S -E- C7,, R. E
The BaldAm Liran
V V 1 TT f).A
I )DR WIlTl .R ,WO~I A
11he 0 Blie .S lMh 'I ress.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
56, PAIERNOSTER Row; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
CO NTE-4T S.
1. WHAT AMY DID 5
ii. THE DISASTER 13
111. MOTHER AND DAUGHTER. 22
Iv. DISCOVERY 28
v. A MISERABLE DAY 35
VI. How NED WENT SLIDING 41
VI. PooR AMY. 43
viII. AMY'S RECOVERY 57
IX. CONCLUSION 62
What \my 4id.
-. N a shabby side street, in
-. the very heart of the great
town of Dustleigh, stood a
^B small house, built of dull
red bricks, just like its
V neighbours on either side.
In front it only boasted
two windows, one above
the other, and a door; and there was
nothing, except a card in the window,
to attract the notice of the passer-by.
Yet three people called it "home,"
and loved it better than any other house
in the street, or even in the town.
Those three persons were Mrs. Miller
6 Amy's Secret.
and her two children-Edward, a boy
of thirteen, and Amy, who was about
eleven years old. And it was no wonder
that they loved the old house, for the
children had lived there all their lives;
and in the front room upstairs they had
watched their father during his last
illness, until he was called to a better
home, and Mrs. Miller was left a widow.
Since that time she had supported
herself and her family by dressmaking.
A very hard struggle she had to bring
up her children, and give them a good
education. But, by God's help, she
persevered bravely, and succeeded in
The brother and sister were much
unlike in disposition and character, but
they were very fond of each other; and
although they occasionally had their
petty squabbles, they were soon over,
and they usually agreed very well.
It was a cold raw day in January,
when Amy Miller, with her lesson-
What Amy Did. 7
books in hand, entered thd little house
on her return from afternoon school.
"I'm glad you have come, Amy,"
said her mother, who appeared in the
passage at that moment dressed in
bonnet and shawl, and carrying a bundle
in her arms.
"Are you going out, mother ?" asked
Yes; so you must stay at home, and
get tea ready for Ned and me. I am
going to take this work home myself,
for the people don't always pay promptly,
and I think I shall be more likely to get
the money if I go myself than if I send
Ned. Get tea ready in the kitchen, for
I've got some particular work about in
the back room, and I want to take great
care of it," she added, as she opened the
door, and went out into the cold.
Amy ran up to the bed-room, which
she shared with her mother, took off her
hat and jacket, put them away on their
peg in the closet, and then went to the
8 Amy's Secret.
looking-glass to smooth her hair and
arrange her dress, which had become
disordered in her quick walk from school.
It is only true to say that she lingered
at the glass at least a few minutes more
than was necessary, for Amy had one
fault, which had been rather encouraged
than checked by the mistaken kindness
of friends. She was a pretty little girl,
with bright sunny blue eyes, fair white
jkin, and a healthy rosy colour upon her
round plump cheeks; and her soft brown
hair hung in graceful curls round her
head, and rippled above her forehead.
It was a pleasant English child's face;
but many persons had foolishly praised
her pretty features and her long curls,
until the little girl began to grow vain,
and to assume a self-conscious air which
did not at all suit her childish face.
And she became so anxious to be
admired that she would have done a
great many foolish things in order to try
to improve her appearance.
What Amy Did. 9
Amy was very fond of bright-coloured
ribbons and bows, and usually managed
to deck herself with some small bit of
finery, even though it might be soiled or
crumpled. It was well that Mrs. Miller
had more sense than her child, for if she
had made Amy's dresses according to
her wishes they would have looked
"I wonder what dress mother has
been making to-day, that she is obliged
to take so much care," thought Amy, as
she pinned a blue bow on her dress. I
think I will go and look at it."
Away she ran to the little back parlour,
which was Mrs. Miller's work-room. It
was a small barely-furnished room, over-
looking a narrow stone-paved yard, and
never particularly cheerful at the best of
times. A round table, covered with
shreds and cuttings, stood in the middle
of the room, and the walls were adorned
with fashion-plates and paper patterns
which had been used many times. A
10 Amy's Secret.
small sewing-machine and a few chairs
completed the furniture of the room, for
the floor was uncovered, in order that
the scraps and cuttings might be more
easily swept up.
Directly she entered the room, Amy's
eyes fell upon a dingy wrapper which
covered somethingon the table. She took
it off carefully, and gave an astonished
" Oh !" as a dress of pale blue silk met
I must look at it, it is so lovely,"
she said; "and I can easily fold it again,
as mother has taught me how to fold."
She slowly unfolded the dress, and
held it up at arm's length, when she
found to her surprise that it was a little
girl's dress just the right size for herself.
Oh, how beautiful !" she exclaimed;
" I wish I had such a splendid dress."
It was not often that Mrs. Miller had
a silk dress to make, for she was but
a self-taught dressmaker. But some
persons had found out that, although
What Amy Did. 11
lower in her charges, she was able to do
her work quite as well as more expensive
dressmakers, and on this occasion she
was entrusted to make a silk dress for
the child of a well-to-do grocer.
"How beautiful! What a lovely
colour!" mused Amy; "I wonder if I
might try it on ?" she exclaimed, as the
idea struck her. I should have time
before mother comes back."
She closed the door, for she knew that
she was doing wrong, as her mother had
often forbidden her to touch any of her
work. In another minute, Amy's old
brown dress was hanging on a chair,
and she was arraying herself in the pale
blue silk garment, and surveying herself
in the small glass on the mantel-shelf.
I wonder what the girls at school
would say if they could see me now,"
thought Amy. I look like a lovely
young lady going to a party, only I
ought to have bracelets, and a gold chain
and locket. Oh how I wish the dress
12 Amy's Secret.
vas mine! I should never be tired of
looking at it, the colour suits me so well.
I dare say the young lady it is made for
is not nearly so pretty as I am. I believe
it is for that Miss King with the red
hair,-she won't look at all nice in it."
LOUD knock at the door,
followed by the clatter of
feet along the passage, in-
terrupted Amy's soliloquy.
I She feared that her mother
had returned, and moved
Hastily away from the look-
ing-glass, so hastily that she overturned
a small can of machine oil which was
kept upon the mantel-shelf. It was not
Mrs. Miller, but Ned who had just
entered, and was startled by hearing a
loud cry from the little back parlour,
whither he hastened at once.
Hullo, Amy what's the matter ? I
thought you were half killed by the noise
you were making. My goodness what
14 Amy's Secret.
a grand dress What are you up to ?"
he exclaimed, as he caught sight of the
blue silk dress.
Oh, Ned, I'm in such trouble.
Promise me you won't ever tell," en-
treated the little girl, with tears in her
All right! I'll promise; but what's
up? Mischief, I'll be bound," replied
I've had a dreadful accident, and it's
all your fault; you made such a noise
and startled me, and I upset some of the
machine oil on this beautiful silk dress,
and-oh dear! what shall I do ?" sobbed
Whose dress is it ? Yours ?"
"No. Mother had to make it for
some one, and I tried it on, and, and-"
"Silly little vain thing," cried the boy,
contemptuously. "Well, I don't see
what you can do, except tell mother,
and make a clean breast of it."
"Oh, I couldn't do that!" gasped
The Disaster. 15
Amy, whose pride was hurt by the sug-
gestion. "At least, I mean-I shouldn't
like to grieve mother, she would be so
vexed. I know what I'll do," she said,
brightening up, and drying her eyes;
" you promised you wouldn't say any-
thing, and the oil has run in a straight
line down this upper skirt not very far
from the seam. I'll just run it up inside,
-it will only make the top skirt a little
scantier, and no one will notice that, for
they are worn very scanty now, and the
under skirt is not hurt a bit. Oh, yes,
I'll manage it."
Well, do as you like; but I call it a
horrid sneaking way of getting out of a
scrape,-just like a girl."
But what else can I do, Ned ?" she
asked, while the tears started again to
"You won't do the right thing, I
know, you said so just now, and of course
I shall have to keep my promise; but
mind, I'm not going to tell lies, if any
16 Amy's Secret.
questions are asked me. Bother you and
your dresses," he added, not very kindly;
" I wish I hadn't come near them."
And so do I," echoed Amy.
"Very well, then I'll go out. Tell
mother I shan't be home very early."
With that he quitted the house, slamming
the door behind him, and leaving his
sister to get out of the difficulty as well
as she could.
Ned was very angry with Amy, for
whose faults he had very little indulgence,
as they were so entirely different from
his own. No one would ever have
thought of accusing him of vanity, for it
was his mother's lament that he paid no
attention to his personal appearance, and
it was with great difficulty that she could
keep him decent and respectable; while
as for deceit, no one scorned the idea of
it more than Ned, who was naturally
frank and open, and found it much easier
to confess a fault than to hide it even
for a moment.
The Disaster. 17
But, brave and open as Ned usually
was, he felt rather a coward at this
moment. He had come away from
home without his tea, and determined
to remain out until late rather than meet
his mother; for he was afraid that she
would want him to carry the dress to
Mrs. King's, and he was not at all
anxious to go.
Not that he was usually unwilling to
run errands for his mother, for he loved
her dearly, and would have done a great
deal for her; in fact, she often told her
neighbours that she did not know what
she should do without him,-he was such
a good boy, and such a comfort to her.
But Ned had an impression that the
trick which his sister had played would
be found out,-perhaps his tell-tale look
would arouse suspicion that something
was wrong,-and he did not want to
have to carry a message from Mrs.
King to his mother revealing Amy's
foolish vanity and its consequences.
18 Amy's Secret.
While the boy was thinking the matter
over, his sister was stitching away, en-
deavouring to sew up the dark streak
which the oil had made upon the delicate
silk. Amy was a clever little needle-
woman for her age, but she found that
she had a difficult task before her. She
ripped the seam, and began to run it up
again, turning in several inches. Very
swiftly her needle flew, for she feared
every moment to hear her mother's foot-
step on the threshold; and when she
had finished the seam she found that the
piece she had turned in was so wide that
she was obliged to cut off a wide strip
of silk, which she burnt on the kitchen
fire. Then flattering herself that she had
quite hidden all traces of her disaster,
and had in fact made the dress more
fashionable than it was before, she folded
it carefully, and placed it upon the table
in the wrapper just as she had found it.
The cups and saucers were set upon
the table, and the tea was almost ready,
The Disaster. 19
when Mrs. Miller returned. She walked
into the kitchen, sat down on the nearest
chair, and exclaimed with a weary sigh,
"All that long walk for nothing!"
"Didn't they pay you, mother?" asked
"No, I must wait until next week.
It is too bad, that it is," she cried, indig-
nantly; "they can't wait a day or an
hour for a dress, but I must wait for my
money until they choose to pay me!
But there," she said, with another sigh,
" it's of no use to talk about it. Where's
"He has gone out, mother; he said
he should not be in till late."
Tiresome boy To go off when he
might have known that I should be likely
to want him. But, like every one else,
he is selfish, and only thirks of his own
pleasure,"said Mrs. Miller, rather bitterly.
She was disappointed and unhappy,
for she had reckoned upon the money
which was due to her to pay her week's
20 Amy's Secret.
rent. It was a serious thing to her to
be disappointed even of a few shillings,
for she had a hard struggle to provide
for herself and her children, and to bring
them up respectably.
Mrs. Miller, when "put out," was, like
many other people, disposed to find fault
with every one, and this was the cause
of her speaking so sharply about her son.
But in another minute she repented of
her words, and said, "Well, he is not
usually selfish; and I am glad that I
have a little daughter who is so good
and useful while I am obliged to be
Amy hung down her head and blushed,
from modesty at being praised, her mother
thought, but we who are in the secret
know that it was a very different feeling
which caused that blush, he was
ashamed to hear her mother praise her,
when she knew that she had both dis-
obeyed and deceived her. But she made
no reply, and she and her mother began
The Disaster. 21
their tea in silence. When it was over,
Mrs. Miller put on her bonnet and shawl,
and prepared to go out again.
IfNed will not be back until late, I
must take Miss King's dress home my-
self," she said; "and I may as well go
to try on Mrs. Blackman's dress, as she
lives close by. I shall be out some time,
Amy, for I shall go into the draper's on
the way. Mind you keep the fire burning,
and get supper ready, there's a good girl,
for I shall be cold and hungry when I
Mrs. Miller did not unfold the dress,
but simply put it in the wrapper, and
went out again into the cold, carrying
Amy's mind was relieved from all
fear, for she was sure now that the
accident would never be discovered.
Mother and Daughter.
.e ,.\ HAT is the time, ma? I
S' think it is getting late."
Yes, it is past seven,
and your dress hasn't come
home yet. I hope the dress-
'./ maker won't disappoint me.
I can tell her that if she don't bring it
home to-night she won't have any more
of my custom."
The speaker was Mrs. King, the wife
of a rich grocer living in the High
Street, and the young girl sitting with
her, to whom she was talking, was her
eldest daughter, Hortensia.
Although this young lady had so fine
a name, she was a quiet, plain, ordinary-
looking girl, with pale blue eyes, a nose
Molzer and Daugk/er. 23
that would not turn down in spite of its
owner's efforts to train it in that direction,
and an abundance of decidedly red hair,
but a good-natured, merry expression of
countenance, which made one forget the
irregular features and red hair, and gave
one no surprise to find that Hortensia
King was a general favourite among her
It won't matter so long as I have it
in time for the party to-morrow; and
perhaps Mrs. Miller would have had to
sit up very late last night in order to let
us have it to-day," she suggested, gently.
"She ought at any rate to keep her
promise, for she knows that I am one of
her best customers,-one who pays her
liberally, and never keeps her waiting
for her money," said Mrs. King.
Hark! there is a knock at the door.
Perhaps she has brought it; shall I go
and see?" asked Hortensia.
"No, my dear, sit still. Jane will -"
"If you please, ma'am, the dressmaker
24 Amy's Secret.
has brought Miss Tensia's dress," said
the servant, entering the room with a
large parcel in her hands.
Where is she ?" inquired Mrs. King.
She's gone, ma'am; she didn't wait."
How tiresome! I wanted her to see
the dress on, and to make any alterations
that may be necessary. Now, Hortensia,
try it on."
Oh, how lovely it is, ma! I'm afraid
it is too pretty for me, the colour won't
suit with my hair and face," said the
young girl, as she held the dress at
arm's length, and surveyed it with
Nonsense, Hortensia. I can't think
why you should be always talking about
your plainness. Your hair is no more
red than mine is; in fact, every one tells
me that there is a great likeness between
us, though your pa doesn't think that
you'll ever come up to what I was when
we were married."
Hortensia took off her dress, and put
Mother and Daughter. 25
on the pale blue silk skirt, and was en-
deavouring to put on the polonaise.
"What is the matter with this dress,
ma ? I think it is too tight, I cannot
get into it."
Nonsense, the tighter it is the more
fashionable it looks. I told the dress-
maker to make it tight. Let me try,"
she said, as she saw that her daughter's
efforts were vain.
But although she tugged and strained
the silk, she was obliged to confess that
the dress was really too tight to be worn ;
and giving it one more pull, which only
succeeded in slitting the silk, she said,
"It's of no use, my child; take it off
and let me see what the foolish woman
has done to it."
"Well, to be sure," she cried, this is
a pretty way to make a silk dress, the
salvage cut off all down this scam, and
not even overcast. And the thing is
one-sided, the right side of the polonaise
is narrower than the left one. I really
26 Amy's Secret.
didn't think that Mrs. Miller was so
stupid and slovenly; but she won t make
another dress for me in a hurry."
Martha," she said, as the servant
appeared in answer to a vigorous pull
at the bell, "just run over to Mrs.
Miller's, and tell her that I want to speak
to her immediately about the dress she
has made so shamefully."
The servant went at once to take the
message, and returned about half an
hour later, saying that Mrs. Miller was
not at home.
Not at home ? No, I suppose not.
She takes care not to come in when she
brings the dress, and to be out when I
send to her. No wonder she was out;
she knows that she has cut off that
handsome silk, and completely spoilt the
dress, and now she is ashamed to see
Do you think that it is quite spoilt,
Of course it is; and I'm sure I don't
Mother and Daughter. 27
know what you are going to wear at
your party to-morrow."
My white muslin would --"
"No, that would not do at all. It is
very tiresome, very annoying, and that
dressmaker will never get any more
work from me. She has lost my custom
through her stupidity and artfulness."
"Perhaps it was an accident," sug-
gested Hortensia; the scissors might
have slipped, or --"
No, that is very unlikely. But the
dress is quite useless, utterly spoilt in
the making; and if Mrs. Miller don't
come here to-night I shall go to see her
to-morrow, and tell her what I think of
it. The odd thing is," she added, ex-
amining the dress again, "that it all
seems done very well, except this side
seam, and that is done very clumsily."
7-4" i' was not in a very happy
''S1 state of mind that evening
while her mother was out.
She tried to learn her
lessons, but her thoughts
would run upon the accident of the after-
noon, and she wondered if it would ever
It was growing late, but neither her
mother nor Edward had returned; and
she was tired of staying in the house
alone, when she heard a knock at the
door. Being rather nervous, she grew
frightened, and wondered who it could
be; but the knock was repeated, and
when she opened the door she saw, to
her relief, a respectable young woman
standing before it.
Is Mrs. Miller in ?" she asked.
"No, ma'am, she's been out all the
evening," replied Amy.
"Will you tell her that missis wants
to see her about the dress ?"
"Yes, I'll tell her when she comes in,"
said Amy, with a dreadful fear that all
The girl wished her good-night, and
went away; and directly she was out of
sight Amy remembered that she had not
asked her the name of her mistress, and
that after all it might not be Mrs. King.
But she could not put away the un-
welcome thought that Mrs. King had
found out all her naughtiness. Strange
to say, she had never thought of her
disaster, and the way she had tried to
hide it, being discovered by any but her
mother's eye; and the thought of its
being found out by a stranger so filled
her with terror that she could scarcely
30 Amy's Secret.
bear to give her mother the message
when she came home, weary and worn
with her day's work.
"Whose servant was it?" she in-
I-I forgot to ask."
"Then I cannot go to-night. I expect
it was Mrs. Mordaunt's servant, for I
made Miss King's dress quite according
to her mamma's orders, and I don't think
there can be anything amiss with it. At
any rate, I can't go to-night, for I am
dreadfully tired after so much work and
Edward, who had just come in, and
was sitting beside her, made no reply,
only gave an angry glance at his sister;
and she at once took her candle and
went to bed, saying that she was very
tired. But, although she was tired, it
was long before sleep came to her, for
she tossed about restlessly, trying to
imagine what her mother would say if
she knew all, and wishing-oh! so fer-
vently-that she had never seen the
pretty blue dress.
The next day was Friday, the day of
Hortensia King's birthday party. Amy
rose as soon as it was light; but she
found that Ned and her mother had been
down some time, and had lighted the
fire, and prepared the breakfast.
Late again !" cried Ned; I suppose
you have been a long time over your
curls, or putting on your dress."
She did not answer, but sat down to
her breakfast, trying to keep back the
hot tears and to check the choking sobs
which her brother's words had caused.
Breakfast was soon over, and Ned
had just started for school when a loud
knock was heard at the door, which Mrs.
Miller opened. A moment later Amy
heard in loud tones the words, I tell
you it is spoilt-completely spoilt! and
she trembled as she listened.
I can't understand it, ma'am; indeed
I can't. I thought it was made exactly
32 Amy's Secret.
as you ordered it," replied Mrs. Miller,
mildly and tearfully.
I don't say that I can understand it,
unless you have cut off and kept some
of the silk. I only know that the dress
is quite ruined, that my daughter is not
able to wear it at her party this evening,
and that I am very much annoyed, and
shall expect you to make it good."
The next few words were inaudible;
but the little girl trembled with fright
when she heard her mother's voice
calling, "Amy Amy !"
She would have done anything, have
gone anywhere, rather than obey that
call, for now she was sure the truth
would come out, and she wished very
much that she had told her mother at
once. It was therefore with slow and
unwilling footsteps that she obeyed the
summons, and entered the front room
with downcast eyes.
"You remember that I left a dress
on the table in the back room yesterday
afternoon. Did you touch it, Amy?"
asked her mother.
A flood of tears and a burst of sobs
were her only answer; but they served
to rouse the suspicions of her mother,
who had never thought of Amy as the
cause of the mischief, but fancied that
some one might have done it in her
There, you see how it is," exclaimed
Mrs. King, it is all this naughty child's
doing. I dare say she spoilt the dress
on purpose to annoy me."
No, I didn't," sobbed the child ; I
only tried on the dress to see how I
should look, and Ned came, and the oil
was spilt on it, and then I cut it off and
mended it up."
Mrs. King burst into a torrent of
invective, but poor Mrs. Miller sat
perfectly still; she was so grieved and
shocked to find that Amy had been
guilty of so many faults, and above all
that she had deceived her.
34 Amy's Secret.
If I were your mother I should whip
you well, and keep you on bread and
water all day, you naughty child !" said
Mrs. King, while Amy sobbed piteously.
"As it is, Mrs. Miller," she continued,
speaking to the dressmaker, "I must
repeat what I said before, that I shall
expect the dress to be made up as I
ordered it, and that I shall not send you
any more dresses to be tried on and cut
and spoilt by your vain little girl."
So saying she took her departure, and
Mrs. Miller quitted the room without
saying a word, leaving Amy very tearful,
and utterly miserable.
M Mtiserablie lag.
_--I-t T was Sunday, the day to
which Mrs. Miller's children
Looked forward with great
S pleasure, for to them it was
S usually the happiest day of
the week. It was their
mother's leisure day,-her rest day,-and
very happy the children felt as they
walked beside her to the house of God
in the morning and evening. The after-
noon Mrs. Miller spent at home, while
Edward and Amy were at the Sunday-
school ; and in the evening, after service,
they would gather round the fire and
sing hymns, or listen while their mother
talked or read to them. Sometimes there
were wet Sunday evenings; but these
36 Amy's Secret.
were spent just as happily in reading
from the large family Bible, or singing
the Sunday-school hymns.
Perhaps it would not be unfair to say
that the plentiful supply of good whole-
some food helped to make the day
attractive to Ned; for his mother was
not rich, and a good joint of meat was
not an every-day occurrence in that little
household. Nor is it unfair to say that
Amy felt the importance of wearing her
best clothes, and was glad of such an
opportunity of showing them off as the
But such a dull, miserable, unhappy
Sunday neither of them ever remem-
bered. There was no hot joint for
dinner, in fact, no meat at all, as Mrs.
Miller had not received the money for
her work, and it would cost a great deal
to replace the silk dress which had been
spoiled. The mother was very quiet
and sad, Ned cross and ill-tempered,
and Amy so very unhappy that she felt
A Miserable Day. 37
no pleasure in wearing her best clothes,
although she had a brand new hat to
The tears continually started to her
eyes when she was reminded by her
brother's contemptuous and angry looks
of the mischief she had done a day or
two before. He confined himself to
looks, and scarcely took the trouble to
speak to his sister. The boy was very
fond of his mother, and so grieved to
see her looking sad and gloomy that he
gave vent to his sorrow and displeasure
by casting these reproachful sneering
glances at Amy, who quailed under
them, and felt as if her heart would
But the most wretched day of one's
life must come to an end at last; and
that miserable Sunday at length drew to
a close, and Amy laid her head on the
pillow, feeling very thankful that night
had come, and wondering how many
more unhappy days she should spend,
38 Amy's Secret.
and if all her life would be dreary and
miserable as that day had been. But
there was to be a little ray of sunshine
for her, even that night; for when her
mother went up to bed, she noticed her
little girl's sad tearful face, and felt very
sorry for her. She thought that Amy
had been punished enough by being
under her displeasure for three days.
So she went to her bedside, and said
kindly, "Don't cry any more, dear. I
know you are sorry for the faults you
have committed, and now I have quite
forgiven you. Are you sure that God
has forgiven you ?"
"No, mother,"sobbed Amy; "I couldn't
pray about a-a dress."
But you have sinned against Him
both by disobedience and deceit, and I
believe you are sorry for those sins.
Tell Him so, and seek His forgiveness
before you go to sleep."
Amy crept out of bed, knelt down,
and really prayed for the first time in
A Miserable Day. 39
her life. It was true that she had always
said her prayers night and morning;
but this was the first time that she
prayed to God from her heart for what
she really wanted; and in after days she
often looked back to that evening as a
turning-point in her life.
Although her fault was forgiven, the
consequences of it still remained; the
blue silk dress was still quite spoilt, and
upon her mother rested the task of buying
another in its place; while one of her
best customers had left her, and, what
was worst of all to Amy, Ned still con-
tinued angry and petulant. Indeed, as
his sister's smiles returned, and her face
grew brighter, he seemed to be more
sullen and cross. He usually met her
with a scowl upon his brow, and answered
her cheerful little remarks in a harsh,
In vain his mother reasoned with him,
and told him how it grieved her to see
him cherish such an unforgiving spirit
40 Amy's 'ccret.
towards his sister. He only replied, It
is all very well for you to forgive her,
mother, for you are so kind and good-
natured you would not hurt anybody.
And I would forgive her if it were only
me she has injured. But when I see
you toiling and slaving away to get the
money for that precious dress which she
spoiled through her vanity, I feel down-
right mad. If she were a boy, I'd give
her a jolly good thrashing, and have it
over; but I can't do that sort of thing
with a girl, so I make her feel it another
way. But forgive her I can't."
Tmow 11Inl went sliding .
s January grew older,
; and the days length-
: ened, the cold weather
increased in strength.
Icicles hung from the
windows, water froze
Indoors, snow came
down and covered the
-- houses with a clean
white robe, and made
the streets slippery and unsafe both for
horses and foot-passengers. Every pond
in the neighbourhood was a sheet of
thick strong ice, and numbers of skaters
were to be seen every day making their
way to the ponds; while those who were
not fortunate enough to possess skates
went out to slide.
42 Amy's Secret.
Early one Saturday morning, Edward
told his mother that if she did not want
him to run errands for her, he should
like to go out sliding with some of his
schoolfellows. Mrs. Miller was quite
willing for him to go; and he had just
started, when Amy ran in to tell her
mother that several of her young friends
were going also, and to ask if she might
accompany them. She obtained per-
mission, and went upstairs to put on her
hat and jacket, then started off as fast as
she could to overtake her friends.
For two whole weeks, Edward had
continued to nurse his feeling of spite
and anger, and to take every opportunity
of making Amy feel how much he de-
spised her. Instead of being cheerful,
frank, generous, and full of fun, he grew
sullen and silent, seldom speaking to his
sister in his usual manner.
It happened that he and one of his
companions were walking behind the rest
of the party, so that Amy, panting and
How Ned went Sliding. 43
out of breath, had to pass him in order
to walk with the others.
"Now then, Amy, where are you
running to ?" he cried, angrily.
I am going to the pond with Jessie
and Annie," she panted.
Indeed you are not going with us,"
he replied; "you'll be sure to get into
But mother said I might go," pleaded
I wonder you were not ashamed to
ask her," said her brother. If you had
a spark of feeling for her, you wouldn't
leave her alone on Saturday morning,
when she's been slaving all the week to
make up that money for the dress you
ruined through your stupid vanity. No,
if you want to go, go alone; at any rate
you shan't go with us," he said, roughly
pushing her aside, and running off round
the corner of the street to rejoin his
companion, who had left the brother and
sister to settle their dispute alone.
14 Amy's Secrel.
The push was more violent than
Edward meant it to be. Poor Amy fell
heavily to the ground, and was stunned
by the blow. As she fell her foot slipped
from the pavement into the road, and a
man in a baker's cart, driving rapidly by
at the moment, had not time to pull up
his horse before the wheel passed over
her foot. The pain aroused her for one
instant; she gave a piercing shriek, and
then fainted away. A crowd soon ga-
thered round her; and one or two kind
persons raised the child, and began to
talk of taking her to the hospital.
When Amy opened her eyes again,
she was conscious of a terrible pain in
her foot, from which the boot was being
removed; while a crowd of strangers,
both sympathetic and curious, stood
looking on. The baker had been stopped,
and was loudly declaring to a policeman
that it was quite an accident, and that
he was not to blame.
What is the matter ?" asked a plain
How Ned went Sliding. 45
but handsomely dressed little girl, who
happened to be passing at the moment,
of a woman in the crowd.
A little gal run over, miss," was the
reply. "A boy pushed her down; and
the baker, he run over her foot before
he could stop his 'orse."
"Poor child!" said Hortensia King,
as she made her way through the crowd.
"Why, it is Mrs. Miller's little girl!"
she cried, as she caught sight of Amy's
pale face, just as she opened her eyes.
"Do you know her, miss ?" inquired
two or three voices.
Yes, she is our dressmaker's little
girl. Oh dear, what trouble she will be
in, poor woman! Shall I run and tell
her about it ?"
If you know where she lives, it will
be the best thing you can do," said a
woman standing near. You see they've
got a cab, and they are just going to
take her to the hospital; the doctors will
soon see what is the matter with her."
46 Amy's Secret
Hortensia set off at once, and ran to
the dressmaker's house in such haste
that when she reached the door she was
quite out of breath.
Mrs. Miller came in answer to her
knock; but the girl stood a moment
trying to regain her breath, and then
said, "Oh, Mrs. Miller, I am so sorry,
but will you go to the hospital ? Amy
has hurt her foot, but they hope it isn't
My Amy?" cried the poor woman,
who had expected to hear some un-
pleasant message from Mrs. King about
the damaged dress.
"Yes," said Hortensia, who could
speak a little less hurriedly now, "a boy
pushed her down, and a cart went over
her foot, and she fainted; but they've
taken her to the hospital now."
"Oh dear! oh dear! what shall I
do ?" cried poor Mrs. Miller, as she
hastened to put on her bonnet and
shawl and set out for the hospital.
How Ned went Sliding. 47
Hortensia meantime made her way
home, and began to tell her mother what
had happened, and how she had taken
the news to Mrs. Miller.
Was it that fair-haired little girl who
spoilt your dress ? asked Mrs. King.
"Yes, mamma; but don't think any
more about it now, the poor little girl is
in so much pain, and I am sur that her
mother is in dreadful trouble about her.
Can you think of anything we can do
for her ?"
I have no doubt that the surgeon at
the hospital will do everything in his
power; but if you like I will speak to
Dr. Arnold, and ask him to look at her,
and see if anything more can be done,
when he pays his next visit to the
,"" T was very late in
S the afternoon when
-' Edward returned
S from the pond where
.h-' e had been sliding
merrily and enjoying
l^ -himself, scarcely giv-
ing a thought to the
*' little sister he had
so roughly sent home that morning.
The street lamps were lighted, and the
cold frosty air in which he had been for
so many hours had given him a keen
appetite, and he ran down the street in
a great hurry, so that he might be in
time for tea.
To his surprise he found the house
Poor Amy 49
dark and silent. The front door was
fastened, and his loud and continued
knocking was not answered. He could
not understand it, for his mother was
usually at home at that hour; but a boy
who was passing down the street shouted,
" It's no good for you to knock, there's
nobody at home; and your mother's gone
to the hospital to see your sister."
"To the hospital ? Oh, what is the
matter ?" cried Ned, in alarm.
"She was run over," said the boy
abruptly, as he went down the street
Poor Edward was horror-struck. He
had never known until that moment how
much he loved Amy; and now that he
heard she was injured (how seriously he
did not know), the remembrance of his
unkindness to her that morning came
before him like a flash of lightning; and
although he little thought that he had
been the cause of the accident, he was
sorry that he had sent her home alone.
50 Amy's Secret.
He walked slowly down the street
in the direction of the hospital, half-
hoping, half-fearing, to meet his mother,
and hear from her if his sister were very
much hurt. But he had not gone far
before he met her carrying a large parcel
of work. She saw him directly, and
hastened to meet him with a faint attempt
at a smile.
"Well, my boy," she said, looking
closely at him in the light of a street
lamp, I see you have heard of the
"Yes, mother. But tell me, is she
hurt very much ?"
Not so much as I feared at first, dear.
It seems that the cart-wheel only went
over her foot; and although that is in-
jured," she said, with a quiver in her
voice, "still we hope that it may not be
very bad, and that she will soon be well
again when the shock to the system is
"Is that all? Is it only her foot?"
Poor Amy 51
asked Ned. "Well, I am glad it is no
He had scarcely dared to think how
much Amy might be hurt; and now that
he heard it was only her foot, all his pity
and penitence took flight.
It was just like Amy, he said to him-
self, to upset mother, and make such a
fuss just because she had hurt her foot.
What a stupid little cry-baby she always
was! How silly of her to get in the way
of a cart and be run over! But perhaps
she had been well frightened this time,
and really was punished for all her stupid
vanity. He might have guessed that she
was not hurt very much.
These hard, unkind thoughts filled
his mind as he walked silently home
beside his mother, and helped her to
light up the fire and get the tea; while
she, poor woman, fancied that he was
overcome with sorrow on account of the
"Poor boy !" she thought, "he is very
52 Amy's Secret.
unhappy. I won't tell him the worst
to-night, or he will lie awake and fret.
I am sure he is very sorry he has treated
her so badly lately."
She tried in vain to swallow a morsel
of bread and butter, but it seemed to
choke her ; and even Edward's appetite
left him as he looked at her sad face.
Mother," he said at length, you are
tired and worried to-night; will you go
to bed, and let me tidy the rooms for
"Thank you, my boy," she said,
gratefully, "you are very good and
She wished him good-night; and after
he had done all he could to save her
trouble in the morning, he went to bed,
his mind still full of impatient and
How quiet the house seemed the next
morning without Amy's lively chatter,
and her footsteps about the house as she
dressed herself for Sunday-school.
Poor Amy 53
Both mother and son thought of her
very much; and Edward was astonished
to find how much he missed her,
especially when he set off down the
street alone. It seemed as if she must
be coming just after him, as if she were
only waiting to put on her new hat or a
pretty ribbon. But it was when he
returned home to dinner that the absent
one was missed most of all, when he sat
opposite his mother, and saw her sorrow-
ful face and eyes that looked full ot
"Mother," he cried, as she helped
him to a slice of meat, "mother, I can
see you have been fretting this morning.
I wish you wouldn't worry about Amy.
I'm sure she has given you trouble
enough without this, and I can't think
how she managed to get under the
Some unkind boy pushed her down
at the corner of St. George's Street, and
before she could rise the wheel passed
54 Amy's Secret.
over her foot. I don't know what I
could do to that boy," she said, with
unusual energy and severity; I'm sure
no punishment could be too great for
But you don't think her foot is hurt
badly ?" asked Ned, in a husky voice,
while his face was working strangely.
"So badly that the doctor told me he
was afraid she might have to lose it, and
that my darling may be a cripple for
life !" she replied in an unnaturally
steady voice; while Ned gasped out,
"Our Amy lose her foot? A cripple
Yes," said Mrs. Miller, whose tears
were now flowing freely, I am going
to see her this afternoon, the operation
may be over."
other !" burst from the boy's lips
in a bitter piercing cry, as the truth
flashed before him, and throwing down
his knife and fork beside his untasted
dinner, he rushed away from the table,
Poor Amy! 55
upstairs to his own little room, where he
turned the key in the lock, which had
grown rusty from disuse, and threw
himself on his bed in an agony of grief
and remorse. He knew now the extent
of the injury which Amy had received,
and at the same time the fact that he
had caused it; and he could not bear to
think of it.
In vain his mother rapped at the door,
and begged him to come down to finish
his dinner. He could not bear to see
her and to know that she had been
hiding the terrible fact from him on
purpose to save him pain, while he had
been thinking such unkind thoughts
about his suffering sister.
Amy a cripple! How should he ever
bear to see her about the house, and to
know that it was all his fault, that it was
her brother's hand which had dealt the
blow which caused her lameness ? He
thought of her affection for him, and
how patiently she had borne his re-
56 Amy's Secret.
preaches, and what meek replies she
had made to his sneering remarks, until
he hated himself, and abhorred the
sullen, unforgiving spirit he had shown
"And I thought I was right all the
time, and that I only did it for mother's
sake," he said. Oh, what a wretch I
have been! I am sure she can never
forgive me. But I will run away,-I
can't stay here when she comes home-
lame. No, I will go away, and earn
money for her and mother, and see if I
can't do something to make up for my
unkindness. Oh if I had only known
what was coming, how differently I
would have acted."
---V .^ --
r.'WARD did not stir from
his room all the afternoon,
and it had grown quite
dark when he heard a tap
I t his door.
Let me in, Ned," said
his mothcr'svoice, "I have
*l.ood news for you, my
He unlocked the door,
and his mother entered the room, looking
so much happier than she had been at
dinner time, that Ned felt hopeful at once.
"I have been to the hospital, and
have seen our pet," she said, softly.
" She is getting on very well. God has
been very good to us, dear; the doctor
53 Amy's Secret.
says that she will not lose her foot, as he
feared yesterday; and she is much better
than he could have expected."
Thank God !" burst from the boy's
Yes, we will thank Him, He is
indeed good to us. I am sorry that
I told you of the doctor's fears; but I
did so because I feared to keep it from
you any longer."
But, mother," he cried, interrupting
her, "do you know, has Amy told you
who-who pushed her down ?"
"No, dear, I don't know; and Amy
will not tell me, although she confesses
that she knows his name. Don't trouble
to find it out, my boy. She forgives
him. Let us do the same, and not think
But I know, and I can't bear it. Oh,
mother, can you believe it ? Don't look
at me,-but-but-I did it! No, she
can't forgive me, and I know that you
must hate me."
Amy's Recovery. 59
"I don't understand you, Edward,"
said Mrs. Miller, half bewildered.
I pushed her away, because I
wouldn't let her come sliding with us.
It is all my fault," he said, between his
His mother could hardly believe it;
but when she saw how thoroughly dis-
tressed he was, her heart ached for him,
and she tried to comfort him by saying,
" Amy forgives you : she sent her love,
and hopes to see you soon."
Those kind words were too much for
the poor boy, and he sobbed, You're
too kind, mother. How can she forgive
me, when I've been so cruel and un-
forgiving to her ?"
But she does forgive you,-fully.
Oh, my boy, let us thank God for His
goodness in making her better, and
preventing what might have been a
life-long sorrow. Our Father has been
very merciful to you."
They knelt down with hearts full of
60 Amy's Secret.
thankfulness, which Mrs. Miller tried to
express in a few words; and both went
downstairs with lightened hearts and
Mrs. King did not forget her promise,
but spoke to the doctor about Amy.
He took particular note of her case when
he paid his next visit to the hospital,
and gave a very favourable report to
Mrs. King, who really felt very sorry
for the poor child.
Kind-hearted Hortensia paid her
several visits, carrying with her a bunch
of early flowers or a pot of snowdrops,
to brighten the ward, which was a dull-
looking place, in spite of the illuminated
texts upon the walls.
Every Sunday afternoon, Mrs. Miller
and Ned went to see her. How bright
and happy she always looked during
their visits, although the long week days
passed rather slowly at first. But she
regained her health so quickly, and
her foot grew so much better, that her
Amy's Rccovery. 6 I
brother's old smile came back when he
saw her able to move a little without
help, and knew how thoroughly she
At last came the happy day when the
doctor pronounced her well enough to
return home. How thankful she was to
leave the hospital with her foot nearly
cured, and what a joyful reception they
gave her in the dull little house! It
seemed as if her mother and Ned could
not make enough of her ; and the neigh-
bours came in one after another to see
her, and to say how well she was looking.
I I A
--' was in the sweet
spring-time that Mrs.
: Miller, having saved
enough money to pay
S I~-'I: r the unfortunate blue
d ress, went at once to see
M'rs. King, to discharge
te tiresome debt.
But when she made
known her errand, Mrs.
King looked annoyed and vexed, and
said that she had only spoken in the
heat of the moment, and never really
meant to take the money. "In fact,"
she said, Hortensia does not wish for
another silk. She is a strange girl,.and
prefers plain stuff dresses, and she
declares that when she grows up she
will be a hospital nurse."
But Mrs. Miller scarcely liked to take
back the money, which she had been so
many weeks in saving, until Hortensia
came into the room, and suggested that
it would be enough to pay for a week's
holiday at the sea-side, and that she was
sure the change would do Amy a great
deal of good.
It was such a charming project that
Mrs. Miller joyfully consented; and a
few weeks later, when the busy season
was over, the hard-worked dressmaker
and her two children spent a happy and
long-remembered week at the sea-side,
where the breezes blew a colour into
their pale cheeks, and gave them fresh
health and vigour.
The very day after their return, Mrs.
King sent two dresses to be made ; and
her husband, hearing from Hortensia,
who was ever ready to say a kind word
for every one, that Edward was about to
64 Amy's Secret.
leave school, and was anxious to help
his mother, offered to take the boy into
his shop without any premium, an offer
which Mrs. Miller very gladly accepted.
The mother felt that she had indeed
great cause for thankfulness when she
looked at her two children, and saw Amy
running about, and looking as well as
ever, and knew that her boy's future
was so kindly provided for; but more
than all did she rejoice to see how well
they agreed together, and how, as young
disciples of Jesus, they tried to help each
other in the Christian way, seeking the
smile and approval of their Heavenly
LONDON: KNIGII I'- lINlEI, N lMIDD LLE T, R C.