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The Baldwin Library
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A STORE OF STORIES.
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a tore of OtoritC.
AUTHOR OF "A CII.,/'S PILGRIMAGE."
KLGrTN& .r :
SKEFFINGTON & SON. r6. ',i( CAHIILV, W.
(Co lt ellt r.
THE CHILDREN OF INGLEBY MILL ......
HELD FAST IN THE ICE KING'S FORTRESS; oC, CrIlsT-
AlAS DAY ON THE SNOW FIELDS ... ..... 18
THE BOY WHO WISHED FOR JACK FROST ... ... 29
LITTLE PEEPS .... ... ... ... 42
SQUIRE SELWOOD'S ROSEBUD ... ... ... 59
BRAVE BESSIE ... .... ... 63
MARY AND HER LAMB; OR, How THE CHILDREN PLAYED
HIDE-AND-SEEK AT WOODCROIT HALL ... ... ... 78
BUNBURY'S'BLACK BABY ... ... .. ... ... 87
TIRESOME TIM ... ... ...... ... 9
LITTLE SYD'S SIXPENCE ... ... .. ... ... 108
THE MISCHIEF THE MICE DID AT HOLLY TREE FARM x15
TINY TINA'S BLUE KID SHOES ... ... ... ... 126
JEANIE'S VALENTINE ... ... .. ... ... 135
TOM PRETTYMAN'S CHRISTMAS DAY ... ... 14
PIPPO, THE PEDLAR ... ... .. ... ... 163
ROY'S WINDOW ... .. ... ... ... ... 17
LORD RONALD'S BIRTHDAY ... .. ... ... 179
THE LITTLE SHIPS IN THE BEAUTIFUL HAVEN ... 182
N &bitlrren of xnglort
NCE on a time, in the days when George the
Third was King, there stood (and, thank God,
still stands) in the very midst of a busy Midland
town, a large stone building, which is known as the Orphan-
age of S. Paul.
On either side of the great oak door are sculptured two
stone figures-those of a country boy and a country girl-
and over their heads are graven these words, which they are
supposed to be saying, to their benefactors, "We cannot
recompense you, but you will be recompensed at the
resurrection of the just."
Many years have passed away since I first saw this quaint
little couple. My eyes were bright and my hair was brown
when I gazed upon them first; now I look upon them through
spectacles, and my locks are as white as the hawthorn
bloom in Spring, or as hoar frost at Christmastide; but what
I said then, as an orphan lad, I say now, with a loving,
thankful heart, as a man; I say "God bless those who feed
the fatherless, and shelter the lone lambs of Christ's fold."
2 EtIe lbillrren of 3Englteb JiIi.
Whenever I pass through the great manufacturing town,
and pay a visit to S. Paul's, I feel as if I were once more
a little lad, eating my meals with a great many more little
lads, in the dining hall of this same old Orphanage, and as
I remember the days passed in it I say to myself what the
stone children are supposed to be saying, "We cannot
recompense you, but you will be recompensed at the
resurrection of the just."
So you will already have guessed that I was one of the
Orphans of S. Paul's.
Indeed, I was quite young when I first passed through
that massive oaken doorway, and I remember feeling ready
to cry when it shut behind me with a clang.
And now let me tell you something about myself. My
father, Lucius Prime, was a musician, or rather music
teacher-that is, he gave lessons on the harp and violin to
as many pupils as he could obtain, and as these pupils were,
unfortunately, few, of course we were far from rich in worldly
possessions. But ah my dear little boys and girls, I was
very rich in love.
My father and I lived in a cottage at Harborne, a suburb
of Birmingham, and I can say with the man in the poem,
"I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born;
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn."
And a merry time I spent in this same little house, where
my dear father used to take me on his knee every night, and
make sweet music on his violin for his happy little boy,"
be l ibitrrnii of 3Enleby Mfill. 3
as he called me. I had been christened Felix, which means
happy, and my father always said I was well-named.
But one day my father left off playing to me, and a stout
gentleman in a powdered wig, on whose gold-headed cane
I rode horse, as I called it, came to see him, and I knew
that my father was very, very ill; but when this same gentle-
man patted me on the head, and said that he would take
care of the little man and place him with his own little men,
I wondered why my father seemed pleased, and what the
good doctor meant.
But I knew what he meant very shortly. When my dear
father died and, in the midst of my bitter, childish grief, I
found myself with fifty other little men in a large room,
I knew that I was in the Orphanage of S. Paul, where
Doctor Garside, the physician to the asylum, had obtained
an entrance for me.
I felt very strange, and very, very sad, at first. I wanted
to sit on my father's knee, and hear him play on the old
violin, which I had been allowed to bring with me. I used
to feel very lonely indeed when I looked at the long row of
little white beds, and I used to whisper, Good-night,
father," every night, just as I did in the small white cottage
But after a time this feeling passed away. I got on in
the schoolroom, where I soon became one of the head boys.
I played with the rest in the playground, and had only two
unfulfilled desires-I wanted to have holidays, and to have
a little brother, to whom I could whisper my secrets and
4 lb~e ffiflren of 3BunTrbV jXIU.
There was a large School just opposite to us in S.
Paul's Square, and every Midsummer and Christmas the
yellow coach drove up with a clatter, and the boys filled it
inside and out, shouting Home for the holidays, here we
go," and, boy-like, I longed to go with them.
And now I am going to tell you how God, who gives us
all good gifts in His own time and in His own way, gave
me, little Felix Prime, my heart's desire.
It was early Spring. Pale green buds had appeared on
the lime trees in S. Paul's Churchyard, and the lilacs in
our playground were full of scented purple flowers. I
was standing under one of them one afternoon, tuning my
old violin, when I saw our Schoolmaster, (Mr. Lyle) walking
across the playground, accompanied by a kindly-looking
man comfortably clad in a large drab overcoat, who held by
the hand a rosy-cheeked little boy.
"This is one of my best scholars, Cousin Geoffrey," said
the kind Schoolmaster, coming up to me and patting me
on the shoulder, "and he's a musician, too. If you like
he'll play us 'God save the King.' Won't you, Felix?"
"Yes, sir, with pleasure," I said, and I played it at
"Well done," exclaimed the man in the drab coat, as I
laid the violin down, "I'm obliged to you for the pleasure
you've given. No one likes a good tune better than myself,
and you can play a good tune if anyone can, my lad."
"Yes," said the Schoolmaster, "Felix Prime knows a
little of most things."
"Does he, cousin? Does he," replied the Miller, "now
Cbe Gbiftrren of BEngIebi JtliT. 5
I'm just going to see if he knows something of everything.
May I ask you a question or two, my boy ?"
Certainly, sir, anything you please."
Very well, then. Now for the first one. Have you ever
been in a windmill, Felix Prime ?"
"No, sir, only seen them in pictures."
"Have you ever fed the turkeys and geese ?"
"Oh, no never, only I've often wished to do so."
"Have you ever tasted a Norfolk dumpling ?"
"No, sir, only an apple one."
"There," he cried eagerly, "there, Mr. Schoolmaster,
your model boy doesn't know these three simple things; I
think we shall have to take him back with us into Norfolk
to complete his education-I do, indeed."
Now I thought that the Schoolmaster's cousin was jesting,
but I was mistaken; he came to the Orphanage -cteral
times, and one bright day he sought me out, and said,
"Listen to me, Felix Prime, I am only plain Geoffrey
Lyle, of Ingleby Mill, but I've taken a liking to you. My
cousin says that you are just twelve years old, and in two
more years will be apprenticed to some calling. So I said,
' Let the lad pay me a visit if the authorities don't object,
and see if he likes a country life, and if he does, well, he
can be apprenticed to me.' Now what do you say, yes or
no? Don't be afraid: say what's in your mind. Which
shall it be, aye or nay ? And as he spoke, the good Miller
held out his hand.
I couldn't reply for, a moment, then I laid my hand in
his, and said, "It's aye with all my heart, sir, and thank you."
6 Eb (l btiIren of 3inglrflj .illT.
That's right," cried the rosy-cheeked little boy, Reggie
Lyle, "that's right, Felix, hurrah, you're going to Ingleby Mill
to learn to manage a windmill, sail a boat, and eat a Norfolk
dumpling; and O," he cried suddenly, "you're going to see
Mother, and that's the best of all. If you're a good boy,
she will give you a good-night kiss, as she does me, and say
God keep you till morning, my own little lad, as she does
to me, for Father says we must all be very kind to you,
because your own father and mother are up there,' and
as Reggie spoke, he pointed to the clear blue sky which
overarched the playground in which we stood.
And as he prattled on, I felt that I was rightly called
Felix, for I was going to have a holiday like Doctor Mervin's
boys at last, and I took up my violin and played a lively
tune for very joy.
Well, the desired permission to visit Ingleby was obtained
from those in authority, and when (in a few days' time) the
great yellow coach drove into the square, and stayed to take
up passengers at the Midland Hotel opposite the Orphanage,
as usual, I bade a joyful good-bye to my schoolfellows, and
climbed up to the top of the coach where the Miller and
Reggie were waiting for me.
The great clock of S. Paul's Church struck twelve; my
dear old friend the Schoolmaster, who had come to see me
off, said, "God bless you, Felix, dear boy, don't forget me,
and I won't forget you."
The coachman blew his horn, and I gave one last farewell
look at the old grey Church in the midst of its leafy trees,
at the great stone building which sheltered so many young
tlbe Sbilrrm of iEnaIrcb Rtaii. 7
boys and maidens, at the quaint little stone couple over
the doorway, as I cried out aloud, "Good-bye, little boy, good-
bye little girl, Felix Prime will never forget you." We drove
quickly out of the square, and though I did not know it,
I had already begun a new life.
Now, dear children, I want you to imagine that I have
reached my destination, and am what the kind folks at the
mill call a bit settled down; but I won't ask you to fancy
what my new home was like, I will try to describe it to you.
Well, then, first of all you must imagine a wide lone
heath, known as Ingleby Heath, three miles or more distant
from the nearest market town, and on the edge of this
heath please think that you see an old grey windmill,
with brown canvas sails. Near the mill is the comfortable
mill-house, which shelters the Miller's family, and holds all
under its brown thatched roof as safely as a bird's nest does
its young; and behind the house is a stable yard with plenty
of turkeys and chickens therein, and a little way off the mill
is a silvery lake or mere, where the wild fowl make their home.
Last, but not least, at the back of the mill itself, is a well
stocked orchard, of which Reggie is particularly fond.
Well, I have tried to picture the outside of Ingleby Mill,
but I can't take you inside the wide old kitchen or living
room, with its beau pot, or bow pot of flowers, its rows of
China plates on the dresser, its flitches of bacon hanging in
white linen bags from the ceiling, for when I try to describe
it my pen won't go along.
I should like to borrow the brush of a great painter and
8 bte ijtrlrren of IngIebIl fi1I.
paint it; above all, I should need his skill to portray the
miller's sweet-voiced, dark-eyed, generous wife, the kind
woman who made the little orphan boy understand how
happy and how blessed were those children who have a
mother. For when she said, Good-night, God keep you,
Felix," I always thought that even thus my own mother
might have spoken had she lived to guard her son; and
whenever I looked at Reggie, as he lay in his little white
bed, I felt that God had heard my prayer, and given me a
brother at last.
And Mr. Lyle kept his word; he taught me to manage a
windmill, and to row in a boat, and as for the Norfolk
dumpling, well, I taught myself to eat that just as children
teach themselves to eat plum pudding and cake.
When I first came to Ingleby Mill, it was May day, and
and the village children close by had made a gigantic
maypole, and hung garlands of daisies round the very horses'
necks, and I thought to myself, Felix Prime, you will never
tire of this calm and pleasant country life," and week after
week went by, but I never did tire of it. I taught Reggie to
play on the violin, I fed the fowls, and learnt to milk Brindle
and Spot, the two cows.
Every Thursday morning the Miller drove to Norwich
market with his flour, and every Thursday night when he
returned, he stood whip in hand in the midst of the stone-
paved kitchen, and cried, "Come, little lads, and see what
I've brought you from Norwich. Come, dive down into
my pockets, and see what you find; but be sure and don't
make a mistake. Reggie must put his little right hand
ECje iftirrn of EngTslij jfil. 9
into my right-hand pocket, and Felix must put his left hand
into the left-hand pocket." Then we two boys used to run
up to the good Miller, and, putting our hands into the
pockets of the drab over-coat, bring out all kinds of
treasures purchased in the quiet Cathedral town which
stands on the river Yare.
And here, dear children, in this old grey mill I found a
second home. And, as week after week passed by, my
return to the Orphanage was deferred, and deferred .until I
began to wonder when I should see the little stone couple
who guarded S. Paul's again. Well, Michaelmas Day drew
near, and I was still at the mill, when the Miller made up
his half-yearly rent, and put it into his bank, as he called it,
in readiness for his landlord.
Now I must tell you that Mr. Lyle's bank was really nothing
more nor less than a carved bureau, which stood in the
kitchen, near the old corner cupboard. Inside this old
press was a canvas bag, and in this he kept his savings-in
this he kept Reggie's small fortune; "For this," said the
Miller, "was my father's bank, and I'm very sure it won'tfail.'
Now it is true that the bank did not fail, but for all that the
savings were almost lost, and I will tell you how it happened.
One fine August morning, when the dew lay thick on
the grass, the post-boy brought a letter to Ingleby Mill,
and a very important letter, too, for it summoned both
Mr. and Mrs. Lyle to Norwich on most urgent business.
So after breakfast the two drove off in the old-fashioned
gig, leaving us in charge of Prissie, the maid, and Ralph,
the Miller's newly-engaged man.
10 Cbe Cbirivren of 1iifflrblp SHUiT.
"Good-bye, my lads," shouted the farmer, as he drove
away over the common, "we shan't be back till eleven
o'clock to-night, but you'll go to sleep like good little
chickens, and Prissie and Ralph will take care of you until
we come back."
Then he called, Gee up, Robin, gee up, old horse,"
and the gig was soon lost in the distance, and Reggie and
I were left watching as far as our eyes could see.
Well, they had not been gone long, before Prissie, the
maid, was called home to her father, who, so said the
neighbour who came for her, had met with a serious accident,
and thus we found ourselves left entirely alone with Ralph,
the new man.
Now Ralph was a Cambridgeshire man, on whom Mr.
Lyle had taken compassion, because he told a piteous tale,
and said that for a whole year he had been seeking a place.
He brought a fair character with him, and was so clever, that
Mr. Lyle had said that very morning that only one man in
a thousand could manage a mill like Ralph.
Well, the summer day passed quickly by; we two lads
played in the orchard, sailed on the lake, fed the turkeys,
and did many other little things, and at last came evening,
when Reggie found out he had lost his top, and couldn't
imagine when and where he had lost it.
"Wait a bit, Reggie," I said, I'll go and look by the
side of the mere, and see if you've left it there." So I
turned out in the fast-deepening twilight, and made my
way to Ingleby Mere, where I looked right and left in the
reeds for the top, which was nowhere, alas, to be found.
Elye bll)itn lre t 3f lEngrly Wi. 11
Only the herons stood erect and tall by the side of the
lake, only the wild ducks flew over the water with a whirr.
And I made my way into the orchard, where I quickly
found the missing top, under an ancient apple tree; and I
was just coming back to the house when in the stillness I
heard voices on the other side of the hedge.
So the Miller won't be back till eleven," said a voice
which I knew to be that of a man named Cartwright, who
sometimes came to the mill, and was known as the ne'er-
do-weel of the neighboring village. "That's good news,"
he resumed, "we shall have plenty of time to take the
money after the lads are safely in bed, and we can be on
our way to Lynn long before he comes back. Can't we ?"
"Yes," slowly replied another voice (which I recognized
as Ralph's), "but somehow I don't half like doing this
thing. You see the Miller's a good man, aye, and a kind
There was a pause; then the first speaker replied,
"Come Ralph, the Miller's a good man, 'tis true, but the
wind will turn his windmill sails round again, and he'll
soon fill his empty bag; all you've got to do is just to open
the door for me at nine o'clock to-night, when the children
are fast asleep. Do you see ?"
"Yes, I see," said the other voice (Ralph's), "but if I
make my fortune in this foreign land you've been speaking
of, I'll return the money, and fill the bag myself."
Then the tempter and the tempted walked off together,
leaving me alone in the orchard, which seemed to spin
round and round with me like a merry-go-round at a Fair.
12 Cfb Gbiftrren of inglebp :iTil.
Here were these two wicked men planning the robbery
of my kind benefactor the Miller, and how was I, a little
boy, to prevent them? The nearest town, Dereham, was
three miles off, it was already nearly eight o'clock, and
even if I could run there and back in an hour, I couldn't
leave poor little Reggie alone.
But something must be done, and quickly; and I knelt
down on the dewy grass, and prayed very earnestly that
God would help me, His little orphan lad, to take care
of Reggie, the mill, and the bank. I felt bolder and
better when I rose from my knees, for I was sure that
my prayer was heard. I remembered the framed sampler
which hung in my bedroom-the sampler which Mrs.
Lyle had worked when she was a school-girl, with her
favourite text, He shall give His angels charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways," in letters of crimson and gold,
and I felt sure that the angels of God would protect us.
And a sudden resolve flashed into my mind to hide
Reggie, myself, and the money in the windmill, trusting that
we should not be found till the Miller himself returned.
I ran back to the house with the top, resolved to put
my plan into practice as soon as I possibly could, but I
meant to tell Reggie nothing about what I had heard, for
fear of frightening him.
I felt a new boy, another and an older Felix Prime, as I
re-entered the mill-house kitchen ; and somehow I expected
everything in it to look different from what it did when I
lelt it to search for the top, but it didn't-the change was
only in myself. The old clock was ticking away in a corner,
91)e Gbiibrrni of Binglceg :iftII. 13
and Reggie was sitting in the Miller's arm-chair, nursing his
mother's black and white kitten, and as he nursed it he was.
i Pussie cat, pussie cat, where have you been ?'
'I've been up to London, to see the Queen.'
'Tell me, dear pussie cat, what you did there?'
'I frightened a little mouse under a chair.'"
Dear, loving, trusting little Reggie, whom I loved like a
brother. I must do all I could to take care of himself
and his home.
'. When Reggie had finished his little rhyme, he exclaimed,
"'Oh! Felix, I see you've found the top. I wish father
would come back, and tell me how the Irishman drove the
.nine little pigs to market. I wish I had some plum pie, and
I wish I was going to bed."
"Reggie," I said, Reggie, you know brother Felix loves
y:ou, don't you ?"
"Oh yes, and Ilove him."
"Well, that's right, dear. Now I want you to do just
as I say. I'm going to give you some damson pie and
cream, and then I'm going to make you a little bed up in
the windmill till father comes home, when he'll find us.
There, isn't that funny ?"
"Very," said the child wonderingly, only if we're going
to play hide-and-seek in the mill, father wont guess where
we are, and Ralph, you know, can't tell him, because he
said he had an errand to go into the village at tea-time, and
he hasn't come back. When shall we go, Felix ?"
"We shall go at a quarter to nine, just before the little
14 Elbe G13iltrrnt of 3htIIcglb jII.
drummer boy beats his drum," I replied, "so when you've
eaten your pie, you can watch the clock, you know."
So when Reggie had eaten his supper he fixed his eyes on
the antique clock called the twelve-tuned Dutchman, because
a little figure came out of a tower on the top every hour, and
played a silent tune, and at last he cried, "Felix, Felix, it's
time to hide, the drummer boy's going to beat on his little
Then I opened the old bureau, took out the canvas bag,
and wrapping a warm woollen shawl round Reggie, caught
him up in my arms, and quickly mounted the steps of
"It's a funny time to play hide-and-seek, Felix," he said,
when we found ourselves in the dusky mill, "and I am so
sleepy. Will you make me a. nice bed here and come
to bed yourself?"
"I'll make a bed for you, dear," I replied, "but brother
Felix will watch for father out of the little mill window,"
and as I spoke, I put the money bag in a sack full of
flour, made Reggie a comfortable bed with some empty
sacks, covered him up with his mother's shawl, and then I
mounted on a peck measure (turned upside down).to watch
the house from the small barred window which gave air and
light to the mill.
Dark clouds were chasing each other over the moon as if
a storni were brewing. Suddenly the bright light shone out
upon Ralph and his evil companion, Cartwright, as they
came in through the great white gate, and entered the old
mill-house. Oh how my heart beat, when I thought of
ltbE Clitrrent of iEnglerbg till. 15
us two lads, all alone in that windmill, with no one near
By and bye the wind began to rise, and the great sails
began to turn swiftly round. The storm had burst. The
lightning flashed, the thunder pealed, but I was not afraid
of the storm, I was only afraid of those wicked men who
wished to rob the kind Miller, and to take what he called
"Reggie's little fortune."
The thunder sounded like the distant rolling of drums,
and the lightning lit up the mill, .both inside and out,
but I did not quit my post, and after a time I saw both
Ralph and his companion quit the old mill-house; yes, I
watched them turn through the great white gate, and walk
quickly down the road which led to the town of Lynn, from
whence I doubt not they set sail to a'foreign land, for the -
village of Ingleby saw them not again.
Our earthly parents could not help us, but our Heavenly
Father had given His Angels charge over us, and with a
heart full of thankfulness I lay down by Reggie's side and
slept, a long, calm, dreamless sleep, for I was very tired, and
w:h-A I awoke the storm was over, the moon was shining
through the high mill window, and a voice I knew, the voice
of the Miller himself, cried, "Felix, Reggie, where are you,
boys? Answer me quickly." And when I looked out to
make assurance doubly sure, there stood the Miller's gig in
the stable yard.
"Here, sir; we are here," I cried, as I joyfully opened
the sack and clasped the bag of money, then tenderly
taking up the still slumbering child, I hurried down the
16 ele ffltfrni nf Eainlebli iiTiI.
windmill steps, and it didn't take me long to tell Mr. Lyle
the story I have already related to you.
Now I am coming to the end of my tale. I am going to
tell you what was my exceeding great reward.
We were all of us sitting round a bright wood fire, in the
mill-house kitchen, on that memorable night, when the
Miller, putting his arm around me, said,
"Son Felix, you have done well," and when I looked
up in his face upon hearing that beautiful word, soN
(spoken as lovingly, spoken as tenderly, as my own
dear, dead father had spoken it in the little cottage at
Harborne), he drew me closely to him and repeated,
"Yes, I called you son, Felix, because I mean to look upon
you as Reggie's elder brother and my son from henceforth.
Art willing to be it, lad ?"
And I could only bend my head in reply. I couldn't
speak, for Mrs. Lyle rose from her seat on the other side of
the hearth, and, kissing me on the forehead, whispered,
Geoffrey, I know the lad's willing to become our son,
and as for you and me, why we shall have that beautiful text,
'Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some
have entertained angels unawares,' engraven, as it were,
upon our hearts."
I have but few more words to add in conclusion, and
they are these. In course of time I learnt how to manage
a mill, and when Mr. Lyle became too old to obey the
voice of the wind, and hurry up the windmill steps when
the sails began to go round, I took his place, and became
my adopted brother's partner.
CIbe ffiljrrit of inEngIobp Sil. 17
And thus we two were called "The Millers of Ingleby
Mill" by all the country folks round, as we had once, after
our memorable adventure, been called "The Children of the
Mill," in reference to our having taken refuge therein.
Just one thing more. My earliest friends have not been
forgotten, for many a hamper full of fruit, and of cakes, has
passed through the oaken doorway of the Orphanage
of S. Paul. And on each anniversary of its founding I
gather the children around me in the old, familiar class-
room, and as I look at the bright little maidens, in the
costume of the little stone maiden, who still stands in her
place at the right hand side of the door, and the bright little
lads, in the dress of the little stone lad, who still guards the left
of the doorway, I tell them the tale of an orphan who once
sat in that very same class-room, and who, when he went out
into the world, had a second father and mother raised up
I tell them the story of "The Children of Ingleby Mill."
WoI gxfrt in tb~e Sem ufig
OR, CHRISTMAS DAY ON THE SNOW FIELDS.
(Told by an Arctic Robin.)
ET me introduce myself to you. dear children.
I am the Arctic Robin, for the Robin family
is a large one, and your red-breasted favourites,
your pretty, fluffy, brown-eyed friends have many relations
scattered over the face of the earth.
As I said a minute ago, I am an Arctic Robin, only my
little breast is blue instead of scarlet (think of that!) ; the
fields I fly over are ice-fields, they are always white, never
green; my daintiest meal is often made off a spray of seaweed,
the only houses I ever see are built of hard frozen snow, or of
whale skins, and are shaped like a tent, or sometimes like a
beehive, the only children I ever see are little Eskimo boys
and girls, who are muffled up to their eyes in furs, and who (so
say the English sailors) look more like small, round, rolling
muffs than anything else on the face of the earth; and
lastly, my nest is built under a tundra, or heap of frozen
Wcltr jffat in tle Rce Rkiing'q jFortreId. 19
snow, instead of up in the top of a tree, for there are no
beautiful stately trees in those far-off frozen lands.
I'm a queer little bird, you say. Well, so I am ; but you
must think of me with affection, nevertheless, for I am your
English Robin's cousin, and you must not say that you can-
not love me because you have not seen me, for the little
Arctic Robin loves you little English boys and girls, on
whose rosy faces I have never looked, for the sake of a dear
little English child, named Beryl, whose likeness only I have
seen, whose little hand will never feed me, whose beautiful
eyes will never look on these strange, white, frozen seas, but
whom, nevertheless, I seem to know and love, for I have
known English seamen and have seen real English ships.
Listen, and I will tell you of a Christmas Day on the
One fine clear morning in early Autumn (clear, that is,
for the Polar seas) I saw three ships come sailing slowly
and steadily into that wonderful bay which I shall call
Robin's Bay, after myself.
Now, I took a deep interest in these three large vessels,
and liked to perch on a spar and make myself quite at
home, which our family can do in most places and at all
"Here's a queer-lookin' bird said one of the sailors,
one morning. If wasn'tt for his blue throat or breast I
should call him a Robin (though, of course, he can't be
that), for he's just his shape and size."
Right, Simmonds," said Lieutenant Dymock, who was
standing by attentively watching me; only you see, instead
20 rfIr jFa!t in tb Ice finlg' forrtess.
of being Robin Redbreast he is Robin Bluebreast." At this
the seamen laughed merrily, and from that day forth the
crew of the expedition called me Little Robin Blue-
breast," and I yielded them plenty of fun by what they
called my queer manners and customs. They laughed when-
ever they saw me hop in and out of my nest under the
tundra, which they termed most outlandish, and Hermann,
the German seaman, said that they ought to be called
" schneegrdber," or little snow graves, instead of little snow
nests. But I soon grew familiar with these big, bearded
men, whose words were rough, but whose ways were tender,
and who wished to take me back to England to show Willie
and Nesta, Lucy and Fred, what an Arctic Robin was.
But Winter drew near-an Arctic one. Just think what
Winter must be in a land where Jack Frost always reigns,
and rules with an iron rod, or rather, with an exceedingly
long icicle, and then you can imagine how the men of the
exploring expedition felt when they woke up one morning
and saw those gallant vessels, the Alice Mary," the Per-
severance," and the Eurydice (that last is a difficult name
for a bird to pipe or a child to pronounce), entirely blocked
in by the ice.
It was early Autumn when I saw the three great ships,
which I soon thought of as my floating homes, come
sailing down the watery channel into the bay and cast
anchor in the clear, blue, crystal water; but after a time
it froze round the stately vessels as water freezes around
a stone, and the strange white men from the far-off land
were "Held fast in the Ice King's Fortress," as Captain
jlrt fnt in tIr ire r Bing'. fartrr^l. 21
Lester, the commander and head of the expedition, said,
and I feared for my newly-found friends, for who knew the
terrors of an Arctic Winter better than the Arctic Robin ?
Had I not stood on the deserted deck of a vessel which had
been missing for thirteen years? Had I not perched on
the frosted spars and flown over the glassy sheets of ice
which once were the sails of that long-lost barque ?
Yes, I had seen all this; but my English friends had not,
and when they saw those great snow mountains called ice-
bergs rise up, dome upon dome, peak upon peak, tower
upon tower, as far as the eye could reach; when they heard
the crash of the far-off billows and the sound of the sea, as
it murmured through the ice caverns, with a noise half like
thunder and half like the sound of some mighty organ, as
Lieutenant Dymock said; when they saw and heard all these
wonders, I wondered why they were merry, and not afraid,
but I learnt later on that because they were brave English
sailors they faced the worst of our Polar terrors without
We'll have a merry Christmas, my lads, in spite of
the ice," said Captain Lester to the men on the night
which he called Christmas Eve, and all the sailors sang
out, "Aye, aye, sir!" for they evidently knew what a
merry Christmas meant, although I, the Arctic Robin, did
not. SoI made up my mind to find out, and was up very
early on Christmas morning; yet, early as I was, the English
sailors were earlier. They had banked the ships up with
heaps of snow (which is a non-conductor of cold, and thus
keeps in the heat), and covered the roofs of the decks with
22 Istr faat in tlhe ic 91tint'dS JFortrerg.
it, and they had built a snow house on the ice, which they
called "Jack Frost's Pleasure House," and had furnished it,
with a sofa and chairs, all made of snow-just think of that !
"Well, to be sure," said Jack Ashdown, the mate of the
"Perseverance," "if there isn't Robin Bluebreast come
to keep Christmas Day with us Now we only need the
children to make it all complete, and we should be as happy
Then they ate their Christmas dinner together, and they
all laughed when the Captain asked them to have some
more turkey, so that I put my head on one side and made
a good guess that they were only making believe it was
turkey and roast beef, but I think they really did have a
They sang merry songs, told merry stories, and seemed
not to have a care in the world; only you know, Christmas
Day couldn't last for ever on the ice plains any more than
it could where the fields are often green.
"We shall never forget this Christmas Day-it's the
strangest we've ever spent-is it not, my lads?" said the
Captain, cheerily, as he bade the men good-night.
"That it is, sir," they replied, as they went to their
Then the Arctic twilight which we call night, deepened,
and I flew away to my little nest, or hole, as the sailors called
it; where I and my young were kept snug and warm
by the snow and our feathers, which are the blankets nature
has given us.
I was used to the Arctic regions, so the days which were
Woel jfa-t in the ce Rting'is Fortrrem. 23
like long, dull twilight evenings, never surprised me, but my
friends of the exploring expedition were surprised at all
"I should like to see a real day, I'm tired of blind man's
holiday," said Jack Simmonds, from Sussex.
"And I'd like to see my own shadder once more-for
here there's no sun and no shadders," said Mark Holdsworth,
But day after day went by, as it always does in the Polar
seas, without change or shadow of change, and the men
grew very weary, and some of them fell sick.
My men," said Captain Lester one day, when they
were all assembled together in Jack Frost's Pleasure
House"-" shall I tell you a simple story to while an
hour away? It's a true one, mind, and I have a reason
for telling it."
"If you please, sir," they all replied, as they settled
themselves to listen, and I, little Robin Bluebreast, settled
myself on the sill of the snow window to listen-as well.
Once on a time," said Captain Lester, there lived in a
certain old house outside Manchester, called The Pines, a
little child named Beryl-a little child whose heart was filled
with a great love, and a great faith; nothing was too small
for her to care for; nothing was too improbable for her to
believe. She loved the ugly dog Toby, which was called
Nobody's Dog, and saying 'It shall be somebody's dog,' took
it for hers; and when naughty Tim, the lodge-keeper's son,
ran away to sea, she was confident he would come back
some day, which he did.
24 RrItr dast inl the ice jtinqg'd fortrc#e.
"Now this little girl's father often drove into Manchester,
and he often took Beryl with him. You have most of you
read how No Eyes went on his travels and saw nothing,
whilst Eyes, on the contrary, noted every little thing-well
this seven-year-old child was Eyes, for nothing escaped her
notice ; ay, my lads! those bright blue eyes of hers were
the right kind; they saw something more than the wax
dolls in the toy-shop windows, something more than the
boxes of chocolate creams in the confectioner's, something
more even than the lilies and roses in the florist's shop,
which she brought home to her mamma. She saw a long
stretch of smoky wall on which hung a wicker cage, but
not, alas, an empty cage, for it was filled by a prisoned
skylark, a bird who was kept captive there, as we are kept
prisoners here in The Ice King's Fortress.'
"She never went by that dingy wall without looking out
for the prisoned lark. Sometimes it was singing away as if
free; sometimes it piped but feebly, as if tired of its long
captivity; sometimes, alas it hung its head and was silent,
as if mutely saying that songs were for the free.
"' Papa,' said Beryl to her father one day, when the lark
was silent, 'don't you think that he's wanting his home
on the common, where the yellow gorse grows ? And
don't you think he'd be glad if someone would set him
"' I am sure he would, darling,' her father replied, and
thought no more of the matter until he again drove by the
long row of grey stone houses, and looked for the captive
lark in its cage, but, alas I it was not there.
WcRr dJtat in te Icr ~iin^'; Jartrrel. 25
It's dead,' said Beryl gravely.
"'Perhaps it's only ill,' said her father hopefully, but
neither was right. Its owner had simply taken it down
from its place and put its cage on the ground. Yes, there
stood the bird, in his wickerwork cage, in a darksome
corner of a darksome yard, and thought of his little nest
in the midst of a furze bush on the breezy common. Alas!
poor captive, his head drooped, he wanted food and water,
but most of all he wanted to spread his wings and be
Papa,' said Beryl caressingly, dear, kind Papa, won't
you please buy the lark for Beryl, to-day ?'
"The childish voice was wistful, the childish voice was
sweet, so her father bought the bird in its wicker cage, and
placed it on her knee, telling her to do just what she pleased
with it. And this was what she was pleased to do; she set
the feathered prisoner free. She waited until she came to a
wild, wide moor, and then she opened the door of the
wicker prison, and simply whispered 'Go!' and when it
spread out its wings and soared away with a song, she stole
her hand in her father's, and said, I think the lark is say-
ing, Thank you, dear Beryl, for opening the door, I'm very
glad to be free." '
Now, my friends," continued the Captain, we are all
of us rather down-hearted, but I remember how a child's
hand set the skylark free, for it was my own little girl of
whom I have told you. And I trust that the sun will soon
thaw the ice which surrounds us, and open the doors of
'The Ice-King's Prison,' as her hand did that of the lark,
26 cRlt JFa t in tl)r cre Ifing'I Jfrtred.
and that you will soon see your little daughters, and I shall
"Thank you, sir," said the crews huskily, "we all on us
feel summat like that there lark, I believe : and speaking' of
that, Captin, it was a kind act to set that poor bird free, and
the sweet little lady had a feeling' heart to think on it. I
wish we could see her this minnit, it 'ud cheer us all up like."
"Aye, that it would," said Jack Simmonds hoarsely, "but
we see nought but ice here, lads."
"Cheer up, my friends," said the Commander, "you cannot
see my little daughter herself, because she is in old England,
but you can see her portrait, and here it is."
Twenty rough hands and more were stretched out for the
likeness of the Captain's daughter; twenty pairs of eyes and
more of all shades of colour-blue, grey, hazel, brown; but
whatever their hue, mostly dim-were eager to gaze on the
picture of the dear little English girl, and I, the Arctic
Robin, peeped over Mark Holdsworth's shoulder, and this is
what I saw that day on the Polar seas : I saw the portrait
of a lovely child in a blue frock; her dress was as light
a blue as our Northern sky in summer, but her beautiful eyes
were much darker. Short black rings of curly hair lay on her
fair white brow, a pink coral necklace encircled her small
round throat, and a Persian kitten as white as snow was curled
up on her little lap. She was smiling sweetly, just as she
might have smiled when she set that skylark free, and for a
moment I wished that I was a Persian kitten instead of an
Arctic Robin, to be Beryl's pet and plaything, and to lie on
Beryl's knee, and as I thought this I hopped up to Captain
qrltf fa3nt in the ce Riing'd jfrtrefi. 27
Lester, and sang him a little song in which, had he only
understood it, I expressed my wishes and regrets, but of
course he did not comprehend, he only thought me a
queer little fellow, or an ornithological curiosity (which I
think means a curious bird). He said, "Poor Robin Blue-
breast, I must tell my Beryl about you, only I think she
would call you the 'Little Lone Bird' if she could see
you creep into your nest of snow."
Ay, the Commander was right, I was a little lone bird,
an exile from the land of the Red-vested Robins, of which
I had heard the men of the expedition tell; no children
like Beryl fed me, no bright eyes watched at nursery win-
dows for my coming as they did for my English cousins,
the Redbreasts. No, I was only a Bluebreast, an "Out-
landish Little Bird," and the only child who ever took any
notice of me was an Eskimo, the daughter of Terrianiak,
which means the Fox, and sometimes she stood by her
father's side, and said "Ugh !" when I hopped on a hillock
or- hummock of snow.
And there came a day when my English friends left me, and
I was lonelier still, for the icebergs melted, and fell with a
great crash, the frozen water thawed round the three great
ships, and one fine bright day in Spring I watched the "Alice
Mary," the "Perseverance," and the "Eurydice" sail slowly
away from Robin's Bay, and I knew they were bound for the
land of the Robin Redbreasts, the land where the Robin is
the children's friend; and I was left behind on the frozen
plains with the Polar bears and the little Eskimo children,
who look like little bears themselves in their garments of skin.
28 rettfr jfat in the iEcc iltin'a jartrcrq.
"Good-bye, Robin Bluebreast," sang out the sailors as
they waved their caps.
"Good-bye, queer little Robin, fitting bird for so strange
a land," called Lieutenant Dymock, from the deck of the
"Alice Mary," where he stood by the Commander's side.
"Nay, Dymock," said the Captain in his low, grave
voice, "Let us say, Farewell, Robin Bluebreast, farewell
dear 'Little Lone Bird,' we go to tell our children in a land
where the fields are bright with buttercups, and with daisies,
that we met 'The Friend of the Children,' in a land where
the fields are white, and the flowers are sprays of seaweed
only, and that he recalled our loved ones, and cheered us
all when we were held fast in 'The Ice King's Fortress.'"
Sacr fro t.
HIS, dear children, is the story of a boy who
actually lived to wish for Jack Frost. You say
that you can hardly believe there ever was such
a lad, and I really don't wonder at it, for you see so much
of Mr. Jack that you are quite tired of him ; but I can
assure you that this strange boy really once existed, for it
was I myself who prayed that I might see the ice, and the
hoar-frost, and the beautiful snow again.
Many years ago, when I was quite young, I lived with my
grandmother at a small hillside farm, called The Wren's
Nest," which was situated in Ossett, a village which stood
just outside a north country market town.
I was an orphan, for my father had been lost at sea, and
my mother died when I was a baby, and I hadn't a near
relation in all this great wide world save grandmother
Rayner, and Uncle Roy, the sailor, who sent us letters and
presents, but whom we seldom saw.
Grandmother's Pet; this was what the dear old lady called
30 bcr 38oa tbn Ttob 1I>er for garS Jrrit.
me when she took me, a three-year-old boy, into her house,
and even when I grew older and was promoted to short
round jackets, she often forgot my age, and called me by
the old name, just as if I had been a toddling baby boy
still, and time had moved on with everyone but myself.
My life at "The Wren's Nest" was a very happy one.
I had everything I could wish for save a watch, and my
desire to possess one was only known to myself, as I thought,
but in this, as you will see, I was greatly mistaken-grand-
mother had noticed my looking into the jewellers' shop
windows and sighing as I turned away. Grandmother, who
guessed everything, had guessed her boy's secret; for one
fine day in Autumn a little old lady in a large drawn-silk
bonnet entered the principal watchmaker's shop and bought
a silver watch suitable for a little boy, and when this same
old lady came home with her present the little boy for whom
she had bought it was speechless through sheer delight.
Need I tell you that the kind giver of the beautiful gift was
grandmother, and that the recipient was myself?
"Oh, Granny !" I said, when I found my voice, "you
can't mean this for me, for I know it cost such a lot of
money, didn't it ?"
It cost butter and egg money, and fair words," she re-
plied, with a smile, "and it's none too good for my Harry."
Yes, nothing was too good for her Harry ; indeed, scarcely
anything was good enough; so great was the widowed
woman's love for the orphan child.
Children soon tire of their playthings," say some wise
people, but I say children don't, and, at any rate, the saying
lIe 33ao tDba W tbi'bI)rtr far $arft Jrcet. 31
never applied to my present, for I valued it more every
day-indeed, grandmother's watch seemed a part of my-
self; it was always with me day and night.
I took it with me to School, and when I went to feed the
chickens, and drive home the geese and ducks from the
village pond, and even when I went to bed my beloved
watch was with me, for it ticked away in a faded silk watch
pocket just over my head.
More than this, it marked the time during which I passed
some of the happiest years of my life, that is, when I
was between the ages of eight and twelve years, and then an
unforeseen change occurred. Uncle Roy came back for
a spell on shore, aye, and a long one too; for the vessel of
which he was first mate had just returned to Southampton,
and he had leave of absence, and when the "Sea-gull" was
made taut and trim once more he was to take command
as her captain, and start for Africa with a fresh cargo; and
he wanted to take something else besides the command of
the "Sea-gull,"-he wanted to take me. Yes, actually
wanted to take me !
To take me away with him from the quiet Yorkshirevillage,
with its rows of grey, stone houses, and far off misty moun-
tains, to Africa-the land of the lion, the elephant, and
the palm-and my boyish heart was on fire with the wish
to see all these wonders.
"A whiff or two of salt air will do the lad good, and
travel will make a little man of him," said Uncle Roy.
"Very true," replied grandmother, "but who'll tend him
when he's not well? He'll miss his old Granny then."
32 Cle 33Da tIube eisjctr for 3arclt rot.
"Let's hope he'll keep well, but even if he does not, I'm
a bit of a nurse myself; I'm your own boy there, Mother.
But what does Harry wish?"
"To do just as you'd wish me, grandmother," I always
replied; and the dear old lady smiled as she said, "Well,
I don't want to be selfish, I don't want to keep an eagle
in a skylark's cage ; I think my son Roy has reason."
Thus it came to pass that the decision was made that I
should go with my uncle on a trial trip-to the African coast.
One fair spring-tide evening my box was packed, and I lay
down in my little white bed for the very last time for
months; for I was to say good-bye to my little home and
all it contained on the morrow; hut it seemed to me as I
jumped into bed that night that I could never jump out of
it, and say good-bye to the dear old homestead when the
next Spring morning dawned. And when I awoke on the
following day I told the old lady, that late as it was, I had
altered my mind.
"I'll stay with you, Granny," I said, as I looked round
the old-fashioned kitchen, "you'll miss me in the long
winter evenings when you sit in the corner spinning, and I
know I shall always miss you. No, I'll unpack my trunk,
and let Uncle Roy go alone this time."
Thus I reasoned for an hour, but in vain, for she replied.
I mustn't grow old and selfish too, and Roy says it will.
make a man of you, and I doubt not he's right. No, my
boy, you can go," and go I accordingly did.
"Good-bye, and God bless you," we both exclaimed, as
we took our departure.
Elje B3SO toabj lqibrr for 5garit roat. 33
Mind and come back to the old Mother, who'll wait
for you at the door."
Ah many a time, in widely different scenes and places,
have I seemed to see that tall, slight figure, in its straight,
black satin gown, with the hanging pocket, and its small
frilled black satin shoulder cape, as it stood at the farm-
house door. Yes, and I remembered the kind look in the
dim eyes when she bade us return to the old Mother, and
before the train had borne me very far I wished to return,
and so I told my companion.
"What! tired of me already ?" said Uncle Roy kindly,
as he put his arm around me, "home-sick before you've
even left England ? They may well call you Granny's boy."
I didn't speak, but I felt that I was indeed her boy, and
that "The Wren's Nest," with its diamond-paned windows,
was indeed the fairest spot on the earth to me, and I thought
that I saw its mistress with the smile quite gone from her
worn, brown face, and Janet the maid, as she milked the
cows, with Nanny, the goat, nibbling the grass beside her.
But I had left the old home, and the train bore us swiftly
on till we reached Southampton, where the Sea-gull" was
lying in readiness to start.
"Good-bye, old England," exclaimed Uncle Roy, as we
sailed out of Southampton Water, and I said, Good-bye,
Granny," though I knew that she couldn't hear me.
Day after day we sailed steadily on, over mile after mile
of water, until we sighted the African coast.
"Land ahead!" sang out the man at the look-out one
morning, and on looking through the glass I saw a long,
34 PEbe 38ai tmbo aWiBbetr for gaidt jFro3rt.
low-lying shore, with a few palm trees growing upon it-
and this Uncle Roy said was Africa, and before the close
of another day we were nearing land.
"Here we are," said my uncle, and here are the
natives;" and as he spoke he pointed to a large canoe,
full of blacks, who had paddled up to our ship, and were
offering cocoa-nuts, mangoes, and fowls for sale.
This was the first time I had ever seen a coloured man,
and I was surprised and delighted with everything, as you
may guess; and when Uncle Roy, a week or so after our
landing, said, "Harry, my boy, I am going up the Congo
with a trading party, for a few weeks, to see if I can buy
some ivory, and have a little sport-elephant hunting, and
so forth; but I shall soon be back, and, meantime, you
will stay with the Samuelsons. Mr. Samuelson, who is a
merchant, goes with us, but his wife will make you com-
fortable, and the young people will show you the sights.
You'll be better with them than on board the 'Sea-gull,'
and I couldn't take you with me, because we might have
to face danger-it isn't probable, but it is possible."
Thus spoke Uncle Roy, but I told him that I had never
been parted from Granny, and couldn't be from him. "Only
think!" I said, "I've never been to Wombwell's, and I
should dearly like to see an elephant in its native wilds."
Well," said my uncle, I suppose you must go, Harry,
but we shall have to look after you, and grandmother's
watch; we must bring you back alive, and the watch going,
I laughed as I answered, "Yes," for Granny's gift was
Ebe 330a fxiTa aWtibet for Sact JFrrOt. 35
as precious to me as ever, but I persuaded Uncle Roy to
let me accompany the expedition; and in a few days' time
I found myself going up the Congo, past groups of palmet-
toes and mangoes, and straw-thatched native huts, from
which the inhabitants came by dozens and brought us ivory
in exchange for cotton and beads; every now and then we
landed, and I had an opportunity of seeing an elephant at
home, to say nothing of a lion, and dozens of flamingoes-
"soldiers," as my uncle called them, because of their red-
"We're having a good time at present," said Mr. Samuel-
son, but I didn't like the manner of the natives at that
last stopping place ; it seems to me that we're getting
amongst unfriendly tribes who won't barter, and I think
we'd better turn back whilst we can." And the worthy
merchant's judgment was right. The savages a few miles
farther up the river attacked us, just as we were going to
turn back, and after killing the rest of our party, made
Uncle Roy and myself prisoners. I believe we were spared
because I had stuck a red feather in our straw hats, and this
made them believe we were chiefs; but however this might
be, we found ourselves sitting side by side under a stately
palm, with the savages dancing round, evidently uncertain
as to what they should do with us. And what do you think
decided the question ? Why, Grandmother's watch! which
was ticking away as usual, just as if I was safe in the dear
old "Wren's Nest."
All at once the tom-toms (or drums) left off beating, the
warriors left off dancing, and all stood staring at us. Then
36 Cbje 3MoV tubo Miufifts'brb far 3arit jrotiut.
one of them, evidently a Chief, stooped forward and laid
hold of my little watch chain, which had attracted his atten-
tion, and of course the watch came with it-equally, of
course, it was ticking. I could see that the Chief regarded
it as a living thing, for he turned it about and held it to his
ear with the greatest astonishment and respect; then he
returned it to me and knelt down before us, in company
with the rest of the blacks, whilst all of them bent their
heads to the ground and cried, "Koom! Koom!" which
was meant as a royal salute.
Harry," said Uncle Roy, eagerly, "as far as I can make
out these fellows' lingo (or talk), they think we are great
white chiefs, or medicine men, and in this lies our chance
of safety. Thank God, Grandmother's watch has frightened
them, and saved us 1 Now act like a little king and try
All right, uncle," I answered, as I graciously raised the
prostrate Chief, who gave orders that we should not be
molested, so the savages left us in peace, and the women
brought us cocoa-nut milk and yams as we rested inside
a mud hut, and at last we sank into a troubled sleep.
When we awoke in the morning my first thought was,
Is the watch going ? as on that depended our lives. Yes,
it was ticking away as usual, for I had wound it up over-
night, and by-and-bye the entire village came to visit us
and to look at the watch with reverence and respect. As
they were doing this I noticed that Uncle Roy was very
pale, and evidently in pain.
Anything the matter, uncle?" I asked.
Ube 33Ba toba Mislbetr for Sadct jroat. 37
Nothing to speak of, boy, only a sprained wrist," and as
he spoke he held out a badly-swollen hand, and I sighed to
think that I could do nothing to make it well. Now a youth
of about eighteen, who was evidently the Chiefs son, had
been regarding us pityingly for some time, and he now drew
near and brought us fresh sweet cocoa-nut milk, and water
in a gourd with which to bathe the hurt limb, and we loved
him in spite of his shiny tattooed face and the hideous rings
in his ears and lips, because he seemed to have taken com-
passion upon us.
Day after day went by, and we found no chance of
escape, though we daily sought for one. True, our captors
treated us with respect and fed us well, but this was only
because of the watch.
"All this kneeling and scraping will end directly some-
thing goes wrong, and then they'll treat us just as badly,"
said Uncle Roy one day; "Harry, I want you to get
safely home to the old Mother, whatever happens to me.
I can't forgive myself for bringing you. Can you forgive
me, lad ?"
Don't, dear Uncle Roy, don't please. I couldn't bear
to be parted from you, and I think we shall both see
Granny again. Only last night I dreamt that we were in
the Wren's Nest again. Janet was peeling potatoes, and
Grandmother was spinning, and as she spun she sang her
favourite carol, 'Good King Wenceslaus,' and when she
came to the words-
'When the snow lay round about,
Deep, and crisp, and even,'
38 Cbe 3os tub~a Mfi.ljeV for grkl 3'rasit.
I peeped out of the kitchen window, and saw that the
beautiful snow lay on the garden and covered the distant
hills. It was Winter, and when I woke up and found my-
self here, guess what I prayed for ?"
"I can't, Harry. What?"
"Why, that we might get free and live to welcome Jack
"And a very good prayer it was. Give me an English
December, I say, before this oven of an African village.
I'm tired of the whole thing-tired of seeing those Negroes
rolling about in their palm halls, whilst the women do all
the work; tired of seeing them dance gnd of hearing them
chant in the Ivory Temple; ay, tired of the very palm
trees. Give me an English oak. The only thing which
makes our position bearable is Seago's kindness (Seago
was the Chief's son), and he is sorry for us, and will help
us to escape. Listen, this is his plan. You know that
Viera, this Black King's Prime Minister, is ill, but you
don't know that they believe we can cure him by means of
the magic watch, and that if he dies we die, do you ?"
"No, but I feared as much."
"Well, what Seago proposes is this. All the warriors
are going elephant-hunting to-morrow; only the very old
men and the women will be left behind in the village.
With the exception of Seago, who will make some ex-
cuse to remain, there won't be a young man in the place,
and what our friend proposes is that we should slip down
to the river side, where he will await us with a canoe; then
he will row us down the Congo to a friendly village, where
Ebe ~3Oa tbl)ao idlr fB 2or iac fra t. 39
some white men (so he has heard) are staying, and return
here, leaving us in safety with the Europeans. It's our one
chance, Harry, and I've promised our deliverer Grand-
mother's watch if only he sets us free. Have I done
right ? "
"You needn't ask me that, uncle," I replied, "God
help us to get free," as I grasped his hand in the darkness,
for we were sitting inside our hut, where we were supposed to
be fast asleep. Well, I think you will guess how slowly the
long, dark hours passed that never-to-be-forgotten night,
and how very little sleep we got, not only because of the
mosquitoes, but because of thinking of the coming morrow;
and when the morning came I was indeed glad that we were
to make a try for freedom that very day, and I will tell you
why. In the first place, Viera, whom we were expected to
cure, was worse; and this had made the Chief extremely
angry with us. He mutely pointed to the sick man and
then to Grandmother's watch, and when we, in our turn,
pointed upwards, meaning that God alone could restore
the sufferer to health, he shook his spear in our faces and
left us in disgust.
"Never mind," said Uncle Roy, "we go to-day, or it
would be the worse for us. Now, we must be cautious and
And watch we did through all that long, hot, dreary day.
We watched the hunters go off on their expedition, and the
women of the tribe cook, and hoe, and plant until the
nightfall came on, when even that noisy African village
grew quiet, and the little black babies fell fast asleep, whilst
40 tCe Map tala fLi r etr for gardt frot.
their mothers prepared for the hunters' return, and we, with
beating hearts, waited for the moment to make our escape.
Come," said Seago, in his own tongue, Come now,"
and we two captives rose with trembling limbs and followed
Very quietly we stole down to the water side, took our
places in the canoe with our kind guide, and rowed
silently down the river. Every Mango grove we passed
brought us nearer rest and freedom, every palm tree we
glided by seemed to mutely say, "You're nearer the oaks
of Old England," and when, at last, we stopped at a native
village, and white men bade us Welcome in the dear old
English tongue, Uncle Roy's voice grew husky as he said,
"We shall see the old Mother again," and I shouted again
and again, "Hurrah for Home and Liberty, three cheers
for England and the Land of Jack Frost! "
Well, I haven't much more to tell you. The white men
loaded our deliverer with presents, and I hung Grand-
mother's watch round his neck, with my heart full of grati-
tude, feeling that all I could give was nothing in return for
his giving me freedom. And when we had rested, in a few
days' time, we found ourselves steaming once more down
the Congo, on our way to the port where the "Sea-gull"
And, better even than this, we soon after found ourselves
journeying homewards to England, and then, ah beautiful,
tonged for, then, we found ourselves in the village of Ossett,
CIOe 3Sov tafba SBfirbea for gaht jroat. 41
with the old Mother standing at the door to receive us,
and she smiled as she used to do, when I was a little boy,
and brought her the first Spring flowers, or as she did
when she gave me "Seago's watch."
"What became of Uncle Roy ?" you ask. "Did he ever go
back to Africa, and look on the Congo again ? No, he did
not, he left his desire to rove in the village of our captivity,
and settled down as a farmer in the old place. As for my-
self, he apprenticed me to a Surgeon, and I think that, if
captured again (which I certainly don't mean to be), I could
be in reality the medicine man which the Chief once
imagined me to be. And now you will understand why the
first fall of the snow is for ever beautiful to my eyes, and
why, remembering our captivity, with its sickness of heart,
and weakness of body, its exhausting heat, its fear and
misery, I cry, in the bleak December "-
"Three cheers for the land of the red-berried holly,
instead of the land of the palm. Hurrah for winter, and
welcome cheery Jack Frost!"
AM a spaniel, named Trusty, and I am going
to tell you a story about a dear little boy, named
Bertie Carruthers, but whom his friends, for a
reason I will tell you later on, generally called "Little
One of my earliest recollections is of being exposed for
sale on a dealer's stall near the old bronze fountain, which
used to play so beautifully, in Birmingham Market Hall.
I was, and am, a very pretty dog, with large soft eyes, and
a silky brown and white coat, and children called me a dear,
delightful doggie; but I was sometimes rather discontented,
because I was tired of living all alone in a kind of wicker-
work cage. I wanted to run about in the sunshine-I didn't
want to grow an old dog on Voigt, the dealer's, stall.
And now I will tell you when and to whom I was sold.
It was a beautiful Spring day, and the heaps of narcissus
and violets on the flower-stands made the air as sweet as a
garden. The birds were piping away in their cages, the
fountain was splashing, and I was barking, when a tall
gentleman in a light coat and a little boy in a black velvet
Kittle veerps. 43
tunic stopped in front of my owner's stall. Now this little
fellow was just the very prettiest boy I had ever seen.
He had long brown curls, which fell in sunshiny waves on
his shoulders, and his smile was a merry one, and his eyes
were merry, too.
Oh, papa, just look at that lovely dog!" he cried,
"he's just the dog we've been looking out for. Look at
his coat, and his silky ears-listen to his bark; how much
I wish he was mine."
"Do you, Peeps?" said the gentleman. Well, if he
really is the very thing you want I suppose we must
buy hini." And he bought me, and took me home
with him to a quaint old house called Sherwell House,
which stood near a great piece of water called Sherwell
Water, in an ancient city, which we will, if you please, call
Oldtown, because itsgabled buildings and narrow streets
were very, very old.
Over the door of Sherwell House was this inscription-
"May my children happy be,
Underneath this old roof-tree."
And I am quite sure that no happier child than my young
master ever ran up the broad oak staircase, or played in the
beautiful wainscotted rooms.
And I was a very happy dog, too. I slept on a tiger-skin
rug, and had plenty of petting and plenty of friends; round
my throat they put a collar on which was engraved-
THE PROPERTY OF BERTIE CARRUTHERS,
44 RitttIe Jerpq.
And when it was first fastened on Mr. Carruthers said,
"Now, Little Peeps, if you lose your pet dog, he will carry
his own address with him," little dreaming how soon his
words would prove true.
And now I will tell you why my dear young master was
We all of us, dogs and boys alike, have our little failings
(mine is being too fond of loaf sugar), and Little Peeps
had his little fault-he was too fond of peeping into
everything, which habit of his had gained him the name
If Master Bertie wasn't such a dear, lovable, little fellow,
he'd be a perfect torment, that he would," said old West-
wood, the gardener, one morning, when he found that my
master had cut a slit in the stalk of a beautiful cactus, just
to see if it was hollow or firm all through.
You're right," said the coachman, to whom Westwood
had said it. "I fear little master will run into mischief just
once too often."
And now I will tell you how he ran into it, not once alone,
but twice too often.
I hadn't been long at Sherwell House, and was lying on
the hearthrug in the library, when a strange gentleman, who
wished to see Mr. Carruthers, walked into the room, and
finding Peeps alone there took him upon his knee and
talked to him.
You've a pretty little island over there, my dear," he
remarked, as he pointed to Sherwell Water, which could be
plainly seen from the window, and I knew that he spoke of
Little Jsayg. 45
the islet which made a green spot in the midst of the Pool,
for I often swam to it.
"Why it's just like Crusoe's island; is it not, my
Tell me about Crusoe, please," said Peeps, with sparkling
brown eyes, and the gentleman told him all about Robinson
Crusoe, and his goat, and Man Friday.
And when the visitor had gone Peeps took me up on his
knee, and said, Trusty, I'll be Crusoe, and you'll be the
goat, and perhaps I shall find a Man Friday."
Well I didn't know what he meant then, but I did very
It was twilight, and very near Peeps' bedtime, when he
stole out of a side door and, with me in his arms, made his
way to the side of Sherwell Water, the side where a small
green pleasure boat was tied to a wooden stake, made fast
in the ground.
There wasn't a soul to see poor little Peeps, because he
had stolen away from the nursery when his nurse left the
room for a moment, and Mr. and Mrs. Carruthers thought,
of course, he was safe in his bed.
No, there was no kindly voice to say, Don't go, little
Peeps; go back to Nursie and tell her you're sorry, and be
put in your little white bed."
Only a cockchafer buzzed near his ear, and the chimes
played very softly and very sweetly a beautiful evening
Then naughty Peeps cut the rope which fastened the
boat to the stake, and in a very short time I found myself
alone with my master in the midst of the great dark pool,
for Sherwell Water is very deep, and when the moon shines
on it it looks a great deal darker than it does in the
Now Peeps couldn't row, and even if he had been able
he had no oars to row with, so he was very glad when a few
gusts of wind blew his frail little bark to the island.
"I'm here," he said, "come, Trusty, you're the goat and
I'm Crusoe, but I can't see Man Friday anywhere, can
I saw nothing but a large old willow tree, and two or three
wild fowl which had made their home on the islet; and one
thing more-I saw the boat drift slowly away from us to
the other side of the pool, and little Peeps saw it too, for he
stretched out his hands and cried,
"Oh what shall I do ? The boat's gone, and there isn't a
Man Friday at all. Somebody come to Peeps, please, and
take him away, for he's frightened !"
And poor, foolish little Peeps had indeed cause to be
frightened, for Sherwell water was fed by the river Sherwell,
which ran through the ancient town, and when the river
rose, of course the pool rose also.
And as there had been some heavy rains, the water began
to rise steadily, and it washed up to poor little Peeps' toes.
"Peeps will be drowned," he called loudly, and as he
shouted his eye fell on the willow tree, into whose green
branches he climbed, while I looked at him and wagged
my tail and barked to try and make him understand what
I meant to do, and then I plunged into the water, and swam
.ittle i3rpe. 47
as fast as I could to the other side, followed by cries of
" Come back Trusty, dear Trusty," from my poor young
master, who thought that he was deserted by his only friend.
But I knew better than to swim back. No, I made my
way to Sherwell House, which I found in confusion from
top to bottom.
"I can't think where the darling is," cried the nurse,
"he's been so good all day. He's only cut a hole in his
toy drum to see what made it go rub-a-dub-dub, and he said,
' Nursie, I'm sorry I did it, there's nothing at all inside;'
but oh, look, look, here's Trusty, Master Peeps can't be far
off," and as she spoke she ran up to Mrs. Carruthers, crying,
" Please ma'am, here's the dog, and see, he won't leave hold
of my gown," for I had caught her dress in my sharp
teeth, and was pulling her towards the pool.
Follow him, Lena," said Mr. Carruthers, "and we will
come too," and they all of them followed me down to the
And when they looked on the still, dark pool, on which
the empty green boat was lying, they thought at first that
little Peeps was drowned. But I kept on barking, and Mrs.
Carruthers was sure she saw something white in the willow
tree. Can it," she said to Mr. Carruthers, "Can it
possibly be my boy's white serge tunic?"
And Mr. Carruthers said, If you will remain here for a
little time, I will row across and see. Peeps may be safe in
the willow, as Moses was in his cradle of bulrushes." Then
he stepped into the boat, and I jumped in after him, for I
wasn't going to let him look for Peeps without my help;
48 Kittle 19ssy#.
and just as the last faint sound of the bells was stealing
over the water he reached little Peeps, who held out his
arms from his place in the willow tree, and cried, Oh papa,
papa, I'm tired of being Robinson Crusoe, I'd sooner be
And his father put him safe in the boat, saying, Little
Peeps the willow tree has kept you safely, through the provi-
dence of God, but papa might have lost his son if it
I'm a sorry boy, papa dear," he replied, as we reached
the other side, Peeps couldn't be sorrier."
And now I'm going to tell you how he lived to be sorrier
It was a beautiful morning in August, some weeks after the
willow tree adventure, as Mr. Carruthers called it, and Peeps
was very pleased, for he was going with his own mamma
on a visit to Southam Rectory, to see Archdeacon and Mrs.
Norman, who thought that the dearest,- merriest, prettiest
little boy in the whole wide world was Bertie Carruthers,
Peeps loved going to visit this kind old couple, who kept
a little arm-chair for him, which they called Peeps' chair,
and a little garden full of beautiful flowers, which he could
gather as he pleased, and which they called his own little
And best of all, Peeps wasn't going on a paltry day's
visit this time. No, when his mamma left Southam in the
evening she would leave him behind her for whole longweek.
Kitttle IeCCI. 49
A whole week why, in that time he could entirely alter
his garden, he could find out how the bees made honey-
what, indeed, could he not do ?
Green Warwickshire held the happiest boy in England on
that bright, sunshiny day.
"You'll be good, dear, won't you, if I leave you behind
me at Southam," said Mrs. Carruthers, as they left the three
spires behind, and drove through the pleasant country lanes.
"Peeps will be good, mamma. He is good, mamma," said
my master, as he drew himself up, for when he wished to
be dignified he always called himself Peeps.
When we came in sight of the Rectory he asked his
mother to stop the carriage while he jumped out, and ran
off to tell the Archdeacon she was coming.
"Why, here's little Peeps," said Mrs. Norman, who was
gathering roses in the rosery. Look, Archdeacon, here's
our little pet come to hear the birds sing and see to his own
little garden; but where's mamma, dear?"
"Mamma's coming, Auntie Norman" (he called them uncle
and auntie, though they were no relation), but my little legs
run quicker than the horses, I think."
"Dear little man, how he loves us," said the kind old
Archdeacon, as he bent down and kissed Little Peeps.
Well, the long Summer day came to an end, as even
Summer days will, and the carriage drove up for Peeps'
mamma punctually at six. Wasn't he glad that it didn't drive
up for him!
"And now, my dear friends, you must let me give you a
word of advice," said Mrs. Carruthers, as she bade them
farewell. Directly you hear Peeps say, 'I've nothing to
do,' will you please write to me, and I'll come and fetch
him at once, for when he says that he means that he's going
to find something to do, and that something is usually mis-
chief. 'Why, I've nothing to do,' was his cry before the
adventure of the willow tree, and I've dreaded it ever since."
"I'll be good, mamma dear," exclaimed Peeps, who had
been listening attentively, "and I'm a sorry boy about the
"What a little darling Peeps is," cried Mrs. Norman;
"don't be anxious about him, Millicent, he will be all right
and safe with us. There is no Sherwell Water here to act
Crusoe upon. Why, my dear, the Archdeacon and I only
wish that we had three little fellows like him to stay
Well, I think one Peeps is enough," replied Mrs. Car-
ruthers, as the carriage rolled quickly away.
I cannot attempt to describe the pleasant days my young
master and I spent at Southam, for the old Archdeacon
petted us both. He bought Little Peeps a toy railway-
engine, which ran up and down the floor when wound up,
and for a time he was quite contented, until-ah, that ugly
little word "until" spoils it all-until he overheard Lovell,
the butler, warn the gardener's lad not to go near the
dancing bear, which Pipiwinki, the showman, was exhibiting
in a neighboring town-a performing bear which knew all
kinds of tricks; and Peeps, to whom a bear was an un-
known monster, desired to see it.
"Oh, Trusty, how I should like to see it dance," he
Eifttle crrpe. 51
whispered to me, two days before the end of his visit,
"and I've nothing to do, you know."
And he very shortly found something. It was a pleasant
afternoon, and Peeps sat writing a letter home in the Arch-
deacon's study, a letter which began with-
DEAR PAPA AND MAMMA,-Peeps is very good. Uncle
says so, so does auntie--"
All at once he laid down his pen and said, Please, uncle,
have I spelt auntie right?" but the Archdeacon did not
reply; he had been busy visiting the poor all the morning,
and now he was tired, and had fallen fast asleep in his tall
"Is this right, uncle ?" asked Peeps. Is it Auntie'
or te' ?" and taking his note in his hand, he slipped off his
chair. "Uncle Norman, are you asleep, please ? he asked,
gently, as he slipped up to the dear old gentleman's side.
Yes, he was fast asleep, for his book had fallen on the
floor, and a great bluebottle fly left the window-pane and
settled down with a buzzing on his forehead, but the Arch-
deacon didn't even brush it off. So Peeps put out his
dimpled hand and swept it off for him.
Then he whispered, Come and let's peep through the
pretty white gate," and taking me up in his arms, left the
Mrs. Norman had gone into Rugby, the servants were at
the back of the house, and the gardener was busy at work
in the greenhouses, so Peeps could do just as he liked, and
he liked to peep through the little white gate which divided
the Rectory grounds from the public road.
52 Ifittlte toen.
Well, as he stood peeping through it, what do you think
he saw? Why, nothing more nor less than a great yellow
van, drawn by two powerful brown horses, behind which
came a strong wooden cart, on which was a large iron cage,.
or den, and as these two vehicles passed the Rectory gate
he slowly spelt out the following words, which were painted
in large red letters on the side of the yellow van-
"PIPIWINKI'S FAMOUS SHOW."
And underneath, on a poster, was printed, Great Attrac-
tion Attention !. For one shilling only ladies and gentle-
men can see the performing bear."
"Oh, Trusty, Trusty cried Little Peeps, "this is the
dancing bear Lovell spoke of! Mustn't it be beautiful to
see him dance ?" and as he spoke he glanced down the
road after the retreating van, which, to his astonishment,
came to a full stop at the end of a long lane called Gipsies'
Lane, because gipsies often stopped there.
"I'll just peep after it," said Peeps, and he lifted the
latch of the wooden gate which he had been forbidden to
open, and in a -few minutes more I was running along by
his side down the long white road, for I wouldn't desert
him, not I, I loved my dear little friend too well, and at
last he stood, all hot and breathless, in front of a cross-
looking man who was feeding the horses.
Well, my lad," he asked, staring at Peeps, what do
you want ?"
"To see the bear dance, please, sir."
"'Tisn't performing now, and besides it is a shilling to see
him dance. Have you got one?"
tittle Berpl. 53
No, Mr. Pipiwinki, only sixpence, but I'll show you
Trusty's pretty tricks if you'll only let me see the bear ;" and
as my master spoke he told me to beg, to shake hands, to
pretend to be a dead dog, and so forth, which I accord-
Well, he seems a nice little animal," said Pipiwinki (for
that was the strange man's name), "you'd better give him
to me I'm thinking, he'd make a first-rate performing dog."
"Oh, sir I couldn't part with Trusty, he loves me so, and
I love him," cried little Peeps quite alarmed, and he caught
me up in his arms.
And as he did so a dark-faced woman, in a red cotton
velvet gown, came down the steps of the van, and said,
"Wheze do you live, my little dear? "
At Oldtown," he answered politely.
"Oh, indeed, at Oldtown. Well, my dear, would you
like to have a peep at Bruno, he's indeed a wonderful bear.
When you say, 'It's dinner-time, Bruno,' he growls, and
when you say, 'Thank the company, Bruno,' he bends his
head. If you like to jump in the van, we'll take you a
little way back as you've been at the trouble of coming to
pay us a visit, and then you'll be able to say, 'you've rode
with the bear,' which way shall we ride?"
"To Southam Rectory, ma'am," said Peeps, who was
very much pleased, for he didn't hear the strange woman
whisper, We'll make straight for the north (through Birm-
ingham), and we will take the little lad with us. He will
do to ride the performing pony, and the dog can be
taught tricks. You leave this to me."
54 Eittle trcpq.
"All right," said Pipiwinki shortly, "tell him to jump
in our van."
So the woman said, "Jump in, my dear, we are going to
take you back to the Rectory."
Peeps and I jumped in, Pipiwinki whipped up his horses,
and we lumbered off down the road. But ah we didn't go
back to the old Archdeacon. On the contrary, we went
farther and farther away from him by many a winding road,
and in a few hours we were near Crackley Woods, between
Warwick and Kenilworth.
Long before this Peeps had begun to suspect something
wrong, and when the strange woman took a pair of sharp
scissors and cut off his curls, his long rippling curls, which
his own mamma often spoke of as hers, he knew something
was very wrong.
"Oh, you naughty, naughty woman," he cried indignantly,
" you've cut off my curls, and my own mamma says, Peeps'
pretty curls belong to me; because I brush them out every
day,' but I'll take them to her, and tell her how naughty
Then he gathered his ringlets up in his hand, and tied
them up in his little white handkerchief, and calling,
" Come Trusty, come," made for the door, but Mrs. Pipi-
winki took care that he should not reach it.
"You're a silly little lad," she said, I've only made you
look less like a girl, and by-and-bye I mean to take off
your blue velvet tunic, and those fine buckled shoes, and
put you on a neat little serviceable suit, and a pair of strong
serviceable boots. Come now, don't cry, if you're a good
lad you shall have plenty of gingerbread, and wear a little
gilt crown, and ride on the little performing pony."
"I don't want the gingerbread, I don't want the little
gilt crown, and I won't ride the pony," cried Peeps, I want
papa and mamma, and auntie and uncle. Oh! I am a
sorry boy now! "
Hush! hush!" cried Mrs. Pipiwinki, for all at once
there came a loud shouting, and Pipiwinki's voice called,
"Zillah, Zillah, Bruno's got loose in a cottager's garden,
and he's got to one of the beehives." (I have since heard
Mr. Carruthers say that bears are extremely fond of honey.)
"Quick, quick! bring the muzzle, the bees are stinging
him. One of the bars of his den was loose, and he broke
through. Quick, Zillah; I've hold of his chain, but I want
Now, if ever, was the time to escape. My poor little
master knew that; he caught up the handkerchief containing
his ringlets, rushed out, I, of course, bounding after him,
and made for the Woods, which bordered one side of the
road. Once there, in their safe green shelter, he sat down
in a grassy hollow, with me by his side, and cried for joy.
"0 Trusty," he cried, "it's beautiful to be away from
that dreadful van. I am a sorry boy now."
The woods were both green and quiet, and there wasn't a
house in sight, save the cottage to whose beehives Bruno
had gone for the honey, which he smelt at its wooden gate.
How long Peeps sat there, in the heart of the woods, he
never knew. He heard Pipiwinki say, "There's Bruno safe
again," and when his wife said, "Yes, but where's the boy
S6 Eittle vccp.
and the dog? they're not safe," he heard Pipiwinki
"He's more trouble than he's worth, Zillah. I should
never have taken the lad, though I might have taken the
dog. I must get to Birmingham to-night; if we come upon
him, well and good, but if not, I won't wait for a crying
child and a snappish dog."
Then a woman's voice called, You'd better come out,
little boy, if you're hidden anywhere round," and when there
was no reply the yellow van and the cart rumbled past the
very spot where Peeps and myself were hidden.
After a time he heard the clatter of wheels again, and a
child's clear voice sang-
"Come, little Birdie, come with me,
You shall be happy, merry, and free."
Why that's Nursie's song, which she sings to me when
I'm cross," said Peeps, and he left his little hollow and
walked out into the road, and what a welcome sight met
his eyes. There, in his light spring-cart, sat Mr. Tipshaft,
a market gardener who lived at Kenilworth, and who all the
Summer long brought a basket of fruit every week to
Sherwell House, and beside him sat Betty, his little girl,
whom he had heard singing over the hedge.
Why, here's Master Carruthers, and something's wrong,
surely I What's amiss, little Master ?" said the gardener,
as he looked at the forlorn little figure in its soiled blue
velvet tunic and torn lace collar.
"Oh, Mr. Tipshaft, dear Mr. Tipshaft, a naughty man
Kittle Vseys. 57
and woman took me with them in a big yellow van I Please
take me home," cried Peeps, imploringly.
Of course I will, poor little fellow replied kind Mr.
Tipshaft, soothingly, as he helped him into the cart, and
told his neat little daughter, Betty, to cheer him up, and
give him a handful of pears.
"Peeps is very glad," said my master, and he said no
more until he arrived at Sherwell House, where no one
knew he'd been lost; but they knew later on in the evening
when the old Archdeacon came over from Rugby to break
the sad news. Great was the joy of Uncle Norman when
he found Peeps there before him, and great was the joy of
my master when he sat on his kind friend's knee and related
all his adventures.
Mamma, papa, Uncle Norman," he said, "Peeps won't
go in the little green boat again, and he won't go through
the white gate after a van. Peeps has lost his pretty curls
(he left them tied up in a bundle in the woods when the
bear ran away), but he hasn't lost all his hair," and he
stroked his curly locks over his forehead. He's a sorry
boy now, and a happy boy as well."
Yes, my dear little fellow," replied the Archdeacon,
tenderly, you're sorry you went through the gate when I
told you not to do so; but there was nothing to please you
outside it, dear child. Why, you don't even wish to see
the bear now, do you?"
Oh, no, no, no, uncle! he cried, excitedly; "but I
have seen it. When Mrs. Pipiwinki ran to help Mr. Pipi-
winki I stood on the top step of the van and peeped round,
58 tittle 4Cty6.
and I saw Mr. Pipiwinki holding something like a big brown
dog by a chain, and I guessed it was the bear, but I never
want to see it again, uncle, never."
"Then," said the Archdeacon, gently, I think my Little
Peeps is like a little bird which flew away from its home-a
little bird whose wings soon tired, and who was very glad to
fold them again in its nest."
The adventures of Little Peeps are concluded, for I have
no more to relate. 'Tis true that the little green pleasure-
boat still rocks to and fro upon Sherwell Water, but my
young master never gets into it by himself-he waits for
Mr. Carruthers to take him ; 'tis true that the little white
gate still divides the grounds of Southam Rectory from the
highway, but Uncle Norman can trust Peeps not to venture
through it alone, when he stays with him, for the Arch-
deacon's dear little bird" has no desire to fly away.
On the last anniversary of the day on which my young
master was lost and found the kind old gentleman pre-
sented him with a beautiful china mug (specially manufac-
tured in Staffordshire), on which was painted a pretty brown
and white dog, the very image of myself, and underneath
it were painted these words-
"A good dog near his master keeps,
As Trusty did near Little Peeps."
(The Old Housekeeper's Story.)
HICH was the happiest Christmas I ever spent?
This was the question you asked me a few days
ago, and when I said that I really couldn't say
you still persisted in your query; and you, dear little Miss
Maudie, exclaimed "Oh, Mrs. Nugent, we want you just to
tell us a story of when you and everyone enjoyed themselves;"
so now you are all gathered together I will tell you a tale
of your Aunt Rosamond, who isn't your aunt by relation-
ship, dears, only so called because of the love you bear
her, and I tell it at her request.
Well, in the first place, I don't think that an old woman
whose hair is as white as the snow on the house-tops, need
tell you that she has seen many, very many, Christmas
Days-Christmas Days when she sat at her mother's knee
and listened to old-world stories, even as you are listening
now; Christmas Days when she sat by her own fireside and
wondered when her husband's ship would come into the
harbour from some long sea voyage; Christmas Days when
she sat, as a widow, by a stranger's hearth, and was humbly
60 quirr SrItoona'f aarI' orii.
thankful that the storm had been tempered for her, though
husband and home had been lost in it. Yes, she who speaks
to you, children, has felt thus many a time, reflecting on
days that are gone. But to my simple story:-
It was Christmas Eve when I, Lucy Nugent, widow of
Archer Nugent, master mariner, first came to Selwood
Abbey, and, as I have told you, I was only too thankful for
such a quiet resting-place as this dear old Tudor mansion,
with its low wide corridors and comfortable wainscotted
rooms--rooms which always seemed mutely to invite you to
take comfort, cheer up, and rest.
I need not tell any of you how the old place looked,
because you yourselves both know and love it, just as if it
were some kind, familiar friend, and I too have learnt to
love it also, under every aspect and in every season.
I love it when the yellow and white narcissus blooms in
clusters round the time-grey sun-dial, with its motto of
Docit Umbra (the Shadow teaches), and the crocus and
snowdrop lift up their bonny heads to tell us it is Spring.
I love it when the gaudy scarlet geraniums and snow-
white Provence roses make the flower beds look gay, and
the vain peacock struts up and down the terrace, and spreads
out his tail more than ever, as if saying, "The Summer
I love it in Autumn, when the acorns drop from the great
oak trees, but I love it most of all in Winter, when the
hollies are red with berries, because it was then that I found
my second home.
And what a severe Winter that was-the one of which I
stquire trI1bnul'q Uarimiurr. 61
,im speaking. You complain of Jack Frost now; what
would you have said of him then ? Wherever you went the
complaints of his conduct were loud and bitter.
"Look at my milk pails," said Dolly, the milkmaid,
" they've frozen over in the night."
"And look at our poor little fingers," said the children,
"Jack Frost nips them even through our muffs."
"And look at the sea It's always rough now," said the
fishermen's daughters and wives; and this, I think, was the
hardest complaint of all, for Selwood Abbey, as you are
aware, stands just outside the small fishing village of
Flamborough, near which stands the famous lighthouse of
All of you children, even my little Maud, can repeat the
local distich, or saying-
"Three whites to one red,
Indicates Flamborough Head.'
You are all of you familiar with the sight of that famous
tower-that sign-post of the sea-on its lofty rock, against
which the waves dash, and foam, and roar when it is stormy,
only to dash helplessly back again, like sea-gulls beating
against a cliff, and you, all of you, know that, not often,
thanks to those warning lights, but sometimes, a ship is
wrecked on our coast, or is lost farther off at sea.
Did I ever know of one, you ask ? Yes, I did, dearies, and
a memorable one, too; I have never forgotten it, no, nor
never shall. I was sitting alone in the housekeeper's room
thinking of many things, when I heard the far-off boom of
62 *qtire z iTnWaaaV Ra#baSt~t.
a gun, which I knew was the signal of a vessel in dire
distress, and old Thomas, the butler, came in to say that
they were throwing off rockets to a fine ship in the distance,
and that the whole village was astir.
It's a dreadful night," he said, "dreadful, the sky's as
black as pitch, the waves run mountains high, and the
wind cuts you through like a knife. We're most of us
goin' down to the beach with the Squire (your grandfather,
children), to see if we can do any good; and will you
please, Mrs. Nugent, see that hot water and plenty of
blankets are ready, for ours is the nighest large house, and
if any poor souls are saved, why, we shall bring them up
here, and see what we can do for them; though I greatly
fear the vessel 'ull sink, as the life-boat has tried to put off
and has twice been cast back. Hark that's another gun.
I'll be off! "
I should have liked, as you may imagine, to go down to
the beach with him, but 1 knew that the very best thing I
could do was to see that everything was in readiness, and to
wait, which I had not very long to do, for in an hour or so's
time old Thomas came back with the rest of our people,
and he carefully held a bundle in his arms.
"Look here, Mrs. Nugent," he said, "the ship's gone down,
with all hands lost, but we found this little 'un in a cradle
lashed to a spar, and I've brought it to you for a Christmas
gift," and as he spoke he placed the bundle on my knee,
and when I unfolded the blanket guess what I found?
You can't ? Well, then, I found a baby-a pretty, cold,
white baby girl of about eighteen months old. It had
Jbquirttg ltaaohb' o Roebutr. 63
been tenderly and carefully wrapped in warm shawls and
coverlets, but its long white nightgown had pieces of
seaweed clinging to it, and the water dropped from its
"Poor little love," I said, poor little waif! I must first
see if it lives. Thomas, send George off as fast as ever
he can go for the doctor, and I'll try to bring it round.
Then I took the child upstairs to the disused nursery, in
which a warm fire was burning, wrapped it in soft blankets,
rubbed its tender limbs gently, gave it some hot milk, and
soon had it fast asleep on my lap-for, thank God, it lived;
the cold, rough sea hadn't quite knocked the life out of it,
but not one living soul was cast ashore to tell the name or
parentage of this little child, which, of course, we didn't
know, for there was only a rose worked in satin stitch, and
the letters "R. C." on her nightgown and little chemise,
so because of this we called her Rose.
"A very good name," said the Squire, who had
decided that she should remain at the Abbey until some-
body claimed her, "a very good name, indeed. Perhaps
Coral or Pearl would be more appropriate as she was cast
up by the sea, but we mustn't think of that. We must.
-bring her up well, and fit her for any position, but little
Rose or rather Rosebud let it be."
So the child stayed on at the Abbey, and grew up both
merry and wise. She loved the birds and the flowers, but
most of all she loved the sea; and before she was seven years
old she knew every turn of this part of our rocky Yorkshire
coast. She used to talk of the two great rocks called, The
64 mquirT Elamoo'r MrdEbutr.
King "and "The Queen as if they were real living persons,
and of a place which she called her arbour, but which I could
never discover until one day when we lost her. How did
we manage to do that, you ask? My dears, we didn't
manage it, but our little darling did. She slipped out of the
house without waiting for Jane (the nurse) or myself one
morning, and we couldn't find her anywhere, though we
searched high and low; and I'm sure we didn't need any
fresh worry just then, for the Squire's only son, Mr. Geoffrey
(your own dear papa, children), who was what they called a
great naturalist, hadn't been heard of for some time. When
last he had written he was in New Guinea, or some such out-
landish place, going plant hunting with a friend, like him-
self, and he said he was comirig home soon to settle down;
but month after month passed by, and as he didn't return
our hearts grew sick with hope deferred. Even the Squire's
Rosebud knew that something was wrong, and used to stand
in front of Mr. Geoffrey's portrait in the picture gallery, and
wonder when her big brother, as she called him, would come
home; and now the child herself had, it seemed, run away.
In vain I turned out queer little cupboards, looked be-
hind cabinets and pictures, and cied aloud, Bo-peep,
Rosie, I've found you," in the hope that she would reply.
No one answered, and the Squire himself suggested search-
ing the caves on the beach; for grandfather, as you know,
was a widower, and the merry little thing had crept into the
grave man's heart. The waves were dashing round Flam-
borough Head, and the holes or caves in the rocks looked
both dull and dark as se searched them, but they looked
5,uire elitotaaS' 3oasseustr. 65
darker still when we came out again without the child. At
last I thought of Robin Lyght's hole, which is a large
cavern, and the Squire and I went into it with a lantern.
Pools of water lay on the sandy floor, little crabs (black not
red ones) were scuttling in and out of the rocky crevices,
and pretty pink and brown shells were lying about on the
floor. All at once a voice called out, "This is Rosie's
arbour, which she's getting ready for her big brother," and
there on a ledge of rock, with another in front of her,
which served as a table, sat Miss Rosamond. She had set
out her doll's tea things on the rock, and made the place she
had chosen pretty with festoons of seaweed and shells.
"Oh you naughty child," I exclaimed, "how could
you?" But merely saying, "You must never do so again,
Rosamond, because it is wrong," the Squire led her home,
thankful, as I thought, that even a little child believed in
his son's return.
And now I am going to tell you about the very happiest
Christmas Day which I ever spent, though Jack Frost was
very severe. It was Christmas Eve once more. Again the
waits played their sweetest music, and sang-
"I saw three ships come sailing in,
On Christmas Day in the morning.'
Again Miss Rosamond sat with me in the housekeeper's
room, and listened, as she had so often done, to my story of
the shipwreck, when there came a loud and decided peal at
the bell, and when old Thomas, who was crossing the Hall,
opened the door, he saw his dear young master, Mr.
66 squire rWiuaon'n aloebtr.
Geoffrey, and a strange gentleman. They were both of
them powdered with snow, they were both of them tired and
hungry; but Mr. Geoffrey refused to see the old Squire
until someone had prepared him for the pleasant surprise,
and old Thomas decided that no one could do it as well as
" His Rosebud," so little Miss Rosamond was sent for;
and the butler declared that Mr. Courtnay, the strange
gentleman, who had accompanied Mr. Geoffrey in his later
travels, had looked at the child as if he'd never seen one
before, and when she had gone he had asked him her
name, so old Thomas told him her history, including of
course the story of the wreck.
"Thank God," he'said, when the story was ended, "I
believe that the lost is found, I believe that thlit little child,
who is the exact image of my dead wife, is my little Rhoda,
who was supposed to have been drowned with her mother,
in 'The City of Moscow,' which was lost offl.the British
coast on Christmas Eve, 1846."
"If this is so, Thomas," I replied, "the Squire will have
found his son and the little Rosebud her father on one and
the same day, and if so, mark my words, Thomas, when I
say that to-morrow will be the happiest Christmas Day
which some of us have ever spent."
And, my dears, it was. The old Squire sent for me to
show Mr. Courtnay the baby clothes which had belonged
to the little foundling, and then he sent me to fetch Rosa-
mond to her father, and as I led her in, looking like an
old-fashioned picture, in her white dress, I thought of that
other Christmas Eve, when I took the little waif on my lap,
tqutire eRIubaWo 3EradEbutr. 67
with the seaweed clinging to its little gown; and as I saw
the stranger fold her in his arms, and heard him say, My
little girl-my own dear long-lost Rhoda," I thought, "She
may be your Rhoda, but to us she will always be 'Squire
0^ .1 .' 3 ',-p' -
(An Old-fashioned Story told by an Old-fashioned Doll.)
AM only an old-fashioned English doll, dear
children, made in the days when your great-
grandmothers were little children like your-
selves-little children who were glad or sorry, who were ill
or well, who played with their dolls, learnt their lessons,
and gathered the wild flowers, just as you yourselves do
in,these days when Victoria is Queen.
Now, I must tell you that the little girl who bought me
as a present for her cousin in the country was named Molly,
so she pinned a ticket on me with these words written on it-
"DEAR COUSIN MAGGIE,-Please accept this doll, and
if you don't mind, call it Molly, after me."
Then she packed me up carefully in a large box, which
was addressed to-
Mss MARGARET SHILTON,
All Saints' Rectory,
Near St. Bees, Suffolk."
3Brabe 3StSrie. 69
And in a few hours' time I had left the tall house in the
London square behind, and was travelling along in a large
yellow coach into Suffolk-though I regret that I cannot
tell you about anything that happened on the road, because
I was shut up in my box all the time.
When I awoke I found myself in a pleasant room, with
low ceilings and wide windows, and a little girl in a chintz
frock was nursing me, and calling me dear Red Riding
Hood, for Molly in London had made me a scarlet cloak,
with a pretty hood to it to match my frock and slippers, so
that I looked like the dear little child of whom you read in
your story books, and everyone called me the Red Riding
I was as happy as the days were long, for Maggie
took me everywhere with her; and I soon grew to
know the beautiful valley where the river Waveney runs
along, with a merry sound like a song, and where the
tall, green hedges are full of woodbine and sweetbriar
roses Ishould just like some of you to spend your
holidays in this pleasant place, then you would learn
where the kingfisher and the long-necked heron build, you
would sail in a wherry with an elder brother over the
silvery broads (or lakes), you could gather wild straw-
berries from the high green banks, and watch the bees
gathering honey. You would thoroughly enjoy your holidays,
and learn to love the country as my little mistress loved it.
Now I think that I hear you saying, "Tell us what
Maggie was like !" Well, she had a round face, which always
reminded me of a blush rose, it was so very pink and sweet;
70 33rabte S33eie.
and when she went out for a walk in her granny bonnet
and silver grey pelisse, she looked like a good little fairy.
It was Summer when I came to the Rectory, and the
leaves on the trees in the garden were green. After a time
they grew brown, and the gardener swept them away from
It was Autumn. The beautiful Summer had left us that
year just as the swallows had done. Then the branches
grew bare, and I knew it was Winter, for the rivers and
ponds were frozen, the birds dropped dead in the fields,
and the snow was piled up in banks on the road.
"Yes, Jack Frost has come in earnest; he's written his
name on the window pane," said my little mistress, when
she awoke one morning, just five weeks before Christmas;
and she was right, he had come, and all the village knew it,
for that Winter was known as the one of the Great Frost.
Look at our spades, they are useless, and all because
of the frost," said the husbands and fathers, with a sigh.
"Look at those pots, missy," said the mothers and wives,
as they pointed to the large iron boilers. "If this goes on
they'll soon be empty, because there'll be naught to cook."
And we can't get out to our play, because the frost bites
us," said the wee, young children, sadly.
Only the dear old grandmothers went on silently spinning
in their corners, and smiled, for they knew that the frost
would go some day, as it had gone before, and they hoped,
if the good God willed it, soon to reach a land where cold
and suffering are unknown-a country which Maggie called
38rabe 33eie. 71
The little village grew whiter and whiter. As the snow
grew deeper and deeper the market-carts couldn't get to
market, and the turkeys and geese were kept in the barns,
instead of running about in the farmyards, because of the
Jack Frost isn't kind," said Maggie to me, a few days
before Christmas. He keeps the children indoors day
after day, and if he don't go directly, dear Molly, papa and
mamma won't be here on Christmas Day," for you must
know that the Rector and his wife had been obliged to go
up to London some weeks before the frost had set in, and
were kept prisoners there by Jack Frost.
It was of no use to listen for the sound of the coachman's
horn, because, you know, the roads were blocked up by the
snow, and trains were unknown in those days. So when
Christmas Day came, and no papa and mamma came with
it, Maggie couldn't speak of Mr. Jack Frost, who had
written his name on the window pane, even on Christmas
Day in the morning." 'Tis true that the carol singers sang
"Noel, Noel, Noel," as was their custom, and Maggie gave
them each a bright new silver sixpence, as she always had
done, but she missed the Rector by her side; ah, and the
village lads missed him, too.
And the old people enjoyed their roast beef and plum
pudding, but they wanted the friend whom they had known
for years amongst them, they wanted to hear his kind voice
say, A merry Christmas to one and all, and may we all
meet again next year," but, as you see, Jack Frost wanted
the Rector also, and what he wanted he got.
72 33rabe Me#ie.
And even while Mr. Freeman, the Curate, was telling
Maggie a funny story of a boy who had never seen the snow,
because he lived on an island called Palm Island, where it
never fell, she was thinking, "I wish I could hear the
coachman's horn going Tra la, tra la, tra la !"
But alas, she could not; the only sound she heard was
the sound of the wind blowing; "Jack Frost was singing his
So I think, on the whole, children, that the Red Riding.
Hood doll had the best time of it this "Winter of the great
frost," even though it had suffered the loss of an arm. How
did this sad accident occur, you ask ? Well, it happened
thus : Mr. and Mrs. Shilton had taken a poor little orphan
named Bessie into their service as schoolroom maid, and
the grateful girl felt that she could never repay these friends
of the friendless who had helped her in the hour of need.
I only wish I could paint, for then I would make you a
picture of the funny little country girl who lived when
your great-grandparents were young.
I would paint her small sun-burnt face, all covered with
freckles, caused by weeding in turnip fields, and her two
little plaits of brown hair, tied together with ribbon, her neat
drab frock, and long white bib-pinafore, which kept the
dress clean; but I couldn't paint her face when she smiled.
Oh, no, I couldn't do that I because her face was then too
bright and sunny for any but a great painter to paint.
But every child has a little failing, just as most fruit-
even golden-skinned, juicy peaches-have often a tiny spot
on them; and Bessie's failing was curiosity-she liked to know
5rabe 33reie. 73
the why and the wherefore of everything, and she wished to
find out if I was really as strong and well-made as I looked.
So, when she was alone in the schoolroom, she picked
me up and gave one of my arms a great hard pull, and she
pulled so hard and so fast that my poor little limb came out
of its socket, and was left in her hand. As she stood looking
at it my mistress came into the room, and I shall never
forget her sorrow and dismay when she saw what had
happened. "Oh, dear Red Riding Hood, who has hurt
you so?" she cried.
"Hoo, hoo, hoo," sobbed Bessie, "I ha' broke the doll
missy, I'm very sorry, more nor I can tell, and I'll never
get over it till I do something' right. Can you ever look over
it, Miss Maggie?"
"Yes," said Maggie gently, "I was vexed at first, Bessie,
and I'm grieved now, but I do forgive you; and I'm sure
you wouldn't do it again, would you?"
Never," she answered firmly, "never, missy. Bessie
will do something good next time; I'll pray every night for
next time to come soon."
Did it come ? you say. Yes, children dear, it did, for I
once heard the Rector say that a little guardian angel always
stood by the side of children who wished to do good, and
helped them when the chance to perform a brave or a
noble action came.
And Bessie's chance of doing one came soon, as you
shall hear; for it was Christmas Eve when my arm was
broken, and it came on New Year's Day, just one day
after Jack Frost had taken his noisy departure, with a
74 2rabi 3Sr ie.
great cracking of ice and gurgling of waters, as if to show
that he was angry at having to go.
The happy new years had been wished, the hot mince
pies had been eaten, and better than all, the old postman
had brought a letter from London saying that Maggie's
father and mother were coming, because cruel Jack Frost
was going, and she was one of the happiest little girls in all
England at the very thought of seeing them again.
Well, it was night-time, and the rectory folks were fast
asleep, as, indeed, were all in the village of Lastingham,
save the owls in the ivied tower, who turned the night into
day, and myself-the Red Riding Hood doll.
For I couldn't sleep, I could only lie still in my warm
little cradle (which always stood by Maggie's bedside), with
the blankets tucked under my chin, and watch. All was
very still, you could have heard a pin fall on the oaken
floor. Everything was the same as usual, with the exception
of one thing, which was this-a curious kind of light, which
was neither moonlight or sunlight, seemed stealing into the
room, and I knew that it couldn't be morning, because my
little mistress would have taken me out of my bed, and have
made my morning toilet after her own had been made.
And as I lay there wondering, I heard a sound like the
crackling of very dry wood, and my mistress sat upright
in bed, and cried, Jane, please come."
Now Jane, the nursemaid, slept with Bessie in a room
which opened out of Molly's, but she had gone home for a
day's holiday, and had not yet returned, and thus the child
was left alone. Alone, did I say ? If so, I was wrong, for
8rabe 33ejit. 75
while I lay wondering at the strange red light and the shouts
and cries outside, someone flung open the door, and Bessie's
voice said, Don't be frightened, missy, I'm here, jump out
of bed quick, and do what I tell 'ee." Then by that same
red light, which every minute grew redder, I saw Maggie run
over the floor to Bessie, who wrapped a blanket round her
and carried her to the window, which she flung wide open,
whilst her voice rang out as clearly as she could make it,
for the room was filling with smoke-
Good neighbours, do as you'd do if the Rector was
here, 'stead of in Lunnon-try to save his little gell!"
"Ay, that we will," they shouted. Only have patience
while we get help." The fire was still distant from us, for
it had broken out in a wing of the old house, but every
moment the red glare of the flames came nearer, and
we could hear their roaring and crackling every moment
more distinctly. Soon a chimney pot fell, with a fearful
crash, and my poor little mistress clung more tightly to
Bessie, almost as frightened as herself, but striving to keep
calm and to soothe the terrified child.
"Quick!" screamed Bessie, in an agony, "never give
a thought on me, tek care o' the child !"
Now then," shouted a voice at last-oh, how long it
had seemed in coming-" hand her to me," and Tim,
the gardener, who stood at the top of a ladder, tenderly
clasped the small figure in the white nightgown, with the
blanket folded round it, and disappeared with it, and I
was left alone with Bessie-forgotten by all, as I thought,
for I was only a doll.
76 33rab~ 3Beie.
Yes, I was left alone with the trembling schoolmaid in
the burning room, for the flames had reached us at last;
nearer and nearer they came, with glowing, scorching heat,
and clouds of smoke, and I heard poor Bessie say, "It's
stifling." Just then her eye fell on me, and saying, "I'll
tek care o' her dollie," she threw me straight down the
ladder, and I knew no more. .When I came to myself
I was lying on my little mistress's knee in the village surgeon's
sitting-room, and the Rector and his wife were there too.
My darling," said Mr. Shilton, "let us thank God
you're safe, and that brave little Bess is better, for she was
badly hurt by the falling timber before they rescued her.
Maggie owes her life (under Providence) to Bessie's courage
and presence of mind."
Yes," said his wife, "when she was in the greatest pain
she only said, 'I've done something good, then, at last!'
Why she even asked it the Red Riding Hood doll had been
Yes, Dollie was picked up at the foot of the ladder, all
right, only, you know, she was blackened by smoke and
battered, poor little Miss Molly," said my mistress, tenderly.
A month or two after this, when the birds were singing in
the hedges, because it was Spring, and the village children
were making primrose balls (I hope you know what primrose
balls are, and if you don't that you will make them your-
selves some day), Bessie-very pale, but very happy-carried
me herself into the new schoolroom in the new Rectory, for
an ancient manor-house had been taken for the Rector, in
place of the home which had been burnt down.
38rabe 3itjie, 77
And I knew then, as I know now, that I was a fortunate
Doll. I only hope, dear children, that the waxen ladies
who are ticketed-" Busy Bee, price so much," in the toy-
shops, may be as much so, though I don't wish them to go
through a great frost and a fire; but I wish them to have as
dear a little mistress as Maggie, and friends as brave as
Bessie, when she saved the old-fashioned Doll.
Mlarn anlo per Ramb
OR, How THE CHILDREN PLAYED HIDE-AND-SEEK
AT WOODCROFT HALL.
ANY little people know the poem of Mary and
her Lamb," but few of them, if I mistake not,
know the story which I am now going to have
the pleasure of telling you-the story of a little Kentish
girl, named Mary (though she was usually called Molly),
and of a pretty pet lamb which belonged to her called
In the pleasant county of Kent, where the nightingales
sing in the gardens in Summer, and the apples and pears in
the Autumn seem to invite you to eat them before they fall
from the trees, stands an ancient country house called
Now, in the picture gallery of this same old house hangs
a beautiful oil painting, in which all visitors, -more especially
childish ones, are greatly interested, and which is known as
"The Picture of Mary and her Lamb."
It represents a little girl in a dark blue velvet frock, with
jiarp antr #?er italmb. 79
a sash of the same colour round her waist, and a necklace
of pearls round her throat. She is lying on the floor in a
small dark room hung with tapestry, and, as you can plainly
see, is fast asleep, for her eyes are shut, one dimpled arm is
thrown round the neck of a snow-white lamb, and her curly
dark head is resting on the pretty creature's back.
Now that I have told you about the picture I will tell you
how it happened that this little child was alone with the lamb
in this dim old room.
It was Molly Woodcroft's Birthday, and it was kept in
state at Woodcroft Hall, though her father, Sir Godfrey,
who had meant to have been at home on that day of all days
in the year, had been summoned to London on business
only a few days before.
"We miss my brother," said Aunt Clarice to old Janet,
the faithful nurse, who had been with little Molly long
before her gentle mother died, and had remained with her
ever since, and Janet smiled as she said,
"That's very true, Miss Clarice. I heard little Miss
Molly tell Snow, only this very morning, that she wished she
could make herself a week older, and then she would have
papa with her on her birthday-the darling tells-her pet
lamb everything. It's pretty to hear her, madam."
It's very amusing, indeed, Janet," Miss Woodcroft
answered. Why, Snow is helping her to receive her guests
in the Amber Room to-day "
And Molly's aunt was right. It would have made you
80 jtarn anfr4 %Ir aiamb.
smile if you could have seen the little girl with the lamb
standing meekly beside her, for the pretty creature followed
her about like a pet dog, and when the children went into
the Oak Room to look at their little friend's birthday pre-
sents Snow, of course, went too.
"You see, dears, my lamb is so prettily behaved," said
Molly, when they had admired and looked at her- various
gifts. It's one of the best birthday gifts I ever received;
besides, it was given me by dear mamma-it was her last
present." This she said very softly, and as she said it she
raised her eyes to the portrait of a fair-haired, blue-eyed
lady which hung over the high oak mantelpiece.
"Yes, darling," replied Beatrice Fanshawe, the eldest girl
of the party, we have heard that Lady Woodcroft gave you
Snow before-before she went to Heaven."
"But you don't know how dear mamma gave it," said
Molly. "If you like, I will tell you, and then you will see
why I love it so."
Tell us, if it won't pain you, Molly, if you won't mind,
that is, dear," cried all the children together; and fixing her
eyes on the pictured face of her mother, Molly's low, sweet
little voice began-
Mamma often took me out for a walk with her before
she vas ill, you know, and whenever we went through a field
in which there were lambs, I used to say, 'Oh, mamma,
how much I should like a pet lamb! I should like it as.
well as papa likes Rover, the dog he bought at Ramsgate,
which swam ashore from the wreck on the Goodwin Sands,
taru antt ier Iamb. 81
"And mamma always said, 'You shall have one some
day, Molly,' and so one lovely morning, when I was wonder-
ing when some day' would come, it came, for nurse said
'Look in the library, dearie, directly you go downstairs,'
so of course I made haste to get there the very first thing.
"And when I opened the door I found that 'some day'
had come There, on the hearthrug, lay a little white
lamb, and on the library table I saw a large piece of paper,
which I'll show you if you like, for I mean to keep it
always, you know-always. Here it is," and as Molly spoke
she drew something from the drawer of a little writing-desk
near, and gave it to Beatrice Fanshawe, saying,
"Please read it, Beatie dear," and Beatrice read these
"The humble petition of Little Snow to Mistress Molly.
"Dear Mistress Molly, I am only a weak little lamb, but
if you ever see anyone try to hurt me you must please
be strong and defend me. I am a meek and patient
creature, and you would do well to imitate my patience and
my meekness; and my pretty coat is as white as snow, from
which I derive my name. So, my dear little mistress, you
must try to keep your little heart and mind as pure and
spotless as my fleece, and then you will be happy."
The children sat very still for a few minutes after reading
this, for most of them had seen the marble monument in
Woodcroft Church which stood near the tomb of Sir
Richard Woodcroft, the Crusader, and most of them knew
that it was erected to the memory of Angela, Lady Wood-
croft (Molly's mother), who had gone to a Holier Land
82 :Maru ant 3ter Lambi.
than even that for which, and in which, old Sir Richard
And because these lines had been written by her they
were silent for a time, until Cecil Whitcomb (Molly's
cousin) proposed a game of hide-and-seek before it grew
Well, who will be first to hide ? asked their little hostess,
when they proposed the game to her.
Will you go first, Molly ? said Beatrice. "You know
the best places to hide in, of course. It will be the most
fun looking for you."
Oh yes I'll hide first," she said laughingly. "I know
a place where even Aunt Clarice or Nurse won't find me,
but you mustn't peep after me. And Cecil, you must be
a good boy, and count twenty to give me time to get to my
hiding-place," and as Molly spoke she gave a quaint, old-
fashioned courtesy and left the Oak Room.
"I'll count for all," cried Cecil Whitcomb, "and I know
we shall find Mistress Molly soon "
"Of course we shall," they-exclaimed. "She's such a
little mite she couldn't run very far, and besides, we have
to find the pet lamb too, for it followed her from the room.
We shall soon see Molly when we hear the bleating of
But they didn't soon find her-they didn't soon hear the
bleating of pretty Snow-for though they searched in all
kinds of likely and unlikely places, after Cecil called
"Twenty-please start," they saw neither the pet lamb nor
Jt~aTV anti %er Lamb. 83
In vain they called "Come out, Molly, please, we give it
up." No laughing child ran out from behind a statue or
suit of armour, crying, "It's somebodyelse's turn to hide now."
In vain Aunt Clarice called Molly, my dear, come
now," and Nurse Janet called Nursie wants you, my pet."
In vain the servants searched the grounds over and over
again, the Squire's little daughter was lost, or at any rate
she had strangely disappeared.
SLong after the little guests ought to have been safe at
home and in bed they were wandering over the house,
with pale, anxious faces, searching in vain for Molly.
She's gone fra' the hoose (from the house) and we're
just wastin' our time looking in it. Let's search the grounds
again, and go into the village and hear if Miss Molly's been
,seen there," said Jarvis, the gardener, who came from the
North and was a very sensible man.
But I still believe she's hidden somewhere in the house,
and I'll search till I find her, poor motherless lamb," old
Janet replied, with her eyes full of tears, "and now I'll
search the Bell Tower."
Now the Bell Tower was a turret in the oldest part of
Woodcroft Hall, and was so called because of an old bronze
bell which hung in it.
It was a curious place, and excepting when Sir Godfrey
himself showed anyone over it, no one went near it from
month to month.
"I'll search this place first," said Nurse Janet, as she
climbed up the slippery staircase, "and, God helping me,
I'll find you, my pet, at last."
84 jfarr antr prr RLamb.
But even the faithful nurse felt her heart fail her when
she entered the old brown tower.
For no little Molly was there; only a little brown mouse
ran squeaking into a corner; only the owls, who" had made
their nests in the ivy outside, cried, Tu whit, tu whoo, tu
whoo, tu whit;" only-and this was the sole thing which
comforted the poor old nurse-one little twinkling star
shone through the small diamond-paned window, as if to
remind her that nothing was hidden from the eye of God.
"He sees you, my dearie, and knows where you are,"
she said to herself, and even as she said it, she heard the
bleating of a lamb, a low, faint, but unmistakable "Baa,
baa." Janet was old, and her step was always slow, but she
wasn't long in getting down the slippery steps, she wasn't
long before she stood with Joyce, the village carpenter,
Aunt Clarice, some of the servants, and as many of the
birthday guests as could get into it, in that curious dim
"Knock here, Joyce, here," cried Janet, as she pointed to
the place from which the bleating had seemed to come.
Rap, rap, rap, went the carpenter's hammer, as he rapped
away at the panelled wall, whilst the watchful children
silently asked the sleepless Friend of all little children to
give them their playmate back unhurt.
"We're all here, Molly darling," cried Beatie Fanshawe,
"and there will soon be a hole big enough for my hand to
reach through. You're not afraid, are you ? "
Great was their joy when a weak little voice, which
seemed to come from a great way off, replied, "I'm not
lfar~ antr ~ler lamit 85
frightened, at least not very, but I'm cold and hungry.
Please, please let me out."
"God bless you, little Miss, we'll soon have you out,"
shouted the carpenter, as he gave the wooden panel a last
Puff, puff, came a gust of wind down the chimney, almost
blowing the candles out, as the last piece of wall gave way,
and Molly was revealed sitting on the floor of a small dusty
chamber, hung round with moth-eaten tapestry. Her pet
lamb was standing near her, and her face was stained with
tears; for it seemed that when the child had reached the
Bell Tower, wherein she had meant to hide, she had
accidentally pushed a sliding panel on one side, and when
she saw this splendid hiding place, as she thought it,
revealed, she had pushed through it, followed by little
But alas for poor little Molly when once in she couldn't
get out. The panel slipped back again into its place, so
after vainly striving to release herself, and calling for help
until she was fairly tired out, she had lain her head on the
pet lamb's back, and cried herself to sleep; soothed only
by the close companionship, the close warm contact of
pretty, innocent, loving Snow.
"My poor, lonely darling," said Nurse Janet, as she
folded her in her arms, "God saw you and kept you.
Though you were lost to us, you were not lost to Him. He
gave you back to us on your birthday night, thanks to dear
"Yes," cried the children in chorus, we will buy him a
86 :jarg anr 3er iLamb.
collar, with 'Mary's lamb' engraved on it, in memory of
And so (as the Story says) they did, and when Sir God-
frey Woodcroft related the tale of his only child's disappear-
ance, and her stay in the secret chamber, which must have
been a hiding place of the Woodcroft family in times of
war and trouble, he always concluded his story thus-
"Doubtless the companionship of the pretty, innocent,
little animal kept Molly from being as frightened as she
would otherwise have been, besides being the means of
attracting Janet's attention by its bleating. Thus, as you
see, the dead mother's last gift to her little daughter both
saved and comforted her child."
And when a great painter, who came on a visit to the hall,
heard this story, he painted Molly in the secret chamber
with her arm round the pet lamb's neck. So when the sun-
light falls through the painted windows of the portrait
gallery at Woodcroft on the pictures of bishops in lawn
and knights in armour, of judges in scarlet and ermine,
of white-haired statesmen and little children with flaxen
curls, it also falls on the beautiful paititing of Mary and her.
lamb; and when the children who come to the hall ask its
meaning, they are told the story which I have tried to tell
Zunburnvyd 3lIac u5abn.
[^iEGGY," said my kind mistress, Mrs. Bunbury,
Si of Kenilworth Farm, in South Africa, to me,
Peggy Pagnell, her attached servant: "Peggy,
I've brought you a present. Guess what it is ? "
SWell I guessed all the things I could think of, from a box
of furniture paste to a tin of sardines, from a new ribbon to
a new saucepan, and at last I gave it up in despair, for I
was always what children call cold, when they are playing
at hide and find.
"-So you give it up, do you, Peggy," cried my mistress.
"You say ypu can't imagine what I have brought you-
unless, indeed, it is a lion. No, it isn't that, neither is it a
Leopard. It's something which most people like, and which
Everybody has seen. Something which can be exceedingly
naughty and exceedingly good. Something which is found
in all climes and in all places. Now, Peggy, can you
"I can't, ma'am."
"As that is the case I must bring my present in to you;
it's only just outside," said my mistress, who had been on a
88 3unuttrV't %liackt 3abV.
short visit to Van Vert's farm (a place which was but a short
distance from us), and she darted out of the house, and in
a very few minutes returned with-a black baby I
Yes, my present was nothing more nor less than a little,
live blackamoor; a real, black baby girl, with nothing on
but a piece of striped print, tied round her waist, and a
string of beads round her neck.
I shouldn't have minded if it had only been a pink and
white baby, in a white frock, with a pink or blue sash, but
this native child!-I was disappointed, and when I did
speak I could only say,
Oh dear me, mistress What a queer little thing it is,
to be sure. Would you please tell me where you found it?"
"That is just what I am going to do, Peggy," she replied.
"You must know that, as Mr. Bunbury and myself were
driving along to Van Vert's farm in the Cape cart (this is
the name for a gig in South Africa), we came to a
large tree which stood on the banks of a river, and there,
under its spreading branches, lay a little black baby, fast
asleep, and close beside it lay a Kaffir woman, who also
seemed fast asleep; but when my husband tried to rouse
her he could not.
"It was no use shouting Igama lake ubhni na?' that is,
'What is your name?' She did not rise and answer,
'Utangofola Ikanda,' or some such Kaffir name, she only
slumbered on. It was no use the black baby awaking, as
it did awake, and creeping up to her side. The patting of
her face by its little black hands did not arouse her. Her
sleep was sound indeed, so sound that she would only wake
Munburg' 38Iadit 3ba. 89
on the Resurrection morning-for, Peggy, she was dead.
She had, seemingly, been taken ill on a journey, and
had sought the shelter of this mighty tree to die. Well, the
one or two natives whom we had brought with us buried
the poor Kaffir woman where she lay, and then we took the
baby, paid our promised visit to the Van Verts, and returned
"So here we are, Peggy, and here is your present-the
poor, motherless little baby. We must keep it with us for a
bit, and see if we can find to whom it belongs, and if we
cannot we must try to get it admitted into an Orphanage
at Cape Town, that is if you don't want to keep it as your
helper. But we shall see about that by-and-bye. It's a
queer little mite, isn't it ? "
Yes, it was a queer little mite, and I really think it grew
funnier every day.
Its name, it said, for it could just speak, was Ooba, by
which, so thought my master, it meant Ijuba, a wild dove;
but it couldn't tell from whence it came nor to whom it
belonged, and we ourselves could never find out-never !
Now I, Peggy Pagnell, was greatly attached to my mis-
tress, or I should not have stayed on in my place with that
tiresome baby, for it wasn't pretty (though that it couldn't
help), and it hadn't pretty ways, as some babies have. She
emptied the china mug of milk which I gave her, and threw
the mug itself on the floor, she toddled after me into the
store-room and turned the tap of the vinegar barrel on the
wrong way, so that the vinegar poured out in a pool on the
floor, she slid down into a cask of golden syrup treacle,
90 auinbturV'q M3Iach 313abIg.
which was luckily only half full, and stuck there in the
midst of it till her cries brought me to her, and when I
saw her round black head rising up like a little black ball
in the midst of a sea of brown treacle, I was simply too
cross to speak. It was all very well for master, who was an
amiable man, to roar with laughter and say, She's a sweet
baby now, at any rate, isn't she, Peggy?" .I couldn't laugh, for
he hadn't to make her a clean black baby again, instead of a
brown and black one, and I had. He hadn't to use half-a-
pound of Windsor soap, a kettle full of hot water, and three
strong huckaback towels, in order to get the sticky treacle
off her face, and arms, and hands, which I did, and when I
called her a naughty, naughty child, as I washed her, she
only said, Munandi" (sweet), meaning that the treacle
was sweet, over and over again.
Well, they truly say that great events spring from little
causes, and so they do. I, Peggy Pagnell, had left my
native place, which was pleasant, green Kenilworth, in
Warwickshire, for this odd place in South Africa, merely
because I loved my mistress, and did not wish her to be
surrounded by none but strange faces in a strange land, and
after I had arrived there, after I'd grown used to everything
being upside down and topsy-turvy, I was upset and con-
quered by a little black baby Yes, I got over my dislike
to the heat, the flies, and the natives' odd ways; but I
couldn't get over the affair of the treacle-cask, and at last I
began to be home-sick. Yes, really and truly home-sick.
I began to feel like a child at her first boarding-school, or a
little maid-servant in her first situation. I began to want to
3Sunbturr'g [a3Ita Z5a~. 91
go back to dear old England, and to see the towers and
turrets of Kenilworth Castle, where my dear father, Joshua
Pagnell, was gate-keeper, and at last Mrs. Bunbury, who
had noticed my dissatisfaction, said that she would part with
the baby, "For we could not part with you, Peggy," she
added, affectionately ; "for any little black child Only
wait till the master and I go into Cape Town, and we'll take
Chloe" (thus the baby had been named) "with us, and
try to get her admitted into an Orphanage."
I was very pleased to hear this, and actually gave the
baby an old china doll, which I found at the bottom of my
trunk, and which had belonged to me when I was a little
country girl.who played amidst the ruined halls and deserted
rooms of the famous Castle of Kenilworth. Chloe was very
pleased indeed with her pretty doll, which she took with her
to bed, and that very same night I, Peggy Pagnell, had a
I dreamt that I saw our Lord as the Good Shepherd
walking through a great wilderness-ab, me! it was a
wilderness indeed, with only here and there a spot of
green-and in His arms He carried a little lamb, whose
face I could not see. And lo, He turned to me, even to
me, Peggy Pagnell, and said, "Lovest thou Me ?" and I
promptly answered, Yea, Lord, Thou knowest that I love
Thee." Then He paused a moment, and, behold, He
placed His hand on the head of the lamb He carried,
and turned its face to me, and i saw with awe and
wonder that it was black, and as I looked upon the wee,
dark-faced creature, He said, "Feed My lamb," and pur-
92 Suitnury' 3SIard 3Babp.
sued His way over the wilderness to the fold which I dimly
saw in the distance, where hundreds of little lambs were
awaiting the black-faced one which He bore with patience,
with Divine, untiring tenderness, in His protecting arms.
Now, when I awoke from my sleep, which I did soon
after this dream, the moon was shining in through the
window full on the black baby, who slept in my room.
The moonlight fell on her little dark head, and on the
small dark hands which even in sleep grasped the valued
dollie, and a feeling of pity stole into my heart. Yes, for
the first time in my life, I thought of Chloe as a fatherless
and motherless lamb, instead of as a tiresome baby. I re-
membered that she had no dark-skinned father and mother
to kiss her small black face and to call her their Ijuba, their
Wild Dove, though she was only a baby, for her mother
slept under the aloe tree, and her father, so we thought, was
dead as well. But I, Peggy Pagnell, who was a woman
grown, a prim, old-fashioned, middle-aged woman, had
parents yet alive who loved me well, besides plenty of
brothers and sisters, aye, and of nephews and nieces too,
and I resolved to bear with the tiresome baby a little longer
for the sake of Him who said, Feed My lamb."
It was Christmas Day, Christmas Day in dear old England,
and the ivy leaves on Kenilworth Castle were all covered
with snow, which the black baby, when she first saw it,
called salt; for we were all of us back in my native place
again. Mr. Bunbury had sold his sheep farm, and left
8unlbury'.d 8Iadk 3May. 93
South Africa, and of course I accompanied him and
my mistress back to Kenilworth, in which little town he
purchased a pleasant country house called The Lindens,"
very near to the Castle. We had left behind the scorching
African sun, the mimosa thickets, the hundred strange sights
and creatures of that strange land; but we had not left behind
the black baby, not left behind little Chloe. No. Weggy, as
she called me, couldn't have come home and have left her
behind, for love wins love, and when the child began to love
me, because of my gift of the old China doll, I in my turn
began to be fond of her. And after a time she grew quite
teachable, and far less tiresome. 'Tis true that she showed
her affection in a very queer fashion, but still she did show
it, and I was pleased as well as amused when she did any-
thing wrong of which she repented. For instance, she
patted her little black arms with her own hands, and
exclaimed, Naughty, naughty Koe (Chloe) to geeve
(grieve) poor Weggy," and when she particularly desired to
show her affection she emptied the sugar basin into my cup,
a proof of affection with which I could well have dispensed,
as I don't like sweet coffee and tea.
Well, as I have said, she returned to Kenilworth with
us, and the country people called her "Bunbury's black
baby," but my father, who was fond of flowers called her a
"Dark Gillyflower" (Wallflower), and told me that if I dressed
her in something bright she would look quite pretty. So I
said to myself, Peggy Pagnell, -you must make Chloe look
pretty on Christmas Day. And so I did, and you shall hear
how I did it. Well, I bought two yards of scarlet merino,