Helen's stewardship

Material Information

Helen's stewardship a story for boys and girls
Knight, Edward ( Printer )
Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Place of Publication:
Religious Tract Society
Edward Knight
Publication Date:
Physical Description:
63 p. : col. ill. ; 16 cm.


Subjects / Keywords:
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Orphans -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Friendship -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Sick -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1877 ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1877
Prize books (Provenance) ( rbprov )
novel ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London
Target Audience:
juvenile ( marctarget )


General Note:
Date of publication from prize inscription.
Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management:
This item is presumed to be in the public domain. The University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries respect the intellectual property rights of others and do not claim any copyright interest in this item. Users of this work have responsibility for determining copyright status prior to reusing, publishing or reproducing this item for purposes other than what is allowed by fair use or other copyright exemptions. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions may require permission of the copyright holder. The Smathers Libraries would like to learn more about this item and invite individuals or organizations to contact The Department of Special and Area Studies Collections ( with any additional information they can provide.
Resource Identifier:
026808624 ( ALEPH )
ALH1789 ( NOTIS )
25406358 ( OCLC )

Full Text



S. .

S By the C.i:unitt-e Il the above Schoul, lor
8 F:.Tunlar ALtetlauCe and Good Conduct.

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Ni exptdeb (cLIf 'l.

ii, dear! oh, dear! -I wish
I was somebody else, and
not myself,-I am very mi-
The words came from the
bottom of poor little Jack
Wild's heart. He looked
very miserable, certainly.
His clothes were patched
and thin, his hat had no brim, except on
one side, where a strip still clung to the
tattered crown. Socks he had none, and
two little red toes were peeping out of one
boot; whilst the top and bottom of the
other were parting company. The tip of
his nose was quite red with cold, for it
was winter, and there had been a pretty
sharp frost for two days.

6 Helen's Stewardship.

He was lounging on the door-steps of an
empty house, having gone there partly be-
cause a bright gleam of January sun was just
then shining on them, and partly because he
had thought that as that house was empty,
he should not be disturbed by a push or a
kick for being in the way,-not that he cared
very much for pushes or kicks, he was so
used to them; but he would avoid them if
It is very sad to see a young child unhappy;
it seems so contrary to what God intends them
to be; and little Jack's sorrowful face brought
this thought to the mind of a lady who hap-
pened to be passing by with a little girl, who
was chattering away as fast as her tongue
could go.
Jack had not noticed that any one was
near when he made his exclamation of
wishing to be somebody else, or perhaps he
would not have spoken so loud; as it was,
they both heard it, and stopped to see what
sort of little creature it came from.
Jack had laid his head down on the door-
step, and had been amusing himself with
trying to look full at the sun for a minute
or two, till, finding how it made his eyes
water, he had pulled his brimless cap over
them, so that only the red tip of nose and his
mouth were visible.
"Who are you, little boy ? and why do you

An Unexpected Gift. 7

wish you were somebody else ?" asked the
elder lady.
But as a great cart laden with furniture
started off at this moment from an adjoining
house, Jack did not hear a word, and only
went on telling himself he was miserable, and
wanted to be somebody else.
The lady touched the two little toes with
the point of her umbrella.
How Jack started then! Either he was
very ticklish, or he thought some great dog
was going to make a mouthful of the said
toes, for in an instant, even before the lady
had quite withdrawn her umbrella, they were
tucked close under him, and he was sitting
bolt upright, staring at her with all his
might. His face was not so very doleful-
looking, after all. Blue and red, and all
sorts of colours as it was from the cold, a
spice of merriment lurked in the large brown
eyes, forming rather a contrast to the turned-
down corners of the mouth, for they seemed
all ready to help in a great burst of crying, if
only the eyes up above would do their part
Mrs. Selwyn repeated her question of
"Who was he ? and why did he want to be
somebody else ?"
* He replied that his name was Jack Wild,
and that he wanted to turn into another
person because he was so miserable.

8 Helen's Stewards/i p.

And why are you so miserable, Jack ?"
Mother's dead, and I've got to go to the
Have you no friends you can live with ?"
No, none ; Biddy Farmer can't afford to
keep me; and there's nobody else."
Who is Biddy Farmer?"
"She knew mother; and I've been with
her ever since mother died; but she says she
can't help it, I must go soon."
Well, Jack, perhaps you will find it not so
bad as you think. They will give you better
clothing, and plenty to eat and drink in the
But the boy shook his head, and seemed to
have very decided opinions of his own on the
Here is a shilling for you, Jack," said
Mrs. Selwyn. What will you do with it ?"
"Give it to Biddy Farmer," replied he;
"she'll buy some bread with it for us both;"
and his eyes sparkled with pleasure.
The lady ascertained from him where
Biddy Farmer lived before she passed on,
and wrote down her name in a little book.
She did not tell Jack she should perhaps go
and see her, but such was her secret intention,
for her benevolence was great, and the child's
melancholy speech she had accidentally ovate
heard had touched her sympathy.
Her young companion had not spoken

An Unexpected Gift. 9

during this little scene; but as they walked
on she remarked to Mrs. Selwyn that she
thought it must be very sad not to like to
be oneself, and that she was quite sorry she
had had no money in her pocket to give
to Jack.
If only it had been next week instead of
this that we had met him, I should have had
plenty," she said ; "for grandpapa is going to
give me an allowance in future, because I
have kept a regular account of all I have
spent for six months. I have written every-
thing down in a little book, and it agrees
exactly with grandpapa's account of what
he has given me; and he says that now I
have learned to be correct and careful about
money he thinks I may be trusted with a
little more."
And may I ask how much money such a
well-cared-for little woman as yourself has
managed to spend in six months ?" asked
Mrs. Selwyn.
It comes to 4 5s. 6d.," replied Helen;
" but now I am twelve years old I am to buy
my own gloves, and little things; and I am
to have 3 every quarter for the present, and
more as I get older."
"Should you mind my seeing your account-
book, Helen ?" asked Mrs. Selwyn.
"Oh, no; I will bring it with me to-
morrow," said Helen, delightedly; for she

10 Helen's Stewardship.

felt rather proud of the praise her grand-
papa had bestowed on her book, the neat-
ness and exactness of which had cost her no
little pains.
Helen Clifford had lost both her parents,
and lived with her grandfather. When she
first came to him from India, friends suggested
various places for her education. They all
ended in Mr. Clifford resolving to keep her in
his own house, which had been a lonely one
for some years, and was lighted up by the
presence of his bright little grandchild as
though a sunbeam had taken up its perpetual
abode there.
An old attached servant of her mother, who
had brought her to England, watched over
her with motherly tenderness; and a first-
class ladies' school close by Mr. Clifford's
house afforded the means of education, with-
out her having to live away from home; for
an exception was made in her favour to the
rule which precluded day-scholars.
A little girl situated as Helen was might
easily grow up selfish without either herself
or others at all suspecting it. Industrious at
school, amiable and obedient at home, it
never occurred to those around her to con-
cern themselves as to whether her sympa-
thies were being drawn forth for others less
favoured in outward circumstances than her-
self; so the child stood in great danger of

An Unexpected Gift. 11

forgetting that all, even the youngest, may
watch for and find opportunities of being
Not very far from Mr. Clifford's residence
lived Mrs. Selwyn, the lady already men-
tioned. She had known and loved Helen's
mother, and took the greatest interest in her
child for her sake. She was abroad when
Helen first came to England, and did not
return to live at her own home till she was
eleven years of age. Her heart warmed at
once to the daughter of her early friend, and
she resolved to supply a mother's place to
her as much as lay in her power.
And much did lie in her power; for the
watchful guidance of such a woman as
Mrs. Selwyn was exactly what Helen most
Her love was soon won, for Mrs. Selwyn's
manner was endearing and attractive to
young folks generally, and especially so to
Helen, whom she regarded with such peculiar
Very soon the little girl's spare hours were
constantly spent at "The Priory," as Mrs.
Selwyn's house was styled; and a walk or
drive with her kind friend was one of her
greatest pleasures.
The Christmas holidays had commenced,
and as she had now abundance of time on her
hands, Mrs. Selwyn sometimes took Helen

12 Helen's Stewardship.

into the cottages she was herself in the habit
of visiting, and tried to interest her in their
inmates ; but, although Helen would express
sympathy for their sickness or poverty, it
had never yet seemed to occur to her to try
and do anything herself for their relief-she
evidently considered charity as a duty obliga-
tory on grown people only.
Mrs. Selwyn knew that Helen would
willingly enough do anything she requested;
but she wished to lead her mind to a sense of
her own responsibilities, as one whom God
had richly endowed with temporal blessings.
The day after they had seen Jack, Helen
brought her account-book, according to pro-
mise, for Mrs. Selwyn's inspection.
She felt a little disappointed when that
lady, after looking carefully through it,
merely remarked that she had kept it very
neatly, and then laid it on one side. Some-
thing in her manner made Helen fancy she
did not altogether approve of it. She was
puzzled, for her grandpapa had expressed
nothing but approbation. However, no more
was said, and the subject was forgotten by
Helen, and apparently so by Mrs. Selwyn.
A week afterwards an announcement was
made that the Bishop of C- was coming
to Welchester to preach on behalf of the poor
Indians, amongst whom he and other good
men were labouring. He was a brother of

An Unexpected Gift. 13

Mrs. Selwyn, and was to be her guest at The
Priory during the few days he remained at
Helen naturally felt no other interest in
the prospect of his arrival than a fear that
she should only be in the way if she went as
usual to her kind friend, and therefore in-
tended to keep away for the time.
But Mrs. Selwyn, on the contrary, asked
Mr. Clifford if he would spare her to be with
her altogether during her brother's visit, say-
ing that he was particularly fond of young
people, and liked to see them about him;
moreover, she thought Helen would hear
many anecdotes from him about the country
and people he came from which would interest
Mr. Clifford was always ready to let her
go to Mrs. Selwyn, so the affair was settled.
It was not without a desire for Helen's
good that Mrs. Selwyn had invited her to her
house at this time.
As she had expected, there were numerous
incidents told which aroused her little friend's
interest, and showed her that thousands of
children existed in other lands, uncared for
either in body or soul, who but for the exer-
tions of Christian people must die without
ever having heard the name of Christ.
Still, it never seemed to strike Helen that
it was a matter for any but grown-up people

14 Helen's Stewardship.

to think about. As she was accustomed to
look upon the poor of her own neighbourhood,
so she regarded the poor heathen-they were
nothing to her. She was sorry for them, and
would make them all rich and good if she
could; but as she could not-why, there was
an end of it as far as she was concerned.
On Sunday the bishop took for his text:
"Moreover it is required in stewards that a
man be found faithful."
Helen heard him give it out, and had a
vague idea, as perhaps other young folks then
present had, that it applied only to men,
certainly only to grown-up persons. But to-
wards the end of the sermon her somewhat
wandering attention was suddenly recalled by
the bishop requesting a few moments' special
attention from all the young people who were
before him.
He told them that the words of the text
applied to them also ; that in almost all cases
they too were stewards, some of one thing,
some of another. One had time, another had
money; some possessed influence with rich
relations, others with friends and school-
fellows. All could pray for those who were
deprived of the temporal and spiritual advan-
tages which they themselves enjoyed. Every
child who had been taught his need of a
Saviour, and the greatness of His love in
dying for them, should endeavour to aid,

An Uerxpected Gift. 15

though in the smallest degree, in spreading
the same blessed knowledge amongst others.
Then he exhorted them to search each one
into their respective circumstances, and see
whether conscience told them that they had
hitherto been living only for their own gratifi-
cation, spending all their time and money
and influence simply for their own amuse-
ment and purposes.
He concluded thus: "Think not, my
young friends, that because you are young
you therefore are free from the responsibility
of stewardship. One and all of you have
something given you by God of which you
will have to give account. Look to it; for if
you knew it not before, you know it now.
God has told you this day, by means of His
servant, that you are stewards,-see that you
be found faithful; for, small as may seem the
amount of that He has given you, it will
prove great indeed should He unexpectedly
call upon you to render an account, and you
have none to give !"
There are certain moments in everybody's
life which can never pass from the memory,
and these words of the good bishop sank into
Helen's heart with a force that fixed them
there for ever.
It was entirely a new idea to her that
she could have responsibilities, young and
dependent on others as she was. Yet the

16 Helen's Stewardship.

bishop had made it so clear that there could
be no doubt about it. Had she not hours
of leisure quite her own, which she trifled
away as she pleased? Had she not pocket-
money, which to her, who had every real
want supplied, was more in proportion than
many older persons possessed ? Helen went
to bed that night pondering more gravely
than she had ever done before in her whole

.^f .. ..



3arlk' rDnlv fricniEb.

E must not forget little Jack, whose
spirits were so raised by the sight of
the shilling he held in his hand that
it is probable he would not just then have
accepted the offer of being changed into
somebody else had it been made to him; for
Jack Wild with a shilling was a very different
little boy in his feelings to Jack Wild without
a shilling. He had never had one in his own
possession before, and this he meant to give
to Biddy directly he got home; but in the
meantime he felt all the sensation of being a
man of fortune.
He went down the street with a hop, skip,
and jump, coming to a stand in front of a
baker's shop to think whether or not he
should buy a large loaf, and so take his
shilling to Biddy in that shape. He re-
membered, however, that she had bread in
the cupboard, and that she might want
other things more.
A grocer's shop next brought him to a
C 37

18 Helen's Stewardship.

halt. Tea and sugar, ticketed Wonderfully
low priced," attracted his eye, and reminded
him that there was nothing Biddy loved
like a cup of well sweetened tea; yet not
a bit was in her sugar -basin, and had not
been for several days, and her tea was
getting so low that she scarcely allowed
herself to put enough in the tea pot to
colour the water. Still, discretion whispered
to him that Biddy would be best able to
judge of what she most wanted ; so he
hastened on.
One more temptation assailed him, in the
shape of some beautiful dark, warm-looking
stuff, which was hanging up in a draper's
window, spread out in the most tempting
manner, with the words Wide and Warm"
pinned on it, and underneath in a very large
figure, "Price Is."
Would his shilling indeed purchase that
delightful stuff for Biddy ? Her best Sunday
dress was getting thin and old ; and this was
so exactly what she would like. It must be
such a bargain too, for he had heard her say
a new lindsey dress would cost her many
shillings, so she could not afford it at all that
winter. It certainly would be a good way of
spending the shilling, and the dress might be
gone if he did not buy it then ; for the shop
was selling off, and a great many people were
inside hunting for bargains.

Yack's only Friend. 19

He went in, not much expecting a civil re-
ception, yet emboldened by the grasp he had
of his shilling in the palm of his hand. It
was some time before he could get near
-enough to the counter to speak to one of the
shopmen, and when he did so it was the sight
of the shilling only (which he took care to
exhibit) that secured him any attention.
He asked for the dark dress hanging in the
window, marked Is.
The man stared, turned for an instant to
the window to look at the article Jack pointed
at, then, with a half angry, half amused air,
told him to tramp off, and come on no more
such fool's errands."
Jack's sorely puzzled and disappointed face
roused the sympathy of a woman who was
buying some calico close by, and she whis-
pered : That stuff is a shilling a yard, lad ;
not a shilling for the whole dress. You must
bring seven or eight more before you can buy
enough for a gown."
A burst of laughter from several lookers-on
was the result of poor Jack's mistake, and he
hurried out, thinking that, as Biddy knew
much more about shopping than he did, he
had better stop no more to look in at the
windows, but take the shilling to her at
So on he ran to the bottom of High Street,
through one or two smaller ones, and then

20 Helen's Stewardship.

turned into a court called Friar's Alley,"
where, in the smallest of all small houses,
lived Jack's only friend in the wide, wide
But before introducing her to our readers
in person, we must explain how she and the
little fellow became acquainted. Jack's mo-
ther had formerly belonged to the town of
Welchester, but when very young had mar-
ried, and gone away to another part of Eng-
land, where Jack was born a few years later.
His father died suddenly; and his mother,
who had fallen into a bad state of health,
found it hard work to support herself and her
At last she took a fancy to return to Wel-
chester, not because she had friends or rela-
tions there, for they were gone, but from a
vain hope that the air might restore her
health. But the journey did but waste both
her strength and the little money she had
raised by the sale of her furniture. She grew
weaker and weaker, poorer and poorer, till
every thing she possessed in the way of decent
clothing had to be parted with, even to poor
Jack's best suit and cloth cap; and when she
died she was buried by the parish.
Biddy Farmer had known her in former
days, and, for the sake of early acquaintance,
had nursed her to the last, and carried Jack
to her own house with her after the humble

Yack's only Friend. 21

funeral, at which they were the only mourn-
ers. The proper authorities proposed to pass
Jack on to the parish in which he was born, a
village which his parents had left when he was
about a year old, and which place Jack knew
no more about than he did of a South-Sea
Island, and shrunk from going to as much
as if it had stood in the midst of the Pacific
Biddy felt deeply for the desolate child,
who clung to her as to a mother from the
moment he saw her close the eyes of his own
parent,.and felt that he was left alone. She
longed to be able to keep him with her when
the distant Union was spoken of as his future
abode; but, though she took him for a little
while, she knew she was too poor to be able
to provide for him. All she could do was to
delay the hour of parting as long as possible;
and for this purpose she had practised many
little bits of self-denial : hence her empty
sugar-basin, her scarcely-coloured tea, and
the postponement of a new Sunday dress.
Economise as she would, however, she
found that the cravings of a healthy, hungry
child's appetite made a difference in her
housekeeping which she was unable to meet.
His clothes were getting mere rags, and his
days were passing in idleness when he ought
to be going to school.
The neighbours with one voice expressed

22 Helen's Stewardship.

their surprise and disapproval of her thus
burdening herself with another person's child,
declaring he would be better cared for by his
parish than by herself.
This last point of view was the one that
had most weight with Biddy. Dearly as she
had grown to love the lad, whose winning,
affectionate ways cheered her solitary hearth,
she felt it was but too true that he would
be better off in the Union, where, at all
events, he would be sure of food, clothing,
and teaching.
Biddy was a sempstress of a universal kind.
She could do odd jobs by the dozen,-such
as darning, patching, turning old dresses, or
make new ones of a humble description. Her
occupation lay chiefly amongst the lesser
tradespeople, and those who could afford to
give but a low price for her work; and some-
times she was without any for several days
together. Her living was therefore a pre-
carious one: at times she did well enough;
at others she could scarcely make ends meet
from day to day; and the rent of her tiny
house was a constant anxiety.
Still, poor as she was, there could not have
been found in all that court so cheerful or
happy a woman as Biddy Farmer,-not one
with so large a heart, or so ready to give her
mite of help as far as lay in her power to
those who needed it.

7ack's only Friend. 23

If sickness or sorrow visited a neighbour's
house, there might Biddy's presence be pretty
surely counted on, so long as she could be
of any comfort to the sufferers. Of her it
might truly be said that silver and gold had
she none, but of such as she had she gave
It had been very painful to her to come to
the decision of parting with poor Jack ; but
one night, when the boy was asleep in bed,
and she was sitting over the embers of her
expiring fire, she settled that he must go.
"The child has got round my heart," said
she to herself; "and as for him, I know it
will be like losing his mother over again. I
wish I could see my way to keep him, and
try to bring him up in the fear of God ; but
then I don't see my way,-so I must take
that as a sign it is not God's will for him to
stay here." And with a sigh Biddy went to
her knees, and after that to bed.
The next day she told Jack that she was
too poor to keep him much longer, and tried
to reconcile him to the thoughts of separation.
Jack gulped back his tears, because he saw
how unhappy Biddy was to have to tell him
the news. He was a merry little fellow natur-
ally; but he had a great deal of character,
and there was a fund of delicacy in his heart
under that tattered jacket which made him
feel that he must not beg Biddy to keep him,

24 Helen's Stewvardsh/j.

or even let her see how very wretched her
words had made him; so he ran out of the
house, and never stopped till he got to the
steps of the empty dwelling we have men-
tioned, where, after his first burst of grief, he
laid himself down, as we said before, and
gave utterance to the words which attracted
Mrs. Selwyn's notice.
Great was Biddy's surprise to see Jack fling
open the door and rush in in such high spirits
when he had left her in such sorrow ; but the
shilling explained it, and she secretly com-
forted herself that a child possessing such
elasticity of spirit would not long be unhappy
anywhere, not even in the dreaded Union.
The shilling shall go to buy you a better
cap, Jack," she said; "for this one is past
But the child's anxiety that it should be
spent on her, and not on him, was so great
that she said no more about it just then, and
put it by, resolving it should, at all events,
keep them together a day or two longer than
they could have been without it.




MPRESSIONS made on Sunday often
fade away by Monday morning; but
such was not the case with Helen after
the bishop's sermon, for she had gone to bed
feeling rather unwell, and lay awake for some
time in the night with a bad headache.
As she tossed about from side to side she
could not help thinking about the steward-
ship" she had been told of; and when she
fell into a doze, she woke up with a start,
fancying she was being called to render an
account of it, and that she had none ready.
Again she fell asleep, and rather more
soundly, but this time her dream was more
vivid, though of the same character. She
thought that she heard one person after
another summoned by name to bring their
books, that the judge might examine them;
then her own name was called, and she came
forward, holding in her hand the little book
she had brought to show Mrs. Selwyn, in
which she had so carefully written down

26 Helen's Stezuardstip.

every penny of her expenditure for the last
few months. But she trembled with fear
when she saw the judge cast his eye down
the pages-for a terrible frown seemed to
come upon his brow as he read; and she
awoke, thankful to find herself in bed, and
Mrs. Selwyn's maid standing by her side.
"You are not well, Miss Clifford," said she,
compassionately; "you have been struggling
and talking in your sleep so that I had to
wake you, and your hand is hot and feverish."
"Oh, Bennet, I have had such a dream! I
suppose it frightened me. I will get up at
once, and try to forget it."
But her head was so bad when she at-
tempted to sit up that Bennet persuaded
her to lie down again.
"I will bring you a cup of tea, miss, and
bathe your forehead and hands with a little
warm water; you will soon be all right."
The said remedies certainly refreshed her,
but did not set her "all right," for her head
still ached sadly, and she was glad when
Bennet left her alone.
The account-book still lay uppermost in
her mind,-not the one of her dream, for now
that she was wide awake she knew it had all
been merely the effects of a troubled sleep,
but her own real account-book, of which she
had been so proud, and which had so pleased
her grandpapa, that was what she was think-

Helen's Illness. 27

ing about. Not one item of the many down
in it was for anybody but herself. Innocent
and simple as the articles were in themselves,
and the purposes for which they had been
bought, still she could not hide from her
conscience, now that she had set it to work
to inquire, that everything had been for self-
gratification, nothing for the relief or benefit
of others.
It had been the same with her time. All
her leisure hours were employed in what most
gratified her taste for the time being: nothing
was ever done for God, whose steward the
bishop had declared she was; and she could
not comfort herself with the fact of her being
so young, and having only a little in her
power, because he had distinctly shown that
a young steward must be accountable ac-
cording to the degree of his or her steward-
Probably, had Helen not been so unwell
and so excited by want of sleep, these things
might not have come before her in so painful
and vivid a manner. She might have been
able to think more calmly over what she had
heard the day before, or it is possible, that the
interests and pleasures of her everyday life,
had she arisen from her bed in her usual
strength, would have caused these impressions
to pass from her mind.
It is too often the case that conscience tries

28 Helen's Stewar-dship.

to arouse us, and we do not like to be aroused;
we prefer to go on as before, and will not be
disturbed, so the voice within us is gradually
hushed by the louder tones of amusement
and excitement, till we forget altogether what
it has said. But its speech has not been the
less true because disregarded.
It pleased God, however, in Helen's case at
this time, to remove from her the temptation
to forgetfulness that her usual health might
have caused. She was sickening with a fever
that had been lately prevalent in the neigh-
bourhood, and of which many, both young
and old, had died.
Mrs. Selwyn suspected it the moment she
saw her after Bennet's account of her restless,
feverish state; and the doctor, who was im-
mediately summoned, expressed his fears that
it was likely to be an anxious case, as the
symptoms were setting in with considerable
She grew worse every hour; and for some
days her life was in extreme danger. When
at last the crisis was past, there was still a
fear that she might sink from weakness. But
her sound constitution was in her favour, and
by God's blessing it enabled her to rally from
her state of exhaustion more speedily than
her anxious grandfather and Mrs. Selwyn had
supposed possible.
She was soon able to lie on the sofa, and

Helen's Illness. 29

watch with an invalid's interest whatever was
going on around; and from this she passed
on to having her own occupations, resting for
intervals, which gradually grew shorter as her
strength progressed.
One day, when Mrs. Selwyn had brought
her work to sit beside her, Helen said, Mrs.
Selwyn, I should like to talk to you about
something I have been thinking of a great
deal lately."
Then, as her friend's kind look and caress
encouraged her to proceed, she continued, I
want to do something for the poor heathen
children the bishop told us about, or to help
the poor in some way; but I scarcely know
how to begin. He said, you know, that even
children were stewards of something or other;
and I am sure I am one, because I have both
time and money of my own; but I have
never spent them on any one but myself.
Oh, Mrs. Selwyn, I know I have been an
unfaithful little steward!" and overcome by
her feelings and the weakness of her body,
poor Helen burst into tears.
Mrs. Selwyn was not surprised; she had
gathered something of what had passed in
the little girl's mind from her wandering
speeches during her fever. She had observed
the interest with which she had listened to
her brother's sermon; and she had prayed
earnestly that the seed might fall upon good

30 Helen's Stewardship.

ground; but she did not know till now how
deeply it had taken root.
We have all of us reason to call ourselves
unfaithful stewards, my dear child," she re-
plied; "but very thankful we should be
when we are awakened to a consciousness
that for what God has entrusted us with
He will expect an account, so many are
either really or wilfully ignorant on this
I never thought anything about it till the
bishop spoke to us," said Helen. "I supposed
that only grown-up people could be meant in
the bishop's text; but I felt quite frightened
when I found how mistaken I had been; and
I had such a terrible dream about it;" and
she told it to Mrs. Selwyn. Then she added,
" If I had died of the fever, do you not think
it would have been just like my dream coming
true? It would have been God calling for
my steward's account, and I should have had
nothing to show but what would make Him
angry, as He was in my dream." And again
her voice trembled, and her eyes filled with
But He has mercifully spared you, my
child," replied Mrs. Selwyn, that you may
begin afresh, and try to do something for
Him who has blessed you in so many ways;
so that when your summons really comes,
you may not fear it. But, Helen, never for-

Helen's Illness. 31

get that, however much we may strive to
employ our time or our money, or any other
possession for His service, we are, after all,
only giving Him back what He has first
given us. We have nothing of our own;
and our best works must be altogether im-
perfect in His sight. It is through Christ
only we can dare to come to Him at last,
because without His blood to cleanse them,
our best deeds are 'tainted with sin.'"
Mrs. Selwyn said no more at this time, for
she saw Helen looked pale and exhausted;
but the conversation was often renewed, and
many little plans of usefulness discussed, in
which Helen was encouraged to hope she
might give her mite of help.

.- ': -
r:;- cf-'~.~rLV;~'~,f~R;~ :'

~ r~11~*** i^~rCI-



,ER brother's visit and Helen's illness
j had followed so quickly after the
meeting with little Jack on the steps
that Mrs. Selwyn had almost forgotten the
circumstance, when it was suddenly recalled
to her mind about a fortnight afterwards by
the sight of a small poorly-dressed boy
coming up the carriage drive carrying a
basket which was almost as big as him-
self, and which he set down from time to
time, by way of resting his arms.
He turned off with his burden to the side
path which led to the kitchens; and Mrs.
Selwyn, seeing that the child was weary from
the weight of his burden, hastened, with her
usual benevolence, to the housekeeper, to
desire he might be refreshed with a basin
of soup, of which a provision was always
kept for the poor during the cold weather.
The boy was brought in, and in the brim-
less hat and the well-worn boots Mrs. Selwyn
recognized Jack Wild.

A Good Resolve. 33

Nor had he forgotten the donor of the
shilling, which had caused him so much hap-
piness, as he showed by the broad smile that
instantly lighted up his face, and the series
of pulls he gave at the front lock of his hair.
The reason of his coming to The Priory
was this. He had noticed that on market
days children used to go and stand about in
the market-house, hoping to be employed in
carrying home baskets of purchases for the
various customers. A penny, or perhaps
twopence, was the usual payment for the
Now it occurred to Jack that he also might
perhaps thus turn an honest penny to take to
Biddy; and he took his stand amongst the
rest. Whether, however, his shabby appear-
ance deterred people from beckoning to him
when better dressed boys stood near, or
whether it were that he was so slight and
small in size, he found the day was getting
on and no business came to him.
Then he ventured to ask one or two per-
sons to let him carry their baskets; but a
shake of the head or a push to one side was
his only reply.
At last came a favourable moment, when
every boy and girl was absent, and he saw a
woman looking about for some one to carry
a basket full of poultry, eggs, and butter
which she had just been purchasing.

34 Helen's Stewardship.

Jack sprang forward and offered himself.
It was "The Priory" cook, who was going
on into the town, and wanted this basket
taken home at once; but she hesitated at
entrusting it to so small a lad.
Jack drew himself up, tried to look strong
and big, and finally gained the day by his
intelligent and truthful countenance, which
satisfied the woman that her marketing would
perhaps be safer with him than with many a
bigger boy.
So, explaining to which house he was to
go, and telling him to be as quick as possible,
Mrs. Maurice left him to get on his way as
best he could.
He was pretty well tired by the time he
reached The Priory, and was not sorry to be
told that a basin of soup awaited him within.
Equally glad was he to find himself again in
the presence of the kind lady of the shilling
memory, who with her own hand put a chair
for him at the table where the steam from
the hot soup smelt delicious.
"Sit down and eat your soup," said she;
" and I will come back to you in a few
Mrs. Selwyn guessed that his meal would
be all the pleasanter if no stranger's eyes
were upon him. One little action of Jack's
caught her eye as she was leaving the room.
He had seated himself, put his spoon into the

A Good Resolve. 35

savoury mess, and had even partly raised it
to his lips, when he suddenly restored it to
the basin again, sorely to the disappointment,
doubtless, of his expecting and half-open
mouth. Then, rising from his chair, he
closed his eyes and said a few words of grace.
Mrs. Selwyn's interest in the child was con-
siderably aroused. She returned in a little
while, and asked him whether he still wished
to be another person, or whether he had
learned to be satisfied with being little Jack
Wild. He said he should like to be Jack if
he might live with Biddy at Welchester; but
he did not like going away from her, as he
must do in a very short time, and that made
him wish he was somebody else.
"You love Biddy, then, very much, Jack?"
The child's eyes answered her question, but
his lips quivered and he could not speak.
It was evident that Biddy stood in the
light of father, mother, brother, sister, every-
thing to him. All his warm affections, when
snapt asunder by death from his mother, had
turned and fastened themselves closely around
the only being who had been kind to him;
and now they were to be broken away again,
and he was to go forth amongst strangers, to
be one of many young things whose hearts
were growing cold and loveless because no
special affection ever aroused them into

86 Helen's Stewardship.

Mrs. Selwyn almost felt as though her own
voice would be as treacherous as Jack's if she
attempted to comfort him. At last she said,
"I will come and see Biddy, and she will tell
me more about you. Ask her not to make
any arrangement for sending you away till
she has seen me."
There was not much fear of his forgetting
to deliver this message, which he thought
savoured of a hint that, in some mysterious
way or other, the lady might step in to pre-
vent his going from Welchester; and a second
time he left Mrs. Selwyn's presence with a
light heart and a silver shilling in his hand.
To one who has for some time been shut
out by illness from all that is going on in
the outer world, every incident is interesting
and of more importance than it would other-
wise be; and it is no wonder that Helen
listened eagerly to Mrs. Selwyn's account
of Jack's visit, and of his grief in the prospect
of leaving Biddy Farmer, probably never to
see her again. She was very silent, and
employed herself from time to time with
adding up little sums, till her cheek was
flushed and her hands shook, for she was
still very weak.
Mrs. Selwyn at last playfully took the
pencil from her fingers, and said she must
forbid her doing any more arithmetic till
she was able to return to school.

A Good Resolve. 37

Perhaps you will help me, dear Mrs. Sel-
wyn," said she. I have been trying to cal-
culate whether I could not afford to keep
Jack with the woman he is so fond of, instead
of his going far away. Your maid Bennet
says that she knows of a little boy who is
boarded with a family for 3s. 6d. a week.
They do not clothe him for that, but they
give him food, and let him always live with
them. Now, grandpapa is going to give me
3 every quarter, that will be 5s. a week, so
if I paid 3s. 6d. a week for Jack, I should still
have is. 6d. left; and I should so much like
to do it."
"But have you considered, Helen, that if
you spend your money thus, how very little
is left for yourself? I think you said you
were to purchase your own gloves out of your
allowance. You would have to practise
great economy in order to do this, and to
buy any other little things you may wish
out of what would remain after you had
paid for Jack."
I have thought of that, and I believe that
I could make it do," said Helen.
"And have you also considered that, hav-
ing once undertaken to keep the little boy,
you must go steadily on for years, till he can
do something to support himself? Are you
prepared to practise constant self-denial; for
I think you would find it often necessary to

38 Helen's Stewardship.

do so in many ways you do not now foresee.
Little wants will arise which you will have
to leave unsatisfied; you will perhaps have
to endure the charge of stinginess from your
school-fellows sometimes. In short, my dear
Helen, I would have you pause and well think
the matter over before you come to a decision.
It is too weighty a responsibility to take on
yourself lightly, for if undertaken I think it
ought to be borne by yourself only. Indul-
gent as your grandpapa is, it would not be
right for you to look for more from him than
he has decided is sufficient for you. Doubt-
less he would be ready enough to help you
out of difficulties, but this would not be
managing your stewardship properly. Do
you understand me?"
"Quite, dear Mrs. Selwyn; but I think I
may venture to undertake to pay for Jack
without ever going to grandpapa. Look
here;" and she drew forth the little account
book before named, and with a blush asked
Mrs. Selwyn to notice the items. "You see,"
she said, there is scarcely anything down
there that I really wanted. I cannot bear
now to think how much money I have wasted
which might have been doing good."
The said items certainly were of a some-
what trifling character, a considerable portion
of them consisting of French bon-bons, for
which Helen had a decided weakness, and

A Good Resolve. 39

on which she had spent so much that it had
struck Mrs. Selwyn, and had been the cause
of the rather grave look which Helen had
noticed on the first occasion of her glancing
over the pages.
"Still," said Mrs. Selwyn, "I would remind
you that it is quite lawful and innocent in one
situated as you are to have money to spend
occasionally in any little fancies of your own;
and you are almost shutting yourself out from
being able to do so by what you propose."
"Not so entirely as you think," replied
Helen. "Grandpapa always gives me a
sovereign on New Year's day, and another
on my birthday, which are both in addition
to my allowance; and he almost always
gives me his coppers, because he says he
hates the feel of them in his pockets."
Mrs. Selwyn smiled, and kissing her fore-
head affectionately, said, "You must not
think me lukewarm in poor Jack's cause
because I have tried to show you every side
of this undertaking, dear Helen. Having
done so, let me assure you that I think it
is one which will give you unceasing plea-
sure. Now that you have learned to regard
yourself in the light of God's steward, and
feel anxious to act your part as such con-
scientiously, you will feel it a pleasure and
a privilege to spend your money as you
propose; and as doubtless God's Holy Spirit

40 Helen's Stewardship.
is putting it into your heart to befriend this
poor orphan, I do not doubt that His grace
will be continually vouchsafed to you, so that
you shall not weary in well doing. I will go
and see Biddy Farmer, and judge whether
she is a desirable person for Jack to live with,
though we can scarcely doubt it, when she
seems to have taken the child out of pure
charity, and only gives him up because her
poverty compels her."
"Will you go and see her to-morrow if
you can?" asked Helen. "I should like
poor Jack to be made happy as soon as
"I will," replied Mrs. Selwyn; "and now
you must talk no more, or you will be too
tired to sleep when you go to bed."

JJ'-L;^ *^



Ig1ope f~r iafckf.

.IM11 E>. SELWYN'S visit to Friar's Alley the
.; j next day was entirely satisfactory.
She found Biddy very busy turning
a black cloth mantle. At the moment she
entered she was pressing down the seams,
and little Jack was helping her by holding
the cloth steady as she passed the hot iron
carefully along the stitches.
It needed but a glance at Jack's face to
tell Biddy who her visitor was, and with a
low curtsey she begged her to be seated in
a three-cornered oak-chair, the grandest piece
of furniture she possessed, though quite dis-
proportioned to the size of the tiny room.
Biddy was a middle-aged woman, very
small, very neat, very pleasant. She was
single and somewhat old maidish in her
appearance and ways, it was generally con-
sidered; her neighbours were therefore the
more surprised that she was so willing to
have her usual habits broken in upon by a
child who in no way belonged to her.

42 Helen's Stewards/ip.

She had plenty of ready tact, and, guessing
that Mrs. Selwyn had probably come to ask
some questions about Jack, she sent him out-
side to play in the court. The child's simple
history was soon told, and Mrs. Selwyn saw
that sheer necessity alone reconciled Biddy
to parting with him.
"He is such an affectionate little fellow,
ma'am," she said; "and so grateful for any
kindness, which isn't the way with children
generally, who often take things for granted.
But Jack notices the least thing one does for
him, and seems as though he could never be
doing enough in return. I hope he won't
learn bad ways in the Union."
Does he dread going away very much ?"
asked Mrs. Selwyn.
"Yes, ma'am, that he does, more than he
will own to me, because he knows I can't
afford to keep him. He says he shall be
all alone, as it were, because he shall know
no one; but I try to teach him that God
will be his friend, and that He will be there
as much as here."
Has he been well taught formerly ?"
"Not very, I am afraid," replied Biddy;
"but I have done my best since I had him."
"Would you like him to live with you
altogether if you could be paid for his board
and clothing, and if he were sent to school ?"
said Mrs. Selwyn.

Hope for 7ack. 43

"Yes, ma'am; I should be right glad."
"Then I think you need not be separated,
Biddy; for a young lady who was with me
when I first saw Jack has offered to pay
three shillings and sixpence a week for his
board, if you think that sum would be suf-
ficient at present,-as he grows older you
shall have more. His clothing shall be my
charge, and his schooling also."
"The orphan's God will bless you and the
young lady!" exclaimed Biddy, who seemed
quite to ignore her own charitable share in
the arrangement.
"And you too, Biddy," said Mrs. Selwyn;
"for you undertake by no means the least
part for the boy. The trouble and care of
him will all fall upon you. Would you not
like to consider a little before you accept
our offer?"
"No, thank you, ma'am; if you give the
money, it's little enough for me to give my
care, which is just the only thing I have in
my power to give. I shouldn't like to think
when I come to die that God had once
brought me an orphan, and asked me to
care for him whilst He provided food and
raiment, and that I refused because of the
trouble. I'll keep the child and be thankful
to have him, and do my best for him as long
as he needs me."
"Then we will consider it settled," said

44 Helen's Stezardship.

Mrs. Selwyn. "You shall be paid every
week in advance, beginning from to-day."
If you please, I would rather begin from
this day week," said Biddy. "I had calcu-
lated I could keep him till then; and I would
not like to have anything for him till I am
"This day week, then, it shall be," said
Mrs. Selwyn, who appreciated the woman's
true charity too highly to attempt to lower
its standard. "One thing I must ask of you,
Biddy. Say nothing to Jack to-day of what
has been arranged; for I should wish the
young lady who is going to devote her
pocket-money for his benefit to have the
pleasure of seeing his happiness when he
hears that he is to remain with you. Will
you bring him to The Priory to-morrow morn-
ing at eleven o'clock ? I will then speak to
you about his going to school, and provide
some better clothes than those he is wearing."
Biddy promised faithfully to keep the
secret; and Mrs. Selwyn returned home,
pondering over what had just passed, think-
ing that this poor simple-minded cottager
had discovered that even she was a steward,
and was striving to have her account ready
against the day of reckoning arrived.



T .i.'i'- to the appointed hour, Biddy and
"i_ : J:k arrived at The Priory on the
Sfollowing morning, the latter in total
ignorance of what had been arranged the
previous day.
Mrs. Selwyn sent for them into her boudoir
to see Helen, who was there with her grand-
father. He had been told of what she wished
to do, and had at first rather ridiculed the
idea, saying that she was too young to take
such a charge on herself, and that there was
no need for her to practise self-denial; if the
boy wanted help it had better come from
him,-he was ready enough to give whatever
was required for his support if she had taken
a fancy to him.
But Mrs. Selwyn tried to show that this
plan would by no means satisfy Helen's con-
science, which had been aroused to see that
she could not get rid of her own responsi-
bilities by casting them on her grandpapa.
Mr. Clifford was rather inclined to think

46 Iklen's Stewardship.

that Mrs. Selwyn was putting too strict
notions in his darling's head; yet his re-
spect for her was so great, and her friend-
ship for Helen was so valuable, he would
not interfere with any of her plans. He
was himself a kind-hearted and charitable
man, always ready to subscribe to anything
he was asked, or to relieve any case of dis-
tress that happened to come before him. He
considered himself bound to do so as a man
of property, and as holding an influential
position in the city; but he had not been
in the habit of regarding himself as holding
responsibilities of a higher nature.
Helen would be the heiress to all he pos-
sessed; and of this he reminded Mrs. Selwyn,
saying he thought she need not stint herself
as other girls must do whose expectations
were not so good.
You have named a most important reason
for our encouraging Helen in her charitable
intentions," said Mrs. Selwyn. "The more
she has, the more she will be accountable for
hereafter; and she should begin whilst yet
young to remember that he who is faithful
in little will be faithful also in much."
"No doubt you are right, my dear madam,"
replied Mr. Clifford; "you have thought more
on these subjects than I have done, and are
therefore more competent to judge of what is
good for my child. Only I should not like

A Great Change. 47

her to grow up with peculiar notions, such as
would make her unlike other people."
"Helen's present notions, if cherished, will
only make her beloved and happy," said Mrs.
Selwyn; "and I think you need not fear that
she will grow up otherwise than you would
wish her to be."
Poor Jack's delight, when Helen told him
that it was settled for him to live with Biddy,
and go to school every day, may be easily
imagined, though he was too shy before so
many strangers to be very demonstrative.
Mr. Clifford looked on in silence whilst
Helen talked to Jack, and Mrs. Selwyn and
-Biddy were arranging some little matters,
and settling when he should begin to go to
school; then he said, "I don't see why I
should not have a finger in this matter as
well as the rest. My part shall be to give
the lad a new suit of clothes, and a pair of
boots that will keep the toes warm and com-
fortable, instead of their peeping outside, as
they are doing now." And he placed a sove-
reign in Biddy's hand, desiring her to get
what he needed, and to come to him for
more if necessary.
That night Jack declared that there was
no one in the world with whom he would
wish to change places; and it is probable
that in all Welchester there could not have
been found a greater contrast to the miserable

48 Helen's Stewardship.
little ragged boy lying on the steps than was
Jack Wild in his new suit, cloth cap, and
stout boots, as he walked sturdily by Biddy's
side to church on the following Sunday. After
all, it seemed as if his very queer wish had
come to pass, and that he was actually
changed altogether into another little boy !

,1 ,.' '

-'. I A, *,'N
,- r



'r" I must not be supposed that Helen had
no difficulties to encounter in conse-
quence of her pecuniary arrangement
for her young protege.
A month or two after her recovery, her
grandfather went abroad for a time; and as
Mrs. Selwyn was also going to be absent in
Scotland, it was settled that Helen should
become a boarder instead of a day-pupil at
Miss Winterton's school.
She had always been a favourite with the
girls, partly because of her good-natured dis-
position, and partly perhaps because it was
politic to be on good terms with one who
could relieve the monotony of their school-
life by occasional invitations to tea, or for a
drive on half-holidays with herself and her
grandfather. Her pocket-money, also, which
had been abundant hitherto, had had its effect
in adding to her popularity. Girls who had
run through all theirs knew of whom to
borrow safely, because the loan was seldom

50 Helen's Stewardship.

spoken of again. And when bon-bons were
bought, as has been shown was pretty fre-
quently the case, they were dealt out with
a liberal hand to those who were too poor
to indulge in such luxuries. Trifles like these
have considerable weight in the long run with
school girls; and so Helen had proved.
It was impossible now to act as generously
and carelessly as heretofore. She had to
manage her little income so as to leave her
three shillings and sixpence always ready on
Monday morning to send to Biddy; and con-
trivance was necessary to one who had been
in the habit of spending without thought, and
now had to keep within the bounds of a very
limited sum.
When she came as a boarder to school, and
was thus entirely thrown with the girls, it was
soon noticed that she was much more careful
than formerly; and various speculations as
to the cause were mooted amongst her com-
Some suggested that perhaps her grand-
father had lost money, and had gone abroad
to retrench, and that therefore Helen's finances
had to be diminished. But this was negatived
by the recollection that not a servant of the
large establishment had been dismissed, and
that Mr. Clifford's absence was known to be
but temporary.
Then the only solution could be that Helen

Unjust Suspicions. 51

was growing stingy. Such was the decision
of the court who had been sitting in judgment
one day in consequence of Helen declining to
order anything of La Fleury, the French con-
fectioner, who had permission to send to Miss
Winterton's young ladies for orders of any-
thing in his line every Saturday afternoon.
The next occurrence that caused remark
was owing to a fancy bazaar, which had been
got up on a large scale for a new national
school about to be erected, and at which the
attendance of the inhabitants of Welchester
was earnestly requested. The admission was
to be half-a-crown the first day; one shilling
the second.
Miss Winterton informed her scholars that
they would be allowed to go in two detach-
ments, some the first day, some the second,
according to their own wishes, and as their
pecuniary resources would permit, and one of
the elder girls was requested to write down a
list of those who intended to go.
All who are at all conversant with the
inner life of a ladies' school will be aware that
there is usually as much of the spirit of
"clique," or set," in it as there is in any
town or city in England. At Miss Winter-
ton's it ran high, and was called forth at once
by the question of which day the bazaar
should be attended.
"Of course," remarked Cecilia Raymond

52 Helen's Stewardship.

(who was the daughter of a dean), "all the
best people would be there on the first day,
and only the city folks and tradespeople on
the second; there could be no question as
to which was the proper one to be seen
Her judgment coincided entirely with that
of Miss Templeton, Miss Wedderbourne, Miss
Dunmore, and half a dozen more, who were
far too select and refined, according to their
own idea, to go on the second day.
Others of less pretension wrote down their
names for the Thursday, glad to save the dif-
ference in price as to entrance. Amongst this
number, to the surprise of every one, was the
name of Helen Clifford.
How strange!" exclaimed Miss Ray-
mond, as her eye glanced down the Thurs-
day list. What does Helen Clifford mean ?
it must be a mistake. Knowing everybody
in the county, as her grandfather does, she
can never mean to go on the second day!
I will speak to her: where is she ?"
She was downstairs in the dining-room
practising. Thither sped Miss Raymond.
"Helen Clifford," said she, "surely you do
not mean to go to the bazaar on the second
day instead of the first ? You must have
written your name in the wrong list by
No; it is all right," said Helen; "I do

Unjust Suspicions. 53

not intend to go till Thursday,-it will do
just as well."
"Not at all as well," replied the other.
"I am quite surprised that you do not see
that only second- rate people will be going
then; and as your grandfather lives here, I
should think you would care about it more
than any of us, who come from a distance."
Helen cared more than she liked to own,
but she was so low in her funds just now
that she was glad to save even the small
sum of one shilling and sixpence; for Jack's
money must be forthcoming on Monday,
and she had to buy a pair of gloves before
Sunday, which would pretty nearly bring her
to the end of her resources. Her new
quarter was not due for a week. She had
told only one girl about her paying for Jack
out of her pocket money,-she was not at
all inclined to mention it to everybody, lest
it should seem like boasting; and Cecilia
Raymond was one of the last of whom she
would be inclined to make a confidante, for
she had never much liked her.
I must be content to go on the Thurs-
day, Cecilia," she replied; "and I do not see
that it very much matters, after all." Then,
not wishing to be questioned further, she
turned to the piano, and re-commenced prac-
Cecilia said no more but she formed her

54 Helen's Stewardship.

own ideas as to the reason of Helen's economy,
and expressed them pretty freely in the
Helen is growing miserly," she said;
"which of all things is what I hate. She
has always plenty of money, I know; for
her grandfather is as rich 'as he can be."
"She is not miserly!" exclaimed Maude
Ramsey, indignantly; "she is very generous.
You have no right to say such a thing of
her, Cecilia Raymond !"
"I may say what I please, I suppose!"
replied Cecilia, coolly ; and for the time the
subject dropped.
Maude Ramsey was Helen's particular
friend. It was to her she had mentioned
her plans for Jack; and Maude not only
appreciated them, but longed to do some-
thing of the sort herself. Her parents were
not at all rich, and she had very little
money at command.
I have my play hours, though," she said
to Helen one day, when talking together;
"I might work for some poor people."
"Suppose we make Jack a set of little
shirts," said Helen. Mrs. Selwyn's house-
keeper will give us the calico; for she has
orders to get any thing Jack really wants;
and I know he needs shirts, for Biddy was
putting a great patch in one when I called on
her the other day."

Unjust Suspicions. 55

The idea was delightful to Maude; and
the housekeeper was sent to, and asked to
buy the calico and cut out the shirts, which
she accordingly did; and the two girls set
to work, and grew more than ever intimate
over their task.
The weather was getting warm now, and
they used to choose a spot in the garden,
somewhat apart from their companions, whilst
they stitched and talked.
Helen told Maude about the bishop's
sermon, and how she had felt when she
thought she was going to die; and Maude,
though she said little, began to ask herself
whether this subject of the stewardship did
not concern her also. Helen's influence was
at work on her schoolfellow's mind; and
thus the little steward was, almost uncon-
sciously to herself, being faithful in another
item of the accounts placed in her hands.
Maude knew well why Helen declined
going to the bazaar the first day, and was
naturally indignant at hearing her charged
with being miserly.
It was not to end here, though. When
the girls returned from the sale of fancy.
work they were anxious to exhibit their
purchases. Everybody had something of
more or less value except Helen, who had
literally nothing, and was obliged to say so
when asked what she had bought.

56 Hefen's Stewardship.

"I should be ashamed not to have laid
out even a shilling," said one of the girls.
" I think it looks mean, and as if one went in
only for one's own pleasure, and not for the
good of the charity."
Helen's cheek burned; it was very new to
her to be hinted at as mean, but she said
Soon after, as she was passing near the
table where Cecilia Raymond was sitting, she
heard her say to one of her companions : "I
told you she was a stingy little miser, and
now you see how true it is."
Helen knew in an instant to whom she
alluded. If she had doubted she would have
been convinced by the hush that was whis-
pered by one or two girls, as they saw she
was within hearing. Had she been a few
years older it is to be hoped she would not
have felt a false accusation so keenly. As it
was, it for the moment stung her to the
quick, and hastening out of the room into the
garden, she burst into tears.
But in a few minutes she felt almost angry
with herself.
Mrs. Selwyn told me I must expect such
things as this," she said, mentally. "And I
told her I was prepared to bear them; and
here I am giving way merely because some
of the girls misunderstand me. Just as if the
pleasure of keeping Jack is not worth being

Unjust Suspicions. 57

called a miser. After all, it must seem strange
to them that I am so much more careful than
I used to be; yet I do not like to tell them
how it is, because it might seem like boasting.
So I will just bear to be called stingy, and
try and not feel angry and hurt." So saying,
she dried her eyes and went back, looking
cheerful as usual.
She never had any more taunts, however,
for Cecilia Raymond's speech had been heard
by Maude, who had also noticed that Helen
had been within hearing; and that it had
hurt her she saw by her countenance. It
was more than she could bear, and she sprang
forward, forgetful of everything but her eager-
ness to clear her friend.
"You shall all hear how Helen spends
her money," she said; "and then judge
whether she is a stingy miser. For a long
time past she has been paying for a poor
little orphan boy, who but for her must have
left the only person in the world whom he
cared for, or who loved him. She was too
poor to keep him, so the child was going
to be sent far away to a workhouse, when
Helen offered to give almost all her pocket-
money every week for years in order to enable
him to remain where he was so happy. And
now you know why she has had so little to
spend of late, and why she went to the bazaar
the second day instead of the first, and why

58 Helen's Stewardship.

she bought nothing whilst she was there. She
did not mean any of you to know; but, even
if it vexes her, I cannot help telling, for she
shall not be called names by Cecilia Raymond
any longer."
Excited as Maude was, her tale was too
plain and simple to be doubted, especially as
she was known to be Helen's particular friend,
and therefore the one to whom she would
naturally confide her plans.
There was a moment's pause, during which
the tide of opinion turned. Maude had com-
pletely won the day for Helen; and exclama-
tions broke forth expressive of admiration at
her kindness and self-denial.
But I should have thought Mr. Clifford
would not have liked her to be short of money
for her own pleasures," said Cecilia Raymond;
"Helen must be a little fool to go and give
her own pocket-money, when she might keep
it, and get the boy paid for by her grand-
"That would not have satisfied Helen,"
said Maude; "she wished to do good with
her own allowance."
"But it would be just the same thing to
the boy," persisted Cecilia. It could not
matter to him who the money came from,
so that he had it."
"Yes, it would be the same to the boy,"
said Maude; but it is no use my saying any

Unjust Suspicions. 59
more, I don't think you would quite under-
stand her if I explained."
"You must think us very obtuse," said
Cecilia, with a slight sneer; "it is not difficult
of comprehension that Helen likes to have all
the praise of what she is doing, instead of her
"Helen wants no praise," said Maude; "she
has never told anybody but me; but you
seem resolved to think badly of her, Cecilia;"
and Maude walked away.
From that day Helen heard no more hints
thrown out of her stinginess ; and her example
had its effect on others of the girls, who, right
thinking in many respects, had never before
had their attention drawn to the subject of
responsibility as connected with their own
expenditure. One or two of them expressed
a wish to help Helen with Jack; and when
they found that she did not require it, and
that the little boy's clothing and schooling
were Mrs. Selwyn's charge, they planned to-
gether to buy materials and work for a cloth-
ing club. Helen told them about one for
which Mrs. Selwyn was always glad to enlist
ladies' interest both as regarded money and
Every poor woman who subscribed a small
sum weekly became a member of this club,
and entitled to participate in its benefits,
which were more or less in proportion to the

60 Helen's Stewardship.

number of those willing to give money to
increase its funds, or, in lieu of money, their
assistance in making clothes.
Miss Winterton gave her cordial assent to
a proposition made by one of the elder girls,
that an evening in every week should be de-
voted to working for the poor; only as it
would deprive them of a part of their time
for recreation, she said it must not be com-
pulsory, but confined to. such as came forward
of their own accord to join in this little Dorcas
plan. The result was that more than half the
school took up the scheme warmly, some from
a real desire to be useful, others merely be-
cause they liked to do what their companions
A subscription was raised amongst them-
selves for the purchase of flannel, print, calico,
etc. The youngest Miss Winterton gave her
aid in cutting out, fixing for the younger ones,
and doing the more difficult parts. It was
surprising how much was effected by about
fifteen pairs of industrious hands in the space
of time allotted.
Some few, indeed, soon grew weary, and
gradually dropped off; but the greater num-
ber persevered; and the longer they did so,
the more they grew interested in their charit-
able employment, and looked forward to their
working evening as one of the pleasantest in
the week.

Unjust Suspicions. 61

Mrs. Selwyn was much gratified on her
return home at seeing the pile of clothing
sent her for distribution amongst the poor
members of her club, and the more so when
she found on inquiry that Helen had, though
unintentionally, been the cause of this general
movement amongst the young ladies.
Nor was it merely the poor of Mrs. Selwyn's
clothing club who benefited by it; for, having
once known the pleasure of doing good to
others, many of them carried the spirit of it
into their own homes when their education
was completed, and they had their time to
spend as they pleased.
Like Helen, some few had learned to re-
gard themselves as stewards of such gifts as
God had placed in their hands, and to feel
that neither age, nor sex, nor position would
exempt. them from having to render an




UR friend Jack progressed at school,
and became more and more beloved
by his adopted mother. He never lost
sight of his peculiar position, as an orphan
cared for and provided for by friends; a feel-
ing of gratitude was ever uppermost in his
mind, and as he grew older his desire to get
on, in order that he might do something for
himself, kept him steadily and industriously
at work often whilst other boys were at play.
It is surprising how much is effected by such
efforts for improvement, no matter in what
class of life. Jack had good abilities, though
he was not a genius, to make him remarkable
in any particular line,-these and his industry
brought him up high in his school; and he
was looked on as more than usually pro-
There had been an idea of taking him into
Mr. Clifford's house when he was old enough,
that he might be trained by the butler for a
domestic servant; but his quickness at ac-

Conclusion. 63
counts and fondness for reading made the
schoolmaster think it was a pity he should
not be placed in an office, where he would
probably rise by degrees to a comfortable
He spoke to Mr. Clifford and Mrs. Selwyn
on the subject; and, to his own and Biddy's
satisfaction, he was taken into a respectable
house at the age of fourteen, and was able to
live at home as before.
Helen was still a very young woman when
her grandfather died, and left her the heiress
of his large property.
We have not space to follow our young
steward further on into life; but this much
we may be assured of,-that, as Mrs. Selwyn
had predicted long before, she that was faith
ful in little was faithful also in much.



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