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LILIES OF THE VALLEY,
AND OTHER TALES.
PRINTED BY BAI.LANTYNE AND COMPANY
EDINBURGH AND LONDON
-- EEtl ,'
"They set busily to work, trying which could pick the largest
LILIES OF THE VALLEY.
LILIES OF THE VALLEY,
AND OTHER TALES.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
THE STORY OF A DROP OF WATER," AND
"PRAYERS FOR VILLAGE SCHOOLS."
JAMES NISBET AND CO., 21 BERNERS STREET
THE following stories have appeared from
time to time separately with very general
acceptance. They now appear in a collected
form, in compliance with a frequently express-
THE LILIES OF THE VALLEY, 9
JOHNNIE AND JESSIE, OR BLIND AND LAME, 31
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES, 57
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER, 79
ERNEST MORDAUNT, 105
A STORY ABOUT EAGLES, 129
BUSY BEE, 155
DAVID SCOTT, THE OLD SAILOR, 179
ONLY THREE MILES OFF, 205
THE TAME LIZARD, 229
LILIAN LESLIE, 255
THE COTTAGE ON THE COMMON. 281
LIES OF THE VALLEY.
ON the evening of a lovely May-day the sun
shone bright and mild, and sparkled trem-
blingly in the rain-drops, with which a sud-
den shower had covered all the trees and
flowers. Oh how sweet they were; and
all things seemed so happy the little flies
danced untiringly in the warm sunshine,
the bees murmured in the lime-trees, and
the birds sang their very hearts out. Not
a flower but had its fragrance, not a bird
but had its song. Each thing shewed forth
its happiness in its own peculiar way, and
contributed its note to the one glorious
hymn of joy and thanksgiving which rose
from the whole creation.
THE LILIES OF
Yet Julian's eyes were filled with tears,
and there was no joy in his heart; he sat
alone and sad among all these happy
things. Beside him were scattered many
lilies of the valley-not withered, for they
had not long been picked-but rudely torn
to pieces, and his eyes were fixed upon
them, half in sorrowful remorse, and half
in sullen pride. They were his mother's
favourite flowers, and he, with his little sis-
ter and her nurse, had set out, as soon as
the shower was over, to pick a nosegay of
them for her.
The path near which they grew most
abundantly led through a wood, by the side
of a lake, and he and the little fair-haired
Marion ran on together, hand in hand, till
they reached the appointed place. Then
they set busily to work, trying which could
pick the largest quantity, to prove to their
dear mamma how much they loved her.
When their hands were full, they laid the
flowers down in separate heaps by the side
of the nurse, and then returned to their
But Marion's heap grew rapidly larger
than Julian's, for though he seemed to be
the most active of the two, his attention
was often called off, and while he was
watching the fish that swam in the calm,
'clear water, or the little moor-fowl that
glided in and out amongst the reeds, she
steadily pursued her quiet occupation, so
that when the nurse called them to return
home, Julian found his nosegay was scarcely
half as large as his sister's. Then his anger
arose, and he spoke bitter and unkind
words, accusing her of having taken his
flowers to add them to her own, and finally
he snatched them rudely from her hand,
and walked- on in gloomy silence.
Marion did not speak, but the large tears
gathered in her gentle eyes, and she too
walked in silence home. The nurse then
led them to their mamma's room, and told
her all that had happened; and Mrs Went-
worth drew Marion to her side and spoke
kind words of comfort to the little child;
but when Julian sullenly held out the
flowers to her, she said, No, Julian, I
THE LILIES OF
cannot take those flowers; they would only
remind me of your sin, and Marion's sorrow,
and I should find no pleasure in them.
One single flower, that could only tell me
of peace and love, would have given me
more delight than all that nosegay. Take
it away, my boy."
Julian slowly left the room, carrying the
nosegay with him. He felt how wrong he
had been, but his proud heart could
scarcely bear to acknowledge his fault even
to himself; and as peace and pride can
never dwell together, his mind was ill at
rest, and he felt discontented and angry
with himself and all around him. Thus he
walked slowly up the lawn, and at last
seated himself under a beach-tree in the
lovely place I have already described, and
then his pride and his conscience struggled
hard against each other,-the first striving
to palliate his conduct by vain excuses, to
which the latter only opposed its still,
small voice, convincing of sin and blame;
but alas! he stifled that warning voice,
and pride prevailed. Once more his anger
rose, and, tearing the silvery bells asunder,
he scattered them on the ground, and
trampled on them in his rage. Then, as
though he would hide him from himself,
he rushed among the thick laurels, and
cowered down beneath their branches.
But in vain! The self he fled from pur-
sued him there; he felt the eye of God
was still upon him, and his conscience
raised its voice again amid the shadowy
silence. Louder and louder still it spoke,
striving to convince his reason how foolish
and wicked he had been, and his heart how
unlovingly he had acted; till, unable to
bear it any longer, he left his hiding-place,
and ran home. Yet pride conquered again,
and instead of going to seek reconcilia-
tion and forgiveness, he shut himself up
in his own room, and abandoned him-
self to his misery. For he was miser-
able! Oh, who is so miserable as those
who have none to go to in their grief, but
must bear alone the burden of their sin
and woe ?
Where should we flee to escape the just
THE LILIES OF
wrath of an offended God, but into the arms
of our merciful Father ?
And how could Julian go to Him,-the
proud Julian,-when He has said that He
resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto
the humble ?"
This, unable to find comfort either with-
in or without, either from above or below,
Julian spent the remainder of the evening,
his head pillowed on his hands, his breast
heaving with unruly sobs, and the bitter
tears streaming from his eyes.
He heard Marion's light footstep ascend
the stairs, and pass into the room next to
his own, when her hour of rest had come,
and he heard his mother's low voice bless
her with her accustomed blessing; and
then she approached his door and knocked,
and softly called his name. Julian's heart
trembled within him, but oh! pride con-
quered, and he answered not. Again she
called, "Julian, Julian," but still he was
silent. Then she said sorrowfully, God
forgive you, my poor boy!" and passed
Then Julian's pride gave way; his grief
burst forth anew, and he wept aloud. His
mother had not blessed him, and how could
he rest without that blessing which he had
never missed before ? He would have given
worlds at that minute to catch the sound
of her approaching footsteps or the sweet
tones of her voice again. But no, she was
gone, and did not return.
The boy arose, and paced up and down
the room in agony of spirit. His window
was open, and the moon shone softly through
it. He stopped for an instant to look out.
The waters reflected her light, and the pale
water-lilies slept peacefully in her beams.
There was no breath of air, and the only
sounds that broke the silence were the mur-
mur of the waterfall and the song of a
lonely nightingale, echoed at intervals by
another in the far distance. All was so
calm and still, so different to his feelings,
that it was a relief to him to gaze upon it.
But his thoughts soon returned into their
own troubled channel, and as the convic-
tion of his sin impressed itself more and
THE LILIES OF
more strongly on his mind, he lifted his
folded hands to heaven, and exclaimed,
" Oh, my God, my God! for Jesus' sake, for-
give me!" And he was forgiven!
Oh! God has not said in vain, as some
perhaps may deem, "Ask, and it shall be
given you." And those who have truly
prayed in Jesus' name, will well bear witness
that He is a God of faithfulness and truth,
-a "God that answereth prayer."
Yes, Julian was forgiven! A sweet
peace, the peace of God, diffused itself over
his mind, gentle tears of gladness flowed
down his cheeks, and he bent his head in
silent thankfulness and adoration.
After a while he was roused from the
thoughts in which he had lost himself by a
slight noise beside him, and Marion's little
arms were thrown softly round his neck.
Her eyes were red with weeping, for she
had grieved with him, and now was come
to comfort him.
"Oh! Julian, dearest Julian," she said,
"do not be unhappy any more."
Julian sat down beside his sister, and
wiping her tears away, he kissed her in
silence, for his heart was too full to speak.
At last in a low voice he asked,
Will you forgive me, Marion?" Marion
only kissed him in return, whispering his
forgiveness in a soft tone, which told him
it had been given long before it was asked;
and the angels looked down upon those fair
young things, and rejoiced in heaven over
the repentant child.
After a time they rose up, and went
again to the window to look out, and just
then the nightingale burst forth into a
song so "passing sweet," that it seemed as
though it had caught a strain from that an-
But Julian could not rest without his
mother's blessing and forgiveness, so when
the nightingale had hushed its song, he and
Marion went together to seek her in her
room. She bade them "Come in," with
her soft musical voice, and as she turned
her face towards them in the lamp's full
light, Julian saw that her cheeks were very
pale, and that large tears had traced their
THE LILIES OF
glittering course upon them. Oh how his
heart sunk within him; for well he knew
that he alone had caused his gentle mother's
sorrow. His loving, gentle mother! how
could he grieve her so ?
As these thoughts darted through his
mind, he hung back for an instant at the
door, overcome with sorrow and shame;
but she held out her arms to her repentant
child, and rushing into them, he was folded
to her breast, and sobbed out there his ear-
nest petition for her forgiveness and her
love. How joyously were they granted, as,
bending fondly over him, and pressing him
still closer to her heart, she called him her
dearest boy, her precious, precious child."
Then gently adverting to the circumstance
which had occasioned all their discomfort
and unhappiness, she bade him trace the
evil to its source, and observe that his angry
feelings and passionate words were not the
first cause, as also they were not the chief
sin of which he had been guilty.
"For, my boy, she said, "had you not
forgotten your God, and neglected to watch
over yourself ; had you not omitted to lift
your heart in prayer for God's spirit of love
to overcome the evil spirit of anger and
unkindness which had risen within you, it
never could have happened. Oh, my child!"
she earnestly continued, "the 'sins of omis-
sion,' the good that we ought to have done,
but have left undone, will weigh heavy on
our souls at the last day; heavier, perhaps,
than the evil that we have done. The worst
of all sins is the want of love to God; and
how many are there who are guilty of it!
There are few who hate God, but, oh, how
few who love Him It is the want of this
love that makes us forgetful of God, sloth-
ful in His service, and careless of pleasing
Him; for do we not think of those we love ?
-do we not delight in pleasing them ? It
is the want of this love, too, that is the root
of all other evil; for how could a heart full
of love towards God harbour a thought of
unkindness towards its fellow-creatures?
This is that love, 'without which,' St Paul
says, I am nothing.'"
Mrs Wentworth paused a moment, then
THE LILIES OF
taking up her Bible, she resumed :-" The
accusation which our Saviour will bring
against those that stand on the left hand of
God at the day of judgment will be of the
good which they have left undone, as well
as of the evil which they have done." And
she read, "' Then shall he say also unto
them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye
cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the
devil and his angels; for I was an hungered,
and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty,
and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger,
and ye took me not in: naked, and ye
clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye
visited me not. Then shall they also an-
swer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee
an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or
naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not
minister unto thee ? Then shall he answer
them, saying, Verily, I say unto you, Inas-
much as ye did it not to one of the least of
these, ye did it not unto me.' And why
did they not do these things ? Was it not
because they had no love for Him ? If they
had loved Him, would they not willingly
have done all for Him ? Oh, therefore, my
dear ones, pray for that love which is in
truth 'the fulfilling of the law.' With your
hearts raised to heaven by the love of God,
and with heaven brought down into your
hearts by love to man, you will live holy
and happy lives on earth, lives more nearly
allied to the blessedness of heaven, than
they could be by any other means. Pray
to be forgiven all your forgetfulness of your
God, all your coldness and ingratitude to
your loving Saviour ; and, oh, should Jesus
ask of you, Lovest thou me ?' may you be
able to answer, like Peter, 'Lord, thou
knowest all things; thou knowest that I
And laying a hand on each young head,
and fondly parting the soft, silken hair off
their foreheads, she blessed them once again
with a mother's fervent blessing.
Julian threw his arms round her neck,
and clung to that gentle holy being, whose
heart had already attained that heaven of
love to which she desired so earnestly to
guide her children, with a tenderness of
THE LILIES OF
affection and remorse, which made parting
from her, even for a few hours only, a pain
and grief to him; but she looked so pale
and tired, that, remembering it was but a
selfish love that would keep her longer frow
her rest, he bade her a final good night, and
followed Marion back to his own room, and
there, seating himself beside his sister, and
taking her hand in his, all his remorse burst
forth once more, and he sobbed bitterly.
He could not endure the thought of the
pain he had caused his gentle mother.
"Yes," he exclaimed aloud, "she has for-
given me : when does she not forgive me ?
-but how shall I ever forgive myself ? Oh,
Marion, never, never grieve her, that you
may never know the remorse I feel now.
If she were dead and could not hear me;
if she were buried deep beneath the ground,
and I could not see her, what should I do,
Marion ?-what should I do ? I sometimes
fear," he said, and the hot tears streamed
from his eyes, while he lowered his voice
almost to a whisper, as though he dreaded
to speak his thoughts too loud, "I some-
times fear-she looks so pale-that-that
we may not have her very long. If the
grief I have caused her should make her
die sooner, even one moment sooner!-Oh,
God !" he exclaimed, throwing himself down
on his knees, "let me then die too,-I could
not bear to live !" and his head sank on his
breast, his whole soul prostrated with an-
guish at the thought which had taken pos-
session of his imagination. "Oh, let her
live," he prayed earnestly after a while, "let
her live, that I may have time to shew her
how I love her." Again he paused, and
remained for a time with clasped hands in
fervent but speechless prayer. "Yes, I
know thou wilt," he said at last, I feel it.
I feel she still will live,-and I thank Thee,
my God,-oh, how I thank Thee !" And
the boy rose from his knees comforted.
He wiped the tears from his eyes, and
raised his sister, who had knelt in sorrow at
his side. "And now," he said, "baby dar-
ling," (for so the little Marion was still often
called,) "go to bed. You will scarcely be
able to open your eyes to-morrow morning,
THE LILIES OF
and all because I have kept you up so late.
Go to bed, dear, and to sleep, as soon as
possible." He stooped down and kissed her
tenderly. "Poor little thing!" he continued,
"why should you sit up sorrowing, because
I have done wrong ? Go, sweet Marion,"
he repeated, as she still lingered at his side,
"you see, I am much happier now, and you
look so tired; do not stay any longer,
Marion raised her gentle eyes to his, and
seeing that indeed he looked more cheerful,
she dried the tears that still trembled in
them, and, wishing him an affectionate
good night, glided noiselessly away.
When she was gone, Julian also left his
room, and crept silently to his mother's
door; for though the fears were dissipated
that had filled his mind, he felt that the
smallest sign of her existence, would be a
consolation to his heart, which still shrunk
with dread at their recollection. The lamp
was put out, and for some time all was still.
Julian listened with breathless attention,
and the darkness and silence had almost
begun to instil new fears into his breast,
when he heard his mother gently close her
window and move lightly about the room.
Then with a relieved and happy heart he
returned again to his own apartment, and
thanking God once more for the peace he
now enjoyed, he laid down to rest, and,
tired and exhausted with the various emo-
tions he had experienced during the day, he
soon fell into a deep sleep, from which he
only woke the next morning to find the
bright sun shining into his room, bidding
him rise without delay.
He willingly obeyed; and quickly dress-
ing, hastened out into the fresh morning
air, pausing in the porch for a few moments,
ere he pursued his walk, to gaze on the
scene before him. It was the same he had
surveyed the night before from his bed-
room window, but with what different feel-
ings, and under how different an aspect!
Nature had awakened from her slumber of
peace, and the young leaves and rippling
waters now danced and bounded in the
Dreeze, as joyously as did Julian's heart
THE LILIES OF
within his breast. The nightingale's tones
were now almost overpowered by the many
songsters that were pouring forth their
abundant music on all sides. The various
water-fowl might be heard uttering their
wild cries of joy from among the reeds and
water-lilies, while the shady woods seemed
a living orchestra; and far above, lost in
the brightness of the morning sun, the
skylark and the woodlark took their parts
also in the matin-chorus of grateful hap-
piness. The cows and sheep were passing
quietly by, grazing as they went, and leav-
ing the traces of their footsteps on the dewy
grass behind them.
Julian could have lingered long, but he
had an object in view, which he now has-
tened to accomplish. He took the same
path which yesterday had been the scene
of his anger and unkindness towards his
little sister, and his heart sank as he passed
along, in sorrow at the remembrance. He
inwardly resolved that never again should
he have to reproach himself as now he did;
but knowing that resolves made in his own
strength were as passing and unstable as
the flowers of the field, or the fleecy clouds
of heaven, he forgot not to pray that God
would make them firm and strong, and keep
him, with His Almighty power, from falling
into such sin again.
Such were the thoughts that occupied his
mind till he arrived at the place where the
lilies of the valley grew; there he busied
himself in good earnest to pick a large nose-
gay of them: he did not stop to look about
as yesterday he had done, and the fishes
and young moor-fowl swam unheeded by.
Thus, it was not long before he had picked
as many as he could hold in both his hands,
and so laden he returned home again; and
hastening up into his own room, he bound
them together into a lovely wreath.
Scarcely had he finished, when little
Marion came running in, fresh and bright
as that bright, fresh morning itself. Julian
held up the wreath to her. "There, dar-
ling," he said, "that is for you to give
mamma, instead of the nosegay I destroyed
30 THE LILIES OF THE VALLEY.
The little Marion was speechless with de-
light; she held out one hand for the wreath,
and suffered Julian to take the other and
lead her to her mother's room without speak-
ing a word. When there, she ran up to her
and laid the wreath on her lap, exclaiming,
"Look, how beautiful, dear mamma,-Julian
gave it me for you."
The lilies were placed in water, and all
care was taken to preserve them; but
before many days, they had withered and
passed away. Yet not so the lesson which
they had been the means of impressing on
Julian's heart; and as he grew older, he
grew also (God helping him) in love and
humility-those lovely graces, of which the
Lily of the Valley is so true an emblem.
JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
BLIND AND LAME.
JOHNNY AND JESSIE.
A LADY was walking one day through the
broad and pleasant street of the village of
Ellesby, and her eldest child, a merry, sunny-
faced boy of ten years old, was with her,
occasionally lingering behind to examine
some object which caught his attention by
the way, and again running forwards to re-
gain his place by her side.
The sun had been shining brightly, but
a few clouds were now scudding overhead,
and some falling drops of rain began to
threaten a shower. They, therefore, turned
their steps towards a neat cottage which
stood somewhat apart from the rest of the
village. A pretty garden, with a row of
bright flowers bordering each side of the
tidy path which led to the door, gave it an
34 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
air of comfort and cheerfulness, and a bush
of the crimson china-rose, then blooming
luxuriantly, nearly covered the porch and
front of the house, and even spread itself
partly over the roof, its brilliant blossoms
contrasting well with their background of
gray slate tiles. On one side was a small
orchard meadow, in which stood a few apple
and pear trees, and half a dozen sheep were
grazing beneath them.
Mrs Gordon knocked at the open door,
to give notice of her approach, and at
the sound an old woman rose from her
chair, and laying down her book and spec-
tacles, advanced to meet her. A young
woman, who had been knitting by the win-
dow, rose also, but stood timidly in her place,
and kept her eyes fixed upon her work,
which she still continued, and Mrs Gordon
observed that a tear now and then dropped
from her eyes upon it.
When the shower-which passed lightly
by-was over, Alick Gordon ran out to see
the sheep. One of them, mother and grand-
mother to the rest, had been a pet lamb of
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
his own four years before, and it still retained
its tameness, and seemed to recognize him
whenever he came to the cottage. It had
been a source of profit to Jessie Ellis, to
whom he had given it, having had twin
lambs every year, and they too had had
them in their turn, so that the little flock
had increased rapidly, and Jessie had sold
every year one lamb of each mother, besides
all the wool, which had brought in a nice
little sum to help towards her parents'
Alick had begged a turnip to give Fan
as a treat, and when he called her she came
running gaily up to him, bleating in answer
to her name. He amused himself for some
time, patting her, and watching her eat the
turnip, which the other sheep, who were
not quite so fearless as their ancestress, only
eyed enviously at a little distance. Alick
tried by every means he could think of to
induce them to come up also, but they only
retreated the further the nearer he ap-
proached them, leaving Fan in undisputed
enjoyment of her dainty meal
36 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
At last, tired with his useless efforts, and
with a last affectionate pat on Fan's head,
the little boy left them, and ran back to his
mother, expecting that her conversation
with the old woman and her daughter would
by this time be nearly over.
But they were still talking, and he was
struck by Mrs Ellis's reply to his mother's
Ay, ay," she said, as he entered the cot-
tage door, Jessie's not blind, but she walks
lame, very lame."
Alick looked at Jessie in surprise, and
seeing that the tears were now flowing freely
down her cheeks, while her head was still
bent low over her work, he feared some mis-
fortune must have happened to her.
Jessie had lived several years as nursery-
maid in Mrs Gordon's family, and had only
left her service when her mother's increas-
ing age rendered her help necessary at home.
Alick, whom she had nursed when quite a
little baby, retained all his old fondness for
her. One of his greatest pleasures was pay-
ing a visit at the cottage, and it was his af-
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
section for her which had induced him to
give her his pet lamb. He was, therefore,
much grieved to see her in sorrow, and on
hearing her mother's words, and her own
sobs, he ran up to her, and throwing his
arms round her neck, kissed her, and whis-
"Don't cry, dear Jessie, please don't."
This only increased her trouble, and she
burst fairly out into a fit of uncontrollable
weeping, and Mrs Gordon, seeing that pro-
bably she would be more at ease if left alone
with her mother, called the boy away, and
going up to Jessie, shook hands with her,
"Remember, Jessie, there is One who
can cure both the blind and lame. Ask
Him to make your way plain before you,'
and to 'keep your feet from falling;' and
never lose sight of all those, His glorious
promises to those that 'overcome.' Read
the second and third chapters of Revelation,
and pray over them. And may God give
you grace to walk in His ways in future
38 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
Poor Jessie could not answer for crying,
but going into the garden, she picked a beau-
tiful bunch of those crimson roses, which
she gave in silence to Mrs Gordon, reserv-
ing two or three lovely buds for her dear
little master Alick, who kissing her once
more, and wishing her good-by," ran
quickly after his mother, and they pursued
their way on through the village.
Alick was eager in his inquiries about
poor Jessie's lameness, and his mother could
scarcely restrain a smile, at his literal inter-
pretation of old Mrs Ellis's words.
"Jessie's not blind, but she walks very
She endeavoured to explain to him that
it was not a physical, but a spiritual lame-
ness, which she meant.
"Mrs Ellis," she said, "has brought up
Jessie in the knowledge and love of God.
Ever since she was a little child, she has
been taught from the Bible 'the way in
which she should go';-that is, her mother
has told her what things she should do to
please God, and what she should not do, that
OR, BLIND AND LAME. 39
she might not displease Him; and since she
has grown up to be a woman, she has read
this all in the Bible for herself. So Jessie
is not blind. The Bible calls those blind,
who do not know what is right and wrong;
-they cannot see the road which God has
marked for them to walk in;-but Jessie
can see it; God's own Holy Spirit has
blessed her mother's teaching, and has
opened her eyes to see it plain, so that
Jessie is not blind."
"But then, mamma," asked the little
boy, "how is she lame?"
Are there not many stones lying about
in this road, Alick?" asked his mother.
Yes, mamma," he answered, surprised at
"And just now you stumbled over one
of them. How was that? for you can see
"I was not attending," said Alick; "I
was looking at you, and listening to what
Well," replied his mother, "it is just so
with Jessie,-temptations and sins are the
40 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
stones which lie in our spiritual road; those
Christians who walk carefully, depending
upon God's wisdom and grace to lead and
uphold them, will avoid them, but those who
-like poor Jessie, in this instance-walk
carelessly, and have not their minds always
set upon pleasing God, will stumble at every
temptation, and walk, as old Mrs Ellis said,
' very lame,' just as my little Alick stumbled
over the stone just now for want of attend-
ing to the road."
"What has Jessie done, mamma?" asked
She suffered herself to be drawn into a
quarrel with one of her neighbours; she was
quite right in the side she took, but instead
of being gentle and calm, she gave way to
her naturally hot temper, and spoke words
very unbecoming to one who professes to be
a child of God. The consequence is, that
she has brought great reproach upon her
profession, and the woman with whom she
quarrelled has been talking of her to all
the rest of the villagers, and saying, that
"her pretension to piety must be all a
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
sham," and that "her praying and reading
the Bible could not be of much use to her,
if it did not teach her to behave in a better
"Poor Jessie!" sighed Alick.
"Yes, poor Jessie!" returned Mrs Gor-
don, "but thus you will always find it, my
boy; the failings and stumbles of the Chris-
tian will always be more heavily reproached
to him by the world because of his profes-
sion, than many a more flagrant sin to those
who make no profession of religion at all;
-and not only that, but they bring a re-
proach too on the service of the Master
whom he wishes to obey; and it is this
which now makes Jessie so unhappy. She
grieves over her sin, because it has brought
shame on her religion-because she has
thereby disgraced the service of the Master
she loves--because, by that means, per-
haps, she may have frightened away some,
who, if her walk had been steady and con-
sistent, might have been won over to serve
that Master too. It is this that makes
poor Jessie unhappy, far more than the
42 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
hard words which are spoken of her per-
"But cannot she tell that woman how
sorry she is?" asked Alick.
"She has done so, but Mrs Ritchie re-
ceived her in a very ill temper, and told
her 'that was all very well, but being sorry
could not undo what was done, or unsay
what was said;' so poor Jessie only returned
more unhappy than ever. She asked my
advice as to what she could now do, and I
told her I thought she should go again to
her neighbour, and beg her forgiveness once
more for the hasty words she had spoken,
saying how very unhappy they had made
her, and telling her not to lay her faults to
the charge of her having too much religion,
but rather to her not having enough. This
Jessie has promised to do, and I do hope
she may be better and more kindly re-
By this time Alick and his mother had
arrived at the door of the village school,
and as Mrs Gordon wished to speak to the
mistress, they went in.
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
The children and their teacher all rose
respectfully at their entrance, and after Mrs
Gordon had spoken to the mistress, she
went round to look at the little girls' work,
and to see what improvement they had
Meanwhile Alick, who did not take much
interest in the work, was watching two very
little boys who were playing in a corner of
the room. They were too small to be kept
at their lessons all the school-hours, and
were therefore allowed to amuse themselves
now and then, so long as they made no
noise to disturb the other children.
They had three or four marbles with
which they were playing, when some dis-
pute suddenly arose between them, and one
struck the other a blow in the face, upon
which the latter began to cry loudly.
Mrs Gordon was turning to see what was
the matter, when she felt her gown pulled,
Sand Alick whispered,
"Is that little boy lame too, mamma ?"
Mrs Gordon smiled and whispered to him
that she would talk to him about it after-
44 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
wards, and then going up to the children,
"Oh, Johnny, why did you hit James;
don't you know it is very naughty ?"
"No," said Johnny, his little face all
flushed with anger, "it's not naughty, 'cause
he took my marble."
"Then it was naughty of James to take
your marble, but it was also very naughty
of you to strike him; you should have said,
'Please, James, give me back my marble.'"
Then I would," said James.
Mrs Gordon, then sitting down, and draw-
ing the children to her, asked-
"Now, Johnny, do you know who made
Johnny hung his head and answered,
"And what is God?"
"Do you know, James ?"
"He's not a man,-He lives," answered
James, looking through the open window
into the blue heavens, as though searching
for Him there, "He lives up in the sky."
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
"Yes," said MVrs Gordon; God lives up
in the sky, but God sees everywhere, and
everybody that lives upon the earth-men
and women, and little children too-and
He loves and takes care of those that are
good and kind to each other, but He will
punish those that are naughty, and quarrel,
and fight. And Jesus, the Holy Son of God,
loves little children also; and when He
lived on earth, He used to take them up in
His arms, and bless them-
Now, Lord of all, He reigns above,
And, from His heavenly throne,
He sees what children dwell in love,
And marks them for His own.'
Try and remember this, both of you little
boys," said Mrs Gordon, patting their rosy
cheeks, "and try to be kind, and gentle,
and loving to each other, that Jesus may
love you, and bless you always. And now,
before I go, let me see you kiss and make
The little fellows immediately put each
his arms round the other's neck, and kissed
46 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
each other as Mrs Gordon told them. She
smiled and said-
"That's right, and now run off again,
and play like good little boys, and be sure
you don't quarrel again."
The children went off hand in hand, and
returned to their game with hearts all the
happier for the gentle and loving feelings
which Mrs Gordon's words had instilled
Alick and his mother then took their
leave of the teacher and the children, and
continued their walk; but they had scarcely
crossed the threshold of the door, when
Alick again repeated his question-
Was that little boy also lame, mamma ?"
"I think," answered Mrs Gordon, "that
I should rather say he was blind, for he
did not know that it was naughty to strike
his companion, if he, in the first place, had
provoked him to do so. Perhaps he thought
it was only inflicting on him a deserved
punishment. You remember when I ques-
tioned him, he could not even tell me what
God is, how much less had he any idea of
OR, BLIND AND LAME. 47
His holy laws, or of the duty of obeying
"But he is such a little boy," objected
"Yes, that is just it, my child," answered
his mother; "we are all born blind,-not
seeing the difference between good and
evil; and ignorant,-not knowing the way
in which we should go. And our hearts
are by nature more prone to evil than good,
and thus you will often see that very little
children can be very naughty; they are
blind as yet, like Johnny, and do not know
right from wrong. The remedy for this
spiritual blindness, as well as for every
other disease of our souls, is to be found in
the Bible, and God has appointed fathers
and mothers to teach this to their children.
Little Johnny is too young yet to be able
to understand much; but I hope, as he
grows older, that his parents and teachers
will, with God's help, (without which all
earthly teaching is vain,) instil into him
the knowledge of the "strait road which
leads to everlasting life," and tell him of all
48 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
those stones in the path, and of those slip-
pery places-the trials and temptations
which he will meet with in life-in order
that he may avoid them, so that when he
is no longer blind, he may also not walk
"Are the poor heathen blind, mamma, as
well as little children?" asked Alick.
"Yes, my boy," replied Mrs Gordon,
"they, too, are blind, they, too, know nothing
of God's holy laws; but our missionaries
are preaching the gospel among them in
every land, and we may hope that God's
promise is now being fulfilled-' The people
that dwell in darkness shall see great light.'
But there are many poor heathen in Eng-
land, too, who have never heard of Jesus,
-many poor children whose parents are as
blind and ignorant as themselves, and who
can teach them nothing but evil-lying,
begging, and stealing. Our great towns,
London especially, are full of these wretched
little beings; but now, thank God, great
things are doing for them also; good men
go among them to teach them about God,
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
and charitable people have set up schools,
where all the most ragged, miserable, and
wicked children are taken in and taught,
and God, who has promised that the 'seed
shall prosper,' and that 'His word shall not
return unto Him void,' will assuredly bless
all these efforts in time; and it is one of
my greatest hopes, that my dear boy, when
he is older, will earnestly endeavour to
help in such good works, carrying God's
light into those dark places."
The next Thursday, a week after the
conversations we have recorded, Alick and
his mother were again taking a walk to-
gether. Every Thursday was a holiday
with Alick, and he generally begged, if the
weather was fine, to be allowed to go out
with his mother, which was the greatest
treat that could be given him. On these
occasions, Mrs Gordon usually took him
into the village with her, paid a visit to the
school, and called at any of the cottages
where she might have a message to leave,
or some little present to give. She liked
to teach her son to know the poor around
50 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
him, and to grow up on kindly terms with
them and their children. She felt that this
mutual tie of affection would be of great
value to him in after life, and would also
very much increase his influence with them,
and she daily prayed fervently that her
children might be taught to use the in-
fluence they possessed, however small or
great it might be, to the good of their fel-
low-creatures, and to the glory of God,
whose gift it was.
On this day,-a week, as we have said,
after their last walk to Ellesby,-they once
more turned their steps towards Jessie's
cottage. The sun shone as bright as on
the previous occasion, and Alick, whose
heart was brimming with delight, sang and
jumped, and ran at his mother's side (or
rather not at her side, for he would often
make wide diversions), till tears almost rose
to her eyes, tears of joy and thankfulness to
God, who gave him that innocent gladness.
As they approached the cottage, and
opened the garden gate, Fan, recognizing
Alick's voice, ran bleating up to the paling
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
to greet him; and the rose-bush, blooming
more abundantly than ever, and glowing in
the summer sunshine, seemed to cover the
house with a crimson mantle.
The door stood ajar, and the sound of a
pleasant voice reading came from within.
Mrs Gordon felt sorry to disturb them, and
on any other occasion would have retired
if possible without being observed; but this
day she was anxious to hear from Jessie
how she had been received by her neigh-
bour when she went to her the second time.
She therefore knocked lightly at the door,
and went in.
This time it was the old woman who was
knitting by the window with her spectacles
on, and Jessie was sitting at the table, on
which lay a copy of that excellent book,
"Doddridge's Rise and Progress of Re-
ligion in the Soul," from which she had
been reading aloud ;--and, what was Mrs
Gordon's surprise when she saw the very
person about whom she had come to in-
quire, -the neighbour with whom Jessie
had quarrelled, --sitting quietly by the
52 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
table working, her baby lying asleep on
They all rose at Mrs Gordon's entrance,
and Jessie, seeing her look of surprise, has-
tened to her, saying-
"Oh, ma'am, I am sure you will be glad
to know that Mrs Ritchie has forgiven
"Yes, ma'am, I don't know who could
have helped it," said Mrs Ritchie, curtsey-
ing, "when she came in such sorrow, and
seemed so hurt, when after all I was in the
wrong, and said many a worse word, and
called her many a worse name than she
called me. It's I that am ashamed of my-
self, and should beg your pardon, Jessie."
Then turning again to Mrs Gordon, she
added, "And she has indeed shewn us all,
ma'am, that there is something in her re-
ligion, for all I said against it,-for without
that, I am sure she never would have come
twice to beg pardon of a sour, ill-spoken
body like me, especially when, as I just said,
it is I that should beg hers."
Jessie'sface beamedwith happinessat this
OR, BLIND AND LAME. 53
admission, and her mother and Mrs Gordon
were not less pleased.
"It was the thought of the shame she
had brought on her religion," said the
latter, "which made Jessie the most un-
happy, Mrs Ritchie; and if she can now
convince you that her religion was not in
fault, but herself only, for not bearing
enough in mind the commands of the Holy
Master whom she wishes to serve, I think
it will be the happiest day of her life."
"It will indeed," said Jessie.
"Ay," replied Mrs Ritchie, "we have
had many a talk since, she and her mother
and I; and they think so much about religion,
and say so much of the peace and happiness
that God gives to such as love Him, that
I told them I should like to know more
about it, and Jessie has promised that if I
will come every day when my work is done
at home, and the children are gone to
school, she will read me a chapter in her
Bible, and something out of that other
book, and so I hope I shall come to under-
stand it better by and by."
54 JOHNNY AND JESSIE;
"Ask God to teach you, Mrs Ritchie,"
said Mrs Gordon, ask Him for His Holy
Spirit to bless the words that Jessie reads
for Jesus' sake, and He will answer your
prayer; 'He will in no wise cast out any
that come unto Him ;'" then taking up the
Bible, and opening it, she read from the
third chapter of Malachi, "Then they that
feared the Lord spake often one to another:
and the Lord hearkened, and heard it; and
a book of remembrance was written before
Him for them that feared the Lord, and that
thought upon His name. And they shall
be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that
day when I make up my jewels; and I will
spare them, as a man spareth his own son
that serveth him. Then shall ye return,
and discern between the righteous and the
wicked, between him that serveth God and
him that serveth him not."
After shaking hands cordially with them
all round, Mrs Gordon and Alick took leave,
and went on to the school as they had done
Mrs Gordon's heart was full; and they
OR, BLIND AND LAME.
walked on in silence, for seeing that his
mother's mind was preoccupied, Alick did
not like to disturb her thoughts.
At last she spoke.
See how gracious God is, my child," she
said, "to bring so much good out of evil. I
do trust that poor woman may also be led
to walk in God's ways, and that the remem-
brance of Jessie's stumble will only serve to
remind her to look well to her own paths,
and see that she does not fall likewise. I
think it will be a lesson that Jessie, too, will
not forget all her life, and the blessing that
God has granted to the humble confession
of her sin, and the renewal of her steady
walk in the road that He has pointed out,
will be but an additional reason to induce
her to serve Him more zealously, more lov-
ingly, and more gratefully, for ever."
They found, on calling at the school, that
Johnny and James had both been very
good boys since their last visit; they had
not quarrelled, and had learnt the little
verse which Mrs Gordon had repeated to
them, and they promised to pay attention
56 JOHNNY AND JESSIE.
to the lessons of their teacher, so as to know
and to do what would please God.
Alick returned home even more pleased
with this Thursday's excursion than he had
been with the last, and never forgot to use,
in his daily prayers,, two texts which his
mother taught him as they walked on to-
"Open thou mine eyes, that I may be-
hold wondrous things out of thy law." (PS
cxix. 18.) And "hold upmy goings in thy
paths, that my footsteps slip not." (Ps
THE sun was shining brightly, and the lark
had scarcely begun its matin carol, when
little Annie jumped out of bed; for she
remembered her mother's promise to take a
walk with her before breakfast. She was
quickly dressed, and, taking a basket in her
hand, ran down stairs, where she found her
already waiting for her.
They went out and walked towards a
wood, situated about a quarter of a mile
from the house. It was a favourite walk of
Annie's; for there the first primroses always
bloomed, and there, on a mossy bank, under
the shelter of their large leaves, a pair of
robins annually made their nest. Annie
60 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
loved to watch them building it of moss
and wool, and lining it neatly with horse-
hair and feathers, and it was to her one of
the happiest days in all the year when she
first discovered a pretty spotted egg laid in
it. Then she never failed to come every
morning, and every morning she found an-
other little egg added to the number, till at
last there were five lying together at the
bottom of the soft nest. After that the
little girl seldom went near it; for she knew
that the mother would want to sit, and she
was afraid of disturbing her; but, now and
then she would creep softly among the
bushes opposite, where she could just catch
a glimpse of her sparkling eye as she sat
there patiently, while her mate, perched on
the overhanging twig of a honeysuckle,
warbled his cheeriest song : and Annie
thought no bird had ever so bright a breast,
or a prettier nest, than her own dear robin.
Another happy day was that on which
she first heard the young ones chirping, and
saw their parents flying backwards and for-
wards to procure food for them. There was
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
no more singing then; they were far too
busy, with five little mouths to feed, to
think of that; and Annie often spread some
crumbs about, that they might not have so
far to go to fetch their daily meals. But
at last the young ones grew up; they all
flew away, and she could distinguish them
no longer from the other robins in the
It was not, however, for the primroses or
for the robins that Annie led her mamma
that way on the morning I am speaking
of; for it was July, and those flowers and
,young birds had long been gone. The
little girl had found a bed of wild straw-
berries there, on which were many flowers,
and many just turned to fruit, and a few
nearly ripe. She had watched these last
for several days, and she thought they
would now be sweet enough to eat. When
they had nearly reached the middle of the
wood, Annie begged her mamma to sit down
for a few minutes on the green bank, and
then bounded merrily on.
But scarcely had a moment elapsed, be-
62 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
fore she came rushing back, and, throwing
herself into her mother's arms, hid her face
in her bosom.
"Oh my child, my little Annie, what
has happened?" said the lady in alarm.
She could not answer, but sob after sob
heaved her breast. Her mother knew that
it was probably some disappointment which,
though small in itself, seemed great to her
childish heart; yet when Annie at last
looked up, with tearful eye and quivering
lip, she pressed her to her bosom again,
and, resting her cheek on the child's fair
head, could not restrain her own tears.
"What has grieved my darling?" she
Oh mamma," replied the little girl,
"they are all gone, my strawberries are all
gone. Come and see ;" and, springing from
her mother's lap, she seized her hand and
eagerly drew her on.
"Gently, Annie, gently," said the lady;
"run on and shew me the way, and I will
Annie had almost forgotten her sorrow
"The tear-drop swelled in her blne eye, and the quiver
returned to her lip."-P. 63.
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
as she darted on before her mother in pur-
suit of a golden butterfly which fluttered
down the path; yet, when she again sur-
veyed her despoiled strawberry-bed, the
teardrop swelled in her blue eye, and the
quiver returned to her lip.
"I watched them for you, dear mamma,"
she said, "but now they are all gone."
"The little birds have picked them first,
Annie," answered the lady, "perhaps your
own favourite robins; we will not grudge
them the strawberries. But fill your bas-
'ket with some of the plants; you shall put
t: in a shady part of the garden, and
ti.l, shall be watered every day, and
covered with a net, so that no bird shall
reach them. You may then watch them
and gather me the first that are ripe."
Annie was delighted at this proposal;
she quickly filled her basket with the finest
plants; and, more wild than a fawn in her
glee, could scarcely keep by her mother as
they walked homewards, but flew first to
one side, and then to the other, sometimes
to pick a beautiful flower, and sometimes
64 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
to chase the shining blue dragon-flies, which
glanced like tiny flashes of lightning in their
restless flight through the fragrant grass.
The strawberries were planted and wa-
tered, and often that day did Annie wonder
how soon they would be ripe. It was in
vain that the lady made her observe the
small flowers, and said it would not be for
a long time; Annie still hoped it would
be very soon, perhaps a fortnight, or even
Before Annie went to bed that evening
the lady took her on her lap, and sat down
by the open window, that they might 1. :r
the song of the birds, and breathe the s 7eet
"Were you very much disappointed, my
child, when you found your strawberries
gone this morning ?" she asked.
"Yes, very much;" answered the little
girl, surprised at the question.
"But you will be much more so, if, after
all the care you are taking of those in your
little bed, you find them gone also; shall
you not, Annie ?"
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
"Oh! yes, mamma. Do you think the
birds will eat them ?"
"No, my darling; they cannot now. The
net is sufficient protection against that.
But listen to me, dear. I, too, have a little
"Have you, mamma? where is it ?"
"Hush, dearest, and I will tell you.
My garden is Annie's heart. It is God's
garden also, and I am the gardener who
takes care of it. I sow good seed in it,
from God's holy Word, and I water it, and
watch for the sweet fruit, that I may be re-
pa'i for my labour. God also watches, for
He loves His" little garden, and defends it
from those enemies that would destroy it;
and His Son, our blessed Saviour Jesus
Christ, even died to save it from them.
You know this, Annie, and think how much
it must grieve Him, when, instead of finding
the pleasant fruit He looks for-love, joy,
peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness,
meekness-He sees that naughty thoughts
and tempers, 'like birds of evil wing,' have
come and spoilt them all You grieved
66 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
God this morning, my child; and I also
was grieved to see how impatiently you
bore your little disappointment."
"Oh dear, dear mamma," exclaimed the
child, throwing her soft arms round the
lady's neck, and kissing her, "I will never
grieve you again; indeed I will not."
"Don't say so, my precious one, for you
know that you have no strength in yourself
to do anything that is good; but with God
all things are possible, and He has said,
'Ask, and it shall be given you.' Pray
then to Him, dear child, and He will help
you in your time of need. As your day ,r
shall your strength be."
Yes, mamma, let me pray directly," said
Annie; and she knelt down at her mother's
Tears of joy and unspeakable love rolled
down the lady's cheek, and, kneeling by
her child, she prayed fervently that she
might be gathered into the fold of the Good
Shepherd; that that faith might be given
her which overcometh the world; that the
Holy Spirit might descend into her heart,
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES. 67
and fill her with strength to resist every
temptation, so that she might grieve her
heavenly Father no more; that the remem-
brance of His watchful presence, His ever-
lasting love, His long-suffering and great
mercy, might arrest her, if she was ever in-
duced to stray from the right path, and
bring her back to it again-that the good
seed which was daily sown in her heart
might grow up, and bring forth much fruit
-that the peace of Jesus, which passeth
all understanding, might ever reign in her
breast, and that when removed from this
world she might be found accepted in the
Bcloved, and ever dwell with Him, who
had ransomed her from eternal death by
the shedding of His own most precious
When they rose from their knees, Annie
nestled within her mother's arms, and after
a few moments silence she said-
"Mamma, I have been thinking; am I
one of Jesus' lambs? I want to be one,
oh! so much. Do you think I am?"
"I trust you are, my precious child,"
68 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
answered the lady, kissing her fondly; "for
you love Him, don't you, Annie ?"
"Oh yes; replied the child, earnestly.
"How can I help it, when He has done so
much for me. When I think of His love
in dying on the cross to save me, and in
putting me into this beautiful world, and
in giving me you, my own sweet mamma, to
love me, and to be so kind to me; when I
think of all these things, I love Him so very
much that I should like to die that I
might go to Him ; only, I could not bear to
leave you behind."
"I trust we shall both be with Him in
heaven before many years have past," said
her mother. "There, we shall be able to
love Him, who first loved us, far better
than we can now; for our hearts are not
large enough to hold all the love we owe
Him. There we shall never grieve Him,
for sin cannot enter there; and we shall
never be sad ourselves, for He will wipe
all tears from our eyes. 'Eye hath not seen,
nor ear heard, neither have entered into
the heart of man, the things which God
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
hath prepared for them that love Him.'
You are one of those, Annie. By God's
great mercy, your sins have been forgiven
for our blessed Saviour's sake, and your
young heart filled with His love ; therefore
to you, though you are such a little child,
all His great and precious promises belong.
The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus car-
ries the lambs in His bosom, which shews
the great care He takes of them, and how
very much He loves them. My darling
will then surely strive to overcome that im-
patience of temper which grieves Him so
much, and is so bitter a return for all His
"I will, indeed I will," exclaimed Annie.
"But, dearest mamma, do you really think
I am one of Jesus' lambs ? I am so happy,
so very happy."
She laid her head upon her mother's
shoulder, and passing one arm round her
neck, wept in the fulness of joy." It was
now past Annie's bed-time and she was
weary; therefore it was not long before her
mother discovered, by the falling of her
70 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
little hand, and her quiet and regular
breathing, that she had fallen asleep. She
pressed her to her heart, and, kissing her
blooming cheek, carried her up to her own
Annie often found it very difficult to re-
strain that impatience, over which, never-
theless, she sorrowed.
"The heart that is soonest alive to the flowers,
Is ever the first to be touched by the thorns."
And thus it was that her joyous heart,
which was so keenly awake to the pleasures
and loveliness of this beautiful earth, felt
also most keenly the disappointments which
might easily have been borne by a child of
less sensitive mind. But she increased
daily in grace, and was soon enabled to
pour forth all her little sorrows to Him
who careth for us, and who endureth all
things, that He might feel for us in all
things; then, soothed and peaceful, she
would rise from her knees to pursue her
joyous course till a fresh grief drove her
again to Him for comfort.
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
Thus gradually did Annie learn to over-
come the sins of her nature, and greatly did
the lady rejoice over her visible growth in
all the graces of the Spirit.
The strawberry bed was daily watered
and anxiously watched; but before the
first faint streak of crimson had tinged the
fruit the colour had fled from Annie's
cheeks, and she was laid on a bed of sick-
ness. Who would then have known that
pale and patient child for the beaming,
eager, restless thing she had so lately been ?
The little girl had an attack of infantine
fever, and after the first few days of excite-
ment, during which she could scarcely be
persuaded to touch any food, she was left so
weak that it was a painful exertion to her
to open her eyes, or even to speak a single
One day the lady had been watching her
with feelings of agony too deep for utter-
ance (for she feared to lose her child), when
Annie's breathing became more soft and
calm than it had been for many days. The
hope sprang up in her mother's mind that
72 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
she might yet be spared to her, and, sinking
on her knees, a shower of tears relieved her
bursting heart. Annie opened her eyes,
and turning them towards her mother,
whispered faintly, "Dear mamma, don't cry;
I am better now."
It was more than she had spoken since
the fever left her. The lady rose, and tak-
ing one of the child's thin white hands in
hers, sat down by the bed-side. Annie
closed her eyes again, and was to all ap-
pearance asleep, except that a gentle, almost
unfelt pressure of her hand now and then
told the lady that she slept not. Thus
they remained for about half-an-hour, when
Annie moved slightly, and asked in a faint
voice for strawberries. Her mother hailed
the request with delight, for she hoped it
was the commencement of returning ap-
petite. But the season for them was over ;
it was therefore with joy that she recollected
the little bed of wild strawberries of Annie's
own planting, and she went hastily into the
garden to pick some.
When the child had eaten them, she ap-
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
peared much refreshed, and begged the
nurse to raise her pillow that she might
look out of the window; but her mother
placed her head upon her arm, and thus
supported her up. The beams of the setting
sun shone into the room and rested on
Annie's face;-it was long since they had
done so, and it was then fresh and glowing;
now-how fevered and pale! She was
then free and joyous as the glancing beams
themselves, but now-bound to the weary
couch of illness. Would she ever rise from
it again, and play like them among the
whispering trees, "making a sunshine in
the shady place?" That was a question
time alone could answer; yet Annie could
anticipate the reply. She gazed long and
with delight at the beautiful world in the
open air, and a feverish flush of pleasure
spread itself over her as she did so, and lent
its crimson to her cheek.
"Mamma," she whispered at last, I can
just see my little strawberry bed by the
laurels up there. Are there any ripe?"
"I picked all that were fit to eat this
74 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
afternoon for you, my darling," replied the
"Then the birds could not get them,"
said Annie thoughtfully, as if speaking to
herself; then continued, "I think, mamma,
I am like one of those strawberry plants, for
God sees that in this world all the fruit I
try to bear for Him is snatched away by
Satan, as the birds picked my strawberries;
so He is going to transplant me into His own
garden in heaven, where none can pluck me
out of His hand. Don't you think so, dear
Oh! my child," answered her mother,
"if it be God's will, I would fain have you
spared to me longer. Yet," she added,
bowing her head, as the tears gathered in
her eyes and fell in burning showers, "His
will, not mine, be done."
Annie strove to put her arm round her
mother's neck, but it fell powerlessly back
upon the bed.
Sweet, sweet mamma," she faintly said,
for she was much exhausted, "do not cry,
for I shall be so happy with Jesus, and you
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
will soon come too. Give me one kiss, dar
ling mamma," she added, almost inaudibly,
for her voice grew weaker and weaker,
"only one more."
Her mother pressed a long, long kiss
upon her cheek. She dreaded to raise her
head, for she feared that the young spirit
had fled, and she felt at that moment that
even uncertainty was bliss. Long, there-
fore, fervent and agonising was that em-
brace, and when at length she ventured to
look up, she saw that her fears were indeed
realised-the soul had entered the regions
of eternity, and the lovely casket that had
contained the gem was all that remained
of her child.
The lady threw herself on her knees, and
convulsively clasping the lifeless form to her
bosom, strove to resign herself, in speechless
prayer, to the will of God, and to feel that
all that He had done was good. It was a
hard and a bitter struggle, yet God did at
last shed His peace into her heart, and she
was enabled to say, like the Shunamite
woman, "It is well with the child."
76 THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
She did not remain much longer in the
room, she dared not trust herself there, lest
her heart should again rise in rebellion
against her Heavenly Father; and but once
more, two ur three days after, did she enter
the chamber of death to take a farewell
look of that inanimate thing, which had
once been so full of life and energy, of love
"Calm on its leave-strewn bier,
Unlike a gift of nature to decay,
Too rose-like still, too beautiful, too dear,
The child at rest before the mother lay,
E'en so to pass away,
With its bright smile "
And subdued and heart-stricken was that
young mother's gaze, but yet not sorrow-
ful, for she thought of her child as "not
lost, but gone before," and she felt it would
not be long ere she followed her. After
imprinting a last kiss upon her placid brow,
and dwelling for a few moments with deep
fondness on the bright hair, the long dark
lash "shadowing the pale-rose cheek," and
the exquisite features, all now cold in death,
THE WILD STRAWBERRIES.
she left the room, and, retiring to her own
apartment, turned to God's precious pro-
mises to His afflicted people, till, widowed
and childless as she now was, she exclaimed
with joy, They will not return to me, but
I shall go to them. The Lord gave, and
the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the
name of the Lord."
After Annie's death the lady still went
about doing good; but those to whom she
ministered remarked that each day her
cheek grew paler, and her eye more calm
and clear in its kindly glance, while her
soul seemed to soar higher and higher, and
to grow daily more allied to the spirits of
She did not long survive her child. One
marble tomb enshrines them both, (for
they were numbered among -the rich and
noble of the land,) and tells where their
bodies rest, awaiting that day when the
graves must give up the dead. But their
spirits already dwell with God and the
Lamb, in whose presence there is joy for
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
AMONG the many little Italian boys who
yearly emigrate to England, leaving their
own golden sunshine to pursue visions of
other gold far more evanescent and unsub-
stantial, were once two brothers, Luigi and
It was a sad hour for them,-the hour in
which they bade farewell to their vine-em-
bowered home, received the last blessing
from their sorrowing father and mother,
and heard the last "adieu" of the little
Giannetta their sister, from whose eyes they
dried the tears, as they strove to comfort
her with the thoughts of their speedy re-
turn,-of the many beautiful things they
would bring her, and of the heavy purses
of money which were to procure for them
82 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
all every comfort and luxury which their
young and simple imaginations could con-
ceive; yet, when the actual moment of sepa-
ration came, the bitterness of parting alone
filled their hearts, and, speechless and tear-
ful, they set out on their pilgrimage.
But the sad thoughts of the past soon
faded before the bright hopes which the
future held out to them, and in a few days
they had quite recovered their spirits, and
journeyed merrily on through the pleasant
land of France. Everything was new and
delightful to their untravelled eyes; every
path seemed easy to their adventurous
minds, and every distress and difficulty into
which they fell, was borne cheerfully at the
time, and served afterwards to elicit many
a hearty laugh, as well from themselves as
from those to whom they related them.
They arrived in England in the beginning
of June, and hastened at once to London,
that great metropolis,-the wonder of na-
tions,-which Fame reported as all paved
with gold, and beautiful as fairy cities seen
in dreams. Great, therefore, was their dis-
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
appointment when they first beheld its
dusky buildings, and dingy atmosphere,-
different indeed to the marble palaces and
pure air of their sunny native land,-but
differing still more from the London of their
The young brothers wept themselves that
night to sleep; for at the same time that
their fair imaginations were destroyed, their
bright hopes also fell to the ground, and
they began to anticipate that the gold heaps
would not be so easy to accumulate as they
had hitherto fancied. And so they wept
themselves to sleep yet, happily for them
they had early been taught to look to God
for consolation in their sorrow and help in
their need; therefore, although their hearts
were downcast, and their spirits failed them,
they yet remembered with joy in the midst
of their grief, that He was with them, and
watched over them with the same care and
love as He had done in their own brighter
The priest of the parish to which they
belonged was a good man, one of those rare
84 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
exceptions which are occasionally to be
found among the clergy of the Roman
Catholic Church, who take the Bible as
their only guide, and unheeding of the
errors, and unlearned in the sophistry of
their own religion, preach the pure and
simple truths of the gospel of Jesus to their
flocks, teaching them to look beyond saints
and angels to the one Mediator between
God and man, and to devote their lives to
Him who for them had endured the ut-
most bitterness of death.
The valley, whose inhabitants were com-
mitted to his charge, lay remote among the
mountains of Piedmont, in consequence of
which his doctrines remained for many years
unnoticed; but when at last it was disco-
vered how much they were at variance with
the tenets of his Church, he was persecuted
and imprisoned, but succeeded at last in
effecting his escape and in returning to his
beloved people, thorngh only to die amongst
them of a broken heart.
Yet once more he spoke to the many who
had assembled grieving around him of the
LUIGI AND H1is BROTHEn.
one way of salvation, and earnestly entreat-
ed them to hold fast the truth, even unto
death. His words and example were long
cherished in the remembrances of his parish-
ioners, some of whom openly left the Church
of Rome, and forsaking their native villages,
crossed over the mountains to join their
brethren of a purer faith in the "Valais."
Others, who, from various circumstances,
were prevented from doing the same, still
persevered, notwithstanding the persecu-
tion they met with from the new curd and
his partisans, in holding to the truths which
their revered pastor had taught them, and
in teaching them to their children in their
Among the latter were the parents of
Luigi and Antonio, and their efforts to in-
stil truth and goodness into the minds of
the little boys had not been in vain. Indeed
I do not believe such efforts, accompanied
as they ever must be with earnest prayers
for God's blessing, ever are vain; it is pro-
mised that "in due time we shall reap, if
we faint not," therefore we should work on.
86 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
trusting to God's faithful and true promise,
and though perhaps we may not live to see
the ripened fruit of the seed we have sown
in this world, oh! doubtless we shall see,
and rejoice in it, in the next, when we, and
those for whom we have prayed and labour-
ed, shall meet before the throne of our
Father, and together praise and bless him
through unending time.
But we must return to the young brothers,
whom we left, having laid themselves
down in peace, and sleeping," knowing
" that God only made them dwell in safety."
They woke the next morning with sobered
spirits, but minds alive, and curious with
the curiosity of childhood to see all the
wonders of the great town.
After eating their frugal breakfast of dry
bread, which was all they could afford, they
set out together, Luigi carrying his guitar,
and Antonio his marmotte.
Luigi was about thirteen years old; tall,
and with a countenance usually grave, but
which would at times light up with the
sunniest of Italian smiles. He was not
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
handsome, but his long, rich brown hair
and deep set intelligent eyes gave a charac-
ter to his face, which rendered it pictu-
resque and interesting. His younger
brother was very different in appearance,
though a family likeness might perhaps
have been traced between them. His fair
hair waved in long abundance about his face
and shoulders; his large blue eyes beamed
merrily beneath its dark lash, his cheek
was ruddy with health and browned by
the sunshine through which he had travelled,
and it was seldom that a laugh (for it was
more than a smile) did not animate his
joyous countenance. He was three years
younger than Luigi, and small of his age,
so that the difference between them seemed
greater than it really was. He quite looked
up to his brother for advice and guidance
in all things, obeying him as implicitly,
and loving him as dearly, as if he had been
And well did Luigi deserve this from him,
for his quick mind at once discerned between
right and wrong, and his high principle
88 LUIG1 AND HIS BROTHER.
prompted him unhesitatingly to follow that
which was good, while he strove anxiously
and tenderly to imbue his little brother,
whose thoughtlessness would at times lead
him into evil, with somewhat of that un-
bending rectitude which yet may dwell in
the gentlest natures.
"We should always act," he tried to im-
press upon Antonio, "as if 'God and the
angels only were looking at us,' for when
we shall have to stand before God's great
white throne, and answer to Him for all
we have done, what shall we care for the
thousands of men who are around us,-
summoned like ourselves to their account?
Shall we be thinking of them, or shrinking
for fear of their opinion, when our Judge's
eye is upon us, and the gates of heaven and
hell are open on either side? Yet what is
the difference now? Is not God present,
though we cannot see Him ? Are not the
angels round us, though invisible? And
are not heaven and hell as near, though
hidden from our sight? We know they
are; yet, because men are visible to our
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
mortal eyes, we fear them; and, shutting
the eyes of our soul, which only may see
into that spiritual world, we forget our God,
and tremble not to displease Him !"
With such reasoning as these would
Luigi, at quiet moments, endeavour to re-
call higher things than the mere passing
affairs of earth to the mind of his young
brother; and Antonio would listen seriously,
earnestly, and lovingly to his words of truth
and heavenly wisdom.
For several months the brothers now
wandered about the streets of London, sing-
ing to Luigi's accompaniment on the guitar,
while Antonio played with his marmotte
on the top of his cage, and shewed it good-
naturedly to the children who stopped to
It happened that some days they were
fortunate, and collected money enough to
last them for a week or more, but economise
as they would, their little store would ex-
haust itself at last, and many were the times
that they laid themselves down at night,
their cheeks wet with tears of hunger. Thus
90 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
their purse remained empty, and they found
that far from accumulating riches, it was
almost more than they could do to earn
their daily maintenance.
Yet they were not so badly off as some
of their poor little countrymen, who worked
under masters as they termed them; that
is to say, men, who hired them with fair
promises, to go their rounds and beg for
them, and if they returned at night with
empty hands, would pay them with hard
blows and cruel words, instead of food and
wages. These poor boys were objects of
great compassion to the young brothers,
and often would they share their own scanty
pence with them, to save them the harsh
treatment they dreaded to receive.
Thus the summer wore away, and the
cold winter was coming on, and as they
shivered in the dull and drafty streets, they
bitterly regretted that they had ever left
their pleasant home in the Italian valley.
There, at least, they could run and play
upon the mountain-sides, and warm them-
selves with healthy exercise; and cheerful,
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
loving faces greeted them by the evening
fire-side. But here there were no moun-
tains, no fireside, no loving faces; all was
chill and wintry, and the cold struck into
their very hearts.
They began to calculate upon the possi-
bility of return, but their purse was empty,
and there was little likelihood of their filling
it now if they had failed to do so in the
crowded summer months. They decided
therefore with tears, that they must wait
another year, and do their utmost when
summer came again, to save money enough
to pay their passage back across the sea to
They suffered much from cold and hun-
ger, for their clothes were very insufficient
to protect them from the inclemency of the
weather, and the few pence which were
given them scarcely sufficed to buy them
bread enough to keep them from starving.
They lost their bright fresh looks, and no
one who saw them now would have recog-
nised them for those two joyous boys who
used to sing so cheerily together.
92 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
One day, as hungry and dispirited they
wandered along the streets, they stopped in
front of a baker's shop, from whence the
smell of fresh-baked bread came invitingly
forth. They each instinctively put their
hands in their pockets to feel if by chance
they might not have left a halfpenny there,
but withdrew them again with a sigh from
the useless search.
Luigi looked at his little brother, and the
tears started into his eyes as he saw his pale
sunken cheek and the wistful looks he di-
rected to the tempting loaves on the baker's
counter. He was turning away with a sigh
still deeper than the first, when, standing
in the window of the opposite house, he saw
a little girl, who, nodding to him pleasantly,
signed to him to come nearer and sing to
her, and with a heart bounding with grati-
tude to God for the hope of such seasonable
relief, he crossed immediately over to the
other side of the street.
Antonio was preparing to follow him,
when he observed a miserable sickly-looking
child come round the corner, out of a neigh-
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
bouring alley. The extreme wretchedness of
his appearance caught his attention, and he
watched him with a feeling of pity, which
for the moment made him forget his own
sorrows. The child also stopped in front
of the baker's shop; there was no one inside
and quick as thought he darted in, and
seizing a loaf from the counter, was off
again in an instant. Antonio's excessive
astonishment held him immovable for a
moment or two, then, his pity changing to
indignation, he darted down the alley after
the little thief. He succeeded in overtak-
ing him, and a struggle for the loaf ensued,
but the look of speechless despair which the
child cast up to him, caused him to relin-
quish his hold, a small piece of broken crust
only remaining in his hand. The little boy,
as soon as he was free, darted off again with
the speed of lightning, and Antonio followed
to see what he did. He turned another
corner and then disappeared into a low
door, where Antonio entered after him; he
heard him speak some rapid words as he
came in, and the sight he saw struck him
94 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
dumb with compassion. There were the
child's father and mother, and four other
children younger than himself in that
small fireless room. A bare pallet, with
some straw spread over it, stood in one
corner, and was their only furniture,-it
served for table, chairs, and bedstead all at
The look of wild and ravenous joy with
which they greeted the loaf, scarcely notic-
ing Antonio's presence, effectually shut his
mouth; and the little boy who had stolen
it, when he turned and saw him in the
doorway, fell on his knees, and holding up
his hands, as if to supplicate him to say no-
thing, made him feel faint and sick with
compassion for their misery, and the tears
coursing each other swiftly down his cheeks,
he turned away, and proceeded rapidly to
rejoin his brother.
He had not, however, gone many yards,
when a policeman seized him roughly by
the arm, bidding him Come along" with
him. In vain Antonio prayed and pro-
tested, he was not answered, but was dragged
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
forcibly on till they arrived again in front
of the baker's shop.
Yes, that's him," said the baker, coming
to the door, "I watched him standing in
the street, and looking at the bread, and
the moment my back was turned, the little
rascal was off with a loaf. I came back in-
to the shop the minute after, and missing
the loaf I looked out into the street, and
saw him running off round the corner."
Antonio protested over and over* again
that he had not taken the loaf, but he would
answer no questions as to who it was who
had taken it, fearing that what he might
say would lead to the discovery of the real
thief, for whom, and for whose wretched
family, his heart was still bleeding with
Why, what's this you have in your hand,
my man ?" asked the policeman, taking
possession of the broken piece of crust.
Antonio said nothing, he felt that this
proof would appear conclusive against him,
and gave up the assertion of his innocence
as now useless.
96 LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
"Oh, Luigi, Luigi," he exclaimed, burst-
ing into tears.
Luigiat this cryof misery, pushed through
the little crowd which had collected round
his brother and the policeman. His face
was pale as ashes, for he feared that his
brother might indeed have committed the
crime for which he was arrested, and this
dreadful thought struck like death at his
heart. He rushed up to him, and laying
his hand upon his arm, looked into his face
with an expression of silent inquiry.
Antonio threw the one arm that was free
around his brother's neck.
"Oh, Luigi," he said, speaking quickly
in their own language, "indeed I am inno-
cent; I did not take the bread; you must
believe me, or my heart will break."
Luigi did believe him,-Antonio saw it
in his change of countenance and the deep
sigh of relief which heaved his breast.
"Thank God that you at least believe
me," he exclaimed; "and, Luigi, you will
see my innocence will somehow be proved."
All this had taken place in a very few
LUIGI AND HIS BROTHER.
moments, but the policeman now interfered,
and shaking the brothers apart, he pro-
ceeded to take Antonio away to the police
Tracy, though a rough man, was a kind
one, and in his heart he pitied poor An-
tonio. He did not believe him innocent as
he said he was, but ae saw hunger in his
countenance, and he thought within him-
self that if he had been that baker, and had
seen a hungry boy at his door looking wist-
fully in at the abundance of good loaves
upon his shelf, he would have given him a
penny roll at least, and saved him from the
commission of a crime to which,-if he had
committed it,--(for Tracy admitted the
doubt,)-hunger alone had evidently com-
Meanwhile Isabella Cunliffe,-the little
girl who had called Luigi across the street,
-had seen the whole transaction. She too
had watched the hungry brothers looking
in at the baker's shop,-she had seen them
dive into their pockets for the chance of a
forgotten halfpenny, and pitying them in