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The Baldwin Library
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The Holidays at Wilton,
AND OTHER STORIES.
By ADELAIDE AUSTEN,
Auahor of 'Among tie Mountains, jt4.
WVILLIAM P. NIMMO AND CO.
Morrison Gibb, Edinburgh,
Printers to Her Majesty's Stationery Oic.
"I. SU IER HOLIDAYS AT WILTON, 5
1l. NELL28 SUNBEAM, 5
SUMMER HOLIDAYS AT WILTON.
S HAVE good news for you, girls,'
said Mrs. Grantley, as she folded
up a letter she had finished read-
ing. 'Your cousin Agnes accepts my in-
vitation, and will be with us the day after
Mrs. Grantley addressed her two eldest
daughters, Grace and Helen, but neither of
them seemed quite sure whether to accept
this information as good news or not. Helen
was the first to speak.
'What like is Cousin Agnes, mamma?'
she asked, with a very doubtful face.
'That is rather a difficult question to
answer, Helen, dear. You must remember
I have not seen your cousin; but if she is
at all like her mother, she will be every-
6 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
thing that's good. So you need not fear
how you will get on with her.'
This assurance was quite sufficient to
content Helen; and her face brightened as
she turned to join in the conversation that
was going on round the tea-table among
papa and the younger ones.
This was the first evening of the holidays,
which quite accounted for the nursery at
Wilton being left empty and vacant; for
such an important event was always cele-
brated by a tea-party in the dining-room,
consisting of all the children, from the
oldest to the youngest. Let us glance at
the smiling faces one by one as they sit
round the table.
The tall, dark gentleman at the foot is
of course Mr. Grantley, and very handsome
and pleasant he looks. The children would
tell you that there never was such a good,
kind papa, and I believe they were not far
wrong. On his left sits a little girl of six
years old, who is evi'-i,,tls ['I'l'. pet; her
name is Eva, and she is so full of coaxing,
winning ways, that no one can help loving
her. Her bright-eyed brother Arthur sits
AT WILTON. 7
beside her, and he is no end of a romp, as
you may see in a moment from the many
mischievous dimples and twinkles in his
rosy face. Then comes Helen, whom we
have already noticed. She sits at her
mamma's right hand, and opposite to her
is her sister Grace; but though they are
sisters, they are very unlike, both in appear-
ance and character, as we shall afterwards
see. Last, but not least, we have to mention
Harry, and then the family is complete-
and yet not quite, for there is still another
brother, and he is expected home next day
The conversation turns upon George's
arrival, and the little ones are all anxiously
trying to make out when the express, which
is to bring their brother, will be due at
Belford railway station.
' I shall ride over on Jupiter,' says Harry;
'he'll trot the seven miles in less than no
'And me'll go with you!' volunteered
Eva, fully believing her presence to be an
'You, you little puss! If you want a
8 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
ride, I'll just put the saddle on Hector, the
Eva did not know whether to be offended
or not at such a suggestion, but she thought
she would not like to ride through the town
on a dog; so she put on her most pleading
face, and asked her papa if she might go
with him in the carriage-which request
met with a ready assent.
The next day was one full of pleasant
excitement and bustle for all. While Mr.
Grantley and the children went to the
station to meet George, Grace and Helen
stayed at home with their mamma to make
ready for their visitor. Helen had heard
sufficient about her cousin to make her look
forward to her visit with interest and plea-
sure; and she was very busy all forenoon
putting the finishing touches to her room,
and making other arrangements for her re-
ception. While she is doing so, we will
take the privilege of glancing at the ex-
pected visitor in her own home.
'I would so very much rather stay at
home beside you, dear mamma, than go away
anywhere. I feel quite strong now.'
AT WILTON. 9
'But still I am not satisfied. A change
will do you good; and you know, Agnes,
dear, I cannot afford to take you away my-
self, so that your Aunt Louisa's invitation is
the very thing for you-it could not have
come at a better time.'
The speakers were Agnes Stanley and
her mother. Agnes was seated at the open
window of her cottage home, with her work
in her lap. It had long ago fallen from her
fingers, and, instead of looking at it, she was
gazing over the tiny borders of bright gera-
niums to the blue hills beyond the meadows,
and thinking that she would be very sorry
to leave this beautiful spot, even though it
were but for so short a time as a month.
Agnes was an only child. She and her
mother had but lately arrived from India,
and settled in the tiny cottage in which we
now see them. Her father had been an
officer, who fell a victim to the unhealthy
climate in which he was situated. His
widow and daughter were not over well
provided for; and Mrs. Stanley had of late
watched Agnes' health with something like
anxiety-all the more so, that she was unable
10 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
to go beyond a certain limit in the means
she adopted for her recovery. And so, in
obedience to her mother's wishes, Agnes
accepted her aunt's invitation to spend a
month at Wilton, and see what the sea-
breezes would do for her. She had early
learned the lesson of submitting her will to
those who were older and wiser than she, for
Agnes had been carefully and well brought
up; and when she saw how anxious hei
kind mother was on her behalf, she did
not add to the grief of their separation by
any murmuring or resistance on her part.
Though Agnes Stanley hardly looked her
seventeen summers, the strength and de-
cision that marked her character, as well
as her sensible way of talking, might have
done credit to one some years older than
she. Though by no means perfection, she
possessed many rare gifts and graces, and
had the precious art of making all around
her happy. Hers vas an unselfish spirit,
whose happiness consisted in making sun-
shine for others, not only in her own home,
but for all within her reach. Such a dis-
position was not likely to be long in winning
AT WILTON. 11
its way anywhere, and now we shall see how
it prospered at Wilton.
Agnes had never been to Wilton, nor
had she ever seen any of her cousins, and
she began to feel rather curious as to what
they would be like. Her Aunt Louisa was
her mother's own sister, and for that reason
she loved her already.
Agnes' journey was a somewhat tedious
one, and she was very glad when she
reached the pretty side station, where Mrs.
Grantley was waiting to welcome her.
After this, they had a beautiful drive,
through winding lanes that were almost
enclosed in the luxuriant hedges that lined
them on either side, and, as they emerged
every now and then into the open country,
they ever and anon caught lovely glimpses of
the beautiful blue ocean.
'Oh, aunt, is not that splendid?' ex-
claimed Agnes, as they gained a bit of
rising ground commanding a fine view of
the bay, with the white sails sleeping on
its surface, while several gay pleasure-boats
were chasing each other through the water
like so many butterflies.
12 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
Beneath them lay a pretty village, from
which the smoke came curling up in purple
clouds; and at the further end rose the
white church, just visible through the trees
which clustered round it, with its spire
pointing straight up to heaven. In the
west, the sun was dipping its edge into
the waters, tinging them with a bright hue
like a flame of fire, while all above and
around were piled orange and purple clouds,
one above the other, blending their gorgeous
tints with beautiful softness.
Agnes gazed enraptured on the lovely
scene, and, as they passed the different
houses scattered by the way, she wondered
each time if that was to be her destination
'That is Wilton,' said Mrs. Grantley at last.
Agnes looked to her right, and there,
standing in an undulating park, and nest-
ling amid trees, stood a long, low, white
house, looking the very picture of peace and
comfort. A merry group had assembled at
the door to welcome their stranger cousin;
and Agnes was scarcely on her feet before
she was greeted by a perfect storm of kisses
from the younger ones.
AT WILTON. 13
You will have a whole host of admirers,
you see,' said Mr. Grantley, laughing heartily
at the reception.
'Get along, Master Arthur; and you, Eva,
be off to the nursery, or you'll be knocked
down and squashed altogether.'
In the background stood the two elder
girls; and Agnes was struck with the differ-
ence between the sisters before she had ever
spoken to them. Grace, who was about
Agnes' own age, was a tall, handsome girl,
with dark flashing eyes, that made her
beautiful in spite of her nose, which was
rather too much turned up to be strictly
elegant; while Helen was a little, fat, demure-
looking thing, covered with freckles, and
altogether very plain. But the difference
in their manners was still more apparent.
Grace shook hands in a cold, indifferent
sort of way, which made her cousin feel
chill and uncomfortable; but Helen's plain
face was quite lighted up with her warm
smile of welcome.
'I shall like her best, though she is not
so pretty as Grace,' Agnes immediately con-
cluded in her own mind.
"14 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
'May I take Cousin Agnes to her room,
mamma ?' asked Helen.
'Yes, dear, of course you may, and see that
she has everything she requires.'
'And me too,' lisped Eva, who had already
established herself at her cousin's side.
And so Agnes was marshalled through
the long corridors by her important little
guide, who loquaciously informed her, as
they passed each room, who was its owner.
When, at last, the officious little lady con-
descended to take herself off, wiled away
by Helen's promise of a sugar-plum await-
ing her in the nursery, and Agnes was left
alone, she had time to admire her pretty
room and all its elegant comforts. From
the window, which opened on to a verandah
that ran along the front of the house, there
was an exquisite sea-view, and the fresh
breezes blew straight in from the bay,
mingled with the rich perfume of the
jasmine and scented woodbine. Every-
thing spoke of wealth and luxury, and
Agnes felt that she ought to be happy
here, with so much that was likely to
interest and amuse her.
AT WILTON. 15
There was plenty to talk over that even-
ing in the drawing-room, for each one had
some ]pl_ n,' .,,,-, 1] _. 1 1 amuse-
ment. Mr. and Mrs. Grantley were anxious
that the holidays should be a pleasant time
for all, and they promised to do all in their
power to fulfil any reasonable suggestions
that should be made.
Grace, being the eldest, proposed first
that they should have a picnic to Wildlake
Castle, a picturesque old ruin in the neigh-
bourhood, to which many quaint legends
were attached, all of which were more oa
less improbable. This received a ready as-
sent from Mr. and Mrs. Grantley, and Grace's
plan was set aside as a settled thing.
Helen suggested a visit to the famous
'Wishing Well,' a few miles off, where one
had only to take a sip of the crystal water
to have the wish nearest his heart fulfilled.
Helen looked as if she thoroughly be-
lieved in the virtue of the well, as she
gravely set forth its merits, till she was
startled by a good roar of laughter from
'You look as demure as a judge over it.
16 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
Do you really mean to say that you believe
such nonsense ?' he asked, with a look of
' Why, yes, George, of course I do. Hun-
dreds of people used to come and quaff
from the stream, and pay their silver piece
for it too; for long ago there was a dwarf
who lived there, and made his living by
selling the water to strangers.'
'Then it is a new proof of the enlight-
ened age in which we live, that he has
disappeared off the face of the earth,' replied
George, still unconvinced.
But, notwithstanding his sceptical views
on the subject, a visit to the 'Wishing Well'
was decided upon. George voted for a fishing
excursion, which was to include the girls,
whom he volunteered to supply with hooks
and bait to any extent.
' I fear George little knows what he is
taking upon himself,' said Mrs. Grantley,
with a smile.
'Oh, don't I, mother!' exclaimed the
young man, who had all his wits about him.
'I don't expect the operation will need to
be performed more than once, you see.'
AT WILTON. 17
There was a general laugh at the compli-
ment thus implied, and a determination was
come to that George would have as much
work to do as possible in baiting the lines,
whenever the proposed excursion should take
The juveniles were too young as yet to
propose an entertainment that would prove
such to any one but themselves, as was very
soon discovered, when Arthur, with a ludi-
crously serious face, proposed that the whole
family should spend a day in wading in the
pond. Eva heartily seconded the motion;
but Mrs. Grantley could not be persuaded
to give her promise that a day should be set
aside for this pastime.
'And now Cousin Agnes must propose
something. We have all had our wishes
except her,' said Helen.
' As I know nothing of the neighbourhood,
any entertainment that I propose must be
for in-doors, and may be postponed for wet
days; so I shall take in hand to provide for
them,' said Agnes.
'A capital plan! It is always best to lay
past for a rainy day,' remarked Mr. Grantley.
18 SUd1MMERM HOLIDAYS
With those diversions in prospect, the
holidays were likely to pass away pleasantly
enough. Agnes devoted much of her spare
time to the little ones, who seemed to have
found a treasure of a playmate in their
cousin. She wandered about the beach with
them for hours, watching the tiny waves
chasing each other up the pebbly bank, and
listening to their low murmuring music.
She gathered strange plants from the rocks,
and beautiful rainbow-coloured shells, to add
to her aunt's aquarium. Then she nevei
wearied of building castles in the sand for
the boys and Eva; and when a strong billow
.it:. i::,,,in against the pretty tower and
washed it away, the children only shouted
with glee, for they knew their kind cousin
would quickly make another.
Helen generally accompanied them on these
rambles, Grace but seldom. Agnes scarcely
understood the latter; but after the first day
or two she saw that Grace was not all an
elder sister might and ought to be. She
was too anxious to make her will law with
the younger ones, and they in their turn
rebelled against such an attempt.
AT IVILTON. 19
There is nothing j,,i. *il..v.ly than I
petty tyranny-this determined wilfulness
to impose our own will on others who are
weaker than v.- ; ,.nd thl -.ilit th it i',.u.-
it is very unlike that of Him who pleased
not Himself, but left us an example of hu-
mility that we might follow it. Trifling as
it may seem, it is not too small a sin to be
made the subject of watchfulness, for it is
directly opposed to Christian love and kind-
ness. And tl,.uiiJl, it. is -...n-lii,,:, no small
matter to be denied one's own way, even
in a trifle, if we go honestly to the root of
this evil, and stedfastly strive to cultivate a
forbearing spirit, we will soon find what
Herbert the poet tells us, that all joys go
less, to the one joy of doing kindnesses.'
One night, about a week after Agnes
Stanley's arrival at Wilton, a fearful thunder-
storm broke over the neighbourhood. The
day had been a sultry one, with not a
breath of wind to stir a leaf or flutter a
flower; and all nature lay still and silent,
as if thoroughly exhausted and worn out.
Suddenly the low, distant growl of thunder
was heard, growing louder and fiercer in
20 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
its sound, and the lightning began to
play and flash in the darkness. Agnes put
out her light and drew back the (nit.uio ,
to watch the beautiful scene, as flash after
flash revealed a glimpse of the surrounding
country, veiled in the shroud of night.
As she stood thus, a low rap at the door
aroused her, and presently a white figure
'What, Helen, is this you ?'
'I couldn't lie still all alone any longer,
Agnes, I am so frightened; so I thought I
would come to you, for Grace would have
laughed at me so. Do let me sleep with
you, or I shall die of fear !'
Helen was already trembling like a leaf,
and Agnes wrapped a warm shawl round her
to keep her warm.
'Stay here, dear, and watch it with me.'
'Oh, Agnes, how can you do it? I
wouldn't stand there for the world!' cried
Helen, starting violently as a vivid flash
shot before her eyes, almost blinding her
with its brilliant glare.
'I have heard such dreadful stories of
people being struck dead in a moment by
AT WILTON 21
lightning,' moaned Helen, with her face
buried in the shawl.
Agnes passed her arm round the shivering
'Every flash is directed by God, Helen;
it cannot touch one of His creatures without
But that does not prevent me being
It ought to, dear; when we think that
God is watching over us. We are in no
more danger to-night, Helen, than we
always are; for God can take away our
breath at any moment, without the aid of
'I never thought of that, Agnes; but the
thunder sounds so dreadful, it startles me.'
And Helen crept in among the blankets.
The storm was nearly over, the loud roars
were dying away in the distance, and, as the
heavy raindrops began to patter down, Agnes
closed the shutters, and laid her head on the
pillow beside her cousin.
The next morning was bright and calm,
and no traces of the fury of the storm were
visible when Agnes rose and looked out of
22 S, UMMEll R HOLIDAYS
the window. The dew l _;i .111 ;._ on the
grass, and on each bush and tree, and the
birds were warbling forth their sweetest
notes in gratitude for the sunshine.
At the breakfast-table Mr. Grantley spoke
of a sad accident that had happened in the
village. One of the fishermen, who had been
returning from the public-house to his home,
; ..1 ,:u str, .:k U 1 i.-lth l. in,. .nl carried
to his house insensible, where he still lay in
a precarious state.
'His name is Dick White, and a sulky-
looking fellow he is,' said Mr. Grantley.
'Don't you remember seeing him that day
the wreck was washed ashore, the busiest of
all in helping himself to the poor ship-
wrecked seamen's possessions ?'
'Oh yes, papa,' cried Harry; 'and just
as he had secured a whole heap of things,
and hidden them safely in the sand, as he
thought, a policeman walked up to the spot,
and quietly took possession of them.'
' You recollect that bit of it. It's like the
man, for he does not bear an over good cha-
racter, I fear.'
'Will he die asked Helen, thinking it
AT WFILTON. 23
was very dreadful for such a wicked man
to be taken away so suddenly.
'I don't know, dear. It is a solemn
warning to all of us, that in the midst of
life we are in death.'
'If any of you are down on the beach
to-day, you might inquire how he is,' said
'Oh, mamma, I couldn't, if he's such a
horrid wicked man,' exclaimed Helen. But
when Agnes volunteered to go on her own
account, she promised to accompany her.
As soon as breakfast was over, Helen ran
said, 'and I have been wondering why God
could not have chosen some one more fit to
die than this wicked, sinful man.'
'Hush, Helen, dear; we must not presume to
judge God's actions. He does all for the best,
and this will have some good end in view too.
But I can't think so, Agnes, let me try
ever so hard. It seems so strange.'
'Perhaps you will see it by and by,'
That forenoon, as the cousins were stroll-
24 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
ing along the shore, they asked a fisherman
to show them Dick White's cottage. He
pointed to a row that faced them.
' It's that middle one with the black door
that's his, miss; but if you're going to see
him, I tell you it's of no use. Neither him
nor his wife know how to speak a civil word.'
' Shall we go, do you think ?' asked Helen
hesitatingly. 'It won't be very pleasant if
they are so rude and coarse.'
' We must just make the best of it. There's
no harm in trying, at any rate,' said Agnes,
turning in the direction of the cottage.
When they knocked at the door, which was
standing slightly ajar, a rough voice called
on them to come and tell what they were
In obedience to this unceremonious per-
mission to enter, the cousins advanced, but
the scene which met their eyes was anything
but inviting. Besides being dirty, the kitchen
was full of smoke; but through it all Mrs.
White had evidently been washing, as a large
tub full of soapsuds stood in the middle of
the floor, and a quantity of wet, yellow-looking
clothes hung from a rope that ran from one
AT WILTON. 15
end of the room to the other. The fireside
was strewed with ashes; and in the midst
of all this discomfort and confusion sat the
presiding genius, the mistress of the man-
sion. A knot of squalid, ragged-looking
children were squabbling in a corner, who,
when they became too vociferous, were re-
called to order by a stern word of command
from their mother.
Is this White's house ?' asked Agnes,
hoping with all her might that the answer
might be given in the negative.
'Yes, it is; and what might ye be want
ing ?' asked the woman, not over courteously
and eyeing her visitors with a broad stare,
while she complacently rocked herself to and
fro on her stool.
Helen shrank back, and pulled her cousin's
dim. l.,er:in.' hl-r to come away; but instead
of that, Agnes explained how they had heard
of the accident, and that they had come to
inquire for her husband. Much good that'll
do him,' muttered Mrs. White'; but, on second
thoughts, she apparently deemed the ex-
planation satisfactory, and rose from her seat.
He's bad enough yet, though he's better
26 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
than he was,' she said, approaching the bed
d,,l tr. I;t., i i .t, t,:a I.1 I ., ,_
'Dick, lad, here's some one after ye,' she
announced in stentorian tones; but Dick
could not be persuaded to show his face.
Agnes took a seat, unasked, it must be
said, and was soon quite at her e.:-e. :- i. iinll
with Mrs. White. She asked if they had had
'He's not that ill that he'll not soon be
.i..i l, ..2 Pi, ..-1-:,!.,1 tOh :. h.T . -I1 w ife.
But Dick's illness continued longer than
- ----i i!., anticipated, and many a
v a t tA ee .1. l-.l.na pail thie. :'..tt a,-, -
'withstanding the scanty encouragement they
got at first. The former was quite at home
among the poor; for round her own quiet
cottage there was not a house for miles that
had not felt the sunshine of her presence,
and Agnes had never yet known a few kind
words fail to win their way into the heart of
'What a nasty, little, hot, close room l'
Helen exclaimed, after her first visit was over.
' I am thankful to have a breath of fresh air.'
AT WVIL TON. 27
'If you cannot spend an hour in that
room, Helen, only think how those poor
people are to be pitied who live in it.'
So I do pity them,'Agnes, from the very
bottom of my heart, but I don't see much
good that will do them.'
Nor I either,' said Agnes, with a smile.
'There must be something more active than
pity at work. Could you not take in hand
to make a change here ?'
'I!' asked Helen, amazed. 'What could
'A very great deal-everything, in fact, if
' How seriously you talk, Agnes But I
am sure you must admit that it would be no
pleasant task to teach those children, bfo
'N..t .it It I i.-!.! 'I,. It would take
a great stock of patience, to begin with; but
you would soon grow to take a real interest
in your work, for it is Christ's work, and we
ought to love to do anything for Him.'
'Is this the only way we can serve Him ?'
asked Helen, with a sigh.
' We can serve Him in everything.'
28 SUlMMER HOLIDAYS
' How do you mean, Agnes ? I don't see
how I can do anything for Him at home.'
'You might if you liked, dear. There is
nothing that God loves better than to see us
doing His work in our home-life. He would
far rather have that, than for us to go abroad
into other people's houses to do our good
deeds. And so it is just in the faithful per-
formance of our little duties and tasks that
we can show that we are serving Him.'
Helen was very thoughtful all the way
home after this, and she did not forget her
cousin's words. Agnes watched her with
intense interest struggling with her little
faults and besetting sins. She had gone over
the hard ground herself, and recognized the
waymarks, and so she often gave her cousin
a word of encouragement to cheer her on-
The weather had been unpleasantly wet
for some time; but notwithstanding, George's
fishing excursion and the visit to the Wish-
ing Well had both been successfully accom-
plished. Grace's picnic, however, was still a
thing of the future; and as morning after
morning broke gloomy and wet, there was
AT WILTON. 29
nothing for it but to wait in patience for
And now Agnes' inventive powers were
taxed to the utmost to fulfil her promise of
providing amusement for the rainy days; but
she amply succeeded in making it a happy
time, till even the boys declared that it was
as good fun staying in the house as being
She showed Helen how to make a scrap-
book, and gave her several pictures and
pieces of poetry to commence with. She
helped George to arrange his crests and
stamps in their respective albums, and
painted several designs, which greatly added
to the beauty of the page; and she did not
forget the little ones either, for Harry and
Arthur were as busy as could be all day
manufacturing kites, boats, etc., with her
In the evenings, when the family was
assembled in the warm, well-lighted draw-
ing-room, Agnes proposed all sorts of nice
games, such as 'The Travellers,' Proverbs,
'Public Opinion,' etc. She fairly puzzled
thii- with (C:ui.In.:,,- and sometimes she
30 SUiMMER HOLIDAYS
and George acted a charade, leaving the
others to guess the word they were repre-
Agnes headed the amusements with so
much spirit and good-humour, that enjoy-
ment never flagged; and weariness, which is
so often the consequence of a wet day, was
set at defiance. George, who was of a some-
what poetical turn of mind, composed several
enigmas and anagrams in verse, which were
read aloud for the benefit and amusement of
the rest of the circle.
'Let us have a game at "Words,"' said
Agnes one evening, perceiving Harry give
a great yawn, and that Grace was also be-
ginning to show symptoms of ennui.
What sort of a game is that?' asked
Mrs. Grantley, who was busy knitting a
sock, which looked very much the size of
Master Arthur's leg.
'Something which will tax our learning,
I should fancy,' said Mr. Grantley.
'Not in the least,' laughed Agnes. 'All
that is needed is quickness of perception,
especially as five minutes is the time allowed
for our work.'
AT WILTON. 31
George laid aside his book, rubbing his
I-;.. e .it l:.. -,,,: ti ,if for the purpose
is ,,:,'ilt,, ilt hi cousin's remark. The
Ii ....._- i:ti : in, f..,lljiii as many words as
possible out of one chosen :.7y 1'i I::!jl.".
First of all, each had to be supplied with a
slip of paper and a pencil; and when this
was done, Agnes proposed that they should
select 'conversation' for the word, which
was accordingly written down at the top of
the papers. Mr. Grantley pulled out his
watch and laid it on the table; and for the
space of five minutes all was deep silence,
;,i.1 i p- 1-n..il- ve 1".r-ily at work. Atlast
he called 'time,' and in an instant they were
stopped. As George had succeeded in find-
ing most, his paper was read aloud first, and
so in their order, the highest first. George's
was as follows:-
'Conversation.--Case, cat, con, cone, coon,
cot, cover, near, neat, net, nine, none, nose,
alot, note, noise, nation, ration, rain, raise,
rave, rose, roan, rot, rove, rate, sat, satin, save,
sear, set, sit, site, sin, sir, sire, son, sot, stain,
tan, tare, tear, ten, tin, tire, ton, tone.'
32 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
'A very creditable performance indeed,'
remarked Mr. Grantley, when the list was
So interested did they become in the game,
that several other words were chosen, and it
soon became a favourite evening amusement
At last the mists and clouds rolled away,
and one beautiful morning the sun shone out
onee more, making many little hearts beat
high with hope as he looked in at the win-
dow. Even before the birds were awake,
there were bright eyes opened to welcome
'Oh, Agnes, only look what a splendid
morning!' cried Helen, starting out of bed,
and drawing aside the curtains to admit the
full flood of golden light. 'We'll have a
delightful day, for mamma is sure to go,
and I'm so glad. You will see our beautiful
Wildlake Castle and glen.'
' Don't you think you had better reserve
as much strength as possible for the fatigues
in prospect ? suggested Agnes, with a smile.
'It must be much too early to rise!'
'I declare it's only half-past five!' ex-
AT WILTON. 33
claimed Helen in a tone of disappointment;
and the impatient girl was obliged to lie
quiet for fully two hours longer.
At breakfast it was decided that the pic-
nic should take place that day. The party
was to set outat eleven o'clock, and till
then all was delightful bustle and confusion.
There was such a packing of provisions, and
such a putting up of all sorts of conceivable
and inconceivable packages, that even little
Eva's fingers were not idle; in fact that
young lady was the busiest of the busy, for
she had several arrangements of her own to
make, which were by no means unimportant
in her own eyes. Agnes had made her doll
a whole suit of new clothes, and this was a
splendid chance of inaugurating them; and
so its toilet took as long to complete as
everything else put together. Wildlake
Castle, which was about seven miles dis-
tant, might be reached either by land or
water; and as the water was so calm and
unruffled, lMr. Grantley proposed that they
should proceed in boats, while the carriage
went round by the road with the luncheon
hampers. The barks glided swiftly along
34 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
the glassy surface, the dipping of the oars
being broken every now and then by a merry
laugh from Eva, or a more lusty shout from the
boys, as they hauled in some poor unfortu-
nate little fish they had succeeded in catching.
They were all in high glee, and the day was
one of uninterrupted gladness. For what can
surpass the pleasure of dining beneath the
beautiful canopy of heaven, with the soft,
green turf for a table, and a sparkling
streamlet gushing forth close at hand! The
children ran, and jumped, and scrambled
about, as if doing their very best to tire
themselves; and their shouts resounded
through the woods, startling the birds from
their hiding-places, and making them scream
wildly as they flew down the glen. Agnes
admired the beautiful crumbling ruin ex-
tremely, and explored every nook and cranny
of it. Then the girls took out their pencils,
and each made a sketch of the ivied tower;
and though they could not impart the lovely
hue to the foliage which embosomed the
sombre grey walls, they were very pretty
pictures, and served to remind their owners
of the happy day they had spent beside it.
AT WILTON. 35
After dinner, the party seated themselves
in a circle on the grass, and Mr. Grantley
volunteered to relate the legend attached to
the old castle, as Agnes had not heard it.
' Some hundred years ago now,' said Mr.
Grantley, 'Wildlake Castle belonged to a
fierce old baron, who was more feared than
loved by his neighbours, on account of his
stern character and tyrannical disposition.
He had one only daughter, the Lady Gwen-
doline, who was the fairest and most beauti-
ful maiden in all the country. Her mother
had died when she was quite a child, so that
the little Gwendoline was brought up alone
in her gloomy old fortress of a home. A
very dreary, solitary life she must have led;
for she had no playmates, and no companions
save the trees and flowers that grew around
her. But there was not a flower in the glen
so beautiful as Gwendoline. Though there
was not much tenderness in the old baron's
heart, even for his only child, he was very
proud of her beauty, and looked forward
to her making a splendid marriage, which
would increase the honour and wealth of
their ancient house. But innocent, light-
36 SUIMMELR l HOLIDAYS
hearted Gwendoline was all unconscious of
her old father's ambitious schemes for her
future. Already she had happy dreams of
her own; for one day, straying down this
lonely glen, she had met her fate. Sir Ber-
tram, to whom she had plighted her troth,
was a brave young knight; but he had
neither gold nor lands to offer his bride, and
the old baron was not.one to encourage such
a penniless lover. His fury knew no bounds
when he found out how matters stood be-
tween him and his daughter, and for many
a long day the Lady Gwendoline was shut
up in the dingy old tower, with the. hope of
thus severing her from her lover. Gwen-
doline bore her imprisonment so patiently,
and smiled so sweetly when her father came
to see her, that at last the baron, deeming
all danger over, permitted her to resume her
former life. The fame of her beauty and
grace had spread far and wide, and by and
by suitors in plenty made their appearance.
The Lady Gwendoline received them gra-
ciously, and spoke to them kindly, but her
answer was always the same-she refused
to leave her home. The baron allowed his
A T 17 L f7-V. 37
daughter to have her way for a while, for
he had determined in his own heart who
her husband should be, and he was only
biding his time. At last the critical moment
arrived, and the baron presented his chosen
"son-in-law to Gwendoline. He scarcely
expected that she would rebel against his
will, for his will had always been law to all
connected with him; and so, without any
misgivings, he now commanded his daughter
to marry Lord Rudolph.
'Gwendoline prayed and entreated in vain;
her father's mind was made up, arid was as
unalterable as the laws of the Medes and
Persians. At 1-licl.. ,:. fii.liii_: that total
resistance was useless, pleaded that the mar-
riage should not take place till after the
lapse of two years.
'The baron frowned fiercely over this re-
quest, but at last, with a grim smile, he
granted fair Gwendoline her petition. But
Gwendoline was still faithful to Sir Bertram;
and though she had not seen him for many
long weary months, she believed him true,
and clung to the hope that he would, ere the
appointed time passed, rescue her from her
38 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
unenviable position. But this hope grew
fainter and fainter, as the days, and weeks,
and months passed without any change-no
word of Sir Bertram. But still brave Gwen-
doline's heart did not fail. Tidings had
reached her ears more than once, through
her wily father's orders, of his falseness; but
Gwendoline only smiled sadly, and shook
her head. Not till she saw it would she
believe it, she said. And so Gwendoline
watched for Sir Bertram from the ivied
tower day after day; but the two years rolled
away, and he came not.
'But still Gwendoline was not conquered,
and, emboldened by despair, she declared to
her father that she would not wed Lord
Rudolph until she saw that it was impos-
sible for her to be Sir Bertram's bride.
'The baron frowned fiercer than ever, and
ordered Gwendoline back to her tower to
await his orders. He had done all he could
to make her believe her lover false, but in
vain, and now he vowed that she should sec
with her own eyes that Sir Bertram's bride
she could not be.
'Whatever dark plans he had in his mind.
AT' WILTON. 39
the baron kept to himself. In the meantime,
he refused to see his daughter, and sometimes
absented himself from the castle for two or
three days at a time.
'One morning, as Gwendoline was sitting
sad and lonely at the tower window, she spied
several horsemen riding up the glen. They
were gaily dressed, and the trappings of their
horses shone brightly in the sunlight. But
as they came onward up the hill, Gwendo-
line's very heart stood still for joy; for, lo!
riding proud and stately at the head of the
glittering band, came he whom her faithful
heart had yearned so long to see-her lover
the young Sir Bertram!
'It was not for nothing that she had suf-
fered and waited so patiently through those
long years; for he too had been tender and
true, and at last he had come to claim her !
With those joyful thoughts in her heart, and
totally forgetful, in her gladness, of her stern
father's orders, Gwendoline rushed from the
tower and through the heavy arched gate-
way, to welcome her lover.
'Onward came the horsemen, and they
had scarcely reached the gateway before
40 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
Gwendoline, with a low cry of joy, sprang
forward and clasped Sir Bertram's hand.
"What was there in that touch to make her
drop it so hastily? It was cold and frozen,
and dropped from hers like lead. She looked
up into the loved face for a smile, but it
was fixed and white! She met the eyes, but
though they gazed straight into hers, they
had no sight! Sir Bertram was dead; and
Gwendoline saw with her own eyes, as the
baron had vowed she should, that she could
not be his bride.
'With a wild, weird cry of agony, that
chilled the hearts of those that heard it, she
fell upon the turf. When Gwendoline next
opened her eyes reason had fled, and the
baron's beautiful daughter was from that
time forth a maniac. Morning, noon, and
night, for many years, she wandered up and
down the glen, where she had once strayed
with Sir Bertram, gathering red berries and
fern leaves to wreathe among her golden hair
for a bridal crown. The baron had bitter
reason to repent of his hard-hearted folly,
and he took it so much to heart that he
shut himself up in the castle, and was never
AT WILTON. 41
more seen. After this, the old plaoe began
to crumble away, till gradually it became the
ruin you now see. So ends the legend of
'But oh, papa, what became of the Lady
Gwendoline after that ?' asked Helen.
'The story goes that she is still to be seen
peeping out of her watch-tower.'
Oh, papa, how can she, when you said it
was ever so many hundreds of years ago ?'
'Not her, of course, but her ghost; so you had
better look out,' said George, mischievously.
After this, they had tea, gipsy fashion.
That is to say, they gathered sticks out of
the wood, and lighted a fire themselves to
boil the water, and then Mrs. Grantley in-
fused the tea, while the girls set out the cups
and saucers. Altogether they had a very
happy day of it; but the declining sun soon
warned them that it must come to an end.
So the hampers were once more packed, and
the shawls were gathered together, and they
were all ready to start on their homeward
journey, when it was discovered that Grace
42 SUMMIStL HOLIDAYS
'Where can she have hid herself ?' asked
Mr. Grantley, peering about the ruins, think-
ing that Grace was merely playing a trick
'Perhaps she has been eaten up by the
goblins, or taken possession of by the fierce
old baron, and imprisoned in one of his
dungeons,' suggested George.
Then the sooner you're off to the rescue
the better,' laughed Agnes.
I think Grace must have gone to get
some ferns for her book of wild flowers,
mamma,' said Helen. 'I heard her say she
wished some particular kind that was only
to be got here.'
The question is, what direction will she
have taken?' said Mrs. Grantley. But
Helen shook her head.
'I vote we scour the wood in detachments,'
said George; 'and whoever cones first upon
our lost heroine has to whistle on the rest.'
You forget that girls are not supposed to
be able to do such a thing,' said Agnes.
'Then you may be sure they'll make some
other noise,' replied George, as he walked
off among the trees.
AT WILTON. 43
Agnes and Helen proceeded to make their
search together, and for this purpose they
approached a precipitous and rocky bank,
which descended from one side of the castle
to a shallow streamlet below.
'Surely Grace would never be so rash as
to attempt to go down here,' said Agnes,
bending over the cliff.
The sides of it were clothed with a rich
luxuriance of ferns, beneath whose feathery
leaves many a bluebell and cowslip nestled.
Here and there a few shrubs or a slender
palm-tree clung to the rocks, and the
bramble and briar bushes trailed their
thorny branches over the tangled grass in
Agnes had scarcely spoken, when her eyes
caught sight of some white thing glimmering
through the leaves, far down the bank.
'Look, look, Helen! there is something
down there. It must be Grace; she must
have fallen and hurt herself.'
'Let us call, and see if there is any
answer. Perhaps it is not she after all.'
Twice or thrice they called her name, and
once Agnes thought she caught the sound of
41 SUMMER HOLIDAYS
a feeble reply, but so faint that it was more
like a murmur or a moan than anything else.
Again they heard it, and this time their
fears were confirmed. Grace must have got
badly hurt somehow; and she was so far
down the rocky steep, that it would be no
easy matter to render her assistance. There
was no time to be lost, for darkness would
soon be on, and that would make their work
more 6i!l1,.:llt. than ever. Helen went off
immediately to fetch her papa and George,
who in a few minutes were on the spot,
devising the best means for rendering Grace
assistance. George was serious enough now,
and set himself to help his father in real
good earnest to rescue his sister from her
Looking from the heights, it seemed ter-
rible enough to see her clinging to the rocks
half-way down the precipice; but they did
not know as yet the narrow escape Grace
had made of being dashed to the foot of the
As Helen surmised, her sister had gone in
search of the particular fern she so much
desired to have, and, utterly forgetful of pru-
AT WILTON. 45
dence and reckless of danger, she had com-
menced to descend the luxuriant steep. She
had only gone a few steps, however, when
her foot slipped and twisted her ankle so
severely that she fell helpless on the bank.
Almost insensible from pain, she was too
weak to save herself from rolling downwards;
and had she not been stayed and entangled
in a bush, she must have been dashed into
the rocky bed of the streamlet below.
By and by, after much patient exertion,
Mr. Grantley and George succeeded in
reaching the top of the bank with their
burden. Grace's pretty muslin dress, that
had attracted Agnes' attention gleaming
through the branches, was torn to shreds;
and, worst of all, her poor foot was already
so much swollen that it was impossible for
her to put it to the ground. Poor Grace it
was too late now to repent of her rashness;
but it was not too late to be thankful for her
merciful preservation from death. She was
still trembling with fear and pain; so, with-
out harassing her with questions, she was
placed in the carriage, among plenty of soft
shawls, and driven home without further
46 SU1AIME!R HOLIDAYS
delay. Mrs. Grantley and Eva accompanied
her, while the rest of their party returned in
Grace's misfortune had cast a sudden
gloom over their happiness, and brought
their pleasant picnic to a more serious
ending than they had anticipated. But
Agnes did her best to keep up their fli.-t; ,4;
spirits by her gentle cheerfulness, so that the
beautiful moonlight sail was enjoyed by all.
Grace's sprain kept her a prisoner to the
sofa for many weeks, but she learned many
a precious lesson during that time. 'Sweet
are the uses of adversity,' says the poet; and,
as Agnes had remarked to Helen in reference
to Dick White's illness, God has some good
end in view for all the troubles and trials
He sends us. Misfortunes and griefs are
meant to draw us closer to God, and to
purify our hearts by showing us the vanity
of earthly things; for, as gold is tried by the
fire, so a heart must be tried by pain. It
was thus with Grace. Agnes was untiring
in her devotion to her now that she was an
invalid, and did all she could to keep her
from wearying during the long hours of con-
AT WILTON. 47
finement. As her month's visit at Wilton
drew to a close, her uncle and aunt pressed
her to prolong it-a request which war
backed with so much zeal by all her cousins
that Agnes felt it would be unkind to refuse.
Though she was very happy at Wilto n, it was
somewhat of a sacrifice to postpone her re-
turn home, for she was longing to be once
more in the pretty cottage beside the mother
she lo ed so well. But it only needed a
gentle entreaty from Grace to decide her
Though Grace had been shy and reserved
with her cousin at first, the past few days
had broken the ice and drawn them closer
together, and Agnes knew that none of
them would miss her like Grace, especially
so long as she was an invalid.
'What a life of self-denial you lead!' said
Grace, when her cousin had written and
sealed the letter which was to delay her
departure from Wilton. 'You are so good
and kind to every one, that you never seem
to think of yourself.'
'I am afraid I am not nearly so good as I
ought to be, nor as you think,' replied Agnes
48 SUilMMER HOLIDAYS
with a smile, somewhere between sadness
and amusement. 'And as for self-denial,
you know, Grace, dear, we ought each to do
as much as we can to make others happy,
and any sacrifice that this requires brings its
own rich reward.'
Agnes spoke very earnestly, but very
gently, for she knew a determination to have
her own way in everything, in spite of others'
wishes, was her cousin's weak point. Grace
did not answer, but lay very still, having
fallen into a reverie of reproachful reflections,
from which she was aroused by Helen's
voice. She held in her hand a lovely
bouquet of roses, and her face was beaming
Only look, mamma, what old Jenkins has
sent me up from the hothouse! He was
keeping them for my birthday, but they
would have been too much blown by that
time; and oh, they are so delicious!' and
Helen buried her nose in the midst of them.
'They are indeed very sweet; you must
put them into water, and take care of them,'
said Mrs. Grantley.
Helen arranged them in a silver vase, and
AT WILZTON. 49
placed them in the middle of the table,
eyeing them with intense satisfaction. She
had not noticed that Grace had been gazing
earnestly at her all the while; but as she
seated herself in a low arm-chair, she caught
sight of the wistful look directed at the
flowers, and immediately divined her wish.
May I have one, Helen ?' asked her sister
doubtfully, as if she were afraid of being
Helen jumped up in an instant, and, select
ing the largest and handsomest rose from the
bunch, placed it in Grace's hand.
Grace smiled her thanks, but Helen's kind
and ready action was not lost upon her.
The inmates of Wilton parted with Agnes
with the most sincere regret, for each felt
that in losing her they lost something that
made them brighter and happier. Her visit
had been especially profitable to Grace and
Helen, who now strove to imitate her cheer-
ful kindness and love to all.
Agnes had taught them more by example.
than anything else; and this is in the power
-f each one of us to do.
Grace's sprained ankle turned out to be a
50 : Ji 1Ei': HOLIDAYS
blessing in disguise, for she had plenty to
think of during the time of her imprison-
ment; and then it was that she so clearly
saw the beauties of her cousin's character.
And so, by the time she was able to leave
her couch, she had formed many good reso-
lutions, which, moreover, she faithfully kept;
for, after this, she made a more loving
daughter and a kinder sister.
Dick White is now a changed man, and,
as he himself says, 'his misfortune proved to
be a bit of good luck,' for it was from that
time he dated his prosperity. His cottage
is now as bright and clean a place as any in
the village; for his wife has also turned over
a new leaf, and instead of the confused and
slovenly being we once caught a glimpse of,
she is trig and tidy, and has a pleasant word
for every one.
Rome was not built in a day, and neither
did those changes take place all of a sudden.
The ice-bound stream does not yield all at once
to the sun's warm rays; those have to shine
steadily on for many a day, but it must yield
at last. So does the heart yield before the
gentle beams of love and kindness. After
AT WILTON. 51
Agnes Stanley left Wilton, Grace and Helen
frequently called at the cottage, for it was
a promise given to their cousin that they
should do so. Gradually they became wel-
come visitors, and then they formed a plan
for taming the wild, unruly children. Helen
shrank from the task at first; but, as Agnes
foretold, she soon became so interested in her
work of love, that she forgot the hot, close
room, and all the other disagreeables, and
the fruits of their labour were not long in
Many years have passed since then, but
the sisters still look back on their cousin's
visit to them during the summer holidays
as one of the happiest periods in their lives.
c:^' ^ '."
S' .'i-, J -*
' tHAT a nice, comfortable fire!' ex-
claimed Lucy Weldon, as she
entered the snug drawing-room
where her mamma was seated, busily en-
gaged with some worsted work, which ap-
parently engrossed all her attention.
She looked up as her daughter entered,
and bade her shut the door as quickly as
'You feel like an icicle coming into the
room, Lucy; the very sight of you makes
me shiver.' And Mrs. Weldon drew her soft
shawl closer round her shoulders, and shook
up the cushions on which she was reclining.
'Oh, I'm not a bit cold, mamma,' replied
Lucy; 'and if I were, I'm sure the very
sight of this cosy room would make m"
NELLY'S SUNBEAM. 53
warm,' she added with an arch smile, as she
playfully patted her mother's cheek.
'Where have you been, child ?'
'I have had such a nice walk, mamma,
and I'm sure you'll never guess where !'
'No, I am sure I shan't; for I cannot
imagine what could take you out on an
afternoon of this kind.'
'Well, mamma, Bridget told me this
morning that little Nelly Brown was very
ill; so I thought, after I had finished my
lessons, I would run down to the cottage
and ask for her. I wish you could have
come too; I am sure you would have liked
her, she is such a nice little girl.' And dear
soft-hearted Lucy's eyes sparkled with delight
'My dear Lucy, you forget that I am
quite unable for that sort of thing; and,
indeed, I am surprised to hear you talk of
this Nelly Brown as if she were a fit com-
panion for you. You must try and get over
that taste for low company.'
Lucy was sorely vexed at her mother's
words, and the tears rushed to the eyes that
had been dancing with joy 'only a minute
ago, but she bravely kept them back.
54 NELLY'S SUNBEAM.
'But, mamma, little Nelly is alone all day
and she is so glad to see any one; I could
not help pitying her,' she ventured to reply.
But Mrs. Weldon could not, or would not,
see that Nelly Brown was any more de-
serving of pity than she, who, though some-
what of an invalid, was surrounded by all
the comforts and luxuries of life. In fact,
Mrs. Weldon was one of those unhappy
mortals who are never satisfied with their
lot, but find something to grieve and fret
over in everything.
Very different was her only daughter
Lucy. She was a bright and happy spirit,
making sunshine wherever she went, be-
cause she was always willing to do anything
for the comfort and pleasure of others. As
her blue eyes are raised to her mother's face
just now, she is thinking that surely she
cannot have done wrong, for she remembers
the words she heard in the village church
last Sabbath -'Blessed be he that con-
sidereth the poor; the Lord shall deliver
him in the time of trouble.'
'Mamma,' she asked again, 'may I go
back to-morrow, and *ake her something
AELLY'S S'UANL'. !.[ 55
nice to eat-some jelly, or broth, or some-
'You may do so, if you choose, Lucy; if
you are so very anxious to go,' replied Mrs.
Weldon indifferently. 'See, child, there is
one of my stitches down, and I cannot see
to pick it up.'
Lucy jumped up, with her willing hands
stretched out to help.
'Give it to me, mamma, and I will put it
right for you.'
'Take care and don't make a mess of it
then. I wonder why Ross is so long in
bringing me my tea!' And the lady gave
a sigh of injured helplessness.
'I will go for it, mamma,' said the ready
Lucy; and in a few minutes more she re,
turned with the longed-for beverage on a
'Mamma,' said Lucy thoughtfully, after
some minutes' silence, 'I wonder why God
makes such a difference between rich and
poor people, and why we have so many nice
comfortable things, when others are starving
with cold and hunger.'
You are an odd child, Lucy! What
5b NELLY'S SUNBEAM.
makes you think of such things?' asked
Mrs. Weldon, with a smile.
'I often do; but it was with seeing Nelly
that brought it to my mind this afternoon.
She looked so poor, and worn, and thin, and
had such a cheerless room, without any fire
in the grate, and yet she seemed so happy
and cheerful, I could not help asking her the
reason. She had a very old Bible lying in
her lap, and she pointed to it, and said that
she found all her comfort and joy there.
She asked me to read to her, and I chose
that psalm that'Dr. Mansfield explained to
as last Sabbath-I thought it so beautiful
when he read it. Then I repeated part of
what he said-all I could remember; and
Nelly seemed so pleased, and said it made
her understand it so much better. And do
you know, mamma, I am always going to be
very attentive in church now, so that I may
be able to tell Nelly what she cannot go to
'Very well, dear; I'm sure it's very good
of you to think of such a thing. One might
almost think you were the old Doctor him-
self sitting there, you talk so wisely,' said
NELLY'S SUNBEAM. 57
Mrs. Weldon, with a smile of amusement at
her old-fashioned daughter, as she called
Lucy. 'There is your papa's ring.'
Poor papa!' exclaimed Lucy, springing
to her feet; 'he must be very wet, the snow
is falling so heavily.' And the loving child
ran down-stairs to give her father's cheek a
warm kiss, and help him to take off his wet
In the evening, when Mr. Weldon was
seated before a blazing fire in his library
all alone, the door softly opened, and Lucy
May I sit with you a little while, papa
dear ?' she asked, putting her soft arms
round his neck in her own coaxing way.
'Certainly, my child; you know I am
always glad to see my little sunbeam,"' said
the father, tossing aside the papers with
which he was surrounded.
'Well, I want to ask you something,
papa-something I wish very much.'
'And I promise to let you have it, little
one, for I am sure it will be a sensible
'Oh, you good, kind papa!' cried Lucy
58 .NELLY'S SUNBEAM.
joyfully; 'but you must know first what
it is. Little Nelly Brown, who lives in
the cottage at the end of the lane, has been
very ill, and has no one to take care of her.
Her mother died last winter, and her brother
and sister are out working all day, and I
thought that-that-' said Lucy, stopping
'That you might do something to make
her more comfortable,' added Mr. Weldon.
'Oh yes, papa; that is just it. She had
almost nothing to cover her, and no fire in
the grate on this cold day. Besides this, the
rain came dropping down through the roof,
and the wind was whistling through below
the door, and made her shiver two or three
'Poor Nelly!' said Mr. Weldon, with real
sympathy; 'we must see what can be done
for her. But what has become of her father?'
'He died a long time ago, papa. Nelly is
'You are a good child, Lucy. VWhat
would you like to get her?' asked Mr.
Weldon, stroking his daughter's golden head
with a fond smile.
NELLY'S SUNBEAM. 59
'Oh, I don't know, papa; she needs so
many things. But I think if she had a pair
of nice warm blankets, and something good
to eat first, I might be making her some
clothes out of some of my old things while
she is getting well.'
'What a practical puss you are, after all!'
said the father; and then, putting his hand
into his pocket, he drew forth a bright
golden sovereign, and put it into Lucy's
'No, thank you, papa, I would rather
use my own money. I have saved a few
shillings, with which I intended to buy a
desk; but now I would rather not, for I can
so easily do without it. If you will only
help me about the roof and the door, papa,
that is all.'
To be sure I will. I'll send some one to
make it all snug the first thing in the morn-
Lucy was very grateful to her papa for his
kind promise, and her face beamed with de-
light as she thought of her plans, and what
a surprise Nelly would get. The next morn-
ing was clear, and frosty, and bright; and
60 NELLY'S SUNBEAM.
when Lucy awoke, the sun was shining in at
her window, making the strangely beautiful
figures on the glass sparkle like so many
diamonds. Lucy was happier than ever,
when her papa proposed, during breakfast,
that she should drive into town with him
and make her purchases; and as soon as the
meal was oyer, she bounded off to put on her
hat and cloak.
In a few minutes, the phaeton, with its two
pretty spirited ponies, was at the door, and,
comfortably seated beside her father, Luoy set
off on her pleasant excursion. With his as-
sistance, she very soon made her purchases;
and, as she thus laid out her own little hoard
of bright shillings to try and send a ray of
comfort and happiness into orphan Nelly's
lonely home, she experienced the real luxury
of doing good, for she had denied herself
that she might give pleasure to another.
Mr. Weldon drove his little ministering
daughter and her numerous packages to Nelly
Brown's cottage, and happy Lucy's heart
beat high as she lifted the latch and walked
into the kitchen. Nelly was lying back in
the old arm-chair beside the fireplace,
NELLY'S SUNBEAM. 61
gazing into the grate, in which only one or
two feeble sparks glimmered. The poor
child looked cold and pale enough, but at
sight of Lucy's figure her eyes brightened,
and a tinge of colour came to the wan cheek.
'Oh, Miss Lucy, how very good of you to
come again so soon !' she exclaimed.
'And look, Nelly, what I've brought you,'
said Lucy, beginning to open her parcels, and
displaying to view a soft shawl and a pair of
At sight of them Nelly opened her large
eyes wider than ever.
For me, Miss Lucy,-all for me ?'
'All for you, Nelly, and those warm
'Oh, I shall never be cold and shivering
again,' said the poor child, heaving a great
sigh of satisfaction as she gazed at her newly-
'And I am so glad, Nelly, that I am able
to give them to you, and that I heard of you
being ill. And see, mamma let me bring you
some broth and jelly to make you strong and
'0 dear me! what will Becky and Tom
62 NELLY'S SUNBEAM,
say when they come home, and find all those
fine things! What a happy day this has been,
to be sure! I've never felt so glad since poor
mother died! And oh, Miss Lucy, the hole
in the roof's mended, and the cold rain won't
get in any more! Was that your doing too ?'
asked bewildered Nelly, as the thought
flashed across her mind.
Guilty Lucy blushed a rosy red. 'It was
papa that did it.'
'But who told him about it ?' persisted
Nelly, thinking this more wonderful still.
'I did,' confessed Lucy.
The hot tears started to Nelly's eyes--
tears of love and gratitude, which were a
thousand times more eloquent than words.
Lucy did not stay to hear the thanks and
praises of the overflowing heart, but flitted
out of the cottage as quietly as the sunbeam
of which she was the emblem, leaving glad.-
ness and brightness behind her.
'How I wish mamma could see Nelly!
Then I am sure she would pity and love her
as much as I do,' were her reflections.
This was the one cloud that marred the
child's joy-the wont of her mother's ap-
NELLY'S SUNBEAIM. 63
proving smile and sympathy in her work.
But those are not denied to all. Let those
who are more happily situated in this re-
spect prize their precious blessings; but where
they are wanting, as in Lucy's case, let it
not be a stumbling-block in their path.
'Well, my daughter, is your work of love
finished ?' asked Mr. Weldon, as Lucy onoe
more seated herself by his side.
'Oh no, papa, not finished-only begun.'
'Then you do not mean to grow weary
'I hope not, papa, for it is Christ's own
'Yes, my child, you are right. There
can be nothing more beautiful or Christ-like
than to minister to the wants of the poor
and the afflicted. It is true religion before
God, and pure and undefiled in His eyes.'
Dear reader, will you not also go and do
likewise ? Will you not look around and see
if there be no sorrowing, desolate ones you
can comfort-no sunless, joyless lives you
can cheer-no bruised hearts you can bind
up, or ignorant homes you can lighten ?
These are to be found everywhere around us,
64 NELLY'S SUNBEAM
and there is holy work-Christ's own work-
for every willing heart and hand to perform.
Strive, then, to make the most of what God
has given you, so that in the great day it
may be said of you, as of the woman of old,
' She hath done what she could.'
'Oh be thy wealth an upright heart,
Thy strength the sufferer's stay;
Thy earthly choice the better part,
Which cannot fade away ;
Thy zeal for Christ a quenchless fire;
Thy friends the men of peace;
Thy heritage an angel's lyre,
When earthly changes cease.'