iip's g oart ) co ol
The Baldwm Library
The Baldwin Library I
ON THE HAZEL,
ON THE HAZEL.
AND OTHER STORIES.
WELLS GARDNER, DARTON, & Co.,
ON THE HAZEL,
"LETTER for Charlie What's the lad up to now,
I wonder, to be having folks writing to him of
all people! Can you tell who the letter's
from, Faith ?" and Farmer Flower handed the
document in question to his pretty daughter.
To be sure I can," was Faith's reply, but I shall not
tell you, father, till you have told me what day it is !"
"Wednesday," retorted the farmer, taking up the large
brown-handled carvers and beginning to cut a slice from
the great pink ham before him on the breakfast-table.
And what else ?" persisted Faith, coming round -from
her end of the table to bring her father's cup of tea.
Sandford's sale ? Is that what you mean, child ? But
I say, where's that fellow Charlie ? I must see him before
I go, and I must be sharp too, if I mean to have a good
look round at the beasts before all the ruck comes in!"
0 father how stupid you are this morning you have
not answered my question even now! "
Well! what am I to say ? I have told you all I can
think of, except that it is May 6th. . I've got it
now. Our Charlie's birthday! Bless the lad, how
stupid his old father is getting, to be sure To think now
2 On the Hazel.
how I should have forgotten that And he twenty years
old to-day! Dear, dear, my poor Mary's boy twenty years
old! How time flies Why next year we must have a
bit of a spree, Faith, clear out the old barn, and make the
fiddlers set all the young folks' feet a-dancing."
And the old ones too, father! and we will have tea in
the best parlour, and supper out here, and "-
Faith's brilliant imagination was checked by the clicking
of the farm-gate, and the sound of firm brisk steps coming
up the bricked path to the door, noises which caused her to
hasten out into the sunlit porch, to greet the advancing figure
of a young man with Many happy returns of the day "
The pair, as they stand in the porch, just within view of
the farmer at the kitchen-table, were a pleasant sight for a
father's eyes to rest on.
Charlie Flower is a fine young man. His well-knit
figure, his bright complexion and clear, grey eyes, his ready
smile and easy manners, make him a good specimen of the
young English yeoman.
So far for his outer man; does the inner go with it ? In
many points yes, for he is a good son, his father's right
hand in business, and in good report with his fellows, as
being upright, honest, capable, and having his eyes well
open to the time of day as regards farming matters. He
is openhanded too, like his father before him, and with a
buoyant, easy-going nature, likes to swim well on the top
of that treacherous wave, the good opinion of his neigh-
bours. Most treacherous indeed for all frail mortal barks
to trust to, and specially so for Charlie Flower ; for is not
self-love lurking within the hull of his boat, and vanity the
gay pennon that floats from his mast ? And how will the
craft breast the storms of life without the aid of those strong
seamen, "the love of God and Christian purpose ?."
Old Mrs. Brown, the farmer's housekeeper, used to say,
On the Hazel. 3
" I'd rather have Faith's simple yes or no any day, silly little
girl as she is, than all Charlie's fine words and protestations
put together." But then she was only an old countrywoman,
and what should she know of such matters ?
Faith has another earnest admirer, too, though he is one
who hardly ventures to place himself in that category; for is
not Faith Miss Flower, Farmer Flower's only daughter,
who will have money by and by, when the old farmer is
carried up to the churchyard? While he is only Harry
Upton, a bookseller's assistant now, and not long since an
errand boy, travelling hither and thither with the Medington
and Ingham papers, and cleaning out Mr. Esop's shop in the
market-place at Ingham. He and Charlie had been school-
mates and friends at the Hazelburn National School, and had
this boyish friendship been still in full force, matters might
have looked more hopeful; but the waywardness of life had
carried the lads in different directions, and their present
intercourse was mostly confined to an exchange of nods as
Charlie rode or drove through the town on market days.
He is a good, steady chap," Charlie gave out on one
occasion to his chums at the Bush."
"But he isn't quite up to the mark, is he, old fellow ? "
rejoined one of the company, adding with a laugh, Belongs
to the old women's tea-drinking business in Church Street,
and wouldn't show his nose inside the 'Bush' to save his
life. Well, every one to his own mind, I say "
Such was the judgment passed at the Bush," and
Charlie fell in with and echoed it, though, somehow, he did
not quite like to hear his old friend spoken of in that fashion.
But was this every one's opinion of Harry? What had his
master, Mr. Esop, to say of him ?
"As steady and trustworthy as old Time himself is my
errand boy, and that dark head of his holds as good a set of
brains as you would find anywhere. Why he can keep the
4 On tihe Hazel.
books now and take stock as well as I can myself. There's
no late hours with him, no drinking about at public-houses
of an evening, but just a quiet sensible hour or two at the
Reading Room, or a good walk out into the country to get a
breath of fresh air, or a bit of fishing in the Hazel."
The afternoon of Charlie's birthday bid fair to be as lovely
as the morning. The sunbeams crept in at the window be-
tween the young vine leaves to mock at stay-at-homes, and
the birds were shouting a chorus of praise of the spring
and sunshine to the Giver of all good things.
Going to Medington, father ?" asked Faith, as she
followed him out to the gate and stroked the soft nose of
Dapple, the old grey mare, while the farmer took his seat
in the gig and picked up his reins.
Ay, lass, that I be! I promised the parson as how I
would go over to old Sharp the lawyer about that bothering
"Then Betty must keep house this afternoon, as it is
much too beautiful to stay at home, and I have a lot of things
to do in Ingham. Don't be surprised if I am a bit late."
Faith stopped many a time on her way, sometimes to pick
a pale, dainty anemone, or a frond of young fern, just uncurl-
ing, sometimes to listen to the birds, or to watch a shy rabbit
whisking away into a hole at sight of her and Tip. Tip was
too staid and well-trained a dog to condescend to notice
rabbits, or else that expedition through the woods might have
been a sore temptation to him. So Faith's walk to Ingham
took more time than she had expected, and she was glad to
think she had told the farmer not to expect her back to tea.
It left her free to accept the invitation from Mrs. James, the
chemist's wife, to come in and join their evening meal before
she started on her way home, and Mrs. James had so much
to say over and after the cup of tea, that the sun was getting
low when she said good-bye.
On tze Hazel. 5
Faith was not, however, to have a solitary walk, for
!Harry Upton had seen her as she went from one shop to
:another, and had noticed her come out of Mrs. James's door,
which was just opposite Mr. Esop's, and turn np Church
Street on her homeward path. He had hoped that she would
have wanted some book or paper, that would have brought-
her to their shop; he longed for the pleasure of a few words
with her, and a very disappointed pair of eyes followed her
*as she went up the street. He quite started at Mr. Esop's
v woice, the moment after.
"Upton, are you inclined for a walk this fine evening ?
I have a parcel for Mr. Jeune at Hazelburn, and I don't
'want to send the boy out again."
There was a sly twinkle in the old man's eye, that told
Ihe had read the meaning of Harry's wistful look, which his
;apprentice might have seen, had he not been in too great a
'hurry to notice anything.
I'll look to the closing of the shop and all that," said
:the kind-hearted little bookseller, "so you can go as soon
:as you like, and tell Mr. Jeune if you see him."
Bless the lad!" exclaimed the old man, as he leant
against the counter chuckling till he set himself a coughing,
for the message to Mr. Jeune was left' behind, and Harry was
already out of sight.
He soon overtook Faith, but being hot and out of breath,
'he felt awkward and embarrassed, as is often the way when
one wishes to appear at one's best.
'After the first greeting the two walked on side by side
"in the mossy path, Harry, poor silly fellow, feeling that
'those beedhwoods were little short of paradise.
Faith found her tongue first.
"You don't often come to Hazelburn now, Harry," she
"Nol" -said Harry, "I can't very often get an out."
'6 -On the Hazel..
"And when you do, you never come near the old farm!"
There's no chance of seeing you," answered Harry,
you're always so busy with one thing and another, and
the farmer don't care to see me, that's plain enough, so it
ain't no use my coming to the farm."
"Well, you see," Faith said, apologetically, "father has
so much to do just now."
"No, it ain't that. I know I'm not a jolly sort .of chap,
that can come in and have a glass, and crack a joke over
it. And besides that, he can't help .seeing what I've got
in my heart."
Faith interrupted quickly, feeling that the conversation
was growing dangerous when it turned on hearts-" You
and Charlie used to be such friends."
And so we are still as far as I am concerned, but poor
Harry Upton putting up Mr. Esop's shutters ain't a fit
friend for young Mr. Flower."
Harry spoke rather bitterly. In Faith's presence the
inferiority of his position pressed hard on him, and was very
difficult to bear.
The colour rushed into the girl's face. That's not fair
of you, Harry Upton, Charlie is not at all the sort of person
to throw over old friends because they may not be well to
do in the world. You can't say that of him."
"No, nor I won't, and I don't believe it's for that reason
we see less of each other. We have never been so thick
since I took the pledge, though I don't see why that should
stand between us. I do wish Charlie would have don6 it
along with me, he was very near it, you know."
Perhaps he doesn't need it," said Faith with a little
toss of her head; "if folks can keep steady without it, I
don't see what'good it is."
"I think he would have found it a help."
Perhaps he doesn't want help."
On the Hazel. 7
Faith," said Harry, ." you'll be vexed with what I am
going to say, but I can't help it. I think Charlie does
want it. I've heard from one and another that he's more
at the Bush' than is good for him, and has some friends
there that he'd better be without."
Faith's eyes were bright and her cheeks warm. It's
not like you, Harry Upton, to listen to spiteful gossip
against our Charlie. Folks are always backbiting and mak-
ing mischief, and I wish they'd mind their own business."
There now, I've made you angry with me," said Harry
despondingly, and it's only because I'm fond of Charlie,
and couldn't bear to hear folks say things against him, that
I made up my mind to tell you what I heard."
Then I can tell you that it's quite untrue," declared
Faith very decidedly, more decidedly than she could have
spoken, if she had thought it over.
I'm glad and thankful to hear you say so, and I'm
only sorry I should have flurried you by saying a word
about it. You know I'd sooner cut off my right hand than
There was an unmistakable earnestness in his voice that
did much to take away the girl's indignation, but she was
not going quite to let the young man off.
I must say, you don't make yourself very agreeable,
I'm so sorry, Faith; won't you forgive me ?"
Silence, they say, gives consent, so we may suppose
that Harry was forgiven, as Faith made no reply. There
was a pause for a minute by the stile, and then Harry
summoned up his courage and began. Faith, I'm a poor
fellow, not good enough for you to put your little foot on.
I have nothing to offer you, except an honest heart full of
love to you, and I know that the farmer would not hear of
me for a son-in-law, as I am anyhow. But if I thought
8 On the Hazel.
that you cared the least little bit for me, I'd work early and
late, year after year, and never lose hope or patience, till I
got to be the very happiest fellow in the World."
Silence again, except for the nightingale; and Faith's
face was in shadow, so Harry could read nothing there.
"I must make haste home," she said at last in a voice
that trembled, and as he helped her over the stile and held
her hand in his, she added in a whisper, touched perhaps
by the wistful look in his eyes, I think I do like you just
a little bit, Harry."
FOR long days after that magical May evening, doubts
and fears found no hearing, in Harry Upton's heart, but as
time went on, the poor young fellow sometimes desponded
when he thought how long it might be before he could win
a position worthy to be shared by Faith, and how likely it
was, how almost certain, that another would in the meantime
carry away the prize. Those few last whispered words by
the stile seemed but a weak anchor to stay hold by, and he
sometimes doubted if he had not altogether misunderstood
their meaning, and flattered himself with a hope that had no
So when he saw young Deanly from Medington, whose
father was a big timber merchant there, walking home
with Faith on Sunday, a rosebud in his coat which Harry's
jealous eye knew at a glance had grown on the bush by the
porch at the Croft, or when he noticed Martin Crawley's cob,
whose owner had a good farm of his own, fastened to the
On the Hazel. 9
railings outside the farm on summer evenings, Harry would
go back to Ingham miserable and restless, his heart full of
jealous misgivings and bitter discontent.
There was always plenty to do at the Croft, but June
with its hay-making was a specially busy month. Faith had
not much time for thinking, she would say (as one could not
think unless one were idle), but Harry sometimes crept into
her head as she made up the golden pats of butter or sent
out the great cool cans of cider to the mowers, and then a
dimple would come into her cheek and a light into her eye
that were not provoked by butter or cider either.
Father was often late in coming home in those days, and
Charlie too, for the hay-making was early this year, and
there was a splendid crop and right royal weather for making
it, if only it would last.
One evening, the old farmer made his appearance in high
displeasure, startling Faith out of a day-dream in the porch
by a roughness of language which he generally restrained
before his little daughter. Charlie, too, who came in with
him, seemed equally angry and indignant, so that it was some
time before she could make out what was amiss. Her father
prided himself on having the best set of mowers that could
be found anywhere about Hazelburn. "I gives good
wages," he would say, and expects good work." So he
was all the more indignant when he found that three of the
best men whom he was just going to set on to mow the
twenty-acre meadow by the river, the best of all his grass,
had gone off to work for Squire Smith up at the Hall.
"He don't give no beer, but there's lemonade and tea
and all sorts of messes going on from morning to night, and
no end of victuals besides, and he's fool enough to pay the
lazy hounds by the day instead of by the acre, and a pretty
long job they'll make of it, he may be sure, and serve him
right, say I, for bribing off another man's men."
(23x) A 2
S10 On the Hazel.
But the twenty-acre" left unmown was a terrible worry
to the old farmer, and he fretted over it.
"By Jove he said, if I was a younger man I'd do it
myself. Ay you may smile, Faith, but I could mow with
the best of them twenty years ago."
Charlie listened in silence to his father's grumblings, and
Faith almost blamed him for want of sympathy, and felt
quite vexed with him when he went yawning up to bed as
soon as supper was done.
It haunted her even in her dreams till she woke with a
start, for some one was calling her name very gently.
It was very early morning, and she heard that minute
the old wheezy, eight-day clock on the stairs strike two.
It was still quite dark, the short sweet June night held its
sway, and not even the most wakeful bird had begun to stir
in the ivy or chirp a good morning from its nest.
Faith, Faith repeated the voice at the door.
"What is it, Charlie?"
There, now, don't make a row. I want you to let me
Where are you going ?"
"Never you mind after no mischief."
She rose up, threw something round her, and opened the
door, and in the dim light saw Charlie's great strong figure
Come on," he whispered. "Don't wake father, I've no
time to lose."
They stole down the stairs into the kitchen, where Tip,
though roused up from his sleep before the hearth, at a
whisper from Faith lay down again with a peaceful wag
of the tail.
Faith asked no more questions, but when she saw Charlie
catch up a whet-stone that lay on the dresser, a light dawned
on her and she gave a little cry, The twenty-acre, Charlie!"
On the Hazel. 11
Hush up !" he said, yes, that's it."
"You ain't ever going to do it all alone "
"No, I ain't, but I don't know what father would say to
"Is it Johnson ?"
"Not he! I wouldn't have one of those chaps at any
price. No, it's Jack Dance, he's a boy to work when he's
a mind, but father's so set against him ever since there was
that row with the keepers. There, I can't stay, or Dance
will think I'm skulking work, and am off my bargain. Shut
up the door, and be off to bed again, and keep father about
as late as you can in the morning, for the later he is the
more we'll have got done."
"I wish I was a man," the girl said to herself as he left,
"to go out and mow with Charlie.; and to think that I should
have fancied that he did not care and was sleepy and selfish
last night! and to think that Harry Upton should have
said things against him !"
Charlie was a hero in those days, you may be sure. Be-
fore Faith was dressed in the morning (and that was early
enough) Betty burst into her room open-mouthed and breath-
less with a great many-" well I nevers" and "who'd
a-thoughts! before she came to the wonderful news, that
"young master was a-mowing down twenty-acre along of
Faith had to have all her wits about her to prevent the
farmer from hearing of it then and there, and could hardly
hold her tongue when he asked where that lazy fellow
Charlie was," and added that "he didn't use to be such a
lie-a-bed when he was a youngster;" but she was amply
repaid for her self-control, when the old father went grumb-
ling out to have a look round. At the orchard gate he
stopped and glanced across to the twenty-acre by the river,
and then he gave a sudden exclamation and rubbed his eyes
12 On the Hazel.
as if the sun dazzled them. Faith laughed softly to herself,
and coming forward slipped one of her little hands under her
father's arm, and led him across the intervening field, teasing
him softly as she went.
Where's that lazy fellow, Charlie, eh, father ? You
didn't use to be such a lie-a-bed when you were young, did
you now ?"
The farmer was, as he expressed it, dumb-founded; and
when he came to the twenty-acre and saw the goodly piece
that was down in thick swathes, and the'two strong, young
fellows with their scythes going like clockwork, his feelings
were almost beyond expression.
That mowing of the twenty-acre was a feather in Charlie's
cap that he wore for many a day, and was a story that
lasted the farmer for many a market-day. Faith was proud
of the feat, and so were the farm men and the Hazelburn
folk and Charlie's numerous friends. Harry Upton even
heard of it in Mr. Esop's shop, and was glad for his old
friend's sake, and still more for Faith's. But bright as those
days were, Faith always dated from them the beginning
of the troubles that came afterwards, for it was then that
Charlie and Jack Dance were thrown together, and it was
through Jack Dance that Charlie knew Lawrence Garth.
Jack was another old schoolfellow of Charlie's, but since
those days-their paths lay apart, and Jack's soon took a
downward direction. He fell into drinking habits, and was
strongly suspected of poaching.
He had also become intimate with a low, sporting set at
Medington, and attended most of the race meetings within
reach. Farmer Flower had a special dislike to him, but on
this occasion he did not say a word to Charlie about the
mate he had chosen, and when the twenty-acre was down, he
clapped Jack on the shoulder, with a hearty "Well done, lad,"
and offered to set him on another job, if he liked to take it.
On the Hazel. 13
As for Charlie, he was delighted with Dance. "He's
first-rate company, Faith, and he's seen a deal of life. Oh,
yes, he may be low, but he makes a fellow laugh with his
stories till his sides ache. I'd as soon smoke a pipe with
Jack Dance, as with any chap I know."
Medington races were coming on, and the farmer was
vexed to find Charlie full of them, and bent upon going.
It was a busy time, and he could ill be spared, but after the
grand feat of the twenty-acre, his father had not the heart
to object, and when he was a lad, he liked a jaunt to the
races as well as any one.
Martin Crawley was going, and he called for Charlie on
his way, and drove him in his dog-cart, but in the evening,
as Faith was on her way to the village on an errand, she
met Martin Crawley coming back alone, and he told her in
a surly, offended way that Charlie would not come back
with him. He had fallen in with a lot of friends, and one
of them would give him a lift home.
This was a great vexation to Faith, and the farmer, too,
who, when his supper and pipe were done, went grumbling
up to bed.
Faith sat alone in the kitchen waiting for her brother.
It was very quiet, only the ticking of the old eight-day clock
on the stairs to be heard, together with the soft fall of the
wood ashes on the hearth, and the chirping of the cricket on
the warm bricks. Tip came and laid his head on the girl's
lap, as she sat on her little stool, and she stroked his shaggy
ears, or bent down her soft cheek to rest on his head.
The clock struck eleven and twelve, and yet Charlie did
not come, but at last Tip suddenly pricked his ears and
gave a low growl, and Faith started to her feet.
Hush, Tip she said, it's only Charlie."
But Tip was excited, and bristling, and sniffed at the
door in a suspicious manner, so that Faith grew fearful,
14 On the Hazel.
and, when a tap came at the door, she opened it very
cautiously and peeped out.
"It's you, Charlie, isn't it ? "
But the dark figure standing in the porch was not
Charlie, and Faith gave a little start of terror, and Tip an
irrepressible growl, as they recognized Jack Dance.
Hullo there he said, is the master to bed ? Oh.!
it's Miss Faith. Beg pardon, miss."
"What is it?" she asked anxiously. "Where's Charlie?"
Jack jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "He be
coming on, but lookee here, miss," and he peered behind
her into the dimly-lighted kitchen, is the master to bed ?"
"Yes," she said, "this long time. What's the matter ? "
Then just you go too, miss, if I may make so bold.
It's all right, there ain't nothing wrong, but I'll see the
young master up to bed."
Faith got more and more frightened and puzzled. I
don't understand," she said. Where's Charlie ?"
Don't trouble your head about him, Miss Faith, best
leave him to me. He'll be all right to-morrow, and no one
need be the wiser." He put his hand on her arm roughly,
but Lot rudely, to turn her towards the stairs, and suddenly
the meaning of it flashed on her mind, Charlie was the
worse for drink; she shrank away from Jack's touch, and,
covering her face with her hands, sank down for a second
in bitter shame and grief.
Then hearing the sound of the stumbling, unsteady foot-
steps in the porch, her courage failed her, and she fled to
her own room, throwing herself on her knees by the bed,
hiding her face in the clothes, to stifle the passionate sobs
that burst from her, and as she knelt there she heard the
name Lawrence Garth" repeated several times over by
Charlie's unsteady voice in the next room.
On the Hazel. 15
THIS new friend of Charlie's, whose name Faith first heard
in such misery that June night, took up his abode, some six
weeks later, at the Jolly Angler," where he .was soon in
high favour with Mrs. Alford, its bustling hostess, who pro-
nounced him to be quite the gentleman, and as she had
been housekeeper in very high families, she was generally
allowed to be an authority on such points.
"I should have liked to have had him stop here,"
Charlie said to Faith, "but he is used to things being done
very differently to what we have them, and I should not
like to ask him to rough it like we do. And I say, Faith,
I wish you would not be always slaving about so, just like
a servant. I'm sure there's no need for it. Why don't
you make Betty do more of the work ?"
But this was too much for Faith; she tossed her pretty
head and tucked up her sleeves above the dimpled elbows,
and said, "that if Mr. Garth was too fine to take them as
they were, he had better keep away."
But when he had once been to the farm, he seemed to
have no intention of keeping away, and if he was not used
to things being done as they were there, he did not appear
to object to the change, and he had the good taste to
Admire Faith quite as much in the dairy with her dress
tucked up under her big apron and her little feet clacketing
about in pattens, as in her neat afternoon dress, which she
put on earlier in the day than usual now, in consequence of
Lawrence Garth's eyes followed her about with such
evident admiration, that even Betty giggled meaningly, and
the old farmer pinched his little daughter's ear and talked
of sparks" and "smart young beaux."
16 On the Hazel.
You must not think that Faith was untrue to Harry Upton,
because she was flattered by Lawrence Garth's attentions.
She was only a girl after all, just eighteen, and he was a clever
man, and knew how to please her without alarming her.
He had read and travelled a good deal, and could talk of
many things that interested and amused her, of which even
Harry Upton knew nothing, and yet Lawrence Garth never
treated her as if she were ignorant or uneducated. So never
a day passed without Lawrence Garth coming to the farm,
and Faith always felt and looked pleased to see him.
The farmer was the one who cared least about his visitor,
though he joked Faith about him. He was so bluff and
downright himself, that he got impatient of the fine manners
that impressed Charlie and Faith so much. Still, any_
friend of Charlie's was always welcome, and if Faith was
pleased so much the better, though for his part something a
bit plainer was more to his taste.
Faith's pleasure was not, however, to be long lived, as a
whisper soon reached her of how the visitor at the "Jolly
Angler had been talking of Farmer Flower's pretty daughter
somewhat too freely, and of the nice little fortune, she wbuld
have by and by. After this she did not look so kindly on
Mr. Garth as before; she even began to think that his refined
manners were put on, and that after all he was not half as
agreeable as Harry Upton. She did not feel sure either
that Lawrence Garth's influence was good for Charlie,
since he was nearly always late home at night now from
smoking at the "Jolly Angler," or playing billiards at the
"Bush" in Ingham, and when Faith crept down to let him
in, he was either noisy and excited, or stupid and surly.
Once again too, since the Medington races, Dance brought
him home quite unfit to take care of himself. Faith could
have forgiven that first fall, though Charlie never could be
quite the same to her again afterwards, but the experiences
On the Hazel. 17
of every night now added to the sickening disgust that
changes love and esteem into sorrowful pity.
"Faith," Charlie said one morning, "have you any
money? I'm awfully short, and I don't want to ask the
Faith produced her little silk purse. The butter money
was her property, and the proceeds of the poultry-yard too,
so she had generally a little hoard to buy what the farmer
called gimcracks" with.
"I'll pay you when I get my money," Charlie went on,
"how much can you let me have ? I owe Garth a lot."
Oh, billiards, of course. You don't suppose fellows
play for nothing! I call it a shame to keep one so short as
I am, it makes a fellow look so small not to be able to pay
up little debts, and these are debts of honour, you know."
"Why don't you ask father ?"
"I have once, and I don't like to do it again. Is this all
you can give me? It's not half enough. Can't you coax
father out of some more ? Say you want a new gown, or a
bonnet, or something ? "
Faith turned and looked at her brother in surprise; he
laughed it off. "Of course I was joking, but can't you
manage to scratch up a little more, for I really am in a fix
and don't know where to turn ?"
Faith gave him all she had by her, but only two days
after he came to her again. He had been horridly unlucky
at the Bush last night. Garth, too, was short of money,
and had not received some remittances he expected from
London, so he had asked Charlie if he could make it con-
venient to pay the trifle he owed, "and I had no idea,
Faith, how much it was till he showed me the paper."
Go to father, Charlie," Faith said very gravely.
I tell you I can't. He don't like Garth overmuch
18 On the Hazel.
now, and he's likely enough to turn crusty on him, if he
knows about this, and it would make it horridly unpleasant
for me. Faith, I do wish you would be a little pleasanter
to Garth when he comes here. You liked him well enough
at first, and now you'll hardly look at him."
"I'm sure I'm always civil to him, what more does he
"Well, he was speaking about it the other day, and he
said he had offended you somehow, but he didn't know how;
and Faith-I think if you would be a little pleasant, he
would let the money stand over a bit."
The blood was burning in Faith's cheeks now. "So
much for your nice friend!" she said indignantly. "I'll
try and get the money for you, Charlie, if I can; but I'm
not to be bought that way."
She got some money for Charlie that afternoon by col-
lecting some butter money that was due to her, and meet-
ing Garth on her way home she passed him with a hurried
word, and a face that was so tell-tale, that he could read in
it plainly the aversion that was growing in the girl's heart
for this false friend of her brother.
Do you know what it is to sit up at night waiting for any
one ? If so, it will not be difficult to you to picture Faith
in the old farm kitchen, as the autumn days shortened and
the nights grew longer. Alone with sad thoughts of
Charlie's changing behaviour, and starting nervously at
every crack in the old farm furniture, and every unexplained
noise in the house. It would not be half so dismal out by
the gate, in the quiet night, with the stars for company; so
On the Hazel. 9
ran her thoughts, and with a soft Come along, Tip," she
opened the door and went lightly down the path.
How still it all was! nothing to break the silence, but
the soft flutter of a dropping leaf, or the occasional stamp
of a sleepy horse in the stable! Yes! but there was
another noise now surely! and a footstep too, not a bit like
Charlie's, but stealthy, coming across the rick-yard. Tip
had heard it too, and had dashed through the gate with an
angry growl, which brought a low exclamation in a man's
voice, most certainly not Charlie's, of Lie down, you brute,
can't you." The speaker moved closer to the gate, and now
Faith could hear the crackling of the straw and twigs as
they gave way beneath his feet.
"Who's there ?" she faltered, and the step stopped short.
From the shadow of the nearest rick a dark figure
advanced in answer to her call, and Lawrence Garth's voice
exclaimed, Miss Flower you up at this time of night! "
Yes," she answered eagerly, where's Charlie ?"
Charlie how should I know! Isn't he at home? "
"No," Faith faltered, the wish to screen her brother
quickly coming to her. "What brings you here ?" she
added; "is anything wrong?"
Lawrence Garth was close to her now, and even in the
darkness she was conscious of something strange in his
dress and manner.
Yes !" he answered hurriedly. A great deal is wrong,
I'm afraid. Fire at the Hall! and all hands wanted up
there to help. Are any of your men hereabouts ? "
"Only Reuben; but I will wake him and father, and do
you rouse the men in the cottages at the bottom of the
lane," she cried back to him, as she ran back to the house.
"There must be some mistake, child," exclaimed the
Farmer, as he hurried out at the porch some twenty minutes
later; "it can't be fire! there's not a sign of it anywhere
20 On the Hazel.
in the sky, but I'll step up to the Hall, and see if ought's
amiss there, and you'd best come too, Reuben. Where's
Charlie ? Gone on before, eh ? "
Where indeed! Faith was thankful that the flickering
candle-light did not betray her tell-tale face to her father,
and that his hasty departure prevented his wanting an
answer to his question, or noticing that she had not been
It was a relief to bustle about and light the kitchen fire,
and try to forget Charlie's absence in wonders about the fire,
and hopes that he might be in before the farmer's return.
But these hopes were not to be gratified. In less than half
an hour Farmer Flower and his man were back, the former
grumbling at having been roused for nothing,-" leastways
nothing that neither of us could help about. The Hall has
been broken into, yes! but the thieves had got clear off
before we came.
"Fire! bless you! there wasn't a sniff about the place,
and I felt a regular old gabey up there. Where could that
fellow Garth have got hold of the idea ?-and why on earth
come bustling up here ?-There, let's get to bed again, child!
-we can't do nothing to help catch the rogues, that's
pretty clear, and I only hope there's not so much gone as
they think. The blackguards can't have got far, that's one
But the next day showed that "the blackguards" had
got far enough off not to be traced, and also, that they had
taken a quantity of valuable jewellery belonging to the
Squire's lady. Suspicion pointed to the servants, but then
most of them had long been in the Squire's employ; still,
who save those on the premises could have known where
these valuables were kept?
All the walls and sign-posts in the neighbourhood were
soon alive with notices of The robbery at Hazelburn Hall,"
On the Hazel. 21
and ;0oo reward to any one who will bring imformation-
to the Police Station at Medington."
But as the days passed on, and no new light was thrown
on the matter, public interest began to die out, and even
'the fact that the matter was in the hands of the authorities
in Scotland Yard ceased to be thought and talked of.
Charlie was more at home than he had been earlier in
the autumn, and though this cheered and comforted Faith,
still somehow something was wrong with him-what, she
could not say. Lawrence Garth had left the neighbourhood,
and to be quit of his attentions to herself, and to know that
Charlie was not with him, was an approach to rest. Faith's
mind was not easy regarding this young man. What was he
doing in the rick-yard on the night of the Hall robbery ?
why was he so odd in his manner ? and why had he gone off
without one word of good-bye to any one ? Did she, could
she be so base as to fancy he was in any way mixed up
with the affair? By and by, however, it appeared that
she was not the only person to suspect him, and it was
whispered about that the authorities in Scotland Yard had
their eye on the young man known as Lawrence Garth, or
at least would have had their eye on him if he had not un-
"You cannot touch pitch without being defiled," is such
a trite saying, that one almost hesitates to quote it; but it
held good at Hazelburn, for, from talking of Lawrence Garth,
folks fell to talking of those who had been with him of late,
more especially of that fellow Jack Dance, and the old
farmer's son, Charlie Flower.
22 On tIe Hazel.
" PLEAS 'm, Cowslip's calf come last night. Reuben have
put them both into the shed down in the twenty-acre, as
being more handy, than driving of 'em both up here."
"Very well, Betty; then I suppose, since they cannot
come up here, I must go there to see them."
So in the afternoon Faith crossed the orchard and fields
to the old shed standing in the twenty-acre, which Charlie
and Jack Dance had worked so hard in that dewy morning
in June last. Cowslip lowed a soft welcome, when she
heard her mistress's approaching footsteps, and the interview
between them and the introduction to the new calf were
satisfactory to all parties.
So, too, was the survey of the shed as a nursery, and
Faith was raising the latch to pass out, when she noticed a
heap in the further corner. Stepping across, she found it
was nothing but dried leaves and bracken, and she was
again turning to leave when her eye was caught by some-
thing white among the litter, and hardly knowing why she
did so, she stooped to see what it was. Paper ? No, linen !
-a handkerchief. How strange! it could not belong to
any of the farm men or Reuben, as they always had red
and blue spotted ones, nor to Betty, or Charlie, or father!
She would have known theirs anywhere! Drawing it forth,
from its folds there fell at her feet a leather jewel-case.
A jewel-case in the old shed in the twenty-acre! How
could it have come there? Picking it up her glance fell
on the letters, E. J. S., and with the glance there shot
through her mind the memory of some of the words in
the advertisement of the Hall robbery: "A purple morocco
jewel case, with E. J. S. embossed in gold on it, containing
a diamond and emerald bracelet."
On the Hazel. 23
How very strange! what could it all mean ? The jewel-
case here The thieves must have been here might even
now be watching her! With a terrified glance round into
the dark corners of the shed she dropped both case and
handkerchief again on the heap, and pushing the leaves
over them, made her way out of the shed. Once in the
open air again she set off running as fast as she could, with
a constant feeling that she heard hurrying steps behind her,
"Why, Faith, wherever are you going, charging along
at that pace ? It's a good thing I'm pretty firm on my legs,
or you'd have bowled me over altogether! "
Faith's progress through the orchard had been a headlong
one, and the turn of the path round the ricks in the yard
had landed her right in Charlie's arms, to which for the
first moment she could only hold on fast and gasp out a
few unconnected words.
"0 Charlie! is that you? Oh, I am so glad! You
will call Reuben or some one this very minute, and go down
to the shed, won't you? for I've found it down there,
"Found what? Here, child, do wait a bit till you've
got your breath. I suppose whatever you have found
won't run away till you've told a fellow what it is. It
must be something very awful, for you look as white and as
skeered as if you had seen a ghost."
"Oh, don't laugh at me, Charlie, for I am dreadfully
frightened. I've found," and here Faith involuntarily looked
round and lowered her voice, I've found the jewel-case !"
The jewel-case, Mrs. Smith's case with the bracelet!
Whatever do you mean ? Where ?"
"Down in the shed in the twenty-acre."
Charlie's face was ashen white, whiter even than Faith's
24 On the Hazel.
with all her terror, and his voice sounded strange and
unnatural. What were you down there for ?"
"I went to see Cowslip and her calf, and there-but
Charlie, Charlie, what is it? what is the matter?" for
Charlie had her firmly by the arm.
"Hush!" he said; "don't say a word about this to
any one. I must try and think it over. Oh, what a
miserable fool I've been! and I don't know how to cope
with that villain, and I've no one to give me a. word of
"Charlie! dear old Charlie, let me help you."
You! child! I've given you trouble enough already.
Are the things covered up, so that that oaf of a Reuben
won't see them ?"
"Then don't say any more about it. Most likely they'll
be gone to-morrow, and you must try and forget all about
it, if you can."
"Not tell father! Oh, I must!"
"No! promise me! you will, you must promise to keep
it quiet, at any rate for the present, till I give you leave to
speak. I can't tell you what depends on your silence," and
he held her tight as if he would compel her to obey him.
"But if any one else should find it! what could I say?
I'm quite sure it is all wrong to keep quiet."
"Everything is wrong," said Charlie gloomily; "and I
don't see how it can ever get right again, and if you go
and make a fuss, it will bring I don't know what all about
my ears, ay, and father's, too, for that matter."
Faith thought she could never forget the look of Charlie's
face a few days later, when he came in between the lights
and told her that Jack Dance had been taken up for the
Hall robbery, and Lawrence Garth was wanted.
"He is a regular practised hand, the men from London
On the Hazel. 25
say, and it is not the first time he has slipped through
their fingers. They made sure they had him yesterday
evening, as he had been seen about the place during the
day; but he was one too many for them after all. That poor
fellow Jack, his tool, is taken, you see. There are others
they say in the village that the police have an eye on."
Faith did not think much of Charlie's words at first, but
they came back with startling clearness to her mind, when
no brother was forthcoming one morning, and Betty came
rushing in to say that "his bed had not been slept in, and
that his drawers were open, and part of his clothes gone."
Whatever do it all mean, dearie ? There's men asking
for orders, and the master off to the fair, and so I run up to
see what the young master were about, so long in bed, and
he never been in it."
So through Betty and the farm lads, Charlie's mysterious
disappearance was a well-known fact in Hazelburn before
the afternoon, and though none in the village would have
said in so many words that Charlie Flower had had a hand
in the Hall burglary, still there were mysterious looks and
-shrugs, till it was the received opinion, that he knew more
about it than he liked to say, and that he had gone off to
be out of the way of awkward questions.
The next morning was Sunday, and Faith said she had a
headache and would not go to church. Indeed, she looked
very ill, with dark circles round her eyes, and a languor and
weakness that she could not conceal. She would not let
her father or Betty stop at home with her, for would.not the
absence of both be quickly noted, and set cruel gossiping
tongues talking ?
She could not rest in the house herself, she wandered
into the garden, there for the first time in her life shrinking
from an approaching step-Harry Upton's.
"You frightened me, Harry," the girl gasped, and then
26 On the Hazel.
she made a great effort to recover herself, and tried to smile
and force herself to say something of the weather and of not
being quite well, but her quivering lips betrayed her trouble,
and the next minute both her hands were clasped in the
young fellow's, and he was saying, Faith, let me help you !"
She would have wrenched her hands from his grasp and
have got away, but she was so giddy that she could scarcely
stand; she had to sit down on a felled tree.
"Let me help you," he still pleaded.
She shook her head. "You can't."
If any one in the world can, I can, for no one loves
you like me."
Still no response.
Is it Charlie, Faith, that you're fretting about ? Faith
started and put up her hand to stop him, looking round with
Hush! she said, don't speak of him. It might be
"Faith," said Harry, eagerly regaining possession of her
small cold hands, "I think I could find him if I tried. He
told me that night, don't you remember ? when the Hall
was robbed "-
That night," she interrupted, not that night."
"Yes, he was with me then till very late. He was tell-
ing me of his suspicions of that scoundrel Garth, and of
how he meant to break loose from him, if he could pay off
what he owed him."
He said so ?"
"Yes, that very night, and I'm as sure of it as that I
I cannot understand," said Faith, passing her hands
over her eyes, as if to sweep away mists from before them,
" but folks are saying that Charlie had a hand in it."
"In what ? In the burglary ? and you believed it for a
On the Hazel. 27
moment of Charlie ? He spoke fiercely, looking indignantly
down at Faith.
"Yes," she said miserably, "and he is my brother, and it
has broken my heart."
His anger was all gone then, or at any rate all turned
against Garth, and there was nothing but the tenderest love
and pity in his heart for his unhappy darling. Somehow
from that moment the heaviest burden was gone from the
girl's heart, and the despair melted away in the tears that
rained down, as she sobbed out all the bitter story.
"What am I to do ?" Faith ended. I must tell some
one about the jewel-case "
Of course you must. I will go at once to the police,
and it may lead to the settling Mr. Lawrence Garth's
business in no time."
"But suppose Charlie were really mixed up in it ?"
Suppose that the moon should fall out of the sky."
"But Charlie told me not to say a word till he gave
"I don't think Charlie was wise about that, and I think
it's easier to think him foolish than wicked, don't you, Faith ?
It is all out of your hands now, child, and you must just go
home and let Betty nurse you till we bring Charlie home."
"I CAN'T quite say to-day, Mr. Flower, about Miss Faith,"
-was the doctor's verdict, but I am afraid she is in for a touch
of fever. She has been fretting of late, Betty tells me; she
has had a cold too, and been listening to all the stupid
gossip. I hope it won't be much, but her temperature is
28 On tLe Hazel.
too high to-day, so you and Betty here must keep her as
quiet as possible. Don't let her see any one at all till I
have been again, and give her only milk and beef-tea.
You'll be able to send over this afternoon for some medicine."
The doctor's prohibition against seeing people was not
taken off for a month, and neither was the farmer nor Betty
allowed to tell Faith of what had been doing in the
matter of the Hall Robbery. Once the farmer forgot him-
self, and the little doctor was in a rage.
"If you wish to have your daughter about with you again
soon, you really must put a padlock on that mouth of yours,
Mr. Flower. What's the use of my medicine and Betty's
care, if you will upset it all by talking ? "
"But if she asks me about things what am I to say ?"
"Bless the man! why can't you just put her off? Say
there's nothing fresh,, and change the subject; and if you
can't do that keep out of the room altogether."
Down stairs, out of hearing of that little room where
Faith was lying, much was talked of, specially Charlie's
defection, and the farmer learned from Harry Upton of the
conversation he and Charlie had had on the night of the
robbery, and of Charlie's desire to mend his ways if he
could. "I've more than half a mind," he said, "to take a
leaf out of your book, Harry, and turn abstainer! "
Ah! did he say that now ?" said the farmer. "But
how do that help us to find him, lad ?"
Wait a bit, I'm coming to that. He said, Charlie
did, I'.ve a mind to cut the whole business and go off and
The farmer started, and Harry went on quickly, "I
persuaded him out of that, you may be sure, and then he
said, there was some one he knew in London, a brother
I think he said, of Mr. Giles, the bailiff, up at the Hall.
' He's one of your sort, Harry,' he said, laughing (for he
On the Hazel. 29
was always chaffing about the Temperance business), and
he'd put me in the way of getting something to do.' I
remembered him very well, for I'd seen him with Mr. Jeune
once, and I know he's a good sort of man. Well! we went
on talking ever so long, till it was so late I persuaded him
to stop where he was that night, so he had my bed, and I
made shift with the sofa in the sitting-room. Charlie, he
plucked up heart a bit and said, perhaps after all he needn't
go away, as he shouldn't like to vex you."
"Ay! ay !" said the old man, "a good lad to his father
he always was !"
"Then came the robbery and all the talk about it, and
I thought no more about Charlie and our conversation, till
I heard he was Li;--,-,, and then it all came back to
me. I'll go up to-morrow to Mr. Giles and get his
brother's address in town, and I won't rest till I've found
Charlie. Trust my word for it, farmer, I'll bring him
A LARGE, double white hyacinth was filling the best parlour
at the farm with fragrance one afternoon in January, and
Faith's canary in the window was shrill in its welcome to
the New Year's sun that looked in, and the sweetness and
sunshine and song were all very pleasant to Faith, as she
lay back in the large arm-chair by the fire, wrapped up in
shawls, and with the screen drawn closely round to keep off
every breath of draught. There was not much more colour
in her cheeks than in the waxen bells of the hyacinth, for
this was the first day she had come downstairs since hecr
illness, and she was still very weak and fragile. But strong
30 On the Hazel.
or weak she was bound to be with the family, for this was
a great day at the farm.
Don't let her get over excited or tired," said Dr. Brooke,
and the farmer tried his very best to restrain his own excite-
ment, and to appear quiet and composed, though it was as
much as he could do to resist jumping up every minute, to
go to the door or look out at the window.
Tea was spread out on the table, in all the glory of the
best china and the. silver teapot, and Betty was busy pre-
paring a certain hot cake, as he always had a fancy for,
from a baby, bless him! "
Tip was as fidgetty and expectant as the farmer, and
:after settling himself down at Faith's feet, with his nose
between his front paws, and a sigh of satisfaction one
moment, would start up the next, with pricked ears, and
'eyes watching the door with eager attention.
That bird of yours, my pretty, do make such a clatter,"
said the farmer, "there's no-ah! there he is! "
No mistake this time, the wheels were coming up the
road, and almost before they stopped, there was a quick step
on the brick path, that the farmer would have known among
a thousand, and then, two strong young hands were grasping
his, and he could not see Charlie, for his eyes were dim, and
he could hardly hear his words, for his heart was singing so
loud a hymn of thanksgiving.
When Charlie saw Faith's little white face he nearly
broke down altogether, but Tip's frantic leaps of joy and
sympathy happily diverted attention from him.
They were all better in a few minutes, and then Charlie
said, We've forgotten all about Upton, I declare! and the
farmer went out to find him.
I do not think Faith had forgotten him, whatever the
others might have done, and Harry was richly repaid for the
slight disappointment he had felt as he waited outside, by
On the Hazel. 31
the farmer's hearty words as he brought him in, I'm grow-
ing old, Harry, and I think another son won't come amiss."
Faith's cheeks were flushed a faint sweet red, as he put
her little wasted hand into Harry's, adding, God bless you,
my lad, be good to my little maid."
I do not think there was a happier young fellow than
Harry Upton that day by the Hazel, or by any other river
in the world.
From the peaceful scene of reunion and happiness at the
Croft Farm, it 'is necessary to turn back a little, as there
are other characters to take leave of besides the farmer and
Charlie, Faith and Harry Upton.
The news of the recovery of the jewel-case was, at the
request of the police, kept as quiet as possible, as they said
the same hands that put it in the shed would probably want
the handling of it again before long, or if the little game
their owner was after, was to implicate Charlie Flower, some
further steps would be certainly taken in the course of a
few days. Watching and waiting do wonders, and the police
in this case had not long to exercise either.
Dusk was becoming darkness about ten days after Faith
fell ill, and the man appointed to watch the shed was
stretching himself, and thinking he should not be sorry when
his comrade came to take his place, when round the corner
of the shed a rough countryman appeared, and looking
cautiously round advanced to the door. With a swift step
the watcher was at the shed, the door closed, and Lawrence
Garth was at last in the hands of justice. To think that
we should have him at last," said the Scotland Yard man:
" why, we have had our eyes on him for ever so many jobs,
and this won't be the first time as he has seen what
Portland is like."
It was a great trial to Charlie to have to appear at the
32 On Mte Hazel.
Spring Assizes as a witness against his former friend and
companion, but it really did more to set him right in public
opinion than anything else. It was necessary that all should
be brought to the light now.
As Harry had said, Charlie had been wanting in wisdom.
Garth had obtained such power over him, that though he
had once or twice got an insight into his real character, he
had found it almost impossible to throw off his influence.
His debt to Garth over billiards at the "Bush," and card-
playing, held him, too, in a vice, which only tightened as
he struggled to get clear.
Then came the affair of the burglary, and instead of facing
suspicion, in the strength of his innocence, Charlie foolishly
ran away, to be recalled happily by his old friend Harry
The end is soon told. Garth was in for a long sentence,
Dance for a shorter one, and Charlie went back to his
quiet home, a sadder but a wiser man, feeling that there
are certain pleasures which carry a sting with them, notably
gambling and drinking, and bad companions, who, though
they may tell a'story well and be ready with a joke, are
deficient in honour and even honesty.
... v -
"ONE TAKEN, THE OTHER
iwT was about half-past one o'clock in the day
when two travellers might have been seen
riding down the rugged Perriah Pass, accom-
panied by a Tier servant, and one or two dogs.
The Pass is very wild and beautiful, winding through dark
rocks overshadowed by gigantic ferns and drooping mosses,
their summits clothed with stately trees, flinging their
gnarled and knotted branches up to heaven, as if struggling
to disengage themselves from the embraces of the luxuriant
creepers that wreath their living chains about them. Every
now and then you come to some turn or opening in the
road, from which you can see hundreds of feet below you,
over hill and hollow, dense with the wildest jungle. There
is a stillness over the whole scene very striking to the
lonely wanderer, making him realise, more readily than in
"the crowded mart and busy street," the presence of an
Invisible yet Omnipresent God. The only sound that strikes
upon the ear is the hooting of the monkeys as they leap
from branch to branch, startled at the presence of man, or
the shrill trumpeting of the wild elephant from the depths
of the forest.
The Pass, however, presented a melancholy aspect to the
two men who were slowly descending it, for the dark
clouds that had been louring all the morning were now
pouring down in rain, veiling with thick white mist the
2 One taken, the Olier left.
fair beauties of the scene. The large drops fell on and
from the branches with a deafening noise; long before the
rain actually fell the sound of it might have been heard,
rolling over the valleys, rustling among the trees, warning
the inhabitants of the forest to seek a refuge from its
coming wrath. Above the noise of the rain was heard the
rolling of thunder, echoing from hill to hill, following the
forked lightning that lit up the darkness of the valleys
and played upon the craggy rocks; every now and then a
sharp crash burst forth as if a thunderbolt had fallen. In
those wild scenes thunder seems as if it were, what they of
old used to call it, the voice of God.
The travellers hastened on until they found shelter beneath
an overshadowing rock which stretched across the road. The
water gullied past them, for it had worn for itself a hollow
channel in the solid stone, leaving the nook in which they
had taken refuge dry and secure from the pelting of the
rain. They had another enemy to encounter, however;
myriads of leeches, revelling in the moisture of the ground,
jerked themselves from stone to stone, and fastened on to
every living thing that came in their way. The legs of the
dogs and ponies were streaming with blood from their
attacks, and the native servant was almost in as bad a
plight. This minor misery was forgotten, however, in a far
more serious one. One of the men seemed in great agony *
he was the elder of the two, an East Indian, of about thirty
years of age, while his companion was apparently by five
or six years his junior.
"Good heavens, Kennedy, I believe I've got the cholera,"
he said, as a spasm of pain more acute than ordinary seized
him; "have you got any mixture with you? "
No, that I haven't," he replied; "I left it in the basket
with the coolies; but there must be some brandy in the
One taken, the Other left. 3
"For mercy's sake, get me something," he gasped.
Kennedy called to the boy for brandy. "Here, you
Ramah, brandy, quick. Tennant Sahib is very ill."
The boy hastened to unpack the little box where they
had put up the few provisions they needed for the road.
but, to his consternation, he found no bottle there.
"Brandy no got, Sahib," he said; "I put in my own
self. Think Madras cook boy take it."
"You scoundrel 1" was Kennedy's angry reply; "I
don't believe you ever put it up. I've a great mind to give
you a thrashing."
"I did, sir; true word I put it up. Boy come to
this box afterwards. I don't know what for;"-and the
man's distress was so unfeigned that his master was forced
to believe him.
"Brandy, brandy-for goodness' sake, give me something
for this horrible pain," shrieked the sick man. It was in
vain; they had nothing to give him but a draught of water,
and this he gulped down eagerly. In half an hour or so
he felt a little better, and his companion, fearing they
should be overtaken by night in the jungle, asked him to
make an effort to continue the journey. He and Ramah
lifted him on the pony, and so, one supporting the sick
man and the other leading the tat, they contrived to travel
slowly down the steep declivity; Kennedy, taking off the
bridle from his own beast, drove it before them down the
ghaut.. They were obliged to stop and rest many times
on the way, for Tennant was very ill, and could scarcely
bear the movement of the pony.' Their intention had been
to get to Canote that night, but the idea was hopeless;
they almost despaired of reaching Nuddy Brinjal. As
they rested by the road, Ramah asked Kennedy what he
meant to do-"Why, get to the bungalow, to be sure;-
if we can," he added with a groan.
4 One taken, lte Other left.
To, Nuddy Brinjal ? Master mustn't stop there!
Tennant Sahib will die suppose he go there!" exclaimed
the Tier with a shudder.
Why, what's the matter with you, you fool ? What's
amiss at Nuddy Brinjal, I should like to know ? he asked
fiercely; "isn't it better than this jungle ? "
Master not know; there's a devil there,"-and the
man looked round as if he dreaded that the fiend might
"A devil ? What do you mean ?"
"Oh yes, Sahib," he said, "there is a devil in that bun-
galow." And he went on to tell the overseer a wild tale,
how that some poor lady travelling alone with two gentle-
men had stopped at that bungalow, and was overtaken there
with sudden illness, and no doctor at hand. He said how
that her agony was awful, and in her shrieks she cried out
that a devil was carrying her away;-that the natives all
ran away terrified by her cries, and last of all, the two
Sahibs, unable to bear it. any longer, had mounted their
horses and ridden to Manantoddy for aid. Whether they
were delayed or benighted he did not know, but they did
not return until the next day, and when they went into the
bungalow they found her dead. Ever since then, he said,
a devil had haunted it, and they who went there went to
The man's tale, suggestive as it was of some dark deed
of sin and sorrow, had its effect upon his master, and the
superstitious terror of the Tier began to infect him also.
"But, boy, if this poor fellow reaches it alive, it will be
more than I expect, but we must put up there to-night."
And they went on, through the dreary rain, down the
slippery rocks, through the dark, dark jungle, until they
reached the foot of the ghaut. Here, on one side of the
road, a steep path led up to the haunted bungalow. It
One taken, the Other left. 5
was a wretched-looking place enough; half concealed be-
neath the drooping bamboos, its ragged thatch blackened
and soaked with rain, the rank foliage growing close to the
house, it looked no fit abode for man. Whether owing to
the tradition that was associated with it, or to the natural
unhealthiness of the spot and the badness of the water, few
travellers cared to stop at Nuddy Brinjal. Its solitude was
so little disturbed that the monkeys lived upon the trees
close by, eating the guavas that grew in the compound, and
awakening the echoes of the half-deserted dwelling with
their hooting. Kennedy and his boy tried in vain to obtain
assistance; no one was to be found, and a solitary peasant,
who caught sight of them, hurried away to give warning to
the few people who lived near, that two men had come up
to the bungalow, one very ill-he thought it must be with
cholera-and that they had better keep away.
It did not require much art to open. the broken doors,
and to take away the wooden shutters from the window
places. The light was waning fast, and they could only
just see to drag a bedstead from the wall into the middle
of the room, and to lay the sick man on it. Two or three
broken chairs and a table constituted the whole furniture of
the room. The partition wall inside was falling to decay, and
the plaster was stained and streaked with damp and dirt.
Kennedy saw Ramah cowering in a corner of the
verandah, and he ordered him to gather up some sticks and
make a fire there. The man sulkily set about it; he was
stupefied with terror and fatigue, and it was long before he
got the damp fuel ablaze. When he did so, the thick smoke
poured into the bungalow, and they were obliged to put the
fire out again. The Tier proposed that he should go and
see if the coolies and cook boy were coming; they were to
have started an hour after their masters left, and ought to
have been on their way. Without waiting for an answer,
6 One taken, tze Other left.
he hurried away, and left his master alone with the dying
man. The darkness increased rapidly, and as Kennedy sat
by the side of the bed, listening to the groans and agony
of his friend, he thought of what Ramah had said, and a
horrible fear came upon him.
The rain and thick mist penetrated every corner of the
ruined bungalow, and it seemed to shake beneath the angry
thunder. Now a blue flash of lightning would shew him
for an instant the writhing features of the poor wretch in
his death agony, and then it would leave all in darkness
that could be felt.
The cold sweat stood upon the young fellow's forehead,
and poured down his face; he felt as if he should go mad
if he had to bear it long; and then he thought of Tennant,
and he knew he had been a bad, fierce man, one who had
mocked God in the days of his strength, and now he thought
that God was mocking him, now that anguish and distress
had come upon him. And Kennedy would have comforted
him, but he knew not what to say. Once he had thought
of God, but of late years he had only taken His holy name
into his mouth to swear by. He had lived with Tennant
for a long time. They had both been employed on the
roads together, and far away from church or clergyman, they
had thrown aside their Bibles, and lived worse lives than
the heathen around them. But the man's agony went to
0 Tennant! can't you remember one prayer ?" he said.
The answer was a smothered curse. In that dreadful
hour what time was there for repentance, what time for
turning to the God he had despised throughout a life-time ?
He had reached the limit of his span; there was no time
to undo the whole work of his life.
"Think of the Lord," Kennedy said. Oh, perhaps the
Lord may hear you now."
One taken, the Other left. 7
There was no answer. He could not see his face; he
longed now for the lightning flash, but it did not come.
The fierceness of the storm had died away, and the rain fell
heavily and sullenly. He put out his hand and felt the
face of the wretched man; the chill of death was creeping
over the deserted body; he was dead; where was the soul ?
It was fled to give an account to its Maker for the deeds
done in the body. Was it gone to its eternal punishment ?
Kennedy sat still by the bedside, alone in the awful
presence of the dead, alone in the black darkness, alone
in the horrible silence. The cold sweat broke out upon his
face, and he would have gone outside, but he felt as if he
could not move; he could have fancied the evil spirit Ramah
had spoken of held him to his chair. And then the thoughts
that he had banished for years crowded on his mind. He
could not choose, but think Death, Hell, Eternity !
These words rang in his ears, were whispered at his heart,
flashed before his eyes in letters of fire, and he could not
drive them away. And then came the remembrance of his
evil deeds, his sins of years past, his wilful hardness of
heart, his stifled conscience, and he could not bear it. He
burst forth into a loud wail of sorrow, one mighty cry for
mercy, and falling on his knees by the side of the dead, he
How long this great agony lasted he did not know.
When he came to himself the dawn was creeping into the
chamber of death, and to his horror he saw something
crouching in the corner of the room nearest to the bed,
peering into the dead man's face. He started up, and the
thing sprang with a bound to the top of the broken wall,
and, jibbering hideously, found its way into the roof. It
was a monkey, who had. apparently sought its customary
refuge from the storm, and, urged by curiosity, had come to
look upon the face of the dead.
8 One taken, the Other left.
The day came at last, but it brought no comfort. The
rain still poured down remorselessly, and the light showed
him nothing but his late companion a stiff and silent corpse.
Faint and exhausted, Kennedy turned away from the dread-
ful sight, and went into the verandah. He looked in vain
for his servants and the coolies,-none were to be seen.
He did not like to leave the body; he could not bear the
thought of the monkeys coming back if he went away, but
at last, after waiting hour upon hour, he went down to a
hut he had observed, not far from the bungalow; but it
was in vain; there was no one there. Ramah had been
there before him on the previous night, trying to induce its
inhabitants to give him help; but when they ascertained
that the sick man's disease was cholera, they went away
into the jungles for a mile or more in that pouring rain
and darkness, dreading no foe so much as that.
So Kennedy went back again, but the exertion had done
him good. As he came near, he heard what he thought
were voices in the bungalow, and his heart leaped within
him, as he hastened into the room, but at his approach
there was a rush, and jibber, and a loud whoop of alarm,
and a troop of monkeys ran leaping and springing from the
What was he to do ? It was horrible. He would -have
tried to dig a grave himself, but he had nothing to dig
with. Again he went into the verandah and sat down,
and buried his face in his hand. Oh that God would
send him aid! Scarcely had the thought passed through
his heart, than he heard the sound of horses' hoofs, and
the voice of a fellow-man. He looked up, almost dreading
to find it to be a dream,-but it was no dream.
The rider galloped up to him, followed by two or three
servants, and he recognized with inexpressible thankfulness
the well-known face of Henry Thorpe, the assistant engineer.
One taken, the Other left. 9
Thank God, you are come," he said, and burst into
"Why, Kennedy, what is the matter ? Mr. Thorpe
asked anxiously, as he jumped off his pony. Are you
ill ? Why, goodness me, what change has come over you,
He might well ask. Frank Kennedy looked years older
since that dreadful night; men do not undergo such agony
as he had suffered without showing some external signs of
it. He could not answer. He turned away his head to
hide the scalding tears, but he could not stop the welling
tide; he was utterly unmanned, and cried like a child.
Henry saw there was something terribly amiss, so he made
him sit down, and waited until he grew calm. At length.
Kennedy got out the words, "Tennant is dead."
Dead ? exclaimed the other; "when ? and where ?
Why, I heard only yesterday that you were both well and
hearty, and on your way to Tellicherry. Is it really true ?
Where is he ?"
Mr. Thorpe looked much shocked,-he knew the life
Tennant had been living, and he knew he was not fit to
Kennedy got up and signed to Thorpe to go inside the
room; he went in alone, for Frank made no effort to
accompany him. When Henry came back his face was
very pale, and he leant his head for a few moments against
one of the pillars of the verandah.
Frank, how did this happen ? he asked.
"He was seized with cholera as we came down the
ghaut yesterday, and died at night," was the reply.
Henry shuddered. Where are your people ? Are you
quite alone ?"
"I have been alone ever since dark last night. My boy
went away to see after the coolies, and none of them are
(237) A 2
So One taken, the Other left.
come up. I can't get any one to come near me. I think
I should have gone stark mad if you had not come," he
God sent me to your aid, Kennedy," he answered
solemnly; for what made me come on to this wretched
place, in such a pouring rain, I really could not tell you,
except it was that I was sent. My coolies and servants
grumbled, for they knew my work was not urgent, but I
felt as if I must come on. Thank God that I did."
There was a pause, and then he said, "Kennedy, we
must bury this poor wretched man. I will get some of my
men to dig a grave. But you are faint. I daresay you've
had nothing to eat since you've been here ?"
"Nothing has passed my lips since yesterday morning,"
he said; but I can't eat, give me something to drink."
Mr. Thorpe mixed him a little weak brandy and water,
and forced him to swallow a mouthful or two of biscuit,
and then he left him for a few minutes to choose a spot,
where he might lay the corpse of poor Tennant. The grave
was soon prepared beneath a guava tree, the ground near
the bamboos being too hard, and then Thorpe went in, and
wrapped the body in a sheet just as it was. He called his
servants to help him to remove it, but no one would lay a
finger on it,-it would break their caste,-it was quite
enough that they had dug the grave, they remonstrated;
and so Thorpe was compelled to call Kennedy to help him,
and the two men carried forth their dreadful burden, and
laid it in the ground. They cast some earth upon it, and
Henry Thorpe kneeling down, prayed a prayer he knew by
heart from the Burial Service.
In the midst of life we are in death; of whom may we
seek for succour but of Thee, 0 Lord, who for our sins art
"Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O
One taken, the Other left. I.
holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the
bitter pains of eternal death.
Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut
not Thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord
most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful
Saviour, Thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at
our last hour, for any pains of death to fall from Thee."
And then he prayed the Lord's Prayer, and the short
service was over.
It was some little time before he rose from his knees,
and then he shovelled in the earth with his own hands, and
taking Kennedy by the arm, led him back to the bungalow.
He got him some food and made him lie down in the
verandah, near a large wood fire which his servants had
kindled by his order, and at last the poor fellow, worn out
in body and mind by the terrible events of the last twenty-
four hours, fell asleep. Henry sat by him, and taking a
well-worn book from his pocket, he opened it and read it
by the fire-light. The place where he read was the 15th
chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians.
The night was far advanced, and he was still poring over
his book, for he felt no inclination to sleep when he heard
the noise of coolies in the distance. Beckoning to his boy
to watch by Kennedy, he ran down the hill himself to stop
the talking lest it should waken him. The cause of the dis-
turbance was soon explained: it was Ramah returning with
the cook boy and a tribe of natives, who were bringing the
luggage of the two overseers. As the Tier had suspected,
the cook had taken the brandy bottle out of the box, and had
made such free use of it, that Ramah had found him lying
in the middle of the road dead drunk,-with all his master's
things scattered about him and not a coolie to be seen.
It required no little exertion on the poor boy's part to
get the natives to come down from their hills, but he
I 2 One taken, /he Other left.
managed it at last, and also to bring on the cook, who was
recovering from his drinking bout, along with him. He was
not quite sobered when they reached the foot of the ghaut,
but the engineer effectually silenced his hiccuping speech
(as usual, he was speaking broken English), and paying the
poor natives far beyond their expectation, he sent them
away, puzzling their simple brains not a little, as to how
much they could get to eat with so much shining white
Henry returned to his place by Kennedy's side, and
sending away the servants, he undertook to keep up the fire
himself. It was very necessary, for the incessant damp,
and the decaying of the rank foliage, produced a constant
malaria, which rendered the spot almost as fatal as the
natives in their superstitious fears imagined it, and the large
wood fire may have warded off an attack of jungle fever.
He had ordered his servants to keep up a good fire them-
selves, and had given them some brandy and water, which
none refused from caste scruples, although they would not
help to bury poor Tennant, or to assist their master in his
Kennedy moaned and moved uneasily in his sleep, and
the hot tears forced themselves through the closed eyelids.
"Poor fellow," said Henry to himself as he watched him,
"how he must have suffered." He was startled by a sharp
cry from the sleeping man, who jumped up suddenly, and
looking wildly round him, asked where he was. Henry
tried to calm him and to persuade him to sleep again, but he
would not lie down a second time, nothing would induce
him, and so his friend humoured him, and they sat by the fire
together for a long time in silence, watching the burning
wood slowly disappear in the red flames.
0 Thorpe !" he asked at length, did you ever see any
one die ?"
One taken, the Other left. I 3
"No, Kennedy," he answered, "I have never seen the
death agony, .but I know the good man falls asleep oft-
times, as gently as the babe in its mother's arms. I found
my own dear father dead one evening when I came back
from my work, and he was sitting in his chair with such a
beautiful smile upon his face, I could not bring myself to
believe that he was really dead. I knew he was with the
blessed saints in glory. 0 Kennedy! it is worth while
trying to live a holy life, if only to die such a blessed death
"If you had seen Tennant die, Thorpe, you could never
have forgotten it. I don't believe it will ever go away from
before my eyes. Oh, how horrible it was! That awful
lightning, and his dying curse!"
"Had he no time to repent, Frank? No time for one
prayer? Had you no time to bid him look to his
"I, time to tell him! 0 Thorpe, you don't know me.
I could not tell him what I don't know myself. I did ask
him if he could pray, but he only cursed and swore. Poor
fellow! he was in such horrid pain, I don't think he knew
what he said. And he is gone. Gone with all his sins
upon his head. I know where he is gone. All night it rang
in my ears, it burnt into my brain, and when I felt his face
and knew that he was dead, I felt as if he laid his hand of
fire on my heart and scorched it. I wonder I didn't go
mad. I wonder I don't go mad now,-and, Thorpe, if I
should die too? I feel very bad,-very ill,--my brain is
on fire. Thorpe, can I be saved ? Is there any hope for
me ? Don't deceive me," he said, grasping his wrist till it
grew black beneath his grip,-" in God's name, don't deceive
me. Thorpe, is there any hope for such an one as I? "
Thorpe looked at him with a look so full of tenderness
and love that a kind of peace entered the man's heart before
14 One taken, the Other left.
he spoke. Kennedy, you know that I would not deceive
you. Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved."
"What can I do ?" he said. "Teach me."
Repent and forsake your sins, and trust only in the
mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ, who can wash and cleanse
you from all guilt and from the stain of every sin by His
most precious blood."
But, Thorpe, I knew this once, and yet I left religion,
and served the devil. You don't know how bad I've been."
"Though your sins were as crimson yet shall they be as
white as wool. There is a fountain opened for sin and for
uncleanliness. You may wash in that, and be clean."
Ah, if I could be baptized again! but I was baptized
five and twenty years ago."
"No need of re-baptizing, Frank, The blood of Jesus
Christ cleanses us from all sin.'"
"0 Thorpe you know this all so well, but it is strange
to me. Tell me how I am to be pardoned."
"The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross that you might
be saved, Frank. He gave His life for yours. He died
that you might live. Only believe this, and you shall be
saved. Do you believe this ? "
"Yes," he said with tears, "I do believe it. But do you
think God can forgive me all I've done amiss ? "
Do you think the merciful Father accepted the sacri-
fice of His dear Son ? he asked.
"Yes, I believe that."
Then you may be certain that His sacrifice is a sure
warrant for your pardon. You need not fear. The blood of
Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin ; but you must leave off
sin, Frank. You must try to lead a good life, for I won't
deceive you. Repentance is not the work of an hour, it is
the work of a life-time. Do you understand me? "
I do a little," he said, and I will, by God's help, leave
One taken, the Other left. 15
off my bad ways, but I don't know how I can take to good.
Oaths will be oftener in my mouth than prayers."
By God's help, Frank, you may leave off all your bad
ways, and be a good man yet. The Lord has made you
look back upon your past life, and maybe this is con-
version; but don't rest in that, Frank; make up your mind
to walk steadily in God's ways and persevere to the end,
for 'he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.'
Not that your own works can save you,-never, never,-
nothing but the death of Christ, the sinless One, can cleanse
you from sin,-but except you try to do right, you can't be
sure that you love the Redeemer, the only Saviour of the
world; you can't be sure that your repentance is true."
"Oh, teach me, Thorpe. I don't know anything because
I would not know. I do believe that this most merciful
Saviour will save me; if He had not meant to have mercy
on me, I should have gone mad last night. 'Merciful Lord,
be merciful to me, a sinner." Worn out in mind and body,
poor Kennedy sank down by the fire and slept again, but
this time his sleep was sweet, for the Lord sustained him.
Henry knelt by him and prayed,-not aloud,-not in
words,-but his prayer was heard.
And there was joy in heaven, for a sinner was repenting.
The sun had been up some time before Frank awoke the
next morning, and there seemed to be a break in the
weather. The servants had prepared breakfast, and Thorpe
persuaded his friend to take something, although he was
much disinclined to eat. He looked wretchedly ill; indeed
all he had gone through would have had its effect upon a
stronger man than he 'was. He and his poor companion
had obtained a month's leave, and were going in to Telli-
cherry when Tennant was arrested by the hand of death,
and now Frank had no further inclination to complete his
16 One taken, the Other left.
leave, except that he felt utterly unnerved and unfit for
work; he consulted Henry as to what was to be done, and
he advised him to send in a report of Tennant's death, and
all his property to the magistrate, and turn back with him.
Thorpe was on a tour of inspection to see how the
different works in hand were progressing. He was going
from Perriah back to Perambudday; and intended to make
a large circuit. He did not know much of Frank Kennedy,
although they had been for a few months together in the
same school at Madras, but it was enough for Henry that a
man was in trouble to make him at once his friend, and he
had such a winning way with him, that few resisted his
kindness. Kennedy gladly agreed to the plan he proposed,
and as soon as they had sent off the property of the
deceased overseer, they prepared to ascend the ghaut.
What a change those few hours had wrought in Frank !-
He was traversing the same ground again,-retracing the
same road,-looking again upon the same scene,-but with
what different feelings Nature herself seemed changed to
his eyes. The rain had cleared away, and the sun was
gleaming softly through the breaking clouds, touching the
tops of the trees with a subdued light, shining over the
dark places of the valleys, and lending a new beauty to the
graceful foliage of the bamboo forest. The two men rode on
in silence for some time, and at last the youngest spoke.
"Thorpe," he said, you told me last night that there was
hope for me, and that I might be saved. You said I must
repent. If sorrow for past sins means repentance, I do
It is a part of repentance, Frank, but not all. Two
things are necessary-faith and repentance. You must
believe and repent."
"Tell me all from the beginning, Thorpe. I may have
known it once, but I want to hear it again."
One taken, the Other left. 1 7
0 Frank I'm not fit to be a teacher, but I will tell you
as far as I know, only promise me that as soon as you have
leisure you will test all I say by God's Holy Word, and
what you find agrees with it, remember, but what is con-
trary to it, cast away. I'll begin then at the beginning.
When God made man He created him good, but by listen-
ing to the devil Eve and Adam fell. Then they could not
stand before the holy God. Their children were unholy,
and so, through Adam's sin, death passed upon us all, for
we have all sinned and gone astray from God. Who is
to plead for us, Frank? who is there to reconcile us
to God ? No man; for there is no one that liveth
and sinneth not. Man cannot make atonement for his
brother or for his own sin. Repentance won't wash out
our former sins. If from this day forwards to the end of
your life you were never to sin again, your former sins
would remain on record against you. The Lord God gave
man the Holy Scriptures, and we know that they are true.
In them it is written that His eyes are upon all the sons of
men, to give every one according to his ways and according
to the fruit of his doings; and when the Lord looked down
from heaven to see if there were any that did understand
and seek after God, He found that they were all gone astray.
Man was then in evil case, for God had said, 'The soul
that sinneth it shall die,' and after the judgment we know
but of two places for disembodied souls, heaven and hell;
hell, prepared by God for the devil and his angels, not pre-
pared for man. Those who have served God shall dwell
for ever with the Lord; those who have served the devil
must go with him where he is. Man, then, cannot save
himself, and except he find a Saviour, he must perish ever-
lastingly; but our Heavenly Father, blessed be His holy
Name, has, in His infinite mercy, provided a fitting Saviour
for us, the man Christ Jesus, very God that He might save,
S8 One taken, the Other left.
very man that He might suffer. Himself sinless, He paid
the penalty of sin; He suffered in our stead, that we might
be accounted righteous before God; He paid the price for
us to the Father; He bought and redeemed us with His
own blood; His death brought us life; by His stripes we
But, Thorpe, are you quite sure that this price was paid
for all, for every living soul ?" Kennedy asked; was it paid
for me ? "
I know beyond all doubt that it has been paid for all
who will accept it; that Christ died for all, not willing that
any should perish. He would have all men come unto
Him. He has said, Him that cometh unto Me I will in
no wise cast out.' They are His words, not mine. 'This
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.' There-
fore, Frank, if you know yourself to be a sinner, you know
that Christ Jesus has come to save you."
"There are things in my past life that weigh heavy on
Confess them all to God, for we must confess to Eim if
we would be pardoned; and if you cannot quiet your con-
science so, Kennedy, I would advise you to go to the first
clergyman you can meet with, and open your heart to him.
He will be more skilled in God's Word than I, and more
able to give you comfort. I tell you what we can do," he
said, as a bright thought occurred to him; "we will go
across to the Perambudday Ghaut as quick as we can. I
needn't stay long at Perriah, and then we'll go on to Mercara,
where there is a church and a clergyman. It will be a com-
fort to you, I know, to make a steady beginning of a new life."
And so it was agreed; and they both from that day forth
read diligently in God's Holy Word, and Henry explained
it as best he could to his friend.
One taken, the Other left. 19
Although Kennedy was often despondent and cast down,
yet the time was a very happy one to him. He was living
a new life, tasting new pleasures, being cheered by new
hopes. The beautiful scenery and the quiet and solitude of
the jungle were well suited to his frame of mind. Some holy
thought seemed to suggest itself to Henry from every object
on which his eyes rested. One night when they had crossed
over to the Perambudday side, they were almost benighted,
and were making all haste to get to their destination before
"Do you know, Frank," Thorpe said, "this brings to my
mind a text in the prophet Jeremiah. 'Give glory to the
Lord your God, before He cause darkness, and before your
feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while ye look
for light He turn it into the shadow of death and make it
gross darkness.' I do think almost everything in the world
seems to say the same thing, 'Seek the Lord while He may
be found;' 'walk while ye have the light.' If we had not
lingered this morning we should have been safely lodged
now. It is a small thing to make a mistake in this life, but
to put off preparing for the night of death, which may come
upon us at any time, is utter madness."
I know and feel it now, Thorpe," Frank Kennedy
answered, and I could wish sometimes that I might die
soon, whilst I am trying to turn to the Lord. I am so
afraid that I may fall away."
Put your trust in God, Frank, who can give you strength
to hold fast to the end, and try to serve God heartily while
He gives you health and strength.- The soldier must fight
and strive before he can get his pension, and the Christian
soldier must watch, and strive, and fight the good faith be-
fore he can enter into the joy of his Lord. You have put
your hand to the plough, and you must not draw back."
No, God forbid that I should," he said earnestly; "but
20 One taken, the Olker left.
when I look forward to the trials and temptations I may
meet with from my own bad heart and from my old com-
panions, my heart sinks-it does indeed-and I could wish
myself sleeping under the sod. I can't bear to look forward."
"No, Frank, you cannot bear it, and you need not," he
answered; "you will find no strength from God for it. He
has promised us daily bread, not to-morrow's; He has taught
us that to-day is sufficient for the evil thereof, not to-morrow;
He has promised us that as our day is so shall our strength
be, not as to-morrow. Try to do God's will to-day and leave
the morrow in His hands. The Christian knows no to-
morrow; to-day is his day of salvation. The future is hid
with God, and he is content to leave it so."
"Do you really think then, Thorpe, that we never need
look beyond the day ? he asked in some surprise.
"Most certainly I do," he answered. "Each day as it
passes must render its account. To-morrow's sins and
to-morrow's sorrows we cannot bear, we need not try to
bear. We must take up our daily cross, and that is
"Oh, how much trouble and anxiety this would save me,
if I could only learn it," said his friend.
"It is one great secret of happiness, I know by ex-
perience," Thorpe answered.
Just at that moment they heard the sound of falling
water, and a gleam of moonlight showed them a tiny fall,
bubbling and dancing over the smooth rocks, sparkling and
glittering beneath the silvery rays. The opposite hill was
almost veiled in mist, and the moonlight lent it a kind of
unearthly beauty, shadowing forth its summit against the
dark sky, faintly tracing out the outlines of the feathery
trees half hidden in the clouds. Thorpe pointed to the
scene. Is not that beautiful ? he said. How plainly
God seems to speak to us in His works."
One taken, the Other left. 21
"Ah, Thorpe, everything makes you think of God be-
cause you have Him in your heart," Kennedy answered
sadly, "but it is not so with me. My eyes seem shut to
both God's books sometimes, and I cannot see him in His
creation or in His word. Do you think it will ever be
given me to do so?"
I know, Frank, that God has said 'Seek, and ye shall
find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you ;' and He has
said that the eyes of him that see shall not be dim, and
the ears of them that hear shall hearken.' "
As Thorpe spoke they reached the door of the bungalow,
and finding the building unoccupied, they stabled their
ponies, and lay down to sleep without waiting for their
evening meal, for they were tired out with their journey.
A warm friendship was growing up between these two
men. Thorpe was of a generous, noble nature, and although
few suspected how deeply religious he was-for, except to
his intimate friends, he scarcely spoke on sacred subjects-
yet all respected him as a good man. Frank Kennedy, too,
had an affectionate heart; he had been led astray and had
departed far from his God, but now that he was trying to
turn back into the narrow path that he had left, and felt
the worth of Henry's friendship, he seemed as if he could
not do enough to show his gratitude for it. He had always
had a humble mind, never even in his wildest times think-
ing highly of himself, and this spirit, now sanctified by
God's Holy Spirit, was indeed a blessing to him. His energy
of character too; unchanged except as to the end to which
it was directed, gave much hope for the future. He and
Henry were for a fortnight together on the Perambudday
Ghaut, during which time they were twice able to ride into
Mercara for the Sunday service, and Henry had the un-
speakable joy of bringing another guest to the Table of his
22 One taken, the Other left.
Lord. Then, indeed, he felt that they were bound together
in the bundle of life, then he knew that he had gained his
When they returned to Tellicherry the engineer was able
to arrange that his friend Kennedy should be stationed on
the Perambudday Ghaut, according to his wish, as from
thence he could generally manage to ride in to Mercara.
The young fellow had indeed made a fresh start in life;
he went on very steadily and consistently in his round of
daily duties, trying to serve God in that state of life to
which it had pleased Him to call him. It was not all easy
work; old habits of sin were not easy to shake off; new
habits of goodness were not easy to gain; but day by day,
little by little, he was gaining the mastery over his spiritual
enemies. He watched and prayed, and as he had formerly
found that saying true,-" sin will make a man leave off
praying," so now he gained the blest experience that prayer
will make a man leave off sinning." The chaplain of Mer-
cara observing his regular attendance at church and his
devout manner there, sought him out, and helped him with
counsel and advice. Frank thankfully listened to his
words, reverencing him first for that his Master's name was
called upon him, and soon learning to esteem him for his
own worth. He gave him a caution one day which made
a deep impression on him. Kennedy," he said, have
you ever observed how many years were passed by John
Baptist, the forerunner, and by our Blessed Lord Himself,
before either began to preach publicly ? "
Yes, sir," he answered; "and I was wondering why it
was. Thorpe told me that he thought one reason was
(especially in St. John's case), that the Jewish priests were
not permitted to officiate until they were thirty years of
Yes, undoubtedly I think that was one reason, and why
One taken, the Other left. 23
was that order ? Surely that they should be well instructed
and established in the faith themselves, and so our Lord
seems to me to set us an example that we should not lightly
set up ourselves as teachers until we have passed some time
as scholars. I have known many men-good and sincere
men too-who have been no sooner convinced themselves
of the truth of religion, than they have set to work to con-
vert all the world, and, not being themselves fully rooted
and grounded in the faith, have, whilst anxious to do good,
done harm as well. I do not mean that a Christian ought
not to be ready always to give an answer to every man that
asketh him a reason of the hope that is in him with meek-
iess and fear; but he must learn in humility and lowliness
hilnself, and first of all, let him learn to pray for others,
before he sets to work to argue with them."
Some six months after this conversation, Frank Kennedy
came to the clergyman after church, and told him that he
had been ordered to go lower down the ghaut to superintend
some work. He was very sorry, he said, for it would pre-
vent his coming regularly to Mercara to church, although he
might be able to get there occasionally; and then he spoke
of the men employed under him, and how sorry he felt for
them, grieving at their miserable superstitions and ignorance
of the true God.
Well, Kennedy," the parson answered, here is work
made ready to your hand. I have seen for some time that
you have been longing to do something for God's glory.
You know at first I bade you be very careful. I wished
you to prove your own self; to examine yourself whether
you were in the faith; to cast the beam out of your own
eye first, that you might see clearly to pluck the mote out
of your brother's eye. I was afraid, when the first deep
emotion of your change of mind had passed away, you
might seek for false excitement in words, and so trust to
24 One taken, the Otheri left.
feelings and impulse, instead of walking on steadily in the
humble round of daily duties, but I think this work comes
most lawfully within your sphere. You are alone in the
jungle, with no companions but these poor heathen, and
they can only hear the tidings of great joy through you.
Although you are no clergyman, and have no authority to
baptize or to administer the other Holy Sacrament, yet you
may try and teach these men the way of salvation. Like
St. Andrew, you may bring your brother to Jesus; like St.
Philip, you may call a Nathanael to 'come and see' the
good thing that cometh out of Nazareth."
Oh, sir, I will then try and teach them," said Kennedy.
" The work will cheer my solitude too, for sometimes I do
feel it very lonely in the jungle, especially when it rains so
heavily that the works can't possibly be carried on. I can
read Tamil a little, and I can speak Malayalim too. Can
you give me some books, sir ? "
Yes, I can give you as many Tamil books as you like,
for I have had a number; and I would advise you to read
some verses from the Gospel daily until you can read fluently.
If you can speak Malayalim, I think you might soon learn
to read it, and I will try to get you some books."
Thank you, sir," he said. You have made my heart
glad, and I shall set to my new work at once; but it is
getting late, and I must be going or I shall be benighted,"
and he rose up to go.
The clergyman shook him warmly by the hand as he
bade him good-bye. One word more, Kennedy," he said.
"Don't be too sanguine. Be prepared for disappointments,
for you will meet with many; but whether you see the effect
of your labour or not, be well assured that the word of the
Lord shall not return to Him void, but it shall accomplish
that which He pleaseth, and it shall prosper in the thing
whereto He hath sent it."
One taken, the Other left. 25
And so Kennedy departed, comforted and strengthened
for his solitary life in the wild forests. He was beginning,
after Henry Thorpe's fashion, to see in all around him types
and symbols of spiritual things, and on that evening, as
he rode along the rough, uneven road, and reflected what
must be done before it could be fit for travellers, he thought
of him who came to prepare the way of the Lord, and how
the pride of the human heart must be laid low, and its
valleys and low places, sunken in sin, must be raised before
it could be a fit way for the Lord. And so he learned true
lessons from the common things of life.
And this is a happy frame of mind, and one that may
be gained and regained, too, if sometime lost amid the jar
and jangle of the world. There is no work, however lowly,
in which we engage but may remind us of our high calling;
no scene, however homely, but may bring to mind some
spiritual truth. The Christian sees the sepoy armed and
accoutred, and he thinks straightway of the soldier of the
Christian army; he sees him on guard, and he thinks of
what our Lord has said about watching. He passes through
a heathen village, and here he sees a man carrying his mat
bed, and he thinks of the paralytic cured by a word of
the Lord. He sees a woman sweeping before her house,
and his thoughts recur to the parable of the lost money.
The whirring sound of the native mill falls on his ear, and
he thinks of the woman grinding at the mill, and the sudden
coming of his Lord to judgment. He is awoke at night by
the clamour of a native wedding, and the flaring of the
torches, and it reminds him that the Bridegroom may come
at midnight, and that" he must watch. And this habit of
thought begets another and a better habit, that of silent,
heartfelt, ejaculatory prayer, which a good man has termed
one. of the most powerful instruments of the life of God in
26 One taken, the Other left.
the soul of man. He who thus spiritualises earthly things
will scarcely fail to pray inwardly. "Lord, grant that I
may ever fight under Thy banner." "Help me to watch
against my besetting sins." "I will walk in Thy laws
when Thou hast set my heart at liberty." "0 seek Thy
-servant, for I have gone astray from Thy commandments."
" From sudden and unprepared death, good Lord, deliver
me." Lord, when Thou comest, grant that I may be found
watching!" By these and such like prayers the Christian
will learn to pray without ceasing. This may be one way
by which he may have his conversation in heaven. And
this secret, inward prayer, has one great advantage above
all other, it is secret, it is known to God alone. All other
acts of devotion may have somewhat of outward show, but
this must be from the heart. It is an inward walking with
God, a habit that cannot be too much commended or too
Frank Kennedy was learning to make it the habit of his
solitary life, the companion of his lonely hours. He rarely
saw a European face, for few passed by that way, but now
and then it so chanced that a traveller in his wanderings
came upon his temporary hut in the most inaccessible part
of the ghaut, half hidden within the cleft of a magnificent
buttress tree. If he passed by about six o'clock in the
evening, or very early in the morning, he would have seen
Frank Kennedy surrounded by a strange group of Tiers and
blue-belted Coorgs and Madrassees, and now and then a tall
Moplah would be conspicuous among them all. If he had
stopped to listen lie would have heard the words of the
Book of Life read in stammering accents, now in Tamil, now
in Malayalim, and some few earnest simple words from him
who seemed to be their teacher. If he had paused to look
upon this strange scene he would have been struck with
One taken, the Other left. 27
the singularly happy look of this young man; and if he
had waited until the sounds of the usual prayer and praise
had sounded in his ears, it may be that he would have
thought on those words of Isaiah the prophet, "Sing, 0 ye
heavens; for the Lord hath done it; shout, ye lower parts
of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, 0
forest, and every tree therein." "Let the wilderness and
the cities thereof lift up their voice." "Let the inhabitants
of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the moun-
tains. Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare His
In a little garden on the very edge of a high cliff jutting
out over the sea, as the hot Indian day drew near its close,
two friends were slowly walking towards a rough bench
placed beneath an old Banyan tree. One of them would
have been easily known as Henry Thorpe, hale and hearty
as ever; but few would have recognized in the thin,
emaciated form of the prematurely aged man, the once
handsome Frank Kennedy. Yet it was indeed he, weakened
in body and broken in constitution, his frail clay tenement
well nigh worn out by the repeated attacks of jungle fever,
but his soul grown strong in grace and ready winged to take
its flight to its eternal home. The sick man was supporting
himself by a stick and by his friend's strong arm, but it was
with difficulty he reached the bench.
You are very weak to-day, I fear, Fra'nk," said Henry,
as he looked at his pale face with sad foreboding. "Yes, I
can scarce hope to see many such sights as that," he replied,
pointing to the West, where shades of crimson, gold, and
blue were interweaving their beautiful hues to make a cur-
tain for the setting sun,-" but I wanted to see it once
28 One laken, the Other left.
more-once more before my eyes are closed in the night of
0 Frank don't speak so sadly. You must not leave
I did not mean to speak sadly, dear old friend," he
answered,," but sometimes when I think of you and of my
poor native Christians I almost grieve to die, but the feeling
is only for a moment. Jesus my Saviour has died for me,
why should I fear? HE is risen again, and in His light I
shall see light. I want to thank you too, my more than
brother, and I can't find words for it, but your Master will
reward you, for you saved a soul from death, and covered a
multitude of sins."
Dear Frank, if, through God's mercy, I have ever been
made the means of converting a sinner from the error of his
ways, it is I who need to thank God for having vouchsafed
to use me as an instrument in His Almighty hands," was
Henry's just reply.
Kennedy did not answer; his eyes were fixed upon the
setting sun, and his thoughts far away from earth. At
length he said, Read to me, Thorpe, let me hear a few
words more from the Book of Life." And giving him his
pocket Bible, open at the last chapter of the Revelation of
St. John, he pointed to these verses, which Thorpe read
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear
as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of
the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve
manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; and
the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of
One taken, kte Other left. 29
God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall
serve Him; and they shall see His face; and His name
shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night
there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun;
for the Lord God giveth them light; and they shall reign
for ever and ever."
Henry closed the book, and would have given it back to
Frank, but he prevented him. "Keep it for my sake,
Thorpe. I shall not want it any more. My eyes are
growing dim. Help me to go in again."
His friend's arm was round him in a moment, and Frank,
casting one lingering look at the .sun as it sank into the
blue sea, turned away and went into the house. He never
left it again until they carried him out of it, and laid him
to sleep beneath the green sod.
The mid-day sun was pouring forth its flood of golden
light upon the earth, and men were glad to find any shelter
from its scorching rays. Everything seemed to be dried up
before its heat; there was but one place that seemed to
afford a shade in the whole cantonment, and that was indeed
a resting place-a graveyard, we call it; but God's Acre"
and the Field of the Church sown with the seed of the
Resurrection," were the terms our fathers loved to use.
This little cemetery was carefully kept and tended; trees
and flowers overshadowed it, and it was carefully fenced
around. Two natives were walking among the graves.
The one a Tier, the other a tall handsome Coorg. The Tier
stood still by a slab that was embedded in the ground
beneath the shelter of some rose bushes. Is that it ?"
30 A Ballad.
asked the Coorg eagerly; "read, Christian, read and tell
me what it is."
The man stooped down and. tracing out with his finger
the letters, he read-
Sacred to the memory of Francis Kennedy, who fell
asleep in Jesus."
Is there nothing more ?" asked the Coorg.
Yes, there is a word from our Book. 'The Lord shall
be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory.'"
O, WERE you at war in the red Eastern land ?
What did you hear, and what did you see ?
Saw you my son, with his sword in his hand ?
Sent he, by you, any dear word to me ?
"I come from red war, in that dire Eastern land:
I saw three deeds which one might die to see;
But I know not your son, with his sword in his handle
If you would hear of him, paint him to me."
O, he is as gentle as south winds in May!
'Tis not a gentle place where I have been."
O, he has a smile like the outbreak of day!
"Where men are dying fast, smiles are not seen.'
Tell me the mightiest deeds that were done.
Deeds of chief honour, you said, you saw three;
You said you saw three-I am sure he did one.
My heart shall discern him, and cry, "This is he !"
A Ballad. 31
"I saw a man scaling a tower of despair,
And he went up alone, and the hosts shouted loud."
That was my son! Had he streams of fair hair ?
"Nay; it was black as the blackest night-cloud."
Did he live ? No, he died; but the fortress was won.
SAnd they said it was grand for a man to die so."
Alas for his mother He was not my son.
Was there no fair-haired soldier who humbled the foe ?
I saw a man charging in front of his rank,
Thirty yards on, in a hurry to die;
Straight as an arrow hurled into the flank
Of a huge desert-beast, ere the hunter draws nigh."
Did he live ? "No, he died: but the battle was won,
And the conquest-cry carried his name through the air.
Be comforted, mother; he was not thy son:
Worn was his forehead, and grey was his hair."
0, the brow of my' son is as smooth as a rose;
I kissed it last night in my dream. I have heard
Two legends of fame from the land of our foes;
But you said there were three: you must tell me the third.
"I saw a man flash from the trenches, and fly
In a battery's face; but it was not to slay:
A poor little drummer had dropped down to die,
With his ankle shot through, in the place where he lay.
" He carried the boy like a babe through the rain,
The death-pouring torrent, of grape-shot and shell;
And he walked at a foot's pace because of the pain,
Laid his burden down gently, smiled once, and then fell."
32 .A Ballad.
Did he live ? No, he died: but he rescued the boy.
Such a death is more noble than life (so they said).
He had streams of fair hair, and a face full of joy.
And his name "-- Speak it not! 'Tis my son He
0, dig him a grave by the red rowan-tree,
Where the spring moss grows softer than fringes of foam;
And lay his bed smoothly, and leave room for me,
For I shall be ready before he comes home:
And carve on his tombstone a name and a wreath,
And a tale to touch hearts through the slow-spreading
How he died his noble and beautiful death,
And his mother, who longed for him, died of her tears.
But what is this face shining in at the door,
With its old smile of peace, and its flood of fair hair ?
Are you come, blessed ghost, from the far heavenly shore ?
Do not go back alone !-let me follow you there !
" 0 clasp me, dear mother. I come to remain;
I come to your heart,-God has answered your prayer.
Your son is alive from the hosts of the slain,
And the Cross of our Queen on his breast glitters fair!
.. ...i. Ih
4~~4' ..- .j -. ~ -- -
RAVA! the skies are blue again, and the snow-
Smountains look as soft as though they were
covered with fleecy wool. The north wind may
be keen, but hark! how merrily it whistles, like
the roar of blazing pine-logs when the ship-
builders kindle them yonder on the sands. This bright hot
sunshine is a Christmas fire which the good God has kindled
for His children, Brava All may now go forth to their work
in the forest, or launch their boats safely upon the deep, for
after these long weeks He has stilled its fierce waves, and
bade them speak peace to the toiling fishers because this is
Christmas. Brava! Brava Brava!"
The song of thanksgiving died away, like the last note of
.a bird's warble, and there was a pause of sweet contentment,
as the poor deformed old woman, who had never attained the
stature of a child of ten, shrank into an angle of the stone
wall, which had already absorbed some heat from the glowing
_southern sun-rays. My own snug corner of the fireplace,"'
she trilled delightedly. A draughty ingle-nook some might
have called it, but to herit was a blessed change from the
cellar-like room in wliicl~ !i had languished for the past
fortnight, feeling hungry by day, and chilled by night.
Italian peasants are fond of fastening on each other names
derived from some peculiarity of speech or person, so it was
Well done !
2 Little Brava.
natural that this atom of humanity should be distinguished
by the word which from its constant repetition had come to
be viewed as inseparable from herself. She had been chris-
tened, more than half a century before, Carola, but that fact,
although duly recorded in the parish register, had passed
from the memory of the neighbours, to whom she was
known exclusively as "Little Brava." By degrees a half-
superstitious reverence became attached to the simple
exclamation, and few would have cared to venture on an
undertaking from which -conscience whispered their little
friend might withhold the greeting which in their ears
sounded like a benediction.
She never says 'Brava 1' when the children quarrel, or
when any one does wrong," remarked the rough fisher-folks
to each other. "She only speaks it when she wishes to
praise God, or to thank those who try to do her a kind turn."
I went out of my way not to pass near her when I sold
the English boy ten pine-cones for a halfpenny, instead of
twelve," confessed a bronzed young forester.
"And so did I, when I cheated about the sand-eels and
took more than my fair share from a sick mate," chimed in a
"Grandfather," asked a child who had stood thoughtfully
apart, "will she say 'Brava!' when she sees the Golden
"Nay, I know not," answered the silvery-headed patriarch,
"but she will surely hear a voice saying to her, 'Well done!' "
As the December day advanced towards noontide, a faint
sickness, caused by want of food, began to weigh down
Brava's buoyant spirits, though she battled valiantly against
weariness and depression.
S" How I wish there were a pot boiling upon the fire for
my dinner," she resumed, musing aloud after her usual
custom. "There are plenty of dishes being cooked at this
Little Brava. 3
minute by the sun for all of us-fruits, vegetables, salad,
chestnuts;-a fine feast indeed, only it will not be ready till
summer. Never mind the good God will send me some-
thing to eat: He always does, when I have learned His little
patience-lesson. Besides, ever since sunrise I have felt warm,
and that is far better than being fed."
Two more slow hours drifted tediously away, and though
the sunshine was still brilliant, it began to grow less genial.-
Sea and sky hardened to a dark metallic blue, glorious, but-
cold in colouring as an ice-cavern, while the mountains lost
their downy softness, and their ridges were cut clear and,
sharp against the dazzling heavens.
"The fire begins to burn low," faltered Brava, as she drew
the scanty raiment around her distorted, shrunken limbs.
" Still I must try to stay out longer, for at home it is so dark,
and here there are kind people passing to and fro. Perhaps
some of them may give me a copper."
She nestled as cosily as she could beneath the shelter of
the wall, and there sat watching, alert as a winter robin, for
the crumbs which in her simple trustfulness she knew were
sure to fall for her, sooner or later, from the Master's table.
Presently echoed in the distance a peculiar street-cry, like
a long-drawn wail pitched in the minor key, and plaintive
enough to bring tears to the listener's eyes. Its effect on
Brava was, however, the exact reverse, for her quick ear wel-
comed it as the tinkle of that very supper-bell for which she
had tarried thus uncomplainingly.
"Lu-pi-ni I Lu-pi-ni !" The sound was heard more and
more plainly as the vendor of hot beans pursued her round
among the dwellers of that Tuscan fishing-town, just at the
hour when English cottage wives begin to boil the kettle for
the evening tea.
Maria was a pleasant rosy-faced young woman, with a
steady husband, healthy children, and a thankful heart.
4 Little Brava.
There was hence no sadness, for the neighbours in that
melancholy strain which the singer would never have
adopted but for the practical reason that the weird notes,
thus prolonged, could be more readily distinguished from
afar. Maria was a favourite in many a household where her
tempting viands furnished a savoury meal at a considerable
saving of labour and fuel, and the doleful ditty which an-
nounced her coming, had grown to be as inspiriting to her
regular customers as it was to her little pensioner.
"Brava chirped the famished old woman, as a clean
coarse napkin was uplifted, and a shining tin cup filled
with the steaming lupini was placed in her crippled fingers.
Then with a cordial buon appetite the seller of beans passed
onward, for her calling was one which did not admit of a
moment's delay. Brava !" murmured her small friend once
again, but in a feeble twitter, until nourishment restored
strength to the quivering voice, and then the grateful lay
rang out in a blithe carol blending with Maria's dirge in such
a quaint duet, that some ladies who happened to be passing
near turned round with a smile of amusement.
They were three sisters fresh from England, and charmed.
by the novelty of Continental travel, yet homesick also as
Christmas approached, bringing with it none of those pleasant
duties which had gladdened and enriched their lives in their
dear native parish. How delightful it would be if they could
make any poor person in this foreign land better or happier
for their sojourn. The eldest of the group stepped forward
shyly to accost Maria, who, though feeling the detention
inconvenient, did not therefore lose the gentleness and cour-
tesy of manner for which the peasants of Italy, when treated
with politeness and respect, are so remarkable.
What do I know about the little woman to whom I gave.
the lupini ? Well! not much, Signora. We have only lived
in this place for a year. Erminia at the draper's shop could
Little Brava. 5
tell you more, perhaps, for she was born here, and she often
bestows alms on the piccolcE Brava."
To Erminia the ladies repaired accordingly, and by her they
were greeted with the same civility which had been shown
them by Maria.
"If the Signore wished to do good," said the shopkeeper
earnestly, "they could not find a better way than by help-
ing the good God's little song-bird, who always blessed Him
for everything, and who would rather starve than utter a
complaint, did He deprive her of even the few crumbs which
were all she asked from Him."
Was she born in this crippled and diseased condition ?"
inquired Edith Arnott.
"No; she was strong and agile till the age of nine, when
she sickened with inflammatory rheumatism, which stunted
her growth, and from the effects of which she was chained to
her bed for nearly fifteen years. During that time her parents
died, having already lost their other children from the terrible
malarial fever which is so fatal in Italy alike to foreigners and
"We heard that this town is healthy, and for that reason
we stopped here instead of going on to Rome," exclaimed
Miss Arnott, feeling a pang of anxiety at the thought of any
risk to the delicate father for whose sake they had left Cum-
"Yes; the pine-forests keep our air pure, and the ladies
will be quite safe here if they .only avoid the sunset chill.
But Brava's family lived some miles distant in a miserable
hut among the rice-swamps. Perhaps the Signore may have
seen such dwellings in their drives, without supposing they
were human habitations. They look like thatched mounds
of black mud, with a low door and no windows, planted in
a network of stagnant canals, which load the air with their
*6 Little Brava.
The sisters exchanged looks of compassion, and perceiv-
ing how real was their interest in the subject, Erminia
Ah! when we buy the pretty rice-pearls, glistening so
white and fair, we seldom pause to think how they are
grown. The fields must be kept under water during many
weeks, and the labourers must stand knee-deep in fetid
ditches, while they tend the delicate young grain which looks
as pure and sparkling as a sheet of emeralds powdered with
"If your poor friend passed such a wretched youth, there
is all the more reason that her old age should be comfort-
able," resumed Flora Arnott. "We are going to make her a
Christmas present of some useful garment. What do you
think she would like to have?"
Erminia pondered for a moment. "A warm dress, per-
haps," she said; "but stay, will not the ladies consult Little
Brava? She is as wise as an owl, and understands her own
affairs better than most people."
The sisters found this statement true when they addressed
the tiny elf, whose childish frame and furrowed face seemed
like a living refutation of the proverb, "You cannot put an
old head on young shoulders." Brava's reply to her kind
questioner was prompt. "A gown, by all means, for this was
worn threadbare, and she could then take the only other she
possessed, now kept for Sundays, into ordinary use."
"Buy strong stuff, like this, if you please, Signora," she
said, pointing to her faded cotton, "and choose colours that
will wash well. It should not cost more than eightpence,
and I shall require six yards. Go to that large shop yonder,
round the corner. They are honest folk, and you will not be
"What a sensible sprite she is to tell us the thing she
would really like, and not let us spend our money at ran-
Little Brava. 7
dom," observed Bertha, as the trio returned to the draper's.
Erminia smilingly helped them to select from among her
stores a stout material in wool and cotton, with linings to
match, and the girls added, to complete the outfit, a scarlet
handkerchief for the head, and a gay knitted shawl.
Thus laden, they hastened back joyfully to little Brava,
who at the first sign of their approach lifted a warning.
finger, and when they drew near, hurriedly whispered-
Pass on slowly, and take no notice of me, Signore.
There is a boy watching us, and boys are always dangerous.
Walk up and down quietly, until he has gone away. Then
you can run back quickly, and slip the bundle under my
Never had the young English ladies received such im-
perious commands; but they obeyed with meekness, and
far from being ruffled, they were simply amused by the
originality and droll ways of their new acquaintance.
It was rather chilling to parade like sentinels in the face
of the keen wind, awaiting the pleasure of that ragged
urchin who stood mounting guard and eyeing them suspi-
ciously from the opposite pavement. Their patience, how-
ever, was at last rewarded, for after a few turns they
discovered that the coast was clear, and back they speeded,
eager to discharge their load before a fresh intruder should
appear upon the scene.
"Brava! brava!" exclaimed the object of their bounty.
" I am perfectly contented with the Signore." Then lifting
a square of check print, about the size of a doll's apron, she
displayed a wide deep pocket, cleverly contrived in the folds
of her dress; but though capacious, it was found inadequate
to meet the present unwonted emergency.
"Let us carry the parcel to your door," suggested Edith,
"and then there will be no risk to it from thieving or
8 Little Brava.
"No! no! no!" shouted Brava in indignant protest, en-
forcing the prohibition by shaking her tiny fist. "Patience;
let the Signore see how well I can manage alone."
She drew from beneath her gown a pair of feet clad only
in coarse stockings, and seizing the crutches which lay at
her side, raised herself to a standing posture, looking more
than ever weak, diminutive, and helpless. No wonder that
boys, those natural enemies of anything defenceless, should
inspire with dread a being so unfitted to cope with their
The sisters scarcely knew whether to smile or sigh over
the spectacle, at once ludicrous and pathetic, of the crippled
dwarf, as she made a series of futile attempts to grasp the
precious bundle, much after the fashion in which the
southern sand-beetle strives to wrestle with a ball of earth
several times larger than himself.
At length Brava owned herself defeated, and Edith made
a new proposition. "If you will not let us walk beside you
with the package, may we order it to be sent home from the
"Oh, thank you, no, Signora! Nobody knows where I
live," was the strange answer which made the sisters glance
at each other inquiringly. They learned afterwards that,
either from nervous distrust or some other peculiarity, Carola
persisted in keeping her whereabouts a profound secret
except to one favoured individual. It was a case of the
ostrich hiding its head and fancying itself unseen, for her
abode was really as well known to the community as any
other in the parish. The neighbours, however, humoured
the innocent fancy, and on no account would have annoyed
their little townswoman by letting her-suppose that any one
had solved the mystery of her retreat. "Do show me where
you live, carina; I will promise not to tell," was the playful
entreaty which often assailed her. But. the wary little
Little Brava. 9
creature could not be persuaded to take any friend into her
When Brava, seated on her treasure, was once more
nestled against the wall, she waved aside the English sisters
with a gesture worthy of a princess. It is time you were
within doors, ladies; please go. Good-night, and a happy
"But how shall you manage without help ?" asked Flora.
Carola nodded her head sagaciously. "A boy will pass
presently," she rejoined.
You told us just now that all boys are dangerous."
This one is not. He will be here immediately. Do go
home, Signore, for the sun is setting. Strangers never will
believe when we Italians warn them of the fever."
To linger after so clear an intimation that their presence
was unwelcome would have seemed intrusive, so the ladies,
who were willing to help people in their own way, cheerfully
returned the Christmas greeting, not forgetting to bestow a
penny for the porter, which elicited a parting "Brava!" that
rang cheerily along the frosty street.
As winter melted into early spring, Carola and the Arnott
family became fast friends, but it was chilling to the latter
to find that they had made no advance towards winning
the confidence of their favourite. Occasionally Brava dis-
appeared for a few days from her usual nook, and the timid
inquiries of the sisters could obtain no clue to her where-
abouts from the reticent neighbours, much although they
longed to visit her at home, and see how they could best
minister to her comfort. Once, haunted by visions of
lonely illness and starvation, they were on the point of taking
active measures to discover her, but shrank from so doing
with the sort of reluctance which they might have felt in
tracking some wild forest creature to its lair. While they
still wavered, the object of their solicitude crept out again
(246) A 2
So Little Brava.
into the sunshine, looking pale and feeble, but unwilling to
confess that anything had been seriously amiss with her
beyond increase of rheumatism. Her spirits and strength
seemed to expand with the warmth of the season, and her
wondrous capacity of enjoyment was in itself such a dower
of wealth as might well have aroused the envy of the rich
and mighty of the earth.
No one could take a keener interest in people and things
than little Brava, through whose character ran an imaginative
vein, which, being linked with quick sympathy and intelli-
gence, rendered her a slhewd spectator of the life-drama
which passed daily before her observant eyes. The romance
of her existence centred in the doings of the Arnotts, her
young mistresses, as she began to call them, though she still
ordered them hither and thither so imperiously that the title
sounded rather a misnomer. It was her delight to gaze down
the golden perspective of the quiet street for a first glimpse
of the bright youthful faces which she loved so well; and one
of the chief pleasures she enjoyed was to learn daily what
plan her young people had formed for the afternoon. The
Signore are going upon the sands to dig for shells ? Ah!
Brava! They mean to look for pond-lilies ? Brava! They
are to meet English friends at tea in the pine-forest? Brava!
Brava!" It was wonderful how much excitement and
variety the active fancy found in thus speeding its flight to
breezy shore or fragrant glade, even while the distorted body
which imprisoned it continued fast bound by weakness and
suffering to the dusty wayside.
At an early stage of their acquaintance Carola had intro-
duced to her patrons the model boy, whom she seemed to
consider as exempt from the faults of his species. He was a
lad of fourteen, named Bernardo, like herself without rela-
tions, and crippled by rheumatism, only being young and of
a vigorous constitution, he contrived to hobble merrily about
Little Brava. I i
the world without the aid of crutches. His infirmity pre-
vented him from learning any trade or undertaking regular
employment, but he was invaluable as a desultory worker,
and every one felt ready and willing to put him into the way
of earning a few halfpence. The pastry cook would send
him deep into the forest in quest of the stone-pine cones,
solid as rock and beautifully sculptured, which when split
open are found to contain dainty white nuts used as a sub-
stitute for almonds by confectioners in Italy. When the
authorities allowed a license for several weeks of eel-fishing
by torchlight after Christmas, Bernardo never lacked invita-
tions to accompany the fleet of boats which flashed like
meteors along the shadowy gloom of the canals to the shores
of the reedy inland lake, where the succulent prey chiefly
abounded. Sometimes the farmers were glad to employ so
steady and industrious a youth in helping to cart away leaf-
mould, washed down by the autumn -floods from leagues of
hanging chestnut woods in the .far-away Apennines. The
mountain streams, where they emptied into the sea, and even
the fringed billows as they thundered on the coast,- were
inky-black with this precious deposit, which was destined to
overspread the exhausted soil as by a layer of gold-dust.
On such occasions the beach swarmed with men, women,
and milk-white oxen, harnessed-to picturesque waggons; and
tiny gleaners toiled among them, eager to amass the treasure
in flat baskets, poised with natural grace upon their curly
heads. The lame boy with his sociable spirit was the soul
of these assemblages, but he seemed equally contented when
obliged to work alone, collecting driftwood on the shore, or
dried furze in the wood, or snails to feed the chickens, secure
of finding for all such articles -a ready sale. At odd moments
he devoted himself to a practical study of natural history,
and no haunt of bird or insect, shell or flower, escaped his
quick eye and retentive memory. He wished to be armed
12 Littlle Brava.
at all points with information, since who could tell what
would be the next freak of those English visitors whom
every return of cold weather found flocking in numbers all
over Italy ? They generally seemed hunting for something,
and were willing to pay any one who could help them to
find it, so it was quite worth Bernardo's while to store
up knowledge which might be turned to account at any
moment. Such was the lad with whom Carola had formed
an alliance. The pair had long fraternised, sharing their
scanty rations in seasons of dearth, and furthering each
other's interests by every means which mutual affection
The Arnotts, and through them some other English
families, often found or invented ways in which Bernardo
could render little services, and thus add to the slender store,
which, like a thrifty lad, he was eager to lay aside against
a rainy day. We may starve unless we have some money
in hand for our next illness," he explained to his kind
listeners with unconscious pathos. Brava and he were
indeed subject to acute attacks of rheumatism during the
prevalence of a certain damp, cold wind which blew directly
from the rice-swamps. It was trying to both when neither
could tend the other, when their scanty comforts had to be
diminished rather than increased, and when their joint
savings, however frugally expended, seemed to melt away in
the bare necessaries of actual existence. There were a few
tradespeople who allowed Carola to call at their shops for
alms on Saturday, and it was this weekly round which alone
constituted what might be called her regular income, for
chance benefactions were always uncertain. Often had she
been reduced to sore straits, when unable either through
infirmity or stress of weather to keep her appointment, but
helpers seemed always raised up when she was upon the
point of perishing, and the crisis once passed, all that was
Little Brava. 13
mournful in its recollection faded from her cheerful spirit, as
a troubled dream vanishes with the dawn.
Brava's young mistresses had long been motherless, but
their father, a devoted clergyman of wide experience; was
able to make useful suggestions to his children as to the
best mode of succouring these foreign protdges, who were in
many respects so unlike their own poor friends in England.
Carola had proved herself capable of being entrusted with
money, and to her no manner of earning a livelihood seemed
open. Bernardo, on the contrary, was able and willing to
work, so in assisting him the leading aim must be to cherish
and respect that brave and honourable independence. He
had not sufficient strength to draw the bath-chair in which
the sick clergyman was daily wheeled along the sands, but
he would sit beside it patiently for hours, warning off all
intruders, and-equally contented to keep silence or converse,
as best suited the varying mood of the invalid. Some of
these talks afforded a glimpse into a new world, and Mr.
Arnott frequently declared that he could not desire a more
entertaining companion. It was interesting to look beneath
the surface of Italian life as seen by passing travellers,
and gain that insight into the ways of the people, which can
only be acquired by the magic power of true and unaffected
"Are you often employed by the summer visitors ?" the
clergyman inquired upon one of these occasions.
I have odd jobs now and then, but there is seldom steady
work for me until September, when the place begins to fill
with English people, who come from the mountains for sea-
bathing. There are few except Italians here during the
sultry months, and they are ordered by their doctors to lie
buried in hot sand for several hours of each day, with only
the head above ground, shaded by an umbrella. The Signor
should see how strangely the shore looks then, covered with.
14 Little Brava.
hillocks of all shapes and sizes, some of which, when one
draws nearer, spring up, and turn suddenly into ladies and
The old clergyman laughed like a school-boy at this
graphic description. Cannot you capture these human
sand-eels, and coax a few coppers' worth of honest work
from them, Bernardo ?"
"They never want things which cannot be had, like
English people," said the boy with grave simplicity. "If
they happen to care for shells, they can find plenty such as
these," and he poured from his cap a rainbow shower im-
pearled with rose or saffron, olive green, rich brown, or
bright canary. "Yes, indeed, Signor, they are beautiful, but
common, because the good God has made so many like
them. I will show you another kind which can be sold at
sixpence each when they are perfect, but I never yet have
found more than two in- a season. Sometimes I think if.
they were plentiful my fortune would be made; but I am
sure if they were to be had, the English people would no
longer buy them."
The boy drew from his pocket a small box, and cautiously
lifting the lid disclosed a shell of some tropical species, such
as Mr. Arnott had seen in foreign collections. Its tint was
the colour of a Parma violet, and its substance seemed too
tender to bear a breath, but Bernardo raised it to the light
in his slender brown fingers, and showed how the sun shone
with a purple ray through the transparent delicacy of its
texture as through a church window.
"Would the Signor think this worthy of his acceptance as
a keepsake ?" asked Bernardo modestly; and great was his
pleasure when the invalid warmly received the present,
calling it an ocean jewel, and assuring the boy that it
should be treasured carefully to grace his cabinet of shells
Little Brava. 15
"I suppose," Mr. Arnott, proceeded, "you have little
chance of selling posies to the young Italian ladies ? Every
green leaf must be scorched to a cinder by the July sunshine
in this southern country."
"The Signor is mistaken," replied Bernardo, "for there are
wonderful plants here which only blossom in the heat of
August. Then the ridges and furrows of the parched sand-
downs seem one waving sheet of fair white lilies, growing in
tall clusters, snowy pure, and filling the air with delicious
fragrance. I am sure they must be like the flowers of
heaven. Some people think they are planted and watered-
by .the angels, because they look so fresh and cool at the
sunrise, though no dew has fallen,, nor can any earthly
moisture have revived them. The stem appears blanched
like celery, and the long narrow leaves are the colour of
ivory when it has turned yellow from age."
Mr. Arnott, who was a scientific botanist, easily recog-
nised from this description the Desert Lily of Egypt and
Palestine. He explained to the wondering boy how, deep
below the arid surface of the waste, are hidden fountains of
sweet water, nourishing these "roots," which spring to all
appearance "out of a dry ground." In simple Scriptural
language he showed how clearly they symbolise not only
Christ Himself, but also those who being "rooted and
grounded in Him" are watered even in this world's most
barren wilderness, with the ever-distilling showers of celestial
"I shall remember this," exclaimed Bernardo, when the
parable was ended.
Do so, my child," said the old clergyman. Let all
God's works speak to your soul of Him. There are lessons
to be learned from these desert lilies no less sacred than
those which have been already taught to us for centuries by
their companion lilies of the field."
16 Little Brava.
One April morning, Mr. Arnott, feeling rather stronger,
requested to be left entirely alone, in order that he might
write several letters on business connected with his parish.
Accordingly the three sisters, attended by Bernardo, set out
on a long ramble in search of wild flowers wherewith to
adorn the little English church at the approaching festival
of Easter. The rich vegetation of the marshes had burst
suddenly into full beauty, and their treasures could be
safely culled in the fresh early hours, however dangerous
such an enjoyment might become towards sunset. They
pursued their way along the banks of a canal, spanned at
unequal distances by four antique stone bridges, mouldering
with age, of which the quaint peaked arches were reflected in
the silent water. A chain of solemn Apennines bounded the
view, their purple slopes dotted with tiny walled towns, vil-
lages, and castles, centuries old, nestling in groves of cypress,
olive, or gnarled ilex. Around, like an emerald carpet daz-
zling with sheets of colour, spread the wide circuit of southern
swamplands, with here and there a primitive Tuscan farmstead
slumbering in their midst, its peasant-owners ever ready with
kind words of gentle greeting to the British strangers. Now
and then a flat boat laden with fodder intermingled with gay
sheafs of wild flowers would shoot beneath the arches of a
bridge, leaving a trail of gold or crimson in its wake upon
the shadowy surface of the current. It was altogether a
scene of tender and dreamy peace, foreign in every feature,
yet like England in its soothing charm of home quietness
and contentment. Bernardo, who acted as guide, turned
after passing the last bridge into a meadow partially sub-
merged, across which the path was continued along a raised
causeway solidly constructed of black earth. The many canals
and rills which intersected it, were thickly matted with the broad
rosy-veined foliage of water-lilies, and Bernardo said that in
another month the whole expanse would gleam white with
Little Brava. 17
their queenly blossoms. He added that even the unsightly
ditches which now marred the landscape, would be 'then
traced in long shining lines of gold, from the profuse number
of yellow irises which followed the windings of every water-
course. Already their baskets were laden with varied speci-
mens, when the Italian boy paused to direct Edith's attention
to a flower with a tall slender stem, which arose out of the
damp soil like a magnified snowdrop.
Shall I gather some of these for the Signora ?" he in-
quired. English people usually think them prizes."
"The marsh snowflake exclaimed Flora, who was the
botanist of the party. "I know it well from description,
but never hoped to have the pleasure of finding one growing
wild. Do try to get a root for me, Bernardo. I will send it
by post to our gardener in England."
The boy set to work obediently, and his practised fingers
soon detached the delicate bulbs from the ground uninjured,
while two cottage children who had hitherto stood shyly
at a distance now drew nearer, and eagerly watched the
The Signore wish to make them into tarts," observed the
girl, who seemed about eleven, to her younger brother. I
wonder whether they will be good. I never fancied till now
that they could be eaten."
I doubt if you would find them so nice as these," laughed
Bertha, as she handed each child a jam tartlet from the lun-
cheon stores. Then she ran swiftly on to overtake the rest,
amused by the whimsical fancy of the little ones, but never
dreaming it could have any foundation until a remark made
by Bernardo undeceived her-
The children already talk of nothing but the Feast of
the Pine Forest, and they cannot think that any one should
gather green things excepting to bake them into pies. I
hope the weather may be clear on Easter Monday. Last
8 Little Brava.
year there was such a thunderstorm that it was quite impos-
sible to dance or sit on the wet grass."
Then is it really true that herb-tarts form the standing
dish at this annual festival ?" asked Edith. I can scarcely
fancy the flavour agreeable."
"You are quite right, Signora; they taste very bitter, and
no one would think of eating them except with the roast lamb
"Is that custom observed here ?" asked Flora, while she
and her sisters listened with intelligent interest for the
"Surely, Signora; all good Christians buy a lamb, however
tiny, in the market-place on Easter Even, and none would
refuse a morsel of it to the poorest beggar. Sometimes two
families share the expense, and then each person has a slender
portion, but the feast has been kept all the same, and people
feel the happier for having done so."
"I wonder if this was originally a Jewish settlement,"
mused Mr. Arnott, when his daughters repeated to him the
curious information which they had gleaned from Bernardo.
His researches could, however, throw no light upon the sub-
ject, nor, so far as he knew, was the ancient Hebrew rite prac-
tised in any part of Italy which he had previously visited.
Easter, Ascension Day, and Whitsuntide had passed, and
still the Arnotts lingered in their winter quarters, though
they felt that a change to the mountains was inevitable, as
the heat would shortly become too great for their invalid.
It was already necessary to avoid stirring abroad at mid-
day, on pain of fever or even sunstroke. But early one
sultry afternoon, Flora and Bertha were obliged to venture
out in order to transact business of some importance, which
did not admit of being delayed until the evening. Having
fulfilled their engagement, they were hastening homeward
through a shaded side-street of somewhat poor houses, when
Little Brava. 19
the window of a ground-floor room suddenly opened and dis-
closed the form and face of little Brava, who stood shaking
her head at them like an irate fairy godmother.
Can these be my young mistresses, prowling about the
hot streets at an hour when we who know the climate shut
out every breath of feverish air from our dwellings ? Only
English people and green lizards bask in this white sunshine
when the south wind glows like a fiery furnace. No wonder
foreigners should die in Italy like sheep, just because they
will not learn the ways of the country. It is enough to
put all sensible folks out of patience," stormed the angry
elf, scolding her reprobates, who bnly laifghed the more, until
she finally caught the infection of their merriment.
"Ah little Brava, we have found you out; we do not
prowl around the town for nothing," exclaimed Flora, whose
love of fun and adventure rendered her the old woman's
especial darling. Come now, you do not mean to be in-
hospitable ? We intend to pay *you a long visit, and to
make ourselves at home in your dusky retreat, whether or
not you choose to welcome us."
The wizened face beamed with delight as its owner flew
to the street door to admit her visitors, and ushered them
into a narrow passage, with a whispered caution not to
speak so loudly as to arouse the neighbours.
"They will sleep quietly until four o'clock unless they
are disturbed, Signora. I do not wish them to know that
English ladies visit me. It is none of their business, and
might make them jealous. Sit down here in this dark
corner, and when you are cool enough to drink with safety,
I will give you a cup of fresh water flavoured with the
juice of grape skins. We call it half wine in Italy."
The girls somewhat distrustfully tasted the beverage
thus proffered them, but found to their surprise that,
although nearly as acid as vinegar, it was very refreshing
20 Little Brava.
in that sultry weather. Carola explained to them that the
thin sour liquid is expressed from the dry mass of fruit
remaining in the wine-press after the rich pulp has been
already trodden under foot. It relieved thirst effectually,
and their wearied nerves were speedily soothed by the
grateful dimness which was due to the Italian custom of
excluding the glare and heat of the outer atmosphere, instead
of opening every door and window as they had hitherto done,
in the vain effort to secure a breath of fresh air.
When their eyes had become accustomed to the twilight
gloom, they glanced about them with the interest of long-
deferred curiosity. Brava's abode had always been invested
with romance in their imagination, and a first sight of the
reality was not unattended with disappointment. The
room seemed commonplace excepting for its spaciousness,
until a closer scrutiny revealed the stamp which Brava,
like most persons gifted with originality, unconsciously
imparted to all her surroundings. There was a pile of
brushwood in one corner beside the ample fireplace, and
opposite were a low chair and wooden footstool, where the
sisters could picture their favourite seated on a winter's
evening, slightly raised above the level of the damp brick
tiles, which must send throbs of pain through her feeble
rheumatic limbs. The sleeping arrangements were invisible,
and the general aspect of the place was bare, excepting
for a table covered with a square of Turkey red, which gave
that touch of colour that seems indispensable to southern
taste and habits. It hung low upon one side, screening from
view a recess like a cupboard destitute of shelves, where,
carefully ranged on the floor, were Brava's kitchen utensils
and other valuables. The effect was amusingly like that
of a doll's house, and its owner led the sisters to inspect
its treasures with the self-important manner of a child
playing at house-keeping.
Liltte Brava. 2
".See, my young mistresses, here are four plates, and a
beautiful blue and gold cup that would be fit for a prin-
cess if it only had a saucer. These yellow basins were
given meby an English cook when her lady went back to
London, and so was the green earthenware jar which keeps
my water during the hot months as cool as snow. This
large saucepan I use for cooking beans or porridge, and
the smaller one for boiling water, and that tin for milk
was given to Bernardo in exchange for a basket of pine-
cones. Do not my pewter spoons look as shining as silver ?
My house contains every convenience, and the colours of
the china are as bright as your nosegays of wild flowers."
Bertha laughed, and drawing a note-book from her pocket,
began to make out an inventory of her friend's humble pos-
"What are you doing now ?" asked the old peasant, more
than half suspiciously.
"Writing to a good fairy to say you would like a coffee-
pot, and a soft warm rug for your feet in winter, and two or
three other trifles to make you more comfortable. Shall I
send the letter, Brava ? "
Carola's features lighted up with satisfaction. "I know
well where the good fairies live, Signora; they are born in
England. How I wish we could keep them all the year
round in Italy. But now you must go, else the neighbours
might discover us. Do not come here again until I send for
you. We can meet out of doors as usual; and recollect, you
must not stir from home until a proper hour."
With this regal style of dismissal she escorted them
through the entrance-hall, renewing her injunction not to
raise their voices. The sisters saw a crowd of eager faces
peering out of corners, and through crevices, and over
bannisters of the well-populated building, but no word was
uttered. The transparent fiction of concealment made them
22 Littie Briava.
smile,-but Carola, with the make-believe faculty of a child,
chose to ignore, in wilful self-deceit, the presence of her
fellow-lodgers. She closed the door of her own apartment
noiselessly, and murmured, while engaged in stewing vege-
tables for her supper, Nobody will dream that my young
mistresses have been to see me. How cleverly we have kept
our secret. Brava! Brava! Brava !"
Carola's wish that the English fairies might be forcibly
detained in Italy, was destined to be fulfilled under such
circumstances as her kindly little heart would have been the
last to desire. She was correct in saying that foreign resi-
dents in her country were apt to fall victims to wilful per-
versity or ignorance, as the sequel to her friends' history
was doomed to prove with sad conclusiveness. One morning
the Arnotts awoke to the now unfamiliar sight of a grey sky,
and as a sweet breeze rippled pleasantly like the flow of a
river, the invalid declared himself eager for an excursion.
The neighbourhood abounded in delightful drives, but the
motion of a carriage fatigued him; nor was he inclined for
an aimless row on the sea; his ambition was rather to explore
some of the many haunts which his daughters had visited,
sketched, and described to him. There was a picturesque
old Roman ruin called the Baths of Nero, easily accessible
by water, as it stood near the shores of the lake whither the
eel-fishers resorted, and the sick man could recline in the
stern of a boat, and glide up the canals through acres of the
white and golden lilies that now made the rice-swamps a
scene of enchantment. It was altogether one of those fatal,
entrancing schemes which allure many to death in the
lovely but treacherous Italian climate. Had wise little
Brava been consulted, the pleasure-seekers would never have
embarked on their ill-fated voyage, but she knew nothing of
their project in time to utter a word of warning.
-There was perfect freedom from misgivings in the minds
Little Brava. 23
of the cheerful group which floated out of the miniature
harbour crowded with oddly-shaped fishing-craft, and guarded
by a hoary tower, built in irregular stages, its rude angles
softened by a veil of creepers, and its every ledge trans-
formed into a hanging garden of luxuriant greenness. On
they went, inland, towards the mountains, threading the
maze of canals, along which drifted vessels like their own,
with orange, white, or tawny sails; the distant ones appearing
to skim on dry land across the surface of the sunken
meadows. Steadily they pursued their course amid the
perilous fascinations of the rice-swamps, until their boat
glided into the circular basin of a lake set like a deep round
cup brimming with liquid sapphire, in the flat expanse of
umber-brown shading into rich pink, which was the prevail-
ing hue of the half-submerged plain. This sheet of water
was divided from the mainland by a short canal-resembling
a broad ditch, at the mouth of which clustered a pathetic
group of houses, which seemed almost sinking stone by
stone into the black slime that oozed under their foundations.
Bernardo said they were often flooded in winter from the
rising of the lake; and indeed that fact was self-evident to
any eye which noted the green stains upon their mouldering
The place seemed altogether an ill-omened spot. Mos-
quitoes with their poisonous stings swarmed in the air, which
just then felt clammy and chill, excepting for flushes of lurid
heat betokening a storm. No men were visible, but a few
blanched women and children lounged upon the crumbling
outside staircases, or within the dilapidated arched windows
and doorways. Mr. Arnott's heart ached for the fever-stricken
group, among whom he distributed alms and provisions.
There seemed no way of helping them more effectually while
they were obliged to sojourn in that pestilential atmosphere.
A short walk in the direction of the hills led to a scene so
24 Little Brava.
different, that the English strangers marvelled why it was
that the lake-village should be tenanted, when healthy knolls
swept by pure breezes were close to the site of the fisher-
The Roman ruin with its graceful arches garlanded by
wild flowers, though enhancing the charms of the landscape,
did not long detain the party, as it was a mere shell, and of
limited extent. Beside it was a tiny settlement, nestling
beneath the boughs of magnificent olives, of which the deli-
cate foliage spread a veil of dusky silver between the mossed
turf and the sultry sky. In the delicious dimness were
gathered the girls and women of the hamlet, seated at low
wooden tables where, by the aid of some primitive machinery,
they busied themselves in the task of piercing coral beads, at
the rate of fivepence for the day's labour of three ounces. It
was the prettiest branch of industry which Mr. Arnott had
yet seen; and with Bernardo at his feet, he settled down
contentedly among the smiling workers, while his daughters
climbed a mountain in the rear, now carpeted with myrtle,
sunrose, and pink cylamen, in order to visit a peasant friend
whose cottage, as she took care to inform them, commanded
a view of the whole world." A sunset sail down the canal,
and later a moon flooding the vapours of the morass with
golden glory, closed the long list of. imprudences which had
marked this eventful day.
A week of languor followed that reckless exposure, and
then mournful rumours circulated through the seaside village
that fever in its worst form had seized on every member of
the Arnott family. Relations were summoned in haste from
England, and the pretty villa was besieged by humble but
earnest inquirers. There was an arched recess with a stone
bench on either hand opening into the garden, and there
Brava and Bernardo fairly took up their abode, the latter
rendering really valuable services, for which he declined any
Little Brava. 25
other payment than his daily food. Carola could do nothing,
but she seemed unable to live without constant tidings of
the invalids; and no one cared to banish the quiet and unob-
trusive creature, who sat watching through the sultry golden
hours like a faithful dog.
One day a lady robed in a simple white dress relieved
by a cluster of dewy roses brought a cup of coffee and a
delicate crisp roll to Brava. "Dear little woman," she said
warmly, "I have just learned who you are. My nieces used
to talk about you before they became delirious."
"Are my young mistresses going to die ?" asked Brava, as
she gazed into the sweet elderly face of Mr. Arnott's sister.
"They are very ill," was the sad answer; "but we can
pray for them, cannot we, Carola ?"
Oh yes! and I could let them go if I were certain the
good God is calling them; but I cannot rest for the idea
that they might be saved if English people knew how to
take care of them."
Miss Arnott smiled. "The doctor who attends them is
Italian, and I try to obey his instructions. But, Brava, you
shall judge for yourself if anything is left undone. You are
not afraid of infection ?"
She lifted the fragile figure in her arms, and bore it up
the marble staircase bordered with bright flowers, and
through the solemn suite of darkened rooms, in each of
which the life-and-death conflict was waging fiercely. Brava
drew a deep sigh of relief when she noted the cooling drinks
at every bedside; the absence of heat and glare; the peace-
ful stillness; above all, the purity and freshness of the
"They could not be better nursed at my house," she cried
with satisfaction. "I expected to see them lying in a stream
of sunshine. All may live except the sweetest and best-
my Signorina Flora. The desert lilies for which she has
26 Little Brava.
watched so long are already in bud, but she will never see
them bloom. The Lord has chosen the fairest of all my
flowers, and I am content that He should have her. Brava!
There was a ring of sincerity in the tremulous accents,
and Miss Arnott said long afterwards that poor Carola's
faltering lay was the most eloquent sermon on faith and
resignation to which she had ever listened.
Brava's experienced eye had not deceived her. Only one
week later the gladsome Flora was laid in the English ceme-
tery, and Bernardo' daily renewed the desert lilies which
Brava insisted should be placed upon her tomb with every
sunrise. To these true friends was left the charge of tending
the grave of the cherished sleeper, when those nearest to her,
having struggled back to life, set out, a pallid, wan, diminished
group, for the old home in Cumberland.
If there is any hope for them, it will be native air,"
observed Carola, as she returned from the railway station
with Bernardo. Our own Signorina Flora belongs now to
us, until the time when there shall be no longer either Italy
or England, but all shall be children of the one Celestial
Country. Brava Brava! Brava!"
The gulf of separation between Carola and her friends
was bridged over by correspondence, for Bernardo was
able to read and write, and felt proud to act as the scribe of
his adopted mother. Clever and quaint as the mind which
dictated them were the missives of little Brava, breathing
a holy fragrance sweeter than the perfume of lemon or
orange groves, and flooding the northern rectory with sun-
shine which seemed less to belong to Italy than to heaven.
She always told what plants had last been laid upon her
signorina's grave; whether branches of feathery tamarisk
with its drooping masses of soft grey blossoms faintly
tinged with pink, or clusters of rosy oleander, or acacia
Little Brava. 27
with its plumy velvet leaves of honey-scented flowers.
Even while rendering such honours, however, to the pre-
cious dust, Carola's thoughts dwelt on her darling as upon
a happy and glorified spirit, entering with such intensity
of sympathy into the consciousness of her bliss that the
Arnotts felt uplifted on the wings of that unquestioning
faith into a loftier and purer atmosphere.
Throughout the summer and autumnal months Brava
spoke only of improved health; but towards winter the tone
of her letters altered, and those who even from a distance
watched tenderly over her felt that it might not be long
before she should follow their own cherished one within the
veil. Heaven seems becoming every day more home-like,"
she wrote upon Christmas eve; "it is a year to-day since
God first gave me my young mistresses. I shall not mourn
the signorina Flora when our Saviour's birthday next
Carola did not now beg in the streets, nor make her weekly
round among the shopkeepers as formerly. The Arnotts
allowed her a regular maintenance, small indeed, but more
than sufficient for her modest wants. She fed Bernardo
during illness, and kept him more comfortably clad, but
she would never have encouraged him to eat the bread
of idleness, even had the high-spirited youth felt willing to
be a burden upon her. The new and exquisite delight of
ministering to others proved the long missing key to the
citadel within which she had hitherto entrenched herself.
Her sealed door was flung open to deserving neighbours-
none others ever desired to enter it-and the sweet inter-
change of charitable offices imparted to the soul fast ripen-
ing for Paradise that added touch of saintly beauty which
appeared like a finishing-stroke from the Great Master's
As spring's azure veil of softness began to enfold the
28 Little Brava.
mountains, a new phase commenced in little Brava's illness,
if a fading gradual and gentle as was hers could be called
by so harsh a name. That mysterious attraction towards
the place of birth, which is apt to attend on life's decline,
assailed Carola with the force of a consuming home-sickness
which preyed upon the faculties of body and mind. She
pined for the unhealthy rice-swamps, and even for the dark
hut which had entombed her youth. They haunted her
fancy by day and her visions by night, though she turned
from the thought as from a whisper of the tempter. The
good God could not mean her to die in solitude, nor to
forsake her boy, nor to risk his life and her own for the
indulgence of an idle vagary."
"I shall see the fair pastures of the blessed very soon;
why should my heart ache for a sight of those bold, free
swamplands, stretching out as far as the wide arch of
heaven ?" she mused aloud one afternoon, with a passing
forgetfulness that she was not alone.
Bernardo stood beside the table, whereon lay an open box
lined with fresh moss, into which he was deftly packing
specimens of a rare curious iris, said to have been brought
in the ninth century from Syria by the Saracens, and still
found growing wild in favoured nooks of Italy. The blos-
soms, resembling black velvet streaked with green, were
destined for Mr. Arnott, and Bernardo knew that though
they were less beauteous than his former gifts of dazzling
scarlet or purple anemones, star-jonquils from the marsh, and
clusters of creamy narcissus, with its golden chalice and
delicious odour, he had never despatched such a floral prize
to the Cumberland rectory.
The lad gave no token of having overheard his friend's
self-accusation, but a few days afterwards he casually
remarked, while they were seated at their supper-
Brava, Paolo the fisherman is dead, and his wife wishes
Little Brava. 29
to go to service, sending the two children to her mother.
Shall we rent their cabin? It is cheap, and on the safe
shore of the lake, where the air is purified by sea-breezes.
Nothing could be more unlike that stagnant hollow shut in
by the mountains, where our Signorina Flora caught her
Brava !" cried the ecstatic listener, who had been leaning
forward so as not to lose a syllable. Only there is our dear
young lady's grave; you would not ask me to leave it
The farmers will give me a lift occasionally, or if not,
I can manage the whole distance on foot. She shall have
fairer flowers than ever," said Bernardo confidently.
Carola needed no further persuasion, and as soon as the
requisite arrangements could be made the pair hired an ox-
cart, which transported them and their possessions across
country for six miles to their new home at Tower-of-the-Lake,
a village owing its name to the castellated residence which
formed a landmark on the level plain. The road was bor-
dered by rich fields-of corn, so high as to conceal the labourers
who toiled in their furrows, though in England crops of grain
could scarcely yet have risen above the ground. Brava's
eyes revelled in the sheets of scarlet poppies and blue corn-
flowers and variegated heartsease that waved in the fitful
breeze, as it rippled over the golden ridges, soon to be mown
by the reaper. She still craved the marsh, however, with
morbid intensity, and her heart only sank down like a tired
bird into its nest when she emerged from the green lanes
upon a swampy tract, which, though it did not produce rice,
still bore a general resemblance to the haunts of her child-
Paolo's cabin, like the site on which it stood, was an im-
provement on Brava's native surroundings, but it also pos-
sessed a homely familiar charm which soothed her as does
30 Little Brava.
the remembrance of a lullaby. Like the others in the village,
it consisted of two long low rooms, having an outside door
at either end, and joined within by a narrow paved passage,
on the opposite sides of which were recesses enclosed in'a
network woven of osiers from the lake shore into an impene-
trable screen. These were the bed-chambers, rendered by
this ingenious contrivance as private and comfortable as
those of an ordinary cottage. Brava viewed them delightedly,
as she did also the floor of tiled bricks, and the stone fire-
place, raised in the centre of the kitchen just beneath the
thatched roof, from a hole in which part of the smoke
escaped, while the remainder had condensed into festoons
upon the walls and ceiling.
The humble occupants of such cabins are in general
their own architects, and they rear their dwellings without
regular chimneys or windows, in order thus to evade the
else inevitable tax. A fire kindled on the principle above
described is not legally viewed as a household flame, but
rather as one lighted gipsy fashion in the open country.
The doors, when flung wide, in summer admit more than
.enough sunshine in that brilliant climate; it is only during
wintry rains that the absence of air and natural daylight
must affect the spirits of the storm-bound inmates.
Paolo's successors did not look beyond the happy present,
as they gazed abroad over the lovely lake, with its abrupt
hills rising sheer out of the water, and at the small groves of
umbrella pines which marked reclaimed patches of swamp,
and at the clumps of that wondrous Australian tree, whose
property of disinfecting the air of malarious districts has
been only of late years discovered.
This house, is a palace !" exclaimed little Brava; how I
should like to show it to my young mistresses."
The innocent last wish was not denied, for in October the
Arnotts arrived on a brief visit to their darling's tomb,