The Baldwin Library
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werethr fi t he
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"Befre . evill coud lo rundtwo r thee owblls
wee hrwna hm.=-.
A Jftorg for tbe oung.
W. B. B.,
AUTHOR OF "FAITHFUL TO JESUS," "JOE SINGLETON'S
WISHING TREE," CLARA DOWNING'S DREAM," ETC.
JAMES NISBET & CO., 21 BERNERS STREET.
I. SUNBERRY DALE 4
II. VISITORS 14
III. CHRISTMAS EVE 22
IV. CHRISTMAS DAY 38
V. MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON 47
VI. SNOW-BALLING 64
VII. AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL 73
VIII. A QUIET MORNING 85
IX. TABLEAUX VIVANTS 95
X. THE SKATING PARTY 108
XI. THE STORY-BOX 116
XII. AN ADVENTURE WITH JOCK 131
XIII. UNDER THE ELMS 141
XIV. DEPARTURES 150
XV. A SEQUEL 158
CHRISTMAS AT SUNBERRY DALE.
SUNBERRY DALE is the name of a country
house and grounds in one of the most beauti-
ful of the western counties of England. I
have seen many of the most lovely spots in
our country, but none fairer nor richer than
Sunberry Dale is about a mile from the-
quaint old town of Chesterton, and the house,
standing in a dell and well surrounded by
trees, is not seen until you come almost
upon it. I do not know whether I can de-
scribe the house to you, but I will try. It
is a long old-fashioned house of three stories,
each window of the third story being set in
6 SUNBERRY DALE.
a high pointed gable. A rustic gabled porch
stands out from the centre of the house, and
over this porch and around the lower win-
dows of the house the white clematis and the
sweet honeysuckle twine and twist their
branches until the windows themselves and
the roof of the porch are almost hidden.
Above these, and reaching nearly to the
points of the gables, are trained some of
the finest pear-trees I ever saw. A large
oval lawn spreads itself before the house,
having for its central ornament an antique
stone sun-dial, now almost hidden by luxu-
riant lichens. The carriage drive passes
round the lawn and skirts a deep fosse,
which divides the lawn from a well-stocked
orchard; beyond which stand the fine old
woods of Leyoak Park The house is ap-
proached from the town of Chesterton by a
wide well kept gravelled road, bordered for
a long distance by greensward and neatly
trimmed hedges; whilst on the one side the
clear waters of a little brook are hasting with
many an eddying ripple on their way to join
a distant river. As you draw near to the
house-the drive passes through a fine avenue
SUNBERRY DALE. 7
of lime-trees, through whose branches you
catch many a glimpse of the stately Norman
tower of Chesterton Church, and of the slopes
of the not distant Woldcot hills.
I have seen Sunberry Dale at all seasons
of the year; when the limes were without
a single leaf, and the cold wind whistled
through their bare branches and danced round
the house, making the old gables shake, and
then shrieking and howling in its roomy
chimneys. I have seen it, too, when the
limes began to put on their summer dress,
and the warm sunshine made the birds that
flittered amongst their branches sing their
sweetest songs; when the old garden grew
gay with bright coloured flowers, and the old
house grew young again in its robes of
clematis and woodbine. I have seen it, too,
when the trees wore their. robes of autumn
brown, and when almost every puff of wind
caused some of them to fall shivering to the
ground, and they piled themselves up in
brown heaps beneath the branches where all
the summer long they had danced and laughed
in the sunshine. Many a time I have walked
amongst them and enjoyed the rustling noise
8 SUNBERRY DALE.
as I scattered them about. That was long
years ago, for they tell me I am getting old
and grey-headed now; but I shall never forget
the bright, happy boyish days spent at
I could tell you many stories about this
place, for there is hardly a tree I do not
know, nor a corner which I have not explored;
whilst with many of those who have lived at
the dear old house I have been intimately
acquainted. Some of them were old and
grey-headed when first I knew the house,
and they have been sleeping beneath the
great elm trees in Chesterton church-yard
for many long years; and those who were
merry boys and girls when I was a lad are
now as old and grey-haired as I am; and
another race of boys and girls are sporting as
merrily in the old orchard and garden as we
did years ago.
Sunberry Dale has long been the residence
of the Melvilles. The Mr. Melville of this
story was a tall, fine man, with a face beam-
ing with kindness, and who was always
spoken of as a good and generous man. I
wish I could describe Mrs. Melville to you.
SUNBERRY DALE. 9.
Nobody thought of calling her handsome, yet
she had one of the sweetest, kindest faces I
ever saw. She was quite a little woman, with
quiet gentle ways, and who seemed always
to be thinking about the comfort and happi-
ness of those around, and never thinking of
herself. If you could only see her in her
dark dress (for she always wore dark dresses),
and with her white hair smoothly banded
beneath her white lace cap, moving about the
passages and rooms of the old house you
would like her as much as I do. Everybody
loved Mrs. Melville. The servants often said
they would do anything for her, and all the
little children of the families she visited
knew no greater treat than a visit to Sun-
berry Dale. Even the dogs, and the fowls
that stalked about the premises, seemed to.
know her step, and to look brighter at the
sound of her voice; whilst the old tabby cat
never seemed so happy as when coiled up on.
the skirt of her-dress as she sat at work, or
trotting after her as she moved about in the
garden or on the lawn.
Mr. and Mrs. Melville had three children,.
and at the time about which this story speaks
10 SUNBERRY DALE.
they were all young. Mark, the eldest, was
about sixteen, a tall, thin, delicate looking
boy, with his mother's kind face and gentle,
quiet ways. Edith was about two years
younger than Mark; she had her mother's
small and graceful form, but possessed the
merry, boisterous spirit of her father. Charlie,
the youngest, was hardly twelve; a strong
active lad, with a face that seemed all smiles
and mischief. Hardly a tree in the grounds
which he had not climbed, and he had fallen
into all the ponds and streams in the neigh-
bourhood, generally coming home wet through
or with his clothes torn and ragged. He could
imitate the sounds made by all the birds and
beasts which were found in the surrounding
grounds; and made so much noise and con-
fusion in the house generally that the servants
said, "they should be glad when he went
away to school." Yet everybody liked him.
His frank, happy face was like sunshine in
the corners of the old house; and though he
vexed his mother by sliding down stairs on
ihe hand-rail, or tormenting the servants in
the kitchen, yet he loved her as much as any
of them, and would as tenderly care for her
SUNBERRY DALE. 11
wants. He was as open and honest as he
could be, and hated and exposed everything
like meanness and wrong. Though the
brothers were so different one from the other,
they agreed most happily; whilst they both
strove to help and please their only sister.
Mr. Melville was steward to the owner of
Leyoak Park, and was therefore much away
from home; but he entered heartily into his
children's pleasures when amongst them, and
sometimes when a day could be spared by
him from other engagements, he would, if the
day were fine, spend it with his children in
roaming about the woods, which stretched
away for miles beyond their home. Those
were happy days to the children, and no
greater pleasure could you promise them than
a day in the woods with papa. They came
home tired enough in the evenings, but
always laden with wild flowers or fruit for
mamma, and ready to recount to her all the
little incidents and pleasures of the day.
All seasons seemed pleasant at Sunberry
Dale, but for some things Christmas time
seemed the pleasantest of all. The house
was often filled with guests, and- the long
12 SUNBERRY DALE.
corridors echoed all day long with shouts of
joy and merry laughter.
This story is about a merry Christmas time
spent at Sunberry Dale some years ago; and
the memory of it is a very pleasant thing
to those who were guests there on that
It wanted nearly a week to Christmas, and
the weather was bitterly cold. People said
it would be a real old-fashioned Christmas
with sharp frosts and plenty of snow. The
family at the Dale had just finished breakfast
when the servant brought the letters into the
breakfast room, and placed them by Mr.
Melville. Charlie was busy sorting them
before his papa could put on his spectacles.
He had hardly done so when a loud "hurra"
broke from Charlie's lips, and he ran across
the room to his mamma, upsetting two chairs
and a stool in his progress. Charlie, Charlie,
why cannot you walk across the room pro-
perly ? Look at those chairs."
"Never mind the chairs, mamma, dear,
now. It's Christmas time. See, here's a
letter from Uncle Hadfield. I wonder whether
he'll let cousins come!
SUNBERRY DALE. 13
Mrs. Melville took the letter and read it.
It was from her only brother, a widowed
clergyman in the south of England, saying
that he should be pleased to let his children
spend Christmas with them at Sunberry Dale,
but it was very doubtful whether he himself
"Bravo," shouted Charlie, "I say that's
jolly, papa. Won't we have a merry time of
it ? When are they coming, mamma?"
On the twenty-second-three days before
Christmas day," replied Mrs. Melville.
THE children at the Dale were full of excite-
ment as the days passed away, and the day
drew near on which their cousins were to
arrive. They had spent many hours together
in making plans for the amusement and
entertainment of their visitors, all of them
entering into the pleasure most heartily;
whilst the time flew away very rapidly to
them all, for they were all busy.
Christmas day fell on the Saturday, that
year, so that Wednesday was the twenty-
second of December, the day when the
Hadfields were expected to come. On the
Wednesday morning, the children at the
Dale were up much earlier than usual,
although their cousins were not expected to
arrive until late in the afternoon. There
had been much anxiety about the weather
on the Tuesday night, for the clouds were
driving heavily over the sky, and several
spots of rain had fallen in the early part of
the afternoon; but no settled rain had fallen
before they retired to bed. The last words
i spoken by the children that night were about
the weather, all of them hoping it would be
fine for their cousins, or their journey would
be so long and comfortless.
The room in which Charlie and Mark slept
was immediately over the entrance hall, and
the window opened on to the quaint porch
which concealed the front door. Before it
was light the next morning, Charlie was
awake and trying to see what kind of weather
it was; he could not see, but he heard omi-
nous little pats of rain-drops on the roof of
the porch. "Ah," said he to himself, "it's
always the way with the weather; when one
wants it to be fine, it's certain to be wet; and
if one wants it to rain, it's always dry."
And he crept back to bed feeling very disap-
pointed, without even waking Mark who was
still fast asleep.
The fire was burning brightly, and the
table spread for breakfast, when Mr. Melville
entered the breakfast-room. The children
were all standing against the window, and
looking out on the wet lawn with faces
almost as cheerless as the weather. The
window was so covered with raindrops that
it was difficult to see through it, but where
you could see out, the shrubs seemed to hang
their heads wearily as the drops of rain fell
on them and trickled off again like so many
tears; and the leafless branches of the limes
moved mournfully about in the cold, damp air.
"Why, children, how mournful you look.
Whatever is the matter ? Is the old Tabby
dead; or has Charlie lost some of his
rabbits ? "
"0 papa, you know what it is! We are
all so sorry it is wet for cousins to come,"
"Oh, that's it, is it ? I see now; but I
would not let it make me miserable if I were
you. A pretty thing if your cousins were to
come and find such sorrowful faces as yours
are now. Perhaps it may not rain all day;
and if it does I would not let it make me so
unhappy. But here's mamma coming, and
we must have prayers."
It was the custom at Sunberry Dale, at
morning worship, for all who could read to
be furnished with Bibles: then each one
repeated a single text of Scripture, to be
regarded as the repeater's motto for the day.
After this a chapter was read verse by verse,
all round, each child and servant reading in
order, after which Mr. Melville offered
prayer. The family worship at Sunberry
Dale was liked by children and servants,
and it became a source of help and pleasure
to all, and was pleasantly remembered by
them when far away from the dear old
The family worship helped the children to
forget their disappointment about the
weather; whilst Mrs. Melville's cheerful
face and Mr. Melville's pleasant chat soon
restored the smiles to all faces, and before
breakfast was over the room rang with their
About mid-day the rain ceased, the clouds
began to break away, and before the visitors
arrived it was a fair, bright December after-
noon. Mr. Melville met them at the Chester-
ton -railway station, and just as the old clock,
which stood in the hall, struck four, Mark,
who was watching at the window, saw the
carriage turning into the drive from the high-
way and shouted, "Here they are!" There
was a general rush towards the front door,
and when the carriage drove up, Mrs. Melville
and the children were standing in the porch to
welcome them; and a great treat it was to
be welcomed by Aunt Melville beneath the
old porch at Sunberry Dale. There was very
little fuss in her greeting, but they all said
it was worth a long journey in the cold and
wet to be folded at the end of it in Aunt
Melville's arms, to feel her soft kiss pressed
upon the cheek, to see the smile of gladness
in every feature of her face, and to hear the
words of welcome from her lips. It seemed
to remove all tiredness and make one feel
rested at once.
There was a great deal of chattering and
laughter amongst them, as they stepped from
the carriage and grouped themselves about
their aunt and cousins; and Charlie was very
busy, as usual, trying to do impossible things.
He offered to carry all the wraps and travel-
ing bags into the house at once, and after
loading himself with them, so that he looked
like a bundle of walking rugs, he only reached
the hall after dropping a muff and a basket
in the wet, and falling down in the porch
covered with his burden, from which he was
extricated by his cousins with many jokes
and much laughter.
In less than an hour the travellers had re-
moved all traces of their journey, and were
chatting cheerfully around the well-spread
tea-table. Let us look at them as they sit
smiling and happy amongst their cousins.
There are four of them, Kate, George, Rupert,
and Nellie. Kate, the eldest, is a pale, gentle,
thoughtful looking girl of seventeen, with
keen, black eyes, and dark clustering curls.
She seems much older than she is, because of
the earnest thoughtfulness that dwells so
soberly in her countenance. Her younger
sister and brother pay all deference to her, for,
since their mother's death, a year and a-half
ago, she has had often to counsel and cheer
them in their difficulties, and to enter into
their joys. They all tenderly loved her, and
only wished that she would not be quite so
quiet. To her father she was a great com-
fort; she had the most unselfish interest in
his pleasure, and did all she could to promote
it; he often smiled and called her his
"ministering angel." George was about two
years younger than Kate, with a disposition
much like his cousin Charlie, full of fun and
mischief; sometimes, though, rather selfish,
and frequently vexing Kate by his thought-
lessness and wilfulness. Rupert was nearly
fourteen. He was as sedate and quiet as his
brother was restless and mischievous. No-
body could see his kind, loving face, and
broad forehead, surrounded with its dark,
curly hair, and not feel they could love and
trust him. Kate often said he "was her
right hand." He helped her in every way
he could, and thought of himself only when
he had done all he could for her. Nellie was
a blue-eyed, fair-haired, merry child of ten;
with a disposition as frolicsome as that of
George, and as affectionate as that of Rupert.
She flitted here and there like a beautiful
butterfly and danced like a sunbeam through
all the house.
Such was the happy group sitting around
the tea-table at the Dale; they might well
be called a happy group, for bright smiles lit
up every face, and merry words, and mirthful
laughter were heard on all hands. It was
late when the household retired to rest, there
seemed to be so much to talk about, so many
questions to ask, and so many things to
anticipate and arrange.
Charlie and his cousin George occupied the
same room, and long after most of the others
were asleep, sounds that told of fun and mis-
chief were heard issuing from their room.
The old clock in the hall had struck twelve
long before all were asleep; indeed it was
only when Charlie and George heard its slow
measured stroke that they realized their posi-
tion, and with unnecessary noise and bustle
made ready at once for bed.
"EARLY the following morning a strong north
wind set in, and before mid-day all signs of
the previous rain had passed away. The
travellers seemed none the worse for the long
journey of the previous day.
Greater part of the day was spent by the
girls in unpacking and "getting straight," as
they called it. The boys were engaged in
going over the grounds, Charlie being parti-
cularly anxious to show his cousins his stock
of rabbits. These rabbits were kept in a
retired part of the garden, walled off for
various purposes. The nearest way to it was
across a large triangular flower-bed at one
corner of the lawn, and many were the
feuds between the gardener and Charlie,
because the latter would persist in stepping
across the flower-bed to reach the rabbit-
pens. These feuds generally ended in Charlie
having the victory, his wit and fun making
the vexed gardener forget his vexation in
laughter at some droll antic or witty speech.
By the time the boys had finished their
rambles, and the girls their unpacking and
talking, the day was almost gone; and after
a cozy tea, and what George and Charlie
called a jolly game at romps in the hall,"
they were all ready for the night's rest.
The morning of Christmas Eve was bitterly
cold, but Mr. Melville thought a long walk
would do them good. They all agreed
about it, and soon after breakfast all the
children were ready for it. Mark undertook
to be guide, and all promised faithfully to
follow. He took them his favourite walk,
and pointed out the trees in which he had
seen the squirrels play during the past
summer, the spot where he had stood to
listen to the nightingale in the dusk of the
autumn evenings, and the' place where he
had once seen an encounter between a snake
and a frog, in which he had helped the frog
to escape. They reached home by dinner-
time feeling tired and hungry.
The cold increased through the day, and
all were glad to cluster round the fire in the
library. The library at Sunberry Dale was
a long room with two deep bay-windows
looking out over a wide reach of green fields,
from which it was separated only by a narrow
strip of lawn, a low hedge, and a gravelled
path. This room was the favourite one with
all the Dale children; the bay-windows were
their favourite seats in summer time, and
with its soft carpet and heavy crimson curtains
no room seemed so warm and cozy in the
George and Nellie were standing looking
through one of the windows, watching some
wild fowl as they flew over the fields.,
"Do you think it will snow, George ?
Mark says it will."
How does Mark know it will snow ?"
He says he never saw the clouds look
like they do now, without its snowing; and
I am sure it's dreadfully cold."
"Well, I don't know whether it will snow
or not; I only hope it will, it is so jolly to
have snow at Christmas."
"What are you young people talking about
here so seriously ?" said Charlie, coming from
the fire towards them.
"Young people, indeed pray what age are
you, Mr. Greybeard ? Here's Nellie declar-
ing it's going to snow. What do you say
about it ?"
"Well, I say that I think Nellie is right.
I heard papa say he thought so, because of
the clouds and the weather glass. I hope
it will snow, because then it will seem like
When they met in the library after tea there
was a long debate as to what they should do,
and there was much disagreement about it
until Edith suggested a story from papa.
"Just the thing," said Kate.
"Just the thing, a story from uncle John;"
shouted all the voices; and they surrounded
his chair to demand it.
"But what is it to be about, children ? I
am afraid I can't manage it."
"Yes, you can, papa," said Edith.
"Do let it be a real Christmas story, uncle,"
"I should like it to be about fairies, papa,"
"A Christmas story, and a story about
fairies," said Mr. Melville. I fear that is a
difficult thing; however we will try."
The table was pushed back, and the children
grouped themselves round the fire; Mr. Mel-
ville sitting in a large easy chair in the
middle opposite the fire, with Edith on one
side and Nellie on the other. As soon as
they were all comfortably seated, he began
his story of-
THE CHRISTMAS FAIRY.
"You never saw a more beautiful creature
than the Christmas Fairy. She was very, very
tiny, but full of life and happiness, indeed
she was so happy and cheerful at all times
that all the inhabitants of fairy-land had
unanimously agreed to call her 'Queen Joy.'
She had a bright smile, and a kind word for
everybody she met, and if she saw others in
sorrow she instantly tapped them with her
little wand which she called 'Peace,' and at
once they became cheerful and happy. Queen
Joy's possessions were not very numerous,
but amongst them she had another wand
which she called Good Purpose.' This wand
she used chiefly at Christmas time; and she
was called the Christmas Fairy, because with
this wand she was accustomed to incline
many to do deeds of kindness and generosity
at that season of the year in order to promote
the happiness of others,
"One bright Christmas Eve, early in the
morning, the Christmas Fairy stood in
Christmas attire on the branch of a large
yew tree in Squire Barton's park. She had
on a tiny wreath of holly berries, and her
bright scarlet dress was festooned with sprays
of mistletoe, and in her hand she carried her
Christmas wand 'Good Purpose.' If you had
seen her as she stood on the yew branch you
would certainly not have thought that' Queen
Joy' was a very suitable name for her. Her
countenance was very grave and thoughtful,
and not a smile lit it up as she stood lean-
ing on her wand. You would have thought,
perhaps, that she was cold and unhappy, for
the ground was covered with snow which
had been frozen quite hard during the night;
and although there were some bright rays of
sunshine dancing amongst the branches of
the yew tree, yet a very cold wind was blow-
ing over the kind little Fairy. She did not
feel the wind at all, and she was not thinking
about the cold and frost; she was in one of
her brown studies' and busy thinking how
she could do most good, and render more
people happy at this merry Christmas time.
"' Well,' said she, as she spoke aloud; I
don't quite see what I can do. I am sure I
want.to make people happy, but really there
are so many need making happier that I
hardly know where to begin. However,
that's no excuse for my standing idle here,
so I'll just look round the village, see how
things are, and then do the very best I can.'
"If you had seen her smile, and heard her
merry little laugh as she said this, you would
have changed your opinion, and said, Why,
surely that is little' Queen Joy,' the Christmas
"No sooner was the resolution made than
she began to carry it out, and started towards
the village on her good errand. Almost as
soon as she entered the street she came upon
old widow Lane's house.
"' I wonder,' said the Fairy, 'whether
widow Lane needs anything to make her
more comfortable just now. I'11 look in and
see.' And using the wonderful power she
had of going into any place without being
seen, she soon stood unobserved in the
widow's little room. The old woman was
sitting on a low chair trying to keep her
hands warm by means of a few hot embers
which were lying in the bottom of the little
grate. As she sat swaying herself to and fro
in the low rickety chair, the Fairy saw that
tears were quietly trickling down her wrinkled
cheeks, and noticed that she was speaking in
a low, earnest tone to herself.
"'Ah, deary me,' said the old woman,
' times are sadly changed now. I remember
when Christmas time used to come, I had
plenty of fire to keep me warm, and plenty
of good things to eat; but now, my coal is
gone, and I have only some dry bread for my
Christmas dinner; and all those who would
have worked to keep me comfortable are
dead and gone; and I am left quite alone
"'Dear me,' said the Fairy, when she stood
in the street again; 'this will never do. Who
can I touch with my wand "Good Purpose,"
and give them an inclination to help this
poor wothan?' and the bright little Fairy.
stood very thoughtfully for some moments.
*Ah, I know,' said she, smilingly. 'I'll
touch Miss Grey, the merchant's daugh-
"In a large and handsomely furnished
room sat a young lady reading; this was Miss
Grey, the only daughter of a wealthy
merchant. She had read for some time with
attention and interest, when she found that
her thoughts were wandering in all directions,
instead of being centred upon the book. She
knew not the cause of this, but there on the
back of her chair stood 'Queen Joy,' tapping
her with Good Purpose.'
"'It is certainly no use for me to read
any longer,' said she, closing the book. 'I
can't get widow Lane out of my thoughts.
I must go and see what I can do to make her
happy at this merry Christmas time.'
"The Fairy smiled and tripped away, say-
ing to herself, 'That's all right; widow Lane
will be made happy.'
"Before the day had passed, widow Lane
had a bright fire in her little grate and abun-
dant Christmas provision in her pantry.
"'Now,' said the Fairy, as she stood on Mr.
Grey's doorstep, 'I wonder what next I can
do.' And lifting up her eyes she saw a long
row of almshouses not far from where she
stood. 'Ah, I should like all those old people
to have a great treat to-morrow; but I am
sure they can't afford to buy good Christmas
fare out of their little stock of money. Who-
ever could I touch on their behalf ? There's
old Mr. Crusty, the miser; he could afford to
help them, but I am afraid to try him. He
has felt the tap of' Good Purpose' so often
without effect that I fear it would be useless.
The last time I touched him I thought the
F wand would have broken with the force of
my blow, but it was in vain. However I'II
try him once more.'
"Mr. Crusty in a long, old coat, was sitting
counting a bag of sovereigns by the side of
a fire as poor as widow Lane's, when 'Queen
Joy' entered his room and struck him with
her wand on the shoulder. But it had no
effect; he counted on. The Fairy struck him
again. Still no effect. 'Oh dear,' sighed she,
'he is as hard as ever.' She hit him again
harder than before. Presently he ceased
counting, and sat gazing into the fire. He
began counting again, but soon stopped.
"'Whatever can make me be thinking
about those almshouse folk this morning ? I
hope nobody is coming to beg for them this
Queen Joy here struck him again. The
old man proceeded with his counting, but
soon stopped, and again gazed into the fire.
"'It's very strange that I can't get those
almshouse folks out of my mind this morning.
I am afraid I shall be obliged to give them
Here the Fairy struck him with her wand
so energetically that Good Purpose' quite
bent with the force of the blow.
"The old man fidgeted on his chair for a
few minutes, and then laying on one side a
small pile of sovereigns, said, 'Well, I suppose
I must help them. I'll send them ten
"Queen Joy's countenance never looked
brighter than when she came out of Mr.
"During the morning the old people in the
almshouses received the money from Mr.
Crusty, and were enabled to prepare for a
"As Queen Joy passed up the street, she
met little Willie Greedy looking at a half-
crown, which was lying in the palm of his
open hand. As he looked at the bright
piece of silver, he was talking earnestly to
"'It was very kind of Uncle John to give
me half-a-crown; it was just what I wanted.
I dare say my brother George would like me
to divide it with him; but I shan't. I shall
keep it all myself.'
"When the Fairy heard this she tapped
him sharply with 'Good-Purpose,' as she
"Willie still looked wistfully at his half-
crown as he went on. Before he reached
home, however, he said to himself, 'I think
I will give George half of it. He is always
kind to me. Yes, I will give him half.' As
,he entered the house he met his brother, and
with his countenance glowing with pleasure,
said to him, 'I say, George, look here!
Uncle John has given me this half-crown;
and I shall give you half of it.'
"'Thank you, Will. That's just what I
had been wishing for. I'm so glad you will
give it me.'
"As Queen Joy was passing a neat little
cottage in the centre of the village, she heard
a sound like a heavy sigh. She immediately
turned into the cottage, and found an old
blind woman sitting alone. Old widow
Lardner was very comfortably provided for,
but was obliged to spend most of the day
alone, in consequence of her daughter being
necessitated to go out to work. The old
woman found it very dull alone, and was
wishing somebody would come in and read
"'I wonder what I could do to help old
widow Lardner,' said the Fairy, when she
stood again in the street. Whilst she stood
wondering, two little girls came near, busily
"'Are you busy this morning, Jane ?'
"'Well, I thought of going in to read to
'old widow Lardner for a little while; but I
don't think I shall now I 've met you, Mary.'
"As soon as the Fairy heard this, she tap-
ped Jane smartly with 'Good-Purpose.'
"' Then you will come with me for a walk,
"'I don't know, Mary. I hardly know
what to do.'
Here the Fairy struck her with her wand
again. After hesitating a short time, Jane
looked up at her friend and said, 'No, Mary;
I won't come this morning. I'Il go and see
"In a short time the widow was seen
listening with great interest and attention to
the history of the wise men's visit to the
infant Jesus, read by Jane.
"When the Fairy had seen the little girl
go into the widow's cottage, she started at
once for Mr. Surly's house. 'I think,' said
she,' I shall only pay this visit, and then
give over, for I'm getting very tired, and it
will soon be dark.'
"Mr. Surly had been offended by his only
son, and would not visit him, although he
had more than once been invited to do so.
When the Fairy entered Mr. Surly's house,
he was bemoaning his prospect of a solitary
'I almost think I 'l give in, and accept
Harry's invitation to spend Christmas-day
with him and his family. I shall be very
dull here alone. But I don't know, though;
he ought not to have offended me. I think
I shall stop at home after all.'
"At once Good-Purpose' fell on his
shoulders with great force.
"'No, it's too bad; he ought to have done
as I wished him. I don't think I shall for-
give him and go to his house yet, at any
"Here the Fairy struck him three blows
with such vigour that Good-Purpose' almost
snapped in two.
"The old man started up, and began to
walk to and fro in the room, evidently very
uncomfortable. At last he sat down at his
desk, saying, It's no use; I '11 write a note
and say I shall spend to-morrow with him.'
When the note was written and sent, it
was nearly dark, and the Christmas Fairy
felt weary and exhausted; but she wore still
a smiling face, and carried a very happy little
"'Well, well,' said she, as she rested her-
self on the branch of a holly tree, 'I am
glad I tried to make somebody happy; and
though I am very tired with my day's work,
and I have not been'able to do much, yet I
have tried to use "Good-Purpose" well. Oh,
I am pleased that I have made this Christ-
mas time pleasant to somebody!'
"In the abundance of her joy, the Christ-
mas Fairy trolled out a little fairy ballad, and
then nestling her head against a neighbour-
ing spray, fell fast asleep."
"Thank you, papa," cried Edith, as soon as
Mr. Melville had finished. "That's one of
your own nice stories, papa."
"Thank you, papa; thank you, uncle,"
came in a joyous chorus from all.
THE prophecies of the young people about
thi weather had certainly proved correct, for
it had been snowing all night, and Christmas
morning revealed a "white world." The
ground was dry, and the snow piled itself
everywhere. It had fallen on the leafless
branches of the lime trees, until they seemed
to be decked in glistening silver robes, and
dropped a shower of glistening gems as some
bird from the neighboring wood suddenly
alighted on the boughs. It had fallen so
rapidly that it entirely concealed the grass
of the orchard that stretched away to the
road on the other side of the foss6.. The great
trees of Leyoak Park which skirted the
orchard, looked like giants with hoary crowns,
and Charlie said, "'the old sun-dial on the
lawn looked like a dwarf judge in a white
wig and ermine robes." The snow had
piled itself along the eaves and on the gables
of the old house until you might have fancied
that some fairy hands had beaded it with
silver during the hours of the night.
It was still snowing when the family
gathered for breakfast-falling silently and
rapidly, until it was difficult to make out the
outline of the drive up to the house. The
great white flakes piled themselves up so
speedily on the lawn, that the sun-dial
seemed likely to be soon partially buried in
its ample snowy robes. The sculptured
figures that stood here and there in the large
garden looked extremely cold and uncomfort-
able as the snow heaped itself on their heads
or drifted into their faces. Rupert said that
it made him cold to look at them; whilst
George declared they were "the jolliest
guys he had seen a long time."
Charlie was the last to make his appear-
ance, but there was no mistaking who was
coming when he opened the door.
"Bravo, bravo! Here's a jolly Christmas
snow for you. A merry Christmas to you,'
mamma, dear. A merry Christmas to you,
papa. Merry Christmas to you, Kate, Nellie,
Edith. The ladies first, of course. A merry
Christmas to you, Mark, Rupert, and
George." And the bright, mischievous lad
shook each heartily by the hand, and bowed
with mock gravity to all.
The bells of Chesterton parish church
were ringing gaily, they had been ringing
almost all night. Kate and Edith said they
had heard them hours before, but the boys
and Nellie had slept too soundly. There
were footprints of children on the snow lead-
ing from the gate to the house, whilst round
the porch the snow was trodden as though
many feet had been trampling there.
"Whose footprints are those on the
snow ?" said Charlie, as he looked from the
window. "Have you children been dancing
there this morning?"
"Don't be so foolish, Charlie," said Mark.
"You know better."
"Perhaps the Christmas Fairy has been
having a dance there, Charlie," said Kate.
"Then she must have a good many feet of
different sizes," replied Charlie.
"I 'll tell you whose footmarks they are,"
said Edith. They are the carol-singers."
"Did you hear them sing, Edith ?" said
"Yes; I and Kate were awake, and heard
them sing all their carols."
What a bore that you didn't wake me."
"Yes, it was a shame, Charlie. They
never even woke me," said Nellie.
"Well, never mind," said Mr. Melville.
"I hope you all heard sweet songs in your
The bells kept on ringing, saying as
cheerily as any Christmas bells could say it,
A merry, merry Christmas to you." Every-
body seemed glad in the house, and, like the
bells in Chesterton tower, wished everybody
else "a merry Christmas."
The old house looked quite gay inside on
that Christmas morning; there were ever-
greens nearly everywhere, and the long, old-
fashioned hall was transformed into a bower
of greenery. The breakfast-room looked its
gayest, there were Christmas boughs in all
directions. Ivy leaves of burnished green,
and scarlet-berried holly seemed to smile
upon you from all points,-on the lamp, in
the vases, round the pictures, and in the win-
dow; whilst the looking-glass was almost
hidden, and looked quite gay and new again,
in a wreath of scarlet and green.
Perhaps the point of greatest interest to
the children, was the breakfast table, for,
besides the usual display of china and plate,
there were some very curiously shaped
packets, of various sizes, all round the table.
These parcels were wrapped in white paper,
and tied with narrow scarlet ribbon; there
was one by each plate where the children sat,
and wistful were the glances cast at them by
those whose names were written upon them.
When they took their places at the table,
the children were eager to untie the ribbon
and expose the contents of the parcels, and
were only stopped by Mr. Melville saying,
"Breakfast first, breakfast first, children;
and the Christmas Fairy's parcels after."
Those mysterious parcels certainly had
more attention than the grilled ham, cold
tongue, and hot toast.
"Mark," said Nellie, who sat next to him,
"do you know what is in your parcel ?"
"No; indeed I don't, Nellie."
"It is not the same thing as mine, for
yours is long and thin, and mine feels like a
box. I wonder what it is. I do so want to
"We must wait patiently, Nellie."
Oh, waiting is very well for you; but I
can't wait for anything; I always want it at
"I say, George, yours looks the same as
mine," said Charlie. "I believe mine is a
"I fancy mine is a book too," said Rupert.
"I can't tell at all what mine is," said
Edith. "It seems like a little basket
"I have finished my breakfast, papa," said
Charlie. May I open my parcel now "
"Not yet, my boy. When we have all
finished breakfast, mamma and I will retire,
and you must open them as soon as we are.
"Then I wish they had all done breakfast
this very minute," said Nellie.
"Then you want to get rid of me and your
aunt ?" said Mr. Melville, laughing.
"No, uncle; not that," said Nellie, blush-
ing. But I am in such a fidget to know
what is in my parcel."
Mr. and Mrs. Melville had hardly left the
room when the eager children began to open
their packets. They were too anxious to
untie the ribbon, it was broken or slipped off
in the quickest way.
"Hurrah, hurrah !" shouted Charlie. "I
have got the jolliest copy of' Old Jack,' just
what I wanted."
"I have the same," said George. "What
have you got, Rupert ?"
"A beautiful Bible with a rim and clasps.
Isn't it kind of uncle and aunt ?"
Oh dear me said Nellie. "I can't get
this ribbon off. It's gone into a knot."
"Let me cut it," said Mark.
Whatever is it," said Nellie, as she tore
the paper off. "Oh, do look, Kate! -It's the
loveliest box of Loto I ever saw."
What a lot of paper there is round mine,"
said Edith, as she unrolled her parcel
" Whatever can it be ? Oh, see it's made
of blue velvet and brown leather, with
handles like a basket. I know now what it
is; it's a Lady's Companion. I saw it in a
window, and wished for it one day. How
kind of mamma to get it."
Kate found a small gold locket in her
parcel, and Mark a gold pencil case in his.
Before the treasures had been fully exam-
ined, the children rushed into the library to
Mr. and Mrs. Melville, and were loud in their
professions of gratitude and expressions of
thanks; all declaring they were the kindest
and best papa and mamma, and uncle and
aunt in all the land."
The family at the Dale attended the
Chesterton parish church, but the snow
rendered it almost impossible for all to go on
this day; so it was decided that the girls
should remain at home with Mrs. Melville,
and the boys go to church with Mr. Melville.
It was still snowing when they started, but
wrapped in warm coats, and feet cased in
goloshes, the boys took no harm, and enjoyed
the excitement of it.
They dined early at Sunberry Dale, for
Mr. Melville said he liked the old-fashioned
plan best. The children said there was no
dinner in all the year they enjoyed so much
as that on Christmas-day; and the boys said
it was better than ever, after their walk
through the snow.
Perhaps the happiest time of the day was
after tea. A bright fire was burning in the
large old-fashioned grate in the drawing-
room, and the light danced on the shining
leaves of the holly which decorated the pic-
tures on the walls, and glanced on the
polished legs of tables and chairs, and threw
long grotesque shadows on the ceiling, as the
children sat on foot-stools and on the hearth-
rug, and asked each other riddles, and told
Christmas stories. Then, when the lamps
were lighted, they had games of all kinds;
and, at last, when they were tired of these,
they sat all round the fire, "like a large
fender," Nellie said, and repeated Scripture
texts about the advent of Christ, and sang
nearly all the carols and hymns they knew.
And when they said Good-night," they all
agreed it was the happiest Christmas they
'had ever spent.
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON,
THE young people were rather late in rising
the next morning, for all had slept long and
soundly after the mirth and pleasure of the
previous day; they were, however, down to
breakfast by the usual hour. Mr. and Mrs.
Melville were very particular that breakfast
should not be later on Sunday morning than
on other mornings; they were anxious that
all should have the opportunity of going to
church, as regularly as possible, and they
knew that late rising and late breakfasts
would prevent this. It was knowledge of
this that hurried the children in dressing,
and caused them to be in the breakfast-room
Sunday at Sunberry Dale were always
pleasant. The house seemed as quiet as the
48 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
world outside: the same Sabbath stillness
found its way into all the rooms and corners
of the old house, and affected even Charlie,
for he was less thoughtless and boisterous
than on other days. I cannot tell you any-
thing particular about the mode of spending
the Sabbath at the Dale; it was a nameless
charm that spread itself over the day, and
made it a holy and happy time to all. There
was nothing of gloom in the Sundays at
Sunberry Dale; everything was done to in-
crease the leisure of the servants, and to pro-
mote the pleasure of all in the house. Mr.
and Mrs. Melville were calm and joyous
themselves, and sought to impart their own
peace and joy to others; even the children
were never sorry for Sunday to come, and
never glad when its hours were gone.
The snow-flakes still fell when they
gathered in the breakfast-room; but far less
rapidly than on the previous morning. The
snow was now very deep, and some of the
lanes in which it had drifted around Chester-
ton, were almost impassable. The mail-cart
had been delayed by it on the previous day,
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 49
and the letters had not reached the Dale until
Mr. Melville and the boys went to church
in the morning, but found it so difficult to
get through the untrodden snow, that when
they returned to dinner, it was decided that
it would be unwise to attempt to go out
again during the day.
"Whatever shall we all do this evening,
then ?" said Edith, as they sat at dinner.
I know what I should like," said Mark.
"What's that ?" inquired George.
"I think I can tell," said Edith. "You
would like to sing hymns, and ask Scripture
"No," said Mark. "That would be plea-
sant, but it is something better than that."
And he looked towards his mamma and
"Mark's smile directed all eyes towards
Mrs. Melville, and they saw that she was
"Oh, mamma, you know what it is. I am
sure you do. Please tell us," said Edith,
50 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
"I can only guess, my dear. Mark has
not told me."
What is it, aunt ? What is it, mamma ?"
shouted a chorus of voices.
Mrs. Melville looked towards her husband
at the other end of the table, and smiling,
said, "I think Mark would like his papa to
have a service at home, and give us an ad-
"Yes, mamma. That's just it," said Mark.
SMr. Melville looked up in astonishment.
"Oh, uncle," said Nellie, tapping the table
with her hands. "Do have a service at
home, and preach us a nice sermon."
"My dear, I am not a clergyman; how
-can you expect me to preach a sermon ?"
"Yes, you can, papa," said Charlie. "You
preached a sermon to us, in this room, one
wet evening last winter.
After much entreaty, Mr. Melville pro-
mised to give them a little address-"ser-
mon" the children called it-in the evening.
At half-past six the children and servants
,gathered in the library. Mark had under-
taken the arrangement of the room. He had
placed the chairs in rows down the centre,
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 51
and put his mother's Davenport, with a scar-
let sofa cushion upon it, for a desk for his
papa, on one side of the fire-place. A bright
fire was burning in the grate, and Nellie said,
"It was nicer than the church; it was
Mr. Melville read a few of the prayers
from the Liturgy, and then they sang the
following simple hymn from the children's
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean,
And the beauteous land.
And the little moments-
Humble though they be,
Make the mighty ages
"Little acts of kindness,
Little words of love,
Make our earth an Eden,
Like the heaven above.
"So our little errors
Lead the soul away
From the paths of virtue,
Oft in sin to stray.
52 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
"Little seeds of mercy,
Sown by youthful hands,
Rise to bless the nations,
Far in heathen lands."
When they had sung the hymn, Mr. Mel-
ville opened the large family Bible, which
had been placed on the stand before him,
and said, "I shall take a very short text and
preach a very short sermon this evening, and
I hope we shall all be interested and profited.
My text is composed of only four words and
you will find them in the Book of Exodus,
the 23d chapter, and the beginning of the
By little and little.'
"Some time since, I read this description
of the motto of a distinguished scholar in
America. There was the picture of a moun-
tain, with a man at its base, with his hat and
coat lying beside him, and a pick-axe in his
hand; and as he digs, stroke by stroke, his
patient look corresponds with his words,
Peu et peu "-little by little.
This then is my motto to-day, 'By little
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 53
"We must set it down as certain that every-
thing that is worth having or being, must be
striven after. We cannot become good or
great without patiently trying to become so;
and men often reach the position they wish
for, only after long striving; it is 'by little and
little' that they reach it. And this is true,
also, of those who are known as the most
wicked and depraved; men do not often be-
come very bad at once, it is 'by little and
little,' by yielding to one temptation after
another, that they reach the paths of greatest
"You have watched the erection of some
building; first there was a large hole dug to
receive the foundation; then stone was
placed upon stone until the building was
complete. By little and little it reached its
completion. During the past summer, you
were delighted by many rambles amongst
the corn fields, and if you thought much
about the corn, you would remember how
first there had been the little green blade
springing up in the cold, wintry weather,
then, as the days grew longer and warmer,
there came the ear; then, as the bright
54 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
beautiful autumn time came on, there was
the full corn in the ear. 'By little and
little' it had grown till you saw the fields
covered with the golden harvest.
Perhaps you have seen a ship built. First
the great timbers were placed in the shape
which it was intended the vessel should take,
then plank after plank was secured in its
place until the vessel was fitted to float away
on the waters of the great river.
"Now all these things are something like
us and our work in the world. Our char-
acters are formed, they grow to goodness or
wickedness. We become bad, we become
good, or we do great good 'by little and
This teaches us that it is wise to attend
to little things, that in reality little things,
as we call them, are important, because they
are the things that make up our lives, the
materials which form our characters and
compose our careers. If we speak bad words,
if we do unkind and wrong deeds, our lives
will not be good, because we are making them
of bad material. I sometimes hear young
people say when about to do something they
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 55
know is wrong, Oh, it is not much, it is only
for this once.' Suppose the shipbuilder were
to say about a rotten piece of timber, 'Oh,
it's only one, put it in.' You would expect
to hear soon of that vessel going down in the
great sea. Or suppose the weaver were to
say about a bad warp, 'Oh, it's only this
one, put it in.' You would know that the
whole fabric would be spoiled and worthless.
So we must be careful about the things 4ich
make up our lives or they too will become
evil and worthless.
"Now, the first lesson I want you to re-
member is this,-Be careful to resist all temp-
tations to wrong. You have, perhaps, seen a
man make a chain, he makes it link by link,
and as each link is added to the others so
the chain is increased in size and strength.
Bad habits are very much like the links of
the chain; they are formed one by one, one
leads to another, and as these bad habits are
formed so men become involved in sin, its
power grows every day stronger, and evil
characters are formed and established.
You must beware of the beginning. When
you are tempted to do wrong, resist the.
56 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON,
temptation. Do not think it is 'only for
once;' if you yield to that one tempta-
tion you will find it easier to yield next
time, and so the links of the chain of evil
will be increased, and the chain made
"It is very, very important to attend to the
beginning of evil, to resist the first tempta-
tion. If you look at the branch line of a
railway, you will see that at the spot where
the carriages first begin to run on the curved
rail it is very small, and runs alongside the
main-line for a little way, then turns gradu-
ally until a great distance is placed between
it and the main line. So if you yield to
temptation it may appear trifling at first, but
every day it will lead you further away from
the paths of goodness and peace.
"There have been many bright-eyed, happy
lads, whose first step in the way to ruin and
disgrace was disobedience to parents. This
led to the telling of falsehoods, and this to
other sins, until they have found themselves
branded as felons; 'by little and little' they
formed habits and characters of evil, and at
last found themselves disgraced and shunned.
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 57
Many a gallant vessel has gone down in the
waves through springing a leak; perhaps a
very small hole made in the ship's side, but
that little hole was neglected until the water
rushing in beyond control the vessel was
wrecked. Beware then of the first wrong step;
resist all temptation to wrong, and be firm in
You may sometimes think that the wrong
which you are tempted to do will not be very
great nor very injurious; but don't be de-
ceived about it, every sin is great, every
wrong is injurious; and if that wrong is done
and that sin gets a lodgement in your heart
it will certainly grow until it is stronger than
you. Do not encourage sin in any way.
Pray to Jesus for strength to resist all
temptation. He will help you if you ask
Him, for He has promised His grace to those
who seek Him, and He always fulfils His
"The second lesson I wish you to learn is
this,-.Be encouraged in your efforts to be good.
There are many difficulties to be overcome
in becoming a good man, one who loves and
follows the Saviour steadfastly. You must
58 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
not be discouraged, because you find some-
times old sins and bad temper having power
over you, so that you seem to be as far as
ever from being as good as you desire. If
you were climbing a high mountain you
would not find yourself at the top in one
great stride; you would have to toil up the
ascent step by step, and perhaps when you
reached what appeared to you the top you
would find that the summit was far above
you still, and the point you had reached only
one of several found on the way to the moun-
tain top. But this would not discourage you
and make you resolve to go down again. It
would rather make you more vigorous and
determined to climb to the top. So in
striving to be good, do not expect to become
perfect at 'once. It is 'by little and little'
that you can become what Jesus desires you
to be; but you must be always striving.
You must not let difficulties nor disappoint-
ments hinder you. If you think that you
did not love Christ enough yesterday, try to
love Him more to-day. If you think you
did not do work enough for Christ yesterday,
wrok more for Him to-day. If you find you
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 59
have had wrong thoughts and feelings lately,
try to get rid of them to-day. Do not be
discouraged, because of these things, only try
the more to be as good as you can be, and
little by little' you will grow to be what you
desire to be. Remember that you boys and
girls cannot become men and women at once,
you must grow day by day and year by year
until you reach that position; so you must
strive to grow in goodness day by day. Strive
to acquire more right thoughts about God
and His truth. Foster all holy and tender
feelings. Pray constantly to be able to do
all right and kind deeds.
"Do not be discouraged if you fail some-
times. Think how the man who wishes to
become a scholar cannot become one at once,
he must learn the A B C; he must acquire
knowledge 'little by little,' and if he continue
to strive he will one day reach the position
he desires. So you, my dear children, must
always strive to be good, to be truthful, to be
honest, to be kind, to do right, to love Jesus,
and then 'little by little' you will grow to
be like Him.
"The third lesson I wish you to learn is
60 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
this,-Be encouraged to do all the good you
ean. Those who wish to do great things at
once generally do nothing at all. It is by
doing good at all times and on all occasions,
by adding one good deed to another, 'by
little and little' -that great good is done by
most people in the world. In the great
Pacific ocean there are many beautiful islands
which have been reared up from the bottom
of the deep by the little coral insect. This
insect only deposits one grain of sand at a
time, and yet 'little by little,' by continuous
exertion the whole of those islands have been
thus reared. Just so is it with most of the
good done in the world, it is accomplished
by small but continued exertions.. If we
think about the great good which missionary
societies are doing now, we shall see how
true this is. Missionary work in foreign
lands did not become as extensive as it is
now all at once. It had a very small begin-
ning; only a few men were interested in it,
and they could not get much money at first.
But these men loved the work, and they per-
severed in doing what they could; they made
others think and feel like themselves, and so
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 61
'little by little' missionary work has become
what it is.
"You may often think that you can do
very little good, that what you can do is so
small that it is not worth doing at all Do
not think so; even the smallest thing you
can do will help in some way. Remember
the verses you sometimes sing,-
S'Suppose the little cowslip
Should hang its golden cup,
And say, "I 'm such a tiny flower,
I'd better not grow up;"
How many a weary traveller
Would miss its fragrant smell!
How many a little child would grieve
To lose it from the dell!
"' 'Suppose the glistening dew-drop
Upon the grass should say,
What can a little dew-drop do ?
I'd better roll away;"
The blade on which it rested,
Before the day was done,
Without a drop to moisten it,
Would wither in the sun.
'Suppose the little breezes,
Upon a summer's day,
Should think themselves too small to cool
The traveller on his way;
62 MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON.
Who would not miss the smallest
And softest ones that blow,
And think they made a great mistake
If they were talking so ?
C How many deeds of kindness
A little child may do,
Although it has so little strength,
And little wisdom too !
It wants a loving spirit,
Much more than strength, to prove
How many things a child may do
For others by its love.'
"Then do not be discouraged. Do all you
can; it may not seem to you much, but if
you continue to do what you can it will in
the end make very much. Ask Jesus to
accept your service, remembering that he
estimates it not by its quantity, but by the
motives which prompt it. The two little
mites which the poor widow cast into the
treasury were more acceptable to Him than
the great gifts of the rich man, because they
were as much as she could possibly give, and
were given in love. Jesus accepts little
services if they are done, because the doers
love Him. King David desired to build a
temple for God, but he was not permitted to
MR. MELVILLE'S SERMON. 63
do that, yet he did what he could towards it,
he procured the land, and left it for the site of
the glorious temple which his son Solomon
built. And God was pleased with David for
doing what he could, and because there was
a desire in his heart to do much more. Then
let our hearts be filled with desires after
good. Let us try so to love the tender and
gracious Saviour that we shall feel we must
serve Him, because we love Him. Let us
ask Him to enable us to resist temptation,
to strive to be good and to do good, then He
will look kindly on us also, and 'by little
and little' we shall be better fitted to serve
Him on earth, and prepared to be with Him
in heaven for ever."
At the close of the address they sang the
Evening Hymn, and all the children said
"they had spent a very pleasant Sunday
THE snow had ceased falling on Monday
morning, and the sun shone out brightly,
although the wind was still blowing from
the north, and during the night a keen frost
had set in.
It was decided by the boys to have a
game at snow-balling on the lawn after break-
fast; so, as soon as that meal was over, there
was a general rush after caps, goloshes, and
"Wrap yourselves up well, lads," said Mr.
Melville. "It's very cold."
"All right, papa. We shall soon be warm
enough," said Charlie.
Mrs. Melville and the girls stood at the
breakfast-room window to watch the sport;
whilst Mr. Melville sat down to read the
The boys had wrapped woollen scarves
round their necks till they almost hid their
.faces, and one or two of them had put on
warm woollen gloves.
"Oh, aunt, just look at Charlie !" said
Nellie. "Whatever has he got round his
It looks like fur," said Kate.
"So it is, my dear. Why, it's my old
victorine," said Mrs. Melville.
"And look, mamma," said Edith, "the
tails are hanging down behind."
"There's Mark coming now," said Kate.
"Why, he can hardly walk, his coat is so
"He has your uncle's old coat on, my
"What's that about my coat ?" said Mr,
Melville, looking up from his paper.
"Mark has your old grey coat on, papa,"
said Edith. "Come and see him."
Mr. Melville got up from his chair, and
came and stood with the group at the
window. Very soon the snowballs began
to fly about, and merry shouts and loud
laughter were heard on the lawn.
It looks like another snow-storm almost,"
"They are rather large snow-flakes," said.
"I shouldn't like to be out in a snow-
storm if the flakes were as big as those snow-
balls," said Nellie. "I'm sure they would
soon break my umbrella."
Two or three times the group round the
window drew back suddenly, as some snow-
ball missed its mark, and losing its way,
came against the window.
"I think I will go and join them," said
Mr. Melville. "I have not had a game of
snow-balling for years."
Mrs. Melville laughed heartily.
"May I come with you, uncle?" said
"I don't know," said her uncle. "What
will aunt say ?"
"May I go, aunt ? Oh, do let me go! I
should so enjoy it! Please say yes, aunt!"
Mrs. Melville smiled, and looked rather
doubtful for a moment or two.
Let her go, aunt," said Kate. "It won't
hurt her if she does not stop too long, and
she can put on dry boots and stockings when
she comes in."
Mrs. Melville laughed, and said "Yes," as
"Thank you, aunt. That is good. Come
along, uncle," said Nellie, as she took his
hand and drew him to the door.
In a short time, Mr. Melville, in an old
rough coat and travelling cap, and Nellie in
a garden bonnet and a thick veil, were seen
on the lawn.
"I say, look here, chaps," said Charlie,
"here's papa;" and before Mr. Melville
could look round, two or three snowballs
were thrown at him. One of them hit him
on the side of his ear, and he was obliged to
stop and shake himself, and wipe the snow
out of his neck and ear, amidst the hearty
laughter of the boys on the lawn, and the
girls in the breakfast-room.
"Stop, stop a minute," said he, as the balls
flew thick and fast about him. "Let me get
breath before I begin."
"Here's one for the veiled lady," said
George, as he threw one at Nellie.
"Ah, but you didn't hit the veiled lady,"
Snd she threw one at him, which covered his
face and neck with snow.
"Hurrah for the lady of the veil," shouted
Rupert, whilst they all laughed heartily at
George's efforts to free himself from the
Mr. Melville was busy filling his pockets
with snowballs, and very soon he was chasing
the boys in all directions, especially charging
Charlie and George, who were soon glad to
shout for a truce.
The girls and Mrs. Melville seemed to
enjoy it almost as much as those who were
outside, and the servants who had gathered
at one of the upper windows were laughing
When they were tired of snow-balling, and
Nellie and her uncle had gone into the
house, Rupert proposed they should make a
large snowball. They all agreed, and com-
menced at once. A small heap of snow was
first piled together, and pressed hard, and
then it was rolled round and round the lawn,
until it grew so large that the united strength
of the four boys was unequal to move it, and
it was left standing in front of the porch.
After this they were tired, and went into the
house to change their clothes, and then to sit
and laugh over the fun of their snow-balling.
After dinner, Mark and Rupert went into
the breakfast-room to have a "little quiet,"
as they said, leaving the others to enjoy
themselves in the library. Mark sat down
to read, and Rupert to write a letter to his
papa. When he had finished his letter, he
went and stood at the window, and looked
out at the snowed landscape.
"I say, Rupert, what are you doing at the
window so long ?"
"I'm looking at this great snowball."
"I should have. thought you had looked at
that enough this morning."
"It set me thinking."
"Why, about uncle's address last night."
"How could it make you think.about
"In this way. I thought of the way we
made the ball, how small it was at first, and
how, 'by little and little,' it became the size
it is; and then I wished I might grow to be
good and useful some time."
"Oh, I see! I often wish the same thing,
Rupert; but it seems such slow work."
And very hard work too, Mark."
"Yes. I do want to grow up as good as
papa, but I am so often discouraged, that I
think I never shall."
You must try always. It seems to me
that nearly all the good and great men I
read about were once poor, and had to work
their way up bit by bit."
"Papa often tells me that."
"Yes; and mamma often said so to me;
and one day, just before she died, she said,
'Rupert, strive to be a good man; never
mind being a great man, be a good man, for,
after all, goodness is the truest greatness.'"
"I suppose you will never forget that."
"I hope not, because I am sure it's true.
I would rather be a good man than anything
else. Papa told me once that Jesus Christ
was great because of His power, but He was
greatest because of His goodness; that men
love Him, not because of His power so much,
but because of His love and goodness."
"That's just how I feel, Rupert."
"So do I; and don't you think, Mark,
that the men who have done most good
in the world have been most like Jesus
"Yes, I do. I often read the lives of men
who have been great in war or in science, or
something else, but I never feel that they
were really so great as some I read about
who were great because they tried to be
good men, and tried to do good to others."
"You mean such men as Felix Neff, Dr.
Carey, and Dr. Judson?"
"And look at the difficulties they met
with, and how hard they had to work to
overcome them. They seem never to have
been daunted. They went right on in the
way they had chosen, no matter who laughed
at them or tried to hinder them."
"That was because they felt they were
right, and were patient and persevering."
"Papa often says that perseverance is the
key to all success," said Rupert.
Just then the bell rang for tea, and a
servant came to inquire if "Master Rupert's
letter was ready for post." The boys were
right; the secret of all progress in life is
earnest, persevering work; and the secret of
true greatness is loving God sincerely, and
serving Him faithfully.
AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL.
WHEN the letters were delivered at the
Dale the next morning there was one from
Mr. Melville's only unmarried sister, Lucy,
saying that she intended coming to spend a
few weeks at the Dale, and would be with
them that same day about noon. This was
a most unexpected announcement, for all
thought that Aunt Lucy was too lame to
leave her home. However, there was no
mistake about it, for she wished them to
meet the mid-day train.
Miss Melville was several years younger
than her brother, she was nearly as tall as
he; and the smooth braids of her brown hair
were streaked with silver as plentifully as
Everybody loved Aunt Lucy. To the Dale
74 AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL.
children and their cousins she.was the em-
bodiment of love and kindness. She had
nursed them in many of their illnesses, and
spent hours in making toys to amuse them
in younger days. Nobody like Aunt Lucy
to tell stories; and as to games she seemed
to know an endless number.
You may easily imagine what a stir Aunt
Lucy's letter caused at Sunberry Dale on that
Tuesday morning. Everybody wanid to
meet her; but the. carriage would not hold
everybody, so everybody could not go.
Charlie and George and Nellie were frantic
with delight, and kept the house in a con-
tinuous uproar all the morning.
When the carriage stopped at the door
about mid-day, it seemed rather likely.that
Aunt Lucy would be forcibly carried into the
house, so boisterous was the joy.
"Gently, gently, children; you will pull
me to pieces," said she.
"That's what I call being taken by storm,"
said Mr. Melville, laughing.
"I think so too, brother," said Miss'
":Well, aunt it's only a storm of hugs and
AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL. 75
kisses; .and you mustn't mind that, because
we are so glad to see you," said "Charlie.
.After dinner the excitement subsided a
little, and Miss Melville spent the-afternoon
in quietly talking over some business matters
with her brother and his wife.
In the evening they all gathered in the
library, and a pleasant group .it was sitting
round. the bright fire. Aunt Lucy had the
"very easiest chair," Charlie said he could
find, and with the firelight playing on her
countenance: and the glow of the warm
crimson curtains behind her she did look, as
Nellie said, "one of the very nicest of
"Now, aunt, you must please tell us a
at~ry, said Edith.
:'A story, my dear! .hy, I should think
you have heard all mny stories."
:Oh, no, we haven't," said George. "You
know no end of stories."
: "Yes, that's quite true, aunt," said Nellie.
I am sure you know lots."
:"-I am not so sure about that, my dear,"
said Aunt Lucy, smiling. "But, however,
J'll try and tell you about-
76 AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL.
MADAM SQUIRREL, AND HER DISOBEDIENT
"Greyley Park was a very large and
pleasant place, with its thick woods, its
green drives, and long shady walks. It was
well filled with many kinds of trees, but, per-
haps, the finest trees in it were the beeches;
they were very old, large, and very numerous,
so that when the thick underwood was
cleared away at certain seasons, their tall
.straight trunks, clustered together, bearing up
a heavy mass of foliage high overhead, made
you think of the pillars and vaulted roof of
some grand old cathedral. Perhaps one of
the finest beech trees -in Greyley Park was
one which stood very near to old Squire
Tenderden's filbert ground, which skirted just
one corner of the great park, and was only
divided from it by a low hedge and a carriage
"Early one morning in spring a fine brown
squirrel was seen springing from one tree to
another in the park near to the old Squire's
garden. The movements of this squirrel
seemed to puzzle the birds very much, who.
AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVALS 77
as they sat nestling among the branches of
the trees, were often disturbed by the frisk-
ing about of this lady squirrel. She was
evidently looking for something of import-
ance, for she spent a long time in jumping
from one tree to another and carefully ex-
amining their trunks and branches.
"Madam Squirrel was in fact looking for a
home, but evidently was very difficult to
please as to the situation of the house she
"She ran up a large chestnut tree and
perching upon one of its topmost branches
looked carefully about her; but she shook her
head and ran down very speedily; evidently
that would not do.
"She ran about in the grass for some time
and then came to a tall fir tree; she threw
her head back and looked up to its top,
thought a little about matters, and then sprang
up its straight dark trunk. She ran round
and round it until she reached the top, and
sitting down on an out-stretching branch
looked around her again. A blackbird who
was perched on a higher branch of the same
tree, and who had been watching her some
78 AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL.
time, saw her shake her head again and run
down to the grass once more.
"She passed a great many trees of various
kinds until she came to the fine old beech
tree standing near the filbert ground; this at
once arrested her attention, and she ran up it
with great speed. She had gone up about
half-way, when a round hole in the trunk
caught her eye; she stopped, put her head
inside to look, frisked her tail and jumped
through it. After a few moments her sharp
bright eyes were seen at the hole again, and
presently she came out with a very pleased
look on her face, and as she perched herself
on a branch near, with her bushy tail coiled
up overhead, and turned her gaze first on one
side and then on the other, she was heard to
say, 'This is nice, just the house I wanted.
It is high up in the tree, and has a very good
entrance, and I do really believe I can see
Squire Tenderden's filbert trees from here.
That's better still, I shall settle here at once.'
"Madam Squirrel had not many goods to
move, so the same day she settled down in
her new house in the old beech tree.
"After several weeks had passed away the
AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL. 79
birds, who lived in the trees near the old
beech, began to hear strange noises in Madam
Squirrel's house, and one fine day they were
astonished by seeing two little brown squirrels
sitting by Madam Squirrel near the entrance
to her house. These were her two sons, and
she was busy teaching them to crack nuts. As
the days passed on they grew very much, and
became quite active in getting about amongst
the trees in their neighbourhood; and madam
was evidently very proud of her sons.
"As these young squirrels grew older they
began to think they knew as much as their
mother, and were sometimes very angry be-
cause she would not allow them to roam far
from their home alone; and instead of being
grateful to her for the fine nuts she brought
them to eat, they would sometimes throw
them out at the door saying, 'they could find
better than those if she would only let them
go where they liked.'
Madam assured them 'it was difficult to
get nuts at all, and that it would be very
dangerous indeed for them to try to get them,
they were so young and inexperienced.' At
this these unkind and ungrateful young
0 AN EXPECTED ARRIVAL
squirrels oly turned up their heads and
"For two or three days madam had brought
tome fine bunches of filberts to her sons, and
with these they were exceedingly pleased.
After enjoying these for some days, they
asked their mother to allow them to accom-
pany her when she next went to seek them.
This she refused at once, saying they were
too young for such a dangerous expedi-
"The young squirrels were very much dis-
pleased at their mother's refusal, and after a
long private talk determined to go to the
filbert ground by themselves some day when
their mother was from home.
"About a week after this madam was
obliged to go out into the woods to see some
friends, and would be away some hours. She
gave her children many kind cautions.
"'Be sure you keep near home while I am
away. Don't go near the filbert ground, it is
very dangerous, for yesterday I saw the
Squire's gardener with a gun watching the
filbert trees, and I had great difficulty in
getting home with that bunch of nuts I
4AN UNEXPECTED ~AIA. 8tL
brought you. I must not go there. myself
"They both promised to be obedient and
good, and madam departed with a peaceful
"The young squirrels watched their mother
out of sight, and then began to laugh and taUk
"'Oh, it's nonsense for her to expect un to
stop here all day,' said one.
"'Well, what will you do said the
"'Oh, I shall go and get some filberts.'
"' But suppose the man fires his gun,'
"'Perhaps he won't be there, and if he is
we can turn back,'
"'But we promised mother to stop a
"'Oh, we shall be back soon, and she won'
know anything about it.'
"'Very well; let us go.'
"The young squirrels then sprang froo
tree to tree till they came to the edge of the
.park, and opposite to the filbert ground, They
looked round, and seeing no danger .an down
the tree and across the ,road into- te lbet
82 AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL.
ground. They found the trees loaded wifh
nuts, and began at once to gather and crack
"The young squirrels had been enjoying
themselves for half an hour, when they heard
a stealthy step amongst the leaves on the
ground, and looking down they saw the
gardener pointing his gun at them. They
screamed, dropped their nuts, and began to
run away. There was a bang, a great smoke,
and one of the squirrels dropped down,
amongst the leaves on the ground, dead.
The other crept away wounded.
"It was late in the afternoon when madam
returned. She was surprised as she came
near to hear no noise in her home; but she
thought that perhaps her children had grown
tired and had gone to sleep, so she entered
her house very quietly, but they were not
there. She went out and called them, but
she heard no answer. She became alarmed,
and rushed eagerly from tree to tree, still she
could not find them. At length she thought
she heard a moaning at the foot of the old
tree, and she ran down as fast as possible,
and there with a broken leg, and a spoilt tail,
AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL. 83
sat one of her children crying and moan-
"'Oh, dear, dear me what's the matter ?'
"Her son only groaned.
"' Where have you been? Where's your
brother ?' asked the mother.
"'c We went to the filbert ground and the
man shot us; brother is dead, and the man
picked him up, and my leg is--. Oh, dear,
how it pains me.'
"Poor madam was so shocked that she
could not speak for some moments; but as
soon as she recovered she assisted her
wounded son up the tree to the house, and
did all she could to alleviate his suffering.
"Later in the evening when the poor
wounded young squirrel was asleep, madam
was heard to say to a neighboring squirrel,
'What a pity it is that young people will
bring so much suffering and sorrow on them-
selves, because they will not attend to the
advice of older and experienced people.'
"'Ah, yes !' replied her neighbour. Dis-
obeying the good advice of kind parents
nearly always ends in sorrow.'
84 AN UNEXPECTED ARRIVAL.
True, very true." said madam."
Thank you, Aunt Lucy ? Thank you,
aunt," broke from all the children when she
had finished; Nellie declaring, "It was one
of her very best stories."
They then sang some of their favourite
pieces together, and at nine o'clock the bell
rang for prayers&
A QUIET MORNING.
THE room occupied by Kate at the Dale was
in the second story, and had been formerly
the nursery. It was at the western end of
the house, and had two windows in the old-
fashioned, pointed gables, one looking west,
ward, the other southward. The view from
each was exceedingly beautiful, and all who
knew the room agreed in pronouncing it the
pleasantest room in the house, The outer
look westward was limited, but very charm"
ing. Immediately before you lay the
extensive garden, with its well-kept gravelled
paths stretching away towards the great fil'
bert ground which bounded its southern and
western sides; beyond this, stretched mile
on mile of the splendid Leyoak Park. The
view southward was more varied and beauti-
86 A QUIET MORNING.
ful still; just below was the trim lawn and
richly fruited orchard, and looking over these,
you saw the embattled walls of an armoury,
and the fine old tower of Chesterton Church,
its exquisite tracery and graceful pinnacles
being easily discerned against the blue or
grey background of sky. Farther still than
the town of Chesterton, you could see the
rich grounds of an ancient abbey, and these
stretched away until lost in the bleak up-
lands of the Woldcot hills.
Kate was very fond of this room and spent
many quiet hours there; it was very large,
and during the severe weather, a fire was
kept continually burning in it.
Against the window looking south stood
an old-fashioned easy chair near a small
round table, on which were placed an antique
ink-stand and a few books. This chair was
Kate's favourite seat, and almost every morn-
ing she might be found spending an hour in
the quiet reading of a little purple-covered
Bible with strong silver clasps. This Bible
had been her mother's, and had been given
by her to Kate when on her dying bed.
Many kind and blessed counsels had been
A QUIET MORNING. 87,
given with the book, and though these had
sunk into her young mind, it needed not
their power to bind it to her heart. The
book was dear to her for her dead mother's
sake; she knew its pages had been well read
by her through many years, and that its
truths had been her comfort and strength
when dying, and she loved it for the precious
memories which clung around it. But she
loved it for other reasons also; she valued it
because it revealed the Saviour to her, and
because she found in it help and guidance in
her daily duties.
The morning after Aunt Lucy's arrival,
Kate sat in the old chair by the window,
with her little Bible open on her lap, but
she was not reading; one hand rested on the
elbow of the chair, and the other was lightly
placed on the open book, whilst her face was
turned towards the window. She seemed
to be looking intently on the distant woods,
and ancient tower, but in reality her thoughts
were far away; the snowed landscape had
no charm for her just then. So occupied was
she with her own thoughts, that she did not
hear the door softly opened by Edith, and
88 A QUIET 1ORNINGc.
was nott aware of her presence until the soft
hand rested on her shoulder, and the pleasant
voice said, Katie, dear."
Kate turned her face towards the speaker,
and smiled pleasantly, but Edith saw that
tears were shining in her eyes.
"Whatever are you doing here so
quietly ?" said Edith.
"Oh, nothing very particular. I've only
Kate was never forward to tell her thoughts
to others, and it often needed close question-
ing to induce her to speak of them.
"Are you unhappy, Kate ?"
"No, dear; not at all."
"I was afraid you were, you looked so
"Did 1 Then I ought not to have done
so, for I was feeling very happy indeed."
Were you? Then what were you think-
ing about that made you look so sad ?"
"I had been reading the 14th chapter
of St. John's Gospel, and I thought how good
it was of Jesus to go away to prepare a place
in heaven for those who love Him, and to
promise to come again to take them to that
A -Qt7T MONItnGL 89
home. I thought of dear mamma too, fo r Ah
was very fond of this chapter."
"You were very sorry to lose her, were
you not, Kate ?-"
"Yes, very, very sorry."
SBut she was a good woman, was she hot,
"Oh, yes said 1 ate, nsiling brightly
through her tears.
"Then she is in heaven with Jesus, Kate."
"Yes; I am sure of that, because she loved
Him so much on earth, and felt so certain
about it before she died."
'Kate took Edith's hand in hers, and turn"
ing her face towards the window, sat silently
gazing out on the distant woods.
"Do you think, Kate, that Jesus always
takes care of those who love Him ?" said
Edith, suddenly and earnestly.
"Yes; I am sure of it."
Why are you sure, Kate ? "
Because the Bible says so."
SWhere does it say that ?"
Kate turned over the leaves of her litti
*Bible, and found the 13th chapter of, the
Epistle to the Hebrews, ahd pointing to the
90 A QUIET MORNING.
latter part of the 5th verse, told her cousin to
She did so, first silently, then aloud, "I
will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
"Here is another text which proves it,"
said Kate, turning to the 8th verse of the
same chapter, and reading it aloud, "Jesus
Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for
"Then you think Jesus Christ never
"Never, Edith, dear. He is always the
same. Other friends change and die, but
Jesus is the same for ever."
"And will He be the same friend to all
who love Him ?"
"Yes, dear; no matter how young or how
old, or what they are, if they love Jesus, He
will be the same friend to all."
"How nice it is that the Bible tells us all
"Yes, it seems to make one love the Bible
so much, to know that it tells us of just the
Friend we need."
Footsteps were heard coming along the
A QUIET MORNING. 91
passage; there was a gentle tap at the door,
and Aunt Lucy entered.
"Oh, are you here, Edith 1 I thought you
were in the library."
"I was a little while ago, aunt; but I
came up to seek Kate, and I stopped talk-
"Take this chair, auntie, dear," said Kate,
rising from her seat, and gently pushing
Miss Melville into it.
"Thank you, dear; but what will you
"I will soon find a seat, auntie," said
Kate. And she drew a footstool near to her
aunt, and sat down upon it.
Miss Melville took up the little Bible
which Kate had placed on the table, and
looking at it, said, "Was not this your mam-
ma's Bible, Kate ?"
"Yes, aunt. Do you remember it, then ?"
said Kate, smiling brightly at the thought of
her mother's Bible being so readily recog-
"Indeed I do, my dear; I could not easily
forget a book seen so often in your mamma's
hands, or on her work-table."
-92 A Q~IET MORNING.
t It was very dear to her, auntie."
"I know it-was, and I hope it will be as
precious to her child."
The tears stood in Kate's eyes as she said,
"It is precious, auntie; there are so many
things that make it dear to me."
"What are they, Kate ?"
"I love it because it tells me about Jesus
Christ, and points me to Him as my Sa-
Ah !that is the best of reasons for loving
the Bible, Kate. If we feel we are sinners,
and see that it reveals Jesus to us as willing
and able to save us from our sins, then we
shall indeed love it."
"I love it also, aunt, because it seems to
be always fresh and beautiful; there seems
so much meaning in it, that I don't get tired
of it as I do of other books."
"I am so glad to hear you say this, and I
hope you will always feel the Bible to be a
precious book. It is indeed a book of
beauties, every page seems filled with gems.
I read the other day a description of a silver
egg in the green room at Dresden, which
nicely illustrates what we are speaking about.
QUIET MOJN& :98
'This silver egg was a present to one of the
Saxon queens, and when you touch a spring,
it opens and reveals a golden yolk. Within
this is bidden a chicken, whose wings being
pressed, also flies open, disclosing a golden
crown, studded with jewels. Nor is this all,
another secret spring being touched, hidden
in the centre, is found a diamond ring.' The
truths of the Bible are like this, there is
treasure within treasure, beauty with beauty,
always something to delight and help
"But everybody doesn't think of the Bible
like that, aunt, do they ?" said Edith.
"No, dear; only those who read it lovingly
and patiently. Jesus Christ said, 'Search
the Scriptures,' and it is those who search
them who know most of their beauty and
"But some bad men have admired the
beauty of the Bible, haven't they, aunt?"
"Yes, they have admired its literary
beauties, they have liked it because of its
grand poems, its terse proverbs, its beautiful
parables and wonderful histories."
94 A QUIET MORNING.
"But that would not help or comfort them
much, auntie," said Kate.
"No, dear; it must be loved because it is
God's word, and teaches us how we may be
pardoned and grow like Jesus, if it is to be
a helpful and blessed book to us. Never
neglect -it, my children; read it diligently
and prayerfully every day, and you will find
it 'a lamp unto your feet, and a light unto
your path.' It will always be an unfailing
comforter and a sure guide."
Just then the first bell rang for dinner,
and Aunt Lucy and the girls separated to
prepare for it, Kate saying, as Miss Melville
left the room, "I am so glad you came up,
aunt, it has been such a nice, quiet morning."
Edith said nothing, but the tears in her
eyes told how deeply the morning's talk had
touched her heart.
" A HAPPY New Year to you, aunt."
"Thank you, dear; I wish you the same."
The speakers were Mrs. Melville and Kate.
They were the first members of the family to
make their appearance in the breakfast-room
on New Year's morning. Mrs. Melville stood
near the fire, and returned the greeting of
her niece by a happy smile and loving kiss.
"There seems to be something strange
and solemn in beginning a New Year," said
"Yes, there is, my dear," said Mrs. Mel-
ville. "And yet there is cause for great
gladness also. God has mercifully spared
us through the past year, and we ought to
feel thankful to Him for His goodness."
"I do feel very thankful, aunt; but it
96 TABLEAUX VIVANTS.
seems like welcoming a new friend to wel-
come a New Year, and we don't know what
it will bring us."
"True, dear; but we must not forget that
it is God who sends us all the joys and
sorrows which, the year may bring. I have
just been reading this verse, Kate, and I
think it will make. a suitable New Year's
motto :-~ The Lord God is a sun and shield:
the Lord will give grace and glory; no good
thing will he withhold from them that walk
gy rightly "
That is a nice help, aunt."
"I have found it so, dear; we cannot
trust God too much; the more we love and
trust Him, the more do we find that He is
a 'sun' to give us brightness and joy, and a
'shield' to protect us from harm."
"And all that He sends us is good, aunt."
Mrs. Melville turned, and looked lovingly
into Kate's face, saying slowly and earnestly,
" We know th all things work together for
good t them that love God."
.I. I a few minutes the boys came trooping
into the room, and then there were hearty
.greetings and loving -embraces all round;
TABLEAUX VIVANTS. 97
Aunt Lucy coming in for quite an extra
share, because, as Nellie said, "she did not
have any kisses from them on Christmas-
"Did any of you young people hear the
New Year rung in ?" said Mr. Melville, as
they sat at breakfast.
"I think Kate did, papa," said Edith.
"Is that correct information ?" said Mr.
"Yes, uncle," said Kate, blushing.
"Do you mean to say, Kate, that you sat
up to hear the bells ring at twelve o'clock ?"
"Yes; why not, George ?"
"Well, I'd rather be comfortable in bed,"
"I like to hear the bells ring in the New
Year," said Kate. "It seems like a joyfully
earnest welcome to one whom we hope will
be a good friend to us. I always sit up in
my room at Langdon till I hear the bells
ring out from the old tower."
"I feel very much like it," said Mark,
"I sat up last night until I heard the first
peal ring out."