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SQUIRREL DID NOT STOP TO LOOK TWICE.
~ack from ttji far ( sntr.,
FLORENCE E. BURCH,
"HOW TILLY FOUND A FRIEND," ETC.
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY:
56, PATERNOSTER Row; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
I. SQUIRREL LEARNS TO SEE HIMSELF
AS OTHERS SEE HIM 5
II. THE POND ON THE GREEN 14
III. A SHELTER FROM THE STORM 22
IV. A HUE AND CRY IS RAISED 33
V. OLD OCTAV'US SEES HIS MISTAKE 41
vi. A NARROW ESCAPE 49
VII. BROKEN LILIES 56
VIII. ON THE TRAMP AGAIN 65
IX. WAS LOST, AND IS FOUND 73
$QUIOlREL (EARJ~p TO SEE HIJIAELF A)
-g OTHERS SEE HIM.
TELL ee, sir, he's the contrairiest,
w orsest lad I ever set eyes on;
Sand what's to come of him I
The speaker half turned
Saway and set to work again
throwing up spadeful after
spadeful of earth with a sort
of obstinate persistence that
seemed to say, as plainly as
any words-"That's all I've got to remark
about it; and you won't get a syllable more
out of me."
He was a grizzly old man, Octavius Ravenhill
by. name, with a disagreeable look about -his
mouth and a frown upon his brow; and every
time he drove his spade into the ground he
seemed to wish he was serving somebody out for
their bad ways and nasty tricks. He had'a red
nose also, which suggested too close acquaint-
ance with the beershop, and accounted in some
measure for his surly temper; for when a man
spends in drink what he ought to lay out on
food or clothes, he is sure to be angry about it
afterwards, though he seldom lays the blame
on the right person.
After a few moments, however, he looked up
again, leaning on his spade with one hand, and
drawing the back of the other across his mouth,
as if he were thirsty; for it was a hot July
"It ain't as if he'd been shoved about," he
said. "There was nine of us. I was the eighth,
and the parish clerk named me Octav'us when
my mother went to register me, else I should
'a' been plain Tom. But she was so took with
the grand sound o' the name-which he said
was Latin for eight-that she called me by it
This recollection appeared to make the old
man forget his anger. For a second or two he
stood looking towards the pig-stye with a half-
amused smile; then giving his spade a thrust
As Others See Him. 7
into the earth with his heavy boot, and drawing
himself up without throwing up the mould, he
went on: "No, sir; we had to mind what was
said to us, and work for our victuals; and no
idling about, and getting into scrapes. I thought
my father a bit hard, I don't deny; but depend
upon it, it's the best thing for boys. It don't
do to be soft with 'em. I only wish I'd begun
with him when he was no higher than that scallion
yonder; for a young tree'll bend, but he gets
more stubborn every day. I'll bring him under
yet though," he added, returning to his digging
with a determined air.
"Be careful you do not break where you
mean to bend," said the clergyman, who was
standing on the other side of the fence. This
narrow lane between the houses was a short cut
from the vicarage to the village street; and
seeing his old parishioner at work in his garden,
Mr. Dunlop had stopped to speak with him.
"Softness pays best sometimes," he con-
tinued. "God isn't hard with us. If He were
extreme to mark what is done amiss, which of
us could hope for forgiveness; but the Bible
says, 'there is mercy with Him; therefore shall
He be feared.' Doesn't that teach us that our
children will respect us more for our goodness
towards them than for our severity ?"
The old man shook his head.
"Perhaps it don't hold good of grandchildren,"
he remarked in a tone of irony. Maybe when
they see the white hairs coming, they think the
hand ain't heavy enough to back up what the
tongue says. Anyhow I haven't found softness
"I can hardly fancy that the case with
Squirrel," rejoined the clergyman. "I have
known him ever since he was a little chap in
petticoats there in the infant school, before his
mother died; and I never saw him give his
teacher any trouble. He had his mother's wist-
ful eyes. I can fancy I see them fixed upon the
"Pity he hadn't had his father's," muttered
the old man. He was brought up to know
his duty; and if he hadn't met with that there
accident, the lad might 'a' had a decent bringing
up too; but between his pretty looks and his
grandmother spoilin' of him; why! he's going'
to the bad about as fast as he can go." And
old Octav'us returned to his digging with more
vigour than ever, this time completely turning
his back on the clergyman.
For a minute or so, the latter stood looking
on \vith a pained, half-puzzled expression, as
if at a loss how to handle such a rough-grained
As Others See Him.
fellow; then prepared-to pursue his way, only
observing: "Well, my friend, I'll have a talk
with the lad myself, and see what I can do to.
The old man went on with his work in sullen
silence until the clergyman was fairly on his
way; then straightening himself up, he walked
Slowly to the fence, and watched hi. retreating
figure as it disappeared round the corner into
At that very moment, if he had but known it,
he too was being watched, and by the very pair of
eyes which the clergyman remembered as so
pretty in the infant school some six or eight
years back. It was a good long strip of ground
which the old man called his garden, and hidden
among the thick leaves of an old walnut tree
that stood at the very bottom of it, sat Squirrel
himself. His legs were comfortably tucked up
on a broad bough, his fingers playing mis-
chievously with the twigs, or rolling up the
leaves into little pellets to shower on the wash-
trough in the stye below.
Squirrel was very fond of climbing trees, and
very nimble at it; indeed it was this which had
won him his nickname. He had worn so many
holes in his clothes acquiring this agility in the
use -of his arms and legs, that at last his grand-
father had promised him a flogging for every
time he should catch him up a tree.
"He'd have to wait till I chose to come down
though," grinned the young scapegrace, with his
sauciest look, as he repeated the news to Lottie
Linger. But for all this, he had deemed it
most prudent on this July afternoon, having
found his way into the tree before his grand-
father came out to dig the turnip bed, to stop
there till he had finished and gone away; so much
respect had Squirrel for the old mail's threats.
Just then, however, an elderly woman, in a
clean cap and apron, appeared at the kitchen
door, shading her eyes with one hand, and
beckoning the old man with the other. Finding
that this failed to attract his notice, she made a
step or two out on the path, calling to him that
tea was made, and that he had better come and
have a cup to refresh him.
Now was Squirrel's time. Waiting until his
grandfather was safe inside the kitchen, he
quickly shifted his position on the bough, turning
himself over on it so as to reach with the tips
of his toes a fork upon the main trunk. Then
letting himself down from this by both hands,
and grasping the trunk with his legs, in a few
moments he was on the ground and over the
wall into the lane.
As Others See Him.
"I wonder if he saw me I" he said to himself,
as he rubbed his hands together and turned his
face towards the church. "It don't much
matter, though; for if grandfather thinks that
he's going to 'bring me under,'-why! he'll
find out he's altogether wrong!" And off
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ravenhill had begun to
make inquiries after her grandson.
"I suppose he'll be in presently," she said,
half to herself, putting the tea-pot back on the
hob. "I wonder where he is! You didn't see
Squirrel go through to the front, did you,
Old Octav'us answered by a sort of grunt, and
went on pouring his tea out in the saucer to
"The last I saw of him," continued his wife,
"was hangin' over the pigs to watch them
"It's a nasty place for him to hang over, to
my mind," she went on, as she sipped her tea;
"for pigs won't smell sweet, do what you will,
and I'm sure you're always cleaning 'em; but
the boy is fond of watching anything alive, from
a porker to a baby. You should 'a' seen him
with Mrs. Linger's baby the other day when
Lottie had it in the street."
"I wish he was a little fonder o' minding
what's said to him," growled old Octav'us
between his mouthfuls of bread and butter.
"What's he got to do with gapin' at babies.
He's got to learn how to work, and mind a
"He's not a bad boy," said Mrs. Ravenhill.
"He only wants putting to it. He'll mind a
master right enough when he gets one."
'" Why don't he mind me, then ? exclaimed
old Octav'us. "It's a bad look out for his
master if I can't get a job of work done in the
garden, unless it's carrying' a pail of wash to
those precious pigs he makes such friends of."
"You're a bit hard on him, Octav'us," said
Mrs. Ravenhill, mildly, as she got up to fill the
cup which he pushed towards her. "You're
one of those who expect to find an old head
on young shoulders."
"I wish I could put one there," said old
Octav'us, as he got up to go out again after a
sullen silence of some minutes. "If it was to
be done by knocking the other off, I wouldn't
wait long; and I'd give it a good chance of
After he was gone, the grandmother sat still
for a little while, moving her spoon gently to
and fro in her tea-cup. Then finishing the
As Other See Him. 13
contents and pouring some tea into a mug
which she left upon the table, together with a
thick slice of bread and butter for Squirrel, she
cleared away and washed up the tea-things.
Having done this, she took down her bonnet
and shawl from the peg behind the door; and
calling to her husband that she was going up
the street, went through the parlour and out
at the front door, carefully shutting it after
THE POND ON THE QREEN,
T ~ THMST Squirrel's tea was cooling in the
* mug on the kitchen table, Squirrel him-
self was pursuing his way up the lane
towards the vicarage. He was not making any
particular haste, for there was no fear of pursuit;
and the plan that had come into his head as he
descended from the walnut tree, wanted some
"I'm going to the bad as straight as I can,
am I!" said Squirrel to himself, dragging his
feet thoughtfully along the grass by the road-
side so that a little cloud of dust flew out. "I
may as well have a bit of fun out of it on the
Squirrel lounged along, thinking very busily,
with his hands in his pockets and his mouth
puckered up to a whistle, while his eyes diligently
followed the toes of his boots, in each of which
was a round hole,-another consequence of
The manner of his reasoning was as follows:-
The Pond on the Green.
If he really were so wicked by nature that he
was sure of coming to a bad end, what use was
there in staying at home to be brought under "
.by his grandfather ? Why not go to the bad in
his own free and easy fashion, and enjoy himself
over it. The question was, the best way to set
Just then a grey rat poked its head out of a
hole in the stable which Squirrel was passing.
Catching sight of him, the rat quickly dis-
appeared; not, however, be.or. Squirrel's sharp
eyes had seen him. Quick as lightning all the
boy's thoughts vanished, and darting forward,
in less than two seconds he was kneeling on the
grass with his eye to the hole.
After some looking and listening, though, he
settled that there was nothing to be gained in"
this way. He had but just drawn back, and
was squatting on the turf, trying to imagine all
the mysterious possibilities of rat-life inside the
stable, when he caught the sounds of footsteps
in the direction whence he himself had come.
Turning his head he perceived the clergyman
advancing, with one arm behind his back; for the
road lay a good deal up hill.
Squirrel did not stop to look twice. The
clergyman's parting words to his grandfather
were ample reason for wishing not to be caught,
and somehow the position of the old gentleman's
arm suggested a hidden cane. Now in Squirrel's
experience a good talking-to was most frequently
followed by a sound thrashing, so he at once
continued his road, taking care to give his
pursuer no chance of overtaking him.
Only once he looked round, and then Mr.
Dunlop was no longer in sight. Squirrel made
a dozen or so steps backwards to see if the
enemy were still coming on, and almost imme-
diately the clergyman appeared round the bend
of the road. On seeing Squirrel he beckoned;
this signal, however, had the opposite effect
from what the old gentleman intended it should,
for Squirrel faced about without delay, and
setting off at a run, was quickly out of sight.
On the rising ground where the church and
vicarage stood was an open green, and beyond
it, a green lane leading up to the wood; but at
one side, shaded by a thick hedge and some tall
trees, was a large pond, and here Squirrel
stopped to reflect, and make ducks and drakes."
There were none of his playmates about, but
at present he wanted no other company than his
own thoughts. After making one or two splen-
did drakes,' and watching the last circle widen
out on the surface of the water until it touched
the shore and broke, he sauntered round towards
The Pond on the Green. 17
the hedge. Holding by the bushes as he went,
and paying very little attention to the manner
in which the great bramble thorns hooked them-
selves into his clothes, he made his way along
the narrow bank above the water's edge.
Squirrel had often been there for bird's nests;
but his mind was not occupied with them now.
On reaching the middle, he stopped and glanced
round with a look that seemed to say, I could
be safe from the whole lot of 'em here /"
But Squirrel knew very well he could not
stay there for ever, though he little knew how
many difficulties there were in the way of being
his own master. As he continued his scramble,
a young girl about his own age, came out on to
the green from one of the houses beyond the
She had a baby in her arms, and a little
toddler clinging to her dress, and was going
towards the lane; but on perceiving Squirrel
she changed her mind, and came towards the
pond, to watch him climb along. At that part
the bank was so steep and narrow that Squirrel
needed all his skill to keep his footing; but
directly he jumped on to firm ground again he
caught sight of her.
"Hullo !" he exclaimed, picking up a fiat
stone, which he sent skimming along the water,
-once,-twice,-thrice. You couldn't do
The girl shook her head and walked towards
him, and Squirrel having won this easy triumph
came a few steps to meet her.
Tck/" he ejaculated, with a droll face at the
baby. Shouldn't I like to lug him about all
"I daresay not," returned Lottie, pleasantly,
guessing what he. really meant. "It tires me
sometimes; but somebody must nurse him."
Squirrel made another grimace, and the child
kicked and crowed, till his young nurse could
hardly hold him. "He knows you, don't he!"
she said, resting her face against his little head.
"You always make him laugh."
"I should think I did!" exclaimed Squirrel,
proudly, with another Tek !-" I'm going away!"
"Going away !" exclaimed Lottie, very much
astonished. "Where to ?"
That was a question Squirrel was not prepared
for; and as he did not answer, Lottie had to ask
Squirrel soon answered this.
If I'm bad, I'm bad; and that's all about it,"
he added, sending another stone flying along
the.water; "but I don't see why I should stay
at home and get the strap for it."
The Pond on the Green. 19
"But where'll you go to ?" objected Lottie.
Oh! lots of places," returned Squirrel.
"You'd be just as bad anywhere else," said
"I shouldn't get strapped for it though;
that's all," replied Squirrel.
Lottie said nothing for a bit; whilst Squirrel,
having emptied his pockets, went to the road-
way for more stones.
When he returned she went to meet him
I shouldn't go away if I was you, Squirrel,"
"Why not said Squirrel, making ducks
and drakes so fast one after another that all the
rings got mixed up together.
"What good'll it do, your getting off 'the
strap'?" asked Lottie.
Squirrel laughed outright. Perhaps he thought
girls didn't know what the strap felt like.
Lottie explained herself.
If you go and do wrong anywhere else you'll
get punished all the same," she said; "people
always do. And if you don't work, you'll starve."
"Anyhow I shan't get the strap," persisted
Squirrel, who evidently regarded that as the
worst evil to be endured. Grandfather has no
business to strap me; and he'd no business to
tell the clergyman I was bad. The clergyman
said he'd talk to me; and I'm not going to stop
to be talked to."
"Do you know what I should do, if I was
you," said Lottie gravely, after a minute's pause.
" The Bible says,' He that will not work, neither
shall he eat.' I should get some work to do.
You're old enough now."
The truth was, Lottie did not at all like the
idea of losing her favourite playmate. Indeed,
so intent had she been on trying to persuade
him to stay at home, that she had entirely for-
gotten her other little charge, till a sudden cry
of delight recalling him to her mind, she turned
in the very nick of time to see him topple
headlong into the pond.
Little Bobbie, left to his own devices, had
wandered away to a mound of turf which stood
rather high above the water. Seeing his own
reflection, he had stooped to study it too closely,
and had overbalanced.
Squirrel started to the rescue, and before the
frightened sister could reach the spot, had
pulled Bobbie out by the back of his dress; for
the pond was shallow enough at the edge, and
Squirrel was not particular about wetting his
feet. But there was no more talking for him
and Lottie that afternoon, for Bobbie had to be
The Pond on the Green. 21
marched home at once, and put to bed whilst his
clothes were dried.
"Now, if Lottie was to get the strap for
letting that youngster tumble in the water,"
reasoned Squirrel, as he watched them retreat
towards the cottages, "she'd know more. about
He didn't want her to have it, for all that;
and as it happened, Lottie didn't need it, for
she knew full well how careless she had been,
and was very sorry. And we are no sooner
sincerely penitent than we cease to deserve'
punishment. Meanwhile time had gone on, and
the sun was already beginning to throw longer
shadows as it travelled on towards the west.
Squirrel evidently noticed this, for after watching
Lottie out of sight, he left the pond, and came
out into the middle of the green, where he
remained a minute or so undecided.
Then, turning his face towards the lane, he
commenced his journey.
A SHELTER FROM THE STORM.
ms green lane was just the place for a boy
to enjoy an afternoon in, and Squirrel
himself had spent many an hour there
searching the hedges for linnets' and chaffinches'
nests,, or swinging in the high boughs where the
thrushes built. As may readily be imagined,
these were better times for him than for the
birds; for he rarely saw a nest, were it ever so
high, but he managed to climb to it. He never
came within reach of one without taking all the
eggs, some of which he sucked with the aid of
a pin stuck on the lappel of his jacket for the
purpose, bringing the rest down to exhibit to his
playmates. Of course this was very unkind and
wrong; but Squirrel had never stopped to think
that birds have feelings.
This, however, was a lucky day for the birds,
for Squirrel had no leisure to spend on climbing
trees. He had a long way to go, and night
would be coming on presently; so he plodded
steadily along, passing all the familiar gaps in
A Shelter from the Storm. 23
the hedges, and resisting the temptation to hug
the trunk of each dear old beech or hornbeam
that he knew so well, until by-and-by he came
to the wood.
Here the trees met overhead in a thick shade,
and the pathway was hemmed in on either side
by a tangle of brushwood. It was very quiet
and cool; and as Squirrel had become rather
hot in the broad sunshine on the green after
hurrying up the hill, it was pleasant to feel the
cool swish of the brake-fern against his hands,
and know that he could afford to take things
easily, being already nearly two miles away
from his grandfather.
But Squirrel had never been there before
without some of his companions to break the
stillness; and somehow or other the perfect
silence soon began to make him feel un-
comfortable. Even the birds were singing very
little; only some partridges kept calling "Hi!
hi! chuck! chuck!" in a mocking tone, and
every now and then the flap of their wings
among the branches startled him. All things
considered, the wood seemed a less pleasant
place than he had formerly thought it. But
Squirrel had set his mind upon reaching the
high-road on the other side; so he was not to
be stopped by idle fears.
A little further along he came to the brook.
There was scarcely any water in it, for the
weather had been extremely hot and dry ever
since midsummer; but just where he had to
cross it ran very clear and bright over the
stones. Squirrel was thirsty, for it was long
past his usual tea-time; so, laying himself flat
on the ground and putting his face down to the
stream, he drank to his heart's content, then
raised his head and smacked his lips, and drank
This draught gave him fresh courage, and
having picked his way across the stones, he set
out with redoubled vigour. He had not gone
far before he heard the sound of voices at no
Squirrel stood still and listened, and his heart
began to beat. He knew very little about
trespassing; but he had a general sort of idea
that gamekeepers went about with dogs and
guns, and that it was best to keep out of their
way. As he listened, however, he caught sight
of two figures. One was a man, roughly clad,
carrying a stout ash cudgel o er his shoulder;
the other, a woman in a slihb dark petticoat,
with a gay-coloured shawl twisted about her
head. Squirrel knew them at once for gipsies,
and thought of stories he had heard about boys
A Shelter from the Storm. 25
being carried off and sadly ill-treated by
members of this wandering tribe. Fortunately,
however, their faces were turned in the opposite
direction, so there was time to e0ape. Quickly
leaving the footpath, Squirrel made his way in
among the brushwood, carefully watching to see
that they had not observed him.
"Gipsies would be worse than grandfather,"
he said to himself as he reached a safe distance.
"I mean to be my own master."
But Squirrel had forgotten that a wood is a
place where it doesn't do to leave the beaten
track, unless you have some means of marking
your way. In avoiding the gipsies he had
entirely changed his course. He went wander-
ing on and on, now through places where the
undergrowth had been cleared away, leaving
the trees standing up tall and straight like
rows of soldiers; now through tangles where it
was difficult to push a way. All the while, the
sun continued his course towards his golden
bed in the west, gradually sinking lower:;and
lower, until at last he disappeared. Then the
light began to fade.
Out on the open common, a mile or two
further on, it was still broad daylight, and
robins were singing gaily in the gilded tree-
tops; but down in the hollow of the wood,
under the thick foliage, dusk was rapidly
gathering, and Squirrel began to be afraid.
He had not the least idea where he was going,
but one thing he was certain of; it was of no
use standing still. So he kept on and on, still
hoping that before long he should find his way
out on to the road.
By this time the last "Hi! hi!" of the
partridges had died out, and the birds them-
selves were comfortably settled for the night in
their favourite roosts, with their heads tucked
under their wings. Squirrel had come out into
an open space where some woodmen had been at
work felling trees. Several great trunks lay
along the ground ready to be dragged home on
the timber-carriage, and beyond the thicker
boughs, which had been sawn into lengths and
stripped of their side branches, were several
great stacks of twiggy wood for pea-sticks and
fire-lighting. Squirrel glanced up at the darken-
ing sky, where the stars were already coming
out, and wished he had commenced his journey
earlier. "I wish I'd started in the morning,"
he said to himself, with a sigh, thinking of his
bed at home. I wonder if grandfather's been
to look for me yet. I guess he'll wish he hadn't
threatened to flog me, when he finds I've run
A Shelter from the Storm. 27
Squirrel was beginning to feel very much
inclined to cry; but the idea of punishing his
grandfather gave him fresh courage, and for-
getting that he was punishing himself far more
severely, he fairly grinned from ear to ear as he
said to himself: "I shouldn't wonder if they
dragged the pond for me. They won't find me
This had actually been done once in Squirrel's
memory, when a boy was missing, and he had
a very clear recollection of how the father and
mother stood on the bank crying and ringing
their hands over the swollen, disfigured corpse.
But such thoughts were not exactly cheerful,
and a sudden breath of wind that made the
trees rustle as if they, too, were whispering
about it, sent a cold shiver through him. At
the same moment it occurred to him that, since
the woodmen had been at work, there must be
a roadway at no great distance. Creeping
stealthily 'round the piles of brushwood, for
Squirrel was beginning to be almost afraid of
the sound of his own footfall, he discovered, to
his great relief, that he had at length made his
way back to a track, by following which he
would undoubtedly before long get out of the
In this -expeotation he was not deceived. In
less than a quarter of an hour he emerged on a
broad and dusty road.
Squirrel stood still for a minute or two, un-
decided which way to turn. A great bank of
cloud had risen in the east; but where the sun
had set there was still a glow of light, and
towards this he turned his face. He was be-
ginning to wonder where he should sleep. He
had often thought it would be good fun to spend
the night under a hedge; but now that there
seemed little chance of a better resting-place,
he did not fancy it so much. Squirrel trudged on.
There was no wind; but every now and then
a low rustle shook the trees, and Squirrel made
sure he heard distant thunder.
The clouds in the east had now spread over
nearly the whole sky, and the strip of light on
the western horizon was rapidly growing less.
As he watched it a sudden flash caused him to
start; then a long low peal of thunder rolled
round the heavens. At the same moment the
streak of light in the west disappeared; and the
whole earth seemed wrapped in gloom.
Squirrel stood still and gazed round in the
darkness, then up at the sky, and trembled with
fear. All was black as pitch, and he was alone
and lost. As he stood there, not knowing which
way to turn for shelter, a second flash of
A Shelter from the Storm. 29
lightning rent the cloud. Squirrel uttered a
cry of terror, and without waiting to hear the
peel of thunder that followed, took to his heels
and ran as if-for his life. The little dried-up
leaves fluttered after as though they wanted
to have a laugh at him for possessing so little
bravery when he had chosen to be his own master.
Ah! poor Squirrel! He knew very little
about the .good Father in heaven, "in whose
service is perfect freedom," and in whose care
we may always feel safe. He was very much like
that foolish young man in the parable, who
took all his share of the inheritance and went
away into a far country to spend it. The poor
prodigal had to learn that it was better to work
upon his father's farm than to starve in wicked
idleness. So every one who goes away from
God, and refuses to obey His laws, will have
the same lesson to learn; for God, who longs
for their return, will never let them be happy in
Perhaps Squirrel thought of the thunder as
the voice of God's anger, for as he ran, it
thundered again and again, each time louder
than before, whilst the whole sky seemed on
fire with the lightning. It was just as if he
could not escape from it, and at length he
stopped, exhausted and out of breath.
"If only I could think of my prayers!" said
Squirrel to himself. But he so seldom said the
prayers his grandmother had taught him that
he could not think of one. The wind had risen
now, and moaned in his ears; and as he gazed
upward, a great splash of rain fell on his face.
Squirrel dashed it away with his coat sleeve,
and started on again. It had suddenly begun
to rain quite fast, and there was not a tree in
sight, for he had long since left the wood be-
hind, and was now crossing a sort of common.
Squirrel cared very little about getting wet;
but he was terribly frightened, and at every
fresh burst of thunder he cowered and shrank.
Presently he arrived at the foot of a little hill.
He slackened pace and ascended it slowly, for
his breath was nearly spent. There were some
small trees along the road here, but a ditch
separated him from the hedge. On arriving at
the top of the hill, however, he discovered two
giant elms, and here he stopped for shelter.
He was not very wise, or he would have
known something of the danger of standing
under trees during:thunderstorms; but Squirrel
was an ignorant boy, and as he leant against
the old elm, around whose enormous trunk four
boys his own size could not have joined, hands,
it seemed like a friend in his loneliness.
A Shelter from the Storm. 81
The rain was pouring down in torrents now,
and where Squirrel stood the wind drove it full
in his face, so he moved round to the other
side of the trunk. In doing so, he perceived,
by the light of a bright flash, the mouth of a
huge hollow just on a level with his head, and
big enough for him to hide in.
There was an oak-tree on the green at home,
inside which he had often crept; and it struck
him that this was the very shelter of which he
stood in need.
Clambering up on the roots and catching
hold with his hands, Squirrel waited until the
next flash showed it him again; then drawing
himself up with the aid of his feet against the
rough bark, he got his legs over, and let him-
self down into the mouldy hole. It was a long
way down, and the rotten wood smelt disagree-
able; but Squirrel had had too much practice
in climbing to entertain any fears about being
able to get out again, and it was very snug and
Meanwhile the fury of the storm had in-
creased. The lightning flashed almost in-
cessantly, and the thunder grew louder and
louder, until suddenly there came one tre-
mendous flash and clap that seemed to blind
and deafen him. Then the wind roared fiercely
as it shook the branches of the old elm above
him, and the rain came down in torrents.
Squirrel was terribly frightened, though he
little knew how very near to him the danger
bad come, nor how wonderfully he had been
protected by the great God against whom he
had sinned in running away from home. After
this, the thunder gradually abated, and the
storm rolled away into the distance.
Squirrel's eyelids were getting very heavy,
just as if a dead weight pressed upon them.
At first he blinked hard to try and hold them
open; but it was of no use, and after a few
useless attempts he let them close.
Presently he was roused a little by the
splashing of the rain, which began to drift into
his shelter, for the wind was changing, as it so
often does during the course of a storm. But
by this time Squirrel was too much overcome
with sleep to take much notice of anything.
What with the long distance he had come on
foot, and the terror he had gone through, he
was well-nigh exhausted. He only cowered down
a little more closely in the hole, and in a few
minutes he was sound asleep.
A HUE AJ.D CRY IS IAIS ED.
A"iV us. RAVENHIILL had been little less fright-
ened during the storm than Squirrel,
though from a different reason. When
Old Octav'us came home from the public-house,
whither he had gone about an hour after tea,
he found her standing on the doorstep, looking
uneasily up and down the street.
"Where's Squirrel?" she asked, as he slouched
up. "He ha'n't be. n in since I went out."
"How d' ye know that !" growled old Octav'us,
more surly than ever. "Door's been on the
latch all time."
Ay but his slice o' bread an' butter's there
untouched," replied the grandmother, without
moving from the door; and Squirrel's a hungry
lad. He never comes within arm's length o'
food that's his own to take, without his eatin'
This was too true to bear contradiction, so
Octav'us found another outlet for his surliness,
(aling to work grumbling at his grandson's
appetite, which, like that of most boys of his
age, was rather sharp.
"He eats more 'n he deserves," said old
Octav'us. "He ain't worth his salt."
Mrs. Ravenhill followed her husband into the
kitchen, where he was fumbling about for the
"I'd give the whole o' my supper to see him
safe in bed," she said. "We're going to have
a fearful storm to-night. Did you see that ?"
It. was a vivid flash of lightning, which
illuminated the room to its darkest corner, so
that every object showed out clear and plain.
Of course I did," replied the old man, gruffly.
"Come, make haste with the matches. Where
are you bundling off to "
Mrs. Ravenhill was hurrying back to the door
to look for Squirrel. "Hark!" she cried, as
the thunder burst in a long, loud roll.
Look here !" exclaimed old Octav'us, stumb-
ling after her, and upsetting a chair as he went;
"Bother your d'y-see-ing' and hark-ing I' I
want a light. I'm going' to shut all that noise
"But Squirrel's outside!" cried his wife,
almost beside herself with fear for her grand-
son. She obeyed, however, for there was some-
thing so rough in the old man's tone, that
A Hue and C7r is .Raised. 85
she dared not do otherwise. So she went back
into the kitchen and lit the candle, and began
to put the bread and butter on the table for
supper. But the curtain failed to keep out the
lightning; and every flash made her start and
"Now then!" exclaimed old Octav'us, at
length. Stop that It's enough to give any-
one the miseries to see you. Ain't it enough
that there's a storm, without you shrieking and
goin' on in that fashion ? If the lightning comes
in through the parlour, we'll have the parlour
door shut." And so saying, he kicked it to with
This was more than Mrs. Ravenhill could
endure. "You don't seem to care anything
about Squirrel," she sobbed, now fairly breaking
down. "Think o' the poor child out in all this
storm and rain- "
Serve him right for topping out," rejoined
the old man, angrily. "He ought to be in bed!
I was when I was his age."
"So he is in a general way," sobbed Mrs.
Ravenhill; and asleep too. I only wish he was
to-night. Something must have happened to
"Oh, he's right enough," said old Octav'us,
who, in spite of what he said, was really awaken-
ing to the fact that there was good cause for
anxiety. "Come now !" he added, sitting down
and rapping loudly on the table with the handle
of a knife which lay by the loaf. "Leave off
that whimpering and cut me some bread; and
get your own supper. I'm goin' off to bed."
Mrs. Ravenhill obeyed; but she ate nothing
herself, and kept getting up to draw aside the
blind and look out.
The storm raged louder and louder, each
thunder-clap following the lightning more quickly
than the last, and shaking the little cottage so
that the doors and windows rattled. Presently
old Octav'us, having finished his supper, pushed
back his chair and got up.
"I must put the shutters to," he said, hesi-
tatingly, as though he little relished having to
thrust his head outside. At that moment a
steel-blue flash burst through the blind, quiver-
ing for a second in the yellow candle-light, and
then there came a crash that seemed to fall like
a thunderbolt down the chimney.
Mrs. Ravenhill clasped her hands involuntarily,
aid old Octav'us turned towards the fire-place
as if he expected to see something unusual there.
For a minute neither husband nor wife spoke,
then Mrs. Ravenhill got up and shifted about
A Hue and Cry is Raised. 87
"That was very near," she said at last.
"Pshaw! exclaimed old Octav'us. "It
struck no nearer than the Green."
When he went to the door to close the shutters,
however, he glanced uneasily up and down the
street, almost as if he expected to see some
neighbour's house on fire. The truth was he
was much more frightened on his own account
than his wife was. He was one of those people
who drive God out of their lives, knowing all
the while that they cannot expect His protection
if they refuse to own Him as their Lord; and
such people always try to appear very brave,
and always fail.
But the shutters had to be put to, and old
Octav'us came in uncomfortable enough, with
the water running down his collar and penetra-
tiinghe shoulders of his waiscoat. The day had
been so sultry that he had not worn his jacket
since the morning.
This '11 cool the air a bit," he remarked, as
he returned to the kitchen. "The storm's-
moving on, and the wind has changed."
Mrs. Ravenhill made no reply, for. she could
think of nothing else but Squirrel; and as for
old Octav'us himself, he too was becoming very
anxious, although he was too proud to show it.
At last, after fidgetting about for some time, he
went through the parlour and opened the street
Mrs. Ravenhill followed him. "It's raining
very hard," she said, looking past his great
broad shoulders towards the opposite houses.
"What's to be done about the lad?" said
old Octav'us, without turning round. "We
can't go to bed."
"I wonder where he is!" exclaimed Mrs.
".What's the use of wondering that!" said
old Octav'us. "If it was, I should pretty soon
be after him. I wish I knew where to look," he
added, half to himself.
They waited awhile, thinking he might come
in, now that the thunder was pretty well over;
but at length old Octav'us settled to go down
the street, and inquire among the neighbours.
He was some time gone, but he brought back no
tidings of the boy. His wife suggested the Green,
where he so often went to play, and old Octav'us
again set out to trudge up the hill towards the
The roadside ditch, which had been as dry as
the road itself when Squirrel passed along, was
now pouring noisily down to join the brook
beyond the village street. Here and there the
lane was flooded; and the rain drove mercilessly
A Hue an 1 Cry is tRaised. 39
in the old man's face as he pushed on, peering
anxiously through the darkness and listening
eagerly to anything that had the sound of an
There were still lights in most of the windows,
for the cottagers had hesitated about going to
bed until the storm abated; but, although he
inquired from door to door, nothing had been
seen or heard of the missing boy. Octav'us next
turned in at the vicarage gate, and astonished
the maidservant by inquiring for her master.
"Our lad's been and done worse than ever,
sir," he said, ruefully, as Mr. Dunlop came
forward to see what he could want at such an
hour. We don't know where he is. I thought
might be you'd been talking to him, and might
But Mr. Dunlop shook his head. The last he
had seen of Squirrel was when the boy ran up
the lane before him.
"I beckoned to him to stop," he said; "but
I suppose he thought he would get a lecture, for
he set off running, and I saw no more of him.
Perhaps he has taken shelter with some of the
neighbours round about. Squirrel is such a
favourite that there isn't one but would give
him a lodging on a night like this."
Now it was old Octav'us's turn to shake his
head. There was not a single house at which
he had not inquired, and nothing remained but
to trudge back home.
It's wonderful how you seem to love anyone
when you've lost hold on 'em," said old Octav'us
to himself, as he saw the light in the kitchen
window across the garden palings. "I won't be
so fond of threatening him if ever I get him
back; and yet I can't be always letting him
have his own way."
He found his wife watching for his return;
but she had no need to ask any questions. The
old man's lonely figure told its own tale. They
went into the kitchen without a word. Then
Octav'us related where he had been; and they
both felt there was nothing further to be done
but wait. There was no going to bed that night.
They sat silent opposite each other, listening to
every sound, and going to the door again and
again to look out into the black night. In this
way hour after hour passed, whilst the storm
rolled on to flash and crash-over other villages.
At last the rain ceased, and a long rift in the
clouds showed the morning star, growing pale
before the approach of dawn. Then the sky
gradually cleared, a cold chill rose up from the
wet earth; and one by one, the birds awoke.
And very soon it was. broad daylight.
OLD OCTAV'UP PEEP HIS JVISTAKE.
EXT morning the news of Squirrel's dis-
appearance was on every tongue. Down
in the village street neighbours no sooner
opened their shutters than they popped an apron
over their heads, and ran to inquire if anything
had been heard of him. Fathers and mothers
shook their heads as they looked round on their
groups of awe-stricken children, and said that
this was what came of being a bad boy and
staying out when he ought to be a-bed.
In the cottages on the Green, men and women
were wondering whether old Octav'us had found
the boy safe at home after all. But when news
came in at breakfast time that a cow had been
found dead in one of the fields, it was only
natural they should think of Squirrel, and
wonder whether he too had been struck by the
When Lottie Linger's father related this news
about the cow, Lottie herself was upstairs dress-
ing Bobbie, who had slept unusually late after
his ducking; but a few minutes later she
brought him down, looking as fresh as a rose-
bud, and none the worse for his fright.
Now Lottie had been loud in Squirrel's praises
for the gallant manner in which he had come to
Bobbie's -rescue; and as she was in bed and fast
asleep whilst old Octav'us was trudging up and
down in search of her playmate, she knew
nothing of what had happened. She was not
a little puzzled, as her father took Bobbie on
his knee, to hear him say:
Ah! Bobbie mustn't go near the pond any
more; for poor Squirrel may never be by again
to pull him out."
Bobbie was so-often in mischief that it was
easy to imagine Squirrel might not always be
by to help; but something, in the tone of her
father's voice as he said, "poor Squirrel!"
made her suspect something was wrong, and at
the same time Squirrel's words about going
away flashed through her mind.
Lottie stopped short, just as her mother held
the baby out for her to take.
"What's the matter with Squirrel?" she
That's what nobody knows," answered her
father; and he related how old Octav'us had
been overnight to look for him.
Old Octav'us sees his Mistake. 43
"Then he's gone away I" cried Lottie, in
"Gone away?" exclaimed her father and
mother in a breath. "What do you mean?
Where to ?"
But this question Lottie was unable to answer,
for she could tell them no-more than Squirrel
had told her. I begged him not to go," cried
poor Lottie; but I never thought he really
Mr. and Mrs. Linger glanced at each other.
He always was a .wild boy," said the mother,
looking round the table at the half-dozen boys
and girls who were waiting for their bread and
dripping. "I never did like ours playing with
him so much. But Lottie always thought a lot
of Squirrel; and he did us such a good turn
yesterday that I'd made up my mind to bear
"Anyway," returned Linger. "He mayn't
have been struck after all. I'm sure I hope'"~
not, for Mrs. Ravenhill's sake; for she's won-
derfully set upon the boy. "Which way was
he going, Lott?"
Lottie, who felt rather in disgrace for thinking
so much of a boy of whom her parents dis-
approved, replied that she had seen nothing of
him since he pulled Bobbie out of the water;
so all hope of tracing him in that way was at
an end. Lottie, however, begged permission to
run down to the street, and tell his grand-
parents what she knew.
"I can easily be back in time for school,
mother," she added.
Mrs. Linger was perfectly willing. "Yes,
child," she replied; "they'll be glad to hear
even that. Directly after breakfast you shall
But Lottie could eat no breakfast; and after a
little hesitation her mother consented to her
going at once, only putting a crust into her
hand as she started.
Lottie sped swiftly over the ground. The
road had been washed clean by the heavy rain,
so that in places the stones lay bare like a
rough pavement, and here and there little
channels had been hollowed out by the water
which had overflowed from the ditch.
But Lottie had no thoughts to spare for that,
nor for the sweetness of the air, nor for the gay
songs with which the birds were telling their
delight at the return of fine weather.
She did not think of anything but Squirrel's
poor old grandmother down in the street,
anxiously waiting for news of him. It did not
even occur to her till she turned the corner,
Old Octav'us sees hi Mistake. 45
that he might never have gone away after all,
in spite of what he had said, and that she
might find him quietly eating his breakfast in
the kitchen. But all hope of this vanished as
she put her eager question: Has Squirrel
Then he's gone. away, as he said he should,"
she exclaimed. And beginning her story before
either Mrs. Ravenhill or old Octav'us could utter
a word, she told them how Squirrel had made.
up his mind to run away.
The old people looked at each other, and the
expression of Octavius's face was very penitent.
Then he sat down on a chair and began to cry,
the big tears rolling down his cheeks as he leant
his head on his hands.
"I've driven him away," he said. I've been
hard to him. 1 didn't mean it; but what's to
do! The proverb says, 'Spare the rod and spoil
the child,' and Squirrel wasn't always one to
mind what was said to him without. I
haven't read my Bible much; but I know it
do say that, don't it, wife ? I wish I'd read it
more. Maybe it 'd ha' told me some better
way, as well."
"Squirrel wasn't a bad boy, was he ?" asked
Lottie, anxious to put in a good word for her
"Not to say bad," answered Octav'us through
his tears. If only I could get him back "
Lottie was puzzled what to say now, for Mrs.
Ravenhill was crying too, with her apron to her
eyes; and she felt inclined to join them.
"I should have some tea if I were you," she
said suddenly, catching sight of the teapot on
the hob, where it had remained neglected ever
since the evening before; and maybe Squirrel
will come in presently. God could take care of
him, .you know, however bad the storm was;
and he'll soon be tired of running away, like the
prodigal that the Bible tells about. He only
stayed away till he got hungry and poor, and
then his father had him back. You'd have
Squirrel back, wouldn't you;-if he came ? "
"Ay that we would. God grant he may! "
And two more big tears rolled down the old
man's cheeks and dropped on to the table.
Lottie looked down at these two tears and
tried hard to think of something to comfort
him. But no words would come, so she stood
there looking very sorry.
"I wish I'd read my Bible more," said old
Octav'us again presently. "I might 'a' seen
how to do better by the lad."
A bright idea struck Lottie. Shall I get it
down and read you a bit about the prodigal
Old Octav'us sees his Mistu :e. 47
son?" she asked. "I know where to find it;
and it is so beautiful where his father came out
to meet him. It always makes me cry."
Old Octav'us did not say "no," so the child
fetched the book, and turned up the fifteenth
of Luke. With very little spelling at the harder
words, she read out the parable.
"It's just like," she said, when she had
finished; for you see, that father couldn't have
known where to look for his son; and I believe
there would be joy among the angels if Squirrel
was to be sorry and come home."
But old Octav'us shook his head sadly. Per-
haps he'll never give 'em the chance," he said,
half to himself. "An' it strikes me," he added,
" that this 'ere story fits me as well as him. I
used to say my prayers and go to church once
upon a time; but when I got a beard on my
face, I thought myself too grand for such
matters. When once we come to leave off
thinking about God, it seems like we're on our
way to the far country.' That's where I've
got to; and Ive been like servant to that swine-
herd all these years, idling away my time in and
out o' public-houses."
"Then won't you come home, too," said
Lottie, simply; and the angels will be glad
about you as well as Squirrel."
"It's 'most too late, now my hair's grey,"
said Octav'us. "That prodigal was a mere
lad; and as for Squirrel, he's no better than a
child; but I'm getting' anigh the end o' my time."
"But 'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
to-day, and for ever,'" said a voice in the door-
way. And He says, Whoso cometh unto Me,
I will not cast him out.' "
It was the clergyman, who having walked
down after an early breakfast to see what
news he could hear of the missing boy, had
overheard Lottie's reading of the parable and
the old man's confession.
It is never too late to return to our Heavenly
Father," he continued, stepping in and sitting
down by the old man's side. "If we feel that
our lives have been wasted and mis-spent, and
are really anxious to come home and serve Him
with all our might, He will receive us back and
clothe us in the robe of Christ's righteousness,
and rejoice over the finding of His lost children.
Let us pray together, dear friends, that God
may forgive us all that is past, and send us the
help of His Holy Spirit. However far you may
have wandered from Him, He loves you, and
longs to welcome you home. And we will pray
for Squirrel, too, that he may be brought safely
back to you and to His Heavenly Father's love.
A NAlROW ESCAPE.
ST often happens that a thunderstorm breaks
up the weather, and leaves the sky cloudy
and sullen. Farmer Greystone had shaken
his head very doubtfully as he watched the light-
ning, and sent the men to gather his horses
and cattle under shelter, for the cornfields were
already yellowing for harvest, and another week's
sunshine would make them ready for the sickle.
A wet season just now would do no end of
mischief," he said to his wife, as they ate their
frugal supper of bread and cheese. But Farmer
Greystone was a man who trusted in God, and
believed, in cloud or sunshine, that the God who
created the world knew best when to send the
rain. So he simply did all that depended upon
his own exertions for the safety of the animals;
and after sitting up until the storm passed over,
to see that none of the stacks took fire, he went
to bed and slept soundly till sunrise.
As we have already learnt, however, at day-
break the clouds began to roll off, and by the
time Farmer Greystone went down to the rick-
yard, the sun was making the rain-drops on
fields and hedges glitter like myriads of liquid
The earth was very much refreshed; indeed,
at that early hour it was quite cold; but the
birds sang more blithely, as though glad to feel
the air so cool once more. Bees and butterflies
were already coming out from the hiding-places
into which they had crept at the bidding of
that wonderful instinct which always warns them
of approaching wet. A couple of hours later,
Farmer Greystone was sitting down to breakfast
in the long old-fashioned room where the family
always took their meals.
I feel a keener appetite than I've done for
weeks," said the good farmer, helping himself to
some bacon, whilst the. children worked busily
away at their basins of bread and milk. The
thunder has cleared the air beautifully."
"And we slept through it all," exclaimed a
blue-eyed little girl. "I wish mamma had called
us up to see it."
You'd have been frightened said a boy
some few years older. "Lucy would have been
sure to cry. I saw a storm once: the wind did
Bo it did last night," said Mrs. Greystone;
A Narrow Eacape. 51
"see how it has torn down the great white cluster
from the front of the house."
And Butler tells me that a tree was struck
not far -from here," added the farmer. One of
the giant elms."
One of the giant elms! cried all the chil-
dren in a breath. Struck! What does it look
like ? May we go and see it "
Two questions could not be answered at once,
besides which baby was clamouring for attention
just then. But Mrs. Greystone gave permission
for them all to go down the lane between break-
fast and lessons; and accordingly, a little before
eight, the children set out.
There was plenty to interest them going along.
Boughs and twigs had been torn.from thp trees,
and the ground was strewn with young acorns
A little way down the road, they found a nest
which the wind had wrenched from its place on
the bough, and four little dead birds lay, stiff
and cold, near. it. These they placed tenderly
back in the nest, carefully hiding them among
the moss .on the bank, so that on their return
they might carry them home and bury them
among the flowers in the garden. Then they
hurried on towards the elm trees.
It,was the one which stood first, that the
lightning had struck. The bark was torn open
all down one side of its grand old trunk, and a
great cleft, blackened, as if by fire, ran the whole
way down it. The leaves, only a few hours
before so green and shady, were now curled and
shrivelled, and rustled sadly in the breeze. The
children stood gazing at it in silence.
"Was it burnt ?" asked a little one, presently.
"It was the lightning," answered the bigger
sister, puzzled how to explain what she did not
"Did God do it ?" asked the little one again.
"God is talking when it thunders."
"God let the lightning do it," answered the
Was it kind of God ?" asked the little one.
"Why didn't He stop the lightning ? "
Sister did not know. But God never does
anything unkind," she added.
Meanwhile the others had gone closer and
touched it, and felt the blackened bark, and put
their fingers in the crack which the lightning
had torn in forcing its passage to the earth.
It was so wonderful to think how that bright
flash had been able to strike the life out of the
strong giant tree, that they seemed unable to say
much. They only walked round about it, feeling
it over and over again, and looking up into its
A Narrow Escape. 58
poor dead branches, where one little robin was
singing sadly, as though it mourned for its old
"Perhaps its nest was there," suggested the
blue-eyed girl; but the words were scarcely out
of her mouth when the children were all startled
by the sound of a moan.
"Hullo that tree's got a voice!" cried the
eldest boy, turning pale, but trying to look
"Nonsense," said the girl. "What was it
"A hobgoblin," answered the boy, with a
laugh, but moving further away. "I think it's
time to go back and bury those birds."
The smaller children began to run home at
once; but the girl stood still. "Hark!" she
cried. "I heard it again. It's some one in dis-
tress. Where can it be?"
She looked rather frightened, as well as her
brother; but Jeannie Greystone was no coward,
and she felt convinced that somebody was in
need of help. Call louder! she cried, raising
her voice, and looking round about. "Where
"Here! cried the voice. Here! "
"Where's ere /" exclaimed Jeannie's brother,
contemptuously. Say where you are !"
But Jeannie had darted forward. In looking
about, she had caught sight of the tips of four
fingers, clutching the edge of a great hollow in
the other elm tree which stood barely two yards
distant from the one they had come to see !
"It's in the other tree!" she cried; and,
climbing up on the old giant's great thick roots,
she peeped courageously into the hollow. There,
in the deep rotten hole, she saw a boy with. pale,
tear-stained cheeks, and large dark eyes, red
and swollen with crying. It was Squirrel, who,
soaked to the skin by the rain which had beaten
upon him all through the night, and full of pain
from crouching there in the chill and wet, had
been unable to climb out of the hollow into
which he had dropped so easily.
"Do look, Arthur I cried Jeannie Greystone.
"It's a little boy. Oh if he had been in the
other tree! How did you get in here?" she
added, speaking to Squirrel, as her brother
mounted by her side. Can't you get out ? "
"I got in when it was dark," answered
Squirrel, in a hoarse voice; "and I'm so wet
and cold, I can't move."
"How are we to get you out then?" said
"Perhaps if we both pulled," began Arthur.
But Jeannie shook her head.
A Narrow Escape. 55
"We must run back for help at once," she
After a little deliberation they agreed upon
this as the best plan, and, promising to return
as quickly as possible, they set off running at
their highest speed. Luckily for Squirrel, they
met Butler on the road, and, telling him of their
strange discovery, they all three hurried back to
Once there, Butler had little difficulty in pull-
ing Squirrel out of his narrow prison; but the
poor boy was in such a sad plight, that Butler
had to hoist him on his back and carry him up
the road to the farm, Arthur and Jeannie run-
ning on before to prepare their mother.
When Butler arrived with his shivering burden,
Mrs. Greystone had already given orders for a
hot bath to be got ready in the kitchen, and into
this she at once put Squirrel; after which she
covered him up with blankets on a bed which
she made up near the fire, and gave him a basin
full of hot broth to drink.
In a very little while Squirrel was beautifully
warm, and sleeping soundly.
QnmREL slept on for a long while. The sun
reached its height, and dinner-time came
round, and Farmer Greystone returned
from the fields. He was very much surprised
on being told the strange story.
"A pretty boy he said, bending over
Squirrel, whose hair lay in loose dark masses
over his forehead, now flushed with warmth and
sleep. "But he looks .a wild young scamp.
How came he out in the storm at that hour of
night? He belongs to none of the people about
here. He must be some poacher's child; unless
-" he added, observing that his clothes were
clean and well-mended, "unless he had run
away from home. In that case it may be a
lesson to him; for the lightning came within
two yards of killing him."
Afternoon arrived. The cows were driven in
from the meadows, and presently the cowkeeper
clattered up the yard with his heavy can and
milking stool. Ho, too, stepped in to have a
peep at Squirrel; but he could throw no light
on the question where the boy came from, and
Squirrel still slept on.
Tea time passed, and Ann the servant's
mother trudged over from her cottage half a mile
beyond, to see if she could tell who Squirrel
was; but she knew no more than the rest.
However, while Ann was away down the
stack-yard watching her mother up the road,
Squirrel suddenly yawned and stretched, then
opened his eyes. At first he was very much
surprised to find himself in such strange sur-
roundings, with a blue-eyed girl in a pretty
print frock reading a book by the side of him.
But after lying still, staring at her for some
time, he raised himself on one elbow, and looked
Small round the kitchen.
Jeannie got up and came closer. "Are you
better?" she asked.
"I'm very hot," said Squirrel, pushing the
blankets down from his shoulders.
That's a good thing," returned Jeannie;
"for you were so very cold when we found you;
and mother says that people often, die from
exposure; that means when they're out in the
wet and cold like you were."
Squirrel stared at her.
"Why were you out there?" asked Jeannie,
finding that he said nothing. "Father says he
is sure that none of the men about here is your
"'Cos he's dead," said Squirrel, suddenly
finding his tongue; "and I wish he wasn't, for
my grandfather takes care of me; and he says
he'll give me the strap."
"Isn't he kind to you ?" asked Jeannie.
But Squirrel suddenly remembered that it
would be wiser not to confess that he had run
away from home, lest they should want to take
him back; so he held his tongue. Jeannie was
"Are you hungry yet ?" she asked next.
"Then I'll ask mother to give you some
supper," said Jeannie; but at that very moment
Mrs. Greystone herself entered. She looked
pleased to see Squirrel sitting up.
"Come! you're better, then," she said, kindly,
as she set about preparing some bread and milk
for him. When this was ready, she busied
herself with some little matters about the kitchen
whilst he ate it; then sitting down near him
Now I want you to tell me all about yourself.
What is your name?"
"Squirrel, ma'am," said the little runaway,
looking up at her with a half-frightened expres-
sion in his large dark eyes.
"Squirrel!" repeated Mrs. Greystone. "That
is a strange name. It is not your real-name?"
"It's what everybody calls me, ma'am," said
Where do you live ?" asked Mrs. Greystone.
Squirrel hesitated. "Please, ma'am, I would
rather not tell you, please, ma'am."
"Why not ?" asked Mrs. Greystone.
"Because," said Squirrel, driven up into a
corner; because you'll take me home."
"But what will you do, else?" asked Mrs.
Greystone; "you can't stop here always. Why
don't you want to go home ? "
Squirrel looked uncomfortable. "Because
grandfather says he'll bring me under," he
answered; and I don't want to be brought
"And so you've run away," concluded Mrs.
Greystone, easily guessing the rest. "Poor
boy! you have been very foolish. We must
have a talk about this. If you don't go back to
your grandfather and ask him to forgive you,
what will you do ?"
Squirrel hung his head.
"What will you do without a home, and
friends to care for you?" asked Mrs. Greystone.
"Work for my own living," said Squirrel,
without looking up.
"You cannot earn enough until you are
older," said Mrs. Greystone, "without the help
of kind friends who will mend your clothes, and
let you live under their roof. You have been a
very foolish boy, and you must go home and ask
your grandfather's forgiveness. Listen to this-"
And taking Ann's Bible off the dresser shelf,
she.read to him the story of the prodigal son,-
the very parable which Lottie had read to his
grandfather that morning. As she read she
explained that everyone who leaves the path of
duty for wicked ways is like this younger son
whom Jesus told about, because they wander far
from God and waste the lives which He has
given them, becoming poor and miserable and
But God is ready to receive them back," she
said, "if only they are sorry for their wilfulness,
because Jesus came to seek and save the lost.
And you must ask Him to forgive you, too; for
in running away from your grandfather, you
have sinned against God."
Mrs. Greystone told him, too, how near the
lightning had come to killing him, and how
narrowly he had escaped being ill with rheumatic
"But God took care of you," she said; "and
you must show your gratitude to Him by trying
to serve Him all your life."
Squirrel listened with awe-struck face whilst
she described how the very tree next to that in
which he had hidden, had been scorched and
killed by the flash which had frightened him so
terribly. But when Mrs. Greystone again asked
his name and where he lived, he still persisted
in giving her no other answer than that his
name was Squirrel, and that he lived with his
grandparents. So there was nothing to be done,
but send him to bed in the little unused room,
where she had arranged that he should pass the
night, leaving further questions until next day.
"He will be wiser in the morning," she said
to her husband, as they went to look at him the
last thing at night; "and if he still remains
obstinate, we must see what is to be done."
Squirrel was lying with his head upon his
arm, and his long lashes resting on his cheeks,
apparently asleep; but he was not really asleep,
and he heard these words. As soon as Mr. and
Mrs. Greystone were gone, he sat up and rubbed
his eyes well open, for he-wanted to keep awake
Presently it occurred to him that he could do
this better if he had his clothes on, so he got out
of bed and found them by the dim light of the
summer night. Then he sat down on the edge of
his bed, with his elbows on his knees, and his
chin in his hands, and watched the sky.
It wanted a good many hours to daybreak;
for, like all farmers, the Greystones kept early
hours. Once or twice Squirrel caught himself
shutting his eyes; then he blinked hard, and
set to work trying to count the stars, one of
which, high over the barn, was twinkling very
Once his elbow slipped from off his knee with
a sudden jerk, and he woke up to find that
this'star had moved a long way further on, and
lower down. Then Squirrel guessed that he
had really dropped asleep; so he set to work
harder than ever, rubbing his eyes and counting
the stars, until at length the first faint streaks
of dawn began to show, and Squirrel knew that
daybreak was at hand.
Arthur and Jeannie awoke early, too, though
not until the sun shone out; then they dressed
^'and crept downstairs to rake their garden beds
and tie up their flowers, which were continually
growing out of bounds. Now, this being Mrs.
Greystone's birthday, they had been saving up
their choicest blossoms for a nosegay to place
on the breakfast table in honour of her, and
Broken Lilies. 63
their first thought was to go and see if they
were opening ready.
Jeannie arrived first on the spot; but as
Arthur was on his way to the toolshed to fetch
the watering-can, he heard such a cry of dismay
that he ran back at once to see what was the
A lovely head of lilies, which they had in-
tended for the centre of their bouquet, lay
trampled on the mould, and a crimson geranium,
the pride and beauty of their border, was broken
from its stem.
One of the dogs must have got loose," cried
.Arthur, stooping to raise the poor, crushed,
white lily; whilst Jeannie looked on, almost too
heart-broken to utter a word. "Won't I make
father punish him "
But Carlo and Romp were both basking
harmlessly enough in the sun outside their
kennels, nor was there a single one of the in-
habitants of the farmyard upon whom the
blame could be laid.
But at breakfast time, when the birthday
nosegay was presented, with many an apology
for the missing lilies and geraniums, the real
cause of the misfortune was explained.
The border in which they grew was under-
neath the window where Squirrel had sat
counting the stars; and upon going to call him
up, Mrs. Greystone had found the window open
and the room deserted.
Squirrel had disappeared.
Op THE TRAIMP AqAIN.
xeCE the light had become sufficiently strong
__ for Squirrel to see by it, he had found
very little difficulty in reaching the
The farmhouse was low, and the room in
which he had slept, was at the lowest part of
it. Gently opening the casement, Squirrel slid
down on to the roof of a shed which came
almost close up underneath the sill. Having
crept to the edge, he sat down upon the gutter
with his legs hanging over, and dropped upon
the soft mould of Jeannie's garden, breaking the
flowers in his descent. Then stealthily crossing
the grass-plot, and passing through a little gate
into the orchard, he found his way by the fields
to the road.
Squirrel touched no fruit, not so much as a
sour apple; for he was no thief. But having
once run away from home, he dreaded being
taken back; so, without the least idea how he
was going to get a living, he had run away a
second time. Thus one folly leads to another;
and one wrong step to greater sin.
The next question was which way to turn;
but not having the least idea in the world of his
whereabouts, Squirrel left .his choice pretty
much to chance, deciding that it mattered very
little, and that one way was as good as another.
S For some distance he kept straight along the
road, that is to say as straight as the road
would permit; for it was a pretty, winding lane,
with high hedges on either side, and little ups
and downs which prevented him from being
able to see very far ahead. But by-and-by,
after mounting one of these little hills, he found
that he had arrived at the very top of the
rising ground, and that a broad valley lay
Squirrel stood still and shaded his eyes with
his hand to try and make out what sort of a
place this valley was. The -sun was now up
pretty high, and wreaths of white mist were
Srieig from the dewy grass. Here and there
groups of tiled or slated cottages were dotted
among the trees, their roofs gleaming in the
sunlight, like red-and purple patches among the
green. Far away, beyond a wood on the
opposite hill Squirrel could see a church spire.
This road is sure to lead me there," he said
On tie Tramp Again. 67
to himself, beginning to descend the hill at
once; then catching sight of a line of roadway
that crept up the other side of the valley like
a pale yellow thread, he exclaimed: Why!
there's the other end of it !" and off he set in
But Squirrel had been on foot eyer since day-
break, besides having been awake all night. He
was beginning to fuel the need of some rest, and
coming to an open gate, inside of which was a
last year's haystack partly cut away on the
sunny side, Squirrel entered.
Crossing the grass and curling himself up on
the loose hay, with his arm for a pillow, he was
soon doing his best to make up for his last
night's watch. When at length he awoke, it
was with a sudden noise that made him start
upright. Two men were standing over him,
one of whom had just thrown a pick-axe and
shovel down on the grass close by. This was
what had roused him. Squirrel began to knead
his eyes with his knuckles, to make sure he was
What be you a doin' here, young 'un," said
the foremost of the men.
"Goin' to move on," answered Squirrel,
promptly scrambling to his feet with an idea
that he had no business there.
"You was asleep," said the man. "Where
be you come from; and where be you going ? "
"To the other side," answered Squirrel,
pointing across the valley. "I'm going to look
for work. I've got my living to get."
"Lost your parents ?" asked the other man.
"You look as if you'd had 'em till very lately,
to judge by the condition o' your clothes."
They're not kind to me," said Squirrel.
The man looked very serious. "Hark ye,
my boy," he said. "Take my word and see
well to it whose fault's at the bottom o' that.
You can't have but one set o' parents; and my
advice is, stick to 'em till they're taken from
you. If I hadn't run away from my parents,
I shouldn't ha' been what you see me; but I
didn't know how foolish I'd been till long after
they was dead and gone. And now, I must
'bide by the result, and make the best of a bad
job. But the first thing as ever I'll do, when
I get to heaven, will be to go straight to them
and ask their forgiveness. Maybe, when they
know what bad luck it's brought me they'll not
refuse me. Ay that's a good commandment,
' Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy
days may be long in the land which the Lord
thy God giveth thee.' Length of days don't bring
happiness to them as dishonour their parents."
On the Tramp Again. 69
Squirrel went his way thinking. What the
man said was very true, and he knew full well
that it mattered nothing his having run away
from his grandparents instead of his own father
and mother. He was not so sure, as at first,
that he had done either wisely or rightly. He
was getting ve:y hungry again, too, which
reminded him of Mrs. Groystone's words about
But it was too late to think of going home
now, for his grandfather would beat him worse
than ever. And I don't like the strap, what-
ever Lottie may say," said Squirrel to himself.
It was very hot. The sun was high, and
even the dew which had lingered longest in the
shadow of the hedges, was all dried up. The
road, too, was dusty, and Squirrel's throat was
so parched that he would have given worlds for
a drink of water from the old pump at home;
and the more he thought of it the thirstier he
"I should think they're going to have dinner
now," he said to himself. "I wonder if it's
bread and cheese, or bacon!" and in imagination
the boy smelt the savoury rashers as they hissed
and frizzled in the pan. But they were not
for him, for he had left his home, and made up
his mind never to go back there anymore; so
on he tramped towards the valley, bearing his
* hunger and thirst as best he might..
At the bottom of the hill, the road crossed a
brook, and Squirrel, delighted beyond measure
at the sight of water once more, clambered over
the side-rail, and putting his mouth down to the
clear stream, drank long and eagerly.
A few yards further on, the road branched,
and the old question came up: Which way
should he turn; to the right or the left?
Squirrel decided on the right, for the wood
which he had sighted on first looking down
upon the valley, lay to the left, and Squirre)
had had enough of woods for a while.
Perhaps if he had known that it would also
have taken him to those red and purple-roofed
hamlets nestling among the trees, he would
have chosen it in spite of the wood. But God
was guiding him; and refreshed by the drinL
at the brook, he once more set forward.
The way seemed very long. Not a person
did Squirrel meet; nor did he pass a single
house. The fields on either hand were yellow
with the ripening corn and fragrant with the
scent of beans. As he ascended the hill the
sound of distant sheep-bells came like fairy
music on the air.
Once or twice Squirrel turned to look back;
On the Tramp Again. 71
and each time a longer stretch of road was
visible winding to the hill-top from which he
had started. Now it was hidden among the
trees, nlow showing white and dusty in the
noon-day sun, until it seemed to touch the sky, as
he gazed across the great broad valley. He could
hardly believe he had walked all that distance.
But presently a fresh difficulty presented itself.
The road ended in a sort of broad green lane,
where a number of sheep were browsing.
Squirrel came to a standstill, dismayed. Not
a dwelling was in sight, and faint and hungry
as he was, he could only reach the other road
by trudging the whole of the distance back to
the brook, at the bottom of the valley. The
tears came into his eyes; but there was no help
for him, and he was just about to re-trace his
steps, when he perceived a little ladder-stile
half hidden by the hawthorn bushes.
Squirrel ran towards it and eagerly mounted,
his hopes rising at the thought that it must be
the commencement of a footpath. Nor was he
deceived. A beaten track led across the field
to a second stile; and on crossing the next field,
to Squirrel's great delight he found that he had
reached the summit of the hill, and through the
trees beyond he could see the roofs of houses
and a church spire.
Squirrel fairly jumped for joy, in spite of his
fatigue, and ran forward. A number of cows
were cropping the sweet grass, white and dappled
like the cows at home. The sound of children's
voices met his ear, too, as he hurried on. A few
minutes more, and he was leaping down from
the last stile.
The church stood immediately opposite, the
very church which he had seen from the further
side of the valley.
How like the one at home!
By its side was an ivy-covered vicarage, too,
with a neat little lodge and gravel drive, and
a cluster of white roses about the porch.
.Squirrel stood still and stared. It seemed as
if he must be dreaming, for beyond the vicarage
lay an open green with a great round pond at
one side, and further still a shady green lane.
On the other side of the church stood a row
of pretty little cottages, outside which some
children were playing at horses.
But Squirrel was to be more astonished yet.
Watching the children's game was a girl a little
taller than himself, with a baby crowing in her
arms, and a little brother holding by her dress.
It was no dream. The girl was Lottie Linger;
and the little brother, Bobbie.
God had been guiding Squirrel home.
"WAS LJO3T, AND IS FOUND."
gQUmBEL stood stock still, staring.
He had run away from his benefactors,
and walked all this distance, hot and
hungry, to avoid being taken home, and here
he was, in spite of himself, within half a mile
of his grandfather's. If he had not felt so very
foolish and surprised, he would have taken to
his heels at once; but Lottie had perceived her
old playmate, and started forward with a glad
cry. "Why, Squirrel! It's you! Where have
Squirrel still stared, unable to make it out.
"How did you get home?" cried Lottie,
unable to keep silence for very joy.
"Not the same way I went," answered
Squirrel, at length; "I thought I was goin'
away more than ever."
Then you did run away," exclaimed Lottie.
"Of course I did," answered Squirrel.
"Didn't I say I should?"
"But you won't go away any more," cried
Lottie, in a voice of entreaty. Oh I Squirrel,
we have missed you so. Your grandfather
hasn't eaten a mouthful since you've been
Squirrel thought of the bacon again, and
wondered how anyone could grieve so much as
to let it remain untasted.
"I'm dreadfully hungry myself," he said,
with a big sigh; but I ain't going home."
Not going home Lottie's face fell. You
won't run away any more, Squirrel?"
Squirrel was not quite ready with an answer.
The far country" had not proved quite so full
of delights as he had expected; and now he
came to think of it, he had never had to gb
hungry at his grandfather's.
Dunno !" he said, presently, I want some-
thing to eat first, anyhow."
Lottie considered a minute. "Look here,
Squirrel," she said; "if you promise not to run
away any more, you shall have my tea."
"But you'll be hungry, and your mother will
scold you," objected Squirrel, almost ashamed
to accept such a generous offer. However Lottie
shook her head.
"It's mine to give," she said; "and if I get
ever so hungry, I won't ask mother for any
more till to-morrow morning. She won't know
WTas Lost, and is Found. 75
I go without, for I often bring it out here to
eat; and I shan't mind a bit." And away she
Lottie was some time away, for tea was not
quite ready; and when at length she did make
her appearance, she thought that Squirrel had
changed his mind and gone, for he was no-
where to be seen. But Squirrel had only retired
to the stile, so that in case the clergyman came
out of his gate, he could hide. He was watching
eagerly for her, and directly she came in sight
he gave a short whistle and jumped down.
Lottie hurried to meet him.
"It isn't much," she said, holding out a thick
slice of bread and treacle; "but it's all I ever
Squirrel drew back. "I don't like to," he
said again. "What will you do? I'm terribly
hungry, though; I'll have half."
No, all," said the generous girl, thrusting it
into his hand.
"There's one thing," said Squirrel, as he
munched it, you've got a home, and I haven't."
"Oh! yes, you have, though," said Lottie;
"if you choose to go back."
Squirrel munched in silence till the last bite
was swallowed; then he wiped his mouth across
with the back of his hand, and looked up.
"I don't think I shall go away any more,
Lottie," he said. "I shall come and live at
"That you won't," returned Lottie, decisively,
"for my father wouldn't have you. We all have
to work; for father says he can't afford to feed
any mouths that belong to idle hands."
But Id work," said Squirrel.
"Then why can't you go home and work,"
asked Lottie. "Seems to me you're like that
runaway prodigal in the Gospel; and if you
want to be happy, you must go back sorry, and
say you're ready to work and make amends."
This was the second time Squirrel had been
told he was like the prodigal, and he began to
think there must be some truth in it. "He
didn't get the strap, though," he said; "for it's
all in the picture, where they're bringing out the
purple robe and the shoes and ring- "
"And no more will you," interrupted Lottie,
eagerly; for your grandfather wants you back.
Oh! Squirrel, you should 'a' seen him cry He
won't be hard on you any more, if you try to
please him. And the angels will be glad, too,"
she added softly; "for God has been sorry all
the time you've been away. And if you came
home by accident, I think it must have been
God who made you take that road."
WTas Lost, and is Found. 77
And Squirrel took Lottie's word and went.
The old couple were at tea as he went past by
the garden fence. He could see them through
the open door; and his heart gave such a bound
that a big sob rose in his throat; but if he could
have seen how the bread and butter lay un-
touched and how the tears stood in his grand-
parents' eyes, he would have cried outright. He
did break down when he came to the kitchen
doorway, and said: It's me, grandfather, come
home. sorry; and I'm not going to run away
Then they both jumped up, and fairly fought
for who should hug and kiss him most; and
finally old Octav'us turned out the pocket where
he kept the strap and threw it into the fire to
"For, if God forgives me for my past, I must
forgive Squirrel," said he; and we'll all begin
That same evening, on being told that a boy
wished to speak to him, the clergyman was
surprised to find Squirrel waiting in the hall.
Before he could say a word, however, Squirrel
had plunged straight into his subject.
"Please, sir, could you give me regular
work ?" he asked.
"That's a big request from a boy who has
78 Squi rrel.
never done any work at all," said Mr. Dunlop.
"Most boys look for an odd job; and try, by
giving satisfaction to their employers, to get
taken on for good. How do you know you can
do regular work ? "
"Dunno, sir," said Squirrel, crumpling up
his cap in his hands, by which he .really meant
that he was at a loss how to put his reason into
words. For Squirrel was pretty well convinced
that what he could do for one day, he could do
week in, week out, if he chose; and just now
he did choose. But Mr. Dunlop was evidently
waiting for a better answer; so Squirrel added:
"I've got two hands like other people, sir."
The clergyman gave him a sharp look; but
something in Squirrel's face seemed to say, I
didn't mean to be impudent, though I came so
near it;" and Squirrel, himself, added, in such
a piteous tone, "Please, sir, give me a chance !"
that Mr. Dunlop promised to see what he could
Squirrel did not escape his talking-to;" but
once having made up his mind to do right, he
found this less terrible than he had expected,
and from that day forward he became an indus-
trious, hard-working lad.
At first Mr. Dunlop hired him for a few
shillings a week, to do odd jobs about tho
Was Lost, and is Found. 79
stable-yard and kitchen garden; but, as he
grew older, he became so useful that the gar-
dener, who was getting old and weak, took him
in hand and trained him to help with the
flower-garden and green-houses; and Squirrel
liked his work.
He never forgot Mrs. Greystone's kindness, and
one day he found an opportunity of thanking
her. One afternoon, as she was driving past
the vicarage, her horse became restive, and she
would in all probability have been thrown from
the dog-cart, had not Squirrel sprung to the
rescue and seized the bridle.
Mrs. Greystone did not fail to recognize him
as the stray lad whom she had taken in and
cared for, and she was very glad to learn at last
what had become of him, and how good and
steady he had grown up.
Some few years later, Jeannie was surprised
and pleased to receive upon her wedding-day a
lovely bunch of white lilies, in memory of those
which he had crushed in climbing from the
As for Lottie- His old playmate became
his life-long companion; for though Lottie went
away to service, and bought good clothes and
saved up money for a rainy day, she did not
forget the boy to whom she gave her bread and
treacle and her good advice; and when Squirrel's
grandparents died, and he told her how lonely
he was, she consented to come and be his wife.
So, one bright May day, Mr. Dunlop married
them in the little white stone church; and they
live in the gardener's lodge by the vicarage gate.
People who are old enough to remember Squirrel
as a boy, say that they never would have believed
he could grow up into such a steady, hard-work-
ing man. But when Squirrel hears it he shakes
his head and says:
It's none of my doings. I was just as bad
as bad could be, till God touched my heart. It
was the hearing of that parable about the prodigal
son that made me see how far I had gone away
from God. Then I prayed to God to send His
Spirit to help me, and He changed my wicked
heart. I'm not all I should be now; but I do
love the Lord Jesus, and thank Him for all His
goodness to me. And me and Lottie, we hope to
help some other wanderers to find Him before
LONDON: KNIGHT, PRINTER, MIDDLE STREET, ALB RSGATB, N.C.
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THB LIFE OF JBSUS CHRIST THE SAVIOUR.
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H~ROIZMsS IN HUMB L LIFB ,
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