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THE TWO SCHOOL GIRLS.
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THETWO SCHOOL GIRLS:OB,gribt anb |Nunnily.BY THE AUTHORS OB"THE WIDE, WIDE WORLD,"ETG. ETC." Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdomof heaven."WITH COLOURED FRONTISPIECE.LONDON:GEORGE ROUTLEDGE & SONS,THE BROADWAY, LUDGATE.
THE TWO SCHOOL-GIRLS.CHAPTER I.THE BIBLE CLASS."CBLESSED are the poor in spirit; fortheirs is the kingdom of heaven."These words came from the lips of oneof a group of girls sitting in the cornerof a handsomely-furnished room. It wasno other than the parlour of a school;but it was 'Sunday night, and not lesson-time. Yet they had books open beforethem too, and seemed to be consideringsomething. There were half a dozen ofthem; nobody else was in the rooms,except the servants moving about to gettea ready."There," said the one who'had readB
2 The Two School-girls.the words, " that's the first verse; andI don't understand it. I don't knowwhat is the kingdom of heaven;' andI don't know what is 'poor in spirit;'and I don't know why the poor in spiritare blessed.""Nor I," said another. "I thinkBible lessons are tiresome. They're thehardest to understand of all, or it's thehardest to make Mrs. Borrow think weunderstand them.""You're mistaken in thinking that'sthe first verse, though, Annie," said athird, "because there are two before it;and Mrs. Borrow will find so much totalk about in them that I'm in hopes shewon't have a chance to puzzle me till thelesson's out.""No, Mary; she said the lesson wason the Beatitudes.""Well, you'll see. First, we shallhave the private history of all thosemultitudes, and where they came from;and then we shall have a lesson on
The Bible Class. 3ancient public speaking. I know Ihave been over that lesson five timeswith six teachers.""I like Bible lessons," said a fourthspeaker; " but I know this one byheart.""Yes, if that was all! but I don'tunderstand this first verse a bit, andnever did; and if there is anything Idon't know, Mrs. Borrow is sure to askme."" Ask Annie St. John-she can tell,"said one of the girls. "There she is.Annie, come here !-Annie Shaler wantsto know what this means, about the poorin spirit ?"The little girl, a gentle-looking, bright-eyed child, moved up to the edge of thecircle and stood there."Mrs. Borrow can tell better than I,Minnie," she said." Annie, do you know yourself?" saidMary."I think I do. I believe I do."B2
4 Tle Two School-girls."Then sit right down here, and don'tbe bashful, and tell us all. You knowyou mean to be a preacher one of thesedays yourself; you may as well beginnow, for practice, with an easy au-dience."" Oh, stop don't," cried another one,yawning and throwing aside her Bible;"we shall hear enough of it by-and-by;don't preach now, girls; it's tea-time.Stephen is going to ring the bell. Oh, Iwish tea-time would last an hour longerthan it does. I'm so tired "The bell sounded now, and the girlscame dropping in by twos and threesand greater numbers, and took theirseats round the rooms. The little partyof Bible studies pushed their Biblesbehind them and sat up straight. Itwas a gay, pretty lining the rooms hadpresently; young, bright faces, andfresh, bright dresses; for it was Sunday,and most of the company were in theirSunday attire. Only one or two showed
The Bible Class. 5less means or less fancy for that par-ticular way of spending money. Thencame Mrs. Borrow and took her seat atthe tea-board. That happened to be sofar from the corner where Annie Shalerand her companions sat, that talk couldgo on softly and no fear of being heard."-I'm hungry," said Minnie. " Ishould like a real good tea.""Well, have patience and you'll haveit," said a neighbour."Bread and butter and cold water "said Minnie, turning up her nose. "Iwish I was home.""Why, Minnie, you need not drink,cold water unless you like it," saidAnnie St. John; "you have what youchoose.""What have I to choose?" saidMinnie. "I'd rather have water thanshells or black tea.""What would you take if you were athome?""Yes, let us have a notion what you
6 The Two School-girls.mean by a real good tea," said MaryDawson, "and then '1 give 'you myidea.""." Ill tell you what we have everynight at home. There's coffee-that'swhat I want--and light biscuit, and.fancy bread, and nice light tea-cakes-and two or three kinds of sweet-meats, and may be ham, or beef, orsomething of that kind. But coffeealways.""Do you drink coffee ? "" Don't drink nothing else," saidMinnie, expressively, as she helpedherself to bread."Annie St. John, what do you haveat home ?" said Janet, leaning forward." I go to Sunday-school," said Annie,simply. But this answer of Annie,whose thoughts had been running uponsomething else than their talk, raisedsuch a tittering that Mrs. Borrow fromher end of the tea-table reminded themthey were getting out of bounds; so
The Bible Class. 7they were obliged to draw up and attendto bread and butter and cake, and bequiet, for the rest of the meal.The despised bread and butter wasdisposed of,-and a good deal of it too,for it was very good,-and plates andcups took their departure; and thenpart of the little company gathered intoone room-all who were under fifteen,and Mrs. Borrow took her place in agreat arm-chair at one side. She was akind and sensible-looking lady, and filledthe arm-chair very pleasantly. Everygirl brought out her Bible now, and satlooking respectfully attentive; in somecases, eagerly interested. Did not Mrs.Borrow's eye mark every such case?How precious they are to a teachernobody but a teacher knows.*The lesson began. The chapter wasread, Mrs. Borrow making a few remarksby. the way; then she began to call"* See Frontispiece.
8 The Two School-girls.upon the girls, very familiarly, for theirthoughts or notions on different parts.Questions and answers went on freely;there was no stiffness on the part of theteacher, and very little in most of thegirls. At length Mrs. Borrow asked," What is the kingdom of heaven ?"Nobody answered."You know what a king is, EllenMorris ?""Yes, ma'am.""What is his kingdom? "" The country he reigns over.""With the people belonging to it. Itwould not be much of a kingdom if itwas a land without people. Now thekingdom of Jesus is not just like otherkingdoms; for we serve earthly kingswith outward service; but we must obeyKing Jesus in our hearts, or we do notbelong to Him. Here He tells us thatthe children of His kingdom are 'poorin spirit.' Annie Shaler, what meansthat ?"
The Bible C!,. 9" I don't know, ma'am," said AnnieShaler. " I never understood it at all."Mrs. Borrow paused, and ran herfinger up and down the opening of herBible."Turn to the eighteenth chapter ofLuke, Annie, and read from the ninthverse to the fourteenth." It was theparable of the Pharisee and the publican.Annie read it aloud." Which of those men do you supposewas 'poor in spirit ?'""I suppose," said Annie, "it mustbe the publican, because he was com-mended; but I do not understand thewords any better.""You see that the other man thoughtpretty well of himself? When he lookedinto his own heart and life he saw, hethought, a great deal of good in them;a great deal that would please the eyeof God. Did he not?"" Yes, ma'am-that is plain.""Then he felt rich in heart-don't
10 The Two School-girls.you suppose he did ? with plenty toanswer God's demands? "" Yes, ma'am.""And the publican, looking into him-self, found nothing there that he thoughtworthy to offer to the Lord; and he feltpoor.""Yes, ma'am-but--""But what ? Speak out.""But I don't see, Mrs. Borrow, whyit is blessed ?"" Because, Annie, coming to God inany other temper than that, He has noblessing for you. And because, besides,whoever thinks he has enough alreadywill never be a beggar at the door of theLord's grace; and so will remain reallypoor for ever. Now turn to the twenty-sixth chapter of Leviticus, and I will read.The Lord had been telling the childrenof Israel that if they disobeyed and for-got Him in times to come He wouldpunish them dreadfully for it; then hearwhat He says: 'If they shall confess
The Bible Class. 1their iniquity, and the iniquity of theirfathers, with their trespass which theytrespassed against Me, and that alsothey have walked contrary unto Me;and that I also have walked contraryunto them, and have brought them intothe land of their enemies; if then theiruncircumcised hearts be humbled, andthey then accept the punishment of theiriniquity; then will I remember my cove-nant with Jacob, and also My covenantwith Isaac, and also My covenant withAbraham will I remember; and I willremember the land.' Do you see, AnnieShaler ? ""But suppose they have not 'walkedcontrary' to Him, Mrs. Borrow ? "" If anybody thinks so of himself, mydear, it proves either that he is one ofthose few that have been sanctified fromtheir childhood, or that he is not one ofthese blessed ones; that is all I can say.I am afraid he would be in the case of theLaodiceans. Turn to the third chapter
12 The Two School-girls.of the Revelation, and read at the seven-teenth verse." Because thou sayest I am rich, andincreased with goods, and have need ofnothing; and knowest not that thou artwretched, and miserable, and poor, andblind, and naked: I counsel thee to buyof me gold tried in the fire, that thoumayest be rich; and white raiment, thatthou mayest be clothed, and that theshame of thy nakedness'do not appear;and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve,that thou mayest see.'"" You see they were not poor in spirit,and so they did not know the conditionof their hearts, nor that they were inwant of everything."Annie was silenced, but did not looksatisfied."Mary Dawson, do you understandit ?""Yes, ma'am, I believe so; but onemust think very ill of one's self to thinkso, Mrs. Borrow."
The Bible Class. 13"And you think that in some casesdifficult ?"Mary did not answer, but Annie Shalerlifted her head. She had a fine, gene-rous, good face ; it was plain shespoke honestly. "Yes, Mrs. Borrow;I should think it was in some casesimpossible.""In your own case, Annie, for in-stance ? Never mind,-we will not callit want of modesty; we are trying toget at truth.""I should think very poorly of my-self, Mrs. Borrow, before I could thinkso."" Yes, but that is not the question.I spoke of the possibility."Annie hesitated, and then said witha little modest pride, "My father andmother, Mrs. Borrow, do not think soof me.""Because, I dare say, my dear, youhave always pleased them; but have youbeen a grateful and faithful child of God ?
14 The Two School-girls.-that is the question. Have you alwaysobeyed His commandments ? ""Of course we are all sinners," re-marked Mary Dawson."And you see how a sinner mustthink of himself before he can obtainany favour from God. Now read, Mary,Janet, Ellen, and Sally, as I tell you.First, the thirty-fourth Psalm, eighteenthverse.""' The Lord is nigh unto them thatare of a broken heart; and saveth suchas be of a contrite spirit.'""Isaiah, fifty-seventh chapter, fif-teenth verse.""' For thus saith the high and loftyOne that inhabiteth eternity, whose nameis Holy; I dwell in the high and holyplace, with him also that is of a contriteand humble spirit, to revive the spirit ofthe humble, and to revive the heart ofthe contrite ones.'"" Second Chronicles, seventh chapter,fourteenth verse."
The Bible Class. 15"'If My people, which are calledby My name, shall humble themselves,and pray, and seek My face, and turnfrom their wicked ways; then will Ihear from heaven, and will forgive theirsin, and will heal their land.' "" Isaiah, sixty-first chapter, firstverse.""'The Spirit of the Lord God isupon me; because the Lord hathanointed me to preach good tidingsunto the meek: He hath sent me tobind up the broken-hearted, to pro-claim liberty to the captives, and theopening of the prison to them that arebound.' "" You know of whom this is spoken ?"There was silence, till Annie St. Johnanswered, " Of the Lord Jesus Christ."" My dear girls, you see to what sortof people He came-to the meek, to thebrokenhearted, who feel as that publicanfelt, to those who see themselves thecaptives of sin and want a Saviour.
16 The Two School-girls.But what has Christ to do with thosewho do not want Him, Annie Shaler ?"" They may admire Him, and imitateHim, ma'am."Mrs. Borrow felt a great pain at herheart. She thought of those words,"Behold, His soul which is lifted up, isnot upright in Him; but the just shalllive by His faith." The girls had grownvery grave and attentive."In that case, Annie, Christ has noblessing for you. He says Himself thatHe came to seek and to save that whichwas lost. You do not feel yourself lost.My dear, what do you read your Biblefor?"" I suppose, Mrs. Borrow, because it ispart of my lessons," said Annie, bluntly."Not because you love to read it ? ""No, ma'am," said Annie, ratherfaintly."Who among you reads her Biblebecause she loves it, or needs it ?"The girls were all silent. Mrs. Borrow
The Bible Class. 17did not look at them; she kept her eyesupon her book. "Is there any one ofyou," she asked again, "who loves herBible, and reads it because she loves it,or because she needs it ?"A low little voice behind Mrs. Borrowanswered, "I do, ma'am." Mrs. Borrowlooked round. It was Annie St. John;a girl who had but lately entered theschool." Do you read it because you love it ?or because you need it, Annie ?""Both, Mrs. Borrow."" Why do you love it, my dear? Willyou speak this once ? we are confessingto one another to-night.""Because I find there what I need somuch, Mrs. Borrow.""What do you need that you findthere ? Speak, Annie," Mrs. Borrowsail in a gentle, encouraging tone. Anniehesitated, and when she spoke her voicetrembled; but she went slowly on-"It tells about Jesus, ma'am."c
18 The Two School-girls." What do you need of Him ?"" I want to be forgiven-and I want tobe delivered from sin and I find therethat Jesus has done both for me -orthat He has done one, and will do theother.""Is that all, Annie?""No, ma'am. I find how to do God'swill there.""' This is the love of God, that we keepHis commandments,"' said Mrs. Borrow."Thank you. You may go, Annie."For she had seen, almost without look-ing, that the blood had rushed to thechild's face with the effort and excite-ment of speaking, and that she was justready to burst into tears. Annie profitedby her permission, and made her escapeimmediately. Mrs. Borrow looked roundon the rest. They were variously im-pressed; for while some faces, she saw,looked troubled, there were others thatlooked displeased." Have I but one child in my house,"
The Bible Class. 19said she, solemnly, " that loves her Bible ?only one among you all, that loves andtrusts in the Saviour of sinners ?- onlyone, and that a little one, that is willingto be the servant of Christ? My dearchildren, I will pray for you that you maybe poor in spirit; for till you are, you willnever ask the Lord Jesus to give you theriches of His forgiveness and love. Areyou vexed with me, some of you, forspeaking so of you ? 'Behold, his soulwhich is lifted up, is not upright in him:but the just shall live by his faith.' Andno one trusts in another, so long as hetrusts in himself. Let us pray to bemade poor."Perhaps some of the girls joined inthat prayer, perhaps others did not; butthey were immediately dismissed to theirrooms afterwards, and therewas no oppor-tunity for any more talking.c2
20 The Two School-girls.CHAPTER II.MISCHIEF.SOMEHOW, Annie St. John fared nonethe better among her companions for theoccurrences of Sunday evening. Theycould not quarrel with her, for she was amost'inoffensive child; they could noteven thoroughly dislike her, for she wasalways obliging and good-humoured; andit was impossible not to respect her dili-gent attention to her duties. Yet most ofthem shunned her a little. They were ofopinion that Mrs. Borrow had in someway distinguished her, or that she haddistinguished herself, to their unjust dis-advantage; though Annie had only con-fessed her love and allegiance where theyrefused theirs. It was according to theold truth : " He that doeth evil hateth thelight;" and Annie's single example wasa trouble to-their secret consciences.
Mischief. 21Annie Shaler felt this particularly, notin her conscience, however, so much asin her pride. She was a diligent and aptscholar; cleverer than Annie St. John,as well as a year or two older; and hadalways kept, at home and at school, a highstanding for upright conduct and a be-coming deportment. She thought her-self quite as good a girl as Annie St.John, and more worthy of being re-marked as such. She decided thatAnnie St. John was unduly favoured,and was determined not to help the falseimpression by any favour of her own.She was civil and cold. But the feelinggrew.One day the girls were at their arith-metic lesson. Both Annies were in thesame arithmetic class, though Annie St.John was only quite lately brought there;and the other Annie thought it was amark of the same undue favour. Theywere this day upon a difficult place in thestudy, with, as Annie Shaler said, some
22 The Two School-girls."beautiful hard examples" to do on theslate. Annie knew she could do them,and not everybody else; so she calledthem "beautiful."In the course of the lesson each girlwas called upon in turn. The two An-nies were sitting close together; therewas no order of precedence in the classes,and the St. John was called upon first.It happened that Annie did not at themoment understand that she was spokento; she had been stooping to tie her shoewhen the teacher spoke, and she rose upand did not answer. Annie Shaler wastempted by the opportunity. There wasa question to answer and then to workout upon the slate-a nice and intricatequestion and a pet example of hers, whichAnnie had wished she might have to do.She noticed that Annie St. John did notspeak, and deciding, as she said to herself,that she could not, after a moment'spause she gave the answer herself, andwent on to do the example on the slate
Mischief. 23in fine style. The teacher, who was aresident in Mrs. Borrow's house andacting as under-governess, listened insilence; and Annie supposed it was allright. When she had gone back to herseat in triumph, Miss Morley said quietly,"Was it your turn, Miss Shaler ? ""No,ma'am," said Annie, hesitatingly;"but-"" Did I ask you to do that sum ? ""No, ma'am-but-""Whom did I ask ?"" Miss St. John," said Annie, colouringdeeply, "but I supposed-"" Why did you answer for her ?"" She did not answer, ma'am, and Isupposed-""What did you suppose ?""I supposed she did not know theanswer.""And you spoke in kindness, to shel-ter her. Did you?"Annie's face was a sight to see, for thecompressed storm of pride and displea-
24 The Two School-girls.sure, that was too plainly visible on it.She did not speak." You were guilty of a great rudeness,my dear. Good manners are quite asnecessary to young ladies as correct arith-metic. I desire that you will make anapology to Miss St. John before we goany further."A slight turn of her head, and indeedof her whole person, from her little neigh-bour-an actionwhich was the involuntaryexpression of Annie Shaler's feeling at themoment-was all the response she madeto her teacher's command. Miss Morleysaw that her brow was gathering black-ness in its pride."Miss Shaler, do you hear me? Idesire that you will immediately apologizeto Annie St. John.""I have not done anything to her,"said Annie Shaler, rather inarticulately." No, indeed-" began Annie St. John." Hush!-You have offended againstgood manners, Annie Shaler-now make
Mischief. 25all the reparation in your power, and askMiss St. John's pardon.""I will not " said Annie Shaler, furi-ously; "I have done nothing to ask herpardon.""Do you refuse to obey me ?-EllenMorris, go on with the next question;and Mary Dawson, go to Mrs. Borrowand ask her to have the goodness, if sheis disengaged, to come here."Mrs. Borrow made her appearance inthe midst of Ellen's ciphering. Whenshe had got through, Miss Morley ex-plained what was the matter; Annie St.John sitting with bowed heart, very sorryfor all the disturbance, and Annie Shalerwith a bowed head, angry and mortified,almost past her power of bearing it.Mrs. Borrow heard the whole story, andthen, as in duty bound, upheld theauthority of her governess."Annie Shaler, you must obey orders.You must make an apology to Miss St.John for taking the words out of her
26 The Two School-girls.mouth. If you are conscious of havingacted innocently, there will certainly beno difficulty in doing that. And thenyou must ask pardon of Miss Morley forhaving disobeyed her, and answeredrudely. But you will not make eitherapology now; it must be done to-mor-row morning before breakfast, in pre-sence of the whole family. For thepresent, I excuse you. You may go."Annie Shaler profited by this dismissal,but she went with a proud step and anuplifted stubborn head, which her gover-ness marked with pain. The lesson wasfinished in the class without much spirit;and, as the girls scattered their severalways, Annie St. John heard several ex-pressions of opinion that showed whichway the feeling of her companionswas setting. "Mean !" "shameful! ""hard!" echoed from different partsof the hall as she was going up-stairs;and she thought by their manner that.some of the girls rather vented a part
Mischief. 27of their displeasure on her-the mostinnocent cause of it. Very disagreeable,Annie thought it was; but she hadnothing to do with it, and strove to putaway the thought of the whole matter.In the evening, before tea, there wasan interval when the girls did what theyliked. They had the freedom of theschool parlours, light and warm, andthey were accustomed to gather therefor all sorts of quiet amusement duringthat three-quarters or half an hour.Some read, some chatted, some did fancywork, some played games. This eveningAnnie St. John, who had to make up bydiligence for the superior abilities ofsome of her schoolfellows, had broughther Latin grammar into the parlour.She had a difficult lesson to learl, andknew she was going to have littleenough time. She put herself on a foot-stool at the corner of the fire and wenthard at her declensions. A high-backedsofa stood near; beyond it, in the shelter
28 The Two School-girls.of the window-curtains, a group of girlswere talking together."It's a shame!" said one. "It'sall Miss Morley's ugliness. She knewbetter."" What will you do, Annie? PoorAnnie! " said Mary Dawson. "Willyou ask the Great Bear's' forgive-ness ? ""I suppose I shall have to do so,"said Annie; "though, if it wasn't themiddle of term, I would leave the schoolfirst !-I can't go now.""I shouldn't mind asking pardon ofthe 'Great Bear' so much as of the littlesheep," said Ellen Morris." Ain't you ashamed, Ellen?" saidJanet Macaulay. "But Mrs. Borrowcalls her a lamb, so I suppose you arenot much out of the way. That's a littlesheep, isn't it ? "Poor Annie St. John These remarksstung her. She forgot her Latin andput her head down on her book; her
Mischief. 29heart was bitter. She could not helphearing what the girls said."There isn't anything of the sheepabout me," said Annie Shaler. "Ifshe had had any more heart thanthat, why didn't she get up and saythat she didn't know how to do thatexample ?"" Because I did know," said AnnieSt. John, getting too sore and. angry tobe wise. "I did know. I could haveanswered. I was ready with my answer,only I didn't know I was called." Shehad risen and come to the girls, andpulled aside the window-curtains tospeak to them."Here's a pretty business!" saidMary. "Our sheep is changing into agoat. Look out, girls-I expect she'llbutt at us directly.""You are wrong to say so," criedAnnie, with eyes firing,-" it is wickedand unkind, and you ought not to doit; and you know it !"
qo The Two School-girls." She'll strike out directly," said Mary,in a quiet tone." It's wicked " repeated Annie, " andI haven't done anything to deserve it.I knew my answer and could have saidit perfectly, and Annie Shaler said whatshe didn't know was true.""When? when?" said the otherAnnie." Just now-when you- said I couldn'tanswer.""You've "got to beg my pardonnow," said Annie Shaler, scornfully." I'll see what Mrs. Borrow will say tothis. Nobody shall tell me I don't tellthe truth."" I said you didn't know it was true,"said Annie St. John; " and you didn't.""Very well! we'll see.""Mrs. Borrow's lamb is coming onfinely," remarked Janet Macaulay.The words struck Annie's heart, whoseanger had been a momentary flash, andwho was already cooling down. She let
Mischief. 31the curtain fall and crept back to herseat; but her head sank upon her gram-mar, and she forgot there was any suchlanguage as Latin. The talk went onbehind the curtain."To have to beg that little pieceof hypocrisy's pardon!" said AnnieShaler."It's all Miss Morley's fault," saidJanet; " she's as stiff and stuck-up as.she can be; and she can't see with herown eyes, either."" I've got to beg her pardon; and Iwish I could pay her off for it," saidAnnie Shaler." So do I !" and " So do I !" said thegirls." How could we do it, all of us ?" saidMary; "come, let's see. I have a grudgeor two against the Great Bear;' Ishould like to deprive that constellationof some of her stars.""What does she care about most ?said Ellen.
3'2 The Two School-girls."Anything that helps her out withher stiffness and pomposity," said Janet."Girls, I have it !--""What?""That new French cap that Mrs.Borrow gave her; she's as proud of itas she can be, and thinks, when she hasgot that on, she's about right. To-morrow evening she'll put it on, becausesomebody's coming to tea, you know,and we must all be dressed."" Well, what then ?" said two or threeimpatiently."If we could manage to switch it offher head just as she is all ready andcoming into the parlour !--""But you can't. How can you? Youcan't, Janet."" Don't be too sure of that," saidJanet. "I've done harder things beforenow."" But I can't see how you can do it,Janet," said Ellen Morris." Very likely. I didn't say you could."
Mischief. 33"There's two or three ways," saidMary Dawson."This is mine," said Janet. "Putyour heads closer, girls,-is anybodynear ?"They peeped out from the curtains andfound they were as yet safe. Nobodywas very near but Annie St. John, andher they did not see behind the high-backed sofa." The thing is to get the cap off herhead when she is all rigged, and toput it where she won't find it again ina hurry.""Yes, and I can't imagine how youwill," said Ellen."Listen, th7n. When Miss Morley isdressed she will step out from her room,naturally, and place her little feet on thestairs, preparatory to walking down intothe parlour. Probably she will go downseveral stairs.""What then ?""Then she will turn about and goD
34 The Two School-girlsback," said Janet, chuckling, "havingfound herself suddenly head-bare."" But how, Janet ?-how will she? howcan you ?""You know her room opens on thelanding-place-good for us. I'll be atthe balusters just over her head. I'llhave a hook on a pole-and as she getsunder me, my pole will pay its respectsto her cap. She won't see it again verysoon; and the fun is-Oh the fun, girls!-she won't be able to imagine how shelost it !"A burst of laughter here shook thegroup, till the shaking reached thewindow-curtains, and the curtain-ringsbegan to clatter." Hush, girls," said Mary, " that won'tdo.""But what is to make her stop on thestairs ?" said Annie Shaler. " She won'tstop, and you can't do anything unlessshe stops.""You shall do that," said Janet.
Mischief. 35"" I !""Yes. When she comes out of herdoor you must run up the stairs; andcustwhere she ought to stop, you must sitdown on the stair to tie your shoe-string."" But my slippers haven't any stringsthat tie; they have elastics.""You can put strings to them, can'tyou ? Don't begin to be stupid just now,Annie Shaler.""But how should I know when she iscoming? I could not stand at the foot ofthe stairs looking up to see.""No, of course; but some of us can beup-stairs looking down to see; and whenher door opens we'll begin to sing, 'Lo,the conquering hero.' You'll be aboutthe parlour-door, and just then you willwant something up-stairs."Annie St. John, from her low seat bythe fire, heard part of this dialogue; toomuch for her comfort. Some words andsentences were spoken so low as not toS2
36 The Two School-girls.reach her; but from the rest she gatheredtoo surely that some mischief was in thetalk, and even what was the nature,though not the whole particulars, of themischief intended. It troubled her griev-ously. For a moment she had a thoughtof going to the girls to implore them tothink better of what they were about;then she recollected that by her own latepassion and rash words she had lost thepower to speak to them with any chanceof doing good. They would not listen toher, and would silence her with abuse.Annie did not feel that she would mindthat now, if she could do anything bybraving it; her passion was long agogone; but so was her opportunity. Sheknew it; and grieved to the heart, with agrief that seemed to become more bitterthe more she thought about it, she slowlywent away out of the room." Oh shame, shame, shame !" shethought to herself as her foot went heavilyup the stairs,-that I, who have promised
Mischief. 37to follow Jesus, should give way so!How came I to do it just then ? I haveborne as much, or nearly as much, before,without feeling so. What a wicked,naughty, obstinate heart mine is to bearso little for Jesus' sake. And now I havedishonoured His name before those girls;they will think, and why shouldn't they?that religion isn't anything real, and thatpretending to love Christ is a sham, andnothing in it. They will think less ofreligion, and be less likely to becomeChristians themselves, because they haveseen me act so to-day. And why shouldn'tthey? I have done harm to the honourand service of the Lord among them.-Oh what shall I do How can I mendit ?"Annie went to her corner of the house,and hid herself in a book-closet where sheused to go for an undisturbed place topray. She sat down on the floor, andcried and sobbed her little heart out. Atlast she came sorrowfully to the conclu-
38 The Two School-girls.sion that the evil she had done was done,and could not be undone, and that onlythe great King whose cause she had hurt,could repair the hurt. Annie crept toHis feet and laid her sore trouble beforeHim, and prayed to be forgiven, and thatHe would keep her from falling intotemptation, and teach her the way sheshould go to please and honour Him. Itwas a long while she was in her book-closet; and when she came out she knewthat her eyes were swollen, and she didnot like to go down among the rest of thefamily. She turned up the gas and satdown to get her Latin lesson."Annie St. John! there you are !" saida pleasant voice, and Annie looked up andsaw Miss Morley. " Why were you not attea? Mrs. Borrow wants to see you inher study."With a great pain at her heart Anniewont down-stairs. Miss Morley! and theevil those girls were plotting against her!She knew not exactly what form it had
Mischief. 39taken, but the tone and expression ofsome words that reached her had madeher sure it was a form of real purpose,and " to-morrow evening " she had heardtoo, in a way that fixed the point of time.What could she do? Successful or un-successful, how dreadful it would be SoAnnie went down to the study. "If itwere only mother !" thought her littleheart, as she got to the door-" then Icould ask her what to do."Mrs. Borrow was there alone, in thebright light of gas and fire, surroundedwith papers and books. She asked firstwhether Annie was well, and then whyshe had not been at tea. Annie hesitated,and her governess waited." I couldn't come at tea-time, Mrs.Borrow, and I didn't like to come after-ward. I was studying my lesson forMr. Shelf when Miss Morley found me."" What were you doing at tea-time ?"S Annie hesitated, and her lip trembled;out it came:
40 The Two School-girls."I had been doing wrong, ma'am,and I was troubled-I couldn't comedown.""Doing wrong, Annie What wronghave you done, my child ? Will you tellme?""I got angry, Mrs. Borrow, and spokeas I ought not to have spoken." Annielooked very sorrowful." Got angry,.Annie How came that?Come here and let me know about it."Then Annie burst into tears. " I wasvexed, Mrs. Borrow, at some words Iheard the girls say; and I was proudand impatient, and I spoke very badly."Annie wept silently with her face covered,and she did not see how much sympathyand sorrow too was in Mrs. Borrow's facefor her."Annie, I am sorry to hear that.Come here-" and she passed her armround the child, and drew her to herside,-" how came you to fall intotemptation ?"
Mischief. 41"I don't know, ma'am," sobbedAnnie."I have seen you bear disagreeablethings before; how came it that youfailed to-night? ""I don't know, Mrs. Borrow.""Shall I tell you?"" Yes, ma'am.""You forgot that you are just a poorweak little child, with no power of yourown to do anything good, and you lookedaway a little from the Lord Jesus, andwere not depending on His hand to holdyou. Was not that it, Annie? " whis-pered Mrs. Borrow; "you were not'poor in spirit' just then."The child sobbed softly."You have asked the Lord to forgiveyou?"" Yes, ma'am."" You have prayed Him to keep youby His grace from doing so again? "" Oh yes, ma'am ""You know He hears prayer, Annie.
42 The Two School-girls.He will forgive and keep you, if youtrust Him.""But, Mrs. Borrow," said Annie,lifting up her head and stopping hertears, "I have done harm-I have doneharm by my anger and words."" To the girls ? ""Yes, ma'am. They will think-you know what they will think, Mrs.Borrow."" Yes, I know. You can't help that,Annie. We cannot forget ourselves andforget our Master without dishonouringHim and doing harm to His cause.That is a bitter part of our punish-ment."" But, Mrs. Borrow," said Annie, look-ing distressed, " can't I do anything ?-can't I do anything to make it better?to take away the bad I've done? ""You can ask forgiveness of anyone you wronged by your words. Thatshows you repent of them.""I would have done that immediately,
Mischief. 43only I knew that just then they wouldnot hear me. Would it do any good,Mrs. Borrow, if I were to ask their for-giveness, and tell them I am sorry, to-morrow morning ?-before them all?"Mrs. Borrow thought a minute. "Didall hear you?"" No, ma'am-only four or five.""Then the others would not under-stand it. I think not, Annie. I thinkI would go only to those four or five.But I would go to them.""Yes, ma'am; I will."" And go asking the Lord to help you;for they may not receive your apologygraciously, and you must not dishonourHis name again, Annie."Mrs. Borrow felt sure, from the hum-ble, gentle, sorrowful face that wasraised to bid her good night, that shehad no reason to fear on that scorejust then." What lesson is that you are study-ing ? "
44 The Two School-girls." My Latin verbs-for Mr. Shelf.""Does that lesson come early to-morrow? Is it ready ? ""Yes, ma'am, it comes early. It isnot ready yet."" Sit down here if you like, in thatwarm corner, and study. I shall not dis-turb you, and you will not disturb me.Have you had anything to eat, Annie ? "" No, ma'am-I don't want anything."And Annie very gratefully and verygladly put herself down in the corner,to study her lesson; knowing that shewas safe there from discovery as frominterruption: none of the girls came tothat room unless sent for. And Mrs.Borrow, seeing that she looked pale, pre-sently gave her an apple and a piece ofsponge-cake, only bidding her take careof the crumbs. And there is no denyingthat studying went easier after that.But as Annie studied and ate her appleand nibbled her sponge-cake, every nowand then came the thought of Miss
Mischief. 45Morley and some trouble preparing forto-morrow evening. She did not knowhow to do anything either to preventor to warn that lady of the mischiefintended for her.i
46 The Two Sehool-girls.CHAPTER III.MISS MORLEY'S CAP.ANNIE watched the next morning witha beating heart for what was to comebefore breakfast. After prayers Mrs.Borrow called all the girls to order, andarranged them in one room together.Herself and Miss Morley were seated intwo arm-chairs on each side of the fold-ing-doors."Now, Miss Shaler."Annie Shaler looked very black; butnevertheless at the summons she rosefrom her seat and stepped forward. If ithad depended on her own will, she felt asif to get out words of apology to AnnieSt. John would have been an impossi-bility; but it was not left to her choice.A form of words had been prescribes byher governess, which she was obliged touse; so, looking exceeding gloomy and
Miss Morley's Cap. 47uncomfortable, and with-pride evidentlystruggling, she spoke without lifting hereyes from the floor-"I ask pardon of Miss St. John forhaving behaved impolitely to her in classyesterday."Annie St. John felt a longing desire tospring forward and make her own morehumble apology, for wrong more deeplyfelt; but it was no time. Annie Shalerhad turned towards Miss Morley and wasbeginning to speak."Come forward- come near, MissShaler," said Mrs. Borrow; "you cannotspeak to Miss Morley civilly from such adistance. Come near, that she may hearyou."Annie Shaler advanced through theroom, a quick angry flush crossing herface, and stood before her governesses." I ask forgiveness of Miss Morley forhaving answered her rudely and dis-obeyed her orders in class yesterday.Please, ma'am, forgive me."
48 The Two School-girls.The words were spoken with great dif-ficulty and unwillingness; but at MissMorley's answer-" I do with pleasure,my dear "-and as Annie Shaler turnedto go back to her seat, her face lookedblack with pride and fury. No wonderthat when she sat down she hung herhead also; she was conscious it was notfit to meet Mrs. Borrow's eye. AnnieSt. John felt there was a thunder-stormin the air.But breakfast immediately came, andafter breakfast the duties of the daybegan their course-a course which leftno minute unfilled. Dinner-time came,and what with walking, and studying,and reciting, and practising, Annie hadnot had the least chance to speak to heroffended schoolmates. It lay on herheart till it was done. At the table shestole a look, as she could now and then,toward Janet and Mary, and Annie andEllen, to see what was the prospect forthe evening. Bad; she saw it was bad.
Miss Morley's Cap. 49She could not tell how she saw it; therewas something in the quiet, busy airwith which they were all four eating theirdinner, not talking and laughing, butwith an occasional grave meeting of eyestogether, which told Annie's heart asplainly as possible that the mischief wasgoing on. Annie never knew how herown dinner tasted that day." Young ladies," said Mrs. Borrow,before they rose from table, "I hope tosee a friend here at tea-a lady, to whomI shall be happy to introduce you. Ateight o'clock I shall expect you to be inthe parlour."The dinner had been late that day, andAnnie knew there wasn't much time; andshe had her English grammar lesson tostudy. It was always a hard lesson toAnnie; so after dinner she went at itpellmell. So hard she studied that shealmost forgot about everything else; butwhen Annie knew that her rules andparsing were all right and ready, and sheE
50 The Two School-girls.got up to dress, the thought of what wascoming fell like a blow upon her.She was in a great hurry to be dressedand downstairs as soon as possible, thatshe might watch against evil, and, if shehad the least chance, do something toavert it. Annie's dressing was a simpleaffair. Her mother was poor, and shehad no fine things to put on. Her bestdress now for the evening was a whitecambric muslin, with a sash of red rib-bon. It was very plain, and lookedproper and neat. Annie saw that herhair was brushed into beautiful order,and her shoes and stockings all right;then her frock and her sash were soonput on, and she ran downstairs. It wasnear eight o'clock already.Annie went eagerly through the roomsto see if Miss Morley,were there. Butshe was not. Mrs. Borrow was there,with her friends-the two ladies who hadcome to pass the evening with her; andshe presented Annie to them. They
Miss Morley's Cap. 51were pleasant and kind-spoken, and fora minute or two, while talking to them,Annie forgot again what was on hermind; but the moment they let her goshe ran off to see who was come down-stairs.There were several of the girls, thatwas all. Round the door opening intothe hall, which stood open, were AnnieShaler, Ellen Morris, and Mary Dawson,lounging and talking, half in and halfout the door. "Now is my time,"thought Annie St. John; so she went upto them. They might answer her dis-agreeably, but she did not mind. Shewould do what she could to mend themischief her anger had done."Annie Shaler-and Ellen, and Mary,"she said humbly, " I spoke to you veryimproperly last night-I am very sorry.Will you forgive me, and forget it ?"Annie Shaler turned away and tookno notice. Ellen and Mary looked withindifference at the little apologist.z 2
52 The Two School-girls." What's the use?" said Ellen; "you'lldo just the same thing another time.You aint any better than other folks.""I don't care what you do," said Mary,more carelessly. " You haven't offendedme, child."Annie St. John drew back. She haddone what she could. She stood near, tosee what would be next. The girls werecoming down and coming in constantly;but the three kept their places by thedoor, rather watching the staircase. Ithad struck eight."Miss Morley is behind time," re-marked Mary."Yes," said Ellen, "that is my fault.I took the opportunity after dinner toask her to explain to me those rules asshe had promised, and I kept her solong that she hasn't had time to puton her cap. It was what Mrs. Borrowwould call' inconsiderate' in me, wasn'tit?"The eyes met; there was no laughing,
Miss Morley's Cap. 53but Annie St. John's heart beat. Whatcould they mean ?" Do you know where Miss Morley is ?"said Mrs. Borrow, coming to the door."I suppose she is dressing, ma'am.She hasn't come down.""Go up to her room, Mary, and askher if she is ready. Tell her it is pasteight o'clock.""Good !" whispered Mary, as Mrs.Borrow's back was turned; and she ranupstairs. Hardly knowing why, AnnieSt. John also came to the door, unnoticedby the other two, who were watching thestairs. The rest of the family were allin the parlour. There was a minute ofbreathless expectation. They heardMary's knock at Miss Morley's door-after a little, they heard the door openand steps coming. The steps stopped."What's all this ?" said the voice ofMiss Morley. "The lights are gone out!Susan! come and light this gas; where'sSusan ?"
54 The Two School-girls.Susan was not at hand, it seemed, andthe steps came on again. Just then aclear, shrill voice upstairs struck up theair, "Lo, the conquering hero comes !"Annie Shaler started and ran half-wayup the stairs, where, as agreed, sheplumped down to tie her shoe, in themiddle of the flight. Miss Morley wasjust above her."Who put out the gaslights, AnnieShaler ?" she asked.Annie St. John never could rememberwhat she saw next. She did not seehow, from the darkened hall above, thepole with the hook was stealthily letdown upon Miss Morley's devoted cap.Nothing was easier than to capture it,for it was very light and gauzy; andeven the fact that it was pinned to MissMorley's head did not save it. The hookhad taken fast hold. But in drawing itup, a hasty motion swung the gauze andlace over one of the hall burners, and inan instant it was all a wreath of flame.
Miss Morley's Cap. 55Janet, who held the pole, lost her presenceof mind; she dropped the pole, she knewnot where, and ran off. The next thingwas a succession of shrieks, more andmore violent, which brought all thepeople in the parlours out of them andto the spot immediately.It was not Miss Morley on whom thepunishment had fallen. The instant shefelt the cap leave her head she had startedback, unwilling to face anybody in thatdisordered condition. For that momentthe pole hung suspended in Janet's hand;then it fell, cap and all blazing, on AnnieShaler, who was still crouching at hershoe and had not dared look up. Thepole happily missed her head, but lodgedthe burning cap well in the folds of herlight dress. It fired instantly, and theterrified child rushed first upstairs andthen downstairs, wild with fright andpain. At the bottom of the stairs shewas forcibly caught by Mrs. Borrow, whothrew her down on the floor and muffled
56 The Two School-girls.the flames with all the mats and rugswhich lay in the hall. It saved AnnieShaler's life; but before this was donethere was another cry from the stairs,echoed by a shout from all the people inthe hall,-" Oh, there's another one onfire "It was Annie St. John. She had beenthe first one from below who saw theblazing cap. As it fell, she had instinct-ively run up to save her namesake fromthe danger she saw descending on her;but, too late for that, she was in timeto get on fire herself, whether from theburning gauze which she had beentrying to extinguish, or from AnnieShaler's frock as she rushed past herin her delirious flight down the stairs,could never be known. But the whitecambric had caught the flame, andeverybody was so busy with AnnieShaler that it was some time before itwas known that help was wanted inanother quarter.
Miss Morley's Cap. 57Annie St. John was very badly burned.Her screams, poor child, had been takenfor screams of sympathy or fear on AnnieShaler's account; and she was past speecLwhen Mrs. Borrow, horrified, came toher. Annie Shaler had not ceased tocry, "Oh, I am killed! I am killed!Send for my father send for mymother! Send for them! send forthem "" What shall I do !" exclaimed Mrs.Borrow. "Stephen !-somebody sendStephen for Dr. Mansfield directly."And herself took the helpless form oflittle Annie in her arms, and carried herup the rest of the flight of stairs andinto the first room. She had extin-guished the fire, but not before she had.seen that the child's hurts must be veryserious. She laid Annie on a bed, andthen went back to Annie Shaler, andwith help brought her up and laid her onan opposite bed. All the girls, with theservants, and Mrs. Borrow's friends, had
58 The Two School-girls.followed and trooped into the room withher." Have you got cotton batting ?" saidone of the ladies; "cotton batting andsweet oil. Put that on, my dear."" Treacle is good, Mrs. Borrow," saidMiss Morley, "poured right on, withoutwaiting a minute. Shall I get some?"" All of you girls leave the room," saidthe governess. "Go downstairs to theparlour. And all of the servants go,except Jane and Patience.""Flour's good, mum," said the cook,anxiously,-" wheat flour, clapped righton,-it stops the smart wonderful, andtakes out the fire. Will I bring some upto you ?""No, Jane will bring it. Go, Jane-and the treacle and oil. Patience, youknow where to look for cotton batting.Go, girls, and be quick."While they went, Mrs. Borrow pro-ceeded, with the help of her two friends,to undress the two little sufferers, They
Miss Morley's Cap. 59found Annie Shaler much hurt and invery great pain; but Annie St. John wasin a dangerous condition: the skin cameaway in many places with her clothes.In sorrowful distress Mrs. Borrow waitedfor the doctor.He came at last; but he gave nocomfort beyond what his services gave.He dressed the burns, and Mrs. Borrowwas left with directions what to do. Sheand her two friends-nobody else wasallowed to be in the room. Miss Morleyshe had sent downstairs to keep order.Annie Shaler had been silent, onlygroaning or crying, while the doctor wasthere and attending to her. When hewas gone, and all had been done thatcould be done at the moment, and thetwo ladies had sat down in silence bythe two bedsides, Annie Shaler turnedand fixed her eyes on Mrs. Borrow.They looked as if they were asking aquestion."Do you feel easier, my dear ?" said
60 The Two School-girls.the lady tenderly, noticing the look.Annie's words startled her." Am I going to die ?" she said."No, my dear, I hope not. Do youfeel easier at all, my poor child ? ""You hope not ?" gasped Annie."You are not sure ?""There is no occasion for you to dis-tress yourself, my dear Annie. You arebadly hurt, but I see no reason to fearthat you will not get over it well, in goodtime. You must try and be patient."" You are not sure ? " repeated Annie."Nobody is sure of anything in thefuture, my dear-God has that in Hishand. But there is no cause for you todistress yourself. I think and hope youwill do very well."She spoke very quietly. But the longdeep-drawn breath with which the girlturned away her head, pierced Mrs.Borrow's heart, as it seemed to comefrom the very bottom of Annie's. Shesat thinking what she could say. Annie
Miss Morley's Cap. 61had always seemed like a child that fearcould not cross; proudly satisfied withherself and her deservings. What was inher mind now? Mrs. Borrow was afraidto say anything, for fear of getting herinto a more excited state. Yet sleep wasimpossible, so long as the pain of herburns continued so severe; and Annie'squick, labouring breath told that it washard to bear. Was it the pain of herburns only? Mrs. Borrow wondered; andher heart ached."Are you suffering very much, mydear? " she asked softly, bending overthe child. An inarticulate groan of painanswered her."It is very hard to bear, dear Annie !but it will not last always-that is onecomfort."" What will not last always? " the girlasked, quickly."The pain, I hope.""Is the danger over when the painbegins to go? "
62 The Two School-girls." I do not think the pain is necessarilyany evidence of danger at all, Annie. Alittle burn-comparatively-will give agreat deal of pain, where there is nosuch thing as danger."Again she was answered by that deep,unsatisfied breath from Annie. Mrs.Borrow sat down to think. Could shesay, " Trust in Jesus," to a child who hadalways scorned and rejected the notionthat she needed any goodness but herown ? If she had thought Annie Shalerreally in danger, nothing would havehindered her; but now she did not feelthat this was the time, at any rate, andshe remained silent. It was a weary,long night. Annie Shaler did not speakunless spoken to; and when Mrs. Borrowwent over from her to the other bed,where her friend kept watch, it wrungher heart to see that Annie St. John wasbeyond speech. She lay in a stupor,moaning now and then; and very doubt-ful Mrs. Borrow thought it whether she
Miss Morley's Cap. 63would ever speak again. She wished thetwo children had not been brought intothe same room; but she could not changethat now; and indeed she wanted bothof them under her eye all the time, andwould hardly let anybody else toucheither of the children to do anything forthem.So Mrs. Borrow and her friend watchedthrough the night; and Annie Shalerwatched too, in pain too great to let herclose her eyes. Often as Mrs. Borrowlooked to see if relief had come in sleep,she found Annie's eyes wide open, thered spot of excitement or pain on hercheek, her breath coming and goingshort and quick; and when once againtoward morning she ventured the ques-tion, "Are you any easier, my dear? "the answer was a short, " No don't askme." But when the dawning light beganto look grey at the windows, the hoped-for respite came. Either the applicationshad wrought comparative ease, or pain
64 The Two School-girls.was tired out. Annie Shaler slept. Mrs.Borrow went and stood by the other bed.There was no change there."Where is her mother?" said Mrs.Mackenzie, her friend, who sat by AnnieSt. John." In Boston. She is poor, and awidow; and lives by keeping aboarding-house there. She has rescuedAnnie from that by putting her withme."" Will you send for her ?"" She is ill at this moment-too ill tocome."Both ladies were silent."Where are the parents of the otherone ?""Travelling in Europe. Wealthypeople, with plenty of -means, and thisonly child."Again there was silence. The morninglight grew brighter and brighter at thewindows, but came cold and grey into theroom where the gaslights had bestowed
Miss Morley's Cap. 65their false cheerfulness. Annie Shalerslept on." What sort of a child is she?" whis-pered Mrs. Mackenzie, who had comeover with her friend to look at her."Fine, naturally; good abilities, goodand noble points of character; full ofenergy and fire. She would make anoble woman, if she took the right turn."" She is fine looking; but this onelooks good," said Mrs. Mackenzie, re-turning to the other bed. "Poor littlething!"Mrs. Borrow did not speak, as she sawthe pale, gentle face, where the long eye-lashes lay so sadly on the cheek, and hadnot been lifted up yet.The house woke up to its usual stir andbustle. Mrs. Mackenzie went down tobreakfast. Mrs. Borrow would not movetill the doctor arrived. At length hecame, and comforted her concerningAnnie Shaler; who, he said, there wasevery reason to hope, would do well. Sher
66 The Two School-girls.must be very carefully seen to, and keptquiet in mind and body. But at AnnieSt. John's bedside the doctor said nothing.Annie opened her eyes while they weredressing her burns: she closed themagain without speaking." How do you feel this morning?" saidthe doctor, as he noticed the movement.The eyes opened again for a moment, andthat was all the answer he got. Mrs.Borrow did not like the expression of hisface, and followed him out of the room."What is her condition, Dr. Mans-field ?"" Doubtful."" You think so ?"" No doubt of it," said the doctor."'There's no telling-she may get up.The other one will, I think, with care.Good morning!"Mrs. Borrow went back with a heavyheart, and stood by the bed; resolvingthat whatever was possible to the utmostof good nursing, with the blessing of
Miss Morley's Cap. 67Heaven, Annie St. John should have.She was called by a voice from the otherbed."Mrs. Borrow," said Annie Shaler,looking at her with sharp, watchful eyes,"what does the doctor say about me?"" He thinks you will do well, my dear,"Mrs. Borrow answered, cheerfully." What did he say about me out in thehall ?""He said that. He said he thoughtyou would do well, with care -whichyou shall have, Annie.""What else did he say ?""Nothing, about you. Why do youask, my dear ?"" But why did you go out with him toask about me, Mrs. Borrow ?"It was very unwonted for Mrs. Borrowto be questioned thus by any one of herpupils, and as strange from Annie Shaler'smouth as from almost any other. ButMrs. Borrow saw the power of feeling inthe girl's mind which made her overleap]2
68 The Two School-girls.all usual bounds; and passing it by, shesimply answered, "I did not go to askabout you, Annie. I went to ask aboutAnnie St. John.""Is she worse than I ?""Yes.""Annie looked in Mrs. Borrow's facefor a moment, then turned away with aheavy sigh." What is the matter, Annie ? Whattroubles you?" asked her governess,gently."I am in pain enough," said Annie."Is that all, my dear?"This question got no answer. Annielay still and kept her tongue still; onlyafter a minute she said, "I wish motherwas here !" It was a wish so impossibleto answer, that Mrs. Borrow drew backand did not attempt it. Annie's confi-dence could not be forced. She mustwait for it.
In Trouble.CHAPTER IV.IN TROUBLE.Mus. BonRow waited and watched theweary length of the next day, with nocomfort from either child. Annie St.John lay in the same state, and the doctorwas ominously silent and gloomy abouther. Mrs. Borrow read quite enough inhis face; she did not have courage to askany questions. Even over Annie Shalershe fancied the doctor looked less brightthan at first, or was more anxiously par-ticular. Annie Shaler did not talk muchmore than her poor little neighbour; butMrs. Borrow saw that she used her eyesas eagerly as ever, both upon Dr. Mans-field and herself, and that the child wasin distress more than from the pain of herburns. But Annie would not talk aboutit. She said almost nothing. So the day
70 The Two School-girls.passed, and the second night; but duringthe second night Mrs. Borrow thought shesaw signs of mending. When the doctorcame in the second morning he said sotoo." Ah, yes !" said he-" here's a bettercolour to things. This is hopeful. Ishouldn't wonder, now, if she could speak,if she had the heart. It's pretty severefor a little one," went on the doctor, ashe was attending to one of the burns,which was a terrible one, on Annie St.John's side. As he spoke, the mute lipsparted with a sigh, but then the lipsstopped and closed again, unable to arti-culate. "Now let us see to the other,"continued he, going over to Annie Sha-ler's bedside, and he made careful andgentle examination of her condition." Getting along very well, my child,-getting along very well. You feel betterto-day, don't you? Keep quiet and bepatient -you haven't either of you hurtyour face-that's a blessing. You've got
In Trouble. 71good nursing, and I have no doubt you'llbe up again by-and-by. But, Mrs. Bor-row, I wouldn't let either of them go toclass-meeting just yet awhile."With a heart too full of thankfulnessto speak, Mrs. Borrow followed thedoctor out."That one's not doing as well as Iexpected," he remarked."Is she not ?" exclaimed Mrs. Borrow."What can I do for her ? ""Nothing,-nothing,-just go on asyou are. I trust she'll eventually comeround all right."So the doctor went; but Annie Shaler'skeen ears had caught his first words.Mrs. Borrow found her restless and un-easy evidently, all day long; but shecould win her to no free speech as towhat was the matter. Annie St. Johnwas decidedly better, and mended allthat day.At evening Mrs. Borrow, who haduntil then scarcely left the sick room,
72 The Two School-girls.went downstairs to see to some needfulbusiness. Coming back in half an hour,she stepped in softly and sat down atthe foot of Annie St. John's bed, thatshe might not disturb the children, ifthey were asleep. Mrs. Mackenzie leftthe room at the same time, and AnnieShaler could not see Mrs. Borrow, whowas hidden from her by the bed curtains.For a time, there was deep silence; onlythe gentle breathing of the childrenand the slight, soft nois, of the fire inthe grate. At last Annie Shaler spoke,cautiously and eagerly:-" Annie St. John ? ""What?" said little Annie's weakvoice.There was silence again for someminutes, before the first speaker wasready to go on. Then she venturedagain :-" Annie ""What ? " said Annie St. John." Aren't you tired, lying there ?"
In Trouble. 73" Yes, a little.""Does it hurt you much ? ""Yes, a good deal."Annie, how soon do you supposeyou'll be up again ?""I don't know," said Annie St. John,after a slight pause. "I think,-perhapsnever."" Oh, Annie! " said the other, in achanged tone, " do you think that ?""I have thought so," said Annie St.John. "I think it is very likely.""What makes you think so? ""I don't know-I feel as if it wasvery likely.""Annie- " (a long pause,) "Areyou afraid? "" Of what ? "" Of that,-of not getting up again ?"" No," said Annie St. John; "I amnot afraid.""But, Annie !-do you mean what Imean, when I speak of not getting upagain? "
74 The Two School-girls."I mean dying," said Annie St. John."I think it is very likely I shall die."" And you are not afraid? ""No. Why should I be? I can't beafraid."" Oh, Annie!" said the other, halfraising herself on her elbow, though thepain made her fall back again, " do tellme how you can be not afraid.""Why, Annie, if I die, it will bebecause Jesus will take me; and I amnot afraid to go to Him.""But how can you not be afraid ? Idon't understand." There was a tremu-lous eagerness in Annie Shaler's voice.It contrasted with the tones of the other,which were faint and low, but quiet andpeaceful as a bird."I love the Lord Jesus," was theanswer, " and I know He loves me. Icannot be afraid of what He will do.""But what makes you love Him? "asked the other, restlessly; "what makesyou feel different from what I do ?"
In Trouble. 75"He is my Saviour," answered littleAnnie. "He died upon the cross tosave me, and I know He will do it. AndI love Him for that, and for everythingelse.""Well, won't He save everybody? ""Oh, no Haven't you read the Bible,Annie Shaler? He says: 'Him thatcometh to Me I will in no wise cast out'-but you must come to Him."" What do you mean ? I don't under-stand what you mean by coming to Him.How can I? "Annie lay still a little while, and Mrs.Borrow questioned with herself whethershe ought not to interrupt the conver-sation; and yet she dared not. If thetroubled child would speak but to herlittle companion, and hear truth but fromher, Mrs. Borrow could not stop themjust then." How can I ?" repeated AnnieShaler. Mrs. Borrow was surprised atthe answer.
76 The Two School-girls."When you want what He has togive, then you'll know how to come toHim.""What has He to give ? " was askedalmost impatiently." Forgiveness," said little Annie,-"when we know that we have sinnedagainst Him and are willing to sin nomore. He will forgive us, because Hedied to buy our pardons. That is onething.""Do you think He has forgivenyou ?"" I know He has," said little Annie." How can you know ? ""Because I love Him and trust inHim, Annie Shaler; and He has pro-mised.""What?"There was no answer." What has He promised ? ""He has promised, that whoever be-lieves on Him shall never be ashamed.I am tired just now, Annie Shaler."
Ia T.,.'.,, 77"But, Annie !" said the other, "oneword more I want you to tell me. Whydo you feel differently from me ? haven'tI been as good and done my duty as wellas you ? ""I am not good at all," said littleAnnie, wearily,-" but I trust in Jesus."And almost with the words her wearinesswas lost in sleep.There was stillness in the roomthen; only Mrs. Borrow could hear thestifled impatience or suffering of thebreath that Annie Shaler drew as sheturned upon her pillow. "Blessed arethe poor in spirit," thought Mrs. Borrow," for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."She sat still for a long time after, think-ing about the two children, and whatwas her best course with one of them.All the next day she could see thatAnnie Shaler's mind was busy; her eyeswere restlessly looking into something,or showed that her thoughts were; butif Mrs. Borrow spoke to her she could
78 The Two School-girls.get nothing but a word of answer, shortand reserved."Do you feel more easy to-day,Annie ? ""Yes, ma'am-a little.""What can I do for you to rest yourthoughts ?-anything ?"" No, ma'am."" Shall I bring something and read toyou? "Mrs. Borrow hoped that "yes" wouldhave been the answer; but, after asecond's hesitation, there was a decided", No, ma'am," which stopped her efforts.Annie must be left to herself.Mrs. Borrow was comforted in thecourse of the day by seeing that bothher patients were easier and stronger;and at evening she ventured to leave theroom a while, though Mrs. Mackenziewas not there. Her presence was neededdownstairs, and the two children hadjust had what refreshment they couldtake, and wanted no care just then. Their
In Trouble. 79poor little faces looked brighter andbetter, each on its pillow, than she hadseen them yet. One pair of eyes watchedher going eagerly."Is she gone?" Annie Shaler said,after a minute or two of silence. Shelay where the curtains of the other bedhindered the door from being seen."Yes," answered Annie St. John." You are sure ?"" I heard her go downstairs.""Annie, can you talk a little ? "" Oh yes," was the answer, less feeblyand wearily given than the eveningbefore." Annie, I want to know why you andI feel so differently ?""About what? " said the gentle voicefrom the other bed." I want to know why I feel afraid andyou don't ?" It was said with a littledifficulty, but out it came." I am not afraid, because I trust inJesus. I can't be afraid, because I know
8o The Two School-girls.He has forgiven me, and He will takecare of me. I can't be afraid."" You mean, you think He will makeyou well ?"" Oh no I don't know about that. Ithought I shouldn't get well; but He'lldo what is best.""But why do we feel so differently ? "said Annie Shaler, with pain in her voice."I don't feel so. And Annie, I don'tsee 'but I have been as good as youhave."" Oh, it isn't that! " said little Annie." I am not good. It is'nt that. I haveno goodness at all.""Why, yes, you have," said the other."Why do you say so? You know youhave been one of the very best girls inschool, and nobody could find the leastfault with you. You were never cross,or disobedient, or careless about yourlessons, or did anything wrong. Butthen, I didn't, either.""Oh, but Annie, it isn't that," said
In Trouble. 81Annie St. John. "You don't under-stand. God wants us to love Him; andif we don't give Him that, He don'tcare what else we do. And my heartnever loved Him, nor did anything toplease Him, till He helped me andtaught me. So that if I have anygoodness now, it is His goodness. Ishould do wrong every minute, if Hedidn't help me."" Well, why aren't you afraid, then ?"" I have trusted in Jesus," said Annie,folding her hands and looking happy,"-and I know He will wash away allmy sins in His blood.""I don't understand you a bit! " saidthe other, impatiently." I am sorry," said little Annie."But why don't I?""I guess it's because you think you'regood," said Annie."What has that to do with it? andhow can I help it ?""I don't know how you can help it. I
82 The Two School-girls.wish you'd ask Mrs. Borrow. She couldtell you better."" I won't ask Mrs. Borrow. 'd rathertalk to you about it. What has that todo with it, Annie ?""Because, if you are good, you don'twant a Saviour, Annie Shaler. Butwhen you know that you haven't a bit ofgoodness, and are miserable and good fornothing and lost, then you'll understandwhat Jesus has done for you."" What has He done?""Why, Annie Shaler, don't youknow ?""I don't know. Maybe I do. I wantyou to tell me."" That was what 'He died for upon thecross; that your sins, and mine, andeverybody's sins might be forgiven. Iget so tired talking, Annie Shaler "" One word more. What had Hisdying to do with that?""Because," said Annie, "the Bibl
In Trouble. 83says, the wages of sin is death;' andJesus took our wages for us. Whenyou know you're a sinner, you'll be gladof it, Annie Shaler. I am. I hope youwill be."Annie's words grew fainter and fainter,and Annie Shaler knew that fatigue inher weak state had brought on drow-siness again. She was forced to ceaseher questioning ; but Mrs. Borrow wasso struck, when she came upstairs,with the girl's eager, thoughtful, anxiouseyes, that she could not help makinganother attempt to win her confi-dence."How do you feel to-night, Annie ?""Better, ma'am.""What are you thinking about sobusily, my dear?"Annie started a little, but answered,"One must be thinking of some-thing.""And you will not tell me what it isG2
84 The Two School-girls.that occupies you? Can't you make afriend of me, Annie ? ""Yes, ma'am-but-I don't want totalk about anything in particular."Mrs. Borrow was silenced.
The Little Swiss Cottage. 85CHAPTER V.THE LITTLE SWISS COTTAGE.ONE or two days more passed, and ithappened that the children had nofurther opportunity of talking alone.Both were mending fast; and the doctorno longer looked gloomily even overAnnie St. John, though he still recom-mended keeping her quiet. The chil-dren had not yet, either of them, beenable to leave their beds. Just at dusk,in the evening of the second day, Mrs.Borrow, who had been out of the roomfor some time, came back, and calledJane to light the gas." Then she cameup to the side of Annie Shaler's bed,and stood looking at her."Who do you think is downstairs,-and wants- to see you?" she said,slowly.
86 The Two School-girls.There must have been more light inMrs. Borrow's face than she was awareof, for she had meant to make her com-munication very gradually, or else thewant of the girl's heart sharpened herapprehension; for with a shriek of joyand eagerness that rang through theroom, she cried out, "My mother !-mymother!"" Hush " said Mrs. Borrow. "Whatmade you think I meant your mother? "" I know it! I know it! Where isshe? Let her come up "" Be quiet," said Mrs. Borrow; " don'texcite yourself. Now if you will com-mand yourself and be very quiet, I willbring her to you."Quiet! The start and the spring withwhich Annie Shaler threw her armsaround her mother's neck were the fitprelude to the burst of sobs that fol-lowed,-tumultuous, convulsive. Mrs.Shaler looked shocked at Mrs. Borrow,as the tight clasp of the arms around her
The Little Swiss Cottage. 87neck, and the throbbing of the breastthat lay upon hers, told of the degree inwhich the want of that resting-place hadbeen felt."Oh mother how did you come ? "Mrs. Shaler could hardly speak. Shekissed Annie, and embraced her, and herlips trembled very much." How came you here, dear mother ?""We were obliged to come, my dear,suddenly. I did not know that I hadtwo reasons for coming."They remained still a little while ineach other's arms."And how is she now?" said themother at length, looking to Mrs.Borrow."Doing nicely," said Mrs. Borrow,quietly. "She will be up again, wehope, in a day or two now.""My poor darling !" said Mrs. Shaler."How did it happen, Annie ?""I'll tell you another time, mamma.Oh, mamma!-"
88 The Two School-girls.Something had started anew Annie'ssense of relief in her mother's presence.Her exclamation testified to it." Suppose I send you your tea," saidMrs. Borrow, " and you can take it withyour mother.""Yes, do, and send me some too, ifyou please, Mrs. Borrow," added Mrs.Shaler. " I should like mine best here-if you will be so good."" Certainly," Mrs. Borrow said; andwas turning away, when her eye fell onAnnie St. John. Annie was lying quitestill, but by the bright light of the gas-burners Mrs. Borrow saw the glitter oftears under each closed eyelid. She bentover the bed and spoke the child's namesoftly.The eyelids unclosed and showed Mrs.Borrow the eyes swimming. "Annie !"she whispered again. The child turnedover from her, and put her hands to herface, and Mrs. Borrow saw that the tearswere coming fast. She leaned down yet
The Little Swiss Cottage. 89nearer, and put her hand upon one ofthose that were trying to cover the tears." Annie," she whispered, "I will be thebest mother I can to you, my child."Annie clasped her hand fast. " I knowjust how you feel; I know how it is.You know your mother would have beenwith you, only the Lord did not let hercome. Maybe it was because He wantedyou to trust Him the more.""Yes, ma'am," said little Annie. "Iknow-and I am very happy, and I dotrust Him-only-"Mrs. Borrow softly kissed her, andwent down to order the tea. Motherand daughter at the other side of theroom were too busy with each other tonotice anything that had passed betweenMrs. Borrow and Annie St. John. Theyhardly remembered anybody else wasthere.The tea came, and Annie Shaler wasbolstered up in the bed to enjoy it."I have got a box full of pretty things
90 The Two School-girls.for you, Annie," said Mrs. Shaler." They will come just in the right timenow, will they not? my poor darling!And you have suffered terribly, have younot ? Your face is quite thin !"Annie looked up gratefully from underthe hand with which her mother was-caressing her brow; but there was theshadow of trouble in her face too. Itwas trouble that her mother did notknow of, and trouble that was not gone." Yes, mamma, it was very bad for aday or two.""And how happened it, Annie ?"" Oh, I'll tell you some other time,mamma. What are those things in the"box you have brought for me?""All sorts of things; pretty things thatyour father and I picked up in almostevery place we came to. We pickedthem up for you, and they were regularlystowed away in what we called 'Annie's"box."" Picked up? how, mamma?'*
The Little Swiss Cottage. 91" Why, in the shops," said Mrs. Shaler,laughing, "and from people selling inthe streets. They are not such thingsas grow in the ground or lie upon it.Some of those I got for myself, andyou would value them one day; but notnow."" Where is the box, mamma?"" In the Custom-house, I suppose, oron the way to it. You must wait a dayor two."It did not come before Mrs. Shaler wasobliged to leave her daughter again. Shecould do it, for Annie was now almostwell enough to get up; and she must doit, for her own mother, to attend whosesick-bed she had been summoned acrossthe sea, called for her presence. So Mrs.Shaler stayed with Annie but one entireday, while her husband attended to somenecessary business. During that dayAnnie had hardly a chance to speak toher mother of that which lay upon hermind; for somehow, though she would
92 The Two School-girls.speak with Annie St. John alone, shewould not talk to her mother in AnnieSt. John's hearing. All day she watchedfor a chance, and seized it at evening,when nobody else was there, and AnnieSt. John had fallen asleep. It was dusk,and the gas not lit yet. Annie wassitting up in bed with her head lying onher mother's breast." I wanted you dreadfully a while ago,dear mamma," she said, softly." My poor Annie And I was on thesea, never dreaming that you wanted meso.""It wasn't merely because of thepain," Annie went on; "Mrs. Borrowtook good care of me;-but,-I wasafraid, mamma.""Afraid of what ?"" Mamma, my burns were so bad, andI felt so badly, I thought perhaps Ishouldn't get over it."" My dear child," said her mother, ten-derly, "you were in no danger. Mrs.
The Little Swiss Cottage. 93Borrow tells me the doctor was notalarmed about your case at any time.""Yes, mamma; but then, you know, Icouldn't know that.""Well, Annie, what had you to beafraid of? even if it had been so, as youfeared ?"" I was afraid, mamma."" And why, my dear ? of what ?""I was afraid-I didn't feel ready-todie, mamma."" My dear, you were nervous-that isnot uncommon. That was all the trouble.Mrs. Borrow ought to have given yousomething quieting, something sedative.That was what you wanted.""But, mamma, I didn't feel readyto die; and that could not have beennervousness. I did not feel ready.""Willing, do you mean, my dear?that could not have been expected ofyou. Your life full of everything plea-sant, you could not have been expectedto wish to leave it."
94 The Two School-girls." No, mamma, that is not what I mean.I didn't feel ready-not fit.""Fit, my dear?"" Yes, mamma-not as if I was exactlywhat I ought to be. Mamma, I didn'tfeel safe." And Mrs. Shaler felt, by thetones of Annie's voice and her manner,that her words were more light than herthoughts on the subject." It must be some strange notions youhave got in your head in this house !" shesaid. " I have heard that Mrs. Borrow ispeculiar in her sentiments-but she hadno business to interfere with yours, and Ithought she was too much of a lady to doit. My dear Annie, who could be moreready than you, who have always beensuch a correct and good child? Whathave you to charge yourself with? Youhave always been all that your father andI have desired; Mrs. Borrow certainly canask no more."" It isn't Mrs. Borrow, mother." AndAnnie sighed, for her mother's words
The Little Swiss Cottage. 95somehow did not satisfy her. "I likeMrs. Borrow very well; she has beenvery kind; she hasn't said anything sheought not to say. But, mamma, if mygood life is all that is wanted, what haveI to do with the Saviour ?""Admire, and love Him, and imitateHis example, Annie. He came to set usan example of perfect living; and weought to copy it as much as we can."Her daughter was silent and uneasy ;.for she had a little latent feeling thather life had not been quite immaculate-alittle lurking fear that something mightbe needed to stand between her and thejustice of a just God. Annie saw thisvery dimly; she hardly saw it; she ratherfelt a want which her mother's words leftunfilled. They were both silent a fewminutes, Mrs. Shaler and her daughter."But, mother, little Annie St. Johnover there, she's asleep, who wasworse burned than I,-she was perfectlywilling, and felt quite ready and not afraid