The Baldwmn Librar)
" She told her tale in broken words."
CECILIA SELBY LOWNDES,
AUTHOR OF LINFORD GREEN," NEW HONOURS," ETC. ETC.
WITH ORIGINAL ILLUSTRATIONS BY EDITH SCANNELL.
AND NEW YORK.
L AT AUNT MARY S
IT. THE ARRIVAL
III. THE PETITION
IV. ON THE ROCKS
V. AUNTIE'S LETTER .
VI. LEAVING MEADENHAIM
VII. THE NEW HOUSE .
VIII. MILLY'S NEW HAT
IX. THE SPOILT FEATHER
X. AT SIDCOMBE
XL CONCLUSION .
AT AUNT MARY'S.
"IT does seem so strange not to know one's own
Papa and Mama and sisters; does it not, Auntie?"
remarked Lena Graham, leaning her arm on the
mantelpiece as she spoke, and gazing thoughtfully
at a photograph that stood there.
"You are not the only little girl in the world
that has had, from one cause or another, to be
separated from her parents, Lena dear," said her
Aunt, looking up from her work to answer her
little niece. "And I think you have been very
happy with me, my pet," she continued.
In a moment Lena was beside .,hr, saying,
"Happy oh yes, there never was such a good kind
Auntie as you anywhere; but I cannot help won-
dering if they will love me. And "-
"Love you, Lena, your parents !" interrupted her
Not exactly that either, Auntie, for I know they
do from their letters, but you know they have Milly
"And Aunt Mary has only her little Lena," said
Miss Somerville, stroking back her niece's hair, and
looking fondly at the young face lifted to hers.
"You will be so happy altogether, dear, that you
will wonder how you ever got on without com-
panions of your own age."
"I mean to be so kind to them, Auntie, and lend
them all my things, and help Milly with her lessons;
for you know I am much older than she is."
Only two years; and I fancy, from all I hear,
that Milly is old for her age. She has seen more
than my little girl, so I don't think you will find
her so much younger in her ways than yourself."
"I am two years and five months older than she
is," said Lena, who liked to have what she con-
sidered the full advantage.
"We shall know all about it very soon, for,
if I am not much mistaken, there will be a letter
to-night saying when they will arrive here."
Lena was too excited and impatient to settle
down quietly that evening to either books or work;
At Aunt Mary's.
even the doll was neglected, which was not often
the case, for Lena was devoted to this especial one,
who was called after her two unknown sisters,
"Millicent Lucy," as a special token of affection.
She wandered aimlessly about the room, now
stopping to gaze at the photograph on the mantel-
piece, and ask, for the hundredth time, "if it was
really like," then to the window to peep out and
wonder when the "postman would come," and if,
when he did come, he would bring a letter from the
The photograph that engrossed so much of her
thoughts and attention consisted of a group of four
persons. Mrs. Graham was seated, holding little
Lucy on her knee; at her feet, Milly was sitting
on a stool; while Colonel Graham stood, leaning
one arm on his wife's chair, and looking, Lena
thought, very grave and a little bit stern. Perhaps,
thought Lena, "that was because he was accus-
tomed to command his soldiers, and had been in
battle." She hoped he did not always look like that,
for if he did she might be a little bit afraid of him,
though Auntie did say, "there was no fear of such
a thing happening."
Lena Graham had only a very dim, childish re-
membrance of her parents, for it was fully six
years since she had seen them. Just half her
young life had been passed under Aunt Mary's
Six years before our story commences, Colonel
Graham's regiment was ordered to India. At first
both he and his wife had hoped to take their little
girls out with them, but just at that time Lena
was taken ill; and though better and stronger when
the time came for their leaving England, she was
not strong enough, the doctor said, to stand a hot
climate. It was then that Miss Somerville, Mrs.
Graham's sister, had offered to take charge of the
Millicent was a strong, healthy child, and well
able to stand the climate, at any rate for a year or
two. About a year after their leaving England,
Colonel Graham was offered an appointment for
five years at one of the hill stations, which he gladly
accepted, as the climate was as cool and healthy as
at home, and thus was able not only to keep Milli-
cent with them, but the baby sister that had been
born after their arrival in the far East.
The five years had now come to an end. And
the day before we make the acquaintance of their
daughter Helena, or Lena as she was always called,
Colonel and Mrs. Graham had arrived in England.
At Aunt Mary's.
The child was naturally all eagerness to see
them; not even the knowledge that in a few days
she would be separated from her Aunt could cast a
shadow over her, and, childlike, she was too much
absorbed in her own prospects of happiness, to note
the shade of sadness that sometimes crossed her
Aunt's kind face, as she listened to her merry
chatter, at the thought that would intrude itself,
of how sorely she would miss her little niece's
loving- companionship, and how dull the house
would be when the sound of the bright young voice
would be heard there no longer.
The last few years had been very happy ones to
both aunt and niece, and Lena warmly returned all
the love and care that had been lavished on her.
Miss Somerville was not strong, and both from
this circumstance, and also from inclination, her life
had been a secluded one, and her whole time and
attention had been devoted to the education and
bringing up of her young charge.
It would be a different life, she knew, that her
niece would lead after this, for in the future she
would have to share not only her lessons but her
pleasures with her sisters, and instead of being the
first to be considered, as had been the case hitherto,
she would be one among others, and would have to
learn not only to take but give. (And as our story
goes on, we shall see what fruits she will show of
the loving training she had received.)
As these thoughts passed through Miss Somer-
ville's mind, the postman's knock was heard at their
door. With one bound Lena.was out of the room,
exclaiming, "There he is at last!" returning in a
very short space of time with a letter in hei
"It's from Papa; I know his handwriting. Do
make haste, Auntie, and read it. I wonder Mama
did not write to me."
"They will be here to-morrow, darling. Poor
Mama had a headache, from all the bustle and noise
of London, I should think. The black nurse she
brought home with her has already got an engage-
ment to return with a lady to her own country, so
they will have to come without a nurse. Hester
will be able to look after Lucy until Mama finds one
to suit her.'
0 Auntie, I will look after Lucy; I am sure I
could do all she wants."
Auntie laughed as she answered, "I don't think
you quite understand the duties of a nurse, dear,
but you can be of great use and comfort to Mama,
I am sure."
At Aunt Mary's. 13
"Yes, I mean to be," was the confident answer.
"You mean, dear, you will try to be."
But Lena did not wait to answer. She left the
room, saying, "I must go and tell Hester that they
are really coming to-morrow." And off she went,
only to return with some new question that she
wanted Auntie to answer.
Not until the bell rang for prayers did she quiet
down, and when she rose from her knees there was
a very grave, subdued look on her face.
As soon as they were alone, she flung her arms
round her Aunt's neck, exclaiming, Ah, I do wish
you were coming too! It won't be perfectly happy
without you, Auntie, darling."
"Dear one, you must not expect perfect happi-
ness anywhere in this world," she answered, return-
ing her embrace.
"But I shall miss you so."
"And I shall miss you sadly; but I cannot be so
selfish, as to grudge Mama the happiness of having
her eldest daughter with her."
"I do so long to see her, my very own Mama,
but I want you too."
"What a greedy little creature! Why, you will
have Milly and Lucy, as well as Papa and Mama,
and not satisfied "
If I had you too, I should be perfectly satisfied.
I should not want anything else in the world."
"Ah, Lena dear, I fear that you would not find
"Yes, I am sure I should."
Auntie shook her head. "Don't be too confident,
dear; you must not expect that in the future you
will have everything you want. You will have to
share your pleasures with Molly."
Oh, I shall like that."
"I am very glad to hear it, dear," was the quiet
"Now, Auntie, don't look so grave; for you will
see how well I shall behave, and show that your
child can be really good."
Not my child, Lena dear. To be really good you
must be the child of God."
Auntie spoke so gravely that Lena, humbled and
ashamed, whispered, "Yes indeed, Auntie, I will
try," as she gave and received her good-night kiss.
Miss Somerville lived in a pretty sea-coast town
called West Meadenham. In truth, it was but a
suburb of Meadenham proper, but that town had
grown so large of late years that the numerous
streets, squares, and terraces that had sprung up
around it, considered themselves important enough
At Aunt Mary's. 15
to have a name of their own; but as if to show to
the world in general, that they did not wish to
throw off all allegiance from the dear old town,
that nestled so comfortably at the foot of the high
cliff that sheltered it from the cold east winds of
spring, it modestly christened itself, West Meaden-
ham, instead of choosing a new name.
The next day arrived, fine as heart could wish,
a bright sun shining overhead, and a soft breeze
blowing from the sea. No wonder that Lena ex-
claimed, "How lovely!" as she came out of the
house and gazed around her as if drinking in the
beauty of the morning.
The trees were all decked in their first fresh
young green, the air scented with the sweet per-
fume of the spring flowers, that made the garden
of Scarsdale Villa look quite gay even in April.
Their house was the last of a row of villas almost
in the country, and before and behind them stretched
Let me describe Lena Graham to you, as she
stands, sniffing up the fresh air that brings the
healthy roses into her cheeks, and gives her a
hearty appetite for the bread-and-butter that she is
only waiting for Aunt Mary's appearance to attack
A sturdy little English girl, rather short for her
age, with rosy cheeks and bright intelligent brown
eyes, that glance here, there, and everywhere; long
light-brown hair, tied back from her face with a
blue ribbon, that matches in colour the blue serge
dress she wears. The face has a bright, open ex-
pression, and the girl's whole appearance speaks of
the happy, peaceful life she leads. Shading her
eyes with her hand from the sun, she looks about
"Yes," she remarks to herself in a low voice,
"I can get plenty for both rooms without spoil-
ing the garden. I think Mama shall have the
violets, and Milly the primroses; and I shall ask
Auntie to let me run to the fields and get some
cowslips for Lucy; and Papa shall have some of
all, because he is the only man." Here her medi-
tations were broken into by hearing Auntie's voice
"Lena, Lena, where are you, dear child? "
"Here, Auntie; it's such a lovely day, do come,
out just for one minute."
"It must be only for one minute then," said her
Aunt as she joined her. "Yes, it is a lovely day.
We can welcome Papa and Mama with both sun-
shine and smiles."
At Aunt Mary's.
"Sunshine in doors and out," said Lena, with
a beaming look as they entered the house to-
Lena always did lessons with her Aunt, but to-
day was to be a holiday, for Miss Somerville saw
that the child was too excited and nervous to settle
down quietly to work; and besides that, there was
a good deal to be done in the way of preparation
for the expected travellers, for it was not often that
so large a party as four people came to visit their
They were not expected until five o'clock, so
Lena had the whole day before her to wonder and
speculate in. The morning passed away quickly,
as time always does when one is busy and occupied,
and in the afternoon Lena was to arrange the
flowers in the different rooms. Aunt Mary quite
approved of the arrangement Lena had made as to
the ones each was to have, though she asked why
Lena had chosen those especial ones.
"Violets for Mama, because they are so sweet;
and they are getting scarce now, you know, Auntie:
they are nearly over in the garden."
"I didn't know that."
"Why, Auntie, we have picked them all; I wish
I had not now. And then primroses for Milly,
because they are my favourite flower, and I want
her to like all I do."
Or you could like what she does ?"
"But she must like primroses, she couldn't help
it; then cowslips for Lucy, they are nearly as nice
as primroses; but I want Milly to have the nicest,
because she's to be my great friend; and I thought
Papa ought to have some of all." Here Lena
stopped, and looked at her Aunt for approval.
"Very well, dear; come out and get them."
"And may I arrange them ?"
"Yes, and put them in the different rooms."
Thank you, Auntie dear. And then may I put
on my best dress? I do want to look nice when
"Yes, darling," said Miss Somerville with a
smile. Then she went to the window and watched
the child as she gathered the flowers, flitting from
one place to another, as busy as a bee, looking up
every now and then, to nod smilingly to her Aunt,
or to hold up her treasures to be admired.
No fear, she thought, of her parents or any one
not thinking her nice, as Lena had expressed it.
She smiled to herself as she thought of the happi-
ness of the parents at getting back the child from
whom they had so long been parted; and much as
At Aunt Mary's. 19
she would miss the cheerful, loving little companion
who had brightened her lonely life, she felt it would
be better for Lena herself to take her place once more
among young companions. In the nursery or the
school-room, where there are two or three together,
it is, as it were, a little world of its own. No one
in particular can have the entire care and thought
of the whole household. All must take their place
and their share both in the duties and pleasures of
everyday life. This was exactly what had been
wanting to Lena, and hers was a character that
especially required it. It is so very easy for any
one of us to accustom ourselves to be the first to
be considered, and Lena was no exception to this.
She had a warm, loving heart, but a proud, wilful
temper; humility was a grace she sadly lacked. A
loving word from Auntie would bring the ready
tears to Lena's eyes, but what she considered a
hard or disparaging word would make them flash
as quickly. How she and Millicent would get on
together, was rather an anxious thought to Miss
Somerville, for dearly as she loved her little niece,
she was not blind to her faults; and if the sisters
were alike in character, there would not, she feared,
be always peace. Lena had a very decided opinion
on the subject of elder sisters, and that she was the
20 Lena Graham.
eldest of the family, she always made a point of
Neither a cloud nor a doubt crossed the child's own
mind as to the future. Of course Millicent and
Lucy would love her as much as she was prepared
to love them, and they would all be so happy
together, she knew. The only shadow was the
thought that she would have to part with dear
Aunt Mary; but as that parting was not to be at
once, she cast the thought away with the happy
ease of childhood.
( 21 )
As it struck five by the drawing-room clock,
Lena threw open the hall-door and ran to the
gate; and opening it, she went out and gazed eagerly
down the road.
Scarsdale Villa, as Aunt Mary's house was called,
was built on the top of a long hill that ran straight
down into the town. As Lena now stood, the
town itself seemed to be at her feet, and beyond
the houses lay the sea, stretching away into the
distance, far as the eye could reach, and now
sparkling in the bright spring sunshine. But its
beauty was quite thrown away upon Lena; her
eager gaze was fixed on one particular spot on the
road-the turning to the station.
She had not long to wait, for in a very few
minutes she was gladdened by the sight of a
cab, well covered with luggage, coming round
the corner, and commencing the ascent of the
At this sight, she turned and darted back into
the house, calling loudly for Auntie."
"Do you see them, dear? Miss Somerville asked.
"There's a cab coming this way, and it has
luggage; it must be them, I am sure. Do come
out and look." Taking her Aunt's hand, they went
out together and watched the well-laden cab as
it came slowly up the hill.
Often and often had Lena grumbled at that
weary hill, when she came home, tired-out after a
long afternoon's ramble on the sands, or a walk
into Meadenham, but never before had she thought
it so long and tedious as that day. She watched
the cab come "creeping along," as she called it.
Then as it drew very near, a new fit came over
her-a fit of shyness. Clasping Auntie's hand very
tight, she crept very close to her, whispering, "I
do hope;" but she had no time to say more, for at
that moment a gentleman's head was put out of
the cab window, that Lena instantly recognized as
the same face whose photograph she had looked at
so often. Papa !" she almost gasped in her excite-
"Here they are, waiting to welcome us home,"
called out Colonel Graham in a loud, cheery voice, and
then the cab stopped, and there came warm, loving
greetings. Lena had no very distinct recollection
of all that was done or said for the next few
minutes, but among all the greetings and fuss of
arrival was one remembrance, that Lena thought
would never leave her.
It was Mama's soft voice, that said, My darling
child; thank God for giving you back to me,"
so loving and tender, that Lena knew then how
dear she was to Mama.
Not till they were all seated quietly in the
drawing-room had Lena time to take a good look
at these dear ones.
Ah, she would have known Mama anywhere, she
was sure, for there was the same sweet gentle face,
that had looked at her from her picture, day after
day. And Papa did not look one bit stern, or
grave, but was just the sort of papa she approved
of; and dear, fat, chubby Lucy, with her fair curls
and blue eyes-" a perfect pet" was Lena's ver-
dict of her little sister; but Millicent, who was to
be her own particular sister and companion, she
was not quite what she expected her to be.
As she sat on the sofa beside Mama, her hand
clasped in hers, she heard Aunt Mary say-
They are very like, really; the same eyes and
hair, and the likeness will be more apparent when
Milly gets some of Lena's roses and plumpness."
What Lena saw was a tall slight girl, as tall as
herself, though she had two years and five months
the advantage in age, with large serious brown eyes,
and a pale face.
"No." Lena thought Auntie mistaken in this
matter; surely she and Milly were not alike.
As she gazed, or, I might say, stared at her sister,
their eyes met, and Milly smiled such a sweet loving
smile that lighted up her whole face, and that so
altered and improved it, that Lena was not so
much disposed to disagree with her Aunt's opinion
Tea was brought in, and Lena was too busy wait-
ing upon the travellers to think more about the like-
ness. Milly was shy and quiet; but that Lena did
not so much object to, as it would enable her to
show her all the more kindness and attention, for
of course she was at home here, and the truth must
be told, liked doing the honours of the house. Her
sudden fit of nervousness soon passed off, and she
was giving Mama her tea, and chatting away quite
at her ease before very long.
"Milly and I are to stay up and have dinner
The Arrival. 25
with you to-night, Mama," said Lena. "Auntie
thought Lucy would go to bed then, for it is not
"I hope you have not altered your hours for us,
Mary ?" said Colonel Graham.
"Now Papa, please," began Lena.
"No, no, my little girl," he said very decidedly,
"we cannot allow your Aunt to alter her hours; it
is very kind of her to have such a large party of us,
as it is."
"We will talk about that to-morrow," said Miss
Somerville with a smile. "Now I think it is time
for you all to come and see your rooms ; one little
pair of eyes are looking very sleepy."
Lucy, who was alluded to, was sitting by the
table, her little head nodding and her eyes half-
closed; but at the mere suggestion of bed she pro-
tested crossly, "that she did not want to go to
"We are all going upstairs, darling; you don't
want to stay down here by yourself, do you?"
No, Lucy didn't want that, so she consented to
go up with the others.
"Let me carry you," proposed Lena, lovingly.
Now Lucy was tired and sleepy, and, as very
often happens in these cases, very cross, so instead of
responding to Lena's kindly offer, she pushed her
away with, "No, don't want you; Milly must."
A shade came over Lena's face, she had meant so
kindly. 0 Lucy, what a cross little thing you are,"
said Milly. "She doesn't mean it, Lena, only she
is accustomed to me; and last night I had to do it
because Nana was gone, and Mama had such a bad
headache," she went on to say, as she followed Lena
upstairs with Lucy in her arms.
I will send Hester to help you, Milly," said her
Aunt; "you must be tired too."
"And Mama wants Lena to help her this first
evening," said Mrs. Graham, drawing the girl to
her side lovingly, for she had seen the shadow that
had come to the child's face at Lucy's cross words.
"You must not mind Lucy being cross, dear, for
the child has been excited and wearied with all the
changes and strangeness of her life the last few
days, and I am sorry to say has been rather spoilt
on board ship. It is very difficult to avoid it there."
"And has not Milly ? "
Ah, Milly is such a quiet, staid little mortal,
she is not easily spoiled; she has been the greatest
comfort to me during the voyage, and now I have
you too, my little one," was Mrs. Graham's answer,
as she took Lena's face in both hands and kissed it,
then, looking at her lovingly, said, I think I should
hardly have known you for the same white, delicate
little thing that I left with such a sad heart all
these years ago."
"Dear Mama," was Lena's only answer.
As they entered the bedroom, Mrs. Graham ex-
claimed, Ah what sweet violets, my favourite
flower! I think I can guess who placed them here."
"I did not know they were your favourites, but
they are so sweet I thought you must like them."
"Such a pretty, homelike room," said Mama,
looking round. I often used to try and picture
to myself what my little girl was doing, and what
her surroundings were like."
"Wasn't Aunt Mary living here when you went
away ? "
No, dear; she came here in hopes. that the sea
air would make you strong and rosy again, as it
0 Mama, you can see the sea from the
windows in Papa's dressing-room; do come and
look at it."
Taking her mother's hand, they went into the
dressing-room, the window of which looked over
the garden and towards the sea. Here they were
joined by Colonel Graham, and as Lena stood
between them, a hand clasped in each of theirs,
she thought that there was not a happier little girl
in the world than herself, and I think she was
right. Silence fell upon them as they looked;
so long it lasted that Lena looked up at her
mother, and seeing her eyes full of tears, asked
"Mama, what is it; what are you thinking
of; aren't you happy ?"
"Very happy, darling," said Mama, smiling
down on her through her tears. "I was thinking
how good and grateful we ought to be to Him, who
has guarded us all these long years, and now
brought us together again.
"Safely and well," added Papa.
"And, my Lena, we all must try to show our
love and thankfulness not only in words, but in
very deed and truth."
At that moment a knock was heard at the door,
and Milly looked in. "As you were not in your
room, Mama, I thought you must be in here,"
"Looking at your beloved sea," said Papa, hold-
ing out his hand to her to come and join them.
"Is Milly so fond of it ?" asked Lena.
"Yes, so fond that we were thinking of making
a present of her to the captain of our ship," said
"I have the sea here, and you as well, and," she
added shyly, Lena too."
"True, most sensible of little women; but, Lena,
you must not think she is always so alarmingly
sensible, for alas! "-and here Papa shook his head
with affected sadness,-" she does love fun and
Millicent laughed as Lena exclaimed eagerly-
"Oh, I am so glad, for I do, and I do want her
to be my companion; we can have such fun on the
"Yes, dear; I trust you will be firm friends as
well as companions. Milly has been longing for
"And I have been longing -for her," was Lena's
You have been very quick putting Lucy to bed:
was she good ?" asked Mrs. Graham.
"Oh, Hester did that; she was quite good
with her, and Aunt Mary said I had better not
stay, for she wanted her to grow accustomed to
And where are you to sleep ?"
"In the room with Lucy. I took off my things
there, and I thought you might want me to help
"Oh, let me do that to-night," pleaded Lena.
"I shall be glad of help from you both. We
have been idling our time away here talking in-
stead of getting ready for dinner, and nothing is
So saying, Mrs. Graham returned to her room,
followed by the two girls, and very soon they were
both busily engaged, undoing parcels, and getting
out things that were required for the night. At
first they delayed one another by both working at
the same box, and strewing its contents over the
floor. Such dreadful confusion ensued from this,
that Mrs. Graham proposed that one should do the
unpacking, while the other put the things away
tidily in the drawers.
"Who shall unpack ?" asked Lena.
"Well, I think you had better, and Milly can
put away, for she knows what we shall require
"I shall know soon, too, shan't I ?" asked Lena;
"but I like unpacking best, and seeing what you
You will never get through your work if you
stop to examine and admire everything," said Mrs.
Graham, as she watched her taking a good look at
each thing she brought out of the box.
Milly took the opportunity while she was stoop-
ing down to take some clothes out of Lena's arms,
to whisper, I like the flowers so much."
"Do you know which are meant for you ? she
asked, stopping in her work for a reply.
Yes, the primroses, Aunt Mary told me. I
think them lovely."
After this they worked away busily until dinner-
time. Then, when the bell sounded, Lena rushed
off to tell Aunt Mary what she had been doing,
and also to inform her that they were all dear
darlings; and, what did Auntie think of Milly ? "
Auntie's opinion was very favourable.
Then Lena. suggested, But don't you think she
is very quiet ?"
She is very sweet and gentle, and I think very
shy; but as you know, Lena, I do not dislike a
little bit of shyness in children; it is far, far better
than being forward."
"But not too shy ? "
"Milly is not that; and I feel sure that you
will be great friends as well as loving little sisters
This conversation took place as they went down
to the drawing-room, Lena hanging on to her
Aunt's arm, as she eagerly questioned her. Find-
ing no one in the drawing-room, Lena began again-
"Isn't she tall, Auntie, nearly as tall as I am ?"
-the "she" alluded to being, of course, Milly.
"Quite as tall as you are, I think, though that
is not such an enormous height, for"-
"No, I know," burst in Lena; "I wish I was
taller, because people will never believe that I am
so much older than she is."
Miss Somerville laughed as she answered, I do
not think that that need cause you unhappiness,
The entrance of Mrs. Graham and Milly put an
end to their conversation; then Colonel Graham
came in, and they all went into the dining-room.
After dinner the two sisters went off together to
Lena's room, to see all her treasures. There had
been a certain constraint and shyness between
them, as is so often the case with children in the
presence of their elders. When they were alone,
this wore off very quickly, and soon they were
chatting away together, the best of friends; and
although Lena's tongue was going at a gallop, Milly
managed to keep up a very good second.
When Aunt Mary came to tell them it was time
to go to bed, she found them seated, side by side,
on the floor, Milly clasping in her arms Millicent
Lucy," while Lena held forth on the doings and
sayings of Aunt Mary and herself ; and promising
Milly all sorts of delights, in both their names.
0 Auntie, we are having such a nice talk."
Which I have come to put an end to."
"Yes, dears; it is prayer-time now."
At this both girls jumped up, and Dolly being
put away carefully, the two girls followed their
Aunt downstairs, hand clasped in hand.
Later, Mama went up with her two girls to see
SLucy. Such a pretty picture she made, Lena
thought, as she looked down on the chubby little
face, all flushed with sleep, one small arm thrown
over her head, and the fair curls all tossed about in
confusion. As Mrs. Graham looked down on her
little one, her heart swelled with love and gratitude
at once more having all her children with her.
Putting an arm round each of the others, she said
in a low voice, "I trust, darlings, that you both
thanked Him to-night for His great mercy to us all?"
"Yes, Mama," Milly whispered, shyly. "And
for letting Lena be so nice and kind, and Aunt
"And, Mama, I have to thank Him for double as
much as Milly has, for I have four of you all at
once, and you are all just as nice as I hoped and
"I am glad you are not disappointed in any of
us, darling," answered her mother with a smile;
" but we must not talk any more beside Lucy or
we shall awake her."
"I may give her one kiss, please, Mama," said
Lena; "she does look such a sweet!"
"Only one, and try and not to awake her, dear,"
was the answer. Then they left Milly, and Mama
took Lena to her room, and said good-night.
Aunt Mary had been in and given her good-night
kiss, and Lena was just falling off to sleep, all sorts
of pleasant happy thoughts passing through her
mind, in the confused sort of way that so often
happens after anything pleasant has occurred-
thoughts half real, half dreams, all jumbled up to-
gether in hopeless confusion, but very sweet withal,
-when the door of her room opened very gently, but
still making just noise enough to call forth the
sleepy question, "Auntie, is that you ?"
"No, darling, it's Mama."
"Mama!" she exclaimed, raising her head and
rubbing her sleepy eyes.
The Arrival. 35
"I could not go to sleep without one more look
at my newly restored treasure."
Throwing her arms round her mother's neck, she
said fervently, I am so glad to have you, Mama;
and I will be a treasure to you and be so good,
indeed I will."
God grant it, my darling," was Mama's answer
to her as she laid the sleepy little head on the pillow
again. Then kneeling beside her child's little bed
she thanked Him, in a few heartfelt words, for having
watched over and guarded her little one, during
those six long years of separation.
( 36 )
THE next few days passed away very happily.
Having her sisters with her as companions quite
equalled Lena's fondest expectations. Not a jar or
a discord had broken the harmony of those days as
yet. Milly was so nice, and always ready to ad-
mire and enjoy everything that Lena did or pro-
posed; and as to giving up things,-certainly little
Lucy did sometimes want what her elder sisters
were playing with, but it was very easy to please
and satisfy her, she was such a sweet little thing.
Lena often wondered how Auntie could have feared
her not liking to do it.
It was the end of April when the Grahams
came to West Meadenham, and now May had
arrived-bright warm sunshiny May, enabling them
to spend most of their time out of doors, either in
the garden or the fields. And nicest of all, many
a happy hour was spent on the sands and among
the rocks, while their parents and Aunt walked up
and down the Parade, watching them, or would sit
with books and work on the shingle, ready to listen
to all their doings when they rushed up breathless
and eager to recount them.
But these bright delightful days could not last
for ever. The first change was Colonel Graham's
leaving them for a few days on a visit to
some relations; and Lena had a shrewd suspicion,
from words that she had heard fall from Aunt
Mary, that other changes were in store for them
also; but at present she was too much occupied
with her sisters to think much about it.
The day after Colonel Graham left, Mama and
Auntie announced that they were going to be very
busy, preparing Milly's and Lucy's summer-dresses,
and that they wanted Hester's assistance, so the
three children might play out in the garden together
Not go to the beach to-day? "
I am afraid not. You can be very happy with-
out going there for one afternoon."
"But, Mama," argued Lena, "it is such a
pity not to go to-day, because, it's low tide in the
afternoon, and we should be able to have such a
nice long time on the rocks-do let us go."
"Run away now and play in the garden, and we
will see what can be done about it after dinner."
"I do hope you will let us, Mama, Lena says."
"Never mind what Lena says, Milly. You
must both do what you are told. It is not the
way to gain your wishes by being disobedient."
The two girls went slowly and reluctantly from
the room, and taking their hats, went into the
What had come over them both I know not:
perhaps it was that the last few days had been too
pleasant, and they were beginning to think that
things were always to be so for them; or perhaps
it was that the first hot weather made them both
feel a little bit cross and languid-it has that effect
sometimes, I believe; but whatever the reason was,
the fact was what I have stated: they both were
feeling rather cross, and inclined to take a gloomy
view of things. And their being told that they might
not be able to go to the beach that day was a
ready-made grievance for them.
They showed their feelings, however, in very
different ways. While Milly went and sat down
quietly on a garden-seat, and gazed wistfully at the
object of her affections, the sea, Lena wandered
about the garden in a restless, disconsolate sort
of way. Lucy was busy playing by herself with
a little cart and horse, and for a few minutes Lena
played with her; but seeing Milly leaning forward
and looking quite interested, she said hastily, You
must play by yourself now, Lucy; I want to go and
speak to Milly."
It is a curious fact that when one is idle and
unsettled, one is apt to get a feeling of being ill
used at seeing any one else looking interested and
occupied. This was what Lena felt when she saw
her sister not looking dull and wistful as before,
but with a bright and animated expression on her
face. Going up to her she said, "Milly, what
are you looking at ?"
No answer. This was irritating, so she repeated
her question in a louder tone. Instead of speak-
ing, Milly held up her hands, as if to impose
silence on her.
This was too much for Lena in her present mood.
Giving her sister a push, she exclaimed angrily,
"How rude you are not to answer me! What are
you looking at ?"
"There now, Lena, you have spoilt it all."
"Spoilt all what? How tiresome you are, Milly!"
"I was counting the ships that passed, or that I
could see, and I wanted to count twenty, and I had
only got to fourteen when you disturbed me. Kow
I must begin again."
"Oh, that's silly. It's all very well when you
are by yourself, but not when you have any one to
What shall we do then ? asked Milly, who was
now getting over her disappointment; and as she
was more accustomed to give up her own wishes
than Lena was, she was naturally of a far happier
disposition. Little Lucy had been her constant
companion; and Milly was so fond of her little
sister, that she never thought it hard or disagreeable
to put aside her own pleasures and wishes to please
Lucy. So now she found it easy to give in to
Lena also. Lena had not found out how much
pleasanter and happier life is when one studies the
happiness of others. Her happiness had been so
studied by Aunt Mary that she took Milly's good-
natured assent as a matter of course.
"There is nothing nice to do here, the garden is
so small; and Milly, don't you think that Mama
might let us go to the beach ? Aunt Mary would,
Mama will if she can; she always is good to
us," and she gave Lena a reproachful look for her
Lena noticed the reproach in both words and
look, but she answered, without remarking upon it,
"She would not even let us stay and ask about it. I
always coax and coax Aunt Mary till she says' Yes.'"
"Does she always say yes when you coax?" was
the surprised remark elicited from Milly.
Not always," Lena had to confess, "but some-
There was a pause for a minute or two, and then
Lena exclaimed eagerly, "Do you remember that
man coming with a paper for Auntie to sign, and she
told us it was a petition, and the man said the
more people that signed it, the more likely it would
be to succeed."
"Yes; what of that?" answered .Milly in an
independent tone. She had gone back to her occu-
pation of counting the vessels in sight and was once
more absorbed in it.
"I don't believe you listened to what I was
saying; I do think it unkind of you."
At this accusation Milly started, and turning
round, said gently, "I didn't mean to be unkind,
but what has the petition to do with us ?"
"0 Milly, you are stupid. Don't you see what
I mean ? Wouldn't it be fine to write a petition
to Mama to let us go to the beach ?"
"Yes, let us: it would be something to do."
"I will go in and get a sheet of paper and a
pencil, and then we will all sign it. Do you
remember how it began ?"
"Let me try and remember," said Milly with an
air of wisdom, covering her face with her hands, as
if to prevent any outside object from attracting
her attention, only looking up, as Lena ran off to
the house, to call out, "Mind and bring a pretty
"All right," was the cheerful answer.
A few minutes after she returned with a packet
of paper in her hand. "Look, I have brought
'terra cotta;' it's a very fashionable colour," was
her announcement, as she held it out for her sister
"It is not a very pretty colour though ?"
"No, but the woman in the shop said it was
very fashionable." This was said in a tone that
admitted of no reply.
Laying the paper on the seat they both knelt
down upon the ground, and each began to write.
They decided on writing a rough copy first, and
then, as Lena said, "she, as the eldest, would copy
it out tidily."
"I took a look into the dictionary, to see that we
were spelling it all right, for we mustn't make
mistakes in that, or Mama and Auntie would
laugh at us."
There was silence for a little while, as both
heads were bent over their work: it was more
difficult than they expected. At last Milly gave a
great sigh, "I can't think where humble came; it
did somewhere, I know."
"Yes, so it did. Now I remember; of course it
ought to be at the end. We must put 'Your humble
children.' Let me have a look at your paper. Why,
Ive got much more scratched out than you have.
I ve begun six times already."
"It's the beginning that is so difficult; but, Lena,
I feel sure 'humble' was at the top somewhere."
Who was that petition to, I wonder?" said Lena.
"I am sure I don't know." And they both burst
out laughing. Their ill-humour had all vanished
by this time and they were in high spirits.
"It must have been to the 'Queen.'"
Then they would not have put 'humble Queen.'"
At this there came another explosion of laughter.
"To our humble Mother and Aunt." That
certainly sounded quite wrong. They remembered
that the words Most Gracious were what they had
seen oftenest written before their Sovereign's name.
At last they decided to write one together; it
was more amusing in doing, and also more likely
to be successful. Their continual peals of laughter
soon attracted Lucy's attention, and she hovered
about them, quite ready and anxious to assist, and
growing impatient at the long delay before she was
allowed to sign her name.
After nearly an hour's work they wrote the
"To our Most Gracious Mother and Aunt.
"Please, dear darling Mama and Auntie-please
let us go to the beach this afternoon, because it
will be low tide, and perhaps we shall be able to
catch some little crabs. We love playing on the
rocks, and do want to go so much.
"Your loving and humble children,
"HELENA MARY GRAHAM.
"MILLICENT GRACE GRAHAM.
"LUCY CAROLINE GRAHAM.
"P.S.-We don't want anybody to go with us,
and we will be very good.
These last two words were written in very large
letters at the bottom of the page. They had an
idea that it ought to be written somewhere, so that
there would be no mistake as to the nature of the
When this was all done, they surveyed their
work with great pride. Then Milly ran in for an
envelope, and the petition was folded up and put
in, and the address written-
Going into the house, they gave it to Emma the
servant. Taking her into their confidence, they
easily obtained her promise to ring the hall-door
bell, and bring it into the dining-room on a salver.
What time would you like it brought in ?" she
asked with a smile, quite entering into the spirit of
"Soon," said Milly, "or Lucy will let it all out."
"She had better not," began Lena.
"When I have handed round the plates I will
get master to ring the bell, and then I will go out
and bring it in."
That was a delightful arrangement, and now all
they had to do was to impress upon Lucy the
necessity of silence.
As they were still pointing out to her the dreadful
consequences that would follow, if she mentioned a
word about what they had been doing, Hester was
heard calling them in to get ready for their dinner.
That something was exciting the children, was
very quickly seen by both Mama and Auntie, from
the frequent and meaning looks they exchanged,
and from the state of suppressed excitement they
were all in.
The hall-door bell was heard to ring.
"There it is!" exclaimed Lucy, eagerly.
"Hush! came immediately from the other two.
Then Emma went out and returned with a letter,
which she handed to Mrs. Graham, who on reading
the address had great difficulty in suppressing a
Opening the letter, she read it through carefully;
then handing it to Miss Somerville, said, "It will
require serious consideration before we give an
Oh, please, don't say that, Mama; we want an
answer at once."
Your Aunt has not even read it yet. After
dinner my humble little children can come to me
in the drawing-room, and then I hope .to give them
a gracious answer."
With this they had to be content, for not a word
more would Mrs. Graham say on the subject until
after dinner. Lucy was carried off for an hour's
sleep; and Mama, seating herself on the sofa, drew
Lena to her side, while Milly installed herself on
the other side; then Mrs. Graham said-
"You are longing for an answer to your petition,
I know, dears. First I must tell you that Auntie
and I graciously assent to it."
"That means we are to go, Mama ?" asked
"Thank you, thank you," exclaimed Lena; I
told you, Milly, if we coaxed them."
"No, Lena dear," interrupted her mother, "that
was the very thing that nearly lost it to you. I
could not .promise when you asked me before,
because I never like to break a promise, and I
was not sure whether it would be safe for you three
children to go alone."
"I could have told you it would," said Lena,
"But I preferred Aunt Mary's opinion," was her
mother's answer, given with a smile.
"She thinks it safe, doesn't she, Mama ?"
"Yes, but what I want to say to you now, is
particularly to you, Lena. I saw my little girl
thought I was very unkind in not consenting to
her wishes at once, and now you think I have
given leave because you begged and coaxed."
Lena blushed furiously at this, but nodded her
head, as much as to say, "Yes, that is true."
"What I want you both, my children, to do, is
to trust me. I think it gives me more pain to
refuse you a pleasure, than you to be refused; and
when I say No, try, darlings, and believe that
Mama has some good reason for it."
"Yes, we will," they both exclaimed at once.
Then Lena went on to say, "But, Mama, why didn't
you tell us that you were not sure, and the reason,
and then I could have told you it was quite safe to
go alone ?"
"In fact, dear, why did I not ask your advice,
you mean ?"
"No, I didn't mean that; only if you had
And what about obedience, Lena ?"
Not receiving any answer, Mrs. Graham con-
tinued. "Perfect obedience, dear, is what Papa
and I both expect from all our children; and by
and by, when you know us better, you will find out
that it is not only your duty but your happiness to
be so. I think Molly knows that already.'
Yes, Mama, and I know how good you are, and
always try to do what we like."
"And I hope Lena will soon think so too."
"You talk as if Milly loved you better than I
do," said Lena jealously, "and I am sure she does
"No, darling, I did not mean that, for I am sure
you both love me dearly. What I meant was that
Milly knows me best, and understands my ways."
"And Lena will soon," said Milly, stooping across
her mother to smile at her sister, for we are going
to be the greatest friends, aren't we, Lena ? We
have settled that a long time."
Then, after a loving kiss from Mama, the two
girls went off together to get ready for -their walk;
and by the time buckets and spades had been
hunted out, and they were both ready, Lucy had had
her sleep, and was waiting for them in the hall.
"Be sure and come in by half-past five or six at
latest. Auntie won't mind putting off Lucy's tea
till then, I am sure."
No. Auntie was quite ready to do anything she
was asked; and after many promises of being very
good and careful, they started, Lena calling back, as
they shut the gate, "You can trust them to me; I
will look after them."
( 50 )
ON THE ROCKS.
THE three girls started off hand in hand; Lucy
between the two elder ones, holding a hand of each.
As it was all down-hill, they went at such a quick
pace that it was almost a run, and brought them
very quickly to the esplanade. Here they stopped
and took a look round.
As they had told their mother, it was very
nearly low tide, and a long stretch of beach and
rocks lay temptingly before them. Not a cloud was
to be seen in the sky; and the waves broke so softly
and gently on the shore, that it was hard to associate
the thoughts of storms and raging winds with that
sparkling, lake-like sea.
On either side of them stretched, as far as the
children could see, the broad, handsome esplanade,
now quite a gay sight with the many people who
had been tempted out by the warm sun, either to
On the Rocks.
sit or walk up and down, while enjoying the beauty
and freshness of the day. In the distance a band
was playing, the soft strains of which were heard by
the children as they stood gazing about them.
"A band!" cried Lucy. "0 Milly, do let us
go and hear it closer-do come;" and she pulled
her sisters in the direction from which the sound
"Mama might not like us to go; and besides,
Lucy, there are such lots of people there," said
Lena did not at all approve of this speech of
Lucy's. It was not Milly's permission she ought
to have asked, but hers. She was the eldest, and
had already said that she would take care of them,
or, as she would have expressed it, "had promised
Mama to take care of them." And besides, she
knew the place, and was at home here, which
Millicent certainly was not.
So, as soon as Milly had spoken, she said-
"Why shouldn't we go ? The people won't hurt
us. Come along, Milly," she added impatiently,
as the latter drew back.
But, Lena, Mama didn't give us leave. She said
we might go to the beach, and "
And so we are going. We can go down to it
near the band, and Lucy can hear it, as she wants
to so much."
Yes, I do want to," said Lucy, dropping Milly's
hand and going forward with Lena.
We shall hear it just as well down here, and it
will be much nicer on the rocks than among all
"It's because you are shy and afraid. You
want Lucy not to hear it."
Now like many shy, sensitive people, Milly
couldn't bear to be called so. She felt as if it was
wrong and a disgrace to be shy. So she said, "I
don't think Mama would like it. I should like it
"I'm the eldest, and know that it's all right; so
come along, it's no good wasting all our time doing
nothing." And she started off with Lucy, who was
delighted at the prospect of going to see, as well as
hear, the band.
It was a much longer walk than any of them
had expected, and by the time they got there, Lucy
was rather tired; so they found a seat and sat and
listened to the music for some time. Milly's shy-
ness at finding herself among a number of people
soon wore off, when she found that no one took
any notice of them; and Lena's assurance that she
" The slippery rocks."
On the Rocks.
had often come, with only a companion of her own
age, reassured her as to the propriety of the pro-
ceeding, so they all enjoyed themselves listening to
the music and watching the varied throng around
them, until Lucy became tired of sitting still and
proposed that they should go to the rocks. It was
no use going back to those nearer home, so they ran
down the first steps they came to, and were soon
close to the water's edge, hard at work with spade
Leaving Milly and Lucy to play on the sand,
Lena wandered off to the rocks. This was much
more exciting work, and she went back in a very
short time to invite the others to come there also.
Bring your bucket, Lucy, and we will try and
catch you- a dear little crab," promised Lena, as
they all went off together. But very soon the rocks
proved too difficult for poor little Lucy ; they were
rough and slippery, and she slipped about in the
most helpless manner. With the aid of her sister's
hand she managed for a little, then, emboldened
by her success, she tried to go alone, but alas! it
was for a very little way. Down she came on the
sharp wet stones, cutting both hand and leg in the
fall, raising a loud cry of pain and terror as she
did so. Her sisters were beside her in a moment,
consoling and lifting her on to smoother ground.
But some time elapsed before she was comforted
sufficiently to be left.
"You are all right now, Lucy, aren't you?" said
It hurts still," said Lucy mournfully.
But, Lucy, if we don't go we shall not be able
to catch you a crab," continued Lena.
This was too tempting an offer to be refused;
even the injured hand was forgotten before such an
alluring prospect, and Lucy promised to stay and
amuse herself with her spade, until the others re-
turned with the promised crab.
You will be sure and not leave this part until
we come back," said Milly.
"You are a good little girl, Lucy," said Lena,
giving her a kiss.
"Now, Milly, we will have a grand scramble.
Let us try and go out to those quite far out, the big
ones I mean, and let the water come all round us."
And she started off, jumping from rock to rock
with the confidence and surefootedness gained by
many a former scramble. Not so Milly, who was
new to the work, and only too glad to avail herself
of Lena's hand and help.
Soon they were both at the furthest point,
On the Rocks.
proudly waving their handkerchiefs back to Lucy,
who, poor little body, sat quietly playing for some
time by herself, quite happy with her spade. For
how long she did not know, but it must have been
for some time. She could see her sisters at some
distance off, evidently very busy about something,
"catching the crab" they had promised to bring
her, she supposed. It must be very interesting
work, she thought, thus to engross their attention,
and keep them away so long. Why should not she
try her hand at it also ? was the conclusion she
arrived at ere long. Rising from where she was
seated, she wandered off, and very soon was search-
ing in the pools of water that lay, left by the
receding tide, at the edge of the rocks, quite happy,
and delighted with all the beauties she described in
their clear depths.
Is it any wonder that we, as well as the children,
are enchanted, and forget the passing hours as we
search out "the treasures of the deep" that are left
by the receding waves, to give us a glimpse, as it
were, of the "wondrous things" that lie hidden
in their depths ? And above all, what mysteries
and beauties of God's love does the sea show forth
to the thoughtful mind; and who can help being
thoughtful and awed as they gaze on that mighty
work of the Creator, and think how He who rules
the raging waters, and who said of old, "Hitherto
shalt thou come, but no further, and here shall thy
proud waves be stayed," is the same loving Father
who watches over and guards the weakest and
smallest of His children, and without whose know-
ledge not even a sparrow falleth to the ground" ?
No wonder then that Lena and Milly became so
absorbed and interested as they searched among the
pools, some of which were quite large and deep,
for the crab they had promised to catch and take
back to Lucy ; though I fear this their original
intention was soon forgotten among all the new
delights that they discovered, and the time slipped
away as if it were a thing of not the slightest con-
At first they often took a look to see if their
little sister was safe, and every time they did so,
they saw her sitting in the same place, busy with
her spade. At last Milly exclaimed, O Lena, I
don't see Lucy; we must go back and look for
Lena looked round, rather startled also. Then
she answered, How stupid of us to be frightened!
Of course she's hidden behind the rocks. We have
moved ever so far since the last time we looked,"
On the Rocks.
"I will go back and see. I wish we had brought
her on with us."
"She couldn't have managed to scramble along
these rocks. She is all right, I am sure."
"I won't be long going back to look. Mama
trusted me to look after her."
Lena flushed. This was her weak point, and as
Milly spoke, an angry feeling started up in Lena's
mind at the thought, perhaps "Mama had spoken
to Milly privately, and told her to look after Lucy."
"She trusts her more than she trusts me," were the
words she used to herself. Out loud she said,
"Mama said I was to take charge of you both.
What did she say to you, Milly ?"
"To be careful of Lucy," said Milly, without
looking at her sister. She was gazing earnestly
about to see if she could see Lucy, and so didn't
observe the changed expression on Lena's face.
When she did turn round, Lena was stooping down
peering into the water.
"You can go back then if you like. I must
get that bit of seaweed for Auntie, and then I
will follow you," she said without raising her
"Don't be long, will you, Lena ? "
"No, and I will soon overtake you, if you go
slipping and stumbling about as you did coming."
The words were not either kindly said or meant.
Milly looked vexed. "I did not mean to put
you out by asking you to hurry, Lena."
Lena vouchsafed no answer to this; so Milly
went on, I know I can't manage half so well as
you do-come and help me."
Still silence. So after lingering for a minute or
two, Milly started off.
She had not gone very far when Lena heard a
cry of pain, and looking up, saw Milly raising her-
self and looking ruefully at her hand. She had
evidently hurt herself, and conscience gave Lena a
sharp prick, that recalled her to her better self.
Alas poor Lena little knew to what a strong enemy
she was opening her heart. She would have in-
dignantly denied that she was jealous of Milly,-
no one ever does like to confess that they are that
of anybody,-but it was the truth, and twice that
day had she allowed it entrance "only just for a
moment;" but it is quite wonderful how a very little
giving in to strengthens our faults. "Ill weeds
grow apace is only too true. The sweet flowers
want a great deal of care and cultivation; but then
when they do come to perfection, how they repay
us for all the toil and care, and what happiness
On tke Rocks.
they give, not only to the owner, but to all
Lena sprang forward, and was soon beside her
sister, whom she found tying up her hand with her
handkerchief and trying hard to keep back the tears.
Have you cut it much, Milly ? let me look."
Milly undid the handkerchief, and showed a
deep cut on the palm of her hand. "The salt
water makes it smart so," she explained, blinking
her eyes fast to get rid of the tell-tale tears.
"It is a deep one. Cover it up again; I will
help you," and she tied the handkerchief again.
"Thank you, Lena. I have cut my leg too;
was not it stupid ? I was trying to hurry, and for-
got how slippery it was."
Together they went on, jumping and scrambling
from rock to rock.
"We ought to see her now. I am sure that
is the place where we left her."
Yes, there was the place, and plenty signs in the
scattered sand, that some small person had been at
work; but no Lucy was to be seen.
They looked at one another in alarm. What
could have become of her ?
Oh, I wish we had never left her !' burst out
"It's very naughty of her to have moved, when
we told her not to," said Lena.
There was no good standing there, wondering any
longer, so they started off to look for her.
"Let us ask those children near if they have
seen her," proposed Lena; and running down to
where they were at play, they inquired of them if
they had seen their little sister. "She was sitting
playing there close to the rocks."
"Yes, they had seen her, hut she had gone away
some time ago in that direction," pointing fortunately
to the direction that led towards home.
"And I don't wonder either; it must have been
jolly dull for her all by herself," remarked a boy
loud enough for the two girls to hear, as they were
hurrying off to look for Lucy.
They both blushed scarlet, as they heard these
words, and knew that they were meant to hear
them. "What a horrid rude boy But, Milly, I.
wish we had not left her now."
"So do I," was the answer given with a sigh.
As they skirted the rocks, they came upon a
long stretch of sand, now well covered with children.
Close to the water's edge were several of them
paddling, their bare legs gleaming in the water
as they danced and jumped about. And there
On the Roeks.
among them, gazing with delight at their antics.
was the missing Lucy. So close was she to the
water, that the little waves not only crept up close
to her feet, but rippled gently over them, much to
the child's delight, who clapped her hands and
screamed with pleasure at every wetting.
You naughty child!" said Lena, as she rushed
up to her, followed more slowly by Milly, who was
limping from the cut on her leg.
Lucy turned round, her rosy little face beaming
with delight, not one whit abashed by Lena's angry
"You naughty child! what made you leave and
give us such a fright?" Lena was like many
other people who have been frightened; when once
their fears are removed, they give vent to their
feelings by being angry, and, strange to say, consider
they have a right to be aggrieved. "You are so
wet, too ; what will Mama say ?"
"That you ought not to have left me," said
Lucy, with a saucy laugh.
Lena was too much taken aback to answer this,
and Lucy, seeing her advantage, continued, "You
and Milly are just as wet as I am;" and she pointed
to their feet and dresses, which certainly were both
wet and dirty.
Several of the paddlers had gathered round to
listen to the conversation, and as Lucy pointed
triumphantly to her sister's wet feet, they all raised
a laugh. For a moment Lena looked very angry;
but catching Milly's eyes, which were dancing
with suppressed laughter, the absurdity of it all
struck her also, and she joined in the laugh.
"I expect you will all catch it, when you go
home," remarked one of the small bystanders in
a delighted tone.
"Come, Lucy, it is time to go home."
"Not yet; it's such fun here, I mean to stay,"
said Lucy, who was so elated at having silenced
Lena's scolding, that she thought she might do
what she chose.
A laugh from the listeners egged Lucy on in her
Milly's "0 Lucy, how can you be so naughty !"
was taken no notice of.
Lena, with heightened colour but in silence,
walked off to where a lady was sitting, reading,
and asked politely, if she would "tell her the time."
"Five-and-twenty minutes to seven," was the
answer as she looked at her watch.
As late as that, and they were told to be
home by six "Thank you," she said to the
On the Rocks.
lady, then hurried back to Milly and told her the
"We must go home at once," she exclaimed.
"Will Mama be very angry ?"
"Not when we tell her we did not mean to be
naughty, and did not know the time. She will be
frightened though; I wish Lucy would be good
"She must," said Lena shortly. Going up to
the child she took hold of her by the arm and
said, "We are going home now, Lucy; it's very
late, and Mama will be vexed."
Lucy looked up saucily-" That's to make me
come, but I am not going yet."
"Yes, you are; it's long after six." She pulled
Lucy away from the water, Milly took hold of her
by the other hand, and together they dragged her
away, screaming lustily.
All eyes were fixed upon them, making both the
elder girls very uncomfortable. They knew they
were right in going home, but still thus having to
drag their little sister away by main force made
them, they thought, appear very unkind in the
eyes of the bystanders.
0 Lucy, do be good and come quietly," en-
"You must come, Lucy, so there is no good
making all this fuss," added Lena.
"I am not going to obey Lena. I'll go with
Milly, but I don't love Lena; she's horrid." And
pulling her arm away from Lena's restraining grasp,
she struck wildly at her, to push her away.
Lucy's words were but added fuel to Lena's
wrath. Seizing the child firmly by her shoulders
she gave her a good shaking, saying as she did so,
"I don't care if you like me or not, but you must
do what I tell you."
"0 Lena, don't be angry; she does not mean
what she says, I know she doesn't," said Milly.
The shaking so took Lucy by surprise, for she
was unaccustomed to such strong measures, that
she stopped screaming, and gazed at Lena's angry
face in open-mouthed astonishment.
In the midst of this scene Hester's voice was
heard exclaiming, Miss Lena, whatever is the
matter ? That's not the way to treat your little
sister. I wonder at you, that I do !"
At the sound of Hester's voice, Lena quickly re-
moved her hands from Lucy's shoulders, and turning
to her said, "She has been so naughty, Hester; she
would not come home, though we told her it was
late, and she went on screaming."
On the Rocks.
"But you hurt me," sobbed the child. "I would
have gone with Milly, because she's kind and nice."
"That's a wicked story, Lucy. You know quite
well Milly had to drag you along as well as I;
hadn't you, Milly ? "
"Yes," she asserted; "but, Lucy, you will be
good now ?"
"You should not have been so rough with her,
Miss Lena; you don't understand how to manage
"No, she does not," agreed Lucy. "I will go
home with you, Hester," clinging affectionately to
her new ally, as she considered Hester.
"Your mother was so nervous at your being so
late, that Miss Somerville sent me to look for you."
"Come on, Lena," said Milly, and linking her
arm into her elder sister's, they hurried on first,
followed by Hester and Lucy.
At first neither of the two girls spoke as they
walked quickly along, but soon the steep hill, they
had to ascend, made them slacken their pace.
"Lena," said Milly, "you are not still angry with
Lucy; she is so dreadfully passionate sometimes, but
she does not mean all she says."
Then she ought to be punished," was the short
"So she always is. And she does not get into
rages nearly as often as she did, because she knows'
how wicked it is, and how it grieves the Lord Jesus,"
said Milly reverently, adding, as a sort of apology
for her little sister, "And she is very young, you
The life of a child in India is very different to
what it is in this country; and Millicent, thought-
ful and gentle by nature, had become more so, from
having been the constant companion of her parents;
for in the hill station, where their home was situ-
ated, she had no companion of her own age. The
few children that were near them were all quite
little, and looked upon Milly as "quite old in com-
parison. Mrs. Graham had been very far from well,
the last two years of their stay, and when Colonel
Graham had to be away, as he often was obliged to be,
on duty, it was Milly's delight and privilege to be
her mother's loving little nurse and attendant.
And Mama loved to have her gentle little daughter
beside her, during the long days of weakness that
followed the attacks of fever from which she suf-
fered; and Milly would sit so quietly with her
work, or read out to her, but oftenest they spoke of
the dear child and sister in the English home. In
this way, Mama soon began to depend upon her little
On the Rocks.
nurse, and even to consult her, when Papa was
away, upon many subjects; and she dearly liked to
be consulted and trusted by Mama, and would put
on an air of wisdom, and answer quite gravely and
sedately on such occasions, and was beginning to
think herself almost grown-up compared to little
Lucy, who was full of baby fun and frolic, and apt
to become so wild and noisy that she would disturb
Mama, if Milly did not amuse her and keep her
good. She was a pet and a darling, and didn't
know better," Milly would say at such times. It
was only natural then, that Milly considered it her
duty to apologise for her little sister's outburst of
naughtiness. As Lena made no answer, she went
on, You won't mind, Lena dear, will you ? "
"It's very hard," burst out Lena. "Mama
trusted her to me, so she ought to have obeyed
me; and Hester, blames me, I know she does, from
what she said, and she takes her part, and she has
been my nurse, and ought to like me best; but
nobody does love me but Auntie."
0 Lena, I do, and Papa and Mama, and
"But they all love you best. Mama always asks
you about things, and"---
Here Milly interrupted, with a look of distress
-it had never dawned upon her before that Lena
doubted her mother's love, or had what she called
such dreadful thoughts-" How can you say such
things, Lena ? It is not kind and it is not true,"
she added with spirit.
They had nearly reached the gate of Scarsdale
Villa by this time, and there stood Mrs. Graham,
looking out anxiously for them, and now hurried
to meet them, thus preventing any more conversa-
tion between the sisters.
"Here you are, my darlings; I was beginning to
fear something had happened. And there is Lucy
lagging behind, I see." One look at her children's
faces, showed Mama that something had gone wrong.
Milly looked distressed, and Lena's usually bright
open countenance was now very clouded. Putting
her arm round Lena, she drew her to her side, and
kissing her, said, "What has made you so late,
What power there is for good in the gentle word
or the loving gesture The mere fact of her mother
having put her arm round her, and having spoken
to her first, brushed away, for the moment, the hard
jealous thoughts, that had been finding room in
"I am so sorry, Mama, we are late," she said,
On the Rocks.
looking up with an altered expression. "We were
so interested and happy on the rocks, we did not
know how fast the time was going."
How did you find out at last ?"
"We asked a lady, and it was five-and-twenty
minutes to seven; we were so astonished."
"Now run and take off your wet things, and
come down to tea. Milly looks tired; are you,
"A little, Mama, not very."
"She has cut her hand, Mama, and her leg too,
that is what makes her walk like that. Fancy my
"I will tell Hester to take Lucy to the nursery
then. I will come and see to you, dear," said Mrs.
Graham to Milly, as she watched them go up to
their rooms; then went out again to meet Hester
and Lucy, who by this time had also reached the
( 70 )
WRONG thoughts, when only sent away by a kind
deed or loving word, are not really rooted out;
they are, as it were, but expelled for a short time.
When we only thus send them away, we are like
the man in the parable spoken of by our Divine
Master. The evil spirit certainly goes, but this is
not enough; we cannot sit down with folded hands
and say, "It is done-we can rest." No, we have
our work still to do. Now that the place is empty,
we must fill it anew, but this time with the good
and true, or else the evil thought will return, and
alas! not alone, but in the words of Holy Writ,
"He taketh with him seven other spirits, more
wicked than himself "-that is, the wrong thought
returns with sevenfold strength, and "the last state
of that man is worse than the first."
Thus it was with Lena Graham. The jealous
thoughts, that had been showing themselves, were
put aside, as it were, for the time being, and un-
fortunately she did not trouble herself any more
about them; and Milly, who was the only person
whom she had spoken or even hinted to, that she
had such thoughts, was only too glad to dismiss it
from her mind, blaming herself for having even
allowed the suspicion entrance.
"Lena," said her mother, later in the evening,
when she and Aunt Mary were sitting together
with the two girls in the drawing-room.
"Yes, Mama," she answered, looking up from the
book she was reading.
"What was the meaning of the scene that Hester
saw, when she found you on the beach this evening ?"
Milly looked up hastily at these words, while
Lena said," I will tell you about the whole afternoon,
Mama. It was this." And she gave a long account
of their doings, appealing often to Milly to confirm
what she said; and if she did gloss over the leaving
little Lucy alone, it was done almost unconsciously,
so easy is it to see, when we wish it, a good reason
for our conduct.
When she had finished there was a pause for a
moment or two, during which the two girls looked
anxiously at their mother.
"Well, Mama ?" asked Lena, who was growing
"I was wondering if either of my girls saw how
very selfishly they had acted this afternoon."
"In leaving Lucy alone ?" they both said slowly.
Yes, dears; don't you think it was very hard for
the child to be left all by herself? and from your
own account, you were away for some time."
"We didn't mean to be long."
"But that was not the first fault: disobedience
was that. I gave you leave to go down to the
beach, but I did not give you leave to go and hear
the band play. I thought I could have trusted you
Milly's eyes filled with tears at these words, and
her heart swelled at the thought that she, Mother's
right-hand," as she had often been called, could not
be trusted; but she said nothing, while Lena, who
was both truthful and generous, hastened to explain,
"It was not Milly's fault, Mama; she didn't want
to go, but I insisted on it."
"Ah, Lena, you see how one fault leads to
"But we were quite as safe there as at the
"That has nothing to do with it. You did
wrong, my child, and I am afraid, continued doing
so all the afternoon, for Hester tells me you were
very harsh and rough with your little sister."
"But Lucy was so naughty and cross, we could
not help getting angry."
"I know we ought not to have left her, Mama,"
said Milly; "but she was so provoking, screaming
so loud, it made everybody look at us. Though we
told her it was late, she would not come home."
'And she hit me, and said all sorts of things."
'She was in one of her fits of passion," added
I am very sorry to hear it, was Mrs. Graham's
answer with a sigh, for Lucy's fits of passion were
a great sorrow to her.
If you had been gentler and kinder, would you
not have done more good ?"
I don't think so, for Milly didn't get into a
passion. I did, Mama, and I am very sorry. Oh
dear, it is so hard to be good! And I wanted to
be so really, and now I have grieved you and
Auntie too. I promised I would show how good
her child could be."
0 Lena dear, that is it: you forget what I said,
and what you promised; to try and be, not mine,
but"-- and she paused, while Lena finished the
sentence in a low voice-" The child of God. And
I have not been good, but I am so sorry, I really
"So am I," whispered Milly, nestling close to
her mother. "Are you very grieved? Will you
forgive us ?"
"Fully and freely, dear; but there is One, whose
children you both are, whom you have grieved
more. I want you both to ask Him to forgive you
before you go to sleep to-night, never doubting that
if you ask aright He will do so."
As the two girls went upstairs together, later on
that evening, Lena gave a great sigh as she said,
" Oh dear, I wish we had not taken Lucy with us
this afternoon; it quite spoiled all the pleasure."
I wish we had not left her," said Milly, in her
"I believe you think we are most to blame."
"We are the eldest, and she is such a little
thing; if we had stayed with her she would have
"Then I am most naughty, for I would go to
the band. I wish one could always be good; it is
so horrible after being naughty."
When Lena was alone in her room, she went to
the window, and pulling up the blind, looked out,
but her thoughts were not on what she saw, fair
as the scene was, on which her eyes rested. Beneath
her window lay the garden, now bathed in moon-
light, and in the far distance was the sea, shining
like a band of silver in the moon's rays. How
often had she stood, as now, at this very window,
thinking! Then, her thoughts had been of the
parents so dimly remembered. What would they
be really like? Ah, how good she would be to
them, and show how much she loved them. Now
they had really come; and to-day, instead of all
this goodness, she had grieved her mother by her
disobedience and selfishness, and the little sister of
whom she had said, She would like to give up
her pleasures to,"-she had quarrelled with her, not
only in word, but in very deed. The tears filled
her eyes as she thus thought. She did love her
mother just as much as she ever did, and-no, there
was no disappointment in her, but somehow things
were not quite what she had expected. She had
pictured to herself a life with Mama, as something
of the same kind, she had led with her Aunt, being
her constant companion, and her one chief thought
and care. Instead of that, she was more with her
sisters than her parents. Kind and loving as
Mama was to her, she was equally so to Milly and
Lucy. Poor foolish child, surrounded as she was
with every earthly blessing, she was not content.
Instead of a happy, grateful love for all she had,
she was groping after the impossible, and raising
up for herself all sorts of imaginary troubles, that
had no real existence but in her own wayward
fancy. The opening of the door roused her, and
turning round, she saw that it was her mother who
"Not in bed yet, dear ?"
"No, Mama, I have been thinking," said Lena,
in a very grave tone, as she pulled down the blind.
"What were the thoughts that made you look
so grave, and forget to go to bed ? "
I was wondering why things are never so nice
as we expect them to be."
"Shall I tell you why that is the case, dear ?"
Lena only nodded in reply, and Mrs. Graham,
looking down fondly on the girl's upturned face, said,
" Because we want things to be exactly as we wish,
instead of taking thankfully and contentedly what
God sends. I fear we are all too apt to think we
know best what is good for us."
"Oh no, Mama," cried Lena in a shocked tone.
We don't think or allow, even to ourselves, that
we do so, dear; but how is it that we so often say-
' If it had only been different, it would have been
so much nicer and better ?' I fancy that some such
thoughts were in my little girl's mind to-night."
"I did not know that it was so wrong. Auntie
told me it would not be good for me to have my
own way too much; and I remember she once said,
'She was so glad she had not the ordering of her
own life.' Are you glad too?"
Yes, darling, very, very glad. Ah, Lena dear, it
is such peace and happiness to know that all is
done for us by that loving Father, who gives us
more than we can ask or desire."
When Lena said her prayers that night, she
paused, in the Lord's Prayer, at the words, "Thy
will be done." How often she had repeated them
slowly and reverently as she had been taught to do,
but to-night they seemed to assume a new and
deeper meaning; and when Mama had given her,
her good-night kiss, she repeated them over and
over to herself ere she fell asleep. No wonder that
the next morning she rose bright and happy; and
when Lucy's voice was lieard at the door saying,
"I want to speak to you, Lena," she opened the door
and greeted her little sister with a loving kiss.
"I am very sorry I was a naughty girl last night,"
she said gravely, as if repeating a lesson.
"Oh, never mind, dear."
"Mama said I was to beg your pardon; and, Lena,
I told a story, because I do love you."
I was naughty too and unkind," said Lena, who,
when she was pleased and happy, was always ready
to be generous and kind.
In general, all Lena's troubles were self-made; she
wanted to be first, not so much in amusements,
though she certainly liked to take the lead there
also, but in every one's opinions and affections.
She wanted to be Milly's and Lucy's favourite, as
well as eldest sister. And she would have also
liked to be the first in her parent's confidence and
affections, as well as the first of their children.
Aunt Mary called the two elder girls to her after
breakfast, and told them that she meant them to do
some lessons with her every morning. Too much
idle time was neither good nor pleasant for them;
and she did not want the governess, under whose
care they were very soon to be placed, to find her
new pupils backward in their education.
The idea of a governess was quite new to them.
They would have liked to discuss the subject well
over with Auntie; but this she at once forbade-
"Your Mama will tell you all about it herself."
"Do just tell us when she is to come ?
"Not till your parents are settled into their own
house," said their Auntie unguardedly.
Going to leave here ? 0 Auntie, you must
tell us-please, please do," Lena added coaxingly.
"I thought we were always to live here; I do
like this place. Where are we to live ?" said Milly,
adding her entreaties to Lena's.
"Not a word more will you get out of me," said
their Aunt laughing. "What a foolish old woman
I was to let so much out."
"You are not old, and you are not foolish, but
a dear kind Auntie who is going to tell us all
"I am not quite so foolish as to be taken in
by all these blandishments; but, joking apart,
dears, I ought not to tell you more; your parents
will do so when they think right."
At this, both the girls returned to their seats, and
lessons went on quietly. Milly was found not to
be so very much behind Lena, for she had been
well and carefully taught by her mother, who had
used the very same books of instruction that Miss
Somerville had taught Lena from. So that the two
sisters would be able to go on together with the
same governess; and both girls were quite pleased
at the thoughfof doing the same lessons. All was
as it should be. Lena was a little advanced, but not
too much so to make it difficult for Milly to keep
up with her, but enough to spur Lena on to keep
Is it true we are to have a governess ? and are
we going to another house ?" were the questions
that were eagerly put to Mama on the very first
"I have been letting out secrets, I am afraid,"
said Miss Somerville.
"I meant to tell them what their Papa had
decided upon. He has taken a house in the country
-a furnished one, near the friends with whom he
is now staying. The people to whom it belongs
are anxious to leave as soon as they can, so Papa
says, he hopes we will be able to go there in a
"In a fortnight!" This sudden move quite
took away Lena's-breath; to leave Aunt Mary and
her own home! for Scarsdale Villa was the only
home Lena could remember. Then she gave a little
laugh at this foolish thought of hers. Leave Aunt
Mary of course she would go with them."
Milly was busy asking questions about the new
house-" Was it quite in the country ? had it a
All these questions were answered satisfactorily.
" It was quite in the country, with a nice garden,
and some fields attached to it," Mama said.
"What is to be done with this house?" Lena asked.
"I am going to let this," said her Aunt quietly.
So it was all right. Aunt Mary was coming with
them; and Lena eagerly joined Milly in talking over
their new home. How delightful it would be to live
quite in the country! And very soon they were both
quite eager to be there, and were planning about the
gardens they were to have for their very own.
"You will find nice neighbours in the Freelings,"
said Miss Somerville to Mrs. Graham.
"Have they children ? was the eager question.
"Yes, six. Two are grown up. There are four
at home, two girls and two boys-at least not the
boys; they are at school."
"Iwonderwhat theywill be like-thegirls I mean."
"The eldest girl is fifteen. The youngest will be
a nice companion for you; she is only thirteen."
The prospect of the change gave the children
plenty to think and talk about for the next day
or two. Lena went so far in preparation that
she went about collecting what she considered her
own property from the different rooms, and was
rather aggrieved that she was not allowed to pack
them all up in readiness. Mama compromised the
matter by allowing her, with Milly's help, to fill
one box with the many books and toys that she
had outgrown, and were too numerous to carry
away; and this box, when ready, was to be sent
to the poor little suffering children in the hospital.
How often that box was packed and unpacked I
should be sorry to say: it was a great amusement
and occupation to them for the next few days, as
the weather had changed, and instead of bright
sunshine and warm breezes, the rain came down
steadily; and Milly and Lucy would look mournfully
out of the window, thinking that here, as in India,
there was to be no more hot bright suns for some
time now that the rains had set in, though Lena
assured them fifty times a day it would be sure to
be fine to-morrow. This was all very well the first
day; but when to-morrow came with clouded sky,
Lucy grew very very angry when she heard Lena
begin the same story of to-morrow being fine," and
accused her of being wicked and telling stories. A
stormy scene was fast brewing indoors as well as
out, when Mama heard the cause of anger, and
Lucy had the matter explained to her, and hope
once more "of seeing fair weather to-morrow"
sprang up in her small mind.
In the midst of this wet weather they were all
cheered and enlivened by Papa's return. Now they
would be able to have all their questions answered
about Astbury, as their new home was called.
They had to curb their curiosity till after Papa had
had dinner. Lena had still a little lingering awe
of her father; and when he told them that they
must keep all their questions until after he had
finished his dinner, she did not dare to disobey
him, as I fear her eagerness and curiosity would
have tempted her to do if it had been her aunt or
mother who had given the order.
As they were all seated round the fire listening
to his account of Astbury and its neighbourhood,
Aunt Mary, seeing her nieces' attention devoted to
their father, quietly drew a letter from her pocket
Taking it out of the envelope, she began to read it.
Soon after the conversation turned upon some
matter that Lena did not think interesting, so she
turned to her Aunt to ask some question. Instead
of receiving the answer she had expected, Aunt
Mary went on with her reading, evidently not hav-
ing heard what she had said. "The letter seemed
to interest her very much," Lena thought. She
wondered who it could be from, and why had not
Auntie told her of it, for during the time that
aunt and niece had lived alone together Miss
Somerville had got into the way of reading her
letters aloud before her niece. It was a habit that
she had got into during the years when she was
quite alone and before she had taken charge of
Lena: gradually she had not only read out the
letters before the child, but as she grew older and
more companionable, had spoken and discussed
things that were in them before and with her. It
was not a good thing for any child, especially for
one like Lena Graham. Still it had been done in
all love and with good intention. Rising from her
seat, Lena went and perched herself on the arm of
her Aunt's chair, so that she could read the letter
over her shoulder. We must do Lena the justice
to say, that though it was a wrong thing to do, it
was not done with a wrong intention. She had
always heard Auntie's letters, she would have told
you, so there could not be the slightest harm in
reading them. It was a very interesting one she
saw at once; the handwriting was perfectly familiar
to her as being that of a great friend of her Aunt's,
who had often stayed with them-Miss Howard
was her name. The contents puzzled Lena, for
Miss Howard wrote as if she and Aunt Mary
were going together somewhere, to a place called
"Lucerne." Lena knew the name well, but for
the moment she was confused as to its locality.
As she tried to make out what it meant, she leant
forward to see more easily. At that moment Colonel
Graham looked up and saw Lena doing what he
considered, and what certainly is, a most dishonour-
able action, reading what is not meant for one to
"Lena !" was all he said, but the tone in which
it was said startled them all.
Lena looked up. Never before had she heard
her name so spoken. Startled and confused at the
suddenness with which she had been called, she
answered hastily and nervously, "Yes, Papa."
What is it, dear ? asked Mrs. Graham.
"Lena knows," was the short reply.
Poor Lena was frightened, not only at the stern-
ness of the voice, but by her father's face. It
seemed to her that it had the same look that she
had remarked in the photograph and had hoped
never to see shown towards her. Her fear and
nervousness brought the colour to her looks and
gave her the conscious look of guilt.
I don't know, Papa. What is it ? she faltered
You must know what a dishonourable thing
you were doing, reading your Aunt's letter over her
"Oh!" she said with a great sigh of relief, "is
that all, Papa ? Why, I always do it."
Here Aunt Mary interposed hastily, and said,
before Colonel Graham could speak the astonish-
ment he certainly felt at Lena's answer, "It is my
fault, Henry. Lena always sees my letters. I may
have been wrong; but remember she has been
niece and child and companion to me all in one.
I may have spoilt her in many ways, but I am sure
she would not do a dishonourable thing;" and as
she spoke, she pulled Lena on to her knee and
kissed the troubled little face. "I ought to have
told her I did not wish her to read this quite yet,
and I am sure she would not have done it."
At her Aunt's kind words Lena burst out crying.
The child had been frightened, and the burst of
tears relieved her feelings.-" No, Auntie dear,
indeed, indeed I would not," she sobbed out.
"I think you have made a mistake about it,
Mary. And I hope Lena will remember that
though you have allowed her to see yours, letters
are sacred, and she must never look at any without
leave that are not addressed to her."
"No, Papa, indeed I never will," she said earnestly.
"Come and give Papa a kiss," said her mother,
leading the still sobbing child to her father
"You are not afraid of me, Lena ?" he asked
kindly, as she shrunk from him, without lifting her
eyes from the ground. "Come, look up, and give
me a kiss."
Lena looked up as bidden, and seeing nothing in
his face but love and kindness, summoned back her
courage as she said, "You looked so angry before,
and so stern."
"I am only angry when you do wrong and act
dishonourably; and you need not be afraid to look
even a stern man in the face if you have done
nothing to be ashamed of, my child."
As Lena returned to her chair she thought, Oh
dear, I hope he will never speak to me again like
that. Even if I was ever so naughty, I don't think I
could tell him, and ask him to forgive me."
Aunt Mary said quietly to Lena, "I will read
you all that Miss Howard says to-morrow, dear; it
will interest you, I am sure, and I meant you to
hear it soon."
"Where is Lucerne ?" she asked in a low voice.
"In Switzerland," answered her Aunt. And not
another word would she say that night on the
subject of the letter and its contents.
( 88 )
"SWITZERLAND !" 0 Auntie, that is such a long
way off! You don't mean really that you are going
all that way from me," and Lena as she spoke these
words burst into tears, and clung tightly to her
Aunt, as if to prevent her leaving her.
"I am not going away to-day, dear," said Miss
Somerville, trying to speak cheerfully and brightly
as she fondly stroked the little head that was buried
on her shoulder. "And, my child," she went on
more gravely, "this is no new thought to you; we
both knew this parting must come."
"But not so soon, and such a long way."
You have Papa and Mama and your sisters, and
will be so happy with them, and will often write-to
me. And I shall hope for such good accounts of
"You won't get them," said Lena in a most
doleful tone; I shan't be able to be good without
you, I know I shan't."
Lena, dear, that is not a right way to speak.
I shall think that I have taught you what is wrong
if you say such things."
"No, no, I did not mean that; but why can't
you always live with us? Whdt do you want to
go to that horrid place for ?"
"It is not at all a horrid place, but a very nice
one. Why I am going is this "-
Lena lifted her head to listen with such an in-
jured expression that her Aunt laughed. I believe
you are glad to go !" (indignantly).
"Yes, dear, I am glad, though very very sorry
to leave you. I am glad because Miss Howard
has to go, and wants a companion; and you know,
dear, it is always pleasant to be able to do any-
thing for your friends."
"But I want you too."
"Not now. You have wanted me, but now you
have Mama and Papa; and, Lena, you love them
both very dearly, I know."
"Yes, but I want you too."
"We none of us can have all we want in this
world. Ask God, my little one, to make you
grateful and thankful for all the blessings He has
so liberally bestowed on you, instead of murmuring
for what you cannot have."
Before Lena had time to reply, Mrs. Graham
opened the door, asking, as she did so, if she might
0 Mama, why does Auntie want to go away
from us ? Mayn't she stay with us ?"
Of course she may, dear; but Aunt Mary thinks
Miss Howard requires her. We want her, and she
requires her. Now don't you see why Auntie has
decided on going abroad ?"
"Yes, because she thinks it right;" adding, but
couldn't Miss Howard come and live with her
here ? "
"Why do you wish that, Lena ? "
"Because it's so much nearer, and we could
come and see her sometimes."
Oh, so you don't want it for Aunt Mary's
pleasure, but your own," was the quiet rebuke.
Lena's face flushed scarlet as she murmured
some words in too low a tone for her mother to
"Listen, my child; do you not think that a
change would do Auntie good ? Think how much
more she would miss the little niece she has been
so good to, and has learned to love so dearly, if she
remained on here, than if she goes abroad, and sees
new sights and beautiful scenery."
"Yes, I see; but, Mama, I can't help being
sorry, and wishing changes would not come-at
least not nasty changes."
"I should be very much astonished and very
grieved too, if you were not sorry at parting with
Auntie, who has been so good and kind to you and
to me too. Changes must come in this world, my
child; but we know that if we love our Saviour,
every one that comes is sent in love and for some
I can't see why Auntie's going away can do us
"That is what the disciples said when their
Divine Master told them of His ascension: they,
like you, thought they knew best." Mama spoke
the words so significantly that they at once recalled
to her the conversation they had held together
some evenings before, and when Lena had expressed
herself as so shocked at the idea of any one think-
ing they knew better than God. Humbled and
abashed, Lena promised to try and bear whatever
was sent for her, though she was quite sure it
would be dreadfully hard to bear parting with
Auntie, forgetting that it was harder for Auntie
than herself. It was a great comfort to both
Colonel and Mrs. Graham, since Aunt Mary had
decided not to go and live with them, that she was
going abroad with her friend Miss Howard for a
few months. It was very easy to let her house
for the summer, as West Meadenham was a
favourite resort for summer visitors, and Lena was
comforted by hearing that before Miss Somerville
settled down for the winter, she had promised to
pay a visit to her brother and sister at Astbury.
"We shall spend our first Christmas at home
altogether," said Colonel Graham cheerfully, as
Aunt Mary's plans were being discussed one day
openly, now that all was arranged.
Lena expected, and Milly also, that the former
would be quite heart-broken at the prospect of part-
ing from her Aunt. Milly was of rather a senti-
mental character, and had secret visions of herself
comforting and consoling poor Lena; and felt rather
disappointed, to say the least of it, when she saw
her sister interested and busy in the preparations
for their departure, and talking brightly and hope-
fully of what was to be done at Astbury. Not
that Lena was unkind or unloving. She did love
her Aunt very very dearly, and felt really sorry
and unhappy at the prospect of losing her; but
with the buoyancy and cheerfulness of youth, she
soon learned to look on the bright and hopeful side
of things. She had never written to Auntie in all
her life, and she talked much of the long letters she
would write to her, and then how nice it would be
to show her the new home when she came to see
them at Christmas. So very soon she was the same
bright, lively little Lena of old. Occasionally,
however, some little thought or action would cause
her to sigh, and wish that changes would not come
-at least she would add, "I wish people had not
to go away from one another. I like going to new
There were other changes in store also, for an
invitation came for Milly from her godmother, who
lived in London. Mrs. Clifford wanted to see and
know her little namesake and godchild. Would
Colonel Graham, who was going to Astbury a few
days earlier than the rest of the family, bring Milly
and leave her with Mrs. Clifford on his way through
London ? So ran the invitation.
"I wish she had asked me!" exclaimed Lena,
when she heard of the letter.
0 Lena, and leave Aunt Mary the last few
days !" said Milly reproachfully.
No, of course not-I did not think of that-
but I should like to see London and all the
Milly was not at all of this opinion. She shrank
from the very thought of going away to a strange
house without Mama. She had never left her
before; and although she was called after Mrs.
Clifford, she had only seen her once when they
were in town, on first arriving from India. She
begged very hard not to go, but her parents thought
it was right for her to do so. Lena alternately
teased and laughed at her for being shy and stupid
for not wanting to go, and envied her for being
invited, and wished she was going, for she was quite
sure that Mrs. Clifford would take her to see all
sorts of things and be ever so kind to her. If this
invitation had come to Milly at any other time, I
am afraid Lena would have been terribly dis-
appointed at not being invited also; but these last
few days at Aunt Mary's were too full of interest
and occupation to allow much time for regrets of
any sort. There were so many people and places to
take farewell of, and so much to be seen to in the
house, that Lena was what she called "deliciously
busy." Hester was to go with them as nurse to Lucy,
so she also was very busy, and also went away for
a day or two to say good-bye to her parents, who
lived in the neighbourhood of Meadenham. During
those days Lucy was Lena's constant companion, and
on the whole they got on capitally together. They
were very much alike in disposition; and although
Lucy was very fond of Lena, she found she was quite
a different sort of sister in authority than Millicent.
Time slipped away very fast, as it always does
when there is much to be done. It is only with
the idle and lazy that time lags and creeps slowly
along. How the minutes crawl while one is waiting
without anything to do-they seem to lengthen
themselves out in the most extraordinary, manner.
Let one of my little readers remark the length of
five minutes when she or he, as the case may be, is
busy and interested, and five minutes when they are
standing idle, wondering what they shall do next,
or perhaps grumbling because they are prevented
doing something on which they had set their heart.
Once a very small child, who was told to wait ten
minutes for some reason, was seen to give the clock
a great push and call it "a stupid, tiresome thing"
-she was quite-s-ure it had stopped just to tease
her. She was too small to be able to tell the time
herself, but nurse had shown her where the big
hand would point when the ten minutes were up,
and, oh dear! they were so long to that impatient
little mortal who stood gazing up at it with such
interest and anxiety. The last day came, and they
all-that is, Mama, Auntie, Lena, Lucy, and Hester
-all started for London, at which place they were
to meet Milly. Mrs. Clifford was to meet them
with her at the station, and there also Aunt Mary
was to part from them.
On reaching London, they drove from the station
at which they arrived from Meadenham to one on
the other side of the town, from which they were
to go to the town near which their future home
was situated. Aunt Mary was to drive with them
and see them off. At first Lena and Lucy were in
the wildest of spirits, everything was new and
pleasant; but before they reached London they both
became tired of the monotony of being shut up in
one place; and as the train was a fast one, it whirled
along too rapidly for them to get more than a pass-
ing glimpse of the different places on the road.
Most children delight in going away, but I never
yet met with one that liked being in the train.
The Grahams were no exception to this rule. Lucy
first became restless and inclined to be cross, then
Mama seated her on her knee, to look out, and very
soon the rapid motion wearied the little frame, the
blue eyes began to blink, then close, the head fell
back on Mama's shoulder, and Lucy was sound
asleep, to the relief and comfort of her fellow-
passengers. Lena nestled up against Aunt Mary,
and as she thus sat with the kind arm round her,
the remembrance came to her with startling dis-
tinctness, that this would be the last time for many
months that she would feel the pressure of that
kind hand; and then thought after thought came
thronging into her mind of all the love and good-
ness that Aunt Mary had showered upon her during
the last six years. Her whole life, as it seemed to
the child, had been passed with Auntie, and now
that they were to be separated, she wished, oh so
much, that she had been a better and more obedient
girl. When she came to them at Christmas she
would show her how much she loved her by being
so good, and all that she could wish. And she
crept closer to her Aunt as she thus thought of the
past and of the future. She would have liked to
throw her arms round her neck, and tell her how
much she loved her, and how sorry she was to part
with her; but there were strangers in the compart-
ment with them, and Lena did not like any one but
her own people to see her in tears, so she only
crept close, and squeezed the hand that clasped
hers very tight. Lena's thoughts were good and
loving, but mingled with all the goodness was the
one thing that was so seldom wanting from her
good resolutions, and was the invariable cause of
their failure, self-confidence-she would be good
she was determined. How often and often had
Auntie shown this to Lena, and now Mama was
trying to teach her the same lesson of humility and
trust in God. If Lena had said to her own heart.
"I will try, by God's help, to be good and do
what I know will please Auntie," she would cer-
tainly have succeeded. But fortunately for Lena,
both Mama and Auntie were asking for her
what she forgot to ask for herself-the grace of
When the train reached its destination, it was a
very sobered, quiet Lena that got out of it; she was
so gentle, and waited so quietly, holding Lucy's
hand, while the luggage was being collected and
placed on a cab, that Mama said, "Why, Lena,
what a capital little traveller you are I I shall tell
Papa that he need not be afraid of my travelling
without him when I have you."
Lena blushed with pleasure at her mother's
words, and when they were settling how to divide
their party-for they were obliged to have two
cabs-and Lucy said she wanted Lena to come