"' Wlo's child are you? where do you live?'"
BY MRS. MACKARNESS,
AUTHOR OF "A TRAP TO CATCH A SUNBEAM."
THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE:
WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.
LONDON AND NEW YORK :
GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS.
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"A chill entered, holding in the skirt of-her little clean frock four
young rabbits.' -
IT was very peculiar the way that Miss
Jemima Brown had of calling her sister's name.
Peculiar, because it expressed so much her own
disposition, that a stranger hearing her call
" Meria would have been sure she was one of
those unhappy beings, who, having been a peevish
child, has become a fretful woman with a con-
tinual grievance. It was the more to be regretted
in this instance because Jemima was so kind-
hearted. All suffering touched her with an
infinite pity, and an earnest desire to relieve it
if possible; but in the instance when she had
been successful in doing so, it had served her as
a subject for complaint, and a sort of grievance
There had been a third Miss Brown, a pretty,
shy, fair, childish thing, who had married, at
sixteen, a young fellow, but a year or two older,
and died early, leaving a little girl to the mercy
of her sisters, for the young father was too
heartbroken and bewildered to know what to do
with a small child who could scarce lisp his
name, and stared at him with large scared blue
eyes as though he was some ogre, who would
eventually make a meal of her, so Miss Jemima
Brown, proposed to her sister to take the poor
baby and bring it up themselves. Somewhat
unwillingly she consented, for she felt sure what
continual worry and anxiety it would prove to
her sister; but finally the little motherless
thing came to live in the red brick house, with
its white steps, and brass knocker, in the centre
of the High street, in the little village of
To indulge every whim of this poor little
child, to be its slave night and day, to have no
thought for anything but the comfort and
happiness of the little thing thus cast upon her,
was poor Jemima's life-work; and it was really
touching to see her, and yet strange enough to
wake a smile-seated at the table with a toy
farm playing as May directed, or dressed up in
shawls and anti-macassars as her little girl.
Of course poor Jemima was thin what
fretful person was ever fat; and she was plain
and tall, with iron grey hair, and dark eyebrows,
and was dressed always in sad dingy coloured
garments; looking all unfit to be the playmate
of the bright fairy thing, who ruled her with
childish tyranny, and who was, notwithstanding,
the one bright light in her dull and monotonous
"Some day, Jemima, you'll think of my
words, and rue your neglect of them, when too
late: you're spoiling that child."
"Oh! Meria, it is unkind to say so; why
only yesterday I gave her bread and jam
instead of pudding, because she would not say
"A very severe punishment, which I am sure
she will never forget," said Meria' with a half
smile. "You should never have undertaken
the charge of the child: we are not learned in
such matters, and she would have been better at
a good school or orphan home."
"What! Amy's child turned adrift,-oh!
Meria, I wonder at you"-and whilst
wondered, the door burst open and a child
entered, holding in the skirt of her little clean
frock four young rabbits. Her hat had fallen
from her head, and was hanging by its elastic
round her throat, her hair was all in golden
tangles and her little cheeks scarlet with excite-
ment. She looked, it must be owned, a very
picture as she stood there, the sunshine gleaming
on her through the vine leaves which clambered
round the window; but Miss Jemima had not
long dressed her in her clean frock and bid her
play at some quiet game that would not make
it dirty. What was the use of this injunction ?
alone in the little garden, with only dumb Dolly
for a companion, whom she often shook, because
she would not answer her, she was easily tempted
from the stool under the mulberry tree, by a
voice calling her name.
It was the little boy next door; he had
lovely young rabbits to show her, could she
clamber over the wall if he helped her? Of
course she could-the clean frock was forgotten.
What were clean frocks or stockings, or Aunt
Jemima's gentle remonstrance to the excitement
of this moment.
Young rabbits to see! over the wall she
scrambled, and was soon standing before the
hutch surveying the little soft white things with
their red eyes, beside their proud little owner.
With a burst of childish generosity, seeing
her delight, he said,-
"You may have them, if you like."
"What, all of them ? how nice! I'll take
them now;" and without the formality of
thanks, they were all expressed in the joyous
face-in the eager acceptance of the offer, she
held her frock to have them put in-with diffi-
culty scrambling over the wall thus laden, and
hurried to Aunt Jemima with her treasure.
"Oh, my dear child, how are we to keep
them; you must take them back," was Aunt
Jemima's first exclamation.
"No, no," said the child, stamping her little
foot. "Gerald gave them to me.: they are mine,
my very own."
But where are you going to keep them,"
mildly interposed Aunt Maria.
"In a hutch."
"But where's the hutch?"
Well, I s'pose there's hutches : Gerald's got
one," answered the child, defiantly.
"There are hutches at the carpenter's, May,
but they have to be paid for; and there is no
occasion to go to that expense: go and take
the rabbits back to Gerald."
"But he gave them to me, and I want them;
it is a shame. Aunt Mima, mayn't I have
them? said May, bursting at once into a
passion of tears.
Come with me, dear, and I'll see." Oh she
dreaded those tears as nervous people dread a
storm, and would at any personal inconvenience
to herself have prevented them.
It ended with the rabbits being consigned to
their owner for the present, with a promise to
get the gardener to knock up an old box and
convert it into a hutch as soon as possible; and
it is as well perhaps to state, that a week after
the little animals had been in May's posses-
sion, they were all dead; first, because they were
too young to be taken from their mother's care,
and, secondly, because for one whole day May
forgot to feed them. Her aunt had consented
to let the garden boy clean them, but May
was to feed them, as she tried hard, poor
thing, to teach her little charge all that
was right, and told her that if she kept
pets she must really take the trouble of
them, and see they were fed and warm and
"Suppose I forgot to give you your dinner,
May, what would you do ? she asked.
Be very hungry at tea," answered the little
maid, which sharp answer was unhappily thought
so clever by Aunt Jemima that the lecture
ended in a laugh, and the rabbits died-May
consoling herself with the ungrammatical but
"Well, I daresay you would have eated them
if they hadn't died."
Her next pets were a miserable little pair of
white mice, which she cried to buy of a little
organ-boy, who came one day into the little
village street, and, attracted by the child's face
at the window, stopped before the house,
and with his bright Italian smile, showing his
white teeth, he offered the little creatures for
So pretti, le picciole : buy, very sheap: un
soldo, ni madre, ni padre, per pieta."
"Buythem, auntie do, he's hungry; that'swhat
he says; I'm sure I want them, see how they run
over his hand-oh! they are pretty, I do want
them, I will be so happy, so good." And so the
white mice left the little owner's hands they had
run over so long, and lived in a twirling cage for
some time, till May grew tired of seeing the per-
petual movement, and took them out to dress them
in some little frocks she made them, and gave
them bread and milk out of the doll's cups and
saucers ; this was successful twice, but the third
time the mice escaped from her, and signally
failing to catch them herself, the cat volunteered
her services, and so thus ended the brief life of
these second pets.
Auntie .said she should really have no more,
until at least she was older, she continued, seeing
the ominous-clouds gathering in the face which
always preceded the storm of tears; when she
was older she should have a little dog, a nice
little dog that would run about after her-" and
bite her," said a severe voice from the corner of
No, no, we'll have a nice little good-natured
dog, won't we, May ? Meria you shouldn't dis-
courage her when she was taking comfort so
good temperedly," said poor Jemima.
"I haven't common patience," muttered
" Meria," impatiently twitching her knitting.
"No, dear, you haven't-that's it; you see if
you had, the dear child would not worry you:
but really it makes my life very trying--to
please her and please you requires two such
opposite treatments, that really I am torn in
"I wonder you're alive to tell the tale,"
gruffly replied her sister; but any worry that
you have serves you right; you know I warned
you about it, I knew the child would be too
much for you, for either of us."
Jemima only gave a heavy sigh. She knew
argument was useless and sat down to her
What uninteresting work hers always looked:
some women have pretty baskets lined with
blue or rose silk, in which there is muslin and
lace and bright coloured riband, or some fine
delicate cambric, or soft white flannel-as the
fabric they are working on-elegant shaped
bright scissors, and silver chased thimbles-
all seeming to speak of the gentle feminine
delicate-minded owner; but poor dear Jemima
had a large wooden box, lined with some paper,
which a century ago might have been blue-
filled with tapes and cottons and buttons all in
a wonderful heap together, and her work seemed
always a very faded sage green stuff gown
she was lining, or a brown-looking black she
was re-trimming her thimble, a large dis-
coloured metal one, and her scissors large enough
for shears,-she called them her cutting out"
scissors, they must have been singularly useless
to her, for she never cut out anything. They
had a married servant living near, and when it
was necessary to make any garments for herself
or May, she went immediately to her, to "poor
Susan." Why poor no one knew, for she was
very happily married to a most respectable man;
but Jemima was always full of pity for all who
were married: "they brought such cares on
them, my dear," she would say.
So "poor Susan" invariably made her
appearance after the arrival of Mr. Caley's
"youngnan with a parcel done up in black
glazed calico, and took up her station in the
dining-room, the table in which was duly cleared
for her operations upon the newly imported calico
What a day this was !.-Aunt Maria generally
went out-for as Jemima wished very much to
superintend and watch Susan, May was more
than usually anxious for her to come and play
with her; so that the crying and the coaxing,
and general confusion, was something too much
for Miss Brown's philosophy."
"I'll be Susan, and cut out, to-day," May
suggested; and so, perched up on her high chair
by the table, she took the pieces Susan had
given her, and stripped them into the smallest
possible fragments; and when the operation was
over, she proceeded to continue the same on a
breadth of flannel Susan had let fall; "it was
on the ground, it was, and I thought was no
use," she sobbed, as Susan violently reproached
her, and implored Miss Jemima to send her out
of the room, for she was enough to worrit the
hair off Agnes's head-she was."
Poor little girl! no wonder she was trouble-
some : the life was so unnatural, with no one to
play with of her own age; no occupation that
interested her; no change in the daily round;
the child's mind thirsting for information-hun-
gering for the brightness, and joy, and cheerful-
ness, which are the natural elements in which
we should live, sought to satisfy the craving in
her own way, and the result was constant disap-
pointment to herself, constant irritation to her
aunt. It is true Jemima played with her; but,
kind as she was, and earnestly desirous to please
her, she could not be really a child, poor thing;
nor had she the happy tact which some have of
appearing really to enjoy the games as much as
the child itself; therefore, the real zest was
wanted,- and May would often as soon have
She was getting into her sixth year, when
Aunt Maria suggested one day that May should
begin her education.
"Teach her yourself, if you can, Jemima, or
send her to school.; but do let her have an edu..
cation of some kind," she said; "last time her
father came to see her, he said he thought it
was high time she knew something."
Yes, I was thinking so myself. I will buy
her a box of pretty letters, and try to teach her
that way. I'm afraid they will be hard to her
"Do her a great deal of good, too," muttered
Aunt Maria; you're making a nice rod for
your own back."
So the letters were bought, and, while the
novelty lasted, May was surprisingly good;
and, being naturally quick, she speedily mas-
tered the names of the letters, and knew them
by sight in books. But Jemima had so im-
pressed her that A was for apple, B for ball,
C for cat, :etc., according to the pictures on the
cards, that she could not, or it might be would
not, speak of them in any other way; therefore,
to teadh her to read appeared impossible. In
vain auntie pointed to "cat." She only per-
sisted in saying: Cadt, apple, top. Dog was
"doll," "orange," "goose;" and so in despair poor
Jemima determined to go and talk to Mrs.
Green, who kept a day-school close by, and in-
quired whether she would take her for an hour
She went for a week, and then came back
one day with a small note, from Mrs. Green, to
say that she really could not let Miss May
come there any more, for she disturbed the
whole school. And then there was another lull
in the education, while Jemima considered what
was next best to be done.
Whilst she was considering and bemoaning
herself on the trouble the poor dear child was,
she one morning received, a letter from Mr.
Farmer, which she read with blanched face,
and carried it with tearful eyes to her
"What's the matter now?" she demanded;
the sight of Jemima in tears was nothing new,
and her sister only expected to hear that the
cook had given warning, or the kitchen chimney
was on fire.
"Read this, Mcria. Oh dear! however shall
I bear it."
"My dear Jemima," ran the letter, "with
many, many thanks for all your kindness to my
little girl, I am going to ask you to send her
back to me. The fact is, I am going to be
married again; and the lady I have chosen
will, I am sure, make an admirable mother to
my dear child, and it will be a pleasure to me
to have her with me. We are to be married
next Tuesday; and, after a tour of three weeks,
shall be ready for our little girl. I propose
coming with my wife to fetch her, and, at the
same time, make you acquainted with my bride.
"Again thanking you for all your kindness,
"I am your affectionate
Well, and a very good job, too," said Miss
Brown. "I shall be heartily glad when the
child is gone to its natural protector, and your
mind is at rest."
How I shall miss her, no one knows," said
Yes, you will miss her-miss the everlast-
ing anxiety, the perpetual care which has
ended in a total failure, and there may be some
hope of something being done with the child."
"Ah! Meria, you don't know my feelings.
How will the poor child bear the parting ? I
dread to tell her."
Don't alarm yourself, my dear Jemima,
she'll be delighted." And in the course of the
day Maria took occasion to say to the child,
"You must be very good and obedient,
May, for the next few weeks, for you are
going to have a great treat. You are going
home to papa; but you must be very good, or
you cannot go."
The child jumped up from the ground, on
which she was seated, employed in teaching the
cat to beg, and said, with a very bright face and
"Oh! how jolly--I like papa-he's got a
jolly face, and gave me sixpeice."
This difficulty so far got over, Jemima be-
came a little less distressed. Her unselfish love
for the little creature made her feel the parting
less bitter, if it was joy to the child; if it were
to be only her sorrow she could bear it; and
yet, with the inconsistency of human nature,
she could not help feeling a pang of disappoint-
ment that she vwas glad to go.
It wanted but a week of the time that Mr.
Farmer was to fetch his child. And as each
day closed, and it drew nearer the dreaded
parting, poor Jemima looked at the bed in
which lay the little charge which had been her
treasure so long. The ready tears starting to
think how she should feel when it was empty
The one thing gone which, in her cheerless life
had aroused all the better feeling of her nature
which beyond mother, father, or sister she had
She had to buy a few new things for the
full equipment of the child, whom she deter-
mined should go to the new mother properly
fitted out. And at the close of a hot sum-
mer day, she prepared to go out for this
purpose. It was so warm that she had given
May leave to stay up a little longer, and
play in the garden, but seeing Jemima with
her bonnet on, she requested to go with
"No, dear, not to-night. Aunt Maria is
going with me, and it's too late. Play in the
garden till I come home.".
The clouds gathered instantly.
"Well, look here, ducky, I will bring you
back some sweets-won't that be nice?-if
you'll stay in the garden."
May gave a grumbling assent, and went
back into the garden; but changing her mind
before she had been many minutes alone she
started off in pursuit of her aunts, feeling sure
that if she made great lamentation, Aunt
Jemima would relent, and take her.
But she had reckoned this time without her
And Maria quietly said, if the child came
with them, she should not go; and so, as
Jemima especially wanted her advice, she was
obliged to consent to send the child back.
"Run back, there's a dear, now," she said,
kissing her, "and take Dolly in the garden,
then I'll come, and bring you such a lot of
May looked up for a moment in her aunt's
face, and somehow noticing with a child's quick-
ness that tears would now be unavailing, she
turned round, and ran back as fast as her legs
could carry her.
She was out of sight in a moment.
"There, you see, Jemima, if you would be
firm with her, and not give in to all her wishes,
you would manage ever so much better."
But Jemima sighed; she had noticed an ex-
pression in the child's face which was not
tranquil obedience, it was anger and defiance,
and she dreaded the storm she should encounter
on her return.
They were gone more than an hour. The
sun had set, and the evening star had "set its
watch in the sky," before they reached the
"Dear, it is late; how tired May will be-
come along, dear. May, May! where are you,
dear," called Aunt Jemima.
Not in the garden, nor the yard, nor in the
old coach-house--whcre she often liked to play.
She called the servants, anxiously, where was
Miss May ?
"Why, she went after you, mum," said cook.
"Yes; but I sent her back."
"She's never come back then, mum; at least,
I ain't seen her. Jane, you hain't seen Miss
No; not since she went out with missis."
Oh, Meria! what shall I do?" cried poor
Jemima. Why did you make me send her
back? She's lost she's lost!"
"Don't, pray, be such an idiot. Lost-non-
sense She's playing on the common with
some of the village children-let us go and see."
It was close by the large breezy common, and
a group of schoolboys were playing cricket, and
children were scattered all over it; but no May
was there. Had she gone to any shop ? They
inquired in every one. No, No one had seen
her. The light grow fainter, and the moon
rose. And still the two women, both anxious
and frightened, now walked about in their vain
search, calling her name aloud, returning to
the garden, searching behind each bush, telling
her that they would not scold her if she would
only come out from her hiding-place. The
servants had been, too, down the lane, near the
house, in the cottages, at the next neighbour's,
where lived her little friend, Gerald; but they
could give them no account of her, and he, the
boy, joined in the search, and one by one others
came to offer their services. Could she have
strayed away to the cliffs, "and fallen over ?"
A cry of horror broke from poor Aunt
Jemima's white lips.
Jemima do not be so silly; why the child
could not walk so far," said Maria; "she's
"But every place has been searched, I tell
you. The girls have emptied the big cupboard
to look for her, and searched wine cellar, and
beer cellar, and coal cellar."
"Go to the police station and give notice
about her, ma'am-I'll go," said a kindly neigh-
"And let's get some lanterns and go out a
large party along the high. road, and into
Deerhurst Park," said another.
And so a party started on the quest, and the
two aunts sat down in the little parlour. When
the supper was laid they could not eat, but sat
in silence, save the sobs from Aunt Jemima, and
the occasional assurance from Maria that crying
would not find the child; and the cook stood at
the front door talking to knots of people, who
came to hear what all the trouble in the town
Presently a loud cry startled the two ladies,
and a damsel ran across the room overhead,
and downstairs, and the parlour door was
thrown open, and Jane exclaimed,-
"I've found her-oh! ma'am, would you be-
lievo it, she's in her own bed-smothered up
right under the clothes, in all her things, even
her hat and boots, ma'am. And, oh! she's that.
hot; but fast asleep."
Naughty May! with her little heart full of
anger and indignation, she had run home, in at
the back door, and straight upstairs, into bed,
when, drawing the clothes over her head, she
had cried herself to sleep It was the last of
her escapades. Her father, and his nice bright
little wife carried her away a day or two after,
to poor Aunt Jemima's bitter grief, and Aunt
Maria's intense relief. But years after, when
May had grown up into a clever, sensible,
observing girl--thanks to the judicious care of
her stepmother-and had a pretty home of her
own, in gratitude and' payment for the love
which had protected her early days, she took
to live with her the lonely aunt, who had lost
"Meria," and who with inevitable tears, but
tears of joy, now took possession of the pretty
room assigned to her; and losing none of the
love for her first darling, took into her heart
one more-May's little May.
bRADBlURY, AGNTLW, & CO., FIS'IVERLS, WIIVITErRrAlS,
THERE was an organ playing in the road, a
broad open road, on one side of which was a long
range of barracks, from the windows of which
the soldiers were lounging out listening to the
music and tossing halfpence to the player. The
bright spring sunshine glittered on the young
green leaves, and a light breeze wafted the scent
of lilacs and hawthorns from the gardens near,
and shook gently down the petals from the
pink blossoms of the almond trees. The
thrushes, and larks, and linnets, in their
cages, hanging outside the barrack windows,
among the pots of scarlet geraniums, stocks,
and mignonettes, swelled their little throats
into song, answering the notes of the wild
free birds amongst the trees; and near the
organ a group of ragged children stood staring
at it, running to pick the halfpence up, and give
them to the man. One amongst them, a girl,
stood listening, beating her foot in time to the
music; then suddenly, as the air changed, she
flung her arm round another child standing near,
and broke into a quick graceful dance, so grace-
ful and joyous that loud plaudits broke from
the men lii.gig. out of the barrack windows,
and, passers-by stood to watch in wonder-
ing admiration, the rapid movements of the
supple Jlimbs, the little head so well set on her
shoulders, with its masses of rich black hair,
the dark eyes flashing with merriment, the
little brown ears, in which large gold ear.
rings hung, and the dress, poor and coarse,
but picturesque as her little bright self. It
was of some coarse dark cloth, very short, show-
ing her small feet in heavy shoes, that it was
a wonder she could move so quickly and so
lightly at all, in such things.
A scarlet handkerchief was knotted round
her neck, and a clean white linen apron longer
than her frock was caught up at one corner
under the waistband; her head had no
covering but her glorious hair, and she danced
there beneath the sunshine, unmindful of the
admiring eyes which watched her movements,
enjoying the pure excitement of the exercise
for its sake alone. A man stopped to watch
her as, after a moment's pause, she resumed
her dance, changing her time according to
the tune, from the short rapid steps of the
polka to the more undulating graceful
Mazourka; half closing her dark liquid eyes
she threw her head back on the shoulder of the
strong rough girl she had chosen to dance with,
and with a kind of sentiment, as though she
would express some deep and tender feeling, she
moved with gentle grace to the music. Then,
suddenly breaking from her companion, and
whirling round several times on one foot with
astonishing rapidity, she threw her arms over her
head, with a bright loud laugh and flew away
with the speed of an antelope down the long road,
stopping once to turn and drop a graceful curtsey,
for the plaudits which greeted her performance,
to the soldiers who leaned out of the windows to
watch her as far as they could see her.
The man, the moment she sprung away,
had followed her, but he had to walk rapidly
to keep in sight the child, who, laughing and
singing, sprang on before him. She turned
presently down a court, in which there was
no thoroughfare, and stopped before a house
the door of which was open, and across the
sill was a low board over which hung a flaxen-
haired baby, scratching up the dirt with its
little brown fingers, watched by another
child, a year older, with shoeless and stocking-
less feet, who occasionally fulfilled what it
considered its duty by saying* "Dirty, adone,
baby! oh, your mother will just slap you !"
But baby scratched on, unheeding the remon-
strance, and the small brother, finding the
remonstrance and the threat equally unavail-
ing, left baby to continue his amusement.
"Ah, here's Nita, coming at length,"
said the boy, with a sigh of relief at this
shifting of the responsibility which had
devolved on him in her absence. "He will
keep on scratching the dirt, Nita."
"Will he?" said the child, listlessly; "I
suppose I must take him up then. Oh, you
dirty little horror she continued, lifting him
up from the floor, and receiving for reward
for her attention, a smart slap from baby's
dirty hands in her face. But she only laughed,
and carried him kicking to a back room, where
was a bedstead with apparently but little
clothing on it, a broken chair, and a box,
on which stood a large yellow basin, and a
small wooden bowl, in which was a piece
of soap, and at this apology for a wash-
stand, she wiped the dirt from the baby's
hands and face. And then turning to the
boy who had stood leaning against the door
watching her, told him he might go out to play
now, if he liked. The boy readily took advan-
tage of the permission, and the girl put the
baby down on the floor and began dancing
to it in the same wild graceful fantastic
fashion with which she had charmed the
She thought baby was her only audience,
till a shadow seemed to fall on the floor, and,
turning round, she saw a man standing in
"Who do you want? she asked, advancing
You," said the man, smiling.
"What for ?" she asked, looking at him
with her fine fearless eyes.
"To make your fortune," said the man.
She laughed, and turned to pick up baby, who
cried to be noticed.
"Is that your little sister ? "
It's a boy, and it's not my sister."
Have you a mother and father ? "
"People I call so," she answered. "Are
fortunes made by answering questions ?" she
"Sometimes, child," said the man, smiling
at her sharpness. "Who taught you to
"No one; I taught myself."
"And is this your home ? what is your
name ? "
"Does it matter to you? What if I don't
choose to tell you? she said defiantly.
"I shall wait till your mother comes in, and
"Ha! ha! how long you'd have to. wait,
wouldn't he, Bab ?" and she tossed the child
above her head with her strong young arms and
laughed again. At this moment a woman
entered, a pale, worn, weary-looking woman
who stared to see a stranger in her house,
and asked him did he want her.
"I want your little girl, ma'am," he said,
"if you're inclined to spare her; my name
and occupation you will read here." And he
handed a somewhat dirty, greasy card to her.
"I saw her dancing just now in the road, and
I see she has talents which might be turned
to account. I'll give you money down for
her, and so much a week to the child. Will
you let her go ? "
The woman stared at the card and at the
man, and then said,-
I don't mind, I'm sure, I'd like Nita to
do what she likes best; she does not belong to
me, you know. What say, Nita, will you go
with this gentleman ?"
What for-to dance in the streets for
coppers ? No, thank you, I'll stay here."
It's not in the streets, my fine little maiden;
I have a small theatre, and want a little dancer
like you. Come, strike a bargain. Is she no rela-
tive to you? he said, turning again to the woman.
"None at all, sir. Her mother-at least a
a woman-a foreign woman brought her here
when she was quite a baby, and begged a
lodging. She looked scarce fit to drag one
leg behind the other. I gave her that little
room for a trifle a week, and there she died,
leaving the poor child alone; I did not like to
send her to the work'us, poor thing, so she's
grubbed along with mine ever since, doing
a little to help with the little ones; but me
and my man have often wondered what was
to become of her."
A theatre, a real theatre, is it?" asked
the child, who had been thinking seemingly of
the man's last words.
"A real theatre;" he answered, "it's a
movable one, you know. I travel about."
"No, no, thank you, I'd rather stay here.
Do you want me to go, though?" she said,
turning suddenly to the woman.
"No, no, child, I don't want you to go, you
ain't in my way; one mouth more, you see, sir,
makes but little odds, you don't feel it."
"No, perhaps not now, but she is growing
daily bigger, a strong, sturdy little wench, and
will make a great hole in the bread and butter
"I can't help that, sir, I shall never send
her away," said the woman, with a patient
sigh; "her mother left her here."
Well, I'm very sorry; it's a pity. The child
is full of genius. If you, or she, repent before the
end of the week that is my address, you know,
on that card. Good morning, little lady,-yes,"
he said, looking at her, and speaking half to
himself-" and it is little 'lady,', too, I
believe. A foreigner, do you say the mother
was? he asked, turning to the woman.
Yes; from Spain some said," she answered.
"She spoke English-pretty fair, so as I could
understand her well enough, but when she
nursed and played with the baby, she ran on
in a jargon I could make.nothing on. I've saved
her big ear-rings she wore, and a large silver
ring, against the little one grows up. But
what few things else she had, and God knows it
wasn't much, I've sold at times to help keep her.
I've tried hard to keep these trinkets, though
my master often says I'd ought to sell 'em; and
sometimes when he's had a drop too much, he
swears at her, and says he don't see why he
should keep another woman's brat; but he's
very good-hearted my Jim is, when he's all
right, and then he's pleased enough with
"She's clever, isn't she, in every way ? "
"Oh! lor bless you, yes-sharp as a needle,
and she's got little proud 'perious ways as
pleases my man-he often calls her little
She stood the child whilst they talked of her
leaning against the open doorway, in the
golden sunlight, shaking a piece of coloured
glass to catch the rays of light for the baby's
amusement, whom she had seated on the ground
at her feet, the round well-shaped arm holding
up the glass in the sun, the little head leaning
against the doorway, one foot crossed over the
other with a sort of indolent grace which made
her always a study. Her interest in the con-
versation seemed to have ended with her
refusal to accept the stranger's offer, and as he
passed out wishing her "good-by" she moved
her head slightly in acknowledgment as a
young princess might have done, and still
stood flashing the glass before the eyes of the
happy baby, expressing no more interest in him
or looking after him as he passed down the
court, though he turned back often and
stood for a moment at the end to look again
The monotonous days went on, the poor
woman going out to her wretched day's "char-
ing," or in default of that sitting at home mend-
ing up the : 1.-.. clothing of the children,
and Nita doing anything she could to help,
principally employed with the baby, dancing
her wild fantastic dances to it, or tossing it
in her arms, singing the burdens of the songs
she heard in the streets or the airs played on
organs, in a bright ringing voice; sometimes,
seated on the floor with it in her lap, its fingers
tangled in her long thick hair, submitting to
have it pulled with all baby's force, all
indifferent to the pain it might cause. And
yet she did not appear to be moved by
either love or gratitude especially in all she
did for the little thing. Mind baby! she
was told, and so realising that that meant
"don't let him be hurt, nor let him cry,"
she fulfilled the duty to the letter-he never
did cry whilst she "minded" him, for her
bright, continual movements, her merry
musical voice, with the gleaming smile that
parted her full red lips displaying her white
even teeth, all had an endless fascination for
the boy. She kept him clean too for her
own sake-because whatever was in her of
higher, purer culture seemed to show itself in
an innate cleanliness, a dislike to all that
was uncleanly or essentially low. The
wretched children in the court she never
played with or talked to when they were not
clean, nor would let the elder boy if she
could prevent him. She deplored his shoe-
less feet, but she kept him clean as well as
she knew how, and scolded him if words
passed his lip that were unfit for him to
use, with a strange sense of right born in
her, not taught, for education she had none.
To love the sun, the trees and flowers, such
as grew in the neighbourhood where she had
lived her little life; music; all things bright
and beautiful, was her nature; to hate all things
coarse and ugly and unlovely was her nature too,
but to love and worship Him who made the
things she loved, she had not been taught, nor save
in horrid oaths ever heard His name mentioned.
It might have been a week or more since
the visit of the stranger, when the man Stevens
came home very late and not sober
His wife had waited tea for him and supper
-the latter meal was still on the table when
he came in, she only said,-
"How late you are," in her meek voice
and with her poor heavy eyes-heavy with
sorrow and unrest-raised to his, but he had no
pity, no love in his heart for his wretched
weary wife, and he only uttered bitter cruel
words and stumbled into a chair with a horrid
threat to kill her if she spoke again. And
then turning he saw the child Nita lying on
the mat before the small fire, her arm sup-
porting her head, some flowers beside her
-Immortelles-she had been making into
wreaths. A neighbour had offered her a few
halfpence to help her make them; but it was
late and she was tired, and she had flung
down her flowers and was lying there idly
when he entered. His manner, his cruel
wicked words stirred the passion in the child's
heart, which from her look had been so diffi-
cult to keep in control-a kind of grandeur in
her nature prevented her from ever *1ilp.1;., il
it to the weak, weary, tender woman who had
tried to fill a mother's place to her, or to the
little children she nursed, but the man and some
of the neighbours had seen often the tempest
raised, her eyes gleaming with anger, the veins
standing out on her broad forehead, the little
fists clenched and the whole form convulsed
with anger, and now his degraded state, his
cruel unkindness to the patient wife made her
blood boil, and in her fierce eyes he read her
scorn and indignation.
Knowing well enough what had caused it-
sufficiently himself to know how well he
deserved it, and enraged to be thus as it were
rebuked by a child-he staggered to his feet,
and seizing her by the arm dragged her up
and shook her violently, while a storm of
hideous words and oaths broke from his dry
The poor mother screamed to him to desist,
but he rested not till he flung her from him on
the ground and then rushed out of the house.
The poor woman raised her in her arms and
carried her to bed, bathed the swollen arm
where the cruel grip had been, but never a
word said either of them. The Immortelles lay
on the floor and the moon's rays came in
through the small window and fell on them
and on the pale face of the child, awake in
her miserable little bed. No tears or cries
had the man's cruelty wrung from her proud
heart, but she would bear it never more, that
was the settled determination which seemed
to speak in her glowing eyes, wide open there
in -the pale moonlight and on her close-shut
Seated in a clergyman's study, in a large
old-fashioned vicarage house in a small country
town in the south of England, sits a man in
earnest conversation with the Vicar.
He is evidently a foreigner, his appearance
would betray that without the foreign accent
which marks his speech.
"I have sought her so long sorrowing with
tears," he has said as he clasped his trembling
hands together, and for ever just when I think
to clasp her in my arms she escapes-the dream
passes, the vision fades-and my hope is gone."
"I think from what you tell me that you
are certainly on the right track now. The
troupe only left the town yesterday, and I
know they were bound to Wilchester. I
should advise your at once proceeding there."
"Yes, yes, I am so a stranger that I shall
not know my way, but I shall find it, I make
not doubt; if I could keep hope, fatigue and
trouble would be naught to me. My poor
beautiful Juanita. Oh! I have felt to hate
all Inglis for his sake that took her from
the orange groves and the sweet scented fruits
and blue skies of her own fair land, and
from the father that loved her, to bring her
here to your fogs and your dull streets, and
leave her to die with no care, no love. I
knew he was bad, with his smooth tongue,
his fair face-he lured her away and left her
to die in a strange land, the villain, wicked
"You traced her to a street in London, you
say, and learned that she died there, sir?"
asked the clergyman.
Yes, Senor, yes, I got this letter what I
show you, these few sad lines of suffering,
and I came at once to fetch her. When I
came to arrive there she was not. I have so
much trial to make myself my explanations,
and still worse to receive them of others, that
I found it a work of many days to discover
any trace of my sweet girl and any hope even
to find her more; but at length with my hard
work I find she had got--and that he the villain
had left her, and she is somewhere alone with
one little baby striving to make a life for her-
self with her dancing. I seek and I seek, but
nowhere can I find her, and with a great
heavy heart I go home to my own land; of
course I had my affairse' to attend to and
I mast be there. I leave a friend to kindly
watch for me, but the years go by and I hear
noting. At last I got this oder letter what I
show you to tell me he my friend think he
have got a trace, a link of her, that he has
found all that is left of my child-her little
one. I fly to England-I seek the poor
miserable place where they say she was, and
lo, she is gone-runned away-they say, what
to them was it-only one burden the less to
bear. They had been good; I gave them
money of which I see they had great need,
and again pursue my search."
"You are satisfied then that it is your grand-
Oh yes, I have here the ear-rings and
her ring and some letters," he said eagerly,
producing a pocket-book from which he took
the things, "which quite assures me. But
I shall no longer keep you. I will go on my
way, for if she is above ground I shall found
my little girl."
She inherits her mother's talent of dancing,
certainly," said the Vicar, "for I hear she is
quite wonderful, the most perfect columbine
ever seen, and worthy of a much higher rank
in her profession; but it is a sad life for a
young innocent girl."
"Oh! it is too sad, too pitiful, but I shall
find her and take her home to the sunny land,
and she shall want never more, never more.
And now I will bid you farewell. You will
think of the poor Espagnol in his weary search
and bid him God speed."
"I will, I do, and I shall be most interested
in your success. I wish I could better have
"You have helped me much, I thank you.
Depend on me to repay you the little loan, it
is a great cost this long search- "
Papa, who is your foreign friend ?" said
a bright young voice, and a merry face peeped
in at the window which opened into the
"Ah Miss Curiosity, I thought you'd want
"M3amma wants to know, she sent me. What
an age he has been here; do come and tell us
all about it," and springing into the room she
put her arm through her father's and laugh-
ingly dragged him on to the lawn where
beneath the trees his wife sat working.
"It is a very romantic story," he said, sitting
down on the turf beside her; "the little dancing
girl who has made such a sensation is a Spanish
donzella. That poor old man is her grand-
father; his daughter ran away from him with
a scampish Englishman who deserted her, and
she died in some miserable lodging in London.
The poor people with whom she lodged kept
her poor baby till it grew up to twelve years
old and then tempted, they suppose, by the
offer of a strolling company of players to join
them, she ran away from these poor protectors.
Now, after years of searching inquiry, the
old man has learnt her fate and has traced
her to this town he came to me for
And assistance; of course, Richard. You
have given him money, and he'll turn out an
arrant swindler," said his wife, laughing.
"I own I have lent him some money; but I
am not frightened; the man is honest enough."
"Oh! Richard, what a dear, silly, good-
natured darling you are. I wouldn't have
lent him a farthing."
No, my dear, you would have given him a
"Yes, that mamma would,"- said Lucy,
laughing. I think you are both alike."
"' Better trust all and be deceived, and mourn that trust and
that ',; I ,
Than doubt one heart which, if believed, would make the
joy of that believing."
"I always think of those lines, Lucy; we
had better be deceived twice than doubt un-
Where the sweet orange groves fill the air
with their scented blossoms, the deep intense
blue of the sky reflected in the fair waters of
the Guadalquiver, in her Spanish home walks
with stately grace the poor child who once
danced to please the audience of a travelling
theatre and "minded" a half-starved baby for
the poor guerdon of her hard fare.
Her life is bright now; she is the idol of
the old man who had searched for her with
such patience and devotion, and he has
rewarded the trust reposed in him by the good
Vicar who had so readily lent him money to
pursue his search, by not only returning the
sum but adding another to it to be expended
on the poor of the parish in token of his grati-
tude to Ieaven for giving him back his child
and taking her from the hard life which in
her despair and desolation she had chosen as-
EhAfltRY, AONEW, & CO., P1UNPJOS, 'WHITEF11IARf
O1! go on telling, Peter; you know lots
more, and it is not near time to go home."
Yes; and when you gets home late, you'll
tell your ma old Peter kept you with his
"She won't mind; she knows I'm to be a
sailor, and she likes me to love the profession,-
like you would make me do with your grand old
stories, if I had not before. Since I was ever
such a little chap, I've wanted to be a sailor;
and when Uncle George said he'd manage it
for me, oh! I was just glad. Why, there can be
nothing like it in this world, to be riding over
those waves in the bright sunlight, or under
the moon-to see the sunsets-the great big
icebergs-the waves mountains high; to swing
up to the top of those great masts, and look
over all that quantity of sea, feeling, I should
think, like a great big grand bird up there, to
see, oh! ever so many wondrous sights that poor
landsmen never dream of."
"Ah, true, my lad, those that go down to
the sea in great ships, they see the wonders of
"Oh! yes, I should think so; and the
beautiful clean big ship, with the blue sky
above you, the green sea beneath,-think of
that, compared to a high stool in a musty, fusty
warehouse! No; give me the sea, the sea!
SHome is home, where'er it be, but the gallant
vessel's deck for me;' that's my song, old salt,"
said the boy, bringing his hand down on the
old man's shoulder.
"Ha ha! you're a boy, and no mistake;
and so Uncle George has got you your com-
mission ? "
"Yes. He's not my real uncle, you know;
he's a great friend of mamma's, and we call him
uncle. I don't mind telling you, Peter, because
I tell you everything-you're my friend, you
know; I believe he'll be my papa, some day:
you know mother is quite a little young thing.
Now a fellow oughtn't to say anything against
his own father, I suppose, but when I think
about mine I feel as if I wish I'd been a man,
and not his son, for ten minutes;" and the boy
cut a piece of wood off the boat he was carving,
with a sharp petulant action, as though it was a
relief to his feelings to punish something.
Heyday said the old sailor, why what
have you got against him in the log,-eh ? "
Cruelty, and neglect of my sweet, gentle,
loving, little mother. Oh! can't I remember
her crying, till I wonder she did not wash all
the blue out of her dear eyes. I was only a
little rat of a thing then; so I only knew how
to comfort her, by clinging to her, and crying
too, to keep her company; and now, when old
Sally Crampton sits and tells me what mother
used to go through from him, I am ashamed
to think I carry the name of such a man."
"And more shame for old Sally Crampton,"
said Peter; "bad deeds are best laid away in
the graves with them as did them. You see,
there ain't no conditions with the command,
'Honour your father and mother: it don't say
anything about their characters, you know.
My boy, your sailing orders is plain enough:
honour them-that is as I read it-mind them,
be respectful to them, and so hide their faults
that no one else shall have aught to say against
them. And now you take an old man's advice;
forget all this about him whose gone; don't go
listening to old Sally's yarns, but be a good son
to your mother, and a honest man, true to your-
self, so shall your father's name be honoured
"Peter, you're a regular old brick: I think
I'll try. I shall often think of you when I'm
miles away, over the sea, and all your stories
of great men. I say, tell us one more story of
Nelson: why you ought to be shown as a sight
yourself for having had a father who served
with so great a man."
"Well, yes, it's a pleasant thought; and of
winter nights, when I sits by my fire, and the
wind's a-howling and a-roaring outside, I goes
back to them times-and thinks over the tales
my father used to tell me. Well, I can tell
you one more story of him: it was that same
expedition as I was a-speaking to you about, with
Captain Phipps to the North Pole. They was
laid up amongst the ice-floes, and Nelson and
another young chap started off in pursuit of a
bear; athickfog came on, and they got afraid about
the youngsters. Towards morning the fog lifted a
little, and they could see them a long distance off
attacking a huge animal, big enough to swallow
'em both whole. A recall signal was hoisted
at once; for, of course, they were thought too
young and inexperienced for such an encounter.
But do you think he was a-going to give in ?
His musket had missed fire; their ammunition
was all gone, and a large chasm in the ice, by
a blessed providence, divided them from the
animal; but, in spite of all that the other lad
could do, Nelson stood there, saying,-
"' Let me but get a blow at him with the
butt-end of my musket, and we shall have him.'
The captain, however, could stand the sight no
longer-that little stripling a-standing up to
show fight with a monster like that; so he
ordered a gun to be fired from the ship, which
frightened the hear, and so Nelson came back.
Of course he had a word or two from the captain,
who wanted to know what a youngster like him
I wanted to carry the beast's skin home to
my father,' he said, with a sort of a pout he
had when he was put out; and the captain, he
could not say much more to him; bless you, he
never could. Something in the brave daring of
the boy seemed to prevent anyone a-interfering
much with him. To the last day of his life he was
the same, and carried out the old saying, 'The
boy is father of the man.' "*
This anecdote of Nelson is told in a book-called, The
Boy makes the Man."
Yes, that is such a prime story of him," said
the boy, who had left off cutting his little boat,
and sat with his large blue eyes fixed on the old
man, "when his grandmother asked him why
hunger and fear didn't drive him home, and he
"'I never saw fear, grandmother; what is
it?' Oh! that was fine."
"Yes, yes, that's the stuff fine fellows are
made of, my lad; and yet he was tender as a
woman. To think of that brave man, who'd seen
and done so much, saying as his last words,
' Kiss me, Hardy;' why I can't now think of
that without getting dim about my eyes."
"No, it's beautiful. Well, I suppose I really
must go now. Good-by, Peter: I shall see you
Good-by, sir, good-by; and the lad went
slowly up the beach, and through the steep,
narrow, little high street of the fishing village
where he and his widowed mother lived, till he
came to a small wooden cottage, through the
latticed window of which looked out the bright
baby face of a little girl about five years old.
"Come and let me in, Ida," he said; and
when the door opened, and the small child
appeared, he tossed her on to his shoulder, and
she nestled her sweet face against him, and he
carried her into a small room where sat his
mother at work.
"Ah! pets," she said, "I was just wondering
where you were. Walter, I think it is past tea-
"Yes, mother dear, I've been listening to old
Peter's yarns, as usual."
"All right, my boy; go and brush that wild
hair and come to tea,-what a mat it is i she
said, passing her long white fingers through the
boy's thick curls, as he bent down to kiss her.
"Uncle George has been," she said; "and he
will dine here to-morrow, for he hopes he shall
have news for you."
"The appointment,-oh! mother, how lovely!
Hurrah! a second Nelson in embryo;" and
away the boy ran, and the little girl nestled
closer to her mother, for to both of them the
idea of Walter's departure had in it more of
sorrow than of joy.
The news came all too soon for them; but the
boy was mad with delight. How well he looked
in his clothes! what joy it was to send for old
Peter to see him dressed in them; and even Ida
forgot her sorrow, for the time, in her pride and
Uncle George was to take him to his ship:
he was to come to breakfast in the morning, and
take the boy after. Walter was up and about
almost as soon as it was light, and out, in that
bright summer morning, in the little garden
rich with roses and lilies, on which the dew was
now glittering-the little garden he would not
see for so long, it might be never again. But
" Uncle George had told him he must be brave
for "her" sake-the gentle little mother, who
had shown no sign to the boy of what an agony
it was to let him go, what a bitter grief this
choice of a profession had been to her. What
would she have done without the riT- .:ll. .. r
man, who, taking so sensible and practical a
view of the case, had managed so beautifully to
prevent any morbid grief or unreasoning sorrow
distressing her. From the moment it was
decided that the boy was to go to sea, he had
talked of it to her continually, told her how
much better men got on when they followed the
bent of their inclinations, put before her
constantly the men who had made their lives
great on the deep waters, lived to fine old ages,
dying honoured with historic names; how
many a time storms must have threatened
destruction to them, and yet in their own homes,
tended by living care, they had passed away,
whilst others exposed to no constant danger had
died some fearful deaths; spoke of how each
life came here with its destiny-all the minute
incidents pre-ordered, pre-arranged-and that
the most loving mother as she kissed her boy to
send him to his daily labour, in a city ware-
house, a country town, or on an ocean voyage,
had no real cause to feel any difference, any
more or less anxiety; the accidents and trials
of the life would be the same, the chance ever to
meet again the same. Do not let your tears,
then"' he said, "damp the boy's ardour, or
weaken his resolution; and so she had tried to
see it all as he saw it, and had bidden Ida to
try and forbear from tears, for the sake of the
little brother she loved; and for my sake too,
Ida," she said, "you will help me to be brave:
my little girl must be son and daughter, too, to
me now, till Walter comes home."
And so Walter in the garden, that sweet
summer morning, was trying, too, to let no sad
thoughts mar the brightness of his face, to make
the parting more bitter to his mother. He had
chosen his profession for himself, and knew that
he should love it; and so he must not let her
suffer through his choice, if he could help it. But
somehow the tears would keep welling up into
his eyes, as he stood in the sunny garden,
listening to the song of the thrushes and black-
birds, the busy hum of the bee, smelling the sweet
fragrant flowers, and thinking how far, far away
he should soon be from his pretty little home,
and that dear, dear mother he had never felt to
love so much as now. He snatched a rose and
a piece of jasmine, and thrust them into his
jacket, as a step behind him made him turn, and
Uncle George stood beside him.
Up betimes; that's right, my boy," he said in
his cheery, but gentle, low voice, so curiously
contrasted with his large powerful form and
unusual height. "This bright glorious sun will
gild the waves for you, and you will think with
Childe Harold that 'He, that has sailed on the
dark blue sea, has viewed at times a full fair
sight.' You have not seen your mother this
morning yet, I suppose ?"
"You are going to be a brave boy, for her sake."
He could not speak, poor Walter, much, save
Look here, Walter," said his friend, placing
his hand on the boy's shoulder, and looking down
in his face. I am going to tell you something
to help to comfort you. When you come back
to us, I shall not want you to call me uncle,' but
'father.' You smile: did you expect this "
Well, I shall come back here this evening
-tell your mother how bravely you went off-
and then I shall ask her to let me earn the right
never to leave her again. So to-night do not,
when you turn into your hammock, think of her
as sad and lonely, but happy in a new gladness,
which I pray may have power to soothe and
soften all sorrows for the rest of her dear life.
You will not be jealous of me, Walter; she will
never forget her boy, however happy she may
be. But I have set great restraint on myself
not to tell her what I feel, on purpose that it
might help to cheer her on this day. And now
here is just a little trifle that may be of use to
you," he said, putting a little packet in Walter's
hand, "which you must accept from your--"
"Father," said the boy, grasping the kindly
hand held out to him.
"Thank you; it is nice to have your hearty
approval. All her window opens; she too is
up and dressed. Good morning," he said,
cheerfully, as the sweet face bent forward from
the window, with a tender wistful look at her
boy, in her large blue eyes.
Good morning," she said, cheerfully too;
what a nice morning you have, Walter love."
Yes, mother, awfully jolly."
Toss me a rose all wet with dew."
Quickly he gathered one, and threw it up
to her : she stretched out her hand and
"There, you ought to cry, Well caught,
indeed!' No cricketer could have done it
"True, Mary, it was famously caught," said
Uncle George. "Is breakfast ready ? Are we
to come in ? "
Yes, I think so. I am coming down now
to make the tea," and she went from the window,
kissed the rose her boy had thrown her, and
placed it in a little glass on her table. Many
years after, it was found amongst her treasures,
carefully dried and placed between the fly-
leaves of a favourite book of poetry, written
under, "From my boy, the day he went to
The breakfast was got over -one could
scarcely say eaten, their hearts were too full;
and then came the dreadful sound-dreadful to
those brave hearts, heavy with tears, striving so
hard to prevent them welling to their eyes--of
the wheels of the vehicle which was to bear the
boy away. Ida gave one glance at her mother,
and then getting down from her chair, said
quickly, with an innocent childish effort to be
bright, and restrain her tears-
"I shall go in the garden and see that beau-
tiful pony what's going to drive my Walter;"
and away she flew.
Uncle George rose quietly, and taking Mrs.
Langley's hand in his, held it tenderly but
firmly, and said,-
"Now, Walter, time and train wait for no
man; kiss your mother, and let's be off."
Good-by, my precious,-write as often as
you can;" she said it quite firmly, quite brightly,
though he who held her hand could feel its
grasp tighten upon his. Walter said never a
word, kissed her with one long kiss, and then
turning quickly away, hurried from the room,
calling Ida; and "Uncle George bent over
the sweet white face, and whispered,-
Courage, I will be back with news of him'
this evening;" put her tenderly into a chair, and
An old servant stood at the door, her apron
covering her face, crying bitterly.
"Don't be silly, Sarah, pray don't make a
Oh! but think of my boy," she sobbed,
going on to that hawful sea. I'm sure I shall
lay awake a-thinking of him a-drowning every
"Then you will be a very ridiculous old
woman. For goodness sake go and shut yourself
up somewhere out of sight of your mistress;"
and he passed out into the garden down the little
path, where at the gate stood Ida, sobbing
bitterly now: she had seen Sarah's tears and
that had been too much for her. Walter was
up in the dog-cart, his eyes turned from the
cottage, and from the little sister, for fear of en-
countering the sweet pale face of his mother
watching from the window. Uncle George
jumped up beside him, and away they went;
and Ida ran in to her mother, and flinging her
arms round her neck, said-
I couldn't help a little bit, mamma; but I
won't any more, indeed. I'm going to begin now
to count the days till he comes back, with bits of
paper, you know."
"That's right, Ida; we promised Uncle
George to be brave and wise, and we will," said
her mother, kissing her. Now come and help
me put away his things carefully: it is the best
cure for sadness to be busy, Ida."
What is the name of Walter's ship,
mamma? she asked as she followed her mother
upstairs. "I always forget."
"Ah! I know, the yellow flowers that grow
on the edge of that deep pool in the meadows,
great, big, tall beauties."
"I'm glad his ship has such a pretty name, I
will go, after dinner, with Sarah and gather you
some; and we will have them always-won't we,
"Now, mamma, you musn't," she said, taking
some things of Walter's from her, her love
making her quite womanly and authoritative over
her mother; "there come all the naughty tears.
Don't let us do this room to-day. Oh! I
know; come and gather the flowers with me
now: we will get a beautiful large bunch and
put them in water. I shall not let you stay
in this room: we promised Uncle George to be
brave and wise."
The mother smiled through her tears, and
submitted to be led away by her little daughter;
for she felt she was right, that that first day was
almost too much for her to meddle with all the
little belongings that spoke so plainly of her
Mr. Westmeath was back again just in time
for tea. Mrs. Langley stood watching for him
and for Ida, whom she had sent out for a walk.
When the child came home, Uncle George took
her in his arms and said-
"Kiss papa; and she looked wondering at
her mother, at the bright blushing face, a smile
shining through tears like the sunny rays on
rain-clouds, and said-
"I thought you was my uncle."
"Yes, Ida, and I liked my little niece so
much that I wanted to have her for my
daughter, and mamma says I may-only that I
must have her for a wife; so I love you so
much that I have even consented to ciat! Are
you glad or sorry ? "
Glad; because you will never go away any
more then, will you ? "
And so they sat down to a happier, brighter
meal than the morning one, talking of Walter,
and how bravely he had borne himself, of his
nice ship, and his pleasant cheery captain; and
the evening wore away, and Ida went to bed
full of all bright thoughts of the wedding that
was to be, dreaming that Walter was going to
be married to her best doll, and that mamma
and Uncle George had sailed away from the
garden-gate in a big ship which was like her
Noah's ark, only Walter's old-rocking horse, with
wreath of Iris round his neck, was harnessed to it.
And in a few weeks from that time, in the
small village church, with the music of the
waves outside, a quiet wedding was solemnized,
and Mary Langley was changed to Mary West-
meath, to be the petted, cherished wife of him
who had so long and truly loved her, known
her from her birth, and seen with bitter grief
the cruel usage of the man she had married,
and which he prayed now he might make her
forget by his own devoted love and care.
Cheerful letters came from Walter. He liked
the life quite as much as he thought. He was
rather queer for a day or two, but was all right
again now; and the Captain was an "awfully
jolly fellow. That was the first to his mother;
then followed one to My dear father" to the
ci-devant Uncle George's great delight; and
then one to Ida, the first letter she had ever
had, and it came, as she triumphantly assured
Sarah, "off a big ship on the sea all the way
to her;" there were messages in it to all-to
Sarah and old Peter; and Ida was to be sure
to tell him there was a boy on board-the cabin-
boy-who said Peter was his uncle.
That was charming!-to have to go down the
village with this news to the old man; and she
could hardly eat her breakfast from anxiety to
go and carry the message to the old man.
She was allowed to go that little way by her-
self. They had not moved from the pretty little
home. Mr. Westmeath's business was carried
on in the town, a few miles off; and at Mary's
request he had consented to make the house
larger and more commodious, and keep another
servant. That was all the change that Walter
was to find when he came home : when he came
home how often those words were on their
lips. And so little Ida soon found herself at
Peter's door; it was open, and she walked in.
lHe was standing with his hat on, and his back
to her, when she entered; at sight of her he
gave a little cry and said-
"Oh! my dear, I was coming up to your
cottage. Is-is Mr. Westmeath gone to busi-
ness ? "
"No, not when I came out; he's just going
though: but I came in a hurry to tell you I've
had a letter from Walter-I, my own self; and
your uncle,-or you're his uncle-is on board
The old man made no answer, but sat down
in his chair, and passed his hand across his
Ain't you glad, Peter ? said little Ida.
"Yes, my dear, yes; go home-and-and-
I'll come presently. Ask Mr. Westmeath not to
go till I come-I want to speak to him so very
much. Run on, there's a dear."
Wonderingly Ida turned to go, sadly disap-
pointed that her news had produced so little effect.
Mr. Westmeath was just going out of the gate
as Ida came up and delivered old Peter's mes-
"I'll walk that way, then," he said; "it will
not make much difference."
Gone down all hands lost "
Yes, that was the fatal news Peter had to tell.
His sister had had a paper sent her with the
news, by some one who knew she had a relation
How was he to tell her ? Walter was to have
been home in a month, and now never more-
never more. But it might not be true; there
was that hope. He would go to London, and
strive to find more certain information. Ah!
it was too true-the Iris had foundered at sea,
and all hands were lost. So he went home
praying God to help him tell her. What does
he see? Is he mad or dreaming ? She stands at
the gate with her arm about the neck of Walter!
"I learned the secret of your journey too late
for it to trouble me," she cries. "Hie came, my
boy himself, to tell me how his poor vessel was
lost; but he himself preserved by what then
seemed sad to him-a severe illness which
kept him on shore between life and death; so
the vessel sailed without him, and he is home
here safe in my arms. Oh George, think of
that other mother."
Yes; to praise and bless Him who has saved
you from like suffering. 'Our darling, who did
not die; is clasped in our arms again.'"
BRADBURY, AGNEW, & CO., PRINTERS, WHITEFRIAgZB-
"On! don't throw stones at the poor little
ducks, boy,-that is cruel, and you'll have the
farmer after you too, in a moment."
The small personage addressed raised a large
saucy pair of brown eyes to the speaker's face,
and said laughing,-
"I bean't a-shying at the ducks. I only
hauls the stones in the water to fright 'em."
"Well, but why should you frighten them,
poor things ? And you might accidentally hit
one, you know, and break its leg."
Ah! sir, I am glad you're talking to that
child," said a little old woman coming up at the
moment; "he's the most daring-most-most,
well really, sir, I haven't a word to express what
he is-what a dreadful character."
The gentleman smiled, and looked down at
the very small specimen of humanity, who was
condemned so severely, and who certainly, in
spite of his remonstrance, was still shying
stones in the water.
"Who is he ?-who's child are you ? where
do you live ?" he said, putting his hand on the
I'm nobody's child, and I live nowheres"
said the boy, with a mischievous grin.
"Well, sir, I believe it's right what he says,"
said the old lady; "he's a poor little miserable
vagrant, who ought to be in the workhouse-
he'll be in prison some day, if he don't mind.
He sleeps in the Ship stables, sir, and goes
errands sometimes, and holds horses just for a
mouthful of food, and he's a very naughty,
idle, bad boy," she continued, shaking her green
parasol in the child's dirty face, who, the while
she scolded, stood with the broadest, merriest grin
on his face, as if listening to some excellent bit of
fun, with which he had nothing to do personally.
"I'm speaking to the new doctor, am I not
sir ? said the old lady.
You are, madam," answered the gentleman;
with a kindly smile, revealing the most perfect
set of teeth-a smile which made the good-
looking face positively handsome.
"I thought so, sir. I hope I shall have the
honour of seeing you-not professionally, oh!
dear, no," she said with a little giggle, "but as a
friend. And Mrs.-Mrs.--
"Mrs. Mapleton-my mother-does not go
out much-she is a great invalid, but I am sure
she will be pleased to make. the acquaintance of
any of her neighbours who will favour her with
"I certainly will do myself that pleasure. My
name is Miss Alien, and I live at that little
humble cottage opposite, and if you would look
in, I shall be very pleased. A few serious-minded
friends often come to my little homely tenement,
to talk over our Christian experiences, and to
deplore and endeavour to remedy the evils
surrounding us. We are a small community, but
we strive earnestly to drive from the village
such objects as that," she said, pointing at the
boy with her green parasol, "to purify from
dross, as it were, our little parish; and we have
been successful in many instances. Why, sir, the
fatal influence of such a plague-spot as that,"
again pointing the green parasol at the little
brown, laughing, dirty boy, "is fearful."
The doctor laughed as he answered, It's a
very small spot, easily wiped out, I should say.
Here, you little rascal, follow me home; I'll see
if I can find a job for you, and some shoes and
stockings," he said, looking down at the dirty
little feet, with no vestige of covering on them:
"come along. Good day, Miss Allen."
Good day, sir, but I implore you not to
encourage that wicked little boy, but send him
to a Reformatory; that's the proper thing," and
with a sweeping bow the little old lady moved
away, and the poor, sad, little vagrant on whom
she had expended so much indignation twisted
his comic little face into a hideous grimace, ex-
pressive of the utter contempt he entertained for
her opinion, and an evident determination to go on
in his evil courses in spite of her remonstrances.
He followed the doctor, as he desired him, to
the pretty rose-covered cottage where he lived
with his mother.
Come in, little man," he said, opening the
garden gate, which swung back against the
large seringa bush, scattering the petals of its
scented blossoms on the ground, come in. I'll
speak to my man about you."
Slowly up the neat gravelled path, between
rows of standard rose trees, the child followed
his new friend into a stable yard exquisitely
neat and clean, but quite small, matching so
well the little cottage, which looked itself like
an exquisite doll's house, and calling his man
from the stable, he said,
Look here, Manly, take this little chap and
find him a job, can you? "
Why, yes, sir, I dare say I can. It's little
Ragged Robin, ain't it ? "
The boy nodded.
"Oh you know him, then, do you?" said
"Yes, sir, by seeing of him about the place.
He does a odd job or two at the Ship; but he's
so small he ain't up to much, you see."
He might do a bit of weeding, or something.
Give him a job of some kind, and then tell cook
to give him a bit of bread and meat. Where
does the child sleep and live ? "
Well, nowhere, in particular; I think,
sometimes one place and sometimes another. He
was some poor tramp's child, who died here at the
George, more nor a year ago ; and Mrs. Smith,
she said she wouldn't send him to the
'work'us''-she would keep him, and make him
useful; she hadn't no children of her own. But
she died a month or two ago, and he's been a
loafing about at the Ship since. I don't know as
he's one as you can do much with," said the
man, looking with a knowing good-tempered
glance on the small child, who during this
history of himself had been twirling off the
solitary button left on his tattered jacket.
Well, I don't suppose he's had a very good
chance ; let us give him one. Here, come in with
me a moment, youngster. I'll send him back to
you presently, Manly; and the doctor, taking
the child's dirty little hand in his, led him
towards the cottage, and up to the open French
window of the drawing-room.
Mother," he called, "can you come to the
window ? I have some one to show you."
"Yes, my son, certainly," was the ready
answer; and a fair, fragile, graceful woman,
looking more like the doctor's sister than his
mother, came to the window.
"Look, here's a strange little customer I've
brought you. Can you do anything in the way
of clothes for him ? "
"Why, you poor mite," she said, looking
down at the child, who stared up at her with
big wondering eyes. What am I to do, love?
-yours won't fit him," she said, laughing.
"Not exactly," answered the doctor, "so I
brought him to you for advice. I don't know
what's to be done with him."
"A bath first, I think," she whispered,
"would not be amiss. Stay, I have a thought-
take him round to the kitchen, and send Susan
"He's going to do a job of work for Manly,
so I will send him to him, whilst you arrange
for his outfit. I suppose cook may give him
some food ? "
"Decidedly; take him to Manly, and come
back and tell me all about him. I will ring for
When the doctor returned to the drawing-
room, his mother said she had sent Susan to
a certain Mrs. Skinner, a woman with a large
number of children, and one little boy about the
size of this child. And she had suggested if she
could at once set him up with a suit of her son
John's clothes, she would give Johnny a new suit.
"You see, we must have something without
delay for this poor little mortal," she said, "and
I think it better to give new clothes to a respect-
able boy, like little Skinner, than to this poor
little ragamuffin. Now tell me where did you
find him ?-who is he ? "
"I found him in the road, throwing stones at
Farmer Brooks's ducks."
"And so you thought he deserved a suit of
clothes," said Mrs. Mapleton, laughing.
"Well, not on the score of merit; but the
very small naked feet somehow kicked at my
heart, and I knew they would at yours. He's
nobody's child, too-a poor little waif and stray,
and I want to save him if I can from goal; for
that's where I believe he must end, if he goes
on in this way."
"Well, what can we do ? Can we keep him
employed ? There is so little to do in these tiny
"Yes; but I thought on Saturday he might
come to do odd jobs, and I would arrange with
some tidy woman in the village to give him a
decent bed and board, and send him to school,
poor little chap."
"That would be the best thing, certainly.
Where is he sleeping now ?"
"In the stable at the Ship."
"Oh! poor little child. How old is he ?"
"I have not an idea-six, I should fancy."
"I will give him the schooling, Douglas, if
you will find bed and board."