~j~i~l Iii jil A
AUTHOR OF CHRISTIE'SS OLD ORGAN,' 'A PEEP BEHIND
THE SCENES,' ETC.
WITH NINETEEN ILLUSTRATIONS BY
V. J. MORGAN
Ube ReUligous tract Societp
56 PATERNOSTER ROW; 65 ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD
AND 164 PICCADILLY
REPRINTED FROM THE 'CHILD'S COMPANION
THE LITTLE RED CLOAK .
POPPY'S WOK 15
A HOLIDAY 22
A LONG NIGHT 28
FOUND AT LAST 35
POPPY WRITES A LETTER 42
A VISIT FROM GRANDMOTHER 48
JACKY AND JEMMY 54
JOHN HENRY'S BAIRN 61
THE MOTHER'S LEGACY 9
THE STORY OF THE RING .
THE WONDERFUL FIRE 84
POPPY'S FATHER COMES HOME 89
THE LITTLE RED CLOAK.
*h E great cathedral
bell was striking
solemnly it struck,
and as it did so people
looked at their watches
and altered their clocks, for
every one in the great city
S kept time by that grave
L old bell. Every one liked
to hear it strike; but the
school children liked it
best of all, for they knew
that with the last stroke
of twelve lessons would be over, and they would
be able to run home to dinner.
Good morning, children,' said Miss Benson, the mistress.
Good morning, ma'am,' said the girls, and then they
marched out like soldiers in single file. So quiet they
were, so grave, so orderly they went, almost as solemnly as
the old bell itself.
S POPPY'S PRESENTS.
But only till they reached the school door. Then they
broke up into a merry noisy crowd, running and shouting,
chasing each other from side to side, jumping, hopping,
and skipping as they went down the street.
'Oh dear, what a noise them children do make,' said-
old Mrs. North; as she got up and shut her cottage door.
But the noise soon died away, for the children were
hungry, and they were hurrying home to dinner.
What is that little bit of red that we see in front of the
crowd It is a little girl in a scarlet cloak, and she is
turning down a long straight road which leads into the
heart of the city. Let us follow her and see where she is
going. She is very tidily dressed, there is a clean white
holland pinafore under the scarlet cloak, and although her
shoes are old, they are well patched and mended. But
she is turning into a very poor part of the city-the
streets are getting narrower and more crowded, and they
are getting darker, too, for the quaint, old-fashioned
houses overhang the pavement, and so nearly meet over-
head, that very little light or air can get into the dismal
Still on and on goes the little red cloak. And now she
is turning down a court on the'left-hand side of the street.
An open court it ought to be, with a row of houses on
each side, and an open space in the middle ; bnt it is not
an open space to-day, for it is everybody's washing-day in
Gray Friars Court, and long lines are stretched from side
THE LITTLE RED CLOAK. 9
to side, and shirts and petticoats and stockings and all
manner of garments are waving in the breeze.
The little red cloak threads her way underneath; some-
times the corner of a wet towel hits her in the face, some-
times she has to bend almost double to get underneath a
dripping blanket or sheet. But she makes her way through
them all, and passes on to the last house in that long
dingy court, and as she does so she notices a little crowd
of women standing by her mother's door. There is old
Mrs. Smith leaning on her crutches, and SLrah Anne
Spavin and her mother, and Mrs. Lee with her baby in
her arms, and Mrs. Holliday, with Tommy and Freddy
and Ann Eliza. And as she looks up she sees several
faces looking out of the windows overhead.
What could be the matter? Had anything happened
to her mother? Was her mother dead? That was her
first thought, poor child. But nobody was looking par-
ticularly grave, and they laughed as they caught sight of
the little red cloak coming under the white sheets and
Why, here's Poppy !' said Mrs. Holliday, as she came
up to them.
'Well, Poppy,' cried another, 'have you heard the
'Your mother's got a present for you, Poppy,' said
Sarah Anne Spavin; 'you'd better hurry in and have a
look at it.'
10 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
A present for me,' said the child; 'what is it '
But the women only laughed and bade her go and see.
And the faces at the window overhead laughed too, and
said there was such a thing as having too much of a good
Poppy passed them all and went in, and then she heard
her mother's voice calling to her to come upstairs. Her
mother was in bed, and she beckoned Poppy to come up
'Poppy, child,' she said, rather sorrowfully, 'I've got
a present for you.'
Just what the neighbours had told her; and the child
wondered more and more what this present could be. It
was a very long time now since Poppy had had a present;
she had never had one since 'her father went away, and it
was six months since he had left them.
Poppy often wondered where he had gone. Her
mother never talked about him now, and the neighbours
shook their heads when he was mentioned, and said he
was a bad man. But he had often brought Poppy a
present on a Saturday night when lie got his wages ; some-
times he brought her a packet of sweets, sometimes an
apple, and once a beautiful box of dolls' tea-things. But
since he went away there had been no presents for Poppy.
Her mother had had to work very hard to get enough
money to pay the rent and to get bread for them to eat-
there was no money to spare for anything else.
THE LITTLE RED CLOAK. 11
What could this present be, about which all the neigh-
bours knew 1
Look here, Poppy,' said her mother; and she pointed
to a little bundle of flannel lying on one side of the bed.
Poppy went round and peeped into it; and there she
saw her present-a tiny baby with a very red face and a
quantity of black hair, and with its little fists holding its
small fat cheeks.
'Oh, what a beauty !' said Poppy, in an awe-struck
voice. 'Is it for me, mother '
'Yes,' said the mother, with a sigh; 'it's for you,
'But that isn't all,' said old Mrs. Trundle, who was
standing at the foot of the bed; 'that's only half your
present, Poppy. Look here !'
And in her arms Poppy saw another bundle, and when
she had opened it, lo and behold, what' should there be
but another little baby, also with a very red face and
plenty of black hair, and with its little fists holding its
'Two of them ?' said Poppy, in amazement. 'Are you
sure they are both for us. mother?'
'Yes, they are both for us,' said the poor woman;
'both for us, Poppy.'
'Who sent them ?' asked the child.
'God sent them, poor little things !' said her mother,
looking sorrowfully at the two little bundles.
12 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'Are they God's presents to me ?' asked Poppy.
'Yes, to you and to me, Poppy,' said her mother;
'there's nobody else to look after them.'
'Ay, you'll have your work set now, Poppy,' said old
But Poppy did not think of the work just then. Two
dear little babies And for her own She was very very
happy. She could scarcely eat any dinner, although Mrs.
Lee took her across the court into her house, that she
might get some with her children, and it was a. great trial
to her when her mother told her she must go back to
school as usual.
You'll get little enough schooling now, go while you
may, Poppy,' she said.
The excitement in the court was not over when the
child passed down it on her way to school.
The neighbours came to their doors when they caught
sight of her red cloak, and some of them said, 'Poor
Poppy !' and some of them .shook their heads mournfully
without saying anything. The child could not understand
why they all pitied her so much. She thought they ought
Sto be glad that such a nice present had come for her.
On her way to school Poppy passed under a curious old
gateway, which had been built many hundred years ago,
and which still stood in the old wall of the city. Under
the shadow of this ancient Bar was a shop-such a pretty
shop Poppy thought it, and it was very seldom that she
THE LITTLE RED CLOAK. 13
went under the gateway without stopping to look in at the
window. For there, sitting in a row, and looking out at
her, were a number.of dolls-beautiful wax dolls with
curly hair and blue eyes and pink cheeks. And Poppy had
never had a wax doll of her own. Her only doll was an
old wooden creature with no real hair, and with long
straight arms; she could never even sit down, for her
back and her legs would not bend, and when Poppy came
home and looked at her after she had been gazing in the
Stoy-shop window she thought her very ugly indeed.
One day when Poppy was standing under the Bar, a
lady and a little girl came up to the shop. The little girl
was just as tall as Poppy, and she stood beside her gazing
at the row of dolls.
'I should like that one, mother,' she said; 'the one
with yellow hair and a red necklace.'
That was Poppy's favourite too; she would have chosen
that one, she said to herself.
The lady had gone into the shop and bought the doll,
and Poppy watched the happy little girl walk away with
it in her arms. And then poor Poppy went into a dark
corner under the Bar, and cried a little to herself before
she went on to school. If only her mother had money
enough to buy her a wax doll!
But on the day Poppy's presents came she did not even
stop for a moment to look at the wax dolls. What stupid
creatures they seemed to her now Her babies could open
14 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
and shut their eyes, and none of these dolls could do
Her babies could move, and yawn, and cry, and kick;
they were far better than dolls.
And mother said God had sent them He must have
known how much she had wanted one of those wax dolls,
2 F oPPI'Co
p OPPY'S work
Soon began in
good earnest. Her
mother had to go
out to work, and
S whilst she was
away there was
J- "no one but
Poppy to take care of the babies. She liked her work
very much at first. Their eyes were as blue as those of
the wax dolls in the shop window, and their hair was
quite as pretty.
But, as the days went by, Poppy could not help wishing
that her babies would sometimes be as quiet as the row
of dolls in the shop under the Bar. Poppy's babies were
never piet, except when they were asleep, and unfortu-
nately it was very seldom that they were both asleep at
the same time. Poor little Poppy I her small arms ached
very often as she carried those restless babies, and some-
16 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
times she felt so tired she thought she must let them
Oh, how they cried Sometimes they went on hour
after hour without stopping. And then at length, one
baby would fall asleep quite tired out, but no sooner. did
its weary little cry cease than the other one would scream
more loudly than before, and would wake-it up again.
There was no end to Poppy's work. She was warming
milk and filling bottles,-she was'pacing up and dowi the
room,-she was singing all the hymns she had learned at
school to soothe them to sleep,-she was nursing and
patting, and rocking her babies from morning till
Brave little Poppy --The :tears would come in her eyes
sometimes, when the babies were more cross than usual,
and she would think how nice it would be to feel rested
sometimes; she was always so tired now. But-she never
gave up her work; she would not have left her babies for
the world; she loved them through it all.
Even when her mother came home in the evening
Poppy's work Was not finished. Poor tired mother, she
came slowly and wearily up the court, and then sank down
upon a chair just inside the door, almost too exhausted to
'Give me the babies, Poppy darling,' she would say.
But Poppy knew that her mother had been standing all
the day at a washing-tub, and that she was almost too
V "- i I
18 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
tired to speak, and so she would say, Oh, I'll keep them
a bit, mother; get a cup of tea first.'
And so the evening wore away, and bed-time came;
the time when most little girls of Poppy's age get into
soft, cosy beds, and sleep peacefully till the sunbeams
wake them gently in the morning. But even at night
Poppy's work was not over. One or other of the babies
was crying nearly all the night, and sometimes both were
crying together. Poppy used to see her poor mother
pacing up and down, backwards and forwards on the bed-
room floor, trying to hush one of the fretful children to
sleep. And then she would creep out of bed and say,
' Give it to me, mother, you are so tired and so cold.'
And then Poppy would take her turn in that constant
tramp, tramp across the floor, and at last, when the happy
moment came, if it ever did come, in which both babies
were worn out with crying and were laid asleep beside her
mother, Poppy would creep cold and shivering into bed,
and the night would seem all too short for her.
Yet, in spite of all the work the babies gave her, Poppy
ni very proud of her presents. And.when her mother
got out two white frocks which Poppy had worn when
she was a baby, and dressed the poor little twins in them
one Sunday afternoon, Poppy danced for joy.
'Don't they look lovely, mother V' she said.
'You must pray for them, Poppy, when we get to church,'
said her mother. 'We are going to give them to God.'
POPPY'S WORK. 19
'What will He do with, them, mother ''said Poppy.
'He won't take them away, will He?'
'No,' said her mother, 'He won't take them. away
just yet; but I want them to belong to Hin as long as
they live, and then He'll take them home by and by.'
Poppy was very attentive at church that day. How
pretty her babies looked as the clergyman took them in
his arms Her mother had been very anxious that they
should have Bible names, and after much searching, and
after many long talks with Poppy on the subject, she had
fixed on Enoch and Elijah as the names for the little
Poppy was very happy that Sunday as she walked
home with little Enoch in her arms. But when they got
into the house, her mother sat down and burst into tears.
'What is it, mother dear?' said the. child. 'Are you
'No, my dear, it isn't that,' she said. 'I'il tell you
sometime when the babies are asleep.'
They were asleep much sooner than usual that night;
the fresh air had made them .sleepy, and Poppy and her
mother had a quiet evening.
'Tell me why you were crying, mother dear, when we
came home from church.'
'Oh, Poppy I' said her mother, 'I don't know how to
tell you, my poor little lassie.'
What is it mother ? Do tell me.'
0 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'You know you said God had sent a present for you,
Poppy, when the babies came?'
'Yes-for me and you, mother,' said the child.
'Poppy,' said her mother, 'I think He's going to give
you the biggest share of it. I think I'm going to die,
Poppy, and leave you all. Oh! Poppy, Poppy, Poppy !'
and she sobbed as if her heart would break.
Poppy felt as if she. were dreaming, and could not
understand what her mother was saying. Mrs. Byres, in
the house opposite, had died a little time before, but then
she had been ill in bed for many a month; and Mrs.
Jack's little boy and girl had died, but then they had had
a fever. Her mother could walk about; and could go out
to work, and could look after the babies. How could she
be going to die ?
I didn't like to tell you, Poppy,' her mother went on;
'but it is true, my darling, and it's better you should
know before it comes.'
'But, mother, you are not ill,. are you?' said the
child; and as she said this she looked at her mother.
Yes, she certainly did look very thin, and pale, and tired,
as she sat by the fire.
'I'm failing fast, Poppy,' said her mother; 'wasting
away. I've felt it coming on me a long time, dear-
before your father went away. And last week I got a
ticket for the dispensary, and the doctor said he couldn't
do nothing for me; it was too late, he said. If it wasn't
POPPY'S WORK. 21
for you and the babies, Poppy, I would be glad to go, for
I'm very, very tired.'
'Mother,' said Poppy, with a great sob, however will
we get along without you '
SI don't know,' said the poor woman. I don't know,
Poppy; but the good Lord knows; and He is a good
Lord, child. He's never failed me yet, and I know He'll
help you-I know He will. Come to me, my darling.'
And the mother took her little girl in her arms, and
held her to her bosom, and they had a good cry together.
But before very long the twins awoke, and Poppy and
her mother began their work again.
,'I ,i I I woke she
felt as if
____ !,.-.e had had a bad
S'"2 l 1".i mn. Her mother's
I hig t r p i-lw.ds the night be-
..I,- came back to her
cralin iin d. I
i think I am
I f going to die
1 and leave you
I iall.' It could
r~ i not be true,
/ -- .raised herself
in bed and looked round.
VVJtA< Her mother was up already; she
could hear her moving about downstairs, and
she had lighted the fire, for Poppy could hear the sticks
crackling in the grate. The twins were still asleep, lying
in bed beside her, and the child peeped at their little
peaceful faces, and stooped to kiss Elijah's tiny hand,
A HOLIDAY. 23
which was lying on the coverlet of the bed. They knew
nothing about it, poor little things. It could not be true,
Poppy said to herself; her mother could not be going to
die; she must have dreamt it all.
She crept out of bed very quietly, so as not to wake
the' babies, dressed herself, and went downstairs to help
her mother to get Lreakfast ready. But she found every-
thing done when she got into the kitchen, the cloth was
on the table and a cup for Poppy and another for her
mother, and two slices of bread, and two cups of tea.
'Oh, mother,' said Poppy, 'I. didn't know I was so
'You're. going to have a holiday to day, Poppy,' said
her mother; 'do you know it's your birthday '
'My birthday, mother 1' repeated the child.
'Yes, you're nine years old to-day, my poor little lass,'
said her mother; I reckoned that up as I was walking
about with the babies last night, and I mean you to have
a rest to-day; you've been a-toiling and a-moiling with
them babies ever since they was born ; it's time you-had
a bit of quiet and peace.'
But you're poorly, mother,' said the child.
'No worse nor usual,' said her mother, and I've got
no work to-day. Mrs. Peterson isn't going to wash till
to-morrow, so you're to have a real quiet day, Poppy.'
But Poppy, like a good child, could not sit idle when
she saw her mother working, and so in the afternoon, as
24 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
soon as dinner was over, her mother sent her out for a
walk, and told her not to come home till tea-time.
There's Jack and Sally, they've got holidays, Poppy;
get them to go -with you,' she said.
Jack and Sally lived in a house on the opposite side of
the court; they went to the same school to which Poppy
had gone before the babies came, and they had always
played together since they were tiny children.
So Poppy put on her scarlet cloak, and the three
children started in fine spirits. It was such a bright,
sunny day, and everything looked cheerful and happy.
There had been a hard frost the night before, and the
road was firm and dry under their feet, and the three
children ran along merrily. They went a long way outside
the walls till they came to a river, by the side of which
was a small footpath following the river in all its wind-
ings, and leading across grassy fields, which in summer
time were filled with wild flowers, and which were now
covered with pure white snow.
Oh, how much Poppy enjoyed that walk She had
been so long shut up in that tiny house, she had so long
been imprisoned like a wild bird in a small cage, that now
when she found herself free to run where she liked in the
clear frosty air she felt full of life and spirits.
She had forgotten for a time the sorrow of the night
before. All was so bright and beautiful around her,
there-was nothing to remind her of sickness or of death..
A HOLIDAY. 25
She was very happy, and skipped along like a little
They walked more slowly when they got into the city
again, for they were tired with their long walk, and as
they passed the great cathedral Jack proposed that they
should go inside, and rest for a little time on the chairs
in the nave.
'There's lots of time yet, Poppy,' he said; 'it isn't
tea-time, I'm sure.'
It was getting dark for all that, and the lamps were
lighted in the cathedral. Jack took off his hat as he
pushed open the heavy oaken door, and the little girls
followed him. Service was going on in the choir, and
they could hear the solemn tones of the organ pealing
through the building, and with them came the sweet
sound of many voices singing.
'Isn't it beautiful said Poppy; 'let us sit down and
They.were very quiet until the service was over, and
when the last Amen was sung, and the doors of the choir
were thrown open for the people to leave, they got up to
But as they were walking across the cathedral to the
door which stood nearest the direction of their home, Jack
'Hullo, Poppy,' he whispered, 'look here,' and he
pointed to a little door in the wall which stood ajar.
26 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'What is it, Jack?' said both little girls at once;
'where does it go to ? Is it a tomb ?'
'Oh, no,' said Jack; 'it's the way folks go up to the
top of the tower; you know we often see them walking
about on the top; my father went up last Easter Monday.
I always thought they kept it locked; let's go a bit of the
way up, and see what it's like.'
'Oh, no, Jack,' said Sally; 'it looks so dark in there.'
'Don't be a silly baby, Sally,' he said. Poppy isn't
afraid ; are you, Poppy ?'
'No,' said Poppy, in a trembling voice; 'no, I'm not
'Come in then, quick,' said the boy; I'll go first, and
you can follow me.'
'But isn't it tea-tilme?' said Poppy.
Jack did not stop to answer her; he led the way up
the steep, winding stone steps, and the two little girls
'Jack, Jack, stop a minute,' said Poppy, when they
had wound round and round three or four times; 'I don't
think we ought to go.'
'I believe you're frightened now, Poppy,' he said; I
thought you'd more pluck than that We won't go far.
I just want to get to that place on the roof where we see
the people stand when they're going up; it's only about
half way to the top ; come on, we shall soon be there !'
It took a longer time than Jack expected, however, for
A HOLIDAY. 27
the steps were very steep, winding round and round like a
corkscrew, and the children were tired, and could not
climb quickly. They stood for a few moments on the
roof outside and looked down into the city, but they
could not see much, for it was getting very dark, and even
Jack was willing to own that it was time to go home.
It did not take them quite so long to go down the steps
as it had taken them to go up, but they were slippery and
much worn in places, and the little girls felt very much
afraid of falling, and were very glad when Jack, who was
going first, said they were near the bottom.
But Poppy and Sally a moment afterwards were very
much startled, for Jack gave a sudden cry of horror as he
reached the bottom step.
The little door through which they had come was
closed. Jack shook it, and hammered it with his fists,
but he could not open it; it was locked, and they were
prisoners in the tower. The verger who had the charge
of the door had remembered that he had left it unfastened,
and had turned the key in the lock soon after the children
had entered the tower. No one had been near when they
had crept inside, and so the verger had no idea that any
one had gone up the steps.
Oh Jack, Jack, Jack, what shall we do said Poppy.
Y ES, they were locked in, there was no doubt
But don't cry, Poppy,' said Jack, as she burst into
tears, 'we'll soon make them hear; the verger sits on that
bench close by.'
Jack hammered with his fists on the door, and the
sound echoed through the hollow building. Then the
three children waited, and listened, hoping to hear the
verger's footsteps approaching the door. And when some
moments had passed and no one came, lie knocked again,
and once more they waited and listened. But it was all
A LONG NIGHT. '
in vain; no one heard the rapping on the door, no one
came to let the little prisoners out.
He must have gone iiito the crypt,' said Sally; he
goes down there when folks come to see the cathedral;
maybe he'll be back soon.'
But Jack did not answer her; he was on his knees on
the ground, peeping under the crack of the door.
'What can you see, Jack V' asked Poppy.
'It's all dark,' said Jack; 'the cathedral lights are
out, and everybody's gone home; whatever shall we
The two little girls sat down on the bottom step, and
cried and sobbed as if their hearts would break.
.'What's the good of crying?' said Jack, rather
angrily; 'what we've got to do is to try to get out.
Let's climb up again, and get out on the roof; maybe we
can make some one hear if we shout loud enough.'
'It's so dark up there now,' said Sally, glancing fear-
fully at the narrow, winding staircase; 'we can't see our
way a bit.'
'Never mind that, we can feel,' said the boy; 'come
Oh I shall fall-I shall fall !' sobbed Sally.
'You stop down here, then,' said her brother. 'Poppy
and I will go.'
'Oh no,-no,-no !' cried the frightened child; don't
leave me; I don't want to stop here by myself.'
30 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
Very slowly and carefully the three children felt their
way up the steep steps, and many a tear fell on the old
stones, as the little girls followed Jack. It seemed a
long, long way to them, far further than it had done
before, and the wind, which had been rising all the after-
noon, came howling and whistling through the narrow
window-slits in the tower, and made them cold and
At last they reached the open place on the roof, but
they found it was impossible to stand upon it; such a
hurricane of wind had arisen that they would have been
blown over, had they tried to leave the shelter of the
tower. So all they could do was to remain where they
were, and to shout as loudly as they could for help; but
the cathedral close was very large, and no one passed
through it on that cold, stormy evening, and the street
was far away-so far that the voices of the children could
not be heard by the passers-by, but were drowned by the
noisy, blustering wind. They shouted until they were
hoarse, but no help came, and at last even Jack was
obliged to acknowledge that he was afraid there was no
help for it, but that they must make up their minds to
stay there for the night.
S'Oh, dear, whatever will mother do without me !' said
Poppy; 'she'll have nobody to help her; I must get
back to my babies. Oh, Jack, Jack, I must get back to
A LONG NIGHT. .31
'But you can't get back, Poppy,' said Jack mournfully;
'there's nothing for it but waiting till morning.'
'I'm so cold,' sobbed Sally,, 'and I want my tea;
whatever shall we do without our tea '
'It can't be helped,' said Jack, and it's no good
crying ; let's get to the bottom of the tower again, it's not
so windy there as it is up here.'
It was hard work getting down in the dark, and with
the whistling wind rushing in upon them at every turn
tho. old stone steps were worn -away in many places, for
thousands of feet had trodden them since the day they
were put in their places, and the children sometimes lost
their footing, and would have fallen had they not held so
tightly to each other.
When they reached the bottom of the stone staircase
they crouched together close to the door, in the most
sheltered corner they could find, and tried to keep each
other warm. But it was a bitterly cold night, and the
rough noisy wind came tearing and howling down the
staircase, and found them out in their hiding-place, and
made them shiver from head to foot. And as the hours
went by they felt more and more hungry; their long
walk had given them a good appetite, and they had had a
very early dinner.
Poor little Sally cried incessantly, and the others did all
they could to cheer her; but she refused to be comforted,
and at last she was so tired and exhausted that she sobbed
j POPPY'S PRESENTS.
herself to sleep. Jack soon afterwards followed her
example and fell asleep beside her, and only poor Poppy
was awake, crying quietly to herself, and thinking of her
mother, and of Enoch and Elijah. She was too anxious
and too much troubled to sleep, and the hours seemed
very long to her. It was such a lonely place in which to
spend the night : there was no sound to be heard but the
howling of the wind and the striking of the great cathedral
clock, which made Poppy jump every time it struck the
How long it seemed to Poppy from one hour to another ;
the time went much more slowly than usual than night,
she thought. Once she became so very lonely and
frightened that she felt as if she must wake the others;
but she was an unselfish little girl, and she remembered
how much poor Sally had cried, and felt glad that she and
Jack could forget their trouble for a little time. So she
crept quietly away without disturbing them, and climbed
slowly up the steep steps to the place where she remem-
bered the first window-slit in the tower came. She
thought she would feel less lonely if she could see the
lamps burning in the streets, and would feel that the
world was not quite so far away as it had seemed to her
during all those long, quiet hours.
Poppy did not like to go so far from the other children,
and once or twice she turned back, but at length she
climbed as far as the slit, and looked out. There were
34 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
the lamps on either side of -the long street which led to
the cathedral, but they seemed a great way off, and the
cathedral close was quite dark and empty.
'There isn't anybody near,' said Poppy to herself, as
she looked down. And then she looked up,-up into the
sky. It was covered with clouds which the wind was
driving wildly along, but, as Poppy looked, there came a
break in the clouds, and. one little patch of sky was left
clear and uncovered. And there, shining down upon
Poppy, was a star,-such a bright beautiful star. It
made her think of heaven, and of God who made the
stars. God is near,' said Poppy to herself. Mother
says He is always close beside us. Oh, dear, I quite
forgot-I've never said my prayers to-night.'
The child knelt down at once on the cold stone steps,
and prayed, and her little prayer went up higher than the
towers of that great cathedral-to the ears of the Lord,
who loves little children to speak to Him.
0 God,' prayed Poppy, 'please take care of me, and
Jack, and Sally, and please don't let mother be frightened,
and please make the babies go to sleep ; for Jesus Christ's
Poppy felt comforted after she had prayed; she crept
down the steps again, and wrapping her little red cloak
as tightly round her as she could, she lay down beside
Sally, and fell asleep.
T HAT was a terrible night, and one which would
never be forgotten in Grey Friars Court. Hardly
any of the people of the court went to bed, for they were
all helping in the search for the lost children. The bell-
man was sent up and down the city till late at night;
that he might try to hear tidings of them; the policemen
were making enquiries in all directions; the neighbours
were scouring the city from one end to the other.
36 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
Jack and Sally's father and mother were walking about
the whole night, looking for their children in all places,
likely and unlikely. And Poppy's poor mother, who
could not leave the babies, paced up and down her room,
and looked anxiously from her window, and trembled
each time that footsteps came down the court.
She could do nothing herself to help her little girl, but she
had a strong Friend who could help her. Again and again,
through that long anxious night, Poppy's mother asked the
Lord to watch over her child, and to bring her safe home
Only one trace of the children'had been found when
morning dawned; Sally had dropped her little handker-
chief on the path leading to the river ; this handkerchief
had been found by a policeman, and it had been shown
to Sally's mother, and she had said, with tears in her eyes,
that it belonged to her little girl.
Could the children be drowned in the river? This was
the terrible fear which the neighbours whispered to each
other, as they met together after the night's search. But
no one mentioned.it to Poppy's mother.
'I wouldn't tell her about that there handkercher, poor
thing,' said one to another; 'maybe they're not in the
river after all.'
In the morning, as soon as it was light, search was to
be made in the water for the bodies, and every one in
Grey Friars Court waited anxiously for the result,
FOUND AT LAST. 37
Very early in the morning, the cathedral door was
unlocked, and one of the vergers, an old man of the name
of Standish, entered with his wife, old Betty Standish,
and with his daughter Rose Ann, to make the cathedral
fires, and to put all in readiness for the services of the
day. As the two women raked out the cinders and
ashes from the stoves, the sound echoed through the
hollow building, and woke the sleeping children in the
Jack sprang to his feet at once, as he saw the dim grey
light stealing down the staircase, and as he heard the
voices in the cathedral.
'It's morning at last,' he said; '.now we shall get out;'
and he hammered with all his might on the door.
But the womed were making so much noise themselves
that the sound did not attract their attention; they went
on with their fire-lighting and took no notice. Then the
children began to call out-
'Let us out-let us out, please ; we're locked in !'
The two women paused in their work and listened.
Again the shout came, 'Let us out-let us out; we
can't get out; open the door, please.'
Whatever on earth is it ?' said Rose Ann, coming up
to her mother with an awe-struck face.
'Ay, my dear, I don't know,' said her mother, who was
trembling from head to foot. 'I never heard the like;
I never did. Call your father, Rose Ann.'
38 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
The verger was in the choir, putting the books in
order, and making all ready for the service. He came at
once when his daughter called him.
'Listen, Joshua, listen,' said old Betty.
And once more the children called. 'Let us out,
please ; we're locked in ; let us out.'
'Do ye think it's a ghost, Joshua?' said his wife,
looking fearfully at the old tombs by which she was sur-
rounded on all sides.
'Ghost Rubbish!' said her husband; but he was
as white as a sheet, and almost as frightened as she was.
'Let's go and tell the Dean,' said Rose Ann.
'Nonsense,' said the verger, who had recovered himself
a little; let's listen where the sound comes from.'
'Let us out; unlock the door, please !' shouted the
'It's someone in the tower,said the oldman; 'though how
on earth any one could have got there it passes me to
So the old people and their daughter went in the
direction of the cries, and the verger took the great old
key from his pocket which unlocked the tower door. Yet
even when the key was in the key-hole he 'paused a
moment, as if he did not like to turn it in the lock.
I wonder whoever it can be,' he said timidly.
It's a ghost; I'll be bound it's a ghost,' said old Betty;
'they say they do haunt all these queer old places.'
FOUND AT LAST. 39
Well, we'll have a look,' said her husband, summoning
up all his courage, 'so here goes.' He turned the key,
the door flew open, and out came the three poor children,
weary, pale, and shivering with cold.
Well, I never !' said the verger's wife, holding up her
hands in amazement.
'Wherever on earth have you come from V' said her
'I know, father,' said Rose Ann; 'these must be the
three children of Grey Friars Court. I heard the bellman
crying them last night.'
'Poor little cold things !' said old Betty, 'and have ye
been locked in the tower all night'
Yes, ma'am,' said Poppy, all night.'
'But however did you get there?' said the verger.
'That's what I want to know.'
'Please, sir, don't be angry,' said Jack; 'we found the
door open, and we went in.'
'Well, I never heard the like,' said Rose Ann. 'I declare
they're shaking from head to foot. Such a night as it has
been, too; it'll be a wonder if it isn't the death of
'Come along, my poor bairns,' said the old woman.
'I've got some hot coffee on the hob at home; you shall
have a drink at once.'
Oh no, thank you,' said Poppy; 'I must go home tq
40 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
So you shall, my dear; so you shall,' said old Betty;
'but you'll go all the quicker for getting a bit of warmth
into you; why, you're stiff with cold, I declare. Poor
lambs, you must have had a night of it! Bring them
across, Rose Ann.' And the kind old woman trotted on
in front to stir her fire into a blaze, and to'pour out the
hot coffee for the poor children.
She made them sit with their feet on the fender whilst
they were drinking it, and she gave them each a piece of
a hot cake, which she brought out of the oven. And all
the time they were eating it she and Rose Ann were
crying over them by turns, and the old verger was shaking
his head and saying: 'I never heard the like; it's a
strange businessaltogether, it is.'
As soon as they were warmed and fed, the verger, and
his wife, and Rose Ann took the children home; and I
wish you could have seen their arrival in Grey Friars
Court. There was such a kissing, and hugging, and crying;
such an excitement and stir; such a rejoicing over the
children, who had been lost but were found again, and
such a thanksgiving in the heart of Poppy's mother, as
she saw the answer to her prayer.
No one could make too much of the three children that
day. They were invited out to tea to every house in the
court, and -sweets, and cakes, and pennies were showered
upon them, till the two mothers declared they would be
quite spoilt, and till Jack announced he would not much
FOUND AT LAST. 41
mind spending another night in the tower, if they got all
these good things when they came home. But Poppy and
Sally shook their heads at this, and.would.not agree with
OPPY, I want
write a letter for
me, darling,' said
N hermother oneday.
'Is it to my father?' asked the
'No, Poppy, it isn't to your
'Why do you never write to my
father, mother ?' asked Poppy.
Her mother did not answer her at once, and Poppy did
not like to ask her again. But after a few minutes her
mother got up suddenly and shut the door.
'Poppy, I'll tell you,' she said, 'for I'm going to leave
you, and you ought to know;' and then, instead of telling
her, the poor woman burst into tears.
POPPY WRITES A LETTER. 43
'Don't cry, mother, don't cry,' said the child; 'don't
tell me if you'd rather not.'
But I must tell you, Poppy,' she said, as she dried her
eyes and looked into the fire. 'Poppy, I loved your
father more than I can tell you, and he loved me, child;
yes, he dic love me; never you believe any one who tells
you he didn't love me. He loved me, and he loved
you, Poppy; he was very good to you, wasn't he, my
Yes, mother, very good,' said Poppy, as she remem-
bered how kind he always was to her when he came in
But he got into bad company, Poppy, and he took to
drinking. I wouldn't tell you, dear, only I'm going away,
and so I think you ought to know. Well, bit by bit he
was led away. Sometimes, dear, I blame myself, and
think perhaps I might have done more to keep him at
home, but he was always so pleasant with all his mates,
and they made so much of him, and they led him on-yes,
Poppy, they led him on-they did, indeed. And I saw
him getting further and further wrong, and I could not
stop him, and there were things which I didn't- know
about, dear-horse-racing, and card-playing, and all that
sort of thing. And one day, Poppy,' said her mother,
lowering her voice (' I wouldn't tell you, my dear, if I
wasn't.going away), one day he went out to his work as
usual. I made him a cup of hot coffee to drink before he
44 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
started I always made him that, dear, if he was off ever
Well, he' was ready to go, but he turned round at the
door, and says he, "Is Poppy awake ? No, the bairn
was fast asleep when I came down," says I. He put down
his breakfast-tin by the door, and he crept upstairs, and
I could hear his steps in the room overhead, and then,
Poppy, I listened at the foot of the stairs, and I heard
him give you a kiss. I didn't say anything, child, when
. he came down, for I thought maybe he wouldn't like me
to notice it, and he hurried out, as if he was afraid I should
ask him what he had been doing.
'Well, dear, dinner-time came, and I always had it
ready and waiting for him, for I think it's a sin and a
shame, Poppy, when them that works for the meat never
has time given them to eat it. But the dinner waited
long enough that day, child, for he never came home. I
began to think something must be wrong, for he always
came home of a dinner-hour. I thought maybe he had had
some drink; but, Poppy, it was worse than that, for oh !
my darling, he never came home no more.'
'What was wrong with him, mother ?'
'He was in debt, child, and had lost money in them
horrid races; and there were more things than that, but I
can't tell you all, my dear, nor I don't want to tell. Only
this I want to say: if ever he comes back, Poppy, tell him
I loved him to the last, and I prayed for him to the last,
POPPY WRITES A LETTER. 45
and I shall look to meet him in heaven; mind you tell
him that, Poppy, my dear.'
'Yes; mother,' said the child, with tears in her eyes, 'I
And now about the letter; I wish I could write to
your father, Poppy, but I've never had a word from him
all this cruel long time-not a single word, child; and
where he is at this moment I know no more than that
'Then who is the letter to be written to, mother V' asked
'It's to your granny, Poppy, I want to write; his
mother, your father's mother. I never saw her, child, but
she's a good old woman, I believe; he always talked a
deal about his mother, and many a time I've thought I
ought to write and tell her, but somehow I hadn't the
heart to do it, Poppy. But now she must be told.'
'When shall I write it, mother '
'Here's a penny, child; go and get a sheet and an
envelope from the shop at the end of the street, and if the
babies will only keep asleep, we'll write it at once.'
The paper was bought, and Poppy seated herself -on a
high stool, and wrote as her mother told her :-
MY DEAR GRANDMOTHER,
'This comes, hoping to find you quite well, as it leavesnmy
mother very ill, and the doctor says she'll never be no better,
and my Father went away last year, and nobody knows
46 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
what has become of him, and he never writes nor sends no
money nor nothing, and Mother has got two little babies,
and they are both boys, and she wants me to ask you to
pray God to take care of us, and will you please write us
a letter ?
'Your affectionate grand-daughter,
It was well that the letter was finished then, for that
very night Poppy's. mother was taken very much worse,
and the next morning she was not able to rise from her
And now began a very hard time for the little girl.
Two babies to look after, and a sick mother to nurse, was
almost more than it was possible for one small pair of arms
to manage. The neighbours were very kind, and came
backwards and forwards, bringing Poppy's mother tempt-
ing things to eat, and carrying off dirty clothes to wash
at home, or any little piece of work which Poppy could
not manage. And often, very often, one or another of
them would come and sit by the sick woman, or would
carry off the crying babies to their own homes, that she
might have a little rest and quiet.-
But; in spite of all this kind help, it was a very hard
time for Poppy. The neighbours had their own homes
and their own families to 'attend to, and could only give
their spare time to the care of their sick neighbour, And
POPPY WRITES A LETTER. 47
at night Poppy had a weary time of it. Her mother was
weak and restless, and full of fever and of pain, and she
tossed about on her pillow hour after hour, watching her
good little daughter with tears in her eyes, as she walked
up and down with the babies, trying to, soothe them to
Sometimes she would try to sit up.in bed,.and hold
little Enoch or Elijah for a few moments: but she had
become so terribly weak that the effort was too much for
her, and after a few minutes she would fall back fainting
on her pillow, and Poppy had to..take the baby away and
bathe her mother's forehead with water before she could
speak to her again.
So it was a weary and anxious time for the child. The
neighbours said she was growing an old grandmother, so
careworn and anxious had'she become, and Poppy herself
could hardly believe that she was the same little girl who
had gazed in the toy-shop window only a few months ago
and had longed for one of those beautiful wax-dolls. She
felt too old and tired ever to care to play again.
ia HE summer
it was the
-S u i in e r1
known. Even at the end of May and the
beginning of June the heat was so great
that it made people ill and tired and cross, and Poppy's
mother, who was never able to leave her bed, felt it very
much. The court was close and stifling, and the old
window in the small bed-room would only open a little
way at the bottom, so that very little air could get into
the room, and the poor woman lay hour after hour panting
for breath, and almost fainting with the heat.
It was no easy time for Poppy. The neighbours were
A VISIT FROM GRANDMOTHER. 49
still very kind, but the heat made them unable to do as
much as before, and somehow everybody's temper went
wrong with the hot weather, and there was a good deal
of quarrelling in the court. Mrs. Brown quarrelled with
Mrs. Jones about something, and Ann Turner would not
speak to Mrs. Smith because she had offended her about
something else, and once or twice there were angry voices
in the court, which troubled the poor sick woman. And
when the neighbours came in to see her they would pour
out the history of their grievances, and this worried and
distressed her a good deal.
The babies, too, felt the hot weather very much. They
were seven months old now, but they were poor sickly
little creatures, quite unable to roll about the floor like
other babies of that age, and needing almost as much
nursing and care as they had done when they were first
born. Poppy did her very best for them and for her
mother, but she was only a child after all, and she could
not keep them as clean as they ought to have been kept,
nor the house as tidy and free from dirt as it used to be
when her mother was able to look after it, and sometimes
poor Poppy, brave though she was, felt almost inclined to
give up in despair.
There was one day when she was very much cast down
and troubled. It was, if possible, a hotter day than the
ten very hot days which had gone before it. And it was
everybody's washing-day. The court was filled with
50 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
clothes, steaming in the hot sun, and shutting out what
little air might possibly have crept down to the rooms
below. But there seemed to be no air anywhere that
Poppy's mother was very much worn and exhausted,
and Enoch and Elijah did nothing but cry. Hour after
hour they cried, not a loud angry scream such as strong
babies might give, but a weak, weary wail, which went
on, and on, and on, till Poppy felt as if she could bear it
She left them on the bed for a few minutes beside her
mother, and ran downstairs to make a cup of tea and a
piece of toast for her mother's dinner. They lived on
bread and tea now, for they had nothing but what they
got from the parish, and if the neighbours had not been
very kind, and brought them in little things from time to
time, even the parish money would not have been enough
to keep them from starving.
When Poppy went downstairs she had a little quiet cry.
There was so much to do, and somehow that hot day it
seemed impossible to do it. She knew that the house
was untidy, and the babies needed washing, and there
were dirty clothes waiting to be made clean, and cups
and plates and basins standing ready to be washed up.
And it seemed too hot and tiring to do anything.
Poppy went to the window for a minute, and putting
her fingers in her ears that she might not hear the wail of
A VISIT FROM GRANDMOTHER. 51
the babies, she stood looking up at the strip of blue sky,
which she could just see between the houses of the court.
How pure and lovely it looked! And God lived some-
where up there, Poppy knew. And God loved her-
Poppy knew that, too. Her mother said He had sent
His dear Son to die for her-the only Son He had-He
had sent Him to die on the. cross, that she might go to
live with Him in heaven. God must love her very much
to do that, Poppy said to herself. She thought she would
ask God to help her that hot day,-if He loved her she
was sure He would feel sorrow for her, now that she was
so tired and had so much to do.
So, looking up at the blue sky, Poppy said aloud, '
God, please help me, for I'm very tired, and I don't know
how ever to get everything done, and please make me a
good girl; for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.' Would God
hear her prayer ? Poppy asked herself, as she came away
from the window; she wondered very much if He would.
And, if He did hear her, how would the help come ? It
was not likely that He would send one of the neighbours
in to help her, for they were all too busy with their
washing to have any time to spare. There were the
angels, they were God's servants, and Poppy had learnt
at school that they came to help God's people; but she
had never heard of an angel washing up cups and saucers,
or cleaning a house, or nursing a baby, and' that was the
help Poppy wanted just then. Well, she had prayed to
52 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
God, and mother said God always heard prayer; she
would wait and see.
Poppy filled the kettle, and was trying to put a few
things in order in the untidy kitchen when there came a
knock at the door. Poppy started. Could some one be
coming to help her? The neighbours never knocked-
they opened the door and walked in-and Poppy thought
the angels w6uld not knock, for her teacher told her they
could come in when the door was shut. Who could it be?
She went to the door and opened it, and there she found
an old woman with a large market-basket on her arm,
who wanted to know if Mrs. Fenwick lived there. Yes,
that was her mother's name, Poppy said. Whereupon
the old woman came in, put down her basket, and then
seized Poppy and gave her a good hearty kiss on both her
'Why, you're John Henry's bairn,' she said, 'anl as
like him as two pins is like each other.'
It was grandmother, dear old grandmother, who had
come from her home far away in the country to see her
son's wife and children, and to do all she could to help
them. And grandmother had not been long in the house
before Poppy felt sure that God had sent her, and that
she was just the help the poor child so much needed.
Poor old grandmother, she was hot, and tired, and
dusty, and she had been travelling in the heat for many
hours on that hot summer's morning. She sat down on a
A VISIT FROM GRANDMOTHER. 53
chair by the door, fanning herself with her red cotton
pocket-handkerchief, and kissing Poppy again and again,
as she called her 'my lad's bonny bairn,' and told her
that she was the very picture of what her father was when
he was her age, and how her John Henry was the best
scholar in all Thnrswalden School, and she felt sure his
bairn must be a clever little girl, too.
SJACKY A ND
S JOW, my dear,' said
... minute or two,
'where's my lad's
wife Your mother, my lass; where is she?'
'Oh, she's in bed, grandmother !' said. Poppy. 'She's
very ill, is my mother.'
'I'll go up and see her,' said the old woman. 'To
think that my John Henry has been a married man -these
ten years, and I've never seen his wife !'
But when she did see John Henry's wife, grandmother
sat down and sobbed like a child. She was so white, so
thin, so worn, that the kind old woman's heart was filled
with love and with shame-love for her poor suffering
JACK AND JEMMY. 55
daughter-in-law, shame that her son, the lad of whom she
had been so proud, should have left her when she needed
him so much.
How long grandmother would have cried it is impossible
to say, had not a dismal wail come from one side of the
bed, followed almost immediately by another dismal wail
from the other side of the bed. It was Enoch and Elijah,
who had fallen asleep for a few minutes whilst Poppy was
downstairs, but who had waked up at the sound of a
strange'voice. Grandmother sprang from her seat as soon
as she heard them cry. She had not seen the babies
before, for they were covered by the bed-clothes. She
held them one in each arm, and kissed them again and
'Oh, my bonny, bonny bairns !' she said; 'my own
little darling lambs To .think that God Almighty has
sent you back again Why, I'm like Job, my lass; I
lost them five-and-forty years ago;-ay, but it seems
only five-and-forty days. Oh -my own beautiful little
lads. I kicked sore against losing them, I did indeed, my
lass, poor silly fool that I was, and now here's God given
me them back again. I'm a regular old Job now, ain't I ?
Not that I was patient, like him; he was a sight better
than me-a sight better. Oh, you deart things, won't your
grandmother love you!'
'Had you twins of your own, grandmother asked her
56 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'Ay, my dear, that I had, and little lads, too-the
finest children you ever saw;-why, it was the talk of the
country-side, my dear, what beautiful bairns they was.'
'And how old were they when you lost them, grand-
'Why, my dear,' said the old woman, 'my child was
ten months and one week old, and his child was ten
months and three weeks old-just a fortnight's difference,
'I thought you said they were both yours, grandmother,'
'Ay, my darling, so they was; but that was how we
got to talk of them. You see, me and my master had
been married nigh on five years, and never had no childer
(we lived up at the farm at that time), and then these
babies came, and I think our heads were fairly turned by
them-he was well-nigh crazed, he was indeed, my dear.
"Sally," he says when he came in to look at them, "you
pick one and I'll have the other-half-and-half, that's fair
share," he says.- "Now, Polly, you choose first."
Well," says I, "I'll have the ginger-haired one; 'it's
most like me." I used to have ginger hair, my dear; you
wouldn't believe it, for it's all turned white now, but I
had, just like Poppy there, beautiful ginger hair. Some
folks don't like the colour, my dear, but your grandfather
used to like it. Why, he said when he was courting me
that my hair was the colour of marigolds, and they was
JACKY AND JEMMY. 57
always his favourite flowers; he had 'em in his own little
garden when he was a tiny lad, he said.
Well, I picked the one with giniger hair, and called it
my child, and he picked the black-haired one, which was
the very picture of him-why, he had a head like a crow's
back, my dear. And so we each had a baby of our own,
and would you believe it, my lass, he took that care of it,
you'd have thought he was an old nurse-you would
indeed. He washed it and he dressed it,-ay, but I did
laugh the first time,-and he gave it the bottle, and he
got a little girl from the village to come and mind it when
he was out, and in the evening we sat one on.each side of
the fire, he with his child, and I with mine; and then at
night, when we went to bed, his bairn slept in his arms,
and my bairn slept in mine. Well then we had them
christened, and his was Jacky and mine was Jemmy, and
he was proud of his child that day-as proud as Punch;
he was indeed, my dear. He carried him all the way-
Oh, dear! oh, dear! what have I done!' said the old
woman, as she turned to the bed and saw Poppy's mother
'Why, you're crying, my dear; I oughtn't to have told
you. What a silly old goose I am I ought to have
remembered that lad of mine, and how he's gone and left
you, instead of giving a hand with his own babies, as my
master did. Dear me, dear me, whatever was I thinking
8S POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'Oh, granny,' said her daughter-in-law, do tell me
about them ; I like to hear-I do indeed; please go on.'
'Well, my dear, if you will have it so, I'll go on.-
They grew up beautiful babies, they did indeed, and
didn't folks admire them There's lots of people drives
through our village when it's the season at Scarborough;
they takes carriages, my dear, and they come driving out
with lads in red jackets riding on them poor tired horses--
"post-williams," I think they call them. I'm telling you
no lie, my dear, when I tell you them little lads has
brought in scores of threepenny bits that the ladies have
thrown them from their carriages, when the girl took them
out by the lodge gate; they was so taken with the pretty
dears, they was.
Well, all went on well, my lass, till the teeth began to
come,-oh, them teeth, what a nuisance they are I've
lost mine, my dear, all but two, and I'm sure it's a good
job to have done with 'em-they're nothing but bother,
always aching, and breaking and worrying you. Well,
the teething went very hard with the babies; his child
was the worst, though, and one day little Jacky had a
convulsion fit, and didn't my master send off for the
doctor in a hurry; and all that night he sat up watching
his bairn, for fear it should have another fit. Doctor came
once or twice after that, for the little lad kept poorly,
though the fits did not come back.
S"Ay, doctor," I says one day, when he had little Jack
JACK AND JEMMY. 59
in his arms, and was saying what a pretty boy he was-
" Ay, doctor," I says, "but look at my child," and I held
up little Jemmy. He's the beauty now, isn't he,
"You're very fond of that boy, aren't you .",says
"Fond of him Why, doctor," I says, I love him
till I often think I could go bare-foot all my life and live
on bread and water, if it would do him a bit of good."
"Take care you don't love him too much," says
doctor, looking quite grave; "folks mustn't make idols
even of their own bairns. Don't be offended, missis," he
says, but it doesn't do to set your heart too much on
anything, not even on your own little lad: you might lose
him, you know."
'Well I was huffy with doctor after that; I was a bit
put out, and I says, "Well, doctor, if I thought I was
going to lose him I would love him a hundred times
better than ever." So, my dear, doctor shook his head at
me and went away, and (would you believe it !) only five
hours after I had to send for him all in a hurry to come to
my child. He'd taken a fit like Jacky had; but, oh my
dear, he didn't come out of it as Jacky did; it was a sore,
sore fit, and before doctor could get to him-and he ran
all the way from the village-my bonny bairn was gone.'
'Oh, grandmother, you would feel that,' said Poppy's
60 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'Yes, my dear, I did indeed; and when bed-time came,
and he had his child laid aside him, and my child was laid
dead in the best room downstairs, I felt as if my heart
would break. He wanted me to take his child, but little
Jacky was used to father, and wouldn't come to me, and,
my dear, I cried myself to sleep.'
'And how much longer did the other baby live, grand-
mother?' said Poppy.
Only fifteen days, my dear, and we buried 'em both in
one little grave,-I often go to look at it now;-and
when we put his child in, and I saw iy child's little
coffin at the bottom of the grave, my dear I wished I
could go in too.
'I was very hard and rebellious, ay I was, I see it all
now,' said grandmother, wiping her eyes. 'But just to
think of God giving 'em back to me after five-and-forty
years Why, it's wonderful,' said the old woman in a
cheerful voice. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and
forget not all His benefits." That's the verse for me, my
dear, now, isn't it ?'
And grandmother took up first Enoch and then Elijah,
and kissed them and hugged them as lovingly as -ever she
had kissed her own little babies.
N' ,~-, -Aa RN
HAVE read the story of a fairy, who came down
into a dark and dismal room, where a poor
girl clad in rags was cleaning the fireside, and
who, by one touch of her wand, changed every-
thing in the room; the girl found herself
dressed in a beautiful robe, and everything
around her was made lovely and pleasant to look at. It
was a new place altogether.
Now, I think that grandmother was something like
that good fairy, for it was perfectly wonderful what a
change she made, in the course of a few hours, in that
dismal house. No sooner had she had a cup of tea, than
62 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
she took off her bonnet and shawl, and set to work to put
things in order. First she gave the babies a warm bath,
and cried over them, and loved them to her heart's
content; and then, as they had no clean clothes to put
on, she wrapped them in some of her own garments which
she took from her bundle, and, soothed by the unusual
comfort and cleanliness, Enoch and Elijah were soon fast
Then grandmother trotted downstairs. again for more
hot water, and washed Poppy's poor sick mother, and
brushed her tangled hair, and then dressed her in one of
her own clean night-gowns, smelling of the sweet field of
clover in which it had been dried, and put on the bed a
pair of her own sheets, which she had brought with her,
in case they might be useful.
Oh, how grateful Poppy's mother was !
'Granny,' she said, as she gave her. a kiss, 'I haven't
been so comfortable, never since I was ill; I declare I
feel quite sleepy.'
'Well, go to sleep, my lass,' said grandmother;
'that's the very best thing you can do.' So she laid
the babies beside their mother in bed, and she and Poppy
'Now, my little lass,' said the old woman, 'you and
me will soon tidy things up here.'
It was wonderful to Poppy to see how quickly her
grandmother could work. She was a brisk, active old
JOHN HENRY'S BAIRN. 63
woman, and in a very short time all the cups, and saucers,
and plates were washed and put by, the fireside was
swept, and the kitchen table was scoured. Then, leaving
Poppy to wash the floor, her grandmother carried off the
heap of dirty clothes lying in the corner into the tiny
back kitchen, and, long before Poppy's mother or the
babies woke, there were two lines of little garments hung
out to be quickly dried in the scorching afternoon sun.
'And now, Poppy,' said grandmother, 'fetch my
basket, my good little lass, and we'll unpack it.' Oh,
what a basket that was Poppy's eyes opened wide with
astonishment when she saw all that it contained. There
was a whole pound of fresh country butter, a loaf of
grandmother's own home-made bread, a plum cake she
had made on purpose for Poppy, a jar of honey made by
grandmother's bees, and a box of fresh eggs laid by grand-
mother's hens, a bottle of thick yellow cream, and, what
Poppy liked best of all, a -bunch of roses, and southern-
wood, and-pansies, and lavender from grandmother's garden.
It was very pleasant to get tea ready, when there were
so many good things to put on the table, and it was still
more pleasant, when Poppy's mother woke, to take her a
cup of tea with the good country cream in it, and to
watch how she enjoyed some thin slices of grandmother's
bread and butter, and a fresh egg laid that morning by
'little Jenny, the bonniest hen of the lot.'
'Now, Poppy,' said grandmother, when tea was over,
7 I7- 1 1- I I
I ':1 iiI: :iI- -- *
JOHiN HENk'Y'S BAIRN. 65
'you get on your hat, and go out a bit. You're a good
little lass, if ever there was one-bless you, my darling,
my own John Henry's bairn! But you want a bit of
rest and play, you do indeed.'
'Yes, that she does,' said her mother. 'Why, it's
weeks since she got out for a walk-not since I was in
bed, bless her !'
So Poppy put on her hat and went out. It was a
lovely summer's evening; the great heat of the day was
over, and a gentle breeze was blowing, which was very
cooling and refreshing to the tired little girl. She went
slowly past the great cathedral, and she thought how
beautiful it looked, standing out against the quiet evening
sky. Then she climbed up a flight of stone steps, and
these took her to the top of the old wall, which went all
round that ancient city.
And now Poppy had a beautiful view, over the tops of
the chimneys, and across the black smoky courts, to
where the green fields were lying in the evening sunshine,
and the river was lighted up by the rays of the setting
sun. And there on the top of the old city wall, in a quiet
little corner where no one could see her, Poppy knelt down,
and thanked God for hearing her prayer, and for sending
grandmother to help her. On her way home she met
Jack coming to meet her. 'Poppy,' he said, 'I've got a
present for you.'
He put his hand under his thick fustian jacket and
66 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
pulled out something tied up tightly in a red cotton
'Come and sit on this door-step, Poppy,' he said, 'and
look what it is.'
It was a large green apple.
'Why, Jack,' said Poppy, 'where did you get it It's
a funny time of year to get an apple; I didn't know there
was any left.'
'No, it's a real curiosity,' said Jack, 'and I said to
myself when I got it, "Poppy shall have that big 'un;
she was such a plucky girl that night in the tower-she
never whimpered nor nothing." So I tied him up in that
handkercher, and there he is.'
'Thank you so much, dear Jack,' said Poppy gratefully.
' But however did you get it ?'
'Why it was old Sellers, the greengrocer, gave him to
me,' said Jack,-' him as has a shop in Newcastle Street;
he called me in and he says, "Do you want a job, my
lad and when I told him Yes, I do," he set me to clean
out his apple-room, where he stores his apples in winter.
So he took me in, and it was a sight-such a sight as you
never saw, Poppy Scores of 'em all rotten and smelling.
Ay, they were horrid I said Jack, making a face, 'all but
half a dozen that were quite good. Well, I picked 'em
out, Poppy, and took 'em to old Sellers, and he gave me
half of 'em: so I ate one myself, and I gave one to Sally,
and I kept the biggest of 'em all for you.'
JOHN HENRY'S BAIRN. 67
'It was good of you, Jack,' said Poppy.
'Well, eat it then,' said the boy--' they're very nice-as
good as can be,' and he smacked his lips at the recollection.
But Poppy had rolled her apple up in her pinafore, -and
did not seem inclined to begin to eat it.
'Whatever are you keeping it for ?' said Jack, in rather
a disappointed voice.
'Jack,' said Poppy, stopping short, and looking up in
his face, 'is it for my very own ?'
Why, yes, Poppy-of course.'
'To do just whatever I like with it '
'Why, yes, of course,' said Jack again.
'Then I shall give it to my grandmother,' said Poppy;
'she's come to-day, and she's ever so good to us ; and God
sent her, and she's cleaned the house beautiful. I shall
give it to my grandmother, Jack.'
'All right,' he said; 'only I'd like you to have just
one bite yourself, Poppy, to see how good it is.'
He was quite satisfied when Poppy promised to ask her
grandmother to give her the last bite; and the little girl
hastened home, feeling very happy, and picturing out to
herself what a great treat that big apple would be to the
'Here,' she said, holding it out to her, 'it's all for you,
grandmother-only Jack wants me just to have the last
All for me,' repeated the old woman, as she looked up
68 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
from the work she had in her hand-a little old torn frock
of Poppy's, which she was mending.
Yes,' said the child, 'all for you.'
'Well, it's a beauty, I'm sure !' said grandmother,
turning it over in her hand; 'but you see, my dear,
many's the long day since I've eat an apple. Why, my
little lass, what can an old body with only two teeth do ?'
'Do try, granny,' said Poppy, holding the apple to her
mouth; 'it isn't so very hard, and Jack says it's so good.
Do try !'
STHE MOTHE-R 5
SLE ) ACY
S ND grandmother
she did not
SI, want to dis-
id the two teeth
would not go
,---- into the apple;
they were too
far apart, and
there were no
teeth below to help them; and so, after many attempts;
the poor old woman was obliged to say she was afraid
she could not manage it.
'If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again.
That's a good rule, my dear; but it doesn't always
answer, Poppy. But I'll tell you what, my little girl,'
said she, as she noticed how disappointed the child was,
70 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
' 11 put it in the oven and bake it for my supper, and
then I shall have a treat!'
'Oh, granny, I'm so glad!' said Poppy, throwing her
arms round her neck-'I do love you so very much-
you are so good to me !'
Why,. you're John Henry's bairn,' said granny, as she
held her fast in her arms-' how could I help loving
John Henry's bairn 1'
'Polly, my dear,' said grandmother the next day to
Poppy's mother, 'Polly, my dear, I'm going to take you
home with me.'
But the sick woman shook her head.
'Don't shake your head, my dear,' said grandmother;
'I believe if I could put you down on the top of the moors,
and if you could get the breezes off the heather, why, my
lass, I believe you'd get well in no time !'
'You must ask the doctor, grandmother,' said Poppy's
mother; he is coming to-day.'
So when the doctor had paid his usual visit, grand-
mother trotted after him downstairs.
'Now, doctor,' said she, 'I'll tell you what I'm going
to do; I'm going to take her home with me. Country air
is the best physic after all, now isn't it, doctor ? You
can't say anything against that, I'll be bound !'
But the doctor shook his head.
'Dear me, doctor,' said grandmother, 'don't you go and
shake your head. Surely she'll be well enough to go in
THE MOTHER'S LEGACY. 71
a week or ten days. Or maybe a fortnight or three
weeks, doctor,' she added, as she saw that he looked very
'My good woman,' said the doctor, 'you don't know
how ill she is It is only a question of time now.'
'You don't mean to say, doctor,' said grandmother,
'that she won't get better ?'
She may live a week,' said the doctor, as he put on
his hat, but I do not think she will live so long.'
Poor old grandmother, it was a great downfall to her
hopes; she had thought, and hoped, and believed, that
the country air would soon make John Henry's wife well
again, and now she was told that she had only a few days
She could not go upstairs with such news as that. So
she bustled about the kitchen, pretending to be busy,
washing up the tea-things, and sweeping the fireside, and
stopping every now and then to wipe away the tears that
would come in her eyes. And all this time Poppy's
mother was waiting, and listening, and wondering why
grandmother did not come to tell her what the doctor
At last she could wait no longer, but rapped on the
floor, with the stick which grandmother had put by her
Slowly, very slowly, the old woman -went upstairs.
But, even when she was in the bedroom, she did not seem
72. POPPY'S PRESENTS.
inclined to talk, but began to wash Enoch and Elijah, and
never turned her face towards her daughter-in-law, lest
she should see how tearful her eyes were.
'Grandmother,' said Poppy's mother at last, 'tell me
what the doctor said.'
He won't let me take you away, my lass,' said grand-
'Does he think I shall not live long 1' asked the sick
woman. Tell me what he said, grandmother, please.'
.'He said you might perhaps live a week, my dear,'
said, grandmother, bursting into tears, and rocking Enoch
and Elijah in her arms.
Poppy's mother did not speak, but she did just what
King Hezekiah did when he got a similar message, she
turned her face to the wall. Grandmother did not dare
to look at her for some time, and when she did she saw
that her pillow was wet with tears.
Poor lass, poor lass !' she said tenderly; 'no wonder
ye cannot help fretting; it's a e rsome thing to die, it is
Oh, it isn't that, grandmother,' said Poppy's mother;
'it isn't that. I was thinking about the poor children.'
'And what about the children, bless 'em .' said the
Why, I'm afraid it will go hardly with them in the
House,' said the poor woman, beginning to cry afresh.
'They do say some of them old nurses are not over-good
THE MOTHER'S LEGACY. 73
to babies, and they think 'em such a lot of trouble, poor
little motherless dears! And there's Poppy, too; she's
been ever such a good little girl to me, and she'll feel so
lonesome-like in that big rambling place. I don't suppose
they'll let her be with the babies, for all she loves them so.'
Now, Polly, my dear,' said grandmother, starting from
her seat, 'never you say another word about that. If you
think I'm going to let John Henry's bairns go into the
Workhouse, why, my dear, you don't know what sort of
stuff John Henry's mother is made of I Why, my lass, it
would be throwing God Almighty's gifts back in His face.
I've wearied for my twin babies all these years, and
fretted and fumed because I'd lost them, and then as soon
as He gives 'em back to me, I go and shove them off into
the House No, no, my dear,' said grandmother, 'I'm not
such an old stupid as that. And as for Poppy, my lass,
why, she'll be my right-hand woman They shall come
home with me, my dear, and I'll be their mother-dear,
blessed little chaps-and Poppy shall be their nurse, and '
we'll all be as happy as ever we can be without you, my
'Oh, grandmother, it seems too good to be true,' said
Poppy's mother; 'but you can never keep three children.'
'Yes, my dear, I can; my good man, he was careful
and thrifty, and he saved a good tidy sum. And my
lady's very good to me,-why, I live in the lodge rent
free, and get my coals, and many's the coppers the folks
74 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
in their carriages throws out, when I go to open the gate.
You see, it's a sort of a public road, my dear, and there's
all kinds of folk goes by. So I've enough and to spare
only I'm lonesome often, and haven't nobody to speak to
for hours together. And now the Lord's going to send
me good company, and I shall be a happier woman than
I've been since my good man died, and my John Henry
went away; I shall indeed, my dear.'
Poppy's mother was almost too happy to answer her;
a great load was lifted off her heart, and she lay quite
still with her eyes closed for some time, trying to tell
her best Friend how grateful she was to Him for all He
had done for her. Meanwhile, the poor old woman was
rocking the babies in her arms, and wiping away the tears,
which would come in her eyes as she thought of what the
doctor had said.
Then Poppy came in, bright and happy, with a bunch
of white roses in her hand, which Jack's friend the green-
grocer had given him, and which he had sent to Poppy's
mother. She was very much distressed to see her grand-
'What is it, granny, dear?' she said, putting her arms
round her neck, and kissing her; 'are you poorly ?'
'You had best tell her, grandmother,' said Poppy's
mother; it will come less sudden-like on her after.'
But grandmother could not speak. She tried once or
twice, but something in her throat seemed to choke her,
THE MOTHER'S LEGACY. 75
and at length she laid the sleeping babies on the bed,
buried her face in her apron, and went downstairs.
What is it, mother said Poppy ; did the doctor say
you were worse V'
'Poppy,' said her mother, 'shall I tell you what the
doctor said, my darling '
'Yes, please, mother,' said the child.
'He said that in a few days more I should be quite
well, Poppy; well and strong, like you, my dear-no
more pain-no more weakness--for ever.'
'Then why does* Granny cry?' said Poppy, with a
'Because, darling, grandmother wanted me to go to her
home and get well there; but'instead of that, God is
going to take me to His home, Poppy, to be well for ever
and ever. Will you try to be glad for me, darling ?'
'Yes, mother,' said little Poppy with a sob-' I'll try;
but, oh mother, I wish He'd take me too !'
THE 5TORY Of
OLLY, my dear,'
S-/"' she was sitting beside
her- the next day,
*g 'aren't ye feared to
said the poor woman,
I'm not afraid.'
'Well, I should be,'
said grandmother, 'if
I knew I was going
away in a few days;
why, my dear, I should be frightened out of my wits, I
'And so should I have been, two years ago,' said
Poppy's mother; 'but I'm not afraid now. I'll tell you
how it was, granny, that I got not to be frightened to die.
I used to go to a Mother's Meeting of a Monday after-
noon, before John Henry went away, and before I had tq
THE STORY OF THE RING. 77
go out washing, and while we did our sewing a lady used
to read to us.'
'Who was it, my dear '
'Miss Lloyd; she's the clergyman's sister, granny.
Well, one day (I remember it so well) she brought a
beautiful ring to show us. Oh it was a beauty, grand-
mother. There was a ring of lovely large diamonds all
round it. She told us that some old lady had given it to
her for a keepsake, just before she died, and that she
would not lose it for a great deal. "Now," she said, you
are all my friends, and I want a bit of advice. I'm going
to start to-morrow on a long journey ; I am going to travel
in foreign parts, and stop at all sorts of inns and lodging-
places. Now, do you think it would be safe for me to
take my ring with me 1"
"Well, ma'am," said old Betty, who's always ready with
her tongue, "I wouldn't advise you to do so. They're
queer folk, them foreigners, and maybe you'd be washing
your hands at some of them outlandish places, and take off
your ring, and then go away, and leave it behind, and
never see it no more."
"That's just what I've been thinking," said Miss Lloyd ;
"thank you for your advice, Betty. I'm sure my ring
will not be safe, and I can't keep it safe myself; well, then,
what shall I do "
'" Couldn't you trust it to somebody, to take care of for
you, ma'am ?" said another woman.
78 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
"Thank you, that's a very good idea," said Miss Lloyd.
'"I think it's the best thing I can do. Now let me
think," said she; I must get some one who is able to take
care of it, and who is willing, too. Oh I know," she said;
"there's my brother-he is able. He has a strong box at
the bank, where he keeps his papers ; he can put it in there,
and I feel sure he will be willing to do it for me. I hear
his voice in the next room; I'll call him in, and ask him."'
'And did she ask him ?' said grandmother.
Yes, she brought him in, and she said: "Now, Arthur,"
she said, "these friends of mine advise me to trust my
ring to you. I can't keep it safe myself, but I feel I-can
trust you. I know you are able to keep it for me
whilst I am away; I commit it to your care." So up she
got from her seat, and handed the ring in its little case to
Mr. Lloyd, and he put it in his waistcoat pocket, saying,
as he left the room, All right, Emily, don't you trouble
about it; I'll take care of it." '
'Well, my dear,' said grandmother, 'all that was very
nice, I've no doubt; but how it.makes you any happier to
die, it beats me to see.'
Oh, but you haven't heard the end of it, grandmother,'
said Poppy's mother.
'No, nor I won't hear it till you've had a cup of tea, my
dear. You're as white as a sheet. I oughtn't to have let
you talk so long.'
But when she had had the tea, and an hour's quiet sleep,
THE STORY OF THE RING. 79
and when the babies were asleep, and grandmother and
Poppy were sitting beside her in the twilight, the poor
woman went on with her story.
'When Mr. Lloyd had gone, grandmother, his sister
said, "I can't thank you all enough for your good advice.
I feel quite happy about my ring. And now you won't
mind my asking you what are you going to do with your
"Well, ma'am," said old Betty, "the only ring that I
have is my wedding ring, and that's not worth sixpence to
anybody but myself, so I don't suppose it stands much
chance of being stolen."
"Betty," said Miss Lloyd, turning to her, "you have a
treasure worth far, far more than my ring. I mean your
precious soul, which will live for ever and ever and ever
somewhere; your undying self, Betty. Only your body
will go in the grave; you yourself will be living for ever.
Dear friends," she said, speaking to all of us, "I want each of
you to ask this question: What about my soul? Is it safe ?"
'Then she told us, grandmother, that we were travelling
through an enemy's country; Satan and his evil spirits
wanted to get our treasure. She told us we could not
keep our soul safe ourselves; if we tried we should cer-
tainly lose it, as she would have lost her ring. "And oh,
dear friends," she said, "what shall it profit you, if you
gain the whole world, and lose your own soul ?" '
'Well, she was right there, my dear,' said grandmother.
80 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
"Now, then," she says, I want you to do as you advised
me to do. I want you to get some one to keep your trea-
sure for you-some one who is able, some one who is willing;
who shall it be ?"
"I suppose you mean the Lord, ma'am," said old Betty.
S"Yes," she said, I mean the Lord Jesus. He is able,
for He has all power; He is willing, for He died on pur-
pose that He might do so. Won't you trust your treasure
to Him?" she said. "Won't you go straight to Him, and
say, Lord Jesus, here is my soul; I can't keep it myself;
Satan wants to get it for his own. I trust it to Thee; I
commit it to Thee to be saved."
'Well, grandmother,' said Poppy's mother, 'I didn't
forget what she said, and that night, when John Henry
had gone upstairs to bed, I knelt down in the kitchen, and
trusted my soul to the Lord Jesus to be saved, because
He had died for me; I put my soul in His hands, grand-
mother, and I know He will keep it safe.'
'Well, my dear,' said grandmother, 'it's to be hoped
'I know He will, grandmother; I don't doubt Him,'
said Poppy's mother. 'Miss Lloyd taught us a verse
about that: "I know whom I have believed, and am per-
suaded that He is able to keep that which I have commit-
ted unto Him against that day." And she said if we were
to begin doubting that our soul was safe when we had
taken it to Jesus to be saved, it would be the same as
THE STORY OF THE RING. 81
saying we did not trust Him. What would you think,"
she said, "if I were to be saying all the time I was away,
Oh, dear me, I'm afraid I shall never see my ring again;
I'm afraid it isn't safe, after all "
Why, ma'am," said old Betty, "you'll excuse me say-
ing so, but I should think.you was very rude to Mr. Lloyd,
and if I was there, I should give you a bit of my mind;
you mustn't be offended at me saying so," says Betty,
"but I should indeed."
And what would you say, Betty ?" says Miss Lloyd.
"I should tell you, ma'am," says Betty, "that if you
had trusted your ring to Mr. Lloyd, it was as safe as safe
could be, and it was an insult to him to doubt it."
'" Betty," says Miss Lloyd, you're quite right; and
that's just what I feel about the Lord Jesus. I know
whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able
to keep that soul which I have committed unto Him."'
'Well,' said grandmother, it seems all right when you
put it like that, and I wish I was as happy as you are, my
dear;-but I'm a good-for-nothing old woman, I am indeed,
and somehow I'm afraid He wouldn't do it for me.'
'Poppy,' said her mother, 'do you think you could find
me a Mission Hymn-book ?'
'Yes, mother,' said Poppy; 'here's one on the table.'
The poor woman turned over the leaves with trembling
fingers, for she was very weak and tired.
'Poppy, dear,' she said, when she had found the place,
* i'I^F^ """--:^^~'
^SItIIl.i"iI ^.I -
li> ----- -Ij
THE STORY OF THE RING. 83
'read this hymn to grandmother.'
And Poppy read:
'Jesus, I will trust Thee, trust Thee with my soul;
Guilty, lost; and helpless, Thou canst make me whole;
There is none in heaven or on earth like Thee :
Thou hast died for sinners-therefore, Lord, for me.
Jesus, I do trust Thee, trust without a doubt,
Whosoever cometh, Thou wilt not cast out;
Faithful is Thy promise, precious is Thy blood;
These my soul's salvation, Thou my Saviour God.'
Oh, grandmother, and oh, Poppy,' she said, when the
child had finished reading, trust your soul to Jesus to-
'Well, my dear, I will,' said poor old grandmother,
wiping her eyes.
'And you, my own little Poppy ?'
'Yes, dear mother,' said the child, 'I won't forget.'
.\ VWONDOERTUL FIRE.
'i OLLY, my dear,'
/ 'I, said grandmother
the next day, as
S1 she was. washing the
, ; i babies, 'I didn't forget
*' what you asked me to do
Sk last night, but I'm afraid, my
dear, I'm very much afraid.'
'What are you afraid of, granny?' asked Poppy's
'Why, I'm afraid of getting cold and hard again, my
dear,' she said; 'it's all very well for Poppy, but I've
been putting off so long, I'm afraid of slipping into all-the
bad, old ways again. Why, my dear, I've tried to pray
and to read my Bible scores of times before, but my mind
has soon gone a-wandering away to my chickens, or to
my butter, or to the bit of washing I do for the Hall,
and all such like things. Now, my dear, how do I know
it won't be like that again V'
'Ye can't get cold and hard, granny, if the fire burns
THE WONDERFUL FIRE. 85
bright, and the Lord will keep it alight. He will in-
'What do you mean by the fire, my dear '
Why, granny, I saw it at the Mothers' Meeting,
Miss Lloyd showed us it, such a pretty picture I've
often thought of it since.'
Tell me about it, my lass, if it won't bring the cough on.'
'No, I feel so much easier to-day, granny, it doesn't
hurt me to talk like it did last week. I'll stop if it tires me.
Well, there was a fire in the picture, burning on the hearth,
a bright, cheerful, little fire, like I used to make of an
evening when John Henry came home. And in front of
the fire, granny, was a man throwing buckets full of
water on it to put it out; but the fire was blazing away,
and did not seem a bit the worse for it.'
'That was a queer thing, my dear !' said granny.
'Yes, but Miss Lloyd showed us that, behind the fire,
on the other side of the wall, another was standing, and
this one was quietly pouring oil into the fire to keep it
burning. And it never had a chance of going out, granny,
for the oil did it a deal more good than the water did it
'Well, my dear,' said grandmother, 'of course it.would
be so : oil makes a deal of blaze when it falls on fire;
but what has that got to do with me and my poor old
But Polly had a bad fit of coughing, and the good old
86 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
woman would not let her answer her question till she had
had two hours' quiet rest. Then she seemed brighter
again, and was able to go on.
Miss Lloyd explained it beautiful, granny. She told
us the fire was the work of grace in our hearts. As soon
as we trusted our souls to Jesus to be saved, she said that
fire was lighted, the good work was begun. But then, she
said, "Don't forget you've got an enemy. Satan will try to
put the fire out. He'll send somebody to laugh at you, or to
plague you about turning religious. That's one bucket of
water! He'll send you a lot of work to do, to try and
make you think you've no time to think about your soul.
That's another bucket of water !" He'll have all sorts of
pleasures, and cares, and difficulties ready, all of them
buckets of water, granny.'
'Ay, my. dear, I see that, and I'll be bound there's a
bucket not far off coming on my poor little fire. But
what about the oil, my dear ?'
'I'm coming to the oil, granny. Satan has his buckets
of water, but the dear Lord has His bottle of oil. It's-
the Holy Spirit, granny, who alone can make us good, or
keep us good. And if the Lord puts His Holy Spirit in
our hearts, it's of no use Satan trying to put the fire out;
he'll have to give it up for a bad job. Reach me the
Testament, granny, there's a verse I'll read to you.'
She turned over the leaves for some time, and at last
she found the words she wanted, and she put a mark
THE WONDERFUL FIRE. -87
against them, that granny might find them for herself
when she had gone away.
The words were these, 'He which hath begun a good
work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus
'Polly, my dear,' said granny, after a pause, 'do you
think He'll do that for me?'
'Do what, granny '
'Do you think He will give me His Holy Spirit V
And then Polly's mother gave grandmother another
text; but this time she did not find it, for she knew it by
heart, 'If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children, how much more shall your
Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask
Grandmother sat by the side of the bed long after
Enoch and Elijah had fallen -asleep. She seemed to have
no heart to bustle about that morning. She wanted to
feel sure that her soul was safe.
And when she thought that Poppy's mother was fast
asleep, with her babies lying beside her, granny knelt
down and said aloud, O Lord, I'm a poor sinful old
woman, but I want Thee to save me. O Lord Jesus,
Thou hast died for me. I trust my soul to Thee. Here
it is, I put it into Thy hands. Oh give me Thy Holy
Spirit, keep the fire bright in my soul, please, Lord Jesus,
88 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
But Poppy's mother was not asleep, she was only lying
with her eyes.closed: And as the old woman got up from
her knees she smiled, and said softly,
'The soul that to Jesus has fled for repose,
He will not, He will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
He'll never, no never, no never forsake.'
'Amen,' said Granny, 'Amen.'
COM E H O ME
HE doctor was not
-~w wrong. In less
,"l than a week the
!i '.' i' Lord took Poppy's
.Imother to His beau-
ill. -, iful home, where
'" here is no more sick-
SI .less nor pain. And
-- grandmother, and
Poppy, and little
Enoch and Elijah were left behind.
But, as the grandmother and the child stood beside the
grave where her body was laid to rest, they knew that
she was far away, safe in His keeping to whom she had
trusted her soul. They knew that she was well, and
happy, and full of joy, and they-tried to be glad for her
Grandmother was anxious to get home, and, as soon as
all could be arranged, she set off with Poppy and the
twins, he neighbours were very kind, and did all they
could to help them, and Jack rubbed away something
90 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
with his sleeve, which was very like a tear, as he saw
their train steam out of the station.
It was a new life for Poppy. Grandmother lived in a
lovely valley, full of beautiful trees and running brooks,
and quiet, peaceful glades, where in the daytime the
squirrels played and the birds sang, where in the dim
evening hours the rabbits came to nibble the grass, and
where, at night, when Poppy and her little brothers were
asleep, the solemn old owls sat in the trees, and called to
each other in harsh and ugly voices.
Through the middle of the valley ran a white smooth
road, winding in and out amongst the trees, and on this
road came the carriages, driving quickly along, with the
postillions in scarlet coats riding on the horses in front,
and the ladies and gentlemen who had come to see the
beautiful valley, leaning back in the carriages behind.
It was Poppy's delight to open the gate for these
carriages, and in this way she was able. to save her
grandmother a good deal of running about. She used to
climb up the hillside, and watch until they were in sight,
and then run down as fast as she could, that she might
have the gate open in time for tlem to pass through.
That was Poppy's work out of school hours, for grand-
mother sent her regularly to the pretty little country
school, and would let nothing keep her away from it.
Dear old grandmother! how hard she worked for
Poppy and for the babies; she thought nothing a trouble
\EIL 4~ ~4,
92 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
that she could do for them, and Poppy loved her more
and more every day.
As the months went by, little Enoch and Elijah grew
fat and strong; the fresh country air and the new milk
made a wonderful change in them, and, when the next
summer came, they were able to run about, and could
climb on the hillside with Poppy, and gather the wild
roses, and the harebells, and the honeysuckle, and would
sit on the bank, near the cottage, watching the carriages,
and trying to catch the pence which the people threw
them as they drove by.
One Saturday afternoon, at the end of the summer, as
Poppy was playing with them outside .the lodge, she
caught sight of a man coming quickly down the road.
She ran to open the gate for him, but as she did so she
gave a sudden cry of joy. It was her father, her long-
lost father, come home again I
'Why, Poppy,' he said, 'my own dear little woman,
what are you doing here? Come and kiss your poor
father, Poppy. And who are these two bonny little
lads ?' he asked,'as Enoch and Elijah came running up to
They're our babies,' said Poppy. 'God sent them after
you went away, father; they both came on one day.'
'Dear me, dear me; and to think I never knew,' said
her father. 'Poor Polly! And so you've all come to
see grandmother. I never thought I should find you
THE LODGE IN THE VALLEY. 93
here; I was going home to-morrow. I must run in and
see mother. Is she with grandmother, Poppy V
See mother Then he did not know. And Poppy
could not tell him. She followed him with a very grave
and sorrowful face, holding little Enoch and Elijah by the
Grandmother came to the door at the sound of his
'Why, if it isn't my John Henry !' she cried.
'Yes, mother, it's your John Henry, ashamed of himself
at last. And so you've got poor Polly and the bairns
here. Where is Polly? I wonder if she'll ever forgive
'Then you haven't been home yet, John Henry!' was
all grandmother could say.
'No, mother; I only got to Liverpool this morning,
and I took you on my way; I was going home to-morrow.'
'Where's Polly V' he said, pushing past her, and looking
first into the parlour and then into the kitchen. 'Is she
upstairs, mother? Polly Polly Polly ?
'John Henry,' said grandmother in a trembling voice,
' Polly has gone home.'
Gone home, and left the children behind her!' he
'Ay, my dear,' said his mother, bursting into tears;
'the Lord sent for her.'
'You don't mean to say .she's dead, mother !' he moaned.
94 POPPY'S PRESENTS.
'Nay, my dear, she is living with the Lord,' said the
'Oh, mother, mother,' he sobbed, 'to think I left her
like that, and she never knew how sorry I was !'
It was a long, long time before he could speak, or could
tell them his story. He had been in America in dreadful
straits and in many dangers. At length he fell ill with
fever, and lay for many weeks at the point of death, in a
log cabin, with only a boy of ten, the son of a poor
emigrant, to do anything for him. But this trouble had
shown him his sin, and he had come to the Lord Jests for
forgiveness, and ever since then God had blessed him.
He had not become a rich man, but he had earned enough
to bring him home, and-he had saved a little besides, and
with this he hoped to start life afresh.
'But you'll never rob me of my bairns, John Henry,'
said the old woman, in alarm; 'you'll never take them
away, when we've all been so happy together !'
And the bare possibility of losing the children seemed
quite to damp poor old grandmother's joy in getting her
beloved John Henry home again.
'Well, mother, we must see,' he said; we must ask
God to order for us.'
And God did order most graciously, both for mother
The old woman told her trouble to my lady,' the next
time that she drove through the lodge-gates in her pony-
THE LODGE IN THE VALLEY. 95
carriage, and she was very sympathising, and most anxious
that the children should not have to leave their happy
country home. She mentioned it to the squire, and he
very kindly offered Poppy's father a situation on his
estate as gamekeeper. His life in America had made
him far more fit for that kind of work than for carrying
on his old trade, and he was most thankful not to have
to take his children back to the city. So they all lived
on together in the pretty lodge in the -lovely 'valley, a
happy little family, all loving the same Lord, and walking
on the road to the same Home.
But Poppy never forgot her mother. And as Enoch
and Elijah grew older, she would sit with them on the
hillside and talk to them about her, and pointing to the
blue sky she would tell them that their mother was wait-
ing for them there, and would be very much disappointed
if they did not come.
And often, as they sat outside the lodge in the quiet
summer evenings, they and their father would sing
together, Mother's favourite hymn,' and dear old grand-
mother would come to the door, and join in a quavering
voice in the beautiful words:
'Jesus, I will trust Thee, trust Thee with my soul,.
Guilty, lost, and helpless, Thou canst make me whole;
There is none in heaven, or on earth like Thee,
Thou hast died for sinners, therefore Lord for me.'
JAMES MUTR, PRINTER, EDINBURGH.