_ ~__ _~
Playing, in the Garden.
BABES IN THE
FI;EDF IKrCK WARNED AND Co.,
BEDFORD STREi'E', STRAND).
Babes in the Basket;
DAPH AND HER CHARGE.
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"GOLDEN LINKS," "THE CHILDREN ON THE PLAINS,"
WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS.
FREDERICK WARNE AND
BEDFORD STREET, COVENT GARDEN.
I.-TIE MOONLIGHT VISITOR ... ... ... 5
II.-THE "MARTHA JANE" ... ... ... 10
III.-THE WATER-LILY ... ... ... ... 22
IV.-THE RED HOUSE WITH TIE BLUE SHUTTERS 34
V.-DAPH'S SIOPPING ... ......... 44
VI.-CLOUDS ... ... ... ... ...... 51
VII.-A NEW PATH .......... ... ... 57
VIII.-NEws ... ... ... ... ... ... 6
IX.-A MINISTERING SPIRIT ...... ... 79
X.-STRANGE PROCEEDINGS ... ... ... 88
XI.-ANOTHER FRIEND ... ... ...... 94
XII.-HOME SCENES ... ... ... ... ... IO1
XIII.-MARY RAY ... ......... ... ... 114
XIV.--THE BASKET OVERTURNED ... ... ... 121
XV.-THE END .. ... ... ... ... '26
BABES IN THE BASKET.
THE MOONLIGHT VISITOR.
THE evening airAstole gently into a quiet
room in a southern island, more than sixty
There were no casements in the wide win-
dows; the heavy shutters were thrown back,
and the moonlight poured, in long, un-
broken streams, across the polished, uncar-
Within the large, pleasant room, two chil-
dren were sleeping in their curtained beds, like
birds in pretty cages.
Suddenly there was a cautious tread in the
Babes in the Basket.
hall, and then a strange figure stood silently
in the moonlight. Without candle, or taper,
might have been plainly seen the short,
strongly-built woman, whose black face and
gay turban formed a striking contrast to the
fair children in their loose, white night-dresses.
Who was that dark intruder, and what was
her secret errand, in that quiet room ?
It was Daph, black Daph, and when you
have heard more about her, you can better
judge whether she came as a friend or an
enemy, to the sleeping children of her master.
The large mirror, bright in the moonlight,
seemed to have an irresistible attraction for
the negro, and the sight of her black face,
fully reflected there, made her show her white
teeth in a grin of decided approval. The
pleased expression, however, disappeared al-
most instantly, as she said impatiently, "Fool-
ish darky, spending dese precious time, looking
at your own ugly face!"
At this whispered exclamation, the children
stirred uneasily. "If I mus, I mus!" said
Daph, resolutely, as she drew from her pocket
a box, containing two small pills. With the
pills in her hand, she approached the bed-
The Moonlzght Visitor. 7
side of the little girl, who was now half sitting
up, and looking at Daph with the bewildered
expression of one suddenly aroused from
Daph put aside the mosquito net, and said,
coaxingly, "Take dis, Miss Lou, quick as you
can, and don't go for waking Mass Charley,
asleep da in dat beauty bed of his."
Daph had slipped the pill into a juicy bit
of pine-apple, which she seemed to have had
ready for the purpose, and the child instantly
swallowed it. With one trustful, pleasant
glance from her large, blue eyes, the fair-
haired little girl sank back on the pillow, and
was soon in the sweet sleep of innocence.
As soon as Daph saw the small, slender
hands lie open and relaxed, she closed the
gauze-like curtains, and stole to the cradle-
bed of the little boy. She raised his head
gently on her arm, and placed in his mouth a
bit of the same juicy fruit she had given his
sister, containing another of those hidden pills
which she seemed so anxious to administer.
The child did not wake, but the sweet morsel
was pleasant to his taste, and no doubt min-
gled in his baby-dreams of the joys of the
Babes ini the Basket.
pleasant world in which he had passed but
little more than a twelvemonth.
Daph now set to work busily to fill a huge
basket, which she brought from some place of
deposit near at hand. The drawers of the
bureau, and the contents of the elegant dres-
sing-case she thoroughly overhauled, making
such selections as seemed to please her fancy,
and being withal somewhat dainty in her
choice. Children's clothing, of the finest and
best, formed the lowest layer in the basket;
then followed a sprinkling of rings and neck-
laces, interspersed with the choice furniture of
the rich dressing-case. Over all was placed a
large light shawl, with its many soft folds, and
then Daph viewed the success of her packing
with much satisfaction.
Quietly and stealthily she approached the
bed where the little girl was sleeping so
soundly that she did not wake, even when
Daph lifted her in her strong arms, and laid
her gently in the great basket,-the choicest
treasure of all. In another moment the plump,
rosy boy was lying with his fairy-like sister,
in that strange resting-place. Daph looked
at them, as they lay side by side, and a tear
The Moonlight Visitor. 9
rolled over her dark cheeks, and, as it fell,
sparkled in the moonlight.
The negro had taken up a white cloth, and
was in the act of throwing it over the basket,
when a small book, with golden clasps, sud-
denly caught her eye; rolling it quickly in a
soft, rich veil, she placed it between the chil-
dren, and her task was done.
It was but the task of a moment to fasten
on the cloth covering with a stout string; then,
with one strong effort, Daph stooped, took the
basket on her head, and went forth from the
door with as stately a step as if she wore a
I 0 Babs ilt Me Basket.
THE MARTHA JANE."
THERE was the bustle of departure, on board
a Yankee schooner, which some hope of gain
had brought to the southern island named in
our last chapter. The fresh and favourable
breeze hurried the preparations of the sailors,
as they moved about full of glad thoughts of
return to their distant home.
The boat, which had been sent ashore for
some needful supplies, was fast approaching
the vessel, and in it, among the rough tars,
was Daph, her precious basket at her side, and
her bright eyes passing from face to face, with
an eager, wistful glance, that seemed trying
to read the secrets of each heart.
"Here! go-ahead, woman! I'll hand up
your chickens !" said one of the sailors, as
they reached the anchored schooner.
The Mart a 7ane."
I keeps my chickens to myself," said Daph,
as she placed the basket on her head, and went
up the side of the vessel as steadily and se-
curely as the oldest tar of all.
As soon as she set her foot on deck, the
sailors thronged around her, offering to take
her chickens from her at her own price, and
passing their rough jokes on her stout figure
and shining black face. One young sailor,
bolder than the rest, laid his hand on the bas-
ket, and had well nigh torn away its cover.
The joke might have proved a dangerous one
for him. A blow from Daph's strong arm
sent him staggering backwards, and in
another moment, the negress had seized an
oar, and was brandishing it round her head,
threatening with destruction any one who
should dare to touch her property, and declar-
ing that with the captain, and with him alone,
would she treat for the chickens, about which
so much had been said.
"Cap'in," said she, as a tall, firmly-knit
man drew near the scene of the disturbance;
"Cap'in, it's you, sah, I wants to speak wid,
and just you by yourself, away from these
fellows, who don't know how to treat a 'spec-
12 PabEs iiz the Paskel.
table darkie, who belongs to the greatest
gentleman in the island. Let me see you in
your little cubby there, and if you have an
heart in you, we'll make a bargain."
There was something so earnest in the wo-
man's manner, that Captain Jones at once
consented to her odd request, smiling at him-
self as he did so.
A kind of temporary cabin had been put up
on deck, for the protection of the captain
from the hot rays of the scorching sun. It
was but a rude frame-work, covered with sail-
cloth, and yet, when the canvas door was
closed, it formed a pleasant and cool place of
retirement for an afternoon nap, or for the
transaction of private business.
To that spot Daph followed the captain,
her basket on her head, and her firm step and
consequential air seemed to say to the sailors,
"You see, your captain knows better than
you do how to treat such a person as I am."
When they were once within the little en-
closure, Daph's manner changed. She put
down her precious basket, and looking the
captain directly in the face, she said, solemnly,
"Cap'in, would you see a man struggle for his
The M.artha Yane." 13
life in de deep water, outside da, and nebber
lift your hand to save him ? Would you see
a house on fire, and sweet baby-children burn-
ing in it, and just look on to see de awsome
blaze, and nebber stir to save de dear babies?
Cap'in, I'se brought you a good work to do.
Dey say de great Lord blesses dem dat cares
for little children, and gives dem a good seat
in heaven. Swear by de great Lord you won't
tell de dreadsome secret I'se going to tell you!
Swear! time is short "
The kind-hearted captain was impressed by
the earnest manner of the woman, and not a
little curious to hear the secret that seemed
to fill her with such strong feeling; I swear,"
said he, simply; "go on!"
"De darkies in dis island," said Daph,
slowly, "de darkies are crazy for de blood of
der masters. Poor, wicked fools! Dey means
to have enough of it to-night! By to-morrow
morning, de white faces on dis coast will
ebery one be white wid de death-whiteness!
Old folks and little children-dey mean to
kill dem all! Dey told Daph deir secret, as
if dey thought she was all black, inside and
out. De Lord forgib Daph, dat she did not
14 Babes ini the Basket.
strike dem down, where dey stood showing
deir teeth, at the thought of living in master's
house, and he cold in de grave! Dear massa
and missus are up in de country, and Daph
couldn't get word to dem, but something in
here said, 'You can save the sweet babies,
Daph;' so I made as if I was ready to kill
dose I loves de best, and set to'work a-con-
triving how a poor, foolish darky could save
dose sweet lambs. Your men was always glad
to take Daph's chickens, and so de way
seemed open. I'se put my darlings in de
basket, and here dey are for you to take care
ob for de Lord, and He'll reckon wid you for
it. It ain't likely dey'll have any friends to
stand by 'em, and thank ye for it, 'cept one
poor darky, named Daph!"
In a twinkling, Daph had torn off the cover
of the basket, and there lay the sleeping chil-
dren, calm and still as if on their mother's
"Dey do breave, de sweet dears!" said
Daph, as she bent tenderly over them.
Great tears fell from the eyes of honest
Captain Jones. He was an old sailor, but to
salt water in this form he had long been a
The "Marlha 7anc." 15
stranger. He tried to speak, but the voice
that had been heard above the tumult of
many a storm was now choked and husky.
In an instant he regained his self-command,
and said, "You have found the right man,
Daph! No harm shall come to them so long
as my name is Jeremiah Jones The Martha
Jane" can skim the water like a wild duck,
and will be off towards a better country before
ten minutes are over! "
The words were hardly out of Captain
Jones's mouth before he left his tent-like
cabin, and in a moment he was heard giving
orders for instant departure.
The energy that had borne Daph through
her hour of trial seemed to desert her, now
that her object was attained, and she sank
down beside the little ones, sobbing like a
child. She felt herself a poor, helpless, igno-
rant creature, going she knew not whither,
and having assumed a charge she knew not
how to fulfil.
"De great Lord, dat missus loves, can take
care of us !" thought the humble negro; He
can give poor Daph sense to mind de babies!"
In her ignorance she knew not how to pray,
16 Babes in the Baskel.
but she leaned in simple faith upon the only
source of strength, and found consolation.
In half an hour after the arrival of Daph
on board the "Martha Jane," the trim little
vessel was speeding on her homeward course.
Captain Jones walked the deck in deep
meditation, while from their various positions
his crew watched him with curious glances.
The sailors well knew that Daph was still on
board, but no one had dared to question the
captain's orders for putting instantly out to
Jeremiah Jones was a thorough Republican
when at home in good old Massachusetts; but
once on board the "Martha Jane," he ruled
with the despotic power of the Emperor of all
the Russias. His crew were accustomed to
submission, and murmuring was never heard
among them. They had indeed no cause for
discontent, for Captain Jones was just, kind-
hearted, and high-principled, and he wisely
ruled his little realm.
The good captain had acted upon a sudden
impulse, for promptness was required, but now
came a time for sober reflection.
"If the darky has not told the truth," so
The A/arZlh 7aane."
reasoned he, "what has Jeremiah Jones been
doing? He has kidnapped a valuable servant,
and carried off two children, belonging to a
man who has the power and wealth to make
said Jeremiah suffer for his madness. The
thing has been done publicly, and these
fellows of mine may think it for their interest
to deliver me up as soon as I set foot in old
These meditations did not seem to increase
the peace of mind of the worthy New Eng-
lander. He walked the deck impatiently for
a few minutes, and then drew near the objects
of his anxious thought.
He put aside the canvas curtain, and stood
for a moment in the clear moonlight, watch-
ing the sleepers. Daph had thrown her arm
protectingly round the basket, and curled
about it, as if conscious of her charge even in
the deep slumber into which she had fallen.
That long, earnest look set the perturbed
mind of the captain at rest, and again the
unwonted tears filled his large, gray eyes.
A state of indecision could not last long in
such a mind as that of Captain Jones, and his
usually prompt, authoritative manner suddenly
18 Babes in the Basket.
returned to him. He seized a trumpet, and
gave a shout of "all hands on deck," which
soon brought his eager crew about him.
In a few words he told Daph's fearful
story, and then throwing aside the awning,
he exposed to view the sleeping forms of the
negro and the little ones, as he said:-
"I have pledged myself to be a friend to
those whom God has sent me to take care of,
my men; but if there is one among you who
doubts that faithful creature's story, or who is
afraid to lend a hand to save those sweet
throats from the murdering knives of those
black rascals on shore, let him stand out here,
and speak for himself. Let him take a boat,
and put out for the island, while it is yet in
sight. We don't want him here. He shall
have his wages, and bounty too, for the
master he serves is likely to give him little
comfort in the long run. Speak out, men,
will you stand by me, or will you go ashore ?"
Every voice joined in the hearty cheer with
which the captain's words were received.
Rough hands were stretched out towards him,
Sand he responded to their warm grasp with a
hearty shake, as one by one the men came up
The Martha ane."
to give him this token of their determination
to help him in the good deed he had begun.
The cheer that was so welcome to the ear
of Captain Jones had quite a different effect
upon poor Daph. She sprang to her feet in
wild alarm, and, placing herself in front of her
darlings, stood ready to do battle in their
The men drew back, and Captain Jones
hastened to explain to Daph the hearty
expression of good-will towards her which
had risen spontaneously from the crew of the
Daph's apprehensions were soon quieted,
and, at the suggestion of the captain, she pre-
pared to remove her darlings from their
strange resting-place to one of the small state-
The children did not wake while she laid
them gently in the berth, and stretched herself
beside them on the floor. Daph began to be
troubled at the soundness of their long-con-
tinued sleep. She raised herself, and crouch-
ing near them, she watched them with ever-
Captain Jones was on deck, giving a last
20 Babes in the Basket.
look to see that all was right, before retiring
for the night, when Daph came hastily up to
him, and laying her hand beseechingly on his
arm, she said:
0 Cap'in I'se afeard I'se just killed my
pretty ones! dey do sleep so. Dem was such
little pills, dey didn't seem as if they could be
so mighty powersome !"
"Pills!" said the captain, with a start;
"what have you given them ?"
"I jus don't know myself," said Daph, des-
perately. Daph had de ear-ache mighty bad
last week, and missus, dear creeter-she was
always sokind-she gibs me two little pills, and
she says, Here Daph, you take dese when you
goes to bed, and you will sleep so sound, de
pain will all go way!' I says, 'Tank'ee, missus,'
of course, and she goes up to de house quite
satisfied. Daph nebber did take no doctor's
stuff, so I puts de little pills in my pocket,
and just roasts an orange soft, and ties it warm
outside my ear, and goes to bed, and sleeps
like a lizard. Now when I thinks of putting
de children in de basket, something says to
me, 'You gib dem dose little pills, Daph, dey'll
make 'em sleep soundly enough. So, I'se just
The "Martha 7ane' 21
did, like a poor, foolish darky." Here Daph
began to cry piteously.
Captain Jones went immediately to the
cabin. The natural colour and healthy breath-
ing of the little sleepers soon assured him that
all was right.
"Courage! old girl!" said the captain
cheerily, "turn in yourself, and I'll warrant
you the youngsters will be none the worse for
your doctoring !"
Thus consoled, Daph lay down again beside
her charge, and the silence of deep sleep soon
prevailed, not only in the little state-room,
but throughout the Martha Jane," save when
the measured steps of the watch sounded out
through the stillness of the night
22 Babes in the Basket.
AT sunrise the morning after she set sail, the
"Martha Jane" was dancing over the waves,
far out of sight of main land or island.
Daphwas an early riser, and in the gray dawn
she bestirred herself with her useful waking
thought-" This a busy world, and Daph must
be up and at work." Her first glance around
showed her that she was not in the southern
kitchen which had so long been her domain,
and a merry sound near her reminded her of
the new duties she had undertaken.
Charlie was sitting up in the berth, his
bright black eyes sparkling with delight at the
new scene in which he found himself.
"Pretty! pretty little bed!" were the first
words that met Daph's ear. The hearty hug
with which she responded to this pleasant
The Water Lily. 23
greeting, and the consequent laugh of the
child, roused his fair sister.
Louise started up, and looked wildly around
her; "Where are we, Daffy?" she asked,
"We's just on board a beauty ship, a-going
to see pretty countries over the water," said
"But why do we go ?" urged the child, by
no means satisfied.
"Cause, cause," said Daph, "cause de great
Lord tinks it best."
The face of little Louise instantly took a
grave and submissive expression, and she said
quietly, "Well, Daffy, Lou will try to be a
good girl; where's Dinah ?"
"I'se to be nurse now, Miss Lou," answered
"Oh! how nice! No cross Dinah any
more!" exclaimed the little girl, clapping her
hands with very great delight.
Charlie thought proper to clap his hands
too, and to cry out, boisterously, Caky,
caky !"-a cry which Daph well understood,
and for which she was amply prepared.
She drew from one of her huge pockets
24 Babes in the Basket.
some cakes for the children, and than they all
began to chat as pleasantly as if they were
at their favourite resort, under the old tree
that grew in front of Daph's southern kit-
Daph found it a difficult business to dress
her young master and mistress, but Louise
was a helpful little creature, and was of great
assistance in enabling the new nurse to select
the suitable garments from the store that had
been hastily thrust into the great basket.
It was an easy matter to comb Louise's
soft, straight golden hair off her fair forehead,
but it was another thing to deal with master
Charlie's mop of short chestnut curls. The
new bond between Daph and the sturdy boy
had well nigh been broken by the smart
pulls she gave in the course of her unskilful
When Captain Jones came into the cabin,
after his usual round on deck in the morning,
he was greeted by the sound of merry young
voices, which struck strangely on his ear.
Daph gave one peep from the state-room,
to be sure who was near at hand, and then
leading out the children, she bade them "go
The Water Lily. 25
right to the very kindest gentleman that any-
body ever had for a friend."
Charlie put out his arms towards the honest
captain, who took the little fellow warmly to
Louise held on to Daph's apron with one
hand, and the other she put out timidly to-
wards her new friend.
That small, soft,. gentle hand was placed in
the hard, dark palm of the captain, quietly as
a flower might fall on a wayside path. Captain
Jones bent tenderly down to the fair, slender
child, and kissed her smooth forehead. She
loosened her hold of Daph, and nagtled at his
side. Again those stranger-tears filled the
captain's eyes, but he did not look the worse
for them, or for the kindly smile that beamed
from his frank, sun-burnt face.
An odd-looking party sat round the break-
fast-table in the cabin that morning. Captain
Jones was at the head, with Charlie on his knee;
opposite him was perched the little Louise,
while the weather-browned faces of the mates
appeared at the sides.
Daph had claimed the privilege of milking
"Passenger," the cow-which Captain Jones
26 Babes in the Basket.
had taken with him on many voyages, and on
which he had lavished much of the surplus
affection of his bachelor-heart.
"Passenger" would have found out that she
had powerful rivals if she could have seen
Charlie enjoying his cup of fresh milk on the
captain's knee, and Louise looking at him
with mild, trustful glances that went right to
Daph saw all this, if "Passenger" did not,
and with her white teeth in full sight she
moved round the table in the position of
waiter, which she had assumed to keep her
darlings inrview, and to have a care that their
new friends, in their abundant kindness, did
not feed them too freely with sailor's fare.
That was a happy day to the children-
that first day on board the "Martha Jane"-
and the captain prophesied that Charlie would
"stand the sea like an old salt," and Louise
would be as much at home on it as the "Martha
There had been a fresh breeze all day, but
towards evening the wind grew stronger, and
and Daph would have found it hard to carry
even a trifle on that head of hers, which had
The /Waier Lily. 27
so steadily borne many a heavy burden. She
began also to experience certain strange in-
ternal sensations, for which she could not ac-
count; but the faithful creature bore up with-
out a complaint, though she staggered to and
fro in a way that made the rough sailors laugh
merrily at her expense. Poor Daph! Such
sufferings as hers could not long be kept secret.
Through the live-long night she lay in the
anguish of sea-sickness, which can only be ap-
preciated by those who have experienced its
miseries. In her ignorance, she supposed her-
self to have been seized by some fearful
malady, which must soon take her life.
"Daph would be glad to die, she so awe-
some sick," she said to herself; "but den, who
will mind de babies? No, No! Daph won't
die yet. De great Lord won't let her; Daph
knows He won't !"
For two days the poor negro wrestled
mightily against the horrors of sea-sickness,
bearing up with the motive, "Daph must live
for de babies !"
Meanwhile, Captain Jones had all the charge
of his new pets. Passenger" was quite forgot-
ten, as the stout sailor walked the deck with
28 Babes in the Basket.
Charlie peeping out from under his rough
overcoat, and Louise walking at his side,
wrapped in the long soft shawl that Daph had
stowed away in that wonderful basket.
They had strange talks together that
strong man and those prattling children-and
they learned much from each other. He told
of the wonders of the sea-the great whales
and the floating ice-bergs-and the petrel
that the sailor never kills. Many long years
Captain Jones had made the sea his home,
and much he knew which books had never
taught him, yet in little more than three short
years, Louise had learned a priceless secret,
which he had never found in any land. He
was familiar with the wonders of nature, but
to her the Great Creator, to whom he was a
stranger, was as a familiar, trusted friend. The
marvels which Captain Jones could tell of the
ocean, but increased her wonder at His power,
who "made the heavens, the earth, the sea,
and all that in them is," and in her simple
way she would "praise the Lord for all his
wonderful works." Charlie little knew of the
strong feelings which agitated the breast to
which he was clasped, while his little sister
The Water Lily. 29
lisped of the lessons learned at her mother's
Those days of Daph's sickness were pre-
cious days to Captain Jones, and he was
almost sorry when the stout negro triumphed
over her enemy, and came on deck to resume
The air grew chill as the "Martha Jane"
sped on her northward course, and the white
dresses of the children fluttered, most unsea-
sonably, in the cool breeze. The ship's stores
were ransacked for some material of which
to make them more suitable, though extem-
pore clothing. A roll of red flannel was all
that promised to answer the purpose.
The captain took the place of master-work-
man, and cut out what he called a handsome
suit for a pair of sea-birds ;" and Daph, with
her clumsy fingers, made the odd garments.
She felt ready to cry as she put them on, to
see her pets so disfigured; but Captain Jones
laughed at her dolorous face, and said the red
frock only made his "lily" look the fairer, and
turned Charlie into the sailor he should be.
The "Martha Jane" was nearing the fami-
liar waters of her own northern home, when
30 Babes in the Basket.
the captain called Daph into the cabin, one
evening, to consult with her on matters of im-
With the happy disposition of the negro,
Daph seemed to have forgotten that she was
not always to live on board the "Martha Jane,"
and under the kind protection of her sailor-
friend; she was, therefore, not a little startled,
when he addressed to her the blunt question:
"Where are you going, Daph?"
Now Daph had a most indistinct idea of
the world at large, but thus brought suddenly
to a decision, she promptly named the only
northern city of which she had heard. "Tse
going to New York," she said; "Miss Elise,
my dear missus, was born dere, and it seems
de right sort of a place to be takin' de sweet
"Daph," said the honest captain, "we shall
put into New York to-morrow, for I have
freight to land there, but you had better go
on with me to old Boston. There I can look
after you a little, and put you under charge of
my good mother; and a better woman never
trod shoe-leather, for all her son is none of the
best. Shall it be so, Daph ?"
The Water Lily. 31
"Couldn't do it! Massa Cap'in. Boston!
dat mus be mighty far off. I nebber hear tell
of such a place. New York's de home for my
babies, just where missus was born. May be,
some ob her grand cousins may be turning' up
da, to be friends to de pretty dears. Nobody
would eber find us, way off in Boston !"
It was in vain that the captain tried to
change Daph's resolution; to New York she
would go; and he now attacked her at another
point, asking, "What are you going to do
when you get there, Daph? Have you got
any money ?"
"Not so berry much to begin wid," said
Daph, producing a bit of rag from her pocket,
in which some small change, the result of her
traffic in chickens, was stored. "Not much
money, Massa Cap'inras you see for yeself;
but what do you tink ob dese?" Daph
loosened her dress, and showed on her black
neck several gold chains, hung with rings of
great richness and value, and an old-fashioned
necklace, set with precious stones. "What
do you tink ob dese, Massa Cap'in ?" she
repeated, as she displayed her treasures to his
32 Babes in the Basket.
Daph had put her valuables on foi safe-
keeping, doubtless, yet not without a certain
satisfaction in wearing articles which so grati-
fied the love of finerycommon to the black race.
The captain looked at the jewellery with a
grave, pitying expression, as he said, compas-
sionately, "Poor Daph! If you should offer
one of those rich chains for sale in New York,
you might be hurried off to jail as a thief in a
twinkling; then what would become of my
Daph betook herself to tears for a few
moments, and then rallied, and said, stoutly,
" Daph can work for de babies. She's a strong
darky. Heard massa say, many a time, Daph
would bring a big price. Daph will make
heaps of money, and keep young massa and
missus libbing like great folks, as dey should."
At this idea, Daph's face regained all its
usual cheerfulness, and she could not be
shaken by the further doubts and fears
brought forward by Captain Jones.
"Keep what you have round your neck
safely then, Daph," said the honest sailor,
"and never try to sell them, unless you are
ready to starve. Here's a little purse of
The Water Lily. 33
solid gold, that I meant as a present for my
mother; she, good soul, would rather you had
it, I know. This will keep you till you can
get a start, and then, may be, you can work
for the dear children, as you say. I have an
acquaintance in New York, who may let you
a room or two; and if she can take you in,
you may get on pretty well."
"I knew de great Lord would look out for
us. His name be praised!" said the poor
negro, gratefully, as she kissed the hand of
Captain Jones. "Ye won't lose your reward,
Massa Cap'in; He'll reckon wid ye!" and she
pointed reverently upwards.
"May He reckon with me in mercy, and
not count up my sins!" the captain said
solemnly, and then bade Daph "good-night."
34 Babes inj Mle Basket
THE RED HOUSE WITH THE BLUE SHUTTERS.
CAPTAIN JONES was a prompt and upright
business man, faithful to his engagements, at
*He was pledged to remain in New York
the shortest possible space of time; he there-
fore had not, after attending to necessary
business, even an hour to devote to Daph and
the little ones. It was a sad moment to him
when he strained Charlie to his breast for the
last time, and kissed his "Water-lily," as he
loved to call Louise.
He had given Daph a letter to a sailor's
widow, with whom he thought she would be
able to secure a home, where she would escape
the idle and vicious poor who congregated in
less respectable parts of the city. After hav-
ing made Daph count on her fingers, half a
dozel- times, the number of streets she must
The Red Hoiuse.
cross before she came to "the small red house
with blue shutters," where she was to stop, he
piloted the little party into Broadway, and,
setting their faces in the right direction, he
bade them an affectionate farewell.
As he shook Daph's black hand for the last
time, she placed in his a small parcel, clumsily
tied up in brown paper, saying, "You puts
that in your pocket, Massa Cap'in, and when
you gets to sea, you open it, and you will
understand what Daph means."
Captain Jones did, almost unconsciously, as
Daph suggested, as, with a full heart, he
turned away from the little ones who had
become so dear to him.
Once more, the only protector of her
master's children, Daph's energy seemed to
return to her. She wound the shawl more
-closely about Louise, drew Charlie to her
honest bosom, looked after the various bun-
dles, and then set off at a regular marching
The strange appearance of the little party
soon attracted the attention of the knots of
idle boys who even then infested the more
populous parts of New York.
36 Babes in the Basket.
"Hallo, Darky! where's your hand-organ ?
What'll ye take for your monkeys ?" shouted
one of these young rascals, as he eyed the
children in their odd-looking red flannel gar-
Louise clung closely to Daph, who strode
steadily on, apparently unconscious of the
little troop gathering in her rear. By degrees
the young scamps drew nearer to her, and one
of them, taking hold of the skirt of her dress,
cried out, "Come, fellows, form a line! Fol-
low the captain, and do as you see me do!"
A long string of boys arranged themselves
behind Daph, each holding on to the other's
tattered garments, and walking with mock
solemnity, whilf" the foremost shouted in
Daph's ear the most provoking and impudent
things his imagination and rascality could
Daph maintained her apparent unconscious-
ness until she came in front of a large door
with a deep recess, which opened directly on
the street, and but a step above the pavement.
With a sudden and unexpected jerk, she
freed herself from her tormentor; then, plac-
ing Charlie and Louise for a moment in the
The Red House.
recess, she charged upon her assailants. Right
and left she dealt hearty slaps, with her open
hand, which sent the little crew howling away,
their cheeks smarting with pain, and burning
with rage. The whole thing was the work of
a moment. Daph took Charlie in her arms,
clasped the trembling hand of Louise, and
resumed her steady walk as calmly as if
nothing had occurred.
There was much to attract the attention of
the strangers in the new scenes about them,
but Daph kept her head straight forward, and
devoted all her attention to numbering the
corners she passed, that she might know when
to begin to look out for the house so carefully
described by good Captain Jones.
Louise soon grew weary of keeping pace
with Daph's long strides, and the faithful negro
lifted the little girl in her arms, and went pa-
tiently on with her double burden.
A weary, weary walk it seemed, even to
the strong-limbed negro, before they passed
the last corner, according to her reckoning, and
stood in front of the very red house with blue
shutters which she had been so anxious to
see. Much as she had longed to reach it,
38 Babes in the Basket.
its appearance did not fill Daph's heart with
joy. A sort of dread of the new people whom
she was to meet stole over her; but she re-
solved to put a bold face on the matter, and in
this mood she gave a heavy knock at the blue
door. Her imperative summons was promptly
The door was opened by a little girl, of
about ten years of age, who was covered,
from her slender neck to her bare feet, with a
long checked pinafore, above which appeared
a closely-cropped, brown head, and a small,
demure-looking face. The child stood per-
fectly still, gazing in quiet wonder at the
strangers, and waiting to hear their business.
Daph had to set the children down on the
steps, and fumble in her bosom for the cap-
tain's precious note. She drew it at last from
its hiding-place, and handed it triumphantly
to the young porteress, saying, "Dis is what'll
tell you who we are, and what we wants."
The little girl looked at the note with a puz-
zled expression, and then calmly walked away,
down the narrow hall without saying a word.
Daph sat down on the doorstep, and took the
children on her lap, with a kind of faith that
The Red fHouse.
all would go well, which made her feel quite
easy. She was making the children laugh at
a playful pig, that was running up and down
the street, when angry tones from within met
her ear, and she caught the following words:
Take a negro for a lodger I shall do no
such thing! Who does Captain Jones think
I am ?"
"Mother," said a calm young voice, "you
know we shall be behind with the rent, and
then, the children are white; one of them is
the whitest child I ever saw."
The rent, yes, that is a bad business. Well,
I suppose I must come to it! What one does
have to put up with in this world Show the
Daph, who had heard the whole conver-
sation quite plainly, rose at the last words,
and was ready to accept the invitation to walk
into the back room, which she immediately
Daph made a polite curtsey to the sour-
looking little woman, who seemed hardly
strong enough to have spoken in the loud,
harsh tones which had just been heard.
So Captain Jones sent you here?" said the
40 Babes in the Basket.
woman, somewhat tartly, as she eyed the
Daph had taken off the shawl from Louise,
and set Charlie on his feet, that the children
might appear to the best advantage; she stood
proudly between them, as she said, "I wants
to hire a room for my missus's children. We's
been 'bliged to come North this summer, and
will have to look out a bit for ourselves, as
massa couldn't come wid us."
"Daphne," said the woman, sweetening a
little, "Captain Jones says that is your name,
and that you are an honest, industrious wo-
man? Do you think you will be able to pay
the rent regularly ?"
"I has a right to my name," said Daph,
straightening up her stout figure. "Missus
had it gib to me, like any white folks, when
she had me baptized. I isn't particler about
having all of it, so most folks calls me Daph.
Is I honest? Look me in de eye, and an-
swer dat yerself. Is I industrious ? Look at
dat arm, and dese ere fingers; do dey look
like if I was lazy?"
The clear eye, muscular arm, and hard work-
worn hand were indeed the best assurances
The Red House. 41
the doubtful questioner could have re-
"As to de rent," added Daph, "my missus'
children isn't widout money." As she spoke,
she gave her pocket a hearty shake, which pro-
duced a significant chinking, that seemed quite
"You are a queer one!" said the woman,
"but you may as well look at the room. It's
there in front; you passed it as you came in."
Daph stepped to the door of the front room,
pushed it open, and looked around her, with
her head thrown a little on one side, as if
that position were favourable to forming a cor-
rect judgment as to its merits.
"Well, it do be radder small," she said,
after a few moments' dignified consideration,
" but den it be proper clean, and two winder
to de street, for de children. Haven't ye got
anything to put in it; no chair, nor table, nor
You will have to furnish for yourself," said
the woman, "but you shall have the room on
The bargain was soon made, but whether
on reasonable terms or not, Daph had but
42 Babes in the Basket.
little idea, though she prudently concealed her
Once in her own domain, Daph sat down on
the floor, and giving each of the children a
huge sea-biscuit, she took them in her arms,
and began to move to and fro, singing one of
the wild negro melodies which spring up
wherever the African race take root.
The weary children were soon in a sound
sleep, and then Daph laid them carefully down
on the clean floor, covered them with the
shawls she had found so useful, and then sat
stock-still beside them, for a few moments lost
in deep thought. After awhile, she took from
her pocket the purse the captain had given
her, and her own store of small change, wrap-
ped in its bit of rag. The latter she laid
aside, saying, "That mus' do for eat. Dat
Daph's own. Now dis, Daph jus' borry from
de cap'in. Massa's children don't have to come
to livin' on other people when Daph's on her
feet. Cap'in Jones got his money's worth in
that beauty gold chain I puts in his hand, and
he not know it."
Here Daph gave a real negro chuckle, at
the thought of the artifice which had made
The Red House. 43
her feel at liberty to use the money so kindly
given her, without accepting charity, from
which she revolted, as well for herself as for
her master's children.
"Now Daph must be getting' dis place in
order quick, or de children will be wakin' up,"
said Daph, as she rose hastily, with the air of
one prepared for action. She carefully closed
the shutters, locked the door behind her, and
putting the key in her pocket, set off to make
Babes in the Basket.
DAPH had observed a small cabinet-maker's
shop not far from her new home, and to it she
easily made her way. The sight of two little
wooden chairs, painted with the usual variety
of wonderfully bright colours, attracted her
attention, and suggested her plan of opera-
"It's for de children I'se buying," she said,
"and what's de use ob paying a big price for
grown-up things ? I just wants two chairs and
a few tings to match for de dears." While
Daph was thus soliloquising, the shopman
came forward, and she promptly addressed
him as follows, I'se just come, sar, to buy de
fixin ob a leetle room for my massa's children,
General Louis La Tourette."
Daph mentioned her master's name with
a pompous air, and with great distinctness,
Dapz's Shopping. 45
which had their effect on the humble cabinet-
maker. He moved about briskly, and Daph
soon had displayed before her all the small
articles of furniture he had on hand.
The bright yellow chairs, adorned with the
wonderful roses and tulips, were first set
aside; then followed a little table, painted in
the same fanciful manner, and lastly, a good-
sized trundle-bed, of a somewhat less gaudy
I'se in a most pertickler hurry, jus' now,"
said Daph; "would you jus' hab de kindness
to get for de bed just what will make it look
neat and comfable-not too nice for children
to play on, while I steps out for a few things
as I'se 'bliged to get ?"
The shopkeeper kindly complied, while
Daph went on her way delighted at being thus
able to have what the children would need for
comfort, a matter about which she felt herself
quite ignorant in this new climate.
Daph's next stop was at a tinman's. Two
wash-hand basins, such as she had seen on
board ship, three shining tin cups, three pewter
plates and spoons, one strong knife and a
capacious saucepan, completed the purchases
46 Babes in the Basket.
which she promptly made. Drawing a gold
piece from the captain's purse, she laid it
calmly down on the counter, then gathered up
the various articles selected. The tinman
eyed her a little suspiciously, but there was no
look of shame or guilt in her frank and honest
face. He concluded she was a servant sent
out by her mistress, and carefully gave her the
right change, which seemed, in Daph's eyes,
to double her possessions. When she returned
to the cabinet-maker's she found the trundle-
bed neatly fitted out, while a lad with a wheel-
barrow was ready to take home the furniture.
She added to her purchases a plain wooden
bench, and then said, composedly, "I don't
know de valer ov such like tings, but General
Louis La Tourette, my massa, does, and you
must deal right and honest." As she spoke
she laid down two of her precious gold pieces,
then gathered up the small change returned
to her, not without some misgivings as to the
accuracy of the shopman.
When Daph reached home she found the
children still sleeping soundly, and she was
able to get the little room in order to her satis-
faction before they were fairly awake.
Dapk's Skopfping. 47
She turned up the trundle-bed on end, and
threw over it as a curtain the pure white coun-
terpane that the shopman had provided. The
deep recess on one side of the chimney, thus
shut in, Daph intended to consider as her pri-
vate resort, and in the small cupboard in the
wall, she laid out the children's clothes with
scrupulous care. This done, she set out the
little table with the new cups and plates, and
drew the chairs near it, while the remaining
tin treasures were ranged along the wash-
bench in the most attractive manner.
It was well for Louise and Charlie that they
had been much accustomed to being away
from their mother, or they might have been
poorly prepared for their present lot.
General La Tourette had married a young
American girl, who was then living on an
island near that on which his plantation was
situated. Shortly after this marriage the
husband received a dangerous wound in his
side which unfitted him for active duty, and
he resolved to settle down on his own planta-
tion, which had for a long time been under the
care of a most injudicious overseer,
Daph accompanied her mistress to her new
Babes in the Basket.
home, and tried her utmost skill in cookery
to tempt her master's now delicate appetite.
Even her powers were at last at fault, and
General La Tourette could not taste the
tempting morsels which the faithful creature
loved always to prepare for him.
Frequent change of air was now prescribed
for the invalid, and the fond mother was
almost constantly separated from the children
she so tenderly loved ; yet her sweet, devoted,
Christian character had already made its im-
pression on the little Louise.
Thus situated, the children had learned to
be happy for the present hour, with any one
who happened to have the charge of them.
General La Tourette, though a native of
France, spoke English in his family, and to
that language his little ones were accustomed.
They took no fancy to the cross French nurse
who had latterly had the charge of them,
and much preferred Daph, whose English was
pleasant to their ears. They loved to linger
at the door of her southern kitchen, or play
under the wide-spreading tree that waved over
Daph returned their affection with all the
Daak's Shoppig.a 49
strength of her warm heart, and Mrs. La
Tourette felt sure that, in her absence, Daph
would watch over both children and nurse
with an eagle-eye.
With more of the dove than the eagle in
her expression, Daph now sat beside the little
ones in their new home, so far from the land
of their birth.
Not long after her preparations were com-
pleted, Daph had the satisfaction of seeing
the children awake, refreshed by their long
sleep, and full of eager delight at the wonders
achieved by their new nurse. She listened with
hearty satisfaction to their exclamations of
surprise and pleasure at the shining tin and
gaily painted chairs.
Daph was just wondering what was to fill
plates and cups that looked so attractive,
when a bell was rung imperatively, in the
street, before the house, From all sides
women and girls gathered round the bell-
ringer's cart, and from his great cans he filled
their vessels with milk, which was at this mo-
ment most refreshing to the eyes of Daph.
She seized her new saucepan, and sallying out,
presented it to the milkman, and received
50 Babes in the Basket.
her supply. She watched carefully the bits
of money given by other applicants, and was
fortunate enough to select, from the change
she had that day received, the right payment
for the milk.
In a few moments the children were seated
at the little table, and enjoying their nice sup-
per of biscuit and milk in a way that made
Daph's eyes sparkle with delight.
"Daffy eat too !" said Charlie, motioning to
her to put the spoon in her mouth instead of
his own. "Yes, Daffy," said Louise, "do take
Daph had hardly thought once of herself
during the whole of this busy afternoon, but
when the children had finished their meal she
filled her cup with the fare they had enjoyed,
and ate it with no less satisfaction.
Daph knew de great Lord would take care
of us !" she murmured, as she looked round
on the room that seemed to her so comfort
able, and true, fervent gratitude; undisturbed
by one fear for the future, filled the heart of
the faithful negro.
ALAS for Daph! She was soon to find life
was not all sunshine in her northern home.
The lovely May weather, which had been
like a pleasant welcome to the strangers,
suddenly vanished, and was succeeded by
dark clouds, pouring rain, and keen easterly
winds. Daph was glad to keep the children
wrapped in the bed-clothes, while she racked
her ingenuity to find means of amusing
them. Charlie took a wash-hand basin for
a drum, and the pewter spoon with which
he beat it was a constant and patient suf-
ferer. Louise was not so easily pleased;
she began to miss her mother sorely, and
tried poor Daph, by pleading piteously to
see her "own dear mamma."
Daph had tried to banish from her mind
Babes in the Basket.
all thoughts of her master and mistress, for
the bare imagination of what they might
have suffered made her wild with distress.
She said to herself, "What for Daph go to
tink about tings, jus' as likely nebber was at
all! Daph makes out de great Lord couldn't
save massa and Miss Elize all hisself, widout
Daph to help him! Foolish darky! She
better cheer up, and take care ob de chil-
dren, 'stead o' jus' whimper, whimper, like a
Daph had to go through a course of con-
solation, similar to the above, very frequently
to enable her to maintain her cheerfulness;
but the piteous questioning of the little
Louise well-nigh overcame all the poor negro's
"I'se tell you what it is, Miss Lou," poor
Daph said, desperately, at last, "I'se jus' tell
you what it is; de great Lord is a-taking care
ob your mamma, and if you's a good girl
you'll jus see her some day, and if you is
not, de great Lord will nebber, nebber bring
Daph's manner, as well as her words, had
some effect upon Louise, and she tried to
content herself with watching the rain stream-
ing down the window-panes, and was soon
in a sufficiently cheerful mood to march up
and down the room, to the sound of Charlie's
music, greatly to his satisfaction.
The dreary weather without was not all
that Daph had to contend with; she found
she had an enemy within the house, whose
attacks it was far more difficult to meet.
The little woman, whose angry voice ha&
attracted Daph's attention at first, kept her
humble lodger familiar with its harsh tones.
Daph's appearance was the signal for a volley
of complaints, as to the noise made by the
children, the marks left on the floor by
Daph's feet, as she returned from the well,
the unpleasantness of seeing other folks so
much at home in one's own house," &c., &c.
Daph never had a chance to get any further
than "'deed, Miss' Ray !" in her attempts at
self-justification, for the opening of her mouth
was sure to produce another tirade on the
"impudence of certain people, that nobody
knew anything about."
The demure-looking little girl was generally
a silent spectator of these attacks, but now
54 Babes in the Basket.
and then she was forced to cry out, "0,
mother! don't !" which protest was generally
met by a sharp box on the ear, and a "Take
that, Mary, and learn to be quiet!" If Mary
Ray had learned any lesson, it certainly was
to be quiet. She rarely spoke, and her foot-
steps were almost as noiseless as the fall of
the winter snow.
Daph soon found out that Mrs. Ray consi-
dered Mary especially guilty in having pre-
sumed to live, when her brother, a fine
healthy boy, had been snatched away by sud-
The loss of her husband, and consequent
poverty, had somewhat soured Mrs. Ray's
temper, but her last bereavement seemed to
have made her all acidity. She constantly
reproached Mary for being a useless girl,
always in her mother's sight, when the dear
boy, on whom she had hoped to lean, had been
taken from her.
Daph's keen sympathies were soon warmly
enlisted for little Mary, who had really begun
to believe she was quite in fault for continuing
to cumber the earth, when nobody wanted her
Daph never passed Mary without a cheer-
ful word, and she contrived to show the child
many trifling acts of kindness, which went
directly to her heart.
At one time Daph, with her strong arm,
lifted Mary's heavy pail of water; at another,
she took her pitcher to the milkman in a pour-
ing rain; and one day, when she could think
of no other way of showing her interest, she
secretly bestowed on the little girl one of the
few oranges which still remained of the store
brought from the ship.
Mary's sorrowful face, Mrs. Ray's harsh
voice, the penetrating chill in the air, and the
monotonous life she led in the single room,
made it hard for Daph to bear up cheerfully,
and, but for the children, she would have with-
drawn to a corner, and moped all the time.
She managed to keep up her spirits during the
day, but when the little ones were asleep, she
had her own sad, wakeful hours. More than
a week had passed in this dreary way. Daph
saw her treasured store of money fast dimi-
nishing, under the necessary expenditure for
supplying the simple wants of her little esta-
blishment, and she already saw, too plainly,
56 Babes iz the Basket.
that the whole party must soon have a new
outfit of clothing, or they would be disgraced
by their rags and uncleanliness.
The children were quietly slumbering near
her; she had extinguished the candle, that
it might not waste its feeble light, and, with
her head on her hand, she began to consi-
der seriously the situation in which she found
herself. The present was dark enough, but
what was she to think of the gloomy future!
Where should she look for the work she
would so willingly do ? How could she
leave her little charge, even if that work were
A sense of utter helplessness came over the
poor negro, and hot tears poured down her
A sudden thought struck her! there was One
all-powerful, and to Him she would go. She
fell on her knees, and uttered her first simple
prayer: "Will de great Lord gib poor Daph
something for do ?"
Overpowered by the effort she had made,
and fearful there was something presuming
in a poor creature like herself daring to speak
to the being she so reverenced, Daph sank
A New Patk.
down on the floor in a posture of silent hu-
mility. A conviction that she had been
heard and forgiven for the boldness of her
prayer stole over her, and she stretched herself
as usual on the bare floor, and was soon in a
A NEW PATH.
DAPH rose the following morning at her usual
early hour, and went to perform her customary
ablutions beside the well; keeping, however, a
sharp look-out for Mrs. Ray, to be ready to
beat a retreat as soon as that formidable per-
son should make herself heard. No Mrs. Ray
appeared, and Daph's curiosity tempted her to
take a peep into the room which served as
kitchen, parlour, and general abiding-place
for Mrs. Ray and Mary, though they slept in
the loft above.
Mary was diligently ironing at this early
hour, giving, from time to time, dolorous
glances at a great basketful of damp clothes,
58 Babes in the Basket.
which seemed to diminish but slowly under
"Where's your ma?" said Daph, as she
thrust her head fairly in at the door, regard-
less of consequences.
"Mother's very sick this morning," said
Mary, sorrowfully; she can't even turn herself
in bed, and all these clothes must go home
to-night; we have had to keep them too long
now, it has been so wet."
"Nebber fret bout de close," said Daph,
cheerily; "I'se held a flat 'fore dis! Do Daph
good to work a little, she mighty tired, sitting
up all day like a lady. Spose I jus steps
up to look at your ma. May be I might do
somewhat for her, to make her feel better."
"0 don't!" exclaimed Mary, hastily; "she
might not like it."
Nebber you mind dat !" said Daph; "you
jus show me de way."
Mary pointed to the door that led to the
narrow staircase, and Daph needed no further
"Ye's mighty sick, isn't ye, Miss' Ray?"
said Daph, compassionately, as she stepped to
the bedside of the sufferer.
A New Path.
Mrs. Ray turned her head to the wall and
groaned, but Daph was not to be easily dis-
Spose I jus makes you a little warm drink,
and helps you to throw off dis ere sickness ?"
said Daph, insinuatingly.
"0 my back! my bones! they ache so!"
said the poor woman.
It's jus bein out in dis wet wedder, jus a-
comin from dat awful hot fire into the swash
down rain," said Daph. "White folks isn't
used to such hard work. You jus can't bear
it, dat's it."
Daph had struck the right chord, and Mrs.
Ray answered, No; I aint used to it. That's
true enough, but who have I got to help me,
but just that slip of a girl ? O, if my boy had
Daph did not wait to hear more of the com-
plaints which were the burden of Mrs. Ray's
daily talk. She hastened to the kitchen, and,
with Mary's help, she soon prepared a steam-
ing bowl of herb-tea, which Mrs. Ray took
from her hand without a word. She would
have resisted, when Daph proceeded to
bathe her feet in warm water, but the kind-
6o Babes in the Basket.
hearted negro went steadily on, regardless of
opposition, saying, "You's so very sick, we's
mus jus take care of you, same as if you were
a bit of a baby. There now, let me jus put
de cubber over you," she said, as she re-
leased the restive feet. "Now, if you could
jus git a little sleep, while I go dress de
babies, I'se do believe you would feel mighty
Mrs. Ray did fall into a quiet sleep, the
more sound from the night of wakefulness
and pain she had just passed. When she
awoke, she heard unusual sounds in the
kitchen below, and if she could have peeped
down the stairway, a pleasant scene would
have met her eyes. A cheerful fire roared
up the wide chimney. Daph, revived by
the welcome heat, was ironing away at the
great table with real heartiness, while little
Mary, at her side, tried to move her slender
arms in the same energetic manner. Charlie
was seated on the table, a happy spectator of
these proceedings, while Louise stood by him,
sprinkling and folding a bit of rag again and
again, not doubting that she was amazingly
A New Path.
"Mary Mary !" said a voice from above,
feebler and a little less sharp than usual,
"who's down there with you ?"
It's jus me and de children, Miss' Ray,"
said Daph, putting her head fearlessly up
the stairway. "Dat big basket o' clothes
wants 'tention, and I'se jus thought I'se
better be ironin a bit, to git de tings out
Mrs. Ray made no answer, and Daph,
after satisfying herself that the patient was
a little better, stepped quietly back into the
Daph really enjoyed her busy day, and it
was followed by sound natural sleep, in-
stead of hours of wakefulness and anxious
It was more than a week before Mrs.
Ray recovered from the violent cold which
had so suddenly removed her from the
scene of operations; meanwhile Daph and
Mary had become excellent friends. The
little girl exchanged her hard work for
the pleasant care of the children, and Daph's
strong arms had the exercise they needed.
Daph's busy brain had not meanwhile been
62 Babes in the Basket.
idle; the sight of the great oven in the
wide chimney-corner had suggested to her
a plan, which she was impatient to carry out.
When Mrs. Ray first appeared in the
kitchen, she gave an anxious look about
her, as if she expected to see nothing but
disorder and dirt; but the well-scoured floor
and shining plates on the dresser had another
tale to tell. Of Daph's skill in cookery she
had tasted several striking specimens, since
her appetite had in a measure returned,
and she looked on somewhat curiously, as
Daph busied herself about the fire, prepar-
ing what she called, "Just a bit relish, to
strengthen up Miss' Ray, now she's on her
two feet again."
Mary was with the children, and Mrs.
Ray took the opportunity to say,. "You
have been very good to me, Daph, and I
am sure you had no reason;" and tears of
shame actually came into the poor woman's
"Now don't, Miss' Ray !" said Daph, "I'se
isn't been and done anything at all. Come,
take a little breakfast, and ye'll feel better,
A New Path.
"What can I do for you, Daph ?" con-
tinued Mrs. Ray, who had been really
touched by the persevering kindness of the
"Well, now, Miss' Ray," said Daph, "I
wants to make a little money. I jus thinks
I might do de ironing for you ebery week, for
you can't stand such hard work, and then,
may be you'd jus let me hab de use ob dat
beauty oven, for somewhat I wants to do.
I'se jus used to cooking, and may be, if I
makes some ob de cakes missus used to like
so much, I might sell dem at some ob de
grand houses, and so make a pretty sum, by-
This arrangement was easily made, for Mrs.
Ray felt within her but little strength for
work, and she was also anxious to show her
sense of Daph's late kindness.
One bright June morning, Daph put herself
in what she called "splinker order," and the
children shouted with delight when her toilet
was made. With the help of Mrs. Ray and
Mary she had cut out and completed a good
calico dress and a full white apron, and these,
with her snowy turban, made a most respect-
64 Babes in the Basket.
able appearance. A new basket, covered
with a clean cloth, was on her head, and
within it was stored a variety of nice cakes,
which she was proud to show as a specimen of
Mary stood at the window with the chil-
dren, as Daph went off, and the little ones
kissed their hands to her until she was fairly
.out of sight.
Daph had learned her way about the city
with ease, for she had quick observation and
a ready memory, and she now found no
difficulty in reaching what she called the
"grand houses," which were ranged in impos-
ing rows, on what is now one of the business
At door after door she tried to gain ad-
mittance, but the consequential servants
turned her off with a contemptuous word,
and her heart began to sink within her. At
last, as an imperative footman was ordering
her away from a great family mansion, two
ladies passed out, to enter a carriage. Daph
was desperate. She dropped a curtsey, and
said, "Ladies, like some nice cakes?" and
at the same moment she lowered her basket,
A New Path.
uncovered it, and displayed its tempting
The frank, good face of the negro, and the
attractive appearance of her wares, secured
the attention of the ladies, and they purchased
largely. Encouraged by their kindness, Daph
said, "If de ladies would jus speak for Daph
to some ob de great folks, to buy from her
Tuesday and Fridays, Daph would try to
"I like the woman, mamma," said Rose
Stuyvesant; "shall we engage her to come
here always, and see what we can" do for her ?"
The mother assented, and Daph, turning to
express her gratitude, looked into the face of
the youngest speaker.
It was a sweet face for man or angel to
look into. Nature had made it fair, and parted
the golden hair above the soft blue eyes; but
there was. a sweetness round the expressive
mouth, and a purity in every line of the oval
face, that told of a soul at peace with God,
and ruled by His holy law.
Daph long remembered that face, and as she
visited the Stuyvesant mansion week after
week, she deemed that a bright day when she
66 Babes in the Basket.
caught even a glimpse of her, whom she called
"the sweet young lady."
Time passed on, and Daph throve in her
little traffic, until her cakes were well known,
and her form eagerly looked for in many a
splendid home; but the best triumphs of her
skill she ever reserved for the Stuyvesant man-
sion, where she had first found a welcome.
As the honest efforts of poor Daph were
crowned with success, she found herself abun-
dantly able to provide for the physical wants
of her master's children. Three years of toil
had rolled quickly away. Charlie had passed
his fourth birth-day, and become a strong-
willed, sturdy boy, while the slender figure of
the fair Louise had grown and rounded, and
the rose had learned to bloom on the cheek of
Captain Jones's "Water-lily."
Daph looked at her little ones with affec-
tionate pride, and watched over them with the
most tender care. She encouraged them to
play in the small garden in the rear of their
humble home, but in the street they were
never seen. The garments she fashioned for
them were neat and tidy, and the snowy aprons
they always wore were monuments of her
skill as a laundress ; but she was conscious of
a something in their external appearance
which was not as it should be. About the
manners of her charge, Daph was still more
troubled. "Why you eat so, Miss Lou ?" she
would sometimes say. "How shall I eat,
Daffy ?" the child would reply. "Well, I just
don't know," poor Daph would answer, "but
dere's somewhat bout de way you children do
be at de table dat Daph don't jus know how to
More serious troubles than these by de-
grees came upon Daph, in her management.
Charlie, though an affectionate, generous child,
was hot-tempered and wilful, and when he
resisted Daph's authority, or raised his little
hand to give an angry blow, the poor creature
knew not what to do. In these scenes she
generally triumphed, by the look of real dis-
tress which clouded her usually pleasant face,
and brought Charlie repentant to her arms.
68 Babes in the Basket.
With Louise, Daph had another difficulty.
The child was usually gentle and submissive,
but she seemed to pine for other companions,
and a home different from that which Daph
was able to provide for her.
The early lessons of piety which Louise had
learned at her mother's knee, had faded from
her mind. Daph could remind the little girl
to say her simple prayer at morning and even-
ing, but she could not talk to her of the loving
Saviour, or recount the wonders of the Gospel
she had never read.
The little book with the golden clasps,
Daph had cherished with the utmost care.
She knew it contained the secret which could
bring peace and order to her little home, but
its treasures she, in her ignorance, could not
Once she had ventured to ask Mrs. Ray to
read a little to her from it, but she met with a
short negative, and a cold, averted look.
Mary was almost as ignorant of letters as
Daph herself. So the poor negro kept the
precious book unopened, and awaited God's
time for leading her from darkness unto light.
That the children of her dear mistress would
be allowed to grow up, ignorant of the know-
ledge that belonged to their station, and
strangers to the Bible their mother had loved,
Daph would not allow herself to believe. It
will come, I'se sure!" Daph would say to
herself; de great Lord can make it right !"
and thus she stifled her anxious forebodings,
and strove to do the duty of the present hour.
Mrs. Ray's temper was not quite as trying
as when Daph first made her acquaintance.
The kindness of the honest negro, and her
cheerful acceptance of the trials of her lot,
had their influence under that humble roof, and
won respect and affection, even from Mrs. Ray.
The sunshine of Charlie's happy, roguish face
had cheered the lonely widow, and Louise
had exerted on her a softening, refining influ-
ence. Mrs. Ray was improved, but not tho-
Little Mary had many harsh words yet to
hear, but time had abated the poignancy of
the mother's grief for her lost darling, and
made her somewhat more alive to the virtues
of her hard-working, quiet little girl.
During the three years that had passed
since they had dwelt under the same roof,
70 Babes in the Basket.
sickness, at various times, had made the little
household seem like one family, and the habit
of helping each other had daily drawn them
Mary's demure face was lighted up with
wonder as she said to Daph, one day, There's
a gentleman at the door, asking if mother still
lives here, and if you are at home."
"Is it a tall, tall gentleman, that looks
grand-like and magnificent?" said Daph,
earnestly, as the thought of her master at
once rose to her mind.
Not exactly," said Mary, and, as she spoke,
Mrs. Ray opened the door, and ushered in
Although her first feeling was disappoint-
ment, Daph shed tears of joy as she clasped
the hand of the honest captain; her tears,
however, brightened into smiles as she saw the
approving look the captain bestowed on her
pets, as he caught them in his arms.
Charlie struggled and fought to be free,
shouting, I like you, sir, but you need not
squeeze me so, and rub me with your rough
Charlie got another hug for an answer;
while Louise said, Who is it, Daph? It
cannot be my father !"
"No! no! darling!" said the captain,
quickly, and he dashed the tears from his
eyes, and was sobered in an instant.
Mrs. Ray looked on with astonishment and
curiosity, at the cordial meeting between her
old acquaintance and her lodgers.
Captain Jones had known Mrs. Ray slightly
in her better days, and he now turned to her,
and inquired kindly after her welfare. As
usual, she had a series of grievances to relate,
but she forbore speaking slightingly of Mary,
who had modestly retired into the background.
The little girl was somewhat astonished when
the captain came towards her, and gave her a
hearty greeting, as the child of his old mess-
mate, and seemed to think her well worth
speaking to, though "only a girl."
The whole party sat down together, and
time passed rapidly on, while the captain sat,
with the children in his arms, and heard
Daph's account of her various trials and ad-
ventures since they parted. Mrs. Ray listened
with eager curiosity, but she gathered little
more from Daph than she already knew.
Babes in tlie Baske4.
At length, Captain Jones said, with a great
effort, Daph, I have something to say to you,
which is not fit for the children's ears," and
he gave at the same time an expressive glance
towards Mrs. Ray.
The widow seized Mary by the hand, and
flounced indignantly out of the room, saying,
"I am sure we have too much to do to stay
here, where we are not wanted. No good
comes of secrets, that ever I heard of !"
"Come, children, come with Mary," said
the girl, apparently unconscious of her mo-
ther's indignant manner.
The children followed somewhat reluct-
antly, and Daph and the captain were left
alone together. Since the moment of her
landing, Daph had had no one to whom she
might speak of the dark fears for her master
and mistress that at times preyed upon her;
to her own strange departure she had never
alluded. She had met questioning with
dignified silence, and had patiently endured
insinuations, which, but for her clear con-
science, would have driven her to frenzy.
Now, she felt that she was to hear some im-
portant news, and her trembling knees re-
fused to support her. Anxious and agitated,
she sank on her low bench, and fixed her eyes
eagerly on the captai-i.
"Daph," he began, "there was horrible
truth in your words that night, when you
pleaded so earner tlv t n board the 'Martha
Jane!' I thank G od tnat I did not turn a
deaf ear to you then Daph, you have saved
your master's children from a bloody death,
and you will be rewarded, as there is a Father
in Heaven !"
The captain paused, and Daph bent anxi-
ously forward, exclaiming, My dear missus ?
Captain Jones could not speak. He drew
his hand significantly across his throat, and
then pointed solemnly upwards.
Daph understood his meaning but too well.
She had hoped on, determinately; but now
the hour of awful certainty had come, and she
could not bear it. She gave one loud scream,
and fell senseless on the floor. The wild yell
that burst from the anguished heart of the
negro rang through the house, and Mrs. Ray
and Mary were at the door in a moment, fol-
lowed by the terrified children. Little Louise
74 Babes in the Basket.
dropped down beside Daph, and began to cry
piteously, while Charlie flew at Captain Jones
like a young lion, loudly exclaiming, "The
naughty man has killed dear Daffy, and I'll
While Mrs. Ray and her daughter were
making every effort to recall poor Daph to
consciousness, Charlie continued his attack
upon the captain, with sturdy foot, clenched
hand, and sharp teeth, until the honest sailor
was actually obliged to protect himself, by
putting the child forcibly from the room, and
firmly locking the door.
Perfectly infuriated, Charlie flew into the
street, screaming, "They've killed my Daffy!
The wicked, wicked man !"
Several persons gathered round the enraged
child, and a young physician, who was pas-
sing, stopped, to find out the cause of the dis-
turbance. Charlie's words, "She lies dead
there! The wicked man has killed her," caught
the attention of Dr. Bates, and he eagerly
asked, "Where, where, child ?"
Charlie pointed towards the house, and the
doctor entered without ceremony, Charlie
closely following him. His loud knock was
answered by Captain Jones, whose cautious
manner of unlocking the door seemed, to the
young physician, a most suspicious circum-
Charlie no sooner caught sight of his enemy
than he leaped furiously upon him. The strong
sailor received him in his muscular arms, and
there held him a most unwilling prisoner, while
he watched the proceedings going on about
poor Daph, and rendered assistance where he
Dr. Bates ordered her clothes to be instantly
loosened, and then commanded Mrs. Ray to
lay her flat on the floor, while he proceeded to
apply his lancet to her arm.
While this process was going on, the clock
in a neighboring steeple struck twelve. Cap-
tain Jones looked hastily at his great silver
watch, and saw that it was indeed midday,
and he had not a moment to spare, as the
"Martha Jane was by this time quite ready
to set sail, and only waiting for her captain.
He hurriedly placed a little parcel on the
mantel-piece, and with one long, sorrowful
look at poor Daph, and a hasty farewell to
Mrs. Ray and the children, he left the house,
76 Babes in tze Basket.
It was long before Daph returned to con-
sciousness, and when her eyes once more
opened, they were wild with fever and anguish.
She declared, however, that she was quite
well, and would have no one about her; she
longed to be alone, to struggle with her great
sorrow. The children would not leave her, but
it was in vain they tried their little expressions
of tenderness, and begged her to look once
more like their "own dear Daffy."
The sight of the' unconscious orphans re-
doubled the grief of the poor negro, and she
burst into a flood of tears. The poor children,
overcome at this unwonted sight, sank down
beside her, and mingled their tears with hers.
Mrs. Ray and the young doctor were sorely
puzzled by the strange scenes they had wit-
nessed. They had both seen the rich chains
about Daph's neck, which had been disclosed
while she was unconscious, and not a little
wonder was excited by the sight of that ex-
pensive jewellery in such a place. Dr. Bates
had not failed to observe the refined appear-
ance of the fair Louise and the noble bearing
of little Charlie, contrasting as they did so
strangely, with the plainness of their humble
home, and the unmistakable African face of
the woman, of whom they seemed so fond.
The wild agitation of Daph, the disappear-
ance of the sun-browned stranger, the neck-
laces, the children, all tended to fill the mind
of Dr. Bates with dark suspicion. He lingered
about Daph as long as he could make any ex-
cuse for doing so, and when he reluctantly
turned from the room, he did not leave the
house without thoroughly questioning Mrs.
Ray as to what she knew of her lodgers. Mrs.
Ray had but little to tell, excepting that they
had been commended to her, three years be-
fore, by the same tall sailor whose appearance
that day had created such a commotion. Of
Captain Jones she could only say that he had
been a messmate of her husband, years before,
and had always been reckoned an honest,
The questions put -by Dr. Bates roused all
the curiosity of Mrs. Ray, and revived the
suspicions, with regard to Daph, which had
been much in her mind during the early days
of their acquaintance. Such thoughts had
long since been banished, by the honest, up-
right life of the kind-hearted, industrious
78 Babes in the Basket.
negro, but now they rose with new
She recalled the richly-embroidered dresses
in which the children sometimes appeared, the
first summer after their arrival, and she dwelt
on the reluctance which Daph always exhi-
bited to answer any questions as to her past
life, or the circumstances attending her de-
parture from her Southern home.
These remembrances and suspicions she
detailed to the willing ear of Dr. Bates, who
was satisfied that he was on the eve of un-
ravelling some tangled web of iniquity, and
with slow and thoughtful steps he walked
away from the humble home, so wrapped in
Once more left to herself, Mrs. Ray felt
ashamed of having doubted poor Daph, and
was half inclined to go to her, and frankly
own the misgivings the late occurrences had
excited; but the thought of those strange cir-
cumstances again set her curiosity at work,
and all right feeling was soon lost in an eager
anxiety to find out the dark secret which
hung like a cloud over the poor negro.
A Ministering Spirit. 79
A MINISTERING SPIRIT.
DAPH had been smitten by a blow too sudden
and violent, to rally immediately from its
effects. Her strength and energy seemed for
ever gone. The hope which had upheld her
had been stricken from her, and she knew not
where to go for comfort.
"De great Lord has gib poor Daph up !"
she said, disconsolately; and, prostrate in
mind and body, she lay on her low bed, her
eyes shut, and her soul all dark within.
It was now that Mary Ray had an oppor-
tunity of showing her deep gratitude for the
unwearied kindness of her humble friend. She
assumed the care of the children, and tried to
keep them happy out of Daph's sight, and
thoughtfully volunteered to go round herself
to Daph's customers, to tell them that sickness
had prevented her from preparing her usual
All that Mary offered, Daph quietly ac-
cepted, almost without opening her eyes.
Daph seemed to have no wants, and it was
80 Babes ii the Basket.
in vain that Mrs. Ray came in and out, and
bustled about, putting the room in order,
opening and closing the shutters, and making
herself very busy, to no possible' advantage;
Daph did not notice her; her thoughts were
far, far away.
In one of these visits, Mrs. Ray chanced to
find the gold chain the captain had laid on
the mantel-piece. This added fuel to her sus-
picions, and she felt justified in secreting it,
and showing it to Dr. Bates, as a further proof
of the mystery clinging to Daph.
Mrs. Ray's mind was in a most agitated
state. Sometimes she was haunted with
vague notions of some most awful crime
committed by Daph, and then again the
kind, truthful face of the negro would rise
up before her, and change her suspicions into
shame and self-reproach.
At such times, she could not help feeling
that only virtue and honesty could be at home
in a heart capable of such generous forgive-
ness, and patient return of good for evil, as
she had received from the now sorrow-stricken
negro. These moments of relenting, too soon,
alas I were gone.
A Ministering Spirit. 8
Daph was lying sad and alone in the silent
room, a few days after the visit of Captain
Jones, when she heard a low tap at the door,
followed by Mrs. Ray's loud voice, saying,
"Walk right in, Miss. She aint very ill, in
my opinion, but she don't take no notice of
Daph did notice the stranger who entered,
and she even smiled sorrowfully as she looked
up into the face of Rose Stuyvesant.
"We missed your nice cakes on the table,
Daph," said a soft voice, and when I heard
you were ill, I determined to come and see
These words of kindness from a refined and
gentle woman, melted the heart of the suffer-
ing negro. She burst into tears as she ex-
claimed, "Oh, my sweet young lady You
speaks to poor Daph like her own dear missus
Rose Stuyvesant sat down beside the low
bed that Mary had spread for Daph on the
floor. "Are you very sick, Daph?" she
Daph is all dead here, and all dizzy here,"
said the poor creature, laying her hand first
82 Babes in the Basket.
on her heart, and then on her head. "De
great Lord has sent Daph a big trouble, and
den gib her right up;" and the tears again
Rose bent over the unhappy negro, and
said, gently, The great Lord loves you too
well, Daph, to give you up in your trouble.
Perhaps he has sent me to comfort you !"
Daph looked up with a gleam of hope in
her eye, and murmured, "No reason why
Daph shouldn't just tell all de truth now.
Perhaps, if de sweet young lady knows all,
she may comfort Daph up."
"The Lord Jesus can comfort us in any
trouble," said Rose, softly. "What makes you
so unhappy ? Cannot you tell me ?"
Daph looked long into the sweet face
turned lovingly towards her, and then said,
"De great Lord has sent a'most an
angel to poor Daph, and she shall hear it
The secret that had so long burdened the
lonely negro was now poured out with all the
unconscious eloquence of a true, warm, single
heart. The tears flowed fast down the cheeks
of Rose Stuyvesant, as she heard the simple
A Ministerizng Spirit. 83
story of devoted, heroic affection, and long,
She understood the hope that had cheered
Daph through years of labour and anxiety,-
the hope of placing the children of her mistress
again on the bosom that had nursed them,
and of seeing the happy father again embrace
his long lost ones. That hope was now for
ever gone, and Rose Stuyvesant mingled her
tears with those of poor Daph, as she con-
cluded her story.
Those real tears made Daph feel that she
had found a true friend, who sympathised with
her in her distress, and this in itself was a
whisper of comfort.
As soon as Rose could command herself,
she said, as she took the black hand in her
own, Daph, the mother who loved to teach
her little ones of Jesus, has gone to be with
Him. Your master, too, is now with the Hea-
venly King. You will still be able to give
them back their children, in that better land,
where there is no parting, where no sorrow
The negro looked earnestly in the face of
the speaker, as she went on;--"You must
84 Babes in ite Basket.
teach the little ones to love the Lord Jesus,
and lead them to His home in heaven. Daph,
you have that now to do, and that is worth
living and striving for."
How shall poor Daph show the way to
heaven; she don't know itjus' zactly herself,"
said the poor creature, and the momentary
gleam of hope faded from her face as she
"Jesus Christ has opened the door of hea-
ven wide, for all that love Him and trust Him,"
said Rose, eagerly; His blood, shed on the
cross, can wash away the sins of the whole
world. The great Lord will forgive you all
that is past, and receive you into heaven, for
Jesus sake, if you really wish it."
"What else Daph want now in dis world,
but jus' know de way to heaven herself, and
lead de children dere ?" was the earnest
Poor Daph had been entrusted with but little
religious knowledge, but to that she had clung
in simple faith through all her trials. She
had improved the few talents that had been
given her, and now came her reward in the
fullness of the light of the gospel.
A fMinis.'- ..; Sf irit. 85
Again and again her young teacher ex-
plained the way of forgiveness and eternal
peace through the blood of Christ.
At last the beauty, freedom, and matchless
love of the plan of redemption burst upon her,
and there was joy in heaven, when the poor
negro, in the midst of her tears, welcomed
Christ as her Saviour, and knew "the great
Lord as her reconciled Father in heaven.
While the long conversation, so full of mo-
ment to Daph, was taking place, Mary Ray
had kept the children happy in the little gar-
den. Their patience at last gave way, and
they pleaded so hard "just to look at -dear
Daffy," that she could resist them no longer.
Charlie burst impetuously into the room,
unmindful of the stranger, while Louise more
timidly followed. Warm tears filled the eyes
of Rose Stuyvesant as she looked, for the first
time, on the orphans.' Charlie saw immedi-
ately the happy change that had passed over
Daph's face, and walking straight up to her,
he said, exultingly, "Daffy's better! Daffy's
better! Good Daffy!" and he laid his curly
head on her dark arm, which told how dearly
she was beloved.
86 Babes in the Basket.
A peculiar attraction seemed to draw Louise
to the side of the stranger, and when she was
tenderly kissed, and that sweet, soft face bent
down to hers, with loving interest, the child
put her head on the bosom of Rose Stuy-
vesant, clung to her neck, and sobbed as if
her heart would break.
"It is not mamma!" murmured the child;
and then more and more fondly embraced
one who had brought back from the dim re-
cesses of memory the image of her long-lost
Rose was but little less moved than the
child, and in her heart she prayed that she
might give to the little one such lessons in
holiness as would win an approving smile,
were they heard by that mother in heaven.
By degrees, the agitation of little Louise
subsided, but she quietly kept her seat on the
lap of her new friend, and seemed to find a new
pleasure in looking into her kind face and
smoothing her fair, soft hand.
Meanwhile, Daph drew from her pocket a
parcel, which she had ever carried about her,
perhaps with the vague idea that it had some
talismanic charm to keep her from evil. Wrap-
A Ministering Spirit. 87
per after wrapper was taken off, until at last
the little book with golden clasps appeared.
"That was all about Him, I know," said
Daph, "about that good Saviour, but Daph
can't read the blessed book."
Rose took the Bible that was handed to
her, and read on the fly-leaf, Elise Latou-
rette, from her devoted husband. One Lord,
one faith, one baptism !"
The sight of that book in the hands of Rose
again awoke the dim memories of the child on
her knee, and Louise, through fresh tears, was
doubly drawn towards her new friend.
Suffer little children to come unto me, and
forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of
heaven," read the sweet voice of Rose. All
are the children of Jesus, who put their trust
in Him, and truly love Him."
A thrill passed over t-h- fLame of little
Louise at the sound of these words, and she
kissed the lips of the speaker, with strange joy
in !her eyes. I cannot stay any longer now,"
said Rose, attempting to rise.
"Don't go! don't go!" said Louise, almost
wildly, I cannot let you go! "
"But I must, my sweet Louise," said Rose,
88 Babes in the Basket.
as she gently disengaged the child: "I must
go now, but I will come every day and read
to you and your 'Daffy,' out of this dear
"When? when? what time will you come?"
asked the child, anxiously, while Daph lis-
tened eagerly for the answer.
"To-morrow, at eleven o'clock, you must
stand at the window, and watch for me; I will
not keep you waiting long."
With this promise again repeated, Rose
kissed the children, and with a murmured word
of comfort to Daph, passed from the room.
Not so soon passed away the influence of
that visit prompted by Christian kindness,
rich in blessings to the humble negro; most
precious to that young disciple of Christ, who
had learned to love to be "about her Master's
DAY after day Rose Stuyvesant continued her
ministry of love to Daph and the little ones.
Strange Proceedizngs. 89
The hour of her morning visit was watched
for, and hailed with joy, and well it might be,
for she brought with her the sweet influence of
a loving heart and an earnest, devoted spirit.
The children were, as usual, eagerly looking
out for her one morning, about a week after
her first appearance in their humble home.
Daph, who was once more on her feet, was
moving about with a step a little more languid
than usual, trying, as she said, "to make the
place look a bit more fitsome for the sweet
young lady to sit down in." Charlie, who
was perched on a chair beside his sister, and
had, his nose pressed from time to time flat
against the window, and had drawn all sorts
of strange characters, with his fat fingers, in
the dampness left by his breath on the pane,
at length had his attention suddenly arrested.
' Oh, Lou !" he shouted, "look this way, on
the steps! there's that ugly, old, bad doctor,
that cut dear Daffy's arm, and two big men
Good doctor, Charlie said Daph; "he
wanted to make Daffy well, but he didn't jus'
know how. It took Miss Rose, wid her sweet
holy words, to do Daph good."
90 Babes zn the Basket.
He's an old, bad doctor, I say, and shan't
come in said Charlie, springing towards the
door, as the voice of the doctor sounded in the
hall, and his hand touched the latch. The
sturdy little figure of the boy, resolutely
backed up against the door, was but a small
obstacle in the way of the strong hands-that
forced it instantly open.
"For shame, Mass' Charlie Let the young
gemman in!" said Daph, as she came forward,
dropping a curtsey. "I'se quite well, sir, to-
day," she continued, and I'se mighty tankful
for you being so uncommon willing to do
somewhat for to cure Daph, for by her arm do
be a little stiff for de cutting you gib it de oder
"He's an old, bad man to hurt Daffy, and I
ain't glad to see him a bit," said Charlie, with
an angry look.
"Do your work! This is the woman!"
said the slender young doctor, turning to the
stout men he had brought with him.
A strong hand was laid on each shoulder of
the astonished Daph, and a rough voice said,
"Come with us, 'old woman !"
I isn't goin' to do no such thing," said she,
S.;: .' Proceedings. 91
with an indignant glance. "What for is I
goin' to waste my time goin' with them as I
has no business wid ? Perhaps you doesn't
know what manners is, to be layin hands on a
poor nigger dis way. Take your big hands
off! I'se my missus' children to look after, and
we's would be glad to hab dis bit of a room to
Daph had not spoken very rapidly, but even
as the indignant words forced themselves out
of her mouth, she was hurried towards the
"You'd better do yer talking' now," said one
of the men, coarsely, for before half-an-hour's
over, you'll be locked up where nobody'll
hear you if you holler till you are hoarse."
Daph began to struggle violently, and the
sinewy men who held her were well nigh com-
pelled to relinquish their grasp.
Is you a gemman, doctor ?" she said, des-
perately, at last, Is you a gemman, and stand
still to see a poor woman treated dis way ?"
"You are only getting your deserts," said
little Dr. Bates, drawing himself up, and
trying to look dignified. You are to be tried
for stealing, and for the other awful crimes
92 Babes in thke Baske,.
which your own conscience can best count
over to you, and be sure the severest punish-
ment of the law awaits you."
Is that all ?" said Daph, her spirit rising;
"carry me to any real gemman, and it would
take more liars than ever grew to prove any
such like things against poor Daph. I'se not
a bit afeard to go wid you, for sartain I'se be
back soon enough. "
The children, who had been at first struck
with silent astonishment, now began to realize
that Daph was actually going from them.
Louise burst into a violent fit of weeping, and
clung to the unfortunate negro, while Charlie,
with an uplifted wash-basin, made a sudden
attack upon the slender legs of Dr. Bates,
which broke up his dignified composure, and
made him give a skip that would have done
honour to a bear dancing on a hot iron plate.
"Now, Mass' Charlie, I'se do be shamed,"
said Daph, subduing the grin that had sud-
denly overspread her face. "De young gem-
man don't know no better! 'Tain't likely he
ever had anybody to teach him! You jus' let
him be, Mass' Charlie, and tend to your sister,
Miss Lou, here. Don't cry, pretty dear; Daph
Strange Proceedings. 93
will be back soon! De Lord won't let'em
hurt Daph! You be jus' good children, and
dat sweet Miss Rose will comfort you till
Daph comes home."
The last words were hardly uttered, when
the negro was forced into a long covered wag-
gon, and rapidly borne away from the door.
At this moment Mary Ray ran breathlessly
up the steps, exclaiming, Where have they
taken Daph, mother? Mother, what is the
Matter enough!" said Mrs. Ray, vehe-
mently; who could have told it would have
ended that way! I am sure I never meant
any such thing. Daph's gone to prison; and
just as likely I shall never hear the end of it,
and have the children upon my hands, into
the bargain. Well, well; I wish I'd never set
eyes on that little spinky, Dr. Bates!"
The bitter reproaches that rose to Mary's
lips were hushed at the mention of the chil-
dren; and she hastened to comfort them, as
well as she could, while Mrs. Ray went back
to her kitchen, in no very enviable frame of
94 Babtes in Ille Baslet.
DIs don't be de cleanest place in de world !"
said Daph to herself, as she looked round the
small, bare room into which she had been
thrust. "Well," she continued, "de Lord
Jesus do be everywhere; and Daph no reason
to be above staying where such as He do set
foot. But den de children what's to become
of de children ?"
Here Daph's resolution gave way, and she
cried grievously. "Daph, you do be a wicked
creter," she said to herself, at length. Jus'
as if de Lord Jesus didn't love little children
ebber so much better than you can He's
jus' able hisself to take care of de dears; and
Daph needn't go for to fret hersef'bout dem."
Thus consoled, Daph was prepared calmly
to wait whatever should befall her. The
stream of sunlight that poured through the
small window, slowly crept along the floor,
and the weary hours passed away.
The new and beautiful truths that had of
late been brought home to the soul of Daph,
were much in her thoughts and full of com-
I do be afraid," she said to herself, "I'se
did not act so bery Christianable, when dose
big men did catch Daph by de shoulder.
Dere's somewhat in Daph mighty strong dat
don't like folks putting' hands on widout tellin'
what's de matter. Well, well; I spose Daph
will get like a lamb, sometime, if de Lord
helps her. I'se do wonder what the dears is a
doin', jus' now. Maybe that sweet Miss Rose
is just speaking' to dem beautiful words out ob
de blessed book. How Daph would like to
hear dose same words, her own self!"
Daph's meditations were interrupted by the
sudden turning of the key in the lock, and
then the door of the small room was thrown
open to admit the entrance of a stranger.
The new-comer was a short, stout, elderly
man, with a dignified bearing, and a calm,
kindly expression in his round unfurrowed
Daph looked at him, from his powdered
head to his white-topped boots, with entire
satisfaction. "He do be a real gemman, and
dat's a comfort," she said to herself, as she
96 Babes in the Basket.
dropped a curtsey, and waited to be addressed
by the stranger.
Daph's favourable impressions were increas-
ed by the mild manner and clear voice in
which she was addressed. She soon felt suffi-
ciently at ease to comply with the request
made by the gentleman, that she would tell
him, frankly, all that she could remember of
her life for the last few years, and explain how
she, a poor negro, came in possession of jewel-
lery fit for a duchess to wear.
Daph began in her own simple way, and
described those pleasant home scenes on that
far Southern island. Her heart grew light at
the thought of the happy family circle in those
good old times. It was with difficulty she
brought herself to speak of the sudden de-
struction with which that home was threat-
ened. She touched but lightly on her own
efforts to save the little ones, when there was
no earthly friend but herself between them
and a bloody death.
From time to time her listener questioned
her suddenly; but she answered him with
such apparent frankness and simplicity, that
he felt ashamed of the momentary suspicions
that had crossed his mind.
When Daph came, in the progress of her
story, to the captain's late visit, and to the
day of dark, hopeless despair that followed it,
the eyes that were fixed upon her slowly filled
Those tears suddenly gushed forth, as, with
the eloquence of a grateful heart, Daph de-
scribed the face, like that of an angel, that
bent over her in her distress, and told of the
Saviour, who is the friend of the sinner, and
the comfort of all that mourn.
"God bless my sweet Rose!" murmured
the stranger. This was an errand of mercy,
indeed 1" After a moment's pause, he added
aloud, "You need say no more, Daph ;" and,
as he spoke, he put out his hand to take that
of the humble negro.
She did not notice the movement; for she
had lowered her eyes as she dropped her
modest curtsey, and relapsed into silence.
Diedrich Stuyvesant loved his daughter
Rose as the apple of his eye; but he thought
her a little too enthusiastic in her desire to do
good; and he trembled lest her warm feelings
should lead her judgment astray.
When she had burst into his library that