Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Title Page
 A prize for poor Tom's geraniu...
 Back Cover

Title: Tom's geranium
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00055069/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tom's geranium
Alternate Title: Prize for poor Tom's geranium
Physical Description: 63 p., 1 leaf of plates : ill. ; 12 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Robinson, M. Harrison ( Martha Harrison ) ( Translator )
Martien, Alfred, b. 1828 ( Publisher )
Publisher: Alfred Martien
Place of Publication: Philadelphia
Publication Date: 1871
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Mothers and sons -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Poverty -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sick children -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Geraniums -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Flower shows -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Alcoholics -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
City and town life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Bldn -- 1871
Genre: novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia
Statement of Responsibility: from the French of Madam Guizot's daughter by Mrs. M. Harrison Robinson.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00055069
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002447329
notis - AMF2584
oclc - 57510240

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    A prize for poor Tom's geranium
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
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    Back Cover
        Cover 1
        Cover 2
Full Text


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T was the close of a long day in
midsummer, in the great city of
& London. The day had been sti-
fling, and those who had leisure to
seek the shades of the different
Parks were slowly returning home,
enjoying the cool of the evening, and
chatting as they went, before the
hour of dressing for the elegant din-


ners, balls, or concerts, they had in
view. On either side of the busy
thoroughfares, lined with gay stores
and showy shops, and always during
the day crowded with people on foot
and in vehicles of every descrip-
tion, the shop-boys were hasten-
ing to close the shutters of their
lI, a: i.:.it establishments, as the crowd
of tradesmen and women of all-work
were pressing onward to their hum-
ble abodes, for the rest of the weary
toiler. The dark narrow streets,
and alleys also, swarmed with hu-
man beings. No carriages were seen
there, other than small hand-bar-


rows, with the refuse of withered
vegetables or faded flowers from the
market. These people, unlike the
others of the thoroughfare, were not
hurrying home to their family meals,
or to sit cosily beside a peaceable
fireside; the women were sallow,
thin, their cheeks hollow, and dress
in disorder; the men, some moody,
others boisterous, young and old, all
bearing the marks of constant labor
and life-long poverty; and worse
still, las, they were seen rushing
eagerly to the dram-shops, to drown
their weariness aid misery at the
cost of the slender pittance of the


day's work. All was sacrificed!
health, repose, the love and respect
of their families, and their own self-
respect; the domestic comfort that
would have lightened their poverty,
before the fatal seduction of gin, and
the wretched enjoyment of a short
There, in these narrow, crowded
courts of St. Giles, the heat had
been especially suffocating through-
out the entire day. Every window
was open; the inhabitants of the cel-
lars, garrets, or inner alleys, were at
the doors, or in the streets, trying to
catch a breath of air, and a swarm


of ragged or almost naked children
were playing or fighting on the heaps
of rubbish everywhere around. If
one of the smallest chanced to fall,
turned heels-over-head by a com-
panion, his cries were unheeded.
Night came, gas brightened the
darkness, and mothers, who had
been at work some distance in the
city, not among those that had stop-
ped at the gin-shop on their way,
were now hastening to their families,
often meeting their children in the
street, and dragging them home by
the arm, their hands clutching the
mother's skirt.


In the midst of this human din
was a woman rapidly threading her
way and seeming to listen for some
voice that she knew, through this
confused discord of cries, disputes,
and oaths. She shook her head, sig-
nifying it was not there, and ridicul-
ing herself for indulging the foolish
expectation. She hurried on; her
garments indicated poverty in com-
mon with the mass through which
she was pushing, but they were clean
and whole; her hair was smooth;
her hands, hardened by work, were
hidden beneath a shawl; her counte-
nance expressed honesty and cour-


age, and she looked neither to the
right nor left, as if knowing well the
sights her eye would catch, and the
disgust they would give her.
She entered an inner court, open-
ing from a narrow street, consisting
of tall houses, of which even the
smallest chambers were inhabited.
From every window projected a
perch, as it was called, for drying
clothes, whence drops of water still
fell, now and then, from some cloth-
ing belonging to women who had
neglected to wash till evening, and
had hung out their clothes too late
to be dried by the sun. The woman


we are following had begun to listen
again, as she passed along the court,
and presently exclaimed, "That is
his voice-I was afraid of it!" and
quickened her pace.
Through the loud brawls of drunken
men, and the noise of children, the
mother distinguishes the sign of suf-
fering her anxious ear had expected
from the moment she entered St.
Giles. A sharp, heavy groan of
pain, and she hastened to comfort
and relieve her sick child. "He
may have moaned all day," she said
to herself.
This was not the case, however.


After his mother's departure early in
the morning, the little boy she had
left shut up in the narrow chamber,
had contrived to drag himself to the
window, to look out and listen to
the quarrelling of the women, and
babble of the young ones; after-
wards, he ate the provisions she had
prepared, and then, with his wasted
hands, gathered up the scraps of list
and pieces of cloth, in readiness for
the weaving, by which his mother
added some pennies in the evening,
to the money earned by hard work
among a few houses in Regent street.
All this had fatigued him, but he


had been cheered, too, by a visit
from his brother Joe, employed as
messenger for a commission ware-
house, who, by going a little out
of his way, managed to run in a
moment, to enliven poor Tom in
the middle of the day. When Joe
had gone, the pain. again com-
menced in his injured back, and
through his whole suffering body.
The boy thought of the time when
he could run and leap like Joe; of
the cart that had gone over him;
remembered the people's saying, as
they brought him home to his mo-
ther, that "he had escaped wonder-


fully, in having no bones broken;"
then of the injuries that had gradn-
ally appeared after the shock, in
dreadful bruises, and now he was
confined in this close, damp room,
with only coarse food for nourish-
ment. So Tom was sad, sick, and
weary; attacks of sharp pain seized
him, at times, till he would shudder
from head to foot, and though he
tried to be patient, and repress his
groans, when night came his forti-
tude gave way, and cries of "mo-
ther! mother!" broke forth.
She is here at last, lifting in her
arms the poor boy, unable to get


back into the bed again. She lays
him carefully on the narrow mat-
trass, fills afresh the glass of toast
and water she had prepared in the
morning, and then quickly diving
into her deep pocket, draws out a
slice of cake they had given her at
the house she had been cleaning that
day. The sick boy seized it greedily,
but had scarcely tasted it, when he
stopped and divided the tempting
morsel into two parts, and laid half
aside on the bed.
"This is for Joe," he said to his
He no longer groaned; the sight


of her restored fortitude and resigna-
tion, but he still suffered. His fore-
head was contracted, hands tight, the
pale lips quivered, and red spots
on the cheeks showed the struggle.
The mother moved softly about, put-
ting the little room in order, pre-
paring the poor supper, but every
motion brought her near the suf-
ferer, and she would pass her hand
caressingly across his brow, or lean
down to kiss him, and Tom always
exerted himself to give her a grate-
ful, loving look in return.
There is a sound on the stairs, as
of persons rushing up. The door is


hurriedly opened, and Joe lays a
small bundle on a chair, then rushes
out again to the landing. They hear
blows, as if a struggle was going on;
next a retreat, a jumping or roll-
ing down the steps, and finally Joe
again appears, triumphant; hair in
disorder, a scratch on his nose, but
with a brave, joyous countenance.
"I had trouble to get it here," he
exclaimed; "those idle fellows in-
sisted on seeing what was in my
paper, but I was not so foolish as
that; they would have stripped every
leaf. Mother, have you an old jar,
or anything to plant this in?"


While talking, he had been un-
wrapping a slender, delicate slip,
with a ticket hanging on it, large
enough for a tall plant.
"0 Joe!" cried Tom, "what is
this you have brought?"
But Joe was too busy searching
the old cupboard, where his mother
kept odds and ends to sell to the
rag-pickers, and at last, espying the
bottom part of an old jar, he put
his slip in it, with the little earth
he had brought in the same package.
Where he had managed to procure
either, nobody could imagine; his
mother suspected he had broken it


from those on the Park wall, when
the keeper's back was turned. The
little slip was snugly fixed in its
homely pot, and Joe at length set it
on the bed, where his brother was
trembling with eagerness to see it,
and hear all about it.
"Where did you find that?" asked
Tom, again.
His mother had asked the ques-
tion, but without a reply till the
planting was over, then he said:
"I was passing along Oxford street
with a bundle of shawls for an old
lady, who must be very chilly to buy
so many shawls in such weather as


this, when there happened to be a
gardener's cart in the way, so that
I could not get by, and to amuse
myself while waiting, I stood looking
at the plants, not noticing an omni-
bus coming on the other side. Well,
the owner of the cart was blin I
as I. Whether the driver of the
omnibus cried out, 'take care,' or
not, I don't know, but away goes
the cart and gardener, topsy-turvy;
Sand while they were righting mat-
ters again, the omnibus man was
talking loud, and people around
blaming him, I slipped between the
,horses' legs, to pick up this little


broken slip I saw on the pavement,
before it was trodden upon. If it
will only grow, Tom, it will be com-
pany for you-the thing looks as if
it might be pretty."
"It is a piece of geranium," said
their mother, taking the precious
plant to the window for light. "I
remember we had one like it in the
little garden at home; not the same
kind, exactly, perhaps," she added,
seeing Joe's disappointment in not
having brought home something rare,
and not at all flattered at his mo-
ther's recollections. "But ours were
very large, and I used to water them


every evening,-returning from school,
when father would say, 'You shall
have the first flowers to put in your
belt, Mary.' Poor father! he little
thought"-and Mrs. Jones' eyes fill-
ed with tears.
A new idea seizes Joe; he takes a
jug, and pulls open the door.
"Where now?" inquired his mo-
"After water for the geranium,"
he answered, bounding down stairs.
"Not so fast; you will break the
jug," but he was already out of the
Tom lay perfectly still, looking at


the little slip, till the ticket hanging
one side catching his eye, he called
to his mother that "there was writ-
ing on it." The poor boy could not
read; he was beginning to spell
when the accident occurred which
made it impossible to attend school,
and Mrs. Jones, forced to earn their
daily bread away from home, had
no opportunity of continuing his
Taking the ticket to the candle
she had now lighted, she read out,
"Glory of the West-what a fine
name! It may be something re-


"It is no common thing, that,"
cried Joe, coming in with his jug,
prepared to overflow the poor little
slip; "it is a rare plant, I am sure
of it."
But Tom guarded it with both
hands from the impending flood.
"Give me a spoon, please," he said,
Now, Joe was bold and resolute
enough in the city, among his ware-
house associates, and did not always
obey his mother, but since Tom's
misfortune, he had become, as he
said, "worse than a girl with that
boy," and never refused his brother


anything; so he brought an old,
bent, iron spoon, clean, as every-
thing else was under Mrs. Jones'
management, and Tom dipped it in
the jug, and let the water fall in
drops on the earth.
"She will think it is rain," he
said, delighted.
"Pshaw!" cried Joe, "she does not
know what rain is. I tell you this
came from a hot-house plant, an
elegant one, that never saw the sky
but through glass, never felt a breath
of wind. No danger of being cold
here, though; you can put it into
your bed in freezing weather."


"Do you mean to give it to me?"
asked Tom, timidly, looking anx-
iously at his brother.
"Certainly; what do I want with
such a thing? I am always out, you
know. Do you think I would have
run the risk of having my limbs
broken by the horses, to pick up
this little slip of a flower, if it were
not for you? If it turns out well,
you can cut slips like it for sale, and
make a fortune out of it," and the
honest lad laughed merrily at the idea.
Tom had his arms around the old
earthen jar, his cheeks were flushed,
and his eyes shone with happiness.


"I shall never feel tired of being
alone any more," he said, content-
edly; "I can look at my geranium
Meanwhile, it did not expand as
fast as the little boy hoped, in his
profound ignorance of nature; but
the bad air of the court, and the want
of sunlight in the poor chamber, did
not wholly check the growth of the
plant; it really seemed that Tom's
ardent love supplied the place of
warmth, fresh air, shade and mois-
ture. At the end of two years, it
had become so large that the first
pot bought by Joe, out of his say-


ings, was no longer wide enough for
the roots, and Tom, imagining for
some time that his treasure was suf-
fering, appeared restless and uneasy.
"What ails him?" thought Joe to
When he had found out the cause,
he economized still more. One even-
ing, in he comes with shining face;
on his head, instead of a cap, an
immense flower-pot.
"If this great lady doesn't find
herself comfortable in this," he cried,
"I am done with her. See, I have
bought some earth, too, and brought
it in a bag," shaking one in his hand,


merrily, "because I wanted to have
the pleasure of wearing the pot my-
self. Don't I look comical?" walk-
ing before his brother, expecting a
But Tom was not thinking of Joe's
headgear; he was too impatient to
transplant his geranium into a more
spacious receptacle. Joe filled the
pot carefully, talking all the time.
"I asked a gardener for some earth
proper for geraniums," he said, with
an air of importance, "but he only
gave what suited himself. I did not
tell the cross old fellow so, but I
looked all over the hot-house, and


saw not a single geranium as fine a.s
yours here. They all had little
flowers, too, but, somehow, they were
not so jaunty-looking as this. Some
of the little pots had only two or
three sprigs, like this when I first
brought it."
And Joe stood watching and won-
dering at his brother's trembling
hands, as he skilfully loosened the
earth around with an old knife, care-
ful not to break the delicate fibres of
the roots, mixing the new earth with
the old, tenderly holding the plant
up, to prevent the pretty leaves and
young shoots from striking the wall


or bedstead. The boy was tired
enough when it was over, and fell
back on his pillow, but kept his eyes
on the beloved plant on the table
beside the bed, and fancied it was
already growing afresh in its large,
new pot.
And the geranium continued to
expand more and more, and was full
of flowers, while Tom, on the con-
trary, grew weaker, his poor frame
daily decreasing in size and strength.
Yet with all the pain he constantly
endured, and his evident debility, the
sick boy had never felt lonely since
the little slip of geranium was brought


into the gloomy chamber of St. Giles.
Something personally interesting had
been added to relieve the weary
hours of his mother's and Joe's ab-
sence at hard labor, rendered doubly
necessary by his helplessness and the
little comforts he required.
It sufficed for the poor boy's hap-
piness, to nurse his geranium, look at
it, count the new shoots, and watch
vigilantly the audacious little bug
that dared to venture near the pre-
cious stalk.
In addition to this, another bless-
ing had penetrated the gloomy cham-
ber of St. Giles' Court.


A missionary, sent by Christian
people into this wretched quarter,
in passing, saw the beautiful flower
in Mrs. Jones' window, spreading its
broad leaves to catch the little sun-
light that pierced through the obscu-
rity. A flower!-this was a sign that
the family of this room were not alto-
gether brutalized by poverty or gin;
accordingly, the missionary ascended
the stairs, and found only Tom, with
his eyes fixed on the geranium. The
excellent man was accustomed to ad-
dress the poor and unfortunate, and
knew that he must first show sympa-
thy for their misfortunes, and thus


gain their hearts by kindness. Ac-
cordingly, he began talking to Tom
of his ailments. The boy listened,
feeling thankful, but rather indiffer-
ent in his manner, till the missionary
at length said:
"What attracted me here, was the
fine geranium I observed in your win-
dow, for I thought those who loved
the works of God would probably
like to hear something about His
mercy and goodness."
"Mly geranium! (how the sick
boy's eyes began to glisten!) Isn't it
beautiful? Have you, in all your
walks, sir, ever seen a finer one?"


"Never!" replied the missionary,
sincerely, for he dwelt habitually in
the worst parts of London, in pursu-
ance of his self-denying calling, and
few flowers were seen in those regions.
He went nearer to look at the plant.
"Give it to me, sir, if you please,"
said Tom, raising himself with diffi-
culty. "Put it here on this little
table-take care, sir, or you will
break some of the branches. The
sun is gone now, and it will be too
cool for it outside."
The sick boy fell back on his pil-
low, exhausted and panting, still
gazing at his treasure.


The missionary said no more that
day, but his visit was repeated.
When weary of a fruitless conflict
with sin and misery; of trying to con-
sole unfortunate women, ill-treated
by their drunken husbands, or drunk
themselves; when discouraged by
talking in vain of his Master to the
hardened and incorrigible, he would
wend his way to Mrs. Jones', sure of
finding a welcome there, in Tom's
feeble voice, bidding him, "Come in!"
The boy had become more atten-
tive to the missionary's words; was
no longer so entirely absorbed by his
geranium when he endeavored to


teach him the way to heaven, and
make him understand the love of
Jesus Christ. The sick lad went
confidingly to the good minister, as
it were, like a child, whose mother
gives it into her pastor's arms at
baptism; full of trust and affection,
without comprehending the power
and majesty of Him who stretches
out His compassionate hands to
receive him.
"I am so glad to think there is
one who listens to me," he said to
the missionary. "When all alone, I
talk to my Saviour, and it seems to
me, He sometimes answers me."


The missionary smiled. "The
more you talk to Him, the more will
He answer you," he said.
And Tom learned to pray.
It was scarcely day-break in St.
Giles' Court one fine morning, Mrs.
Jones had finished setting her house
to rights and providing for Tom,
and was about to go out, (Joe was
already gone,) when there was a
knock at the door, and the mother
on opening it found the missionary
there, breathless with haste.
"I could not come yesterday eve-
ning," he said; "it was too late
when my rounds were finished; but


hearing during the day there was
to be an exhibition of flowers near
here to-morrow, in which the plants
reared by the school children were
to be shown, I thought, if it would
please you, I would have your gert-
nium admitted, as you were in the
school before the accident."
Tom listened without fully per-
ceiving his meaning., The good man
was pressed for time, but he sat
down by the poor boy's bed.
"You know," he explained, "that
away in the other parts of London,
among the big houses, they have
what they call 'Flower Exhibitions.'


io which gardeners bring their plants,
and prizes are given to them that
show the finest. (Tom listened in
earnest.) Well," continued the mis-
sionary, "as flowers are pure and
good, pretty things, coming directly
from God, some persons think that
the taste for cultivating them in pots
on window-sills, as you have done,
ought to be encouraged among those
who have no gardens, and they pro-
mise a prize for the finest plants
brought to the School Hall of St.
Giles to-morrow. It seems they
gave notice of this a year ago, but I
knew nothing of it, or I would have


told you. It doesn't matter though,"
he added, turning towards the gera-
nium, "yours is always ready to be
It was the month of June; all the
branches of the beautiful plant were
full of flowers or young shoots, and
its broad green leaves spread out
majestically beneath the clusters of
bloom. Tom said, slowly, looking
steadily at his geranium:
"You wish to take it there, to get
the prize?"
"To stand a chance, at least," re-
plied the missionary, smiling at the
boy's simplicity; "to see if there is


anything in St. Giles prettier than
it is."
"Prettier!" repeated Tom with ris-
ing indignation. "There is nothing
so pretty as this is!" and he put his
thin hands around the pot beside
"I think so too-I believe it,"
answered the minister, quickly, rising
to go forth to his usual task in the
streets and highways. "You must
decide whether you are willing to
have your plant put down in the list."
"When must it go?" asked the
boy, his courage beginning to fail at
the thought.


"To-morrow morning, early."
"For how long?"
"All day-I will bring it back
myself in the evening."
"And it will not hurt it?" per-
sisted he, brushing off a grain of
dust from one of the leaves.
"Not at all," said the missionary,
who had never seen a flower exhibi-
tion in his life.
"It will be a very long day to
me!" murmured Tom; then in a
louder, firmer voice, he said:
"I believe the geranium will enjoy
getting a prize, so you may come fur
it to-morrow morning, sir."


The missionary tarried not a mo-
ment longer; he was already behind
time in his duties, and hurried away.
How busy Tom was all this day!
With a rag his mother gave him, he
washed every leaf separately on both
sides-a delicate operation, requiring
so much care that his feeble hands
often shook from fatigue, and he was
obliged to stop and rest. Then he
washed the pot, and when Joe came
home, he found his sick brother past-
ing on a bit of paper, the torn card
that was hanging to the broken slip
when picked up in the street.
"Wait a bit," cried he; and with


three jumps he was in the court,
seeking among the people on their
way to the gin-shops, a little, ragged,
wrinkled, dirty old man, whom he
seized by the collar.
"Mr. Salmons," he said, "before
your hand begins to shake-as it will
do presently-(Joe had no mercy on
drunkards) could you write me a
line for my little brother up there?"
Mr. Salmons turned upon the lad
a pair of red, dull, vacant eyes, the
look of an irreclaimable drunkard,
whom gin was slowly but surely
killing; and yet on his degraded
face might be discerned traces of


education and intelligence, superior
to those about him. Mr. Salmons
had been a useful and respected
clerk in a large commercial house,
but depressed by domestic trials, he
had contracted the horrible vice that
had brought him to St. Giles, where
he often wanted bread, because he
used the last cent of the pension his
former patrons had allowed him, in
procuring the poison that was des-
troying him, soul and body. He
was not yet so intoxicated but that
he could partially understand what
Joe wanted, and turned back to go
down three steps into a damp, cold,


dark cellar, in which he slept. The
miserable man shuddered as they
entered, and stretched out his hands
in search of matches, without being
able to find any. Joe, however, had
a box in his pocket, and among the
rubbish of the old man's housekeeping
utensils, they came across a candle
"If mother could only see all this!"
said Joe to himself.
But he lighted the bit of candle,
and the old man, firmly as he could
and in a hand still fine, wrote on a
piece of paper the words Joe dic-


Glory of the West.
Then below,
Thomas Jones, St. Giles.
"That's it-thank you, Mr. Sal-
mons," said the lad, gazing admir-
ingly at the flourish at the end of the
name. "To-morrow I will bring
you two pennies' worth of tobacco."
"You couldn't give me one penny
of it now, could you, Joe?" begged
the unhappy sot.
"No, I have nothing for you at
present," answered the lad, resolutely,
already in the street. "Well enough
to give him a little tobacco, but he
shall not drink with any money of


mine," he said to himself as he went
Tom's joy was perfect. He could
scarcely sleep that night for pleasure
at seeing his geranium in such style
placed on a chest of drawers, the sole
remnant of furniture brought from
the country by Mrs. Jones at her
While her husband lived, they had
been comfortable in their humble
way, but with his death, their income
from his labors ceased. He left her
the charge of two young children.
Tom's accident increased their diffi-
culties, and obliged her to sell many


of her things; but they were all
attached to the bureau, and both
mother and children would have suf-
fered much ere sacrificing that. The
geranium looked particularly brilliant
on the old piece of furniture.
It was scarcely seven o'clock when
the missionary arrived next morning.
He was in a hurry, and seized the
pot rather roughly.
Tom cried out, "You will break
it-there is a flower just beginning
to fade; it will fall off if you shake
it so."
Mrs. Jones had proposed to wrap
the pot in a large sheet of paper, as


the gardeners did, but Tom would
not consent, because it would hide
the pretty shape of the stems. There
was, moreover, another objection-the
lick of paper; so the missionary took
away the precious treasure.
"At what time could a fellow get
into the exhibition?" asked Joe, slip-
ping behind him on the stairs.
"About four o'clock, free admit-
tance," replied the benevolent man,
well aware of the state of Joe's pock-
"All right. If they don't send
me away off to Brompton or Black-
heath, I'll run in and take a look."


And Joe disappeared among the
crowd of children, threatening at
every step to damage the beautiful
flower the missionary was carrying.
The little rabble ridiculed him; threw
themselves between his legs in their
mischief; but more than one person
he met by the way turned around to
look at the geranium, whose fresh
green leaves contrasted so much with
the close, gloomy locality, and the
rough crowd of human creatures that
inhabited it. The day had indeed
seemed tedious enough to poor Tom,,
till at length, remembering the mis-
sionary's words of counsel, he turned


for relief to the Almighty Friend in
heaven he had learned to address,
and felt the burden of solitude re-
moved. While he was still engaged
in prayer, asking God fervently to
grant the desire, then uppermost
in his thoughts, that his geranium
might obtain the prize, and none of
its branches be broken in bringing it
home again, Joe burst open the door
and in one jump stood by his bro-
ther's bed.
"First prize!" he exclaimed, out
of breath, "and every body said
there was nothing like it in the


Tom was pale with emotion, his
hands clasping each other tightly.
"Tell me all about it," he said,
"Well," began Joe, sitting down
on the edge of the bed, "I managed
to carry all my packages in good
time, and then went up to Mr.
White, the one, you know, that over-
looks the boys, and asked if I could
have two hours to myself. He said,
"Yes," nodding his head, for he
never wastes his words, and I was off
in a jiffy. Such a crowd as there
was at the school-house door-you
never saw the like. For my part, I


didn't think so many of the St. Giles
people could have spared the time-a
whole day; but there they were,
women, children, and even some men
amongst them, standing there, for
the police wouldn't let them inside.
I had to wait at the door a while, for
it was not four, and it cost a penny
to go in before that hour; but the
instant the last stroke fell from the
church clock, didn't I slip by the
police and get in? I tell you, it was
pretty and smelt sweet. The people
outside, though, made such a rush,
pushed, and talked so loud at each
other, that I could scarcely see for a


minute, and thought they would
surely throw down the stands and
the flowers on them. You may be
sure I thought of our plant, and was
ready to catch it, if it should fall
from the high place they had set it
on; but just then a little gentleman
in black, that I didn't know, whom
they called the rector, came forward
and said, very loud:
"'If there is not less noise and con-
fusion, we shall be obliged to close
the doors, and no prizes will be
"Everything was quiet in an
instant, each one hoping his plant


should have a prize, or maybe, his
brother's, aunt's, or cousin's, for
there was no end of flowers; so I
began to walk around. There were
geraniums, too many to count; white
and red roses; and huge bushes they
called Pe-, Pelac-, I cannot re-
member the name, and many others
I never saw before; besides, quanti-
ties of fuchsias, sweet-scented peas on
wires in little wooden boxes, nastur-
tiums running on sticks, and even
daisies in pots. There were rose
bushes too, but they were not pretty.
They even had salad and water-
cresses in dishes, and radishes in an


old box. It seems that the school-
master had said they might bring any
green thing God had made, that
could be found in St. Giles.
"I was near the platform when they
began to read out the list of prizes.
I did not think it right they should
begin with the fuchsias, and was so
restless till they came to the gera-
"Well, when he said, 'Geranium,
first prize,' my heart beat so, I could
scarcely see, as he pointed, with a
kind of staff in his hand, at our plant,
spreading out amongst the others
like a queen.


"I heard the gentlemen standing
on the platform say:
"'How did such a magnificent
geranium ever grow here? These
double geraniums are so rare!'
"It was something uncommon, as
I told you-that little slip I found in
the street."
Joe stopped a moment to recover
breath, and enjoy the triumphant
recollection of his sagacity, while
Tom's eyes glistened with quiet hap-
piness. No need to tell him of his
geranium's perfections; he knew it
well enough.
"They said," again began Joe,


"'five shillings for the owner of this
plant.' Then the schoolmaster an-
"'Mr. Pierce brought it; I do not
know whether he is here or not.'
"I was pushing forward to receive
the money, but they might not have
given it to me if Mr. Pierce hadn't
come in just then, and seeing me,
said aloud:
"'This flower belongs to a poor
cripple, whose whole happiness is
derived from it, and this is his bro-
ther, who will receive the prize for
"My face must have been red


enough when he bade me go on the
platform; and I didn't like his call.
ing you a cripple before everybody,
either, but I took the money though,
and the rector said to me:
"'If your brother will sell slips
from his geranium, he can easily find
"I laughed as I came along, at the
thought of your cutting your gera-
nium-here is the money."
Tom had listened delighted, drink-
ing in every word.
"I knew it would be the finest,"
he said. Then, suddenly raising him-
self in the bed, he asked, anxiously:


"Why didn't you bring it back?"
"I never thought of it," replied
Joe, artlessly, and a little frightened;
"but I believe they wouldn't have
given it to me, for the show was not
over. Mr. Pierce will bring it as he
And the two brothers began, in
imagination, to dispose of the unex-
pected fortune that glittered on the
sick bed.
It was dark, and Mrs. Jones had
returned home, when the indefatiga-
ble Mr. Pierce appeared at the door,
holding the geranium in his arms.
Tom stretched out both hands, and


his friend restored him his treasure.
The leaves were a little bruised, and
drooped somewhat, as if coming from
an unhealthy atmosphere. The faded
flowers had fallen off, but no branch
was broken, and the young shoots
had not suffered harm.
Tom drew a deep breath of satis-
faction, when, after counting all the
bunches of leaves and buds, he said:
"Sixteen-all safe," and fell back
on the pillow, to take a good look at
the plant he had missed so much all
When the missionary was gone,
and honest Joe had betaken himself


to a sort of dark recess, where he
slept on a straw pallet, Tom drew his
mother to him and whispered:
"Mother, when I die (the mother
sduddered but said nothing) you
must give Mr. Pierce a slip from my
She made a sign of consent, and
the sick boy went to sleep.

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