• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 At the flower service
 A November cracker
 The large blue envelope
 The flower text again
 Carol's plan
 Passengers to Hazelthorpe
 A young wayfarer
 Out in the thunderstorm
 Jim's wonderful adventure
 At Castle Kyteley
 Trust rewarded
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Title: Carol's gift, or, What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00088962/00001
 Material Information
Title: Carol's gift, or, What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee
Alternate Title: What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee
Physical Description: 96, 24 p. : ill. ; 18 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Chappell, Jennie, 1857-
Reason, Florence ( Illustrator )
S. W. Partridge & Co. (London, England) ( Publisher )
Neill and Company ( Printer )
Publisher: S.W. Partridge & Co.
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Neill and Company
Publication Date: 189-?
 Subjects
Subject: Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Courage -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Trust in God -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children of clergy -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Parent and child -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Social classes -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wealth -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children's accidents -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Business failures -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1895   ( local )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1895   ( rbgenr )
Hand-colored illustrations -- 1895   ( local )
Bldn -- 1895
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Hand-colored illustrations   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
Scotland -- Edinburgh
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by Jennie Chappell ; illustrated by Florence Reason.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Baldwin Library copy illustrations are hand-colored: probably by young owner.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00088962
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002223692
notis - ALG3943
oclc - 30047226

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 1a
    Front Matter
        Page 2
    Frontispiece
        Page 3
    Title Page
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
        Page 6
    At the flower service
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
    A November cracker
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    The large blue envelope
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    The flower text again
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Carol's plan
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
    Passengers to Hazelthorpe
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    A young wayfarer
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
    Out in the thunderstorm
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Jim's wonderful adventure
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
    At Castle Kyteley
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
    Trust rewarded
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Advertising
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
    Back Cover
        Page 121
        Page 122
    Spine
        Page 123
Full Text




















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"HE FELL DOWN, DOWN, INTO THE DEEP BLACK HOLE." [Page 22.


~








CAROL'S GIFT


OR


" WHAT TIME I AM AFRAID, I WILL
TRUST IN THEE."





BY

JENNIE CHAPPELL
AUTHOR OF "HER SADDEST BLESSING," "THE MAN OF THE FAMILY,"
"WITHOUT A THOUGHT," ETC.





ILLUSTRATED BY FLORENCE REASON.





LONDON
S. W. PARTRIDGE & CO.
8 & 9 PATERNOSTER ROW




















CONTENTS.





CHAPTER I.
PAGE
AT THE FLOWER SERVICE, 7


CHAPTER II.

A NOVEMBER CRACKER, 16


CHAPTER III.

THE LARGE BLUE ENVELOPE, 23


CHAPTER IV.

THE FLOWER TEXT AGAIN, 30


CHAPTER V.

CAROL'S PLAN, 38


CHAPTER VI.

PASSENGERS TO HAZELTHORPE, 44


CHAPTER VII.

A YOUNG WAYFARER, 52





vi CONTENTS.

PAGE
CHAPTER VIII.

OUT IN THE THUNDERSTORM, 63


CHAPTER IX.

JIM'S WONDERFUL ADVENTURE, 73


CHAPTER X.

AT CASTLE KYTELEY, 83


CHAPTER XI.

TRUST REWARDED, 91














CAROL'S GIFT.



CHAPTER I.

AT THE FLOWER SERVICE.

N OBODY could have imagined a greater contrast!
Carol Dayne, with his bright, noble face, and
princely carriage, well set off by a tasteful sailor suit,
scrupulously neat in every detail, a gentleman from the
crowning wave of his gold-brown hair to the tips of his
speckless Oxford shoes, paused on the church steps to
gaze inquiringly at a boy about the same size as himself
who was lounging against the railings.
This other lad's pale, sharp countenance was pre-
maturely old, though there was a stupid look about it
that suggested mental deficiency. The stoop of his
narrow shoulders, and the weak expression of his large,
foolish, open mouth increased this idea, and the short-
ness of his out-grown trousers did not lessen it.
Children of all ages and conditions-the better class,
however, preponderating- were hastening into the
sacred building, each and every one bearing a bunch,
or basket, or pot of flowers. In Carol's hand was a




CAROL'S GIFT.


lovely cluster- of tea roses,-creamy, half-blown buds;
tied round with a blue' ribbon to which a prettily
illuminated text was attached. The roses and the
ribbon he had purchased out of-his own pocket-money,
not without real self-denial, for his parents were fat
from being rich people, and the text was the work of
his own patient fingers; the words were, "What* time
I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."
"Aren't you coming in ? asked Carol, noticing that
as the small, red-rimmed eyes of the stranger boy met
his gaze, the latter shrank back, with a sort of apologetic
look, as if caught trespassing.
The boy shook his head.
"Why not?"
No answer, but a more decided sidling away.
Do come in !" persuaded Carol, in his frank, friendly
way. "It'll be extra nice to-day, I know. It's a Flower
Service, and my father is going to give the address."
"Ain't got no flowers !" mumbled the boy. "They've
all got flowers takin' in. I ain't."
"Never mind. I'll' explain for you!" said Carol.
He could not have told why he was so particularly
anxious for this unknown lad to attend the service;
there were dozens of others in the streets around in
whose attendance he had not felt a particle of interest.
In after days he knew that it was a moving within him
'of a Spirit more wise than his own, and thankful
indeed was he that he had obeyed its impulse.
The boy still shook his head.
A struggle commenced in Carols heart. Could he
give up his beautiful nosegay? Could he, the clergy-
man's son, bear to be the 'only one in the church who
:carried no offering of flowers'? What would people
-think?













r..


-


hereR, TAKE THESE,' HE SAID, HASTILY.


1,
'"i;----------- ----~-^-


F/l.,f '.




AT THE FLOWER SERVICE. 11

Never mind what people thought!- God knew all
about it. He'knew all about the chocolates and caramels
Carol had gone without to buy the roses; He knew
what a fine Mexican stamp might now have been in
his possession had he not wanted those very pence to
purchase the ribbon; He had counted and cared for the
moments that had been stolen from tennis to be devoted
to the production of that carefully painted text. If
God knew, and father and mother and Lily would all
understand perfectly well when he told them, and say
he had done right, surely it didn't matter about any one
else.
The five minutes bell" had already begun to hurry
up, as Carol would have said, and the later arrivals
were running.
"Here, take these!" he said, hastily, pushing the
nosegay into the boy's hand. "I can do without. Come
along, and you shall sit beside me."
Almost before the stranger lad had recovered from
his amazement, he found himself half-dragged, half-
hustled up the steps and across the'threshold of the
church.
He had never been inside a church before, and it
was a wonderful experience to him. The tall, white
pillars, gleaming in the afternoon sunshine; the great
window with its bewildering mosaic of ruby, and amber,
and sapphire glass that after a few minutes' gazing
began to take the shape of human figures before his
astonished eyes; the gilt lettering on the walls, the
luxurious red cushions, and above all, the great bank of
flowers-roses, lilies, geraniums, and ferns, with here
and there a slender, aristocratic-looking palm-piled up.
around the pulpit and all along the communion rail,
which were filling the air with their fragrance.





12 : CAROL' GIFT.

Carol and his companion found themselves seated
very near the pulpit and the flowers, for they had
entered by a side door. And the lady who took the
roses from the poorer lad's hand happened to lay
them just where he could look at them all through
the service.
There was just time while the organ finished playing
for Carol to whisper to his friend, "What's your
name ?"
"Jim Ellis."
"Mine's Carol Dayne. I was born on Christmas
Day."
Jim cast a shy, wistful glance at the bright face at
his side. What must it feel like to look like that?
To have big, brown, dark-fringed eyes that seemed afraid
of nothing, and a brave head crowned with living gold ?
,He felt this, though he could not have put a syllable
of it into words. He felt smaller, and meaner, and
uglier than ever he had done in his life, yet, strange to
say, happier; for he already loved, nay, almost wor-
shipped, the beautiful boy with the beautiful name who
was so marvellously friendly to him, and self never
troubles, us when we once truly love.
Jim's gaze was constantly attracted to the bunch of
flowers which he had held in his own hand and from
them to the card attached to their stems. What queer
sort of writing was on it, but how pretty-all in crim-
son, gold and blue !
It was a long time before he could make out what
the words were, and the effort imprinted them the more
firmly in his mind. What time I am afraid,"-why
he was always afraid I That was the very thing that
made people despise him so, and made the boys laugh
at him and tease him. He couldn't help it; he had




AT THE LOWER SERVICE.


been afraid ever since he could remember ; he thought
he must have been born afraid. He was frightened of
horses, dogs, and cows. He was frightened of the
steam-roller, and his schoolmaster, and still more of
the "'spector," and horribly frightened of a policeman.
Was Carol Dayne ever afraid ? He should think not.
Oh, how splendid it must be not to be afraid. Jim drew
a long breath as he imagined it.
I fancy Jim might have rather overlooked the second
part of the text, had it not, by-and-by, become inter-
mingled with the words of the gentleman who stood
up to preach.
He was a beautiful gentleman, with eyes like Carol's,
only deeper; his face. was worn looking, and thin.
Jim had a very tender heart, and something in the
expression of that face made him "feel achey inside,"
but when the gentleman smiled it was like a burst of
summer sunshine out of a grey sky. Once while he
was reading he suddenly paused, wiped his face with
his handkerchief, and seemed for a few minutes as
though unable to go on. When.he did proceed it was
by an evident effort, and with much hesitation.
Jim glanced at Carol, wondering if he had noticed
this-he fancied, in his simplicity, that the minister had
come to a hard word, and did not know how to get past
it !-and was surprised to see that the boy's blooming
cheeks had faded to sickly white.
Carol's gaze moved uneasily from the pulpit to a pew
in the middle aisle, at right angles from where he was
sitting. Jim following it, saw a lady and a little girl.
The latter bore a strong resemblance to Carol, though
her eyes were blue, and hair of the same lovely tint of
golden-brown as his lay in thick, curling waves upon her
shoulders. Both the, lady and the girl were intently


135




CAROL'S GIFT.


watching the preacher with unmistakable anxiety ex-
pressed in their countenances.
But the hesitation was overcome, the service was
proceeded with, and the colour returned to Carol's face.
At first Jim paid but little attention to the sermon ;
he made up his mind that he should not be able to
understand it, and, as I said above, his thoughts were
all taken up in trying to make out that illuminated
text. But preseAtly there fell upon his ears words
something like these: "When we trust in anybody, it
takes away all feai. You are not a bit afraid of a dog
which you know to be gentle and good-natured, for you
are sure that he won't bite you. You are not frightened
of policemen or soldiers, because you know that their
business is to protect all who do right and to hurt
none but wrong-doers; you trust them, and the rifle
or the truncheon has no terrors for you. You do not
mind being in a dark room if a friend is with you, or
going through a railway tunnel if you can only hold
father's or mother's hand, because you feel that they are
both able and willing to take care of- you. God is far
more able, and quite as willing to guard and preserve
us in every imaginable danger. David never doubted
this, for he had proved it, and you know he said,' What
time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee.'"
"I will trust i n Thee!" Then that was the second
half of that funny writing. Back went Jim's gaze to
the roses and their text, and in endeavouring to make
the unfamiliar-shaped letters spell these words the
remainder of the address was lost.
But the end was never reached. There came another
attack of hesitation, a second pause, an attempt to pro-
ceed more faltering than the last, a dead silence in
which one might have heard a pin drop, then with an




AT THE FLOWER SERVICE.


inarticulate murmur of horror running through the
congregation, the clergyman fell forward, apparently
fainting, upon the pulpit cushion.
Jim stared, open-mouthed and petrified. He did not
know that Carol had left his side until he saw the golden
head flitting up the pulpit stairs.
Then there followed a great commotion, which was
promptly hushed. Two gentlemen carried the uncon-
scious form of the clergyman into the vestry, and soon
after another gentleman stood up and said that, as the
Rev. Mr Dayne had been taken suddenly and seriously
ill, he would be unable to proceed with the service; they
would therefore close with the Benediction, and disperse
as quietly as possible.
This behest was fulfilled, and Jim found himself
unwillingly hustled out with the rest.
He longed to see his new friend again, and lingered
about the entrance till long after everyone else was gone,
and the verger had closed the doors. But the Dayne
family had all passed out another way, and at last poor
Jim turned his steps sorrowfully homewards, heavy at
heart to think that he should very likely meet Carol no
more.















CHAPTER II.

A NOVEMBER CRACKER.

PARKER'S PLACE was not a cheerful locality at the
best of times, and when a dark-brown fog filled up
the strip of space between the opposite roofs, it was
dreary indeed. And such was the case on the day of
which I now write.
It was a very seasonable fog, having arrived in
honour of the first of November, and at two o'clock in
the afternoon was keeping up the traditions of good old
London fogs to such purpose, that anyone entering town
by rail might well have imagined that he and his watch
had both been to sleep, and that the train was at least
four hours late. All the shops and thoroughfares were
fully lighted up, and in private houses the gas glowed
cheerfully through closed blinds. The children in the
streets-and there were many of them, for it was a
Saturday holiday-seemed, however, to enjoy this un-
wonted state of things thoroughly, and raced madly
about, shouting, laughing, pushing, and scrambling, and
getting in everybody's way. While here and there in
quiet corners knots of boys were gathered, whence, after a
preliminary pause of suspicious silence, would suddenly
burst the flashing and snapping of a lighted cracker.




A NOVEMBER CRACKER.


Then followed a wild scurry away from the real or
imagined approach of a "bobby," which headlong flight
was ,to the more daring spirits the best part of the fun.
It was a trying day for poor Jim Ellis, otherwise
known as "Softy." The strange darkness, the roughly
romping youngsters, the dreaded fireworks, all combined
to render that first of November a reign of terror to
him; not to mention the weekly cleaning-up that had
been going on within doors, when his aunt, with turned-
up skirt and rolled-up sleeves, armed herself with
broom, shovel, pail, and scrubbing-brush, and in the
peppery condition of temper that always seemed to
accompany the use of these implements, contrived to
create chaos in every habitable corner of the little
four-roomed house at once.
But at last this part of it was over, and Aunt Harriet
gone out to do her Saturday's marketing. Cousins Bob
and Tom were likewise disporting themselves in their
happy hunting-ground, the street, so there was an
interval of peace for Softy.
This calm of Saturday afternoon after the storm of
the morning was always a period of enjoyment to-him.
Quietness he loved, and an innate refinement, which no
one would have given him credit for, made the milk-
white deal table, the contrast of black, polished grate
with spotless hearthstone, and red, clear-burning fire,
accompanied by the all-pervading odour of soap and
cleanliness, a real source of pleasure to him. Left thus
alone to "mind" the house, he sat. down close to the
shining fender, took his dear tabby-cat on his knees,
and, comforting himself with her purring softness, had
a good time.
Of course he began to think about Carol Dayne,
The wonderful, never-to-be-forgotten adventure of that
B3




CAROL'S GIFT.


summer Sunday afternoon, now four months ago, had
never since been for one whole day absent from his
mind.
It sometimes seemed as if it must have been a dream,
too strange and lovely to be true. To think that he
had actually sat in that beautiful church, amid all
those beautiful flowers, by the side of that beautiful
young gentleman and looking over the same book with
him! He would gladly have given all he possessed-
which certainly was not much-for a sight of him
again.
Often had he hung round the church door in the
vain hope of catching that longed-for glimpse. Twice
in his wistfulness had he even overcome his timidity
sufficiently to peep in at the door. But no trim sailor
suit surmounted by a stately young head of shining
gold could he discern, and seeing the black-robed verger
approaching, as he doubted not, to send him off "with
a flea in his ear," he turned and ran, never stopping
until he had put several streets between himself and
his supposed pursuer.
One day he discovered a large board standing on a
strip of ground within the church railings, and on the
board in plain gilt lettering which even he could read
was the name of the Rev. C. Dayne. It was some time
before he recognized this word as the same name which
Carol had uttered, but, when its identity dawned upon
him, he stood and admixed the shining letters as if they
had been a picture.
Next he found out that an address was written
underneath. This he also patiently spelled out, and
thenceforth knew no rest until he had seen both the
street and the house where his boy-hero lived.
On his first visit he dared approach no nearer than




A NOVEMBEh CRACKER.


the corner of the street, when, feeling as though he
were trespassing, he ran home again. But on the next
occasion he, with beating heart, crept near enough to
see the very windows of the house. There was little
to reward him for his pains, however, for every one of
the blinds was drawn down.
After that his greatest joy was to visit this particular
street. If anyone had witnessed his behaviour, they
would have been inclined to believe the current report,
that he was "not quite right, you know!" He would
tip-toe round the corner on to the enchanted ground,
every pulse throbbing with excitement, approach within
a hundred paces or so of the house, stand for a few
moments furtively peeping up at it and blushing all
over meanwhile at his own temerity, then dart past as
though a bull were at his heels, and out of the street at
the other end.
He went through this extraordinary and to him
delightful performance on perhaps a dozen successive
occasions, with only a few days interval between.
Then his pleasure suddenly came to an end.
He passed the house one evening early in October, to
discover, to his dismay, that the windows were un-
curtained, the shutters closed, and that a board had
been planted beside the gate, bearing the ominous
notice, "To BE LET OR SOLD."
He stood staring in bewilderment for several minutes,
then, as the truth slowly made its way in upon him,
the tears came into his eyes, and he ached as if from a
blow.
But a ray of hope arose, and, wiping his face with his
cuff, he started off to the church. Perhaps they had
only "moved," and he might find out where they had
gone.





CAROL'S GIFT.


Disappointment, however, awaited him. The name
-and address of the Rev. C. Dayne had been painted out
from their place on the notice-board, and the space
left blank. Poor Jim turned away, feeling that a spot
of brightness had also been wiped out of his meagre
life-the sweetest, dearest spot it had known since his
mother died; and he felt lonesome indeed.
The blank on the brown painted board was filled up
soon after by the new, glittering letters of a strange
clergyman's name, but the hole in "Softy's" heart was
empty and aching still.
He was thinking this all over as he sat in the fire-
light on that quiet November Saturday afternoon, and
telling some of his loneliness and stupidness and fearful-
ness to Tibby,-the only confidant he had, the only
creature he believed who loved him, and thought as
much of him as if he had been clever and brave,-and
Tibby purred gently in response.
Suddenly there was the sound of the opening of the
front door, followed by a scuffle of footsteps and
bursts of half-suppressed laughter. Bob and Tom were
coming in.
Jim started, and shrank into the darker shadow by the
chimney-side. His cousins were not really bad boys, not
even worse than most. They despised "Softy" for his
timidity, and considered that his weakness made him
fair game for all sorts of rough practical jokes. That
such conduct proved them to be greater cowards than
he, and truly mean, despicable characters into the
bargain, had never yet dawned upon them.
There was a strange silence outside, then' more
tittering. The door opened, and Bob came half in.
"Oh, you here, Softy ?" he said. Oh, all right,
keep the fire warm."




A NOVEMBER CRACKER.


And to Jim's infinite relief, he promptly withdrew
again. There was another choking laugh in the passage
as he closed the door behind him.
The next moment, "Snap-Crack-Crack-Flash-
Snap-Bang !" went a ball of fire about the little room.
It was only one cracker, but it seemed like twenty.
Jim sprang up in the greatest alarm-Tib darting
under the table with arched back, and a tail as big as
two-and overturning a chair, a broom, and a tea-tray
in his flight, the boy rushed out of the room and out
of the house, while the authors of the mischief stood
looking on, nearly doubled up with merriment.
Heedless of the darkness and the raw, cold air, Jim
ran on, pausing not till he had put a block or two of
houses between himself and the scene of his alarm. In
his unreasoning terror he fancied that a whole pro-
cession of fireworks must be pursuing him.
It was just outside a bookseller's shop that he at
length stopped, and leaned upon the brass name-plate
to take breath; his poor, timid heart beating so wildly
with the fright and the run that it almost choked him,
while the deep gulps of fog he was compelled to swallow
made his chest smart and ache, and everything com-
bined to fill his eyes with tears.
Suddenly the shop-door opened, and slammed again
with a clang of the bell, and a boy stepped out, dressed
in a warm reefer coat, and with shining curls crisping
all round the edge of his blue cloth sailor cap.
It was Carol Dayne beyond a doubt; he carried a
neat, square parcel in his hand and looked very pleased.
He was too full of his own business, apparently, to
notice the poorly-clad, bareheaded boy who stood by the
shop window; and just glancing aside a moment to see
if the coast were clear, plunged at once into the road.





CAROL'S GIFT.


Jim gazed after the boy with straining eyes, yet some-
thing held him motionless until Carol had reached the
other side, and was on the point of disappearing among
the numerous other foot-passengers in the mist. Then
Jim made a reckless dash forward.
In the middle of the thoroughfare some excavations
were being carried on, guarded by a cord attached to
several light iron rods, and sundry red lamps. A foot-
path had been left between two impassable spots, aid,
seeing Carol already almost out of sight, Jim made for
this narrow causeway as a short cut.
But confused by fog, dizziness, and excitement, and
with his vision still blurred with wet, he somehow mis-
took his point, stumbled against a rod, throwing it out
of place, and fell forward. Then, in picking himself up;
his foot became entangled in the loosened cord, and he
again tripped, and, in spite of his frantic struggles, fell
down, down into the deep black hole that, grave-like,
lay yawning to receive him.















CHAPTER III.

THE LARGE BLUE ENVELOPE.

M EANWHILE, Carol Dayne sped away from street to
street, hugging his parcel affectionately, until he
reached a modest house in a quiet, respectable road,
nearly an hour's walk from his former residence.
As he entered the gate a postman likewise ap-
proached, holding a large, official-looking blue envelope
in his hand.
Mrs Dayne ?" questioned he of the boy, who stood
at the door eagerly watching him.
"Yes, please!" cried Carol, and seized the letter.
His face fell a little when he saw the handwriting on
the outside, but he nevertheless executed his very best
"Rat-tat!" on the knocker, and, flattering himself with
the idea that he had done it just like a real postman,"
handed the missive in to his mother, who opened the
door, with a business-like air.
"It isn't from father, after all," he said. "I thought
it was. But it's nice and big-it ought to be something
good. I've got the book, mother," he added, turning
into the cheerfully lighted sitting-room. "And it was
only three-and-ninepence at Smith's, though the pub-
lished price is five shillings."




CAROL'S GIFT.


"Is it a nice cover?" asked Lily, coming forward
with her work in her hand.
"Fine! Very dark red-look! Just what father
likes. And I called in at the Post Office to ask what
day it ought to be posted to reach Cannes on the 6th,
and he said Monday would do. Look, mother," added
the boy, untying the string of his parcel and revealing
the contents, "isn't it neat and nice?"
Neither of the children noticed the strange serious-
ness that had come over Mrs Dayne's face at sight of
that big letter, nor the trembling of her hands as she
sought the spectacles which she had lately been forced
to use when reading.
"Yes, dear, yes!" she answered, with a preoccupied
air, not even glancing at the book, the purchase of
which for father's birthday present had been so weighty
a matter of discussion between the three for the past
week or more.
"You must choose the card to go with it, Lily," the
boy continued. '" Perhaps you can get it as you come
from school on Monday-that would be soon enough.
Don't you think she. had better, mother?" he added.
For the girl had dropped upon some sentence in the new
volume which interested her, and was already absorbed
in it.
Then he saw the startling pallor that had overspread
his mother's face as she read the letter; the darkening
of her eyes beneath their knitted brows, and the
whitening of her parted lips.
"Mother! Mother, dear, what is the matter?"
The sharp note of alarm that rang in Carol's tone
attracted Lily's attention.
"Has anything happened, mother ?" she questioned
anxiously, as she closed the book. "Is it bad news?"




THE LARGE BLUE ENVELOPE.


Still no reply. But the. open sheet in Mrs Dayne's
hand was fluttering like a leaf in the wind.
"Is it-oh, it isn't father!" cried Carol, flinging his
two arms around his mother. "Oh, do tell us! Is he
-is he worse?"
"No, dear, no!" answered Mrs Dayne, arousing her-
self at last. "I cannot tell you just now. I-I must
go and think."
And freeing herself from the boy's embrace, she
abruptly left the room.
Oh, dear! oh, dear!" complained Lily, as the sister
and brother found themselves alone. "Whatever has
gone and happened now ?"
"I don't care much so long as it's nothing to do with
father," said Carol. "And mother did say it wasn't,
didn't she ?"
"Oh, yes."
"And she wouldn't if there was, would she? I
mean, she heard me ask her, didn't she ?"
Yes, I think so. No, I don't think it can be about
father. See, here's the envelope, and it's an English
stamp, and the post-mark is London, E.C."
Then it's all right !" cried Carol. If father is safe,
I don't mind anything else. I say, I wonder what sort
of weather he has got at Cannes to-day ? Not like this,
I reckon! Lovely blue sky, perhaps, and cloudless
sunshine. I am glad he is there instead of here. I
want to see him awfully, but I hope all the same he'll
be able to stay away till the spring. Then, perhaps,
he'll come back quite strong and well."
Lily was silent, gazing into the fire with a very grave
face. She again picked up the empty envelope which
her mother had dropped, and examined the business
imprint upon the flap.




CAROL'S GIFT.


"I do think it was so splendid for father to be able,
to go away with the Evanses!" continued Carol, march-
ing about the room with his hands in his pockets and
all the time admiring his purchase as it lay upon the
table. "It made it come so much cheaper for him, and
it's such nice company besides. As to our having to
pinch a bit to help him to manage it, that's nothing.
I'm sure we are very comfortable and happy here.
Aren't we? Don't you think so, Lil, eh?"
As he was speaking, there had been the sound of cab
wheels in the road outside, and they seemed to stop
just in front of the house. But as the children were
not expecting any arrival they took little heed of
them.
The next minute, however, the gate opened with a
clang, and there was a sharp double-knock at the
door.
It was a rather peculiar knock: three distinct raps,
and a little one at the end; too familiar to the ears of
both Carol and his sister to be mistaken. But so totally
incredible did it seem that they remained stock-still,
staring into one another's eyes in positive affright.
But the knock was repeated; the person without
was evidently desirous, as speedily as possible, to be
within. The maid-servant employed by the occupier of
the house-the Daynes being only lodgers-ran to
answer it, the parlour door flew open, and the children
sprang forward with the one cry of "Father!"
There he stood, whom they had believed to be far
away in sunny France, muffled almost to the eyes, and
bringing with him a rush of cold, damp fog.
"Father! oh, father, dear! Have you really come
home to us ?" they cried, hugging him, wraps and all.
"Have you got quite well ?"




THE LARGE BLUE ENVELOPE.


"Yes, I've really come home, my darlings!" he
replied; "and, thank God, much better. Where's your
mother ?"
No need to ask, for she was just behind them, her
face white and terrified, her startled eyes red with
weeping. Silently she received and returned her hus-
band's lingering embrace.
"I am not soon enough," he said. "The fog de-
layed me. I wanted to be here to help you bear
the first shock, but I see that the news is before
me."
"Yes !" faltered Mrs Dayne. "But so long as you
and the children are spared, Charlie, I feel I can bear
anything. But, oh, isn't it terrible?"
"Thank God, we are still together!" he responded,
while the children looked on, puzzled and aghast.
"When did you hear of it?"
Not half-an-hour ago-the postman has just been.
How did you learn the dreadful truth ?"
It has been rumoured in Cannes for more than a week
past, and the very hour the report was confirmed I
started. I thought that if you were not seeing the
papers you might know nothing of it until the official
intimation reached you."
"That was so! But, Charlie, dear, you should not
have risked your health, your life, like this! What a
night for you to be out!"
"I am none the worse for it. I could not rest.. I
wanted to be with you. And I knew I must return
without delay. I have had a splendid holiday, and now
I must get into harness again."
With the worst of the winter before you!" sighed
Mrs Dayne, in tones of deep commiseration. "Oh,
Charlie, what shall we do?"





CAROL'S GIFT.


And as she buried her face in her handkerchief, the
children saw their mother's frame shaken with silent
sobs.
"What is the matter?" asked Lily, appealing to her
father. "Mayn't we know what has happened ?"
"Poor dears, yes!" answered Mr Dayne, stroking her
hair. Carol had all this while been clinging in speech-
less joy to his father's other hand, too contented to see
him and be close to him once more to trouble much about
anything else. It is cruel to keep you in suspense now
you have learned so much. We have had a great loss-
a money loss, children, and one that affects us very
seriously."
"It is mother's money! I guessed itI" cried Lily.
"Oh, father, is it all gone?"
"At present we hardly know. It may not turn out
as bad as it seems. We trust it will not," Mr Dayne
was answering; but his wife, who possessed less self-
control, broke in almost passionately, We are ruined-
simply ruined! Your father is not fit to work. He
was getting better, but this sudden change of climate
is enough to kill him. There is nothing before us but
sorrow and misery!"
S"Hush, my Nellie, dearest!" begged her husband,
gently. "God is still Almighty, and our Father: we
trust in Him."
And I can work!" put in Carol, stoutly. I'm sure
I can. I'm as tall as Will Graham, and he's thirteen,
and look at my muscle!"
He doubled up his little arm and offered it for in-
spection with such a grave assurance of the almost
Herculean strength there evidenced, that his father
could not forbear to smile.
We shall all pull together, little ones, r doubt not,"




THE LARGE BLUE ENVELOPE.


he answered, cheerfully; "and even this trouble will
turn out to have been for the best."
"How is the money lost, father asked Lily. "Has
anybody stolen it ?"
"No, dear. It has all been expended upon that in-
vention you heard of, and now the invention itself turns
out to be a failure and no one will buy it. There are
many who have lost more in the concern than we.
Some, the helpless and aged, are far worse off than
ourselves.-But come, wifie, children!" he went on, in a
brighter tone, "don't you know that a hungry man has
come to you from a long journey ? Isn't there any
prospect of tea arriving ?"
"Oh, my dear, how thoughtless of me!" exclaimed
Mrs Dayne, rousing herself. "But I am so dreadfully
upset, I hardly know what I am doing. Will you have
bacon, or new-laid eggs, or shall Carol run and fetch
you a chop?"
"Anything-anything! The sight of all your dear
faces would be sauce to sweeten dry bread. No, don't
send Carol out just now, please!" (with a smile that
brought the boy's arms round his father's neck in a
suffocating hug). "I shall want to fortify my courage
every now and then by pinching his muscle!"















CHAPTER IV.

THE FLOWER TEXT AGAIN.

WHEN Softy next awoke to what was going on
around him, he found himself, to his amazement,
lying in bed, in a large, long, lofty room that he had
never seen before.
There was a row of neat cots down each side of this
room, their pretty red and white coverlets and brass
rails glowing in the light of a beautiful fire. On a
large table in the centre were several pots of blooming
chrysanthemums, pink, snowy, or golden-brown; and
the walls were hung with all kinds of lovely, bright-
coloured pictures.
A gentle-looking woman in a neat dress and a spot-
less white cap and apron was moving noiselessly about
the room, and she soon came, with a bright, pleased
smile, to Softy's side.
"Are you comfortable, dear ?" she asked, taking his
hand in her cool, soft clasp.
Where am I ?" asked Jim.
"Somewhere where you will be taken care of till
you are quite well," answered the nurse. "This is a
hospital."
Jim made no remark for several minutes, but lay




THE FLOWER TEXT AGAIN.


gazing at the pleasant scene around him and at his
fellow patients in a sort of dreamy contentment too
peaceful for wonder: Then he said, "Am I ill ?"
You have been hurt. You met with an accident.
But we hope you will not be ill long."
Then Jim remembered, and shut his eyes. "I didn't
catch up to him after all," he muttered. But the nurse
did not understand this, and did not answer. And
presently Jim went to sleep.
He remained in that hospital for many weeks, and,
notwithstanding his suffering, for he had been badly
injured, he was very happy. Everybody was so gentle
and kind, and there was nothing to frighten him. And,
stupid though he was, Softy soon became a general
favourite, being good and docile, and giving no unneces-
sary trouble to either doctor or nurse. His affectionate
gratitude for kindness was also very winning, and in
the genial atmosphere his latent intelligence began
to blossom forth, and he proved to be not so hopeless a
dullard as he had sometimes seemed. There is nothing
like loving sympathy for bringing out all the good
there is in either man or beast.
One day, when he had recovered sufficiently to be
able to sit up in bed and be amused with things, the
nurse brought a large, crimson-covered scrap-book to
him, and laid it open on his knees.
"You like pictures, don't you?" she said. '"And
flowers. Here are some beauties."
These were just what Softy could appreciate, for he
had a keen delight in colour; and here were pages and
pages filled with gay oleographs, and chromos, inter-
spersed with tastefully arranged Christmas and motto
cards, all glowing with delicate roses and lilies, gera-
niums and pinks, holly and ivy, silver and gold. It




CAROL'S GIFT.


somehow reminded him of the Flower Service at the
church, and the painted window, and Carol's hair.
The sister stood by his side, looking on. She had an
idea that there might be something in this dull boy,
and took more interest in noticing his tastes than in
those of many an ordinarily sharp child.
Jim turned over a few leaves, then he came to a dead
stop, stared, and flushed up to the roots of his closely
shorn hair.
"Why-why, that's my text !" he exclaimed.
Which queried the nurse.
And Jim pointed to the very card which he had first
seen attached to the cluster of tea-roses in Carol Dayne's
hand. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."
"Where did it come from ?" he asked.
"It came here, I think, with a quantity of flowers
that were sent us from a church," the sister replied.
Most of the bunches had text cards tied to them, and
we saved the prettiest for our scrap-book.".
"That was mine," said Jim, passing his thin finger
tenderly over the blue and crimson letters. "He gave
it to me. It was his very own."
"Whose? Who gave it to you questioned the
sister, much interested. For Softy had raised to her
face as he spoke eyes that deepened and shone.
"That boy-Carol Dayne he said his name was."
Mr Dayne's little son ? asked the nurse.
"Do you know him?" was Jim's eager counter-
question.
"Yes, a little. He used to come here, sometimes."
"Does he ever come now ?" And Jim's plain little
face was fairly transformed.
"He has not been for a good while. The Rev. Mr
Dayne had to give up his church and go away, you




THE FLOWER TEXT AGAIN.


know, because of his health. I think I heard he went
abroad."
"I saw him that day I fell in the hole," remarked
Jim. But as the sister mistook whom the boy meant
and did not care to contradict him, she made no reply.
"It's a nice text, ain't it!" observed Jim, after a
pause.
"Lovely. Does it comfort you, Jim, dear ?"
"I'm often afraid," answered Softy. "I was 'most
always afore I come here."
"Then you, more than most people, need always to
trust in God," said the sister, tenderly.
Jim's weak, blue eyes, soft and wistful, raised them-
selves once more silently to the lady's face.
"Try to think of Him whenever you are frightened,"
she continued; "and in your heart say, 'Please, Lord,
help me!' He will hear you, even though your lips do
not speak, and He will surely save you from what you
are afraid of, either by helping you to get safely away,
or by making you feel so brave that you won't mind it."
Jim drew a long breath.
"He's never afraid, I know," he said, meaning Carol.
" I wonder what made him pick out that text ?"
"Everyone of us is afraid at some time or another,"
the sister answered. If you knew Carol Dayne you
would find there are things that he fears, though not
the same sort of things that frighten you. But God in
Heaven, so loving and strong, is a refuge from them all,
even from the fear of death itself, which is often a
terror to the bravest. Trusting in Him we need never
be afraid."

That-winter and the ensuing spring were a period of
great anxiety to the Daynes. When the affairs of the
C




CAROL'S GIFT.


company in which Mrs Dayne had so unfortunately
been persuaded to invest her money were finally settled,
she found herself compelled, to accept just one-and-six-
pence in the pound for all the nice little fortune which
had once been hers. The remainder was as irretriev-
ably lost, and even more so, than if it had been at the
bottom of the sea.
Thus it became imperative for Mr Dayne to seek
another charge. After some difficulty and delay, he
succeeded in obtaining a temporary curacy in a suburb
of London far distant from the previous scene of his
labours, and thither the family removed.
This was in January. Mr Dayne's health was in a
very delicate condition when he commenced his new
duties, but he exercised every possible care, and man-
aged to struggle on for nearly three months. But it
was a struggle, and of this his family were only too
painfully aware. Could Jim Ellis have been intimately
acquainted with Carol at that time, and known the
heart-throbs with which he, Sunday after Sunday, saw
his father ascend the pulpit stairs,-could he have seen
the almost breathlessness with which he sometimes
watched him, and felt the sickness of apprehension that
rushed over the boy at the preacher's every fit of
coughing, or momentary hesitation, he would not have
fancied him impervious to fear! And at these times,
though the words of the text he had painted for the
Flower Service were not always actually present to his
mind, Carol entered fully into the spirit of them by con-
fiding his dear father to the merciful kindness of God.
"God is his father, the same as he is mine," he would
think to himself. "He must love him, so He is sure to
take care of him, and not let him get ill again. So I
needn't worry."




THE FLOWER TEXT AGAIN.


Thus, child though he was, Carol in his simple faith
drew strength and comfort from the inspiring words
of the grand poet-king who lived, three thousand
years ago.
And truly God was taking care of His faithful
servant; but not in the way that the boy would have
thought best.
Having passed fairly well through the severity of the
winter, Mr Dayne was tempted in April to relax
something of his habitual caution, when a sudden
change in the weather, with a return of piercing easterly
winds, gave him a severe chill. He took to his bed
almost immediately, and all work was put a stop to, as
it seemed, never to be resumed.
His own old medical adviser, Dr Wells, attended
him, and was quite angry when it leaked out that Mr
Dayne had returned from Cannes in November.
"Madness-simple madness!" he exclaimed. "My
dear madam,"-addressing Mrs Dayne, with whom he
was in private consultation,-" your husband must never
think of wintering in England. Should he pull through
this attack and become strong enough to travel, I
should certainly advise you to seek a permanent re-
sidence in a warmer climate. In fact, to be candid, it
is our patient's only chance of restoration to health.
Another early spring in this country would inevitably
be fatal to him."
Poor Mrs Dayne made no reply, she was simply
dumb with hopelessness. A blank wall seemed to have
risen up before her, and the future was blotted out.
And, as if this were not enough, Dr Wells capped the
climax by adding, "And he must give up preaching.
Most decidedly! -His throat will not bear it."
- Mother," said Carol, a few days afterwards, "why





'CAROL'S GIFT.


don't we ask grandpa to help us ? Perhaps he would if
he knew that father is so ill."
"My dear, we have written to him repeatedly," Mrs
Dayne replied; "--twice during this last illness,-but
he has never answered. Our latest appeal was re-
turned unopened. That was only a week ago."
Carol's eyes opened very wide at this piece of infor-
mation, which was a revelation to him. It seemed
almost incredible, with father so good and grandpa so
rich!
S"He can't understand-I'm sure he can't!" he said.
"Or he never could behave so."
Mrs Dayne was silent. She knew only too much of
the harsh, nay, cruel and implacable, character of her
husband's father to be able to agree in Carol's charitable
supposition, gladly as she would have done so.
Carol sat upon one leg, idly swinging the other,
absorbed in thought. Suddenly he raised his eyes to
an oil-painting that hung over the piano.
It was the portrait of a lady, young, sunny-looking,
and beautiful. Her white muslin dress was low about
her fair shoulders, and her rounded arms gleamed
faintly pink through her transparent sleeves. But her
face was the glory of the canvas-arch in expression,
yet tenderly pensive, with large, deep dark eyes and a
sweet mouth. Strange to say, it looked like a veritable
reflection of the boy face that so earnestly gazed up at
it. And the quaint, short curls round the head in the
picture, so like Carol's brown-gold locks, heightened
the resemblance.
Mrs Dayne had often noticed it, but never.so strik-
ingly as at this moment.
"But he was fond of grandma ?" said Carol, speaking
out of the midst of his own train of thought.





THE FLOWER TEXT AGAIN.


"Yes; I have heard that she was the only being he
ever truly loved. He took her early death in the
wrong spirit-a hard, rebellious spirit-and it em-
bittered all his life."
"How funny that I should be so much like her when
father himself was not," observed the boy. "I am like
her, am I not, mother ?"
Yes, dear, remarkably so. And you resemble her far
more even now than when you were a baby; the like-
ness grows. Had your dear father been in appearance
such a boy as you, Carol, his father would probably
have cared more for him. But it was his decision to
be a minister of the gospel that caused the final
estrangement."
A peculiar look had come into the boy's face as he
gazed up at the picture-an eager, radiant, purposeful
look that made his eyes dilate and shine and his cheeks
glow, while his clasped hands tightened their grip, and
his breath came fast. And that look'was the expression
of an idea which had suddenly leaped up in his mind.















CHAPTER V.

CAROL'S PLAN.

"rHE gardener's grandmother-the gardener's grand-
1 mother has bought-no!-has borrowed my cou-
peret. What on earth is couperet? Oh, dear, what a
nuisance it is to have to bother about the gardener's
grandmother and the silly old things she has borrowed
when one's mind is all full of something else! If ever
I go to France, I'm sure I shall never want to know
anything about the gardener or any of his relations.
I'm tired to death of them all!"
Carol Dayne threw down his pen, and resting his face
upon his two hands, gazed up at the cloudless June sky .
out of the window with something deeper than mere
childish trouble shadowing his young face.
Yes, June had come, with its roses and balmy airs,
but it had brought no relief to the invalid. Day by
day did Mr Dayne seem weaker, and his cough more
crueL Talk of not wintering in England again! It
seemed as though the varying moods and oft-times
ungenial changes of an English summer were more than
his frail constitution could bear. The fact was, the
many nourishing and expensive things ordered by the
doctor as imperatively necessary .could not possibly be




CAROL'S PLAN.


procured, and meanwhile, anxiety for his family was
wearing him out.
"And to think of grandpa," said Carol to himself,
"with that splendid house in the country, and another
in some lovely place abroad, and all his horses and
carriages, and flowers, and rooms full of books, and
everything, and yet won't do a thing for him! He must
be a dreadful man, and that's a fact! Fancy him not
loving his own poor dear little boy just because he was
like that brother he couldn't bear! And then being so
angry with him after he grew up, only for wanting to
be a clergyman and teach people about God instead of
having race-horses and things! But it was grand of
father, and no mistake, to be willing to give so much
up for the sake of what he felt was right! Oh, father
is just the most splendid man that ever lived-but oh,
dear!"
The sound of a painful fit of coughing in the adjoin-
ing room went through Carol's heart like a knife, and
brought the tears to his eyes. I'm sure-I'm sure," he
thought to himself, for perhaps the hundredth time
during the last few weeks, that if only grandpa knew
how ill father is, and how good he is, he would do
something for him. What a pity it was he never read
that last letter "
Mrs Dayne, entering the room ten minutes later,
found the boy in the same position of meditation.
He started when she entered, and getting up from
his seat went to her side with a shy and hesitating
manner quite strange to him. He clasped her round
the waist, and laid his curly head caressingly against
her arm.
"What is it, darling?" she questioned, kissing his
forehead.




CAROL'S GIFT.


I've got an idea," said Carol. "It's-it's a plan."
"What about, my boy?"
About father. And-and grandpa. Mother, dear,"
and Carol's voice sank to a whisper, I'm so afraid father
will die!"
A convulsive pressure of his mother's encircling arm,
and the falling of a hot tear upon the boy's upturned
face, was her only reply.
"Well," Carol blurted out, all at once, "I want to
go to grandpa and explain all about it."
You, child?"
"Yes, me, mother, dear. You see, he won't read the
letters, and so he doesn't really know how bad father
is. And I think if somebody were just to go and tell
him-! And I thought that, perhaps, I being so like
grandma, and he so fond of her, I could coax him a bit,
you know, perhaps !"
Mrs Dayne smiled through her tears, and pressed the
boy closer to her side.
It is brave and sweet of you, my dear little son," she
said, to think thus to go and beard the lion in his den.
But, Carol, there is one insuperable objection. The rail-
way fare, even for a child like you, is more than five
shillings return, and I cannot possibly spare the money."
Oh, mother, can't you ?" and keen disappointment
sounded in the boy's tone. "I've been thinking about
this for ever so long, ever since that evening .when we
spoke about my being so much like the picture.-- I do
think perhaps grandpa would like me for it, and hear
what I had to say."
Mrs Dayne could see that the boy's romantic im-
agination was all aglow with the inspiration of some
historical example of the successful intercession of a
child on behalf of a beloved parent, and she could not




CAROL'S PLAN.


bear thus to extinguish his enthusiasm. But it could
not be helped.
Darling," she answered, firmly, "it really cannot 'be.
I have not got five shillings-nor five pence-that are
not urgently wanted to buy us all provisions. And even
if I had, I should be very doubtful of the success of your
errand. God bless you for thinking of it all the same."
That night, alone in his little white bed, Carol cried
as if his heart would break. Father was going to die,
and grandpa who could help him would never know,
and all for want of five shillings!
And he remembered the Friend who could do every-
thing-the Friend who had been so good to them
before. He recollected-how could he ever have for-
gotten ?-how God helped their father to have a beauti-
ful six weeks' holiday at Cannes, after he got over his
illness of the preceding summer-all through the kind-
ness of some people they knew. Of course he must go
to God in his trouble.
And he did, there and then that moment. "Oh,
God," he prayed, childishly, "please give me five
shillings, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."
It was in a very unlooked-for way that the answer to
this petition, came.
He took his cherished stamp album to school with
him the next day to show a boy friend a certain rare
Peruvian which, by bartering away a superfluous cake
of gamboge, he had lately acquired. This boy was
but recently attacked with "stamp-fever," and seemed
likely to have it rather badly.
"I say, though," this youth observed, as he turned
over the neatly arranged pages lingeringly and with
many wishful looks, "you've got a pretty good lot
here."


1 41




CAROL'S GIFT.


"Yes," answered Carol, complacently, "they are
rather nice. I've been two years collecting them."
I haven't much patience for collecting," said the other
boy, Frank Barnes by name. "I get so sick of it. I
should like to start with a good lot, and then I should
feel sort of encouraged to go on. My uncle has just
given me a five shilling piece for a birthday present. I
think I shall lay it out all of a lump to begin with.
But I don't want a parcel of rubbish."
It was in the lunch hour that this conversation was
taking place. Carol leaned reflectively over the desk
while his companion talked, and drew a pattern all
round the edge of an ink-bottle with his pen.
The album itself had cost half-a-crown-his name
was not written in it !-and he had kept it so carefully
that it was as good as new. Three of the best stamps
were worth at least sixpence each-one he had bought,
one was given him by a friend of his father, and the
last, as I have mentioned, was obtained by the sacrifice
of a good water-colour paint. Besides which had been
added pen'orths and two pen'orths unnumbered, and
exchanges beyond calculation. This collection of stamps
was very dear to Carol's heart, but his father was dearer
still! And it did seem very odd, when one came to
think of it, that Frank should have happened to men-
tion his five shillings just then.
Carol, having finished the afore-mentioned design in
domestic ornament, wiped it all off with his finger, and
-so absent minded was he!-cleansed his finger on the
leg of his knickerbockers. Then he began it all over
again.
Where did you get this album ?" asked Frank. I
like the. style. It's just the sort I want."
Carol threw down the pen and straightened himself up.




CAROL'S PLAN.


You can have the lot for five shillings," he said.
"Why, do you mean it?" exclaimed the other, with
brightening eyes. "I didn't know you wanted to part
with them."
"Well, I want the money," confessed Carol, plainly.
"And they're honestly worth it, and a bargain. And
they're quite my very own, so I can do as I like."
"Done!" cried Frank. "I'll bring the money to-
morrow."
Never had the blue and gold cover of his stamp
album looked so handsome in Carol's eyes as it did
that night, when he examined and admired it for the
last time; never had the beauty, rarity, and value
of his treasures been so vividly impressed upon his
mind.
But his word had been given, and he did not experi-
ence the faintest desire to go back from it.
He came home from school the next day with flushed
cheeks and an unwonted light in his dark eyes.
"Where's mother?" were his first words. And
scarcely speaking to Lily, who opened the door to him,
he straightway sought Mrs Dayne.
Mother," he said, laying the big, medal-like silver
coin on the table in front of her, "will that take me to
Hazelthorpe ? I've sold my stamp album. Can I go
to grandpa now ?"















CHAPTER VI.

PASSENGERS TO HAZELTHORPE.

IT was foggy November when Jimmie Ellis was taken
into the hospital, but the streets were gay with
daffodils and wall-flowers before the doctor let him go
home again. He had been injured internally by his
fall into that hole in the road, and more seriously than
anybody had at first suspected. But by the middle of
March he was pronounced quite well again.
He was very sorry to hear it.
All the grown-up patients and most of the children
were delighted to be once more convalescent, returning
to their friends, and resuming their usual occupations.
But Softy's four months' sojourn in the wards of St
Mercy's had been a period of halcyon peace and happi-
ness to him, and he dreaded the going back to Parker's
Place and his rough companions there. Not that his
aunt was wilfully- unkind; indeed, she thought she
performed wonders of benevolence for the friendless
orphan left in her care. But she did not understand
him, and did not try to. He was totally different from
her own two hearty, boisterous lads, with their jolly
faces and mischievous ways, and she, as she herself
expressed it, "had no manner of patience with him."




PASSENGERS TO HAZELTHORPE. 45

We shall be sorry to lose you, Jimmie," said Sister
Ruth, the evening before the day fixed upon for his
departure. "I hope you won't forget us, for we shan't
forget you."
Jim's chin puckered convulsively, and he drew his
cuff across his eyes.
"I've got a little keepsake here that I want you to
take with you," continued the sister, opening a locker.
"Do you think you'll be able to find a place at home to
hang it up ?"
"It" was-yes, actually,!-Carol's text, taken out of
the scrap-book and set in a nice white "mount" and a
pretty gilt frame.
Jim gazed at it in silence, while a deep flush slowly
spread over his face, and neck, and ears, and up into the
roots of his hair; and he twisted at a button of his
jacket until it dropped off.
Do you like it ?" asked the nurse.
"Yes'm!" whispered Jim.
"Take it home with you then, and take care of it,
and try always to think of what it means."
Jim took the frame from the lady's hand, too de-,
lighted and amazed even to say "thank you"; but she
understood.
"A most uninteresting child!" remarked another
nurse who had witnessed this episode. "I can't think
what has made you take such a fancy to him."
"His heart," answered Sister Ruth, briefly.
Some hours later, when all were in bed, she called
her comrade over to Jimmie's cot. "Look here!" she
said. "That is better than any amount of thanks."
Softy lay asleep with both his small, thin hands
grasping the frame of the picture, while his cheek was
cuddled contentedly against the glass.




CAROL'S GIFT.


"Strange child, to be sure!" commented the other
nurse. "I could never make him out."
Very conscientiously did Softy try to act up to his
text when he went back to Parker's Place, and to his
surprise and great encouragement he found his aunt
and cousins far more gentle in manner towards him--
for a week or two, at least-than before he went away.
And he earnestly endeavoured not to provoke them to
either annoyance or mischief by ways which they did
not like. His aunt said he was a good deal improved."
Sister Ruth was true to her word, and did not forget
him. She came to see him twice before he had been
at home many weeks. Her .third visit was early in
June.
I wonder how you would like a week or two in the
country, Jim ?" she then said, noticing that the boy's
cheeks were still very pale, and that he did not seem
to get on."
Jim blushed, as usual, and smiled a smile so broad
and comprehensive that it seemed to take in every one
of his features and even slightly affect his ears. He
had learned that smile in the hospital.
"A party of children, all more or less delicate like
yourself, are going off to a pretty village in shire-
Hazelthorpe, it is called-for a three weeks' holiday,
and if your aunt is willing, I think we could manage
for you to go with them."
Jim couldn't twist a button off this time, for there
wasn't one handy. So he twisted his own fingers instead,
and beamed.
Aunt Harriett was, of course, only too glad to avail
herself of this grand offer on Jim's behalf, and, to do
her justice, she endeavoured to perform her part by
seeing that the boy had what he needed in the way




PASSENGERS TO HAZELTHORPE.


of nothing, clean and comfortable, to take away with
him. She was "not a bad sort," this sharp-eyed, red-
cheeked, broom-and-pail loving woman. A tidy shirt and
boots that wouldn't take water she could understand;
she even went so far, on the eve of Jim's departure, as
to invest in a pen'orth of hair-oil and a pink-bordered
pocket-handkerchief solely on his behalf, but as to
sympathising with him in his dread of the railway
journey and the possible tunnels that lay between him
and longed-for Hazelthorpe, she sought to reassure the
boy by promising him "a clout on the ear" if she heard
any more of "sich foolery."
So it came about that, at ten o'clock on a bright
summer morning, a party of six small boys stood on the
platform of one of our great railway stations waiting for
the train which was to convey them away on their
holiday in the country. And Jimmie was among them.
His luggage was done up in a newspaper parcel-square
at the corners by reason of that precious picture which
he could not be induced to leave behind-and a spotless
collar, new for the occasion, threatened to decapitate
him every time he turned his head.
He felt dreadfully frightened. The bustle of hurrying
passengers, the bawling of the porters with their trolleys
full of trunks, the shrieking and roaring of the awful
iron monsters that continually came and went amid
the glare of furnaces and rushing clouds of steam, were
all inexpressibly alarming to poor Softy. But by-and-by,
when he found himself seated in the train, and riding
high and safely above the roofs and chimney-pots, across
the crowded streets, past hundreds of back gardens, and
at length out amid the meadows all yellow with but-
tercups, he became too much interested to remember
his fears.




CAROL'S GIFT.


Once they passed through a tunnel. Then Jim
hugged his text very tight and shut his eyes, and tried
to think about God and how He could take care of them
even in the dark. And before he was aware of it they
were rushing out to the sunshine and blue sky again.
One of the party, Teddy Tibbuts by name, had been
to Hazelthorpe before, and he was able to air his know-
ledge and experience for his own satisfaction and the
entertainment of his companions.
As long as he dwelt upon the wonders of hedgerow
and ditch, the gates you might swing on and the trees
you could climb, Jimmie felt quite comfortable-gates
and trees might very well be let alone by those who
liked. But when Teddy proceeded to describe the play-
ful familiarities of the geese, who would always run
after you, the fierce bulls that, according to his descrip-
tion, were the gate-keepers of every field, and the steam
mowing-machine that "would cut you into slices before
you could say 'Jack'!" apprehension once more got
the! upper hand, and he began to wish himself back in
Parker's Place again.
But the worst was yet to come.
And there's a house," continued Teddie, I've seed it
ever so many times,-I bin right past it. And it's all
tumblin' down like, and there ain't no glass in the
winders but what's all smashed; and nobody ain't lived
in it for about a hunderd years; and nobody never
can't agin, 'cos a man he went an' 'ung hisself up behind
one o' the doors, and now he can't rest in his grave."
What does he do ?" asked another boy, while several
of the party grew decidedly owlish-looking about the
eyes, and one youth began to whistle.
"Oh, comes about the place o' nights, and makes
noises-howls, and groans, and moans, and all that,





PASSENGERS TO HAZELTHORPE.


you know. And I reckon he'd collar hold of anybody
who went by, if he could catch 'em. I shouldn't mind
going by, though," added Master Ted, with doubtful
veracity; "I'd soon knock him over if he interfered
with me."
"Is that house near where we're going to stop?"
asked Softy, squeezing his picture till it is a wonder
he did not crack the glass. The others laughed at
Ted's story with great heartiness, and one -openly
derided the whole thing, stoutly averring that there
weren't "no such things as ghosts, anyway."
"Not so very near," Ted replied. "Half-an-hour's
walk, I dessay. It's on the road to a fine big gentle-
man's house-oh, a stunning grand house it is, with
two or three front doors, and a weathercock at top--
where the lady I stopped with last year used to sell
butter to. He gave me a penny once for opening a
gate for him. His name was Mr Dayne. Why, here
we are!"
"Where?" chorused half-a-dozen voices, eagerly, as
the train began once more to slow up.
Why, there! I knowed the place again in a minute,
'cos o' them posties and the long ladder. And there's
Mrs Banks, the lady Tom and me's to stop with. Hi!
Mrs Banks! We've come!"
*
It was just a week subsequent to the journey of
Jimmie and his companions to Hazelthorpe that the
very same train, starting from the London terminus at
the same hour, carried another young traveller in whom
we are interested over the shining metals to the selfsame
destination.
Carol Dayne's pleadings had at last been acceded to,
and his father and mother.had consented to his going





CAROL'S GIFT.


in person to his stern grandparent to. solicit aid. Had
not Mr Dayne's life seemed to hang upon the almost
immediate arrival of succour, in the shape of money to
procure the numerous necessaries of invalid comfort, his
wife would never have agreed to the boy's adventure;
and but for the fact that, humanly speaking, all means
of provision for wife and children depended upon his
recovery, or, in the event of that being already beyond
the range of possibility,-which, personally, the sick
man felt convinced it was,-upon a reconciliation to
the only human being whose assistance they had any
right to ask, Mr Dayne himself would never have
risked exposing his tender little son to the pain and
disappointment of a sharp rebuff.
"Good-bye, my darling boy, and may God go with
you and protect you, and bring you safe home again,"
said the invalid, as Carol's bright face hung over his
couch for a farewell kiss.
"And bring grandpa back with me, with a whole
carriage-load of nice things for you!" added Carol.
His father smiled, yet with tears in his eyes, and his
mother sighed. It seemed as though the pleading of
such earnestness and love and beauty could scarcely
be denied, yet they were afraid to hope.
The railway station was only a walking distance
from where the clergyman and his family were living,
and Mrs Dayne went with Carol to impress upon his
mind her many parting injunctions, and to see him off.
No such nervous fears as had embittered poor Softy's
pleasure daunted Carol's heart. He was buoyant with
good spirits, full of boyish delight in the sense of
adventure with which his romantic trip was fraught,
and radiant with the assurance, unfounded though it
seemed, of ultimate success.





PASSENGERS TO HAZELTHORPE. 51

"Good-bye, mother dear, good-bye "he cried. "Look
out for me, in a hansom cab, at seven o'clock."
Good-bye, my boy. Be sure and ask your way when
you get out at Hazelthorpe. Don't leave your lunch
behind! There, sit down, the train is moving. Good-
bye!"
As the merry dark eyes and glowing cheeks, with
their coronal of sunny curls, that were the mother's
pride, slowly glided from her view, she unconsciously
stretched out her arms as though to hold them back;
for a strange pang shot through her heart-a foretaste
of the hours of agony it should know ere she would
see that face, that smile, again.

















CHAPTER VII.

A YOUNG WAYFARER.

IT was the first time in his life that Carol had travelled
alone, and it was with a keen sense of his own inde-
pendence and importance that he reached up to put his
hat and his little package of bread-and-butter on the
netting above his head, and pulled the blind down in
P the corner where he sat. Moreover, there being no one
else in the compartment, he carefully closed both the
windows-for he was anxious to avail himself of every
convenience the railway company provided-crossed
one leg over the other, and, folding his arms with quite
a sublime air of easy manliness, leaned back in his seat
to contemplate a notice posted on the opposite parti-
tion respecting the delinquencies of one "X. Y. Z."-
that incorrigible X. Y. Z. who seems to be continually
endeavouring to ride in trains and trams without pay-
ing his fare, and always gets caught!
But three minutes of such oppressive dignity were
quite enough. Down went Carol's arms and legs, and
down went the window likewise, and out went his head
into a breeze of motion that set every curl dancing,
until he recollected that this was one of the things he




A YOUNG WAYFARER.


had specially promised not to do, because of the danger
of an accident.
Then he settled down to enjoy the landscape that
fleeted past him-the rich June meadows of red and
gold, the cornfields of bright green splashed with many
a scarlet poppy, the wild-rose hedges with their half-
open cups of blushing pink that flitted by so close,
sometimes, to the passing train, yet so tantalisingly out
of reach. Then what delicious scents came rushing to
him on the sun-warmed wind-the honey smell of
heather from across the commons, the spicy fragrance
of pines, the farm odours of hay-stacks, milch cows, and
burning wood, the sweetness of flowers of all kinds and
of the cut grass of many a velvet lawn. To the London
boy, whose lungs for twelve months past had breathed
nothing but town smoke, this was all pure delight.
Nevertheless, as the end of the journey, and not the
journey itself, was the great object of his desire, he was
glad enough at last to hear the porter cry, "'Z'thorpe!
'Z'thorpe!" and to know that his destination was
reached.
Having duly inquired his way, and ascertained that
Cliftondale, his grandfather's residence, was about three
miles off along the hot, white country road, Carol
manfully. set out on his noonday, trudge. But
before he had gone far, it occurred to him that a
greasy paper parcel was not very desirable luggage
on such a day, and that its contents might be more
easily carried than in his hand. So he sat down
by the side of a gurgling brook of clear, golden-
brown water, that was fringed with the long, slender
green fronds bf the pen-fern, and ate his simple
lunch.
"I must take some of those fern roots for Lily," he




CAROL'S GIFT.


said, as I go home." Then quickly correcting himself,
he added, in his own mind, Oh, no, though! I daresay
I shall be with grandpa, in his carriage. He's sure to
come back with me at once, when he hears how bad
father is."
Thus, full of hope, the boy travelled on again, un-
tempted to linger by either flower or fly, until, with a
throb of excitement, he saw before him the great white
gate which his father had told him was at the entrance
of his grandfather's grounds.
To his surprise it was shut and fastened, nor did
there seem to be any means of gaining admittance.
Get in, however, he must, by hook or by crook, so
he climbed over, and, not without certain thrills of tre-
pidation, proceeded to walk up the broad, curving
drive, banked on either hand by mauve-tinted, rosy
or crimson rhododendrons, now in luxuriant bloom.
Presently the house itself came in sight, with a large,
dome-roofed conservatory beside it, glittering like a
miniature Crystal Palace in the sunshine. A vine was
trained within the glass, and an abundance of beautiful
flowers were visible from the outside. I shall have
some of them to take home to father!" thought
Carol.
Hullo, there!" cried a man's voice close behind him.
"What do you want?"
Carol started, and found himself accosted by an indi-
vidual who looked like a superior sort, of gardener, in
white shirt sleeves.
"I've come to see my grandfather," answered
Carol
Your grandfather, eh ? And who is he ?" asked
the man, not imagining that he saw before him in this
dusty, flushed, and travel-stained boy, whose sailor suit





A YOUNG WAYFARER. 55

showed signs of both wear and mending, ahy connection
of his master.
Mr Dayne I'm Carol Dayne, his son's little
boy. Can you tell me if Mr Dayne is at home,
please ?"
The man stared. You're his son's little boy, eh ?"
he at length repeated, as though the assertion were
somewhat difficult to accept. "Well, he ain't at home
just now. I can tell you that much."
"Oh, dear I" exclaimed Carol, with lengthening face.
"Where is he ?"
"Somewhere between here and Australia, I reckon,"
the man answered, vaguely. "He's gone on a voyage
for the benefit of his health."
O-oh!" said Carol again, more blankly than before.
"When did he go ?"
Near a fortnight since."
O-oh !"
So you're his son's little boy, are you ?" pursued the
man, who had never so much as heard of the existence
of the said son, and was strongly inclined to suspect
Carol's story of being an artful hoax. And why didn't
your father come himself ? "
"He's in London, very ill; that's why I came,"
explained the boy. "He's ill, and-and we're very
poor."
To a truthful, and therefore a trustful, nature, Carol's
frank face and ingenuous manner would have been a
sufficient guarantee of sincerity; but this head gardener,
unfortunately, was a not very scrupulous man; and,
moreover, he had a. son about Carol's age whose talent
for "romancing" was quite extraordinary. He set it
down, therefore, that all children were alike, and shook
his head, tightening his lips very wisely, as he con-





CAROL'S GIUT;


eluded that the boy before him was "an impudent
young beggar" on the look-out, for what he could get
by a "trumped-up tale.
Well;, the master ain't at home," was all. he
vouchsafed to say; "nor ain't likely to be this1
side of Christmas. So you'd 'best go back to London,
.sharp!" r
And he laughed unpleasantly. While poor Carol,
struggling vith a lump in his throat, murmured,
" Thank ..yodu!` and turned to leave by the way he
came.
"Stop a. minute !" said the man, recollecting the
possibility of'depredations upon flowers and fruit.
"I'll show you* out at another gate-a short cut to
London, he-he !-come this way!"
Carol rather reluctantly obeyed, and the gardener
having piloted him out at a postern door, and .thus
seen this highly suspicious character safely off the
premises; returned t9 :his work, chuckling at the idea
of the boy's artfulness, and how it had been defeated
by his own smart wits.
Alone in a lane in whichhe had never set foot before
in his life, our young hero had no idea which way to go.
He had forgotten in his overwhelming disappointment
to ask the man to direct him to.the station, and there
was no one else in sight.
The lightness of the downy white -clouds sailing high
up in the blue summer sky no longer seemed to lend
his spirit wings; the mingled summeirodours of mustard
flowers and blossoming 'broad beans that came to him
over the honeysuckle hedge no more filled his soul with
indescribable joy; even the brown-and-white butterflies
that danced in thle sunshine, and ,the dragon-flies like
bugle-beads .of brilliant sapphire poised, on invisible


56.

















I I










F
9 i
B;
~P I--









..











~rIg~ ~al.. c-


t6,-




A YOUNG WAYFARER.


wings, did not seem glad. All the world was changed.
Half-blinded .with tears, Carol stumbled on through
the thick white drifts of dust, and saw nothing
else.
. But at last the necessity of discovering his where-
abouts was forced upon him by the unfamiliar sounds
of pickaxe and shovel somewhere near, and resolutely
wiping his eyes he looked around him.
About a hundred yards away a new railway cutting
was in course of progress. Scores of men were at work,
and they seemed to be boring a tunnel through the solid
rock. At any other time Carol would have been much
interested in this, but now he was too sore from the.
blow that he had received to care about anything. He
only wanted to get home to his mother again, and have
a good cry in her sympathetic arms.
Going up to the nearest of the men, he asked him
the way to Hazelthorpe station.
"Straight as ever you kin go till you come to the
White Stag, then bear away to your left past a church,
and there's the station right in front of you," replied
the man. "It's a matter of little over four miles. But
ye'd best get past that bit o' road there and under cover
as fast as you can," he added. "They're goingto blast."
"To blast ?" repeated Carol.
"Yes. To blast that theer rock wi' dynamite. And
there's no being certain sure which way the pieces may
go. Look sharp, now! They're 'most ready."
Scarcely stopping to thank the man for his warning,
Carol took to his heels and ran. Dynamite sounded
very alarming.
But it was not much of weather for athletics of that
kind. Carol was already tired with his long walk to
his grandfather's house, the road he was now on was




CAROL'S GIFT.


glaring and shadeless, and the sun pouring down with
the scorching heat of early afternoon. He soon came
to a pause, with his head throbbing, and the perspiration
streaming from every pore.
Just a little further on stood a house by the wayside.
It had the appearance-of being old and deserted. The
walls were in a ruinous condition, every fragment of
glass had been smashed out of the window frames by
stone-flinging boys, and the spaces were tenanted by
cobwebs, while the half-open door hung crazily on its
hinges.
Almost fainting with fatigue and heat, and still
dreading danger from the explosion,-for he had not
the least idea how far its effects might reach,-Carol
saw in this empty building a possible shelter, and
resolved to go inside until the noise of the blast-
ing should tell him that it was an accomplished
fact.
Stepping over the luxuriant nettles with which the
little front enclosure was filled, he pushed open the
decaying door and entered.


"One minute to seven," said Lily Dayne, going from
the window to the clock for about the twentieth time
in the past half-hour. "They must soon be here
now."
She said "they," having caught some of her brother's
confidence and enthusiasm.
Hark There are wheels now," the child continued,
turning red and white with excitement. "Oh!" in a
tone of disappointment. It's only a draper's cart gone
next door!"
"Six-forty-five the train Carol would return by is




A YOUNG WAYFARER.


due," said Mrs Dayne. "And it would take him quite
twenty minutes to walk from the station."
"Oh, yes, if he walks," answered Lily. "But he
thought grandpa would be sure to take a fly."
Mrs Dayne sighed.
The tea-table was laid. Thick slices of bread, thinly
spread with the cheapest jam for the children, bread
minus any addition for mother,-she was really fond of
dry bread, she protested; at least she liked it much
better than plum-stone jam,-and an egg beaten up in
milk for the invalid, who could take little solid food of
any kind.
Five, ten minutes, a quarter past seven came; Lily
grew disconsolate. "The train must be ever so late!"
she grumbled.
"Don't you think you had better have your tea,
dear?" asked the mother, returning from taking her
husband his.
"I'd rather wait," said Lily, and went back to the
window.
A carmine spot was beginning to burn on each of
Mrs Dayne's cheeks, and she sought in vain to conceal
her uneasiness.
At half-past seven she said, "I think I'll put on
my bonnet and go and meet him, Lily, if you'll
take care of father for me while I'm gone. You might'
read him a bit out of one of his books, dear," she
added, anxiously. "And don't say anything about
the time."
As if father did not know that his boy was overdue
as well as she!
An hour passed slowly by before Mrs Dayne returned.
Lily rushed to open the door the instant she heard the
gate creak. Mother was alone.




62 CAROL'S GIFT.

He must have somehow missed that train," she said,
taking off her mantle with trembling hands. She did
not add that she had waited to see a later train also
arrive without her precious boy. "The next one will
be in at three minutes past ten, and that will be the
last from Hazelthorpe to-night."















CHAPTER VIII.

OUT IN THE THUNDERSTORM.

" ET me stay up till you come back again!" Lily
begged, as her mother once more prepared to go
to the railway station. I feel as if I can't go to bed
without seeing Carol."
"Very well, dear," answered Mrs Dayne, herself full
of feverish anxiety which she would fain keep from the
invalid. "But do not be disappointed if I don't bring
him, for grandpa may be keeping him there for the
night," she added.
But without letting us know ?" queried Lily, in sur-
prise. "Wouldn't he guess you would be frightened ?"
." People do not always think of things, dear," was all
Mrs Dayne's reply.
Lily and her father sat together in the sultry mid-
summer twilight, counting the moments till it should
be possible for Mrs Dayne to return. The window was
still open, for the air was most oppressive, and sounds
from the streets came floating up; but they only made
the quietness and tension of that waiting time seem the
more trying. Mr Dayne's breath came short and hard
-he wanted more air, and not the faintest whiff was
stirring; it was too much effort for him to talk. Lily




64 CAROL'S GIFT.

patiently fanned him with the lid of a cardboard box,
her own imagination meanwhile full of a scene that had
once been photographed upon her childish mind: a
desolate country road, all white and black in the
twilight, a sign-post rearing spectral arms against the
pallor of the faded west, flat meadows stretching into
the dim far-away on either hand, a bat flapping across
in the stillness, but not a house or a human being visible
in all the lonely land. Hot as the evening was, she
shuddered.
"Are you chilly, dear ?" asked her father, suddenly
aroused from his thoughts of the absent one to care
for her who was present. "Put a shawl on. Don't
catch cold."
"I'm not cold, father, dear," she answered. "I'm
thinking. Oh, father, suppose Carol is lost!"
"I trust it is not so, dear."
"Is Hazelthorpe a very lonely place ?" asked Lily.
"There were few houses except in the village when
I lived there," Mr Dayne replied. "But that was long
ago, before the railway came. I daresay many new ones
have been built since then."
"Oh, I do hope he is not lost!" the girl sighed. "He
is such a little fellow, after all, isn't he ?"
- "Wherever he is he is in God's hand," answered her
father. "And God's blessing is on him, and His love
round about him. Our Carol has gone on an angel's
errand; and we must trust."
He's a darling boy!" said Lily, huskily. "I don't
know another boy like him. I-I called him a greedy
pig yesterday, and now, if anything has happened to
him, I don't know what I shall do!"
The poor child was shaken with tears, but fearing to
agitate her father, she tried to keep them back,




OUT IN THE THUNDERSTORM.


"Why did you call him that?" asked Mr Dayne,
gently.
"Because I wanted to borrow his mapping pen, and
he was using it himself. He was not greedy-he never
is !-but he did want to get his map finished because of
going out to-day. And I got cross about it!"
"Poor Lily! I'm grieved for you," said her father,
with his hand upon hers. "How careful we had need
be never to give ourselves cause for such regrets as
these. There comes a time to. some people when their
whole after-lives are filled, darkened, saddened by them.
But I hope, darling, that to-morrow you will be able to
tell Carol how sorry you were, and he will never think
of it again."
Meanwhile, the last train calling at Hazelthorpe came
roaring and snorting into the terminal station.
With blanched lips and hungering eyes, Mrs Dayne
rushed from opening door to door, searching amid the
crowds that alighted for the one jewel, the sight of which
would gladden her as it had never gladdened before-
that curly-haired -boy in the sailor suit who had parted
from her so gay and hopeful at. that very spot twelve
hours earlier.
But Carol had not come.
The passengers slowly filtered out of the station,-
leaving Mrs Dayne. almost alone, and half beside herself
with helpless anxiety.
What could she do ?
She took out her purse. There were two shillings in
it and some coppers. She crossed over to the telegraph
office, and wired a prepaid message to "Dayne, Esq.,
Cliftondale, Hazelthorpe, shire." Is my boy with
you? Charles Dayne."
She thought it best to send in her husband's name, to





CAROL'S GIFT.


prevent mistake; and while waiting for the answer,
which, owing to the distance between Hazelthorpe
Station and Mr Dayne, senior's, residence, must be
somewhat delayed, she hurried back home to tell the
anxious watchers there-surely her loving insincerity
would be pardoned!-that she felt sure Carol must
have been detained at Cliftondale. Then she tried to
relieve her own over-wrought feelings, and divert the
thoughts of her husband and Lily, by inveighing against
the supposed thoughtlessness of grandpa in thus keeping
the child without sending word to his friends.
But when the answer to the telegram came, it
shattered even this fictitious hope. It was from Mrs
Batterby, Mr Dayne's housekeeper, in whom was
vested all authority in the master's absence, and ran
thus:-
"M. Batterby to Charles Dayne. The master is
abroad. No boy has been here to-day."
For she knew nothing of the small supposed ad-
venturer whom the head gardener had so cleverly
turned out of the grounds of Cliftondale that noon.
I cannot attempt to describe the horror of that night
in the Dayne household. The eyes of father and mother
were unvisited by sleep through all its weary hours, and-
Lily only fell into troubled dreams when completely
worn-out with crying. During the short period of
darkness the sky was luridly illuminated by almost
incessant flashes of sheet lightning, and towards the
morning, which rose sultry and grey, a distant rumbling
of thunder was heard, which constantly came nearer,
with a slowness yet certainty of approach which in
itself gave rise to sensations of dread in those not
usually alarmed at such phenomena. To the family
whose dear one was wandering, shelterless, somewhere





OUT IN THE THUNDERSTORM.


beneath that threatening sky, the thought of the gather-
ing storm was well nigh insupportable.
Carol must be sought at any cost; so, regardless of
future needs, Mrs Dayne withdrew one golden piece
from her little, fast-dwindling hoard, and having forced
herself to swallow some bread and tea, left Lily in
charge of the invalid, and, her heart bursting with
dumb prayer to the only One who could help in such
an extremity, started off by the first train to Hazel-
thorpe.
While those swiftly circling wheels are bearing her
along, through the meadows that look so gloomy beneath
the lowering sky, with their long grasses trembling as
if in fear, we will follow our friend Softy in some of
his novel experiences at Hazelthorpe.
He had never been in the country before, except,
once or twice, for a day at a time; and then, as he said,
"not country like this here!" The fact was, he had
never been so far from town, and never been away in
June. The meadows before they are mown, when the
great, starry marguerites, the tall golden buttercups,
and the coral spires of the red sorrel bow amid the
feathery grasses at every passing breeze, are very
different from the same tracts of land after the relent-
less scythe has swept them bare; and those who have
seen only the dusty, dark green hedges of August or
the end of July can scarcely realise the dainty fresh-
ness of the later weeks of spring, when the white
blossoms of the hawthorn have hardly faded, and the
wild rose buds are just bursting into delicate shell-pink
and gold. It seemed like a dream to poor Jimmie
Ellis, of Parker's Place, and he secretly wondered
whether heaven itself could be quite as nice.
These half-dozen ailing children from London were





CAROL'S GIFT.


planted out, for the time being, in the homes of three
or four different cottagers in the village, Jimmie find-
ing himself the guest of a Mrs Robins, who made
room for him among five little ones of her own. This
arrangement separated him from his travelling com-
panions, and gave him a fresh set of acquaintances.
This circumstance, at least as far as it took him some-
.what out of the way of Teddy Tibbuts of ghost-story
fame, was a distinct advantage.
At first Softy was very shy, but he and the little
Robinses, who were all brown-faced, flaxen-haired little
creatures a good deal younger than himself, made friends,
by degrees, over an old white cat.
Snowball was quite a distinguished character in the
neighbourhood, by reason of her great age, being no less
than twenty-one years old. Mrs Robins had brought
the creature away when she left her situation to be
married, because it had been a pet of "the little ladies,"
who had all since grown big and gone to school in
France. Very fat and sleepy and gentle was Snow,
with bandy legs, the softest of coats, and one eye green
while the other was blue; her very mew was scarcely
audible, being muffled, apparently, in fat and fur. But
what Jimmie liked her best for, was that Mrs Robins
said she never caught the birds.
The Robins children all loved animals, so this was a
bond between them and the strange town boy at once,
and little Enoch, the brownest, chubbiest, and most
flaxen of the five, strengthened it by taking Softy's
hand and conducting him to a neighboring pasture
tenanted by a cow, a donkey, and a little colt of two.
months old whose name was Bob.
The donkey seemed like an old acquaintance, save
that it looked rather unnatural for him to be bare of




OUT IN THE THUNDERSTORM.


harness, and with no barrow at his back! But the cow !
Softy had never been within twenty yards of any of
the bovine tribe before in his life, and when her great
square nose came between the railings his heart indeed
went pit-a-pat.
Enoch, however, stroked her.soft ears, and gave her
handfuls of grass with the greatest confidence, and
presently Jimmie himself was encouraged to o the
same, though his own boldness amazed him.
While they were engaged in these interesting atten-
tions to Mrs Brindle, Jimmie felt a curious sensation
in the region of his left elbow. Turning round with a
start, he found Bob's long tongue tasting the flavour of
his jacket sleeve! His first impulse was to run away.
But Enoch did not seem a bit afraid. He stroked the
creature's clumsy nose, and gave him some grass too.
"He likes 'taturs best," remarked the country boy.
"He'll get 'em out yer pocket, if ye've got 'em
there."
A few more visits to Bob and Brindle, and two of
Jim's bogey fears-the inordinate terror of cows and
horses-had forever passed away. Meanwhile, the plain,
wholesome food, the fresh air, and the healthful play
were doing him a world of good. He was out of doors
with the little Robinses all day, and soon, of his own
free will, became a devoted slave to the baby, dragging
her about in her little wooden cart, or sitting at the
cottage door with her on his knee for hours at a time.
"Such a gentle, biddable little chap as I never did see,"
said Mrs Robins, "and as careful of that baby as a
woman."
One breathless morning, when Jim had been staying
at Hazelthorpe just a week and a day, he, with Enoch
and Joel, and the baby in her cart, after a long tramp




CAROL'S GIFT.


through the dusty lanes, found a pleasant halting-place
beneath the shadow of a hedge, and Jim began making
her small ladyship a daisy chain-a recent accomplish-
ment which he thought delightful; the two Robins
boys employing themselves meanwhile in bringing him
the tiny, pink-edged stars, by handfuls and capfuls, faster
than he could use them. But there were millions more.
The sunshine, which had been so hot, gradually fainted
and faded in the fringe of a great cloud that was coming
up from behind a hill; but the children were so busy
that they heeded it not. Higher and higher crept the
obscuring gloom, smaller each moment grew the remnant
of clear sky, but not until the whole was clouded over,
and an ominous rumble came from the heart of the blue-
black mass that had gathered over the hill, -did they
realise that a storm was at hand.
Jimmie's face turned pale beneath its newly acquired
tan, and Enoch and Joel stared at one another in dis-
may, for they were two long miles-real country miles
-from home, and no shelter was in sight.
Pat-splash! came a rain-drop as large as a sixpence,
-then another, and three more, right on baby's upturned
face. She knew that there was something wrong, and
uttered a little, plaintive cry.
This woke Jimmie up. "She'll get wet!" he gasped.
And the thought of her danger brought the life back
into his paralysed limbs.
"I'll pull," he said, taking little Joel's hand. "You
push behind, Enoch, and we'll run."
Run they did, but the rain was too quick for them.
Oh, how it came down! As if a sudden rent had been
made in the cloud above, and its contents emptied in a
cataract upon their defenceless heads.
The dust at first flew up before it, but soon the road




OUT IN .THE THUNDERSTORM.


was like a brown river; ever and anon the blue light-
ning seemed to swallow them up, and the thunder roared
as though the very heavens were falling in a tremendous
cash about their ears. And still the children ran.
But they could not keep this up for. long. Joel fell
lown, crying, and Jimmie's unaccustomed legs were on
the point of giving way beneath him when they dis-
perned before them, through the wall of water that
intervened, the outlines, of a house.
Let's get over there!" panted Enoch. And with one
more tremendous effort, Joel and baby almost drown-
ing with their united cries the crackling thunder and
rushing rain, they stumbled on for a few yards further
and across the road.
The house was tenantless, and the door ajar. Jim
pushed baby's carriage in first, and the others huddled
in behind, for the entry was narrow; and once inside
they found themselves in a passage, with a half-closed
door on their right hand.
Breathless and trembling as the poor little creatures
were, it was an unspeakable relief to be out of the pelt-
ing storm. Jim bent over baby, trying to soothe her
with many a tender word, and he did not notice that
Enoch, before he had well recovered from his run, or
the rain had in any degree abated, was edging over the
threshold again.
"Why don't yer stop inside ?" said Jim. "Don't yer
see how the rain's a-coming down on yer ?"
"I shan't stop in this 'ere place," returned Enoch.
"This 'ere's the house wheer the ghosties is!"
"The ghosties!" echoed Jim, with his eyes almost
starting out of his head.
"Yes! They comes out o' nights, 'cos o' the mun as
hanged hissen. Hark! That's 'em now!"




72 CAIOL'S GIFT.

Joel had stopped his crying to listen about the
"ghosties," and in a brief lull of the storm, a low,
wailing moan from within the "haunted house" wis
distinctly heard. It came again, and there was no
mistake about it.
Enoch's heels were already vanishing round a bulge
of the tangled hedge, and Joel, with his fist in his eyes,
again, was blindly stumbling after him. Before Jimmie,
well knew what he was about, he also was out in the
open road once more, with the ruined cottage some fifty
yards behind.
But what of baby ?















CHAPTER IX.

JIM'S WONDERFUL ADVENTURE.

SUDDENLY Jim slackened his speed, and pulled up
sharp in the middle of the road. Enoch and Joel,
ignorant of the danger they thus incurred from the-
lightning, had found a fresh shelter beneath the spread-
ing branches of a wayside tree, but Softy did not join
them.
He had remembered his charge.
For that Baby Robins was his charge more specially
than of either of her own small brothers he very well
knew. "I wouldn't trust her out o' my sight with
either of them rumbustical boys," he had heard the
mother say; "but that Jimmie, why he's like an old
grannie with her, that he is."
And now he, the trusted one, had basely fled, leaving
poor, defenceless baby by herself in the storm, and
alone in "the ghosties' house"!
Yet, at the thought of going back to fetch her, that,
as it seemed to him, unearthly groan sounded once more
in his ears, turning him sick and cold with fear. Again
in that dreadful house what might he not hear, or even
see, of horror ? Teddy Tibbuts had said that the ghost
would "collar hold" of anybody if he got the chance.




CAROL'S GIFT.


Hitherto, to be "taken up by the bobby" had repre-
sented to Softy's imagination the depth of hopeless
captivity; but to be "collared hold of" by a ghost
suggested a yet deeper abyss. How could he turn back?
But baby's feeble cry seemed to reach him even
through the steady rush of the pelting rain, and with
it another voice upspoke in his heart: "What time I
am afraid, I will trust in Thee."
It was just as though a rift had suddenly broken in
the slatey cloud-pall overhead, and a kind face looked
through.
"I am afraid," said Jimmie to himself. "So it's just
the right time for me to trust in Him. Oh, kind God,
please take care of me, and don't let the ghost catch me.
I will go back!"
So he faced about like a hero, did this timid "Softy,"
and trudged back to the "haunted" house in the teeth
of the storm and of all his inward fears.
Baby's puckered-up little face, all streaming down as
it was with big tears and the drippings of her soaked
sun-bonnet, dimpled into a lovely April smile as she
saw him coming to her, and she entreatingly stretched
out her chubby arms.
Jim had to go right into the building to get properly
hold of the little cart, but he kept saying his text over
and over to himself to keep his courage up.
In the headlong rush down the hill one of the wheels
of this home-made "p'ram" had very nearly come off.
While Jim was stooping to see if by any means he could
fix it into place again, there came another low, wailing
cry from the room which opened out of the passage.
This time it was an articulate word in a childish
Voice: "Mother! Oh, mother !"
.- Jimmie stood up straight and stiff in an instant, and




JIM'S WONDERFUL ADVENTURE.


felt as if every individual hair on his head was doing
the same. Yet there was something so human and
imploring about that piteous cry that he for the
moment forgot about the ghost, and did not attempt
.to run away.
Who and what could it be ?
The voice sounded like somebody in trouble. Could
it be somebody the ghost had actually captured who
was thus plaintively calling out for help ?
"Mother Mother! Oh, do come to me!"
Jimmie couldn't stand that. He crept to the door
of the room and peeped in. And the first glance
petrified him with amazement.
There, upon the middle of the floor, half smothered
in broken plaster and lumps of mortar, with dirt and
general debris which had evidently fallen upon him
from' a great hole in the ceiling, lay a boy-the very
boy whose image had been vivid in Softy's mind for
nearly a twelvemonth past-Carol Dayne!
His cap. had fallen off, and his golden curls were
matted with blood and dust, but his face was flushed
and his eyes unnaturally bright.
He raised himself on his elbow and gazed at the
intruder without a spark of recognition.
"I got five shillings for my stamps, Lily," he said.
"Oh, do open the window! It's so hot in this train.
.It's going too fast-too fast!"
And with that he sank down again.
'Softy stared stupidly for several seconds. His wits
seemed utterly scattered, but presently an idea or two
began to take form in his bewildered mind.
He stepped inside the room-all fear now banished
by the marvellousness of his discovery-and tried to
lift Carol in his arms.




CAROL'S GIFT.


But the boy pushed him away with feverish strength.
"It's going too fast! he repeated. I shall be choked."
Jim let him go, and once more blankly stared.
The sound of approaching wheels grinding heavily in
the wet road rose above the steady murmur of the rain.
Through the empty window frame Jim saw a carriage
passing the house, and, with a sudden flash of inspiration,
rushed out of the room, falling headlong over the baby's
cart in his haste to reach the front door.
But he soon picked himself up again, and raced after
the brougham as fast as his legs could carry him. And
he must have been divinely helped, for before, it passed
the tree beneath which Enoch and Joel were still stand-
ing he had come up alongside.
The occupants were a lady and a little girl-Sir John
Ashley's grand-daughter, Isabel, and her governess, who,
in returning from paying a visit, had been caught in the
storm. Sir John Ashley's residence was Kyteley Castle,
a very grand place a little beyond Hazelthorpe Station.
Isabel was terribly alarmed at the storm. Oh, the
thunder! Isn't it awful?" she had said, again and
again, almost crying, as they drove along. "And that
flash-oh It came full in my eyes."
And she hid her face in Mademoiselle Bremen's lap.
"'The thunder and the lightning, too, are in the hand .
of God," said the governess. "They can harm no one
whom He protects. Don't be so terrified, dear Isabel,
you will make yourself ill."
Aren't you frightened ?" queried little Isabel, raising
her white, scared face.
"No, darling," was the quiet reply. "The storm is
very awful, but I have prayed so many times in church
with my whole heart, 'From lightning .and tempest
. and from sudden death, good Lord deliver us,'




JIM'S WONDERFUL ADVENTURE.


that I cannot think He will ever let me be hurt by
them."
Isabel looked surprised. This was, strange as it may
seem, a new idea to her. She had been to church
regularly, and very often, if not always, joined in the
responses to the Litany, but the words of the prayers
which are intended to express the needs of. each
worshipper who responds to them, had conveyed little
real meaning to her mind. The child and grandchild
of truly Christian people, this little girl, with all her
advantages, had not got so far as poor, ignorant Softy '
in learning to look upon God in heaven as 'a very
present help in time of trouble.
She was so much struck, by Mademoiselle's words
that for the minute she forgot her fear, and gazed out
of the streaming window into the river-lke brown road.
Suddenly a figure appeared between; the blurred glass
and the rain-beaten hedge beyond. A small dark figure,
with its face turned eagerly towards them.
"Look at that poor boy out in this pouring rain!"
she exclaimed. ":How dreadful to be on foot in such
a storm!" Then she added, for she had a kind little
heart, He is going our way. Do let us stop and take
him in with us."
Rather to his disgust, for he was anxious to get
home, the coachman, who had seen but did not choose
to notice Jimmie's frantic gesticulations, received an
order to check his horses.
And Isabel let down the carriage window.
Are you going through the village, little boy ?" she
asked. Would you like to ride ?"
There's-there's a boy-a young gentleman-in that
house!": panted Jim, almost too much spent to speak.
"He's hurt. He can't stand."





7.8 CAROL'S GIFT.

"Which house ?" questioned Mademoiselle Bremen.
"That 'un down there-where the ghosties is!"
"He means that ruined cottage which they say is
haunted," said Isabel. "'How did he get there ?," she
added.
I found him. It's-he's Carol Dayne-that's his
name. I knows him. His head's hurt awful bad.
Won't you go and look at him, Miss ?"
"We had ,better turn back and see what is really
the matter," said Mademoiselle, again communicating
with the coachman.
While Isabel was repeating "Carol Dayne! How
strange! That old gentleman who lives at. Cliftondale
is a Mr Dayne, you know. Can it be any relation of
his ?
"Scarcely, I should think," said the governess.
"Mr Dayne has recently left England. No member
of his family would be visiting Cliftondale in his
absence."
"Why, there's a baby!" cried Isabel, as the carriage
drew up at the "haunted house"; and poor little
Deborah Robins, who was nearly heartbroken by these
repeated desertions, was espied sitting in her cart in the
doorway.
Jim had got up to them again ere they entered the
house. His usually pale face was lobster-like' with
exertion.
"That's Mrs Robins's baby," he explained, mopping
his streaming forehead with the remains of the pink-
edged handkerchief-its colour was such that Madem-
oiselle felt compelled to look another way! "He's
inside, he is,/in the room."
Gathering up her skirts, the governess squeezed past
Miss Robins and her chariot, and gingerly ventured

























































" THERE'S-THERE'S A BOY-HE'S HURT!' PANTED JIM."


W WlIS~t- ..w

-1 -.. '




JIM'S WONDERFUL ADVENTURE. 81

through the doorway to which Jim pointed, and Isabel
after her.
Both were shocked at the sight which mettheir gaze,
-the delirious boy tossing feverishly from side to side
among the rubbish, evidently imagining himself in his
own bed at home. For It isn't time to get up yet,
is it?" he exclaimed, on their entrance. "The train
doesn't start till ten."
Then he fell back into his former distressful com-
plaint : "It's going too fast! Can't you stop it ?"
"This is very serious," said Mademoiselle Bremen.
"We must take the child home with us, Isabel, and
have him attended to at once. Ask Thompson to step
this way, will you, dear ?"
Thompson was the footman, and with his aid Carol
was conveyed from the lonely house where he had lain
unconscious for nearly twenty-four hours,-from the
hard floor which had been so unkind a pillow for his
aching head, to the soft cushions of Sir John Ashley's
brougham, and the compassionate support of Madem-
oiselle's shoulder.
"You had better jump in, too, with that poor baby,".
said the lady to Jim. Do you say it is Mrs Robins'
little one ? Dear, dear, how wet you both are! I am
afraid you will take severe colds. We are going
through the village, and can set you down at Mrs
Robins' door."
So it was a strange and motley set of passengers that
those proud brown horses carried along the next mile of
road, and it also came about that Jimmie and baby *
reached home in amazing grandeur. Mrs Robins was
watching the storm in great anxiety, wondering if the
four wandering children had anywhere found a safe
shelter. But when that handsome carriage and pair
F




82 CAROL'S GIFT.

stopped-yes, actually !-at her cottage gate, and, still
more astounding, the door opened to let out baby and
Jim-well, as she assured her neighbours afterwards-
you might have ""knocked her down with a feather !"
Stop` a moment !" said Mademoiselle, as Jimmie was
alighting; "what did you say this poor boy's name
is?"
"Carol Dayne. He told me so himself."
"Do you know where he lives ?"
"In London," was Softy's comprehensive reply.
Yes, but where ? What road or street ? "
"I dunno," answered Jimmie. "He's moved, he has,
and the thing what's up says 'House to Let.'"
And with this limited amount of enlightenment
Mademoiselle Bremen was fain to be content.















CHAPTER X.

AT CASTLE KYTELEY.

AT every available stopping place between London
and Hazelthorpe, Mrs Dayne made inquiries of
porter or station-master if they had seen a little boy get
out there any time the day before; for she thought it just
possible, though, considering Carol's general intelligence,
scarcely probable, that he had alighted at .the wrong
station, and so lost his way. But to every question was
returned the same reply: no boy answering to her de-
scription had been noticed, though, of course, he might
have passed through, all the same.
At Hazelthorpe, however, came the first ray of hope.
The ticket-taker did remember a boy arriving there
about noon on the previous day,-a boy in a sailor suit,
with fair, curly hair,-and he asked his way to some
gentleman's house in the neighbourhood.
"Yes-yes!" cried Mrs Dayne, excitedly. That
was Carol-that was my boy. Did he come back ?"
No--a!" replied the man, slowly. "I see no more
of him arter he went round that bend in the road. Did
you expect him back ?"
"Yes! He ought to have returned the same day.
We are almost distracted about him. We fear some





CAROL'S GIFT.


accident has happened.- He was going to Cliftondale,
but he never reached there."
Never got there, ell ?'" and the man stroked his chin
reflectively. Well, there's no accident happened here-
abouts as I've heard of. But they might be able to tell
you something at the police station."
I'll go there at once !" said the poor mother, regard-
less, and indeed absolutely ignorant, of the fact that the
rain had commenced to fall in torrents. And, having
obtained the needful directions, she immediately set off.
But, as we may have supposed, no boy, who in the
least resembled Carol Dayne, had been seen or heard of
at the tiny house which did duty for a police station.
The policeman's kindly wife, however, who was the only
person visible, deeply sympathised with the heartbroken
lady, and begging her to wait there until the storm had
somewhat abated, insisted meanwhile on making her a
cup of tea.
"I must walk to Cliftondale as soon as ever the rain
ceases a little," said Mrs Dayne, greatly refreshed both
. by the tea and the sympathy. It must be somewhere
between here and there that he was-that he went
astray. Is there any water in that direction?" she
added, scarcely able to frame' the question which was
prompted by her worst fears.
"'None to speak of, ma'am," replied the policeman's
wife. "There's only one little stream as I can call to
mind, and that's not deep enough to drown a baby. I
should rather think, ma'am," she concluded, cheerfully,
"that the young gentleman just took a wrong turning,
arid perhaps wandered'out as far as Batfield or Bradding-
stoke, and is being taken charge of there until his'
friends turn up."
a *




AT CASTLE KYTELEY.


'By four o'clock in the afternoon of that eventful day
every trace of the thunderstorm had passed away, and
its effects only remained. Clean-washed heavens, clear
and blue; damp, brown roads, as smooth and innocent of
dust as the sands just left by a receding tide; dripping
trees and hedgerows, vividly green and sparkling in the
rich amber sunshine; freshened grasses, thickly strung
with rows of diamonds, and many a joyous bird-song in
the sweet, cool air.
Jimmie Ellis had just finished his tea, and was
arguing with Enoch Robins, with for him unusual spirit,
on the question of whether it was he, or the said Enoch,
who first proposed seeking shelter in the haunted house.
That being the earliest point from which the wonderful
events that followed might be traced, it seemed to
Enoch, who claimed the honour, that he was the .dis-
tinguished cause of the whole adventure. Jimmie, on
the other hand, though he had behaved like a little hero
a few hours earlier, was still subject to human frailties,
and was taunting Enoch so severely with having been
also the first to run away when the groans were heard,
that the pair might possibly have come to words, or
even blows, but that the little gate creaked just in
the nick of time to admit the majestic Thompson, who
rapped most peremptorily at the door.
He had come .to fetch the boy whom Mademoiselle
Bremen and Miss Ashley had seen that morning. Sir
John wished to speak to him.
Great was the excitement and flurry which this
summons created. The magnificent footman was asked
if he would kindly sit down and wait a minute. Then
Jim was hustled to the water-tap; much.spluttering
and many sharp interjections were heard, and he re-
turned crimson with friction and glossy with much soap.





CAROL'S GIFT.


Then he was, much against his will, squeezed into a
clean pinafore of Enoch's, to hide the shabbiness of his
clothes, and with the loan of Mr Robins' best "billy-
cock" hat, he was pronounced ready for the visit.
Mr Thompson nearly had a fit of apoplexy from
suppressed laughter at the sight of him, but Jimmie,
fortunately, had no idea of the amazing figure he cut,
and marched by the footman's side with a sensation of
pride and self-consequence wholly new to his meek
breast.
A walk through a splendid avenue of trees led them
to the entrance of Kyteley Castle; then, through
spacious halls, the like of which he had never imagined,
and up broad staircases, richly carpeted, did our little
Softy tiptoe at Thompson's heels, feeling smaller and
shyer, and more completely overawed by the splendour
around him,-more afraid of putting his clumsy boots
to the floor at every step.
At last he was ushered into the presence of the aged
baronet himself, and the protective guidance of, the
footman being withdrawn, he felt like a small but
dreadfully. conspicuous island of awkwardness in the
midst of an ocean of appalling grandeur.
"Come here, my boy; come nearer!" said a kindly
voice, and not daring to raise his eyes, Jim stumbled in
the direction from whence it proceeded.
"I understand it was you who first discovered our
poor little friend in that empty house ?"
Yes, sir."
And you recognized in him a former acquaintance ?
You knew him again ?"
"Yes, sir."
You knew him in London, I believe. Do you know
his parents ?




AT CASTLE KYTELEY.


Jimmie was silent at this, not sure whether to say
" yes or no to the inquiry.
Who is his father ?" asked the baronet, thinking to
get at the information he wanted in another way.
Still silence.
Where did you see him in London ?"
At the church," replied Jim, promptly. "And his
father said the sermon."
Ah!" exclaimed Sir John. "And what church was
it ? Do you know the name of it?"
Jim shook his head.
"Where was it situated ? Can you tell me that ?"
"It was in London," said Jimmie; adding, as a brilliant
effort at description, "and they had a lot of flowers
there!"
"Ah!" said the baronet again. "And you saw Carol
Dayne pretty often at this church, I suppose ?"
"No, only once," replied Jim, "when he gave me
the flowers to hold, and told me his name."
"H'm! How long ago is that?"
"Oh, a long time," said Jim. "In the summer."
"Last summer, I suppose. And since then, I believe
my grand-daughter said, the family has removed?"
"They've gone away," said Jim, "and it says House
to Let.'"
And this, with a few unimportant variations, being all
that Sir John could extract from his visitor, he placed
half-a-crown in his hand, and rang for Thompson to
fetch him away.
So, after being regaled in the lower regions with a
glass of new milk and a huge slice of seed cake, our
friend Jimmie was dismissed.
He had not long turned from the great gates at the
end of the avenue when he saw two figures approaching






CAROL'S GIFT.


from the opposite direction-a lady, very sad and tired-
looking, accompanied by a policeman.
But it was the former who chiefly attracted his
attention. He had surely seen her before. Her face
brought back to him a wave of recollections-of church,
of music, of flowers and fragrance-above all, of Carol
Dayne himself. For this was the lady sitting in a
middle pew at whom Carol had glanced so anxiously
when the minister was taken ill. Perhaps she was his
mother!
But how could Jim dare to speak to her with that
policeman standing by? Perhaps he-the "bobby "-
would think it was only his impidence and have him
locked up!
But perhaps she didn't know what had happened to her
little boy, and was even now looking for him. Surely
he ought to speak-he must! But, oh, that dreadful
"bobby !"
Then he remembered his terrible fear of the ghost-
until this moment actually forgotten in the many.
excitements of that eventful day-and his fear of the
thunderstorm, and how God had kept him safe from
both. Surely He who had not let the ghost catch him
would protect him from the policeman too!
Jimmie vaguely felt all this, though he could not
have spoken or even clearly thought it. But the result
was that he went up to Mrs Dayne as she was passing
him, and murmured, "Please, m'm, do you want Carol
Dayne ?"
Yes!" cried the mother, starting back in the greatest
amazement. "Do you know where he is?"
"They took him there," answered Jim, pointing to
the grey towers of Castle Kyteley, which peeped between
the trees.





AT CASTLE KYTELEY.


"Who did ? -Why did they ?" demanded the excited
lady, hardly able to believe her ears.
"He's hurted. I found him in a house," answered
Jim, proudly. "The lady took him in the carriage,-
and the little girl."
"This is a queer start, anyhow," observed the police-
man. "But we may as well make inquiries. I know
this boy-he came with a party of 'em from London a
week or so ago. Fresh-air Mission, you know, mum.
Come along with us, Tommy, we'll just go up to the
Castle and make sure. That's the way to test 'em,
mum!" he added. He'll back out afore we get there
if it ain't all square."
So Jimmie, keeping very close to Mrs Dayne's side,
retraced his steps along that lovely avenue, while the
policeman asked him questions until his poor little head
seemed in a whirl of confusion. But his answers, if
meagre, were simple and straightforward, and both his
companions appeared to believe what he said, and, as
he afterwards described it, "spoke very kind."
*
That same evening, as Lily Dayne sat by the window
watching in a fever of impatience for her mother's
return, a boy, in the interest-inspiring uniform of a
telegraph messenger, stepped up to the door.
"News! News !" cried Lily, and flew down the stairs
with her eager feet scarcely touching the ground. A
minute later she placed the thin yellow-brown envelope
in her father's hand.
He tore it open with shaking fingers, and this is
what he read:-
"Safe. At Kyteley Castle, now the seat of Sir John
Ashley, who remembers you. A miracle."
"Thank God-Thank God for His mercy !" mur-


89





CAROL'S GIFT.


mured Mr Ashley. Then he leaned back for a few
minutes with closed eyes, a wave of faintness following
this sudden revulsion from the strain of anxiety to
relief and peace. Lily gently damped his brow with
Eau de Cologne until he revived. Then she kissed
him, with her own eyes dim with happy tears.
They did not guess what Mrs Ashley had been care-
ful not to hint-that Carol was suffering from severe
injury to his head, and that, though alive, his condition
was alarming in the extreme.
















CHAPTER XI.

TRUST REWARDED.

W HEN Carol came to himself he was lying in a large
bed in a large, beautiful room. All the light that
came in was green and cool, like a forest depth, a refresh-
ing perfume was all about him, and the air from a fan
was lightly stirring the curls upon his brow. Best of all,
his own dear mother was at his side. She smiled a glad,
heavenly smile the moment his eyes opened upon her
face, so he smiled back, and closed them again in utter
content.
A few hours later he was able to tell bow that he had
gone into an old house for shelter while some men blasted
a rock near by, and that when the explosion came it
shook down a great lump of the ceiling upon his head,
and he remembered no more.
That old place ought to be pulled down," said Sir
John Ashley. "It has been ruinous for years, and a
constant terror to superstitious natives. Since the
blastings for the railway have been going on so near, it
has become highly unsafe. But," he added, patting
Carol's hand as it lay on the coverlet, if our dear boy
here gets well over his accident, I shall scarcely regret
that it has stood until now. It is a great joy to me' to




CAROL'S GIFT.


hear of one again in whom I have always felt the
deepest interest: the only pain is to know that his
health is in so sadly feeble a state."
"It will do him far more good than medicine to have
the visit from you which you promise," said Mrs Dayne.
" So often has he spoken of you with the most affectionate
regard as the friend whose earnest words first led him to
think of using his talents in the service of the best
Master."
"And he has never regretted the step he then
took ?"
"Never once!"
"Yet the cost has been great! Wealth, a career of
possible fame,-his own father's affection--!"
"Yes, but the reward has been far greater. My dear
husband has been blessed beyond many in seeing the
fruit of his labours: he has had much encouragement."
"Which means that my prayers for him have been
answered, and that he himself has been a means of
blessing. It does my heart good to hear it!" said the
baronet. Adding, "May God long continue to him a
career of such usefulness. Only let my little friend
here turn the corner on the road to health again, and I
hope I shall be able to make a suggestion which will
commend itself to the approval of all."
When, a few days later, Sir John Ashley went to see
his old friend-his young friend of former years-
Charlie Dayne, he was able to be the bearer of good
tidings of Carol's improving condition. And then, in
the presence of Lily, who listened with sparkling eyes,
he unfolded his plan.
It was this:-As soon as Carol should be strong
enough to travel, he, with his mother and father and
Lily, should accompany Sir John Ashley and a grandson





TRUST REWARDED.


of the latter-a brother of Isabel-whose health de-
manded change of climate, to some lovely spot in the
Riviera, the baronet bearing all expense.
Sir John felt that he could not use a portion of his
abundant wealth in a better way than by endeavour-
ing to supply this servant of Christ, his own son in the
faith, as he fondly called him, with such help as might
tend to comfort his heart and prolong his days,
especially as it was owing to his influence chiefly that
Mr Dayne had forsaken all to preach the Kingdom of
Heaven. But lest his munificent kindness should weigh
down the recipient with a sense of burdensome obliga-
tion, he delicately hinted that he hoped, when Mr
Dayne grew stronger, that he would be able to leave the.
invalid boy in the care of the clergyman and his wife,
and himself return to England.
"Claude must be educated privately," he said, "for
he will never be able to rough it at school: and I know
of no one to whom I could entrust him with such con-
fidence as yourself."
To talk of Mr Dayne undertaking work of any kind,
even the very lightest, seemed just then to be looking
very far ahead, but he understood the motive which
prompted the suggestion, and pressed the baronet's hand
in speechless gratitude.
Of course the first visitor whom Carol was allowed to
receive was Jimmie Ellis, on the day before the expira-
tion of the latter's holiday at Hazelthorpe.
Dumb with joy, but smiling all over his face and
blushing to the out-standing edges of his ears, he stood
beside the couch where Carol lay.
I'm glad to see you, old fellow!" said Carol, warmly
shaking Jimmie's passive brown paw. "You've been a
real friend to me."




CAROL'S GIFT.


Jimmie grinned on, but said nothing.
You're looking ever so much better than you did
when I saw you before. Is it the country air that has
done it ?"
Jim nodded.
How long have you been stopping here ?"
"Free weeks." Jim could never pronounce the th.
"How would you like to live here always-at Hazel-
thorpe, I mean ?" asked Carol.
"Alwis ?" repeated Jimmie, looking dazed.
Yes! And go to school and all. Sir John Ashley
told ime I might ask you if you'd like it-and he's seen
your aunt-because he thinks it would do you good.
And if you would, he's going to ask Mrs Rdbins to
take you for a permanency-that means always, you
know."
Jim's plain little face reddened and reddened, and
worked and worked; at last he blurted out:-" It's all
through that text of yours! I did trust in Him when
I was afraid. And it's all along o' that."
"So did I!" Carol answered, softly. "And see what
God has done for us. Father had lost sight of Sir John
for years, and now he's the best friend we ever had. It's
all wonderful!"

Jimmie's joy in his own good fortune was just a little
damped by hearing that Carol was going so far away.
"But I shall think of you very often, and write long
letters to you, and you must try hard to get on at
school, so that you can write letters to me," said the
latter, when bidding him "good-bye." "And please,
Jim," he added, "I want you to ,pray for father, that
God will make him better, every time you look at that
text. For that is the only thing in all the world that




' I


TRUST REWARDED. 95

I'm afraid about now. And I do want to trust about
that, too; and.I think it will help me to know you are
praying as well."
"All 'right," was Jim's sole reply; but his heart
within him grew brave and big with the thought: "I
can help him! I can be some good!" And so a friendly
hand, though young and small, was lifting this weak one
up upon his feet, to be a man and strong.
A few sentences from a letter which Carol sent to
Jimmie some months later-in the following April, in
fact-will show how their trust was rewarded and their
prayers answered:-
"I know you will be glad to hear that father is
getting on splendidly. He began to improve soon after
we came here, and has not had one relapse. He has
kept well all the winter, and now says he feels better
than he has done for years past in England. Sir John
is going to England next week, and you are sure to see
him at Hazelthorpe. Claude will stay with us. He is
a nice boy, though very delicate, poor fellow! and he
and I do lessons together with father. Lily goes to
school. I am so glad you are getting on so nicely.
Fancy you taking the horses to water, and riding on one
of them; you are getting brave! It is nice to think
that Mrs Robins is so good and kind. I don't wonder
you are 'as fond of her as if she was your mother.'
"Sir John is going to recommend several people he
knows in England to send their sons to father to be
educated. He has got the promise of two already.
They are coming after Easter. Isn't that fine for father ?
I hope they'll be jolly.
We found out the other day that grandfather's place
is not many miles from here; so as he is sure to come
over some time or other, I daresay we shall see him.





96 CAROL'S GIFT.

Jim, dear, will you help me pray -that some time may
come when he will know and understand how good
father is, and be reconciled to him ? God has been so
kind in hearing us in so many things, perhaps He may
in this, too. Who knows? There's another text that's
like a companion to bur one-and I'm going to paint
that, too, and you shall have it to hang beside the
other :-' I will trust and not be afraid.'"














THE END.


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