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E P Dution C, Ce
-)I Ulem Ewetnty Ti rd 5iczreet
The Baldwnm Lbbary
A S Unziruu
ir Of f2 -
and Other Stories;
L. T. Meade,
E.P. Duttonr & C
31 West Trenty Third Strect.
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C YlT 88 little chil-
7 dren, were toast-
ing their toes in /
a Cosy Corner at the
nursery fire, at the same
time earnestly watching a
tiny hole in the corner
of the room, from which,
that evening, had popped a small brown mouse. Master Mouse
had come out of his hole and run about the room, picking up
-crumbs of cake not minding the children in the least, till they had
all said, "Hush," in such a terrible whisper, that he had been
frightened and scuttled off. Presently he took courage again and made
his appearance, and this time, very much to the astonishment of the
children, took his place at the corner of the fire-place and began to
warm his toes. Time little children .were in bed," said the little
brown Mouse, beginning to wash his face as he sat on his hind legs,
"and let a respectable mouse pick up crumbs for himself and family.
'My Mother would never have let me stay up so late." a
Bertie and his sisters were speechless with amazement; for a brown
mouse to toast his toes at a nursery fire was wonderful enough, but
when he began to talk it was really too dreadful.
"Did your Mother tuck you up in your nest?" asked Bertie.
"Yes," and if we were good she would tell us stories."
"Stories! We love stories. Do you know many ?" said Maud.
"Heaps," replied the Mouse." If you will go to bed early,
and keep that nasty cat of yours away, and leave a few crumbs
about, I'll tell you a story every evening. Come, is it a bargain?"
"Yes," cried the three little people altogether.
"As it is Christmas-time, to begin with, I will tell you the
story of 'The Gift that Santa Claus Brought.'"
TRH gIFT THeJT
S&S(\Tf CLA US
HE \8 was a dead
I silence in the nursery,
which was very unusual,
but then, a very unusual
thing had happened. It was
Christmas morning, and the
I"- IS -. ; dull, grey light was coming
S"-in at every chink of the
curtained windows, showing
the comfortable room, with
the two little cribs, and
nurse's bed, with the clothes all huddled up instead of being
neatly folded back as usual, the night-light looking very small
and insignificant, but sufficient to show three empty stockings
hanging by the fire-place.
Mary and Dorothy had jumped out of bed directly they
woke, and rushed to the stockings. Dick had come hurrying' in
from his own little room next door, and there they all stood,
with wide open eyes, and bare feet, shivering on the rug, feeling
that something dreadful must have happened.
Santa Claus has forgotten," said Mary.
"Fordotten," echoed Dorothy. She had so few ideas of her
own, that she drew largely upon Mary.
"I don't believe there is any Santa Claus at all," cried Dick,
defiantly. "So there, now!" But Mary was too despondent to
accept the challenge.
"Are you quite, quite sure it is Christmas Day?" she answered
earnestly, "not eve, or that sort of thing ? Did Mother say so ?"
Why, of course she did," said Dick. "Stupid !- how could
we have known it, if she hadn't ? Just the very last thing at
dessert:-' Don't forget your stockings !' You know she did."
"Yes, Dick, I know."
But all the same, Dick went on recklessly crushing his little
"I bet you anything there isn't any Santa Claus, and he
does not come down the chimney, and I believe Mother fills our
stockings with her own hands."
With her own hands ." said Mary, gazing incredulously at
Dick, standing on the hearthrug in his night-shirt, and trying not
"Yes; her own self," went on Dick, pleased with the sensation
he had caused. "So I shall just go back to bed.'
"But it squeaked said Dorothy, suddenly.
"What squeaked?" demanded Dick.
"Santa Claus, Dick."
"And when did he queak ?' ..itt
"Oh about eleven hundred o'c l.:.., _k ,
when he was in the chimney .m'.l '
it was quite dark."
"Perhaps he's caught -..f ,' !
somewhere," said Mary,, J
in a whisper. Oh, poor
thing, perhaps he's stuck! !
Don't you think-oh, don't'
you think, Dick, we'd better ,
go and ask Mother?"
"Oh, bosh you girls,"
said Dick. "Well, yes,
do as you like, not that-
I believe a word about all that-that's gammon! but a. fellow
doesn't like to be done out of his presents on Christmas Day."
"I think Dorothy had better go," said Mary. "I'll wrap
her up warm, and she can go to Mother's room, and then she'll
meet Nurse, or Mary Anne, or someone."
"He queaked," said Dorothy again,' evidently very important
about the sensation she had produced, but unable to rise above that
one utterance that had taxed all her intellect.
Mary went down on her knees, and drew the little stockings
and shoes on to the cold feet. And then, with great solemnity,
they handed her the three empty stockings, and opened the
Dorothy felt frightened. She never remembered feeling so
frightened before in her life, except of course, when she met
that fierce little dog that barked at her in the meadow. That
adventure, all came back to her, and she thought she had better
Nevertheless, she clambered down a flight to the level of Mother's
And at that moment Mother's door was softly opened, and a
strange lady came out.
"Why, little Miss," said the strange lady, kindly," are you
looking for Nurse ?
"I'm looking for Santa Claus," said Dorothy, softly.
"Why, bless the child !" said the strange lady, with a laugh.
"What a little pet! Santa Claus has been very busy, my dear,
this night. He's caught and caged-that's what he is-but he's
not forgotten you!" The strange lady nodded, still laughing, and
then went softly back into Mother's room.
Dorothy's heart swelled. She had never been shut out before-
never I and the door always opened to her little fingers. She did
not know what to do, but she would go into the dressing-room, at
In the fire-place was a blazing fire, and, beside the fire, what
BWCJf-,PkE OF THE DOG.'
looked to Dorothy like a blue-and-white nest, with a bird in it.
She knew at once, by instinct, what it was. Not a bird at all-
she was not quite so silly as all that-but Santa Claus A little
baby Santa Claus, "taught and taged "What a pretty thing!"
said Dorothy, touching his face. She stooped a little lower, and
put her own soft cheek against the soft cheek on the pillow, and
then she turned her head and kissed him.
"You's like my doll," she said.
But Santa Claus had wrinkled up his face, and was looking
quite ugly. He was not accustomed to being kissed. He puckered
his forehead, and squeezed his eyes together, and wriggled in his
shawl in the most unpleasant way, and then he burst out into an
unmistakable cry. Dorothy stood spellbound. It was the same
noise she had heard before, so every doubt was cleared up.
"You qIueaked again," she said, solemnly.
But Santa Claus only grumbled a little in reply.
Then Dorothy trudged slowly upstairs, her little mind full
of the marvels she had seen. She was panting so much (for
Dorothy was rather a fat baby), that she could not speak for some
minutes after Dick and Mary had pulled her into the nursery, and
pushed her down into her own chair.
"I seen him," she said at last, after she had got her breath.
"What ? Who--Mother ? Oh, tell us,
L" Dolly!" cried Mary, in supreme impatience.
S"No-Santa Claus !" said Dorothy,
i sitting upright, and speaking with extreme
solemnity. "Taught and taged," repeating
h er little formula. And then she added,
S with a glow of happy recollection, "Thet's
a fitty thing!"
S"But where was he ? cried Mary. "Oh,
I Dorothy, dear, speak quicker Is he up the
chimney ? Dick, did you hear ? She saw
him i "I hear," said Dick, trying to whistle
*q ~.r -'u-v ~-~---~~W CW *~'fl*" ~ V -
in an unconcerned way. "1 don't believe it-at least," with a quick
look round, I don't think I do. Dolly's such a silly, she'd
"But he queaked again !" said Dolly, almost in tears.
"Did you see the presents ? I'd believe you then."
"No," said Dorothy, sorrowfully, shaking her head.
"There's Nurse," said Mary, suddenly jumping to her feet.
"Dick, dear, don't shiver, please; try and look warm. Jump up
and down on the bed. I shall ask Nurse the minute she comes in."
Then Nurse appeared, panting, on the threshold, Her face was
crimson, and her apron was held up by one corner, and out of it
there bulged all sorts of queer corners and coloured parcels, and legs
and arms of animals. She sat down on the edge of the bed, and
tumbled everything out into a heap.
"There they all are !" she said, "and the name's on every
blessed one Just wait a minute, loves, until I get my breath,
and am more like a living woman than a grampuss, and I'll tell
you all your Mamma said. She hopes you haven't been dis-
appointed about the stockings. Santa Claus, she says, had other
work to do, and has brought the loveliest present that's ever been
brought into this house on Christmas-day-God bless it But he
stopped to give it to your Mamma, it seems, which is why he
never got so far."
"A present for Mother?" said Mary, with wide-open eyes.
"Oh, what is it ?"
"Well, you're to guess," said Nurse, laughing; "but I'll help
you a bit. It's a live present, and it's something for you all; and
Miss Dolly there, bless her, isn't the baby no longer."
"Why, I know," said Dick. He gave a funny laugh. "Oh
Dolly, I know what your Santa Claus was. What a silly you are!
Don't you know a baby when you see it? A live thing, Mary, she
said, you know, and by Mother's fire."
"A baby," cried Mary, breathlessly. "A little duckey, darling
baby in a cradle. Oh, Dorothy, didn't you guess ?"
"Well, well," said Nurse. "So my secret's out, is it ? Just
get into your clothes as quickly as you can, and I'll take you in to
peep at it."
"Well, you were a stupid, Dolly !" said Dick, as he ran away.
But it queaked!" said Dolly, tearfully, "I never knew a baby
T H8 L8SSOS( HOUR,.
N OW little dollies sit up straight,
Everyone will be kept in late
Unless you say your A, B, C,
Without a mistake at once to me.
"D is for Dolly," that's all you know !
Very well, then the class may go.
THE DOLL'S CLASS.
*. 1- -
TH6 SNOW WITCH.
r HSEURJ was skating on the ponds where the snow had been
cleared; there were icicles on the trees, nice blue, clear skies
in the daytime, cold, bright, wintry, moonlight at night.
Lovely weather for Christmas holidays! But to one little
five-year-old man, nothing had seemed lovely this Christmas, though
he was spending it with his Father and Mother and his big sisters
at Grandpapa's beautiful old country house, where everybody did all
that could be done to make Grandpapa's guests happy. For poor
little Roger was pining for uis elder brother, Lawson, whom he had
not seen for more than four months. Lawson was eight, and had
been at school since Michaelmas, and there he had caught a fever
which had made it not safe for him to join the rest of the family
till the middle of January. But he was coming to-morrow.
Why, then, did Roger still look sad and gloomy.
"Stupid little boy," saiac Macel. "I'm sure we've tried to
amuse him. Why, Mamma let him sit up an hour later than usual
last night, to hear all those funny old fairy tales and legends Uncle
Bob was telling.
"Yes, and weren't they fun ?" answered Pansy. "I did shiver
at the witch ones, though, didn't you ?"
Poor little Roger. Pansy's shivering was nothing to his They-
had all walked home from the vicarage, tempted by the clear
frosty moonlight, and the hard, dry ground; and trotting along, a
little behind the others, a strange thing had happened to the boy.
Fancy-in the field by the Primrose Lane, through the gateway,
right in a bright band of moonlight, he had seen a witch. Just such
a witch as Uncle Bob had described-with shadowy garments, and
out-stretched arms, and a queer-shaped head, on all of which the
icicles were sparkling, just as Uncle Bob had said. For it was a
winter-witch he had told the story about, whose dwelling was up
in the frozen northern seas; "the Snow Witch" they called her.
Cold as it was, Roger was in a bath of heat, his heart beating
wildly, his legs shaking, when he overtook his sisters. And the
night that followed was full of terrible dreams and starts, and
misery, even though nurse and baby were next door, and he
could see the night-light through the chinks. If it had not been
that Lawson was coming-Lawson who never laughed at him or
called him "stupid little goose "-Lawson who listened to all his
griefs-Roger could not have borne it. For, strange to say, the
little fellow told no one of his trouble; he felt as if he could only
No wonder he looked pale and sad and spiritless; there was
still another dreadful night to get through before Lawson came.
But things sometimes turn out better than our fears. Late that
afternoon, when nursery tea was over and bed-time not far off,
there came the sound of wheels and then a joyful hubbub. Lawson
had come! Uncle Bob had
been passing near the school .
where he was, and had gone a
little out of his way to pick ,, ', .
him up. Everyone was de-
lighted-oh, of them all, none ,I,' .: ; i_ .' _- -
so thankful as Roger. '
"Though I won't tell him .
to-night," decided the unselfish i
little fellow, "not to spoil his ..- .-- .
first night. I shan't mind when- '
I know he's in his cot beside me." And even when Lawson
lovingly asked him if anything was the matter, he kept to his
But he woke :in the middle of the night from a terrible
dream; Lawson woke too, and then-out it all came.
"I thought she was coming in at the window," Roger ended.
"If-if you look out-it's moonlight, I think p'raps you'll see
where she stands. But no, no; don't, don't; she might see you.
So Lawson agreed to wait till to-morrow.
"I have an idea," said Lawson. "Roger, darling, go to sleep.
I'm here, and you can say your prayers again if you like."
Lawson was up very early next morning. "'And as soon as
breakfast was over he told Roger to come out with him. Down
the Primrose Lane they went, in spite of Roger's trembling.
"Now, shut your eyes," said Lawson, when they got to the
gate. He opened it, and led his brother through.
"Look, now !" he said, with a merry laugh. And what do you
think Roger saw?
An old scarecrow, forgotten since last year. There she stood,
the "Snow Witch," an apron and ragged shawl, two sticks for arms,
a bit of Grandpapa's hat, to crown all-
that was the witch!
"Shake hands with her, Roger,"
said Lawson. And shake hands they
both did, till the old scarecrow tumbled
to pieces, never more to frighten either
birds or little boys. Dear Lawson,"
said Roger, lovingly, as he held up his
little face for a kiss. And happy, indeed,
were the rest of the Christmas holidays.
May they never love each other
less, these two; may they be true \ /
brothers in manhood as they have been ,/ l )
in their childish days!
L. Molesworth. ---- '
TH LITTLE OLD
S ffO WOMAN WHO
', FLEW SO HIGH.
nl C a very lovely country there once lived a
Little Princess who found fault with everybody,
and wanted to set everything to rights. She
would declare that the King's crown and sceptre
were insufficiently polished, and would insist on
scrubbing them herself, with some wonderful new
patent plate powder.
One evening, after Princess Perniquita had retired to her bed-
room and dismissed her maids, she sat down by the open
window to think over all the things that would require her
attention on the morrow.
The full moon hung like a silver lamp in the dark blue sky, and
Perniquita looked up at it, wondering how far off it was, and how
it was kept bright.
"Dear, me," she said. "What careless people they must be
who have charge of the moon. Cobwebs all over it! If only I could
get at it !"
Just then she felt something soft and furry rubbing against her
cheek. It was the cat, Alexander, who was by no means an
ordinary cat. He was of ancient descent and great intelligence; and
had belonged, moreover, to the Queen's Fairy Godmother.
"I will tell you how to get at it, Princess," he said, "that is if
you are quite sure it is dusty, and really want to clean it."
"Sure, of course I am sure; replied Perniquita, snappishly.
"Very well, your Highness," said Alexander; "if you will
graciously condescend to pluck out three white hairs from the
extreme tip of my tail, and then step into the linen-basket, we
will begin at once. Only remember that the charm is rather a
...'- ;-;';- :" I: strong one, and I should not be
S'surprised indeed, if you went up
eighteen or nineteen times as high
as the moon at first."
"- "Dear me !" said the Princess,
Looking slightly alarmed.
"Oh! never mind," said Alex-
ander, waving his paw reassuringly;
drop one of the white hairs when
you want to be brought down lower
-- -only remember that the last one is
to bring you home again, and be
Careful not to lose it."
So Perniquita got a small broom,
and then helped Alexander to place
the clothes-basket outside the window,
on the sill. Then she scrambled into
it, grasping tightly the three white
hairs, and closing her. eyes. She felt
herself going up like a shooting star
reversed, so quickly that it almost
took her breath away, and when she
stopped the moon lay right down
below .her, glimmering like a little
white pearl in deep water.
So she dropped one of the white
hairs, and the basket began to sink
again. When it stopped she was
still a long way above the moon,
so she dropped another, and when
.. ... the basket stopped once more, she
was very much annoyed, for instead
of a great silver lamp with cobwebs
all over it, she found that the moon was a large round place with high
mountains upon it. As she looked still more closely she saw a man
in a leather suit, with a bill-hook in his hand, and a bundle of sticks
on his shoulders, standing on the topmost peak of the tallest hill.
What do you want here?" he shouted at length. "Go
home; go back again. I don't want you, I won't have you here!
"I--I--I am the Princess Perniquita," she stammered, taken
aback for the first time in her life. "And I only came up to see if
I couldn't do a little' cleaning."- But this seemed only to infuriate
the Man in the Moon.
His face became the colour of burnished copper. "I won't permit
it," he cried. Go, Princess Pryeverywhere or whatever your name
is, go home. Cleaning indeed! Meddling and interfering."
The poor little Princess, feeling thoroughly abashed, dropped the.
last hair, and in less than a moment found herself on the window-
sill of her own room, .with Alexander beside her. She looked at
him reproachfully, but said nothing, neither did he; but he closed
his great yellow eyes, and began to purr.
And so it was that Princess Perniquita was cured, once and
for all, of her meddlesome and irritating ways, and everyone came to
like her very much indeed.
,4 WIVEfZ COML7CJ
G _rJ. -
~ic ,.~h~ '~c7' _~cl
7 TH 8E SSaISIDS.
MY DEAREST AUNTIE,
We are at the seaside; yes, really and truly, by the side of
the sea, but we haven't seen it yct, because it was dark when we
arrived; we have only smelt it, and heard it roar upon the beach.
It does seem funny to think we have travelled so far to-day, and
that we are so many miles from you; we do wish you were with
us, but as you cannot come, we must write you long letters every
day, and tell you everything we do. We liked the train very
much at first; it was so strange to see the trees and the telegraph-
posts flying past us, but we got tired of that after a time, and
Bobby fell asleep, and only woke up to eat sandwiches and buns,
and then went to sleep again, till he fell forward with his _head
in Mamma's lap.
They wouldn't let us take dear old Nero with us into our
carriage, but tied him up in the guard's van, which he didn't like
a bit, and I don't think the guard liked it either, because Nero
looked so cross.
We are staying at a fisherman's cottage, such a lovely place,
with nets and things lying about. As soon as we had finished
our tea, old Joe, the fisherman, asked if he might come in and see
us, because, he says, he dearly loves "the little ones;" and he told
us such a grand story, such a grand story, Auntie, dear, that I must
tell it, to you. Joe called the story: "A Treasure From the Sea."
"It happened many-years ago, it did," said Joe, nodding his head
gravely, "when times were as bad as could be. Me and Bessie,
my wife, were a-sitting hand-in-hand in our cottage (not this one.
my dears, but a tumble-down, rickety sort o' place) listening to the
storm raging at sea. We was very miserable, for we had no money,
and hadn't paid the rent, and so we had to leave our cottage on
"Suddenly the door was burst
open, and old Will puts his head in;
S- 'Come on, Mate!' he shouts, 'there's
been a wreck, and the wood is drift-
ing in. Come and lend us a hand.'
S"Me and Bessie were on the beach
in a second, and there the big waves
-=were a-rolling in the masts and rigging
from a ship that had been wrecked
----somewhere along the coast. Not a
boat was to be seen, as we looked
out at sea, only a black speck which
might have been a cask or a bit of wood, and which the great
waves was bringing quickly to land.
"On came the speck, till one wave bigger than the rest, laid it
gently at Bessie's feet. Well, the speck turned out to be a oak
chest. We dragged it up the beach and opened it, and what do
you think was inside ? You might have made a hundred guesses, and
never tell what it was. It wasn't no gold nor silver, nor precious
stones-all the same, it was a great treasure, for it was a tiny little
baby girl, with bright blue eyes, and a smile on its purty little
"'Fetch it some milk !' cries I, and in a few moments there
were a dozen jugs of milk ready for the baby ; and the children
brings it sweets, and apples, and cakes. Bless you, never before
was such a fuss made about a baby. There was a little bag of
gold in the chest, but nothing to show who the little baby was.
So Bessie and me took her home, and took care of her, and we
called her Dorothy, for that, we was told, means a gift from
God. And we paid our rent, we did, and bought a new boat,
and a pig, and some hens ; and we got on very well, so we
came to live here, and half the money we made, we put by in
a stocking for our little girl.
"And Dorothy grew purtier and purtier every day of her life,
and she proved a blessing and a treasure to me and Bessie. We
never found out who she was; she might, for all we know, be
Well, as I said, this happened many years ago, and Dorothy
is a grown woman now. She married old Will's son, a fine fellow,
and never was there a brighter wedding in the village, for every-
body here takes an interest in our girl; in fact she has a village
full of god-fathers and god-mothers. To-morrow, if you likes, my
dears, we will go over and see her, for she lives near by."
Wasn't that a lovely story,
Auntie dear ? We are all looking
forward to to-morrow, so that we
can go and see Dorothy; and as A
Bobby says to-morrow will come-
sooner if we go to bed now, I
think I will finish my letter.
There is a long piece of sea-
weed hanging by the bed in my /
room, and Bessie tells me that -C
when the seaweed gets damp the
weather is going to be wet, and
when it gets dry it is going to
be fine. It is as dry as a bone
now, so we are sure to have a
fine day to-morrow; I am so glad.
With best love and many kisses
from us all,
Believe me, your very
OJ0\ CHRIST-M ,S 6E8.
i 7IT'S no good trying, no good at all," said a little Cock-Robin
to himself. "I can't sleep, and I can't eat; all I can do is
to be miserable, and that's a fact. And just fancy being
miserable, too, on Christmas-Eve, of all days in the year. But
how can I help feeling unhappy after seeing that poor little boy
getting more ill day after day."
So saying, Master Cock-Robin flew across the snow-covered
country, and perched himself on the ledge of the window of a
very humble-looking cottage. Now if you or I, my dear, had
been with that Robin, we should have seen just what he saw.
And it was this. A very bare room, in which was a little bed,
and in that little bed there lay a little boy. He had big blue
eyes, and bright golden hair, but his face was-oh! so thin, and
as white as the pillow it rested upon. In fact, he was very, very ill.
"He hasn't even one toy to play with," sighed the tender-
hearted little bird, "and everybody else is making merry round
Christmas-trees. It does seem hard."
"Just at that moment, the Robin's thoughts were interrupted
by peals of children's laughter, and he saw coming bounding
along the road, a little girl, and three little boys. They had been
CD&IK'F WE~ NI)BI71
to choir-practice in the village church, where they had learnt the
Christmas carols to sing the next day; and as they came along,
between their bursts of laughter, they sang bits of the lovely hymns
in their clear pretty voices; and a right merry little party were they.
Hulloa," cried one of the boys, as they came up to the cottage,
"just look at that Robin, he seems very much interested about
something inside the room. I wonder what it can be!"
The children went to see; and while they stood on tip-toe
and peered into the cottage, Master Cock-Robin flew up to the
roof, and watched and listened to what they said.
"Oh, poor little boy, how ill he looks! said the girl.
"And he hasn't one toy," said the smallest boy of the lot, again,
just as the Robin had remarked.
Then they began to talk together about what they could do
for the poor sick boy. They turned out their pockets, and piled
their treasures into a little heap in the white snow. And a very
funny little heap it was! It consisted of three farthings, seven
buttons, one marble, a piece of dried orange-peel, a broken penknife,
a bent thimble, four bits of string, a reel of cotton, and half a
squirt. The children looked at the little heap, and shook their
heads. Treasures although they undoubtedly were, they were hardly
fit presents for a sick child.
"And it isn't only presents that he wants," said the biggest
boy. "He ought to have soups and jellies. Suppose we go home
and tell Mother."
As the children went along, all their fun and laughter left
them, and they spoke in whispers all about the
sick child, when, all of a sudden, Tom, who
Swas the smallest, gave a jump into the air and
a loud shout.
S( "I've got it! I've got it!" he cried "I'll
''" tell you what we'll do. We'll go up to the Red
House, and sing the carols we have learnt to-
--", day; and perhaps they will send out some
money. And then we can buy him a toy; and then, and then,
perhaps, there will be enough over to buy some soup with. Come
The children scampered along the road towards the Red House;
and Master Cock-Robin, kept them company to see what was going
Now, at the Red House, there lived all alone a very funny-
looking old gentleman. He was very old-fashioned, and wore knee-
breeches and a swallow-tailed coat, and his face was like a dried-up
apple: nevertheless he had a pleasant smile and bright, kindly, grey
eyes. "Dear me," he was saying to himself, as he sat in his arm-
chair. "So Christmas has come again, I wish I had some children's
faces round me, and could hear their little voices."
Now, just as if some good fairy had heard the old man
speaking, and wished to grant his wish, there broke upon the
stillness the sound of children's voices, singing sweetly a Christmas
carol. The voices trembled at first, for the little people were
nervous; but as the song proceeded, and they thought of the
sick child, they put all their souls into the hymn, and its notes
went straight to the old man's heart.
"How lovely, how lovely!" he murmured to himself, as he
sat with his eyes half-closed. And after the third carol was finished,
he rose from his chair, and hobbled down the passage, and opening
the hall-door, beckoned the children in. And he took them into
his room, and had the lights lit, and ordered up tea, And he
poured out the tea himself, and cut the cake-such big lumps.
And he popped his hand into his pocket, and gave each of the
children a bright new shilling. And then he kissed the little girl,
and pinched the little boys' cheeks, and was, in fact, just about as
happy as an old gentleman could possibly be.
"And now, my dears," said he, after tea was finished, "I suppose
you would like to be off to spend your shillings. What are you
going to buy with them, sweeties I suppose ?"
But the children shook their heads.
"Not sweeties. Then toys, I suppose," said the old gentleman.
"We are going to buy a toy, and some soup for a poor sick
boy," said the girl, and then she told the story about the Robin
looking in at the window, and how they had done so also, and had
determined to sing the carols and try and make some money.
As the child finished her. story, the old gentleman rang the bell
again, and had his hat, and stick, and great-coat brought to him;
and as soon as he had wrapped himself up, he hobbled out of the
room again, and called to the children to follow him.
"Come along, my dears, come along, show me the way to the
cottage," he cried. And away they went, the four children and the
old. man, over the crisp, white snow. And the Robin who was in a
great state of excitement, flew along the hedges beside them, although
it was now quite dark, and long past his bedtime.
They stopped at one shop in the village, a wonderful shop
that sold nearly everything, and the old gentleman bought toys,
and tea, and sugar, and a beautiful turkey, and many other nice
things, in fact, they had so many parcels that they could hardly
carry them; and then they went on to the cottage where the
sick boy lived.
There was joy in a good many hearts that night. In the
hearts of the Mother and her sick child; in the hearts of the
four children and the funny old gentleman. And last, but not
least, in the heart of little Robin Redbreast. He flew home and
did justice to a big supper, and then fell fast asleep, and slept
soundly till morning, when he flew back to the cottage to see
how the little boy was. He was better, and was sitting up in
bed, playing with his toys, and every day he grew stronger, and
the roses came back to his cheeks, and it was not long before
he was able to walk with the other children to the Red House
and call upon the old gentleman and thank him for his kindness.
f ~THE NeAUgHTY ONE
OF TH 6 FAMILY.
I' "" aL U CY Grey held the unpleasant
Si position of the naughty child
< of the -family. Her great
fault was disobedience. She was a
I, 'bright little girl, with curly hair and a
sunny face, and sweet, gentle brown
., eyes. No one, to look at her, would
have thought that she could make
.' '~ mischief and create unhappiness, and be
the cause of discord in an otherwise
very happy home. Lucy was sweet-tempered and unselfish; but,
for some reason or other, she could never be got to obey.
When Lucy was eight years' old, however, she was taught a
severe lesson. This is the story : Lucy had a little sister-Flossy
was live; she was very pretty and very lovable, and she cared
more for Lucy than for anyone else in the world. They played
together for hours, riding their wooden horse; and when with Flossy,
Lucy generally showed at her best, for she could not bear to be
punished before the little sister. At the time when this story took
place it was Summer, and the little girls spent a great deal of time
in the open air. One morning, Lucy and Flossy were sent into
the garden to play. Flossy had been ill, and Lucy was given
very particular directions with regard to her.
"You mustn't on any account let Miss Flossy run on the damp.
grass," said nurse, "and you mustn't tire her; and you must be
sure to bring her in at the end of half-an-hour, for her cold isn't
quite gone yet."
Lucy promised in her usual eager, demonstrative fashion. She
fully intended to take the greatest possible care of her little sister,
and when they got into the garden she seated her comfortably on a
At that moment Tibby, the Kitten, made her appearance, and
and a bright idea struck Lucy. Come along, Flossy, we'll give Tibby
a bath; I'll run round into the yard and fetch a basin and some
hot water and soap. Oh, what a delightful idea this is Here,
Flossy, you hold Tibby while I run for the things."
Flossy clasped the poor little kitten tightly in her round arms.
She was excited, but she was not quite sure that Lucy was doing
When her sister returned she raised her little voice, with a
slight tone of expostulation in it. "I heard Nursey say that cats
always washed themselves," she said.
"Well, but they like to be well washed, when there's anyone
r, 'i "
Lt govS (~l) BL,E`SS.,
kind enough to wash them," promptly MR/ f
answered Lucy. "Come, Floss, here
we are; hold Kitty, tightly in your
arms while I get the bath ready." c.
"I'm sure my half-hour is up,"
said Flossy, faintly; but Lucy didn't
seem to hear her. And, after all, it
was a very engrossing occupation,
scrubbing and cleaning poor frightened
Oh! what a mess the little girls made, how Tibby struggled
and mewed, and alas! and alas! how wet poor Flossy became.
Lucy's frock, too, was much spattered with soap-suds; but Flossy's
little socks and shoes were both soaking. And when, considerably
past the allotted hour for the children to return, Nurse came out to
look for them she was almost speechless with consternation, not with
anger-that was the queer part of it-that was the part which
filled Lucy's heart with the strangest and most sickening sensation
she had ever known. Nurse turned almost white, and catching
Flossy in her arms ran with her into the house. She did not even
wait to say a word to Lucy. The little girl stood alone in the middle
of the garden path, holding poor dripping Tibby in her arms.
Then she put the kitten in the basket with its brother and sister,
and went indoors.
There was a fuss in the nursery. Flossy was being warmed
and put to bed, and Nurse still looked worried and anxious; Lucy
knew well that she had been both naughty and disobedient. She
fully expected to be well punished, and, strange to say, she almost
wished to be; anything would be better than Nurse's stony quiet
and apparent indifference to her.
Poor Lucy The next day her wish was granted, and the most
terrible punishment she ever knew in all her little life began. Flossy
was very ill, her cheeks burned, and her eyes were bright with
- ..I. ik, *,
Lucy cried till she could.
cry no longer. She wandered
into the garden; she came back
again to the empty day-nursery.
Mother and Nurse were both
too busy to think much about
her, and she believed that her
poor naughty little heart would
break. There came a day when
Flossy was so ill, and the
doctor's face so grave, and
Sa Mother's eyes so swollen with
crying, that Lucy could bear it
no longer. She lay down outside the door of her little sister's
sick room. "I must speak to Mother when she comes out next,"
she said to herself. "I'll lie here and not stir; no one shall make
me stir until Mother comes out." Miss Lucy, you must not stay
there," said Nurse, in muffled tones. Go away, my dear; go away
instantly. You are rustling about on the mat and making a noise."
"Is Flossy asleep?" asked Lucy. "Yes, yes, my dear; go
away, I can't talk to you-go away this moment." Nurse went into
the room, outside the door of which Lucy was lying. She rose to
her feet very quietly, and went into the deserted day-nursery and
sat down in the midst of her own and Flossy's toys.
"Oh, I will be so good if you won't take Flossy away from
me !" she said, looking up and speaking with great earnestness to
God. "I think I am the very naughtiest, little girl in the world !"
The sun was hot, and presently Lucy fell asleep. She was awakened
by her Mother's voice. "My darling," she said, "we are all so thankful
our little Flossy is out of danger !" "Oh, Mother !" sobbed Lucy.
There was a world of meaning in those words, and Mother knew that
Lucy had learnt her lesson, and Lucy returned thanks to G6d that
night, kneeling by her Mother, for having made her sister well.
L. T. Meade.