* L t etC a / Al i-
The Baldrin Library
g 111l n:
THEP LITTLE, 'S1TEPHER1)FSS
WITH COLOURED ILL USTRATIONIS.
FREDERICK WARNE AND CO.,
BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.
CHILDREN OF SUNFLOWER FARM,
UNFLOWER FARM was one.
of the loveliest spots in Eng-
land. It was situated between South-
ampton and Romsey, and all round it
were rich pastures, hilly downs, com-
mons covered with ferns, and great old
coppices. The house stood upon a hill,
and from it you could see the tops of
the New Forest trees, and the blue
8 The Children of Sun/lower Farm.
line of the British Channel at Spithead.
It was a long and low dwelling with
many gables, and was covered to the
tall chimneys with creeping roses,
honeysuckle, and jessamine.
Mr. Grey's family had owned the land
for more than a hundred years, and had
always been greatly respected in the
neighbourhood. The farm had grown
gradually in extent, and was now flou-
rishing and well stocked. There was a
very fine orchard full of apple and pear-
trees, medlars and figs, and a kitchen
garden full of all kinds of vegetables.
In front of the farm was a large lawn,
with flower-beds on it, where all the
SThe Children of Sunflower Farm. 9
dear old-fashioned flowers grew; cab-
bage roses, gillyflowers, southernwood,
sweet williams and pinks and carnations
such as are rarely seen, for Mrs. Grey
loved flowers; besides, the bees needed
them, so they were useful as well as
beautiful. It was for the bees that two
great beds just under the windows, were
sown every year with mignonette only.
All round the outskirts of the grounds
grew quite a hedge of magnificent sun-
flowers, kept up in memory of the farm
having originally taken its name from
them, and also for the benefit of the
chickens, who grow fat on sunflower-
o1 The Children of S~;nfower Farm.
Mr. and Mrs. Grey had a large family,
-seven children; Nurse used to say,
" One for every working day, and one
for Sunday;" the one for Sunday being
little Johnnie, I suppose, who was the
youngest of the twins. These children
were, Ethel,-aged eleven, Helen, aged
ten, Jane nine, Freddy eight, Rose
seven, and the twins, John and Mary,
who were nearly six.
Of these Rose was the pet with every
one. She was a lovely child, with a very
sweet temper; so gentle and loving that
every creature on the farm was fond of
her. The animals all loved her. The
great collie dog was her faithful coni-
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 11
panion and friend; the chickens flocked
round her if she ran into the poultry-
yard; the pigeons fluttered down on her
shoulders; the cows and sheep knew
her and readily followed her call.
One evening, Rebecca the dairymaid,
carrying some butter to the village, found
Rose seated on an open gate, with a
wreath of wild flowers on her golden
hair, and a half-finished wreath in her
hands. The sheep were being driven
home through the gate, and one, which
was a great pet of Rose's, was trying to
jump up at her.
Eh, missie!" said Rebecca, "take
care ; that is not a very safe seat for you."
12 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
"Oh, I shan't fall," said little Rose.
"I am leaning against the tree, Becca;
and the sheep only shake the gate a very
"And how fine you have made your-
self, little missie," said the maid.
Yes; because I am the shepherdess,
you know," was the grave reply.
"Then you ought to have a crook,"
remarked the dairymaid.
"So I ought; I will ask Freddy to
make me one," she replied. And Freddy,
when asked, was only too delighted to
get a stick out of the hedge, which he
smoothed and whittled, for her little
hand, into a crook.
The Children of Sunflower Farm. I3
"And so you're going to have Miss
Winslow to stay with you," said Re-
becca: are you glad, missile ?"
I don't know," said Rose, shyly. "I
don't remember her very well, Becca,
and she won't care for a little girl like
me. She's older than Ethel."
"Yes, she must be grown a big girl
now," said Rebecca. "If she only grows
up as good as her ma was, she will
Did you know her mamma ? asked
"Yes, missie; I was at school when
she was a young lady, and I recollect
the' day when she was married, and we
14 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
schoolgirls threw flowers before her as
she came out of church."
Oh cried Rose, greatly surprised,
" I wish I had been there to do it, too."
Ah sighed Rebecca, she's gone
now where the flowers never die, poor
thing! and they say Miss Edith is not
strong and hearty."
Rose made no reply to this; she was
too much interested and attracted by the
sheep, which now ran by on their way
homewards. Rebecca stayed till all had
passed through the gate, and then she
insisted on lifting Rosie from it, and
taking her home before she went on her
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 15
The Miss Edith" of whom Rebecca
had spoken was the granddaughter .of
Mr. Nevil, a gentleman whose estate
bordered on the farm. Her mother had
been his only daughter and heiress, and
had married a London barrister. She
died when Edith Winslow was a baby,
and the child had been brought up by
servants and governesses. Her father
was a very clever man, and being anx-
ious that his daughter should learn
quickly, her governesses and masters
had consequently forced her on a little
too much. She had had five or six
hours' lessons a day, and only a daily
formal walk in Hyde Park or Kensing-
16 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
ton Gardens. Being delicate, her health
gave way, and her grandfather had
asked Mrs. Grey to have her on a visit
at the farm. There was no lady at the
Manor-the Squire also having lost his
wife-so he thought the child would be
better cared for by Mrs. Grey, and that
the society of the farm children, who
had been invited sometimes to play
with her when she was staying with
Mr. Nevil before, would be good for
\f A few days after that on which we
saw Rose seated on the gate, Miss
Winslow arrived at the farm. She was
a girl of about twelve years old, very
T/e Children of Sunflower Farm. 17
pale and thin, with rather an anxious
look on her youhg face.
She was accompanied by a very smart
lady's maid, dressed in the height of the
fashion of that day-now eighteen years
ago !-who looked very cross and dis-
contented. She was at once shown
Miss Winslow's room, where she took
off that young lady's travelling dress,
arranged her hair, and then began un-
packing her boxes and putting the
clothes in the lavender-scented drawers;
Edith looking on listlessly.
It is not a bad bed-room, Jones," she
said, glancing round her room, which
was a large one with two lattice windows,
18 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
through which the white roses were
nodding their lovely heads, and there
is a fresh sweet smell in it, isn't there?"
Jones gave a contemptuous sniff.
"I can't say I like the smell, Miss
Winslow," she said, "it's just a vulgar
"Why, Jones, it is the scent of roses
and lavender," said Edith, with sur-
"But there's a farmyard smell, too,
Miss Edith. I am sure I wish your
papa had sent us to the seaside,-
Brighton, for instance,-instead of to
this out-of-the-way place, where we
shall see nothing but cows."
The C/zildren of Szunflower Farm. 19
But we shall see grandpapa, Jones,"
was the reply.
I wonder we didn't go to the Manor
instead, then," said Jones, "for it would
be better than a farm, though it must
be awfully dull there. Indeed I heard
your papa say, one day, that Mr. Nevil
had trouble to get a butler, because he
doesn't go to town every year."
"Well, Jones," said Edith, "it won't
be worse for you than for me; I 'm sure
I shall hate it. Did you notice how
badly Mrs. Grey and her children are
"Yes, indeed," said Jones, with a toss
of her head, "I never saw such guys!
20 The Children of Szuflower Farm.
but there, Miss Edith, of course you
couldn't expect better. Why, Farmer
Grey will wear a smock frock."
The conversation was here interrupted
by Ethel, who came to say that dinner
was ready, and to take Miss Winslow
down with her. To Edith's surprise it
was only the children's dinner, and Mr.
and Mrs. Grey's luncheon; and Mr.
Grey, a very good-looking man, wore a
shooting-jacket, and not a smock frock.
Moreover, the dinner was very nice,
roast fowls and ham, and currant and
raspberry tart and cream. Edith was
hungry, too, from the exertion of her
journey, and ate a better dinner than she
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 2
had done for a long time. After dinner
they went into the drawing-room and
sat down quietly, as Mrs. Grey did not
like them to go out directly after dinner.
"In half an hour we may run about,"
explained Ethel, "and then perhaps you
would like to see the garden- "
"And our pets," interrupted Freddy,
a very pretty boy, who looked quite
like a little gentleman, Edith secretly
Have you left any pets in London?"
Only my canary," replied Edith.
"Oh, why didn't you bring it with
you? cried Rose.
22 Tze CGildren of Sunflower Farm.
"I don't care for it," said Edith in
her usual listless way, "it is a stupid
Dear me! and mine is so clever,"
said Helen: "he is so tame he will put
seeds on my lips,-because he wants to
please me, you know,-and last Christ-
mas he fed a poor robin through the bars
of his cage, when it was all snow out-
side. He knows everything I say to him."
"Does he?" said Edith, with indiffe-
rence, mine doesn't; but I don't care
for pets. One has no time for them,
you know," consequentially.
"No time!" said Freddy, "haven't
you any play-time ?"
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 23
Edith gave a superior smile. "I used
to play when I was a baby," she said,
"but now I have something else to do."
Her little listeners looked rather awed.
Then Ethel said, "What do you do every
day, Miss Winslow, when you are at
"I have breakfast," she replied (she
thought all she did was of importance),
"and then I read French with Made-
moiselle for half an hour; I practise
for an hour; then I have a lesson in
physical geography, and do sums and
read history; then we have luncheon,
and afterwards we walk in the Park or
Kensington Gardens till half-past three;
24 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
when we go to lessons again; I practise
another hour, and have a German lesson;
we have tea; after tea I learn lessons and
write exercises and do needlework."
Oh dear, how hard you work!" said
"And," continued Edith, "I learn
geology, and botany, and natural history,
and drawing, and dancing, besides what
-I have told you."
The young Greys gazed on her with
veneration, as a prodigy of learning.
"I suppose you don't learn much,"
No," replied Ethel, candidly, "no-
thing like you. But you will see what
The GCildren of Sunflowcr Farm. 25
we do. I am afraid," with a sigh, that
we are very ignorant."
"Oh, never mind," said Edith, con-
solingly, it won't matter for you, but
papa expects me to know everything."
And now the time had come for the
young people to go out. Edith said she
should like to go also, but that she could
not run, or walk, far; and Jane, who
had taken a great fancy to their guest,
said she would take care of Miss Win-
slow. The others all ran off to their
different amusements, while Edith and
Jane went to put on their hats and
Very soon they were walking about
26 The Children of Szuflower Farm.
the flower garden; but Edith soon
tired of looking, at the beds, and to
Jane's surprise did not know the names
of any flowers but roses and lilies, in
spite of her study of botany. By-and-
bye Edith said she should like to walk
somewhere else, and Jane proposed
going to see the chickens, but Edith
said she only liked them when they were
roasted! then the meadows were pro-
posed, but Edith was afraid of cows, and
she finally made Jane take her beyond
the farm; secretly hoping, we are afraid,
that she might meet people there who
would be struck by her fine dress.
Alas! the only person to be seen was
G I I T
GATIIERrNG THE Sl;OfS.
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 27
a ploughboy, who was picking sloes.
He turned, as he heard their footsteps
and voices, and touched his hat to Jane.
"Fine sloes, Miss Jane," he said,
"would 'ee like some of 'um?"
"Thank you very much, Sam," said
Jane, and she held out her little pink
print apron for them. "Won't you
have one?" she said to Edith. Edith
condescended to take one and taste it,
while Sam gave a handful to Jane.
"Ah!" said the visitor, after eating
one, "they are not nice: they have a
rough taste, not at all like those we get
at Covent Garden."
My! said Sam, "be London sloes
28 The Children of Sznflower Farmi.
so much better nor ourn, now, Miss ?"
gazing with wonder and admiration at
the London young lady.
"Oh, yes replied Edith, condescen-
dingly, "they are twice as large and
Why, they must be as good as airline
(Orleans) plums," said Sam.
And of these, in fact, Edith was
speaking, though she did not know it;
and she gave Sam quite a false impres-
sion of London fruit.
"Don't you think," suggested Jane,
as they walked on, that it is because
the London sloes grow in a garden, they
are so much better? Ours are wild."
Tlle Children of Szuijlower Farm. 29
"Perhaps; I don't know really, but
Covent Garden is a market, not a real
garden;" said Edith. "And what are you
going to do with those nasty things?"
"I am going to get Cook to let me
make a pudding of them," replied Jane,
"Can you make a pudding?" asked
Yes, I know how, but I can't do it
very well. Ethel can make a real apple
pudding, and a nice one too."
Edith was suddenly seized with a
desire to see a pudding made: she had
asked to be let see it done many times
at home, but could never get leave. So
30 The Childrcn of Sunfower Farm.
she begged Jane to let her help make
the pudding, and her little companion
willingly consented. And now it was
time to return home, as Edith was
rather tired. Near the hall-door they
met all the children, laughing and
merry. Rose had an egg in her little
hands, and at once hastened to tell
Edith that it was for her tea.
My own speckled hen laid it," she
Ethel had been gardening with Helen,
Freddy had been fishing for minnows
in the pond, and he added, I followed
a humble bee to its home afterwards,
and saw where it lived."
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 31
"That would be in its hive, of course."
said Edith, laughing.
"Oh, no! it was a carpenter or mason
bee, I am not sure which," said Freddy;
"but it is the bee that lines its nest with
curtains cut out of red poppy-leaves,
and it does not live in a hive; it is not
a hive-bee at all."
I never heard of such a bee," replied
Edith, rather scornfully; "it is not in
my Natural History book, I am sure."
"Well, it ought to be, then," said
Fred, sturdily, for it is in our coppice,
Tea was drunk in a sweet little bower
under a beech-tree; in fact, the bower
32 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
was formed by the great boughs, which
arched down till they touched the turf.
"What a beautiful oak! exclaimed
Edith, as they crept under the boughs.
"It is not an oak, it is a beech," said
Helen; and a very fine one, isn't it?"
Yes; but how did you know it was
a beech?" asked Edith.
"Because I know its trunk and its
leaves: one knows trees by their shape
and their leaves, you see."
"I have learnt all about trees in my
botany," said Edith; "but I don't know
them apart when I see them."
I will teach you all the trees, then,"
said Freddy, eagerly; "father showed
The Children of Snfzzozwer Farm. 33
them to me, and I know every tree
"No, Freddy," said Ethel, "indeed
you do not! there are many trees you
have never seen, dear; but you know
those on the farm."
I wonder," said Freddy, after a
pause, "that if you have learnt botinmy,
you don't know more about it."
I do know something about trees,"
she said; "do you know of what use
they are? "
Yes; to give us shade, and to build
ships and houses," replied Freddy, rea-
34 The C/ildren of Sunflower Farm.
More than that," said Edith, they
make the air we breathe sweet and good.
Their leaves have tiny mouths in them;
the upper ones drink in the air when
the sun shines, and the under mouths
on the inside of the leaf give us back
the good air, while the tree keeps the
bad air in it to make into wood."
"How very strange!" said Ethel,
"thank you for telling us. I never knew
that before. Do flowers do the same ?"
"Yes," said Edith, "while light is
on them, just as trees do; but when it
is dark they give back the bad air they
do not want. So flowers are good in
the daytime in one's room, but bad at
The C/ildren of Sunflower Farm. 35
night, and it is exactly the same with
"Then I will take away the flowers
in your bed-room to-night," said Rose,
nestling up to her guest.
"And you must learn the names of
the trees and flowers, now you see
them," said Freddy; "you shall tell us
what you know, and we will tell you
what we know."
This was an excellent plan, was it not?
If children, instead of laughing at each
other for not knowing things, were to
compare what they know separately, they
might learn a great deal from each other.
Before Edith went to bed that night
36 The Chilzdren of Sunflower Farm.
she was quite reconciled to her new
home, and liked her companions; but
Jones. came to undress her with a very
long, cross face.
It's a 'orrid place, Miss Winslow,"
she said, "the people are quite clod-
hoppers, not at all genteel. I never
thought to sit down in a room with
"Well," said Edith, a little crossly,
" I can't help it, Jones; it is not worse
for you than for me."
No, to be sure, that's what I say, it
is not worse for me, and if my young
lady can put up with it, well, I must of
course. I 'm sure such a contrast never
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 37
was seen, as between you and those
children; you so pretty and elegant, and
they so coarse and vulgar."
No, Jones," said Edith, candidly,
"they are not coarse or vulgar. I must
know, you see, and I like them very
well, poor things! "
Jones saw what she ought to say at
once. I am sure, Miss Winslow, you
are too good; so kind and considerate,
you who are so pretty and so clever,
and do everything well."
And these flattering words were the
last Edith heard that night, for she was
asleep when Jones came to bed in her
little adjoining closet.
38 The Childran of Sunflower Farm.
When Edith went down the next
morning, she found all the family as-
sembled for family prayers-all, at least,
except Jones, who chose to be engaged
in Edith's room. Mr. Grey read the
last thirteen verses of the twelfth chap-
ter of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans,
and then gave a few words of advice
to the children from it.
"These few verses," he said, "give
us perfect directions for making a happy
home. Love in which there is no pre-
tence, hatred of wicked words and ways,
kindly affections, and the very essence
of courtesy, 'in honour preferring one
another,' now, that is true politeness,
The Ckildren of Szu~floucer Farm. 39
Christian good breeding. Perhaps, my
children, you scarcely understand what
the words mean. I will try to explain
them: when you boast of your own
goodness or cleverness, and try to set
yourself above your companions, you
are not fulfilling this command, you are
'in honour preferring yourself" But if
you try to show your friends or com-
panions to the best advantage,-if you
study their feelings and are careful not
to hurt them in any way,-if you never
seek to exalt yourself at the expense of
others, but rather, honestly and without
flattery, to exalt them, you will be ful-
filling this apostolic command.
40 The Children of Sunzflower Far'm.
It includes also the daily courtesies
of life; the offering or giving the best
seat, the nicest fruit or cake, the book
we want to read, to others;- courtesies
which sometimes entail a little self-
denial. All these acts are 'in honour
preferring one another.' You see, it
forbids pride and rudeness, and teaches
kindness and meekness, and the habi-
tual exercise of self-denial. No proud
or selfish person can ever be ,truly
Then Mr. Grey read prayers, and the
children sang a morning hymn very
sweetly. Now, all this was quite new
to Edith, and it had the charm of novelty
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 41
for her young and really candid mind.
" Mademoiselle," her French governess,
was a Roman Catholic, and had pro-
mised Edith's father never to speak of
religion to her pupil. Mr. Winslow
was often from home, and could not
conveniently attend to family prayers
regularly. He took Edith to church
with him every Sunday, heard her say
her Catechism, and read a chapter; but
had no opportunity, as he thought, of
giving her any other religious instruc-
tion. Consequently, she was a good
deal struck by that which Mr. Grey
so simply gave to his family. Still
more so, when she found from Ethel
42 The Children of Sunlowuer Farm.
that they always tried, amongst them-
selves, to carry out the lesson of the
morning. Edith was amused at watch-
ing to see if they would do so that day,
she even determined to try their self-
denial! After breakfast they all went
out of doors for an hour, and walked
amongst the flowers, and trees. Rose
had a splendid Gloire de Dijon rose in
bloom in her flower-bed. She showed
it to them with great pride.
Rose is so fond of her roses," said
Jane, aside to Edith, that she never
gathers one if she can help it."
I will try her," thought Edith. So
she said at once,
The Children of Sunfower Farm. 43
"Oh, what a lovely scent these roses
have! how much I should like to have
The words were spoken to Jane, but
loud enough for Rose to hear. The little
girl looked grave for an instant; then
took up her garden scissors, cut off a
rose, with a slightly quivering lip, and
gave it to Edith, who took it with warm
and graceful thanks. Then they went
in to the daily lessons, which Edith was
to share. To her surprise the two elder
girls read English rather better than
she did, and answered questions in his-
tory more correctly. Edith was vexed
at this: she had begun by looking down
44 The Children of S.C: ,. ',:'cr Farm.
on "those country children," and she
was not prepared to own that they were
her superiors in anything. When French
reading came, however, matters were
reversed. Edith's accent was perfect,
and when she ceased reading, both the
girls exclaimed, "Oh, mamma! doesn't
Edith read French beautifully? ours
sounds so strange compared to it."
Mrs. Grey gave a smiling assent, but
did not add that it was no wonder, since
Edith lived habitually with a French
lady; and Edith, who was very clever
and observant, noticed this.
"Mrs. Grey is practising the text too,"
she thought, "why should not I ?"
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 45
And she instantly explained that she
spoke and read French all day at home
with mademoiselle, so of course she
could not help speaking it well. The
Greys smiled, and said she was very
good to excuse their deficiencies; and
Edith felt far happier at that moment
than she ever remembered feeling before.
She was destined to see still more of
the effects of Mr. Grey's morning text.
After dinner, Ethel, Helen, and
Freddy disappeared. They were not
gone out; that was forbidden; they were
in Ethel's bed-room, feeding a kitten!
Old Tabby, the cat, had the loveliest
kitten ever seen, all white, and with the
46 The Children of 5:. :1'.':. :. Farm.
sweetest little face imaginable. And
these three children delighted in feeding
it. They had tied a blue ribbon round
its neck, and were giving it milk from a
saucer, while Tabby stood looking on
quite anxiously, lest, not having her
experience, they should give kitty some-
thing not fit for her. In this moment
of enjoyment, Jane and Edith brought
a command to them to come down and
see Mrs. Bligh.
"Oh!" cried Freddy, "that horrid
old Mother Bligh! "
"Freddy!" whispered Helen, re-
member-'in honour prefer one an-
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 47
"But," pouted Freddy, I can't ho-
nour her, she's an old frump."
Freddy, you are rude and naughty,"
reproved Ethel. "We must go down
at once, only I wish we could have given
kitty the rest of the milk first," with a
"You surely might do that, at least,
before you go," said Edith.
Ethel shook her head. No, it would
be rude to keep her waiting."
"Who is this old lady who must not
be kept waiting ?" asked Edith, who had
met Jane in the upstairs passage, out-
side Ethel's door, and did not know
48 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
"Mrs. Bligh," said Jane, "was our
nurse when we were babies, and she
comes a long way to see us."
"An old nurse!" cried Edith, con-
temptuously; "the idea of leaving one's
play for her; she might have waited
long enough for me! "
But she could not wait long, for she
has only an hour before she leaves by
the train; but being in Romsey, she
wanted to see us all. And," with a
blush and smile, "we must remember
the text, you know,-' in honour prefer
"But one needn't honour that kind
of people," said Edith.
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 49
"The Bible does not say that any
people are to be left out of the com-
mand," answered Jane, simply. Then
she ran on, Edith following, and the
children were soon all assembled, to be
looked at and talked over by a very fat
snuffy-looking old woman, whom, how-
ever, they all treated with the greatest
courtesy; for the morning lesson had
said also, "Mind not high things; but
condescend to men of low estate."
Mrs. Bligh had a piece of cake and a
glass of wine, and then took her leave;
but there was no more time for playing
with kittens then. Ethel had to practise,
and Helen had to draw, and the children
50 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
to learn their lessons; for the day being
very warm, it was settled that they
were to walk after tea. Edith was not
obliged to do anything, it was her holi-
day; but she chose to try some duets
with Ethel, and found that her young
friend read music more easily than she
could, though Ethel had not nearly such
great execution. Edith asked her to
explain this fact.
"It is," Ethel said, "perhaps, because
mamma makes me read new music every
day, and teaches me thorough bass.
She says I have not time to practise
enough to get great. execution, which
she calls 'outside' music, but she likes
The Children of Sunflozer Farm. 5 1
me to understand it, and read it well.
She thinks it refines the taste, and is a
great source of pleasure."
"Why does not Helen practise?"
"She has no ear, and does not care
for music. Mamma says that it is only
natural tastes that should be cultivated."
They had a delightful evening walk.
Freddy taught Edith how to tell an oak
from a beech, an elm, or a maple, and
Ethel told her the names of some moths
"I think," said Edith, "it is easier
and pleasanter to study natural history
in the fields than in books."
52 The Ckzldren of Sunflower Farm.
But then you have learned much in
books which we do not know," said
"Ah, child," replied Miss Winslow,
" you are still practising your text! "
One day at the farm was very much
like another. A week passed by. Edith
was pleased and amused. She went to
see the cows milked, and had a nice cup
of warm milk given her; and one day she
fed the chickens with Rose, but she had a
sad fright, for the old turkey-cock came
up, saying "gobble gobble" to her, and
she fled away screaming for help. Rose,
who had gone in search of eggs, soon
came to her assistance, and drove the
The Children of Snflowecr Farm. 53
great bird away. Edith never dared go
near the poultry-yard again, though baby
Rose could make the turkey fly from her.
Mr. Nevil when he next saw his
grandchild was amazed at the improve-
ment in her appearance. He took her for
a drive "all by herself," and soon learned
from her chat how much good her resi-
dence at the farm was doing her. He
was especially struck by the children's
plan of taking a text to try and act on
in the course of the day.
If we all did the same, and carried
our plan out honestly, we might soon be
quite perfect. Tell me of some of your
texts," he said.
54 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
"The first day," replied Edith, "we
had 'in honour prefer one another,' and
Ethel added, 'condescend to men of low
estate.'" And she described how that
day had been spent.
Tell me some more of these texts,"
"'Bear ye one another's burdens,' was
one," replied Edith, and we all tried to
do so. Jones is always grumbling and
scolding about the farm being a vulgar
dull place, and saying that the children
are 'common;' well, that makes me angry
now, grandpapa, generally. But that
day I tried to remember that it was a
burden to her to be in the country, and
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 55
to have no friends to talk to, for I don't
think she will ever make friends at the
farm, though they are kind to her, so I
did not say, 'Oh, Jones don't tease so,'
or, 'How cross you are!' but I said, 'I
am sorry for you, Jones, and if you like
to go back to London, I will let you,
and get Miss Grey to show me how to
dress myself.' But, grandpapa, she was
so struck, I could see, by what I said!
and she became quite humble, and
begged me not to send her away, or you
would be angry with her. Ever since
she has seemed quite contented."
Mr. Nevil smiled. "And what did
the others do ?" he asked.
56 The Children of Szuflower farm.
Oh, we went for a walk, and Freddy
was tired, so we gave up going into the
hay-field to please him, and all went
home. And Ethel put by a book she
liked reading ever so much, to help
Rose do her sum; and Helen mended
Jane's torn dress for her, because Jane
"I see," said Mr. Nevil, "you all did
your best to lighten each others' burdens.
Well, the tired feet, the hard sum, the
rent to mend, were doubtless troubles
for little ones. The children who prac-
tise such virtues in their early years,
will without doubt be good to others as
they grow up. I am very much pleased,
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 57
also, with your treatment of your maid,
But the old gentleman secretly meant
to dismiss that maid as soon as he could
get her another place.
It was haymaking-time now, and the
farm was at its best. The children's
midsummer holidays had begun, and
they were all soon busy with tiny prongs
and rakes in the hay-field. How sweet
it was! how warm and fragrant and
pleasant! And how Edith enjoyed her
luncheon of cherries and bread and
butter, eaten on a haycock of her own
making! Even Jones was cheery and
good-tempered now; she saw that Mr.
58 The Ch/ldren of Szifjlozuer Farm.
Nevil visited the family, and she began
to think that she had made a mistake in
her opinion of them, for Jones was, as
you have seen, a very silly ignorant
woman, and those are the people who
think that only rich or titled persons
are gentlemen and ladies.
It was a glorious morning, not yet
midday, when the children seated them-
selves, with their little new rolls and
their basket of cherries, on an immense
hay-cock they had all made together.
While they were eating cherries and
laughing and talking, little Rose sud-
denly jumped up and ran to the gate.
She returned a minute or two afterwards,
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 59
leading a poor little ragged boy by the
hand. He was crying, and the tears
made a path down his two very dirty
cheeks; but he was a pretty child in
spite of that, or rather, he would have
been pretty if he had not been so pale
Please," said Rose, "give my share
of the cherries and my bread to this
little boy, Ethel. He was standing
crying at the gate, he is so hungry. Sit
down, little boy."
And she threw some hay down for a
seat near them, and gave the child her
own luncheon-fine white-heart cherries
and fresh bread. If you had seen how
60 The Children of Suzjflower Farym.
he ate them! The others would not,
however, let Rose go without her share
of luncheon, they all gave her a part of
their cherries, and there was plenty of
bread. When the boy had finished eat-
ing, he sat and stared at them, but did
not say Thank you," as he ought.
"What is your name, little boy?"
"Tommy," was the reply, rather
And where do you live ?"
I lives nowhere, I goes about."
"A tramp," said Edith, ina low voice.
"Where is your mother?" asked
The Children of Sunlozver Farm. 61
The boy pointed to the common.
"She's sitting down to rest with
baby; she's tired."
"And hungry, I daresay," whispered
Helen to Ethel; "shall we go and see
"If mother will let us," said the
eldest sister; "let us go and ask her."
They ran to the house, telling the boy
to wait till they came back, and asked
Mrs. Grey if they might go to see the
poor woman and take her some food.
"Norah shall go," said Mrs Grey,
" and you may go with her, but don't
hold or kiss the baby."
Norah was soon ready, with a basket
62 The Children oJ Sunflowcr Farm.
of meat, bread, and a bottle of fresh milk,
and they went back to the place where
they had left the boy. He was still
sitting on the hay.
Now show us where your mother
is," desired Norah, "we have something
for the creature."
Norah was an Irish girl, and had
great pity for those of her people who
came over from their own country to
get work in England.
The boy readily ran on before to show
them where his mother sat in the ferns
nursing her baby; she looked very pale
and tired. On Norah's questioning her,
she said her husband had gone on to
The Children of Szznjower Farm. 63
the farm, to get work if he could at the
"And I can work at it also myself,"
she said. Bridget, my biggest girl, is
with us, and she will take care of the
child. But just now she went away,
she and Tommy, to see if they could
find, maybe, a sloe, for the poor children
have had nothing to eat ever since
"Well, we've brought you the bite
and the sup now," said warm-hearted
Norah, so now ate away."
And she took the food from her
basket. The woman's eyes sparkled
64 The Children of Sunflower Farm.
Tommy, Tommy," she said, "run
and call Bridget."
And Tommy ran off, and soon re-
turned with a tall girl of thirteen, a
pretty decent-looking lassie with dark
blue eyes and bluish-black hair. The
poor family were warm in their thanks,
as the Irish ever are; and the children
and Norah left them to enjoy their
dinner, part of which was put aside for
"father." But Edith lingered a mo-
ment, and slipped half a crown into the
woman's hand. "Take this," she said,
"for the baby."
The woman could not thank her
enough, and Edith ran away with her
Tlie Children of Sz.flower Farm. 65
heart full of a new joy. She had never
given money in charity before: hitherto
she had spent her pocket-money on her
own fancies, or in buying trifles for
Mademoiselle. But never before had
she known the pleasure of giving to
those who need.
The Irishman found work in the hay-
fields, and his wife also; and they ob-
tained a shelter in the village for the
children. The little Greys bought, out
of their own money, flannel and cotton
for the poor things, and spent nearly all
their playtime in making clothes for baby
and Tommy, in which Edith helped,
adding as her share a nice cotton gown,
66 The Children of Szuflower Farm.
which she gave Jones to make, and a
shawl for Mrs. Murphy. She was so
much richer than the farm children, you
know, she could afford to be liberal.
Just as the haymaking was over Mr.
Nevil again visited his grandchild, who
was now a picture of blooming health.
He told her, he thought such good
children as they all were deserved a
treat, and that if Mrs. Grey would accept
his invitation, he meant to take them
all to an hotel at Southsea for a week.
You may imagine the delight of the
little Greys when they heard this news
from smiling Edith. Mrs. Grey ac-
cepted the invitation, and went with
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 67
them and Mr. Nevil three days after-
wards. Never did children enjoy them-
selves so much! Edith was delighted
to play hostess.
She secured, at once, a goat carriage
for the twins, and while they took a de-
lightful drive on the Common with their
mamma, Edith, Ethel, Jane, Helen,
Rose, and Freddy made a wonderful
collection of mussel-shells, &c., on the
While they were at the seaside their
daily texts were all from those referring
to the majesty and power of the Cre-
ator, and the children thus grew to listen
to the sound of the waves as to a voice
68 The Children of Sunflower IFarm.
which said, How great is GOD! HIow
mighty the Being who can set bounds
to the sea, and stop its great waves
with a mere barrier of sand or rocks! "
If the sand were to be taken away,"
said book-loving Edith, "the sea would
wash over the land; but the sand is
held in its place by a coarse strong
grass, which has roots very deep down
in it. I have read that there is a law to
prevent people pulling it up on the East
Coast of England, for when it is all up,
the sand flies over the towns, and the
sea washes away the shore."
How wonderful! How GOD uses
little things !" said Ethel.
The Children of Suzflower Farm. 69
Jones was better pleased with the gay
watering-place than she had been with
the farm; but Mr. Nevil having heard
from Edith of her discontent and rude
remarks on the Greys, dismissed her be-
fore they returned, having found her a
place with a lady; and Ethel promising
to show Edith how to dress herself,
Edith was glad to lose her grumbling at-
tendant, whose flattery no longer pleased
her; for she was learning a new lesson
at the farm, and grew to understand
how false all such exaggerated praise
They had another charming excursion
before they left Southsea. Mr. Grey
70 The Cidildren of Sufower Farmz.
hired two carriages, and they had a pic-
nic on Portsdown Hill. It was a lovely
day, and the drive was very pleasant.
As the carriage wound up the hill, the
children uttered exclamations of delight
at the scenery which gradually stretched
out before them. The villages of Hilsea
and Kingston, the towns of Portsea and
Portsmouth, the shining distant Spit-
head, with the glorious ships that decked
it with martial pomp, delighted them.
They rambled about on the downs,
and at length assembled on the hillside
to dinner. Wilmot, Mr. Nevil's butler,
and the footman brought out of a hamper
all kinds of good things, and they en-
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 71
joyed them doubly from the good appe-
tites the fresh air gave them. Of course
a gipsy came up, and asked to tell their
fortunes, but they all said they knew
quite enough about them already. How-
ever, they gave the poor woman some
meat and bread and sixpence, and she
went away pleased.
Then they went to look at the great
chalk-pit which was nearest to them,
and Rose put some pieces of it in her
pocket, "because," she said, "it was good
for her chickens."
Then Edith said she should like to
walk down the pretty shady lanes on
the other side of the hill, and they all
72 The Children7 of SzjfloWCer Farm.
set off, under Wilmot's care, as neither
Mrs. Grey nor Mr. Nevil cared for more
walking; and Freddy stayed with them.
The young people ran on merrily, and
at last were out of Wilmot's sight, for
he was rather stout, and walked slowly.
Edith and Ethel turned down a long,
narrow, tree-shaded lane, calling to the
others to follow them; but Helen, Jane,
and Rose were at that moment engaged
looking at a wonderful little butterfly,
and did not hear them, or notice which
way the two girls went; and on going
on they passed the entrance of the lane.
Meantime Edith and Ethel had walked
some distance down it, and wondered
Tke Children of Sunflower Farm. 73
the others had not come, but they ex-
pected to see them running up every
moment, and at last stood still to wait
At that instant there was a crash of
broken branches and bushes, and a man
sprang from the hedge right across their
path. He was a very bad-looking fellow.
He had a round bullet head, on which
was a battered hat; his clothes were all
dirty and torn, and he had a big stick in
his hand. His was a dreadful face!-
full of cruelty and wickedness. As soon
as they saw him they turned to run a-
way, but he made a great stride forward,
and seized Edith by her shoulder.
74 The Chzldren of Sunflower Farm.
No hurry," he growled; "you ain't
a-going till you've give me whatever tin
you've got about you. Young swells
like you don't have empty purses; so
What could they do? Edith produced
her purse, which her grandfather had
recently filled, and Ethel gave up hers
with two shillings in it.
"That's right," he growled. Just
hand over your watch, too, Miss," to
Now, that watch had been Edith's
mother's, and when her father gave it to
her, he told her never to part with it, and
she had promised she never would.
The Childrcn of Sunflowcr Farm. 75
"I can't give you that," she said,
courageously, I promised never to part
"Oh, won't you? Then I shall be
obliged to take it."
As he laid his hand on it, Ethel re-
covered her presence of mind; she had
been paralysed by fear, and had hitherto
stood motionless and silent, but now she
ran away at full speed, screaming loudly.
The fellow, afraid of help coming to
them, ran after her with his great stick
raised, telling her to stop or he would
knock her brains out; and in another
moment she would probably have been
killed, but just then a man sprang
76 The Czildren of Szunfozocr Farm.
through the hedge from the other side
of the lane, with a dog beside him, and
with one blow laid the robber on the
"Why, I 'm blessed if it ain't Miss
Grey! he exclaimed. Here, Brien,"
to the dog, hold him pointing to the
ruffian, who was slowly opening his
eyes with a dazed look.
The dog, a large Irish hound, at once
seized and held the fellow by the collar.
"Are ye hurt, Miss?" asked their
deliverer, whom they now recognized as
Pat Murphy, Tommy's father; are ye
No, thank you," gasped Ethel.
The Children of SZuflowcr TFarm. 77
Edith had now reached her side, and
asked the same question; then the Irish-
"Now, young ladies, we '11 leave
Brien to should the thafe till I call the
perlice; and I 'll take ye safe to your
And under this honest fellow's escort
they soon joined Wilmot, who had
grown very uneasy when the others came
back and said they could not find the
elder young ladies. They all went to-
gether to the village, and sent the police
to take up the robber and recover their
purses; and then Edith begged Murphy
to go back with them to the Mill-house,
78 The Chzild;'ren of Sunflower Farm.
where Mr. Nevil was, that he might
Murphy complied, rather because he
feared that Wilmot was not protection
enough for the little girls, than to get
rewarded. He explained as they went
along that the harvest at that place
began very early.
One or two wheat-fields must be
cut on the twenty-seventh of July," he
said, "or the land would be forfeited, so
many of my countrymen come here to
reap first; and, indade, I 'm afraid that
thafe may be one on 'em. There 's
good and bad of all people, ye know,
Miss, jewel. And, indade, it's all your
The Children of Sunflower Farm. 79
own kindness that's saved ye to-day,
for I wouldn't have been on the spot
but for all ye did for us. Fed us and
clothed us, ye did; and so when the
farm-work was over, we had the manes
to get to Portsmouth and out here, and
we was all so dacent that Farmer Smith
has hired me on for good and all, and
my woife has got a home over her head
at last. Brien is the master's dog, and
so, ye see, he and I came in time, all
along of your past kindness."
In their hearts the two girls acknow-
ledged humbly that God had indeed
rewarded their good deed fourfold, for
no doubt the robber would have killed
8o The Children of Sunzflower Farm.
them, so that they might not be able to
tell of him.
Mr. Nevil and Mrs. Grey were very
thankful to Murphy when they heard
the children's tale, and Mr. Nevil gave
him ten pounds, which was quite a
fortune to the Irishman.
"It's meself," he cried, delighted,
"that's the lucky man! Sure I shall
set up a farm of my own soon."
[I may as well say here that the
robber was tried at the assizes, and
that he was condemned to penal servi-
The Children of Suflozwer Fcarm. 81
tude-that is, to be a convict-for ten
years, which was a punishment that
he richly deserved.]
Edith remained at the farm another
month, and then her father came and
took her home. He was very grateful
to the Greys for their kindness, and
poor Edith nearly broke her heart at
leaving her playfellows and friends.
She was only consoled by being pro-
mised another visit to them the next
summer, and that Ethel should also
soon join her in London.
82 The ChildrCen of SulfloWzer Farzm.
For Mr. Winslow, charmed at the im-
provement in his daughter, had begged
Mrs. Grey as a great favour to let
Ethel stay with Edith for a year or
two, to share her masters and study
with her; and though Mrs. Grey knew
that she would sadly miss her "little
right hand," as she called Ethel, yet
the offer of such an education could
not wisely be refused; and it was with
the hope of having Ethel with her soon
that Edith departed.
She had learned a great deal of good
at Sunflower Farm. She understood
now that there is another mode of learn-
ing than from books written by men,
The Children of Siuifower Farm. 83
-even that gained from the book of
Nature;-that people who are not rich
or fashionable may be ladies ; and,
above all, that the way to live, so that
God may love us, is to seek with all
our hearts to do His will. Her daily
texts were perhaps the best thing Edith
took away with her from Sunflower
... ... __...
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