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The Baldwin Library
i iI' '% M.. -
; t Pc,:e 7
Author of Those Dreadful Boys," &c.
JOHN S. MARR AND SONS,
51 DUNDAS STREET.
I. THE LESSON OF THE MOSS, 5
II. BARBARA'S "HOUSE OF DREAMS," 14
III. ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN, 17
IV. ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME, 26
V. THE DROWNING CHILD, 36
VI. IN THE SICK-ROOM, 42
VII. A TALK WITH REU,. 48
VIII. SusY, 53
IX. "A STOOT HERT TO A STEY BRAE," 60
X. SHORT-LIVED HOPE,. 67
XI. THE SORROW THAT CAME WITH THE WINTER, 72
XII. OUT OF THE DEPTHS, 74
XIII. How BARBARA HELPED, 78
XIV. IN THE HOSPITAL WARD, 85
XV. CYNTHY'S GOOD ORK, 89
XVI. IN THE HOLLOW OF THE HILL, 92
XVII. A MOTHER'S REMORSE, 98
XVIII. WHEN THE SHIP CAME HOME, 104
XIX. AUNT GALE'S OLD CLOCK, 110
XX. THE LITTLE SHOP AT THE TOWNIIEAD, 115
XXI. NURSE BARBARA, 118
XXIL GONE UP HIGHER, 122
XXIII. ONE SUMMER SABBATH, 123
ROSIE AND HER FRIENDS.
THE LESSON OF THE MOSS.
THE bare, brown hills which guarded the green strath were
bathed in sunlight, the scent of clover was in the air, and
the faint bleat of lambs combined with the lark's breezy song
and the multitudinous voice of waters to set life to music.
Little Barbara Logie, climbing toilsomely up the green
ravine which the Pourin' Burn had cleft for itself in the
breast of the hill, was deaf to the music and blind to the
beauty. With down-bent head she plodded upwards to that
little cottage standing highest upon the hillside, sore trouble
brooding in her grey eyes and weighting her young footsteps.
The speaker was a little, sleek old man, who sat reading
under the shade of a white-flowering elder in the garden of
the little cottage towards which Barbara's steps were directed.
Finding that no answer was returned to his call, he picked
up his book, a big, leather-bound volume of. Somebody's
discourses on Justification by Faith, and shuffled towards the
house, where, putting his bald head and soft, innocent-look-
6 THE LESSON OF THE MOSS.
ing face, like an old baby's, round the corner of the door, he
announced-" Jaycynthy, ye're needed ootbye. There's a
Jacintha, who was baking scones by the open window,
with one eye upon her work and the other upon the griddle
hanging over the peat-fire, gave a little impatient flirt to rid
her arms of the flour, and sighed. The bees must be looked
after, of course, and they might detain her all the forenoon,
while her scones would become heavy as lead, and half her
baking be wasted. Her face brightened when she spied
Barbara's white sun-bonnet at the garden gate.
"0 Barbara, lassie!" she exclaimed, "I'm glaid to see ye.
If ye're nae in a hurry ye micht gie an e'e tae my scones or
I see what thae bees are daen'. I was thinking' I wad hae
tae lose a swarm or spoil my bakin', for I couldna attend to
baith, an' Jerome's studying' for his meeting' an' canna be
Barbara was rather pleased than otherwise to be left
alone for a little, for she had been feeling painfully conscious
for the last few minutes that her thoughts were sadly con-
fused, and she wanted time to collect them ere she told her
trouble to this dear friend, to whom she looked for help and
comfort. So while Jerome returned to his book and his
comfortable seat under the elder-tree, and his sister looked
after her bees, Barbara moved briskly about the trim little
kitchen; and very soon all the scones were ranged upon the
snow-white dresser, and the little girl sat down on the door-
step for a good think.
THE LESSON OF THE MOSS. 7
"Jerome was studying and must not be disturbed," so
Cynthy had just said, and so Barbara had heard her say
scores of times before to-day. It seemed of no consequence
that Jacintha, who was really the more capable and gifted
of the two, was harassed and burdened; things were made
easy for Jerome, and she was left to shift for herself as best
she might. Barbara wondered bitterly if that could be right;
if God could be pleased to see great minds always occupied
with trivial things, if these large minds happened to inhabit
women's bodies ? That question touched at the root of her
own trouble, and brought the tears to her eyes. Just then,
however, Jacintha, who had found the bees unusually ready
to settle, came up and joined her. Her quick, kindly eyes
saw the tears, and, as was usual with her, she wasted no time
in preliminary and useless talk.
What's troublin' ye the day, bairn ?"
"I have to leave school and go to service, Cynthy."
"Yes ?" said Cynthy, as if she did not understand why
this should be deemed a serious misfortune.
"Father and mother were speaking about it last night
after I was in bed. They thought I was asleep, but I was
awake and heard every word. Father said the bit ground
did not pay, and there has not been so much doing in the
smithy since the new one opened at Brigend, and he would
not be able to keep both Davie and me at school another
year. And"-here she gulped down a sob-" they both
agreed it would be best to take me away and let Davie remain,
as he was anxious to be a minister. They never thought
8 THE LESSON OF THE MOSS.
,low I was just as anxious to be a teacher. And I have
worked so hard at my lessons this year past, all for that"
-and here poor Barbara broke down altogether.
"Poor lassie!" said Jacintha with hearty sympathy,
"that's a sair disappointment for ye, but I'm sure ye wadna
wish Davie to be keepit back tae let you get on, wad ye ?"
No, no !" cried Barbara, I'm sure I would not, but you
don't know how awfully wicked I feel about it for all that.
Sometimes I feel quite angry at father and mother, though
I know they are only doing what is right, and sometimes I
feel as if God were unkind to let Davie get his wish and
refuse me mine. Oh! I know how sinful it is, but I can't
help it. Does God mean only men to be useful, Cynthy,
and women to potter about the house and wash dishes all
their lives ?"
Washin' dishes is useful work o' its kind, lassie, and suits
a woman's hand better than a man's, ye'll alloo. And I ken
weel there's few lassies o' your age sae handy aboot a choose
as yourself ; you'll mak' a first-rate servant, Barbara, if you
can but bring your mind to it."
"But any kind of girl will do for a servant," objected
Barbara, "and I would like to be something better. I know
the schoolmaster thinks me clever, and if I could have been
a teacher like him, how much good I might have done!
Now it looks as if my life were to be all wasted. 0 Cynthy!
did you ever have such thoughts ?"
"Many a time," answered Cynthy slowly. "I've had my
ain fancies aboot the great things I wad fain hae dune i'
THE LESSON OF THE MOSS. 9
this warld, but my plain duty has aye kept me tethered at
hame here, sae I just try an' dae wi' a' my micht the sma'
bits o' things that lie to my han', as the Guid Book advises.
I was but a lassie o' saxteen when oor father and mither
de'ed, an' Marget was but fourteen-far ower young tae tak
the charge o' a choose. Sae I behooved tae try an' fill our
mother's place, an' Marget gaed awa tae service, an' by-and-
bye she got to be a Bible-woman in a big toun, an' she visits
the sick an' the poor, an' teaches in the Sabbath school, an'
does a heap o' guid. An' Jerome, he's aye traivelin' about
the country-sides mendin' the fairmer's harness; an' he has
his meeting's here an' there whaurever he gangs, an' I maun
jist bide at hame here an' mind the hoose, an' wash dishes, as
ye wad say."
"And you are so clever, Cynthy, and so good, do you
never think yourself wasted ?"
"I winna hae you say I'm guid, lassie. I ken ower weel,
an ower muckle to the contrair, and if I ever begin to
think I might hae fitted a higher place, I've a reproof aye
afore my e'en." As she spoke, she picked off a little velvety
tuft of moss from the wall beside her, and placed it in
"Did you ever see through a microscope, lassie?"
"Yes; I've seen drops of water, and the down on butter-
flies' wings, but I never saw this."
"I did mace, an I'll never forget the sicht. I was doon
at the manse spinnin' lint for the minister's wife. I had
gotten a letter frae Marget as I cam' through the village,
10 THE LESSON OF THE MOSS.
tellin' me about her puir fowk and her wark among them,
an' I was that doon-hertit I could hae grutten to think
hoo little I could dae. My duty was plain eneuch to bide
at hame an' mind my hens an' my bees, and keep things
snod an' ticht for Jerome when he cam' hame; but compared
wi' Marget's, mine lookit but a useless, profitless life, an' I
was thinking mysel' fair wastit, as ye ca' it. I'm nae sure
but I was greetin' when the minister cam' doon the stair.
'Come up to the dining-room, Jacintha,' says he, 'and I
will show you a pretty sight.' Weel, up I gaed an' looked
through the glass as I was bidden, and there I saw-
I cannot describe it. It was like feathers made o' emeralds
an' a gowden column rising in the midst, bearin' a cup wi'
a cover on't, that seemed as if it had been made of liquid
gold and rubies. Nae prince nor emperor in this world ever
had sae fine a goblet, I'm sure. And when I saw it wi'
my naked e'en, what was it, think ye, but a sma' particle
o' that common moss that grows on ilka stane wa' an' on
ilka bit waste ground ower a' the lan' ? 'My word,' thinks
I tae mysel', as I gaed doon the stair, 'gin the Lord doesna
account sic bonnie handiwork wasted upon a weed, that's
o' nae use but to ornament an auld stane dyke, or a puir
bodie's thack roof, I hae a gey conceit to think mysel' ower
guid for the meanest wark He can set me till.' I grumbled
nae mair that day I assure you."
"But what is the use," objected Barbara, "of beauty like
that, where so few can see it ?"
"He sees it Himself," answered Cynthy; "'The Lord taketh
THE LESSON OF THE MOSS. 11
pleasure in His works,' the Bible says. Mony a time I think
tae mysel', the Lord's as weel pleased wi' a puir woman
toilin' at her washin'-tub, as wi' the queen upon the throne,
or the missionary among the heathen. He gies us a' the
wark He wad like us to dae, an' gin we perform it wi' the
best o' oor ability, because we're daen' it for Him, He seeks
nae mair. That's how it seems to me onywye. It's a'
His wark, an' He'll tak pleasure in't gin we seek tae please
Him in't.* First, be sure where your duty lies, an' then
dae't wi' a' your micht, whatever it may happen to be."
"My duty is plain enough, just now," said Barbara.
"An' will you try an' bring your mind to it?"
"That I will," cried the girl earnestly, "if I knew of a
place I would go this very minute. It looks very different
to me from what it did half-an-hour ago. That was the
hardest bit of it all, you know, to think that God would
not have my work. I would like to serve Him, you know,
Cynthy," she added gravely.
Cynthy did know, for these two friends, the woman of
fifty and the girl of thirteen, had had many a serious talk
before this one. Many a time had Barbara confided to her
friend her aspirations after a career of usefulness, and now
that her hopes seemed blighted she looked to her, secure of
sympathy if not of help.
"I hope I'll get a good place," she said, looking up after a
Cynthy smiled. "I think the richt place is waiting' for
you, now that you're ready for it. You've heard me speak
12 THE LESSON OF THE MOSS.
o' the Misses Kennedy o' Beltrees-Marget was servant wi'
them, ye ken, an' I've aye been i' the way o' gaen back an'
fore helping' at cleaning' times an' sic like. A' the country-
side kens what they are-pious, charitable, kindly leddies,
that wadna meddle wi' a flee but wi' the intent to dae it
guid. Weel, I was at Beltrees last week, an' Miss Lydia
was speirin' gin I kent o' a douce, quaet, weel-educate bit
lassie that she could get to wait upon Miss Jean. She's
been a cripple a' her days, ye ken, an' needs somebody to
wheel her about the garden, an' read till her, an' sic like.
Now, I think ye wad just suit her, an' the place wad just
suit you, so, gin ye like, I'll step owerby the morn an' tell
her about you."
"0 Cynthy! that would be grand," cried Barbara, "but
maybe she has found someone else before now. Oh, I hope
she hasn't, for I should like that so much; and mother will
be so glad. I must be off to tell her about it."
"The news will surely keep till ye eat ane o' my scones,"
said Cynthy smiling;-" na, will it no ? Aweel, ye'll tak' it
in your han' tae eat as ye gang doon the brae. You're
pitten' the bit moss i' your pouch, I see. That's richt; min'
ye try tae be like it. Though ye may get but a lown an'
lowly neuk o' this warl' tae fill, mak' it a green, bonny spot
for the Lord tae look upon. Guid-day, lassie; tell your
mother I'll be in the morn's nicht as I come hame tae tell
ye boo I've sped."
Bidding her old friend farewell, Barbara sped lightly down
the breezy hillside into the hollow of the green ravine where
THE LESSON OF THE MOSS. 13
the burn flashed over its grey crags, and hid darkling in its
fern-fringed pools. Here, secure from human observation,
she knelt down among the bracken, and gave thanks to God
that He had made her willing to submit to His will, and
asked for grace to enable her to serve the Lord in a lowly
sphere as faithfully and gladly as she had thought to do in
a higher one. Then, with light heart and light foot, she
tripped down the long hillside to gladden the heart of her
anxious, careful mother by the news of her good prospects,
and still more by the cheerfulness of her submission to dis-
appointment. Cynthy called in the following afternoon full
of good news. Miss Kennedy had empowered her to engage
Barbara at a salary of 8 a year, which was to be increased
if she gave satisfaction; she was to go to Beltrees as soon as
her mother could arrange; she was to bring all her school-
books, as her mistress would give her time for study; and,
best of all, she was to be allowed to spend a whole day with
her parents every month. There was great rejoicing in the
little household over these favourable arrangements, and
Barbara could hardly sleep for thinking of all the fine things
she would buy for her father and mother with her 8 a year.
BARBARA'S "HOUSE OF DREAMS."
"BE sure and write soon," were Mrs. Logie's last words as
she bade her daughter good-bye at the garden gate.
"And tell us how you like living among the gentle folk,"
added her brother David with a small attempt at cheerfulness.
"And, oh! tell us all about the cockatoo and the big
clock," cried the younger ones eagerly.
Barbara, after a week's experience of her new home, sat
down to write a very long letter in obedience to these in-
junctions. In one corner of her little desk, amid a small col-
lection of girlish treasures, keepsakes from her school-fellows,
and little gifts from the dear ones at home, lay a folded paper
containing a tuft of dried moss and bearing the words-
"Content to fill a little space
If thou be glorified."
The motto had been given her by Jacintha just before she
left home, as embodying in few words the gist of the con-
versation which we have recorded in the preceding chapter.
We need not transcribe the whole of the letter, but only
sufficient to give us an idea of Barbara's new home.
"I think I shall be very comfortable here. The ladies are
very kind, and my work is very light, chiefly reading to Miss
Kennedy, wheeling her about the garden, and doing needle-
BARBARA'S "HOUSE OF DREAMS.i" 1
work. She often sends me out to take a walk about the
grounds by myself lest I should not have sufficient exercise,
which is very kind of her, but I don't enjoy these walks
very much for want of some one to talk to.
"Miss Kennedy is very feeble, but so sweet-tempered and
gentle that everybody loves her. She is much pleased that
I have been taught to sing, as she seems to love music and
flowers above everything, and Miss Lydia does not care for,
- r has not time to think of, either. Miss Kennedy's own
special garden is a perfect wilderness of sweetbriar and honey-
suckle, cabbage roses and carnations. 'Common vulgar
flowers,' Saunders, the gardener, calls them; but how sweetly
they smell in the morning when the dew is upon them !
"Miss Lydia does not look nearly so old as her sister, and
is such a busy, active, little lady; I do believe she works as
hard as mother though she is so rich. She knows, and looks
after, every person in the parish, young and old, rich and
poor, and says, 'it is no more than her duty.' But you must
not think of her as disagreeable, for she is as kind as can be,
and only wants to make the people good and happy by her
interfering, just as one's mother might do.
"She bids me tell David to come over some Saturday soon
to spend an afternoon with me, and I'm sure he will enjoy
it, this is such a delightful old house. I call it my 'House
of Dreams,' because it is so still, and old, and dream-like.
The furniture looks as if it had been set down a century ago,
and never moved since; everything is quaint and old, but
not worn. The great clock, about which Polly asked, stands
16 BARBARA'S "HOUSE OF DREAMS."
in the hall, just opposite the entrance. The dial is taller
than I am, and is open in the middle to show the works. It
has no weights nor springs, but is moved by a stream of water
trickling from a tank upon a wheel like a small mill-wheel.
Upon a perch close by the cockatoo sits dozing all day, only
waking up occasionally to croak out-
'Tick! tock! Old clock!'
Miss Lydia taught him that when she was a very little girl,
and thought it good poetry; and he will not forget it. He
is very old, nearly a hundred, cook says, so we cannot expect
him to be very smart; but when I bring him his food in the
morning he generally greets me with, 'Come along, Betsy;
be quick, be quick.'
"My fellow-servants, Jane and Rachel, are both quite
elderly, and are very kind to me. They seem to consider
me quite a child.
"I am as happy as I could hope to be in any place except
my own dear home, and am so proud to be able to earn my
own living. If I do well I shall have more wages by-and-
bye, and then, dear mother, you shall have the very finest
silk gown in the parish, and Davie shall have a watch to
take to college with him.
"I am counting the days till I shall get up to see you
again. Give my best love to Davie and the little ones, and
to Jacintha Clark, and accept the same, dear father and
mother, from your affectionate daughter,
IT was paynight at the factory, and the throng of tired and
dusty workers which poured forth through the iron gate
,wore a more cheerful aspect than on other nights of the
week. Giddy girls clustered in little groups to discuss
desirable but unattainable articles of finery, and careworn
women who had families at home calculated silently
whether they could not afford some little extra dainty for
the young ones that evening. Suddenly through the throng
burst a little girl, pushing, jostling, and scattering the little
groups to right and left as she dashed onwards, leaving
behind her a general clamour of wrath and indignation.
Little did Rosie care as she darted up the narrow street,
rags fluttering, hair streaming in the wind, and brown eyes
sparkling with joy. She had got a whole half-crown! By
what plausible tale she had so imposed on the manager of
the works as to induce him to give employment to so young
a child, was best known to herself; but she had done it,
and here was the precious result. In her eyes that half-
crown was the price of a life. Her elder sister, Jessie,
lay at home very sick; and the dispensary doctor who
came to see her had ordered her wine and beef-tea. Her
mother shook her head and sighed when he said it, for she
had a drunken husband, and could hardly get dry-bread for
her children, to say nothing of such expensive luxuries as
18 ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN.
these. And so poor Jessie got worse and worse; and their
mother cried when she looked at her, and said she was not long
for this world. Jessie said the same thing herself, but she
smiled instead of crying when she said it, and talked about
"a better country," and a "house of many mansions," and
of being "for ever with the Lord;" things which Rosie did
not understand, and did not at all like to hear. To her
mind the case was simple enough, Jessie was like to die
because she could not get the wine that the doctor had
ordered, but this precious half-crown would buy quite a
lot of it, and Jessie would get well again. Her little loving
heart was like to burst for joy at the thought, and her bare
feet seemed hardly to touch the pavement as she hurried along.
Soon she turned into a narrow side-street, where the tall
houses shut out the sunshine, and the air was foul with the
gases from choked gutters and the unsavoury odours of a
soapboiling establishment in the next block. Beside the
door of one of the houses hung a board, which, in rude
characters and doubtful orthography, informed the passer-
by that "the highest price was given within for old rags,
bones, and broken crystal." At this door the little girl
entered, and bounded merrily up the dark, dirty staircase,
to the poor garret which she called her home.
Here, on a low pallet-bed opposite the door, lay a young
girl of about fifteen years of age, with eyes closed, breathing
very slowly and with great difficulty. Beside her, a sorrow-
ful looking woman sat on a low stool, with one hand holding
a sleeping infant, and the other clasped in that of the dying
girl. Another child, too young to understand what was
ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN. 19
passing, was at play in a corner of the room with some bits
of broken earthenware, and a man was stretched on the
floor under the window with eyes closed as if asleep. But
Jim Kelly was not asleep, he was far too wretched for that.
He was only the stepfather of the girl who lay dying there,
and was a drunken ne'er-do-weel to boot, but his conscience
was not quite seared yet, nor his heart turned to stone.
And he knew well that if he had brought home to his
family but half the money which he had spent in the
public-house, it would have procured comforts which would
have prolonged, if not saved the gentle life now ebbing out
before his eyes. He wished he had but a penny to buy her an
orange; it would ease his mind to show her one little kind-
ness before it was for ever too late; and then he wished he
had the price of a glass to help him to forget the whole
thing. His head was throbbing, his throat burning, and
his nerves all unstrung by recent dissipation; his pockets
were empty, and his conscience troubled; in short, he was,
in his own comprehensive phrase, "a great lump of misery."
Upon this sorrowful group burst the impulsive Rosie in
her noisy, happy haste. Her mother's uplifted finger
checked the first outburst of her joy, and she approached
her sister's bed on tiptoe.
"Is she sleeping mother?"
"She's deein', lassie," answered the poor mother with a sob.
Oh na, mother!" answered Rosie cheerfully. "She
winna dee now, for look what I've gotten for her! A haill
half-croon! Gie me the bairn, an' rin you oot an' get some
wine for her, an' she'll soon come round again."
20 ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN.
"That's a guid lassie!" exclaimed her stepfather, in a
hoarse whisper, and Rosie started in alarm; she would not
so openly have displayed her treasure had she observed that
he was in the room.
Gie me the money," he continued, an' I'll get wine an'
oranges for her in a minute: she's vera low the now, an'
your mother canna leave her, an' you dinna ken aboot the
buyin' o' thae things; the fouk wad jist cheat you. Gie me
the money an' I'll gang."
"Will I though ?" exclaimed Rosie, clasping her hands
behind her back, and retreating towards the door. "We
never would see a penny o't again, if ye got it. I'll gang
mysel'; what will I seek, mother ?"
Kelly had been, at least, partially sincere in the offer he
had made. He intended, no doubt, to have a glass for him-
self out of the money, but he would have been glad to quiet
his conscience by doing this last little service for the dying
girl, and Rosie's suspicion and defiance maddened him.
With an angry frown, he crossed the room, and seizing the
child in his powerful grasp, strove to force open the thin
little fingers which closed so firmly over the half-crown.
Of course, poor Rosie's strength was soon overmastered, but
she fought savagely to retain possession of the money
scratching, and kicking, and screaming like a little fury,
while her stepfather, becoming more incensed every
moment, rained his blows like hail upon her head and
shoulders. The noise of the scuffle aroused the dying girl;
she opened her eyes, and struggled painfully to sit up.
"Stop your fechtin'! entreated the poor mother, almost
ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN. 21
with a shriek, "let my puir lassie get peace to dee, gin she
can get naething mair."
Aye-dinna fecht," panted poor Jessie, "I've gotten the
last I'll need-o' this warld. I'll be wi' Jesus-the nicht.
Oh! be good-a' o' ye-an' meet me in heaven. Dinna
greet--Rosie-be a good lassie."
She sank back on the pillow in a half-fainting condition,
utterly exhausted by the exertion. In her solicitude for
her sister, Rosie forgot her care for the money; her fingers
relaxed their grasp for a moment, and the next the coin
was gone. Wild with rage and despair, but suppressing all
outcry for her sister's sake, Rosie sprang at the man's hand
and fastened her teeth in it so savagely, that the blood
sprang; then with a bound, she made for the door. She
was too late however. At the top of the stair he caught her,
and with one wrathful kick sent her spinning to the next
landing, from whence she went bumping and rolling to the
bottom, where she lay for several minutes bruised, bleeding,
and stupified. But though beaten, she was not cowed yet,
and the moment she recovered her breath and her wits, she
used them in calling out to him all the injurious and abusive
epithets she could call to mind. To these the answer came,
accompanied with an oath-" Ye little randy! gin ye daur
ever to show your face in this hoose again, I'll murder ye
as sure as death, sae ye'll better min' that;" and then the
door was shut, and all was silence above.
Disconsolately Rosie sat down on the lowest step of the
stair, and began to cry. Two or three ragged urchins
gathered in from the street, and stood staring at her, point-
22 ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN.
ing out to each other the blood upon her face, and express-
ing freely their opinion that "she had gotten her sairin' ony-
wye." Roused to indignation, the'little girl made a furious
onslaught upon these young tormentors, and sent them flying
out of the door like so many frightened rabbits. In the
doorway they ran full tilt against an old man who was
entering, at sight of whom poor Rosie's face brightened
The newcomer was undersized and slightly deformed; he
carried a well-filled sack over one shoulder, and bore on
his arm a basket, round the sides of which were displayed
various flags and windmills of lath and paper, while in the
middle was piled a tempting heap of nuggets of golden
candy. All the children round knew old John Coubery,
" Gather-away John," as he was called from the cry with
which he signalled his approach; and many a kindly word
and good advice did the youngsters get from him as they
crowded about his basket, eager to barter their old rags and
bones for his tempting wares. For old John was a sincere
Christian, although a very ignorant and unlearned one,
and in his own humble way managed to accomplish more
good than many who have twice his gifts and opportunities.
As soon as he entered, Rosie sprang to meet him, and laid
hold of his arm with both her hands, exclaiming, 0 John!
he's ta'en my money Kelly's ta'en my half-croon!"
Before answering her, John opened the door of his room,
which was on the groundfloor, and looked round with a
sigh of satisfaction on finding it was empty.
"Come in bye an' tell me aboot it, dawtie," he said,
ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN. 23
" Jean's nae in." Jean was his wife, a virago, an enemy to
religion, and a sore trial to the good old man.
With many tears Rosie recounted the story of her wrongs,
and ended by requesting John to go upstairs and threaten
Kelly with the police if he did not deliver up the money
instantly. The old man did not quite agree with her as to
the wisdom of this course, but he agreed to go up and see
if anything could be done.
Rosie, crouching at the foot of the stair awaiting his
return, thought that he stayed a very long time, and
wondered much that no sounds of disputing or quarrelling
reached her ears. Instead she heard a low monotonous
sound as of a voice in prayer, and less distinctly, at intervals,
the sound of sobbing. Then the door opened and she
started up, but it was only her little sister Susy, who came
out and crept softly down the stair.
"They're sayin' Jessie's gone," she announced in an awe-
"Gone! where's she gone ?" echoed Rosie in surprise.
Nae wye," replied the child, "she's lyin' on the bed awfu'
white-like an' quaet, but that's what I heard my mother
"Oh! she's deid! I ken she's deid !" cried Rosie with a
burst of tears, 0 my Jessie! my Jessie !"
In a few minutes John Coubery descended the stair wip-
ing his eyes with the sleeve of his coat.
Oh! dinna greet, bairns !" he exclaimed, dinna greet!"
though all the time the tears were streaming down his own
withered cheeks. "Yer sister's gane tae be wi' Christ in
24 ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN.
glory-she's gotten her white robe an' her golden croon by
noo, I'll warrant. Oh dinna greet!'"
"She's deid! she's lyin' on the bed up there!" sobbed
Rosie, unable to reconcile John's statement with that of Susy.
Oh! that's only her puir suffering' body that she's left
ahin' 'er. Her livin' sowl's amang the redeemed in heaven
singin' the new song. Lord Jesus, I'm coming I'm coming! "
-that was the last words she spoke, an' there was a licht
like heaven upon her face; syne she gae but ae sigh, an'
her spirit was gane wi' the angels!"
Oh I wish she had ta'en me wi' 'er!" cried poor Rosie.
"Hoo did she gang awa an' leave me ?"
Dinna greet, lammie !" cried the old man again; be a
good bairn an' seek the Lord Jesus, an' He'll tak' ye tae
heaven aside her some day."
"But I havena nae way tae gang the nicht! exclaimed
the child, Kelly's gaun tae murder me if ever I gang up
the stair again. He swore he wad dae't,'cause I bitet him!"
Whisht ye! whisht ye, my lamb! See, there's a piece
tae ye, an' ye'll sleep fine i' the back roomie there amo' the
rags; ye'll just slip in afore Jean comes hame, an' naebody 'll
molest ye, an' we'll see in the morning' what can be dune.
Susy '1 tell yer mother whaur ye are, so she'll no be fear't
So saying, the kind old man thrust a hunch of bread and
a piece of candy into the hand of each child, and opening
the door of his rag-store, he improvised a rude bed for Rosie
among the rags, where she by-and-bye sobbed herself to sleep.
She awoke early in the morning, and by the time John
ROSIE'S HALF-CROWN. 25
came to open the door and let her out, she had resolved
upon her course of action.
"I'm gaun tae bide wi' my Auntie Gale at Beltrees," she
said; she wanted tae get me when oor ain father de'ed, an'
I've heard my mother sayin' since then, she wished she
had looten me gang; I ken the road fine, sae I'll jist awa."
"Na, lammie," replied the old man, "ye maunna gang
awa' without latten your mother ken. Her heart's sair
eneuch the day already, sae dinna ye vex her mair."
"I'm fear't tae gang up," said Rosie, but I'll bide aboot
here till mother or Susy comes doon the stair an' tell them.
But ye'll see she'll be rale gled to let me gang, an' I'll come
back sune an' see you, John."
"God bless the bairn!" exclaimed John with moistened
eyes. "See then, lammie, in case I dinna see you again
afore ye gang, here's tae help you on the road, an' oh, be a
good lassie. Aye min' tae speak the truth, an' never negleck
your prayers. The Lord bless ye, bairn! the Lord bless ye."
He bent down and kissed her, at the same time placing
fourpence, all the money he had at the time, in her hand,
and wished her an affectionate farewell.
For about an hour Rosie waited about in vain hope of
seeing her mother. At the end of that time, however, Susy
came downstairs, and to her Rosie communicated her pro-
ject, and sent her upstairs to acquaint her mother with her
plans. She did not think it necessary to wait for any
return message, so having, as she thought, acquitted herself
of her duty, the little girl set out in search of a new home.
ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME.
WHEN Rosie said that she knew the way to her aunt's
house, she had not the slightest intention to deceive, but
the fact was she only knew the road by which the Milton-
Beltrees coach left the city. However, she had no doubt
about her ability to find the way, nor of the reception she
would meet at the end of it, so she set out upon her journey
bravely and hopefully. Even the loss of her sister was for
a time forgotten in the excitement of her enterprise.
At a little shop in the suburbs she stopped, and expended
a penny of her little store upon a roll for her breakfast, and
another upon toffee, which she ate as she walked along, but
did not much enjoy for want of some one to share it with.
In a short time she had left the paved streets behind her,
and was walking along a smooth, wide road with green
fields on either hand. The fresh air, the sunshine, the wide,
beautiful landscape were so new and delightful to the little
girl, reared amid the squalid unloveliness of a city lane,
that not even her sorrow for her sister's death could long
withstand such exhilarating influences. She raced up and
down in the middle of the road, exulting in the clouds of
dust which curled up from her bare feet, or made excursions
into the fields to fill her lap with buttercups and red clover,
ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME. 27
By-and-bye her attention was drawn to the line of hills
which seemed to touch the sky far away over the green
valley through which her road lay. In her ignorance she
never doubted but that these were the outer boundaries of
the world, and that if she could but reach their summits, she
could without difficulty climb up into the sky. And then,
delightful thought! she might find Jessie. Inspired by this
hope she hurried on, only stopping now and then to pluck
some of the wild raspberries which grew by the wayside, for
she was getting hungry, and there were no shops. Between
green hedgerows and dark firwoods the long white road
stretched on and on; and sometimes a meditative cow, and
sometimes a brown-faced haymaker, looked curiously from
the surrounding fields upon the little wanderer, who was
too much absorbed to bestow a glance upon them in return.
As late in the afternoon she approached the hill where
lay the goal of her hopes, she began to have slight misgivings
as to the carrying out of her plans. To climb up and down
among those piled-up drifts of white cloud appeared to her
practicable enough, but suppose she failed to find Jessie?
Or suppose some of the angels should find fault with her for
being there? Well in that case she must just come down
again, and go in search of her aunt. So she climbed patiently
higher and higher, till at length the road before her began
to descend and the prospect to widen, and with disappoint-
ment unutterable she realized that she had reached the
summit, and heaven was as far off as ever!
"An' oh what big the world is!" she exclaimed, sinking
28 ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME.
down on the grass, overcome by fatigue, disappointment, and
fear. How small and helpless she felt in the midst of that
wide, unfamiliar landscape. Night was coining on, she had
nowhere to sleep, and who could tell what savage dogs or
other wild creatures might not prowl around in the dark?
She started up and began to run down the hill, but she was
faint with hunger and fatigue, and it was not long ere she
was obliged to slacken her pace. What would she not have
given now for the safe shelter of her mother's roof, for kind
old John's rag-store, for even a familiar stairway or doorstep,
where she. might pass the night? But the sun descended
lower and lower amid the crimson clouds, the air was getting
chilly, and there were no houses near. Rosie felt that her
case was desperate.
All at once she remembered that Jessie, when she was
very ill or in trouble, used to pray, and it helped her, she
said. Rosie tried hard to remember a prayer, but could only
recall the opening words of one Jessie had endeavoured to
teach her when she first grew ill. She had never thoroughly
learned it, and now it had almost faded from her memory.
But the words had a pleasant sound, and she said them over
and over as she walked along-
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,
Look upon a little child,"
and it made her feel less afraid. By-and-bye she passed a
field of teddcd hay, and the soft, fragrant heaps looked so
inviting, that she could not resist the temptation of creeping
ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME. 29
through the paling and sitting down on one for a few minutes
to rest. She pulled her ragged skirt over her head, and
dragged and piled the hay breast-high around her to keep
out the cold, and then she felt so snug and comfortable that
she was very reluctant to move again. So she said her
prayer over and over, and watched the crimson and gold
fade out of the sky, and one white star tremble out upon
the soft air; and then the heavy lids drooped over the tired
eyes, and Rosie slept.
The next thing of which she was conscious was the happy
song of a lark far above her head, and opening her eyes, she
found to her great delight that the sun had risen, and the
dewdrops on the grass around her were glittering like
diamonds in his level rays.
"The nicht's past, an' God's ta'en care o' me!" she cried
joyfully as she jumped up and stretched her cramped limbs.
"Oh I'm richt gled!-I'll aye ken noo what to dae in a
strait. I wadna care tae sae my prayer again, an' see gin
He wad tak care o' me the day." So she knelt down on the
dewy grass and repeated her two lines of prayer, and then
another detached one which floated across her memory and
seemed to fit her case-
Feed the young and tender plant."
Then with light heart she started once more on her
journey, full of hopeful anticipation of what this new day
might bring forth.
Her first concern was for food, for she was faint with
hunger. There was a large field of turnips by the roadside,
30 ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A 1OME.
and she was sorely tempted to take one, but resisted the long-
ing lest God should be angry and take no further care of her.
After walking for nearly an hour, she came upon a thatched
cottage by the wayside, at the gable of which stood an
elderly woman feeding a brood of chickens. Rosie had
never before seen anything so pretty as those little living
balls of golden down, and she stood watching them with
wondering admiration, till she became aware that the
woman's eyes were fixed upon her with a look of unmistak-
I was only looking at the birdies," she said apologetically,
"they're awfu' bonny."
"Ye dinna belang hereabout," said the woman still eyeing
her sharply, "whaur hae ye come frae, or whaur are ye
gaun ? "
"I've come frae Northport," returned Rosie, "and I'm
gaun to my aunt at Milton-Beltrees; is it far frae here?"
Ten, or a dizzen mile."
"Is that far ? Will I be there the nicht ?" asked Rosie,
to whom the words conveyed but a vague idea of distance.
"Nae fear o' that, gin ye haud the richt gait," replied the
woman, "but ye're nae yer lane, are ye ?"
A bairn like you! whaur's a' yer fouk ?"
"My mother's at hame, an' Susy an' the baby, and big
Jim Kelly, an' Jessie's awa' to heaven. I'm gaun tae bide
wi' my aunt, 'cause I've made Kelly awfu' angry, an' he's
gaun to kill me. He's our stepfather, ye ken."
ROStE IN SEARCH OF A HOME. 31
"An' whaur hae ye been a' nicht?" questioned the woman,
feeling her suspicion disarmed by Rosie's air of sincerity.
In a park among the hay," replied the little girl with a
bright smile; "I said my prayers, an' God took care o' me,
an' didna let nae dogs nor naething touch me. I'm looking'
for a shop now to buy a piece; dae ye ken whaur there's ane?"
Hae ye ony siller ?"
"I've tippence," replied Rosie, displaying the two coins
"Aweel, pit them in yer pouch again, lassie, an' come into
the hoose wi' me an' I'll gie ye yer breakfast. They'll buy
something for yer denner," and she led the way into a cosy
little kitchen where a kettle was steaming merrily over the
bright peat-fire. Here the good woman bustled about pre-
paring breakfast, in a fashion that seemed to Rosie lavishly
extravagant. Instead of the milkless tea and dry bread
which she was accustomed to consider a good meal, she had
now set before her a liberal supply of oatcakes and scones,
with butter and cheese, a new-laid egg, and tea with cream
"Ye dinna get eggs like that at Northport," said her
hostess, watching with pleasure the little girl's enjoyment of
such unaccustomed dainties.
We never get eggs ava," replied Rosie, they're far ower
dear. I wish Jessie could hae gotten some o' this,"- and
a big tear gathered and fell into her cup.
"Never mind," said the woman soothingly, she's better
32 ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME
"It's better for her," replied Rosie, but nae for me. Jessie
was awful good to me; I dinna ken what I'll dae without her."
"I houp ye'll meet as kin' a frien' whaur ye're gaun,"
said the woman rising hastily, and going to the window.
"Drink up yer tea quick, an' tak yer bit piece i' yer han',
an' rin after that cairt that's awa by. That's the carrier
that gangs tae Beltrees, so if ye keep him in sicht ye'll easy
get the road. Guid day wi' ye, bairn; see that ye be a guid
lassie like yer sister, and there's nae fear o' you."
Hastily thanking her hostess for her kindness, Rosie
hurried after the now distant cart, which she soon overtook
It made many stoppages to deliver parcels at houses by the
wayside, and early in the afternoon turned into the inn-yard
of a little country village, which the little girl guessed to be
the place of which she was in search. With mingled feelings
of thankfulness and timidity she walked up the one straggling
street, noticing the tidy, comfortable aspect of houses and
people, and feeling painfully conscious of her own ragged
and untidy appearance. She summoned courage to ask of a
little girl where Mrs. Gale lived, and was directed to a pretty
cottage standing in the midst of a large garden, at the
extreme end of the village. With beating heart she ap-
proached the pretty green gate, noted the glass porch
filled with geraniums, the bright windows with netted
curtains; then she heard voices in the garden and turned
It was vacation time at the parish-school, and in default
of better amusement Reuben Gale was helping his mother
Zr 4 5.;
r j f
ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME. 33
to gather the currants for preserving. But anybody who
has tried it knows how little fun there is in that occupation
after the first hour or so, when you have eaten all you want,
and begin to realise how hot the sun is, and how tiresome
the stooping, and what a quantity of fruit it takes to fill one
little basket. So it will be readily understood why Reuben
made so many runs to the garden gate that afternoon in
hope of finding some more exciting and agreeable pastime.
On one of these visits he caught sight of little Rosie, scuttl-
ing away like a timid hare, and returned to tell his mother
proudly how he had scared away "a little tinkler lassie that
had been looking after the fruit. She had gotten such a
fright she wouldn't come back in a hurry he thought."
However, on his very next visit there she was again, and
this time she did not run away, but only drew back a few
paces and stood looking at him.
"Hullo, you!" called Reuben, by way of commencing a
Hullo, yourself !" returned Rosie, scanning the boy's face
attentively, and concluding that it looked jolly and good-
tempered, though undeniably plain.
"What are you looking at ?" pursued Reuben.
You," replied Rosie.
"Yes, I know that, but what are you looking at me for?"
"What's your name ?"
"You won't find my name on my face though you look
for a twelvemonth, but if you want to know, it's Reuben
Gale, Esquire, of Ken-na-where."
34 ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME.
"Oh! are you my cousin ?"
"Well-no. I scarcely think so," replied the boy, his
kind heart forbidding utterance to the jeering reply that
rose first to his lips on hearing this ragged waif claim to be
akin to him. "What do they call you ?"
Reuben opened his eyes, and gave vent to a prolonged
whistle. "Come, now," said he solemnly, "are you sure
you're telling the truth ?"
Yes, I am," replied Rosie, beginning to cry, "and Jessie's
deid, an' Kelly's gaun to kill me, so I ran awa."
"Whisht, then! whisht!" cried the boy, opening the gate
and running towards her, "I never meant to make you cry;
come in and see mother, she'll make you all right in a
jiffey." So saying he took her by the arm and led her up
the garden to where his mother knelt among the currant
Here's a little lassie for you, mother," said he, presenting
the trembling and tearful Rosie.
Mrs. Gale dropped her basket of fruit in her surprise.
"Its my Cousin Rosie from Northport," explained Reuben,
and his mother at once stretched out her kindly arms and
took the little girl to her bosom.
So it is," she said, I might have seen that at the first
look, for she's the very picture of my poor brother James.
And how are all your folk at home, my dearie ? And what
way have you come all by yourself to see me 1 "
"Jessie's deid," sobbed Rosie, and could say no more.
ROSIE IN SEARCH OF A HOME. 35
Now that her troubles seemed to be over, and there was no
further need of bravery, she broke down utterly, and could
do nothing but cry; while her aunt soothed and caressed
her, and Reuben stood by feeling very uncomfortable,
because he was so like to cry for sympathy. So in a some-
what husky voice, he submitted that Rosie must be tired
and hungry, and that they had better go in and have tea
before hearing what she had to tell.
This proposal had the desired effect of creating a diversion,
and in her wonder at and admiration of her aunt's spot-
lessly clean and comfortable cottage, and enjoyment of her
nice tea, Rosie's tears were dried and her spirits rose. She
chatted pleasantly with Reuben about her home, and her
mother, and the baby; about John Coubery, and his scolding
wife, Jean; about her journey, and her night in the hayfield,
and the kind woman who gave her her breakfast, and the
boy plied her with fruit in the pauses of her story, while
his mother looked on with moistened eyes. And when at
length, after a nice bath, the little wanderer was put to
rest in Aunt Gale's soft white bed, she felt that a new life
had indeed begun for her, and fell asleep whispering to
herself, An' I'll be a good lassie noo, as lang's I live."
THE DROWNING CHILD.
OUR little waif had been but a few days under her aunt's
roof, when it dawned upon her that she was becoming a
person of consequence. Her old ragged clothing had been
thrown to the rag-bag, and she was clothed from head to
foot in nice, new garments-new, at least to her, though
some of them were made over from dresses of her aunt's;
she had shoes and stockings, frilled pinafores of pink-
spotted calico, a broad hat and a crop-comb. This last had
been the object of her ambition for many a day, and she
took great pride in it; the other articles she had never even
dreamed of possessing. She was quite proud now to walk
about the village with her cousin, feeling herself on an
equality with all she met, and taking particular pains to
behave like the little lady she considered herself to be.
Reuben, on his part, was both amused and delighted with
his little companion. She was so amusingly ignorant, and
yet so clever; so merry and loving, yet with a quick little
temper of her own; so afraid of stray dogs and gobbling
turkeys, yet so ready to risk her neck at his bidding, by
climbing to all manner of giddy heights, and leaping from
all sorts of dangerous elevations, that he pronounced her
THE DROWNING CHILD. 37
"a regular brick;" and what higher praise can a schoolboy
But the holidays came -to an end, and then Rosie was left
companionless, for the school which Reuben attended was
two miles off, and Aunt Gale had decided that she was not
to be sent in the meantime. So after spelling over the
shortest of lessons at her aunt's knee, and performing a very
light task of sewing or knitting, with, most likely, half of the
stitches dropped and the others immensely long, the little
girl was free to wander in the fields and lanes, drinking in
health and enjoyment with every breath. Sometimes she
would watch the noisy, tireless threshing-machines at work
in the farmer's stackyards; at others, she wandered through
the green gloom of the firwood, listening to the plaintive
cooing of the wood-pigeons in the boughs overhead, or lay on
the grass under the tall elms of the park at Beltrees,
weaving a web of fancies as graceful and as intangible as
the fleecy clouds which flecked the blue sky above her.
In the midst of such a reverie, she was one day surprised
by the ladies from the great house, Miss Kennedy in her
bath-chair, propelled by her demure little maid, and Miss
Lydia walking by her side, carrying the little black velvet
bag which all the poor of the parish knew so well.
"There is a little girl under the trees, sister," said the
elder lady, raising her eyeglass.
"A stranger too, I think," said Miss Lydia. Who are
you, little girl?
I am Rosa Dingwall, ma'am," replied Rosie getting up
from the grass and approaching the bath-chair.
38 THE DROWNING CHILD.
"Ah to be sure," said Miss Lydia, "you are Mrs. Gale's
little friend. We have heard about you. I hope you are a
good girl ?"
Yes, ma'am," replied Rosie, I think so. It's very easy
to be good here; there's nothing to make me bad."
"And what were you doing under the tree when we came
up to you ? I thought I heard you talking?" asked the old
lady in the chair.
"Oh! it was only a story I was making," replied Rosie in
some confusion. I was scolding at the wind."
Scolding the wind !" echoed the lady in astonishment,
while the girl behind the chair opened her eyes very wide.
"Yes," explained Rosie. "You know I was an angel
sailing about in that pretty white cloud, and the wind made
a hole in it and let me tumble out. So I had to scold it,
and it was very polite and told me to 'hnsh hush!'"
"Dear me! you are a very fanciful child," said Miss Lydia,
"but you must go to school and get rid of these foolish
ideas. Tell your aunt that we said so. Idle and ignorant
little girls grow up useless and foolish women, you know."
Aunt Gale hears me say lessons at home, just now," said
Rosie. "I am to go to school with Reu when I am
"Ah just so; your aunt is a very judicious person, and
one whom we esteem very highly. Well, good-bye little
Rosa; you must come to see us very soon. We have a
number of pretty things at the house which we like to
show to good children."
Rosie said good-bye to the ladies politely enough, but
THE DROWNING CHILD. 39
acknowledged Barbara's parting nod by pushing out her
under lip and drawing down her brows in an expressive but
ugly grimace. She considered herself in some way injured
by the prim little maiden's look of astonishment at her
story of the wind; and, whenever they chanced to meet,
favoured her with a scowl which Barbara was rather at a
loss to account for.
Rosie's first visit to the great house was destined to be
paid in a very unexpected fashion. One bright morning
towards the end of September, Barbara was wheeling her
mistress along the side of a brook which flowed through the
policies at some distance from the house, when she espied a
girl's Leghorn hat floating towards them upon the water,
and drew Miss Kennedy's attention to it.
"Pick it out," said the old lady; "I hope no child has
fallen into the water."
Barbara's quick glance flashed along the course of the
stream; and she uttered a cry of terror as she perceived
something pink and white tangled in the boughs of a holly
tree which had been uprooted by the wind, and now lay
with its branches dipping in the water at some distance
from where she stood. Running to the spot, she found that
the pink and white object was poor Rosie, lying face down-
wards in the water, her feet firmly fixed amid the thick
branches, and her long brown hair streaming out upon the
rippling surface of the brook. To plunge into the water and
raise the child's head was the work of an instant, and in a
few minutes more Barbara had torn aside or broken the
40 THE DROWNING CHILD.
branches which had caught her feet, and with the uncon-
scious child in her arms, hurried back to the spot where Miss
Kennedy sat trembling and calling in feeble tones for help.
"She is not dead, ma'am," panted Barbara. "I can feel
her heart beat."
"Thank God for that!" exclaimed the old lady; "but oh!
Barbara, we are far from help. Let me sit here on the
grass, and do you wheel her to the house in my chair."
"Oh! no ma'am! you can't do that, for the grass is quite
wet. See, I can carry her in my arms, she is quite light;" and
Barbara setoff towards the house with her unconscious burden.
She had nearly a quarter of a mile to go, and she had
not covered a tenth part of the distance when she felt her
strength begin to fail. Rosie's helpless form was no light
burden for one but little older than herself, and, besides, her
own clothing, drenched and heavy with wet, clung about her.
and impeded her progress. More than once she stumbled
and fell, but rose again and toiled bravely and painfully on-
wards, feeling that life or death depended on her exertions.
At length, utterly exhausted and ready to faint, she reached
the lower gate of the garden, and Saunders, the gardener,
confronted her. She could not speak, but handed her
burden into his strong arms and dropped, a wet, panting
heap upon the grass, while he bore Rosie swiftly towards
the house. Having recovered her breath, Barbara, after a
few minutes, rose up and returned slowly to the place where
she had left her mistress.
"Oh! why did you not send some one else?" cried the old
THE DROWNING CHILD. 41
lady in great distress when she saw her returning. "You
are dripping with wet, and perfectly exhausted. I had
rather have remained here all day than allowed you to return
for me in such a condition."
"I thought you would be uneasy, ma'am," explained
Barbara; "and perhaps stray cattle might have come along,
or you might get a chill staying out so long. Besides, I
didn't go quite to the house; Saunders took her from me at
the garden gate."
"You are a thoughtful, good girl, Barbara," said her mis-
tress, "but you have not acted prudently as regards your own
health. We must make the best of our way homewards now
and let you go to bed, and perhaps you may yet escape any
evil effects from your wetting and your fatigue."
The journey seemed interminable, but it came to an end
at last, and they reached the hall door just as the doctor
came galloping up the avenue. Rachel came out to meet
them, and assisted Miss Kennedy into the kitchen, where
Rosie, half smothered in blankets, lay on the floor before the
fire, quite conscious, and recovering fast.
"She'll do now," pronounced the doctor after he had ex-
amined her. "Put her to bed, and let her have a good sleep,
and she'll be all right. But what's the matter with this one?"
For the last few minutes the kitchen and its occupants
had been dancing and whirling before Barbara's eyes, and a
terrific noise had been thundering in her ears, then all had
grown black and still, and as the doctor spoke she dropped
upon the floor in a swoon.
IN THE SICK-ROOM.
BARBARA awoke the next morning feeling feverish and ill,
and with a peculiarly uncomfortable sensation about the
throat and chest, which increased as the day advanced; and
before evening the doctor pronounced her "in for a sharp
attack of bronchitis."
Under no circumstances would Miss Lydia have received
with favour any proposal to rid herself of the care of a sick
servant, and in the present case the patient seemed to merit
more than ordinary care and attention from the manner in
which her illness had been incurred. A messenger was,
therefore, despatched in all haste to Pourin' Burn Edge, with
instructions to bring back Jacintha, if possible, "in his hand"
to nurse her sick friend. Cynthy was known all over the
district as one of the best of nurses, and Jerome being from
home, she was happily at leisure; so she tied on her bonnet,
commended her goat and her fowls to the care of a neigh-
bour, and before nightfall had taken the charge of patient
and sick-room into her clever, capable hands.
In spite of her pain, Barbara could not help feeling some
amusement at the fuss which was made over her. Miss
Lydia and Jane and Rachel flitted in and out of the room
many times a day, her mother came from Burnfoot once a
week, and David walked over every evening after school to
IN THE SICK-ROOM. 43
inquire for her, while little Rosie's grateful devotion seemed
to be unbounded. Hour after hour she would sit in the
sick-room, still as a mouse when Barbara was asleep, full of
mirthful chatter when she was able for talk, always affection-
ate, and anxious to be of assistance. She had formed a very
highopinion of both Cynthyand Barbara, and liked to be much
in their company, having a kind of vague hope that goodness,
like small-pox, might perhaps be contagious.
Her resolution to be "good" had been strengthened and
deepened by the thought of the danger from which she had
been rescued, but she was beginning to feel it discouraging
and uphill work. Her aunt, indeed, praised her good behav-
iour, and she was careful to say her prayers many times a day,
while the efforts she made to keep awake in church were tre-
mendous, if not always successful. But she was always going
wrong in some point, and even when she succeeded best was
painfully conscious that there was something lacking.
Slowly Barbara progressed through the various stages of
sickness and convalescence, being promoted from bed to sofa,
and from sofa to arm-chair, and at length she was permitted
to go downstairs for a little. It happened that on this im-
portant day Miss Lydia, passing along the village street,
met David Logie and Reuben Gale walking together. Both
lads attended the same school, though their homes were at
opposite extremities of the parish, and since Rosie's rescue
and Barbara's illness a pretty strong friendship had sprung
up between the boys. Not that there was much similarity
of disposition or temperament between them. David was a
44 IN THE SICK-ROOM.
studious, quiet, delicate lad, with a somewhat dreamy and
poetic turn of mind; Reuben was bhtff, outspoken, mighty at
games but nowhere with his lessons, and classed poetry and
art under the one comprehensive term-"rubbish." He was
not altogether a favourite with Miss Lydia, in consequence
of certain raids which he was more than suspected of having
made upon the nests in the elm trees of the park. There-
fore, when she saw him walking amicably with David, who
was a boy after her own heart, she considered that it was
"no more than her duty to foster a friendship which was
so likely to prove beneficial in its effects.
Both lads touched their caps to the lady, and were about
to pass on, when she stopped them, and having announced
that Barbara had been downstairs that day, invited them to
take tea with her and Rosie in honour of the event. The
invitation was accepted, readily by David, somewhat re-
luctantly by Reuben, who felt shy among girls; at least,
with all girls except Rosie. Nevertheless, they formed a
very merry party, the four young people who sat around the
tea-table an hour later, with Cynthy at their head; all,
except Barbara, doing ample justice to the store of good
things which Miss Lydia had provided for them.
This is not so good a tea as Sergeant Meldrum gave you,
Rosie," remarked Reu, with a wicked look at his cousin.
"Ugh," cried Rosie shuddering, "don't speak about it."
"You see," explained Reuben, looking round the table,
"since Rosie has been here so much, she's caught the 'doing-
good' fever. It rages here all the year round; in fact, I'm
IN THE SICK-ROOM. 45
just sitting in mortal terror of catching it myself. If I don't
turn up at school to-morrow, Logie, you may understand that
I'm running errands for all the old wives in the village."
"Is that what Rosie does?" asked David laughing.
No ; it's the babies she patronises mostly, but the sergeant
was her especial pet and proteg6. She used to light his fire
and cook his breakfast of a morning (he lives all alone, you
know), till one morning he took it in his head to feel grate-
ful. Tell us about it, Rosie."
"What did he give you ?"
Tea and toast. I infused the tea and toasted the bread
quite nice, and then he says, 'Put a guid spoonfu' o' that
Irish moss in the pot, lassie; tea's but a thin fusionless
drink its lane.' Then I had to spread dripping on the toast,
and break it in a basin, and pour the tea over, and then says
he, 'Rax me doon that black bottle aff the shelf; a guid
glass o' gin taks aff the wershness.' And then he spooned
out a saucer full and gave me for being 'a smart lassie,' and
it was awful! I was so sick I could hardly walk home, and
I've never gone back again."
"That minds me," said Cynthy, "o' tea that I saw when
a bairn. Our Auntie Kirsty up at Strathspey was to be
marriet, an' my mother was up at the marriage, an' me wi'
her. Granny had the feast a' ready afore we gaed, an' she
wad hae my mother's opinion on her cookery, for she was a
body that liket aye to hae things richt. 'Taste my tea,
woman,' she says, 'an' see if I've made it richt, for I canna
say 'at I care for't mysel'."
Hoo did ye cook it ?" says my mother.
46 IN THE SICK-ROOM.
"Ou," says Granny, "I boiled it an 'oor wi' saut an' water
and an ingan, an' syne mashed it up wi' a bit butter an' a
drappie aitmeal an' cream."
The conclusion of Cynthy's story was hardly audible amid
the laughter of the young people. When it subsided there
was a short period of silence, which Rosie broke by the
abrupt question, Why don't you say something, Bab ?"
"Barbara is so quiet she couldn't say 'Bo to a goose,"
said David with fraternal rudeness.
That is just why I don't try," laughed Barbara.
"But we're not geese," pouted Rosie.
Certainlynot," said Reu, "your geese are all swans, Rosie."
"You're not one of them then, for you are a goose."
"Now, look here, young lady," said her cousin, "you had
better apologise for that speech, because if you are out of
my good graces, I might forget to bring that fan I promised
you when I go to China."
"Aye," said Cynthy, looking at him over her spectacles,
"so you're to be a sailor like your father, are you? It's
strange what a fancy laddies hae for the saut water. An'
what's Rosie to be ?"
"A lady," replied Rosie promptly; "what will you be, Bab?"
"Just what I am, I suppose; a servant of some kind or other."
"No, you won't," cried David. "You know we settled all
that long ago; you're to live with me and keep my house
when I get a church."
"Oh my!" cried Rosie jumping up, "are you going to
be a minister? How I should like to hear you preach
What will you say ?"
IN THE SICK-ROOM. 47
"I don't know yet," replied David, looking a little put out.
"Will you bawl out, and hammer on the pulpit, like Mr.
M'Corkle does?" pursued Rosie. "He's the right sort, he
makes me jump up wideawake ever so often in an after-
noon, when I'm like to fall asleep."
"I don't think I care for that style," replied David.
"Well, don't be a cheeping minister anyhow, else I won't
come to hear you. And tell us plenty of stories in your
sermon, like M'Latchie, the old Methodist shoemaker does.
This is how he does,"-and snatching David's red cotton
handkerchief, the little madcap jumped upon a chair.
"Ma vera dear freens,"-here she took an imaginary
pinch of snuff and blew her nose with great violence-" last
Tuesday night I was priveleeged to meet wi' four-teen dear
bo-oys-four-teen dear bo-oys, my freens "-
The boys laughed; but Cynthy shook her head, and
Barbara exclaimed distressfully, "0 Rosie, don't! you
shouldn't make fun of good things."
Encouraged by the laughter of the boys Rosie made light of
this rebuke, and springingfrom her perchthrew herarms round
her friend's neck, and asked her, "If she were not ashamed
to be so much better than other people," whereat Barbara
laughed and blushed, and Rosie felt that the victory re-
mained with her.
Then Cynthy proposed a riddle, and Barbara and David
followed up with others, Rosie and Reu proving themselves
but poor guessers; then Miss Lydia brought them some
books of engravings to examine, and thus the pleasant even-
ing drew to its close, and the little party dispersed.
A TALK WITH REU.
WHEN the winter had passed, and the weather began to be
mild and genial, Rosie was sent to school, somewhat against
her own will. She had been so much accustomed to run
about working or playing as fancy dictated, that the whole-
some restrictions and laborious tasks of school were most
distasteful to her. She soon developed quite a genius for
shirking work and evading rules; then seeing her aunt's
disappointment at her slow progress, made tremendous, but
brief efforts to improve. She was naturally quick and clever,
and even in this spasmodic fashion she managed to pick up
a considerable amount of knowledge.
The little seed of desire after holiness was not quite
dormant in her heart during this period. Too often, indeed,
the aspiration was forgotten or stifled; but in quiet hours,
and sometimes in the midst of lessons or play, that unsatisfied
longing, the hunger after righteousness," would make itself
felt. She made no confidante, less from shyness than from
the perplexity she felt as to what she really wanted; but
both Reu and Barbara observed her occasional fits of
thoughtfulness and melancholy.
One bright Saturday in June, when she was thus moping
about," as Reu expressed it, he persuaded his mother to pack
their dinner in a basket, and carried her off to the woods to
A TALK WITH REU. 49
gather blaeberries. An excursion like this was the chiefest
of delights to Rosie, and as her cousin did his best to amuse
and interest her, she seemed soon to have flung her melan-
choly to the winds, and raced, and chattered, and jested as
gaily as he could wish. The fruit was abundant, and after
they had picked a basketful, they sat down at the edge of
the wood to enjoy their dinner. The tall trees made a
pleasant shade above them, the soft smooth turf was starred
with tiny blossoms, white and golden, and before them
stretched the wide sunny moor alive with bees and butter-
flies, and over all hung the warm tremulous summer air.
Reu stretched himself on the grass in lazy enjoyment, whilst
Rosie set forth the sandwiches and milk temptingly on a
snow-white napkin, and piled the blaeberries on dishes of
broad leaves. Their healthy young appetites soon caused the
good things to vanish, and then they sat resting for a little
before it should be time to return home. Suddenly Rosie
asked, Are you good, Reu ?"
"Good !" echoed Reu, looking intensely astonished at the
question, "how should I know that if you don't ? I daresay
I'm not the very worst fellow out, and I'm far enough from
being the best. Whatever makes you ask ?"
"Oh! you're a very good boy outside," said Rosie, "but
I meant, are you good in your heart ? I want to be, but I
can't find out the way, and I thought you could tell me."'
Reuben drew his brows down into a little frown, and
paused a few minutes before he answered, "You're quite
good enough for a little girl as you are, Rosie. You don't
surely want to go about with a long, sanctified face, and talk
50 A TALK WITH REU.
about your 'experiences,' and groan about 'a world lying
in wickedness,' like old M'Latchie's 'fourteen dear boys,' do
you ? Young humbugs, every man-jack of them!"
"Are they, Reu ? I thought you liked Bobby Ferrier ?"
"Well, I have a kindness for him," replied Reu with a
chuckle; "the little monkey bled my nose once, and I've
always remembered it in his favour."
"Why, Reu! a little fellow like that! Did you give him
a thrashing for it ?"
No, I gave him a bonnetful of cherries. This was how
it was. He was bothering me to come to their prayer-
meeting, till I got out of temper and told him M'Latchie
was an old fool. I hadn't the words well out when Bob
dealt me such a blow on the nose (he had to jump up to
reach it), that the blood sprang. I was. so astonished, I
could do nothing but laugh, and Bobby stood and squared
his bits of fists as if he would pound me to a jelly. So to
make up with him, I gave him a heap of cherries and pro-
mised to go to the meeting, but I took precious good care
never to go back. You see, M'Latchie took Bobby in when
his parents died, and he was to be sent to the poorhouse, and
he's as kind to him as if he were his real father, so it was
plucky and right of the little chap to stand up for him."
"Then, he's not a humbug, Cousin Reu."
No, but most of your awfully good boys and girls are;
and if you are to be one of that sort, I've nothing more to
say to you."-" I don't want to be a humbug," replied Rosie,
bursting into tears; "but if I can find out the right way I
must be good, even if you never speak to me again."
A TALK WITH REU. 51
Tears were arguments which Reu never could resist, and
in a minute he was kneeling on the grass beside his cousin,
soothing and caressing her, and calling himself all manner
of hard names for his unkindness. By-and-bye they rose up
and took their way homeward, both very silent and thought-
ful. the high road they met some classmates of Reu's, and
while he remained behind talking with them, Rosie walked
on and seated herself by the side of a roadside fountain. She
had not sat long when a little old man with a gentle face
came along the white dusty road, and stopped by the well.
"That's fine, lassie," he observed, taking a long,deep draught
of cool water; "what's to pay? "-" To pay?" echoed Rosie
in astonishment; "nothing. Nobody needs to pay for a
drink of water. It's there for everybody that wants it."
"An' what does that mind ye on ?" said Jerome Clark,
for he it was.-" I don't know," replied the little girl.
"It's like God's salvation," said the old man, "free to
a'body, guid an' ill, young an' auld. Ye needna work for't,
ye needna seek to buy't; it's there for ye if ye'll tak' it, an'
if ye gang without, blame yersel'. Min' upon that noo, like
a guid lassie, an' there's a bookie till ye; an' guid-day."
Good-day," said Rosie, looking wistfully at the kindly
old man, and wondering whether Reu would call him "a
humbug" or not. Then she fell to pondering over what he
had said, and the more she thought the more her difficulties
seemed to vanish, till, when Reu joined her, she was able to
greet him with a smile as bright as the sunshine itself.
"I'm not going to mope again," she announced, clasping
his arm with both her hands.
52 A TALK WITH REU.
Reu looked at her doubtfully. "I hope that's not because
of what I said Rosie," he answered, "because I've been
thinking that maybe I went too far. I daresay there are
right-down good boys and girls as well as young humbugs;
that sister of Logie's seems to be one, though she's too quiet
for me. But, anyway, we'd be none the worse of trying."
"I mean to try very hard, Reu, but, when you think of it,
there's nothing to mope about. It was all in a tangle like a
little ago about being good, and getting saved, and going to
heaven; I had got it all mixed up till I couldn't make head
nor tail of it, but I think I've got it straightened out now."
"Well ?" said her cousin gravely.
"Well, didn't Christ die to save us all-me, and you too,
if you like; and won't we get to heaven for that? Oh!
isn't it nice? I'm just as happy as happy can be since I've
got hold of it," and she danced about on the road, her eyes
sparkling with joy.-"You'll be thinking yourself awfully
good now, are you?" asked Reu somewhat sourly.
"I'm not any better than I was an hour ago, but I'm ever
and ever so much jollier; and do come and have a run, for I
can't keep still. I'llraceyoutoMissKennedy'sgate. Now,once
-twice-off!" Off they flew,Rosie keeping the lead in spite
of the boy's efforts till they were close upon the goal, when
he pushed up against her, and both rolled over, panting and
laughing, on the grass, leaving the victory undecided.
"You're a little brick after all, Rosie!" exclaimed her
cousin. "I don't believe you'll be a humbug yet."
"Of course I shan't," returned Rosie; "I shan't be any-
thing but awfully happy."
Six years had passed away, and on a bright May evening a
party of our young friends were again gathered in the porch
of Mrs. Gale's cottage. The day had been warm and sunny,
with occasional thunder showers, but now the sun was going
down in a cloudless sky, and all the earth was fresh and
sweet after the rains. Wallflower, auricula, and narcissus
were breathing their richest odours, the lilac-clusters bent
heavy with the wet, and the hawthorn hedge was white
with pearly, half-opened buds. Mrs. Gale, looking out
through the open door of the kitchen where she sat at work,
had a smile on her lips for the beauty of the scene and the
pleasure of the young folks who stood in the porch enjoying
it; but there was also a tear in her eye as she thought of the
one who was missing from the group of friends, of her boy
who was far away upon the sea. She would fain that he
had chosen some other profession than that in which she
had lost her husband many years before, but she could not
bear to disappoint the hopes which had grown with his
growth from childhood.
Rosie, Barbara, and David, the trio at the cottage door,
had all changed since we last saw them. Barbara was now
nineteen, a gentle, modest, fair-faced maiden, clad in garb
of sober brown, and resembling in her homely sweetness the
wallflower which Rosie had just fastened in her waistband. Of
quite a different stamp was Rosie, now a tall, slender girl of
seventeen. She was bright and gay all over, from the glints
of gold in her rippling brown hair to the shining buckles of
her pretty shoes. Her brown eyes were full of laughter, and
a merry dimple kept coming and going about the corners of
the smiling mouth, while her delicate complexion just
matched the tints of that pink and white cambric, her
favourite dress, donned to-day in honour of David's visit.
David was now at college, studying hard, and supporting
himself meanwhile by teaching, as so many poor students
do. This double toil had left its traces on his thin cheek
and sallow complexion; but he had passed through his
college career so far with distinction, and his friends were
very proud of him. He was just come home for a short
holiday, and had stepped over to Beltrees to spend the after-
noon with his sister, and to call on Mrs. Gale and Rosie. For
half an hour he had been declaring he must go, and still they
lingered. They had so much to talk about-the latest news
of Reu, the places he had visited, the presents he had brought
on his last home-coming, the old days when they were boys
and girls together, their present circumstances and future
aspirations, all had to be discussed. On the last point Rosie
had not much to say. Her aspirations were high, but they
were very vague and dreamy. Romantic notions of a sort
of triumphal career through the world, distributing happi-
ness to all around her, filled her foolish little head. She
would make every one good and happy, and she would love
them all, and they should love her exceedingly; but the
means by which this was to be accomplished did not very
At last they went down to the gate together, and stood
there for several minutes laughing and chatting ere they said
"Good-bye." A girl passed on the opposite side of the road,
eyeing with keen interest the little group, who were too much
absorbed to heed her. She walked but a little way, however,
and when the Logies had taken their leave, turned and came
back to the gate, where Rosie remained gathering up her
dainty skirts from contact with the wet path.
"I thocht that wad be her," said the stranger to herself;
"an' what a swell she is!"
Unconscious, Rosie shut the gate and went back to the
house, but paused in the porch at hearing it re-opened. She
looked with some curiosity at the visitor; her tawdry dress
of faded blue, the great chignon which supported a limp,
flabby little hat of black lace with red roses, the scrap of net
which served as a veil, and the burst, down-trodden boots
made up a figure very different from those commonly seen
in that quiet, old-fashioned village. But as the girl ap-
proached smiling and holding out her hand, a sudden flash of
memory recalled to Rosie the poor garret at Northport where
Jessie lay dying and her younger sister played among the
broken crockery, and she sprang forward exclaiming, "Susy!"
"I wonder ye kent me," replied the girl with a look of
gratification; "I wad never hae recognized you if I had
met you ony gate but here. Ye're turned a perfect
"I am your sister Rosie all the same," answered Rosie,
leading her into the cottage, and presenting her to her aunt.
Mrs. Gale welcomed her kindly, and ensconced her in the
large arm-chair by the fire, while Rosie, with a big apron
tied over her pretty dress, bustled about the kitchen prepar-
ing tea, keeping up an animated conversation with her sister
all the while. By-and-bye, in the course of their talk, the
reason for this unexpected visit cropped out: Susy was going
abroad. Rosie and her aunt stared at her in such bewilder-
ment as she said this that she hastened to explain. She was
quite tired of living at home and slaving continually for next
to nothing at all, and having heard glowing accounts of the
liberal wages and many privileges of domestic servants in
America, she had engaged to accompany a family who were
emigrating to the States.
"Don't go, my dear," said Aunt Gale earnestly; "you are
young and inexperienced, and know nothing of the dangers
and snares of the path into which you are rushing. You
may have to rue when it's too late to change. Mind the old
saying, 'Better the ill ye ken, than the guid ye ken naething
"And mother, what will she do without you ?" interposed
"She canna weel dae waur wantin' me than she does wi'
me," replied Susy, with a sullen air. "Gin she had done the
richt gate, I could hae bidden still. I cam' here to speir gin
ye wad look after Norah a bit when I'm awa," she continued,
with an evident desire to change the subject. "She's an
awfu' nice bairn, an' no strong ava. I'll be richt sorry to
"I hope you'll think better of it, and stay in Scotland,"
said Mrs. Gale as she went out to shut up her fowls for the
"What's wrong with mother, Susy?" asked Rosie anxiously
when they were left alone.
"Drink," replied Susy shortly, giving a push to her plate
as if it were to blame for the misfortune.
"Drink!" echoed her sister in sad surprise. "She did not
drink when I was at home."
She does now then. Tipples constant. Drinks her ain
wages an' mine tae, an' pawns ilka steek she can lay hands
on. There's nae use trying to persuade me tae bide langer,
for my patience is clean worn out. Gin it hadna been for
Norah I'd been awa langsyne."
Rosie sat silent, looking sadly into the fire. "If you go
away I think I had better go home again for a while, Susy."
"You would be a fool !" exclaimed Susy with vehemence.
"Do you mind what it was like when you lived there afore?
It's waur now, I tell you. Icouldna stand it that's never
been accustomed wi' ony better, an' how could ye, coming' frae
this fine choose, an' a' the comfort ye've been used wi'?"
"Is Kelly ever at home ?" asked Rosie.
"Hasna been heard o' for twa year. He was travellin'wi'
a showman the last we heard. We think he's deid."
Here Mrs. Gale re-entered the room, and Susy quickly
changed the subject, talking of little Norah, her beauty, her
sharpness, and her old-fashioned ways till both her hearers
were interested, as she meant them to be, in the child; and
abstained from discussing her plans regarding herself.
In the morning, however, Mrs. Gale returned to the attack,
but Susy was inflexible. She assured her aunt that the
family with whom she was going out were respectable and
good people, and she promised not to quit their service
readily, but beyond this she was immovable. So her aunt
had to be content with giving her such good advice as she
would listen to, backing it up with gifts more solid and per-
haps more acceptable; and in the afternoon Susy took her
departure, bearing a carpet-bag well filled with the presents
which her aunt and sister had given her.
"Ye'll no forget little Norah ?" she whispered earnestly
as Rosie took leave of her in the inn-yard from which the
"I promise you I won't," answered Rosie with equal
"Sendin' presents to her will do little guid unless ye gang
yersel' an' see that she gets leave to keep them. But dinna
think o' gaun tae bide on nae account."
A few more words of farewell, and the coach rolled out of
the yard, and Rosie walked slowly homeward, with a very
troubled look on her face. She had already told her aunt
what Susy had said about her mother, and Mrs. Gale had
been sympathetic and sorry, but had given no hint as to
what she considered Rosie's duty in the matter. The young
girl was sorely perplexed. She had to choose, it seemed,
not between right and wrong, but between one duty and
another, and there was much to be said on both sides. She
made a long detour on the way home to give herself time
to think, but the more she thought the deeper grew her per-
plexity, and she reached home as far from a decision as ever.
As the days passed, however, the conviction grew and
deepened in her mind that in the meantime the more urgent
duty was that towards her mother, and in this view Mrs.
Gale sorrowfully acquiesced.
But oh! my dear," she said, "my heart is sore to let you
go. I have lived longer and seen more of the world than
you, and I have seen a drunken man repent and turn from
his evil way, but a drunken woman-never! A woman has
not the strength of will to resist the craving for drink when
it has once seized her. And, my poor child, you may waste
your youth, and fling away your health and strength in
trying to wean your mother from her drinking ways, and in
the end get but a sore heart for your reward."
"But the Lord can do everything, aunt," said Rosie, "and
I must try."
"The Lord help you then, my dear, and bless your efforts."
"Oh! He will help me," said Rosie brightly; "and then
when Norah is older I shall come back to you, and never,
never leave you again."
"A STOOT HEART TO A'STEY BRAE."
CANDLEMAKERS' Wynd was unchanged. The same grimy-
looking houses, the same evil smells in the air, the same, or
what looked like the same, ragged, unkempt children at play
on the filthy pavement. No; there was one change, John
Coubery's window was clean and shining, and boasted a
white blind, which it did not have in the old days when our
story opens. Rosie, picking her steps daintily along the
dirty pavement, smiled to see it, and wondered whether it
were the sign of greater improvements within.
Up the well-remembered staircase she climbed, feeling
strangely oppressed by the close, unwholesome atmosphere,
and paused before her mother's door. It was ajar, and a
drowsy, whirring sound from within drowned her gentle
knock, so she pushed it open and entered. But at the first
glance, her heart sank, and her courage began to fail. The
small, low-roofed garret, with its broken plaster and dusty
window, was squalid and miserable beyond anything that
Rosie's memory or imagination had ever pictured. A broken
bedstead in one corner, a rough packing-case in another, a
large spinning-wheel, a bottle containing an end of candle
on the mantlepiece, and a few pieces of crockery on the
window-sill, were all that the room contained, if we except
a pile of newly-made match-boxes, which were drying upon
the hearth. The big wheel whirled and hummed like some
great insect in the heat, and from behind it a pair of very
large dark eyes gazed up inquiringly at her.
"A STOOT HERT TO A STEY BRAE." 61
"Ah! you are little Norah,I am sure,"exclaimed Rosic,doing
her utmost to speak cheerfully, "do you know who I am ?"
"You'll be the 'Monthly Visitor' lady?" guessed Norah,com-
ing forward, and revealing a small figure clad in garments
much too large for her, and tucked up and held together in
fantastic fashion with pins. The little face which looked out
from this poor attire was very sweet and wistful, but wan and
pale, like a flower that has grown in the dark, and its look of
anxious thought was painful to see on one so young. Rosie
knelt down and with a sudden, yearning tenderness, drew
the child into her arms. "I am your sister Rosie," said she.
Norah drew back a little, she was not accustomed to pet-
ting. "Her that Susy went to see?" she asked. "She said
you would come to see me."-" I'm come to stay with you,
dear. Didn't mother get my letter? I wrote to tell her."-" I
dinna ken. She's maybe forgotten, for she didna tell me you
were coming But you're a grand lady; you couldna bide here."
Oh but I can work," replied Rosie, and I mean to do it,
too; and we'll be all so comfortable and happy, won't we ?"
"It would be nice," admitted Norah, "it's been richt dull
since Susy gaed awa. I've thocht right lang for her," and
she wiped away a tear with her ragged sleeve. The little
action touched the elder sister's heart; it was like the sub-
dued grief of a woman, rather than the open, unrepressed
sorrow of a child. To change the subject, she began to talk
quickly and cheerfully of the good times they should have
together, of new clothes and a comfortable room, and per-
haps an occasional trip to the country when the weather
62 "A STOOT HERT TO A STEY BRAE."
Norah laughed. "0 sister Rosie you ken little aboot it.
It's no sae easy to mak' a living' as ye think. But I'm a good
manager, Susy used to say, an' can dae a lot wi' little money;
an' I'll mak' ye as comfortable as ever I can."
Rosie smiled as she thought of the wax doll which she
had in her trunk for this mature little woman. It would
have been almost as suitable a present for her mother or Aunt
Gale. Then she fell to wondering how she could convert
this wretched room into a comfortable abode. Meanwhile,
Norah bundled her match-boxes into a piece of sacking, and
telling her sister to wait for her, disappeared down the stair.
Left alone, Rosie took another survey of the apartment,
poked about with her umbrella the filthy rags which covered
the bedstead, shudderingly concluded that no power on earth
could induce her to repose thereon, and finally sat down on
the floor and cried. But for little Norah she would most
assuredly have made a speedy retreat-to the pleasant home
she had left; for the child's sake she remained and deter-
mined to make the best of it. Presently the little girl re-
turned bearing a small paper parcel, which, on being opened,
was found to contain a hot mutton pie.
"It's for you," she said shyly, pressing it into Rosie's hand,
"I bocht it wi' the match-box siller. It's my ain, ye ken."
"Thank you, my dear !" exclaimed Rosie, "how kind you
are! But I can't eat it all myself, you know; you must
have half of it."
To this Norah, after much persuasion, gave a reluctant
consent, and the sisters were discussing the scanty meal
together when a gentle tap was heard at the door.
"A STOOT HERT TO A STEY BRAE." 63
"That'll be John Coubery come to see you, Rosie,"
whispered Norah as she rose to open; I saw him when I
was oot, an' tell'd him you were here."
Her surmise proved to be correct; it was good old
John who stood without, full of joy at seeing his little friend
of old days once again, and of wondering admiration at the
change which had taken place in her.
"An' ye'll just come awa doon the stair baith o' ye," said
the kind old man, an' tak' a cup o' tea wi' Jean an' me for the
sake o' auld langsyne, an' ye'll see mair fouk that's changed
for the better as weel's yersel'. The Lord be praised for't!"
Rosie accepted the invitation very gratefully, and would
have accompanied him at once, but that the arrival of the
man with her trunk, just at that moment, hindered her for
a little. Norah took advantage of the delay to whisper that
she would rather not go. "I like John," she said, "but Mrs.
.Coubery aye says I'm no thrivin' an' wants me to tak' medi-
cine. She held my nose an' made me drink castor-oil when
I had the measles, an' I dinna like her."
Rosie laughed heartily at the air of offended dignity with
which Norah recounted this painful incident, but promised
to protect her against all such attempts in the future; and
they went downstairs together quite cheerfully, to find a
well-spread tea-table, a comfortable room, and a kindly
welcome awaiting them. It was hard to recognize in the
trim, smiling housewife who greeted them so cordially, the
drunken, loud-voiced virago of seven years ago; and poor
Rosie's heart leapt with joy to think, that here was one
exception to her aunt's melancholy rule-a drunken woman
64 "A STOOT HERT TO A STEY BRAE."
who had reformed and turned from her evil way. Surely,"
she thought, with a thrill of delight, God put it in their
hearts to invite me here to-night, that I might be encouraged
to go on with the work He has given me. What He has done
for Mrs. Coubery, He can dojust as easily for my poor mother."
Thus cheered and comforted in mind, and refreshed in
body by the welcome cup of tea, Rosie speedily became her
own bright, merry self again, and entertained her friends
with vivacious accounts of the dear home and friends she
had left, and also, though with greater reticence, of her aims
and intentions in returning to the home of her childhood.
The old couple smiled and nodded approval to each other over
their cups, and little Norah listened in open-eyed wonder.
"An' ye're no feared to encounter hardships for a good
cause, are ye ?" said Mrs. Coubery. "It's weel if ye're no,
for min' it's a wearing tearin', uphill wark ye're setting' yersel'
till. But ye maun just set a stoot heart to a stey brae, as the
sayin' is; an' aye keep in min' that there's naething ower
hard for the Lord."
"Ye may weel say that, Jean," interposed her husband,
"look at oor ain twa sels, for example."
"Hoot, guidman! ye're naething to speak o', for ye were
aye a decent kind o' body. But there was I, the open
enemy o' a' guid (mair shame to me)-there's nane kens the
fechts I've had in my ain heart, resistin' the Spirit o' grace
that was strivin' wi' me; an' drinking' an' fechtin' in fair
desperation to droon the fears o' death an' eternity. Mony
a sair heart I've gi'en John that I'm sorry for the day; but
he never gied up hope; an' though I'm nae what I should
"A STOOT HERT TO A STEY BRAE." 65
be yet (far frae't), I ken I'm nae what I ance was. After
me, there's naebody need despair."
"All!" said John, "I lippened the Lord wi' ye, an' He's
aye weel worth the trustin'. Do you the same, my lassie,
an' ye'll fin' it's nae broken reed ye hae tae lean upon."
After some time spent in pleasant talk, Mrs. Coubery rose,
saying she had an errand to do outside, and she hoped her
guests would on no account think of going before she
returned. The good woman's errand was one suggested by
the most delicate Christian charity, and concerned her
visitors more closely than they knew. She knew pretty
well where Mrs. Kelly would be found, drunk, as she usually
was, at that hour of the day, and she meant to fetch her
home, and get her to bed before Rosie went upstairs, that the
girl might, for the first night at least, be spared the pain of
witnessing her mother's disgrace. This kindly design she
managed to accomplish both quickly and quietly, and return-
ing to her own room set about preparing supper, which she
insisted on her guests remaining to share.
"An' now we maun think where you're to sleep," she
remarked, during the progress of the meal; "hae ye thocht
upon that yet ?"
Rosie had puzzled over that question the whole evening
without coming to any-conclusion, and at that very moment
was thinking with regretful longing of the haycock where
she had spent that night seven years ago. But she answered
as lightly as she could, that she had plenty of wrappings in
her box, and would try to find a soft plank of the floor for
that night. 5
CG "A STOOT BERT TO A STEY BRAE."
"I think we can do better than that for you," said the
kind woman. The garret ben from your mother's is to let,
an' we hae the key, so I think we'll tak' the liberty o'
pitten ye in there for a nicht. There's twa fixed beds in the
room, an' we'll just carry up the mattress an' cushions o' the
lang-settle, an' ye'll maybe mak' shift for a nicht."
The girl looked up with tears of thankfulness shining in
her eyes. "I don't know how to thank you!" she exclaimed,
" you are more than kind; and if my mother does not object,
I shall be only too glad to accept your offer."
"She'll no object," said Mrs. Coubery quietly, the fact is,
she's beddit an' sleeping She's gey owercome the nicht, but
ye'll see her a' richt in the morning. "
Rosie stared blankly at first, then as the meaning of her
friend's words broke upon her, she crimsoned painfully, and
tears came in her eyes.
"Ye maunna be discouraged," said the good woman kindly,
"a stoot heart to a stey brae, ye ken."
"Yes," replied the girl, wiping her eyes, "I ought not to
despond, for your kindness has encouraged me already more
than I can tell. You don't know how grateful Iam to you."
"Dinna speak o't! we wad fain do far mair gin it war in
our power. But I think we'll awa up the stair, for Norah's
near-han' blin' wi' sleep."
The empty garret to which Mrs. Coubery now led the
way was cheerless enough, but the bed which she speedily
prepared was clean and comfortable, and as Rosie laid herself
down to rest upon it, her heart was full to overflowing with
gratitude to God who had raised up such kind friends for her.
A SLIGHT stir in the room awoke Rosie early on the follow-
ing morning, and opening her eyes she saw her mother
standing by her bedside.
"Norah tell't me you were here," she said, "an' I was
fain to see you afore I gaed oot to my wark. Eh me! you're
groun a big lass, an' a bonnie sin' I saw ye last-richt like
what I was mysel' at your age. An' hoo's your aunt? an'
what way have you left her ? were ye no greenn, or what ?"
"Oh, I never could disagree with auntie!" exclaimed
Rosie, "she was as kind to me always as you could have
been, mother. But we thought you would be so lonely, now
that Susy was gone away, that I had better come and bear you
company for a bit. I can easily make a living for myself, and
perhaps help you too, mother. At least, I'm going to try."
"Well, it's rael considerate o' ye that, though it's a pity
for you to throw yourself' oot o' a guid hame, at the same
time. But you hae just my disposition, I see, aye willing' to
see either fouk richtet afore yourself Susy was clean different
again. Gin she were richt herself it didna matter wha was
ill aff. To think 'at she could gang awa sae heartless-like
an' leave me, after a' I've done for her!" and here MIr.
Kelly shed a few tears, wiping them away with the corner
of her ragged apron.
"Don't cry, mother, dear," said Rosie; "Susy is very
68 SHORT-LIVED HOPE.
young yet, and she'll have more sense by-and-bye. Don't
vex about her, but let us try and be happy and comfortable
together, those of us who are left, and we'll maybe persuade
her to come home again yet, who knows ?"
"Oh, na! let her gang she didna mak herself' sae agreeable
when she was here that I should seek her back; but bluid's
thicker than water, an' a mother canna but feel when she
sees her ain turn against her. But I'll hae to gang now, for
I've twa offices to clean afore nine o'clock. Lie you still an'tak'
another sleep or I come back, an' then we'll hae oor breakfast."
Rosie's eyes followed her mother pitifully as she moved
towards the door. Such a weak, broken-down creature she
seemed both in body and mind, it was difficult to imagine
that she had ever been young and gay and sprightly. But
there was a more painful impression left on the girl's mind
by this short interview. She was almost sure her mother
was secretly displeased at her home-coming, and would be
disposed to resent anything that would be likely to interfere
with the mode of life to which she had become addicted.
She had not counted on meeting with opposition of this
sort; but wisely resolving to overcome it by the power of
patience and love, she jumped up, and dressing herself, went
through to Norah, whom she found sweeping up the hearth
with a stumpy broom.
"Come here, you wise little woman," said the elder sister,
sitting down and drawing the child to her, "I want your
valuable opinion upon lots of things."-" Yes said Norah,
with her gravest air.-" Well, first of all I want to move into
that room where I slept. It is larger and airier than this, and
SHORT-LIVED HOPE. 69
has two beds. What do you say to that?"-"I don't think we
could. It costs ten shillings a year more rent."-"But I'll pay
that."-"Oh very weel. Mrs. Coubery has the lettin' o't, you
can settle it wi' her."-"And I want to buy furniture and bed-
ding. I wonder if that will cost much money."-" I dinna ken,
I never bocht ony. But the brokers dinna gie ye very muckle
when ye want to sell, so ye wad best gang to them to buy."-
"And I'm going to get some nice clothes for mother and you.
What would you like?"-" I say!" exclaimed the little girl in
surprise, "you surely have the Bank o' Scotland in yer kist!"
-" No, but I have four pounds, which I am going to spend.
Aunt Gale gave me some, and I had some of my own."
Norah was at first speechless in the presence of such
boundless wealth; but presently suggested that her sister
had better consult Mrs. Coubery as to the best mode of lay-
ing it out. The event proved how sound was this advice;
for certainly without the aid of that good woman's experi-
ence, the four pounds would never have accomplished a
tithe of what it did.
Before the close of that week the empty garret was trans-
formed into a decent and even comfortable home. The
ceiling was white-washed, the blackened and broken walls
covered with bright paper-hanging, and the floor scrubbed
white as hands could make it. The two beds, which occupied
the whole side of the room opposite the window, had got
mattresses of sacking stuffed with hay, and pillows filled
with old newspapers torn into shreds by Norah's patient
fingers, and with their fresh new sheets and coverlets, looked
quite comfortable and inviting. The old packing-case had
70 SHORT-LIVED HOPE.
got a cover of calico, and now did duty as a window seat;
a small table and two chairs had been picked up cheap at a
broker's, and these, with Rosie's trunk, completed the furnish-
ings of the apartment. No, we have omitted the bright
fender and fire-irons, the strip of carpeting before the fire,
which was a gift from Mrs. Coubery, and Norah's doll, which
was suspended over the chimney-piece, and surveyed all
these improvements with an unchanging, waxen smile.
Poor Mrs. Kelly had grumbled a little at first over the
"fash" her daughter was making; but when all was completed,
she was proud of her comfortable home, and glad to hurry back
to it after her work was done, instead of spending her time
with tippling neighbours in the public-house as she had
been wont to do. By skilfully making over articles from
her own abundant wardrobe, Rosie had provided both her
mother and sister with decent and comfortable clothing, and
for once or twice Mrs. Kelly enjoyed going to church with
her daughters, and felt that she was once more a respectable
person, as she had been long ago when her first husband was
alive. In the glow of this first success, Rosie wrote enthu-
siastic letters to her aunt and Barbara, representing, as she
really believed, the battle to be already won, and picturing
her speedy return to the home and friends she loved so well.
But when the charm of novelty had faded, Mrs. Kelly
began to tire of a life of sober industry, and the
craving for alcoholic stimulants made itself painfully
felt. Sometimes she would argue with herself, she
needed a glass because she felt so weak and unwell;
sometimes, because she had had an unusually hard day's
SHORT-LIVED HOPE. 71
work, and sometimes because she felt dull and depressed-
for each and every trouble of mind or body, "a glass" was
her sovereign remedy. And "a glass meant many, as many
as she could pay or obtain credit for. Her new clothing
soon found its way to the pawnshop, and that of her daughters
would likely have shared the same fate, but that Rosie,
timely wise, kept every article not in actual wear under
lock and key. Even then she contrived, when Norah was
alone, to coax her for a loan of a petticoat or other article
of dress to "turn her hand wi' "-a loan which it is needless
to say was never repaid.
Rosie's behaviour under these circumstances occasioned
her mother dire offence. From a strong sense of filial duty the
girl never complained or ventured on other than the gentlest
remonstrances with her mother, only her sad looks and
heavy eyes told how much she suffered. Susy, on the other
hand, when similarly provoked, had never hesitated to abuse
most heartily, and occasionally even to cuff and shake herweak
and erring parent; andthis undutiful treatment had been more
easy to bear than the silent reproach of Rosie's sadness.
"I canna dae wi' that still, dour way o' hers ava," the
poor woman used to say to herself; "if she's angry, let her
say't oot an' be dune wi'b, instead o' sulkin' an' gloomin'
the way she does. It's a hard thing gin I canna dae as I
like in my ain choose. If she be na pleased, she can gae
back whaur she cam frae; an' I carena how sune either-
stuck-up, dorty thing that she is."
THE SORROW THAT CAME WITH THE WINTER.
So between hope and discouragement the summer and
autumn passed, and with the first snows came a terrible
grief to Rosie ; Mrs. Gale died. Suddenly and unexpectedly,
with no time even to take farewell of those she loved, the
summons came, and she was gone.
There came to Rosie a short letter from Barbara, stating
that she was ailing; nothing, however, to occasion alarm, as
it was only a rheumatic attack, such as she generally ex-
perienced about the approach of winter; yet it awoke in the
girl's mind such an overwhelming dread of greater evil to
come, that, despite her mother's grumbling at her extrava-
gance and folly, she set out for Milton-Beltrees by the very
Too late! Before she reached the house, the shrouded
windows told her what had happened. Barbara Logie came
out to meet 'her, with eyes red and swollen with weeping;
but Rosie could not weep, she only looked on dumbly and
despairingly, as if the blow had stricken her to stone. But
when, after a little, they led her into the darkened, silent
room where lay all that remained of her dearest earthly
friend, tears came to her relief, and she knelt sobbing by the
bed, while Barbara told her the little there was to tell of her
aunt's death. She had been sitting in her easy chair by
THE SORROW THAT CAME WITH THE WINTER. 73
the fire, having just finished tea, and had taken up her book
to read, while the neighbour who waited on her cleared
away the tea-things. The book fell on the floor, her neigh-
bour ran to her assistance, there was one long, deep sigh, and
all was over.
The next few days were occupied in the dreary duties
which death brings. There was the influx of friends and
neighbours to take their last look of the dead; there were
letters to be written and despatched to various ports, to
convey the sad tidings to poor Reu; then there came the
melancholy funeral obsequies, and all was over. The empty
house was closed and locked, and through blinding tears
Rosie looked her last upon the home where she had spent
so many happy days, and returned to the poor little garret
in Candlemakers' Wynd.
It was a sad enough winter that followed. Her mother
seemed no longer even to endeavour to curb the fierce
craving for stimulants which possessed her; Rosie's laces
and embroideries did not always find ready sale; Norah was
weakly and ailing, and required better nourishment than
she could well provide, and everything looked dark and
It was hard to keep a brave heart amid all these troubles,
but she kept on praying and tried to be hopeful; and when
things were hardest and hope failed, she still clung to her
post with the energy of despair.
OUT OF THE DEPTHS.
IT was the evening of a hot Sunday in June, and the bells
were ringing for evening service. Norah had gone out to
Sunday-school, Mrs. Kelly was stretched on her bed sleeping
the heavy sleep of the drunkard, and Rosie sat by the little
window tearful and sad. It was now two years since her
return to Northport, and how hard those years had been
her altered looks showed only too plainly. Her cheeks
were wan and hollow, the light had died out of the pathetic
brown eyes, and there was a mournful droop about the
corners of the patient mouth that was wont to be so gay
The bright hopes with which she began her enterprise
had all faded now. Ceaseless toil, continual pinching and
struggling to procure the barest necessaries, occasional
periods of absolute want, the sickness of hope deferred, and
the pain of undeserved reproach and dislike; these were
among the items which formed the sum of that bitter
experience she called life.
Until now, however, the Sabbath had always been to her
a day of rest and refreshing. Little by little her store of
nice clothing had passed out of her possession, either by being
made over to her mother or Norah, or by being pawned to
supply some pressing want; but out of the general wreck
OUT OF THE DEPTHS. 75
she had managed to preserve one suit, which, though shabby
and worn, still enabled her to appear at church with a sem-
blance of decency. But this day when she went to her box,
she found that the lock had been forced, and these cherished
possessions abstracted; and so through the long sultry day
she had sat mourning helplessly over her loss, a loss which
seemed to her irreparable.
Suddenly it occurred to her that Mrs. Coubery might
lend her a shawl, and she might go to the service at the
"Raggit Kirk," where people were not expected to appear
in Sunday attire. Hastily bathing her eyes and smoothing
her hair, she hurried downstairs, secured the loan of the
shawl, and drawing it over her head, made the best of her
way to the church. It was several streets off, and she was
late ere she reached it, so late indeed, that the minister was
already giving out the text. Something familiar in his
tones caused her to pause abruptly on the threshold, then
with a sudden clutch she dragged the shawl closer round
her pale face and fled from the building. The preacher
was David Logie!
It might have been weak or foolish, but her overstrung
nerves were quivering and tingling with shame, as she
hurried along the crowded streets; and she felt as if she
would sooner die than be seen in her present miserable
condition by any friend of her happier days. For her
changed looks and mean attire were not only the outward
tokens of misfortune which may happen to all, they were
the badges of her defeat, of her incompetency for the work
76 OUT OF THE DEPTHS.
she had undertaken; the evidences of a wrong-doing which
was her pain and shame, though the sin was none of hers.
She was almost out of the town before her excitement
calmed down sufficiently to allow her to think where she
was going. Before her stretched the high road leading out
to the country, thronged with pleasure-seekers, amongst
whose gay garments her threadbare faded gown and
uncovered head showed painfully conspicuous. On the right
hand, beyond a stretch of yellow-green bent, lay the wide
sunlit sea; on the left, an old tree-shaded graveyard seemed
to proffer rest and concealment. Into this, therefore, she
turned, glad to escape from the gay noisy throng into the
cool, calm solitude; and throwing herself down on the
daisied grass, sobbed long and bitterly.
Why had such a hard lot been meted out to her? She
had tried bravely, patiently, and unselfishly to do her
duty, and this was her sole reward-defeat, poverty, and
shame. O Lord! she cried in her bitterness, as another
sorely tried spirit had cried long before, "if thou deal thus
with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand; let me not see
How calm and peaceful seemed the daisy-starred hillocks
around her, each with its quiet occupant at rest beneath,
and what a blessed relief from her toil and trouble could she
but lay her cheek on the soft grass, and sink into the sleep
that knows no waking! She lay there sobbing till the
fountain of her tears seemed to run dry, and utter exhaus-
tion of mind and body induced a quietude that was almost
OUT OF THE DEPTHS. 77
relief. Then she began to look around and dreamily to spell
out the inscriptions on the tombstones around her. What a
beautiful life, she thought, must hers have been over whose
grave loving hands had carven the words, "I thank my
God upon every remembrance of you!" There would be
none who would remember her thus thankfully if she were
gone; she had indeed meant well, but she was only a
foolish, frivolous butterfly of a creature, and had miserably
failed, as every one, save herself, had expected. And again
that bitter cry rose up from her heart, "It is enough, 0
Lord, take away my life."
Could ye not watch with me one hour? "-the words
were not spoken in her ear, but in her heart, and her com-
plaining was hushed, save for one little cry of pain, I am
poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me."
The needy shall not always be forgotten, the expectation
of the poor shall not perish for ever. Be thou faithful unto
death, and I will give thee a crown of life; yet a little
while and ye shall see me." She bowed her head, and soft
happy tears filled her eyes. If the Lord were with her all
was well. Her expectation would yet be realized, and strong
in that faith she could both wait and suffer. Even if it
cost her life, could He not command her who had Himself
given His life for her? All her trouble had vanished, lost
in the flood of peace and hope that filled her heart, and in
the deepening dusk she rose and went home, with head
erect and eyes aglow with deep grave joy.
HOW BARBARA HELPED.
WHEN Rosie made that sudden pause on the threshold of the
church, she had been too much startled by her recognition
of the preacher to observe that another well-known face,
closer at hand, was regarding her with wistful astonishment.
She had been conscious that some one in the seat nearest
the door had stirred to make room for her, but not for a
moment did she dream that it was Barbara Logie. Yet so
it was. She had been spending a short holiday with her
brother at Northport, and with sisterly pride had gone to
hear him preach. But of the sermon, if she heard it, she
never remembered one single word. She had been feeling
somewhat piqued because Rosie's letters had of late become
so few and formal; but this sudden apparition of her friend, so
pallid and worn and poverty-stricken, her evident confusion
and precipitate flight gave her the key to the whole situation.
She had too delicate a sense of honour to reveal what her
friend so evidently wished to conceal, so when David rallied
her upon her inattention to his sermon, she only said she had
been upset by the sight of so much destitution, and hurried
away to her bed-room, where she lay and wept the whole
night through for her friend's troubles. And with every
tear there was a prayer, which was well; but with the prayer
there was also mistrust, which was not well. Had the trouble
been her own, she would doubtless have prayed for patience
HOW BARBARA HELPED. 79
to bear it, and faith to believe that God had a purpose of love
in it all; but in this case of her friend she could feel satis-
fied with nothing less than immediate deliverance, forgetting
that a greater wisdom and a deeper love than hers had
appointed Rosie's lot.
She made no attempt on this occasion to see her friend,
fearing to wound her sensitive pride without bestowing any
compensating pleasure; but she tormented herself in devising
schemes for her benefit, all of which proved on examination
to be useless and impracticable. If Rosie would not leave
her mother, and of that she had little hope now that Mrs.
Gale was dead, nothing that could be given her, or done for
her, would be of any permanent benefit. But the more hope-
less the task appeared, the more she agonised after some
means of recalling Rosie to an easier and brighter life.
In this frame of mind she was passing along the road one
day, when to her surprise she came suddenly face to face
with Reuben Gale. He was looking very disconsolate, for it
was his first visit to Beltrees since his mother's death, and the
empty, desolate house had brought back his grief to him
with all the pang of a new sorrow. As he walked along by
Barbara's side, he began to speak of this, in a bashful sort of
way, as if seeking to pave the way for something which he
wished to say, but had difficulty in saying. At length he
managed to say, "I would not have come, but I wished to
ask some one to make me a home again in the old place."
Barbara's heart gave a great jump. She knew very well
who was the "some one" he meant, and how gladly would
she have accepted the lot,-but Rosie To see her once
80 HOW BARBARA HELPED.
more bright and blooming, and installed as mistress of Park
Cottage, would be worth suffering a little for. So she
steeled her heart against her ow~n and her companion's
wishes, and answered as lightly as she could-" I am so glad,
Mr. Gale! So very glad It will be delightful to have dear
Rosie at Park Cottage again. For, of course, it is Rosie?"
"I-I wasn't thinking of Rosie," stammered the young
sailor, looking exceedingly put out.
"Then do think of her now," pleaded Barbara, without
daring to look him in the face; "who could suit you so well
as she ? And she is being killed by inches where she is.
Have you seen her ?"
"No, not yet."
"You will find her painfully altered, and sorely in want
of some one who has authority enough to prevent her making
a martyr of herself. I must bid you good morning now, as
I have a message to do here, but I shall be so glad to hear
that you have succeeded in persuading Rosie to be mistress
of Park Cottage."
Fearful lest he should remonstrate, or she betray herself,
Barbara turned away so abruptly that he had hardly time
to say good-bye; and he was left standing on the road, with
a supremely disagreeable feeling that he had been "fooled."
An hour later, Barbara was lying on her bed crying as if her
heart would break, and Reuben was striding along the road
towards Northport, filled with bitter indignation against the
girl whom he had hitherto thought so worthy of honour.
"If she had said right out that she had something better in
her eye," he said to himself, "I could have forgiven her, but
HOW BARBARA HELPED. 81
to pretend she misunderstood me, and then bolt-I could
not have believed her so deceitful! "
On the following morning he found himself wandering in
the vicinity of Candlemakers' Wynd, and wondering dimly
how people managed to endure existence in such places.
With no little trouble he found the right door, which was
opened in answer to his knock by Norah. Rosie sat by the
table before the small window, bending industriously over
her lace-pillow, so intent on her work that she did not seem
to have heard the opening of the door. Reuben's quick
glance travelled round the small, well-nigh empty room,
rested on the poor attire and pale, patient face of his cousin,
and instantly determined, as Barbara had expected he would,
to transplant her to a more kindly atmosphere. "Rosie!"
"Reu !" she jumped up to greet him, smiling, flushing,
and tearful all at once. Norah stood looking gravely on,
and felt not a little scandalised when the tall sailor, turning
to herself, lifted her upon his knee and kissed her, as she
said, "as if she had been a child."
"Are you very busy to-day, Rosie?"
"Oh no not at all."
"Then put on your hat, and come out for a walk. That
will be something like old times."
Rosie blushed to the very roots of her hair. 0 Reu i
I should like to, but I can't."
"Why not? why can't she come out, Midge?" This to Norah.
"Because," replied Norah frankly, "she hasn't got a hat."
"Now that's lucky!" exclaimed Reu. "I was in a shop
of such gear inquiring my way here, and the poor soul
82 HOW BARBARA HELPED.
behind the counter looked so disappointed when I went out
without buying, that I have felt unutterably mean ever
since. How much does a hat cost, Midge?"
"Don't Reu! oh don't!" exclaimed Rosie, bursting into
tears. "I don't want one, indeed I don't."
That poor woman wanted a customer," replied Reu, "and
I want a walk with you, so you must think of other people's
wishes. I must leave to join the ship to-morrow, and would
like to have one pleasant day to look back to, when I am
far away upon the sea. So now, Midge, run off, and fetch
the best in the shop; two streets off, nor'-nor'-east."
My name's not Midge," said Norah, looking down at the
three half-sovereigns he had placed in her hand; "and
you've given me too much money."
"Buy sugar-plums with the change, then. You're going
to be my little girl now, you know, so I may call you what I
Norah departed on her errand, thinking this new cousin
of hers was at once the coolest and the most delightful
person she had ever seen. With the money entrusted to
her, she bought a jacket and gloves as well as a hat, and
thus equipped, Rosie set out half an hour later for a ramble
with her cousin. Very pleasant they both felt it to be once
more together, and able to exchange those reminiscences of
bygone days which give such a charm to the conversation
of old friends who meet after long separation. And then
they talked of the sad loss both had sustained since they
last met, a loss which neither could speak of yet without
HOW BARBARA HELPED. 83
"And now I am utterly alone in the world but for you,"
"Yes," assented Rosie, not without a passing thought that
his position was not in reality more desolate than her own.
They were quite out of the town by this time, and walking
along a quiet country lane.
"Would you care to go back to the old home, Rosie 1"
Rosie's eyes filled with tears, but she did not speak.
"Will you be my wife, Rosie ?
"Why do you ask me ?" cried the girl in astonishment.
"She's not the girl I thought her," he replied gloomily,
" and besides she won't have anything to do with me. So
as I said before, I have nobody in the wide world but you.
It looks a mean kind of thing to ask you to take me for that
reason, but we've known each other so long, and I would
try my best to make you happy and comfortable."
"But my mother," objected Rosie, "I cannot leave her."
And yet she was sorely tempted. The prospect was so
inviting, like a haven of rest to the storm-tossed mariner; and
then Reu had said truly he had no one in the world but her.
"How long do you think you will live to take care of
your mother or any one else, if things go on as they have
done ?" asked Reuben. "Do you know you are but a shadow
of your former self? Now I'll tell you what, I am not rich,
but apart from what I earn, I have a small income derived
from the properties of which my mother held the liferent.
Now, you can allow your mother'any weekly sum that you
think fit out of that, and as I shall not be much at home
84 HOW BARBARA HELPED.
you can go in and out as much as you please to her. But
you must not live there longer, or you will kill yourself.
Now is it a bargain?"
"You are too good, Reu, and I should be only too glad,
"Then that's settled, and we'll have no buts!"
She objected no longer, but listened silently while he
arranged how the wedding should take place on his next
return home, which would not unfortunately be for a twelve-
month, but when he tried to press his purse on her acceptance,
"to buy the wedding-dress," she decidedly refused. He
appeared to give up the point, but after she had reached
home, and he was beyond her reach, she discovered it
dropped in the outside pocket of her jacket.
So Barbara's scheme had succeeded thus far, but it had
not brought unmixed satisfaction to any concerned. She
herself, while never for a moment grudging the sacrifice she
had made, was yet sore at heart for the disappointment of
her own hopes, and troubled in conscience for the little bit
of duplicity of which she had been guilty. Calmer reflec-
tion had brought to Reuben a dim suspicion of her motive,
and led him to wonder whether he had really acted aright;
and Rosie, ere yet her engagement was a day old determined
that she must break it, if no change for the better took place
in her mother before her cousin's return. The prospect of
ease and comfort had tempted her for a moment to turn
aside from her thorny path, but now she determined to
remain faithful to her trust, everi if it were unto death."
IN THE HOSPITAL WARD.
"MRns. COUBERY! Mrs. Coubery! Oh come quick! Rosie's
deein'!" Little Norah's voice, shrill with terror, was calling at
Mrs. Coubery's door in the darkness of a chill March morning,
and she beat at the panels with her small hands as if she
would drive them in. Oh come quick! she's deein' she
reiterated as the good woman, thus rudely roused from sleep,
came to the door. Mrs. Coubery hurried upstairs and found
Rosie sitting upinbed,gaspingforbreath and evidently very ill.
My side! my side! she panted, in answer to her friend's
anxious inquiries, and could say no more. Hunger, cold, and
anxiety had done their work in sapping her vital powers; the
bleak night winds as she lingered about the doors of public-
houses, waiting to lead home her drunken mother, had chilled
her with their frozen breath, and this was the result. Mrs.Cou-
bery hurried back to her own dwelling for mustard poultices,
and despatched her husband in all haste for the doctor.
How it all happened Rosie never quite remembered, but
she had a dim idea that somebody wrapped her closely up
in blankets, and carried her downstairs to a conveyance
which waited at the door, and that some time afterwards
(whether long or short she knew not) she found herself lying
on a white bed in a large room, with tall windows through
which the sun was shining. There were other white beds,
with other pale faces on the pillows, all round the room, so
86 IN THE HOSPITAL WARD.
she understood that she was in an hospital. Time was when
she would have shrunk with horror at the thought of being
in such a place, now she was too ill to think of anything
except that she was glad of the quiet and the sunshine.
As the days passed and she became a little stronger, she
learned that she had been dangerously ill of inflammation
of the lungs, and that no one had expected her to recover.
Everybody was very kind to her from the grave doctor down
to the youngest little girl-patient, who came to her bedside
every morning and pledged her health in a glass of quinine.
Mrs. Coubery came sometimes to see her, and Norah; and
though she was too weak to talk much, their visits made
pleasant breaks in the monotony of her life. Her mother
never came, but both Norah and Mrs. Coubery agreed in
saying that she had taken Rosie's illness "awfu' sair to hert."
One day she awoke from a dose to find a couple of great
golden oranges lying on the coverlet close to her hand, and
Lizzie, the little girl before-mentioned, sitting watching her
with a comical expression of countenance.
"You may well look," she said, as Rosie surveyed the
fruit with feeble wonder, you've cheated me oot o' thae."
How ? who put them there ?" asked -Rosie.
"My Sunday-school teacher," replied Lizzie. "She was
here seeing' me, and when she spied you lyin' sleeping' wi' your
Bible open on the bed-' Oh!' she cries,'here's a dear, sweet
lassie that kens where to get comfort in her affliction.' And wi'
that she taks up the book an'turnsower the leaves, an'gaesinto
a rapture because it's been sae weel read, an' so she slips the
oranges doon aside you, an' presents me wi' a track an' a penny
IN THE HOSPITAL WARD. 87
sponge-cake. I'll wager gin ever I come back here again, I'll
hae an auld tashed Bible to lie on my bed tae, for I see it pays."
All this was said with the utmost good-humour, and it
was with the greatest difficulty that Rosie could persuade
her to accept a share of the fruit. When further interrogated
as to her teacher, she explained that she was called "Marget,"
and was Biblewoman in the Nethergate, but she knew no
more. In a very few days, however, Marget called again.
She was a little, bright-eyed, apple-cheeked, elderly body,
with a something in her voice and manner which seemed to
Rosie strangely familiar seeing she had never set eyes on her
before that day. She watched her wistfully as she sat by
the fire talking to Lizzie, and hoped that she would not go
away without speaking to her also, she looked so motherly
and full of comfort. Nor was she disappointed. In a little
while the bright little woman approached her bed, and
drawing a bouquet of spring flowers from her reticule, laid
them down on the pillow, saying, Do you care for flowers,
my dear? And how do you feel yourself to-day ?"
"Better, thank you," replied Rosie, with tears of keen
pleasure running down her cheeks at sight of the sweet,
fresh blossoms. Such a flood of memories rushed over her,
as she smoothed and caressed their fragrant velvety petals,
that she was quite ashamed of her agitation. "They are so
sweet," she said apologetically, "and they remind me so vividly
of old days. There are just such auriculas as my dear aunt
took so much pride in, and those white violets-they had
beds upon beds of them in the garden at Beltrees."-" At
Beltrees, did you say?" exclaimed Marget; "these in your
88 IN THE HOSPITAL WARD.
hand came from Beltrees! My old mistress, Miss Kennedy,
sent them to me. Is it possible that you belong thereabout?"
-"Miss Kennedy-your old mistress!" echoed Rosie. "Oh!
you must be Cynthy's Marget then, that I have heard her
speak about so often. That was why your face seemed so
familiar. I knew her and your brother-long ago."
She was very weak, and the recollection of old times quite
overpowered her. Marget drew her into her kind motherly
arms and let her weep there, soothing and caressing her as
if she had been an infant. It was strange how the girl
clung to this new friend as if she had known her all her life.
"Don't go away," she sobbed, you are such a comfort."
Marget was delighted. In her kind-heartedness she was
perpetually making prote4gs of persons who eventually
proved themselves undeserving or ungrateful, but this was
one whom she felt was neither, and she rejoiced over her as
one who finds a treasure. By-and-bye, when Rosie grew
clamer, she told this new friend something of her history,
and was delighted to find that she had known Aunt Gale
and many others of Rosie's acquaintances at Beltrees.
Before they parted Marget had promised to call upon Mrs.
Kelly, and to visit Rosie as often as she could gain admit-
tance to the hospital, both of which promises she faithfully
kept. It was some weeks before Rosie wds pronounced
convalescent, and she remained so weak that she looked for-
ward with dread to the time when she should have to go
out. But here again her new friend came to her aid with
an earnest invitation that she should live with her till her
strength should be re-established.
CYNTHY'S GOOD WORK.
CYNTHY had got a letter. The neighbour's child who
brought her messages from the village had come up with it
in the evening as Jacintha sat at the cottage door, her
fingers busy with her knitting, and her eyes intent on the
gardening operations which Jerome was carrying on close at
.hand. But the letter, when it came, engrossed all her atten-
tion. She read it twice through, folded it up carefully, and
put it in her pocket.
"Jerome, my man," said she, you'll hae tae tak care o'
yourself' for a day or twa, I'm gaun to Northport the morn."
Vera weel, Cynthy," replied Jerome meekly, and went
on with his task of sowing onion seed.
I think I'll tak the coach at Beltrees the morn's morning ,
an' hire a close cairriage to come hame."
Jerome gasped, and the packet of seeds dropped and
spilt all over the path as he lifted up his astonished hands.
Preserve us a'! he ejaculated, a close cairriage! The
I'm gaun tae bring hame an invalid wi' me," explained
Cynthy. "Marget's nae tae keep a' the guid tae herself I
maun hae a finger in this pie," and she handed her brother
the letter she had just received, in which Marget had
90 CYNTHY'S GOOD WORK.
given a long account of Rosie's illness, and of the circum-
stances which had led to it.
Jerome's spectacles were so misty that he could hardly
see to finish the epistle.
"Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye
did it unto me," said Cynthy as he folded it; "we ken wha
says that, Jerome ?"
Surely! surely!" exclaimed the old man eagerly, "its jist
as gin the Lord was coming' to bide a while at oor bit hoosie.
An' we'll sune set the dear lassie on her feet again, Cynthy;
nae fear o' that, wi' the fine fresh hill air, an' the goat's milk,
an' plenty o' new laid eggs, an' the lang simmer days coming'
-hoot! we'll sune mak' her a' richt. I'll jist awa an' pit
fresh stuffing' in the big easy chair. It'll be mair comfort-
able for her."
Marget and Rosie were exceedingly surprised when on the
following day Jacintha presented herself as they sat at tea,
and announced that she had come to carry Rosie off. Rosie
demurred; she shrank from being burdensome to anyone,
but her objections were soon overruled, and the following
morning they drove off together, Cynthy triumphant, Rosie
silently happy and grateful.
At Pourin' Burn-edge, Jerome was looking out for them,
and a feast which had taken him all day to prepare was
ready on the table, after partaking of which Rosie was glad
to get to bed, where she slept like a happy child tired out
Miss Lydia in her pony carriage drove over early on the
CYNTHY'S CGOD WORK. 91
following day to offer wine, chickens, beef-tea, or anything
else which an invalid might desire, and the Great House
could supply. Barbara would call twice a week, she said,
to see what was required; and when Rosie faltered her thanks
for so much kindness, she was answered by Miss Lydia's
prompt, "We could not do otherwise, it is no more than our
It was not long ere Rosie's health began visibly to im-
prove. The colour came back to her cheek, and the light to
her eye, and she could take short walks along the hillside,
besides performing little household duties for Jacintha. Her
friends exulted over every little token of improvement, and
prophesied her speedy recovery. Rosie herself smiled but
IN THE HOLLOW OF THE HILL.
"AN' wha think ye had we preachin' the day ?" asked Cyn-
thy one Sunday as she folded away her shawl on her return
from church. Rosie professed herself unable to guess.
"Jist David Logie, nae less; an' a rich guid sermon he
gied us."-" 0 Cynthy if I had but known! I should have
liked so much to hear him."
"Weel, he's coming' up here the nicht to see you, him and
Barbara, so you can gar him preach it ower again for your
benefit. Only he micht be shy to preach afore you, mindiu'
what a judge you professed to be langsyne. Onywye, I
can tell you he's to be nae 'cheepin' minister yon."
"I'm very glad. What was his text, Cynthy ?"
"Job, sixteenth chapter, and twenty-second verse: 'When
a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall
not return.' A very solemn text, an' an impressive discourse
he delivered on it," and thereupon Jacintha recounted a con-
siderable part of what had evidently been a very orthodox
and well-composed, though rather lugubrious sermon.
"I don't like it," pronounced Rosie, when Jacintha paused,
evidently expecting some expression of approbation; "I like
rather to think of death as a friend than as a bugbear."
She said the same thing to David himself, later in the day.
They had all wandered out together, down into the hollow
IN THE HOLLOW OF THE HILL. 93
of the burn, and while Barbara and Cynthy strolled on in
advance, David and Rosie lingered behind watching the
flashing water as it leaped over the mossy boulders.
Why did you not send me notice that you were going to
preach to-day?" asked Rosie,"I should have liked tohear you."
"I did not think you would have been able to walk so
far," replied David; "but I daresay you have got all my
sermon at second-hand from Jacintha."
"I got a good deal of it, at any rate."
"And I hope you were pleased with it? I remember you
were a severe critic in days of old."
"No, I did not like it," answered Rosie truthfully.
David looked a little surprised. He had read that same ser-
mon before his professor and fellow-students as a class exer-
cise, and their criticisms had been wholly favourable ; and in
the belief that it was really an excellent production, he had
selected it for delivery in the pulpit of his native village.
"Impertinent of me to say that, isn't it?" asked Rosie;
"but don't you think that people generally live long enough?
I daresay when Job said those words of your text, he was
thinking it unspeakably comforting to know that in a few
years at most he should go away and leave all his troubles
behind him."-" Well, I never looked at the thing in that
light," answered David.
"You don't seem to like the thought of death, if I may
judge from your reflections upon it," pursued Rosie.-" No,
indeed! when I was a little boy I used to lie awake at nights
and pray that God would take me to heaven without dying.
And I think youmust admit that such feeling isonlynatural."
94 IN THE HOLLOW OF THE HILL.
"I think I have heard from Barbara that when you were
a little boy you had also an unconquerable aversion to being
put to bed ; do you consider that also a natural feeling ?"
"I don't know; perhaps it is, since if we had not been
fallen creatures we should have had no need of sleep. I
daresay we shall not require sleep in heaven."
"But now, when you are tired out with the work of the
day, nature cries out for sleep as the one thing desirable and
needful. I think it is so with death; when we really come
to die we shall find it just as needful as sleep-that is, of
course, if we are prepared to meet it."
Here they were joined by Cynthy and Barbara, who asked
what they were discussing so earnestly.-" She has been
tearing my sermon to pieces," replied David with a smile
"arguing its right of existence completely out 4f being."
"Isna she ill to please?" asked Cynthy laughing; "you
should gar her preach you a model sermon."
And give him an opportunity of criticising me in return?"
said Rosie. "I am much too knowing for that, I assure
you," and linking her arm in that of her friend Barbara, she
began to climb the slope of the ravine.
"What a lovely evening!" was the exclamation which
burst simultaneously from their lips on reaching the top.
The sun was going down on the western horizon behind a
great bank of purple and golden clouds, and all the hill-tops
were bathed in his rosy light; while in the glen beneath
the evening shadows lay grey and cool. It was indeed a
glorious spectacle, and sitting down on the heather they
watched it together.
IN THE HOLLOW OF THE HILL. 95
"Oh, sing!" pleaded Rosie, clasping her hands together,
"it only wants music to make such a scene as this perfect."
"What shall we sing, dear ?" asked Barbara.
"Sing 'Come to the Sunset Tree;' we all know that, and
it fits the occasion."
Cynthy, who had not a note of music in her whole com-
position, moved away to call home her goats, and the fresh,
young voices rose upon the evening air, the girls taking the
air, and David putting in an excellent bass.
"Sing the last verse again," said Rosie as they finished;
"it is so sweet," and she herself began-
There shall no tempest blow,
No scorching noontide heat,
There shall be no more snow,
Nor weary, wandering feet.
So we lift our trusting eyes
From the hills our fathers trod,
To the quiet of the skies,
The Sabbath of our God."
The tender beauty of the words and the music, the solemn
grandeur of the surrounding scene, seemed to touch the
deepest springs of feeling in these young hearts. Rosie
remained sitting quite still when the singing had ceased,
her hands clasped upon her knee, and her face uplifted to
the shifting glories of the sunset.
"After this, Heaven!" she murmured.
The eyes of the brother and sister met in one of those
quick glances which express whole volumes of meaning, then
Barbara turned away and buried her face in the heather to
hide the tears which she could not repress.
96 IN THE HOLLOW OF THE HILL.
"Barbara!" No answer.
"Barbara why do you cry ? "
"I'm not-I mean I can't help it. I don't like you to
talk of heaven. We can't let you go, Rosie," and she turned
and hid her face in the skirt of Rosie's gown.
"You must not think that you are not going to get well
again," pursued Barbara, struggling with her sobs; "you are
to live many happy days yet-days that will make up to
you for all you have suffered."
"Yes, I shall," replied Rosie gravely, "many happy days
-but not here."
"Don't say that!" cried Barbara with another burst of
tears, while David moved away a few paces to conceal the
emotion which stirred him so strongly.
"Dear Bab! dear, kind, good Bab!" said Rosie smoothing
her friend's hair with gentle caressing touches. "If I were
but sure that I had finished the work given me to do, what
brighter or happier lot could you wish me ?"
"I don't know," cried Barbara helplessly-"you would
marry Reu and come back to Park Cottage, and you would
be so happy."
A sudden flash of enlightenment came to Rosie. She had
never mentioned to any one her engagement with her
cousin, feeling so sure that she should have to cancel it.
How, then, did Barbara come to know of it ? She lifted up
the face that lay on her knee and gazed at it earnestly.
Barbara, did you send Reu to me ? "
"How could I send him?" asked Barbara, blushing
furiously under Rosie's searching glance.