9; :,U: Z:-:;:::i:.:
j. q1! 2
Mi, .. ........ .
V1 UN plialp ,
lc MRS. _11 01 jbg
q.;,. gi-7 ggm -ffigg -q,9.Y"-g-1H:,-Pi !-) l.g. gii.
NM .1 v i M]
WMMWv"-;3 liti-ni wi. :,4
r, 1. q, F I,
195 iz. 1 m,
.Px A Oil IN
RAW V ii E
N RMA. If
FR Lil rim.
"54 I;N I 'u 5 V
"."1112Z "Bil 'pXm1-
MIN 011 liar
ggYj .... ...... ..
R14 54 jj I;l X1.1 i Pli;ii;; ji ";3ii, .1
141 :, At I'V I-.
M. 171'.4 1, i vtai I- !I, 4-Xi':
Wil, irl, Hill
iv 'l;K i:
-I im% Ix
0=1V I .. ....
AJ!........ ... .
:11! ...... V.
. ..... ...
. . . .V
.... ..... ...
A. A.IN IA .- .L 1,- '",
BOOKSELLLER %sr o- P .t.4 t .. "
421,' SAUC EM ALLS'r', '" -'". t "", S A.
GLASGOW '* 4 ," ./ ., .
- I i
l "! ",r,.. F,-, : .i
,r Sr i, -. .' Y, A.-.
. .'-., .. : .. .
"14 A"' '-''. ,4. '-, 1
'c-i L-&r"'' ""
I 7 ,' / i
,; '' -' ..
] --,--.. .- 7 '1,1 v'- .
,; 41, to'I
Si L- ,
1 71 OC-' :*" -- :' '
I .,.r':"- s
to14 V 'f I
,A A .R E D T C)'. f
T ::f ix" ,, ., ,,.
HJ ,,,j -' -" --`NV "" V
I- Q -d ,i
; v ,, -".:: -- .. r U
y." '2" *. -' ," 'lI1 r..- .r'-
,t..it 4. ",-,, .-'_. .-
:: -, -.'',r lt'' ! 'i"- 4 %
I 4''I' I'' ,, 1 i'I 'N1i-' '-,
_orIw. A V -0, J- -
I- I IIi
1,1.. ., fond
'$ '4-" 4 't-, oSf'tLI-41-'-;-
igen -,, -.7 i'
f, V2 e
M IT i 4 1'ff".5 I, iiu~~J- ~ J L
A-F" AU P -- 4i ,XI-NL I N
IR I~1 vg
FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
V U S E
FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
"L ,. 1, -C ft .
S .. a tf ,.-
'. -. \ B,
a, o r ,'' B .
I. .,,,- Y ^ Fo _
RICHARD CLAY AND SONS,
LONDON AND BUNGAY.
ABDALLAH THE UNHAPPY 9
FIFINE AND HER CAT 14
THE LONG LADDER 19
A FOUR-FOOTED GENTLEMAN 24
THE BAD FAIRY 29
THE GOBLIN FACE .. 35
THE LOST BROOCH . 41
ONLY A BUNCH OF VIOLETS 48
A CANARY TRAGEDY 54
Coo-Coo's SECOND HUSBAND 61
HARRY'S REWARD 67
BROTHERS AND MUSHROOMS .. 73
A REMARKABLE WATCH 8
THE BLACKBERRY ELF. .. 88
FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
By Mrs. MOLESWORTH.
t s, for he ws kd ad b o t, n r s
Sgood counsel to those in earnest to profidwelt byin a cit, so that
soft breeze that stirred the trees haverd by, r heading from tihe name to time
and holy man. e was highly esteemed by his fellow
citizens, for he was kind and benevolent, never refusing
and many came from great distances to consult him.
io FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
short passages of an ancient volume open upon his knees, when a
shadow fell across its pages, and looking up, he perceived that a
stranger stood before him, who saluted him with the greatest respect
and courtesy. The sage returned the customary greetings, and then
inquired in what he could be of service to the new-comer.
"Father," said the stranger, "I have journeyed far, to ask your
advice. My quest is summed
up in few words, What can
I do to be happy ?"
The wise man looked at
him searchingly. He was a
handsome man in the prime
of life, richly dressed, healthy
and vigorous. His appear-
ance would have been most
c prepossessing but for a melan-
choly and discontented. ex-
pression of countenance-there
was no genial smile about the mouth, no kindly light in the eyes.
What have you tried ?" inquired the sage.
"Everything," replied the stranger. "Yet without foolish prddigality
and excess. I have sought to surround myself with beauty and re-
finement, for my wealth is inexhaustible. I have dipped deep into
learning, for my abilities are, I am told, considerable; I have even
of late in a sort of despair tried to find content in enjoyment of less
elevated kinds, such as seems to satisfy many men. But all was
useless-eating and drinking, and such, physical gratifications could
do nothing for one who had sought in vain satisfaction in
the perfection of music, of painting and sculpture-nay, more,. who
ABDALLAIH TIE UNHAPPY n
had found in the severest of studies but weariness and dis-
You have been too changeable and impatient, my son," said the
sage. Try again-I do not say return to the lower pleasures of
which you speak, but devote yourself more exclusively to the fine arts.
Travel far and wide and visit whatever is beautiful. One year from
now, return, and tell me the result."
Abdallah bowed and departed. The year passed, and again he
stood before the sage, despondent as formerly.
had found in the severest of studies but weariness and dis-
"You have been too changeable and impatient, my son," said the
sage. "Try again--I do not say return to the lower pleasures of
which you speak, but devote yourself more exclusively to the fine arts.
Travel far and wide and visit whatever is beautiful. One year from
now, return, and tell me the result."
Abdallah bowed and departed. The year passed, and again he
stood before the sage, despondent as formerly.
12 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
"In vain. I have exhausted myself in travel. I have seen all the
world has to show. I am more miserable than ever."
"Turn then again to study. Shut yourself up with your books.
Work your hardest and see if therein you cannot find contentment.
If you succeed I shall not expect to see you again."
But some days before the year had elapsed, there once more
stood Abdallah. He had grown thin and pale, his eyes told of
midnight vigils, but their expression was no happier.
"It is useless," he said. "I have followed your advice. But I
am not as other men. Nothing brings happiness to me. There is
but one thing to do, but first I would ask your permission. Let .me
make an end of myself."
The sage frowned.
"It must be as you say," he re-
plied after some moments' silence.
You are perhaps so constituted
that happiness is impossible for
S|you. If so, resignation is all that
.i remains. But I cannot at once
Sanction your desire to quit this
M life. I must reflect upon it during
a year. In the meantime consider
the struggle as given up; think no
more of your unhappy fate, but
as you are about to die, use the
'--- time that remains, to some pur-
S pose, by spending it for others.
You are the one wretched excep-
--~- tion-so be it. Spend your time,
ABDALLAH THE UNHAPPY. 13
your strength and your wealth in making some others-ordinary human
beings-happier, so that at least some few tears may be dropped on
your grave. Return in a year, and I will then authorize you to put
an end to yourself."
And Abdallah again bowed and withdrew, somewhat consoled by the
thought that one year would see the last of his wretched existence, that
even the wisest of men recognized him as cut off from the common lot.
The year passed. But no Abdallah returned. It was not till some
weeks after the appointed time that he appeared hastening eagerly
towards the sage's dwelling. He was no longer thin or pale, his dress
was much less rich than formerly, but seemed nevertheless to show
his handsome figure to all the greater advantage, his bearing was
upright, his step springing-there was a smile on his lips, a beautiful,
kindly light in his dark eyes.
Forgive me, father, for my delay," he cried. I could not believe
the time had passed. This year has seemed to fly."
"And you are ready to part with your life? asked the sage.
Tears rushed to Abdallah's eyes.
If the sacrifice could be of use to others, yes, father, I am ready,"
he replied. But for myself, no, a thousand times no. I have found
the secret of happiness. In ministering to others, in forgetfulness of
self, I have found my own blessedness. Life is to me now the most
precious of gifts-my wealth, my strength, nay the very learning, the
very cultivation I found so disappointing when unshared, I now esteem
most highly as increasing my capacities for doing good. Life is
beautiful-O good father, let me live."
And the wise man lifting his hands in benediction on the head of
the happy Abdallah, bade him go in peace, having entered upon the
one only path of endless and eternal blessedness.
14 .FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
FIFINE AND HER CAT.
F II N E was walking quietly up and down the garden path,
her big cat, Mimi, in her arms. From time to time she
talked to Mimi, asking her questions or telling her the
thoughts passing through her mind, and when Mimi
purred, Fifine was quite satisfied that the cat was
agreeing with her. When she did not purr, and gave no signs of
attending, Fifine would give her a "-
little shake, or even a pinch, which
naturally made Mimi squeak, and
was supposed to mean she was not l' '
this time of the same opinion as
Fifine. This had happened more i
than usual this morning, for Fifine ,- l'
was in a rather irritable humour. '
She was not feeling pleased with ''l.:.
herself, and nothing makes little Ij
girls, and big people, too, more ;.
uncomfortable than this. -
Suddenly, from a little distance .,.
came a well-known voice.
"Fifine, my child," it said, you
have not come to the little gate
to wish me good morning," and "'
looking up, Fifine saw a tall ." .
FIFINE AND HER CAT. 15
figure, all dressed in black, standing some way down the path. It was
her kind friend and neighbour, the old cure or village clergyman, whose
house was at the other side of the high garden wall. In general Fifine
was delighted to see him, but this morning she walked towards him
slowly, making a sort of pretence that Mimi was too heavy for her.
Where is Madeleine ? said the clergyman, his voice sounding grave.
Madeleine was Fifine's sister, and two years older. "She is not ill?
Why is she not with you ? "
"She-she is in the house," she replied. She had glanced up for a
moment in his face, but the serious look in his eyes, generally so kind
and gentle, made her quickly turn hers down again.
"You will not tell me why she is not playing with you as usual, I see,"
he went, on very gravely. Shall I tell you ? It is because her little
sister got into a passion with her, really for no reason at all Would one
believe it-this little sister slapped and knocked Madeleine, and called
her many naughty names? No wonder Madeleine stays in the
Fifine forgot her shame in astonishment. She stared up in the old
gentleman's face, both her eyes and her mouth wide open.
How do you know ?" she exclaimed. We were in the house-in
our own room. No one was there, and I know, sir, Madeleine has not
seen you this morning; besides," and here Fifine looked down again,
" Madeleine would not tell."
No, you are right, Madeleine would not tell, and did not tell. A
little bird told me, my poor Fifine, and it was sad news for him to carry
this lovely morning," and shaking his head, the curd turned and walked
"A little bird indeed," repeated five years old Fifine to herself con-
temptuously. That is what they tell babies. I know better. A little
r6 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
bird only means 'somebody' told. Besides, there are no nests on that
side of the house. Who could it be? Mimi, tell me, don't be stupid
now. Who do you think it was ? and as Mimi made no reply, Fifine
shook her, which drew forth a plaintive squeak and a struggle to get
out of her mistress's arms. This made Fifine still more angry. She flung
Mimi down, the poor cat-for a worm will turn-glowered up at her,
with a rather ugly look in her green eyes, and slunk off.
I have it," exclaimed Fifine. "You nasty, mean, spiteful cat. It
was you who told. I remember you were on the window-sill, and then
I didn't see you any more, till I found you out here in the garden
coming back from your visit next door, no doubt! Ah, you may pretend
it wasn't you. You can't speak, but you can tell things all the same,
FIFINE AND HER CAT. 7
and Monsieur le cure is clever enough to understand. Why, he has often
told me he can understand what his old dog Platon says by the way he
wags his tail. You, too, were the only person who saw me hit Madeleine.
Mean cat; but I skall punish you," and off dashed the indignant Fifine in
pursuit of Mimi.
The summer day passed quickly. Sweet-tempered Madeleine soon
forgot the offence she was only too ready to forgive, and in merry play
with some little friends, the troubles of the morning were quickly out of
mind. Tired with fun and excitement, Fifine fell asleep the moment her
head touched the pillow. She had slept several hours when she suddenly
woke. It was quite dark-the very middle of the summer night-at first
not a sound broke the silence. Then faintly, but distinctly, came through
the half-opened window a low piteous wail-again and again. Fifine sat
up to listen. There was no sound from the larger room next door, where
Madeleine slept beside the nurse. No one was awake but Fifine, and
again, and again came that pitiful mew. Yes, it was a mew, and up
jumped Fifine at last.
The curd had sat up late that evening, reading, his window open
to the pleasant night-air. He closed his book at last, and was turning to
put out the lamp, when a little sound made him look round. There, at the
low window, stood a little white-robed, bare-footed figure, sobbing bitterly.
Oh, sir, oh, sir, come and let Mimi out. I shut her into the tool-house,
because I thought she had told you about my hitting Madeleine, and I
can't get her out, and she will die of hunger-my poor Mimi-since
yesterday morning she has had nothing to eat, and nobody is awake but
you. I have come all alone in the dark. I forgot all about her," and
the sobs redoubled.
In five minutes the kind cure had managed to open the door which the
gardener had locked, and Mimi was safe in Fifine's arms.
18 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
"And suppose it was not Mimi who told me?" said the good old
man as he carried the little girl home again.
I was naughty, but I didn't mean to leave Mimi all day. You said
it was a little bird, sir, but I know that is only baby-talk."
Yes, my child, and I am sorry I did not tell you who it really was.
It was your dear mamma, my Fifine, who overheard your fit of temper
and asked me to speak to you seriously. Will this be a lesson to you ?
See what angry temper leads to-hurting your sister, and nearly killing
your poor cat."
Forgive me, I will try to be better; indeed I will," sobbed Fifine.
And ask God to help you, my dear little girl," said the kind cure, as
he bade her good-night.
THE LONG LADDER. '9
THE LONG LADDER.
H E sun had set, and the deep blue
darkness of a summer night was
creeping over the sky. One by
)__ one the stars came out, and little
Max stood by the window gazing
up at them in admiration. He had never before
seen so many, for it was long past his usual bed-time,
and he had been allowed to sit up late for a great
treat, as it was his birthday. Inside the room his
mother was reading by a little table on which stood
a lamp, but the curtains were drawn across the
windows, and Max had crept behind them, so that
the bright light inside did not prevent his seeing '
the infinitely brighter ones, that up there, millions
and millions of miles away, came sparkling out one
after the other, as if the sky lamp-lighter were slowly .
going his errands. Max felt as if he could stand there
for ever, watching. But there came the summons.
20 1IVE MINUTES' STORIES.
Max, my boy. You must go to bed now."
Yes, mamma," and the small figure crept out and held up its face for
a good-night kiss. Then mamma," he began, hesitatingly.
"Well, Max," and mamma raised her eyes again for a moment from
her book. It was a very interesting book, and mamma had had her little
boy with her all day, and had done her best to make him happy.
Perhaps she was a little tired, and felt that she had earned some rest for
Mamma, is it God that puts them all there ?" he asked. All the
little stars ?" and he pointed towards the window.
"Yes, dear. You know it is. It is God that does everything good
and pretty and kind-up there and down here too."
Him makes the flowers in the garden," observed Max.
Yes, dear, you know He does," answered mamma, her eyes turning
back to her book again. Good-night, Maxie."
Good-night, mamma. But mamma-"
Well, dear," without looking up this time.
I was just thinking, when Him's done down here, you know, and
wants to go up there again, what a very long ladder Him must
"Yes, of course," said mamma, quite lost in her story by now.
I wonder," continued Max, I wonder if Him ever leaves it in the
garden after Him's gone up-after Him has been doing the flowers, you
I daresay-yes, very likely. Now do go, Max."
Does you really think so, mamma?" and Max's eyes, which had
begun to look as if the dustman had been passing by, grew bright and
eager again. I'll look and see if I can't find it then, some day," he said
to himself, as he climbed up-stairs. For Max felt sure that whatever
THE LONG LADDER. 21
mamma said must be true. And wonderful dreams came to the little
four-year-old man that night-dreams compared with which, all that
Jack found at the top of his famous bean-stalk would have seemed
The next morning brought unlooked-for disappointment to the little
fellow, for it was rainy and stormy. No going out for Max-he must
stay quietly in the nursery. And he looked so very sad about it
that mamma was a little surprised: he was usually so cheerful and
You had plenty of running about yesterday, Maxie," she said. We
cannot expect it always to be fine. To-morrow will be sunny again very
likely," and at this Max brightened up again.
Him will bring the ladder then, perhaps," he said to himself.
Mamma proved a true prophet, To-morrow was a lovely day. So
lovely that she and Max's father drove away to some distance, leaving
word that they would not be back till the evening.
Good-bye, darling. Be a good boy. Nurse will let you play in the
garden all the afternoon," were their last words to the happy little face
waving good-bye from the window.
But late that evening when they returned, they were met by a crowd of
white-faced frightened servants, with a sad story to tell. Master Max
was not to be found. They had hunted up and down-everywkere. He
was playing in the garden beside nurse, and she just left him for an instant
to fetch her work, and when she came back he was gone-she gave the
alarm at once, and ever since they had been searching." But in vain.
Yet where could he be ? There was no pond into which he could have
fallen-no high bank even, over which he could have rolled.
The garden was the safest there could be, many a score of times had
Max played there alone, though within view of the nursery windows;
22 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
nurse could not be blamed.
No one, nothing, was to blame. 1
The father and mother
looked at each other with
anguish in their eyes, It was
growing late. How could \
they live through the night
with the thought of their
darling out alone in the dark-
ness ? And where ?
Oh, where can he be ?"
Suddenly the mother looked
up-yes, there were the stars
coming out again one after the
other, as if nothing were the
matter; just as they had done
two evenings before when little
Max had been gazing at them
from behind the curtains. What
was it he had been saying in
his funny little way? The
half-heard words rushed back
to her memory.
Williams," she said to the -
gardener, "is there a ladder-
anywhere about ?"
They all stared at her. Yes,
he had left one-a very high
THE LONG LADDER. 23
one-against a tree. There were some branches he was lopping off,
but he had never thought for to -"
She did not wait, but rushed off to where he pointed, and breathless,
speechless, signed for some one to ascend it. Max's father of course.
And then came a joyful cry.
I have him. Up here fast asleep, like a bird in its nest."
Yes, there he was, coiled among the branches, unconscious of his fearful
I found God's ladder," he said, but when I got to the top, Him wasn't
there. So I waited till Him came to light the candles to ask Him to let
me peep into heaven, mamma. But I was going to come down again-
Mamma dear, why is you crying ?"
S .- : -, :' -
'-" f -j,'s ".""b,.'.-" : .* .-
24 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
A FOUR-FOOTED GENTLEMAN.
PEN the door, quick, Sybil. Don't you see my hands are
full ? What a stupid you are! Yes, that'll do. Now
you can shut it after me."
S._..' -And Archie came forward to the table where his aunt
ting, a large tray i
spread over with.
specimens of sea-
weed that he had j
been drying and ar-
ranging, in his hands.
Since when, have
'if you please' and
'thank you, gone
out of fashion, may
I ask, Archie? said
The boy grew very
red, but he laughed
"I didn't mean to i
be rude," he said.
" But Sybil doesn't
mind. Do you, ., -.--"-
No," replied the .P
A FOUR-FOOTED GENTLEMAN. 25
little girl. "Archie isn't ever really
unkind like some boys. Still I think
it is nice when people thank you and
speak politely to each other. But '-
still, of course, Archie is only a boy."
"And can a boy not be a gentle
man, do you think, Sybil ? What do
you say about it yourself, Archie ?"
"Oh, I know I should," he replied
rather shamefacedly, "but you see,
Auntie, I forget, or else even if I don't
forget, it doesn't seem worth while."
"Be true to your instincts, my boy. Civility and gentleness are
always 'worth while.' Above all, from man to woman, or boy to girl.
And gratitude even for the smallest service is always the sign of a fine
nature. That reminds me-"
Of what ? Do tell us, Auntie ;" said both children, pricking up their
Of a little adventure of mine the other day. It is nothing of a story,
so don't expect one;" for the word "adventure had evidently caught
their attention. But it was so pretty and touching, it struck me very
much, and made me think how often we might, with benefit, take example
by our humble brethren-even in manners, children."
Do you mean poor people ? said Sybil doubtfully. I know some
are very good and nice-some quite poor children even. But a good
many are very rough and rude, Auntie ? "
"Yes, and there is much more excuse for them, of course, if they are
so, for often they have not been taught better. But I was not thinking of
people or children at all just then, Sybil. The little 'gentleman' whose
26 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
manners I admired so much was a-" She stopped again and smiled,
while Archie and Sybil looked up in perplexity.
"A wkat, Auntie ?"
"A little dog, my dears !-Yes, you may well looked surprised. Listen
and I will tell you all about it. I was going from my own house to a
friend's a few days ago, walking leisurely, for I was in no hurry, and had
not far to go. It was a quiet time of the day, and not many people were
about. I had made my way across our own square and some short way
down a street opening out of it when my attention was caught by the
sight of a little dog wandering along in an uneasy, rather aimless manner.
SHe was alone evidently, for there
'/ was no one in sight whom he could
be following-an errand boy or two,
i a postman and I, were, I think, the
Only passers-by at the time. And
i ,he was far too aristocratic a little
dog to have anything to do with
butchers' or bakers' boys. He was
very pretty and well cared for; his
soft, flossy coat had evidently been
recently washed and combed, and
there was a general air of healthi-
ness and prosperity about him,
though he was neither over-fat
nor pampered-looking. But just
now he was clearly in trouble. He
ran a few steps and then looked
Sound him irresolutely; his bright
S. eyes glanced all about him anxiously.
A FOUR-FOOTED GENTLEMAN 27
I wondered what was the matter and stopped short half intending to pat
him or speak to him, when suddenly, seeming to catch sight of me for the
first time, he made the first advances by trotting up to me and sniffing me
in an inquiring manner. He liked what he saw of me; for he gave a
little quick friendly bark, and then, wagging his tail, looked up at me
appealingly, ran on a few steps and then stopped short, looking back to
see if I were following him, and when I did so, again he barked, again he
ran on a few steps, and stood looking back wagging his tail. It was as
plain as any spoken words; he was asking me to do him a service. And
thus he led me down the street, round a corner, and a few steps along
another row of houses, where he stopped in front of a door, looking and
wagging his tail, without going on further. Nobody could have failed to
"' Here is my home, kind lady. I have got shut out, please to ring the
bell for me.'
I rang of course, and very quickly the door was opened, and in he
rushed, and, satisfied that he was all right, I was turning away, when-
this is the point of my story-I heard a bustle and fuss just inside the
closing door, my friend's bark, rather vehement this time, a voice in re-
monstrance 'what can he want ?' then the door opened and out he sprang
again. He looked round eagerly, and as soon as he sawv me stood still on
the doorstep, gave a quick cheerful little bark, wagging his tail with the
greatest energy the while, and with still another 'bow-wow,' turned round
and ran in quietly. It was the plainest 'thank you ma'am-for being so
kind,' that ever was spoken in dog or any language. Now don't
you call that behaving like a gentleman ?"
"Yes indeed," said the children heartily, and Archie, whose trayful was
ready for some other process by this time, turned to Sybil with
28 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
Please, Sybil, will you kindly open the door ?"
She did so, and he disappeared, but in a moment his voice was again
heard begging for re-admittance.
I beg your pardon," he said, I have come back again to say thank
you.' If I had a tail to wag I could do so."
But though they got some fun out of it, I don't think Auntie's anecdote
did Master Archie any harm.
THIE BAD FAIRY. 29
-i 'Ii | HE-
THE BAD FAIRY.
' T HERE is a bad fairy in this house. I don't care what you say.
1 There must be. Here have I been hours hunting everywhere for
my silver whistle. I know I had it yesterday evening, and I haven't
been out since, and we can't play at our hunt in the wood without it.
And they're all waiting for us. It's too bad-it is," and Leonard
stamped about the room, flinging everything topsy-turvy in his vain
30 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
"And my umbrella, and my sleeve stud," said David, his two years
older brother. They have completely disappeared. Upon my word,
Leonard, I think you're right, this house is bewitched."
"Master Leonard, please, here's your whistle. Cook found it just
now lying beside the pump in the garden."
"There now-didn't I say so? It must be a bad fairy. Was I
near the pump in the garden last night? How did the whistle get
there, if it wasn't bewitched?" said Leonard, as he and David
It was true he had not been near the pump, but he had left the
whistle among some flowers on the nursery table, and "baby," as his
six-years old sister was called, had thrown it into the basket with
the remains of her nosegays. What more easy than for the heavy
whistle to drop out of the lightly made open wicker work, as the
nursemaid was carrying the withered flowers and leaves to throw
away ? David's umbrella, had he known it, was at that moment
reposing in the pew-opener's care among various "lost and strayed"
articles at church; and the sleeve stud was safely ensconced in a
mouse-hole behind the chest of drawers on which it had been carelessly
laid, to be flung off again in a frantic hunt for some fish hooks; whose
disappearance no doubt Leonard explained in the same way.
It came to be rather a convenient idea. Not only losses, but
breakages, hearings, all such annoyances were laid to the account of
the bad fairy. And it was a very heavy account. Never had there
been so many unlucky accidents as during these last few weeks spent
by the boys and their sister with their mother, in a little country
house, lessons being for the time put aside, nothing thought of but
fun and frolic. Even old nurse, who usually took charge-too much
charge-of the light-hearted careless boys, was away; there was no
THE BAD FAIRY. 31
one to worry" about putting things by tidily, wearing the proper
clothes at the proper time, and so on. At least so it seemed for a
while. But things grew worse and worse, the bad fairy more and more
spiteful, till at last even their indulgent mother could take it all quietly
One evening, finding s.:-l ..1"
of her own private pcos:..: i.;.n
missing-scissors and l:--n-Lknil;'
in particular-she came lit- into'
the boys room after th.lv '-r. .r
asleep, there to look for iht-i. ;i
But she almost forgot h-r r.i..l '
in her horrified amazement i -'
disorder and confusion bc-i:rc l, i: r. ['',1
What a difference from thl-:r_ it Lf L
room she used to peep iinr:. at
night when nurse was a:t h:lom,- ,\i
-everything everywhere, ;:., : .
where it should be, alm'-st .a ,:rt
of ingenuity in the perf-:t:n tA 't 'l
"Really," thought the I
lady, "t 1I p
could be ''
tempted to --A
the spiteful -
fairy." v. j.
32 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
to work, and with a shaded candle, for the boys were fast asleep,
cleared away some part of the confusion. But it was of course
impossible to do it thoroughly. The next morning, without saying
anything, she returned to the charge, in the children's absence. By
degrees order gained the day, and in the process many of the missing
articles turned up, and were quietly restored to their places. Late that
evening again came the motherly fairy. Things were not as bad as
the night before-they could scarcely have been so, since the morning's
tidying. But they were bad enough. All the boys had had in use
during the day was "pitched about" as before-again must their
mother work for nearly an hour to get the room quite to her mind.
And this went on for several days.
During this time there began to be less talk of "the bad fairy,"
and more than once both David and Leonard expressed their surprise
and pleasure at several things having, as they called it, "come back
again;" in other words, having been found in their proper places.
And at last on the discovery of a "completely lost" treasure-I think
it was Leonard's pocket microscope-in a place where he knew" he
had looked in vain, he burst into his mother's room with sparkling eyes.
Mamma," he exclaimed, do you know this house really is bewitched ?
Fancy my having found my microscope just where I looked for it
yesterday. And not only that, ever so many other things have turned up.
And when we wake in the morning the room doesn't look a bit the
same as it does at night. All our things are as neat as can be, and
everything ready, however we pitch them about at night."
Mamma listened and said nothing.
"You don't believe me, I suppose," said Leonard.
I quite believe that a tidy fairy would find plenty to do in your
room, if such a being existed," she said.
TIE BAD FAIRY.
"But all boys are untidy," said Leonard. "I don't think we're-
well,"-for visions of really terrible chaos rose before his eyes as he
spoke--" well, not much worse than others. But I know what I'll do,"
he added to himself. I'll keep awake to-night and watch."
For a wonder he was able to keep his resolution. 'He was not
quite asleep, though David had been snoring for some time, when he
was roused by the door softly opening, and a figure with a shaded
light, glided into the room. Leonard, though at first a very little
frightened, kept his presence of mind, and neither called out nor started
34 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
up, but lay still as if asleep. But soon, as he watched the figure
moving about, rearranging the untidy heaps of clothes, picking up
towels and handkerchiefs, putting boots and shoes neatly together in
pairs-all so quickly and deftly, that it might indeed have been a
fairy's work, a new feeling overcame him.
"Mamma," he cried-for mamma he soon saw it was-and
his voice woke David too, "it is you then-you who are the good
fairy! It is a shame for you to have such trouble for us. Oh, mamma,
dear, I am ashamed," and out of bed sprang Leonard and David, and set
to work with a will to help their mother, in what certainly should not
have been left for her to do.
"We will never be so untidy again, mamma, never," said
"And it will save yourselves and other people a great deal of dis-
comfort, of worse than discomfort, indeed," she replied.
But, mamma, untidiness isn't such a very bad fault-not like
telling falsehoods, or bullying, or anything like that ? "
"It is a fault that leads to bad faults," said his mother gravely, to
waste of time and money-two of our 'talents'-to loss of temper, and
undeserved blame of others, very often. It makes life ugly and un-
graceful, and it puts the burden of our own duty on others. For
some one must be tidy, or what would become of the world ? And
for my part I can never think but what untidiness in outside things
too often ends in untidiness of mind and thought."
TIHE GOBLIN FACE. 35
THE il' i
GOBLIN ii' -----i
,A'I, ^I,'iff iLi,
FACE. I -I________l
HENI was a very little girl, I spent a good deal of my life in a
large old-fashioned house in a very out-of-the-way part of
W HEN I was a very little girl, I spent a good deal of my life in a
large old-fashioned house in a very out-of-the-way part of
36 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES..
Scotland. It was not really our home, but -it almost seemed so, for we
used to go there as soon as the fine mild weather set in, and stay till the
shortening days and the first frosts told of winter's approach. It was the
home of our uncle-my mother's only brother-and as he had never
married, and she was many years younger than he, she seemed to him
more like his daughter than his sister, and he was never so happy as when
he had her and all us children to brighten up his rather gloomy old house.
Gloomy it might be in appearance, but in nothing else, for my uncle was'
the kindest of men, and he and all his old servants used to receive us with
a welcome that would have made the grimmest of abodes seem sunshiny
and cheerful. I could tell dozens-nay, scores of stories of our child-life
in the old castle-of our games in the house, and out of doors, of the
cottagers with all of whom we were on most intimate terms, of all sorts of
adventures that befel us, but just now, I mean only to relate one very
short, and perhaps not very interesting, story, because I think it may be
of use to some children who may read it.
I was about five years old when the first cloud came over my happy
life. I had been ill, but though I do not clearly remember the illness-
and it seemed to me to have been rather pleasant than painful, as I was
petted and made much of in every way-I believe it really was a bad
illness, and had very much weakened me. We went to Scotland sooner
than usual that year to strengthen me, but the weather, unluckily, was cold
and rainy. We could not go out much, and had to amuse ourselves in the
house. It was in this way that one of the old servants one day, meaning
to please us, took to telling us ghost-stories. I was so little that I do not
-think she thought of me at all; the stories were told to my elder brother
and sister, who only laughed at them, and rather liked the sort of
" creepy" feeling of mystery which came over them as they listened.
And nobody thought of poor little Nan, fanciful and nervous, though
THE GOBLIN FACE. 37
I did not know it, curled up in a corner, and -
drinking in every word.
-From that moment my life was spoilt. I did not
distinctly remember the stories : I mixed them up
in my mind in a dreadful jumble, and never thought
of their not being true. I grew so nervous that I I
hardly dared go up stairs alone, even in broad
daylight, and I shut my eyes if I happened to be
alone in a room where there were portraits, rather
than see them staring at me, as I fancied they did.
But all this was nothing to the terrors of the night,
of which, even in my old age, I hardly like to
38 lFIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
I slept in a little room off my mother's, and till now I had been very
proud of my own nest. But all that was past. I now shivered and
-- -- -- "
shuddered at the thought of bed-time, and would have done anything to
avoid it. No one understood me, the nurses called me naughty "; even
THE GOBLIN FACE. 39
dear mamma thought my temper spoilt. And no wonder, for I told nobody
of my secret trouble I think it was my fear of being laughed at, and
here I would beg of big brothers and sisters never to laugh at little
ones' terrors however silly. Try to explain them away, to comfort the
poor tiny sufferers, but never laugh at them.
At last, happily for my life and health, the secret came out, and it
was in this way :-There was a recess in the wall near my bed; it had
shelves and went up nearly to the ceiling ; in fact, it was like a cupboard
with the doors off. And on the top shelf stood a curious vase, about the
size of a rather fat flower-pot, of dark blue and white old Dutch stone-
ware. I had never noticed it, for in the daytime very little light fell on
this corner, and I was seldom in the room except at night.
One evening I was put to bed as usual, feeling rather less frightened, for
there were friends dining at the castle, and the sound of the piano came
up to my room and cheered me.
Leave the door open, please, I like the music," I said, and nurse did so,
and thus with less shivering and heart-throbbing than usual I fell asleep.
When I woke-quite suddenly-perhaps the shutting of the great door,
or the guests' carriages driving away had wakened me-all was quite
dark and silent. I shut my eyes, and tried to go to sleep again. But it
was no use. I was quite awake, and unconsciously I opened my eyes.
What was that ? I have said it was quite dark, but up there, high up,
there was a light that I had not seen till I turned my head. And there
in the light-or did the light come from it ?-was a round, staring, white face
grinning down at me. I saw its eyes, its mouth, all its features-it
seemed to me the goblin face by which a wicked man in one of old Effie's
stories had been haunted. I stared at it like a bird at a serpent, though
my heart had stopped from terror-then gradually I saw that it was
moving, and that roused me. With a fearful shriek I dashed out of bed,
40 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
getting by some instinct to the door, and knew nothing more till an hour
or two later I opened my eyes to find myself in mamma's arms, for she
was just coming into her room to go to bed when I fell into them !
It was all explained to me. There was a tiny window on to the stairs
high up in that corner of the room, through which the light of mamma's
candle had shone on to the old Delft vase, and even made it seem to move,
as she stepped upwards. I was sensible enough for my age to understand
and to believe it, but all the same I was ill for a long, long time. And
the cloud over my childhood never entirely faded till childhood was left
behind. Still good comes with ill. I might never, during the few years
she was left with us, have learnt to know my darling mother as I did
-her wonderful tenderness and understandingness "-had it not been
for my vision of the Goblin Face."
The old vase now stands near my bedside, where night and morning I
can see it and recal the memories connected with it, and there, I hope, it
will stand till I die.
'T l ,
THE LOST BROOCI. 41
S .-'1 .-.
THE LOST BROOCH.
- #, r HAT is the matter, Linda ? What are you looking for ?
It does so fidget me, dear, when I am sitting quietly
reading, for you to keep moving about and pulling all
the chairs and tables out of their places!" said Grand-
mamma, kindly of course-she always spoke kindly, but with a little
vexation in her tone.
It's my scissors, Grandmamma-my little beautiful new best scissors
with the gilt ends," said Linda plaintively. I know I left them with
42 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
my work last night, and when I unfolded it they were gone. Some
one must have taken them-I don't like that new housemaid,
Grandmamma. I think she is pokey. I found her fiddling so among
the books on the schoolroom table this morning."
Trying to put them neat, I suppose-not very easy, judging by
the state they were left in last night," said Grandmamma. Linda,
my dear, you must not let yourself grow suspicious. I am sure the
girl is perfectly honest. I know all about her."
But where can my scissors be, then ?" said Linda. They're not
alive-they can't walk away by themselves."
"Sit down beside me for a few minutes and get cooler about it,"
said Grandmamma. "Something may come to your mind in a while
to throw light on the disappearance. But never suspect others of any-
thing so dreadful as even small thefts unless you are forced to do so.
I will tell you a little story which has often served as a warning to
me in such a case."
Oh, yes, do please, Grandmamma," said Linda, the clouds clearing
off her face in a wonderful way.
Years and years ago when I was young, only lately married," began
Grandmamma, "a curious thing happened to me. We were living in
the country-it was lovely summer weather, and numbers of our friends
used to drive over to see us and spend the day. My house was pretty,
and I was very proud of it; I had lots of pretty things of all kinds-
my wedding presents in fact-with which to adorn both it and myself,
and sometimes your Grandpapa used to laugh at me, and call me a little
Peacock. One of my prettiest ornaments was a small diamond brooch--
shaped like a star. It was really meant to wear in the evening, but
I was so fond of it, that I sometimes wore it in the day-time. One
morning I got a letter to say that an old school-friend of mine was
THE LOST BROOCH. 43
stavingo- in the neighbourhood, and that she and her husband were
coming over to spend the day with us. I was very pleased to hear it,
and so was your Grandpapa, as he too knew these friends of mine.
"I hurried over my breakfast, and ran away to give orders to
have everything very nice for them, and I think the old cook, who
44 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
knew a great deal more about luncheons and dinners than I did, was
rather amused at all my charges.
"'It shall all be as nice as can be, Miss Lucy,' she said. She was
always forgetting I was married, and calling me Miss Lucy'-' You
shall see-it shall all be just as nice as it used to be at your dear
Mamma's. I'm only sorry that Maria should be away to-day, she
has so much taste in arranging the fruit and flowers for the table.'
"' I'll do them myself,' I said, 'and Sophy shall help me. She seems
a nice handy girl, I think.'
"'Yes, ma'am,' said cook, I dare
say she is. But of course it's difficult
to judge of a complete stranger. She's
a little bit forward for my liking-so
very fond of laughing.'
"' But she's so young,' I said, 'and
she's never left home before. I think
Maria's rather too strict.'
"Maria, I must tell you, was my
maid, and Sophy was a young girl
whom I had chosen out of the village
school to be under Maria. I called
Sophy to help me, and very proud she
was to do so. We made the table
look so pretty, that even the butler
condescended to admire it, and then
I began to think of adorning myself. .---
"'You may come and help me to -
dress,' I said to Sophy graciously which
pleased her even more than dressing
THE LOST BROOCH. 45
the table. I chose a white dress and blue ribbons, for it was very hot;
and when I was all ready, I really did think I looked very nice, and
I saw by Sophy's eyes that she thought so too.
"'Oh, ma'am,' she said, 'you would just be perfect if you'd put on
your little brooch that sparkles so.'
"'My little diamond brooch,' I said doubtfully. It is rather too
showy for the morning.'
But I took it out of its case and tried it, and it did look so pretty
that I was tempted to wear it, and Sophy looked very pleased.
"Our friends came and we had a most pleasant day. They were
delighted with everything-house and garden were certainly looking their
best in the lovely summer brightness. We spent most of the afternoon
out-of-doors, where I showed them everything, even down to the kitchen
garden with its tempting strawberry beds and rows of vegetables of
every kind. And when they said good-bye, my old school-fellow
whispered as she kissed me, that she thought I was a most fortunate girl.
For she saw how kind and good your dear Grandpapa was. After
they had left, he proposed that we should go a ride, as it was getting
cooler. I ran up stairs and changed my dress for my riding habit, calling
to Sophy to put everything tidy in my room. We came in just
in time to dress for dinner, and the bell sounded before I was quite
"'-My brooch, Sophy,' I said, 'you put away my things.'
"Sophy looked about, but no brooch was to be seen.
"' It must be there,' I said, 'find it while I am at dinner.'
But when I ran up after dinner, Sophy met me with a very red face
and eyes that looked ready to cry, and told me it was nowhere to
I cannot tell you how we hunted. When Maria came home the
46 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
next day she was dreadfully vexed, and inclined to blame me for having
let Sophy be so much in my room.
"' You don't think she has taken my brooch,' I said. But Maria
would not answer decidedly. She only murmured something about
not trusting strangers! Weeks went on-I tried not to think about
my brooch any more, but it had made a talk in the house, and Sophy felt
it painfully, and when at last she said she would rather go home, I could not
but feel it might be better. The very day before she was to leave I
was startled by a message from cook asking me to go to see something
in the kitchen. It was afternoon-an unusual time for her to want
to see me, but I went at once.
There stood cook, her kind old face beaming with pleasure.
"'Just see here, Miss Lucy,' she said. On the dresser lay a cauli-
THE LOST BROOCH 47
flower she was on the point of preparing for cooking. She pulled
aside the big green leaves at the top, and there, nestling on the creamy-
looking surface underneath, lay my diamond brooch! It had dropt
from the front of my dress, no doubt, that day in the garden, and the
baby cauliflower's leaves had grown over it!
You can fancy my joy, Linda, and still more the joy of poor Sophy.
Instead of leaving, she lived with me more than twenty years. But
what's the matter now, Linda? Are you not listening ?"
"Oh, dear, yes, Grandmamma, and I do so like the story. But I
just saw something shining on the frill of my dress, and see here !"
And Linda held out her scissors, which had caught in a flounce.
48 FIVE MAINrUTES' STORIES.
ONLY A BUNCH OF VIOLETS.
T HIS is not a story that I am going to tell you. It is just a little
thing that happened one day when I was out walking, and which
I have never forgotten.
It did not happen in London, but in Paris, where I was then living.
Some of you may have been there, and if so you know better than I can
tell you what a very pretty, bright and charming place it is. That is
to say, the best parts of the town are pretty and bright-looking, especially
in sunny summer weather. But there are poor parts of Paris too,
though you are not likely to have seen them, and alas, there are many
very poor people also!
I was walking that day in the long road, or avenue rather, which is
called the Champs Elysees. It is very wide indeed, and bordered on
both sides by beautiful trees, among which in the summer are to be seen
quantities of well-dressed people walking about or seated, and enjoying
the lively scene around them. Children by the score are there too-
richly dressed and playing at all sorts of games, attended by their gover-
nesses or nurses, and all this, joined to the constantly passing brilliant
carriages, makes eyes unaccustomed to the sparkle and glare soon get
weary. Even I, used to Paris and its ways as I was, felt tired of the
whirl and rush, and I thought to myself I would turn out of the wide
thoroughfare and make my way home by some quieter side
I was standing at the edge of the pavement with this intention, waiting
till there should come a safe moment to cross, when I caught sight of a
ONLY A BUNCH OF VIOLETS. 49
%teg n a m I e 'd I 'hi
-,; II,.c, r
little group not far from me, and I could not help watching what was
going on, with interest. A flower-cart was drawn up at the side of the
road. Though it was scarcely yet full summer, there was a good display
of flowers, and many of those passing stopped to buy. Among these
were an old gentleman and a little boy. One could see without being
told that they were grandfather and grandson. The child said a word or
two to the gentleman, who let go his hand and walked on slowly. The
little boy waited patiently for a minute or two, till those before him
round the cart had been served, and then he came forward and made
some inquiry of the flower-woman I could not hear what he said, but
he was no doubt asking what he could have for his money, for once or
50 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
twice a shade of disappointment crossed his bright face, and he looked
doubtfully at something he held in his hand, which I afterwards saw must
have been his few coins. I felt so sorry for him that if I had not been
afraid of giving offence, I would have offered him the little sum he was
evidently short of, but after half starting forward to do so, I drew back
again. The boy, though simply, almost poorly clad, had too much the
air of a gentleman, and so had the old grandfather, whose stooping figure
I still perceived slowly walking on in front. At last the boy, after peer-
ing all over the flower-cart, caught sight of a little nest of violets-sweet-
scented violets-in one corner, which had been almost hidden by the
larger and more brilliant plants. His face lighted up joyfully, as he
pointed them out to the flower-woman, and she, in turn, smiled and
nodded pleasantly. Poor thing -- she
could not afford to lower her prices,
but the working classes in France have
,: great sympathy with small means and
the -economy they oblige, and I could
see that she was glad for her little.
customer not to be altogether dis-
Sappointed of his purchase.
L She chose carefully the prettiest and
freshest of the violet bunches, wrapped
an extra leaf or two round the stalks to
keep them cool, and handing the little
bouquet to the boy, smilingly received
from him the coppers till now tightly
,, clasped in his hand.
h'And with all the brightness back in
his face again, the little fellow bounded
ONLY A BUNCH OF VIOLETS. 5
forward to rejoin his grandfather, as light-hearted and light-footed as a
I crossed the road and walked on. The little incident had in-
terested and pleased me. I could not help wondering for whom the
flowers were intended a sick mother or grandmother perhaps.
The child was not improbably an orphan, seeing that he was in the
care of a grandparent. And I went on picturing to myself the simple
thrifty home to which the pair were by this time wending their way,
little thinking that I should ever see either of them again.
I was by now in one of the handsome side streets, running parallel
with the great avenue. It was quieter here; there were fewer carriages
or foot passengers, so that on the wide road, even a small group was
I l G. w. -
52 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
plainly seen, and happening to glance backwards, I saw a sad little
procession making its way slowly along. Two men, dressed in black,
were carrying a little coffin-no heavy burden, it was plain-yet heavy
was the sorrow of the two mourners following close behind. It was but
the funeral of a tiny child, a baby, or scarce more than a baby to judge by
the size of the coffin, "the only one of the poor father and mother alone
in their grief, who walked behind. They were of the very poor class of
Paris working people, though decently clad, as is almost always the case
in France, but too poor to have got mourning for themselves, even for the
funeral of their child. The woman, it is true, had a black skirt, but over
it she wore, perhaps to conceal its shabbiness, a clean checked cotton
apron, and the poor father had no attempt at mourning, except a little
band of rusty black fastened round the left sleeve of his blue working
blouse. They were both weeping, the mother openly, her poor eyes
swollen and red as if with many hours of tears, the husband trying to
keep calm, as he from time to time wiped his weather beaten cheeks with
his sleeve. Their poverty was shown in another way; there was not a
single flower, much less a wreath or cross on the little black-draped
coffin-so sad, so piteously desolate a funeral it has seldom been my lot
to see in Paris. Yet poor as it was, it met with the outward marks of
respect and sympathy which I often wish we could see in England, for
every head was uncovered as it passed on its sorrowful way. I stood
still for an instant to watch it; suddenly a small figure, rushing across the
road, darting nimbly in front of a quickly advancing carriage, as if afraid
of being too late, caught my eyes. It was my little friend of the violets !
There was no mistaking him--and his grandfather's, it seemed to me,
almost familiar figure, waiting and looking after the child from the other
side of the road. What is the boy in such a hurry for ? Ah- I see
now, and my own eyes are not free from tears.
ONLY A BUNCH OF VIOLETS. 53
Breathless and eager he runs up to the poor little procession, with
blushing face and gentle hands he lays on the tiny coffin his treasured
violets-beautiful in themselves, doubly beautiful as the gift of a sweet
and pitiful heart-and without waiting for the thanks ready to burst forth
from the over-laden hearts of the two parents, hastens back again to his
old grandfather, whose face I can distinguish lit up with a smile of tender
"God bless him," the poor father murmurs. I am near enough to
hear it-" God bless him," the weeping mother repeats.
God bless him," I whisper to myself.
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My
brethren, ye have done it unto Me."
~-~~ v~~Y ~ =r*fP-~i
54 -FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
A-:' 'C-ANAR TRAGEDY. ,^ -
.." 17- U-
4- .- <
'- -- ,- \,<_f f .;-- T J *
.-- -LI '--'P -. "- -,,.
S .-_ ^ .-._.- : :- '( .
.. i '
s ^ -1 '" -.*; .'^ .. -" -
A CANARY TRAGEDY.c
W HEN I was a little girlthat is about three years ago-I am
We had lots of other pets; it would take take me a very long
| -- -
,---- .--" ... -. -
- ,,' + __ ,,_ ; -_-_-= ....._-- '' ,----_' -_ \_
-'I / ", .. :" ... . f_ .. .. .
A CANARY TRAGEDY. 55
time merely to give you the list of them even without telling you
anything about them, and all their adventures and funny ways. But
a good many of them had in one way or another come to grief, poor things,
and as my.brothers grew older and had less time to take care of them,
my mother said we must really give up having so many.
So one summer, just before the holidays, there was a regular flitting
-the turtle-doves we gave to, a little neighbour, a very gentle boy, who
we knew would be kind to them; the old crow was taken to a house
more in the country than ours, where there were plenty of nice, dark,
crowy-looking trees; the rabbits were already all dead, and so was
the tortoise, and as one of the dormice had got loose and gone off to live
with the house-mice, we sent the other to a friend who had several.
There remained only the dog, whom of course we couldn't give away
and my canaries, whom I got leave to keep.
These canaries had a history of their own. One, we had reared
ourselves from an egg, and as it was the only baby canary that had
grown up of all we had had, we did think it very remarkable. Its name
was Frise-tete," which means "curly head," because it had a funny
little tuft of yellow feathers right on the -top of its head, and he was the
cock canary, though Frise-tete sounds more like a girl's name, doesn't it ?
And the little hen canary was called Coo-coo," because when she first
came to us she really did make a sort of cooing noise. Where she came
from we never knew-she flew in at the open window of the schoolroom
one day, having evidently got out of her cage and lost her way. She
was a sweet-tempered little bird, but not at all sharp or clever. She
didn't seem to mind in the least that she had'got into a strange place,
but was quite content and happy to take up house, or cage," with Frise-
t6te. This little couple made the last of our pet canaries, and they were
always counted mine. I think we had had Frise-tete two years, and
.56 FIVE MIIVNUTES' STORIES.
Coo-coo more than a year, when
Si .. there came the clearing-out of
'" V':" pets that I told you of. But we
never knew Coo-coo's age exactly,
S/ you see.
S\ --. :' That summer we were going
S' in different directions. My two
big sisters were to spend it with
I. /. our grandmother, and one of my
i brothers with them. The other
brother and I were to go to
SGermany with Mamma. We were
very proud of being chosen to go
with her, and we had never been
to Germany before, at least not
to stay any length of time there,
and we were in great spirits about.
it. There was only one thing that
troubled me, and that was about the canaries. I was so afraid Mamma
would not consent to take them, and yet I could not bear the idea of
leaving them behind. I was sure that the person who was to take
care of the house would forget to feed them, or let the cat get to
them or something, and at last I told Mamma that I really would be
too unhappy if I mightn't take them. Mamma was very kind-she
didn't like the idea of the pretty little couple being starved or killed any
more than I did, still she warned me that I should find them a good
deal of trouble on the way, and that I mustn't grumble at it, which, of
course, I promised I wouldn't.
So when we set off late one hot summer evening, on our long journey,
A CANARY TRAGEDY 57
I carried carefully, a queer-looking package in one hand. It was the
cage, all covered up in a sort of brown holland bag, which contained my
beloved Friste-tete and Coo-coo.
They were a great worry. I often wished I had left them at home, I
can assure you. We had to travel two nights, and most part of two
or three days before we got quite to our journey's end, though we stopped
two or three times on the way, and it was so hot that we felt very tired
and uncomfortable, and it was not easy to keep good-humoured even
without the birds! Very often I had to sit with the cage on my knee
if the railway carriage happened to be rather low, and there was not room
for it up beside the cloaks and rugs. And then I had to have water in a
bottle to keep the poor things supplied, and very often it spilt all over,
and so did the seed, and our fellow passengers looked very cross at me.
And sometimes at the stations, the guards and railway people wouldn't
let me pass without undoing all the cover and everything to see what the
wonderful bundle was. Oh, we were very glad when we found ourselves
at last safe at the place we were to stay at It was a very old-fashioned
little town, but it was almost like being in the country. There were such
beautiful walks all about, and from the end of every street one could see
the fields and trees, so you see it wasn't a bit like a town.
We had rooms in a very nice funny old hotel. Mamma said it was
quite like an old-fashioned English inn, such as they used to be in the
coaching days. The ceilings were low, and the staircase very wide, and
the furniture so old-fashioned. We had a nice large sitting-room, and two
bed-rooms out of it, and on the wide window-sill of our bedroom I estab-
lished Friste-tete and Coo-coo. They were very sensible, poor things,
they only fluttered and fussed about for a short time, and then settled
down quite contentedly, which, I am sure, was very good behaviour after
being so much covered up.
5 8 'FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
I could tell you lots of stories about our life in the old German town,
but I must remember that this story is to be all about the canaries. It
was beautiful sunny weather, and they spent nearly their whole time at
the open window-I used only to bring them in at night. Anid every
morning I cleaned the cage out nicely, and put fresh sand and water,
I r,:. -. )
and seed, and groundsel. The people at the opposite side of the street
t to kw m ite well by sigt, ad w ld smile ad nd to me.
', '-, 'I '1 '' Ii l
r- I. 1 / '
"- .. ."'... ,v;11
S- ; ,' 1',."--- I '
m boring I cleaned t'he c g o t n i an p t f' r s s, a ni d '
"- rr t I
,- -," "' ,,
-" I "' ,
and seed, and groundsel. The people at the opposite side of the street
-ot to know me quite well by sight, and would smile and nod to me.
got to know me qui;te weill byi sighlt, and would smile and nod to me.
A CANARY TRAGEDY 59
And all was as happy as possible till one sad day which I will tell
Mamma had two or three times said to me, Take care, Sally, when
you put the cage on the window-sill to see that it is quite steady. The
sill is broad and even, inside, but outside the stone slopes downward," and
I had always taken care.
But this morning, just as I had finished cleaning and all, I saw a piece
of sugar on the table, which, it suddenly struck me would be a nice treat
for the canaries. I sprang across the room hastily to get the sugar, and
was just turning back with it, when a smashing, crashing noise made me
start. It was-no I can hardly tell it, even now I remember the horrible
feeling-it was the cage falling, fallen out of the window, down into the
street below. I screamed and rushed into the furthest corner of the
room, shutting my eyes and clasping my hands over my ears. It was
very silly I know, but I was really almost out of my mind.
They are dead, they are killed !" I cried screaming again so loud that
Mamma rushed in from the next room to see what was the matter. She
saw it in an instant without my speaking, and indeed I was by this time
choking with sobs.
Stay there, Sally," said she, and down stairs she ran. I just took my
fingers out of my ears for an instant, but I heard a hubbub in the street
below, and I shuddered and put them back again. It was too horrible.
In a few minutes Mamma came up, carrying something in her hand,
and looking very sad.
Sally dear, I am very sorry for you," she said, "but it might have
been still sadder. Coo-coo seems very little the worse-she has had
a wonderful escape. But poor Frise-tete is dead. I have brought him
up-I think he must have been killed at once, and not have suffered."
It was some time before she could persuade me to look at my poor pet.
60 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
It was indeed a sad sight. Even the death of a little bird is sad, I still
think. His pretty yellow feathers all rumpled and torn, his bright eyes
glazed and filmy.
Oh, my dear, sweet Frise-tete," I said. "To think that I should
have brought you all the way from home for this."
And poor Mamma was so sorry for me that she actually cried too!
We made a little coffin out of some cardboard, and wrapped him in
cotton-wool, and buried him in the old garden of the inn. .That was the
end of our canary nursling. I have a good deal more to tell'you about
Coo-coo, but for the present I will leave off with this piece of advice.
"Never put bird-cages on the window-sill."
COO-COO'S SECOND HUSBAND. 61
1 i i
COO-COO'S SECOND HUSBAND.
I TOLD you the sad end of poor Frise-t&te, but the history of Coo-Coo is
by no means finished yet. She had not escaped without any injury,
though at first we thought she was not hurt. But as soon as she recovered
a little from her dreadful fright we saw to our great sorrow that one of her
wings hung down in a most sad and helpless manner. I turned away
62 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
Is it quite broked, Mamma ? asked my little brother Charley. He
looked at it with the greatest interest and curiosity. Horrid little boy,
I said to myself! And it does seem sometimes as if boys had very little
feeling, though I don't really think'so of poor Charley.
Oh, Mamma," I said, still shutting my eyes, "if she is so badly hurt,
it would be better to put her out of her agony at once. Couldn't you give
her chloroform or some stuff like what they kill horses with in the streets
in Paris ?"
It's not so bad as all that," said Mamma cheerfully. Sally, you
mustn't be silly. Open your eyes-there is nothing dreadful to see."
I had to open my eyes then-Mamma was holding Coo-coo tenderly in
her hand. I wondered how she had courage to do it. The poor little
thing seemed to know her, and to nestle down confidingly.
I don't think it hurts her except when she tries to stick it out," said
No, I don't think it does," said Mamma, but I'd like some one who
understands little birds, to see her."
If the gracious lady will excuse me saying so," said the landlord's
daughter, who was standing close by full of sympathy, "there is a
gentleman near here who makes it his business to bring up little canaries
from eggs. He is very clever. We might go to see him, and ask him to
look at the poor wing."
Certainly," said Mamma, that would be a very good idea. But I
don't quite know how to take Coo-coo. I am afraid it is not good
for her to hold her so long in my hand, and the cage is completely
We have an empty cage-a tery small one, that used to hang at the
door with our old starling," said the good-natured Anna, and off she ran
COO-COO'S SECOND HUSBAND. 63
We settled Coo-coo as well as we could with some cotton-wool for her
to rest upon. But once in the cage, so long as she did not attempt to
flutter about, she did not seem very bad, and my spirits rose a little.
Still we must have seemed rather a doleful procession making our way
along the street, for my face and eyes were swollen with crying, and
Charley looked very grave, as we followed Mamma and Anna, Mamma
carrying the starling's cage containing poor Coo-coo, as if it was the most
wonderful treasure that ever was seen. And all the people came out of
the shops and houses to look at us, for already the news had spread of the
terrible misfortune that had happened to the little foreign lady, and
several people whose shops we had sometimes been to nodded their
heads, and said, "Poor little
Miss," very sympathizingly, as we ,.
passed. I couldn't help feeling ,
rather ashamed, and I wished
my eyes were not quite so red. '''
It was such a funny place
where the gentleman of the :4
canaries, as Anna called him, Il
lived. We went down a very
narrow passage, and, across a i
little court-yard and down another
passage and up a rickety stair
and at last found ourselves in a
room filled with birds-nothing
but birds, and all canaries! '
There were cages and cages full
of them-grown up ones and
old ones, and baby ones just
64 FIVE PIIINUTES' STORIES.
hatched. Some were singing brilliantly, so that we could scarcely hear
ourselves speak, and the man who had come forward to meet us took
us into another room, a little kitchen, where there were only one or two
cages and no noise.
He was a shoemaker as well as a birdfancier-he had on a leather
apron, and he had a half-made boot in his hand when we went in. .But
plainly, what he considered his real calling in life was canaries-I think
indeed he thought the world was made for canaries, and he only looked
at us with interest because we belonged to Coo-coo," as Charley
It is not broken," he said, after he had carefully examined the poor
wing, stretching it out in a way that made me shiver to see; it is only
sprained. It will get better, but it will perhaps never be quite well. See
-this is all that can be done," and he took a feather from a cup with some
fine oil in it, standing on a table. "You must paint it with oil-so-two
or three times a day. You see ?" and Mamma nodded her head, and
said, yes, she quite understood.
She will get better," repeated the man, she will not die of her wing,
but she will die of loneliness. You must get her a companion."
I came forward eagerly.
Mamma," I said, would he sell us one ? I have two marks." A
mark is the same as a shilling.
Mamma asked him the question. He looked round his many cages
doubtfully. I did not want to sell any just now," he said, and I really
don't think he did. But it would be a shame for her to pine to death.
Yes-I can let you have one of these young birds for three marks.
Choose which you like," and he pointed to a cage containing three or
I have only two marks," I whispered.
COO-COO'S SECOND HUSBAND. 65
i ii ,'
S' "I .
.. ... ,\ J -~ _
And there is a new cage to get," said Charley. But Mamma was very
I will help you," she said. Yes, sir, we will take one of these
You are sure they will be friends ?"
No fear," said the man in his queer, jerky way, and this young bird
will sing like a heavenly angel next spring. Will you take him now, or
shall I bring him this evening ? "
We have to get a new cage," said Mamma; I should be glad if you
would bring him."
Then we set off again with Coo-coo in the starling's cage, and we had
another procession down the street to the ironmonger's shop, where we
chose a beautiful cage. It was awfully kind of Mamma, wasn't it ?
And that evening after poor little Frise-tete was buried in the garden
under a little rose-bush we made the new cage all ready, and Coo-coo and
66 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
the new bird, whom we fixed to call Fritz," as he was a German, took up
their quarters in it. They were very good friends-indeed Charley and I
thought it rather horrid of Coo-coo to be so quickly consoled.
I don't believe she has any heart at all," I said. I don't believe a
bit that she would have pined alone."
But the canary-gentleman," every time he came-and he was really
very good, he came every two or three days to see how the wing was
and would net take any more money-assured us that if she had not had
a companion she would have died.
And certainly I must say that Fritz deserved her to like him. He was
so good to her. You could scarcely believe a little bird could have had
so much sense. For some days she could only move about stiffly, and it
was difficult for her to pick up seeds. And just fancy, Fritz used to bring
her seeds in his beak and feed her It was the prettiest sight possible.
Her wing never got quite well, though it left off hurting her. But she
never could stretch it out quite evenly with the other. And about a year
ago, after two years of peaceful life with Fritz, she died quite suddenly.
She was perfectly well the evening before, and early the next morning she
was lying in a little rumpled-up heap in a corner, dead Poor Coo-coo-
they thought she died of old age. I can't help wondering where birds go
to when they die-they are so innocent!
Still they are very heartless. That very morning beside his poor little
dead wife, Fritz was pecking away at his seeds and singing as if nothing
were the matter. So we have not troubled to get a new companion for
him, and when he dies I don't much think I shall care to keep any more
pet birds. He is very alive at present however. He really sings so
very loudly sometimes that we are obliged to cover him up with a dark
cloth to pretend it is night.
I hear him carrolling away now as brilliantly as possible !
HARRI S REWARD. 67
L-i I I
HAT] the sea, I hate bathing, and I don't want to learn to swim.
What's the use of learning to swim ? I'm not going to be a
sailor. I don't like ships, and I don't want ever to go in
one, and I just wish, oh, I do wish papa hadn't come here!"
Harry! how can you?" said his sister Dora. Papa who is so
kind, and when we have all been looking forward so to his coming."
forward as much as any one, and now it's all spoilt by his saying I must
learn to swim."
"I only wish I could learn!" sighed Dora. She was two years
older than Harry, but she had lately had a bad fever. The family
had come to the seaside to give her change of air, but not for
68 / FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
some weeks yet, if at all this summer, was poor Dora to be allowed
to bathe. And she loved the sea, and bathing, and boating, and
everything to do with the sea. She was like her father, who, though
not a sailor, had travelled much and far, both by land and water;
whereas Harry took after," as the country people say, his mother,
who had lived in her youth in a warm climate, and shivered at every
breath of cold or even fresh air. It did not matter so much for a delicate
lady to be afraid of the wind and the sea, but it was a great pity for
a healthy boy to be fanciful or timid; and Harry's mother herself was
very anxious that he should become more manly. She was very
disappointed that she could not get him to bathe when they came to
the seaside, but it was no use, and she and nurse and Dora all agreed
that the only thing to do was to "wait till Papa came."
Papa had come now, and Harry had had his first "dip." It
wasn't so very bad after all, but just when he was getting up his spirits
again, and thinking ten minutes or so every morning were quickly over,
all his fears and dislike grew worse than ever when his father told him
that in a day or two he should begin to teach him to swim.
Everybody, especially every English man and boy, should know how
to swim," Papa had said. "There is never any knowing the use it
may be of, both for one's self and others."
"Isn't it very hard to learn ? Harry asked, not venturing to say
It takes some patience," his father said. But by the time I have to
go-in three weeks or so-you should be able to swim fairly well, if you
have a lesson every day."
And Harry came home to tell Dora his troubles, which he worked
himself up to think were very great ones indeed.
There was no shirking it however. Papa, though very kind, was very
HARR Y'S RE WARD. 69
firm, and once he said a thing, it had to be done. So with a rather white
face, and looking very solemn, poor Harry set off every day for his
He was a quick and clever boy, and a strong boy, and this his father
knew. He would not have forced Harry to do anything for which
he was unfit, or that could have done him any harm. And after the
first shivers of fear and tremulous clinging to his father's hand were got
over, it went on better and faster than could have been expected. Harry
didn't mind its being difficult once he had left off being afraid, and a day
or two before his father had to leave them, Harry had the pleasure of
hearing him say to his mother, He swims already very nearly as well
as I do myself."
Now I shall tell you why I have called this little story Harry's
Seacliff, the place at which these children were spending the summer,
was not a fashionable watering-place, with terraces and donkey-carriages
and bathing-machines, but a little village, where one or two cottages were
to be had for the season. There were also a few gentlemen's houses
in the neighbourhood, so that in fine weather merry groups met at
the little sheltered bay among the rocks, where the bathing was
One day, not very long before they were to leave Seacliff, Harry,
having finished his own morning swim, set off to walk home at his ease,
whistling as he went. He had chosen what was called the high
path, a footpath up above the lane, which was the regular road from
the village to the beach, but from which the lane could be seen all
It was a lovely morning-bright and peaceful-and Harry, as he went,
wished that poor Dora had got leave to bathe.
70 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
--..l. -/ ----------
*-" i- -\ I
T:_,, ,"i, ~ o \
---U!L J % **' --.1 I
SNext year," he thought, I hope we shall come again, and then what
fun we shall have. Dolly will learn to swim in no time."
Suddenly a sound disturbed his pleasant thoughts. A horse and cart
or carriage of some kind was rushing wildly along, coming nearer and
nearer. Surely the horse, or pony, as Harry now saw it to be, was
running away. The boy who had never been a coward except about
" sea things," tumbled down the steep grassy slope in no time, and stood
in the middle of the road eager to see what he could do. The flying
vehicle was near enough now for him to see that it was the pony-carriage
of two girls, a little older than Dora, whose home was one of the pretty
houses a little way from Seacliff. He had often seen them drive down
in it to the shore to bathe.
HARR Y'S RE WARD. 71
But what a queer figure was driving now. The pony was not running
away, on the contrary, it seemed as if it could not run fast enough to
please the driver; a girl with hair streaming, dressed only in a blue
flannel bathing gown, streaming too, who stood upright in the carriage,
lashing the poor pony as if she were mad, while from time to time she
screamed, in a shrill and yet choking voice, Help, help-for God's
What is it ?" screamed Harry too, as she passed. She would not
stop, but she threw back some words on the wind.
My sister-Alice-drowning. Going to the village to fetch some one
And then again came the terrible cry, as if she hardly knew what
she was saying, Help, help! "
Oh," thought Harry, "if she could have stopped and taken me
back, we'd have been at the shore in a moment. I can swim. I
And he could run too. It was not so very far from the bathing-place.
How he got there Harry never could tell. On he rushed, tearing off
his clothes as he went. Off flew hat, jacket, collar and shirt, till there
was nothing but trousers and tennis-shoes to pitch away, as in his little
clinging woven drawers only, brave Harry flung himself, fearless and
dauntless, into the sea, and struck out for the round dark object, poor
Alice's head, which it had taken but an instant to point out to him.
I can swim / I can swim were the magic words with which he
was able at once to push off the friendly hands that would have drawn
him back, whose owners now stood watching him with flushed faces and
tearful eyes, murmuring many a fervent prayer for his success, or saying
aloud with clasped hands, The brave boy, the splendid little fellow!
It is her only 'chance!"
72 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
It was her only chance. Long before poor Lilian, for all her headlong
drive, was back with a sailor she had met just outside the village, Alice
would have sunk to rise no more. She had been caught by the current
and carried out far beyond her depth, and when Harry, panting, labouring,
but swimming valiantly still, got near enough to catch the long plait of
hair, and so draw her gently after him to shore, she had all but lost
consciousness. Better so, perhaps, for had she struggled or clung to him,
both would have been lost.
As it was, there were plenty of hands to carry them to land, once
they were within a safe distance; but Harry was the hero, Harry,
alone and unaided, had saved a human life, for of all the score or so
of watchers on the beach, not one knew how to swim.
Was not this worthy to be called his Reward ? even if the thanks
of the two pretty sisters and their parents had been less fervent and
Harry and Dora go often to Seacliff now, even without the rest of
the family; for there is a house near there where they are always
most welcome visitors, and where the only fear is that if Harry were not
a very sensible boy, the attentions of Alice and Lilian migkt spoil him.
*^ ^ 11 -"^ '- '^,*'1:A-" l
BROTHERS AND MUSHROOMS. 73
'--"^^ ---'-- ,
A M MA was very fond of mushrooms. I don't mean to
say that she was a greedy person or fond of eating, but
if she /had a weakness, it was for mushrooms. When she
was a little girl, she had lived in a country place
where they grew in abundance, and she had often told the children how
delightful it was to go mushroom gathering, how pretty the creamy-
white heads looked, sometimes almost hidden in the grass, like eggs in
a mossy nest, and what shrieks of fun and eagerness used to be heard
when some specially fine one was suddenly caught sight of.
But Mamma's own children, Lancey and Dick-Mamma was not very
rich in children, she had only these two little sturdy boys, Lancey was
nine and Dick was seven-had never had the good fortune to live in a
mushroom country. All they knew of mushrooms was when they some-
", _:-J ... ---. ,
S' .'* i ' -- !"- 'i-^
~ ",.. ",, .-
74 FIVE MIfNUTES' STORIES.
times happened to catch sight of them in the kitchen, when cook had
bought a little basket of them, paying very dear for it, no doubt, because
" Missis was so partial to them." And there was great rejoicing, as you
can fancy, when one autumn Mamma told her little boys that they were
going down into the country to spend September with an old aunt, who
lived not far from where Mamma herself had lived when she "was a
"And is there those funny things- mush-mush-I forget the name-
there ?" asked Dick.
Mushrooms ?" said Mamma. "Oh, yes, in September there will be
plenty, no doubt," she replied.
"And your birthday's in September," said Lancey. Oh, Mamma, oh,
Dick !" he went on, giving a great spring in his delight, "just think-we
can gather mushrooms for it-nice, wild mushrooms, that taste ever so
much better than the ones you buy in the shops, don't they, Mamma,
darling ? "
"Than forced mushrooms, you mean, Lancey," she replied. "Yes,
forced mushrooms, that means mushrooms grown in hot-houses, or
hot-beds;" for she saw on the boys' lips the question, "what are forced
mushrooms, please ? never have the same flavour, I am sure. Besides,
one hasn't the fun of hunting for them, and gathering them one's self. I
am sure'you will enjoy that part of it."
I am sure we shall. I am sure we shall like Fernimoor much better
than the seaside," said both boys-" even though we have liked it very
much," added tender-hearted Dick. He was so afraid of Mamma being at
all hurt, if she fancied he meant that they had not enjoyed the seaside after
all the trouble and expense she and papa had been at to take them there.
For, as he told Lancey afterwards, he was sure he had seen Papa pay
three gold pounds for their railway tickets at the station the day they came,
BROTHERS AND MUSHROOMS. 75
I hope you will enjoy it very much," said Mamma kindly, and I am
sure you will, and so shall I. It will be so nice to show my little boys
some of the places I loved when I was as little as they are."
And to teach us how to find musherrooms," said Dick, quite satisfied
he had got the hard word right this time.
Fernimoor turned out to be very nice, quite as nice as the boys' pleasant-
est fancies had pictured it. The old-fashioned house was the funniest and
prettiest in the world, so was the garden, and the uncle and aunt were the
kindest and nicest of old uncles and aunts. There was only one disappoint-
ment--and that was the mushrooms!
76 FIVE MINVUJTES' STORIES.
There had been a good crop of them, said Auntie, a week or two ago, but
since then it had been so dry-the whole season had been unusually dry-
that there were none at all. Possibly in another ten days or so, if it rained,
there might be another crop, but then one scarcely dared wish for rain,
it would be so bad for the harvest.
So Mamma and her two little squires wandered about the fields in vain,
seeking for the pretty creamy egg-like balls among the grass, which
Mamma had so often described.
It can't be helped," she said. It's better than if it had done nothing
but rain. That would have spoilt our visit, even if we had had basketfuls
But Lancey and Dick didn't seem quite sure that they agreed with her.
They had got the idea of mushrooms so in their heads that I don't think
they would have grumbled even if it had rained.
"If only there are some before
Mamma's birthday, it won't matter
S; \ so much," said hopeful little Dick.
Mamma's birthday was the thir-
S teenth of September, and that year
i\ it fell on a Monday. All Friday and
'I Saturday it had rained-really poured
-and every one was surprised that
Lancey and Dick did not grumble at
/ it. By. Sunday morning it cleared,
Sand Lancey who was dressed first, ran
out into the garden for a stroll before
breakfast. Here he met a friend of
.his an under-gardener, who had
come to do some little piece of
BROTHERS AND MUSHROOMS. 77
work about the hot-houses, which ---
could not be neglected even on
Fine morning, Master Lancey,"
said the lad. My, how it did pour
"Griffith," said Lancey, will
the rain have brought up any
mushrooms, do you think?" 1
"Bless you, yes. See here, -
Master Lancey, just you go down _
the lane to the left of the lodge till < .
you come to a cottage, then creep
through the gate opposite-it's awk-
ward to open, but you'll easily get
through-and see if you don't find
mushrooms. There'll be lots by to-morrow if we've some sun to-day."
It's to-morrow I want to get them-to-morrow morning early," said
Lancey. Thank you, Griffith."
After breakfast, Dick in turn went out for a little fresh air-ke strolled
towards the stables, as he was very fond of one of the dogs there. On
his way he came across a groom called Nicholls.
Good morning, Nicholls," said Dick. Should you think, Nicholls,
there'd be any mushrooms by to-morrow morning ?"
Sure to be, Master Dick. If you're up early, I'll show you the best
field in the place for them. Come out to the stable-yard as soon as
you're dressed, and I'll show you the way."
"Thank you, Nicholls," said Dick. "Yes, I'll come. Don't tell any-
body else, Nicholls."
78 1hVE MINUTES' STORIES.
No, no, sir, we'll keep it a secret."
Lancey and Dick went to church together and were together as usual
all day. But strange to tell, not one word was said by either boy to the
other about their plans for the next morning. Some mischievous sprite
had put it into their heads, for almost the first time in their lives, to have
a secret, and not a kind secret either, each from the other.
I'm the eldest," thought Lancey. I think it's only fair I should get
the mushrooms for Mamma's birthday."
BROTHERS AND MUSHROOMS. 79
Lancey's bigger and stronger than I am," thought Dick. "If he
went with me, he'd gather ever so many more, and Mamma wouldn't
think it was me at all that had got them."
Monday morning came. The boys slept in separate rooms at Auntie's.
Each had a tiny dressing-room with a sofa-bed, so it was easy to get up
and dress without brother" knowing. Lancey was first, but it took him
some little time to find Griffith, and to ask him again where to go, which
he had partly forgotten. Dick was luckier, for Nicholls was waiting for
him, and took him by what he called a short cut, to the field he had
described, and helped him over the hedge, telling him the mushrooms
grew thickest a bit up the field."
Up the field trotted Dick, but he had not gone far before he stopped
short in surprise. Who was that coming towards him from the other
And "who can that be ?" thought the new-comer, as a small, stout
figure caught his eye-a round, brown-holland little person, not unlike a
mushroom button on two legs. "I do believe," he said aloud, I do
believe it's Dick."
"I do believe," said Dick. I do believe it's Lancey."
They stared at each other for a few minutes, not quite sure what to
say or do. Then they thought better of it and burst out laughing.
It's no good doing without each other," said both together.
The mushrooms were plentiful, and the gathering of them proved quite
as nice as Mamma had told them. And it was two very happy little boys
who carried up a splendid plateful with many happy returns to her
door that morning.
But when Mamma had kissed and thanked them, each looked at the
Mamma," said both together, "we weren't going to have been quite
So FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
good about them," and then they told the whole. But it was all right at
the end," they said, and oh, Mamma, how do you like the mushrooms
cooked ? Fried or with sauce? Auntie told us to ask."
"I don't mind," said Mamma, "they are sure to taste good any
way, now that they are flavoured with Lancey's and Dick's brotherly
.-" ...- ,
,. '. .,b,.''F
A REMARKABI-E WFATCI 81
A REMARKABLE WATCH H 81
.- -.,^ se..- "---
I l,|, A RM RAL WAH -.
)I Ay we bathe this morning, Mamma ? said the children.
putting their heads in at the door of the drawing-room.
Mamma glanced at the time-piece.
It is rather late," she said doubtfully. You would have to be very
quick. Which of the big ones are going with you ?"
None of them," answered Joan, the smallest of the small party.
" They've all gone for a walk except Lilly, and she's drawing in the
garden, but I'm sure she'd come if we asked her. Lilly's always so
kind-if only you'd say we might."
It is so fine and sunny, and the tide won't suit again for ever so
many days," added two or three imploring voices.
"Very well, then if Lilly will go you may bathe, but you must be
quick. I can't have luncheon kept waiting again," said Mamma.
In another moment loud eager cries from the garden reached her
82 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
through the open window. Lilly, Lilly, where are you ? Mamma says
if you will come-" and then the voices faded away in the distance.
Poor Lilly," thought Mamma, with a smile. I wonder if it's a
shame of me to let those wild children torment her. I dare say she was
counting on a quiet morning."
But whether Lilly was disappointed or not, no sign of anything but
content and pleasure appeared on her pretty, bright face when the little
group of bathers, all brushed up and tidy again, took their places round
That's right," said
Mamma. "You really
have been very expedi-
tious this morning. Whom
am I to praise ?"
She knew before it came
what the answer would be.
"Oh, Lilly. Lilly, of
course," said Joan, always
Si ready to be spokeswoman.
-L' Lilly made us promise
to do exactly as she told
us before we went."
"She timed us," said Bill.
"Yes," Joan went on,
"wasn't it a good plan?
Lilly put her watch on
a rock and gave us five
minutes to undress in,
S__ ,and a quarter of an hour
A REMARKABLE WATCH. 83.
/_ -^ *-- .
to stay in the sea, and ten minutes to dress in. Bill and Huniphrey
were in the gentlemen's dressing-room, of course-that's what we call the
other little bay-and Lilly had to roar out to them, 'one minute more-
only,'-' two minutes more,' just like a railway man at a station. It was-
such fun, and-"
My dear Joan, you will never eat your dinner if you chatter so," said
her mother, "and we can't wait for you. I am going a long drive this
afternoon, and I shall only just have time," and Mamma looked at her
watch. "I hope I am a little fast," she added. "What time do you
make it, Lilly dear ? Your watch is always to be relied on."
Lilly's hand instinctively went to her watch-pocket-then she suddenly
looked up with a rather startled expression.
"My watch!" she exclaimed. "I must have left it up stairs.
Mamma-mig-h I run up for a moment and see, if you don't mind ? "
Mamma nodded. She knew that Lilly's watch was one of the girl's
most prized treasures. It was a handsome, though rather bulky one,
84 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
which had been left to her by her godmother, and Lilly cared for it both
because she had loved her godmother, and also for its own sake. It kept
excellent time, and never got out of order as the little fairy-like watches
that are now the fashion are rather apt to do.
Lilly's moment extended to several minutes without her coming back,
and the faces round the table grew rather concerned-looking.
"May I-" Joan was beginning, but just as she spoke Lilly appeared.
She was pale, and almost seemed as if she had difficulty in keeping back
Mamma," she said, I can't forgive myself, I am dreadfully afraid
my dea watch is gone. I must have left it on the shore."
Up started Bill and Humphrey.
"You'll let us go, Mamma. We don't care about any more dinner.
We know where Lilly left it-no one's likely to have been there."
"And the people about here are so honest," said Joan.
But," said Mamma, was the stone where you laid it, Lilly, out of
reach of the tide? It was almost low tide when you bathed."
All looked startled at this, but the boys persisted.
"All the more reason to go at. once," they said, and off they
Lilly would fain have gone too, but she gave in to her Mother, and sat
quietly, trying to eat, though I fear her luncheon was flavoured by some
drops of salt water.
And in a few minutes the whole party started down the road to meet the
boys and hear the news.
Alas! as soon as Bill and Humphrey appeared, even in the distance, all
hopes were gone. Both boys shook their heads sadly.
You saw nothing of it !" asked their Mother eagerly. Poor Lilly
was past speaking.
A REMARKABLE WATCH. 85
Nothing-as well as we could make out, the tide must have covered
the stones where the girls dressed, some time ago," they replied.
Then I fear there is nothing to be done," said Mamma. Poor Lilly,
I am so sorry for you."
And to think it was all my own carelessness," sobbed Lilly. My
dear watch and chain-there was the chain too, Mamma."
But Lilly was so seldom careless, and even if she had been so for once,
it was in the service of others, that no one would let her blame herself,
and all the family joined to try to console her.
"There is one chance," said Bill to Humphrey, when they were alone,
-their Mother and elder sisters having gone out for the afternoorL--" the
watch is heavy, and the sea is calm. It may be left there when the tide
goes back. Let's see-it will be high tide by about five, and low again by
eleven. Those stones should be uncovered by ten o'clock, and it is bright
moonlight just now. I tell you what, Humphrey, we'll get Mamma's
leave to sit up later to-night, and we'll go off to the shore and have
another try for the watch and chain."
Humphrey's eyes sparkled with sympathy.
We'll say nothing to Lilly-it would be cruel to raise her hopes
again on such a chance," he said. "We'll only tell Mamma."
The plan was carried out. At ten o'clock that evening, just as poor
Lilly was going to bed, and thinking sadly how strange it seemed to have
no watch to wind up, two small figures might have been seen in the moon-
light, carefully picking their way among the stones over which the little
waves were still softly lapping, for the special group of small rocks they
were in search of was not yet uncovered.
It was more difficult than they had expected to find the exact spot.
The moonlight and the sheen it cast on the water were rather dazzling.
The boys crept along slowly and carefully.
86 IIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
I say, what a beautiful night it is," said Bill. It's a good thing the
watch is a gold one; if it were silver there wouldn't be much chance of
seeing it-everything looks silver, and-"
But Humphrey interrupted him.
This is the place-I'm sure it is-look, the smooth sand just beyond
is where the girls jumped in, and-"
.ti -- "
A REMARKABLE WATCH 87
In his turn he was interrupted.
You're right," cried Bill, "and-I do believe-no, there's a little wave
hiding it again-now, look, Humphrey-isn't there something glittering
still more than the wet stones, down there-on that smooth flat rock ?"
Yes-another wave or two came gently lapping in, as if to say good-bye
to the treasure they had been playing with, and then the boys stepped
forward over the slippery stones, and Bill stooped down and quickly stood
up again, with a shout of triumph, for the rescued prize was in his hands.
"And it really doesn't seem much the worse," said he and Humphrey
to each other, as they made their way home.
Lilly was not in her first sleep-she was too unhappy to fall asleep as
quietly as usual-when a tap at the door made her jump up. There stood
her brothers, and behind them Mamma, smiling with pleasure, and for a
minute or two Lilly's delight almost stupefied her. She could scarcely
believe it was her own dear watch that Bill held out, and when she did
believe it, she could not kiss and thank him and Humphrey enough.
The watch had to go to a watch-doctor, of course, and it cost several
shillings to put it right, but that is now many years ago, and it still keeps
time as well as ever.
88 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
.*frI I '
f- y ..n' '- 'J _'\OLEaWOYR
K .,_ __---_ __.
0 ORA and Hilary were staying in the country with
their cousins. It was a new part of the world to
S them, for their own home, though not actually in a
/ town, was not far from one, and therefore far less
rich in wild flowers and mushrooms and blackberries,
and all such delightful things than the rieal country place where these
fortunate cousins lived.
Had it not been for the newness and the freedom of it all, they might
have found it a little dull, for there was only one child in the family-
at all near their ages-Nora was eight and Hilary six--and this was
a boy of seven called Cecil. Cecil
was very much younger than his ,, _
brothers and sisters, and seemed even "."' .
younger than his age, for he was -
small and delicate, and very quiet. _' -
Hilary, a great big strong fellow,
seemed much older; indeed if you had
seen the two together you would
certainly have guessed that Cecil and '.
not his cousin was the, so to say,
town-bred boy. Cecil had never been
so happy in his life as since the
THE BLACKBERRY ELF 89
two little visitors had come to stay with him. They seemed to find
out all sorts of new things that had never struck him before; pleasures
and interests springing all about and close at hand which he had never
They found everything delightful; as the summer gradually faded into
autumn, and the bright flowers grew scarcer and less tempting to gather,
the wild fruit in its turn began to ripen. Day by day the children
watched the blackberries with the greatest eagerness, as the small red
heads steadily got rounder and deeper in colour, till at last one day
some of the big people said in the children's hearing, "a couple of
days' sunshine and the blackberries will be at their prime; there's a
splendid show of them this year."
Nora and Hilary could scarcely keep from jumping with joy, and they
made Cecil nearly as eager as them-
selves. The sun seemed to enter into
their feelings, for the very next morn-
ing he showed a more smiling face
than for some time past, and con-
tinued in this amiable humour for
several days, so that the children
were able on the third day to set ..
off, armed with baskets nearly as big
as themselves, for a regular good black-
All went well for some time. They
had been told where and how far they
might go, and though it took rather
longer than they had expected, to fill
even one of the baskets, they worked M "
90 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
on cheerfully, nowise disheartened, chattering to each other from time
to time, when a strange thing happened.
Nora was just saying that the only thing she was ever afraid of in
the woods was "snakes," and Cecil was assuring her that he was quite
certain there were none in "our woods," when he was startled by her
giving a little stream.
What's the matter ?" he called out, half thinking that a snake had
appeared after all.
Hush, Cecil, oh, hush!" said Nora in a low and startled voice;
come here, and you, Hilary,
come close here, but don't make
SWondering, and a little fright-
S'ened, the two boys crept through
S" What is it, Nora ?" they both
whispered in an awestruck tone.
"I don't know," she replied.
Cecil, do you know of anything
queer in these words ? Are
there any dwarfs or-or creatures
like in fairy stories ? For I am
sure I saw a very, very little
black or dark-brown man with
a red jacket and cap-he wasn't
Sas high as up to my waist-
scrambling among the bushes
Sive- over there, and picking and
YTHE BLACKBERRY ELF. 91
Cecil and Hilary stared at her.
You must have fancied it, Nora," said Cecil. "I never heard of
a---" but he was interrupted by a sort of smothered scream.
"There, there," whispered Nora, clutching hold of both the boys,
"there he is again "
And sure enough there "he" was, and just exactly as Nora had
described him. A tiny dark-brown creature, like a wee old man, with
a little red jacket, and a small red skull-cap on the top of his head. He
seemed to have come up suddenly from among the bushes; he was
holding the branch of a blackberry tree in one hand, and with the other
greedily plucking and eating the fruit as fast as he could.
"Who can he be ?" said Nora, who had grown very pale.
I wish I'd a gun here," said Hilary, who was rather given to
"Nonsense," said Nora, if he's some kind of a man,-and he can't
be an animal-animals don't wear jackets and caps-it would be very
wrong, and if he's a-a wood-spirit, or anything like that, shooting would
be no good."
But Hilary and she had raised their voices in this discussion without
knowing it. Suddenly the small man turned round, placed one hand
behind his big black ear, as if listening, and then, seemingly catching sight
of the children, sprang forward, stretching out his two long arms before
him in a curious way towards the little group.
A group no longer-with a scream, or three screams joined into one,
the children had turned and fled. How they got through the thick grow-
ing bushes without being torn to pieces I am sure I cannot tell. Fear lends
wings, I suppose. However that may be, I know it was in a wonderfully
short time that they found themselves, panting and shaking, breathless
and trembling, but safe, inside the shelter of their own garden gate.
92 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
I never was so frightened in my life," each exclaimed in turn.
If we hadn't all seen it, we might think it was fancy," said Nora.
I'm afraid the big ones will say it's fancy as it is," said Cecil, "and
they will so laugh at us."
Then we won't tell them," said Nora, at least we'll wait a little and
see. But I aren't go into the woods again; I really daren'v."
Not without a gun," said Hilary.
Rubbish," said Nora.
They kept their own counsel all that day, though strongly tempted to
confide in one or other of the big ones. But after dinner that evening,
when they went into dessert, Cecil's father called them to him.
I've got a story which will amuse you, children," he said. I was
riding past Welby's farm this morning, and Welby was quite full of a
present his sailor son has sent him. It is a monkey-the funniest little
fellow possible. He arrived, dressed in a red jacket and cap, and was
soon as friendly as possible with them all, he says. But the queerest
thing is this. Last week Tom Welby took the monkey a walk in the woods
and gave him some blackberries. Mr. Monkey seemed to like them
very much, and the next morning be disappeared, to the Welbys' conster-
nation. They were sure he was stolen or lost. But late in the afternoon
he came home again in a very good humour. And the next morning off he
went again, to come home just like the day before. They couldn't make
it out, but Tom was determined to find out, so he watched Mr. Monkey,
and where do you think he was ? In the woods gathering blackberrries
on his own account, 'like a Christian,' said old Welby, and enjoying him-
self thoroughly. And now he goes off every morning regularly, and
THE BLACKBERRY ELF 93
comes home when the afternoon gets chilly. It's really most amusing,
isn't it ?" ,
The children looked at each other, i .
but for a moment none of them
spoke. Then at last Nora burst ''
Uncle, we saw him this
morning. But-we were very
We thought he was a wood- .;'"',
spirit a a I'
can't remember the-
name," said Cecil.
"I wanted to
shoot him," said
94 FIVE MINUTES' STORIES.
At this there was a shout of laughter all round the table. The children
hesitated, then they looked at each other again, and burst out
"Why didn't you tell us ?" asked big sister Mabel.
We thought you'd laugh at us," they said.
And after all we kave laughed at you, but 1 don't think you're any the
worse," said Mabel smiling, as she kissed their little flushed faces.
RICIIARD CLAY AND SONS, LONDON AND EUNGAY.
PUBLICATIONS OF THE
SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE
Books by Mrs. Molesworth.
A CHARGE FULFILLED. With Three Page Woodcuts.
Crown 8vo. Cloth boards, 2s. 6d.
LETTICE. With Three Page Woodcuts. Crown 8vo. Cloth
THE ABBEY BY THE SEA, and another Story. With
One Page Woodcut. Post 8vo. Ornamental paper boards, Is.
THE LITTLE OLD PORTRAIT. With several Illustra-
tions printed in colours. Post 8vo. Cloth boards, ls.
THE CHILD'S PICTORIAL
A Monthly Coloured Magazine
Yearly Volume, containing 12 Numbers, paper boards, 2s.; cloth
boards, 2s. 6d.
JTHIS Magazine is intended for children of the ages between four and eight
S years; but it will be found interesting, it is hoped, to those beyond that
age. The matter is made as interesting and edifying as possible, and the
coloured illustrations are artistic and attractive.
The services of the best known writers for Children have been enlisted
for this Magazine, as the names of the chief contributors will show, viz.,
Mrs. MOLESWORTH, Mrs. MACQUOID, Mrs. SITWELL, Rev. J. G.
The Illustrations are furnished by W. J. MORGAN, Esq., HARRISON
WEIR, Esq., and other known artists.
LATE MRS. EWING,
THE PEACE EGG, AND A CHRISTMAS MUMMING PLAY. With
Illustrations by GonDON BROWNE. Small 4to, paper boards, Is.
MARY'S MEADOW, and Letters from a Little Garden. Illustrated by
GORDON BROWNE. Small 4to, paper boards, Is.
LOB LIE-BY-THE-FIRE; or, The Luck of Lingborough. With Illus-
trations by the late R. CALDECOTT. Small 4to, paper boards, is.
POEMS FOR CHILD LIFE AND COUNTRY LIFE. Six books printed
in Colours from Designs by R. ANDRE. Paper boards, each Is.
STORY OF A SHORT LIFE (THE). With Illustrations by GORDON BROWNE.
Small 4to, paper boards, Is.
DADDY DARWIN'S DOVECOT: a Country Tale. With numerous Illus-
trations by the late R. CALDECOTT. Small 4to, paper boards, Is.
DANDELION CLOCKS and other Tales. With Illustrations by GORDON
BROWNE, and other artists. Small 4to, paper boards, is.
JACKANAPES. With Seventeen Illustrations by the late RANDOLPH CALDECOTT.
Small 4to, paper boards, Is.
A SERIES OF TWELVE VERSE BOOKS FOR CHILDREN. Printed
in Colours from designs by R. ANDRE. Small 4to, ornamental paper boards, each Is.
BROTHERS OF PITY, and other Tales of Beasts and Men. Crown 8vo,
with numerous Illustrations, cloth boards, 2s. 6d.
OLD-FASHIONED FAIRY TALES. Foolscap 4to, with numerous Woodcuts,
ornamental paper boards, 3s. 6d.
JULIANA HORATIA EWING AND HER BOOKS. By HORATIA K. F.
GATTY. With a Portrait by GEORGE REID, R.S.A. Illustrated by facsimiles from Mrs. EWING''s
sketches, and a cover designed by the late RANDOLPH CALDECOTT. Smill 4to, paper boards, Is.
society for promotinQ Christian lknowlebge.
LONDON: NORTiHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.; 43 QUEEN VICTORIA STrEET, E.C.
BRIGHTON: 135 NORTH STREET.
!! Dg li
-1 10 m oll
its 1 ....... MIMS.
. 70 All
poll, w VY
HER 1. post
... ..... ..
.. .. ....