...... ...... . .
SThe Baldwin Library
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A HAPPY MEETING.
I~ights and jihadows.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY:
56, PATERNOSTER Row ; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD:
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
I.-A HAPPY MEETING 5
II.-TRIALS OF SERVICE II
III.-LIFE OR DEATH? .19
IV.-A SUNDAY AT HOME 2
v.-THE NEW GOVERNESS .32
VI.-THE EXPLOSION. 4.. ,
VII.-HOME TROUBLES 51
vIII.-A PLEASANT ENDING 58
; one of the shady lanes which
abound in this country of
Fields and hedgerows, there
.- were standing, at the time
I-'-, of my story, a few very
old cottages, but in the
S bright sunshine of a July
day they looked neat and
picturesque. At the door
of the first sat a very
worn-looking boy about ten
years old. His expression was sad and weary,
and the tones of his mother's voice, spealdng to
him from the inside of the cottage, gave little
idea of home comfort. His story was a sad one.
He had been delicate and crippled from his
birth; and now his greatest enjoyment was
being lifted to where he could see the little
garden's flowers, and watch for some new in-
terest in the play of the laughing children as
they went and came. A few would sometimes
6 Cottage Life.
stop and talk to him, which helped to while
away the long day; and one girl had taught
him to read a little; but she with her parents
had left the neighbourhood, and he was only
able to spell out little words with difficulty.
His mother was an anxious, oppressed woman,
to whom life merely consisted of a series of
One day dinner was just over, and Robin's
father, after taking him back to his seat in the
garden, had started to finish his work, when a
cart stopped at the gate, and a girl jumped
down. Her box was lifted out, and she ran up
the garden path. Robin was startled by her
eager kiss, and, hardly waiting to be recognized
by him, she went into the cottage.
"Why, Sally, where did thee come from ?"
"Oh, mother, but I'm glad to see you all
again; and Betty and Caleb, why, they're grown
quite big! "
"And like enough too, and thee away well
on to four years; and thee never wrote a word
to say thee were coming, girl. Why, thee
brings sunshine in with thee."
Poor Sally! She soon saw that a larger
share of poverty and care were at her home
than she had thought to find; but she said
nothing, and before long she was helping her
mother, and everything was bright and tidy:
lame Robin brought to his chair by the window,
and the little ones by her knee, as she seated
herself beside him. Her mother watched her
A Happy Meeting. 7
wonderingly. There was something different
about her girl, and four years had changed the
child into the young woman.
The clergyman's wife at Melton had noticed
Sally at the village school, whither she went
each day a distance of two miles, and while
still young had recommended her as an under
servant to a lady who lived in London.
The Prestons had consented to part with
their eldest child, for wages were small, and it
seemed, as they thought, "a right good chance
for the girl."
Sally went with fear and trembling, though
with great excitement, to her home in one of the
squares of a crowded part of the busy city.
At first London was a great change, and the
noise and bustle confused her; all was so fresh
and strange to a simple-minded country child.
But she found her mistress was strict and very
kind; and as her principal duties were to help
in the care of five little children, she very soon
threw her interest and heart into the work.
Four years had passed without a visit home;
but at length the money had been saved, and
Sally had determined to take them all by
Tea-for Sally had brought a pound from
London-and the home-baked bread were all
ready when Preston came home. He was a
quiet, honest man of few words; but the unusual
brightness of his home made him look round,
and a shout from Robin and his little brother
3 Cottage Life.
and sister told him what visitor they had.
Sally had plenty to tell of her town life; and
before the fortnight was over she had learnt
many lessons herself, and taught one at least to
her mother,-perhaps the most difficult to learn
when life is toiling and weary-that of putting
more love and hope into the daily task. For
her child, as a servant in a clergyman's house,
had seen and learnt something of the misery
and poverty around her; and Mrs. Preston, who
had been but little beyond her native village,
had listened to her Sally's stories with self-
Robin, too, had brightened, and his sister
spared no pains to help him to improve in read-
ing; so that before she left the habit of slowly
reading aloud a few verses from God's Word
each evening, and prayer, had been established.
And now we must follow Sarah back to her
work. It was very sad to leave them all, but
she returned full of resolutions for the future.
Changes had taken place in Mrs. Graham's
household. The housemaid, who had been
some time with them, had been obliged to leave
to nurse an aged father suddenly taken ill; and
Sarah had only been a few hours in the house
when Mrs. Graham called her, and offered her
the housemaid's place. She added, "You have
served me carefully and well; and if you con-
tinue to strive to do your duty for the sake of
your Master in heaven, remembering His eye
of love watches the little as well as the great
A Happy Meeting. 9
actions of your life, you will find His help with
you at every turn. Nothing can be unimportant
in His sight."
Sarah went back to the nursery to talk it
all over with the nurse, who had always been a
kind friend and adviser; and the next morning
she began her new duties.
For some weeks Mrs. Graham was unable to
find a suitable nursery maid, and Sarah often
found time to help nurse in many ways with
the children, who all loved her; and she felt
quite sorry when her services were no longer
required, and she consequently saw less of the
She was naturally affectionate and grateful
for kindness. In her early life the time that
had been spared from school had been given to
her mother, who, always far from strong, had
exacted her help. Indeed, she often had a hard
struggle to spare Sarah from the housework at
all; and the child learnt to be grateful to her
mother for doing without her, especially as she
grew older and understood better the tired, care-
worn look of her parents and Robin's loneliness.
So hours which might have been spent in play
were often hailed only as longer time for the
work of amusing Robin, or finishing mother's
ironing; and Sarah had grown up thinking more
of others than herself.
In all that was right she was encouraged by
the lessons on Sunday from her teacher, the
niece of the clergyman of the parish, whose
10 Cottagqe Life.
earnest, loving words were never forgotten by
her young class. She was long ill, but taught
the children till within two months of her.
death; and a few days before she passed from
time to eternity she said good-bye to each one,
pleading with them that they would let God's
law of love rule their lives, and give them-
selves to Him.
This early training had been of use to Sarah;
and she was fortunate in going to a situation,
when only fourteen, where she was cared for,
and where the influence of those placed over
her helped, and did not hinder, her in the right
While in the nursery Sarah had always been
under another servant, and the responsibility of
her work was new to her. She often felt very
disheartened, especially as she found the cook
neither understood nor cared about many of her
Lui.il1-- of (Snrbire.
.i' NE morning, unusually dark even
\for November, and very cold
and dreary, Sarah saw with
\ vexation that she had overslept
herself. She hurried to begin
her day's work, and tried to
j-I''- ..rouse her fellow-servant. "Jane,
S-"' : is late; you will not have time
s. llto do all your work before the
"Oh!" returned Jane, "you're so precise,
and always trying to keep in favour. I'll do
it, somehow; and these dark mornings the
mistress won't be particular. I'm sure I shan't
worry as you do."
"Well," replied Sarah, "I don't know any-
thing about getting into favour,-my duty is
my duty, and I shall do it."
"I know mine as well as you know yours,"
said Jane; "so don't preach to me."
More angry speeches followed, and poor
Sarah left her room dispirited and vexed, and
without the few words of prayer for help and
guidance through the day she always tried to
12 Cottage Life.
offer: a habit kept up at first because of a pro-
mise made to the lady who had taught her in
the Sunday school at Melton, and later, be-
cause Sarah had been-learning much of her
own weakness, and was seeking the only
strength which is sufficient for the smallest
as well as the greatest need.
Mrs. Graham noticed a cloud upon her face,
which was not usual; but she wisely forebore
to speak, hoping that Sarah would come to her
of her own accord, if she were in any real
Mrs. Graham was one of those who long to
be friend as well as mistress to her servants,
and keenly felt the responsibility of having been
placed by God in the position which gave her
others to guide. Often she wished that God
had given her the simple duty of obedience,
instead of rule, in this world; but she took
refuge in the thought, God knows best, and
He has promised strength for all He gives me to
do, if I could forget my own feelings, and think
of myself only as a tool in His hands, and strive
to live nearer to Him,-not looking forward,
but meeting life step by step, as He intends we
should." She had great help in her nurse, who
loved each child as her own, and could leave
her little ones with her in perfect confidence
when she went to share the sorrows of the many
sad hearts in her husband's parish.
Jane," said Mrs. Graham, one morning,
"a poor woman will come here at half-past one
Trials of Service. 33
o'clock for her dinner. She was once a servant,
and has married to great poverty. I am anxious
she should have comfortable and strengthening
food after a severe illness."
I Jane hardly answered. She dared not oppose
the gentle firmness of her mistress, but as soon
as she left the kitchen, called out to Sarah, who,
was passing the door, "I'm not going to stand
this sort of thing. It's a heavy enough family
to cook for, and I'm not going to put myself
out of the way for all the poor people Mr. and
Mrs. Graham choose to send to the house."
"Jane," said Sarah, "I've often heard you
say your mother was poor,-I know mine is;
and I know I'd be glad to think any one was
as good to her."
"Oh, now you've begun one of your sermons.
It ain't my mother that's coming,-I sent some
broken meat to her the other day, and you
pulled a face a yard long and said it wasn't
mine. One poor woman's as good as another,
I should think."
Mrs. Graham has a right to do what she
likes with the meat and bread she pays for,
Jane. She wouldn't send one of your cotton
dresses to any poor person she thought needed
one, I suppose. But really you had better tell
Mrs. Graham what you feel about it, and not
grumble to me."
Jane and Sarah were not intimate, and their
principles of service were so different that they
seemed hardly to have anything in common.
14 Cottage Life.
Jane grumbled on, and Sarah finished her
work; and when she had carried up the dinner
to the dining-room, came down to her own
determined to do her best to welcome the poor
woman who was to be their guest. Jane's
surliness was lost in the kindness and good
temper of the other servants.
This went on for some weeks, and Mrs. Smith
gained strength wonderfully. She said one day,
"If this is sent home to my house, the little
ones is hungry, and must get some of it, and
it's better for me and baby to have it all."
Things did not improve between Jane and
Sarah; and the poor girl was often puzzled to
know her duty. She had to shut her eyes to
much that was not strictly right on the cook's
part; but it was not for a month or two that
something happened which she felt she could
not see without becoming involved in wronging
her -master and mistress. Her remonstrances
with Jane were unheeded, or answered with a
sneer, and Sarah became very unhappy. She
found an opportunity of speaking to nurse, and
asking her advice one day, when the nursemaid
and elder children were out.
What can I do, nurse ? If I tell of Jane,
I shall lead such a life; and yet it can hardly
be worse than now, when she knows I don't.
think it right; but though she's afraid of me,
she says she's sure I'll not have heart to speak,
and that I would not be believed."
"Surely," said nurse, "that's a wrong way
Tria's of Service. 15
of looking at it, my child: you must trust that
part of it. The thing is, is it right or wrong
that you should know Jane sells meat and
bread, and all sorts of scraps, and in that way
robs her master, and say nothing p Isn't that
being as bad as Jane? And then you feel
afraid to tell, and that stops your mouth. It
seems as if that were helping Jane to do what's'
wrong, doesn't it ? You have spoken to her,
"Yes, nurse; I told her it was as bad as
"Well, Sarah, I believe God means us to do
straight on what's our duty from hour to hour,
and leave Him to take care of us and the con-
sequences. It's hard for you, I know."
At this moment the children rushed into the
nursery, followed by the nursemaid.
"Oh, Sarah, here you are! I wish you'd
come out as you used long ago,-why don't
you? I like you a great deal better than
Harriet!" said a boy about seven years old.
Hush, Master Harry," said Sarah; "please
don't say that."
"But it's the truth, and that's why I say
it," said the boy.
"Well, and you're welcome to say it, I'm
sure, for all I care!" said a tired and rather
Harry ran off, and Harriet went on, "I do
wish Master Harry would like me a little better,
if liking means obeying."
16 Cottage Life.
"Ah, well," said nurse, "there's no right
obeying without liking, to my mind; but then,
Harriet, you must like him first, and be kind
and gentle to him, and talk to him,-a child's
easy gained. I know he's a trying boy,-he's
so full of spirits, and outs with everything he
"He says such queer, hurting things, nurse."
"Well, never mind them; just you try and
find the good in him. Now you take Miss
Mary, and amuse her a bit,-she's droopy to-
day-and I'll see to baby."
Sarah got up wearily, and as she went down
stairs saw her mistress go into her room. She
knew if she considered and waited she should
lose courage, so she knocked at the door, and
asked if she might speak to her for a few
Mrs. Graham noticed her troubled look, and
encouraged her by saying, "Is anything wrong,
Sarah ? Do let me help you."
It's not myself, ma'am, please; but I fear
I've being cowardly in not telling you before
that things were not quite right in the kitchen.
I was afraid of what Jane might say, and
seeming to tell tales of a fellow-servant, and
I've been wrong."
"But what is not right ? I'm sure it's your
duty to tell me; and then, Sarah, we must
try, if possible, not to make you unhappy with
"Twice a week, ma'am,-to-night and Mon-
Trials of Service. 17
day-there's always some one comes who gets
meat and things, and gives Jane money."
"Is there anything else ? I am very grieved
to hear about it."
"Beer's given away a good deal more than
you order, ma'am; that's all that I know of."
"When did it all begin, Sarah?"
"Gradually, I think, ma'am. But he will
be here about eight o'clock to-night."
"Well, Sarah, you may go; and you may
trust me that, unless necessary, your name shall
not be mentioned."
Sarah left, feeling that a weight was off her
mind, though anxious to know how Mrs. Graham
meant to proceed.
The evening came, and with it the man who
helped Jane in her dishonesty. He was watched,
and stopped as he left the house by Mr. Graham,
and all discovered; and poor Jane found herself
in no way better for her theft.
The next day Mrs. Graham spoke earnestly to
her, and the foolish girl confessed how she had
been led on from one thing to another.
"I never thought of it till I sold some
dripping and bones to the man. He used to
call so often, and tell me all he would pay me.
Things of no use are often sold to those people."
"Quite true, Jane; but you know I told you
when you came, that what was not used in the
house, as dripping and such things, I was always
glad of for poor people; besides, how came you
to be tempted into selling meat?"
18 Cottage Life.
"It was just from one thing to another I got
led on, and braved it. I've ruined myself; but
there's plenty does it."
"You may thank God, Jane, that you have
not been suffered to go on in temptation and
sin. God has, I trust, better things in store for
you, and has given you a chance to start afresh.
Take your sin to Him, and let the remembrance
of it keep you very humble while you try to do
better. No sin can be too great for Him to
pardon, if we would only believe it, and accept
His love and mercy."
Poor Jane left at once; but Mr. and Mrs.
Graham succeeded in finding a situation for her
eventually at a small house, where she was the
only servant to a kind, good woman whose
position did not allow of so much temptation.
Her place was soon filled by an old servant who
had served long in Mr. Graham's family.
Sarah was greatly delighted with the change;
and the companionship of one who looked upon
service as a position of honour and trust, and
who made her master's interest her own, was
very good for the girl.
I suppose cooks do sell things often ?" Sarah
said one day.
Yes, my dear," said Kerson, often they do,
and most respectable women too. It's a known
and allowed thing when perquisites are given.
But I always thought it dangerous; and one
place of mine where it was done, I always kept
the money I got for giving away. I thought
I never could be tempted to steal for God."
rife or O ieath?
FEW weeks after these events
Nurse called Mrs. Graham one
S evening to look at her eldest
little girl, a child four years
Sold. She was feverish, and rest-
less in her sleep, and nurse feared
from the violent cough that perhaps
i .' something more serious than a
common cold was coming.
"We will wait and see, nurse," poor Mrs.
Graham said; "to-morrow will tell us;" and
then with her servant she knelt and asked that
God would give them all submission to His will.
The mother knew her child's delicacy, and a
dread would come that her love and faith were
to be tried by the command to give back this
treasure. She tried to keep "quiet from fear
of evil," and the words preached by her husband
the Sunday before came into her mind: "If
we desire to be God's children we must leave
ourselves in His hands : His will is our sanctifi-
cation; but the discipline He may see fit will be
full of love. Whatever it may be, however bitter
to our human nature, it cannot exceed the
20 Cottage Life.
infinite love and strength which is ours in
Christ: the strength which comes from the
Father, who calls Himself the God of all com-
fort.' And yet the greater our knowledge of
God's love, the more sensitive and tender our
hearts become; so that while we bow in loving
submission, the pain is even more acute than
if we had never felt the sunshine of God's
The next day brought the sad knowledge that
the little one was dangerously ill with inflam-
mation of the lungs. The other children were
removed to a different room, and little Mary
and her nurse kept as quiet as possible. Harriet
did her best; and Sarah and she became warm
friends, as the one tried to help the other, who
had learnt less the habit of self-control in her
duties in the nursery. Sarah generally went to
them at tea-time, and in a moment the elder
children were at her side asking for the promised
story or hymn.
One afternoon Mrs. Graham came in looking
very weary. Harry and Percy were helping to
set tea, and Sarah brought her mistress a chair
by the fireside, and in a few minutes a cup of
tea. Percy crept to his mother's side, and stood
quietly beside her, while the others took their
places. Then his mother kissed him, and said
their grace, thanking God for all His mercies.
"Dear little Mary is, we hope, a little better,
children. She is sleeping now, and I'm sure
you will all try and be very quiet,"
Life or Death? 21
"I know I may promise that," said Sarah;
" but you will lie down, won't you, ma'am ? Let
me light your bedroom fire."
"No, thank you, Sarah; I am expecting
Mr. Graham to come home early."
After a short chat with her children Mrs..
Graham went downstairs. Her husband came
in a few minutes afterwards. He asked for his
sick child, and said, "There's a great deal of
sorrow and illness everywhere, and this anxiety
of our own is teaching us to sympathize as we
never could have learnt to do without experience."
"I know it will-if only I could be willing
"We err in looking beyond the hour, dear
wife !-you remember the verse:
"'God hath promised, God hath given
Strength when by Him the heart is riven;
But foredate the day of woe,
And alone you bear the blow.'
If we would feel willing, we must do so by
keeping close to our Master, and taking, moment
by moment, what He sends us. Trust Him as
your child trusts you."
"I feel rebellious and ungrateful, for I have
so many mercies. Think of nurse's devotion to
our darling! And I really think Sarah is be-
coming a more decided child of God: I see it
in her thought for others, and the way in which
duty is always uppermost. She is so anxious to
help Harriet, who has very little experience and
22 Cottage Life.
a depressed manner, which does not gain chil-
dren's love. I am sure I am right in counting
a good servant among God's greatest blessings
to us, especially in times of trouble."
"I always think," said Mr. Graham, "that
in trouble, more than at any other time, all
classes and ranks must meet on common ground,
as men and women fighting the same battle,
trusting the same Saviour, and looking forward
to the same home. It is because this is for-
gotten that there is so little sympathy between
rich and poor, servants and masters."
"But surely there is a difference in our
feelings, Robert Education and refinement
make us differ. For instance, I could not, I
think, go through what the poor make nothing
"Poverty and hardships and necessity ac-
custom them to what seems terrible to you,
because circumstances have taught you to ex-
pect more in life, and your station requires
a different standard in most things. But I
have found as fine and sensitive a tone of mind
among the poor, especially the Christian poor,
as among those above them. How difficult we
find it to cast the burden of our child's illness
on our heavenly Father! How far more
difficult if we had hardly enough bread to feed
our children, and no comforts for our sick one
beyond what charity doled out to us! The
poor are told to be thankful for the hospitals
the rich provide for them, and the asylums and
Life or Death? 23
orphanages, and no doubt they ought to feel
grateful for them; but think what it would be
to us to send our child to one now, to be nursed
by strangers! Surely their feelings must be
more unselfish than ours; at any rate, they
have often a heavier burden to bear."
Yes, Robert, faith is God's gift; and things
which look terrible to us in the future soften
greatly when we are called upon to bear them,
if we can take our Father's hand, and feel that
He is guiding us, and will not lay upon us more
than we are able to bear. Depend upon it, each
individual, be the rank what it may, only gets
that training best suited to the soul precious in
"Ah, dear Mary, that is the only way of
reading God's dealings with His people; and
for ourselves simple trust is our only safety in
'My heart shrinks back from trials the future may disclose;
Yet I never had a sorrow but what the dear Lord chose,
So I send the coming tear back with the whispered word,
And, Mary, if your Saviour were to come in
human form at this moment, and ask you to
trust Him with our little girl, to keep safely for
us through time,-safe from sin and sin's punish-
ment, and discipline, till we found her when
our work is done; and if at the same moment
He gave you one glimpse of the world of joy
and light to which He would bear her, would
you refuse her to Him ?"
24 Cottage Life.
Oh no, Robert, I know I should not; but
that would be sight, not faith."
Well, dear, let us ask God to increase our
faith: we know He both can and will."
They rose from their knees strengthened, and
Mrs. Graham went to the nursery. Little
Mary was lying very peacefully, but her breath-
ing was quick and difficult. Nurse got up and
watched her with Mrs. Graham.
Days passed, and still Mary hung between
life and death. Her parents laid her in her
Saviour's arms, and waited anxiously and
patiently to know His will, able in His
strength to be willing to let her go or keep
her, as He in His loving wisdom should see fit.
"Remember," Mr. Graham said one day,
"our Father has not only infinite love and
wisdom, but power to act with both. Those
three words comprehend all that we can need:
wisdom to know what is best, love to act
tenderly, and power to carry out all His wise
and loving thoughts towards us."
And God was better to them than all their
fears, and at length there were hopeful symp-
toms. The cloud of sorrow was lifted, and the
little one began to do well. It was a joyful
day when, one by one, the brothers and sisters
were allowed a peep of the sick child. Their
visits were longer as she gained strength; and
time flew fast, now that hope was strong that
God had given back the dear little one to their
,1 Su1ibap at jcrme.
CQ ,= .l in autumn the living at
-,- Melton became vacant. Mr.
Graham was appointed, and
i took possession of the Rectory
S'at the beginning of spring.
.'. Sarah's joy, when her mistress told
her the news, was unbounded; and
S she found time to write one line
S to her mother the same day to tell her
soon she would be with her.
As soon as possible after their arrival, Sarah
went over to see her parents. She obtained
leave to spend a Sunday afternoon with them;
and one lovely day, when every leaf and flower
seemed bursting into life after winter's sleep,
she set out for Pilgrim Lane. The change from
London to the country was very great, and
that the change should have been to her own
home was so delightful that Sarah's heart was
quite in tune with the beauty all round her. It
was a great pleasure to see them all brighten
up so cheerily when she reached the cottage ;
but she thought her mother looking sadly, and
"Yes, dear girl; time doesn't run any
smoother Your father earns but little, and
26 Cottage Life.
it's a hard matter to give 'em bread. But
I don't believe it will be the same, with thee
to look in upon us sometimes, Sally."
Mother, my wages have been raised, and
I've saved this for you."
"If I'm very sore beset I'll ask for it; but
not a penny will I touch till I'm obliged, Sally.
No, no, child; put it by in the bank."
"Not this, mother dear. I'm strong and
hearty. I'll lay by when you don't need it.
I'll spend it for you, if you won't for yourself."
"Well, if it must be, Sally, I'll take this five
shillings-no more. It will just make up the
"Father," said Sarah, at the evening meal,
"you'll come to church with me, won't you?"
"I never goes, Sally; I'm tired o' nights,
and it's late."
Oh, father, do this once,-I do so want you
to hear Mr. Graham preach, and Caleb will
come. And, Betsy, you'll stay and take care
of Robin and mother."
Betsy said nothing. Sarah was several years
older, and she could not dispute her request;
but she was not fond of giving up her evening
walk to Melton, and felt disappointed and vexed
when Mr. Preston yielded to go this once to
"But, Sally," he said, "I never understand
"You'll understand Mr. Graham, father.
A Sunday at Home. 27
It was a lovely evening when Preston and
his children set out. Curiosity as to the new
Rector and his Sally's master had conquered his
weariness; but he was not a church-goer, and
felt shy and ashamed when overtaken by some
"Why, Preston," said another working-man,
"I'm off too to hear the new clergyman. I
don't know how it is, but they tell me he really
do preach to us poor people."
"Sally," said Henry Markitt, who was with
his father, I haven't seen thee a long time."
"No," answered Sarah; "I've been in
London; but I'm so glad master has come
to be Rector here!"
"Thee still likes the country and old friends
best ? I've gone to work at Melton now, at the
carpenter's, and done with field work. I mean
to keep at it too."
"Well, Henry, I'm sure I wish you may
get on. It does seem a long time since you and
I used to go to school together."
"Why, yes,-long enough to forget 'most all
I learnt there; but I'm trying to keep up my
"Mr. Graham talks of starting a night
school once or twice a week,-you'd go to that,
wouldn't you ?"
Well, I dare say. He really do seem the
right sort of man, and as if he wanted to better
us all;" and he added, Why, think of his
meeting Harry Groves the other night, and
28 Cottage Life.
talking to him ever so long, begging him not to
turn into 'The Keys,'-quite taking him by the
hand, and not one bit ashamed of his company
either! A man has some chance if a parson,
instead of looking down on him for being in the
way of getting drunk, gives him a helping
hand out of it."
"Well, Henry, I hope you and father will
like him to-night. He's been a good master
The church at Melton was very old; but
Mr. Graham had at once begun an evening
service, to be continued during the summer
months, and many had come to hear him.
He talked rather than preached to his con-
gregation; and poor Preston was interested,
and with Markitt resolved they would go
again next Sunday.
Mr. Graham's text had been, Lord, under-
take for me ;" and he spoke of some of the
Lord's undertakings for us in a way which
came home to the hearts of striving, weary
men,-of their utter weakness and His ever-
Melton was a pretty place, and to the
Grahams their village-home was a refreshing
change from London life. Most of the people
living near them worked in the quarries, which
were not far distant; but Sarah's home was in
a little outlying hamlet, where the cottages were
scattered among cornfields and country lanes.
A Sunday at Home. 29
The former clergyman had not visited them;
and during the winter poverty had told a good
deal among the farm labourers. Sarah's father
was ploughman on a farm which lay near them,
belonging to Squire Bennett, of Ketley Park;
while Caleb worked at Ketley Farm, for a farmer
whose broad corn-lands and well-stocked fields
spoke of prosperity.
One bright day Robin sat in his accustomed
place in the garden. He was always fond of
the open air, and begged to be carried to his
favourite seat often when cold and wind made it
more prudent to be content with sitting at the
little window of the cottage. This morning he
had his little Testament, and was spelling out a
few verses for the reading at night when a
gentleman, whom he at once recognized as Mr.
Graham, from Sarah's description of her master,
walked into the little garden and up to where he
sat. His kind voice would have reassured him,
had he been shy; but Robin already looked
upon the minister as some one he knew.
"You are Robin, I'm sure, my boy,-Sarah's
brother. Are you enjoying the sunshine while
you are reading ? Let me see your Testament."
Robin handed it to Mr. Graham, and he
turned to the beautiful story of the two debtors
in Luke vii. 41, and read it slowly aloud. Then
he said, "Are you in debt, Robin, to God ?"
I've done wrong many times, sir."
"Yes, ever since you were born it has been
more sin than you can know or count up. Now,
30 Cottage Life.
Robin, have you ever thought how you are to
pay your debt?"
"God's merciful, sir. He'll be good to me,
if I ask Him."
"Then do you think God won't ask you to
pay what you owe ? How would it be, Robin,
for your father if he went on buying bread,
hoping he would not be asked for the money ?"
Robin looked confused, and Mr. Graham said,
"God is merciful-you are quite right; and so
He has paid our debt for us, Robin. Look at
this verse, The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth
us from all sin.' Now do you understand,
Robin: Jesus paid your debt by His death on
the cross for you; and His love to you is so
great that He wants you to believe now that He
loved you, and gave Himself for you; that God
laid your sins on Him, His own dear Son, and
that He bore them for you, suffered your
punishment, that you might be saved ? Jesus
is in heaven now, Robin; but if He came and
said all this to you Himself, should you believe
"Yes, I think I should feel different, sir; I
should then know He really meant me."
"He doesn't come so that we can see Him
now, Robin; but if your father went away to a
foreign country, and sent you a letter, and told
you in it all he was doing, you would not doubt
its truth because you didn't see your father
when you read it?"
"No, sir, I am sure I shouldn't."
A ?',. ..I cat Home. 31
"Well, Robin, this Testament is the letter
Jesus has sent us; and in it He tells you and
me all I have been trying to explain to you.
And, Robin, what is said about the debtors after
they were told that, as they could not pay, their
debt was forgiven? Did they go away and
forget all about the Creditor who had been so
kind to them ?"
"No, sir; they loved Him."
That's it, Robin; and if they loved Him,
they would never willingly vex Him, and they
would do anything they could to show how
much they loved Him; and so it is with your
suffering and weakness. You can bear it better
if you think it is what the Lord Jesus has given
you to do for Him. He tells some of us to work
for Him, and others to sit still and bear patiently
for Him. Doesn't that thought help you?"
"Yes, sir, and thank you for it, and coming
to see us."
After a short, kind visit to Mrs. Preston, Mlr.
Graham took his leave, and went to the other
cottages, seeking to know his congregation ia
their homes and individually, that in the day of
trouble he might not be a stranger to them.
And it was well, for sorrow was very near
to many in the village; and it came, as sorrow
often does, suddenly, taking the brightness from
many homes, and adding to bereavement the
crushing sense of poverty and dependence.
^he .ehi QSobrruewss.
R. and Mrs. Bennett were kindly
people, living in the midst of
plenty, and enjoying fully all
life's good gifts, and ready to
share some of them with their
poorer neighbours when asked by
their clergyman to do so, or at
stated times; and "Christmas benefits"
had always been largely given. Their eldest
daughter was a delicate girl of twelve. There
were two younger children, and two sons,
the eldest of whom had just left college,
and now helped his father in the management
of the estate and slate quarries, which were part
of the property. Mrs. Bennett had engaged a
governess for her daughters and youngest son,
but, owing to the death of Miss Walter's father,
her coming to Ketley Park had been delayed.
She was now expected.
It was one of those days which come some-
times as a summer farewell, when all nature
revives and the birds sing again, when, in spite
of autumn tints and falling leaves, everything
has an aspect of joy and hope.
The Netw Governess. 33
"Ellie," said Mrs. Bennett, "do leave off
watching at the window. Miss Walters cannot
be here for an hour. She shall have some tea
when she arrives, and I have ordered dinner for
her at six o'clock in the schoolroom."
"Then, mamma, I may do the honours,
"If you like; but I think she would probably
rather be alone. She will have had a long
journey;" and Mrs. Bennett added, after a pause,
"No doubt she feels leaving home so soon after
her father's death."
Well, mamma, that's just what I thought;
and I mean to like her, for I feel very sorry for
her. May says she can't bear a new governess;
but then, you know, May hardly ever likes new
She is shy, Ellie dear," said her mother,
"and Miss Burns petted her greatly; and then
she is not over-fond of lessons, you know. You
must try and help her to be more diligent this
winter. Do you know where Kenneth is ?"
"Oh yes; ever since lunch he's been with
May, making a hutch for those rabbits Preston
gave him; and Lawrence has been at the
quarries. Mamma, here is the carriage!" and
Ellie flew upstairs to Miss Walters' bedroom,
and poked the fire and rearranged the books
and chairs for the twentieth time. Then she
ran down to the hall to be ready when the car-
riage stopped; and then, seized with a sudden fit
of shyness, she went quickly to the schoolroom.
34 Cottage Life.
Our old friend Betsy Preston had lately come
to Mrs. Bennett's household as under-housemaid,
and she was just leaving the room as Ellie
entered it. "Oh, Miss Ellie, how you startled
me! What's the matter ?"
"Nothing's the matter, Betsy, only Miss
Walters has come, and I want everything nice
to welcome her."
"Well, miss, I hope it is,-I've just mended
the fire. You'll have to begin lessons soon,
won't you, miss?"
"Yes, and I am so glad, because I've made
up my mind to like her."
"I wish I had," thought Betsy; but she said
nothing. The housekeeper had told her she
was to wait on Miss Walters; and the other
servants had been telling her of all she would
have to do, and how hard to please all gover-
nesses were. "And, after all, no better than
we are," one had said. "I never would stand
any trouble from them; and I advise you to let
her see that at once," said another. Betsy went
slowly away, wondering if service really were as
happy as she thought. She knew Sarah was
happy; but she hadn't Sarah's secret.
While this was going on in the schoolroom,
Miss Walters was shown into the warm drawing-
room. She was not tall, and her figure looked
slight and youthful in her deep mourning. Her
face was not exactly pretty, but its calm, self-
possessed expression, flushed a little from feeling
alone among strangers, made her appearance
The New Governess. 35
very attractive. Mrs. Bennett felt it so when
she entered the room, and greeted her kindly.
"You are tired, I am sure, Miss Walters;
but you have had a pleasant day for your long
journey. I have ordered tea for you, and
dinner at six o'clock in the schoolroom. I felt
sure that you would not care to join us this
"Thank you," Miss Walters answered;
"you are very kind."
After a few minutes' conversation, Mrs. Bennett
said, "I will show you your room," and led the
way to a pleasant bedroom. The window, a
slight bay, looked out over fields and lanes. A
bright fire burned in the grate, and beside it
an arm-chair and table, and a vase of autumn
flowers, looked home-like, and seemed to welcome
her. She was left alone, and could not resist
going to the chair by the fireside before she re-
moved her cloak and bonnet. A few tears would
come, but she brushed them away, and for a
few moments knelt in prayer. Comfort came
to her in the thought that God would be with
her, that He had brought her there, and that
the same help and comfort would be with her
widowed mother and her sister in their distant
home. She rose determined to be brave, and
hastily began altering her dress. In a few mi-
nutes there was a gentle tap at the door, and it
opened to admit a young girl with a very sweet,
blushing face. It was Ellie. Miss Walters came
forward to her, and taking her hand kissed her,
36 Cottage Life.
saying, "You are one of my pupils, are you
"Yes," said Ellie; "I came to know if I
might help you."
"Thank you, dear; my unpacking can wait
till evening, and you do help me by coming so
soon to make my acquaintance."
Ellie hardly knew what to say next; but it
was not long before Miss Walters and she were
talking as if they had been friends for many a
day, and Ellie had told her about all her pets
and her work, and last, not least, of the brother
and sister who were to share her lessons, and the
two elder brothers, Lawrence and George, who
were looked upon by the eager girl as very ex-
alted characters. At length she said, "If you
are rested, Miss Walters, may I show you the
schoolroom ? it's my pet room, and I know you
will like it: the view is so pretty from the
window, but it's too dark now for you to see it."
"I am sure I shall admire it, dear child,"
Miss Walters said; and in truth the heart that
had been so lonely but a few minutes before,
had been cheered and comforted into something
like its natural brightness by the child's simple
Next morning the whole family assembled in
the dining-room at nine o'clock, and Mr. Bennett
read prayers, and they sat down to breakfast.
Miss Walters had not seen them all before, as
she had retired to her room early. Kenneth
and May shook hands with her, but went off to
The New Governess. 37
their own seats, too shy to say much; but after
the meal was over, and plans were discussed for
the day, Miss Walters asked the bright-looking
boy if she might expect him and his sisters in
the schoolroom. "You have had pleasant holi-
days, I am sure, have you not ?"
"Yes; and I'm sorry they're ended," said
Kenneth, with a laugh.
"I am sure you are, my boy; but we will try
and make the lessons as pleasant as the holidays.
Shall we come now ?"
It was rather uphill work at first, and Miss
Walters felt that her plan of beginning each
morning's studies with some verses of God's
Word, and a few simple words of prayer for God's
help and presence with them, was new to the
children; but, without talking much about the
subject, she tried by degrees to show them that
prayer is a real thing, and our Father's love and
help a reality, not a mere creed.
Lessons were accomplished happily; and
Kenneth was astonished by a request to go with
them to see his new rabbits and their hutches.
"Do you care about rabbits, Miss Walters ?"
"Yes, I do, very much,-I was always fond of
pets, and used once to have some of my own.
Now, will you let me help you with yours ?"
Then you are not going off for long stupid
walks, like Miss Burns did?"
Miss Walters laughed, and so pleasantly that
the boy began to think the dreaded governess
was not so bad after all, as she answered, "Walks
38 Cottage Life.
need not be stupid, Kenneth. We'll try one this
afternoon before we discard them altogether.
You ride, don't you?"
"Yes, we generally take turns, as there is
only one pony just now; and mamma likes us
sometimes to go out with her for a drive," said
Soon the children took Miss Walters to the
Rectory, and introduced her to their companions
there, of whom they were very fond; but the
distance was too great to allow them to meet as
often as they would have liked. Mrs. Graham
and Miss Walters were mutually pleased with
one another, so an expedition to Melton was
often planned, where they always had a warm
One day at lunch Kenneth said, "Papa, I've
been to Preston's house to see his rabbits. They
belong to his eldest boy; do you know, he's quite
a, cripple "
"Did you go with him, Miss Walters?" asked
Mr. Bennett. "I have not usually allowed the
children to go into the cottages about here. The
people are rather a begging set."
"I did not go this morning," Miss Walters'
replied; "but I have often seen poor Robin
Preston in the garden. He sits there even when
the weather is quite cold."
"The Prestons are a respectable family," said
Mrs. Bennett; "they never beg, and I've never
heard complaints of him when he has been up
at the house."
The New Governess. 39
"May we go and see Robin, papa? perhaps
we could amuse him sometimes. Harry and
Mary Graham often go."
Mr. Bennett rather unwillingly consented, on
condition Miss Walters went with them.
He's Betsy's brother, mamma," said May;
"and looks so sad and lonely."
Mrs. Bennett did not answer. She was half
afraid of the kind of influence Miss Walters had
over the children, and yet found herself con-
stantly yielding to the gentle sympathy often
expressed by the new governess for those whose
trials and poverty were sometimes discussed. A
visit was proposed that afternoon, but this was
not acceded to; and as Ellie and May went for
a drive, and Kenneth on his pony, Miss Walters
felt at liberty, and taking a warm comforter she
had been knitting, set off for Pilgrim Lane. On
entering the cottage she was told by Robin that
his mother was not well, and in bed upstairs.
"And you are sitting all alone, Robin?"
"Yes, miss. Mrs. Markitt came in and gave
us our dinner, and put all tidy, and I'm busy at
"What a pretty plait!"
Yes, Miss Mary Graham and Master Harry
taught me; and I can plait and learn my hymn
for Mrs. Graham at the same time."
"I am so glad of that, and I hope your mother
will soon be beside you again. See, I've Lr)ught
you a warm comforter for your neck. You will
need it when you sit out of doors again."
40 Cottage Life.
Robin's bright smile was great payment; and
Miss Walters went up to the bedroom to see Mrs.
Preston. She sat down beside the poor woman,
and said, "I am sorry to see you so poorly;
Betsy didn't tell me of your illness when I asked
about Robin to-day."
"I've been ailing for some time past ; but
Betsy didn't know I've been worse the last
day or two. I've kept Caleb from school, and a
neighbour has been very kind; but unless I get
better soon I must have one of my girls home,
and that vexes me. Robin's so helpless."
"It is indeed trying for you, and I wish I
could help you; but it is not often I get time
even to come and see my friends. There is one
verse which has often cheered me in difficulty,
which I will give you:
'Bear not a single care yourself-
One is too much for thee;
Mine is the work, and Mine alone--
Your work is rest in Me.'
Try, dear Mrs. Preston, to think of that as a
reality, the love of Jesus as real,-as if He now
stood beside you asking you to cast all your
troubles on Him."
You see, miss-forgive me for saying so-but
as I said to our Sally, when she said some-
thing o' the sort, it's the clergyman, and them as
have so few burdens to bear, can talk easily of
putting them all on God; but,-well, you see,
miss, it's all anxieties and troubles to us, and
The New Governess. 41
nothing else, and He don't seem to help us,-
that's just it."
"But you believe God is able to give you
help, don't you, Mrs. Preston?"
"Why, yes, miss, He must be able, I sup-
"Well, then, try to see too that He is ".'
IHe does not always help us by taking away our
burden, but by saying, 'Bear it for Me ; My
grace is sufficient for thee;' and then by keep-
ing quite close to Him, His help and comfort
are so great that He seems to bear it for us and
with us. We must not think of other people's
burdens, Mrs. Preston; we don't always know
them; but the more we feel our own, the more
anxious we are to help other people to bear
theirs. The great burden is sin, and that keeps
us from seeing that God is love.' But I shall
tire you, Mrs. Preston. May I come and see
"Yes, miss, please do, if you are so kind as
to care to come."
Miss Walters left the cottage hoping she
would be able to arrange to see them sometimes,
but her time was very fully engaged, and seldom
at her own disposal. She walked home thought-
fully, and when in her own room knelt down
and prayed that God Himself would speak to
poor Mrs. Preston's heart, and provide for her
in her need; and she felt her own sorrow light-
ened by contact with the trials of another.
uhI 02 .t'o:i.i -
.N E morning Mrs. Graham was
". ,, I occupied with Percy's and
M ary's lessons when little
Nellie ran into the room, and
talking her mother's hand, said,
"Papa wants you very quick."
"Where, my darling? I
S | thought he had gone out."
"He just came in as I was
playing in the study, and he said, 'Fetch
mamma,' so I did."
"Stay here with Mary, dear, and I'll go."
"Oh, Robert! what is the matter? how
white you look,-are you ill?"
"MAary dear, did you hear the explosion a
little time ago?"
"Yes; I thought they were blasting at the
"There's been an awful accident. I've heard
no particulars, only that several belonging to the
village are being brought home injured. Young
Mr. Lawrence Bennett is among them, and poor
Preston, of Pilgrim Lane, is badly hurt."
"Preston, Robert? he's a ploughman."
The Explosion. 43
"Yes; the plough was in a field near, and
the horses were frightened by the falling of the
stones. I think the news will fly fast. I'll go
out among the people; and do you prepare
Sarah for the worst, and send her home,-we
will do as we can."
Mr. Graham left the house, and his wife rang
the bell, which was answered by Sarah. Mrs.
Graham took her hand, and said, "Sarah, we
have had bad news. Your father has been
badly hurt while at work. We don't know
how much, but I think you had better go to
"Oh, thank you, ma'am; may I go at once ?
But what will you do ?"
"We shall manage quite well, Sarah,-go as
quickly as you can, and I shall follow you
In a few minutes Sarah had started, and left
her work, and the house in which she had been
so happy, never to return to it again. So
suddenly can all be altered and changed by the
Hand that shapes each life, and plans every-
thing for the education of His people through
time, that in eternity they may look back and
see that He led them by a way they knew not,
but by a safe way,-teaching line upon line, as
they could bear it, the great lesson of His love
to them; and fitting them by every event for
a higher and an eternal service.
Mrs. Graham went to nurse, and told her as
much as she knew of the accident, asking her
44 Cottage Life.
to look out sheets, blankets, and linen, in case
they were sent for; and then, packing up tea
and a bottle of wine in a bag, she started for
She avoided the village as much as possible,
and soon arrived at the cottage. Mrs. Markitt
was just leaving to try and get the doctor.
Managed to send my'girl for Betsy, and she
is there now, and I felt sure as you'd let Sally
go when you heard the news. It's been the
death of him, and he's such a worthy man
and good neighbour !" and here poor Mrs. Mar-
kitt burst into tears.
Can I go in, do you think ?"
"Oh yes, ma'am; Sarah said you were coming.
I'm sure they'll thank you kindly."
Betsy opened the door to Mrs. Graham. She
had only obtained leave to spend a short time
at home, and looked frightened as she answered
Mrs. Graham's question, "Where is your
father ? "
He is upstairs on the bed, ma'am; mother's
up again. Will you please go up,-he's insen-
Mrs. Graham went upstairs. Mrs. Preston
was seated by a small fire, rocking backwards
and forwards in her great sorrow. Sarah was
standing at the side of the bed, her hands
clasped, watching her father as he lay.
They had not dared to do more than loosen
his clothes; and the ashy paleness of his face,
the heavy breathing, and closed eyes, all showed
The Explosion. 45
that, whatever the injury was, it was serious;
and the doctor, whose coming was dreaded as
much as it was longed for, had not reached
Neither woman noticed Mrs. Graham till she
laid her hand on Mrs. Preston's, and knelt
down beside her. "Mrs. Preston," Mrs. Graham
said, "I want you to drink this for me." The
words were gently but firmly spoken, and the
poor woman took the cup into which Mrs.
Graham had poured some wine, and drained it,
scarcely knowing what she did. She was
roused, and looked at Mrs. Graham's face of
loving sympathy. Tears ran over her cheeks,
the ice was broken, and she clung to the hand
that was so tenderly laid on hers.
Oh, Mrs. Graham, what shall I do ? what
shall I do?"
I do feel bitterly for you, dear friend; but
all things are possible with God, and we must
The doctor entered not long after, having
been sent by Mr. Graham; and, finding she
could be of no use, Mrs. Graham went down-
stairs to Robin, whose terror and distress were
"Is father dying, ma'am?" he said.
My dear boy, we can still hope. Remember,
God is with us, and is taking care of us. He
permitted your father to be hurt; and we must
be patient, and try to submit to His will. God
will help you, indeed He will."
46 Cottage Life.
"I think He has been helping me all this
time, ever since father was brought in."
Betsy was crying, and exclaimed, Well, I
don't know what we shall do, I am sure Either
Sally or I shall have to leave good places, for
there's Robin helpless and a burden, and father
taken, mother too ill to work, and Caleb's but
"Betsy," Mrs. Graham said, kindly, "you're
excited just now ; but depend upon it the sorrow
is harder upon the helpless ones than on those
who have strength to work. I am so glad you
are getting good wages,-you will feel you can
give some help t' your mother. But all this
Betsy did not answer again, but Mrs. Graham
could see that self was still uppermost in the
poor girl's mind. The doctor's report was not
very hopeful; he was a kind man, and promised
to return late in the evening. Mrs. Graham
only waited to see Sarah for a few minutes, to beg
that Caleb might be sent to the Rectory in a few
hours with news of his father, and left the cot-
tage. She and her husband did not meet till
late in the afternoon, for six men had been more
or less injured. Most of them had families, and
the whole village was in excitement and trouble.
And at Ketley Park there was deep sorrow,
for the eldest son was laid low. He was brought
home apparently lifeless, but by the time the
physician arrived from Kerrington consciousness
was restored; but the injuries to head and
The Explosion. 47
limbs were too great to allow of more than a
few whispered words. Once he had said, "Are
many hurt?" and on his mother answering
"Several," he replied, "Be kind to them, for it
was my fault." Beyond this, no one as yet
seemed to know anything of the cause of the
Night drew on,-the time when all sorrow
seems darkest; and its oppression was felt by
both rich and poor sufferers. The children
seemed unwilling to leave Miss Walters, or
break the stillness of the house by speaking
or moving. Kenneth was listlessly turning over
a book of pictures, and May was trying to read a
story; Ellie had crept to a footstool at Miss
Walters' feet, and both were looking into the
fire, occupied with their own thoughts. They
were startled by a timid knock at the door, and
Betsy came in. I have brought tea, miss."
"Thank you, Betsy. How is your father?"
"The doctor doesn't give much hopes of him,
miss ; but they're going to send for me if there's
any change, Mrs. Claridge didn't think I could
Your mother is not alone, is she ?"
Oh no, miss; my sister from the Rectory is
"I'm glad of that," replied Miss Walters;
"for she needs her help and love."
It was a sad, weary night, spent by most of
the family in watching. The doctor came early
in the morning. He could do nothing. There
48 Cottage Life.
were internal injuries, and it was evident poor
Lawrence was sinking rapidly.
During the morning Mr. Graham called, but
he was told Mr. Lawrence was too weak to see
any one. Mr. Bennett came to speak to him,
but he only thanked him for calling, and told
him he feared agitation for his son, and did
not wish the thought of death to be put before
Mr. Graham was very troubled; but, merely
expressing his sympathy, he left the house. In
the garden he met Miss Walters, who asked
him if he had seen Mlr. Lawrence.
No, Miss Walters ; I am told he is too weak.
I am very grieved,-it is our only comfort that
we can commit him to God. He does not need
our help, though He honours us by permitting
us to speak and work for Him; but when this
is not made possible, we can pray and trust."
Only last Sunday Mr. Lawrence was speak-
ing of your sermon with pleasure,-that you
spoke as if there was a reality in what you put
before us, instead of a mere form of belief ; and
I so hoped he would himself wish to see you."
As Mr. Graham took leave, he begged Miss
Walters to assure Mr. Bennett he should be
ready at any time to come to them if sent for.
They parted, and Miss Walters went in search
of Betsy, to hear if she had any further tidings
of her father. She had. Dr. Melville gave
no hope of ultimate recovery, but thought he
might linger for a time.
The Explosion. 49
The girl was distressed, and grateful for Miss
Walter's sympathy. Hitherto, she had rejected
any kindness from the governess, as the servants
called her; but now, too glad of kind words,
she began to think the opinion in the "hall"
"I wish I could go oftener to see him, miss,
but Mrs. Claridge doesn't like me to be away.
Do you think you could speak for me ?"
"I am afraid not, Betsy. You remember
we are told that your father may yet be spared
some time; and I am sure you would not wish to
inconvenience a household, by neglecting your
duty at such a time as this, when all must join
in their sorrow,-your own trouble must make
you feel more for them."
Betsy did not answer,-she had not much
thought for others yet, and her feelings were
irritated and vexed, more than sad. She
thought Miss Walters had been sorry for her;
and now she was only telling her to think more
of other people's troubles than her own. Miss
Walters left her, saying, I am sure, Betsy,
you will be thought of; but in the meantime
try and be patient. I shall go as soon as possible
to see your mother. I will tell her you wish to
be with her."
In the sick room all was quietness. Law-
rence lay quite still without speaking, though
conscious. His parents and his pet sister Ellie
were constantly near him. George and May
and Kenneth were also in the room.
50 Cottage Life.
Towards evening he suddenly said, "I wish
some one would pray."
"Shall we send for Mr. Graham, dear?" his
"Yes, I want a prayer."
Messengers were sent to the Rectory; but the
dying man had awakened to the thought that
time was drawing near an end for him, and
eternity at hand, and he again earnestly said,
"Can no one pray?"
Ellie looked at her father, and said, "Miss
Walters prays with us; may I try?" Her
father could not speak, but knelt down and took
Ellie's hand; while she, bending close to Law-
rence, folded her hands, saying: Our Father
which art in heaven, we know that Thou dost
love us. Oh, pray speak to Lawrence, and tell
him his sins are forgiven for Jesus' sake; and
make him happy to go home to Thee, for Jesus
Christ's sake." Lawrence said, "Amen ;" and all
remained kneeling, while in a broken whisper
he added part of the verse that had been sung
in church the Sunday before:
"Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling."
He never spoke again; and when Mr. Graham
arrived his spirit was with God.
X)om.e 'IL0,111 [1 1 C
ril,. l IIEN Miss Walters next went to
/ Pilgrim Lane, she found poor
ii-' Preston very low indeed. His
Wife was sitting beside him,
-. "' while Sarah was in the little
1 'i.om below, preparing a tiny cus-
-,rd for her father. She was very
S grateful to add some wine, which
Miss Walters had brought from Mrs. Bennett.
I am so very grieved for them all at the
Park," Sarah said.
"Yes, indeed it has been a very sad time
lately; but they are wonderfully well and calm.
There are others in the village lying hurt; what
do you hear of them?"
"Dr. Melville spoke to-day of four of them he
thought might get round again; but he's
anxious about two others-Jones and Matthew
Thompson. Mr. and Mrs. Graham are very
kind to us all. Poor Jones hasn't been a very
sober man, and that's against him now."
"I will go up and see your father if I may."
"He will be glad, miss, I know."
Miss Walters begged Mrs. Preston not to
52 Cottage Life.
move, for she was still weak, and brought a
chair for herself to the bedside, saying, This
is very terrible for you, Preston."
"Why, it's 'most more than I can bear to
think of, miss. The wonder is I don't fret
more; but somehow all I was wishing after and
thinking of since I listened to Mr. Graham
has come so real to me that I can't doubt."
"I am very thankful to hear you speak like
that, Preston," said Miss Walters. "If you
are able to lay your sins on Jesus, you won't
find it hard to lay all your cares and anxieties
there too; although, strange to say, we often
can trust Him with our souls, and forget to do
so for our daily wants."
"I often made -Robin repeat that verse you
left with me," said Mrs. Preston, "almost the
last time ycu were here. But this trouble has
swallowed up all I was mourning over. It
seems too heavy to try and lift even."
"Not too heavy to cast on God, Mrs.
Preston. His own word is, 'Come unto Me, all
ye that are weary and heavy laden;' He can
lift, not only our burdens, but us with the
burden,-the whole weight,-because He is so
much the stronger:
'He seems to bear it, I go free;
I touch its weight just here and there-
Weight that would crush were He not near.'
Others are in sorrow, I fear, in the village;
I am sure we ought to remember them when
we pray for ourselves just now."
Home Troubles. 53
"Yes, indeed, miss; there's Jones, he's never
spoke scarcely since,-they only wonder he's
lingered so long; and he's leaving a wife and
five children. Thompson's bad, too; and poor
Smith didn't live many hours."
"Was he married?"
"No, miss; but a mother and sister always
lived with him. His mother's past eighty."
"How's the family at the Park, miss ?" said
Preston; we've so often talked of them."
They are pretty well, thank you," replied
Miss Walters. My special object in coming
without delay to you was to say that Mrs.
Bennett has ordered the butcher to give you
three pounds of meat each day, and to inquire of
you from her. Her own grief makes her feel so
much for all that are in sorrow and anxiety. I
have given Sarah the wine and brandy she
"Please thank her, miss. It's God's good-
ness to us, and may He bless her. Poor Mr.
Lawrence, he was such a good gentleman !"
"Yes," said Miss Walters, "he will be much
missed by all. He died trusting to his Saviour,
and we cannot wish him back. Good-bye now.
I shall come again soon, and shall hear of you
Contrary to the doncor's expectation, Preston
rallied for a time, and was able to get down
stairs with help, and sit by the fire for some
hours. Mrs. Preston did not recover sufficiently
to do without Sarah, who, now established at
54 Cottage Life.
home, toiled hard at needlework to earn a little
towards the support of the family. Mr. and
Mrs. Bennett were exceedingly kind, and a sub-
scription was made among the neighboring
farmers in some measure to supply the wants of
the sufferers. Thompson and Jones both died.
The other four men recovered, and went back to
Miss Walters went often to Pilgrim Lane,
and Mr. and Mrs. Graham, whose visits were
always welcomed. One day Sarah opened the
door of the cottage to Mrs. Bennett. She had
never visited the poor round her home; but her
son's words, "Be kind to them, it was my fault,"
were never forgotten; and, touched by Miss
Walters' account of the family, she resolved to
go to them herself. Her own sorrow was very
deep; and to the rich there is a luxury of sorrow
denied, and often mercifully denied, to the poor.
The rich have time to dwell upon their grief and
all its circumstances, while the poor must rise
up in the midst of their tears and act, and return
to the daily round of duty.
Preston and his wife might often be heard
spealdng of their mercies. They had even
learnt to thank God for the sorrow that had
taught them of the reality of a hope beyond this
life, and to believe that it is whom the Lord
loveth He chasteneth. Thus it was with cheer-
ful, grateful words they answered Mrs. Bennett's
greetings. Sarah brought a chair, and asked
her to be seated, and Mrs. Preston said, "VWe
Home Trqoubles. 55
have to thank you for much kindness, ma'am.
But for you my husband would not have been
"I am very glad," Mrs. Bennett said, "that
the wine does you good; but I wish you were
"Thank you kindly, ma'am; but I think my
time's not very long now. God keeps away fears
from me for those I leave behind; and perhaps
it won't seem long afore we're all together again."
Mrs. Bennett could scarcely speak. Her own
wound was too fresh not to be reopened by these
words of the dying man; but Preston continued,
"We shan't grudge the trouble of this world
when we get to another,-we know God won't
se-nd us more than we can bear. I'm a man of
few words, ma'am, and perhaps I don't say right
what I think; but it seems as if my time were
too short now to speak of His love to me,-and
to think I've lived all these years without
Mrs. Bennett rose, and shook hands with him
and his wife, saying, "I hope we may meet
again when I return from the sea-side. We are
going there next week; and if not, Preston, I
shall not forget this visit, I assure you; and I
pray you may be kept from every doubt or fear."
As she left the cottage she said to Sarah, "I
am not going to take Betsy with me. She and
the kitchen-maid will remain with Mrs. Claridge,
the housekeeper, and take care of the house.
You will like to feel she is at hand."
56 Cottage Life.
Not many days after the Bennetts went to the
sea-side, Caleb was sent to the Park to summon
Betsy to her father's side.
He had been brighter than usual throughout
the day, and had talked a little with Robin
several times, and listened to a few passages
from the Bible. Sarah would often, while sitting
at her work, repeat hymns, and verses of the
Bible to him; and this afternoon he had asked
twice for some of his favourites, and especially
dwelt on McCheyne's beautiful lines :
When I stand before tie throne,
Clothed in beauty not my own;
When I see Thee as Thou art;
Love Thee with unsinning heart,
Then, Lord, shall I fully know,
Not till then, how much I owe."
"It was Miss Walters showed us that, wasn't
it, Sally ?"
"Yes, father; it was one she copied for me to
learn and say to you."
"It's strange, Sally, how I haven't a fear
about going. I was down in heart for some
days; but it's all away, and I feel I shall trust
mother and you and the young ones to Him.
I wish I'd know'd Him before. I seem to want
to go and tell them about Him who used to hear
me say doubting, hard words. You'll keep
mother, won't you, my girl?"
Later in the evening he asked for Betsy, and
they sent for her. For a few days he had not
left his bed, and his wife and Sarah knew that
he was worse, and scarcely ever went away
Home Troubles. 57
from him; and that night, as they were all
watching him in what seemed a quiet sleep,
they saw a change on his face, and with one
short struggle he was gone from them:
Gone to stand before the throne,
Clothed in beauty not his own;"
gone to be with that Saviour whom in the
evening of his life he had loved so well.
Betsy was allowed to remain at home till
after the funeral, when she returned to her
place; and Mrs. Preston and Sarah began
bravely and trustingly to face care and poverty
alone. Caleb brought home his earnings from
his work at Ketley Farm each Saturday; and
Sarah nursed Robin, and often her mother, who
was very feeble, filling up her time with needle-
work, which, through the kindness of the
Grahams, was liberally supplied. They never
wanted food, though they often knew the mean-
ing of a hard struggle. Their chief anxiety was
the thought that Betsy was ceasing to care for
her home ; and Sarah knew enough of service
to feel that the girl was exposed to much
temptation, and that she was not shielded from
harm in her situation, as she herself had been
at the Rectory.
t Wcjisanut nubilng.
*-'-: -ENNETI-I has come back, papa,"
-..'I said Harry Graham one day at
". tea. "I saw the carriage go
-' through the village."
"Well, my boy, I suppose
]' y you'll soon have a visit from
your friend. Since he has come back,
I may tell you that I have promised
Mr. Bennett to let you and him learn together,
and begin Latin and Greek in good earnest."
"Have you, papa, and Percy too ?"
"I daresay he will soon join you; but at
present he and I won't part company."
"Is Kenneth going to have a tutor ?"
"The curate of Kerrington Church is to ride
over for an hour or two, three times a week;
and in a few months we must think of choosing
a school, my boy, for you are getting up in
years. But, Harry, we're late this evening;
are you ready with your Greek ?"
"Yes, papa; I'll fetch Percy."
Mrs. Graham went on the following day to
the Park. Mrs. Bennett was engaged; but
Miss Walters and the children were in the
garden, and joined Mrs. Graham as she left the
A Pleasant Ending. 59
house. After loving inquiries for Harry and
Percy and Mary, the children walked on, leaving
Mrs. Graham and Miss Walters together.
We are all so glad to be home again," Miss
Walters said. "Mrs. Bennett is really better
for the change of air and scene. Mr. Bennett
and his son are out riding, and are to visit the
quarries, I believe. They have never been
there since that dreadful day."
You heard, of course, of Preston's death ?"
"Yes, the housekeeper mentioned it in one
of her letters. I'm longing to go and see my
old friends. I often think of Sarah's quiet,
thoughtful face, and her cheerful way of meeting
"She was a great loss when she left my
house," said Mrs. Graham; "I could so trust
her loving thought and care for everything that
concerned me and mine."
"Was Mr. Graham present at the inquest ?"
"Yes, he felt it his duty to go. It was sad
and painful; but all the evidence was-so quietly
given. And so much feeling was shown among
those rough men when the truth came out, that
it was throwing away a cigar in a dangerous
place, near where they had just prepared a train
for blasting, that caused the whole disaster."
"It is a sad thought, but one better not
remembered," said Miss Walters.
"Yes, there is no use in dwelling in the dark
atmosphere of second causes, dear Miss Walters;
and if sometimes we see the means used more
60 Cottage Life.
plainly than at other times, it is still only our
Father's hand of love guiding and appointing
Mrs. Graham left, asking them to come over
to the Rectory as soon as possible.
In a few days Miss Walters found an oppor-
tunity of going to Pilgrim Lane. Mrs. Preston
was very poorly, but, in answer to Miss Walters'
inquiries, she said, Don't pity me, miss. I
never was strong, and life's not been easy to me.
'Twould have been easier if I had known the
Lord's love to me sooner. I remember wonder-
ing what all you said could mean,-it seemed so
far off me; but the Lord Himself took me in
hand and taught me. I sometimes wonder why
I'm left here."
"It is not much you can do, Mrs. Preston;
but your Father won't take you till all His
work in you and by you is finished, and you
must not dwell only on going away from us."
Really, miss, I sometimes think it wants
more faith to trust God for life than death; and
when I see Sarah working for me and Robin,
it's hard to sit idle, and be a burden to her.
She's my greatest comfort, but she's oftenweary."
"I don't think she would change her life,
Mrs. Preston, difficult as it often is, for I am
sure she has the true joy which always comes
from following our Father's leading, and resting
on Him alone."
"My trust is so feeble, miss, I suppose that's
why I fall back into complaining."
A Pleasant Ending. 61
"Our trust must be more simple and child-
like. A child clings very tightly to you if it's
frightened; but, after all, it's not the strength
of the child's grasp that keeps it from falling,
but your arms holding it firmly. And it's just
the same with us and our heavenly Father.
So our weakness, Mrs. Preston, is only a plea
to be held the closer."
That's a nice thought, miss; we're slow to
learn God's love."
"I like to think of this world," said Miss
Walters, "as our school for eternity. Look
at Robin, he is learning some great lesson surely
for the future,-a lesson which nothing but his
helplessness could teach him. God has some
work for you to do, or He never would teach
you so carefully. It is a beautiful idea, Robin,
that the stones which were to build Solomon's
temple, were all brought from a distance ready
to be put in their places. The more con-
spicuous and beautiful the position of a stone,
the more chiselled and polished it would require
to be, therefore the longer it would be in the
workman's hands, and the more pains he would
take with it in the far country where it was
prepared. Don't you think that's something
like our life?"
Oh, I like to think that !" said poor Robin,
his eyes filling with tears; "it makes it all much
better to bear."
"It has often helped me, dear Robin, to
think of God loving me so much that He cares
62 Cottage Life.
about my teaching and training, and undertakes
to do it all for me Himself, and to help me to
bear it, and learn His lessons. But I must go
now. Master Kenneth has been collecting sea-
weeds for you, so you will soon have a visit from
him. Remember me to Sarah, and tell her I
have some work for her as soon as she can come
Sarah was very sorry to have missed Miss
Walters' visit; but she came in looking un-
usually bright, and opening a parcel of work
she had brought with her, she was soon busily
occupied; and it was not till near sunset that
she laid down her needle. "Why, mother
dear, you must want your tea, and Robin too;
he's looking as if his fingers needed a rest from
his straw plaiting."
When all was ready, Mrs. Preston asked a
blessing, and poured out the tea; while Sarah
made some toast, to tempt her mother and
Robin. She was silent, and Robin said, Sally,
I do believe your thoughts are a long way off;
why, our toast is burning! "
Sarah put it on his plate, and taking his
hand, said slowly, Mother dear, I do wonder
what you'll say to me."
"Why, Sally, what have you done?"
"Well, mother, will you see Henry Markitt
to-night? He's coming to ask your blessing.
He's asked me to be his wife. You know how
good he is."
Poor Sarah! her own love for him was so
A Pleasant Ending. 63
great, and his sympathy had been such a help
to her, that she never doubted her mother and
Robin being as grateful as she was for what was
such a mercy in her life. And they were very
glad for her sake; but their first thought was
that Sarah was no longer their own. The
thought came to her, too, that she had been all
their brightness in life, and now she had given
herself to another. She understood it all; and,
though it was hard to say it, she knew Betsy
could not take her place.
I will give him my blessing, and thee too,
my child. I know thy father would have said
the same," her mother said, at length.
Sarah's heart was heavy, and for a few
moments rebellious; but she conquered at last,
and looked up brightly, saying, "Mother, I've
been selfish, and thought only of my own
happiness ; but I believe it's for me too, and I'll
not give it up; but I'll never leave you till the
way is plain."
Sally, I was selfish, not you," said Robin;
"but I've got it right now: Henry Markitt will
care a little for us, and you'll not like us less.'
The cloud passed away. Sarah told them
how for long Henry had been very kind and
attentive; but that he took her by surprise
to-day, when he stopped her in Pilgrim Lane,
and told her of his love to her, and his hope
that she would one day be his wife. "And,
mother, you know he's getting on; he really
will be a son to you."
64 Cottage Life.
About an hour after Henry came in, and spent
the rest of the evening; and Robin was very
happy when he shook hands with him, saying
he must call him his brother.
Not long after, a cottage near Mrs. Preston's
became vacant; and as Henry Markitt's pro-
spects improved steadily, there seemed nothing
to prevent Sarah leaving Betsy, who had become
much more steady, in her place at home, and
settling with her husband close at hand. So
one bright day in August she and Henry were
And now we must take leave of Sarah. We
cannot follow her into married life-sorrow and
joy are both in store for her; but she and her
husband know from whom to accept both; and
as heirs together of the grace of God, they
know that all things work together for their
good, in His hands whose will towards them is
ONDO KNIGHTPRINTER.IDILE STREET.C.
IONDON : KNIGHT, PRINTER, IIDDfLE STREET, B..
. .. .. .-,-.