only one in bloom. Jane laughed
Sat the gritting sound made by the sparrows, who were
busy stripping the thatch from a corn stack, and which
she said put her in mind of a knife-grinder's wheel.
They found the eggs of the painted-lady butterfly on
the leaf of a young nettle, though the plant was only
.three or four inches high, for the curate had told Harry
that this was one of the earliest butterflies that come
abroad to lay its eggs in spring. They went out and
returned home with light and happy spirits that sunny
afternoon and evening, for Mr. Hartw6ll had cheered
them by saying that his arm had never felt so easy as
it had done that day, since he met with his accident.
When any one begins to feel very uneasy, and their
mind becomes troubled, and they do not seem at all
comfortable within themselves, they sit down, question
their own hearts, and try to discover what it is that
troubles them. They must be very hardened indeed
who try to stifle this feeling-to smother the painful
pleading of this inward voice without listening to it,
and hearing all it has. to say; for it is conscience that
accuses; and woe be to those who turn a deaf ear to
it; for such as do are the hard of heart," and will go
f





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

on erring to the end; while that good conscience, which,
like an invisible angel, is ever keeping watch, and
warning us against doing wrong, will become dumb
and depart, and leave only evil behind as an inmate.
It was on the evening of the day he had reined up
his horse, to look at his son working so hard at dig-
ging the garden, that Squire Hindmarsh sat alone in
his large wainscoted parlour, watching the fire-light
flicker and play on the hearth and on the ceiling, and
making bright golden spots here and there as the blaze
flashed upon and was reflected back from the beeswax-
polished furniture, which was as bright as hands could
make it. He was thinking how uneasy he had felt of
late, and how when he had. mentioned this unhappy
state of mind to the curate, he only said, "You should
do as I do-endeavour all in your power to make every-
body about you as happy as you can, and sacrifice a few
of your comforts to your duty. Go and visit your
brother-in-law; he is suffering great pain, and requires
help; the very sight of your face would be like sunshine
on a gloomy day. Try a little kindness, it is a fine
medicine, and, with God's blessing, will soon set your
mind at ease."
Should he take the good curate's advice ? It would
make his sister, and Jane and Harry happy. But why
didn't Mr. Hartwell. ask him for assistance if he required
it ? Conscience answered, Because you have been un-
kind to him, have passed him by with averted face; and
while he had strength to work he refused to be beholden
to you."
He looked in the fire, and one red level spot took
the shape of a corn-field, flooded with sunshine, with
spots here and there, like figures of gleaners; and he





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

remembered how his sister and pretty Jane gleaned in
his own fields along with the poorest villagers during
the last harvest. His own sister! who had received a
lady's education, and had played to him, and sang for
him her sweetest songs many a time in the days of her
happy maidenhood, while Hartwell himself was also a
glad listener in that very parlour. At that moment a
bright tongue of flame shot out from the barred grate,
and threw a strong light for a few moments on his wife's
portrait, and he fancied that it smiled upon him. He
could not help thinking how much happier his home
was when she was alive, not made so by her presence
only, but by the poor villagers who were constantly
coming in and out to receive acts of kindness from her
hand, such as food, and clothing, and medicine. Then
too there was Jane's merry laugh and Harry's joyous
shout ringing from out her room, or down the garden
where they were playing. One stood on each side of her
in the picture containing her portrait. She was painted
with an arm round each of them, and Jane's long silky
hair, which she had so often curled with her own hands,
stood out in its rich golden brown, from her light dress,
as it reflected the ruddy blaze. Then the villagers
bowed and curtsied to him whenever he met them, and
ran to open the gates, and smiled at his presence. Now,
if they saw him coming, as they stood at their cottage
doors or garden gates, they went in; and if they met
him on the high road or in the village street, they either
turned their heads aside, or fixed their eyes on the
ground. It was for her sake, then, they had paid him
this homage, and she was the good angel that. ever
moved by his side, visible only to their eyes, though he
remembered thatin those days he returned their kiud
I





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

greeting by either a bow, or a wave of his hand. He
had ceased paying back that courtesy long before they
ceased paying him passing respect, for a black look is an
ungrateful return for a polite bow.
He rose from his seat, and walked restlessly up and
down the room, and when the servant opened the door,
and inquired if he would have lights brought in, she
stared in speechless amazement at his answering, If
you please, Mary," instead of the surly Yes or Ne"
he was accustomed to.utter.
He felt heated, and opening the door paced up and
down the gravel-walk at the front of the Grange, for
there was still a warm mellow light hanging about the
western sky. He leant for a few moments over the
front gate, and caught the sound of quick light foot-
steps approaching : they stopped near the gate, and he
heard a sweet voice say, Good night, dear Harry. I shall
see you in the morning. God bless you."' Then theb
was a parting sisterly kiss. He called to her from over
the gate in a kind voice, saying, Come in, Jane, I want
you." He opened the gate, and they both entered, she
holding Harry by the hand. Just as the Grange-gate
closed behind Jane, with a loud clap, which seemed in
Harry's ears to say, We've got her safe, and we'll keep
her now," the church-bells commenced a merry peal, for it
'was an old custom in Netherby to ring in and out the
21st of March, as the sun rose and set at six o'clock
on that day, when there was equal day and night. Mr.
.Hindmarsh started when he heard the bells strike up
such a merry peal, and with a smile he placed his hand
gently on Jane's shoulder, and said, You see the very
bells are so glad at your entering your surly old uncle's
house again, that they can't remain silent," and. he





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

stooped and kissed her, as she stood upon the door-sill
of the old Grange in that calm evening of Sweet Spring-
time, while Harry's dog ran to and fro, barking with
delight,
When the servant brought in candles, Mr. Hind-
marsh said, William must go down to my 'sister, and
tell her that Jane is staying to make tea for us, and that
Harry will bring her home," and, untying Jane's bonnet,
he stroked her beautiful hair kindly, then placed her at
the tea-table, where she sat blushing like a wild rose.
Jane had made tea for the curate and Harry, when the
farmer's wife, with whom he lodged, was away from
home, and Mr. Booker had praised her attention at
table; for on more than one occasion some of his lady
parishioners had called upon him while his pretty pupil
presided over the table in her homely attire, and she
had attended on them without showing the least sign of
confusion; for whatever she had to do, she did it well
and carefully. Though her wealthy uncle tried to make
himself pleasant, and thought his table appeared more
cheerful than it had done for many a day, and praised
her for her handiness in filling the cups, and pouring
out the cream, and using the sugar-tongs so daintily,
yet there were moments when his eye fell on the picture,
and he became thoughtful; and at last he said, Would
you like to come and live with me and Harry altogether,
Jane, and make the Grange your home ?"
I would, very much, dear uncle, if mother would
let me," she replied, "and father were quite well again;
but I should not like to leave them now." The tears
rose in her eyes as she spoke, and she held them in check
there, for Harry looked at her so kindly that his smile
drove back the rising sorrow, which ended in a low sigh.





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

You are a good girl, my dear, to first remember
your parents, and think of your duties at home,"
answered the uncle. We will do nothing but what they
consent to, and that cheerfully; never fear."
When William, who was Squire Hindmarsh's fore-
man, arrived at the cottage to deliver his master's
message, he found the good curate dressing Mr. Hart-
well's arm, while Mrs. Hartwell held the light and the
bandages, for the surgeon had gone to attend a patient
some miles off. It was not the first time Mr. Booker
had acted as doctor to his parishioners during the sur-
geon's absence; and the villagers jocularly called him
the surgeon's assistant, for when the surgeon was likely
to be called away far, the curate would accompany him
to see his patients before he went, watch closely his
manner of operating, and do whatever was necessary,
almost as well as the surgeon himself.
The curate did not appear to be at all surprised at
the message, but continued folding the bandage round
the maimed limb, though he felt the arm trembling all
the time, merely saying, "Jane will have two teas too
day then, and I'm glad of it."
"I am sure we are indebted to you in some way or
another for this sudden change in my brother," said
Mrs. Hartwell, looking at the curate with a thankful
smile.
It may be so," was the answer, though I believe
your old beau of the Hall has a little to do with it."
"It would be the first time in his life," replied the
husband, that the Baronet has ever shown himself our
friend. But I have long since, with all my heart, for-
given him the injury he once did us, as I hope myself to
be forgiven for all I have ever done amiss."





SWEET SPPING-TIME.

You are a much happier man than he is, William,
though you have a maimed limb," answered the curate:,
"You remember plain-speaking John Bunyan tells us-

He that is down, need fear no fall;
He that is low, no pride;'

though I hardly hold with the last line, for I have often
found a good deal of pride amongst those who have
fallen very low in the world; it is fair to suppose
that Bunyan alluded to the lowly in heart. But the
Baronet has had a fall, and a heavy one too, from
his pride of place. Horses, hounds, flocks, and herds are
all to be sold, servants discharged, and the Hall to be
let. All the family will have to live upon for some years
will be the sum the hall and park are let for. The rent
of farms and everything besides goes to pay his gambling
debts."
I am deeply grieved to hear it, for the lady's and
the children's sake," said Mrs. Hartwell; and the change
in her handsome face told that she felt as she spoke.
"Still I am at a loss to perceive how the Baronet's mis-
conduct can have anything to do with this alteration in
my brother."
".Any more than you can see why Jane to-night
is occupying the very place the little lady of the
park, who rides the long-tailed white pony, has before
occupied-is that it ?" asked the curate with a smile
and a deep-meaning look. Harry will never now
be the son-in-law of the Baronet, as he probably might
have been, some six or seven years hence. Does your
arm feel easy, William ?"
Husband and wife looked at one another for some
moments in silent amazement, and then William, using





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

an old country idiom, said, So the wind has been
sitting in that quarter, has it ?"
For a long time," replied the curate, "and has
shifted at last. Dakin will be moving out of your old
house in a day or two, would you like to go back to it ?"
"I should indeed, if we could only afford to pay the
rent for it," answered Mrs. Hartwell, though if it hap-
pens to be a good season the produce of the orchard does
more than that."
"I thought you would, and persuaded Mr. Hind-
marsh to-day to take it for you; you musn't let William
exert himself in helping to move into it. Good night!
and God bless you," and the good curate was gone.
"Tirra lirra!" oh how sweetly the speckle-breasted
skylark sung the next morning while Harry and Jane
:stood listening, and watching the shiver of its pretty
wings as it went soaring into the steep blue concave of
heaven. They had not a care on their hearts nivw.
Jane was to comn and live at the Grange, and her
parents to go back to the old house, with its great
orchard where so many bullfinches congregated and
pecked the blossoms, and no end of birds built in the
garden hedges. Her father's arm would soon be well,
and he was no longer to be a labourer, but the farm
bailiff under her uncle, have his horse to ride about, and
see that the men attended to their work. But, better
than all, Harry, instead of being sent miles -away to
school, was to remain the curate's pupil, and obtain a
knowledge of farming from his uncle (for Mr. Hartwell
was a first-rate practical farmer), who would now have a
wide field in which to display the talents that had so
long been buried. All out-of-door objects seemed to
look brighter, and everything to appear happier, in





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

thb eyes of the two cousins, than they had ever before
done since the morning Harry met his father on horse-
back by the guide-post on the common, in the sunshine
of that Sweet Spring-time, for there was no longer a
cloud over them.
What long rambles they had together after Jane's
parents removed into their old house, and let the tumble-
down cottage to John the woodman, who said, "It's
quite a palace beside the wooden hut I've been used to
for so many years, and in which I had to move the mat-
tress I slept upon three or four times of a night when it
rained pretty stiffishly, to find a dry corner."
They watched the leafing of the trees as they became
greener every day; looked up and saw the blue sky of
April through the budding branches of the tall windy
elms, which the foliage in a few more weeks would shut
out, while the birds sang beneath the shelter of that
verdant awning. They saw the leaves of the oak
hanging out as if they had been cut from sheets of thin
rich metal, so bronzed appeared the early burgeoning
which would soon form itself into the most beautiful of
all our forest foliage. The old blackened seeds of the
ashes rattled again when the wind blew among the fresh
leaves amid which they still hung. But most they ad-
mired in the woods the silvery birch that throws out
its flowers in long trails of gold, while the beautifully-
formed leaves shoot gracefully over them as if to protect
the bloom. Then came the elegant beech, its leaves
glittering like emeralds, while its bark is almost as
smooth as polished silver. Here and there the dark firs
heaved up, making a pleasant contrast, like cooling
shadows on a picture which otherwise would be flooded
with too much light The sunshine streamed through





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

the young lime-leaves as if they were transparencies hung
out to reflect the gold of heaven; while the young chest-
nut buds opened their fingery-shaped foliage, which
would soon spread fan-like, and keep the air cool for the
golden-banded bees that would be heard murmuring
amid the coming blossoms.
Then there was the entangling underwood, consisting
of every variety of wild bushes and sharp-hooked long-
trailing brambles, with a tall holly here and there, and
fine smooth tapering hazels already hung with yellow
catkins, and amid these the birds built and sang in
safety, for in many places the low-spreading branches
were so interwoven and massed together as to be impene-
trable. They saw the little rabbits run darting in and
out to their hidden burrows along ways only known to
themselves, and covered over by a thick net-work of
leaves. And into that old city of trees fresh inhabitants
were arriving every day from far-off foreign countries,
soon to unite their voices in one grand concert, and tell
one another how glad they were to meet again, and what
perils they had passed through in crossing the seas, and
how happy they were to find so pleasant a place to rear
their young in, where there was peaceful shelter and an
abundance of food. The good curate had told them all
about the birds being the oldest builders in the world,
and that the gray undated ruins of Stonehenge were but
as a work of the preceding day compared with the ages
that these feathered labourers had been miners and
masons, carpenters and joiners, felters and weavers,
tailors and basket-makers, for that the followers of these
trades were but copiers of methods adopted by the birds
in erecting their nests,
They saw the little white-throat dart by like a shoot-





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

ing-tar, its flight so rapid as only- to leave visible the
flashing of its snowy breast through the green of the
underwood; though at other times they had been more
fortunate, and had seen it rising up and down scores of
times, and only alighting for a moment on the end of
the same bending spray, while it sang sweetly all the
time, and was too happy to remain still for a single
moment. They also knew that the titlark was another
restless singer, that could not get on with a tune at all
unless it kept flying up and down like the white-throat,
and perching on some branch for a moment or so every
time it descended. They saw the redstart perched on
the stem of an ivy-covered elm, which the lightning had
blasted, trembling all over with delight while it carolled
4as if every little feather was raising itself and assist-
ing in the song; and they knew that it loved best to
build on some old ruin whose decay the ivy covered, or
the pale, golden, wild wallflower beautified. Nature's
great cathedral, with its green pillars of trees and blue
roof of heaven, was now filled with music, for the birds
were the choristers, and sent their voices down the leafy
aisles where the echoes lingered, and took up and pro-
longed the sound.
Beautiful too, in their eyes, did the old Grange look
on their return, for no one ever remembered a sweeter
Spring-time. We have had nothing but sunshine and
gentle showers since Jane's return," said M1r. HindmarsF
to the curate; "and she goes singing about the house
all day long like a bird, and really it does my heart good
to hear her."
"It is neither her singing, nor the sunshine that
makes you feel lighter-hearted," replied the curate, "but
fthe fulfilment of a duty too long neglected-the sacrifice





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

of feelings, which leave no heart at peace with itself
while it entertains them. This, my friend, is what makes
you feel happier, makes the sunshine appear brighter,
and the voice of that dear girl seem the sweetest music .
that you have heard for many a long day. You are like
a wearied man eased of the cumbersome burden he has
carried so far that he was ready to sink under it, and
who when he has laid it down feels that he never found
rest so sweet. I am going now to dress the arm of my
patient, who I left sunning himself in the garden this
morning and holding the list and nails, while your
thrifty sister was fastening the peach and nectarine
branches to the walls." And it was pleasant to the
wealthy farmer to receive such a warm shake of the hand
from the curate as he now gave him every time they met
or parted. Nor did he, unless called away by those
duties which he never neglected, refuse to sit down at
the squire's well-spread table, one end of which was now
occupied with Jane, who was already mistress of the
keys, the housekeeper having left to be married, and Mr.
Hindmarsh merrily called her the young mistress of the
Grange. It was pleasant to watch the curate instructing
her to carve a chicken or a duck without once taking
out the fork, and right well did she get through the
operation after a time or two.; for Jane paid close atten-
tion to all that was said to her, and never let anything
she was required to do pass wholly from her memory
until she had mastered it, for she did not possess one of
those wandering minds which glances hurriedly over a
hundred things in the course of the day: without fixing
itself firmly on one for five minutes at a time.
Her uncle would no longer let her wear: co-mman
cotton dresses, nor bonnets of the same material with a





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

curtain hanging down her neck, nor heavy boots-more
becoming a ploughboy than a pretty maiden. Still she
hung up a few relics of her homely attire in the ward-
robe she now called her own, and which had formerly
been her aunt's. "They will always serve to remind me
that I was once a poor cottager, and gleaned in the har-
vest fields, and did all the household work, when you,
my dear mother, were too ill to help me," said Jane to
ier mother, who was examining the beautiful dresses her
uncle had bought her, and which nearly filled every shelf
in the handsome wardrobe, and will keep me humble-
minded-should I ever forget myself and grow proud-
every time I change my dress."
"And this, I suppose," said Harry, who had stolen
up slowly behind his aunt, and now pointed to a new
crinoline which stood out like an open umbrella, is the
safe you have bought to keep these humble thoughts in,
with room enough to prevent them from crowding too
closely together."
"4Well, sir, if it is," said Jane, laughing; it's no worse
than you telling Mr. Brown, the shoemaker, to make the
heels to your new boots an inch higher than the last pair,
so as to make you appear taller than you are. You little
thought I was behind the door when he came to measure
you! Beside the curate says that those who do not
dress according to the common fashion display more
pride than those who do."
At one corner of Jane's pleasant chamber window,
which overlooked a wide pastoral landscape, bounded
with hills and woods-every acre of which was her
wealthy uncle's freehold-a house-loving swallow began
to build its nest, and so accustomed did it become to her
gentle face, that it would continue its labour in the early





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

morning while she stood watching it through the window-
pane. "I think it's a very lazy bird," she said to the
curate, for it seldom works for more than an hour or
two of a morning, then goes playing and flying about all
the remainder of the day."
"It is a very sensible bird," answered the curate,
"for if it built too much of its nest at a time, the very
weight of the wet clay it uses would cause the whole of
the unfinished fabric to tumble down. Knowing this,
the little builder progresses slowly and surely, giving the
inch of work it has done twenty-four hours to dry and
harden before it adds another inch to its nest. If all
builders were as cautious, and let the foundations of their
houses dry before they added the upper walls, many of
our buildings would last longer than they do."
Jane often got up as soon as it was daylight to watch
the pretty swallow at work, and one morning she knocked
at Harry's door, and he stood beside her delighted to see
how it smoothed the clay with the under part of its
throat and neck, moving its head to and fro as a brick-
layer moves his trowel when spreading smooth his mortar
-having no scaffold to stand upon, but holding on to the
window-frame with its little claws and flattened tail,
which seemed a great support to it. When it left off
work it flew away to the great pond to wash itself, nd
came out as bright and fresh-as Harry said-" as if it
had put on a clean white waistcoat," so snowy-looking
was its breast.
By the time the May-buds were in blossom, Jane's
father was well enough to take the management of the
vast farm, though Mr. Hindmarsh insisted upon his
doing nothing more than riding about the great wide-
spreading fields for a few more weeks, and seeing that
a ,I





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

tlhemen did their allotted work properly. Mr. Hartwell
suggested so many improvements in the working of the
land, that in the course of three years, he added some
hundreds to the profits more than the estate had ever
before yielded.
By that time Jane had grown one of the handsomtest
young ladies in the neighbourhood of Netherby, and so
proud was her rich uncle of seeing her on horseback that
he got her to put .on her rich riding habit to accompany
him to the market town when he went to sell his cattle
and corn, and return home with his great yellow bag
filled with -gold and bank notes; and many a wealthy
farmer's son stood ready to help Jane to alight from her
side-saddle, and to assist in mounting her. before she
returned, unless she was accompanied by her cousin
Harry, for then they knew their aid would not be
accepted.
When she was twenty the once poor cottage girl
became, the mistress of Netherby Grange, for Harry was
then her husband, and she rode beside him when he at-
tended the markets, while his father remained more at
home than ever, glad now to have the company of the
curate and Mr. and Mrs. Hartwell whenever his son and
daughter-in-law were absent.
"God bless her sweet face," said Nanny Harrison, as
ahe .rubbed the suds off her stout arms, and rushed out of
her cottage to open the gate for the young squire and his
lady, as Jane and her husband were now called by the
villagers; ".she's just what her dear aunt was when she
first cameamongst us, only a deal more free somehow, and
in't.. above talking about how she used to run in here out
of therain, in the days when her uncle was cross with
her, nd she was waiting to see Harry. And what, a





SWEET SPRING-TIME.

change for the better has come over'her uncle sure-y!
Heaven forgive me I used in those days to feel so
savage at his neglecting his little niece, that I quite
longed at times to throw my soap-suds over him. Now
he goes about arm-in-arm with our good curate, inquiry
ing what we want and what he can do for us, and has
laid out a mint of money to build that school for our
children, where Jane often sits, with the patience of an
angel, for hours together, listening to them saying their
lessons, and teaching the girls to sew."
And her dear mother's quite as good as she is,"
said Betty Barton, cutting out their work and basting
it down for them, and letting them run about to get their
pinafores full of berries and apples in her garden and
orchard, and seeming to love them all the more because
she once lived in a poor cottage-though she was born
a lady-and her husband had then to work as hard for
his bread as mine. Hey, Nanny lass, them that's been
once poor themselves-if their hearts are in their right
places-have the most feeling for those who still find
"Want giving them a sharp pinch every now and then.
And look what the fine Baronet came to, that sold her
husband up out of house and home, because Jane's
mother wouldn't marry him. They say he'll never
be able to show his hang-dog face in honest Old Eng-
land any more, and that he's turned quite a sharper
somewhere in foreign parts-abroad. That gaming's
brought many a family to ruin, Nany, and many a fine
fellow to the. gallows."
Itwould'nt matter a pin what became ofithem,"
replied Nanny, ':but it's their poor families Ipity; and
when I think 6f.pretty Caroline riding about on her
long-tailed, pony, just as our young Squire's lady does





SWEET SP]RING-TIME,

now, and hear of her being seen in some foreign lodging-
house, with hardly a decent thing on her back, and her
poor mother-that was a lady-not able to show herself
out of doors at all, because her clothes are so shabby,-it
makes my heart ache for 'em, and my very blood boil
when I think of the villain of a father, and I sometimes
wish that I had the keeping of him only for a month-he
should sup sorrow by spoonfuls, and be fed out of my hog-
tub with my longest ladle."
And so Nanny-whose bark was worse than her bite,
and who would not wilfully have injured even a fly,
though it settled down on one of her whitest of collars
when she was ironing--vented her dislike to the ruined
gamester, who had given many a heart-ache to Jane's
parents in their younger years; but they could now
kneel down side by side, and with all their hearts pray
God to forgive their enemies. And all who can truly do
this, towards those who have injured them, have ever a
Sweet Spring-time in their souls-brightened by an
eternal sunshine which no winter can ever darken, either
here or beyond the grave.

1 -









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-- .- ,
































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II~ Ib ii i** 1 I


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LOTTIE'S ItALF-SOVEREIGN.
-4---



BY* MIS. RUSSELL GRAY,
AUTHOR OF EARLY DAYS dF*E3NGLISH PRINCES."


A FEW days before Christmas, a large family party of
young people was assembled in an apartment of
Stanley Court. The rows of shelves filled with volumes,
mostly bound in those sombre coverings, so familiar
to us "when we were young," the maps suspended
on the walls, the globes, the square piano, the monster
slates on pedestals, and other apparatus, denoted it
to be the school-room; but on this afternoon certainly
no signs of deep study were to be perceived. On
the music-stand, instead of a 'grave sonata, or in-
tricate exercise, stood sundry well-known comic
songs, and lively polkas; the cumbrous slates were put
into a corner with their black faces towards the wall;
bonnets and cloaks were thrown sacrilegiously over the
celestial globe; while the large centre table, in place of
the abstruse histories, German lesson-books, and dic-
tionaries which usually adorned it, was strewed with
gay-coated books, paint-boxes, work-baskets; chess and
backgammon-boards, etc., in such profusion, that at a
glance it was easy to discern that the governess was
absent. And so it was ; the monarch of the school-room





LOTTIE' S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

had on the previous day departed on a visit to her
relations, leaving her dominion, for the time being, to
the sway of her pupils, who, joined by numerous
brothers from various schools, boys full of glee and
spirits, filled the quiet school-room with sounds of mirth
and fun, and converted the usually neat apartment into
a scene of confused disorder, which would have shocked
poor Miss Page, could she have seen or even imagined
it, but which seemed very enjoyable to the young people
themselves.
And now the short December day was fast closing
in; the party at the table had no longer sufficient light
for their various pursuits, so some of them gathered
round the wood fire, blazing brightly on the hearth, and
casting a glowing hue on the crimson window-curtains,
making the scene within doors contrast most agreeably
with that without-the large expanse of lawn, with its
snow-clad shrubs, looking like fantastic figures in their
white shrouds.
Two little boys and a tiny girl lingered at the table,
to watch, with unabated interest and admiration, the
feats of a 'kind elder brother, who for their amusement
had been trying divers experiments from that universal
favourite, the "Boy's Own Book," and, by means of
quicksilver, taken for the occasion from a broken ther-
mometer, and other decoctions, had just been successful
in exhibiting a silver-tree, which, suspended in its beau-
tiful branching shape, with the flame of the fire shining
upon it, produced the most brilliant, glittering, and
marvellous effect imaginable, drawing forth from the
children shouts of wonder and delight, while they re-
garded their brother quite in the light of a magician.
In the meanwhile those by the fireside chattered





LOITT'1IE'S HfALF-SOVEEIGN.

together. At length, Edgar, the eldest of 'the whiolef
party, exclaimed, Where can Lottie be all this time ?"
Yes," returned Lionel (the magician), "she pro-
mised'to be in before four, to play our match at -chess,
and I am now quite ready for her."
"Oh! replied Edgar scornfully, there is not much
reliance to be placed on her promises. Depend upon
it, she has forgotten all about you and your chess. 12o--
thing.so trifling and unimportant as- a brother and ,his.
amusements could fill the superior mind of an exalted
individual, intent on reforming, and finding occupation
for, a whole parishful of old men, women, .and-children."
Oh, Edgar !" said Carrie, how can you speak thus
of aEl Lottie's good deeds ? 'How often I wish TIwere
like he ; as active, as strong, n-ot obliged to take care:6f
myself ,and stay at home; it seems such a useless,
selfish life I lead."
"(Not at all, little, Carrie," returned Edgar, "'for you.
are sometimes of use to me. I like to sit'by the fiLe arid
listen to your -singing; your voice is greatly improved
since last half. In-my opinion (and being in the sitl
form at Eton, he considered his opinion decisive), in my
opinion, the first duty of every girl is to make hersIf
agreeable and of service to her brothers, and to devote
her time, talents, and energies in attending to them, and
eideavouring to beguile those tedious hours, when thqy
have nothing else to do than sit by the fire, as 'Iam
doing now." And ,after a-yawn Edgar drew himself up
in ,a dignified manner, as if no appeal could possibly' be
made against this, his sage judgment of the case.
.But Carrie continued-" Of course, Lottie- woiold
rather be sitting in this comfortable room, talking or
singmg to you, or-playing at chess with Lionel, than re-
.' 9






LOTTIE'8 HALFPSOVEREIGN.

manning out of doors on this bitterly- cold evening; but
some sick or poor person has need of assistance, and she
is so kind and energetic."
"And so injudicious and interfering," chimed in
Edgar.
Oh, no !" returned Carrie indignantly.
Well," continued Edgar, I could forgive her all
her fanciful, silly schemes, though I laugh at and tho-
roughly despise them, if she only stopped there ; but you
know, as well as I do, the mischief and confusion she is
continually making by her meddling propensities, het
love of managing things in her own way, without heed-
ing the advice of those older and wiser than herself,
taking people out of their proper places, and putting
them into others, which she thinks better for them; in
fact, as I said, never leaving well alone. Can you deny
the truth of this ?"
"But," gently pleaded Carrie, "all Lottie does is
meant for the best."
Of course," replied the brother; "at least, I sup-
pose so. But why should she set herself up to be wiser
than every one else-a better judge than my mother, for
instance ? But, come, enough of this; light the candles,
Lionel. I'll play a game at chess with you, myself;
but first, one of you youngsters," addressing the little
boys at the table, still busy with the "Boy's Own
Book," and their precious bottle of quicksilver, pull off
my boots and run and fetch me my slippers. Why,
what a state your paws are in, my man!" as the little
boy stooped to perform the required office, his fingers
begrimed with quicksilver. Now for it, Lionel;"a and
having settled himself thoroughly comfortably, the
Etonian was making his first move in the game, when





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

rAe door flew open, and a light figure came bound.
ing in.
It was Lottie Aylmer, snow-flakes dropping from her
cloak and melting on the carpet as she advanced; her
long hair hanging in straight locks round her face, her
veil stiffened by the frosty atmosphere.
Pray, shut the door," exclaimed Edgar; we do
not wish to have snow drifted into our sitting-room; it
is quite enough to have it out of doors. I am sure the
glass must have gone down several degrees since you
came in, Lottie; whisking about all your frigid petti-
coats. Do not come near me, if you please."
Oh, Edgar," replied Lottie, I am quite hot. It is
so delicious out; the ground so crisp beneath one's feet,
the snow so pure and lovely, and the moon shining so
brightly on every object. I have had such a delightful
walk."
And where have you been ?" demanded Carrie, as
she assisted in pulling off Lottie's cloak, now quite damp
from the dissolved snow; "it is late for you to have
been out all alone."
"Yes," returned Lottie, later, I fear, than Mamma
would like, or than I had dared to remain, if Miss Page
had not been over the hills and far away;' but I had so
much to do. I was nearly an hour choosing my Christ-
mas presents; people were constantly coming into the
shop and interrupting Turner. Then, after that," and
she paused for a moment, after that I had a very im-
portant and somewhat difficult business to transact;
but," she added, lowering her voice as she glanced at
Edgar, and observed a peculiar expression on his coun.
tenance, "I will tell you all about it by and by,
Carrie." Then, in her usual tone, she continued--" I






LOTTIE S HALF-SOVYEEEIG-

must make haste and set down all my spen1ings before
I forget them, which I shall assuredly do before t,-
morrow dawns. What confusion !" she exclaimed, asuhe
approached the table; "it must, indeed; well occupy a
person's time to keep this room in order. Come, little
ones, cannot you give me a clear corner large enough
for my desk ?" and the children having moved to make
more space for her, hle placed her desk on the table,
took from it a large account-book, and was soon setting
down a long row of figures, talking away as she pro-
ceeded, though no one seemed to listen to her but Carrie;
Edgar and Lionel being' now engrossed in- their game,
and.the little ones intent on their own occupation.
I had a piece of good luck to-day," she said, as she
made a pile of shillings, sixpences, and' other small
coins; while I was at Turner's, Grandmamma drove up,
and when I told her what I was about, she gave me her
purse, saying, she feared its contents were not' much
worth having, but whatever they might be, I was wel-
come to them. I immediately dived into each com-
partment of her portemonnaie, and collected altogether
a.half-sovereign, four shillings, five sixpences, and two
fourpenny pieces; a most abundant production, I
thought, and most grateful I felt for it, for my funds,
afterthe outlay of to-day, would have been at rather a
Low ebb. All my loose silver I shall return into my
purse for present, purposes; but this bright bit of gold
I mean to keep, if possible, as a kind of nest-egg to
resort to for some special purpose."
And she was on the point, of slipping the half-
sovereign into a partition of her desk, when her little
brothers, attracted by the pretty glittering coin, took it
up, and she suffered them to divert themselves by spin.





LOTTIE' S HALF-SOTEREIGN.

ning it, hiding it, and holding it grasped tightly in their
palms, for the others to guess which hand contained the
treasure, while she proceeded with her accounts, and the
children, well pleased with their new plaything, did not
relinquish it till summoned to the nursery-tea, when
Lottie hastily put it away, as she had intended, in a
small compartment of her desk; and, having by this
time finished her business, she left the table, and seated
herself by Lionel's side to watcli his game, and shortly
after the young party dispersed to dress for dinner,
Lottie all impatience to be alone with- Carrie, to give her
an account of her day's achievements.





















I.






d
tfi





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.














FROM her earliest childhood Lottie Aylmer had been ac-
customed to accompany her Mamma on her visits to the
poor; her greatest treat was to be the bearer of some
little gift to'a needy or suffering cottager; in the gene-
rosity and ardour of her young heart, willingly would she
bestow every little coin her purse contained to any one
who craved her charity and help, and Lady Aylmer,
pleased at the benevolent disposition of her little girl,
encouraged her in all her benevolent schemes, and thus
having no checks or difficulties in pursuing her course
of charity, and with the agreeable sensation of doing
good, it became by degrees not only Lottie's principal
occupation, but her chief resource to attend to the poor-
an amusement, in short, into which she entered with the
same kind of zest with which Carrie worked in her
garden, or Lionel set traps for hedgehogs.
And Lottie, as she grew older, became somewhat
perverse and self-sufficient in her charitable plans; her
mother's advice was no longer strictly adhered to, at
times not even asked, while the governesses complained
that their pupil's mind was so engrossed by her projects
fr reforming and improving others, that she gave no





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

thought to her own education, her brothers murmured
that in their holidays she would be constantly running
after old women and could spare no time to them,
and even the gentle Carrie once, when recovering from a
long illness, was found quietly weeping because her sister
came not to cheer her in her hours of languor and depres-
sion. Lady Aylmer perceived the error she had com-
mitted in the training of her child, in allowing her to
pursue even the laudable grace of charity without
guidance and restraint; she deplored it, but she had
herself learnt a useful lesson, and, as far as Lottie was
concerned, she trusted that with much natural good sense,
and profiting by the experience of the scrapes and
troubles into which her imprudence and self-reliance
were continually plunging her, she would in time learn
the meaning of true charity."
On the day on which our story commences, she had
accomplished an object on which her mind had beer
bent. There had come to the village a widow and two
young daughters, the mother represented herself to be a
native of Stanley village, who when quite young married
a Scotchman, with whom chance had brought her ac-
quainted, and had ever since lived in Scotland. Her
husband being now dead, she had returned to her own
parish, where, however, her relations having all died, she
was as a stranger in the place which she had once called
home-remembered and cared for by few, and indeed it
,eemed to her as much a matter of choice as of necessity
to live apart from the rest of the world, with her two
children, the elder a cripple of seventeen, the younger a
bright-eyed healthy girl of fifteen. Of course, Lottie soon
made acquaintance with these new residents, and she
became quite enthusiastically interested in the trio -the






LOTTIE'S HAL -SOVEREIGIN.

mother, so melancholy looking, the cripple, with her
scoffring expression-and the pretty Jeanie. In spite
of all her endeavours, Lottie could glean but little of their
history from either the mother or daughters -the
widow, indeed, seemed to shrink from all inquiries into
the past, and there was a kind of dignified reserve in her
manner which could not fail to check any intrusion into
her private affairs
She appeared, notwithstanding, duly grateful for the
many kindnesses bestowed on her by Lady Aylmer, and
gradually learnt to hail Lottie's visits with pleasure,
and to confide in her, her present difficulties and wants,
though as silent as ever on the subject of bygone days.
Once she mentioned her wish to obtain a situation
for Jeanie; she thought it would be better, she said,
for her to go out and learn to be a good servant; then,
if anything happened to herself, one of her children would
be provided for. Lottie said little in reply to Mrs. Gor-
don, but immediately a scheme entered her busy brain,
which she was determined to accomplish, and with all
speed she. flew home, and breathless with running and
eagerness, rushed into the drawing-room and cried out-
Oh, Mamma,. please let Jeanie Gordon be the girl
to assist in the school-room this Christmas!"
It was Lady Aylmer's custom to have some additional
assistant for the school-room maid during the holidays;
when the boys were at home, there was so much more
work, so. many to wait on, so much tidying of the school-
room, so many things to put back in their places; she
generally selected one of the oldest and most deserving:
of her Sunday-scholars to fill this post, which was con-
sidered by them the greatest honour and advantage; for,
after serving for a couple of months at the Court, under





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGIN.

the instructions of superior servants, with a neat wair
robe in hand, the fruits of their earnings, and a good
character from "my lady," they never failed to obtain
some other eligible and more permanent situation.
Lady Aylmer had, on this occasion, not yet fixed on a
girl to fill the temporary office; and when Lottie thus
unexpectedly came to her with her urgent request, she
begged at least she might have time to consider the
matter before she made any promise.
But Lottie was quite impatient.
"Mamma, why should you hesitate a moment? I
thought you were as interested in the Gordons as I am ;
only yesterday, I heard you say what a nice bright-look.
ing girl Jeanie was. Surely, Mamma, you do not heed
those gossipping old women who declare there must be
something wrong about Mrs. Gordon, just because she
does not delight in giving long wearisome accounts of her
troubles as they themselves do ?"
My dear Lottie," replied her mother," pray do not
excite yourself so unnecessarily; all I desire is time to
judge as to the expediency of such a step; believe me, it
is for Jeanie's sake !"
Oh, Mamma, can you doubt the great advantage
it would be to her ? Why, being here was the making of
Ann Jones, and all the other school girls; she could learn
so much, and then with a good character from you"--
"Ah, Lottie, that is the very point. The girls I have
chosen from time to time from my school, I have known
from their infancy; the case is quite different with regard
to Jeanie."
""But, Mamma, I am sure she must be deserving-
honesty and truth are written on her countenance, and
poor Hester, lrow patiently she bears her affliction! and





LOTTIE'S HIALF-SOVEREIGN.

Mrs. Gordon-oh, I am convinced they are all rea&
objects for kindness and assistance! "
Very likely, my dear; indeed, I am quite inclined to
agree with all you say in their favour, still. I wish I could
know more of their former history, that I might judge
better whether it would be right and advisable to place
Jeanie in a situation like ours. As it is, being perfectly
ignorant of her past life and conduct, I rather doubt the
prudence of such a step."
Then, Mamma, must she always continue to lead an
unprofitable life, and be a burden to her mother ?"
Pray allow me to finish what I was saying, Lottie.
I was going to observe that, in a large house like this,
there are inevitably greater temptations and more facility
for doing wrong, than in a more limited sphere. For
instance, as regards one point alone, how easy for a girl
not strictly honest to commit little acts of petty pilfering,
which, beginning with the smallest and most valueless
things, may, in time, increase to larger thefts, till discovery
and rtin are the consequences! How careless you are !
not you alone, Lottie, but all of you, Carrie and the boys,
in leaving your things about in the school-room; perhaps
a brooch, or stud, or ring lying apparently uncared for,
for days together, on the mantelpiece; or a heap, maybe
of half-pence, sometimes stray sixpences, loose in your
work-baskets; and then that incorrigible habit of for-
getting to lock your desks, or leaving the bunch of keys
hanging from them, almost tempting any one to open
them and examine their contents. Few think of the evil
they are doing when thus, as it were, they thrust tempta-
tion before the young and weak; it is a common failing,
little thought of now, but one for which I doubt not we
must hereafter give as strict an account as for sins which

fr





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIG .

are regarded by the world as of far greater magni
tude."
Lady Aylmer spoke very gravely, and Lottie, im-
pressed by her words, forbore to interrupt her.
My opinion is," continued she, that, considering
all circumstances, it might be better for Jeanie to com-
mence her career as a servant in some house where the
vigilant eye of a mistress might be constantly upon her;
by this means her character might be thoroughly tested
and established, and then, assured of her worth and capa-
bilities, she might with full confidence be recommended
to some more advantageous situation. Now, I hear Mrs.
Dawson is in want of a maid-you know what a capital
person she is for making a good servant of any quick
and tractable girl-that would, I really think, be just the
place for Jeanie "
Oh, Mamma, but think of that pretty, ladylike,
looking Jeanie, spending all her days, with her gown
and sleeves tucked up, on her knees scrubbing the brick
floors in a farm-house, with that vulgar Mrs. Dawson
continually scolding her with her loud rough voice. Oh,
I had pictured it all so differently !--Jeanie, in a neat
dress, and snowy white apron, and the jauntiest of little
caps at the back of her head waiting on us in the school-
room. Oh, Mamma, I am so disappointed-I cannot
bear your plan."
And Lottie became so tearful and excited, that her
mother begged her to dismiss the sibiect for the present,
promising once more to think it well over, and to give
her a decided answer the following day.
Lady Aylmer did duly weigh the matter in her mind,
and as she thought upon it, the case became more difi-
cult for her to decide on satisfactorily to herself than she





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

could have at first imagined. While, on one side, the
arguments she had used with Lottie remained as 'forcible
as ever, on the other there arose the impression with
which her own ideas as well as Lottie's were filled, of
the Gordons being different, superior to the commonalty
of villagers; the reserve which was so tenaciously adhered
to by Mrs. Gordon rendering it at the same time
impossible to .discover the history of her married life;
still, without some kind of reference for the character of
Jeanie, could she conscientiously take her into her house
amongst so large an establishment of servants-would it be
acting fairly and rightly towards herself, her servants,
and towards the girl? But she felt very anxious to
befriend Jeanie, as well as to please her daughter, there-
fore, perhaps against her better judgment, when Lottie
came to her for her answer, and redoubled her persuasions,
she consented that she should go to Mrs. Gordon, and
mention the subject to her; Lady Aylmer hoping and
fully believing that Mrs. Gordon would at once see the
propriety of referring her to some source for her character,
or would decline the situation for Jeanie, if unable to do
so. Lottie, overjoyed at having won over her mother,
and scarcely heeding the terms of her permission, lost
no time in repairing to the cottage, pleasing herself as
she went along by picturing the surprise and happiness
her announcement would call' forth. Great, therefore,
was her astonishment and mortification at the manner
in which her communication was received. Instead of
joy, a shadow of the deepest pain passed over Mrs.
Gordon's countenance, the colour came into her
usually pallid cheeks, and' after a pause, she stammered
forth thanks to Lady Aylmer, but said she feared
it could not be-indeed, she had that very morning en-





LOTTIE'S HIALF-SOVEREIGN.

gaged for Jeanie to go to Mrs. Dawson at the Moor
Farm.
But surely," exclaimed Lottie, "that need not
nignifv ; Mrs. Dawson would give her up if she knew
Tf Mamma's offer; she could not be so selfish and unkind
as to stand in the way of her getting such a far better
situation."
Well, Miss, she does seem a warm-hearted woman,"
returned Mrs. Gordon, still I have promised her, and
I should not think it right to fall back from my word."
"Oh !" returned Lottie, "leave me to settle it with
her; I will go to the Moor Farm and speak to her about it.
Come, Hester," she continued, turning to the lame girl,
who sat rapidly plying her knitting needles, but listen-
ing eagerly to the conversation, "what say you, would
you not rather have Jeanie at the Court than with Mrs.
Dawson ?."
Why, for the matter of that, Miss," replied Hetty
in her Scotch dialect, and with her decided manner of
expressing herself, "I canna but say it would be a far
grander place for her, and I am sure she would feel proud
to serve sic bonny leddies; but the fine ways of the
Court might not suit a humble lass like our Jeanie, and
maybe it is best to begin at the foot of the ladder."
Certainly Lottie received no encouragement in her
plan, for when Jeanie herself entered, and was told of it,
she only curtseyed low, and said, As mother pleases."
But so bent was Lottie on the fulfilment of her new
scheme, that the more discouragement she met with, the
more pertinaciously she persevered to gain her point, and
forgetful of all her mother had said and desired on the
subject, she continued to urge the matter, till at length
Mrs: Gordon seemed no longer able to resist the force of





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

her persuasions, her determination wavered, and she
retired for a few moments and spoke in a low tone to her
daughter Hester, who in her answers appeared to be
giving her opinion on some important point; then Mrs.
Gordon returned to the fire-place near which Lottie was
seated, and with an agitated, careworn countenance, and
speaking as with a great effort, she said-
"Miss Aylmer, you must be aware, no servant is
admitted into the Court without her character being first
obtained-there is no one in these parts to speak for
Jeanie."
No, not here !" replied Lottie, but in Scotland-in
your old neighbourhood "
She stopped abruptly on perceiving the expression of
pain on Mrs. Gordon's face, and there was a blank pause
for a moment or two; then Mrs. Gordon continued,
Yes, I know no one would speak ill of my Jeanie;
but "-she hesitated again; "Mrs. Dawson is willing to
trust us-her house is a different one to yours, Miss, and
altogether, as it is settled, so perhaps it had best remain.
Hetty thinks so too."
"Yes !" said Hetty decidedly, almost sharply, "it is
always best to leave well alone."
She spokethevery same words that Edgar so constantly
used-what a pity Lottie was not struck by them, and
the expressive tone in which they were pronounced! But
no, the spirit of self-will was too strong within her; bent
on one purpose, opposition only rendered her the more
resolute, and she did not leave the cottage until by dint
of persuasion and arguments, which Mrs. Gordon found
it impossible to combat, she had gained her point, and
it was settled that on Christmas-eve Jeanie should be
installed at the Court, and then 6he set forth to walk





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

in the fast waning light of a December afternoon, to the
Moor Farm, to make the matter all right with Mrs.
Dawson.
Perhaps, in the solitude of her walk, Lottie might
have reflected with some compunction on the manner in
which she had fulfilled the mission entrusted.to her, and
the excitement of the moment over, have even felt some.
what startled at having so far outstepped the limits of
discretionary power confided to her; but it was not till
she stood face to face with Mrs. Dawson, that she was
awakened to a full sense of her abuse of her mother's
confidence, and from her heart wished indeed she had
"left well alone." Little prepared was she for the
storm which burst forth when she made known the new
arrangement which had been formed for Jeanie. Mrs.
Dawson had been all that day priding herself on having
performed a most benevolent action in consenting to
take into her well-ordered house a girl on whom her
neighbours looked doubtingly, because they could glean
no particulars of the history of her family. She had been
struck by the extreme neatness of the widow's cottage,
and in her eyes decidedly cleanliness stood next to god-
liness, moreover, Mrs. Dawson's heart was warm, though
her manner was rough and harsh, her tongue loud, and
at times abusive; altogether she was not unwilling to
incur the risk of receiving Jeanie into the Moor Farm,
but now to lose the self-satisfaction of a good deed
and a useful servant together, and to think that the girl
was otherwise so eligible provided for without her con-
sent, and without consulting her convenience, it was
more than could be borne with patience, so she poured
forth a storm of invectives, insinuating such evil things
of the Gordons which she had "heard say of them,"





iOITIR.'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

t.hatpoor:Lottiee q te qu oled beneath her terrible words;
then after a time her passion cooling down, and remem*
being she had been wanting in due respect to Miss
Aylmer, and wishing to make amends, like most violent
people, Mrs. Dawson endeavoured to do away the effect
of what she had said, to contradict her former assertions,
and ended by expressing a hope that Jeanie would do
very well in the comfortable situation chosen for her.
Lottie left the farm, feeling that her day's work had
brought upon her at least a heavy responsibility for the
future, but her elastic spirits rebounding with her walk
through the bracing air, as we have seen, she joined her
brothers and sisters in the school-room as cheerful and
sanguine as ever.
When Carrie heard the account Lottie gave of her
proceedings, she frankly expressed her surprise at the
matter having been brought to a conclusion without
her mother being further consulted as to her wishes,
and Lottie, fully convinced that she had acted too preci-
pitately, at once repaired to Lady Aylmer's dressing-
room, and told her what she had. arranged, at the same
time shrinking from entering too minutely into parti-
culars. Lady Aylmer was annoyed, as might be ex-
pected, and blamed herself for not having given her
orders more firmly; but the deed being done, with her
usual indulgence, she forbore reproaches, and hoped the
affair might turn out well.
Lottie felt some dread of the cutting speeches and
satirical remarks Edgar would make on this her fresh
philanthropicc frolic," as he was wont to term her vari-
ous schemes, and fain would have kept him in ignorance
of it; but with his keen penetration and inquisitive mind,
he contrived to ferret out as much concerning the matter





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

as suited his purpose; and the next morning, he said t6
the party assembled in the school-room, in a mournful
and offended tone-" We must keep a sharp look-out'
now, else I suspect our property in this room will "be
soon taking unto itself wings, and flying away."'
"(What do you mean ?" inquired Carrie.
"Why, with such a mysterious personage as the
interesting Miss Jeanie Gordon continually flitting about
in these our territories, I own I shall consider it neces-
sary to be less careless than usual as to leaving my studs
and other valuables about."
Oh, Edgar," interrupted Arthur, one of the little
boys who had been so intent on the quicksilver experi-
ments the evening before, "are you afraid of your studs
being changed, like my buttons were last night ? This
morning, when I saw my frock, I thought nurse had
been putting on new, white, shining, silver buttons."
I am not afraid of my studs or rings being, changed,
Arthur," answered Edgar, looking in a marked manner at
Lottie; but of their disappearing altogether." Then, no
notice being taken of his innuendoes, he proceeded-" I
am desirous to know why my mother has been persuaded
to select this Jeanie Gordon, instead of one of her own
school-girls ? Is it because she is more refined, more
interesting.? I think it a most unfair act towards
Martha and the other maids. Depend upon it the affair
will be a failure. I really pity the silly person who has
had a hand in the matter, whoever it may be."
With such like taunts and insinuations, he amused
himself, and tormented Lottie at every convenient oppor-
tunity for the next few days. On Christmas-eve, Jeanis
was duly installed in her situation at Stanley Court; and,
instead of the pleasurable sensations Lottie had antici.-





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

pated in seeing Jeanie going about the school-room
doing her work so handily, a favourite with every one,
she had not only to endure the sarcasms and side-glances,
half in mischief half in fun, which Edgar cast on her
protege, whenever she was guilty of any little awkward-
ness, thereby adding considerably to poor Jeanie's natural
timidity; but it was evident that the servants of the
Court felt somewhat aggrieved and offended that Jeanie,
an unknown, untried character, one who had been con-
sidered to "hold herself rather high" in the village,
should have been chosen in preference to one of My
Lady's" school-girls-Ellen Brown, the niece of Martha,
the head housemaid, for instance-and, in consequence,
looked, to say the least, shyly upon Jeanie, and gave
themselves not the trouble of instructing her in her
several duties, as they would have done had another girl
been in her place. Therefore, for some time, Jeanie was
a kind of dead weight on the hands of her young patron-
ess, Lottie not even having the consolation of seeing
her look well and happy, but pale and anxious, over-
whelmed with all she had to do and remember. But by
degrees matters improved. Jeanie, naturally quick,
profited by the immense pains Lottie felt it her duty to
bestow on her, and became so active and useful, and
always looked so nice and neat, that Edgar, instead of
launching forth his provoking insinuations, condescended
to employ her in various little acts of service for him,
while the servants, disarmed by her steady behaviour,
and won over by her obliging willingness, had not a
word to say against her; and again Lottie glorified
herself and her own handiwork






LOTTIE'S 'HALF-SOVIREIGN.









0 S*
YY4


THE holidays were almost over; only a few days more,
and the happy home party would separate. For the
last week, the brothers and sisters had been consulting
together concerning a present, in which they were to join,
to give Edgar on his birthday, which would take place on
the day before his departure for Eton. As soon as the
young party left the dining-room, they hurried to the
library, to inspect the gift, which had arrived from the
neighboring town. After duly commending the selec-
tion, and admiring the handsomely-bound volumes, they
proceeded to settle the business part of the transaction,
each producing his or her contribution towards the
purchase; and Lottie ran up stairs to fetch the half-
sovereign- which she had left in the partition of her
desk since the day she had received it.
When she entered the school-room she was struck
by the orderly state of the apartment, so different to
what it had been a few hours before, when, on the
dressing-bell ringing, she and her brothers and sisters
had hurried away without thinking of the books, paints,
and drawings they were leaving in such disorder on
the table.





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

And this was all Jeanie's doing! and it was she who
had made her what she was! But while Lottie thus
exulted, did it strike her to inquire of her heart if she
had equally profited by her mother's counsels and ad-
monitions, or whether, while teaching another, she had
not forgotten to practise what she preached. Perhaps her
conscience might have felt a twinge, when, on approach-
ing her desk, she found it unlocked, with the key in it,
and the recollection of resolutions broken, promises un-
fulfilled have drawn forth a sigh of regret; but it was but
a passing sentiment, forgotten almost as soon as felt,
She opened the desk, pressed with her finger the lid
of the front compartment. It sprung up!
Was Lottie hurt that she started back with a kind of
shudder, and almost dropped the candle she held ? What
could it be that blanched her cheeks so suddenly, and
readd such a look of dismay over her countenance ? Was
the partition empty? No, not quite that; but just in
the very spot where .she had placed the half-sovereign
there lay, instead of the golden coin, a silver sixpence.
For a moment she was petrified, as it were, by amaze-
ment and dismay, rooted to the ground on which she
stood; her eyes, with a wild stare, fixed on the desk;
then, by degrees, as a flood of thoughts and memories
rushed upon her senses, overpowered by their force, she
sunk down crushed by her agonizing feelings. Like
lightning the truth flashed upon her, and her hasty,
impetuous nature, ever in extremes, would not allow
her to trust and hope, even for an instant, that the case
could be different to what she supposed it-Jeanie was
a thief! Lottie was found by Carrie with her head
buried in her hands, her whole frame writhing with
agitation, and all the answer she could for some time










id








"Flo



' I I
























































LOTTIE'S SURPRISE.





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

make to her sister's anxious, alarmed inquiries was to
point to the desk with a look of despair ; then, at length,
she faltered forth her wretched discovery, all the time
inveighing bitterly against herself for what had hap-
pened. It was in vain Carrie endeavoured to soothe and
encourage her to believe that the mysterious, affair
might be satisfactorily cleared up, she refused to be
comforted, but yielded at last to her sister's persuasions
to take no steps in the matter till she had regained
some degree of composure; and, totally unfit to go down
stairs, she was fain to carry her throbbing head and
aching heart to the solitude. of her own chamber, while
Carrie returned to the party in the drawing-room, and,
on the plea of a headache, accounted for Lottie's non-
appearance.
What a night Lottie spent! At times, exhausted
by mental suffering, she would fall asleep, but her slum-
ber was scared by dreams which made her start up with
a vague sense of terror and oppression; but the chief
part of the time she lay in that state which is neither
sleeping nor waking, which has all the evil of both, and
none of the good of either. She dreaded, yet at the
same time wished for, the morning, and long before light
dawned she and Carrie were discussing the painful
subject; Lottie, by degrees, gaining from the earnest,
sensible words of her younger sister, some feeling of
strength for the trial she must encounter that day,
though at times, when she thought of all the misery
which was to fall on others, all owing to her crooked
ways, she felt that her punishment was greater than she
could bear. She cast no blame or angry invectives on
Jeanie, but neither would she allow Carrie to tempt her
to believe that by anv other means the strange transfer





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

could have been effected. She would not allow any sus-
picions to be directed towards the other long-tried ser-
vants, and she felt quite positive that, until that fatal
evening, she had never once, since her mother's injunc-
tions, left her desk unlocked. For Jeanie's sake she had
been most careful in that matter. No one but Jeanie
had been in the school-room since they left it to dress
for dinner. No; the fact was too plainly evident. Would
that she had taken her mother's advice! But it was too
late now to retrieve her false step. All that remained to
her was to endeavour to soften, as far as possible, the
heavy blow which was to fall on poor Mrs. Gordon's
head, and to render as little public as could be helped,
the disgrace of her victim, as she now called Jeanie.
So she strove to calm her own anguish, that she might
dispassionately consult with Carrie as to what had best
be done; and it was soon determined by the sisters that
the proper course to pursue was at once to make their
mother acquainted with te affair; therefore, when Lottie,
pale and sad, descended to the dining-room, and Lady
Aylmer affectionately inquired if her headache were quite
gone, she pressed her lips on her mother's forehead, and,
in low tones, begged that, after breakfast, she might go
to her in her sitting-room.
It is needless to relate with what sorrow Lady
Aylmer listened to her daughter's recital. It shocked
her to think that such a studied act of duplicity, as well as
dishonesty, should have been committed by any person,
still more by one so young; indeed, she could scarcely
believe it, and again and again implored Lottie to think
well and try to recall to her recollection whether she had
not at any time herself taken out the half-sovereign, and
accidentally or inadvertently replaced it with a sixpence.





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

Fain would poor Lottie have had it so, but it could nox
be; not to save Jeanie would she be guilty of an untruth,
and there, upon the boudoir table, was the desk,'with
the shabby little sixpence lying in it, just as Lottie had
found it. It was a most painful position for Lady Ayl-
mer. Her mind revolted from casting an accusation
on any one. if there were the slightest chance of accusing
wrongfully ; and in this case, unless Jeanie confessed her
fault, how could they feel certain of her guilt, while a
denial, on the other hand, would not be held sufficient
proof of her innocence ? None but the eye of God had
seen the unrighteous deed committed; and must Jeanie
be ruined for life by an act which she could never have
committed had she not been most injudiciously, without
any knowledge of her strength of purpose to resist temp-
tation, been brought into a situation of peril to a girl
weak in principle ? But Lady Aylmer also felt that she
had a duty to perform as mistress of a large establish-
ment; justice towards others required that she should
have the moral courage to sift the matter thoroughly.
It must have caused an additional pang to Lottie to see
the pain she had given her mother, and, with beating
heart and colourless cheeks, she obeyed Lady Aylmer's
order to summon Jeanie to her presence.
Gently Lady Aylmer performed her painful task.
Seeking in no degree to diminish the sense of the.greatness
of the crime, she still forcibly impressed the promise that
for every sinner there is pardon in heaven, if he earnestly
and truly repent, and determine, by God's grace, to
turn from the error of his ways; then, reminding Jeanie
that the first sign of penitence should be an acknow-
ledgment of the fault committed, she exhorted her to
tell the whole truth, assuring her that if .he trusted .





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

to herself and Lottie, no one else should be made
acquainted with what had occurred.
Then Lady Aylmer paused, and nervously awaited
an answer. There was a dead silence for a moment or
two, and then Jeanie lifted up her head, which had been
bent down, and, with a face like marble, quivering lips,
and in faltering accents, denied all knowledge of the
half-sovereign; and when Lady Aylmer continued to
urge her to confess the delinquency, and Lottie, with
tears, entreated the same, in humble, respectful, but dig-
nified and slightly aggrieved tones, she exclaimed-" My
Lady, I have spoken the truth, and you do not believe
me; what more can I say ?"
Lady Aylmer was therefore compelled to dismiss
Jeanie from the very unsatisfactory interview, with the
conviction that nothing remained for her but to speak
to the girl's mother, and thinking it best not to delay
the disagreeable matter, set off at once on her painful
errand.
But when she entered the village, and' approached
the widow's cottage, she felt so agitated at the idea of
what she had undertaken, that to delay the meeting with
Mrs. Gordon, she went into the draper's shop, on the
plea of making some trifling purchase.
Mrs. Turner, with pleased alacrity, came forward to
serve her as usual, most profuse in her inquiries after
her ladyship's health, etc., then proceeded to im-
part sundry village news and gossip. At last she said-
" What a kindness it has been in your Ladyship to take
Jeanie Gordon into the Court! It will be quite the
making of her for life. I hear she is becoming quite a
h dy servant, and she looks quite a different creature.
Inileed, I hardly knew her when she came in yesterday





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVE REIGN.

evening. To be sure it was late-past seven, 1 think-
she looked so plump, and more cheerful like, and it
seemed such a pleasure to her, poor thing, to have money
of her own to spend; and a pretty good sum she laid
out too; her first wages, I presume."
In a manner which vainly she strove to render
unconcerned, Lady Aylmer inquired-" And can you at
all recollect, Mrs. Turner, how much she did lay out ?"
Oh, yes," replied Mrs. Turner, "just half a sove-
reign, my Lady; and she sensibly asked my advice as to
how to spend it best in buying comforts for her mother
and sister."
Mrs. Turner was interrupted by other customers
entering the shop, but Lady Aylmer had heard enough;
too much, alas! no further doubt remained on her mind
of Jeanie's guilt. Her heart ached to think of such
guile and depravity in one of whom she had once judged
so favourably; but the case was now clear, she need
have no compunctious hesitation in proceeding in the
matter, so, summoning up all her courage, she entered
Mrs. Gordon's dwelling.
We will not dwell on the scene that followed, or at-
tempt to describe the overpowering grief of the widow as
she listened to Lady Aylmer's tale; it is enough to say
that, bowed down with misery, she appeared meekly
and humbly to accept this new trial as another heavy
burden, to be submissively borne in this her weary
pilgrimage through life. Not so her daughter Hester;
with flashing eyes and flushed cheeks, she heard the
accusation against her sister, then rose from her seat,
and, leaning on her crutch, burst forth into a stream of
angry indignation and complaint. Was it for this that
Miss Aylmer had forced Jeanie into going to the Court ?





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.
g A
why could she not have left them in peace? She had
never wished her sister to take the situation. Had she
not begged her to leave well alone ? and Jeanie, who
was as true as gold, was she to be called a thief?
It was the sight of Hetty's impetuous, wrathful grief
that roused Mrs. Gordon. In gentle tones she besought
her daughter to endeavour to be calm, reminding her
that she was wanting in respect to Lady Aylmer; then,
with a powerful effort over her feelings, she said, "I
have been very wrong, my Lady; I should not have
allowed Miss Aylmer to engage my child without refer-
ring her to some one for her character. I did mention
it, but I own I did not press the matter enough, for
there are reasons"-here the widow's utterance was
choked by emotion-" painful reasons, which made me
loath to apply to one whom I both love and reverence;
but there is no help for it now. All I can do is to en-
treat you not to judge too harshly of my Jeanie until
you have written to, and heard from, this lady," and she
gave Lady Aylmer a slip of paper, on which was the
address of "Lady M'Kenzie, Castle, N.B." Lady
Aylmer, too happy to accede to a request which would
be the means of affording her what she had so much
desired, some information concerning Mrs. Gordon and
her family, promised to write to Lady M'Kenzie that
day; and though the circumstances of the case forbade
her indulging in any sanguine hope that Jeanie might
be proved innocent, for neither Mrs. Gordon nor Hester
could account for her having money of her own to spend,
she left the cottage fully persuaded that at least the
widow was no abettor or conniver in the fraudulent
scheme, but greatly to be compassionate; most willing
was she, at all events, to defer the direct condem-





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

nation of Joanie, and when Hester, unable to restrain her
overwrought, indignant feelings, quitted the room, Lady
Aylmer assured Mrs. Gordon that the distressing affair
should not be mentioned to any one, not even to Mrs.
Thompson, the housekeeper, so that her daughter might
be spared from pain and discomfort during the two days
which remained of her engagement at the Court.
Lottie, who was anxiously and nervously awaiting
her mother's return, with her usual sanguineness, at
once flung off her load of deep despondency, and the
brightest hopefulness took its place. Lady M'Kenzie's
letter, she felt sure, would be all that could be desired;
and so interested and excited was she by the idea of
receiving from her ladyship the long wished-for history
of Jeanie's former life, that for a time the catastrophe
which had so distressed her a few hours before, seemed.
almost forgotten. She lingered near her mother's
writing-table, considerably interrupting, by her remarks
and suggestions, Lady Aylmer's progress in composing
a letter, which, from being addressed to a perfect
stranger, on a subject of some delicacy, required more
than ordinary care and discrimination. Lady Aylmer
did not consider herself authorized to enter into details
herself, or to seek them from another, but merely in-
formed Lady M'Kenzie that she had become interested
in a widow and her daughters of the name of Gordon,
and that as it would be a satisfaction to her to obtain
some testimonials of their former characters, at the
request of Mrs. Gordon, she had taken the liberty of
applying to her ladyship for that purpose. Lottie her-
se-f dropped the important missive into the Court letter-
box, lamenting, as she did so, that not until the fourth
day could an answer be received.






LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

When lying sleepless on her bed the night before,
distracted with grief and remorse, the idea of what
Edgar would say had added an additional pang to
Lottie's heart. She was quite rejoiced that he was
abse nt at breakfast-time, having set out at daybreak for
his last day's hunting; he did not come home till so
late, that there was scarcely time to receive his birthday
presents, and congratulations, before a party of friends
arrived to spend the evening, whom poor Lottie had to
entertain, with what cheerfulness she could, and who
went away wondering what was the matter with Char-
lotte Aylmer. Perhaps she was out of spirits at her
brother's leaving home. The next morning the note of
preparation sounded at an early hour, and the boys set
forth to their various destinations; in the afternoon
Jeanie left the Court for her mother's cottage, and Miss
Page returned to resume the reins of government in tht
school-room.













t'I



,, *






LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.










IV.


LADY M'KENZIE'S letter came, but did it fulfil Lottie's
expectations ? It was courteously, feelingly worded,
but short and formal as a letter from one stranger to
another must ever be. She informed Lady Aylmer she
had known Mrs. Gordon for many years, James Gordon,
her husband, having been long employed on Sir Alexan.
der's estate. She was happy to be able to speak in
favourable terms of Mrs. Gordon, who had ever borne
the character of an industrious woman, and an excellent
wife and mother. She had felt much interested in her
and her daughters, and had not been aware, until the
receipt of Lady Aylmer's letter, that Mrs. Gordon had
become a widow. She was very sorry to have to add
that James Gordon had, about a year ago, been dis-
missed by Sir Alexander's steward on a charge of dis-
honest practices, after which the little family left the
village, giving no clue to their future destination. In
conclusion, Lady M'Kenzie expressed her readiness to
befriend Mrs. Gordon, should Lady Aylmer be able to
point out to her the means of so doing; she feared she
and her children must be in needy circumstances.
No; Lottie felt quite unsatisfied; she had fully ezx





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

pected some particular mention of Jeanie, and, ever so
hasty in deciding, was now disposed, in the revulsion of
her feelings, to put the most gloomy, disheartening con-
struction upon Lady M'Kenzie's silence on this point,
forgetting that since Lady Aylmer had made no especial
inquiries concerning Jeanie, Lady M'Kenzie was not
in any way called upon to give a separate report of her.
Lady Aylmer felt it incumbent on her to apprise
Mrs. Gordon of Lady I'Kenzie's communication to her.
She read aloud the "note and its contents, and the
regretful tone of Lady Aylmer's voice produced an
agitating effect on the widow, while Hester's kindling
cheeks bespoke her angry feelings, and Jeanie's head
was sorrowfully bent down.
From that time Lady Aylmer relaxed not in acts of
consideration and benevolence towards the little family,
but forbore going herself, as formerly, to the cottage;
and, notwithstanding the strict silence she and her
children preserved concerning the painful occurrence,
vague rumours, of something being amiss, got abroad,
eagerly seized upon and enlarged by the gossips of the
village, in consequence of which the widow and her
daughter Hester, who had begun to make a tolerable
footing, as needlewomen, in the place, found their hard-
gained employment falling away, and themselves re-
garded even more coldly and suspiciously than before
by their neighbours.
Lottie became aware of this, and it roused her to do
what she so much shrunk from; if all other friends
forsook them, she, the unhappy cause of 'their wretched-
ness, must stand by them in the hour of disgrace and
desertion. Hitherto she had scrupulously avoided fall.
ing in with any of the family, but now she would nieet





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

them face to face. It was hard to have to go to them
without one word of hope or consolation, but it was an
act of duty and kindness already too long delayed, so
she must nerve herself for the trial. Bat it was with
slow and lingering steps she went on her way, pausing
ever and anon to gather fresh courage, and to ponder on
what she could say for the best; and when she reached
the garden-gate, her voice and breath seemed to have
left her, and she was obliged to stand there till, with a
.strong effort over herself, she partly recovered, and her
heart began to beat less violently; then she proceeded
towards the cottage, which was one in a row of humble
dwellings, each having a long narrow strip of ground in
front, and had advanced half-way up the path, when
she saw Hester Gordon move quickly towards the
open door, and hastily shut it. Poor Lottie! the fact
was evident to her; she was spurned and insulted by
those for whom she had done and suffered so much.
Filled with indignation and humiliation, her head giddy
from the shock she had received, she immediately re-
traced her steps, and left the garden far more rapidly
than she had entered it. This was the crowning point
of her misery. She told no one of what had happened;
closely she hept her secret locked up within her own
bosom, but she brooded over it till the colour vanished
from her cheeks, the light fled from her eyes, and such
a dark shadow seemed to have fallen upon her, that the
once light-hearted Lottie, with her bounding steps and
beaming countenance, was no longer to be recognized
in the languid, melancholy-looking girl.
The Easter holidays brought home her brother
Edgar, who was surprised at her*pale looks, and quickly
inquired into the cause when alone with Carrie. She





LOTTIE'S IALF-SOVEREIGCN.

told him the whole story, begging that he would forbear
to torment poor Lottie, who had already suffered so
much. Only the sight of her spiritless appearance could
have kept him silent. He was much shocked and very
indignant, saying that he had particularly observed
Jeanie, and thought it far more likely that Lottie, in her
carelessness, had herself disposed of the half-sovereign,
and forgotten it, than that Jeanie should have been to
blame, so thoroughly good a girl as she evidently was.
Ah!" said Carrie, "the worst of it is, that she
rEoaly did lay out ten shillings at Turner's on that very
evening when she could not have had her wages."
What evening ?"
The night before your birthday."
"Ha, ha!" cried Edgar; "why, I gave her that
myself?"
"You, Edgar?"
"Yes, I thought I owed her some compensation for
the prejudice with which Lottie had inspired me at first.
Besides she had been very obliging in cleaning up the
intolerable messes Lionel was always making with his
chemistry, at which any sophisticated housemaid would
have rebelled. So, in the flush of my allowance, I
bestowed this unlucky half-sovereign, and thinking, may
be, that my generosity had been weak, never mentioned
it. There, Miss Carrie, your circumstantial evidence
breaks down. Depend on it, it will prove another
whim of Lottie's."
Carrie joyously reported this discovery to her mother,
hoping thau she would think it cleared Jeanie; but the
stubborn fact still remained-the absence of the half-
sovereign-and Lady Aylmer advised that nothing
should be said to Lottie since she was beginning t' be





LOTTIE'S' HALF-SOVEREIGN.

brightened by the return of her brother; and it was a
pity to renew the painful subject without effect.
It was on one of those bright, beautiful days, which
often come in spring, as if to cheat us into the belief
that blighting frosts and chilling winds have taken their
final departure, and summer has come to reign supreme
over the earth, that Edgar summoned Lottie for a walk
across the fields, to call on the clergyman's family in
the adjoining parish.
She was bending over her desk when she heard
Edgar's voice, authoritatively ordering her to put on
her bonnet and cloak without delay, and, remembering
there was a shop in the village to which they were
"going, where she might buy a bit of ribbon for her little
sister's doll, she opened her purse to examine its con-
tents. There was no smaller coin in it than a half-
crown, and with that unaccountable impulse which
comes over us at times, she opened the partition into
which she had not had courage to look since that
wretched day of her fatal discovery, where lay the despi-
cable little sixpence, just as it had been found, and left.
"Well," thought Lottie with a sigh, "it is no use
leaving it there; I will take it and spend it, and rid
myself of its hated sight for ever; that I can, at least,
do." And she put it as hastily as she could into a sepa-
rate compartment of her purse, all alone, as if its very
touch could change or contaminate the rest of her
money.
The brother and sister had soon set forth on their
walk, Lottie's step more buoyant, her cheeks less pale
than they had been for many weeks, for it is impossible
wholly to resist the influence of external objects; and
who could be sad with that clear blue sky above, and





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

that brilliant burst of spring which seemed to change
all the past gloom of winter into brightness ? Their
way led through fields already enamelled with daisies,
and bordered by hedges, from whose fresh young foliage
sprung many singing birds, rejoicing in the sudden
warmth and sunshine. When Lottie and Edgar had
crossed the first broad meadow, the latter perceived that
his favourite terrier was not with them. Never tho-
roughly happy unless he had this little creature following
at his heels, he was deliberating what steps to take, whe-
ther to go back for him or not, when a small village boy
was seen approaching, and was instantly despatched in
quest of Skye;" in the meanwhile, Edgar and Lottie
seated themselves on a stile, enjoying the soft, balmy
air, blowing so gently upon them. Soon the boy was
beheld in the distance returning, with great speed, Skye
kicking and struggling in his arms.
"Well done, my little man!" cried Edgar approve.
ingly, and he put his fingers into his waistcoat-pocket
in search of the wherewithal to recompense the active
messenger. But his purse was not there, and he had to
ask Lottie to lend him the sum. She handed her purse
to him, and he took from it the fatal sixpence, the only
one the purse contained. He sat twirling it in his
hand, as he watched the progress of his pet, which now,
having caught sight of his master, had sprung out of the
boy's arms, and was rushing towards him; but at last,
happening to glance at the coin which was'glittering in
the sun's rays, something in its appearance struck him
as rather peculiar. He held it up to the light, and as
he did so, not only the piece of money glittered, but his
finger and thumb also shone, and the palm of his hand
on which it had lain.
















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THE DISCOVERY.-'" '





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN,

"Why, Lottie," he exclaimed jokingly, what's the
meaning of this ? what base coin have you been trying
to impose upon me ? I verily believe your silver six-
pence is worth no more than a brass farthing, which
assuredly it is, and nothing else. Who has been taking
such a liberty as to electro-plate her Majesty's counte-
nance ? Look, the false coating is running about all
over my fingers; but I will soon do away with it, and
see what it will really turn out to be."
And he rubbed the sixpence with his handkerchief,
Lottie* imagining all the while he was in fun, and
therefore, scarcely heeding what he was about, but,
chancing to turn towards him, just as he had finished,
she saw an expression on his face which made her
start; the next moment he held up before her, in the
dazzling sunshine, a bright, shining half-sovereigni, and,
spreading open his besmeared hand, gasped forth-
"Oh, Lottie, the quicksilver-the quicksilver!"
and then the whole truth flashed upon Lottie's mind;
and so great was her agitation, that she was obliged to
lean for support against the stile.
But a very short time, however, was she allowed to
give way to her feelings; for Edgar was rushing across
the meadow towards home, and she was following him.
She found it hard work to keep up at all with his rapid
strides, and he paused not a moment in his impetuous
energy; but, Lottie, too, was reckoned fleet of foot, and
now she seemed scarcely to touch the ground as she
bounded on, much to the amazement of the little village
urchin, who was at a loss to conjecture whether or not
this was all done for the benefit of Skye, who scam-
pered after them, barking and springing up into the air
as if delighted with the gambols.





LOT'TIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.














LAD AYLMER was startled and somewhat alarmed,
when Edgar and Lottie, who she had fancied to be well
disposed of for the whole afternoon, rushed into the
drawing-room, regardless of the velvet piled carpet, with
their thick muddy boots and their faces crimson, Skye,
not a privileged visitor, accompanying them; and it was
almost provoking, when each had dropped into a chair,
and their mother was all anxiety to learn the cause of
their unexpected return, that neither of them could
answer her. Quite exhausted, and out of breath, Lottie sat
gasping, in vain trying to articulate, while Edgar rocked
himself to and fro, and thumped his chest as though
he were endeavouring to knock some breath into his
lungs.
A strange silence reigned for a short time, broken at
length by Lottie, who still further astonished Lady Ayl-
mer, by running to her and throwing her arms around her
neck, exclaiming Oh mamma, mamma, the half-sove-
reign is found !" And then Edgar was able to continue
the theme, and to relate in broken snatches the marvel-
lous discovery of the dirty little coin they had supposed a





LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

shabby sixpence turning out to be a golden piece, disguised
by a superficial coating of quicksilver. Gaining breath,.
he explained how it must have happened, reminded
Lottie and his mother of the experiments Lionel used to
perform for the amusement of the younger children in
the holidays-that of the silver-tree, for instance-and
how, on that particular evening, Lottie had given her
half-sovereign to the little ones to play with while she
cast up her accounts. He recollected the quicksilver
being spilt on the school-room table, and the children
spinning the coin close to the spot, where the fluid lay
in a pool. He mentioned the hands of the little boy
who had unlaced his boots being incrusted with the
quicksilver in which he had been dabbling, and recalled
" fttie's remembrance little Arthur's remark, the
next morning, about his gilt buttons having been
changed into silver ones in the night; and now he per-
fectly recollected, on a former occasion, when he himself
had assisted in some chemical experiments, in which
nitrate of silver was used, being surprised at finding his
lapis lazuli seal ring suddenly set in silver instead of
gold. Yes, the case was clear as noon-day, and Edgar
and Lottie wondered they had not thought of the quick-
silver before. They felt provoked with themselves for
what now seemed to them an extraordinary instance of
dulness on their part. Thus it often is. In the egotism
of our hearts we attribute to ourselves, to our own
actions, all the circumstances and events of our lives,
whether for good or evil, as if we held in our weak hands
the ordering and disposing of each incident that befals
us; whereas, the occurrences of every day, however
apparently trivial, are carefully appointed for us by One

I*






LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

who, in wisdom and love, withholds and gives in his
own good time.
Lady Aylmer warmly sympathized in the joy of her
children. Indeed, to her the discovery was fraught with
the utmost satisfaction and thankfulness; for greatly
had she deplored the mysterious affair for the sake of
all concerned in it, not least for Lottie, into whose feel-
ings of anxiety to acquaint as soon as possible the widow
and her daughters with the strange reappearance of the
half-sovereign she fully entered; but considering the
delicate health of the widow, and the injurious effect
any sudden agitation might have upon her, and thinking
Lottie stood in need of a night's rest to calm down her
excitement, the sudden revulsion from trouble to happi-
ness seeming almost too much for her to bear, she delayed
the interview with Mrs. Gordon and Jeanie until the
following morning, though Edgar impetuously asserted
it to be a downright act of cruelty to allow another
night to pass over their heads without removing that
dark shadow of suspicion which had so long rested on
them.
Thankful must Lady Aylmer have felt that, in the
painful part she had been compelled to take with respect
to Jeanie, she had performed the task as gently and
forbearingly as possible, that charity which "hopeth,
beareth all things," had been her guide and director;
nevertheless, her tenderly sensitive heart now revolted at
the idea of having, even with such just grounds, accused
any one wrongly. She did not conceal these feelings of
sad regret from her children; and, in the midst of
Lottie's rejoicing, a fresh pang was inflicted on her heart
at the remembrance of the distress she had caused to





LOTTIE S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

so many by her self-will and hasty judgments. The
meeting with Mrs. Gordon and Jeanie could not fail
to be an affecting scene to all concerned. Peace and
comfort were, indeed, imparted to the widow by the
intelligence Lady Aylmer communicated of the innocence
of Jeanie being fully established, and the feelings of the
mother were for a time overpowering. And Jeanie-
her happiness was so thankful, so humble, while she
endeavoured through her tears to confess how she had
really been to blame, not for having taken a half-sove-
reign which did not belong to her-that she never would
have done-but, when the young gentleman gave her
the money, for having rushed out, without leave, to
spend it. Her unthinking act of breaking through a
rule had been the cause of all her trouble, and she had
been too much frightened, too much shocked, the next
day, to speak out to My Lady," as she ought to have
done, and tell the whole truth. She hoped through all
her life to bear in mind what great harm might come
from even a little falling off from duty.
A few days after this, Lottie heard that Hester Gor-
doni was very ill. She went to her, and for many weeks,
while the poor girl lay hovering between life and death,
continued to visit her and administer to her wants; but
it was in a different spirit from heretofore that Lottie
performed this labour of love; no longer self-confident
and leaning on her own understanding, but patient, and
with humility yielding to the opinions of others; and
when at length, one evening, the sick girl feebly stretched
forth her thin hand, and, in accents no longer fretful
and querulous, but beseeching and faltering, implored
ner pardon for her angry, ungrateful conduct towards






LOTTIE'S HALF-SOVEREIGN.

her, Lottie pressed it within her own, and, bending down
over Hester, told her, that as sincerely as she repented
and mourned over her own errors and shortcomings, and
trusted to be forgiven, so she from her heart forgave
her.















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PLEASEE, WILL YOU TELL ME THE WAY TO ELMWOOD RECTORY?



















LOST IN TIE W00D
AND
OTHER ADVENTURES.
BY MiacRS. ALEXh. ,hGILCHRISTo



W IEN w aS about nine Or ten
" years old, I was taken to
pay a long visit to an uncle, who
lived in a wild country place, "
of which he was the clergyman.
Mary. And did you ride in a
train, as we do when we go to
-see grandmamma ?
Manmm. No, there were no
trains, no railways then. We
went in a coach, which, though I A
it had four horses to draw it, and fresh ones every te
miles, took nearly the whole day to go the sixty miles
to NAutford, near which place my uncle lived. But oh !






LOST TN THE WOOD.

were we not wild with delight, I and my brother When
we felt the coach no longer rattling over stones, but
bowling along a road with hedges on each side, that
seemed scampering away from us instead of we from
bhem; when we passed golden cornfields, sprinkled
here and there with beautiful scarlet poppies ; and green
meadows with dear white woolly sheep nibbling away in
them-it was hard work to sit still, and not jump for
joy, and shout and sing, and otherwise torment the grave
grown-up people in the coach. For grown-up people,
you know, like to be quiet, and think, and hear one an-
other speak. Well, the journey came to an end at last.
And, to say the truth, we grew rather tired of it before it
was over, and were glad enough to change from the inside
of a coach to open air in the four-wheeled chaise, which
stood ready waiting for us at the inn where the coach
stopped. Off we go again, across a broad common, past
the tall windmill, which, I remember, was swinging
round its great arms merrily, as if resolved to do a good
day's work, for the wind blew fresh. Then down a wind-
ing, shady lane, and just as the sun was sinking, we
turned in at the white gate of Elmwood Rectory. In
the porch, to welcome us, stood my aunt and her little son
Frank, a merry-looking fellow, with bright hazel eyes, just
ihe playfellow for the coming six weeks. I hardly know
which is pleasantest, the first arrival-when, hungry and
tired, you sit down 'at table, with kind faces round look-
ing a welcome, and delicious country fare, new milk and
eggs, and home-made bread, and swan-shaped pats of
butter spread out before you-or when you stretch out
your limbs in the snow-white bed, the sheets, the room,
everything smelling sweet, and looking strange and
bright, and the last sound you hear before dropping off






LOST IN THE WOOD.

to sleep is the rustling of the leaves, and the scratching
of the boughs of the great tree outside against your
window-or when the sun, shining in brightly, wakes
you in the morning, for a moment wondering where you
are, till the sound of the gardener whetting his scythe
to mow the lawn, tells you that you are really in the
country; that what you have been dreaming of and
longing for for weeks, has come to pass, and you jump
up briskly, that you may get into the garden while yet
the flowers are covered with dewdrops.
Cousin Frank and brother Harry were already out,
and together we explored the garden. Such a garden!
I am afraid none will ever seem so beautiful to me again.
There was a broad lawn, and on each side of it a flower-
border, in which tall white lilies glistened against a back-
ground of dark evergreens; and roses and mignonette,
and all sweet-smelling flowers, bloomed there in abun-
dance. Evening primroses, too, which it is to pretty to
watch towards sunset, shutting themselves un by fits and
starts for the night. The lawn sloped down towards a
haw-haw, and-
Mary. What is a haw-haw, please, mamma?
Mamrma. It is neither more nor less than a ditch.
But a ditch, not with ragged sides and muddy bottom,
such as you see under a hedge, but made trim and fit
for the garden; with sides of smooth short grass which
slope till they meet, so that there is no flat bottom to
hold mud or water. And the use of a haw-haw is to
separate a pasture, where cows and horses feed, from
the garden, so that there should be no possibility of their
straying among the flowers, without having to put an
agly high fence or hedge, that shuts out the view. A
haw-haw, with a light iron railing beyond, j cst; com-





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