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GATHERING WILD FLOWERS
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A SISTERS LOVCE
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BY THE AUTHOR OF0
"Til E STORY OF A HAPPY LITTLE IIL "
Only one thought, oneC po\vwer,
The love whose trust
Bears heaven-taught souls along,
So, t the teiuPes' hour,
Above the dust."
T. NELSON AND SONS, PATERNOSTER ROW;
EDINBURGH ; AND NEW YORK.
TO MY VERY DEAR LITTLE FRIEND,
)iten rances tc art
THIS STORY IS DEDICATED, WITH TIIE EARNEST HOPE AND PRAYER
THAT ISABEL'S SECRET MAY BE HERS.
SFrom a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise
unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
I. THE SISTERS' HOME, ... ... ... ... ... 9
II. CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS, ... ... ... 20
III. THE CHILDREN'S WALK, ... ... ... ... ... 36
IV. THE FIRST OF JULY, ... ... ... ... ... 53
V. ROSE IN THE CHAIR, ... ... ... ... ... 62
VI. THE REWARD OF VALOUR, ... ... ... ... 76
VII. A ROSY DAWN, ... .... .. ... 85
VIII. NELLY, ... ... .......... 101
IX. UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE, ... ... ... ... 122
X. ROSE'S SECRET, ...... ...... ... ... 137
XI. ISABEL'S EXCHANGE, ... ... ... ... ... 150
XII. LEAVING HOME, ... ... ... ........ 163
XIII. REAL, REAL COUNTRY, ... ..... ... ... 181
XIV. A KING AND KNIGHT, ..... .. .... .. 199
XV. AN INVITATION, ... ... .. ... ... ... 224
XVI. FAR AWAY FLOWERS, ... ... ... ... ... 241
XVII. ROSE S FIRST LETTER, ... ... ... ... 258
XVIII. GREATER LOVE, ... ...... ... ... 279
XIX. THE DAY-STAR ARISING, ... ... .. ... ... 290
XX. PATIENCE, ... ... .. ... .. ... 311
XXI. PEACE, ... ... ... ... ... 323
"-HIP Y-EI-G]E and five -Tlirfy-icriit
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.. . .eight...d fi,.r '., '. ?, f,
Un ^^^^ a beggar. Un oi7etin., an or-
pan. Une religiettse, a nun. S
y sum, and I've been trying ever so lon." The
THE SISTERS' HOME.
'Ivoie td, and TY-EIGHT and five Thirty-eight
Isabeld was ve! Isabel, what are thirty
a t motherly selt ad sfive s
No answer, but a brisk murmur from the other
end of the table :
t Un meudwmt, a beggar. UIn orpibelim an or-
ph an. lime religie se, a nun.''
The first speaker, a little girl some seven years
of age, shook back the long dark curls from her
flushed cheeks, and looked wonderingly at her
sister. Isabel, don't you hear me ? I can't do
my sum, and I've been trying ever so long." The
voice trembled, and the bright eyes grew brighter
with starting tears.
Isabel was recalled to herself---that sisterly,
almost motherly self, which was so constantly
10 THE SISTERS' HOME.
watchful to guard the little sister from trouble and
annoyance; she left her seat and her books, and
came at once to settle the knotty arithmetical point.
Why did you not ask me to help you before ?"
she said, as she began rapidly to add the rows of
"I did; but you didn't hear me. You have
been so busy, you have not spoken or looked up
"I am so sorry, Rose. Indeed, I did not mean
to forget you. I have been very selfish; but you
will forgive me "
Rose's answer was a tight hug and a shower of
kisses. You won't do any more lessons," she
said, with such a coaxing face as only Rose could
Isabel hesitated; she glanced longingly at her
books, then at the face, half-hidden in curls, that lay
on her shoulder.
But the question was decided for her. The door
opened, and a tall servant, dressed in the stiffest
and ugliest of antiquated print gowns, and the
plainest and most ponderous of mob-caps, entered
Miss Isabel!" she exclaimed, with some indig-
nation; still at your books, and no place for the
tea-tray, and Miss Rose not ready for bed."
THE SISTERS' HOME. 11
I am just going to put them away," said Isabel,
disengaging herself from Rose's clasp, and beginning
to clear the table; "we are rather late, Martha; I
am sorry I forgot the time."
It's too bad," resumed Martha, rather to show
that she was not to be appeased by Isabel's ready
apologies than from any real feeling of anger. ""I
shall speak to your papa, Miss Isabel, if you treat
your little sister so ; you're not fit to have the
Martha !" exclaimed Rose, turning an angry
face and flashing eyes towards Isabel's reprover;
"how dare you say that to Isabel? And it's not
true; she doesn't treat me. I'll tell papa !"
Hush, Rose," said Isabel; her voice falling
quiet and cool, like rain-drops after thunder. You
must not speak so to Martha. I am too late; but
come with me, and we will be ready in ten
The little girl took her sister's hand, and suffered
herself to be led from the room, and away from the
temptation of replying to Martha-a temptation
which even Isabel found it oftentimes hard to
Yet Martha loved the children-her children, as
she was proud to call them-with all the strength of
her strong nature. She had tended them from the
12 THE SISTERS' HOME.
first hour of their birth ; their joys and sorrows had
been hers; she had lifted them weeping and mother-
less from the embrace which would claim them no
more; she had wept for them, as they could not
weep for themselves, over the tender forbearance
and gentleness lost to them so early, and which she
knew she was so far from supplying.
But all remembrance of hasty and discordant
words was lost in the sweet atmosphere of peace
and love which filled the little room where Rose, at
her sister's side, repeated her evening hymn. The
gentle clasp of Isabel's fingers over hers, the ear-
nest look of those soft, grave eyes, hushed the rest-
lessness of the little girl's nature; and though, to
her childish understanding, the meaning was dim,
and but as the shadow of a beautiful mystery, the
sweet words of prayer seemed to fill her heart,-
Shepherd of thy little flock,
Lead me by the shadowing rock,
Where the richest pasture grows,
Where the living water flows.
By that pure and silent stream,
Sheltered from the scorching beam,
Saviour, Shepherd, Guardian, Guide,
Keep me ever near thy side."
Then Rose was drawn down into her sister's
arms, and many good-nights and kisses were ex-
changed before she was claimed by Martha.
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ROSE'S EVENING HYMN.
P 12.- xy
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THE SISTERS' HOME. 13
"Tell papa to come up and kiss me," were her
last words as Isabel left the room.
The parlour below was bright with its lamp and
little fire, still acceptable these chilly April evenings.
Isabel returned to her books, and had time for a
little very hard work before the well-known foot-
step and short decided knock were heard. The
echo was hardly silent before she opened the door,
and sprang, with a glad welcome, into her father's
"My dear little girl !" he said, fondly; and how
are you ?"
Oh, very well. Come in," said Isabel, with a
touch of Rose's eagerness in her voice, drawing him
as she spoke into the room, and leading him to his
seat by the fire. Then she waited on him, taking
away his hat and overcoat, bringing his slippers,
and, with joyful importance, watching the progress
of her tea making.
"Now, papa," she said at last, go and kiss
Rose, and when you come back I will pour out your
Mr. King had long been used to see the honours
of his table done by his little daughter. Since the
day, three years ago, when her mother, then lying
on the bed from which she was never to rise, had
sent her down to keep poor papa company," Isa-
14 THE SISTERS' HOME.
bel had never relinquished her right of presiding
over his meal.
She hardly looked like a child of twelve, as she
sat, with such grave composure, ministering to his
wants. The head was more erectly poised, and the
expression of the shadowy brown eyes had more
earnestness than is often seen at twelve years; yet
the mouth, and the smooth fair brow, with its short
clustering curls, were almost infantine in their calm
sweetness, and her conversation was very childish
in its simplicity.
For Isabel's whole bringing up had been simple,
fraught with such small joys and sorrows as their
very secluded life on the outskirts of a large town
could bring. This busy town claimed Mr. King
from an early hour until the evening, and the two
little girls were left, when they were not at school,
to Martha's devoted, but somewhat stern, care and
companionship. The pleasures were certainly more
frequent and longer remembered than the cares.
Papa's daily absence, indeed, was a sore trial; but
it was one to which they had long been accustomed.
Their solitude they called peace, and enjoyed it as
as such; but now and then dawned days long-
perhaps for ever-to be remembered, for the exceed-
ing enjoyment they brought; days in which the calm
moonlight of contentment was lost in the bright
THE SISTERS' HOME. 1
sunshine of pleasure. Such were the first of every
week, when they might claim their papa for the day,
when they could give themselves up to the things
that Isabel and her father most loved, when even
Martha laid aside harshness, and was subdued and
gentle. There were other holidays, too, when Mr.
King took his children out, as far from the streets
as might be; and those flat green fields, shut in by
houses, where they walked with their father, seemed
then in the children's eyes more full of beauty and
delight than any of the far away hills or luxurious
valleys of which they read.
And how did you get on at school?" said Mr.
King, as, the weightier business being over, he sat
leisurely sipping his last cup of tea.
"Very well, papa; and what do you think?
Rose had the first mark for history in her class."
Dear little Rose I am very glad. And you ?"
I am still in the same place. And, papa, I am
so sorry, Mary Rivers is not coming back to school
"What is going to become of her ?"
"I don't know; but Mrs. Mason-that is the
person she lives with-will not send her any more
now that her father is dead."
"Poor little girl! And you don't know what is
to become of her ?"
16 THE SISTERS' HOME.
No; I suppose she will stay with Mrs. Mason;
but Mrs. Mason is not kind to her, I know."
"Poor little girl !" said Mr. King again, more to
himself than to the child; without father or
mother, a stranger in a strange house, hers is in-
deed a sad lot."
You don't mind my going to see her, do you,
papa?" said Isabel.
"There, I told Martha we might. You know
you said we could take a little walk when we came
out of school; and when we came home, Martha
asked us where we had been, and she was so angry
when we told her: she said that we must not go to
Mrs. Mason's house, and that she should tell you
and put a stop to it; but I said I should tell you
myself, and I knew she was wrong."
Hush," said Mr. King. It was seldom he had
to say "hush" to Isabel, and she blushed at the
reproof. "Martha was more right than you are
aware of. Mrs. Mason's is not a house I like you
and Rose to be in; but I should be sorry to pre-
vent your going to see Mary. I think I can trust
you to take care of Rose; and I leave you both
there, as elsewhere, under the shadow of the al-
mighty wings. How could I leave you every day.
were it not for that shadow, my child ?"
THE SISTERS' HOME. 17
Isabel laid her head on her father's shoulder, and
while she tried to realize the protecting love of her
heavenly Father, she felt thankful that the type of
it had been left to her below. But the more she
thought of her own blessedness in this respect, the
more did her heart flow out in loving sympathy to
her friend, so early deprived of all earthly love and
But God's care must be better," thought Isabel;
"and how He must watch over us when there is
nobody else. Poor Mary, I am glad she knows
"It must be getting late," said Mr. King, pre-
sently ; and you look tired. Bring the books,
dear, and then you shall go to bed."
Isabel went to a little bookcase which stood on
a table in one corner of the room, and took from
thence her own little Bible, her father's, and two
hymn-books. Soon their voices sounded through
the room, Isabel's childish treble rising clear and
sweet above her father's sustaining bass. Then the
chapter was gone through, each reading a verse in
turn, interspersed with many questions and com-
ments. Lastly, the prayer, with its earnest thanks-
giving to God, who had once more brought the
father back to his home in peace and safety; who
had watched over the children all through the day;
b y -
18 THE SISTERS' HOME.
who had brought those two, father and child, to a
saving knowledge of Christ as their Redeemer.
Then more earnest yet, if possible, was the cry of
faith for their little Rose, that she too might be
gathered with the arms of the Good Shepherd and
carried in his bosom; and for Martha, that her
spirit might be subdued, that her thoughts might be
brought captive to his will whom Martha indeed
knew and desired to serve. Lastly, the mention,
solemn yet joyful, of the one member of that family
who had already been taken home, with fervent
thanksgiving to him who had made her to be num-
bered among those who have "washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb,
who are before the throne of God day and night,
and serve him day and night in his presence."
Then Isabel wished her father good-night, and
went away up-stairs to her own little room, where
Rose already lay in a calm dreamless sleep.
Isabel's evening preparations did not occupy long.
Martha came in less than half an hour for her candle,
yet she had already been lying for some time sur-
veying each familiar object with half-sleepy eyes.
Perhaps there was nothing among them all that
you would have thought worth looking at once;
certainly the room contained nothing rich or rare,
saving only the warm beating hearts, rich in hope
THE SISTERS' HOME. 19
and love, of the two little sleepers, and the precious
words that a loving hand had once, in the far-away
time, hung above each little bed. Over Isabel's
were the words, (I laid me down and slept; I
waked; for the Lord sustained me." And under-
neath, as if to direct the child's mind to the true
awakening, "I shall be satisfied when I awake with
thy likeness." Little Rose seemed overshadowed
with her mother's faith and prayers, breathed out
in the words that hung above her, He shall gather
the lambs with his arms, and carry them in his
bosom ;" "It is not the will of my Father which is
in heaven that one of these little ones should
perish ;" and lastly, more as a witness of the
mother's firm faith in the promise, than for the
child, "I know whom I have believed, and that he
is able to keep that which I have committed unto
him until the last day."
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS.
HE children's way to school lay in Mr.
King's direction, and he was generally
able to walk with them to Miss Elliot's
door. They thought it a very pleasant walk, though
it led only through such quiet, dull streets as are
generally to be seen in the outermost suburbs of a
large town. On either side, square brown or red
brick houses, each having in front a little railed
enclosure, sometimes called a garden, and gay with
a few primroses, tulips, or dahlias, according to the
Isabel and Rose took great pride and pleasure in
their so-called garden. From a far-away corner,
sheltered by a laurel-bush, many a sweet-scented
bunch of violets had been gathered; tufts of double,
crimson-tipped daisies received their due share of
attention, though rivalled by two small rose-bushes,
producing more leaves than buds, more buds than
blossoms, and more pleasure than either. London
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWEES. 21
pride, too which might more aptly have been
named Rose's pride-here lifted its delicate head on
its stiff, thin stem. Isabel's one regret was that
they could not count lilies among their treasures;
but Rose had no thought beyond contentment, as,
according to her usual habit, while Isabel collected
the lesson-books, she ran into the garden to find a
flower for papa-a flower which Mr. King would
prize and cherish; which would have many a sweet
voice for him through the day; and which, very
often, would be brought back with him at night.
There was little choice among the flowers now, and
Rose soon returned to the gate where her father and
sister were standing.
"A violet, papa!" she exclaimed; "a sweet
"A sweet violet! and a sweet Rose too, I think,"
said Mr. King, giving a kiss of thanks to his happy
Not yet, papa," replied the little girl, simply;
"they're not out yet." Then, reading her father's
meaning by the look on his face, a sweet blush and
smile broke over her own, and a childish, "Oh,
papa was uttered, as she pressed the hand which
"But we must not be late," said Mr. King, shut-
ting the garden-gate and taking his way along the
22 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWfES.
street. "What a number of books you have,
Isabel as he took the pile from her hand.
Hasn't she? and she does such lots of lessons,"
responded Rose, whose appetite in this line was
easily satisfied; "she sits writing, oh, so long "
Mr. King cast an anxious glance at Isabel.
"Don't be too anxious to keep the head of the
class," he said.
"I don't believe any of the other girls in the
class do nearly so many lessons," interrupted Rose.
"Don't, Rose," said her sister, with visible dis-
Oh, I'm not going to tell, because I promised
not. You needn't be at all afraid;" and Rose
looked up at her papa's face, half hoping he would
question Isabel-not that she was an unkind little
girl, but she could not enter into her sister's reasons
for not wishing her ardent study to be mentioned,
and she greatly disliked to find, in the pleasant
garden of conversation, a pathway on which she
must not enter.
But Mr. King did not inquire into this mystery;
he felt pretty safe in trusting that Isabel's little
secret, if secret there were, was of the simplest and
most innocent description; so he turned the conver-
sation into another channel, and soon they reached
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS. 23
There papa's parting kiss was given, and his last
words of farewell and counsel spoken, and the little
girls stood on the steps to watch him out of sight.
Before he disappeared round the street corner, he
turned to give the last look-which he knew they
would expect; this Isabel answered with a nod, and
Rose with a little flourish of the hand, half wave,
half kiss; then they turned and opened, the door.
It admitted them into a square, stone-paved hall,
where they hung up their hats and cloaks; and
then, opening the door on their right, entered the
Five of Miss Elliot's scholars, whose number was
limited to eight, had already assembled. Miss Elliot
herself sat at the head of the long, narrow table.
To say that she was the pleasantest thing the room
contained, would not have been saying much, for this
last was of the very plainest description,-carpetless,
and boasting but the long table before mentioned, a
high bookcase, eight cane chairs for the scholars, and
an arm-chair-called easy by those who did not sit
in it-for Miss Elliot.
She did a great deal towards supplying the lack
of ornament and comfort in the arrangements
of the room: her face seemed to shine with cheer-
fulness and love; while her eyes, soft and yet
bright, drew responsive glaaces from the some-
24 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS.
times dull looks that met hers; and her small,
somewhat plump figure, sat so comfortably in that
uncomfortable chair, that her contentment, and
indeed enjoyment, seemed to communicate itself to
every object, and especially to every child, in the
The seats on each side of Miss Elliot, the places
of honour and consideration, had long been held by
the sisters. Isabel, as being head of her class, had
one side; Rose, as the youngest pupil, had the other;
but as she was taking her accustomed place this
morning, an officious neighbour whispered,-
You're not to sit there any longer."
Rose, discomfited, appealed to Miss Elliot. "It's
me to sit by you, isn't it ?"
"It is I," corrected Miss Elliot. But I am
afraid you cannot claim this place any longer; my
new little scholar is nearly a year younger than you
are. You must work your way round to Isabel's
place," she added, seeing the blank look on the
little girl's face.
So Rose was obliged to relinquish her seat, and
though she thereby made one step towards that of
honour, she thought this poor comfort for a little
girl, almost the youngest in the room, and who held
a place at the head of her own class but very
seldom and very insecurely. Isabel hardly liked to
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS. 25
find herself still enjoying her place at Miss Elliot's
other side, when she saw the shadow on her little
sister's usually bright face; but Rose's disappointment
was very soon lost in delight and interest, for at
this moment the door once more opened, and ad-
mitted the eighth scholar.
This little lady was dressed in a bright pink
gingham, frilled with tiny flounces almost to the
waist; and long ends of ribbon of the same bright
colour mingled with the fair hair that floated, in
tiny artificial waves, over her shoulders. A dainty
manufacture of cambric and lace protected the front
of her dress. She was a little child, much smaller
than Rose; her eyes were light blue, and her com-
plexion almost waxy in its whiteness. Rose thought
her exactly like one of the dolls she had often seen
and admired under glass cases in the shop-windows.
"What is your name ?" said Miss Elliot, when
she had shaken hands with the new-comer.
"Violetta," replied the child, and her voice was
the only part of her that Rose could not admire.
Meantime, the daily routine was beginning.
Miss Elliot had opened her Bible and read her
verse; Isabel had read too, and was making signs
to her sister to prepare for her approaching turn, for
although Rose had opened her book, it was not at
the right place, and her eyes were still fixed upon
26 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED) ANSWER-S.
her little neighbour. Nevertheless, the reading
went on; seven verses had been read, and the eighth
was Rose's; there was a pause, which made every
one look up, and Rose perceived that they were
waiting for her.
The dictation which followed the reading fared
almost worse. Violetta stole her hand into Rose's,
and entreated her assistance in spelling the word
which was to head her page; this so enchanted Rose,
that she wrote merely as a supplementary duty, and
spelt, if not without her eyes, certainly without her
Unfortunately this was Wednesday; the day for
examination in the history which had been prepared
"I hope you will keep your place, Rose," said
Miss Elliot, by way of warning, before the lesson
began; and Rose, separated by two little girls from
the object of her admiration, had a very fair chance
of resolutely turning her mind from temptation and
fixing it on her duty; but a little girl's mind is a
wilful thing, and hard to be ruled, and while she
lets her eyes wander, it is but too likely that her
thoughts will do the same.
What was the surname of Henry I., Ktiinl of
England ?" was Miss Elliot's iirst question; a1d
Rose answered readily a lnd correctly. J' lttan.',et '"
*y c. !c)
(1ROS) QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS. 27
3O that her governess hoped the little fit of inatten-
ton was over.
But Rose's mind, once unhinged, could not, without
a greater effort, be recalled to duty. This first diffi-
culty over, she felt triumphant at finding herself
undisturbed in her place, and forgot that in so
small a class her turn would soon come again, and
that it was harder to give appropriate answers if
the preceding ones had not been listened to. She
forgot to take all this into consideration. Far from
attending, she was bending her head forward to
peep at the fascinating Violetta, of whom she could
discern nothing but the boots and a small expanse of
stocking, open-worked; Rose did not fail to observe
that, and compare them with her own, much to the
disadvantage of the latter.
In the midst of this edifying occupation, that
relentless and ever-recurring enemy, her turn, came
"How old was Henry VII. when he died ?
Five," replied Rose, referring to the number of
buttons on the interesting boots. Sophy Hunter,
who sat beside her, broke into a stifled giggle, in
which her neighbour and younger sister, Fanny,
Rose, you are not thinking, said Miss Elliot,
,,in her T"rave dts tone,
"28 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS.
Rose, thus recalled from the boots, tried hard to
find an answer, but not having comprehended the
question, she was obliged to have recourse to an
ignominious "I don't know;" and the words were
scarcely out of her mouth when Sophy eagerly re-
plied, Fifty-two," deposed Rose from her seat of
honour, and, with wounding triumph, installed her-
Miss Elliot hoped that this misfortune would
sober the little girl, and that she might regain her
place, or at least keep the one she had; but the
very next question sent her a step lower; until at
last even Violetta, making a lucky guess, told her
that Henry VIII. succeeded Henry VII., and took
her place; and the little girl, who had yesterday
had the first mark for a far more difficult historical
composition, now sat so low that she could fall no
This, in her present mood, was some relief. She
might relax her efforts and allow her fancy to roam
more freely; she closed her eyes presently, and
tried to imagine herself arrayed in the bright ging-
ham, lace-trimmed apron, and pink ribbons. This
was a charming picture, but one which it required
a great effort of imagination to bring to perfection.
It was very tiresome that her question always
would come when she did not want it-yet here it
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS. 29,
was, relentlessly waiting to cover her still further
What was the name of Henry the Eighth's son?"
It seemed to Rose that she made a vigorous effort,
but she could not even summon her thoughts from
Dreamland sufficiently to comprehend what was re-
quired of her. After a moment's pause, though
dimly conscious that it was not the expected answer,
she replied, Pink."
Sophy and Fanny could no longer control their
merriment. Violetta looked round in bewilder-
ment, not certain whether it were fun or earnest;
the elder girls, who were preparing their exercises
at the table, joined in the laugh. Isabel's and
Miss Elliot's were the only grave faces; Isabel,
indeed, felt nearer crying than laughing, when she
saw her usually quick, though not studious sister,
sitting so like a little dunce at the bottom of the
Miss Elliot, though so patient, and always so un-
willing to punish a child if it could, by any other
means, be brought to a sense of right, came at last
to the conclusion that Rose required some aid to
recall her scattered senses; so, shutting the history
book, she called the little girl to her. Your
history lesson is over, Rose," she said ; do you
know what comes next ? "
30 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS,
The Scripture class," said Rose.
Yes; but I cannot allow you to join in it. I
cannot have foolish answers made, nor laughing going
on, while we are speaking about the Bible. You
must sit behind me and listen attentively, that you
may be able to write me an account of the lesson
Poor Rose was quite sobered now, and glad to
hide herself behind Miss Elliot. Though able to be
so foolish, her conscience had been too well trained
not to show her at once that this was but the just
punishment of her folly and wilfulness, and the tears
that filled her eyes were purely of sorrow and self-
reproach. But she soon recollected that attention
to the next duty would do more than tears towards
making amends for her past fault, and summoning
all the intelligence and interest which generally
characterized her, she was able to follow the lesson
very accurately. By half-past twelve, the hour of
separation, she had just recovered sufficient of her
usual spirits to feel sorry when she saw that
Violetta's nurse came to fetch her, and that, con-
sequently, her new companion would not be among
the number of those who, like herself and Isabel,
spent the day, until four o'clock, at Laurel House;
but she did not venture to make any signs of fare
well when Violetta passed her on her way out of
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS, 31
the schoolroom, as she considered herself still in
"Here is paper, pen, and ink," said Miss Elliot,
putting these materials before Rose. Then she left
the room, and the little girl betook herself to her
It was pleasantly and speedily accomplished; so
speedily, indeed, that she had some leisure for re-
flection ere Miss Elliot returned.
Your lesson is very well done," she said, when
she had examined the paper. I should feel great
pleasure in it were its cause not so painful. I am
glad to see that you have received your punishment
so quietly; and I hope that your submission proceeds
not only from obedience to me, but that you have
also understood your fault. Do you think you can
tell me the cause of your morning's troubles?"
Rose paused awhile before she answered. She
had not yet reflected upon the cause of her misfor-
tunes. She understood, in a general way, that she
had been naughty; but the avowal of this fact would
not, she considered, be a sufficient answer to the
question, What had been the cause of her troubles?"
Rose began to examine herself. Should she say
that the history was difficult, or that she did not
know her lesson ? No; these could not be the true
reasons, for it was a lesson which she felt sure she
32 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS.
could, at any other moment, have gone through with
ease. Then what had made her unable to repeat it,
when she was required to do so ? She could answer
that question readily; but the reply was humiliat-
ing, and it was given in a scarcely audible voice,-
The little girl Violetta."
Violetta !" repeated Miss Elliot. Perhaps she
does seem to have been the cause of your inatten-
tion, but I think I shall be able to show you that
you are mistaken. Supposing Isabel had been in
your place, do you think she would have forgotten
her lesson and all her duties, and allowed her eyes
and thoughts to fix themselves on a little girl's new
face and bright dress ?"
"No," said Rose.
No; I am sure she would not," said Miss Elliot.
" And yet Violetta would have been the same, so that
the difference must be between you and Isabel. Shall
I tell you what that difference is ?"
Yes," replied Rose.
It is the difference between a wandering heart
and a fixed heart. My dear little Rose, can you
understand this ? Perhaps it seems to you a small
thing to have a heart fixed on no particular object,
but wandering about from one attraction to another ;
yet this thing-a wandering heart, which is the
cause of wandering thoug-hts and wandering eyes-
0* 0 0 4
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS, 33
is very contrary to God's Word. Your papa loves
God's Word, your sister loves it, and I hope and
believe, my dear little girl, that you love and wish
to obey it too."
Yes," said Rose.
Listen, then, to what it says contrary to a wan-
dering heart. David says, 'My heart is fixed, 0
God; my heart is fixed.' And when we say David,
we mean the Spirit of God which inspired him; and,
by that same Spirit, every child of God ought to be
able with truth to say, 'My heart is fixed.' In the
Psalms, too, we read, 'One thing have I desired of
the Lord.' Paul said, 'One thing I do.' And Jesus
himself has said, 'One thing is needful.' Thus you
see that the Word of God does not speak of wander-
ing, but of a heart fixed on one thing. And what
is that one thing ?"
Rose lifted her eyes to Miss Elliot's, and consi-
dered a moment before she replied, Jesus Christ.'
"Yes," said Miss Elliot; Jesus Christ. He is
the one thing which our hearts should desire; the
one thing needful on which our hearts should be
Rose was silent; her understanding consented to
the truth of what Miss Elliot had been saying, but
her heart could not yet receive it. It was not yet
fixed on the one thing. The attractions around her,
34 CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS.
which so often called away and fixed her heart,
could be seen with the natural eyes; but the beauties
of Christ were hidden, save from the sight of faith,
and Rose had not yet that sight. There were many
pleasant things in her-many of the qualities which
God loves to see in a little child. There was a
simple mind pleased with simple things; a reverence
for God's people and God's Word; a heart overflow-
ing with love, warm and intense, to her father and
sister, to her many kind friends, and to whatever,
by weakness or distress, called upon her sympathy.
But one thing was wanting, and Christ has said,
"But one thing is needful."
Perhaps Miss Elliot guessed what thoughts were
passing in the child's mind, for she did not interrupt
her meditations, and it was Rose herself who broke
But, Miss Elliot, I may love the little girl ?"
Not only you may, but you ought to," replied
Miss Elliot; for God has said, 'Little children,
love one another.' Only take care that you are not
loving a pretty face and gay attire, while you forget
to love that part of the little girl which will live for
ever-that part which God so loved that 'He gave
his only-begotten Son.' What is that part ? "
"The soul," said Rose. But I like the little gi-rl
CROSS QUESTIONS AND CROOKED ANSWERS. 35
"Are you sure? said Miss Elliot. "Are you
sure that you thought of the little girl's soul when
you began to like her this morning ? Will a little
girl who loves her friend's soul-really loves it, as
something for which Christ has died-will that little
girl indulge her own foolish desires, and set a bad
example of a child who has been all her life taught
from the Bible, to another who, perhaps, has learned
but little of the lessons it contains ? Answer me
truly, Rose. Truly, according to what you think."
And Rose was obliged to answer, "No." Then
the tears, long restrained, began to flow. Oh, Miss
Elliot dear," she said, I have been very naughty !"
Dear child, I am glad you feel it," said Miss
Elliot; that is the first step towards something
better. But, Rose," she continued, as the child's tears
still flowed, you know who, if we confess our sins, is
faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Now I will
leave you, and send Isabel to you, that you may
have a run in the garden before dinner."
____ .. --- L --9 1 --------------
THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
ALF-PAST four o'clock saw the children
making their way, hand in hand, through i
busier streets than those they had tra-
versed with their father in the morning.
"Are we going to see Mary ?" asked Rose, as
"Oh," said Rose, dropping her sister's hand, I
wish we weren't, Martha will be so angry !"
No; papa has spoken to her. He said last
night we might go."
But I don't want to go every day. This is a
very ugly walk, and I don't like Mrs. Mason's
house; and I shouldn't like at all to see her, if she
"is so unkind."
But think of poor Mary, who sees her always,
and hardly ever sees any one else. She hasn't any
mamma or papa, or brothers or sisters-hardly any
one-to love her, so we ought to be kind to her."
THE CHILDREN'S WALK. 37
es," said Rose, doubtfully; but I hope we
shall not see Mrs. Mason."
If we did, I should not be afraid," said Isabel.
" She would not do us any harm."
And papa said we might come," Rose put in.
Papa's sanction was a great protection, in her mind,
against Mrs. Mason.
Yes; but I am almost sure we shall not see
her, for Mary says she always goes out at this hour."
And there is Mary at the door," said Rose.
A little girl of about Isabel's age, dressed in
rather shabby mourning, ran down the steps to meet
them. If you had seen her a few minutes before,
you would have noticed a sad, almost careworn ex-
pression in the blue eyes; but now, no face could
look brighter than hers, as she welcomed her two
Come in," she said, eagerly, drawing each by a
hand. How kind of you! I have been wishing
for you so much, but I hardly hoped to see you
again to-day. Come into the back-parlour. I'm
all alone, so we can have a nice time. Rose shall
look at my big scrap-book." And while Mary ran
up-stairs to get it, Isabel took off her hat and spread
out her books in the somewhat dingy little room.
"It is rather a difficult bit of French translation,
Mary," she said, when her friend returned, and I
3 TiHE CHILDREN'S WALK.
could not remember quite all that Miss Elliot said
about the faults I had made; but perhaps you will
understand it better."
My sum is right," said Mary, with some exulta-
tion, looking into Isabel's sum-book; "and I was
afraid it would be all wrong, for I was so sleepy
this morning when I did it. I hadn't a minute for
it all yesterday evening, and I knew I should have
no time to-day; for what do you think ? Mrs.
Mason brought in a great box-full of pocket-hand-
kerchiefs yesterday, and she says I am to hem six
"Six !" repeated Isabel; "and how soon will they
be done ?"
Oh, I don't know; never, I suppose," said Mary,
with a disconsolate look.
But she can't go on wanting new pocket-hand-
kerchiefs for ever."
They're not for her. She will take them to a
shop when they are hemmed, and get paid for them."
Did she tell you so 2"
Yes; and for that reason they must be done
very well; better than ever I worked before in my
life. Last night I had to rip two whole sides, because
some of the stitches were not even; and oh, my
eyes did ache I wished pocket-handkerchiefs had
never been invented."
THE CHILDREN'S WALK. 39
Poor Mary! I am so sorry," said Isabel.
No; you ought not to be sorry for me. I was
very naughty, but then I am so foolish. I had
never thought, till Mrs. Mason spoke about it yester-
day, who was to buy everything I wanted, nor where
the money was to come from. Before," said Mary,
looking down at her black dress, papa used to
write every now and then, and send money to Mrs.
Mason; but now she says that unless I am very
useful, and hem lots of handkerchiefs, and help a
great deal in the house and with the children, she'll
not be able to keep me."
"I wish she wouldn't," said Isabel, with more
than usual animation; "I wish she wouldn't keep
you, because then papa could have you."
No, he couldn't," replied Mary, shaking her
head with great resolution. She had learned some-
thling since the evening before; she was beginning
to take a different and a very real view of life and
Why couldn't he?" asked Isabel, much aston-
ished at her father's being pronounced by Mary
incapable of doing anything he might see fit.
"I am sure he couldn't," repeated Mary; "and
I am not wishing for that. I do not want to be
idle. It is very good of Mrs. Mason to keep me,
and I wish I could feel as if I loved her more; but,
40 THE CHILDREN S WALK.
at any rate, I want to try and do all for her that I
can. And, Isabel dear, I think I had better not try
to do any more lessons, or, at least, not to do the
same as you do at school. I haven't time really,
and then I am hurried, and it makes me cross. Do
you know, yesterday I would not tie a sash for
Fanny's doll because I was at my French; and last
night Mrs. Mason sent me to bed because, she said,
I was so shabby she couldn't bear to see me. And
my frock is rather old," said Mary, surveying her
worn garment. "I have had it six weeks, and it
was not nearly new when I put it on. I felt angry
when Mrs. Mason called me a dirty fright; but
presently, when I got better, I remembered that I
need not have looked quite so bad, if I had brushed
my frock and darned the place Johnny tore, instead
of only sewing it together."
Then you won't do any more lessons ?" asked
"No; I think I ought not; or, at least, not to
try to do the same as you do."
"But then," said Isabel, with a face of disap-
pointment, can't I come to see you any more ?"
"Oh yes, when you may," said Mary; "I shall
be so glad. When I see you, I forget all the trouble-
some things-Mrs. Mason, and Fanny, and Johnny,
and the pocket-handkerchiefs-and I only remember
THE CHILDPIEN'S WALK. 41
the things that my own papa and Miss Elliot used
to teach me; but when I lose sight of those things
I feel so miserable, as if I couldn't have patience
"Do you often feel so?" asked Isabel. It was
hard for her, surrounded as she was with love, and
gently led as she had been in the way of peace, to
enter into Mary's feelings, and she asked the ques-
tion almost with awe.
Not often. The Lord Jesus does not allow the
"good things to go away for long. Whenever I feel
worst, some sweet words are sure to come into my
mind. This morning it was, 'For here we have no
continuing city, but we seek one to come;' and
yesterday, 'Lo, I am with you always "
"I dare say your plan is best," said Isabel, con-
sideringly; but I wish I could have gone on help-
ing you, or, at least, that I could do something for
"You do," interrupted Mary, earnestly; "you
make me so happy."
That isn't what I want; I want to do some-
It is real," said Mary, vehemently.
"I have a plan!" exclaimed Isabel, disregarding
her assurance. "I could help you with your hand-
42 THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
"Oh no," replied Mary, quickly. "I am sure
you ought not to do that. They are very fine, and
you have to put in no end of little stitches."
"But I think I could do them, and I am sure I
may. Just let me try. Martha says I can work
very neatly when I choose. I always do choose,
you know, when she wants me to. But that is
Martha's way; she always says, 'If you choose.'
But I am sure that if my work was not neat, she
would not say so, because she is so particular. Now
do bring your handkerchiefs," entreated Isabel; and
Mary rose to comply.
Come and look at this picture, Isabel !" ex-
claimed Rose, from the corner where she had been
established with a little table and Mary's scrap-book.
" Such a funny picture! Not very pretty. Two
fat boys in a wheel-barrow !"
"Poor old wheel-barrow !" said Mary, looking
over Rose's shoulder, as she came back with her
work. "I can tell you a story about that, Rose."
Oh, do," said Rose, who was beginning to tire
of her solitary corner.
And I will do a little bit of hemming to show
you," said Isabel, possessing herself of Mary's work-
Go on, Mary," said Rose. Is the story true ?"
Yes; but it's not long. That picture was done
"TIHE CHILDREN'S WALK. 43
by my grandpapa. It is very old; a great deal
older than I am," said Mary, as if this were an un-
answerable proof of antiquity. Those were grand-
papa's two little boys. The little one asleep in the
bottom of the wheel-barrow is my papa."
Is it like him," asked Rose, surveying, with
some astonishment, the fat baby face and little round
limbs, which were very contrary to her ideas of a
No," said Mary. "It was done so long ago."
But she looked tenderly at the face, until recalled
by Rose to her story.
Who is this other boy with his head in the
That is papa's brother, who was a year or two
But how came they both in a wheel-barrow ?"
That's just the story I am going to tell," said
Mary; "at least, as well as I can. It is a long
time ago since I heard it." And her voice dropped
as her thoughts went back to the long ago time that
could never come again.
Once, long ago," she continued, after a moment's
silence, my grandpapa, who drew that picture,
you know, was going somewhere, and his two little
boys wanted very much to go with him; but he
would not take them because, he said, it was too
44 THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
far for them, and they would be tired. They were
very much disappointed, for they loved their father
so much that they could not bear to be away from
him for a single day, and my papa, who was very
little then, cried a great deal. His brother was
very fond of him, and could not bear to see him cry;
so he said they would go together after grandpapa,
and show him that they were not tired. So they
set off to catch their papa, who had ridden away
about half an hour before."
It wasn't good of them to go, when their papa
had told them not," said Rose.
He had only told them that he could not take
them, because of their being tired; and they were
so little, that they did not think of any other reason
for not going, and forgot that on foot they could
never catch the horse, and that really they would be
much too tired to walk all the distance that he
would ride. They walked along, hand in hand, for
what seemed to them both a very long way, until
the eldest began to expect every moment to catch
sight of his father and the horse. 'We shall soon
be there,' he kept saying, to coax on his little
brother, and to keep up his own spirits, for the road
seemed lonely, and the little one began to drag on
him very heavily. They walked on and on, until
at last the little one let go his brother's hand and
THE CHILDREN'S WALK. 45
began to cry, and say he could not walk any further.
His brother put him to sit on a bank under the
hedge, and sat down beside him. He felt almost
inclined to cry himself. It was quite in the country,
and he could see no one all round."
Why didn't he go back to his home ?"
It seemed to him that he had come so far that
he must be close to his father by that time, and he
could not bear to think of going back again over all
that road alone. Besides, his little brother cried
when he talked of moving. They began to feel
hungry, too, for it was late. Papa's brother really
did wish then that he had not left home, for he
didn't know either how to get back or to go on.
While he was looking about, not knowing what he
should do, and feeling very forlorn and miserable,
he saw a wheel-barrow, and he thought that if he
put his brother into it, it would make a kind of car-
riage, which he could draw along."
But how tired he would be !" suggested Rose.
"Yes; but he didn't mind that. He thought if
hle could only draw his brother along the road till
they reached their father, he shouldn't mind any-
But the wheel-barrow was not his," again ob-
No; but he did not think of that, because his
46 THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
papa had a large place in the country, with a great
many fields and workmen and wheel-barrows; he
had been allowed to play with those wheel-barrows,
and so he thought he might take this one. His
little brother was quite pleased to have a ride, and
my uncle thought they should get on finely. But
he found the wheel-barrow very heavy, and when
my papa was in it he could scarcely move it. Pre-
sently my papa fell asleep; then his brother felt so
dull and so tired that he could not help stopping to
rest, and he just put his head against the wheel-
barrow and fell asleep too: and so grandpapa found
them presently when he came back along that road.
And he was so glad to find them safe; and he thought
they looked so funny, both sleeping in the old
wheel- barrow, that he drew this picture for
"And was this their book?" asked Rose,
Is that all the story ?"
Thank you, dear Mary," said Rose, with a kiss,
" Will you tell me another story some day ?"
Yes; I hope so. I know a great many stories
about the pictures."
Did you hear it, Isabel ? said Rose. "I don't
think you did, for you've been so busy."
THE CHILDREN'S WALK. 47
Oh, I heard," said Isabel. "It was a very
funny story. Will my work do, Mary ? "
Even Mary could find no fault with Isabel's
stitches. They were worthy of the august pocket-
handkerchiefs, and did honour to Martha, who,
indeed, had spared no pains to herself or her pupils,
in her endeavours to instruct them in the one ac-
complishment of which she was mistress.
Isabel!" exclaimed Rose, while Mary was still
admiring the work, "I do believe it is raining."
Raining!" repeated her sister.
Raining !" echoed Mary, with consternation.
Then Mrs. Mason will be coming home, and I have
something to do for her first."
Don't wait for us, then; go away quickly," said
Isabel, wishing her good-bye. "And, Rose, we
must make haste. We have forgotten the time. I
wish it was not raining. What will Martha say?"
We couldn't help the rain," said Rose.
No," was all Isabel's reply, for she was bent on
haste; and quickly completing her own and Rose's
toilet, she took her sister's hand and went out into
the wet streets. "What will Martha say ?" was a,
question which recurred very frequently to her
mind. Not so Rose; holding Isabel's hand, the
quick movement, the sense of bustle, the cheerful
plash of the great rain-drops on the thirsty ground,
48 THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
even her own share in the wetting they gave, con-
tributed to her pleasure. She always did like a
shower; and when it was encountered without
Martha, and, better still, without an umbrella, so
that she could hear the cool drops patter down on
her hat, and feel them, from thence, trickle over her
face, her enjoyment was unbounded.
Are we late?" she asked, noticing her sister's
"Oh dear," was the happy reflection which fol-
lowed this admission, "then it is nearer the time
for papa to be home, and I shall tell him the story
Mary told me about the wheel-barrow."
"But you forget, Rose," said Isabel, "that you
promised me you would not talk about Mary, nor
say anything about our visits to her."
Then mayn't I tell the story? "
"I wish you would not. It is my secret, you
know, and you promised to keep it."
I did not think of that when I promised," said
Rose, in a tone of great regret. Perhaps she hoped
and expected that Isabel would relinquish her claim.
It was seldom indeed that she expressed herself dis-
appointed in vain, but this secret was Isabel's great
pleasure; perhaps it held too large a place in her
heart, for she could not resolve to risk its safety in
THE CHILDREN'S WALK, 49
order to gratify her little sister. She made no
reply, trusting, as she knew she might, to Rose's
word once given. Conversation, too, was becoming
difficult, for the April shower fell more and more
heavily; and though they exerted their utmost speed,
they were very wet when they reached home.
Martha's face, when she opened the door, was, as
Isabel had expected, as clouded as the showery sky.
You are in a nice state !" was her first in-
dignant remark. "And pray where have you been
all this while, running about in the rain till you
look like nothing but-nothing but-two ducks in
Martha, I am very sorry," said Isabel; "we
made great haste as soon as we saw the rain, but it
came on so fast."
"Saw the rain!" repeated Martha; "it's been
coming on for the last half-hour, Miss Isabel, so just
hold your tongue of such excuses, and tell me right
out what you've been doing."
"We have not been doing anything particular.
Not any harm. Papa knows. I wish you wouldn't
Hoity, toity!" exclaimed Martha, incensed be-
yond measure at this resistance of her authority.
"What can possess the child ? Wish I wouldn't
ask And who is to ask, if I don't ?"
50 THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
Papa," was on Isabel's lips, but she restrained
herself. "I wish you would not ask, Martha," was
again her answer. I don't want to tell you."
And that's just why you must tell," responded
Martha. "You've been at some mischief, I doubt."
Mischief!" repeated Isabel, with rising colour,
and silencing Rose, who would have spoken. You
have no right to think such things. I'll tell what
I have been doing if papa asks."
Your papa!" exclaimed Martha, very jealous
at this allusion to his superior influence. "He
hasn't half the worrit with you that I have. But
there, you're an ungrateful child, I'll have no more
of you. Go away up-stairs and change your wet
She led the way with a brisk step and erect
head to the children's room, and there worked off
her superfluous energy in the thorough performance
of the duty in hand. Boots, stockings, dresses,
petticoats, all had to be changed; even the pinafores
were taken out of their little black oil-skin bag,
and, after being vigorously shaken, were hung up
"to take the damp out of them."
Rose began to wish they had not been caught in
the rain, as she sat lacing her boots by the fast
waning light; it was always a duty she disliked,
and when, as now, she had lost the tag from her
THE CHILDREN WALK. 51
boot lace, it was almost beyond the little girl's
endurance. Perhaps Martha had intended by this
energetic shaking not only to take the damp out of
the things, but also to take what she called "the
spirit out of her children; if so, she had succeeded,
for they were very quiet and submissive when at
last she allowed them to go down to tea.
It was a very silent meal, and quickly concluded.
Rose bethought herself of her lessons, and Isabel
went in search of Martha. Something else than the
shaking and changing had told her that she had
spoken unkindly to her; Isabel knew full well how
to appreciate the real care and love that lay hidden
behind the hasty manner; she knew, too, that she
had not exhibited that "ornament of a meek and
quiet spirit which is in the sight of God of great
Isabel was herself of a very resolute nature,
otherwise she might have been rebuffed, when she
presented herself at the kitchen door, by the sight
of Martha's erect attitude, still betokening wounded
dignity, and her firm set face.
"What's the matter now?" she said, turning
sharply on her little visitor.
Martha," began Isabel, "I am sorry I spoke so
to you just now. I will tell you what we were
doing, if you like."
52 THE CHILDREN'S WALK.
Martha could not appreciate the sacrifice involved
in this offer, nor Isabel's relief when it was refused.
"No; I don't care what you've been doing."
"I'm very sorry, Martha; won't you forgive me,"
"There, there," said Martha, half relenting, hail
dignified; I don't want to hear any more of it."
"Then you will forgive me ? asked Isabel, com-
"Yes, yes; to be sure."
"And you don't really believe we were doing any
harm ? "
"No, no; to be sure," replied Martha, at last
putting aside dignity, and sealing her forgiveness
with a kiss. "You're a good enough child when
you don't take in your head to be fractious." And
with this very doubtful praise Isabel was obliged to
But praise was not what she had sought.
r? v "
THE FIRST OF JULY.
AN Y an April shower succeeded this, and
many a bright April sunbeam made the
i_ drops it left shine like jewels on the
sweet spring leaves. Who does not love to watch
the ripening of spring into summer ? The gradual
dispersing of wintry clouds and spring showers,
and the outspreading of the canopy of pure summer
blue. The deepening of shade in the cool woods.
The brightening of hedge-rows and gardens. The
rejoicing of little birds in the branches, and of little
children in their shadow beneath.
Even in the town summer gives many sweet
tokens of its approach. Crowded streets, anxious
toil, and heavy care, cannot shut out the sunbeams;
even city gardens will feel their touch, and respond
with bright flowers. The anxiously watched rose-
bushes in the children's garden blossomed in due
season. Rose hailed every sign of approaching
summer with double pleasure, for her birthday was
54 THE FIRST OF JULY.
in summer-the second of July; a day so long
looked forward to and so long looked back upon,
that I fancy its pleasantness must have extended
over a large part of the year.
"Papa," she said, as she gave her father his
morning kiss, do you know what to-day is ? "
"The first of July," said Mr. King.
"The second, I suppose," replied her father.
"My birthday!" cried Rose, skipping round him
in glee, and coming back for a congratulatory kiss,
when she had completed her dance.
"Your birthday!" said Mr. King. "Are you
sure ? "
"Of course, papa; and so is Isabel. My eighth
"What a pity," said Mr. King, with a look of
regret, "that to-morrow is not my birthday. I
might have taken a holiday; but, as it is, I suppose
you will not consider Isabel and me entitled to that
"Papa! as if I should care for a holiday alone."
"Martha," suggested her father, maliciously.
"Martha wouldn't take a holiday. She said only
yesterday, 'Business is pleasure, if you only had the
sense to know it;' and I am sure she has the sense,
so she wouldn't take any holiday."
THE FIRST OF JULY. 55
And have not I the sense ? asked Mr. King.
Not Martha's sense," said Rose. But will you
really take a holiday, and give us one? "
"I hope so."
"Oh, that will be nice."
"How shall we spend it ?" said Mr. King.
Whatever way you like, papa. Yours is sure to
be a nice way."
"I think we ought to spend one of these fine
days in the fields. Should you like to carry your
dinner in a basket, and eat it under a tree ?"
"Like gipsies? That will be nice! Oh dear,"
exclaimed Rose, executing another dance, "I wish
to-morrow was come; and yet," she added, "I am
so happy to-day that I wish it would last for ever."
"I am glad to see my little girl happy," said
Mr. King, drawing her to him; "but this joy would
be a poor thing to last for ever. We know where
there are 'pleasures for evermore.' But I have
something else to propose, that will interest Isabel
too, I think," he added, turning towards her as she
entered the room.
We are to have a holiday to-morrow, and go
out all day in the fields, for my birthday," explained
Rose. "And what else, papa?"
Do you think your little friend Mary would be
allowed to come with us ?"
56 THE FIRST OF JULY.
"0 papa !" said Isabel, with a bright flush of
pleasure, I wish she might; she would be so glad."
"You and Rose must go and invite her when you
"And we must ask Miss Elliot for a holiday,"
"Yes," said Mr. King; and you must ask Martha
to go and visit her sister who is ill, as we shall be
out all day. That is business as well as pleasure,
so she will not object."
"We have a great deal to do to-day," said Isabel.
"And more still to-morrow," said Rose.
The breakfast was despatched with good spirits
and appetite, and Isabel only waited before starting
for school to warn Martha that they should return
later, as papa was going to send them on a message.
Mr. King's flower that morning was mignonnette.
The roses, their namesake said, were to be kept for
the next day.
"Good-bye, good-bye, papa," said Rose, almost
dancing on the steps of Laurel House.
And you will not forget, papa," said Isabel,
with a look of mystery, which, if intended to arouse
her sister's curiosity, was certainly very successful.
"To-morrow's my birthday," whispered Rose,
with more triumph than grammar, as she passed
behind Violetta to her place.
THE FIRST OF JULY. 57
And I have something to tell you-such fun-
after lessons; it is too long to say now," was the reply.
Oh, what is it ? Do tell," said Rose. "I can't
But they were late, and there was only time for a
whispered request to Miss Elliot before the morning's
"Business is pleasure, if you only had the sense
to know it." Rose's whole nature revolted against
this maxim of Martha's, especially this morning,
when she was so impatient to see the hours pass
away and the morrow draw near, and so anxious to
hear Violetta's news, and so very much afraid that
her nurse would come, as she sometimes did, too
early for them to have any talk.
The clock pointed at last to half-past twelve.
Miss Elliot had hardly risen from her seat, the
signal for a general move, when Rose eagerly seized
Violetta's hand and drew her out into the hall.
Now, dress yourself. Quick that we may have
a little time in the garden before your nurse comes.
I want to be in the garden, that Sophy and Fanny
may not find us. They will spoil all the fun. Do
dress yourself; here's your hat, your jacket, your
handkerchief, and-I don't see your gloves. Why
don't you dress yourself?" added the little girl, with
58 THE FIRST OF JULY.
"I never dress myself," said Violetta, with her
odd, composed, doll-like manner.
"Can't you?" said Rose, with some amazement;
"I can dress myself."
"But your dress is not like mine," said Violetta,
surveying her companion's plain gray alpaca with
disdain, and her own lace and flounces with corre-
"Yours is pretty," said Rose, venturing to express
her long cherished admiration.
Violetta did not say Yes, to this, but she looked
it. "Why do you wear such a great pinafore ?"
was her return.
"Martha makes me. She calls a thing like yours
a three-cornered make-believe," said Rose, trying to
return her friend's cutting remarks. "Yours doesn't
keep your dress clean."
"I don't do anything to make mine dirty," replied
Violetta, with unmoved complacency. "Mamma
says she had rather I should not learn to write, than
spot my dresses and stain my fingers with ink; and
she won't have me learn much by heart either-it
makes the eyes red."
"Mine aren't red," said Rose quickly, lifting hers,
clear and dark, with something of defiance to her
"No," said Violetta, doubtfully.
THE FIRST OF JULY. 59
I know they are not." And perhaps Rose
might have entered on a quarrel, for her temper
was quick, and her vanity too lively not to be easily
wounded, but happily she remembered Violetta's
news. "I will dress you," she said, with an air
of important superiority, guiding Violetta's arms
through the sleeves of her jacket, putting on her hat,
and then tying the little blue silk handkerchief.
This last was a difficult business, and Rose ex-
pended some care on its performance; but the result
she thought lovely, and she could not help survey-
ing Violetta's appearance with renewed pleasure, as
having had a hand in completing its charms. Then
a sudden impulse, a misgiving, unbearable to Rose's
loving little heart, that she had been unkind to her
companion, prompted her to throw her arms round
Violetta's neck and offer a kiss of peace.
"You haven't told me your news yet," she said,
as they went into the garden.
"Papa and mamma are going to Paris."
"And going to take you ?" interrupted Rose,
"No; I am to stay at home, and "-with a little
of Rosa's animation-" to stay at school all day until
With us ? Oh, I am so glad! When shall you
60 THE FIRST OF JULY.
"The day after to-morrow."
"That's nice. I'm glad it is not to-morrow, be-
cause I shall be out, and I want to be with you the
first day, and yet I shouldn't like to wait long. I
can't bear waiting. What fun we shall have!
How long will you stay ?"
A month or six weeks, mamma said; but I think
I shall ask her to let me stay longer."
"Oh, do. I do love you so much." And Rose
again threw her arms round her little friend's neck;
but she was startled from the transport of delight
Violetta !-Miss Violetta!-Rose !-Rose, where
are you?" called many voices.
"Oh dear !--there's nurse !" exclaimed Violetta,
actually startled into an ejaculation. "I heard her
calling me," she said, taking Rose's hand and begin-
ning to draw her towards the house.
Before they had gone many steps they met the
nurse, awful with rustling black silk and indigna-
tion. Rose stood beside Violetta, feeling this new
potentate to be nearly as redoubtable as Martha, her
supreme authority on all points, and the only person
of whom the petted child stood really in awe.
Who dressed you ?" were the nurse's first words.
"Rose," was Violetta's reply, in her meekest little
THE FIRST OF JULY. 61
Nurse gave a contemptuous pull to her jacket, a
push to her hat, and then proceeded deliberately to
untie the handkerchief over which Rose had ex-
pended so much pains, greatly to that young lady's
"Never you run away from me and hide your-
self with no one," were nurse's last words, in a tone
and with a look of awful warning, as she led her
terrified little charge away from the house.
9~~I'^j i i^'~
ROSE IN THE CHAIR.
" S'SABEL, you had better take your music-
lesson to-day, as you will be out to-
morrow," said Miss Elliot that same
Isabel rose from her place with alacrity. She
was fond of music, though music, with her, was re-
presented only by such quaint, easily played, and
easily understood tunes as had formed the chief of
Miss Elliot's own musical experience.
But an hour spent alone with Miss Elliot would,
under any auspices, have been pleasant to her little
pupil; and when enjoyed to the tune of "Cherry
Ripe," or "Lovely Night," it was indeed delightful.
That same hour in the schoolroom, deprived of
its ruler's presence, was by no means so peaceful.
Catherine Clayton, the eldest pupil, had indeed
been left in charge, but her charge was such as a cat
"might have been expected to take of a bird, or a
spider of a fly. She certainly assumed authority
ROSE IN THE CHAIR. 63
over her companions, but it was authority exerted
in a wrong direction.
Catherine had no love for study, but she had for
power-the power which a school-girl gains by
being first among her companion scholars. Had
any but Isabel taken the first place for her studies,
Catherine would doubtless have exerted her natural
abilities, and would have supplanted the unwelcome
rival. But the love of power, so natural even to
the youngest child, had long been displaced from
Isabel's heart, and in its stead had been implanted
that subject will that brings such sweet peace and
contentment to the soul.
Thus Catherine was well content to leave the
hard study and sustained attention, with the laurels
it gained, to Isabel-was ever ready to lead the
laugh against "continual plodding" and "meek
favour-seeking "-while the praise of ready wit and
dauntless spirit was offered to herself by the half-
dozen silly little girls who composed her circle of
"Now, children, look sharp!" she exclaimed, in
her most peremptory tone, as soon as the door had
closed behind Miss Elliot and Isabel. I'll have no
dawdling and no buzzing of dry lessons into my
ears for the next hour. Whoever hasn't shut up
their books in ten minutes shall get "-and
64 ROSE IN THE CHAIR.
Catherine concluded with an ominous shake of the
"Get what?" asked Sophy Hunter; and all the
little girls looked up from their lessons, so carefully
marked out and explained by Miss Elliot, to await
the answer, some with awe and some with
Get? Whatever I choose to give. You'll see,
Miss Sophy, when the time comes."
"But, Catherine," in the most piteous tone ex-
postulated her neighbour, a small, timid-looking girl,
who sat hopelessly staring at the "Lay of the Last
Minstrel," which she couldn't get into her head, and
of which she could make no sense-" I can't learn
my lessons in ten minutes, and I have a sum to do
that won't come right."
"So much the worse for you. Two minutes'
grace for the obstinate sum."
"Catherine, I can't-you know I can't," again
pleaded the child, with unsteady voice and rising
tears. My poetry is so long and so difficult, and
Miss Elliot left us an hour to prepare our lessons in,
and I don't know how to prove my sum."
Groaning, Grace, as usual," interrupted Catherine
with a laugh, pushing aside her lesson books and
opening her desk.
Grace silently and hopelessly returned to her les-
ROSE IN THE CHATR. 65
sons, and there was a moment's quiet-soon broken,
"What are you doing, Katie ?" asked one of the
children, whose wandering eyes had seen Catherine
to be occupied with something very contrary to
"Making a paper doll. Who shall it be like?
As lovely as Violetta, or as pert as Sophy, or as
merry as Rose, or as inquisitive as yourself?"
"Oh, make it like me, and give it to me when it
"No, I shan't. You're too ugly. It shall be
like-like Rose. See, here are the curls; white,
though, instead of black."
"Rose as an old lady," said Sophy; and the little
girls, who had forgotten their lessons to gaze at the
wonderful doll, began to laugh.
"Are you going to paint it ?" inquired the first
questioner, who had left her seat and stood, far away
from her books, leaning over her idle companion's
"Oh, it will be pretty! Do give it to me when
it is done !"
Indeed; you are cool! And why, pray, should
I give it to you, you idle child ? I shall give it to
whoever shuts up her books first."
66 ROSE IN THE CHAIR.
"I'm ready !" exclaimed Rose, who, requiring
less application to master a task than most children,
had been able, in the intervals of excitement, to gain
some faint idea of one lesson.
"I'll learn it this evening, or to-morrow, or some
time," she thought. Perhaps the expectation of to-
morrow's happiness had turned away Rose's thoughts
from Him who is the Giver of all good things, and
"whose eyes behold, whose eyelids try the children
Had she remembered him, had she lifted up her
heart in the very feeblest prayer to him, she would
not thus have forgotten and cast aside all that she
knew to be right-she would not thus have preferred
the praise of men to the answer of a good conscience
towards God-she would not have become the slave
of another girl's foolishness-she would not have
been pleased to receive a paper doll as the reward of
deceit and idleness, nor have felt her heart elated
when Catherine told her that she was a fine spirited
little thing, and worth two of her sister.
Now, children, the time's up," said Catherine,
when she had completed and presented her doll.
Not one among all the children had courage to
confess that her lessons were not prepared; they
silently, some unwillingly and some gladly, put aside
their books, except Grace. She was sorely per-
ROSE IN THE CIAIR. 67
plexed between fear of Catherine and fear of Miss
Elliot; fear, too, very weak, very undefined, but a
withholding fear, nevertheless, of doing wrong.
I don't know my lessons," she pleaded again,
more piteously than before. You know I can't
learn so fast."
"How many have you learned ?" asked Cathe-
"I am still learning my poetry; I can't under-
"What can't you understand ?"
"Oh, none of it."
Here, Rose; come and help Groaning Grace."
Rose-foolish, vain little Rose-was flattered at
being chosen from among all the children as Cathe-
rine's associate, even in unkindness and mischief,
and came over to Grace, taking the book from her
with an assumption of superiority very unbecoming
from one little girl to another several years her
"Begin now," said Catherine, having installed her
foolish little favourite in Miss Elliot's chair, and
made Grace stand hopeless and bewildered before
her. She herself stood behind, enjoying what she
called the fun, and directing Rose's proceeding.
Rose greatly enjoyed her seat of honour and the
authority deputed to her by Catherine: apt at imita-
68 ROSE IN THE CHAIR
tion, she soon entered into the spirit of her model,
and found the easiest method of entrapping and dis-
comfiting her unfortunate pupil.
Grace herself stood undecided and distressed,
partly by the consciousness that she was not im-
proving in her lesson, partly that they were making
game of her. Her ideas, never very clear, became
more and more confused every moment; the little
glimmering of knowledge she had obtained seemed
to forsake her; she took refuge in silence, not sulky
but hopeless, blaming herself and her own stupidity
more than anything else. Would not Rose, in the
same situation, have felt very differently ?-would
not her cheek have flushed and her eye brightened
with indignation ?-would not angry thoughts have
filled her mind ?-would she have blamed herself
for her ignorance ? They might laugh at and de-
spise Grace, but at that moment a beauty was upon
her which was far off from all of them, even the
sweet clothing of humility.
"I do not know my lesson, Catherine," she said
"So I perceive, you little dunce; and I can waste
no more time over it. Bring your sum."
I can do my sum at home this evening, if you
would let me learn my lesson now," Grace ventured
to say. "Miss Elliot will be sure to ask, when
ROSE IN THE CHAIR. 69
she comes back, if I know it, and she won't be
"Won't be pleased repeated Catherine, with
great disdain; "what if she isn't? It won't kill
you, I suppose. 'Miss Elliot won't be pleased!'
That's Isabel's answer, whenever one asks her to do
anything. But I won't take it from you, so do as
you're told ; bring your sum."
"I wish Isabel was here," said Grace, half to her-
self; she would help me."
At this mention of her sister, Rose's heart smote
her. She felt half inclined to come down from her
chair of state, and-though such a little girl could
not hope to fill Isabel's place of helper to Grace-to
help at least by her silence and by refusing to
join in Catherine's teazing play.
But affection for Isabel, strong and deep though
it lay in Rose's heart, was not enough to preserve
her against the present temptation of Catherine's
authority and admiration. A look was enough to
enlist her once more against Grace, and certainly no
grace was shown towards the unfortunate arithmeti-
cian. The assistance was given something in this
manner:-Rose, still in Miss Elliot's chair, held the
slate and pencil; Grace stood before her; Catherine,
behind, proposed the questions and commented very
freely on the answers.
70 ROSE IN THE CHAIR.
"Now, Grace, quick. Three from eight ?
"Five," responded Grace, after a moment's
Three and five ?"
But Grace could not so quickly turn her powers
from one rule to another, and supposing herself still
engaged in subtraction, she replied, Two."
"Three and five, two !" repeated Catherine, de-
lighted. "Put it down, Rose. Three and five,
"No, wait !" exclaimed Grace, arresting Rose's
hand. "Wait, what did you say, Catherine ?"
"I shall not repeat every question half a dozen
times. Just think what you said, and you will
know what a dunce you are."
I said, Three and five, two. Oh I was thinking
of subtraction; wait, it's multiplication; no, addition.
Three and five, seven. No, eight I mean, eight."
"At last," said Catherine; now, fifteen from nine,
and be quick."
"Fifteen from nine ? fifteen from nine ?" repeated
Grace, much puzzled. I don't know, I'm sure. Is
that in my sum? why, Catherine," with much hesi-
tation, "I can't take fifteen from nine."
"Really! Can't you? That is a pity," said
Catherine. "It is so seldom you cannot do any-
ROSE IN THE CHAIR. 71
She broke into a laugh, joined by Rose and some
of the other children, who had been looking on.
But the laughter was suddenly stopped.
What are you doing?" said Isabel, who appeared
at the door.
She came forward, and, taking her sister's hand,
drew her from her unwonted seat. "What are you
doing with Rose?" she repeated, in a tone of authority,
fixing a pair of bright eyes on Catherine.
"Dear me, we are only amusing ourselves. You
needn't fly into a rage, Miss Brimstone," replied
"You had no right to"--the quick colour mounted
to Isabel's cheeks-" to make Rose play when she
ought to have been learning her lessons. And with
Isabel felt really angry. She knew Catherine's
propensity for teazing Grace, and knew, too, that
Catherine had encouraged Rose in the same pursuit
as the surest way of vexing her. Just then she
thought more of Catherine's unkindness than of
the charity which is not easily provoked.
Rose's hand was still held in her sister's she
hung her head, and began to understand that she
had been very naughty indeed, when she saw how
angry their play had made her usually gentle sister.
"You are teaching Rose to be like yourself,"
72 ROSE IN THE CHAIR.
continued Isabel, giving free course to her indigna-
tion. "You have been making her idle and unkind
A gentle hand was laid on her shoulder.
Isabel," said Miss Elliot's quiet voice of astonish-
ment; "Isabel, what is all this ?"
Isabel did not turn round to justify herself or to
relate her grievance: the sight of Miss Elliot's face
recalled her better self, or rather that in her which
was not herself; the sense of Catherine's unkindness
and rudeness, and of Rose's naughtiness, was lost in
the recognition of her own. A deeper blush of
shame overspread her face, and tears began to escape
from beneath the drooped eyelids.
"Go away with Rose into the music-room," said
Miss Elliot. I will come to you presently." And
Isabel was glad to escape.
"Now, Catherine," said Miss Elliot, who in one
quick glance had noticed the disorderly room, the
disregarded lesson-books, the group of idle children,
Grace's distress, and Catherine's evident confusion-
"will you please to explain the reason of all this
disorder ? "
"I was making Grace say her lessons," replied
Catherine, after some hesitation.
"You were doing more than that, I think," said
Miss Elliot. Grace, you may take your books into
ROSE IN THE CHAIR. 73
my room, and learn your lessons there. And you
may take your places at the table," she continued,
addressing the other children; "you were all, though
perhaps in a less degree, engaged as Catherine was,
and what I have to say is to you all. Catherine,
will you try now to tell me honestly how you have
spent the time since I left the room ?"
Catherine tried hard to maintain her character for
spirit before her little admirers; she saw Sophy
Hunter's eyes fixed on her, as if waiting to see
whether she would give in at once to Miss Elliot
and make confession of her idleness. Perhaps Miss
Elliot saw this too, for while Catherine was seeking
an answer which would shield her, and yet would
not be actually contrary to the truth, she spoke
again. "Remember, Catherine, that what you are
going to say is not to me only; these little ones
round will hear your answer, and it remains with
you to set them an example of courage and honesty.
Above all, One is listening who cannot be deceived,
from whom nothing is hid."
Miss Elliot was a person of few words, and she
said no more. There was silence again for some
moments and when Catherine spoke, her words were
hardly an answer to Miss Elliot's question.
"Grace is so stupid, so foolish," she said.
"And what else is she ? can you not say, also,
74 ROSE IN THE CHAIR.
Grace is so gentle, so humble ? Indeed, Catherine,
I wish I could see you more like her."
Like Grace! She to be compared to Grace
The idea was preposterous; Catherine gave a con-
temptuous toss of her head.
"Yes, indeed," proceeded Miss Elliot, noticing this
movement, "I do wish that you were like Grace, not
even excepting what you call her foolishness. Do
not misunderstand me; I do not wish that you
should be incapable of fulfilling the duties required
of you, but I do earnestly desire that you may take
the place of weakness, that you may all be among
the number of those blessed ones who are mentioned
in the first chapter of the First Epistle to the Corin-
thians. Get your Bibles, and turn to the twenty-
seventh verse. Read it aloud, each of you."
So five times these words were read, and Catherine,
though she tried to shake off the remembrance,
could not forget them :-
God hath chosen the foolish things of the world,
to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak
things of the world, to confound the things which are
mighty; and base things of the world, and things
which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things
which are not, to bring to nought things that are;
that no flesh should glory in his presence."
Miss Elliot thought that this word of God needed
ROSE IN THE CHAIR. 75
no comment from her, and she made none; but she
silently prayed God to bring it home to each of their
hearts, and then she rose from her seat. "It is half-
past four," she said. "You may put away the
books and go home."
Isabel had dried her tears to comfort Rose, who
now desired nothing less than to be Catherine's
favourite. Miss Elliot, when she re-entered the
music-room, saw that the half-hour's quiet had not
been wasted on the sisters, and, after a few words,
she permitted Rose to go in search of Grace, and,
according to her own earnest desire, tell her she
was sorry for her past unkindness.
Grace, who, in the quiet of Miss Elliot's room, had
triumphantly surmounted the difficulties of five
(which Catherine had changed to fifteen) from nine,
hardly perceived or remembered that any injury had
been done her by the little girl, and readily gave
the desired kiss of forgiveness. Thus Catherine's
reign was disturbed in Rose's heart.
"s-^ jq ^
' '^ '' *
THE REWARD OF VALOUR.
LL traces of that afternoon's storm at Laurel
House had passed away from Isabel as
___ she entered Mrs. Mason's little back-
parlour. Dark indeed must have been the cloud
which could long cast a shadow over her usually
calm face, or chase the happy smile of peace and
contentment from her lips. Now the sight of Mary
recalled her pleasant errand to her mind, and smiling
quite won the day.
"Let me tell," whispered Rose, as they opened
the door; and Isabel of course acknowledged her
sister's right to this privilege.
"Mary, Mary," cried Rose, hardly waiting to say,
"How do you do,"-" Guess what I am going to tell
Mary's cheeks flushed. "Something pleasant ?"
she asked, doubtfully; surprises generally, with her,
had brought disappointment and grief.
"Oh yes; something very pleasant. Can't you
THE REWARD OF VALOUR, 77
see how glad I am? And you must be glad too,
for it's something delightful. Isabel, you mustn't
"Something for you, too," said Isabel.
"For me !" repeated Mary, in the utmost astonish-
ment; "something delightful for me," she repeated.
It was hard indeed to guess what it could be,
delights were so scarce in her life-indeed, had almost
gone out of it since those rare delights, her father's
letters, had ceased. But Rose expected her to guess,
and she herself was not a little anxious to discover
what this pleasant secret might be. Many possible
and unhoped-for pleasures passed through her mind.
Rose would have scorned them as being quite un-
worthy of the illustrious truth; for going back to
school, a half-hour's walk, no more pocket-handker-
chiefs, were the brightest among them.
"She will never guess-you must tell her," said
Isabel at last, compassionating her friend's suspense.
"Well, then," said Rose, do you give up?"
"Yes," was the ready answer.
"To-morrow will be my birth-day, and we are to
have a holiday, and papa is going to take a holiday
too, and we are to spend the day in the fields, and"
-Rose paused, to give a due increase of importance
to this last clause-"and you are coming with us;
at least, if you may."
78 THE REWARD OF VALOUR.
Mary did not receive this announcement with the
expected tokens of delight; she remained silent, and
the expression of pleased surprise gave place to one
"Mary, what is the matter?" asked Isabel.
"Aren't you glad ? don't you want to come ? I
thought you would be glad," exclaimed Rose, pulling
her hand to attract her attention.
"I cannot come," said Mary, at last.
Why not ?" asked both the little girls at once.
I cannot. I am sure Mrs. Mason would not let
me, and-and I should not like to ask her."
This reply, which recalled Mrs. Mason in all her
terrors, silenced both Rose and Isabel for a few
moments. In their happiness they had, until now,
almost forgotten this arbiter of Mary's destiny.
Isabel spoke at last. "Would you like to come,
"Oh, so much! I should like to be with you,
and in the fields." Mary's eyes filled with tears.
"But I cannot go, I am sure; I wish I had never
thought about it, for I shall feel so unhappy now,
not to be able to go with you."
"Tiresome Mrs. Mason!" exclaimed Rose, in
extreme indignation. "I wish she was shut up
herself. I wish she had all those handkerchiefs to
hem. I wish "
THE REWARD OF VALOUR. 79
"Hush," said Isabel and Mary together.
She has spoilt my birth-day," said Rose.
We have not asked her yet," said Isabel. "Are
you afraid to ask, Mary ?"
"Yes; and I am sure she would not let me, if I
did. I am not exactly afraid, but I can't bear to
speak to her; she says such things. We had better
go back to the work and think no more of it."
"I will ask," said Isabel.
"You," exclaimed both Rose and Mary.
"Yes. If you do not like to ask, I will. You
shall not give up your holiday without at least
trying for it. We should be so sorry not to have
you; it would spoil Rose's birth-day."
"But will you like to ask Mrs. Mason ?" said
"I shall not like it, but I would rather than not
have you. And we shall not do anything which
could make her really angry. Papa has told us to
ask; he wishes you so much to come."
"He is very kind," said Mary. "I wish I were
as brave as you are."
"Let us try, now, how much work we can get
done," said Isabel. "I will wait till Mrs. Mason
comes home; I dare say she will be kinder than you
think. Things are not generally half as bad as they
seem beforehand. Rose, here is your book."
80 THE REWARD OF VALOUR.
It was the lesson which Rose had neglected to
learn, and while she sat down to fulfil this duty,
Isabel took her work, and had already put in two
or three of the "very small stitches," before Mary's
mind had come slowly back from regrets that she
was not as brave as Isabel.
Many and many a day had these two little girls
sat, as now, over their work,-Isabel learning some-
thing of what is meant by bearing one another's
burdens; Mary warming and expanding under
the influence of love to which she was so little
accustomed, and for want of which her heart seemed
often well-nigh starved. She had given up trying
to learn Isabel's lessons; she was learning instead to
accept her place just as God had prepared it for her;
and even her childish experience could be expressed
in the words of the sweet Psalmist, Oh, taste and
see how gracious the Lord is; blessed is the man
that trusteth in him."
Mrs. Mason hardly guessed, when she gave the
daily task, what a daily delight she provided for her
little workwoman. She would have found it hard,
in the midst of her pleasure-taking, to raise a song
of such unmixed joy as now was poured forth by
the two children. The singing might be weak and
simple indeed, but it was true and clear, and it came
straight from the hearts of the little singers :-
THE REWARD OF VALOUR.
More lovely far than we had thought,
Is he by whom our souls are taught.
More grace and goodness from him flow,
Than any at a distance know.
He loves his little ones to teach,
And put his truth within their reach;
And not the weakest e'er can say,
I came, but I was sent away."
The work, meanwhile, was not neglected-fast and
sure the needles flew along the hems. Rose was
becoming tired of waiting for her sister, when a
knock was heard at the door.
"Mrs. Mason!" exclaimed Mary, dropping her
work. "I know her knock. I must open the
Isabel had almost forgotten her promise. She
felt a little tremor at the idea of meeting this
awful and unknown personage, but no confusion
was expressed in her manner, as she folded her work,
and picked up Mary's, and then put on her hat.
She had just accomplished this, when Mary
returned from opening the door. She had only
summoned sufficient courage to mumble something
about somebody waiting to see Mrs. Mason in the
back-parlour, and that lady stopped when she
entered, and looked at the two little girls in some
"I am Isabel King," said Isabel at last, as the
first necessary step towards accomplishing her object.
82 THE REWARD OF VALOUR,
Mrs. Mason's look of astonishment changed at
once to one of delighted politeness.
"Mr. King's little girls, I declare! Indeed, I'm
very glad to see you; but pray sit down. I ought
to have known you, I'm sure, for I have often
noticed you, and your dear little sister's fine eyes,
and such pretty curls.. I'm sure I wish my Fanny
had such curls," and Mrs. Mason drew her little girl
Isabel profited by the moment's silence this
movement' imposed. "Papa sent me to ask," she
said, "whether you would be so kind as to allow
Mary to spend to-morrow with us ?"
Mary?" repeated Mrs. Mason in renewed wonder.
"The idea of that child's being asked !" she said to
herself, but she kept the smile on her face; and
"It is my sister's birth-day, and papa would be
much obliged if you would let Mary come as early
in the morning as possible; before breakfast, if you
please-papa will bring her home in the even-
"My dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Mason, for Isabel's
quiet persistence in this startling proposal actually
took away her breath-" my dear, I must see about
it. Do you want Mary ?"
"Yes, if you please," said Isabel, wondering how
THE REWARD OF VALOUR. 83
many assurances would be required to convince Mrs.
Mason of this, to her, most natural fact.
Then Mrs. Mason, for the first time, seemed to
take it in, and began to frame a suitable answer.
"Really, Miss King, your papa is very kind, I'm
sure, but I hardly know what to say. Mary never
But do let her come to us this once," said Isabel.
"If she were like you now," said Mrs. Mason
consideringly, "such a good little girl, I'm sure.
But I know what she is: her head will be turned
if she goes out."
Oh no," said Isabel; "we shall be very quiet, and
we shall be so much obliged if you will give her leave
to come. Will you ?"
Mrs. Mason could not resist Isabel's smile and
persuasive tone. She had all along felt that she
could not refuse Mr. King's little girls; to refuse
Mary was, in her eyes, quite a different thing.
"Well, I'm sure you're very kind," she said. "If
you really wish for Mary, I shouldn't like to
disappoint you, Miss King, and your dear little
sister. For her birth-day too. What is your name ?
if I may ask, my dear."
"Rose," said the child.
"A charming name, I'm sure."
"And will you let Mary come ?" asked Rose,
84 THE REWARD OF VALOUR.
beginning to think that Mary's fears of this very
amiable Mrs. Mason were uncalled-for.
"Little dear!" exclaimed Mrs. Mason, referring
not to Mary, but to Rose. "Indeed I can't refuse
you. Mary shall come if she's a good girl, and if
the weather's fine."
This permission, though not the most gracious,
was received with delight by the three children ; and
Mary, when she conducted Isabel to the door, paid
some of her debt of gratitude with a very tight hug
"Did I not tell you," said Isabel, when she
wished her good-bye, that things are not generally
so bad as they seem beforehand ?"
Mrs. Mason lost no time in sending Mary back to
her work, with a sharp reprimand for past idleness,
and a warning, that if she were not more industrious
for the remainder of the evening, her friends, the
next day, might sing for her."
Mary was cheered by the prospect of unhoped-for
pleasure, and instead, as was sometimes the case, of
being discouraged by Mrs. Mason's sharpness, she
stitched away bravely, determined that if her friends
sang, it should be with and not for her.
A ROSY DAWN,
ARY'S thoughts, when she laid her head
on the pillow that evening, were very
bright. Fortunately, Mrs. Mason had
taken such good care to make her use her utmost
efforts to redeem lost time, that she was thoroughly
tired, and soon forgot pleasure and expectation in a
There was neither blind nor curtain to her window,
and sometimes, on a stormy night, when the wind
shook the casement and the rain pattered hard and
cold on the panes, she thought this very cheerless,
and would recall, with longing, a warm, carpeted
room and snug little white-curtained bed which had
once been hers. Then would come a thought of the
dear face which had smiled as a strong yet gentle
hand drew those curtains close, that wind and cold
might not harm her; this often brought a yearning
desire for one more look at that far-away face, and
86 A ROSY DAWN.
many a time drops, which rain had not brought, fell
upon her cheek ere sleep fell upon her eyes.
It was no sound of rain-drops that awakened her
to-day; rays of bright morning sunshine fell softly
across her bed, and at last, reaching her face, lifted
her eyelids as if by magic. The sense of happiness
returned before her other senses were aroused, and
for some moments she sat on the bed trying to re-
member the cause of this delightful and unwonted
"Oh, I know!" she exclaimed at last. Then,
springing from her bed, she ran across the room, and
opening the window, looked out into the rosy morn-
There were no mountains to reflect its delicate
tints on snowy summits; no forests to rise, with
mysterious grandeur, in its shadowy light; no clear
running brooks to drink its golden beams and send
them forth, in perfumed clouds, to refresh expectant
flowers. The light only fell on houses, with sleepily-
closed shutters; on two or three foot-passengers,
perhaps too busy or too sad to notice its kindly
warmth; on a few chimneys, enviously trying to
eclipse its glory in smoke; and on the happy little
face looking out from the attic window.
"It is fine," said its owner, taking a long breath
of the sweet summer air. Then she performed her
A ROSY DAWN. 87
toilet with unusual care and energy. It was very
successful for some time; the blue eyes looked bright,
and the often pale cheeks rosy, with pleasant excite-
ment; the fair hair, naturally soft and smooth, lay
in shining plaits; but when it came to the dress,
Mary's countenance fell.
Certainly the old black frock looked far from
suitable to a festive occasion. Mary held it up to
the light and surveyed its many defects. The result
almost made her wish she were not going; but
another look at the bright sky brought her to a
wiser frame of mind. She brushed with a good will;
and when the unwonted ornament of a cambric frill
round the neck and sleeves was added, she hoped it
might not look so bad after all.
Fortunately, her going out was of such rare oc-
currence that the hat and gloves, though of the very
plainest and cheapest description, were in better
condition. When she came to the old black jacket,
a great deal too thick and heavy for the season,
another fit of regret seized her; but she bravely
thrust her arms into the sleeves, and buttoned it
without a second look or thought. Then she took
a little silk purse from one corner of the box which
contained her small wardrobe. This purse had long
held a sixpence, which Mary now took from its
hiding-place, and then sat for a minute, gravely
88 A ROSY DAWN.
considering what sixpence could buy as a birth-day
present for Rose.
This was a hard question, so waiving its decision,
she at last put the purse into her pocket; and then,
opening the door, went softly down the stairs. No
one seemed to be astir; the front door was locked,
but as it was Mary's daily business to unfasten it,
this was no difficulty, and she soon found herself in
the street. For a moment she stopped to realize
the sense of freedom and peace, and then she went
slowly down the road, pondering on the many pos-
sible ways of employing a sixpence.
Rose, meanwhile, lay dreaming. She dreamed that
she and Isabel were walking hand in hand through a
meadow; they felt tired at last, and sat down to rest
in the shade of a great tree; for a time the great
tree waved its branches gently above their heads,
but afterwards it grew stiff and still, and gradually
changed to the tall, straight figure of Martha, dressed
in one of the cotton gowns which Rose had often
thought must have been woven expressly for her,
as none such were to be seen elsewhere. The cotton
gown in her dream, however, was rendered still
more striking and ugly by being of a violent green,
perhaps from its tree origin. Martha's voice called
loudly on her to leave the meadow, and Isabel led
her away to another, where trees and Marthas were
A ROSY DAWN. 89
not; but in their place were myriads of flowers, so
beautiful and so fragrant that the pleasant perfume
awoke her, and she saw Martha at the foot of the
bed calling her, and Isabel at her side holding a
bunch of flowers, perhaps not so rare, but fresh and
sweet-scented as those of her dream.
Flowers !" she exclaimed; then I was not
dreaming. Are they for me ? How sweet!"
They are for your birth-day, and I wish you
many happy returns of the day," said Isabel, be-
stowing many kisses on the rosy face, and laying a
little wax doll in her sister's arms.
For me too exclaimed Rose, looking with a
mixture of wonder and pleasure into her sister's
equally happy face. "This doll for me ? Oh,
thank you; how pretty she is! And," with fresh
delight, isn't she like Violetta ? Just like Violetta,
if her eyes weren't quite so blue, and if her hair
was all up and down instead of in curls, and if her
cheeks weren't quite so rosy. But she is a dear
baby, and I think I shall call her Violetta; if you
don't mind my not calling her after you."
"Oh no, call her Violetta. It is a very pretty
name, and the doll is more like her than like me."
Come, now," said Martha, as soon as she could
find an opportunity of speaking, get up, and make
haste, or it will be bed-time before you are dressed.
90 A ROSY DAWN.
And, Miss Isabel, give me that nosegay. Flowers
in a bedroom are poison, and they shan't stop in any
that I have to do with."
Oh, take care of them, please," exclaimed Rose,
as Martha, with no very gentle hand, seized and
prepared to carry them out of the room. "Put
them where I can get them again."
They're close outside, in water," said Martha, re-
turning. Here's something for your birth-day, and
may you live long enough to make good use of it."
As she spoke, she presented a housewife of lemon-
coloured silk, brocaded with large lilac flowers, and
well filled with cotton and needles of all sizes.
"Thank you, Martha," said Rose, hardly appre-
ciating the merits of the gift. "This is a thing like
yours. It's very pretty."
It's not only pretty, it's useful," said Martha;
"and that's better, to my thinking. I hope you'll
grow up to make a good use of it, and use away all
"All those!" repeated Rose, with some awe.
Sewing was not yet so attractive to her that she
could echo the wish.
"Yes indeed, and more too. I could mend and
make every stitch I put on before I was Miss Isabel's
Rose mentally congratulated her sister on not
A ROSY DAWN. 91
being like Martha in this respect, but she said no
more, and Martha favoured her with several choice
bits of advice, specially reserved for her birth-day,
while she superintended her toilet.
Mary walked slowly along the sunny streets. It
was still early; few of the shops were opened, and
these hardly yet displayed their choicest wares.
No appropriate destination could be found for the
sixpence. The green-grocer's, the only shop then
in its prime, attracted her attention, and she stood
before it for a few minutes. The summer vegetables,
indeed, looked their freshest, but they could hardly
be offered as birth-day gifts; there were a few
bunches of flowers, but to Mary's mind these were
not choice enough for the occasion. The green-
grocer's could not help her. She walked a little
further. A bookseller's shop was her next stopping-
place; rows of gaily-bound, gilded volumes were
being placed in the window. Mary looked at them,
and thought how glad she should be to have one of
them for Rose; but her sixpence could do little
towards accomplishing this wish, and she presently
walked away. She had almost given up the search
in despair, when her eye was caught by a 6d.
printed very large on a white card; she quickly
crossed the street to see what was to be sold at this
92 A ROSY DAWN.
Dolls. Not very large, but, in Mary's unaccus-
tomed eyes, the perfection of waxen babyhood.
Tiny, delicate features; soft, shining hair; bright,
clear eyes; pink and white complexions; what
more could be desired for a guinea? and these might
be had for the sixpence. Its owner stood, not for a
moment in doubt of the advisability of purchasing,
but transfixed with wonder and admiration by this
delightful termination of her difficulties. A voice
at her side aroused her; a weak, trembling voice,
that told of want and sorrow more surely than did
the words it spoke.
"A penny to buy bread," it said; "bread for the
child, ma'am. Have you a penny? "
Mary turned and saw a woman, thin and blue,
dressed in very scanty and worn garments; a little
child hung by her hand, almost too weak to support
itself, too listless to take interest in the request and
I haven't a penny," was Mary's first
It was so rare for her to possess any money that
she was surprised at a beggar's even expecting any-
thing from her.
I haven't," she began; but then she remembered
She stopped short.
A ROSY DAWN. 93
We've had nothing to eat since yesterday, noon,
and been walking half the night."
Should Mary give her sixpence? all the money
she had in the world. The woman and the child
both looked very cold and hungry; perhaps they
wanted her money more than she did. Mary felt
for her purse, and half took it out of her pocket.
As she turned her head, her eyes fell again on the
dolls. Could she give them up ? They looked
more lovely than ever. Could she meet Rose empty-
handed, when she had so counted on the pleasure of
carrying her a gift ?
For a moment she was sorely tempted. She said
to herself that it seemed hard she should not have
this innocent gratification, when her pleasures were
so few. But could she refuse the poor woman,
when she held what would help her in her
The weak voice sounded again.
"A bit of bread for the child; he's very hungry.
Kind lady, be good enough, if you please. Give us
a penny to buy a morsel of food. He hasn't no one
Mary turned again from the dolls and looked at
the child and his protector. They looked very frail,
those two, clinging together in their helpless want