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AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY,
150 NASSAU STREET, NEW YORK.
BY AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY
IN LOVING MEMORY
THEODORE SHEARAMAN FARLEY
CORNELIA MA TT'HE WSON FARLEY
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED
A BLIZZARD ............................................................... PAGE 7
A STRANGE LETTER.............................. ......................... 13
UNCLE DICK ................................................................... 25
BE CK Y .......................................................................... 34
"THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF"................ 47
A VISIT TO THE "EAST END"............................................ 58
MARGUERITE SEYMOUR.................................................... 66
BRINGING THE PRODIGAL HOME......................................... 74
THE PAR TY ........................ .. ........ ............................ So
THERE had been a heavy snow-storm. The white flakes
were still falling, blown about hither and thither in the high
winds and drifting in great piles wheresoever they would, to the
great discomfiture of all who were compelled by force of circum-
stances to weather the storm.
Sitting in a large, comfortable room of an old-fashioned
house on Kentwood Avenue in the city of C- was an old
man whose face looked as gloomy as the dreary day.
He was not as old as he looked, but to everyone who knew
him he seemed an old man, with his white hair and long white
beard, his bent shoulders, wrinkled, frowning, joyless face and
halting steps. He was a victim to that dread disease, rheuma-
tism. He was a victim, also, to something worse than rheuma-
tism; namely, to a nature which was, had been, and promised
ever to be, "kicking against the pricks."
Strife ahd bitterness had been his comrades for many weari-
some years. One look into his cold, stern face would have told
you that he did not consider life worth living. And he was right
in his opinion, as far as his own life was concerned: Christ was
not in it. By that I do not mean that he was keenly. and aggres-
sively anti-Christian. He was no ranter. He did not talk to
any one of his belief or unbelief. He was simply indifferent in
regard to the one great need of this world. He had not a par-
ticle of patience with Christians, so-called. This state of mind
had been brought about in the common way-natural, perhaps,
to a certain extent, and yet so deplorable in its consequences-
because he judged Christ's church by some of its members who
failed to stand the test. Persons professing Christianity had, in
by-gone years, done him great wrongs, and so, judging the
wheat by the tares growing among it, he regarded Moslems and
pagans with far greater leniency than Christians.
It would be useless for me to tell you that he was unhappy;
he could not, of course, be otherwise, without Christ. He did
not realize, poor man, that outside of the door of his soul Christ
stood, had stood, through all his years of neglect, patiently
"Knocking, knocking, still He's there,
Waiting, waiting, wondrous fair;
But the door is hard to open,
For the weeds and ivy vine,
With the dark and clinging tendrils,
Ever round the hinges twine."
And yet, strange to say, there were people who envied him.
Had they known of his loneliness and wretched unrest they
would have pitied him instead. But, like shallow natures the
world over, they judged by externals. They envied him the fine
old place that he owned. They envied him the great, roomy,
old-fashioned house and the faithful old servants. They envied
him the money that they knew he had.. But, notwithstanding
these facts, many a beggar in the city was far happier than was
He had no friends and, what was worse, he desired none.
Years ago he had closed his heart against everyone. Added to
the treachery of friends had come the open disgrace of a wild
son, whom he had then cast off to "shift for himself."
Following swiftly on the heels of this trouble there had
come another of great magnitude. His wife, a lovely woman, to
whom he had been .devotedly attached, had died. His great
bereavement did not prove a means of discipline to him; instead,
it brought a bitterness that had increased as the years rolled by.
Some years after his wife had died still another trouble came:
his only daughter, the pride of his heart, a bright and beautiful
girl, had married a man whom he considered unworthy of her.
One day, in remorseful penitence, she had sought her father,
begging his forgiveness in a voice full of tears. But it was not
granted. In a tempest of anger he bade her leave him for
ever, she was nothing t~o him henceforth. So, even although his
two children might still be living, he neither knew nor cared
whether they were or not; he was childless.
Childless! A pitiful state for one who has known the joys
of fatherhood; pitiful under any circumstances, but more pitiful
when it is our own will that we should be so.
Fathers shed tears over the graves of the children whom
God has called home, but there are sometimes fathers' eyes that
are dry with an agony too great for tears over their living
This father, however, had neither tears nor agony for his
children; his heart was seared.
How the winds tore around the house! It was a genuine
blizzard. Pompey, an old colored servant, came in and heaped
more coals on the sparkling grate fire. He had just shaken
down the furnace. The house was warm enough for any one.
Drefful storm, massa," he observed pleasantly, showing his
white teeth in a broad smile, as if it were the most delightful
thing imaginable to have a blizzard. "Is you warm enough,
"No," was the surly reply, the old man shivering ominously,
"I'm not warm enough. Who could be, I'd like to know, with
such horrid weather? Pull down the shades, Pompey, and draw
Pompey was struck dumb; he stood quite still, the smile
gone out of his face, looking for all the world like a person gone
daft, watching the old man furtively.
"Did n't you hear me, you idiot ?" the man said angrily, the
blood rushing into his face and making at least that part of him
warm enough, notwithstanding the blizzard. "Will you pull
the shades down, or shall I?" his dark eyes flashing threaten-
Pompey found his voice and the use of his hands simul-
"Beg your pardon, massa," he explained as he hurried to
the windows to do what he had been told. I thought maybe
you wasn't thinking 'twas daytime, or you would n't want de
shades down. It ain't more than four o'clock, massa. Did you
"You need not trouble yourself to instruct me in regard
to the time of day," the old man remarked stiffly. "It wasn't
because I had an idea it was night that I ordered the curtains
drawn, but because I wanted to shut out the horrid weather.
Light the lamp, Pompey, and bring me the paper."
Pompey lit the lamp but he could not bring the paper, for
the best of reasons-it had not come.
De blizzard done froze up de printing-press," he said
facetiously; "anyway, de paper didn't come. Too bad, massa!"
"You cleared the path to the gate, didn't you?" the old
man demanded sternly, although he knew the faithful servant
never neglected any duty.
"Yes, massa, I'se done cleared dat path to de gate six
times dis blessed day. De blizzard an' I done had a battle to
see who owned dat path, he or I."
A grim smile passed over the old gentleman's face.
"Who won the battle ?" he asked with some interest.
"Yo' humble servant," with another of those broad smiles
which revealed his white teeth. Even while the old colored
servant was recounting his victory the enemy stole a march on
him. The path, neatly and carefully cleared a little while before,
was now drifted with snow again. But the drifts did not deter
a man dressed in grey clothes with brass buttons, with a strap
over his shoulder to which was attached a leather bag, from
making an attempt to reach the house. He plodded on, up to
his knees in snow, sometimes nearly pushed off his feet by
the whirling wind, but making steady progress until the goal
was reached, when he blew a whistle, clear and shrill.
A STRANGE LETTER.
A STRANGE LETTER.
"HELLO !" said Pompey opening the door, I's mighty glad
to see you; could n't do widout you. I hope yo's got de even-
ing paper dis time."
"That's what I have, Pompey, and plenty of other mail
The postman lingered only long enough to transfer the
.mail from his leather bag to Pompey's outstretched hands.
"I hope massa'll be satisfied now," observed, .the latter as
he hurried back to the library; "here's six papers, t'ree maga-
zines and four letters. I wonder who dey's all from, dese
The daily papers seemed to be the greatest comfort of the
old gentleman's life. He would as soon have thought of going
without his breakfast as of depriving himself of the morning
paper; as soon have forgotten to eat his six o'clock dinner as
to have neglected the evening news. Consequently he felt
relieved when Pompey brought in the mail. He seemed to
forget the storm; he could not see it through the drawn cur-
tains. He forgot that it was not eventide; it seemed so in that
library with the lighted lamp and sparkling fire. He looked
over the evening paper first. It was newsy, and so claimed his
attention for some time. As he laid it' aside he pushed back the
other papers, and glanced over the letters-one, two, three, four.
Looking at number one, he said to himself, "That's from Greer
(Greer was his agent, who attended to the renting of a block
of houses belonging to him); he's having some trouble, likely,
with some of the tenants. He always is having trouble. Won-
der what's the matter now!"
But, although he wondered, he made no attempt to find out
just then. Laying Greer's letter aside with its seal unbroken,
he took up letter number two.
"That's Platt's writing-another begging letter-what a
fool he is, wasting his time and stamps!" and he threw the con-
demned letter into the scrap-basket unopened. He grabbed
up number three impatiently, as if he had a spite against it,
but he honored it by breaking the seal: it was the butcher's
bill, which he had requested. Pompey must pay it to-morrow,"
was his thought, and he laid it aside to examine number four,
which was post-marked Nebraska, and was quite bulky.
"I wonder who it is from," he said, studying the hand-
writing, which was a lady's. I have no claims in Nebraska nor
any friends there."
Most people would have opened the letter, thus satisfying
their curiosity, but the old gentleman was not like most people;
it suited him to study the handwriting, and wonder whose it
was. At last he slowly broke the seal, and took out two letters,
A STRANGE LETTER.
one inclosed within the other. He opened the outer one, and
"MR. RICHARD DALZELL.
Dear Sir: The gentleman who wrote the inclosed letter
died at my home last week. He was an old friend of yours,
and made me promise to -forward his letter to you as soon as
possible after his death. He also made me promise to send
'Sweetheart' to you, which I have done. She will reach your
house Thursday, the i8th inst., if all goes well. God grant her
a safe journey and a warm welcome!
"Yours very truly,
What jargon was this! Whom had she sent him, this crazy
woman named Mary Lawrence, that would reach him on Thurs-
day, the 18th inst.? Why, it was Thursday, the i8th, now/ His
hands trembled as he laid .down the outer letter and lifted up the
inner one. His heart beat loudly. He had a strange sensation,
as if something in the region of his heart was swelling into
a heavy weight that threatened to smother him. Black specks
floated back and forth before his eyes aggravatingly. But he
was not timid, he would not be "frightened by a .straw," so
he opened the letter, and read:
"DEAR OLD BoY :
Strange-is n't it ?-how memory clings to the old friends
whose pictures were hung in our hearts when life was young
and joyful. It is forty years to-night, Dick, forty years since
you and I said good-by. Who could believe that forty years
could come and go with you and me on the same earth and
we not see each other! Who would think that forty years of
joy and sorrow could pass away and yet not even a written word
pass between us! Why have you not written to me? Why
have I not written to you? Why? Why? Why? That word
'why' is difficult to answer; is it not?
"I know one thing, dear old Dick: it isn't because I have
not often thought of you that I have not written. Oh, no, it is
not that, but the force of circumstances.
I am not sentimental-never was, you know, in my young
days, and would n't think of being so now at sixty-five years old-
but, dear old boy, all the same I must say I have come to the
Old radiant faces are the best,
However good the new!'
"I have often wondered whether there were any other com-
rades in this wide, wide world like we were. It does not seem
so. We ought to have been named David and Jonathan. Some
of the old pictures of our youth were dim and cobwebbed in
my soul on account of the struggles of life-i.ts ups and downs,
its troubles, vexations and bereavements-but I 've been laid
on the shelf for five weary months, and while my hands have
been folded I 've had plenty of time to brush the cobwebs from
the old pictures.
A STRANGE LETTER.
"There is one picture I have looked at over and over, dear
old Dick, until my eyes have grown dim with tears and my
heart heavy with longing to see you once more in this world,
out of which I am going rapidly. It is a beautiful picture, dear
old comrade. There's a great raging fire, the flames leaping
wide and high. In a room dense with smoke lies a poor fellow
weak and emaciated from a long-protracted fever. The man
who has been taking care of him has disappeared-looking out
for his own life. In the panic no one in the big hotel has given
a thought to the helpless man on his sick-bed. Suddenly flames
leap into the window, and the poor fellow feels that he is doomed.
"Oh, the awfulness of that terrible moment! The poor
fellow tries to rise, but falls back upon his pillow, his lips white,
his eyes shining with hopeless misery. But God is good. Into
that stifling room there comes with flying steps-who? An
angel ? No, a comrade; a dear old fellow, faithful and true,
forgetting himself in his great love for his friend. It matters
not to him that the hotel is doomed and that he is endangering
his own life, the great-hearted fellow is determined to save his
friend or perish in the attempt.
"There is not a moment to be lost. Snatching -a blanket
he wraps the sick man up, calming his fears meanwhile, and
lifts him gently in his arms as if he were a little child. He
bears him out through the long hall and broad stairway, through
smoke and flame and threatening death, into fresh air and safety.
But that was not all. He took him to his home and' nursed him
S WEE THEAR T.
through a relapse that but for his devotion would have proved
You recognize the picture, dear old comrade; and God
bless you for ever for hanging it in my soul !"
What was the matter with the old man ? Were those tears
raining down his wrinkled. cheeks? He had not shed tears for
many years; could it be that they were falling now?
He could not proceed any further with the letter, so he laid
it down and wiped his eyes and blew his nose, looking around
to see that he was quite alone. He made no attempt to go on
with the letter for some time, but he sat quite still, with his long
hands clasped tightly together, looking backward.
The look in his eyes was an unfamiliar one-the hardness,
bitterness and coldness had all gone, for the moment at least,
and in their place was a strange brooding tenderness such as one
often sees in a mother's eyes when she watches over the sick-bed
of her little child.
As he sat there thus, the lamplight and .firelight illumining
his face and silvery hair, he would have made a fine picture for an
artist. In fact there was an artist, the divine One, touching his
face into beauty.
Cobwebs were swept from the pictures in his memory too,
and after forty years' dust and dimness this was revealed clear
Two little fellows were playing together, one dressed in
velvet, the other in patched clothes. The one in velvet had
A STRANGE LETTER.
golden curls and big brown eyes, and wore yellow buttoned-boots
with tassels on them. The other one's hair was closely shingled
and his little feet were bare and often dirty. :
But they were comrades, these two, and loved each other.
The one in velvet was Richard Dalzell, commonly called Dick,"
only child of Judge Dalzell, the other one was Lan" Rivers,
a little merry-faced orphan boy who played about the streets and
was "looked after" by a cross old aunt. His real name was
This picture vanishes, and another shines in the soul of
Two boys in their early teens, with their arms thrown over
each other's shoulders as they trudged to school. Two boys who
fished together, who went hunting arm-in-arm, who helped and
cheered each other in the duties of life and were comrades in their
frolics. Two boys who each thought that, without the other one,
life would be a dreary desert.
As this picture recedes another comes :
Two young men in college-classmates, roommates and
comrades; the one who was once a bare-footed little boy helping
and spurring on the other one, who long ago had golden curls,
until the latter with his friend won the highest honors.
Another picture shone out suddenly and clearly. Again it
was the picture of two, always two:
There was a panic on a great steamer, it was going down
with its hundreds of passengers and the scene was awful in the
extreme. The "life-'boats" were all out, loaded with people, but
there was no room for the young men, who now stood close
together, arm-in-arm, facing death. The shore was not far off,
but the sea was wild; there was little use in thinking of breasting
those tempestuous waves.
"You can swim," said one young man to the other, "try and
But you! What would you do?" with anxious solicitude.
"Drown, of course," hopelessly. "I can't swim."
It was he, Richard Dalzell, who had expected to drown,
and it was the writer of the letter who had saved him at the
risk of his own life. It all came back to him, that terrible time,
as he sat recalling the past: how "dear old Lan" had struggled
and fought those wildly surging waves in his noble battle to save
Richard Dalzell reached up his arms as if to embrace some-
one, looking up with an intense gaze as if seeing the face of his
friend of long ago. His lips quivered convulsively and then his
eyes closed, his head drooped, his arms dropping down like a
When he opened his eyes again they fell upon the letter,
which he took up with trembling hands. He did not begin
reading exactly where he had left off but read again, "You
recognize the picture, dear old boy, and God bless you for ever
for hanging it in my soul!"
Again the lips twitched; but he continued the reading.
A STRANGE LETTER.
I'm writing this letter in installments, just a little at a
time. I'm so weak that I couldn't write much in one day, even
if the doctor had n't forbidden it, which he has. For fear I'll
not hold out to write all I want to I'll relieve my mind of a
burden that has pressed upon me sorely ever since I found out
I couldn't get well. I ran across a man who knows you well:
Dr. Treefor; and he told me you were living alone in the dear
old house that I never think of without a longing to see it. He
told me, too, that you were often a prisoner from that tiresome
disease, rheumatism, and that faithful old Pompey and Chloe
were with you yet.
After I was stricken down, and found I 'd be compelled to
wind up my earthly affairs, my mind was racked almost to dis-
traction thinking what would become of Sweetheart.
Oh, I forgot you did not know about her. I 'm often
confused now-a-days. Her father and mother died three years
ago, since which time she has lived with me, my joy and comfort.
She is the only child of my only child.
The wheel has turned around with me, leaving me almost
stranded; but for me it does not matter, for there will be enough
to carry me down to the brink of that river which, when crossed,
will land me on the golden shore. There is enough too, to pay
my kind nurse, good Mary Lawrence, generously; and also my
physician .and the funeral expenses. But when I think of Sweet-
heart, I wish I could leave her the wherewithal to make her care-
free and comfortable to her journey's end.
The truth is, however, that I only have enough. to pay her
passage to C-. I suppose I ought co get this off and receive
an answer from you before I consider the arrangements made,
but how can I, dear old fellow? You see, I can't finish this in
one writing, or two, or three; I 'm doing the best I can. Besides,
Sweetheart must go somewhere. I could not think of having her
go to an orphans' home, my little lamb. And I'm sure she will
prove a blessing to you, and you will be a blessing to her. God
be with you both until your journey's end. It is God's will that
I must leave her, but you '11 receive her, dear old Dick, with open
arms. She will love you, and you will love her. God bless you,
my old comrade! God bless you I'll be looking for you some
day in that land where there are no tears-you and Sweetheart.
I'll thank you then a thousand times. Good-by, my comrade!
It was with mingled feelings of tenderness and annoyance
that Richard Dalzell finished the letter.
"If I had known! If I had known," was the thought run-
ning through his mind, I would have gone to him in his ex-
tremity. Dear old Lan! Dear old Lan!" his eyes were misty.
" But to send his grand-daughter to me, what a strange thing to
do! I could not receive her; of course not! It would be out of
place for a strange young lady to come here to live, and prepos-
A STRANGE ZE7TER.
His eyes were flashing now, his cheeks hot. He suddenly
remembered his own daughter, banished forever from her father's
house. Her eyes, like stars, seemed to be looking into his just
as they had looked that never-to-be-forgotten day when they
A cab on runners stopped outside of the gate, and presently
a man lifted something or somebody, it was hard to tell which,
in the blinding storm, from the cab into his arms, and plodded
through the drifts to the front door.
Suddenly the bell rang violently, startling the household.
Pompey rushed to the door. Chloe dropped the spoon with which
she had been mashing potatoes for the six o'clock dinner and
followed. Even Richard Dalzell arose from his chair hastily
and limped as far as the library door just as Pompey opened the
outside one. A great "strapping" man stood on the threshold
with a big bundle in his arms, which he hastily transferred to
For Mr. Richard Dalzell," the big man said, with a pe-
culiar smile, and was gone.
As Pompey closed the door behind the man who had de-
livered the bundle curiosity got the better of Mr. Dalzell, who,
stepping into the hall, asked peremptorily,
"What have you got for me, Pompey ?"
"De Lord only knows, massa," showing the whites of his
eyes in. consternation, as the bundle in his arms wriggled out of
The bundle struggled frantically until a big shawl and heavy
veil were thrown aside, and there-to the amazement of the trio of
old folks-stood a little girl wrapped from head to feet in scarlet.
A little scarlet plush hood was on her head, and a long scarlet
cloak came down to her feet. Her plump cheeks were scarlet,
too. She looked timidly from one to another, but did not seem to
Chloe forgot all about her mashed potatoes in admiration
of the strange guest. She went close to her, and kneeling down
before her questioned gently,
What yo' name, lil' missie ? An' what yo' want ob us ?"
My name is Sweetheart," answered a sweet voice, as clear as
a silver bell. I want Uncle Dick. Where is he? I've come to
live with him."
Fo' de lan' sake!" exclaimed Chloe, sinking down on the
rug in her consternation, "dat fellah done made a mistake-bring-
in' dis lil' chile to de wrong house."
What yo' know 'bout dat ?" asked Pompey. Who say so-
dat lil' missie came to de wrong house ?"
Can't yo' see she done come to de wrong house ? Ain't she
'quirin' for her Uncle Dick ? Yo' bettah run right out an' ketch
dat man, Pomp, blizzard er no blizzard, an' fine out whar lil'
missie b'longs. Mebbe he stole her!"
HE did n't steal me," said the child, smiling. I belong
here," with gentle insistence; grandpa said so. Grandpa has
gone away-to heaven-and I 've come to live with Uncle Dick
for ever and ever. Where is Uncle Dick ?"
She did not see the gentleman standing in the shadow of the
dark portiere. As for him, his face and lips grew white and his
limbs trembled; this little child was the dreaded Sweetheart"
whom he had resolved not to receive.
What shall we do wid her, massa ?" asked Pompey, appeal-
ingly, and yet almost fearfully.
"The best thing you can do is to bring her in where it's
warm, and take off her wraps."
Richard Dalzell spoke so gently that Pompey wondered if
it were the calm preceding a storm, or whether the world was
coming to an end.
Bring her into the library, Pompey," leading the way.
Chloe reluctantly returned to the kitchen, while Pompey led
the little one into the warm bright room and removed her hood
and cloak. A vision of loveliness she appeared. Fair and plump,
with lips and cheeks red as holly-berries, beautiful eyes of violet
blue, and a crown of golden hair falling down her shoulders, she
made a charming picture.
She looked up into the face of the old man regarding her
intently, with a smile so lovely, and so touching in its longing,
that the hard lines around the stern niouth relaxed. With out-
stretched hands she ran up to him, and threw her arms around
You 're Uncle Dick; are n't you ?" she remarked lovingly,
with perfect faith in the goodness of her grandpa's old friend."
She kissed his cheeks, and not noticing just then that he had
not returned the caress she rested her fair little face against his.
Pompey stole out of the room softly; he thought perhaps the
world was coming to an end, and told Chlo so.
The old gentleman did not move. Presently the little girl
said, with a little quiver in her tone, You forgot to kiss me;
did n't you ?"
He did not speak, but pressed his lips to her forehead. A
minute later a tear rolled from the sweet blue eyes and fell upon
his cheek. Then he aroused. Utterly ignoring the stiffness
and pain of his rheumatic knees he lifted the child upon them,
folding his arms about her protectingly.
What is the matter, my dear ?" he asked so gently that the
voice did not seem to be Richard Dalzell's. Why do you cry ?
Oh, you are tired; I might have known that was the trouble.
You have come a long way."
"I've come a long way and I'm tired," was the answer, "but
S'm not such a baby as to cry for such things," tossing back
her golden curls with a touch of pride. I was thinking of. my
grandpa. He has gone to heaven," her lips quivering. Did
you know that my grandpa had gone to heaven ?"
I was lonely without grandpa," she continued, and I
wanted to go to heaven where grandpa was-mamma and papa
are there, too-but Miss Lawrence said I couldn't just now; some
other time. She did n't know when. She said I should come to
you because you were grandpa's dear old friend. You would
be glad to see me and would love me; so I came," confidingly.
The old gentleman did not speak, only looked at the child as
"Are you glad to see me, Uncle Dick?" she questioned
gently. Do you love me ?"
Another gleam like that which had come into his face when
he was reading his old comrade's letter came into it now. He
looked around to see if he and the little one were alone.
"Yes," he said, a genuine smile breaking over his rugged
features, I am glad to see you, and-" he stopped there abruptly.
The child looking wistfully into his face repeated,
And love me ?"
He hesitated no longer.
And love you."
The rock was melted. The child nestled her sunny head on
I love you, too. It 's just exactly as grandpa dear said,"
laughing contentedly. He said we'd love each other. I'm so
glad to be here, Uncle Dick, with you. I got so tired on the
cars, so very tired. It seemed to me as if they were taking me
away off td the end of the world. But they were n't; were they ?
They were just bringing me here to you."
She chattered on, her golden hair rippling about her radiant
You have not told me your name," the old gentleman
observed. "What is it?"
Oh, I beg your pardon," she said, laughing. I thought
I told you my name; it is Sweetheart."
Is that your real name ?"
"Yes," she answered, not understanding what he meant,
"that's my name; my real name."
So people call you Sweetheart,' do they ? And you have
no other name ?"
O-o-oh!" with a little ripple of merriment. Yes, I have
another name-in the book; my given name grandpa calls it:
Theodora Rivers; but I 'most forget about that name because I
never hear it. Mamma and papa always called me Sweetheart,
and so did grandpa. Do you like the name Sweetheart, Uncle
She asked the question in perfect innocence, and he an-
Presently Pompey returned to the library.
Dinner's ready, massa," he announced.
Sweetheart got down from Mr. Dalzell's lap and stood beside
him. She was very hungry, consequently glad that dinner was
ready, but she did not say so. Richard Dalzell reached out for
his cane, which he took in his right hand, and arose. With his
left hand he clasped one of Sweetheart's, saying,
Come, we '11 go to dinner: you must be hungry."
Yes, I am," she answered frankly.
They went out to the dining-room together-she walking
slowly to accommodate his halting steps.
Where's the young lady's chair?" Mr. Dalzell demanded, as
he discovered there was none placed for her.
I did n't know-yo' did n't say-" stammered Pompey, who
had not dared to put an extra chair to the table without asking,
and had not dared to ask.
Mr. Dalzell felt like saying something sharp, but he did not
yield to the feeling; it would not do, with that little innocent face
so near him, so he answered quite gently for him,
Get the russet arm-chair, Pompey," and presently from
some mysterious source he brought forth a beautiful russet chair,
which Sweetheart took possession of, saying, delightedly,
It just fits me." *
They became quite well acquainted during the dinner hour,
which was so pleasant that neither one of them remembered the
But Sweetheart did not spend all the time talking, she was
hungry-as she had said-and ate heartily.
We have such a fine dinner," she said; it tastes so good.
We have a good cook; have n't we ?"
Mr. Dalzell smiled.
It was so strange and yet so pleasant to have this little mite
of a girl-just come into his home-use the pronoun we, as if she
already felt herself a part of the household.
Miss Mary Lawrence was good," she continued; oh, so very
good and kind! I loved her; but she could n't cook like this.
She was n't any cook, grandpa said. I used to cook sometimes for
You cook!" in surprise. You are rather young for that
kind of work-are n't you ?"
Oh, no," said she, I do n't think so. Grandpa and I had a
chafing-dish and a chafing receipt-book, and he 'd tell me how,
and I 'd cook things. We had a little tea-kettle too, that stood
over an alcohol lamp on our little tea-table. I used to make a cup
of tea for grandpa sometimes, and chocolate sometimes, and some-
times bouillon. I can cook for you, sometimes, too, Uncle Dick,
if you would like. Would you ?"
Thank you," was the answer, "perhaps I would like to have
you do so-sometime."
Do what she would Sweetheart could not keep her eyes open
when she went back to the library.
I 'm so sleepy," she said. I did n't sleep much on the cars.
UNCLE DICK. 31
I go to bed, Uncle Dick ? And can I sleep somewhere near
The questions touched him-especially the second one. He
left Sweetheart for a moment and had a few words with his faith-
ful old servants, and presently the latter had opened a little room
which led into Mr. Dalzell's and were lighting and warming it.
Hot-water bottles were in the bed and hot air rushed in through
the hot air register. Then Chloe came for the little girl, who
kissed Uncle Dick" and followed her gladly.
I 'se goin' ter help yo' to bed," said Chloe, as soon as they
were in the little room. Turn roun', lil' missie, an' I'll he'p yo'
wid yo' dress."
Oh, thank you very much," was the reply. I'm used to
helping myself mostly, but I 'm glad to have some one unhook
my dress to-night."
Tired as she was, she knelt down, and folding her little hands
together prayed such a beautiful prayer that tears rolled down the
colored woman's cheeks, but were wiped away before the child
arose from her knees.
She waited in the little room until Sweetheart was sound
asleep, which was in a few moments, and then before putting out
the light she gave one more look-a lingering one-into the
sweet face, and leaving the door ajar stole softly out, and down
stairs to the kitchen.
Pompey," said she, I believe dat de Lawd done sent dat
angel here to show massa de way-to open de doah!"
SW IEETHEAR T.
De way whar ? To open what doah ?"
De way to Jerusalem de golden. To open de doah ob his
heart to Him dat's ben a knockin' an' a knockin' fer dis many a
The following day several trunks came to Sweetheart: one
containing her own clothing and other personal belongings, a
second held some of her "mother's things" that her grandfather
knew she would treasure as she grew older, and the third con-
tained some of her grandfather's treasures-books, souvenirs of
travel and old friendship. Two of the trunks were stored away
for the present, the third was. unpacked by Sweetheart with the
assistance of Chloe.
She shook out her little dresses carefully and Chloe hung
them up in the clothes-press. They were all simply made, and of
inexpensive material, but pretty and becoming. Still as the days
and weeks passed by there were many additions to her wardrobe.
Mr. Dalzell had been called out several times on business since
Sweetheart's arrival, and he never came home without bringing
her something: a dress, a hat with plumes, a coat, a sacque, a pair
of bronze shoes, a pair of red slippers, a book, a box of candy,
or something else. She always thanked him with words and
kisses and smiles.
She considered him the most generous of men and the most
loving, as well as the best. She did not know, of course, that
somewhere out in the big world, banished from his home, there
UNCLE DICK. 3.3
were children, his children, "out in the cold." Had she known
that this was so she would not have cared for the beautiful new
dresses and hats with plumes, nor even for the red slippers. But
it was well that she did not know, or she could not have led him
so innocently, so beautifully. And so the weeks flew by until six
had rolled into the past.
MR. DALZELL had gone out on business: something that must
be attended to although the weather was stingingly cold; Pompey
had accompanied him. So there were only two in the big house,
Chloe in the kitchen singing at her work, "'cause I's so happy
dat hebenly chile done come to lib wid us an' show Massa Dalzell
de way to heben," and Sweetheart in the library. Ensconced in
Uncle Dick's big easy chair, with her little feet stretched out
on his footstool, she was reading a wonderful story of a kind
princess who, entering a home where a family of orphan children
were crying bitterly from hunger and cold, took them all in her
charge and placed them in a good family where they were well
cared for: there were bright fires to warm them, and plenty of
good food. There were smiles instead of tears on the children's
faces and joy took the place of sorrow in their hearts. The story
ended abruptly with the old stereotyped phrase, And they were
happy ever afterward."
Sweetheart closed the book and laid it down on a table near
by. Clasping her hands over her knees, she sat thinking, with a
far-away look in her eyes.
Children of older growth smile over the old phrase, "And
they were happy ever afterward," but to Sweetheart the words
were like a song of triumph. A child of strong imagination, she
seemed to see those two pictures clearly; one a picture of misery,
a group of motherless and fatherless children in poverty and rags,
hungry and cold, the other a picture of comfort and of love.
I 'd like to be a princess like that," she thought, wistfully.
" I 'd like to make the faces of poor little children glow with joy.
I'd love to. I'm an orphan too, but after papa and mamma died
I had grandpa," her eyes filling with tears at thought of him,
" and now I have Uncle Dick, and even if I am an orphan I
do n't need any body else; but perhaps there are some little
orphans right here in the city just like those in the story. I
wonder if there are! I'll ask Chloe."
She ran into the kitchen, where she found the presiding
genius of that domain in the act of removing a pan of biscuit and
a hoe cake from the oven.
Chloe," she asked anxiously, do you suppose there are any
poor little barefooted, ragged, hungry, cold orphans in this city ?"
Fo' de lan' sake!" ejaculated that sable functionary, putting
her pans of hot bread on the table and raising her arms tragically.
" Po' lil' bare-footed, ragged, hungry, col' orphans! I sh'd think
there was. Why, lil' missie, dis city am full ob po' lil' barefooted
That was sorrowful news to the loving-hearted child: "a
city full of poor little barefooted cold and hungry orphans !"
She accepted Chloe's statement literally. She ran to the
window and looked out.
"What yo' doin' ?" Chloe asked wonderingly.
The child turned slowly- her eyes were wet with tears.
I thought maybe I 'd see some of them, but I don't."
"See some ob dem what ?"
"Sho', now, I did n't mean dose lil' po' orphans was every-
whar, like de snow is-poked in all de corners and cracks and
perched on de trees. Dey is in de city, hid away in creakin' ole
houses, away up in mis'able attic rooms, an' down in de da'k
cellars. Dey is in de streets, too, some ob dem, a walking' 'long wid
dere lil' bare feet an' a shiverin' in de winds."
"Sometimes not often one ob dem comes to de do' an'
asks for something' to eat."
"And then you bring her in, and give her everything good to
eat," the child said eagerly ; "do n't you, Chloe ?"
Chloe wished she could say yes, but she was strictly truthful.
Oh, no," was her answer, I do n't bring her in. I jess gib
her a piece ob bread and col' meat in her hand, or a cookie, and
den I tell her to go 'long."
Sweetheart looked sorrowful. She looked surprised, too.
And do n't you even warm her, Chloe ?" with gentle reproof
in her tone.
Chloe had her reasons for her cool reception of beggars at
the door, but she did not desire to prejudice the little girl against
the massa," who had forbidden the servants to encourage raga-
muffins," as he termed the stray waifs who occasionally ventured
to rap at the back door.
No, I do n't wa'm her," she answered evasively. I do n't
jess see my way clear to wa'm her."
Why," observed the child in surprise, I should think it
would be just as easy as anything. You could let her come right
here, in this cosey little corner by the range-where I am. She 'd
get warm here quick-would n't she !"
Yes," was the answer, I guess she'd get wa'm, lil' missie,"
adding, however, in her own mind, "if she had a chance."
Sweetheart went back to the library. She looked out of the
window, wondering when Uncle Dick would come. It was snow-
ing, and the wind blew strongly. Suddenly the little girl became
much interested in some one who was struggling with the iron
gate, trying to open it. At last it yielded sufficiently to leave an
opening, through which a child crept. She was a miserable look-
ing little girl, just such a one as Sweetheart had been reading
about in the story. Her tattered dress fluttered in the wind.
She had no hood, only a thin old shawl wrapped over her shoul-
ders with one end thrown over her head. Her hands were bare,
and blue with cold, and presently the little girl looking out of
the window saw with dismay that the feet of the child outside wore
neither shoes nor stockings.
Oh," she cried out, oh, she 's just such an orphan as I
read about! Oh, how I wish I was a princess!"
Tears rushed into her eyes. But her pity was not mere
feeling, content with the regret that the poor were poor, the
cold were cold, the hungry were hungry, and making no effort
to have it otherwise; it took active form immediately. Her
"She's going to the back door. I do n't want Chloe just to
give her a piece of bread and cold meat and tell her to go on,'
because she 's 'most froze, poor little dear! I'll let her in the
She ran to the latter and struggled with the lock, mastering.
the huge key until, to her great joy, it turned, and she opened
The intention of the child outside, who was famished with
hunger, had been to "go around to the back-door," but as the
huge front door swung open as far as the strong guard chain
would allow she stood dazed, looking in. What she saw was a
lovely child in a crimson dress with white lace falling about her
fair throat and with golden curls waving about a radiant face.
What Sweetheart saw was a forlorn little figure that looked like
a bundle of rags swaying in the wind. One pitiful little arm was
raised in an effort to keep the corner of an old shawl over the
frowsy head. Little feet, blue and stiff from cold, peeped out
from beneath the rags. A dirty tear-stained face, with big,
startled hungry eyes, looked into her own questioningly. The
old shawl had slipped down from her head, revealing a mop of
tangled black hair.
Come right in," called Sweetheart with eager hospitality.
"I 'm glad to see you," smiling sweetly.
Eh ?" said the waif staring at the beautiful child stupidly
She was startled at the invitation, and believed there must
be a mistake.
Come right in," Sweetheart repeated, the smile still linger-
ing. "You can just bend your head a little and creep under
the chain, seeing Pompey is n't here to unloose it. There,"
holding up the heavy guard with both of her small dimpled
hands; creep right under."
The waif did so, and the door closed. She could hardly
believe the evidence of her senses that she was really inside;"
she who during all her poor little life had only known the out-
side of all that was sweet and beautiful.
"Come into the library," said the little hostess.
But the waif drew back, frowning.
I can't," she answered hoarsely. I dassent; the folks 'd
drive me out."
What folks ?" in surprise.
Yours; your father an' mother, and all of 'em."
My father and mother are in heaven," explained Sweet-
heart. I haven't any folks except Uncle Dick, and he isn't here.
But, if he were, he wouldn't drive you out for all the world.
Do n't you know Uncle Dick?"
"Well, I'll tell you all about him. He 's the best man in
all the world-the very best."
"Ain't there any body here but you ?" wonderingly.
"Chloe's in the kitchen, but there 's no one in the library.
Come in, my dear, and get nice and warm. 'We '11 have a good
Eh ?" exclaimed the waif stupidly, feeling somehow that, in
some mysterious way, she was being lifted up, up, up, and yet
believing that it was impossible that the lovely little girl would
think of associating with her. "Did you call me my dear'?
You didn't; did yer? And you didn't mean you an I 'd have a
good time together; did yer ?" wistfully.
Sweetheart laughed softly. Yes," she answered, I called
you 'my dear.' You look so cold and-and-" hesitating, "and
hungry, I feel that you are 'my dear.' And of course we'll
have a good time together," smiling reassuringly. Little girls
always do have a good time together; do n't they ?"
The waif made no answer. Her poor little starved heart felt
a great throb of joy. To be actually called "my dear"! No one
had ever called her that before. She forgot that she was cold
and hungry, she only thought of those wonderful words-wonder-
ful to her-" my dear." They rang in her soul like the chimes of
sweet bells, "my dear! my dear!"
But she did not think that little girls always do have a nice
time together, as Sweetheart had said. The little girls she knew
were often in trouble, or scolding, or actually fighting. But she
had no time for mental soliloquy, the little hostess actually had
hold of one of her cold hands and was leading her into a warm,
beautiful room, where she gave her a seat in a cushioned chair
near a glowing fire.
"You 're hungry; aren't you ?" asked Sweetheart, anxious to
relieve at the earliest possible moment. The guest moved uneasily
in her chair, fixing her big, wondering, hungry eyes on the ques-
"Hungry!" she repeated, "hungry! I'm a'most starved, I
Did n't you have much breakfast ?" pityingly.
Did n't hev none; did n't hev no supper las' night, nor din-
ner yeste'dy, nor breakfus."
Poor little girl!"
There was a depth of pity in her tone not often seen in
a child of her tender years. She had been wondering how to
suggest asking her guest to wash her dirty face, but she under-
stood now that this was no time to stand upon ceremony.
If the poor dear hasn't had anything to eat since day before
yesterday she must be starved," was her thought; this isn't
the right time to talk about washing faces." Then aloud, with
gentle courtesy, "You '11 not mind waiting here alone while I go
and bring you a nice lunch, will you ?"
"Wont nobody come ?" anxiously.
I guess not."
Then I do n't mind."
I thought you would n't;" but running to the sofa she
brought forth a doll, which she put into her guest's arms. There's
Alexandra; she 'll amuse you while I 'm gone." After which she
danced off to the kitchen.
Chloe," said she, I've got company-a little girl who is
cold and hungry. Can I have a lovely little lunch of the best
things you 've got ? Can I, Chloe ?" eagerly.
Chloe was very busy just then, sewing up a stuffed fowl.
Supposing the company referred to was the doll, Alexandra,"
she answered with a chuckle of merriment,
Sho' nuff, lil' missie, yo' kin hab all de nice lil' lunch yo'
want," looking affectionately into the radiant face; "but ef yo' is
in a hurry jess he'p yo'seff, honey. Go right in dat pantry an'
see what I's bin bakin' dis mawnin', an' jess he'p yo'seff, honey."
Sweetheart lost no time in "helping herself," the result of
which was that she was soon back in the library with the daintiest
and most delicious lunch that had ever been placed before her
guest. The latter stared at her curiously as she placed the small
tray of food upon her knees.
"Yer do n't mean it's all fer me, do yer ?" she questioned in a
hoarse whisper, the hungry look deepening in her big eyes.
"Yes; of course I mean it for you. It's all for you; every
It was pitiful to see the manner in which that poor starved
little creature, ate that lunch. She was ravenously hungry, and
when it was placed before her-smelling so delightfully-it was
almost more than she could do to let it alone until she found out
that it was really meant for her.
There was a generous allowance of cold chicken, some but-
tered biscuit still warm from the oven, a fresh patty-pan sponge
cake and some cranberry jelly. Every mouthful of food had dis-
appeared during the few moments it took Sweetheart to go to
the kitchen and make a cup of bouillon. She had learned how
to make bouillon and chocolate during her grandfather's sickness.
When she came in with the cup of bouillon she came near
upsetting the contents in her surprise. She had never supposed
any one could eat so fast. She had considered her lunch a boun-
tiful one, but she changed her mind.
I ought to have brought more," she said to herself; "she
has n't had anything before since day before yesterday. Of course
she's awful hungry, just like the orphans in the story. I 'll get
her something more."
She ran back to the pantry.. Chloe was still busy with the
chickens, so she resolved not to trouble her but look around to
see what she could find. There were two cold sweet potatoes
on a saucer, three jam tarts on a small plate, and a mince turnover
on the lower shelf. She took all these eatables into the library
to the guest, who tried her best to eat them slowly but could not
possibly do so. She ate this like the first installment-ravenously.
Sweetheart busied herself around the room while the waif was
eating, so as not to appear to be watching her, but her thoughts
ran after this fashion:
"May be she's hollow. Poor little dear! Poor little dear!
But, any way, I '11 fill her up."
After the guest was warmed and fed it occurred to Sweet-
heart that there was something else for her to do.
"She's the very 'least of these,'" was the compassionate
thought. I've fed and warmed her, and I 'took her in' when
she was a stranger;' but there 's that verse, I was naked and ye
clothed me.' I guess Jesus meant when the 'least of these'
was half naked, too." Taking the tray with its empty dishes into
the kitchen she said to Chloe,
Oh, I thank you, Chloe, for all the good things you let me
have for my company. I '11 come and wash her dishes all nice and
clean after she 's gone. Will that do ?"
Sho' now, honey, neber mind de dishes. I '11 see to dem,
shuah. How come yo' so hung'y dis mawnin', lil' missie ?"
I have n't been eating anything since breakfast. I was n't
hungry, Chloe; it was my company. I never saw any one so
hungry before. She ate, and ate, and ate."
I neber knew a doll baby to eat like dat doll baby-El-zan-
der-befo'. El-zan-der '11 be sick, lil' missie," chuckling.
Sweetheart's cheery laugh rang out.
Why, Chloe, did you think I was feeding Alexandra? I
was n't. I 've got real company, a real little girl, one of those
orphans you told me about-barefooted and all. I let her in at
the front door."
A scared look came into the old woman's face.
Dear me!" she ejaculated, throwing down the knife with
which she had been working. Yo' do n't mean to say, lil' missie,
yo' let a rag'muffin inter dat front do' all yo' own seff, wid massa
gone an' Pomp, too! Dat was wrong, lil' missie."
A look of sorrow at the reproof clouded the sweet face for
a moment, and then vanished as suddenly as it had come. She
ran out of the room and back again, bringing with her a little
Bible bound in russet, with her name, Sweetheart," on the cover
in letters of gold.
I beg your pardon, Chloe, but you 're mistaken," she said
gently; it says," reading eagerly from the 25th chapter of the
Gospel of Matthew, 'For I was an hungered, and ye gave me
meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger,
and ye took me in ; naked, and ye clothed me.' It was Jesus
talking, so I was n't doing wrong; was I, Chloe ?"
Chloe looked into the glowing face.
"No," she answered in a voice not quite steady; yo was
doin jess right, lil' missie; jess right." But she left her work to
follow Sweetheart into the library to see the guest, who, catching
sight of her dusky face, looked frightened, and felt as if she would
like to sink through the floor. Chloe's voice, however, reassured
I's glad lil' missie done wa'm an' feed yo," she said kindly;
then she returned to her domain, after telling Sweetheart in a
whisper, to let her guest out of the back door whenever she was
ready to go. There was a mist over her eyes as she resumed her
work in the kitchen.
"Dat blessed lamb!" she said. Dat blessed lamb! It was
de Lawd himself dat sent her here, fo' shuah. She 's a leading'
us all-ole Massa, an Pomp, an dis ole black niggah, Chloe-'long
de way dat '11 land us in Jerusalem de golden."
What's your name ?" asked the hostess, as soon as the two
children were alone.
Becky what ?"
Sweetheart thought it very strange that her guest's name
was "Jus' Becky and nothing else, but she was too gently
polite to say so.
Where do you live ?"
It was impossible for the hostess to restrain the expression
of surprise this time.
Nowhere !" she repeated. "Why, are n't you mistaken ?
Folks have to live somewhere."
Some folks do, but I do n't. I wish I did."
Where do you wish you lived ?"
Here;" her little bedraggled form sinking back into the
depths of the comfortable chair.
" LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF."
"THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF."
I WISH so too," said Sweetheart hospitably. "Now," she
continued, not having given up her desire to "clothe the naked"
and yet not liking to leave her guest alone, "you can hold
Alexandra again while I go and hunt up something."
Sweetheart was the soul of honor. Child though she was she
would not have thought of giving away the dresses and other
articles of clothing which Uncle Dick" had recently presented
to her, but there were other clothes: those she had brought frcm
Nebraska; a big trunk full of them. From these she resolved to
select something for the "least of these." She wondered what
Chloe would say if she should ask her to let Becky have a bath in
the servants' bath-room off the kitchen. I could comb her hair
my own self," she thought kindly, but it's in a dreadful mess,
all tangled up. I 'd get it smooth some way."
While her hands were busy getting the clothing, and her
mind occupied with loving thought for the guest, Richard Dalzell
came home. Throwing off his fur-lined overcoat, seal cap and
muffler, he hurried into the library, glad to be again out of the
reach of the weather" and anxious to greet Sweetheart. A
little face looked up at him, but it was not Sweetheart's; it was a
face old and thin, with big scared grey eyes and crowned with a
mop of tangled black hair. A little figure got up quickly, and
shuffled backward into a corner as the gentleman's eyes fixed
themselves upon her sternly.
Who are you ?" he asked gruffly.
This of course did not enlighten him, but he did not repeat
What are you doing here ? Who brought you into this
room ?" The words were not as harsh as his manner; he was
very much disturbed.
I ain't doin nothing sir," deprecatingly. I 'm just a waiting
fer her. She brung me in here."
Whom do you mean you 're waiting for ?" angrily. Who
brought you in here ? The colored woman ?"
I did n't see no colored woman, sir. 'Twas the little girl
brung me in here. I do n't know what her name is. She did n't
tell me. But she.looks like an angel-jus' like one-with yellow
hair a shinin' jus' like gold, an' eyes so blue and sweet an'-an'
lovin'. She-she-called me 'my dear.' Nobody ever called me
' my dear before. I 'll never forget it; I wont; I 'd die fer her,
She had forgotten her fear in talking about the ministering
child. The grey eyes under the mop of tangled hair looked at
him strangely, as if her soul had suddenly awakened under the
touch of that little hand and was regarding him.
An answering gleam came into the gentleman's eyes. He
"LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF." 49
was astonished, and yet strangely moved. His anger and vexa-
tion were gone. He looked at the, "stranger" critically and yet
kindly, as if studying her from head to foot. Nothing in her man-
ner, dress, or want of dress escaped him, from the thin drawn face
with its black crown to the dirty bare feet.
"Come here," said he; sit down," pointing to the low chair
she had previously occupied.
She obeyed. He sat down opposite her.
What else did the little girl who 'looks like an angel' do
for you ?" he questioned with a grim smile.
Oh my Oh my she jus' did everything," clapping softly
her frail dirty hands while a look of great joy came into her eyes,
making them, for the time being, beautiful. I was so cold, oh
so cold! I thought I was freezin', an' she brought me out of the
dreadful storm. An' I was hungry, oh, so hungry I thought
I 'd die, I did. It seemed as if something' was a gnawin' me in-
side. Why, I had n't had anything' to eat since day before yeste'-
day, an' then on'y a crust. I would n't 'a' had that if Jim Brown's
dog had n't left it."
A shudder passed through the listener's frame.
"When I come along here she let me in. I was awful glad
to get out of the cold, but I did n't water come in here, in this
"Why not ?"
I was 'fraid."
What made you afraid ?"
I've bin' pounded so, an' kicked, an'-"
He interrupted her.
You did n't think any one in this house would abuse a little
child; did you ?" looking at her kindly and-I must say it-tenderly.
I did n't know till she told me. She said she. did n't have
any folks 'cept her Uncle Dick,' an' she said he would n't drive
me out fer all the world."
A look such as women have when tears are about to start
came into Richard Dalzell's fine dark eyes, but no tears came; it
was the soul of the grown man responding to the soul of a little
She said he was the 'best man in all the world.' I guess
you're her Uncle Dick;' aint yer ?"
You've guessed right," he answered. But tell me what
the little girl who you think 'looks like an angel' did for you
after she let you in ? Did she give you something to eat ?"
Yes, indeed, she did," was her answer. Oh my Oh my!
I had a feast, I did. She brought me everything, she did, jus' as
if I was somebody, an' I ain't, you know. I'm nobody. I had
chicken, real chicken, and biscuits with real butter on 'em, an'
cake, an' cranberries, an' everything. Sech lots of things! Oh
my! sech lots of 'em !"
Did you eat it all ?"
"Yes, every bit. I could n't help eatin' every crumb. I didn't
water be a pig-with her a seeing' me-but I was so awful hungry
that I had ter be one."
"LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF"
Oh, Uncle Dick !"
It was Sweetheart's delighted exclamation as she entered the
room. She had her arms full of clothing, but she dropped it all
to welcome the old man, whom she already loved dearly. She
threw her arms around his neck, kissing his cheeks-first one and
then the other.
I 'm so glad you've come. This," pointing to the stranger,
Becky and I are already acquainted," he said, drawing
Sweetheart close to his heart for one brief moment and then
letting her go.
Oh," said she, "you did n't wait to be introduced, did you ?
Neither did she and I. We just needed each other-she needed
me, and I needed her-so we did n't wait to be introduced. I
do n't think people ought to wait to be introduced when they
need each other; do you, Uncle Dick ?"
"No," he answered; but he had not the faintest idea what
she meant by "needing" Becky, although it was plain enough,
he thought, for a man stone blind to see how greatly the miser-
able Becky had needed her-Sweetheart. He was deeply touched
by what he had seen and heard. The kindness and tender sym-
pathy of the little lass who had so recently come into his heart
and home seemed greater than one could expect from her
years, and yet these qualities were spontaneous, adding to their
grace and beauty. Evidently Sweetheart did not realize that any
impassable gulf lay between herself and her guest. All that had
entered into her mind had been the thought that the waif needed
her help and must have it. And what she had meant by her
needing Becky was that her heart was so full of compassion for
the poor orphan that she "needed" her as an outlet for her
tenderness. Still she could not have expressed herself in this
way even if Mr. Dalzell had asked her what she meant.
She picked up the bundle of clothes that she had thrown on
the floor and brought them to him.
"You will not care if I give Becky these clothes; will you,
Uncle Dick ?" she said, not thinking that he would have the least
But, my dear, those are your own clothes. What are you
going to do if you give Becky your clothes ?"
She threw her arms around his neck.
I have so many clothes," she said, and she has n't any ex-
cept what are on her. She-" her voice sinking into a whisper,
"is the 'least of these,' and-do n't you see, Uncle Dick ?-Jesus'
eyes are looking right out of Becky's, and he's saying, I was
naked, and ye clothed me.' She is n't exactly naked, but she 's
next thing to it. Poor Becky! I'm so sorry for her, Uncle
Her changing face, now smiling, now sorrowful, and again
tearful, as she talked about the waif, stirred him deeply. What-
ever she did, whatever she said, was lovely in his eyes.
A little child shall lead them." A little child was leading
him. Her loving nature and caressing ways, her thoughtfulness
"LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF."
of others and her ready power of expressing her feelings, while un-
usual in one of her age, were altogether charming.
You can do as you please with your own things, my dear,"
Sweetheart kissed him again, and then took Becky by the
hand and led her out of the room.
Where be we a goin' ?" asked the waif wonderingly.
You '11 see," said Sweetheart smiling.
Presently they, hand in hand, entered the kitchen.
Goin', is she ?" observed Chloe.
Oh, no," was Sweetheart's answer, not yet. I have a favor
to ask of you, Chloe," and she said something close to Chloe's ear,
in a low voice.
"Well, honey, shuah's I'se born yo' don't do things by
ha'ves-yo' do n't! I wont say no to yo', lil' missie, dat I wont.
Ef yo' kin feed her, an' wa'm her, and clothe her, I ain't goin' ter
say I wont wash her for de Lord's sake, dat I wont."
So she dropped her work, and taking Becky into the ser-
vants' bath-room she gave her such a cleansing as she had never
known. After which Sweetheart came in, and together they
dressed her. Chloe, with much difficulty, combed out the tangled
hair and braided it, Sweetheart tying the braids with pretty new
pink ribbons. Becky was quiet during these operations, only
speaking when spoken to, but when all was done, and Sweetheart
led her into her own little room and told her to look into the long
dressing-glass, her tongue was loosened. Her happiness was so
great that it was pathetic to witness, aye, almost painful. Sudden-
ly she burst into tears. Sweetheart was troubled. Tears came
into her eyes, too, but she put her arms around her guest and
kissed her cheek.
What's the matter, my dear ?" she asked gently. Are you
Becky dashed the tears away, and a smile broke over her
face, a wonderful smile, that illumined it and made it beautiful.
The matter is-oh, I dunno what it is. I 'm so happy-so
happy !" she said. I'm pretty; ain't I ?" looking into the glass.
Yes, very pretty," said Sweetheart, admiring Becky in her
present condition with all her heart.
I never was pretty before," continued Becky, in a tone of
surprise. I 've allus looked like a scarecrow. No, I aint sick,
I 'm on'y happy. I did n't know folks could be so happy. But
yer did n't give me these clo'es ter keep--did yer? Course yer
Oh, yes; they 're yours to keep. Come, now, I want Uncle
Dick to see how nice you look."
Again they went hand in hand down stairs and into the libra-
ry, stopping before Mr. Dalzell, but not saying a word. The gen-
tleman looked up from his paper to find two pairs of eyes regard-
ing him questioningly: one pair, the blue ones, unutterably
sweet, the other pair, the gray ones, indescribably glad and grate-
ful. But his eyes lingered for some time on the little girl with
the gray eyes. The transformation wrought was wonderful-in
"LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF."
his soul he called it heavenly. The little wan face was glowing.
The mass of tangled hair was gone, and in its place were pretty
purply-black braids tied with rosy ribbons. The old damp rags
had disappeared, and soft warm clothing had taken their place.
The little bare feet were covered now with stockings and with
Sweetheart's pretty crimson felt bath-slippers, for the time, as none
of her shoes were large enough to fit Becky's feet, which had been
neglected all her little life.
Strange, the working of these minds of ours !
As Mr. Dalzell's heart took in the picture before him its
great beauty thrilled him; and not only that, but it brought be-
fore him a passage of Holy Scripture that he had not thought
of for many years: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and
with all thy strength. This is the first and great commandment;
and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
Sweetheart had taught him another lesson, but in her inno-
cence she did not know it.
Is n't Becky pretty, Uncle Dick!" she said, after waiting
for him to speak.
Beautiful," he answered; but he was not thinking of Becky,
he meant Sweetheart. And as he looked at the picture before
him, the ministering child and the "least of these," other
thoughts came, some of them connected with a block of tenement
houses which Greer had charge of. He did not know much
about the tenants in that old block, he had not cared to, but still
over and over the words rang in his soul,
Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
I have not loved my neighbors," he thought regretfully; I
have hated them."
The dear child's loving spirit, showing itself in constant
acts of kindness, in contrast with his long life of selfishness,
touched the man's heart as nothing had ever done before.
He saw the spirit of Christ reflected in her, and longed to be
like Him. He was no longer "outside," under the storm of
unbelief, but in some mysterious way found himself within the
shelter of Christian anchorage. A silent prayer went up from his
Forgive me, 0 my God; forgive me! And, oh, I do thank
thee that thou didst send that little child to lead me."
And who was the neighbor that he had been taught to
"Thy neighbor ? It is one whom thou
Hast power to aid and bless,
Whose aching heart and burning brow
Thy soothing hand may press.
"Thy neighbor? 'T is the fainting poor,
Whose eye with want is dim,
Whom hunger sends from door to door;
Go thou and succor him.
"LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF,"
"Thy neighbor? 'T is the heart bereft
Of every earthly gem ;
Widow and orphan helpless left;
Go thou and shelter them.
"Thy neighbor? 'T is that wearied man,
Whose years are at their brim,
Bent low with sickness, cares, and pain;
Go thou and comfort him."
A VISIT TO THE EAST END."
WHEN Mr. Dalzell fell asleep Sweetheart's words, And,
do n't you see, Uncle Dick, Jesus' eyes are looking right out of
Becky's ?" rang in his ears. It was quite late, past midnight,
when sleep overtook him, and then he had dreams one after
another. Such strange dreams! He saw Silas Platt, the man
whose letter you saw him toss into the waste basket unopened.
And in his dream Silas was looking at him with "Jesus' eyes."
Silas talked to him, too. He said, "I was sick, and ye visited
me not." I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat."
Then the face of Silas receded into the background, and
other faces, many of them, looked into his. He did not know
them, but he thought perhaps they belonged in his tenement
at the East End." They were wan and haggard faces, the faces
of the fainting and sorrowful poor, but each and all had Jesus'
eyes" looking at him piercingly. Then they all opened their
mouths, and cried out, with a moaning voice, Inasmuch as ye
did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me." '
The first thing he did the following morning was to send a
check to poor Silas Platt, who had cheated him years ago and
whom he had never forgiven. But he had forgiven him at last.
Silas was a man whose years were "at their brim, bent low with
A VISIT TO THE "EAST END."
sickness, cares, and pain," but when the letter and check reached
him he fell upon his poor old knees, thanked God, and took
courage. One more thing he did; namely, asked God to bless
Before noon that eventful day a cab took Mr. Dalzell to the
" East End where he made a tour of his tenement. He was
exceedingly weary when it was all over, but he was glad, very
glad. He had considerable trouble with his eyes. that morning;
they would get dim and misty, and he had to keep wiping them
almost constantly, his eyes and his nose, but he laid it all to the
But the weather was not to blame in the least-not in the
least; the matter was that he had opened his heart to some One
who had been knocking, knocking there for years.
He looked out of the tenement windows upon smoke-black-
ened tiles and battered chimney-pots and down into a foul alley,
reeking with filth. He looked within at pictures of misery and
sorrow which filled his awakened heart with pain. He stood
dumb sometimes, and often dazed, at what was revealed to him.
Want and misery were written everywhere, in the faces of little
children, in the despairing faces of women, in the neglected
rooms. A sick man-seemingly sick unto death-lay on a filthy
rickety bed, with no one to lift a finger for him. Yesterday Mr.
Dalzell would have felt contaminated to have touched him, but
to-day, with that picture of Sweetheart and the "stranger" she
had taken in in his soul, he even went so far as to kneel down
by the bedside and say, with a great wave of tenderness flowing
My poor fellow !"
Who are you ?" asked the dying man.
"Your friend," he said, and added in his heart, your neigh-
And, strange to say, although he had just found the "way"
himself he pointed it out to the dying man. He secured a man
whom he found in the hall (and who told him that he was out
of work ") to take care of him. He sent for a doctor, too, who
said the man might linger for a month. So he made him as
comfortable as he could, sending out for a clean cot with bedding,
etc., and he ordered broth sent in, and jellies, and crackers, and
Who are you ?" asked the dying man just as Mr. Dalzell
was about to leave.
"Your friend," was the answer as before.
"You're so good, so good," said the man gratefully, "that
perhaps you won't mind if I tell you something."
Go on, my friend: what is it ?"
They 're going to turn me out of here; that's tough, is n't
it, when I'm dying!"
"Who is going to turn you out ?"
Greer. Do you know Greer ?"
"Yes, I know him well," his face flushed hotly; "but he 'll
not turn you out, my poor fellow! I '11 promise you that."
A VISIT TO THE "EAST END."
"Are you sure ?" hopefully.
Tears rolled out of the sick man's eyes-tears of jey and
God bless you," said he; God bless you."
In the next room Mr. Dalzell found a sick mother with five
small children huddled around a little stove, trying to keep warm.
The husband and father was dead. There was not a mouthful
to eat, and the children were crying from hunger and cold. Mr.
Dalzell talked with the mother a little while, and then left. To
her great surprise and joy a hamper of provisions and half a ton
of coal were brought to her a half hour later.
But these were only a few pictures of many. Little pale
wan faces looked up into Mr. Dalzell's face and smiled because
he had given them a helping hand. Sad-faced mothers blessed
him, even men looked at him gratefully, for in one way or another
he had lifted part of the burdens from their shoulders.
He resolved to have the tenement thoroughly repaired and
cleansed, which resolve was carried out within the next two
months. He felt better than he had for years, when he went out
of the tenement and took a cab for home. He was beginning
to taste the sweetness of that grace of which a wise man has
"It is twice blessed :
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
He had already begun to grow, though imperfectly, into the
likeness of his Elder Brother," in whose name he had been
ministering. He had already begun to study the book of heav-
enly love, sweet Charity," and the first lesson in it, as well
as the last, was to "love his neighbor as himself." It had always
seemed to him an uncalled-for demand, an impossibility to attain,
but there was a light shining on it now. God is Love, and he
must be His child.
When he reached home Sweetheart met him at the door
with a kiss.
Lunch is all ready," she said, and, oh, Uncle Dick, Becky
is a great help already; Chloe says so."
But, my dear, I did n't want Becky to work, you know, until
plenty of good food should make her strong."
Yes, I know, and Chloe knew, too; but we just could n't
help Becky doing things, she wanted to so much. And, Uncle
Dick, she says she feels strong already; she says she 's so happy
she must do something."
That was exactly the case with Becky, whom Mr. Dalzell
had not the heart to turn adrift when he found that she really
had no home-only a barrel under a factory shed, with an old
carpet thrown over it.
You need some one to help you," he said to Chloe, "so just
teach Becky; will you ?"
And Chloe, in great glee, had promised, while Sweetheart,
standing by, had clapped her hands, saying,
A VISIT TO THE "EAST END."
"Didn't I tell you, Becky, that Uncle Dick was the best
man in the world? He is; is n't he!"
The very best," answered Becky.
It seemed to the poor child that she had been carried into
another world-a beautiful world, where it would always be warm
and where she would always have something good to eat. She
would have thanked God had she known there was a God, but
she did not. She reached out her thin little arms, however, that
first night after getting into the nice white bed that Chloe told
her was to belong to her, reached them upward with a longing
gesture, but she could not have told you what for, except that she
was so happy.
The gulf between the miserable past and the blissful present
was immense; the former with its hunger, cold and abuse, its lone-
liness and homelessness, and the latter with its unutterable com-
fort and joy and safety. And the very next day, after her lovely
sleep in that snow-white bed, she found out about God-that he
was her Father-and she cried for joy.
Sweetheart was shocked when she discovered that Becky was
really a heathen; she had not known of the heathen right in our
midst, but she was too gently courteous to let Becky know she
was shocked. She sat right down beside her, and held one of her
hands while she told her a beautiful story that we all know. It
began after this fashion: Once, a long time ago, a very long time
ago, a beautiful baby-boy was born into this world-"
But I will not repeat it to you, you know it so well. I must
tell you, however, that it made a deep impression on Becky, so
deep that from that time on she began to reach out her little arms
trustingly, gratefully and lovingly to her Father.
After lunch was over Mr. Dalzell went into the library, and
being very tired he threw himself down on the lounge. Presently
he fell asleep. When he awakened 'his eyes fell upon Sweetheart,
sitting not far off on her small chair mending his socks. The
sight was so pleasant and restful that it brought tears to his eyes.
He did not speak, but lay quite still watching her.
Her happiness was great when she was thus occupied, for it
was the delight of her heart to do something for Uncle Dick, who,
she said to herself, "was all she had in the world since grandpa
died." Presently she looked up and caught his eye. Then she
drew her chair closer to.the couch, but continued her mending.
"Are you too tired to talk ?" she asked gently.
Oh, no," he answered with a smile. What shall I say ?"
Her happy laughter rang out, the sweetness of which had
changed the whole atmosphere of the household. The mere sound
of it now lifted the tired man up in some mysterious but delight-
I guess I want to talk myself, after all," she said. I want
to tell you about Becky."
She chatted away, and he listened as attentively as if he, too,
did not have a story to tell. But he kept his story in his heart;
it was better so. She would have been very sad if he had told her
A VISIT TO THE "EAST END." 65
about the little pale faces he had seen that day. He did not want
her to be sad, only glad ; she should never be anything else if he
could help it. As she chatted on he thought how the invasion of
this "little woman," who was darning her socks and sewing the
buttons on his shirts, had changed the whole aspect of the house,
whose charm they all felt, from himself down to little Becky.
MR. DALZELL had a severe rheumatic attack, which lasted all
through March, keeping him a prisoner. Sweetheart was devoted
to him during the long siege, which for once in his life he bore
When he did not feel equal to the exertion of going out to
the dining-room to his meals she brought them in. Sometimes
she would spread a cloth on a low table in the library, preparing
his lunch with her own hands, he looking on happy and content.
With a long fork she would toast his bread by the grate fire, and
then, after buttering it, she would scramble or poach him an egg
in the chafing-dish she had brought from Nebraska. She made him
chocolate, too, and sometimes bouillon, just as he preferred. If
he wanted an oyster-stew-which he often did-she would make
it in the chafing-dish, and felt, while doing so, as happy as a queen.
Then, while he was eating, her cheery talk was better than pepsin
to aid his digestion. April came in, with balmy days, and Mr.
Dalzell grew better each day.
One night, as Sweetheart sat reading out of her little Bible,
which was her usual custom before retiring, he called to her.
Why do n't you read to me ?" he asked.
She looked up smiling.
"Oh," she said, "do you want me to read my Bible verses to
I used to read them to grandpa; it will seem like old times
to read them to you, Uncle Dick."
"All right," he observed, "go on, my dear."
She moved her chair close to his couch, and began:
"Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my
brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? till seven times?
Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times;
but, Until seventy times seven."
She and her grandfather used to talk together about the verses,
so, as this reading revived "old times," she paused, remarking,
"Jesus wants us to forgive a good many times; does n't he,
Uncle Dick ?"
"It seems so," he answered.
"Peter thought only seven times, but Jeslus said, seventy
times seven. Let's see ; how many times would that be ?"
Four hundred and ninety times."
But some folks would n't do it; would they ?"
"Would n't do what ?"
Forgive four hundred and ninety times."
I should say not," very positively.
A cloud came over the sweet little face.
I knew a man out in Nebraska who would n't forgive even
once," she said.
He winced, but asked,
How was that ?"
He lived right next door to Miss Lawrence and he had
such a pretty little boy, named Tommy. One day Tommy ran
away from school and his father found it out. Tommy was sorry
he'd run away, and told his father so. He begged him to forgive
him. Instead of forgiving him, what do you suppose he did ?"
Whipped him, most likely."
"Yes, that's what he did. Oh, how he whipped him !" her
eyes filling with tears at the remembrance. He nearly killed
him, Miss Lawrence said, and we could hear him scream and
scream. I could n't bear to hear him; I cried, and cried, and
cried, until grandpa said I 'd better stop crying and do something
for the poor little whipped boy."
"Did you ?"
"Yes; I had a new book, full of lovely pictures, and I gave
Did n't you want it yourself ?"
Oh, yes, I wanted it, but he needed it. I think it is dread-
ful for a father not to forgive his own son; do n't you, Uncle
"Yes," he answered quietly, but the anguish he was enduring
I liked Tommy," she continued, "and I hope his father has
learned to forgive him by this time, I like boys," quaintly.
Do you know many boys ?"
Ohly two: Tommy and Dick."
"Who is Dick ?"
He 's a little boy just my age-ten years old. He used to
do errands for Miss Lawrence when grandpa was sick. He and
his mother lived alone in a little room away up three flights of
stairs. They were very poor, Miss Lawrence said, and the lady
was a clerk in a big store. But she got sick, being on her feet
all the time, and could n't work any more. I saw her three times.
One day Dick's eyes were so red that I knew he 'd been crying.
I asked Miss Lawrence what the matter was, and she said she
should n't wonder but he was hungry, and his mother too. She
would n't dare send them anything to eat for the world, they were
so proud. I told grandpa about it, and he said, 'See here, Sweet-
heart, our friends send me such loads of good things I can't
begin to eat them all, so you just fill a basket and take it to
Dick's mother. She'll not refuse to take it from you.' So I
"Did she accept it ?"
"Yes, and she kissed me. Oh, she was so lovely, Uncle Dick,
so beautiful! But she was so sad. I went again one day with
flowers. Then, after grandpa went to heaven, I went once more
to say good-by. She cried, and Dick cried, and so did I. You
see, I loved them both, they were so beautiful and good. Dick
has great big dark brown eyes-"
She stopped for a minute, and peered into the eyes of the
man on the couch.
"I have thought sometimes that his eyes were like yours.
Funny, isn't it? And he had your name-Dick."'
What was his other name. Dick what ?"
Mr. Dalzell's face grew deathly pale.
Did she have brown eyes, too, like the boy's ?"
"Oh, no; she had blue eyes; oh, such lovely blue eyes!
But I wanted to cry, when I looked at her, because they were so
sad-her eyes. She had hair just like gold-shining gold. She
asked me where I was going, and when I told her she clung to
me as if she couldn't ever let me go. She said, 'Oh! oh! oh!'
that was all, but I guess she wanted to come too."
Did she say so ?"
"No; but she said she used to live in this city long ago,
when she was a young lady, and that she had had such a beautiful
home. I guess her folks have all gone to heaven like mine. I
often think of her and Dick. I wish they had a home to come
to like this one, and a dear old Uncle Dick to love them; do n't
"Yes," he answered in a voice that sounded hoarse -to the
child, although it was instead weighted with sorrow and yearning.
"I guess I 've talked too much, and tired you all out," she
said regretfully. I '11 go to bed and let you rest. Good-night,
She kissed him on his forehead, his cheeks and his lips, and
then went out of the room.
The very next day Mr. Dalzell and Pompey were on their
way to Nebraska-none too soon either, as they found out later.
The former, upon reaching Miss Lawrence's home, lost no time in
hunting up Mrs. Seymour. He found her in great poverty, as he
had expected, pale and changed, but lovelier than in the old happy
days. In place of the girlish beauty, once hers, was a sweetness
infinitely more attractive. But she was very weak ; her only hold
on life since her sickness had been her little son.
The meeting between the long parted ones was rarely beauti-
ful and touching, The father knelt at his sick daughter's bedside
with tears rolling down his cheeks.
Marguerite," he said in an agony of remorse, "' it is a cruel
shame the way I have treated you, my daughter! Oh, my daugh-
A tempest of fatherly love shook his frame; his heart ached
with its burden of pity and regret.
Father !" she cried, lifting his bowed head and looking with
an expression of unutterable joy and love into his sorrowful but
pleading eyes-" father !"
She could say no more just then : but as she threw her feeble
arms around his neck he knew he was forgiven. A sweet peace
stole over him.
You will be able to go home soon, my love ?" he questioned
To go home-soon The joy was too great. She fell back
upon her pillow and closed her eyes; but .it was not death, only
the beginning of a new lease of life. She grew stronger every
day after that, for joy is a wonderful physician, wielding a magic
power. In a few days the doctor whom her father had called in
gave his consent to the long journey.
Meanwhile there had come a letter to Sweetheart which had
filled her with joy and yet surprised her. She had once asked
Uncle Dick if he had ever had any children, and he had answered
"Yes;" but he had looked so sober that she had inferred they
"Oh," she cried out, "sweet, beautiful Mrs. Seymour is Uncle
Dick's real daughter, and little Dick is his real grandson Oh,
it's lovely, lovely It's prettier than a fairy story !"
The letter gave directions to Chloe to open and warm the
whole house "except one room" (that was the disowned son's),
and to get Simon and Polly, her nephew and niece, to come and
help. Pompey wrote, too, to Chloe, saying,
De los' lam' am foun'. Praise de Lawd An' dere's a lil'
massa, too, hansom' ez a picture Massa say dat Simon and Polly
must come en' stay. Ain't that good news, too ? Good fer yo',
en' good fer me, 'cause we am getting' ole, yer know."
Doors which led into rooms that Sweetheart had never seen.
were thrown open now. Simon and Polly came and dusted, made
fires, shook rugs and uncovered furniture, aired beds and washed
Sweetheart wandered about in a perfect maze of delight, look-
AIARGUERITE SEYMOUR. 73
ing at the dancing fires in the great beautifully-tiled fireplaces, the
magnificent pictures on the walls, the "grand" piano, not yet
opened, the bric-a-brac, the cabinets, the statues the silken dra-
peries and massive carved furniture.
Up stairs, too, it was as beautiful and charming in its way,
with a suite of rooms all in white and gold, the white somewhat
yellow, to be sure, from being shut up so long; but still it was all
so pretty that it seemed to the happy child as if a fairy had been
there and waved her wand.
It did not occur to her that she was the "fairy," or "angel,"
or "princess," or whatever you may choose to call it, whose wand
of "loving ministry" had wrought this wonderful transformation
74 S WEETHEAR T
BRINGING THE PRODIGAL HOME.
IT is astonishing how many wonderful things can take place
in a little while. One morning, a few days after Mrs. Seymour's
arrival at her old home, Mr. Dalzell's eyes fell upon the following
item in a daily paper published in a city a hundred miles away.
It was headed,
A man, apparently about thirty-five years old, was injured
by a trolley car yesterday. He has a bad cut on his head and
a broken arm. He was brought to the Lawrence Hospital on
Quay Street. No one seems to know who he is and, what is still
worse, the poor fellow himself does not know. When he was
asked his name he replied, Razzle-Dazzle.'
Evidently he has injured himself mentally as well as phys-
ically. He bears the marks of dissipation, and yet he is a
strongly-built, handsome fellow, with dark brown eyes, curling
brown moustache and short wavy reddish-brown hair."
Mr. Dalzell read this over three times. His lips twitched
convulsively. Was it because he was thinking about his son?
He was always thinking about him lately. He had even put a
carefully-worded notice into several papers, hoping it would catch
BRINGING THE PRODIGAL HOME.
the eye of the prodigal. Could it be that this poor wounded
friendless man in the Lawrence Hospital was his son ?
Perhaps, after all, the poor fellow had not said his name was
Razzle-Dazzle," he may have said "Reg Dalzell ;" and that was
his son's name, Reginald Dalzell, but they had called him Reg "
It did not seem much ot an effort to him to go a hundred
miles in search of a son. He had gone many hundred miles in
search of a daughter and he had found her. So he went without
delay, taking the next train out. It was in the gloaming when he
reached the Lawrence Hospital and was shown into the ward
where the injured man lay. The nurse, a gentle-faced woman,
met him at the door, and he told her his errand.
He is asleep," she said, but you can take a look at him."
So he softly approached the cot where the sick man lay,
and looked down at the pale face with its marks of sin and sorrow
and pain. His heart smote him. It was his son; he did not
need to look twice. His son! How could he have been so cruel !
Why had he not forgiven him, and helped him, instead of casting
him off ?
And I say unto you, Until seventy times seven," the words
rang in his heart. Until seventy times seven !"
The poor bandaged head! The poor broken arm! The
poor suffering, homeless fellow! He had not meant to make a
sound, not one, to disturb the sleeper, but he forgot himself and
moaned. The brown eyes opened and fixed themselves upon
him, first with a dazed, half-scared look, which gradually merged
into one of intense longing. The two-father and son-looked
at each other as if fascinated. At last the sick man broke the
Is it you, father," he said, "or am I dreaming ?"
Oh, Reggie, my son! my son !"
It was the old pet name of childhood days. Again the father
was on his knees by the bedside of a sick child-just as he had
been in that room in Nebraska. Again there was enacted the
sweet scene of repentance and forgiveness. In a few days Reg-
inald Dalzell was taken home in a palace car, and the only closed
room in the old-fashioned house was opened once more. The
poor fellow could do nothing, for a number of weeks, but lie still
and rest, but it was a blessed rest and opened the door into heaven
for him. His lost strength was regained, and as he slowly crept
back to health there was born an energy such as he had never
before known-an energy to climb upward.
These were golden days in the old homestead. It would be
hard to tell who was the happiest, father, daughter, or son, Sweet-
heart, or Becky. The peace and joy were indescribable.
As for Mr. Dalzell, he found himself in such a world as he
had never dreamed of.
To feel that his children had suddenly been restored to him
after long years of separation was wonderful! wonderful!
The burden of sorrow and remorse had fallen away, and there
had come a joy too great to be measured. His heart was over-
BRINGING THE PRODIGAL HOME.
flowing with love for them all: for his beautiful daughter and his
repentant son, his manly little grandson, and Sweetheart. As for
the latter, she divided her attentions among them all in a way so
altogether charming that no one wanted her out of sight during
the livelong day.
She often sat by Reginald Dalzell's bedside, ministering to
him gently, sometimes smoothing his wavy hair or stroking his
hands softly, often telling him a cheery story, which was inter-
spersed with her happy laughter. Occasionally she would touch
his pale forehead with her rosy lips.
Dat blessed chile," Chloe confided to Pompey, "is leading'
Massa Reggie 'long wid de res' ob us to Jerusalem de golden."
It was even so. He felt that, beneath the love and compas-
sion of her star-like eyes, there was a well full to the brim of
" peace and good will to all men."
Long before he was on his feet again he had settled the
question that life was worth living." With God's help he would
make it so.
His father and his sister were by his bedside a great part of
the time, and it was a picture to make angels smile to see their
Marguerite Seymour had grown stronger steadily day by day
until now she was perfectly well, and so happy that she often cried
in the quiet of her own room for joy.
"Safe in my old home! Beloved by my dear father! And
Reggie reclaimed !"
Over and over these'words rang in her soul, making sweetest
Home again Home again, from a foreign shore !
And oh, it fills my soul with joy to greet my friends once more !"
Poor dear! she felt that she had been to a foreign shore; it
had been far enough away, surely.
She felt that she was receiving a blessed compensation for all
the anguish of the years gone before. In all the happy years of
her childhood her father had never been to her what he was now.
In the olden days he had not been demonstrative. Perhaps you
would not have considered him so now, but his daughter felt the
difference in her inmost soul. His affection for her seemed to
grow day by day.
The old chapter of their lives was closed for ever, with its
burdens of loneliness, home-sickness and general wretchedness;
the new one had opened wondrously beautiful, and it often sent
her to her knees in prayer and thanksgiving.
When she met her father's gaze fixed -upon her with a look
that she interpreted as all-enfolding," with its tender solicitude,
her heart was so full of joy that there seemed no room in it for a
thought of the anguished past.
That heavenly child !" she would say to herself, referring to
Sweetheart; that heavenly child! God sent her here to teach
father that God is love,' and that he might become God's child."
Although it was Mr. Dalzell's pleasure to spend his money
BRINGING THE PRODIGAL HOME.
royally for the dear ones of his household he ever remembered
the lesson a "child had taught him, to care for the "least of
these." In loving his "neighbor" as himself he was daily growing
wiser in heavenly lore. In lifting up the fallen and giving cups
of "cold water" to the suffering he was outgrowing self and reach-
Sweetheart often went with him on errands of mercy; Dick,
too; and as soon as Marguerite Seymour became strong enough
she was frequently his companion. The work they accomplished
was productive of immeasurable benefit; this world will not reveal
it all, but in the one beyond there will be the sweet welcome:
Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom pre-
pared for you from the foundation of the world;
For I was a-hungered, and ye gave me meat : I was thirsty,
and ye gave me drink : I was a stranger, and ye took me in :
Naked, and ye clothed me : I was sick, and ye visited me: I
was in prison, and ye came unto me."
It beats all," said Pompey to Chloe one day, after returning
from a "round," as he termed it, with Mr. Dalzell; "it do n't
seem like our ole massa any moah; seems like a new one, so
good, an' kin', an' lovin.' Yo' oughter see him, Chloe, in dem hos-
pitals an' down in de slums a bringing' smiles inter de lil' pale faces
an' a liftin' folks up. It's wuth seeing Chloe; 'deed it is."
THE old long-neglected yard and garden were beautiful again
ana well kept. The mould and dirt of years had been cleared
away by Simon, and in their place had come brilliant bloom and
sweet fragrance. There was a carpet of soft green grass, now
velvety smooth because of Simon's recent attention to it. Some
magnificent old trees arched over it, through the branches of which
the sunlight flickered and danced upon the heads of the chil-
dren swinging in the hammocks underneath-heads of gold and
black and brown. Becky was in one of the hammocks with Sweet-
heart, learning her daily lesson. She had not known how to read
and write until Sweetheart taught her; but she was progressing
finely, and was to be sent to school in the fall. Happiness is a
great beautifier, and its influence over Becky had been so great
that old associates could hardly have recognized her. She was
plump and fair and pretty, bright too, and so faithful and willing
that every one in the family was attached to her. She no longer
worked in the kitchen, since Polly had come, but was a sort of
a maid to Mrs. Seymour and Sweetheart. One of the greatest
delights of her life was to brush and curl the child's golden hair
every day. And now that June was midway she helped Sweet-
heart every day gather the June roses and arrange them about
The old rustic seats and the vases in the yard had been
painted, and the latter were further beautified by an abundance of
" green things growing."
Richard Dalzell comes out of the house, his daughter on one
arm, his son, just beginning to walk about, on the -other. Their
eyes take in the beautiful picture. They hear the songs of chil-
dren and birds. They smell the fragrance of the roses. They see
the glow of the fresh verdure. They feel in the depths of their souls
the beauty of it all, and over their happy eyes there creeps a mist.
Suddenly a voice sweeter than any bird's breaks forth in
song, the voice of Marguerite Seymour:
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow."
The father's bass and the brother's tenor join in; so does
Sweetheart's voice, and Dick's and Becky's, and Chloe stops
"Jerusalem the Golden" to swell the song of thanksgiving.
It was a golden day! And when the song was over the
trio of grown folks sat down in the rustic chairs and Sweet-
heart and Becky stole softly away. Mr. Dalzell saw them go, and
thought, "Some sweet surprise in store for us : that child is always
thinking of giving pleasure to some one!"
And it was a sweet surprise, for presently the two children
returned with a tray full of glasses of cool, foaming milk-shake and
a silver basket full of sugared snow-cakes fresh from Chloe's deft
While they were enjoying the refreshments a far-away look
came into Sweetheart's eyes. For some time she did not speak.
Then, when Mr. Dalzell said with a smile,
A penny for y6ur thoughts, my dear !" she answered laugh-
I'll not charge you anything, Uncle Dick; I was thinking
-now lovely it would be to have a party right here in this beautiful
"A good idea!" Mr. Dalzell said, supposing she meant to
invite some of the old friends of the family, who had ventured to
ring the door-bell once more after Mrs. Seymour's return and,
finding themselves welcomed, had come often since. "Whom
shall we invite ?"
"Those folks at the East End you and Aunt Marguerite
were talking about this morning; that man and his wife who
you said had nearly starved themselves for the sake of their little
children. And of course we can invite the children too. And
that poor woman who had to sell her bed to pay for her pre-
cious little baby's funeral; we must invite her and the children
that are left. And I suppose there are orphans down in the
dark cellars and up in the bare attics-Chloe said so; we can
invite them all-every one-and give them such a happy, happy
day! Can't we, dear Uncle Dick ?"
Uncle Dick did not answer just then, but he looked at his
daughter and his son, who did not speak either. It was little
Dick who broke the silence.
Why do n't you answer Sweetheart, grandpa ?" he asked a
little impatiently. She wants a party for the folks in the East
End. Can she have it ?"
Hurrah for grandpa !" shouted Dick; and so the party for
the East End" folks was decided upon. They talked it all
over: what they should have to eat, what they should arrange
for the amusement of their guests, etc., etc.
They gave the party early in July. The guests came singly,
in couples, in groups, in families, men, women, children, and even
babies, the young and old, and the blind. Some came boldly,
others shyly, but they were all welcomed.
The beautiful yard looked like fairy land. The swings, the
hammocks, the garden seats and chairs, the blossoms with their
sweet fragrance, the flowers, the birds, the voices of little children
at play, the cooing of tiny babies, the thanks of pale-faced mothers,
the stories, the games, the music by a hidden orchestra-oh, it was
Then, the supper The house doors were thrown open, and
out came the waiters : Mr. Dalzell, Mrs. Seymour and Dick, Reg-
inald, Sweetheart, Becky, Pompey, Simon and six more, whom you
do not know, engaged for the occasion. Other strangers to you
were in the kitchen helping good old Chloe and Polly. The
collation was fit for a queen. I would not undertake to tell you
the menu, but it satisfied and delighted every one, even those
who arranged the bill of fare: biscuits and sandwiches, cold meats
of various kinds, salads and cakes, gold-tinted and crimson jel-
lies, ice cream and ices, candied fruits, iced tea and lemonade.
And when the supper was over Sweetheart and Dick and Becky
ran about everywhere, with flower-garlanded baskets on their
arms, handing out to every one mottoes of gold and silver, tied
with gay ribbons of many tints and colors and filled with delicious
cream almonds. When it was all over-this party-and the
guests had all gone home, Sweetheart threw her arms around Mr.
Dalzell's neck and hugged him, according to little Dick's state-
ment, like a young bear."
Oh, you dear Uncle Dick!' she said, rapturously; "you
messed, blessed dear !"
Then she ran off, with Dick chasing her.
She is well named," said Marguerite Seymour, looking lov-
ingly after her.
What, Sweetheart ?" questioned her father.
"I was thinking of her other name, 'Theodora;' gift of