Winter's folly

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Material Information

Title:
Winter's folly
Physical Description:
180, 12 p. : ill. ; 19 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Walton, O. F.
Whymper, Josiah Wood, 1813-1903 ( Engraver )
Edwards, Mary Ellen, 1839-ca. 1910 ( Illustrator )
American Tract Society ( Publisher )
Publisher:
American Tract Society
Place of Publication:
New York
Manufacturer:
Richard Clay and Sons
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Winter -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Twins -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christmas -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Voyages and travels -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1895   ( local )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre:
Family stories   ( local )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
United States -- New York -- New York
England -- London
England -- Bungay

Notes

Statement of Responsibility:
by Mrs. Walton.
General Note:
Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note:
Illustrations engraved by Whymper after MEE.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002239357
notis - ALH9884
oclc - 228107499
System ID:
UF00083171:00001

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Frontispiece
        Frontispiece
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    The village shop
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Myrtle and Ivy
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 16a
        Page 17
    Useless tears
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Flowers and texts
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Winter-time at Winter's Folly
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 36a
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
    The old man's plaything
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 44a
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
    The last birds in the nest
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 54a
        Page 55
    Old father Christmas
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Old winter's story
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 70a
        Page 71
    The new shop
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 74a
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
    A terrible bargain
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 84a
        Page 85
        Page 86
    The deserted attic
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
    On the Atlantic
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 100a
    Marguerite's story
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
    Parted
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 114a
    The search
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Pleasant place
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
    The tea-party
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 132a
        Page 133
        Page 134
    The box of Texts
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
    A secret visit
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 146a
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
    A peep at Topsy
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
    A visitor at the feast
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 160a
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
    The deserted house
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
    A bright sunset
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 180a
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
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WINTER'S FOLLY.






BY

MRS. WALTON,

AUTHOR OF "A PEEP BEHIND THE SCENES," CHRISTIE'SS OLD
ORGAN" SHADOWS," ETC.


. *r,


AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
150 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK.













CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.
The Village Shop---------- --------------- 5

CHAPTER II.
Myrtle and Ivy--- ---------------------------------- 12

CHAPTER III.
Useless Tears-- ------- --8--------------

CHAPTER IV.
Flowers and Texts --.-------------------------------27

CHAPTER V.
Winter-Time at Winter's Folly ------------------------- 34

CHAPTER VI.
The Old Man's Plaything ----------- ------------ 41

CHAPTER VII.
The Last Birds in the Nest --- ------------------- 48

CHAPTER VIII.
Old Father Christmas -------------------------- 56

CHAPTER IX.
Old Winter's Story .-----_------. ______--------- 64

CHAPTER X.
The New Shop .._..- .....------------------ 72

CHAPTER XI.
A Terrible Bargain -----------.------.---- _-----_ 79







4 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER XII.
The Deserted Attic------------------------------------ 87

CHAPTER XIII.
On the Atlantic------------------------------ ------ 94

CHAPTER XIV.
Marguerite's Story------------------ ----------- -

CHAPTER XV.
Parted---------------------- oS

CHAPTER XVI.
The Search---------------- ------------------ 115

CHAPTER XVII.
Pleasant Place --------------------------------- 121

CHAPTER XVIII.
The Tea-Party _----_- ----------------.-- .------------- 128

CHAPTER XIX.
The Box of Texts ---- -- ------------ ---------- 135

CHAPTER XX.
A Secret Visit .----------------------------------------- 143

CHAPTER XXI.
A Peep at Topsy ---------------------------------------- 151

CHAPTER XXII.
A Visitor at the Feast ------------------------------------- 159

CHAPTER XXIII.
The Deserted House .------------------------------------ 166

CHAPTER XXIV.
A Bright Sunset ....---------------------------- ----------- 174











WINTER'S FOLLY,


CHAPTER I.
THE VILLAGE SHOP.


I' ;' V". 1 L' _. :. '.: .- iu,:,:," ..ne,
[' J -[- j a n.. ni-: -. _- '. i.- .. M rs.

th n :p II. *,


*- --'s as 2ilknt as the
grave," said Mary Thornton; "I've never
heard his voice once !"
"Nor I neither," said her next-door neigh-
bor, Mrs. Adcock; "he's quite daft, that's my






WINTER'S FOLLY.


opinion. He's the oddest, comicalest old fellow
that ever I did see, with his old black felt hat
and his long parson's coat and his big lumber-
ing umbrella."
The four women were standing in Mrs.
Blunt's shop, peeping from behind sugar-loaves
and tallow-candles and scrubbing-brushes and
piles of yellow soap at a man who was walking
quickly down the village street. He was cer-
tainly a singular-looking man. His hair was
quite white and had grown so long that it cov-
ered the collar of his coat; his clothes had once
been 'good ones, but were now shabby and
threadbare, and hung about him as if he had
shrunk to half his size since he began to wear
them; and as he went along, at almost a run-
ning pace, he stopped to look at no one, and he
took no notice of anything that he saw.
"There's a mystery about him, anyhow,"
said Mary Thornton; "and I'd give a deal to
find out what it is."
"Hush !" said Mrs. Blunt; "here's Mrs.
Drummond." And as she spoke all her three
neighbors drew back quickly from the window
and began to gather together their packages of
tea and sugar and to prepare to leave the shop.
Mrs. Drummond was the clergyman's wife,






THE VILLAGE SHOP.


and she had only been in Homesfield for a
week. Mr. Matthews, the old clergyman, had
died three months before this; he had been the
vicar of the parish for more than forty years,
and so the arrival of a new clergyman was no
small event in the quiet little village. It would
be a great change for the people to have a
clergyman who was well and strong and able to
go about among them; and the old church had
been very full the day before to hear Mr.
Drummond's first sermon. Mrs. Blunt had
been there and so had her three friends, and
they had been talking about the new vicar a
few minutes before.
As Mrs. Drummond came into the village
shop the three customers went out, wishing her
good-morning as they passed her, and nodding
kindly to the little girl who was holding her
mother's hand.
Mrs. Blunt was very much pleased to have
the new vicar's wife as a customer, and was
anxious to show off her little shop to the best
advantage.
For some minutes the conversation was
about lump sugar and raw sugar, coffee and
soap and currants. But as soon as Mrs. Drum-
mond, after looking at a piece of paper she held






WINTER'S FOLLY.


in her hand, said, "I think that's all to-day,
thank you," Mrs. Blunt's busy tongue began in
good earnest.
"You would meet old Winter, maybe,
ma'am?" she said, going back in thought to
what she had been speaking of before the
clergyman's wife came in.
"Old Winter!" repeated Mrs. Drummond.
"I do n't think I have seen him yet, have
I ?"
Yes, ma'am, you'll have seen him if you
came down from the vicarage just now; he
went by just before you came in."
That little old man, mother, with the long
white hair," said the little girl, who had not
spoken before.
Yes, that's him, missy; and he's the most
curiousest old man I ever heard of. Me and
Mary Thornton was talking of him just as you
came in; and Mary Thornton says to me,
'There's a mystery about that man.' Them
was her very words-' a mystery about him.' "
"Who is he ?" asked Mrs. Drummond.
That's just what we don't know," said
Mrs. Blunt; "that's just exactly what we do n't
know! Nobody knows who he is, and some
folks say he does n't know himself."






TIIE VILLAGE SHOP.


He must know himself," said the little girl,
laughing; "must n't he, mother ?"
"Well, I don't know," said Mrs. Blunt;
"maybe not, missy; for of all the wild, strange,
queer-looking fellows that ever I saw, he's king
of them all."
"Then he isn't a Homesfield man?" asked
Mrs. Drummond.
"No, ma'am; not he. Why, he never set
foot in Homesfield afore the spring; and then
all of a sudden he appeared."
Where did he come from ?"
"No one knows; ino one," said Mrs. Blunt,
solemnly; "he came like a falling star."
"And what does he do here ?"
"Do, ma'am? Why, he doesn't do any-
thing," said Mrs. Blunt; "he lives, that's all.
And where in the world do you think he
lives ?"
"I'm sure I don't know," said Mrs. Drum-
mond, smiling; you see I have been here such
a short time that I know where very few peo-
ple live."
"Just look out of the window here, ma'am,
and I'll show you where he lives. You see that
high steep hill up there? Well, up at the top
of that moor, all among the heather and the






WINTER'S FOLLY.


bracken and the furze bushes, the old fellow
has built himself a house."
Built himself a house!"
"Well, he's done the best part of it himself,
ma'am. He did get old Joe Angers to give
him a hand with his cart and horse for a day or
two, and how they ever got the stones carted to
that outlandish place is more than I can tell;
but get them they did, and then old Winter
built his house."
What a strange place to choose !"
"Just what everybody says, ma'am. What-
ever in the world did he do it for?"
It will be fearfully cold there in the win-
ter," said the clergyman's wife.
"He '11 be snowed up, ma'am; completely
snowed up. I don't know what the old man
calls his house, but Homesfield folks have
christened it for him. They call it WINTER'S
FOLLY."
"Poor old man! has he no relatives or
friends?" asked Mrs. Drummond.
I never heard of one, ma'am. He's been
here four months now, and he's never had a
letter from no one-so Dick Wilson, at the
postoffice, told Mr. Blunt the other day."
It must be very lonely for him," said the






TIE VILLAGE SHOP. II

clergyman's wife; "terribly lonely at night, I
should think."
Well, ma'am, I think he likes to be lonely,"
said Mrs. Blunt; for he never by any chance
speaks a word to anybody if he can help it.
They say he li-es up there just to be out of the
way of other folks."
Poor old man I wonder what his history
is, and if anything could be done to comfort
him? Come, Myrtle, you and I must be going.
Good-morning, Mrs. Blunt."
"Good-morning, ma'am. I '11 send the par-
cel to the vicarage directly Bob comes out of
school; and thank you kindly, ma'am," said the
stout, good-tempered Mrs. Blunt, as the lady
and the little girl left the shop.






WINTER'S FOLLY.


CHAPTER II.

MYRTLE AND IVY.

"MOTHER," said Myrtle, at soon as they
were in the street, "are you going home now?"
"Yes, I think so," said Mrs. Drummond.
"Oh, do go home, plcase, mother," said
Myrtle.
Why are you in such a hurry to go home?"
asked her mother.
"Oh, I do want to tell Ivy all about that
funny old man, and the house on the top of
the hill!"
Myrtle and Ivy were twin sisters, and Mrs.
Drummond's only children. There had been
other little birds in the home nest,
But one by one they had flown away
Far up to the heavenly blue.
And the two little sisters were all the dearer
because they were the only birds left in the
nest.
It would be very hard for me to tell you
how much Myrtle loved Ivy, or how much Ivy
loved Myrtle. They learned their lessons to-
gether, they played together, they worked in






MYRTLE AND IVY.


the garden together, they went out together-
they did everything together. Myrtle was like
half a pair of scissors without Ivy, and Ivy was
like the other half without Myrtle.
The little sisters were very much alike in
face. Both of them had brown hair, both had
dark gray eyes, both had rosy cheeks. The
Homesfield people who had seen them at
church on Sunday went home and said, "The
two little Miss Drummonds are as much alike
as two peas." And even mother made a mis-
take sometimes, when she did not look at them
very closely. But although they were so much
alike in face, the little girls were not alike in
character. Myrtle was a quiet, thoughtful child,
who pondered over everything that she heard,
and who seemed older than her years. She
was the little woman of business in the house,
always ready to run errands or take messages.
She it was who noticed directly if father was
tired or if mother had a headache; and it was
Myrtle whose busy little head remembered
things which had been forgotten by other peo-
ple; and she it was who looked after Ivy as if
she were twenty years older than she was, in-
stead of only twenty minutes.
For Ivy was a little madcap, full of fun, full






WINTER'S FOLLY.


of mischief, and brimming over with life and
spirits. She never remembered anything. She
was always tearing her frock and spilling the
ink and knocking down everything that came
in her way. She was a dear little loving thing;
no one could help making a pet of her: but at
the same time she could not be trusted nor de-
pended upon for a moment.
Myrtle and Ivy shared the same bedroom,
and it was a very pretty place. There were
two little beds in it, just alike in shape, and
both having white curtains, but with this dif-
ference, that while Myrtle's curtains were tied
up with blue ribbon, Ivy's were tied with pink.
And as you looked round the room you might
see the same thing everywhere. Each side of
the room was exactly like the other side: each
little girl had a tiny bookcase holding her own
books, each had pictures hung in pretty gilt
frames, each had brackets holding her little
ornaments and treasures, each had vases in
which to arrange the flowers from her garden.
Still there was a difference, for while Myr-
tle's pictures were hung with blue ribbon, and
her vases were blue, and many of her little
ornaments on her brackets were tipped with
blue,- everything that Ivy had was pink. Even






MYRTLE AND IVY.


the furniture in the room was painted dif-
ferently. Myrtle's small wash-stand and chest
of drawers were made of white wood with
a tiny edging of blue, while the furniture on
Ivy's side of the room was of the same white
wood edged with pink.
But I shall not have told you of half the
beauties of that room if I leave out the dolls-
Myrtle's and Ivy's children, as they called them.
Such a family they had that mother used to say
they were like the old woman who lived in a
shoe. I was going to say that their dolls were
alike too, except that Myrtle's dolls wore blue
sashes and Ivy's wore pink. But that would
not be quite the truth, for after all the great
difference between the two families was this,
that Ivy's children had nearly all either broken
heads or wounded fingers or lame feet, while
Myrtle's were quite whole and sound and in per-
fectly good condition. But Ivy said that she
loved her children quite as well, poor dears, if
their heads were broken;" and she always
thought that father's cement bottle was the
great cure for every accident.
That night when Mrs. Drummond came up
stairs to say good-night to her little girls and to
tuck them up in their cosey beds, she found that






WINTER'S FOLLY.


Myrtle was still thinking of the old man whom
she had seen that afternoon.
Mother," she said, as soon as Mrs. Drum-
mond came into the room, do you think fa-
ther will go to see that old man on the moor?"
"Yes, dear, I feel sure he will," said her
mother.
"Oh, I do wish he would take me," said
Myrtle.
"And me," said Ivy, who was rolling about
her bed like a little kitten; "and me, mother."
"You must ask him to-morrow," said Mrs.
Drummond.
It must be very, very still up there in the
middle of the night," said Myrtle. "I wonder
if he is frightened ?"
"Of course he isn't frightened," said Ivy,-
"God 's up there; is n't he, mother ?"
"Does he love Jesus, mother?" asked
Myrtle.
I do n't know, dear," said her mother. I
know nothing of him but what Mrs. Blunt told
us to-day."
Let us say our hymn now, Myrtle," said
Ivy; "I shall be fast asleep if we do n't say it
soon. It's my turn to begin to-night, isn't it?"
Ivy sat up in her bed, her dark brown hair






MYRTLE AND IVY.


falling over her shoulders, and drawing back
the white curtains of her bed she said, turning
to her sister,
Sleep, little Myrtle, sleep;
Jesus his lamb will keep
Till morning light;
Darkness you need not fear,
Jesus is always near.
Good-night; good-night."
And then Myrtle took up the words, and turn-
ing to Ivy, said softly,
Sleep, little Ivy, sleep;
Jesus his lamb will keep
Till morning light;
Darkness you need not fear,
Jesus is always near.
Good-night; good-night."
And mother went first to one side of the room
and then to the other, and kissed both little
daughters and left them to sleep peacefully in
their cosey beds with the white curtains and the
pink and blue bows.
And up on the lonely hill an old man sat
gloomily over his peat fire hour after hour of
the night, listening to the rain beating on his
wooden roof, and little thinking that far down
in the valley a child with dark brown hair was
dreaming of him, and wondering if the old man
did not feel very lonely in the dark night.
WXint-r' Folly. 2






WINTER'S FOLLY.


CHAPTER III.

USELESS TEARS.

FATHER," said Myrtle at breakfast the next
morning, are you very busy to-day ?"
Not quite so busy as yesterday," said Mr.
Drummond, laughing; what do you want?"
"May we have a walk with you to-day,
father ? It would be so nice."
"Yes, father, please," said Ivy; "don't say
no, please, father."
"All right, little girls; if it's fine after din-
ner, we will go and gather a bunch of heather
for mother's drawing-room table."
Ivy skipped and jumped and danced for joy,
and ran round the garden to let off a little of
the wildness of her spirits; but Myrtle stayed
behind and stood with her arm resting on the
back of her father's chair. Father," she said
at last, which way shall we go ?"
Oh we will find a way," said Mr. Drum-
mond; "if we can, we will get up to the top of
those hills over there."
May we go to Winter's Folly, father? I






USELESS TEARS.


should like to see it so very much, and you
might go to see that poor old man."
Very well," said Mr. Drummond, we will
go."
It was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was
shining brightly, and the little girls started in
high glee. The first part of the way lay
through corn-fields, in which the corn was fast
ripening. Then, as they went gradually up the
hill, they came to a steep grassy field, at one
end of which stood an old ruined house. The
roof was still on, but the walls were partly bro-
ken away, and the rain and wind and frost were
year by year making the ruin more complete.
The little girls ran inside the old house,
and peeped out of the windows, and noticed the
hooks in the ceiling from which many a fat
ham had hung when the farmhouse was inhab-
ited, and the old-fashioned fireplace, in which
roaring fires had once blazed, and before which
the farmer's children had once sat to learn their
lessons. All was cold and empty and desolate
now; and Myrtle and Ivy were soon glad to go
forward.
They next crossed a little rushing stream by
a tiny stone bridge, and then the path became
very steep indeed.






WINTER'S FOLLY.


"0 father," cried Ivy, I see the heather !"
and the two children rushed forward to the
high bank of purple heath up which they had
to climb.
There was a narrow zigzag path which led
to the top of the hill, and as they were slowly
climbing up it they heard footsteps coming
down the hill.
"0 father," whispered Myrtle, "it's old
Winter! He's coming this way."
Good-morning," said Mr. Drummond as
the old man came up. But although he was so
near them as to brush past them on the narrow
path, he took no notice of them.
I was just coming to call on you," said Mr.
Drummond; I think your name is Winter, is
it not ?"
But the old man tightly closed his lips and
went quickly past them down the hill.
How very deaf he must be !" said Myrtle.
At the top of this steep bank of heather
they found Winter's Folly, standing alone in
the midst of the moorland. It was a roughly-
built stone cottage, with one small window-a
wretched place for any one to live in. The
children walked around it, and Myrtle was full
of pity for the poor old man, and was not con-






USELESS TEARS.


tent till her father had promised to come and
see him again.
But their next visit to Winter's Folly was as
unsuccessful as the first. This time the old
man was at home; they saw him sitting in his
doorway, smoking his pipe. He did not notice
them until they were close up to the house, and
then he jumped up, hurried into his cottage,
and fastened the door; and although Mr. Drum-
mond knocked several times, he never came to
open it.
"That's just like him, sir!' said Mrs. Blunt
when she heard what had happened. "He 's no
more deaf than you nor me; it's all his queer
ways. He wont have nothing to do with no-
body, wont old Winter."
The next day was Sunday, the happiest day
in the week for Myrtle and Ivy. There was
the walk with father home from church; there
was the afternoon Sunday-school; and, best of
all, there was the happy hour after tea. when
mother gave them their text for the week and
told them a beautiful Bible story.
"Mother," said Ivy as soon as grace was
said, do be quick and let us fill the tear-bottle."
She jumped from her seat and brought from
the cabinet a curious little bottle about two






WINTER'S FOLLY.


inches long. It had been found in an old tomb
in Egypt, and it had been used to catch the
tears of the person who was buried there. Ivy
was quite sure she could never cry if she held a
bottle to her cheek to catch the tears.
They had learned a text about the tear-bot-
tle. David said to God, "Put thou my tears
into thy bottle; are they not in thy book ?" He
meant that God noticed and remembered all his
tears and felt for him in all his sorrows.
And now on Sunday evening Myrtle and
Ivy were gathering up the tears of the Bible.
Each week mother told them of some one who
cried, and why that person cried, and the lesson
to be learned from those particular tears.
"Who is it to be to-day, mother?" said
Myrtle.
Look !" said her mother; "there is a field,
and in the field are two men ploughing. They
have no horses; oxen are doing the work, and
the plough is only a rough vine-stick with a
hook at the end. The sun is beginning to set;
the day's work is done; the men are unyoking
the oxen and are preparing to go home.
"The way home lies up hill. The younger
man, a tall, strong, handsome fellow, walks first;
his companion follows with the vine-stick over






USELESS TEARS.


his shoulder. Hark! What is that? A sound
is heard from the village on the hill-top. They
stop a moment to listen. Again it comes, and
again. What sound is it? A mournful sound
of wailing and mourning and weeping-not one
voice, nor two, but a hundred voices or more,
for the whole village is in tears."
Oh sha'n't we get our bottle full to-day,
mother !" said Ivy.
"But how could they hear them cry?" said
Myrtle; "tears don't make a noise."
Because in the East they cry aloud, like
little children, Myrtle. The two men listen,
and then, hurrying their steps, they go up the
hill. Now they are in the village, and there
they see their neighbors and friends standing
in the street. Fathers, mothers, and children
are all gathered together in a crowd. What
has happened? Has some one had an acci-
dent ?"
"Oh do tell us, mother," said Ivy. "Be
quick!"
Listen. They get nearer, and in the midst
of the crowd they see a man, hot, dusty, and
panting. He has been running for miles, and
he is now so much exhausted he can hardly
speak. But he has managed to tell his story,






WINTER'S FOLLY.


and a terrible one it is-so terrible that the
whole village has been moved to tears.
"' I come,' he says, from Jabesh-gilead, on
the other side of Jordan. We were living in
peace and safety, when the great king of the
Amorites came against us.
"'His armies are all round our city; he is
far stronger than we; he means to have us all
put to death. Only on one condition will he
spare our lives, and the condition is this: every
man in our city must go out to him, that he
may put out our right eyes; then, and only
then, will he save us alive. Only eight days
has he given us that we may choose what we
shall do: and those eight days are fast slipping
away. Unless help comes at once, and quickly,
a terrible fate is before us.'
"When they heard this dreadful story all
the people lifted up their voices and wept.
'Poor things !' they said. 'How sad! how ter-
rible! We are sorry for you! Dear me, it is
very dreadful!' "
"But why did n't they go and help them,
mother ?" said Myrtle.
"That's just what that young ploughman
felt when he heard the story, Myrtle. The peo-
ple did nothing but cry; he was determined to






USELESS TEARS.


stir them up to help. So he seized the oxen he
had brought up the hill; he killed them; he
cut up their bodies in small pieces, and he sent
them as a picture-message all through the coun-
try.
"' Whosoever cometh not forth after me to
help Jabesh-gilead, so shall it be done unto his
oxen.' The message was sent, and 300,000
brave men came to the rescue, and the city was
saved.
Now, Myrtle," said her mother, we have
filled our tear-bottle with the tears of the peo-
ple of Jabesh-gilead; what lesson do you think
they teach us?"
That it is n't enough to cry, mother."
"That's just it, Myrtle; it isn't enough to
be sorry for people and to pity them; we must
do all we can to help them. Tears cost noth-
ing, and people will often give tears when they
hear some sad story, but there it ends; they
never say, What can I do to help ?'
"Now for our text, darlings; here it is:
'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?' Ask
him, Myrtle; ask him, Ivy. Is there no one
you can help? Is there no one you can pray
for ? Do n't stop short at being sorry for people
or at pitying them; do all you can to help them."






26 WINTER'S FOLLY.

The church bells began to ring, and Mrs.
Drummond had to hurry away to get ready for
church. Myrtle and Ivy went into the garden
and walked up and down with their arms round
each other, and as they did so Myrtle often
looked up towards the distant moorlands where
Winter's Folly stood. There was an old man
there for whom she was very sorry. Could she
do nothing to help him?






FLOWERS AND TEXTS.


CHAPTER IV.

FLOWERS AND TEXTS.

EARLY the next morning Myrtle was again
in the garden. She went to the little flower-
bed which her mother had given her for her
own. How beautiful everything looked in the
bright morning sunshine! The leaves were
covered with dew and were sparkling like dia-
monds. The pansies and the fuchsias and the
stocks and the sweet-peas all looked refreshed
after the cool night breezes. But Myrtle did
not look at them; she passed them by without
even noticing how pretty they were.
In the middle of her garden stood a moss-
rose bush, and when Myrtle had first seen it
there had been on it only one bud. This bud
she had watched day by day, and oh how she
had longed for the time when it would open!
At last the moment she had wished for so long
had come; on this Monday morning the rose-
bud was quite ready to be gathered. Very
carefully she cut the stalk, and then carried it
into the house.
SWhen Myrtle had first seen the bud she had






WINTER'S FOLLY.


meant to put it, as soon as it was blown, in the
pretty blue and white vase on the bracket in
her bedroom; but she had a different purpose
for it now. She tied to the stalk a piece of blue
ribbon, and to the ribbon she fastened a little
card on which she had written these words:
" Like as a father pitieth his children, so the
Lord pitieth them that fear him."
Look here, Ivy," she said, as her sister
came into the room; "will that do ?"
Yes, it's lovely," said Ivy; but--oh, Myr-
tle, dare you take it?"
"Yes, I think so," said Myrtle thoughtfully.
He 's so very, very like Giant Despair," said
Ivy; "if only he had a club I think he would
be just like him. When are you going?"
"Mother says we may go after lessons.
You'll go' with me up the hill, wont you,
Ivy ?"
"Well, if I may hide in the heather," said
Ivy, while you go up to the door. I dare n't
go with you there."
So at twelve o'clock the two children set
forth. Myrtle walked on very bravely until
she got to the ruined farmhouse, and then she
turned faint-hearted and nearly went back
again. But the thought of the poor old man in







FLOWERS AND TEXTS.


.,A I


11-1 I I'-


;.h.
-~-
















-h-. pt l I t h





If-


ith
ed
on
vy
be-
,re
lly
ck
nd


I






WINTER'S FOLLY.


a furze-bush, and waited there out of sight
while Myrtle with trembling steps went up to
the house. She did not lose a moment; she
laid the rose down close to the door and then
ran quickly back to her little sister.
He is in, Ivy," she said, I am sure he is;
I heard him moving about inside."
Oh dear! oh dear!" said Ivy. "I hope he
wont come out!"
I hope he will come out," said Myrtle; I
want him to find his rose. Let us wait a minute
or two here. He can't see us; I couldn't see
you, Ivy, a bit, when I was close to the house."
So the two children waited and listened and
looked, and at last there came the sound of the
opening of a door and the old man's head ap-
peared in the doorway. He noticed the rose at
once; he took it up and smelled it, and then
Myrtle saw him read the writing on the card-
board. She wondered very much if he would
tear it up, but he did not. He looked all round
the house and peered along the path leading
down the hill to find if any one were in sight;
but seeing no one he went back, carrying the
rose with him, and shut the door.
It was some time before Myrtle and Ivy
dared to creep out of their hiding-place and to






FLOWERS AND TEXTS.


go down the hill. All the way they felt as if
old Winter were running after them, and they
kept turning round to see if he were really
coming.
But the very next day they went again with
a rose from Ivy's garden, a pure white rose, and
this time the little card was tied on with a piece
of pink ribbon. Ivy had chosen this text; it
was one of her favorites:
The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth
us from all sin."
A shower came up as they were going
through the corn-fields, and they ran quickly on
and went into the ruined farmhouse for shelter
until it was over. While they were there they
saw old Winter pass, going down to the village
with a basket on his arm. He was hurrying
along in his usual quick way, taking no notice
of anything that he saw.
Feeling sure that he was out, the two little
girls went on their way less tremblingly, and
this time Ivy ventured to go up to the house
with her sister. They even were brave enough
to peep in at the little window, and to Myrtle's
great joy she saw her rosebud in water in a
small glass on the table. She wondered very
much where the text was; she hoped the old
man had not burned it.






WINTER'S FOLLY.


From this time on every fine day the two
children climbed the hill to Winter's Folly with
a bunch of flowers and a text. Sometimes old
Winter was out, and then both of them went
boldly up to the door; sometimes he was in,
and then Ivy hid behind the furze-bush while
Myrtle crept cautiously up to the door and laid
down her bunch.
The flowers will soon be done," said Myr-
tle mournfully, as she looked at her garden one
day at the end of September; "there is not a
rose left, and the sweet-peas and stocks will
soon be over; what shall we take him when
they are all done?"
We shall have to wait till spring, and then
we can get some violets and primroses," said
Ivy.
But Myrtle could not rest content at the
thought of being whole months without going
to Winter's Folly. She was often thinking of
the poor old man who had nobody to care for
him. She never said her prayers without
asking God to bless him. And often, very
often, before she fell asleep at night or when
she woke in the early morning, she would creep
out of bed and look up at the hill and wonder
what he was doing, and whether he ever read






FLOWERS AND TEXTS.


her texts and was comforted by them. It was
a great trouble to her to think of all the long
cold winter days when there would not be a
single flower, and when she could do nothing to
cheer the desolate old man.
But the first of October was Myrtle's and
Ivy's birthday, and on that day mother gave
them a packet of very pretty illuminated texts.
The texts were not colored, but the outline was
done ready for painting, and mother had
bought them a beautiful paint-box and a num-
ber of paint-brushes in order that they might
begin to color them.
"Oh, Myrtle," said Ivy, "we'll get them all
done and put them in frames round our room!
They '11 look splendid !"
"I know what I should like to do with
them," said Myrtle thoughtfully. "I should
like to paint them very, very nicely and take
them to Winter's Folly: I'm sure he would like
them. Would n't he, Ivy ?"


Winter's Folly.






WINTER S FOLLY.


CHAPTER V.

WINTER-TIME AT WINTER'S FOLLY.

THE cold weather came very early that year.
There were several white frosts at the end of
October, and then came a week of heavy rain,
and Myrtle and Ivy could not get out. After
the rain came storms-wild rough winds which
blew down the trees and carried away the
slates and did no end of mischief. And then
came the frost, cold and keen and biting-the
coldest weather they had had before Christmas
for many a long year said the old people, as
they crouched shiveringly over their fires.
Winter clothes were brought out, and the
mothers put warm wraps round their children,
and the farmers brought their cattle under
shelter, and logs of wood were piled on the
fires, and extra blankets were put on the beds,
and every one did his utmost to keep warm.
But in spite of all this every one felt cold, and
as they met their neighbors in the street or
came into Mrs. Blunt's shop or called at each
other's houses, these words were constantly on
their lips, "Isn't it cold!"






WINTER-TIME AT WINTER'S FOLLY.


"That poor old fellow on the hill will catch
it this weather," said Mrs. Blunt, as she weighed
out a pound of tea for Mary Thornton.
"Silly old fellow! What did he go there
for?" said Mary. He has nobody but himself
to blame, a-going and a-perching up there by
himself, like a bird on a tree. I never heard of
such a thing! Why can't he make neighbors
like other folks ?"
"Well, poor old fellow," said kind-hearted
Mrs. Blunt, "he'll get his punishment anyhow;
he'll never live through the winter if this
weather goes on. It's cold enough down here,
but it must be something awful up there. I
wonder what the old fellow's after ? It's days
now since he was down in the village; not but
that he got a good few things the last time he
did come, but I should think they would be
done by now."
Neither of the women noticed that Myrtle,
who had come into the shop while they were
talking, had turned her face towards the sugar-
loaves and tallow candles in the window, that
she might wipe away some troublesome tears
which would come whenever she thought of
old Winter. She had not been up the hill for
three weeks now. A pretty text, very neatly






WINTER'S FOLLY.


painted, had been lying ready in her drawer all
that time; but each day had been too cold or
too wet or too stormy for her to get leave to
go up the hill. And poor old Winter would feel
quite lonely again, she said to herself, and
would have nothing to cheer him. She could
not help crying when she heard what Mrs.
Blunt and Mary Thornton said about him.
Myrtle asked for the buttons her mother
had sent her to buy and then ran home as fast
as she could, and to her great joy her mother
gave her leave to go to Winter's Folly that
afternoon.
The path up the hill was very slippery, and
it took the little girls a long time to climb it.
But at last they were at the top and found
themselves close to the old man's house.
Poor old man, I wonder what he is doing?"
said Myrtle; "it all looks so cold and quiet and
sad."
She stooped down to push her pretty card
under the door, for she did not like to leave it
on the snow and ice outside, and Ivy stood at a
little distance, ready to run at the first alarm to
her old hiding-place behind the furze-bush.
The card was almost through, when Myrtle was
startled by the sound of a voice.






WINTER-TIME AT WINTER'S FOLLY.


Is any one there?" said the voice.
She had never heard him speak before, and
his voice sounded so low and gruff and husky
that she trembled from head to foot as she said
in a little shaky voice,
Yes, Mr. Winter, I'm here."
Ivy had fled out of sight, and poor Myrtle
felt very nervous and frightened; but she
waited for him to speak again.
"Are you my little Rosebud?" said the voice
from within.
"I'm Myrtle-little Myrtle Drummond,"
said the child.
"Are you my little girl who brings me the
flowers?" asked the old man.
"Yes," said Myrtle, and I've just poked a
text under your door; have you got it ?"
"No," said the old man, "I'm ill in bed.
Do you think you could open the door ?"
Myrtle was no longer afraid; she was only
full of pity for the poor old man. She stood on
tiptoe and raised the latch, and then for the
first time in her life she entered Winter's Folly.
The old man was lying on a mattress in a cor-
ner of the room covered with blankets. He
looked very thin and ill, and his long gray hair
hung about his face.






NNINTER'S 17OLLV.


Come and let me look at you," he said, as
Myrtle came in.
He took hold of her hand and looked her
full in the face.
"Yes," he said, "you are very like her; I
knew you were."
"Whom am I like?" asked Myrtle; but the
old man did not answer her, and Myrtle saw a
tear, which did not fall, come into his eye.
"Oh I'm so sorry!" she said. "Is she
dead ?"
But still the old man said nothing, and she
began to be afraid that he was angry with her
and would never speak again. But a minute or
two afterwards he said, in quite a different
voice, "Are you pretty strong, Rosebud ?"
"Yes, I 'm very strong," said Myrtle, draw-
ing herself up. Can I do anything for you?"
"Well, I do n't know if you can manage it,
but I have n't a drop of water and I can't fetch
any. I've got pains all over me; rheumatics, I
expect, with the cold."
"Oh I can get it," said Myrtle; "I know
where the spring is at the bottom of the hill."
"There's the can," said the old man; "but
I doubt you wont be able to carry it, Rosebud."
"Ivy will help me," said Myrtle; "she is






VWINTER-TIME AT WINTER'S FOLLY.


just outside. She will be glad to help, I am
sure.
Who ?" said the old man. Do n't you be
bringing strangers in, Rosebud. I can't bear
strangers. I do n't mind you, but I wont have
any of them chattering women. Do you hear
what I say?"
Ivy is n't a woman," said Myrtle; "she's
my little sister."
"Oh the little girl that hides behind the
furze-bush," said the old man.
Please, how did you know?" said Myrtle in
astonishment. "We thought you never saw
us."
Oh I've seen you many and many a time,
Rosebud," said he, "and the other little lass
too."
Myrtle took the can outside, but it was some
minutes before she could find Ivy, who had not
thought the furze-bush safe enough and had
gone farther off upon the moor. They soon
ran, slipped and slid down the hill, and filled
the can at the little stone bridge; but it was no
easy matter to get up the hill again without
spilling the water; the can was heavy and the
path was slippery and their hands were cold.
But the thought of the poor old man without a






40 WINTER'S FOLLY.

drop of water helped them on, and at last they
were safely at the top and not a drop of water
was wasted.
"Come in with me, Ivy," said Myrtle.
"Oh no, no, no," said Ivy, I dare n't."
So again Myrtle went into Winter's Folly
alone.






THE OLD MAN'S PLAYTHING.


CHAPTER VI.

THE OLD MAN'S PLAYTHING.

BLESS you, Rosebud," said the old man, as
the little girl came in. Now do you think
you could fill my kettle?"
"Oh I'm sure I could," said Myrtle. "I '11
be so careful; but you have n't got a fire !"
"No, not yet," he said; "but I'll maybe
light it soon, Rosebud, when I feel a bit better."
"Oh do let me try!" said Myrtle. "I've
seen Hannah light the nursery fire heaps and
heaps of times."
"You'11 be setting yourself on fire, Rosebud.
I doubt I ought n't to let you," said the old man.
No, I wont; I'm really very careful, I am
indeed. Mother always calls me. an old wo-
man," said Myrtle. "You '11 see how well I '11
do it. Just wait till I call Ivy."
"There is n't any one else there ?" said the
old man nervously.
No, there's no one but Ivy; I wont bring
any one else in."
She ran out and found Ivy walking up and
down in front of the house. She had not






WINTER'S FOLLY.


thought it necessary to hide behind the furze-
bush, as the old man was ill in bed.
"Now, Ivy," said Myrtle, "you must come
in and help. He is so ill, poor man, and he is
so cold and shivering, and he wants us to light
him a fire. You'll help me, wont you, Ivy?
Perhaps he will freeze to death if we do n't."
Ivy did not dare to say no, but followed
Myrtle very fearfully inside the house.
Come along, little Miss Furze-bush; I wont
hurt you."
Ivy did not dare to speak, but kept close to
Myrtle all the time and as far as possible from
the old man. Very neatly and carefully they
laid the fire; the sticks were all ready in one
corner of the room, and there were large pieces
of peat for fuel which old Winter had cut for
himself out of the moorland. Very soon there
was a bright fire, the kettle was put on, and
they brought from the shelf a tin teapot, some
bread, and a knife, and everything that the
poor old man would need for his tea.
Is that all the bread you have, Mr. Win-
ter?" said Myrtle, as she brought out a hard
crust, only the bottom of a loaf.
Yes, Rosebud," said the old man, I'm
afraid it is."






TIE OLD MAN'S PLAYTHING.


"And the tea is just done, and the sugar,
and everything," said Myrtle.
"Yes, Rosebud, they will be just about
done," he said; "I hope I shall be a bit better
to morrow, and then I must go down the hill
and get some more."
Could n't we get the things for you, Mr.
Winter?" said Myrtle; "Ivy and I could go.
We would get just what you told us. Mother
often sends us to Mrs. Blunt's when she wants
anything. Oh do let us try !"
Well, Rosebud, it would be a real kindness,
it would indeed; for what will become of me
if I 'm not better and can't get down, I do n't
know ; I shall starve to death, I suppose."
Please tell us what you want; we wont for-
get," said Myrtle.
I've got a pencil and an old envelope
here," said Ivy; "we might write it down."
It was the first time she had spoken, and the
old man turned round and looked at her; but
Ivy seemed so much inclined to run away again,
and kept so close to the door, that he was afraid
to take any notice of her.
Myrtle wrote carefully down in large letters
all the things she was to buy, and then old
Winter asked her to look in the corner of the






\X INTLR'S FOLLY.


house for a small black carpet-bag. She brought
it to him, and he took a key from under his
pillow and unlocked it. It was a very curious
bag; he seemed to have collected all sorts of
things in it. There were one or two books, and
a little cup and saucer, and a packet of old
letters; and, strangest of all, there was a doll,
an old china doll, with very black hair, and
dressed in a faded lilac print dress.
"You didn't think I had a doll, Rosebud,"
said the old man. What do you think of her ?"
Myrtle did not think she was very pretty,
but she did not like to say so; she only asked
him if he had had her a very long time.
A very long time, Rosebud," he answered;
" a very long time indeed !"
And to the children's astonishment, before
he wrapped the doll up again in the newspaper
from which he had taken her, he looked at her
very lovingly, and actually kissed the top of her
shining black head. It was so very strange to
see a man who had a doll, and still more strange
that he should kiss it. Myrtle began to wonder
whether Mrs. Blunt were right after all when
she said that old Winter must be mad.
From the very bottom of the bag the old
man brought a small box. This was also fas-






THE OLD MAN'S PLAYTHING.


tened, and the key which unlocked it was also
under his pillow. From this little box he took
the money which Myrtle would want to pay for
his purchases, and then he locked the box again,
and was repacking the bag, when a sudden
thought seized him.
Rosebud," he said, come here."
He took. from the bag a Testament in a
shabby brown cover. As soon as he opened it,
Myrtle saw that it was full of old friends. In-
side were all the texts she had given him, ar-
ranged in order, and placed very carefully be-
tween the leaves of the book.
I 'm so glad you did n't burn them up," she
said.
"Did you think I would do that, Rosebud ?"
he said, with tears in his eyes. Where is the
new one ?"
I painted it myself," said Myrtle, as she
laid it out before him, every bit of it, except
that capital I. Father touched that up a little
bit, because it was so very hard to do. Do you
like it ?"
"It's a beauty, Rosebud," said the old man;
it's a real beauty. I shall get it framed some
day. Read me the words; I have n't got my
glasses."







WINTER S FOLLY.


"' I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,' "
read the little girl.
The old man gave a groan, but said noth-
ing.
Mother likes that text," said Myrtle. I
think it is one of mother's favorites."
Yes, maybe it is," said the old man.
Is it one of your favorites, Mr. Winter?"
asked Myrtle.
Not yet, my dear, not yet," said the old
man sorrowfully. Look here."
He had taken an old envelope out of the
cover of the Testament and from it with trem-
bling fingers he drew a lock of dark brown
hair tied with a piece of blue silk.
Rosebud," he said, come here."
He took hold of a piece of her long hair,
which was hanging over her shoulders, and
placed the little lock of hair upon it.
Yes," he said, "I'm right, it is just the
same color ; I knew it was."
Then he put the hair tenderly back into the
envelope, packed up the bag, locked it, and
once more put the key under his pillow.
Myrtle did not dare to ask whose hair it was;
she was afraid to ask him any more questions,
for fear he should lose his voice again; she






TIE OLD MAN'S PLAYTHING. 47

liked him so much better now that he would
talk to her.
It was getting late, and the children were
obliged to go. They wrapped the money up
very carefully, and Myrtle put it in her pocket,
and then they said good-by to old Winter and
ran down the hill.
'You wont call him 'Giant Despair' any
more, will you, Ivy ?" said Myrtle, as they hur-
ried home.
Not if he does n't call me 'Miss Furze-
bush,'" said Ivy, laughing; "it's such a very
prickly name to have !"






WINTER'S FOLLY.


CHAPTER VII.

THE LAST BIRDS IN THE NEST.

ON their way home Myrtle and Ivy stopped
at Mrs. Blunt's shop to make their purchases.
"We will buy the things now," said Myrtle,
' and then after lessons to-morrow they will be
all ready for us to take."
Mrs. Blunt was very much puzzled and be-
wildered by the order which they gave her.
She opened her eyes wider and wider as Ivy
read out the list of goods she had written down.
One pound of Bologna sausage." Such a
thing had never been ordered from the vicarage
before Half a pound of tea." Why did not
they get a whole pound as usual? And tea at
eighteenpence a pound, too! Mrs. Drummond
always said she liked her half-crown tea; why
could she be going to buy that cheap nasty
stuff? But when Ivy read out, Two pounds
of whitey-brown sugar," Mrs. Blunt's curiosity
could no longer be held in.
"Whitey-brown, my dear!" she said; "it
must surely be a mistake; your ma always gets
Demerara."






THE LAST BIRDS IN THE NEST.


But it is n't for mother," said Ivy, laughing.
Oh, maybe she's going to send it to some
poor body, is she?" said Mrs. Blunt. "She is a
kind lady, is your ma."
No, it is n't for mother at all. Good after-
noon," said Myrtle, and went out of the shop,
leaving poor Mrs. Blunt more curious than
ever.
"Isn't for mother at all!" she repeated.
"Why, whoever in the world can it be for,
then ?"
As soon as they reached home the two little
girls packed their purchases in two baskets
ready to take up the hill in the morning. Ivy
chattered the whole evening about the old man
and the curious little house and the fun they
had had in lighting the fire. But Myrtle was
very quiet and hardly spoke a word. She ate
scarcely any tea and was glad to go to bed as
soon as it was over. Mother came to tuck her
up and noticed how flushed and feverish she
was. "Myrtle seems very poorly," she said to
her husband when she went down stairs.
Perhaps she has taken cold," he said; "it
must have been bitterly cold on the hill to-
day."
But when both father and mother went to
WlIlN..' Fo!Iv,.






WINTER'S FOLLY.


look at their little girls before going to bed
themselves, they found Myrtle sitting up in bed
talking to herself. She did not seem to know
them at all; she thought she was in old Win-
ter's house and was trying to light the fire and
could not manage it. She kept saying over
and over to herself, "It wont burn; it wont
burn; it wont burn; and he '11 die of cold;" and
then she burst into tears. Mrs. Drummond
took her in her arms and tried to soothe her,
and her father put on his great-coat and went
off for the doctor. Ivy slept peacefully on and
knew nothing of what was passing in the room.
It seemed a very long time to poor Myrtle's
mother before the doctor arrived. The little
girl was talking in a wild, strange way all the
time, and she was very thankful to hear the
hall door open and her husband and the doctor
coming up stairs. The doctor felt Myrtle's
pulse and examined her throat, and he looked
very grave as he did so; but he told them noth-
ing till he went down stairs, and then he said to
Mr. Drummond,
I cannot be quite sure until the morning,
but I am afraid it is diphtheria; there is a very
bad case in the village just now."
Mrs. Drummond said nothing, but she






THE LAST BIRDS IN THE NEST.


turned very white and hurried back to her
little girl. That was a very sad night for both
father and mother. They carried Ivy's bed
into another room, and sat watching beside
Myrtle as she lay tossing about in the pretty
bed with the white curtains and the blue
bows.
The doctor came again very early in the
morning, and this time he had no doubt that
his fears were correct. The child was very ill,
and he could not hide it from her father and
mother. It would not be well to hide it, for
who knew what the end might be? If another
little bird were about to fly out of the nest, it
was better they should know it before she took
wing.
Only once in the day did Myrtle seem to
know what was going on, and then she looked
up at her mother and asked what time it was.
It hurt her very much to speak, and it was
some time before Mrs. Drummond could make
out what she said.
Half-past three, darling," said her mother.
"Oh, bring me my stockings; bring me my
stockings, mother, please; I must get up !"
"No, dear, you can't get up; you are ill,
Myrtle."






WINTER'S FOLLY.


But I must go! Oh, I must go! He'11 be
so hungry; perhaps he '11 die."
She means old Winter," said her father;
"we had forgotten that he will want his par-
cels."
I will take them for you, Myrtle dear," he
said; "it will be all right."
"Thank you," said the child wearily; I do
feel so tired."
It was hard work for Mr. Drummond to
leave the house when his child was so ill, and
he went up the hill with a very heavy heart.
When he arrived at Winter's Folly it looked
cold and deserted. There was no smoke in the
chimney, and though he knocked three or four
times at the door he got no answer. He tried
to look in at the window, but an old curtain had
been drawn across it. He did not know what
to do with his basket of food. Time was pass-
ing and he was longing to be down the hill
and near his little girl again. So he called out
as loudly as he could, Mr. Winter, I've
brought the things from the shop; my little
girl was not able to come to-day." And then
putting down the basket by the door, he came
away.
It was a long sorrowful walk home again.






TIIE LAST BIRDS IN THE NEST.


"If God should send for my little girl am I
willing to give her up?" That was the ques-
tion he was asking himself as he went down
the hill, and for some time he could not answer
it. He loved her so dearly. She was the very
light of his eyes, the sunshine of his life; could
he give her up? But as he was crossing the
fields a verse came into his mind which helped
him, He spared not His own Son, but deliv-
ered him up for us all." Then He knew what
the agony of giving up a beloved child was.
He could feel for him and with him. And God
loved him, he knew that, and God loved her, his
own little darling. She was one of the lambs
in the Good Shepherd's bosom; surely he could
trust her to Him; surely all would be well,
whatever He chose for her. He went home
comforted; and it was well he did, for he went
home to fresh trouble. Ivy was ill too, and the
little beds were once more side by side.
What a terribly long week that seemed!
The two children were hanging between life
and death. The whole village was full of sym-
pathy for the poor father and mother.
"The only ones they've got; and such
beauties, bless them," they said. "The two
bonniest little girls that ever you did see !"






WINTER'S FOLLY.


"Well, how are they this evening, have you
heard?" said Mary Thornton, as she came in on
Christmas eve to make her purchases at the
village shop.
"Ay, poor little things," said Mrs. Blunt;
"they are about as bad as they can be. They
do say one of them has taken a turn for the
better; her as began last."
"Which is that, Mrs. Blunt, do you know?"
"Nay; I never can tell one from another,"
said Mrs. Blunt. They come in dressed just
alike, bless 'em, in their pretty crimson jackets
and fur tippets and brown felt hats, and I never
could tell one from another."
Well, I hope they '11 get over it," said Mary
Thornton.
"I 'm afraid they wont, Mary," said kind
Mrs. Blunt, wiping her eyes with the corner of
her apron. Doctor gives very little hopes of
this one, the one that's the worst now; he says
to-night will decide it. It's the crisis, so the
vicarage cook told our Tom when I sent him
up to ask this afternoon. Bless the little dears,
I never thought when they came into the shop
the other day they'd maybe never come
again!"
While they were talking old Winter had







THE LAST BIRDS IN THE NEST.


come into the shop, and stood behind Mary
Thornton waiting till it was his turn to be
served. His usual plan was to write down be-
forehand all he wanted on a piece of paper, to
hand the paper to Mrs. Blunt with his money,
and to wait in perfect silence for his parcel.
But to-day, to Mrs. Blunt's astonishment, he
spoke.
Is somebody ill?" he said.
"Yes, Mr. Winter," said Mrs. Blunt, glad
that he had begun to talk to her. You haven't
been down in the village lately or you would
have heard. It's the little girls at the vicarage,
and the doctor doesn't think one of 'em will
live through the night."
Old Winter made no answer, but his hand
shook very much as he held it out for the
parcel.
I wonder if it's my Rosebud?" he said to
himself as he went down the village street.







WINTER'S FOLLY.


CHAPTER VIII.

OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.


.. A. --.. .











i- ITIH -n tt th( t ri'-t. i ; i-e.
.^ c:- .- ;" t n l !i r. "* t r m T
*iS.::. n .i li ,,'*ii :1 i- ,.-I, i-.-ic,.-. up tle
valley, bringing the snow with it,
and very soon Myrtle's and Ivy's gardens were
so thickly covered that not a single plant could
be seen, and the roads were so deep with snow
that very few of the village people ventured
out of their houses. The doctor was obliged to
be out in spite of the weather, and when he
had finished his round of visits he waded
through the snow up the hill to the vicarage.






OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.


How is she?" he asked anxiously of the
servant who let him in.
"No better, sir; master and mistress are
both up stairs." He hurried up to his little
patient.
"I am going to try one last remedy," he
said; if that fails I can do nothing more."
The remedy was applied and the doctor sat
down beside the little bed.
Mrs. Drummond," he said, "I am going to
stop here to-night; could you not take a little
rest ?"
Please do not send me away," she said; I
could not go, indeed I could not."
So they watched on till the gray morning
light began to dawn. Myrtle had fallen asleep
and they did not dare to move lest they should
disturb her. Mr. Drummond was sitting near the
window, and he drew the curtain gently aside to
see if it were getting light. The snow was no
longer falling, but lay thick and white all round
the house. There was a red light in the east-
ern sky and he could see that the sun was ri-
sing. Were those foot-prints that he saw in the
path which led to the garden gate? Who
could have been about the garden on such a
terrible night as that?






IVINTER'S FOLLY.


Mr. Drummond watched on, and presently,
in the dim light, he thought he saw some one
moving among the trees. Who could it be?
Had one of the servants been down to the vil-
lage for anything? It seemed very unlikely,
for the doctor was in the room and could not
have sent them to his surgery for medicine.
He began to think he must be mistaken, when
he heard close under the window a hollow
cough. He tried to see who it was, but Myrtle
and Ivy had a box for flowers in their window,
and he could not see down to the path below.
As time passed on he heard the cough again
and again and again. He felt sure that the
person below was pacing up and down in front
of the window, and he grew to expect the
cough at the right moment, as he calculated
how long it would take that person to get back
to the same point again. Yet he heard it al-
most as one in a dream.
That night was indeed a long dreadful
dream to him. He seemed to be out on a dark
stormy sea, tossed about with fear and anxiety
and trouble, and yet through it all he could say,
I believe God that it shall be even as was told
me." And at last the suspense was over. The
doctor got up from his chair and came across






OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.


the room. I think I may go home now, Mr.
Drummond," he said; "the danger is past;
through God's mercy she will recover now."
He maketh the storm a calm, so that the
waves thereof are still. Then are they glad
because they be quiet; so He bringeth them
unto their desired haven." That was just how
they felt, that poor father and mother, as the
daylight came stealing into the room that
Christmas morning.
The doctor went down stairs, put on his coat
and hat, opened the door, and was hurrying
across the snowy path, when a hand was laid
on his arm. It made him start, for he had
heard no one behind him, and looking round he
saw an old man with long white hair and al-
most covered with snow from head to foot. He
looked like old Father Christmas himself, and
the doctor wondered who he was and where he
had come from.
The old man did not speak. He seemed as
if he wanted to say something, but the words
would not come. He held the doctor by the
arm and looked anxiously into his face.
Good-morning, my friend," said the doctor.
"A happy Christmas to you. Did you want
anything of me?"






WINTER'S FOLLY.


At last the words came, "How is she ?"
"Oh the little girl in there !" said the doctor,
pointing to the house. She is better now; in
fact, I hope the danger is past."
To the doctor's utter astonishment the old
man burst into tears, and turning away, trotted
off at his usual running pace without another
word.
He had been up all night. Ever since he
had heard the conversation in Mrs. Blunt's
shop he had been backwards and forwards be-
tween the village and the vicarage. He had
watched the doctor go in, and had been deter-
mined to wait till he came out. Cold though it
was, damp and tiring though the snow was to
his feet, he had tramped on hour after hour,
and at last he had heard the door open and had
seen the doctor come out. He had felt that he
must stop the doctor, and yet he dared not
speak at first. He expected to hear that she
was dead, and she was the only one who cared
for him. But when, instead, there came the
good news that she was better, the tears which
had been gathering so long would come to his
eyes. He went up the steep path to Winter's
Folly sobbing to himself, My little Rosebud;
my poor little Rosebud !"






OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.


From that Christmas morning Myrtle began
steadily to recover, but it was a long time be-
fore she was able to get down stairs and still
longer before she could go out again. During
all this time not a single day passed that old
Winter did not watch outside the house till he
saw one of the servants come out, and then he
would run up to her with the same three words
each day, "How is she ?" He would get his
answer, and then without another word would
hurry away again up the hill.
But one day-it was the first day that Myr-
tle was able to come down stairs-she was lying
on a sofa in the window and she caught sight
of him outside. She tapped on the pane and
the old man looked up, and she beckoned him
to come nearer. He ventured cautiously up the
path, very much like a frightened hare, listen-
ing to every sound and peering round to see if
any one was near. But when he saw that Myr-
tle was alone in the room he took courage and
came close up to the window.
"Mr. Winter," said Myrtle, "everybody's
out; open the door and come inside."
He came in almost as tremblingly as Myrtle
herself had first entered Winter's Folly.
"I 'm so glad to see you, Mr. Winter," said






WINTER S FOLLY.


the child; "thank you so much for coming to
ask how I was."
Did they tell you, Rosebud?" he asked.
"Yes, they always told me," she said. "Are
you glad God has made me better, Mr.
Winter ?"
"Glad!" he said; "glad, Rosebud! Why,
I've nobody but you. So you think I could
help being glad? Nobody -since she went
away," he added.
"Was that her doll?" Myrtle ventured to
ask, for she had been rather troubled about
that doll; she did not like to think that her old
friend was mad.
Yes, Rosebud, it was her doll," he said.
"Is she in heaven with Jesus?" said the
child.
No, Rosebud, she's not in heaven. No,
no, no; not in heaven. Oh dear no!" and he
was turning to go away when Myrtle called
him back.
"You are not angry with me, dear Mr. Win-
ter, are you?" she said.
"Angry! no, Rosebud," he said, turning
round. How could I be angry with Rosebud?
Bless you, my little comforter !" and he stooped
down and gave her little thin hand a kiss.






OLD FATHER CHRISTMAS.


That very night he left at the door a parcel
directed, For my little Rosebud," and tied up
with numberless pieces of string and great seals
of red and black sealing-wax. It took Myrtle
some time to unfasten the parcel, and when she
had done so she found it contained some sheets
of foolscap paper, covered with small neat
writing. With this document there was a little
note from the old man to herself:

MY DEAR ROSEBUD:-Ever since you first
came to cheer me and brought me my first text,
I have wished to let you know who I am and
what is my sad story. I have been writing this
history of myself for the last four months. I
had meant to have sealed it up and to have put
it carefully by to be sent to you after I was
dead, for I felt as if I should like some one who
cared a little bit for the old man to know what
his trouble really was. But this morning after
I saw you, and after you asked me those ques-
tions, I made up my mind to let you have it
to-night; you perhaps will not understand it
all, but your mother will, and I know I can
trust you. Keep my secret! God bless you,
Rosebud Your loving old friend,
W. WINTER."






WINTER'S FOLLY.


CHAPTER IX.

OLD WINTER'S STORY.

"I 'M not such an old man, Rosebud; not so
old as you would think. It is trouble that has
made me look as old as I do-trouble and self-
will;-yes, I see that now. I shall be seventy,
if I live till next summer, ahd many a man
of seventy is blithe and hearty enough; but
then he has n't gone through what I have, nor
borne what I have borne,
"I was brought up in the country, Rosebud;
my father had a small farm. It was a beautiful
place, something like this, only prettier, I think.
There was more heather round, and I do love
heather; when I got away from all the world I
was determined to get among the heather. My
father gave me a good education; he sent me
to a boarding-school for a year or two; but when
I left school I helped him on the farm, and so
did my half-brother Jacob.
Jacob was five years older than I was, and
he always ordered me about more as if he was
my father than my elder brother. My poor
mother used to say I was a good lad, but Jacob






OLD WINTER'S STORY.


thought I could do nothing right, and was con-
tinually finding fault with me. Then my mo-
ther would defend me, and Jacob would be
angry with her, and we had a lot of unpleasant-
ness, Rosebud.
"We lived a very quiet life at the farm; it
was not often that we saw a strange face, and
one day seemed very much like another. But
one Monday morning, when we had been busy
sheep-shearing, old Jemmy Hutchings, who had
the farm next to ours, happened to go by.
"' Jerry,' he called to my father, 'there's a
letter lying for you at the postoffice; I saw it
there this morning, and I thought I had better
tell you.'
My father was too busy with the sheep to
think about letters just then, but when work
was done he sent me down to the village for the
letter. It was a foreign letter, with foreign
stamps on it, and I turned it over on my way
back and wondered who had sent it. My father
opened it, and when he had read it he called us
all together. He told us that it was from a law-
yer in Australia telling him of the death of his
brother Jacob. He had gone out to Melbourne
fifty years before this, when my father was
quite a little lad. He had only heard of his
inte s Folly5. .






WINTER'S FOLLY.


brother once since, when a letter had come say-
ing that he was getting on finely, and asking
my father to send them home news. My father
had written, telling him of his marriage, and
saying that he had one little boy whom he had
named Jacob after him. That was twenty years
ago, and since then nothing had been heard of
my uncle Jacob. Now this letter had come to
say that he was dead, and had left all his prop-
erty to my brother Jacob.
Of course we were all very glad of this
news, for we had found for some time that
the farm was not paying well, and my father
thought that Jacob's money would help us out
of our difficulties. But Jacob did not say a
word until my uncle's property had been sold,
and he knew that he was worth 20,00.0, and
then he soon let us know that the money was
his and that he meant to keep it. His great
idea was to make himself a gentleman. He
would have nothing to do with the farm; he
left it and he left us, and he went off to get
educated.
We did not hear of him for months, Rose-
bud; and when he turned up at poor father's
funeral he kept us at a distance and was as
grand a man as ever you saw. He was a clever






OLD WINTER'S STORY.


fellow and he soon copied the ways and man-
ners of gentle folks; and as he went to live in
a part of the country where nobody knew him,
I have no doubt he passed for somebody very
different from what he was.
"Jacob let my mother and me know very
plainly, the day after the funeral, that he meant
to have no more to do with us; and we were
not sorry, for he had never been kind to either
of us. My father had left me the farm, and we
lived on together, mother and I, in the old
home, and for some time all went on well. But
it was hard work for me to keep things going.
I could not do the work of three men, Rosebud,
so I had to hire laborers, and that ran away
with the money; and prices were low, and after
a time the farm paid so badly that we were
obliged to sell it.
Mother felt it very much; poor old mother!
But it could not be helped, and with the money
we got for the farm (it did not sell for much)
we bought a small confectionery business in a
market town near. There was only one confec-
tioner's shop, so the trade was a steady one and
we were able to make a living.
Poor mother clung to me, and she would
often say, 'You '11 never get married while I 'm






WINTER'S FOLLY.


alive, Will ?' and I would answer, 'No, mother, I
wont.' It did not cost me much to say it, Rose-
bud, when she first began to ask me, for I had
never seen any one that I cared for enough to
ask her to be my wife; but it was not so easy
after I got acquainted with Maggie. I could n't
tell you what my _'.li igie was like, not if I wrote
sheet upon sheets, Rosebud; you had to see her
to know that.
I remembered what I had promised mo-
ther, and I made up my mind I would not say
a word to Maggie about what I thought of her.
But it so happened that I overtook her one
night as we were coming home from church.
There was service in the evening in a village a
mile off, and we walked home together. And
on the way, Rosebud, came a thunder-storm,
and we had to get into an old shed for shelter,
and before I ever knew what I was doing, I had
let 1.1 ,'gie know that I loved her, and she had
let me know that she was fond of me.
But I was not going to turn poor mother
out of another home, so we waited patiently.
Maggie was ten years younger than I was, and
she must have been nearly thirty when I first
saw her. But she was willing to wait, and told
me that every year made her love me better.






OLD WINTER'S STORY.


I must have been nearly fifty when I was
married, Rosebud; an old fellow, wasn't I?
And the neighbors laughed a bit as they saw us
pass to church. They called us an old-fashioned
couple; but I did n't mind that, and Maggie
didn't mind it either.
"We were both of us very happy. Poor
mother had been dead more than a year, and
I had been very lonely without her. Maggie
seemed to bring all the sunshine with her. But
it did n't last long, Rosebud; it did n't last long.
"It seemed at first as if everything was
coming to make us happy. God sent us a little
girl, as like her mother as any baby could be.
I was so pleased when she was born, I could
have skipped for joy. I gave her the name of
Maggie, after her mother, but I always called
her Topsy. There could only be one Maggie
for me, and she was such a funny, merry little
thing, the name seemed to suit her. I had
never thought that I should be so happy as I
was then.
But the little one was only three years old
when my troubles began. Maggie was taken
ill; she took cold, I believe, Rosebud, and it
brought on inflammation of the lungs, and in a
few days she died. I should have been heart-






WINTER'S FOLLY.


broken if it hadn't been for Topsy. She was
the most winning little pet, and I loved her
twice as much now that she had no mother. I
made up my mind that I would be both father
and mother to her. She should not miss her
mother more than I could help. She slept in
my room-I always put her to bed myself, and
washed her little face and hands and combed
her long dark-brown hair.
"Often in the early morning I would wake
and look at her, and would wonder if she would
be like her mother when she grew up. And
then, after a time, I used to hear a little stir in
her bed, and her dear little voice saying, 'Top-
sy come in your bed, dear father;' and she
would creep in beside me, and lie quietly while
I told her stories and petted her till it was time
to get up.
"She followed me like a little dog wherever
I went. If I went out, Topsy went too; if I
was busy baking, she would kneel on a chair by
the table watching me. If I was waiting in the
shop, she would perch herself on a stool behind
the counter that she might see all that went on.
On Sunday I would take her long walks in the
country, carrying her most of the way.
I never went to church after Maggie died:






OLD WINTER'S STORY.


it would have been better for me if I had.
Then when trouble came it would not have
driven me so wild as it did. I let Topsy say
her prayers every day-the prayers her mother
taught her-but I never prayed myself. I
never thought of any one or of anything but
the child.
"She was very pretty; the customers who
came to the shop all admired her. But she was
not strong. She grew tall and thin and weak-
ly; it seemed sometimes as if a breath of wind
would blow my little darling away. I got her
everything I could think of to strengthen her-
beef-tea and cod-liver oil and chicken-broth-
and I tempted her to eat in every way I could.
She would, maybe, have been spoiled if she had
been another child; but it did not spoil Topsy.
She was so loving to me, and such a little com-
panion, that I did not miss her mother as much
as I should have done.
I feel sure if I had been asked to lay down
my life for her I would have done it gladly.
But I had to do worse than that, Rosebud-far
worse than that.






WINTER'S FOLLY.


CHAPTER X.

THE NEW SHOP.

TOPSY must have been about eight years
old when the scarlet fever broke out in the
town. It was a very bad kind of fever; num-
bers of children died of it. I shielded Topsy
from it as well as I could, but in spite of all my
care she took it.
I shall never forget, Rosebud, how I felt
when the doctor told me it was a very bad kind
of scarlet fever. I was quite sure the child
would die. Of course I had to put up my shut-
ters, for no one dared to come near us or to
buy anything that had been made in an in-
fected house. I did not feel sorry at the time,
for I was able to give my whole time to Topsy.
I waited on her and watched beside her'night
and day. The woman I had in to clean the
house wanted to take a turn with me, but I
would not let her. I was miserable if I was
away from Topsy for a moment.
"The doctor did not think it was possible
that she could recover, and day by day and
night by night, as I sat beside her, soothing her






TIE NEW SHOP.


and giving her grapes, I wondered how much
longer she would live. Yet, in spite of all the
doctor's fears, she did recover. She was as thin
as a skeleton and as white as a sheet, but she
was spared to me. I could hardly believe my
own ears when the doctor told me she was out
of danger.
But that very night, Rosebud, I was taken
ill myself, and for weeks after that I knew
nothing of what was going on. It was fever I
had; not scarlet fever, I think, but a kind of
typhoid fever, brought on a good deal by all I
had gone through. It was months before I was
able to go down stairs again or to open my shop
shutters. I shall never forget the sight that met
my eyes as I did so. On the opposite side of the
street, just facing mine, was a handsome new
shop. So large was it that you could have put
three shops like mine inside it, and so smartly
finished that there was no shop like it in our
little town. And it was a confectioner's shop !
I took it in at a glance, Rosebud. A con-
fectioner from the large town near had started a
branch shop in our place, and while mine was
closed he had taken all the custom, and my bus-
iness was ruined.
I opened my shop again, but it was of no







WINTER'S FOLLY.


use contending with the large fashionable shop
across the road; my profits were so small, and I
had so many stale goods left on my hands, that
at last it seemed useless to go on, and I put up
my shutters.
I had a little money that I had saved, and
for some time we lived on that; and I tried in
all directions to hear of something that I could
do. But I tried in vain; and day by day our
money was getting less.
Just at this time, to my great astonishment,
I had a visit from my brother Jacob. He was
passing through the town, and had seen my
name over the door of the closed shop, and had
stopped his carriage and come to ask about me.
"I knew him directly, in spite of his fine
clothes and his gentlemanly manners. We had
been young men when we met last, and now we
were both old, and Jacob had a long white
beard. I often think it was a curious thing that
I knew him so quickly. He did not seem so
sure of me, and began by asking if I knew a
man of the name of William Winter, who used
to live up at Moorland's Farm. He was more
civil than I expected, and I asked him into the
kitchen to see Topsy. She looked very pretty
that morning, Rosebud; she was sitting on the






TIIE NEW SHOP.


floor- with a row of dolls before her, keeping
school. I did not wonder that Jacob stood still
looking at her. I did not wonder that he turned
to me and said,'That's a lovely child, William;
she is indeed.'
I was pleased that he praised her, and ven-
tured to ask if he had any of his own.
"' No, William,' he said, 'I have n't-I only
wish I had. Will you give me this one?'
"I thought he only said it in fun, so I
laughed, and I answered, Yes, certainly; when
I was tired of her I would send her on to
him.'
But he turned quite serious then, and said,
' I 'm not joking, William; my wife and I want
to adopt a child, and I 'm willing to take yours.'
"' Oh, no, no, no,' I said, never. Nothing
on earth could ever make me part with Topsy!'
"' I will make it worth your while,' said Ja-
cob. 'You had better think it over.'
But I told him I was quite determined.
No amount of thinking it over would ever make
me change my mind.
He seemed rather vexed that I would not
do as he wished, for Jacob always liked to have
his own way in everything. He took a card
from his pocket-book and laid it on the table.







WINTER'S FOLLY.


'There, William, that's my address,' he said.
'The time may come when you will see what a
fool you have been; if so, drop me a line. Why,
man, I would have made a lady of her!'
He passed out of the shop without another
word, and I bolted the door after him, as if I
feared that he would come back to carry off my
little darling. I did not let her go out of my
sight the whole day; I had a nervous fear that
in some way I should lose her.
"' You would n't like to leave your old fa-
ther, Topsy, would you ?' I said, as I tucked her
up in bed that night.
"' Leave you, father! No, of course not,'
said the child; 'of course I would never leave
you.'
"The months went by, and the money was
all gone, and I heard of no work. I was too old,
so every one said, and my illness made me look
older than I really was. Things got worse and
worse, Rosebud, and at last the bailiffs were
sent into the house, and Topsy and I were
turned out without a roof over our heads. The
neighbors were very kind, but I was proud and
would not let them help me. I was ashamed to
be seen in the town where I was so well known,
so I left it and went to Hull. I thought it was






TIE NEW SHOP.


a great place, and no one would know me there.
I had only a few shillings in my pocket when I
went there. I took a small attic in a wretched
dirty court, the cheapest I could find.
Then Topsy pined away. She grew thin-
ner and thinner. She could not fancy the rough
food which was all I could get for her, and she
faded like a lily. I did not mind all the dirt
and misery for myself, but it was terrible to see
her in it, and it seemed as if there was only a
step between us and starvation. And then I
thought of Jacob's offer. I had kept his card;
I had often thought of putting it in the fire, but
(I hardly know why) I had not done so.
"' I would have made a lady of her,' Jacob
had said.
If I let her go to him, the child would have
good food, warm clothing, and every comfort,
instead of being pinched with hunger and cold.
Ought I to keep her? Could I keep her, when
with him she would be so well taken care of?
Yet how could I give her up, my own little girl,
who was everything to me? How could I ever
tear myself away from her ?
"I did not dare to tell Topsy what I was
thinking of; I kept it buried in my mind. But
the thought haunted me night and day; I could







WINTER S FOLLY.


not get rid of it. And one Saturday evening,
when I had been hanging about the docks all
day looking in vain for a job, and came home to
find my little girl shivering in the miserable
attic, and crying quietly to herself with cold and
hunger, I could stand it no longer. I waited
until she was in bed, and then I got a sheet of
paper and wrote to Jacob, telling him I was
sorry I had refused his offer, and that I was
willing the child should come to him.
But no sooner was the letter posted than I
wished I had not sent it. I would have given
worlds to have had it back again. It was a
dreadful t. ,'!..: One moment I was glad that
I had written, and called myself a selfish old fel-
low for thinking of keeping her in misery when
she might be so comfortable; the next moment
my heart yearned over the child, and I felt that
I could not let her go.
"I do not think I should ever have made up
my mind to do it if it had not been for some
words which I overheard that Sunday after-
noon.






A TERRIBLE BARGAIN.


CHAPTER XI.

A TERRIBLE BARGAIN.


"i ." r.' ,. -


r' HAD taken Topsy to the
SIPark. It was a bright
sunny day, although it
was in the middle of Feb-
ruary, and the air was so warm that we sat for a
few minutes to rest on one of the seats near the
pond. Topsy was watching the swans and the
ducks, and was talking to me about them, when
two ladies passed us. I saw them looking at
Topsy as they went by-most people did look
at her, for she was very pretty-and then they
stood on the little bridge for a few moments,
leaning over the hand-rail, and looking at the
sunshine on the pond. I suppose they thought






WINTER'S FULLY.


we were so far off that we could not hear what
they said, but the words came distinctly to me
over the water, 'Yes, she's very pretty, poor lit-
tle thing; but she is not long for this world;
she must be in a decline.' My mind was made
up at once; I hesitated no longer. Jacob
should have the child, cost me what it might
If I were to keep her, and my little love were
to die, I should feel that I had been her mur-
derer. I could not talk to her as we walked
home; she kept chattering to me in her own
sweet way, but I scarcely heard what she said.
Next morning Jacob's answer came.
"'MY DEAR WILLIAM:-Luckily for you I
have not yet come across a child that I cared to
adopt, so I am still willing to take yours. I
shall be in I-ull to-morrow, Monday afternoon.
Come to the Station Hotel at four o'clock and
we can arrange the business part of the matter.
I wish everything to be done in a business-like
way, and a contract to be drawn up, so that we
may have no misunderstanding afterwards.
"'Yours truly,
"'JACOB WINTER.
"' P. S.-Remember, not a word of your re-
lationship to me. Send in your name as Wil-
liam Smith.'






A TERRIBLE BARGAIN.


It was with an aching heart that I went to
the hotel that Monday afternoon. I had not
told Topsy anything about it yet; I felt as if I
could not tell her. When I stood before the
great door, under the grand stone portico, I felt
very much inclined to turn back; but after
waiting for some moments I rang the bell.
A waiter who was crossing the hall opened the
door.
"'Now you be off,' he said crossly; 'we
never give anything to beggars here.'
"'I am no beggar,' I said, drawing myself
up indignantly: 'a gentleman staying in this
hotel told me to call.'
"' A likely story that!' said the man. 'What's
his name ?'
"' Mr. Jacob Winter,' I said.
Well, I '11 see if we have such a name on
the books,' he said, softening a little; 'you can
step inside.'
"I went through the porch into a large
square hall with doors opening from it in all
directions. It was a very grand and beautiful
place, and I felt shabby and forlorn as I stood
there. At length the man returned and bade
me follow him. We went along passage after
passage and up so many steps it seemed as if
Wllnte'l Folly. 6







WINTER S FOLLY.


we should never get to the room we wanted.
At last the man opened a door, and I was shown
into a large room furnished as a drawing-room.
There was nobody in the room but a lady,
who was sitting in an arm-chair by the fire.
She was very beautifully dressed, and I felt
sure she must be my brother's wife. I looked
very anxiously in her face. She must have
been much younger than Jacob, twenty years I
should say, and when she was a girl she must
have been very good-looking. There was some-
thing in her face that pleased me, and I fancied
that, rich as she was, she had known something
of trouble. She turned to me very kindly, say-
ing, Wont you sit down? Mr. Winter will be
here in a moment.'
I took a seat, and in a minute afterwards
my brother entered. He treated me quite as a
stranger, and I gathered at once that his wife
was not to know that I was related to him.
"' William Smith, I believe,' he said.
I nodded my head in assent.
"'You have come about that little girl of
yours,' he went on, 'that I saw as I passed
through Everleigh. You remember, Mary, I
told you of her,' he said, turning to the lady.
' Do you wish her to come to me ?'






A TERRIBLE BARGAIN.


"'Yes, sir,' I said,' I am willing to let you
have her.'
"Then followed a few questions as to her
name, her age, and her health, after which Ja-
cob turned to me and said sharply,
"'Very well; now for the business part of
the matter. I have drawn up a paper here
which I shall require you to sign in the pres-
ence of witnesses. I have already signed it
myself. There are certain conditions which I
bind myself to keep. I will take your child and
bring her up exactly as if she were my own. I
will clothe her; I will feed her; I will educate
her. She shall be brought up in comfort and
luxury. No money shall be spared in making
her an educated and accomplished lady. More
than this, when I die I will leave everything to
her, exactly as if she were my own child. More-
over, and beyond all this, I engage to make you
a yearly pension of C30, to be paid to you by
my bankers on the anniversary of this day as
long as you live.'
"' Thank you very much,' I murmured; 'it
is very good of you.'
"'That is my part of the contract,' my bro-
ther went on, 'and I think you must own I have
behaved handsomely to you. Now for your part.







WINTER'S FOLLY.


You must engage from this day forth to hold
no communication with the child. You must
never see her again; you must engage never to
write to her, or to send her any message, or to
remind her in any way of your existence. She
must be my child entirely. I must be her father
and she must own no other.'
"'No, no,' I said, starting from my seat, 'I
can never agree to that-never. Why, she is
my own little darling! I've done everything
for her since her mother died; I could not give
her up like that. It would be just as if she was
dead. No, no, I could never sign that!' and
the paper which he had handed me fell from
my hands on to the floor.
"'Very well,' he said coldly, 'that settles it;
I must look for some other child who will be
given to me on my own terms. Kindly return
me the paper and I will wish you a good after-
noon.
I picked up the paper and stood like one
in a dream, turning it over in my hands, and
not knowing what to say nor what to do.
"' If I could only see her sometimes,' I plead-
ed, 'once a year even, it would be something to
look forward to.'
"'Do you think there would be any harm in






A TERRIBLE BARGAIN.


his seeing her once a year, Jacob ?' said the lady
timidly.
Mary, will you kindly leave me to manage
my own business matters ?' he said sharply.
'There would be very great harm. It would
only unsettle the child, and the year's work
would be undone in a day. Now,' he said to
me, 'you know my terms and you hear my
offer; take it or leave it, as you think fit.'
"' I cannot give her up like that,' I said pas-
sionately 'it is cruel to ask me to do it!'
"' Very well, there is an end of the matter,'
said Jacob as he opened the door for me.
I went down the stairs fully determined to
keep the child, cost what it might; but as I
was crossing the great hall below the words I
had overheard in the Park came back to my
mind, 'Poor little thing, she is not long for this
world.' If she died, if my little Topsy died, I
should never be able to see her or to speak to
her, and I should feel that I had killed her. It
would be better to let her go than to have to
reproach myself with that.
"I ran swiftly up stairs, opened the door,
and in a voice which sounded to me very unlike
my own I said, 'You may have the child; I
will sign the paper.'







NVINTER'S IOTA \.


"' Very well,' said my brother triumphantly;
'here is pen and paper.'
The valet and the head waiter were called
in to act as witnesses. I took the pen and
with a trembling hand signed my name. It
was my own name that I signed, and Jacob
took care to put the blotting-paper over it be-
fore he called the witnesses to sign theirs.
While he was looking over them as they
wrote their names the lady crossed the room
and whispered to me,
"' I am so sorry for you. It must be dread-
ful to give her up; but I will do all I can for
her.'
The tears came to my eyes as she spoke
these kind words. If she had not said them I
do not know how I should have borne Jacob's
next remark,
"' Bring her to-night at seven o'clock; we
leave by the eight o'clock train.'






THE DESERTED ATTIC.


CHAPTER XII.

THE DESERTED ATTIC.

"THE town-hall clock struck five as I went
down the steps of the hotel. Only two more
hours and my child would be for ever lost to
me! I hurried home, feeling that I dared not
think of it. But the worst had to come. I had
to tell Topsy.
I can't tell you what I said to her, Rosebud.
I told her as gently as I could; but in spite of
all my care it was a terrible shock to her. She
threw herself into my arms and clung to me
like a hunted deer. Oh how she cried and
begged and prayed me to let her stay! She
would live on bread and water, she would never
cry again, if I would only not send her away.
It was a long time before I could soothe her or
could make her understand that I was doing it
for her good. It was only when I asked her
not to cry for my sake and because it made it so
much harder for poor father that she became
quieter.
"There was a great deal to be done. I
combed her pretty brown hair for the last time,






W INTER'S FOLLY.


and I cut off a little bit of it for a keepsake;
you saw it, did n't you, Rosebud? Then I
packed up her little treasures, her tiny Bible
and her pretty picture-books, which she had
kept so carefully through all her troubles.
"'And what about the dollies, Topsy?' I
said. 'You'11 have far finer dolls than these, I
expect, my darling.'
"'They '11 never be so nice as Miss Dora,
father,' she sobbed; 'I must take Miss Dora.'
She kept her in her arms some time and
sat thinking on her little stool by the fire, and
then she came and put her arms round my neck
and whispered, 'I wont take Miss Dora, father;
I '11 leave her with you. You '11 be so dull when
I 'm gone, wont you? And you'll take care of
her, I know you will.'
I could not answer her-something in my
throat seemed to choke me; so without another
word she took Miss Dora and kissed her and
laid her on my bed.
"It was well we were so busy and had so
little time to think. It was a quarter to seven
before all was done, and I took her hand and led
her out. I could not walk fast: it was the last
time that little hand would ever be in mine.
How I went through it all I do not know.






TIE DESERTED ATTIC.


I hardly seemed to know what I was doing.
We were shown up into the drawing-room up
stairs where my brother and his wife were wait-
ing for us.
"'What a little darling!' said the lady, hold-
ing out her arms to the child; come to me, my
pet.'
But Topsy clung to me, and I felt that the
sooner I left her the better it would be for her
and for me.
"'Good-by, Topsy,' I said; 'kiss your old
father.'
"'Good-by, dear darling father,' she said,
throwing her arms round my neck; 'you '11
soon come to see me, wont you ?'
I had not dared to tell her that I should
never see her again. It would have broken her
heart, I think, if I had. I tore myself away
from her and ran down the stairs like a mad-
man. The waiters called after me, but I took
no notice of them and dashed out into the
street. I had lost my child for ever. As surely
as if she had died, as surely as if I had seen the
grave close over her, she was gone from my
sight for ever. Henceforth I was a lonely, bro-
ken-hearted man.
I went back to my desolate attic and threw