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A Story for Boys and Girls, by ANNA CItAPIN
RAY. One vol., 12mo, 280 pp. 3 illustrations by
FRANK T. MERRILL, $1.25.
The hero is a Western boy who in accordance
with a distant relative's will comes to live with a
very prim and precise maiden lady. At first, as
would naturally be the case, there is considerable
friction, but it does not take long for the impulsive,
warm-hearted boy to find his way to his elderly
cousin's heart, and she, on the other hand, displays
herself so genuinely good and unselfish that the
boy loves her warmly. The story relates to school-
days and school-friends, and Miss Ray, who knows
the genus boy thoroughly, provides excellent com-
rades for her hero. There is a most frolicksome
and amusing monkey, who in the development of
the plot causes some exquisitely comical situations.
"Dick" overflows with humor, and is certainly
one of the most natural and entertaining of Miss
Ray's stories. It will be warmly welcomed by all
who have made the acquaintance of her Half
Dozen Boys" and Half Dozen Girls "
T. Y. CROWELL & CO..
BOSTON AND NEW YORK.
I I R w w ", r
"'WHO ARE YOU, MY CIHILD)?' I SAID."-Pa:ge3. (I'rontispiece.)
NEW YORK: 46 EAST I4TH STREET
THOMAS 'Y. CROWELL & COMPANY
BOSTON: 1oo PURCHASE STREET
EB THOMAS Y. CROWELL & COMPANY.
C. J. PETERS & CO., TYPOGRAPHERS,
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Drawings by G. A. King.
" WHO ARE YOU, MY CHILD ? I SAID." (Frontispiece)
"BY MEANS OF RISING ON THE TIPS OF HIS TOES
HE WAS ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THE TASK 21
JOE MEETS WITH AN ACCIDENT . .. .37
"HERE WAS THE SOLUTION OF THE MYSTERY" 44
' IT WAS JOE, WITH HIS POOR LIMBS BOUND WITH
CRUEL ROPE" . . 76
"I POINTED TO THE BED, AND BECKONED HIM TO
ENTER .. .. .......... 83
" HONNERD MADAM,
Wich i hav seed in the paper a page Boy wanted,
and begs to say J. Cole is over thertene, and I can
clene plate, which my brutther is under a butler and
lernd me, and I can wate, and no how to clene winders
and boots. J. Cole opes you will let me cum. I arsks
8 and all found, if you do my washin I will take
seven. J. Cole will serve you well and opes to giv
sattisfaxshun. i can cum tomorrer. J. COLE.
"P.S. He is not very tori but growing. My
brutther is a very good white. i am sharp and can
rede and rite and can hadd figgers if you like."
I HAD advertised for a page-boy, and hav-
ing puzzled through some dozens of answers,
more or less illegible and impossible to under-
stand, had come to the last one of the packet,
of which the above is an exact copy.
The epistle was enclosed in a clumsy enve-
lope, evidently home-made, with the aid of
scissors and gum, and was written on a half-
sheet of letter-paper, in a large hand, with
many blots and smears, on pencilled lines.
There was something quaint and straight-
forward in the letter, in spite of the utter
ignorance of grammar and spelling; and while
I smiled at the evident pride in the "brutther"
who was a veryy good white and the offer
to take less wages if "I would do his washin,"
I found myself wondering what sort of waif
upon the sea of life was this not very tall
person, over thirteen, who "would serve me
I had many letters to answer and several
appointments to make, and had scarcely made
up my mind whether or not to trouble to
write to my accomplished correspondent, who
was "sharp, and could rede and rite, and hadd
figgers," when, a shadow falling on the ground
by me as I sat by the open window, I looked
up, and saw, standing opposite my chair, a
boy, the very smallest boy, with the very
largest blue eyes I ever saw. The clothes on
his little limbs were evidently meant for some-
body almost double his size, but they were
clean and tidy.
In one hand he held a bundle, tied in a red
handkerchief, and in the other a bunch of
wild-flowers that bore signs of having trav-
elled far in the heat of the sun, their blossoms
hanging down, dusty and fading, and their
petals dropping one by one on the ground.
"Who are you, my child?" I said, "and
what do you want?"
At my question the boy placed his flowers
on my table, and, pulling off his cap, made a
queer movement with his feet, as though he
were trying to step backwards with both at
once, and said, in a voice so deep that it quite
startled me, so strangely did it seem to be-
long to the size of the clothes, and not the
"Please 'm, it's J. Cole; and I've come to
live with yer. I've brought all my clothes,
For the moment I felt a little bewildered,
so impossible did it seem that the small spe-
cimen of humanity before me was actually
intending to enter anybody's service; he looked
so childish and wistful, and yet with a certain
honesty of purpose shining out of those big,
wide-open eyes, that interested me in him,
and made me want to know more of him.
"You are very small to go into service,"
I said, "and I am afraid you could not do the
work I should require; besides, you should
have waited to hear from me, and then have
come to see me, if I wanted you to do so."
"Yes, I know I'm not very big," said the
boy, nervously fidgeting with his bundle;
leastwayss not in bite; but my arms is that
long, they'll reach ever so 'igh above my 'ed,
and as for bein' strong, you should jest see
me lift my father's big market basket when
it's loaded with 'taters, or wotever is for mar-
ket, and I hope you'll not be angry because
I come to-day; but Dick that's my brutther
Dick he says, You foller my advice, Joe,'
he says, 'and go arter this 'ere place, and
don't let no grass grow under your feet. I
knows what it is goin' arter places; there's
such lots a fitin' after 'em, that if you lets so
much as a hour go afore yer looks 'em up,
there's them as slips in fust gets it; and wen
yer goes to the door they opens it and sez,
" It ain't no use, boy, we're sooted;" and then
where are yer, I'd like to know? So,' sez
lie, 'Joe, you look sharp and go, and maybe
you'll get it.' So I come, mum, and please,
"But about your character, my boy," I
said. "You must have somebody to speak
for you, and say you are honest, and what
you are able to do. I always want a good
character with my servants; the last page-boy
I had brought three years' good character
from his former situation."
"Lor !" said Joe, with a serious look, did
he stay three years in a place afore lie came
to you? Wotever did he leave them people
for, where he were so comfortable? If I stay
with you three years, you won't catch me a
leaving' yer, and going' somewhere else. Wot
a muff that chap was! "
I explained that it did not always depend
on whether a servant wanted to stay or not,
but whether it suited the employers to keep
"'Praps he did something and they giv' 'im
the sack," murmured Joe; "he was a flat!"
But about this character of yours," I said;
" if I decide to give you a trial, although I
am almost sure you are too small, and won't
do, where am I to go for your character? Will
the people where your brother lives speak for
"Oh, yes!" cried the little fellow, his
cheeks flushing; "I know Dick'll ask 'em to
give me a caricter. Miss Edith, I often cleaned
'er boots. Once she come 'ome in the mud,
and was a-goin' out agin directly; and they
was lace-ups, and a orful bother to do up
even; and she come into the stable-yard with
'er dog, and sez: Dick, will you chain Tiger
up, and this little boy may clean my boots if
he likes, on my feet?' So I cleaned 'em, and
she giv' me sixpence; and after that, when
the boots come down in the morning I got
Dick always to let me clean them little boots,
and I kep 'em clean in the insides, like the
lady's maid she told me not to put my 'ands
inside 'em if they was black. Miss Edith,
she'll giv me a caricter, if Dick asks 'er."
Just then the visitors' bell rang; and I sent
my would-be page into the kitchen to wait
until I could speak to him again, and told
him to ask the cook to give him something to
Here are your flowers," I said; take them
He looked at me, and then, as if ashamed
of having offered them, gathered them up in
his hands, and with the corner of the red
handkerchief wiped some few leaves and dust-
marks off my table, then saying in a low voice,
"I didn't know you 'ad beauties of yer
own, like them in the glass pots, but I'll giv'
'em to the cook." So saying, he went away
into the kitchen, and my visitors came in, and
by and by some more friends arrived.
The weather was very warm, and we sat
chattering and enjoying the shade of the trees
by the open French window. Presently, some-
body being thirsty, I suggested lemonade and
ice, and I offered strawberries, and (if possible)
cream; though my mind misgave me as to the
latter delicacy, for we had several times been
obliged to do without some of our luxuries if
they entailed "fetching," as we had no boy to
run errands quickly on an emergency and be
useful. However, I rang the bell; and when
the housemaid, whose temper, since she had
been what is curiously termed in servants'-hall
language "single-handed," was most trying,
entered, I said, "Make some lemonade, Mary,
and ask cook to gather some strawberries
quickly, and bring them, with some cream."
Mary looked at me as who should say,
'"Well, I'm sure! and who's to do it all?
You'll have to wait a bit." And I know we
should have to wait, and therefore resigned
myself to do so patiently, keeping up the ball
of gossip, and wondering if a little music later
on would perhaps while away the time.
Much to my amazement, in less than a
quarter of an hour Mary entered with the tray,
all being prepared; and directly I looked at
the strawberry-bowl I detected a novel feature
in the table decoration. A practised hand had
evidently been at work; but whose? Mary
was far too matter-of-fact a person. Food,
plates, knives and forks, glasses, and a cruet-
stand were all she ever thought necessary;
and even for a centre vase of flowers I had
to ask, and often to insist, during the time she
But here was my strawberry-bowl, a pretty
one, even when unadorned, with its pure white
porcelain stem, intwined with a wreath of blue
convolvulus, and then a spray of white, the
petals just peeping over the edge of the bowl,
and resting near the luscious red fruit; the
cream-jug, also white, had twining flowers of
blue, and round the lemonade-jug, of glass, was
a wreath of yellow blossoms.
"How exquisite!" exclaimed we all. What
fairy could have bestowed such a treat to our
eyes and delight to our sense of the beautiful?"
I supposed some friend of the cook's or
Mary's had been taking lessons in the art of
decoration, and had given us a specimen.
Soon after, my friends having gone, I thought
of J. Cole waiting to be dismissed, and sent
Cook came in, and with a preliminary
"Ahem!" which I knew of old meant, "I
have an idea of my own, and I mean to get
it carried out," said, Oh, if you please 'm,
if I might be so bold, did you think serious
of engaging' the boy that's waiting' in the
kitchen ? "
"Why do you ask, Cook?" I said.
Well, ma'am," she replied, trying to hide
a laugh, "of course it's not for me to presume;
but, if I might say a word for him, I think
he's the very handiest and the sharpest one
we've ever had in this house, and we've had
a many, as you know. Why, if you'd only
have seen him when Mary come in in her tan-
trums at 'aqing to get the tray single-handed,
and begun a-grumblin' and a-bangin' things
about, as is her way, being of a quick temper,
though, as I tells her, too slow a-movin' of
herself. As I were a-sayin', you should have
seen that boy. If he didn't up and leave his
bread and butter and mug of milk, as he was
a-enjoyin' of as 'arty as you like, and, Look
'ere,' says he, 'giv' me the jug. I'll make
some fine drink with lemons. I see Dick do
it often up at his place. Giv' me the squeezer.
Wait till I washes my 'ands. I won't be a
minnit.' Then in he rushes into the scullery,
washes his hands, runs back again in a jiffy.
' Got any snow sugar? I mean all done fine
like snow.' I gave it him; and, sure enough,
his little hands moved that quick, he had
made the lemonade before Mary would have
squeezed a lemon. 'Where do yer buy the
cream?' he says next. 'I'll run and get it
while you picks the strawberries.' Perhaps
it wasn't right, me a trustin' him, being a
stranger, but he was that quick I couldn't say
no. Up he takes the jug, and was off; and
when I come in from the garden with the
strawberries, if he hadn't been and put all
them flowers on the things. He begs my
pardon for interfering like, and says, 'I 'ope
you'll excuse me a-doin' of it, but the woman
at the milk-shop said I might 'ave 'em; and
I see the butler where Dick lives wind the
flowers about like that, and 'ave helpedd 'im
often; and, please, I paid for the cream, be-
cause I'd got two bob of my own, Dick giv'
me on my birthday. Oh, I do 'ope, Mrs.
Cook,' he says, that the lady'll take me; I '11
serve 'er well, I will, indeed;' and then he
begins to cry and tremble, poor little chap, for
he'd been running about a lot, and never eaten
or drank what I gave him, because he wanted
to help, and it was hot in the kitchen, I sup-
pose, and he felt faint like, but there he is,
crying; and just now, when the bell rung,
which was two great big boys after the place,
he says, Oh, please say We're sooted," and
ask the lady if I may stay.' So, I've taken
the liberty, ma'am," said Cook, "for somehow
I like that little chap, and there's a deal in
him,. I do believe."
So saying, Cook retired; and, in a moment,
J. Cole was standing in her place, the blue
eyes brimming over with tears, and an eager
anxiety as to what his fate would be making
his poor little hands clutch at his coat-sleeves,
and his feet shuffle about so nervously, that
I had not the courage to grieve him by a
"Well, Joseph," I said, "I have decided to
give you a month's trial. I shall write to the
gentleman who employs your brother; and if
he speaks well of you, you may stay."
"And may I stay now, please?" he said.
May I stay before you gets any answer to
your letter to say I'm all right? I think
you'd better let me; there ain't no boy; and
Mrs. Cook and Mary'll 'ave a lot to do. I
can stay in the stable, if you don't like to
let' me be in the house, afore you writes the
"No, Joe," I replied: "you may not be a
good, honest boy, but I think you are; and
you shall stay here. Now go back to Mrs.
Wilson, and finish your milk, and eat some-
thing more if you can, then have a good rest
and a wash; they will show you where you
are to sleep, and at dinner, this evening, I
shall see if you can wait at table."
"Thank you very kindly," said the boy, his
whole face beaming with delight, "and I'll be
sure and do everything I can for you." Then
he went quickly out of the room; for I could
see he was quite overcome, now that the un-
certainty was over.
Alone once more, I reasoned with myself,
and felt I was doing an unwise thing. Just
at that time my husband was away on busi-
ness for some months; and I had no one to
advise me, and no one to say me nay either.
My conscience told me my husband would say,
"We cannot tell who this boy is, where he
has lived, or who are his associates; he may
be connected with a gang of thieves for what
we know to the contrary. Wait, and have
proper references before trusting him in the
And he would be right to say so to me, but
not every one listens to conscience when it
points the opposite way to inclination. Well,
J. Cole remained; and when I entered the din-
ing-room, to my solitary dinner, he was there,
with a face shining from soap and water, his
curls evidently soaped too, to make them go
tidily on his forehead. The former page hav-
ing left his livery jacket and trousers, Mary
had let Joe dress in them, at his earnest re-
She told me afterwards that he had sewn
up the clothes in the neatest manner wherever
they could be made smaller; and the effect
of the jacket, which he had stuffed out in
the chest with hay, as we discovered by the
perfume, was very droll. He had a great
love of bright colors, and the trousers being
large, showed bright red socks; the jacket
sleeves being much too short for the long
arms, of which he was so proud, allowed the
wristbands of a vivid blue flannel shirt to be
I was alone, so could put up with this droll
figure at my elbow; but the seriousness of
his face was such a contrast to the comicality
of the rest of him, that I found myself begin-
ning to smile every now and then, but directly
I saw the serious eyes on me, I felt obliged
to become grave at once.
The waiting at table I could not exactly
pronounce a success; for, although Joe's quick
eyes detected in an instant if I wanted any-
thing, his anxiety to be "first in the field,"
and give Mary no chance of instructing him
in his duties, made him collide against her
more than once in his hasty rushes to the
sideboard and back to my elbow with the
dishes, which he generally handed to me long
before he reached me, his long arms enabling
him to reach me with his hands while he
was yet some distance from me, and often on
the wrong side. I also noticed when I wanted
water he lifted the water-bottle on high, and
poured as though it was something requiring a
"head." Mary nearly caused a catastrophe at
that moment by frowning at him, and saying,
sotto voce, "Whatever are you doing? Is that
the way to pour out water? It ain't hale,
Joe's face became scarlet; and to hide his
confusion he seized a dish-cover, and hastily
went out of the room with it, returning in a
moment pale and serious as became one who
at heart was every inch a family butler with
Joe was quiet and sharp, quick and intelli-
gent; but I could see he was quite new to
waiting at table. To remove a dish was, I
could see, his greatest dread; and it amused
me to see the cleverness with which he man-
aged that Mary should do that part of the
When only my plate and a dish remained
to be cleared away, he would slowly get
nearer as I got towards the last morsel, and
before Mary had time, would take my plate,
and go quite slowly to the sideboard with
it, leisurely remove the knife and fork, watch-
J. COLE. 17
ing meanwhile in the mirror if Mary was
about to take the dish away; if not he would
take something outside, or bring a decanter,
and ask if I wanted wine.
I was, however, pleased to find him no
more awkward, as I feared he would have
been, and when, having swept the grate and
placed my solitary wineglass and dessert-plate
on the table, he retired, softly closing the
door after him, I felt I should make some-
thing of J. Cole, and hoped his character
would be good.
THE next morning a tastefully arranged
vase of flowers in the centre of the break-
fast-table, and one magnificent rose and bud
by my plate, were silent but eloquent appeals
to my interest on behalf of my would-be page;
and when Joe himself appeared, fresh from
an hour's self-imposed work in my garden,
I saw he had become quite one of the fam-
ily; for Bogie, my little terrier, usually very
snappish to strangers, and who considered
all boys as his natural enemies, was leaping
about his feet, evidently asking for more
games, and our old magpie was perched fa-
miliarly on his shoulder.
"Good-morning, Joe," I said. "You are
an early riser, I can see, by the work you
have already done in the garden."
"Why, yes," replied Joe, blushing, and
touching an imaginary cap; "I'm used to
bein' up. There was ever so much to do of
a morning' at 'ome; and I 'ad to 'elp father
afore I could go to be with Dick, and I was
with Dick a'most every morning' by seven, and
a good mile and a arf to walk to 'is place.
Shall I bring in the breakfast, mum? Mary's
told me what to do."
Having given permission, Joe set to work
to get through his duties, this time without
any help, and I actually trembled when I
saw him enter with a tray containing all
things necessary for my morning meal, he
looked so over-weighted; but he was quite
equal to it as far as landing the tray safely
on the sideboard. But, alas! then came the
ordeal; not one thing did poor Joe know
where to place, and stood with the coffee-
pot in his hand, undecided whether it went
before me, or at the end of the table, or
whether he was to pour out my coffee for
I saw he was getting very nervous, so took
it from him, and in order to put him at his
ease, I remarked,-
"I think, perhaps, I had better show you,
Joe, just for once, how I like my breakfast
served, for every one has little ways of their
own, you know; and you will try to do it
my way when you know how I like it,
won't you ?"
Thereupon I arranged the dishes, etc., for
him, and his big eyes followed my every
movement. The blinds wanted pulling down
a little presently, and then I began to realize
one of the drawbacks in having such a very
small boy as page. Joe saw the sun's rays
were nearly blinding me, and wanted to shut
them out; but on attempting to reach the
tassel attached to the cord, it was hopelessly
beyond his reach. In vain were the long
arms stretched to their utmost, till the sleeves
of the ex-page's jacket retreated almost to
Joe's elbows, but no use.
I watched, curious to see what he would do.
Please 'm, might I fetch an 'all chair?"
said Joe; "I'm afraid I'm not big enuf to reach
the tossle, but I won't pull 'em up so 'igh
I gave permission, and carefully the chair
was steered among my tables and china pots.
Then Joe mounted, and by means of rising on
"BY MEANS OF RISING OX THE TIPS OF HIS TOES HEI WAS ABLE
TO ACCOMPLISH THE TASK." Page 21.
the tips of his toes he was able to accomplish
the task of lowering the blinds.
I noticed at that time that Joe wore bright
red socks, and I little thought what a shock
those bright-colored hose were to give me
later on under different circumstances.
That evening I had satisfactory letters re-
garding Joe's character, and by degrees he
became used to his new home, and we to him.
His quaint sayings and wonderful love of the
truth, added to extreme cleanliness, made him
welcome in the somewhat exclusive circle in
which my housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson, reigned
Many a hearty burst of laughter came to
me from the open kitchen-window across the
garden in the leisure hour, when, the servants'
tea being over, they sat at work, while Joe
amused them with his stories and reminiscences
of the sayings and doings of his wonderful
This same Dick was evidently the one being
Joe worshipped on earth, and to keep his
promises to Dick was a sacred duty.
"You don't know our Dick, Mrs. Wilson,"
said Joe, to the old housekeeper; "if you did,
you'd understand why I no more dare go agen
wot Dick told me, than I dare put my 'and in
that 'ere fire. When I were quite a little chap,
I took some big yaller plums once, out of one
of the punnits father was a-packin' for market,
and I eat 'em. I don't know to this hour wot
made me take them plums; but I remember
they were such prime big uns, big as eggs
they was, and like lumps of gold, with a sort
of blue shade over 'em. Father were very
partikler about not 'avin' the fruit handledd and
takin' the bloom off, and told me to cover 'em
well with leaves. It was a broilin' 'ot day,
and I was tired, 'avin' been stoopin' over the
baskits since four in the morning, and as I put
the leaves over the plums I touched 'em; they
felt so lovely and cool, and looked so juicy-
like, I felt I must eat one, and I did; there
was just six on 'em, and when I'd bin and eat
one, there seemed such a empty place left in
the punnit, that I knew father'd be sure to
see it, so I eat 'em all, and then threw the
punnit to one side. Just then, father comes
up and says, Count them punnits, Dick! there
ought to be forty on 'em. Twenty picked
large for Mr. Moses, and twenty usuals for
Marts -two of our best customers they was.
Well, Dick, he counts 'em, and soon misses
one. 'Thirty-eight, thirty-nine,' he sez, and
no more; 'but 'ere's a empty punnit,' he sez.
I was standing near, feeling' awful, and wished
I'd said I'd eat the plums afore Dick begun
to count 'em, but I didn't, and after that
I couldn't. 'Joe!' sez Dick, 'I wants yer!
'Ow come this empty punnit 'ere, along of the
others? there's plums bin in it, I can see, 'cos
it's not new. Speak up, youngster!' I looked
at Dick's face, Mrs. Wilson, and his eyes
seemed to go right into my throat, and draw
the truth out of me. 'Speak up,' he sez,
a-gettin' cross; 'if you've prigged 'em, say
so, and you'll get a good hidin' from me, for
a-doin' of it; but if you tells me a lie, you'll
get such a hidin' for that as '11 make you re-
member it all your life; so speak up, say you
did it, and take your hidin' like a brick, and
if you didn't prig 'em, say who did, 'cos you
must 'av' seen 'em go.'
"I couldn't do nothing Mrs. Wilson, but
keep my 'ed down, and blubber out, Please,
Dick, I eat 'em.'
"' Oh, you did, yer young greedy, did yer,'
he sez; 'I'm glad yer didn't tell me a lie.
I've got to giv' yer a hidin', Joe; but giv'
us yer 'and, old chap, first, and mind wot I
sez to yer: Own up to it, wotever you do,"
and take your punishment; it's 'ard to bear,
but when the smart on it's over yer forgets
it; but if yer tells a lie to save herself, yer
feels the smart of that always; yer feels
ashamed of yerself whenever yer thinks of it.'
And then Dick give me a thrashin', he did,
but I never 'ollered or made a row, tho' he
hit pretty 'ard. And, Mrs. Wilson, I never
could look in Dick's face if I told a lie, and
I never shall tell one, I 'ope, as long as ever
I live. You should just see Dick, Mrs. Wil-
son, he is a one-er, he is."
"Lor' bless the boy," said Mary, the house-
maid; "why, if he isn't a-cryin' now. What-
ever's the matter? One minnit you're making'
us larf fit to kill ourselves, and then you're
nearly making' us cry with your Dick, and
your great eyes running' over like that. Now
get away, and take the dogs their supper,
and see if you can't get a bit of color in
your cheeks before you come back."
So off Joe went, and soon the frantic bark-
ing in the stable-yard showed he had begun
feeding his four-footed pets.
Time went on; it was a very quiet house-
hold just then my husband away in America,
and my friends most of them enjoying their
summer abroad, or at some seaside place -
all scattered here and there until autumn was
over, and then we were to move to town,
and spend the winter season at our house
there. I hoped my dear sister and her girls
would then join us, and, best of all, my dear
husband be home to make our circle complete.
Day by day Joe progressed in favor with
everybody; his size was always a trouble, but
his extreme good nature made everybody will-
ing to help him over his difficulties. He in-
vented all sorts of curious tools for reaching
up to .high places; and the marvels he would
perform with a long stick and a sort of claw
at the end of it were quite astonishing.
I noticed whenever I spoke of going to
town Joe did not seem to look forward to
the change with any pleasure, although he had
never been to London, he told me; but Dick
had been once with his father, and had seen
lots of strange things; among others a sad
one, that made a great impression on Dick,
and he had told the tale to Joe, so as to
have almost as great an effect on him.
It appeared that one night Dick and his
father were crossing Waterloo Bridge, and
had seen a young girl running quickly along,
crying bitterly. Dick tried to keep up with
her, and asked her what was the matter.
She told him to let her alone, that she meant
to drown herself, for she had nothing to live
for, and was sick of her life. Dick persuaded
her to tell him her grief, and heard from her
that her mother and father had both been
drowned in a steamer, and she was left with
a little brother to take care of; he had been
a great trouble to her, and had been led away
by bad companions until he became thoroughly
wicked. She had been a milliner, and had a
room of her own, and paid extra for a little
place where her brother could sleep. She fed
and clothed him out of her earnings, although
he was idle, and cruel enough to scold and
abuse her when she tried to reason with him,
and refused to let him bring his bad compan-
ions to her home. At last he stole nearly
all she had, and pawned it; and among other
things, some bonnets and caps belonging to
the people who employed her, given as pat-
terns for her to copy. These she had to pay
for, and lost her situation besides. By de-
grees all her clothes, her home, and all she
had, went for food; and then this wicked boy
left her, and the next thing she knew was
that he had been taken up with a gang of
burglars concerned in a jewel robbery. That
day she had seen him in prison, and he was
to be transported for seven years; so the poor
creature, mad with grief, was about to end
her life. Dick and his father would not
leave her until she was quiet, and promised
them she would go and get a bed and supper
with the money they gave her, and they prom-
ised to see her again the next day at a place
she named. The next morning they went to
the address, and found a crowd round the
house. Somebody said a young woman had
thrown herself out of a window, and had
been taken up dead. It was too true; and
the girl was the wretched, heart-broken sister
they had helped over night. Her grief had
been too much for her, and, poor thing, she
awoke to the light of another day, and could
not face it alone and destitute; so, despairing,
she had ended her life. They went to the
hospital, and were allowed to see all that
remained of the poor creature; and Dick's
description of it all, and his opinion that the
brother "might have been just such another
little chap at first as Joe," and "What would
that brother feel," said Dick, "when he knew
what he had done? for he done it," said Dick;
"he done that girl to death, the same as if
he'd shov'd her out of that winder hisself."
And," said Joe, I wonder if them chaps
is going' about London now wot led her brother
wrong? I don't like London; and I wish we
could stop 'ere."
I assured Joe that in London there was no
danger of meeting such people if he kept to
himself, and made no friends of strangers.
Joe was also much afraid of having to wait
at table when there were guests. In spite
of all I could do, he was hopelessly nervous
and confused when he had to wait on more
than two or three people; and as I expected
to entertain a good deal when we were in
town, I could not help fearing Joe would be
unequal to the duties.
I could not bear the idea of parting with
the little fellow, for, added to his good dis-
position, Joe, in his dark brown livery, with
gilt buttons, his neat little ties, and clean
hands; his carefully brushed curls, by this time
trained into better order, and shining like bur-
nished gold in the sun; his tiny feet, with
the favorite red socks, which he could and
did darn very neatly himself when they be-
gan to wear out (and when he bought new
ones they were always bright red),--Joe, let
me tell you, was quite an ornament in our
establishment, and the envy of several boys
living in families round about, who tried in
vain to get acquainted with him, but he would
not be friends, although he always refused
their advances with civil words.
30 J. COLE.
Sometimes a boy would linger when bring-
ing a note or message for me, and try to
draw Joe into conversation. In a few min-
utes I would hear Joe's deep voice say, "I
think you had better go on now. I've got
my work to do, and I reckon you've got yours
a-waiting for yer at your place." Then the
side-door would shut, and Joe was bustling
about his work.
IN the beginning of October we arrived in
London. There had been much packing up,
and much extra work for everybody, and Joe
was in his element.
What those long arms, and that willing
heart, and those quick little hands got through,
nobody but those he helped and worked for
could tell. Whatever was wanted Joe knew
where to find it. Joe's knife was ready to
cut a stubborn knot; Joe's shoulders ready
to be loaded with as heavy a weight as any
man could carry. More than once I met him
coming down-stairs with large boxes he himself
could almost have been packed in, and he de-
clared he did not find them too heavy.
"You see, Missis," he said, "I'm that strong
now since I've been here, with all the good
food I gets, and bein' so happy like, that I
feel almost up to carrying' anything. I do be-
lieve I could lift that there planner, if some-
body would just give it a hoist, and let me
get hold of it easy."
Yes, Joe was strong and well, and I am sure,
happy, and I had never had a single misgiv-
ing about him since he stood with his fading
flowers and shabby clothes at my window that
At last we were settled in town, and the
winter season beginning. Our house was situ-
ated in the West End of London, a little be-
yond Bayswater. One of a row of detached
houses, facing another row exactly similar in
every way, except that the backs of those we
lived in had small gardens, with each its own
stable wall at the end, with coachman's rooms
above, the front of the stable facing the mews,
and having the entrance from there; the mews
ran all along the backs of these houses. On
the opposite side the houses facing ours had
their gardens and back windows facing the
high-road, and no stables. There was a private
road belonging to this, Holling Park as it was
called, and a watchman to keep intruders out,
and to stop organ-grinders, beggars, and such
invaders of the peace from disturbing us.
Somehow I was never as comfortable as in
my snug cottage in the country. Rich, fash-
ionable people lived about us, and all day
long kept up the round of "society life."
In the morning the large handsome houses
would seem asleep, nothing moving inside or
out, except a tradesman's cart, calling for
orders, or workmen putting up or taking down
awnings, at some house where there would be,
or had been, a ball or entertainment of some
kind. About eleven a carriage or two would
be driven round from the mews, and stop be-
fore a house to take some one for a morning
drive; but very seldom was anybody on foot
seen about. In the afternoon it was differ-
ent, carriages rolled along incessantly, and
streams of afternoon callers were going and
coming from the houses when the mistress was
"at home;" and at my door, too, soon began the
usual din of bell and knocker. Joe was quite
equal to the occasion, and enjoyed Friday, the
day I received. Dressed in his very best, and
with a collar that kept his chin in what seemed
to me a fearful state of torture, but added to
his height by at least half an inch, Joe stood
behind the hall-door, ready to open it directly
the knocker was released. He ushered in the
guests as though "to the manner born," giving
out the names correctly, and with all the ease
of an experienced groom of the chambers.
The conservatory leading out of the drawing-
room was Joe's especial pride; it was his great
pleasure to syringe the hanging baskets, and
attend to the ferns and plants. Many shillings
from his pocket-money were spent in little sur-
prises for me in the form of pots of musk,
maiden-hair, or anything he could buy; his
wages were all sent home, and he only kept
for his own whatever he had given to him, and
sometimes a guest would "tip" him more
generously than I liked, for his bright eyes
and ready hands were always at everybody's
After my husband's return home, who from
the first became Joe's especial care, as to
boots, brushing of clothes, etc., it became ne-
cessary to give two or three dinner-parties,
and I must confess I felt nervous as to how
Joe would acquit himself.
In our dining-room was a very large bear-
skin rug, and the floor being polished oak,
it was dangerous to step on this rug, for it
would slip away from the feet on the smooth
surface, and even the dogs avoided it, so
many falls had they met with upon it.
The first day of
had my sister and
been talking about
My husband had
of my page, and
my husband's arrival we
a friend to dine, and had
Joe in the few moments
been laughing at the size
scolding me a little, or
to do so, for taking a
"Little woman," he said, "don't be sur-
prised if one night a few country burglars
make us a visit, and renew their acquaint-
ance with Mr. J. Cole."
"You don't know Joe," I replied, "or you
would never say that."
"Do you know him so well, little wife?"
said my dear sensible husband; "remember
he has only been in our service six months.
In the country he had very little of value
in his hands, but here, it seems to me, he
has too much. All the plate, and indeed
everything of value, is in his pantry, and he
is a very young boy to trust. One of the
women servants should take charge of the
plate-chest, I think. Where does this para-
"Down-stairs," I said, "next to the kitchen,
at the back of the house; and you should
see how carefully every night he looks to
the plate-basket, counts everything, and then
asks Mrs. Wilson to see it is right, locks
it up, and gives her the key to take care of.
No one can either open or carry away an
iron safe easily, and there is nothing else
worth taking; besides, I know Joe is honest,
I feel it."
"Well, I hope so, dear," was my husband's
reply, but I could see he was not quite com-
fortable about it.
At dinner that day Joe had an accident;
he was dreadfully nervous, as usual, and when
waiting, he forgot to attend to my guests
first, but always came to me. The parlor-
maid, a new one, and not a great favorite
with Joe, made matters worse by correcting
him in an audible voice; and once, when
JOe MlIEETS WITH A, ACCIm-Nr..- Page 37.
, f ~.
somebody wanted oyster-sauce, she told Joe
to hand it. The poor boy, wishing to obey
quickly, forgot to give the bear-skin a wide
berth, slipped on it, and in a moment had
fallen full length, having in his fall deposited
the contents of the sauce-tureen partly into
a blue leather armchair, and the rest onto
my sister's back.
The boy's consternation was dreadful. I
could see he was completely overcome with
fright and sorrow for what he had done. He
got up, and all his trembling lips could say
was, "Oh, please, I'm so sorry; it was the
bear as tripped me up. I am so very sorry.
Even my husband could scarcely keep from
smiling, the sorrow was so genuine, the sense
of shame so true.
"There, never mind, Joe," he said kindly;
"you must be more careful. Now run and
get a sponge, and do the best you can with
After that Joe had the greatest terror of
that treacherous skin, and I heard him tell-
ing the parlor-maid about it.
"You mind," he said, "or that bear'll ketch
'old of yer. I shan't forget how he ketched
'old of my leg that day and knocked me over;
so you'd better take care, and not go nigher
.than you can 'elp. He's always a-lookin' out
to ketch yer, but he won't 'ave me no more,
I can tell him."
This fall of Joe's made him still more ner-
vous of waiting at table, and at last, when he
had made some very serious mistakes, I had
to speak to him and tell him I was afraid, if
he did not soon learn to wait better, I must
send him away, for his master was annoyed
at the mistakes he made, such as pouring port
instead of sherry, giving cold plates when hot
ones were required, handing dishes on the
wrong side, etc.
My little lecture was listened to quietly and
humbly, and Joe had turned to go away,
when, to my surprise and distress, he sud-
denly burst into a perfect passion of tears
"I will try and learn myself," he said, as
well as his sobs would let him, "indeed, I
will. I know I'm stoopid. I sez to myself
every time company comes, I'll mind wot I'm
about, and remember dishes left-'anded, pour-
in's out right, sherry wine's yeller, and port
wine afterwards with the nuts, grapes, and
things; and the cruits when there's fish, and
begin with the strangerest lady next to mas-
ter's side, and 'elp missus last.' I knows it
all, but when they're all sitting' down, and
everybody wantin' something I don't know
if Jane's a-goin' to giv' it 'em, or I am;
and I gets stoopid, and my 'ands shakes, and
somehow I can't do nothing ; but please don't
send me away. I do like you and the mas-
ter. I'll ask Jane to learn me better. You
see if I don't. Oh, please 'm, say you'll try
What could I say but "yes," and for a
day or two Joe did better, but we were a small
party, and the waiting was easy; but shortly
we were to have a large dinner-party, and
as the time drew near, Joe became quite pale
About this time, too, I had been awakened
at night by curious sounds down-stairs, as of
somebody moving about, and once I heard
an unmistakable fall of some heavy article.
My husband assured me it was nothing alarm-
ing, and he went down-stairs, but could neither
hear or see anything unusual. All was quiet.
Another night I felt sure I heard sounds
down-stairs; and in spite of my husband's ad-
vice to remain still, I called Mrs. Wilson, and
entreated her to come down to the kitchen-
floor with me. It was so very easy, I knew,
for anybody to enter the house from the back,
and there being a deep area all round, they
could work away with their tools at the
ground-floor back windows unseen. Any one
could get on the top of the stable from the
mews, drop into the garden, and be safe; for
the watchman and policeman were on duty in
the front of the house only, the back was
quite unprotected. True, there were iron bars
to Joe's window and the kitchen, but iron
bars could be sawed through, and I lived in
dread of burglars.
This night Mrs. Wilson and I went softly
down, and as we neared the kitchen stairs, I
heard a voice say in a whisper, "Make haste "
"There, Mrs. Wilson, did you hear that ? "
I said. "Was that imagination? "
No, ma'am," she replied; "there's some-
body talking, and I believe it's in Joe's room.
Let us go up and fetch the master."
So we returned up-stairs, and soon my hus-
band stood with us at the door of Joe's
Open the door, Joe! cried my husband.
"Who have you got there?"
"Nobody, please, sir," said a trembling voice.
"Open the door at once!" said the mas-
ter, and in a moment it was opened. Joe
stood there very pale, but with no sort of fear
in his face. There was nobody in the room,
and as Joe had certainly been in bed, we con-
cluded he must have talked in his sleep, and,
perhaps, walked about also, for what we knew.
The day before the dinner-party, Cook came
and told me she felt sure there was something
wrong with Joe. He was so changed from
what he used to be; there was no getting
him to wake in the morning, and he seemed
so heavy with sleep, as if he had no rest at
night. Also Cook had proofs of his having
been in her kitchen after he was supposed
to have gone to bed; chairs were moved, and
several things not where she had left them.
She had asked Joe, and he replied he did go
into the kitchen, but would not say what for.
I did not like to talk to Joe that day, so
decided to wait till after the dinner, and I
would then insist on the mystery being cleared
up. I knew Joe would tell the truth; my
trust was unshaken, although circumstances
seemed against him.
That night Mrs. Wilson came to my door,
and said she was sure Joe was at his night-
work again, for she could see from her bedroom
window a light reflected on the stable wall,
which must be in his room.
"How can we find out," I said, "what he
is doing ?"
"That is easily done," said my husband.
"We can go out at the garden-door, and down
the steps leading from the garden into the
area; they are opposite his window. We can
look through the venetian blinds, if they are
down, and see for ourselves. He won't be
able to see us."
Accordingly, having first wrapped up in
our furs, we went down, and were soon at
"HERE WYAS THE SOLUTION OF THE MYSTERY."-Page 44,
Joe's window, standing in the area that sur-
rounded the house. The laths of the blind
were some of them open, and between them
we saw distinctly all over the room.
At first we could not understand the strange
sight that met our gaze.
In the middle of Joe's room was a table,
spread with a cloth, and on it saucers from
flower-pots, placed at intervals down each side;
before each saucer a chair was placed, and in
the centre of the table a high basket, from
which a Stilton cheese had been unpacked
that morning,- this was evidently to represent
a tall 4pergne. On Joe's wash-stand were
several bottles, a jug, and by each flower-pot
saucer two vessels of some kind by one,
two jam-pots of different sizes; by another, a
broken specimen glass and a teacup-and so
on; and from chair to chair moved Joe, softly
but quickly, on tiptoe, now with bottles which
contained water. We could see his lips move,
and concluded he was saying something to
imaginary persons, for he would put a jam-
pot on his tray, and pour into it from the
bottle, and then replace it. Sometimes he
would go quickly to his bed, which we saw
represented the dinner-wagon, or sideboard,
and bring imaginary dishes from there and
hand them. Then he would go quickly from
chair to chair, always correcting himself if he
went to the wrong side, and talking all the
time softly to himself. So here was the so-
lution of the mystery; here melted into air
the visions of Joe in league with midnight
The poor boy, evidently alarmed at the
prospect of the dinner-party, and feeling that
he must try to improve in waiting at table
before that time somehow, had stolen all those
hours nightly from his rest, to practise with
whatever substitutes were at hand for the
usual table requisites.
Here every night, when those who had
worked far less during the day were soundly
sleeping, had that anxious, striving little heart
shaken off fatigue, and the big blue eyes re-
fused to yield to sleep, in order to fight with
the nervousness that alone prevented his will-
ing hands acting with their natural clever-
ness. I felt a choking in my throat, when I
saw the thin, pale little face, that should
have been on the pillow hours before, lighted
up with triumph as the supposed guests de-
parted; the dumb show of folding the dinner
napkins belonging to myself and the master,
and putting them in their respective rings,
told us the ordeal was over. What a weird
scene it was,-the dim light, the silent house,
the spread table, and the empty chairs! One
could imagine ghostly revellers, visible only
to that one fragile attendant, who ministered
so willingly to their numerous wants. The
sort of nervous thrill that heralds hysterical
attacks was rapidly overcoming me, and I
whispered to my husband, "Let us go now;"
but he lingered yet a few seconds, and silently
drew my attention again to the window.
Joe was on his knees by his bedside, his
face hidden in his hands. What silent prayer
was ascending to the Throne of Grace, who
shall say? I only know that it were well
if many a kneeling worshipper in "purple
and fine linen" could feel as sure of being
heard as Joe did when, his victory won, he
knelt, in his humble servant's garb, and said
his prayers that night in spite of the aching
head and weary limbs that needed so badly
the few hours' rest that remained before six
o'clock, the time Joe always got up.
Silently we stole away, and in my mind
from that moment my faith in Joe never
wavered. Not once, in spite of sad events
that came to pass later on, when even I, his
staunchest friend, had to recall to memory
that kneeling little form in the silence of
the night, alone with his God, in order to
stifle the cruel doubts of his truth that were
forced upon us all by circumstances I must
The famous dinner passed off well. Joe
was splendid ; his midnight practice had
brought its reward, and he moved about so
swiftly, and anticipated everybody's wants so
well, that some of my friends asked me
where I got such a treasure of a page; he
must have had a good butler or footman to
teach him, they said; he is evidently used
to waiting on many guests. I was proud of
The next day he came to me with more
than a sovereign in silver, and told me the
gentlemen had been so very kind to him,
"and a'most every one had given him some-
thin', tho' lie never arst, or waited about, as
some fellers did, as if they wouldn't lose
sight of a gent till he paid 'em. But," said
Joe, "they would giv' it me; and one gent,
he follered me right up the passage, he did,
and sez, 'Ere, you small boy,' he sez, and
he give me a whole 'arf-crown. Whatever for,
I don't know."
But I knew that must have been Dr. Lo-
ring, a celebrated physician, and my husband's
dearest friend. We had told him about Joe's
midnight self-teaching, and he had been much
interested in the story.
You little thought, Joe, the hand that
patted your curly head so kindly that night
would one day hold your small wrist, and
count its feeble life-pulse beating slowly and
yet more slowly, while we, who loved you,
should watch the clever, handsome face, try-
ing in vain to read there the blessed word
AND now I must confess to those for
surely there will be a few-who have felt
a little interest, so far, in the fortunes of J.
Cole, that a period in my story has arrived
when I would fain lay down my pen, and
not awaken the sleeping past, to recall the
sad trouble that befell him.
I am almost an old woman now, and all
this happened many years ago, when my hair
was golden instead of silver. I was younger
in those days, and now am peacefully and
hopefully waiting God's good time for my
summons. Troubles have been my lot, many
and hard to bear. Loss of husband, children,
dear, good friends, many by death, and some
troubles harder even than those, the loss of
trust, and bitter awakening to the ingratitude
and worthlessness of those in whom I have
trusted, -all these I have endured. Yet time
and trouble have not sufficiently hardened
my heart that I can write of what follows
Christmas was over, and my dear husband
again away for some months. As soon as I
could really say, "Spring is here," we were to
leave London for our country home; and Joe
was constantly talking to Mrs. Wilson about
his various pets, left behind in the gardener's
care. There was an old jackdaw, an especial
favorite of his, a miserable owl, too, who
had met with an accident, resulting in the loss
of an eye; a more evil-looking object than
" Cyclops," as my husband christened him,
I never saw. Sometimes on a dark night this
one eye would gleam luridly from out the
shadowy recesses of the garden, and an un-
earthly cry of "Hoo-oo-t," fall on the ear,
enough to give one the "creeps for a hour,"
as Mary, the housemaid, said. But Joe loved
Cyclops, or rather Cloppy," as he called him;
and the bird hopped after Joe about the gar-
den, as if he quite returned the feeling.
All our own dogs, and two or three maimed
ones, and a cat or two, more or less hideous,
and indebted to Joe's mercy in rescuing them
from traps, snares, etc., all these creatures
were Joe's delight. Each week the gardener's
boy wrote a few words to Joe of their health
and wonderful doings, and each week Joe faith-
fully sent a shilling, to be laid out in food for
them. Then there was Joe's especial garden,
also a sort of hospital, or convalescent home
rather, where many blighted, unhealthy-looking
plants and shrubs, discarded by the gardener,
and cast aside to be burnt on the weed-heap,
had been rescued by Joe, patiently nursed
and petted as it were into life again by con-
stant care and watching, and, after being kept
in pots a while, till they showed, by sending
forth some tiny shoot or bud, that the sap of
life was once more circulating freely, were then
planted in the sheltered corner he called "his
What treasures awaited him in this small
square of earth. What bunches of violets he
would gather for the Missis; and his longing
to get back to his various pets, and his garden,
was the topic of conversation on many a long
evening between Joe and Mrs. Wilson.
Little Bogie, the fox-terrier, was the only
dog we had with us in town, and Bogie hated
London. After the quiet country life, the in-
cessant roll of carriages, tramping of horses,
and callings of coachmen, shrill cab-whistles,
and all the noises of a fashionable neighbor-
hood at night during a London season, were
most objectionable to Bogie; he could not rest,
and often Joe got out of bed in the night, and
took him in his arms, to prevent his waking
all of us, with his shrill barking at the un-
As I have said before, I am very nervous,
and the prospect of spending several more
weeks in the big London house, without my
husband, was far from pleasant; so I invited
my widowed sister and her girls to stay with
me some time longer, and made up my mind
to banish my fears, and think of nothing but
that the dark nights would be getting shorter
and shorter, and meanwhile our house was
well protected, as far as good strong bolts
and chains could do so.
One night I felt more nervous than usual.
I had expected a letter from America for some
days past, and none had arrived. On this
evening I knew the mail was due, and I waited
anxiously for the last ring of the postman at
ten o'clock; but I was doomed to listen in
vain. There was the sharp, loud ring next
door, but not at ours; and I went to my room
earlier than the others, really to give way to
a few tears that I could not control.
I sat by my bedroom fire, thinking, and, I
am afraid, conjuring up all sorts of terrible
reasons for my dear husband's silence, until I
must have fallen asleep, for I awoke chilly
and cramped from the uncomfortable posture
I had slept in. The fire was out, and the
house silent as the grave; not even a car-
riage passing to take up some late guest. I
looked at the clock, half-past three, and then
from my window. It was that "darkest hour
before dawn," and I hurried into bed, and
endeavored to sleep ; but no, I was hopelessly
wide awake. No amount of counting, or men-
tal exercise on the subject of "sheep going
through a hedge," had -any effect, and I found
myself lying awake, listening. Yes, I knew
that I was listening for something that I should
hear before long, but I did not know what.
"Hark! what was that?" a sudden thud,
as if something had fallen somewhere in the
house; then silence, except for the loud beat-
ing of my heart, that threatened to suffocate
me. "Nonsense," I said to myself, "I am
foolishly nervous to-night. It is nothing
here, or Bogie would bark;" so I tried again
to sleep. Hush! Surely that was a footstep
going up or down the stairs! I could not
endure the agony of being alone any longer,
but would go to my sister's room, just across
the landing, and get her to come and stay
the rest of the night with me. I put on my
slippers and dressing-gown, and opening my
door, came face to face with my sister, who
was coming to me.
"Let me come in," she said, "and don't
let us alarm the girls ; but I feel certain some-
thing is going on down-stairs. Bogie barked
furiously an hour ago, and then was suddenly
That must have been when I was asleep,"
I replied; "but no doubt Joe heard him, and
has taken him in."
"That may be," said my sister, "but I
have kept on hearing queer noises at the
back of the house; they seemed in Joe's room
at first. Come and listen yourself on the
It is strange, but true, that many persons,
horribly nervous at the thought of danger,
find all their presence of mind in full force
when actually called upon to face it. So it
is with me, and so it was on that night. I
stood on the landing, and listened, and in a
few moments heard muffled sounds down-stairs,
like persons moving about stealthily.
There is certainly somebody down there,
Nelly," I said to my sister, and they are
down in the basement. If we could creep
down quietly and get into the drawing-room,
we might open the window and call the watch-
man or policeman; both are on duty until
"But think," said my sister, "of the fright
of the girls if they hear us, and find they are
left alone. The servants, too, will scream, and
rush about, as they always do. Let us go
down and make sure there are thieves, and
then see what is best to be done. The door
at the top of the kitchen stairs is locked, so
they must be down there; and perhaps if we
could get the watchman to come in quietly,
we might catch them in a trap, by letting him
through the drawing-room, and into the con-
servatory. He could get into the garden from
there, and as they must have got in that way
from the mews, over the stable wall, and
through the garden, they would try to escape
the same way, and the watchman would be
waiting for them, and cut off their retreat."
I agreed, and we stole down-stairs into the
drawing-room, where we locked ourselves in,
then very gently and carefully drew 'up one
of the side blinds of the bay window. The
morning had begun to break, and everything
in the wide road was distinctly visible. In the
distance I could see the policeman on duty,
but on the opposite side, and going away from
our house instead of towards it. He would
turn the corner at the top of the road, and
go past the houses parallel with the backs of
our row, and then appear at the opposite end
of the park, and come along our side; there
was no intermediate turning- nothing but an
unbroken row of about forty detached houses
facing each other.
What could we do? I dared not wait until
the policeman came back; quite twenty min-
utes must pass before then, and day being so
near at hand, the light was increasing every
moment, and the burglars would surely not
leave without visiting the drawing-room and
dining-room, and would perhaps murder us
to save themselves from detection.
If I could only attract the policeman's at-
tention, but how?
My sister was close to the door listening,
and every instant we dreaded hearing them
coming up the kitchen stairs. I could not
understand Bogie not barking, and Joe not
waking, for where I was I could distinctly
hear the men moving about in the pantry
"I wonder," I said to my sister, "if I could
put something across from this balcony to the
stonework by the front steps? It seems such
a little distance, and if I could step across,
I could open the front gate in an instant, and
run after the policeman. I shall try."
"You will fall and kill yourself," my sister
said; "the space is much wider than you
But I was determined to try; for if I let
that policeman go out of sight, what horrors
might happen in the twenty minutes before
he would come back.
The idea of one of the girls waking and
calling out, or Joe waking and being shot or
stabbed, gave me a feeling of desperation, as
though I alone could and must save them.
Luckily the house was splendidly built,
every window-sash sliding noiselessly and
easily in its groove. I opened the one near-
est to the hall door steps, and saw that the
stone ledge abutted to within about two feet
of the low balcony of the window; but I
was too nervous to trust myself to spring
across even that distance. At that moment
my sister whispered: -
"I hear somebody coming up the kitchen
Desperately I cast my eyes round the room
for something to bridge the open space, that
would bear my weight, if only for a mo-
ment. The fender-stool caught my eye; that
might do, it was strong, and more than long
enough. In an instant we had it across, and
I was out of the window and down the front
As I turned the handle of the heavy iron
gate, I looked down at the front kitchen
window. A man stood in the kitchen, and
he looked up and saw me -such a horrible-
looking ruffian, too. Fear lent wings to my
feet, and I flew up the road. The watchman
was just entering the park from the opposite
end; he saw me, and sounded his whistle;
the policeman turned and ran towards me.
I was too exhausted to speak, and he caught
me, just as, having gasped "Thieves at 50!"
(the number of our house), I fell forward in
a dead swoon.
When I recovered, I was lying on my own
bed, my sister, the scared servants, and the
policeman, all around me. From them I
heard that directly the man in the kitchen
caught sight of me, he warned his companion,
who was busy forcing the lock of the door
at the head of the kitchen stairs, and my
sister heard them both rushing across the
garden, where they had a ladder against the
stable-wall. They must have pulled this up
after them, and tossed it into the next garden,
where it was found, to delay pursuit. The
park-keeper had, after sounding his whistle,
rushed to our house, got in at the window,
and ran to the door at the top of the kitchen
stairs, but it was quite impossible to open it;
the burglars had cleverly left something in
the lock when disturbed, and the key would
not turn. He then went through the drawing-
room into the conservatory, where a glass
door opened on the garden; but by the time
the heavy sliding glass panel was unfastened,
and the inner door unbolted, the men had
disappeared. They took with them much less
than they hoped to have done, for there were
parcels and packets of spoons, forks, and a
case of very handsome gold salt-cellars, a mar-
riage gift, always kept in a baize-lined chest
in the pantry, the key of which I retained,
and which chest was supposed until now to
be proof against burglars; the lock had been
burnt all round with some instrument, most
likely a poker heated in the gas, and then
forced inwards from the burnt woodwork.
How was it," I asked, Joe did not wake
during all this, or Bogie bark?"
As I asked the question, I noticed that my
sister turned away; and Mrs. Wilson, after
vainly endeavoring to look unconcerned, threw
her apron suddenly over her head, and burst
What is the matter? I said, sitting up;
" what are you all hiding from me? Send
Joe to me; I will learn the truth from him."
At this the policeman came forward, and
then I heard that Joe was missing, his room
was in great disorder, and one of his shoes,
evidently dropped in his hurry, had been
found in the garden, near some spoons thrown
down by the thieves; his clothes were gone,
so he evidently had dressed himself after pre-
tending to go to bed as usual; his blankets
and sheets were taken away, used no doubt,
the policeman said, to wrap up the stolen
"Is it possible," I asked, that you sus-
pect Joe is in league with these burglars ?"
S"Well, mum," said the man, "it looks
queer, and very like it. He slept down-stairs
close to the very door where they got in;
he never gives no alarm, he must have been
expecting something, or else why was he
dressed? And how did his shoe come in the
garden? And what's more to the point, if
so be as he's innercent, where is he? These
young rascals is that artful, you'd be sur-
prised to know the dodges they're up to."
"But," I interrupted, "it is impossible, it
is cruel to suspect him. He is gone, true
enough, but I'm sure he will come back. Per-
haps he ran after the men to try and catch
them, and dropped his shoe then."
"That's not likely, mum," said he, with a
pitying smile at my ignorance of circumstan-
tial evidence; "he'd have called out to stop
'em, and it 'aint likely they'd have let him
get up their ladder, afore chucking of it into
the next garden, if so be as he was a-chasing
of 'em to get 'em took. No, mar'm; I'm very
sorry, particular as you seem so kindly dis-
posed; but, in my humble opinion, he's a art-
ful young dodger, and this 'ere job has been
planned ever so long, and he's connived at it,
and has hooked it along with his pals. I
knows 'em, but we'll soon nab him; and if
so be as you'll be so kind as to let me take
down in writing' all you knows about J. Cole,'
which is his name, I'm informed, where you
took him from, his character, and previous
career, it will help considerable in laying
hands on him; and when he's found we'll
soon find his pals."
Of course, I told all I knew about Joe.
I felt positive he would come back, perhaps
in a few minutes, to explain everything.
Besides, there was Bogie, too. Why should
he take Bogie? The policeman suggested
that "perhaps the dawg foller'd him, and he
had taken it along with him, to prevent being
traced by its means."
At length, all this questioning being over,
the household settled down into a sort of
strange calm. It seemed to us days since we
had said "Good-night," and sought our rooms
on that night, and yet it was only twenty-
four hours ago; in that short time how
much had taken place! On going over all
the plate, etc., we missed many more things;
and Mrs. Wilson, whose faith in Joe's hon-
esty never wavered, began to think the poor
boy might have been frightened at having
slept through the robbery; and as he was so
proud of having the plate used every day in
his charge, when he discovered it had been
stolen, he might have feared we should blame
him so much for it, that he had run away
home to his people in his fright, meaning
to ask his father, or his adored Dick, to
return to me and plead for him. I thought,
too, this was possible, for I knew how terri-
bly he would reproach himself for letting
anything in his care be stolen. I therefore
made up my mind to telegraph to his father
at once; but, not to alarm him, I said: -
Is Joe with you? Have reason to think
he has gone home. Answer back."
The answer came some hours after, for in
those small villages communication was diffi-
cult. The reply ran thus: -
"We have not seen Joe; if he comes to-
night will write at once. Hoping there is
So that surmise was a mistake, for Joe had
money, and would go by train if he went
home, and be there in two hours.
All the household sat up nearly all that
night, or rested uncomfortably on sofas and
armchairs; we felt too unsettled to go to bed,
though worn out with suspense, and the
previous excitement and fright. Officials and
detectives came and went during the even-
ing, and looked about for traces of the rob-
bers, and before night a description of the
stolen things, and a most minute one of Joe,
were posted outside the police-stations, and
all round London for miles. A reward of
twenty pounds was offered for Joe, and my
heart ached to know there was a hue and
cry after him like a common thief.
What would the old parents think? and
how would Dick feel?- Dick whose good
counsels and careful training had made Joe
what I knew he was, in spite of every sus-
The next day I still felt sure he would
come, and I went down into the room where
he used to sleep, and saw Mrs. Wilson had
put all in order, and fresh blankets and
sheets were on the little bed, all ready for
him. So many things put me in mind of the
loving, gentle disposition. A little flower-
vase I valued very much had been broken
by Bogie romping with one of my nieces, and
knocking it down. It was broken in more
than twenty pieces; and after I had patiently
tried to mend it myself, and my nieces,
with still greater patience, had had their
turn at it, we had given it up as a bad job,
and thought it had long ago gone onto the
There were some shelves on the wall of
Joe's room where his treasures were kept;
and on one of these shelves, covered with an
old white handkerchief, was a little tray con-
taining the vase, a bottle of cement, and a
camel's-hair brush. The mending was finished,
all but two or three of the smallest pieces,
and beautifully done; it must have taken
time, and an amount of patience that put my
efforts and those of the girls to shame; but
Joe's was a labor of love, and did not weary
him. He would probably have put it in its
usual place one morning, when mended, and
said nothing about it until I found it out,
and then confessed, in his own queer way,
"Please, I knew you was sorry it was broke,
and so I mended it;" then he would have
hurried away, flushed with pleasure at my
few words of thanks and praise.
On the mantelpiece were more of Joe's treas-
ures, four or five cheap photographs, the
subjects quite characteristic of Joe. One of
them was a religious subject, "The Shepherd
with a little lamb on his shoulders." A silent
prayer went up from my heart that some-
where that same Good Shepherd was finding
lost Joe, and bringing him safely back to us.
There were some pebbles he had picked up
during a memorable trip to Margate with Dick,
a year before I saw him; which pebbles he
firmly believed were real "aggits," and had
promised to have them polished soon, and made
into brooch and earrings for Mrs. Wilson.
There was a very old-fashioned photograph
of myself that I had torn in half, and thrown
into the waste-paper basket. I saw this had
been carefully joined together and enclosed
in a cheap frame--the only one that could
boast of being so preserved. I suppose Joe
could only afford one frame, and his sense
of the fitness of things made him choose the
Missis' picture to be first honored.
How sad I felt looking round the room!
People may smile at my feeling so sad and
concerned about a servant, a common, low-
born page-boy. Ay, smile on, if you will,
but tell me, my friend, can you say, if you
were in Joe's position at that time, with cir-
cumstantial evidence so strong against you,
poor and lowly as he was, are there four or
five, or even two or three of your friends who
would believe in you, stand up for you, and
trust in you, in spite of all, as we did for
I had gone up to my sitting-room, after
telling Mary to light the fire in poor Joe's
room, and let it look warm and cosey; for I
had some sort of presentiment that I should
see the poor boy again very soon how, I
knew not, but I have all my life been subject
to spiritual influences, and have seldom been
mistaken in them.
We were all thinking of going early to rest,
for since the robbery none of us had had any
real sleep. Suddenly the front door-bell rang
timidly, as if the visitor were not quite sure
of its being right to pull the handle.
"Perhaps that's Joe," said my sister.
But I knew Joe would not ring that bell.
We heard Mary open the door, and a man's
voice ask if Mr. Aylmer lived there.
"Yes," said Mary, "but he is abroad; but
you can see Mrs. Aylmer."
Then came a low murmuring of voices, and
Mary came in, saying: -
"Oh, ma'am, it's Dick, Joe's brother; and
he says may he see you?"
Send him in here at once," I replied.
And in a moment Dick stood before me -
Dick, Joe's beau-ideal of all that was good,
noble, and to be admired. I must say the
mind-picture I had formed of Dick was totally
unlike the reality. I had expected to see a
sunburnt, big fellow, with broad shoulders and
The real Dick was a thin, delicate-looking
young man, with a pale face, and black straight
hair. He stood with his hat in his hand, look-
ing down as if afraid to speak.
"Oh, pray come in," I cried, going forward
to meet him. "I know who you are. Oh,
have you brought me any news of poor Joe?
We are all his friends here, his true friends,
and you must let us be yours too in this
trouble. Have you seen him?"
At my words the bowed head was lifted up,
and then I saw Dick's face as it was. If ever
truth, honor, and generosity looked out from
the windows of a soul, they looked out of
those large blue eyes of Dick's--eyes so ex-
actly like Joe's in expression, that the black
lashes instead of the fair ones seemed wrong
God bless you, lady, for them words," said
Dick; and before I could prevent it, he had
knelt at my feet, caught my hand and pressed
it to his lips, while wild sobs broke from him.
"Forgive me," he said, rising to his feet,
and leaning with one hand on the back of a
chair, his whole frame shaking with emotion.
"Forgive me for givin' way like this; but
I've seen them papers about our Joe, and I
know what's being thought of him, and I've
come here ashamed to see you, thinking' you
believed as the rest do, that Joe robbed you
after all your goodness to him. Why, lady,
I tell you, rather than I'd believe that of my
little lad, as I thrashed till my heart almost
broke to hear him sob, for the only lie as he
ever told in all his life; if I could believe it,
I'd take father's old gun and end my life, for
I'd be a beast, not fit to live any longer. And
I thought you doubted him too; but now I
hear you say you're his friend, and believes in
him, and don't think he robbed you, I know
now there's good folks in the world, and
there's mercy and justice, and it ain't all
wrong, as I'd come a'most to think as it was,
when I first know'd about this 'ere."
'"Sit down, Dick," I said, "and recover
yourself, and let us see what can be done. I
will tell you all that has happened, and then
perhaps you can throw some light on Joe's
conduct-you who know him so well."
Dick sat down, and shading his eyes with
his hand that his tears might not betray his
weakness any more, he listened quietly while
I went over all the events of that dreadful
When I had finished, Dick sat for some
moments quite silent, then with a weary ges-
ture, passing his hand across his forehead, he
remarked sadly: -
"I can't make nothing of it; it's a thing
beyond my understanding. I'm that dazed
like, I can't see nothing' straight. However,
what I've got to do is to find Joe, and that
I mean to do; if he's alive I'll find him, and
then let him speak for hisself. I don't believe
he's done nothing wrong, but if he has done
ever so little or ever so much, he'll 'own up
to it whatever it is,' that's what Joe'll do. I
told him to lay by them words and hold to
'em, and I'll lay my life he'll do as I told
him. I've got a bed down Marylebone way,
at my aunt's what's married to a policeman;
I'm to stay there, and I'll have a talk with
'em about this and get some advice. I know
Joe's innercent, and why don't he come and
say so? But I'll find him."
I inquired about the old people, and how
they bore their trial.
"Father's a'most beside hisself," said Dick;
"and only that he's got to keep mother in
the dark about this, he'd have come with me;
but mother, she's a-bed with rheumatics, and
doctor told father her heart was weak-like,
and she mustn't be told, or it would p'raps
kill her. She thinks a deal of Joe, does
mother, being the youngest, and always such
a sort of lovin' little chap he were." And
here Dick's voice broke again, and I made
him go down to Mrs. Wilson, and have some
refreshment before leaving, and he promised
to see me again the first thing in the morn-
ing, when he had talked to his friend, the
Scarcely had Dick gone, when a loud, and
this time firm ring, announced another visi-
tor, and in a cab, too, I could hear. Evidently
there was no going to rest early that night,
as ten o'clock was then striking.
Soon, to my surprise, I heard a well-known
voice, and Mary announced Dr. Loring, my
husband's old friend, of whom I have already
"Well, my dear," he cried, in his pleasant,
cheerful voice, that in itself seemed to lift
some of the heaviness from my heart, "are
you not astonished to see me at such an
"Astonished, certainly," I replied; but
very, very glad. You are always welcome;
and more than ever now, when we are in
trouble and sorrow. Do sit down, and stay
with me awhile."
"Yes, I will, for an hour, gladly," he said.
"But there's something outside that had bet-
ter be brought in first. You know I've only
just arrived from Devonshire, and there are
two barrels of Devonshire apples on that cab,
one for you, and one for the wife, that is
why you see me here; for I thought it would
not be ten minutes out of my road to pass
by here, and leave them with you, and so
save the trouble of sending them by carrier
I rang for Mary, and the doctor suggested
the apples being put somewhere where the
smell of them could not penetrate up-stairs;
for, as he truly remarked, "Though a fine ripe
pippin is delicious to eat at breakfast or lun-
cheon, the smell of them shut up in a house
I dare say Mrs. Wilson will find a place
in the basement," I said; "for we don't use
half the room there is down there."
Having ordered the barrel to be stowed
away, I soon settled my visitor comfortably
in an armchair by the fire, with a cup of
his favorite cocoa by his side.
"And now, my dear," said he, "tell me
about this burglary that has taken place, and
which has made you look as if you wanted
me to take care of you a while, and bring back
some color to your pale cheeks. And what
about this boy? Is it the same queer little
fellow who chose midnight to play his pranks
in once before? I'm not often deceived in
a face, and I thought his was an honest one.
"So it was," I interrupted; "don't say a
word until I've told you all, and you will "-
I had scarcely begun speaking, when a suc-
cession of the most fearful screams arose from
down-stairs, each rising louder and louder, in
the extreme of terror. My sister, who had
"IT WAS JOE, WITHi HIS POOR LIMBS BOUND WITH CRUEL
ROPE." -Page 76.
gone to her room, rushed down to me; the
girls, in their dressing-gowns, just as they
were preparing for bed, followed, calling out,
"Auntie! 0 Auntie! what is it? Who is
screaming? What can be the matter?"
Hardly were they in the room when Mary
rushed in, ghastly, her eyes staring, and in a
voice hoarse with terror, gasped out, Come!
come! he's found! he's murdered! I saw
him. He's lying in the cellar, with his throat
cut. Oh, it's horrible!" Then she began to
The doctor tried to hold me back, but I
broke from him, and ran down-stairs, where
I could find no one; all was dark in the
kitchens, but there was a light in the area,
and I was soon there, followed by Dr. Lo-
By the open cellar-door stood Mrs. Wilson,
and the cabman with her. Directly she saw
me, she called out, "Oh, dear mistress, don't
you come here; it's not a sight for you.
Take her away, Dr. Loring, she musn't see it."
What is it ? I cried ; Mary says it's "-
I could not say the words, but seizing the
candle from Mrs. Wilson's hand, I went into
The good doctor was close to me, with
more light, by the aid of which we beheld,
in the far corner, facing us, what seemed to
be a bundle of blankets, from which pro-
truded a head, a horrible red stream surround-
ing it, and flowing, as it were, from the open
mouth. One second brought me close. It
was Joe Joe, with his poor limbs bound
with cruel ropes, and in his moutth for a gag
they had forced one of those bright red socks
he would always wear. Thank God, it was
only that red sock, and not the horrible red
stream I had feared. He was dead, of course;
but not such a fearful death as that.
The doctor soon pulled the horrid gag from
his mouth, and the good-natured cabman, who
evidently felt for us, helped to cut the ropes,
and lift up the poor cold little form.
As they lifted him, something that was
in the blankets fell heavily to the ground.
It was poor Bogie's dead body, stabbed in
many places, each wound enough to have let
out the poor dumb creature's life.
By this time help had arrived, and once
more the police took possession of us, as it
Of course, now everything was explained.
The burglars had evidently entered Joe's room,
and Bogie, being in his arms, had barked, and
wakened him. A few blows had soon silenced
poor Bogie, and a gag and cords had done
the same for Joe.
When the man saw me from the kitchen
window he must have known that help would
soon come, and to prevent Joe giving infor-
mation too soon they had hastily seized him,
bed-clothes and all, and put him into that
cellar, to starve if he were not discovered.
Perhaps they did not really mean to kill
the poor child, and if we had been in the
habit of using that cellar we might have
found him in a few hours or less; but, un-
fortunately, it was a place we never used,
it reached far under the street, and was
too large for our use. Our coal-cellar was a
much smaller one, inside the scullery; the
door of poor Joe's prison closed with a com-
Had there been any doubt in the detective's
mind as to Joe's guilt, he might have taken
more trouble, and searched for him, even
there; but from the first everybody but our-
selves had been sure Joe had escaped with the
burglars, so the cellar remained unsearched.
Mrs. Wilson, wishing to spare me the smell
of the apples, thought that cellar, being out-
side the house, a very suitable place for them,
and on opening the door had caught sight
of something in the distant corner, and sent
Mary to see what it was. Then arose those
fearful shrieks we had heard, and Mary had
rushed out of the cellar half mad with fright.
In less time than it has taken me to relate
this, Joe was laid on the rug before the
drawing-room fire, and I summoned courage to
look on the changed face.
"Could that be Joe -so white, so drawn,
Dr. Loring was kneeling by the little form,
chafing and straightening the poor stiffened
arms, so bent with their cruel pinioning be-
hind the shoulders.
"Doctor," I said, why do you do any
more ? Nothing can bring back the poor fel-
low, murdered while doing his duty." Then
I, too, knelt down, and took the poor cold
hands in mine.
Oh, my poor child!" I cried, "my little
brave heart; who dared say you were false?
Let those who doubted you look at you now,
with dry eyes, if they can."
"My dear," said Dr. Loring suddenly,
"have you always hot water in your bath-
room ? "
"Yes, doctor," I said; "yes. Why do you
ask ? Do you mean is it possible there
is life? And I took Joe's little head in
my arms, and forgot he was only a servant,
only a poor, common little page-boy. I only
know I pressed him to my breast, and called
him by all the endearing names I used to
call my own children in after years, when
God gave me some, and kissed his white fore-
head in my joy at the blessed ray of hope.
No want of willing arms to carry Joe
up-stairs. Mrs. Wilson had the bath filled
before the doctor was in the room with his
"A few drops of brandy, to moisten the
lips, first of all," said the good doctor, "then
the bath and gentle friction; there is certainly
life in him."
Now my good sister's clever nursing
proved invaluable. All that night we fought
every inch of ground, as it were, with our
grim enemy; the dear, good doctor never
relaxed in his efforts to bring back life to
the cramped limbs. The burglars had un-
knowingly helped to keep alight Joe's feeble
spark of life by wrapping the blankets round
him; they had meant, no doubt, to stifle any
sound he might make; but by keeping him
from actual contact with the stone floor, and
protecting him from the cold, they had given
him his little chance of life.
Oh, how I blessed that kind thought of
Dr. Loring's to bring me a barrel of apples!
Had there been no occasion to open the cel-
lar-door, Joe would have died before another
morning had dawned, died! starved! What
a horrible death! And to know that within
a few steps were food, warmth, and kind
hearts hearts even then saddened by his
absence, and grieving for him. What hours
of agony he must have passed in the cold
and darkness, hearing the footsteps of passers-
by above his living tomb, and feeling the
pangs of hunger and thirst. What weeks
those three days must have seemed to him
in their fearful darkness, until insensibility
mercifully came to his aid, and hushed his
senses to oblivion.
Morning was far advanced when, at last,
Joe's eyelids began to flutter, and his eyes
opened a very little, to close again imme-
diately; even the subdued light we had let
into the room being too much for him to
bear after so long a darkness; but in that
brief glance he had recognized me, and see-
ing his lips move, I bent my hqad close to
Only a faint murmuring came, but I distin-
guished the words:
Missis, I couldn't 'elp it! Forgive me.
Say 'Our Father.'"
I knelt down, and as well as I could for
the tears that almost choked me, repeated
that most simple, yet all-satisfying petition to
the Throne of Grace.
82 J. COLE.
Meanwhile the doctor held Joe's wrist, and
my sister, at a sign from him, put a few drops
of nourishment between the pale lips.
"My dear," at length said the doctor, "did
you say the boy's brother was in London?"
Yes," I replied, "but I have no address,
as I expect him here this morning."
"That is well; he may be in time."
In time? I repeated; "in time for what?
Is he dying? Can nothing be done?"
The good doctor looked again with moist-
ened eyes on the little white face, and said
"I fear not, but the sight of this brother
he seems to have such a strong love for may
rouse him for a while. As it is, he is sinking
fast. I can do no more, he is beyond human
skill; but love and God's help may yet save
him. Poor little fellow, he has done his duty
nobly, and even to die doing that is an envi-
able fate; but we want such boys as this to
live, and show others the way."
There was a slight sound at the room door,
and on turning round I saw Dick Dick
with wild, dumb entreaty in his eyes.
"PI I)ISNTEI) TO T'1HE BBEI), AXNI) BECKONEID 111I TO ENTERR"
I pointed to the bed, and with a whispered
"Hush! beckoned him to enter.
The shock of seeing his loved little lad so
changed was too much for even his man's
courage, for, with a cry he in vain strove to
smother, he sunk on his knees with his face
hidden in his hands.
But only for a moment he let his grief
overcome him; then, rising, he took Joe's little
form in his arms, and in a voice to which love
gave the softest and gentlest tones said: -
"Joe, lad! Joe, little chap! here's Dick.
Look at poor old Dick. Don't you know
him? Don't go away without sayin' good-by
to Dick wot loves you."
Slowly a little fluttering smile parted the
lips, and the blue eyes unclosed once more.
"Dick!" he gasped; "I wanted to tell you,
Dick, but I can't. I ain't forgot.
'Own up to it wotever' I minded
it all. Kiss me- Dick. God- bless- missis.
Dick take me home to mother! "
And with a gentle sigh, in the arms of the
brother he loved, Joe fell into a deep sleep,
a sleep from which we all feared he would
no more awake on earth, and we watched
him, fearing almost to move.
Dick held him in his arms all that morning,
and presently towards noon the doctor took
the little wrist, and found the pulse still feebly
beating; a smile lit up his good, kind face,
and he whispered to me, "There is hope."
"Thank God!" I whispered back, and ran
away into my own room to sob out grateful
prayers of thanksgiving to Heaven for having
spared the life so nearly lost to us.
When I went back, Joe had just begun to
awaken, and was looking up into his beloved
Dick's face, murmuring: Why, it's Dick.
Are you a-crying about me, Dick? Don't cry
-I'm all right-I'm only so tired."
And having drank some wine the doctor
had ordered should be given him, he nestled
close to Dick's breast, and 'again fell into a
sweet sleep, a better, life-giving sleep this
time, for the faint color came to his pale little
lips, and presently Dick laid him down on
the pillows, and rested his own weary arms.
He would not move from Joe's side for fear
he might wake and miss him, but for many
hours our little fellow slept peacefully, and
so gradually came back to life.
We never quite knew the particulars of the
robbery, for, when Joe was well enough to
talk, we avoided speaking of it. Dr. Loring
said, "The boy only partly remembers it,
like a dream, and it is better he should for-
get it altogether; he will do so when he gets
stronger. Send him home to his mother for
a while; and if he returns to you, let it be
to the country house where there is nothing to
remind him of all this."
Joe did get strong, and came back to us,
but no longer as a page-boy; he was under-
gardener, and his time was spent among his
favorite flowers and pet animals, until one
day Dick wrote to say his father had bought
more land to be laid out in gardens, and if
Joe could be spared he and Dick could work
together, and in time set up for themselves
in the business.
SSo Joe left us, but not to forget us, or be
forgotten. On each anniversary of my birth-
day I find a bunch of magnificent roses on
my breakfast table "With J. and R. Cole's
86 J. COLE.
respectful duty," and I know the sender is a
fine, strong young market-gardener; but some-
times I look back a few years, and instead of
the lovely roses, and the big, healthy giver,
I seem to see a faded dusty bunch of wild-
flowers, held towards me by the little hot
hand of a tired child with large blue eyes,
and I hear a timid voice say, Please 'm, it's
J. Cole; and I've come to stay with yer!"