Willy's trunk, or, Mrs. Lambton's legacy


Material Information

Willy's trunk, or, Mrs. Lambton's legacy
Series Title:
"Star of hope" series
Cover title:
Willie's trunk, or, Mrs. Lambton's legacy
Portion of title:
Mrs. Lambton's legacy
Physical Description:
1 v. (unpaged) : ill. (some col.) ; 17 cm.
Frederick Warne and Co ( Publisher )
Dalziel Brothers ( Printer )
Camden Press ( Printer )
Frederick Warne and Co.
Place of Publication:
Dalziel Brothers ; Camden Press
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Diligence -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Success -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Aunts -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Education -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Reading -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Inheritance and succession -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Knights and knighthood -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Hermits -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Prize books (Provenance) -- 1882   ( rbprov )
Bldn -- 1882
Prize books (Provenance)   ( rbprov )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage:
England -- London


Statement of Responsibility:
by the Hon. Mrs. Greene, author of "Filling up the chinks," "Cushions and corners," etc. etc.
General Note:
Date of publication from prize inscription.
General Note:
Frontispiece printed in colors.
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:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002230793
notis - ALH1158
oclc - 62628022
System ID:

This item is only available as the following downloads:

Full Text


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Author of" Filling up the Chinks," "Cushions and Corers," etc., et.c







"c AAVE you heard the last piece of
village news ?" asked Tom Ver-
ner of his friend Samuel Walker,
as they closed the door of their tutor's house
and sauntered up the village.
"No, I heard nothing except that old
Mrs. Lambton of the Chantry House was
"Well, that is just it. I never was more
astonished in my whole life; were not you?"
"Astonished at what? She was a very
old lady, and a very ailing one. Why, I

Willy's Trunk;

thought every one in the town knew she
was dying!"
"I dare say they did; but every one
thought, too, that she was going to leave
her money to Willy Burris."
"Well, and has not she -"
"Not a penny has she left him, not a
single penny! nothing but a great turnip
of a watch, and a trunk as old and musty
as the Chantry House itself."
"A trunk? what an absurd idea! What
is inside of it, do you know ?"
Nothing but a set of dry books packed
up to the very brim, and he is not even to
have these for himself, unless he promises
to read them straight through one by one;
and when he can promise old Dobson, the
parson, that he has not skipped a single
line of a single book, he is to be given
them all back as a present to himself. Did
you ever hear, Sam, of such a queer
arrangement in your life ?"

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

"Never. I think it is so queer, there
inust be some mistake somewhere."
Not a mistake of any kind. I saw
Willy Burris himself this morning, who
drew the old silver watch out of his trou-
sers pocket, because it would not fit into
his waistcoat pocket, to show it to me, and
it was he who told me of the arrangement
about the books."
"And what is to become of all the
money?" asked Sam, indignantly. "Who
is to cut out Willy ?"
"Well, that is hard to say. It has all
been left in old Dobson's hands, to do as he
thinks proper with it. The bulk of the
money is to remain funded, I hear, and the
interest is to be spent on the poor of the
parish. Dobson himself has the choice of
living in the Chantry House, or of letting
it for a term of seven years; at the end of
which time, they say, it is to be sold, and
the money is to go to endow a widows'

Willy's Trunk;

almshouse. So, you see, the oldlady had
no more intention of leaving her money
to Willy than I have."
It was a shame of her, then, to make
him believe that he'd be her heir. Does
he seem much cut up about it ?"
"Not he: he's in an awful taking at the
old lady's death, for he was really fond of
her; but he did not appear to give a
thought to the money. I really don't
think that he can have counted on it; on
the contrary, he was as proud as Punch of
the watch, and looked quite put out when
I called it a turnip; though I don't think
that he cares much about the books, and
no wonder, for we all know he's no book-
Bookworm or not, he's as great a brick
as ever lived," cried Sam Walker, enthusi-
astically. I am sure if I had been sold in
that kind of way about a lot of tin, I'd
have gone howling about the town, instead

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

of taking it in the quiet way that he has
done. There is not a better fellow living
than Willy."
He is an awfully idle chap, though, and
without the money, I don't see how he is
to get on; for that old aunt of his, Miss
Morris, counted so confidently upon the
fortune coming to Willy, she never pushed
him on at his work."
"He is clever enough to cut his own
way through the world, for all that," argued
Sam, hotly.
"Ay, I dare say, if he once puts his
shoulder to the wheel; but whether he
will or not is another matter."
"We'll see," cried Sam; for at this
juncture they had reached the corner of
the street where their ways parted, and with
a nod expressive of each of their views of
the case, the two friends parted.
Sam Walker was right in all the good
things he had said of Willy. He could

Willy's Trunk;

not have spoken too highly of his noble
unselfishness of character and of his ten-
derness of heart; but he was altogether
wrong in his bitter regret that Willy had
not been left Mrs. Lambton's money. No
more fatal error could have been com-
mitted, no more injudicious plan could
have been carried out, than to place before
Willy in this, the morning of his life, the
certainty of an easy future, and thus to
destroy the necessity for work, this very
necessity being the only chance of his
overcoming his great natural idleness, and
of giving fair play to the brilliant talents
which God had given him.
It must be confessed that Willy gave a
long and dismal groan as he stood opposite
the huge trunk with its great iron clamps,
which it had taken six men to carry up-
stairs and place upon the floor of the
lumber-room. He gave a long and dismal
groan as he looked at the books, packed

Or, Mrs., Lambtons Legacy.

so closely that a pin could with difficulty
have forced its way between them; but by-
and-bye the groan changed to a smile as he
pictured to himself an old grey-headed
man, with his feet in slippers, sitting by
the fire closing the last page of the last
book, and signing with trembling fingers
the name which was to attest that at length
the task was ended, the feat accomplished,
and the trunk with all its contents was his
own, his very own for ever and aye, as long
as that aye might be.
According to the directions of old Mrs.
Lambton's will, every book was to be taken
out separately, according to the number on
its cover, beginning at Number One and
ending at some unknown number hidden
far down at the bottom of the chest; each
book was to be read carefully through
without skipping, and when finished, to be
brought to the clergyman of the parish,
and given into his care till all were com-

Willy's Trunk;

pleted. In fact, the directions were so
varied and strict and strange, as to raise
doubts in the minds of many, whether
Mrs. Lambton could have been in full
possession of her faculties at the time the
will was framed.
Old Mrs. Lambton had been Willy's
godmother: she was childless herself, and
on the death of Willy's parents she had
spoken and thought of adopting him as
her son; but afterward she had relinquished
this idea, fearing lest she might spoil or
over-indulge him. But from the time of
his christening, when she gave him a gold
cup lined with silver, till the time of her own
death, no one had for a moment doubted
but that Willy would be her heir.
Willy's aunt, a lady of very narrow
means, had been one of those who had
most confidently counted on Mrs. Lamb-
ton's money coming to her nephew, and
the disappointment was a very bitter one

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

to her. She was a kind old lady, very
affectionate and tender-hearted, and ex-
tremely fond of her adopted son Willy;
but she was timorous to a fault. She had
a nervous dread of looking forward to any-
thing, and, always satisfied with the happy
conviction that Willy would ultimately
be above want, her timid nature led her to
hinder him in his work, always fearful lest
he should take cold or,over-fatigue himself
in any way. She watched his goings out
and comings in: the slightest cold, a few
sneezes, or a scarcely-perceptible hoarse-
ness were enough in her eyes to keep him
from school; so that his education hitherto
had progressed in a series of jerks, and a
few futile attempts at carrying off prizes
-prizes which Willy might easily have
won, had he but brought a regular system
of daily work to bear upon them.
Old Mrs. Lambton, in her ivy-covered
house below the village, had viewed with

WIillys Trunk ;

real pain a character like Willy's being
allowed to run to seed, the natural idleness
encouraged, and the natural cleverness
hindered and cramped. Willy generally
spent his Sundays up at the Chantry House.
The village church lay inside the Chantry
grounds, and after morning service Willy,
as a rule, said good bye for the day, and
went up the long avenue to the house,
where he dined with Mrs. Lambton, and
remained till evening; and though his
godmother lectured him not a little on
these long Sunday-afternoons, still she was
so good, and kind, and sensible, and her
conversation left such a bright earnest im-
pression on Willy's mind, that he looked
forward from one Sunday to another with
unfeigned pleasure, and any little crumb
of praise or encouragement he might re-
ceive from his tutor during the week was
carefully treasured up, to repeat to his
godmother on the following Sunday.

Or, Mrs. Lamiton's Legacy.

The great fault Mrs. Lambton found
with Willy was that he did not read; and
he and Mrs. Lambton often argued this
question over and over, Willy seeking to
prove that, if a person only tried to keep
his wits about him, he ought to be able to
"pick up information on every subject for
himself, and this information, self worked
out, would be of a more useful and durable
description than simply taking in another
person's brains without any further trouble
than turning over the leaves of a book;
whereas old Mrs. Lambton argued in her
turn, hotly, that to be satisfied with one's
own brains showed only the pride of a fool,
and that without earnest and thoughtful
reading, no boy, especially of Willy's turn
of character, could ultimately succeed in
working out his own livelihood.
"My dear, dear boy," she used generally
to wind up by saying, while she took
Willy's rough sunburnt hand between her

Willy's Trunk ;

thin wrinkled fingers; "my dear, dear,
God has given you a fine character, a
clever head and clever hands, and the
greatest of all earthly blessings, good
health. He has given you all these in His
mercy; but in His justice He will call
you to account for every one of these
gifts. Do not wait till you are old and
ailing to turn them to account; but now,
while you are young and strong, work and
strive diligently to make them bring for-
ward good fruit, so that your talents may
not be returned to your God untouched,
but with an abundant usury."
After these conversations, Willy always
felt for a time encouraged and impelled to
Spush on at his work, and his tutor gene-
rally found Monday's and Tuesday's work
the best prepared and thought over of the
week; but it was discouraging to him to
see how easily Willy's mind wandered from
his work, and to watch a really clever and

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

brilliant intellect frittering itself away on
ingenious puzzles, and clever squibs written
for the amusement of the young lads who
were his companions in class.
The branch of science for which Willy
had always shown the most decided taste
was mechanics; and his leisure moments
were not unfrequently spent in making
models of steam engines, steam ploughs,
or inventing new systems for windmills.
Mrs. Lambton had always encouraged
Willy in his taste for mechanics, and many
a shilling had, ere this, found its way to
Willy's pockets for the purchase of wire,
glue, tin, compasses, &c., &c. And all his
models, when finished, were submitted to
her for correction or approval; and Willy
could see at a glance, as he stood before
his open trunk, that even after her death
she wished to hold him out a helping hand
in this his favourite study, for the names
on the covers of the books lying upper-

Willy's Trunk ;

most on the trunk, as far as he could read
them without disturbing them, all seemed
to point in the one direction-mechanical
science, or the lives of great mechanical
geniuses who had made a name and a fame
for themselves in the world.
Willy's aunt gazed in a kind of stupe-
fied amazement on the great box of books
in the lumber-room : the trunk contained
nothing but disappointment for her, and
her eyes were full of tears as she looked up
from the pile of books to Willy's amazed
"I was a foolish woman," she said,
shaking her head sadly; "I was a foolish
woman, Willy, dear, to count so much on
what was not my own, and you will be the
sufferer for my folly."
"How so, aunt?"
Why, you '11 have to begin life all over
again, Willy, and to learn how to earn
your own bread."

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

"Well, aunt, and why should not I? I
am sure the bread I'd earn with my own
hands would taste to me as sweet any day
as bread I'd buy with another person's tin.
Come, now, don't you think so, auntie?"
"I am not at all sure of it, dear."
"Well, now, listen to me, aunt," cried
Willy, with a burst of enthusiasm which
seemed to defy contradiction: "listen to
me, now, aunt: would you not rather any
day go down line on an engine built en-
tirely by me, than you would by any one
else ?"
Willy's aunt hesitated a moment, as if
unwilling to wound her nephew's feelings,
but at length truth compelled her to say,
"Nothing that any one ever said could
induce me to go down line on any engine
constructed by you, Willy. I am sorry to
say it, dear, but I am afraid I have not
much faith in your mechanical powers.'
"Why so, aunt?"

Willy's Trunk ;

"Because, my dear, you know that
nearly every machine you have ever made
has blown up in the end, and my life is
scarcely worth having with all the concus-
sions and frightful noise that go on in the
house: I know you'll never end till you
blow me up, and the house and everything
with it."
"Well, aunt, don't blow me up! I'11
promise to leave you in more peace," said
Willy, laughing, as he shut down the lid
of the trunk, gave his aunt a hug, and
went out of the house and down the street
to his tutor's.
How are you getting on with the books,
Bill ?" asked Sam Walker as he entered
the class-room; making much way, eh "
"Not much," replied Willy, laughing.
"I 've taken one book out of the box,
that's all."
I'd sell the whole trunk just as it
stands," cried Tom Verner, looking up

Or, UMrs. Lambton's Legacy.

from his books. "It would put more
pounds in your pocket than ever the books
will put sense in your brains! I'm sure,
fromwhat I hear, you'd get thirty or forty
pounds for it.'
Ah! but I mayn't sell either the box
or the books, if I wished it ever so much,
which I don't," replied Willy in a very de-
cided voice, "for inside the box, amongst
a set of other rules, I came upon this one,
that if the books are not read through
within seven years, the box and all its con-
tents are to go to Mr. Dobson, and the
books are to be put in the school library
attached to the church."
"I'11 subscribe to that library," cried
Tom, laughing, "as I'm as certain as I am
sitting here you'll never wade through
the half of them. Now listen, boys, while
I register a prophecy, and inscribe it on
this pane of glass with the diamond pin
out of your handkerchief, Verner: that in

"Willy's Trunk;

the year 18-, being seven years from the
date of old Mrs. Lambton's death, the
box of books left and bequeathed by the
generous old dame Mrs. Lambton to her
beloved godson William Burris, will be
handed over to the parish- "
At this juncture, notwithstanding the
efforts of the tutor to subdue it, a regular
row began in the class-room. Willy, who
could endure a laugh over his own stu-
pidity and idleness, could not bear to join
in one made at the expense of the good
and kind lady who had been his true and
loving friend ever since his birth. He was
not a quarrelsome boy, but at times a hot-
headed one; and the sneer implied by
Tom's words, and the look of contempt
which played round his lips as he scratched
the words on the pane, roused a sudden
fury in Willy's breast. He rushed forward
and tried to pull the pin from Tom's hand
and his arm from the window. Sam rushed

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

forward also, lest his pin might get smashed
in the fray, and the tutor, who was a young
man himself, hoping to put an end to the
quarrel, joined in the struggle, and a regu-
lar melde began.
Willy, once angered, fought with a cou-
rage and desperation which took the whole
class-room by surprise: failing to seize the
diamond pin from Tom, he dashed his
cJosed hand through the pane of glass on
which the letters had been inscribed. He
smashed the pane of glass, but left the
letters untouched. The blood was pour-
ing down his hand and wrist; but, not-
withstanding this, he made another spring
at the window, and shivered the offending
words into a thousand fragments. Tom,
worsted in the fight, turned with redoubled
fury on the boy, smaller than himself by a
head, who had outwitted him: he caught
Willy up by the jacket, and with the sud-
den strength which sometimes arises with

Willy's Trunk;

passion, carried him across the room like
a fly, opened the door with his left hand,
and, too blind with anger to count on what
he was doing, threw Willy headlong down
the stairs.
This put a summary end to the battle.
Willy was lifted up from the landing with
a sprained ankle and a cut an inch in length
across his temple. He was laid on the
sofa till the doctor had patched up the
cut, stopped the bleeding of both brow
and arm, and bandaged his ankle, and in
this disabled state Willy was driven home
in a fly to his aunt's house.
Sam Walker and Tom Verner both
accompanied him home; Tom, though
cowardly enough to fight a boy so much
smaller than himself, was not' cowardly
enough to try to hide his sorrow for what
he had done; and when Willy's aunt
hurried down to the little study, pale
with terror at the sight of Willy being

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

lifted from the cab, Tom told her the
whole story without in the slightest degree
trying to hide that he was the person most
to blame.
Willy endeavoured to make as light of
all his injuries as possible: he wrung Tom's
hand again and again, and assured him,
that werv it not for his sprained ankle, he
would go out with him that minute and
have the game of football they had planned
for the evening; but both Tom and Sam
saw by the paleness of poor Willy's face
that he was exaggerating the smallness of
both the hurt and pain.
"Now, aunt, don't fret so," pleaded
Willy, as, the hall door being closed, she
sank upon the floor by his sofa and burst
out crying; "don't fret so, aunt: just take
heart a bit, and you '11 see in the end it will
turn out all for the best."
Willy's aunt tried to take heart for her
nephew's sake; but to believe that it could

Willy's Trunk;

turn out for the best was a step beyond
her power of credence.
Willy, however, only spoke the comfort
he felt himself, for he held that true faith
in his heart which acknowledges at once
the source from which every occurrence
of our daily life springs; and though con-
demned by this unlooked-for accident to
spend weeks in a helpless state upon the
sofa, his sanguine mind turned at once to
the most pleasurable way of spending his.
time, now that he could no longer attend
his tutor's class, or play at football or
His first resource was the chess-board
and the backgammon-box, both of which
"games his aunt could play in afeeble kind of
way; but after a time he wearied of a long
run of success unbroken by a single lost
game, and he began to pine for the time
to come round when Sam Walker or Tom
Verner would turn in to break the mono-

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

tony of success with even the certainty of
defeat; but by-and-bye the holidays came
on, and both' boys went away from the
village on visits to their friends, and Willy.
was left to pine away from morning till
night on the shining horsehair sofa in the
little dark parlour of his aunt's house.
His loneliness-vas, however, occasionally
broken by visits from Mr. Dobson, the
clergyman of the parish, who was very
fond of Willy, and very anxious for his
welfare. He constantly questioned him
about his reading, and spoke with lis-
appointment that no book had as yet
been returned to him finished, and argued
with Willy that no time could be more
appropriately spent in reading than this,
when all his other pursuits had been
placed beyond his reach.
And by-and-bye it came to such a pass
with poor Willy, that there was nothing
left to him but to read, and the great

Willy's Trunk ;

trunk in the garret was put into requisi-
There is a French proverb that "the
appetite comes with eating," and so it is as
a general rule with reading. The more
Willy read, the more the desire for reading
grew upon him: the books were all so well
chosen, too, and suited so accurately to his
peculiar tastes, that by-and-bye he became
absorbed in the great study of mechanics,
and the wonderful bursts of knowledge
which came to him in the course of his
reading, proved to him the fallacy of his
own theory, that out of his own brains he
could dig all the knowledge necessary for
progress. Now, he saw at a glance the
reason why this and that model had
refused to work; and one hour's careful
reading often showed him the cause of a
failure, that it must have taken him
months to discover for himself.
But with the supply of reading so kindly

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

and so thoughtfully prepared for Willy,
came also the want of the supply of money
so generously bestowed before by the
kindly hand of his patroness. There were
no odd shillings nowaday to buy copper,
and wire, and delicate instruments neces-
sary to carry out mechanical experiments.
It became plain to Willy, after a time, that
all the wisdom he was gleaning out of the
books, and all the aspirations which were
filling his young heart almost to bursting,
must be applied to and reserved for some-
thing real, not frittered away on objects
only constructed for daily amusement.
Mechanics must become the object of his
life: he must earn his bread by them;
and, perhaps, in some far-distant time,
make a name and a fame for himself, like
one of the grand old heroes whose lives
he had read in the books selected by Mrs.
Lambton-books which told of young
men like himself, who, by patient industry,

Willy's Trunk;

close reading, and assiduous attention to
the teaching of others, had risen not only
to be teachers themselves, but in some
instances to became so famous in their
lives and discoveries as to be ranked among
the geniuses of the land.
Mr. Dobson had no longer to com-
plain of the slow progress made by Willy
through the contents of the trunk. Book
after book was read earnestly and carefully,
and sometimes recalled from his keeping to
be read again. His honest face shone as
he came to visit the sick lad, and heard his
enthusiastic remarks on the books he had
finished, and his gratitude to the kind
thoughtfulness which had provided such a
pleasure for him. And only one fear arose
occasionally in the old man's breast, as
he watched the sparkle of Willy's eye and
heard his high aspirations-the fear lest,
when the necessity for quiet was over,Willy
should relapse into his old idleness again.

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

But "man proposes and God disposes,"
and again, as Willy rose from his sofa, as
strong and as able for work and play as
ever, the possibility of idleness was re-
moved from him, and the necessity for
work put more strongly than ever before
him. Just as the holidays were over, and
William and Sam had returned to their
homes, and work at the tutor's was to begin
again, the village bank broke, and Willy's.
aunt, with many other inhabitants in the
place, were reduced to a state of poverty
almost bordering on destitution.
This blow was a heavy one, and at first
so stunning in its nature, that even Willy,
naturally so sanguine and so hopeful, felt
There was no money now to pay for
schooling, or tutors, or, in fact, for any-
thing but the bare necessaries of life, and
it seemed to Willy there was nothing left
for him now but to give up his cherished

Willy's Trunk;

schemes of mechanical employment, and
to accept some daily drudgery as an office
clerk, which would bring him in a few
shillings a week at the utmost, and no
future hope of fame and glory.
But at this juncture, when Willy was in
the lowest spirits, when the poor fellow
had almost failed in his endeavours to se
that this turn of affairs could also be for
the best, Mr. Dobson called at the house,
and held out some brighter prospects.
He was willing, he said, to pay for
Willy's schooling out of the funds left in
his hands by Mrs. Lambton for the benefit
of the parish, and that, if Willy were agree-
able to the plan, he would at once enrol his
name in the great Engineers' College, from
which,twice every year, the best young men
of a suitable age were selected and drafted
out for engineering purposes over the king-
dom. Mr. Dobson impressed on Willy
that he would have to give a promise be-

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

forehand that he would work industriously,
and earnestly endeavour to carry off the
many laurels which might be won by those
who diligently sought to gain them.
Willy was overjoyed at the proposal;
the only shadow which fell upon the
scheme was the- thought of leaving his
aunt, who, owing to the shock she had so
lately received, was ill and much depressed
in spirits. But this difficulty Mr. Dobson
also overcame, offering Miss Morris a
home in the Chantry House during Willy's
absence, and promising that Mrs. Dobson
would look after her as tenderly and kindly
as Willy could do himself.
So Willy, in company with his huge
trunk of books, which was now half empty,
bid good bye to his aunt and Mr. Dobson,
and started for the new college, within
whose walls he was to try to the uttermost
the powers and the talents that God had
given him.

Willy's Trunk;

"It was, indeed, a grand opening for Willy,
and he determined to make the most of
every opportunity that came within his
range; but he had not been long there
before he discovered that there were some
opportunities, in fact, the greatest ones in
the whole college, which did not come
within his range, and of which openings
under existing circumstances he could not
avail himself. It was this: the examina-
tions which were held twice a year to test
the powers of the young men in the college,
were open to all, and the best answerers got
the highest number of marks, and medals
of silver ana gold, to attest their success.
But it was not always the best answerers
or the gold medallists that got the real
prizes-namely, the best openings into the
outer world. These openings required
more than cleverness, or even genius, they
required money; and in the first opening

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

of all it was necessary that the young men
to whom they were given should be able
to give an ample security in money, as
many valuables, and in some cases large
sums of gold,* had to pass through the
hands of these young men almost at once
upon their entry into their new career;
and Willy saw with pain that he must give
up all hopes of gaining any of these prizes,
as he could offer the judges no security
With some boys, the bitter knowledge
that they could not succeed in their highest
object, let them work ever so hard, would
have prevented them working at all, or at
least would have called forth but a sorry
effort; but with Willy it was different: he
had given his promise to Mr. Dobson to
exert himself to the utmost; and, besides,
had not Mrs. Lambton impressed it again
and again on his mind, that his talents
were not his own, but his Maker's, and

Willy's Trunk ;

that they should be put out at the highest
usury ?
Willy had two years to prepare himself
for the conflict. No young man was
allowed to try for the first-dlass prizes who
had not been two years in the college; and
all this time Willy devoted to the subjects
in which he was to compete, and many a
valuable aid he drew from the books so
carefully chosen by his best friend before
her death; and as Willy closed each suc-
cessive book in the box, and signed it with
his name, a deeper reverence arose in his
breast for the good, kind heart and hand
which, even after death, seemed to guide
him in the right path.
Willy's holidays were always spent at the
Chantry House, where his aunt seemed to
have grown young again, and to have laid
aside many of her old fears and failings.
"I do not know how I shall go back to
my old quarters, Willy," she used to say,

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

laughing, "they make me so comfortable
here; but I don't fret myself about it, lad,
for old Mrs. Dobson has taught me what
now I can see to be the truth, that God
does order all things for the best; and if
I had seen this in my youth, there's many
a fretting and a heart-burning I might have
saved both you and myself." And then
the poor old lady's smile would darken into
a tear, as she thought of the long gloomy
days in the little cottage by the road.
At length it came the first great day
of trial in the Royal College of Engineers,
and Willy, pale and trembling, with a ter-
rible excitement on his face, took his place
among the other boys, or rather young
men, with whom he was to compete. The
examination was to last three days, and
during these three days the work of two
years was to be tested; and the steady
workers would reap the profit of their
steady work.

Willy's Trunk;

At the end of the first day Willy was
hopeful; at the end of the second he was
excited, and almost frightened at his own
success; at the end of the third he was
both triumphant and cast down. He had
carried all before him: the judges had not
been able to disguise their amazement over
work so cleverly and accurately accom-
plished. Yet Willy sat now in his own
room, pale, sad, and.silent. He had dis-
missed the crowd of lads who came to wish
him joy of his success, and instead of retir-
ing to bed to rest his tired and over-ex-
cited frame, he remained looking into the
fire moodily. For though he had gained
all that talent unsupported by wealth could
gain, still he felt as if he had lost all; for
to-morrow, before all the judges who were
to crown him with success and adorn him
with medals, he would have to confess his
poverty, and relinquish into another's more

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

fortunate hands the brilliant opening which
ought to have been his.
Willy sat an hour or more gazing into
the fire and wrestling with his own sad
thoughts, till at length a better state of
feeling began gradually to creep over him.
He thought of his dear old friend, Mrs.
Lambton, and how glad she would have
been this evening to hear of his success
and to witness his triumph; the thought
also rose in his mind, that she might have
trusted him sufficiently to go security for
his future honesty; in any case he felt that
she would not have allowed him to indulge
in these bitter repinings, but would have
pointed instead to the Hand which over-
rules all our triumphs and defeats; she.
would have told him where to go for help
to overcome the rebellious throbbings of
a heart which ought to have been swell-
ing with gratitude.
Willy rose up from his chair by the fire;

Willy's Trunk ;

he walked over to his study door and bolted
it, then returned to his seat, not to rest,
nor to sit down again in idle murmurings,
but to pray, to pray earnestly, and humbly,
for the help he so sadly required.
It was a long prayer, and one which
came from his heart, for the tears oozed
out through the fingers clasped over his
eyes, and fell upon the chair; but Willy
rose from it comforted, and, lighting his
candle, passed on with a calmer face to the
door leading to his bed-room.
Willy was comforted; but still the beat-
ing at his heart refused him the power of
sleep: he turned from side to side, and
tossed and moaned, and longed for, yet
dreaded, the breaking of the morning light.
At last, wearied with the wrestle for
repose, Willy determined to fetch a book
from the next room, and read himself to
sleep. There was but one book left in'
Mrs. Lambton's trunk, and as he would

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

be returning home in a day or two, it
would be as well to have them all ready
to give up into Mr. Dobson's hands.
Willy re-lit his candle, and going into
the next room, raised the lid of the trunk:
there was but one book lying at the
bottom-an odd-looking book, fastened
with clasps, that looked more like an
account-book or a diary than an ordinary
printed one.
It was sure to be worth reading, how-
ever; all the books had been worth read-
ing, why should this be less interesting
than the others, even though its exterior
looked uninviting? Willy tucked the
volume under his arm, and going back
into his room, jumped into bed and drew
the candle near him.
The clasps were stiff, and took some
time to unfasten. Willy's curiosity be-
came a little roused: he got them open at
last, and raised the heavy cover. It seemed

Willy's Trunk;

at the first glance a curious kind of book,
apparently written in manuscript by old
Mrs. Lambton herself, for on the fly-leaf,
in her handwriting, was written this in-
scription :

"To my dear godson, Willy Burris, a
few words of love and congratulation on
the completion of the task set him by one
who loved him, trusted him, and wished
to benefit him without ruining his future

Poor Willy! the eyes so lately overflow..
ing with bitter tears were doomed to be
tried again to-night-but from a sweeter
source-and drop by drop rolled down his
face as he read the words of love, and
trust, and promise: how she had relied
implicitly on his faith that he would read
each book honourably through, according
to the prescribed rules; how she had set

Or, Mrs. Lamvbton's Legacy.

this task before him for his good, and
trusted that the benefit to him would be
as great as she expected. And now, the
task being accomplished, she wished to
prove her love, and faith, and hope, by a
bequest, which she hoped might be to his
everlasting advantage, and not, as it might
have been, the ruin of his life. On the
foot of the page were the two little words
"turn over,"-and Willy, with anxious
fingers, turned the leaf.
Then the eyes, which were already di-
lated, opened wider, the candle was drawn
closer, and the hand which held the book
trembled with a new and strange excite-
ment. What was this upon the parchment
page before him? were the letters, and
the words, and the sense conjured up by a
tired over-excited brain? or could it be
some strange eccentric trick played on him
by old Mrs. Lambton herself in her dotage?
Had he not heard that all the money

Willy's Trunk;

that Mrs. Lambton possessed in the world
was in the hands of old Mr. Dobson for
the relief of the parish ? yet there was a
hundred pound note staring him in the
face, pinned to the page; and as he turned
the leaves, yet another and another; and
beneath every note the words written in the
well-known hand which bequeathed them
to him. And as Willy turned on in a
blank amazement, still greater grew his
astonishment and more unbelieving his
face; for here was a parchment deed, be-
queathing him not only the present money
for immediate purposes, but the promise of
more, much more, in fact, all the Chantry
House and lands, its woods and gardens,
and all belonging to it. At length Willy
cast the book upon the quilt in unbelief,
and rose to look at himself in the glass, to
see if he were dreaming. He walked about
the room, he opened the shutters, and
looked out upon the grey dawn stealing

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

over the college grounds; he closed them
again, and again set himself down to read
tlie book which, like Aladdin's lamp, had
,made him so suddenly rich. But as Willy
a'1 on again, and closely studied the
written parchment, the look of unbelief
faded from his face, and nothing but an
inexpressible joy shone upon it. He
would be able to face his judges to-mor-
row; he would be able not only to claim
the first gold medal, but the first brilliant
opening into a life full of work and promise;
for, let it be told to his credit, it never once
crossed Willy's mind, in the first heat of
his riches, to relinquish a life of toil and
trouble for one of ease and idle enjoy-
The day dawned full of a glorious
promise, nor did Willy forget to thank
God, on his knees, for all His goodness.
The story of the will, so strangely dis-
covered on the very night previous to the

Willy's Trunk;

decision of the judges, spread, as may be
supposed, like wildfire through the college,
and many were the surmises as to the truth
of Willy's assertions or the validity of the
will. These doubts reached the ears of the
judges, and though the first medal was
given to Willy without any hesitation, the
decision as to who was to obtain the first
place in the engineering department was
suspended till the judges could hear from
Mr. Dobson, who held the original will in
his hands.
Willy waited in no little anxiety for the
result, for on it hung all his hopes of future
success, and it was with the earnest wish to
obtain the desired post, and not to hear
of his own exalted position in life, Willy
watched for the answer.
It came at length, and Willy knew, as
he entered the judges' hall, that it was all
right. There had been a letter from Mr.
Dobson to say that he held in his own

Or, Mrs. Lambton's Legacy.

keeping a duplicate copy of the paper
Willy had found in his trunk, and that the
money had only been left in his hands as
guardian of the property, until the expira..
tion of seven years, at the end of which
time, had Willy failed to make any use of
the legacy of books bequeathed to him,
had he been satisfied to pursue a life of idle
mediocrity, the money was no longer to be
his, but to be used, as before stated in the
will, for the good of the parish, and the
books to be added to the parish library.
So Willy received the first gold medal,
and the first opening into the great world,
where those who wish to win must strive,
and struggle, and toil. Nor did Willy
ever shrink from the heat of the battle,
but worked and toiled like the poorest man
around him, till at length his name grew
well known in the land. and his talents and
industry were acknowledged by all. But
though the tributes to his cleverness and

Willy's Trunk.

zeal were many and great from his fellow-
countrymen, perhaps none gave Willy
more pure and perfect pleasure than the
day his Aunt Morris consented to go down
line with him, in a carriage drawn by an
engine constructed after his own model
and built under his own directions.




as brave a knight as ever laid
lance in rest or swung his glitter-
ing battle-axe. He possessed many noble
and generous qualities, but they were
obscured, alas! by the strange thirst for
human blood that marked the age in which
he lived.
Ten knights as brave as Sir Guy, and

The Knight, the Hermit,

possessing as many noble and generous
qualities, had fallen beneath his superior
strength and skill in arms; and for this
the bright eyes of beauty looked admir-
ingly upon him-fair lips smiled when
he appeared, and minstrels sang of his
prowess in lady's bower and festive hall.
At a great tournament given in honour
of the marriage of the King's daughter,
Sir Guy challenged all comers; but for
two days no one accepted this challenge,
although it was three times proclaimed by
the herald. On the third day a young and
unknown knight rode, with vizor down,
into the lists, and answered the knight's
defiance. His slender form showed him
to be no match for Guy de Montfort-
and so it proved. They met-and Sir
Guy's lance at the first tilt penetrated the
corslet of the brave young knight and en-
tered his heart. As he rolled upon the
ground his casque flew off, and a shower

and the Man. 51

of sunny curls fell over his fair young face
and neck.
And the strange news went thrilling
from heart to heart that the youthful
knight who had bit the dust beneath the
sharp steel of De Montfort was a maiden;
none other than thebeautiful, high-spirited
Agnes St. Bertrand, whose father Sir Guy
had killed but a few months before in
a combat to which he had challenged
By order of the King the tournament
was suspended, and knights and ladies
went back to their homes in graver mood
than when they came forth.
Alone in his castle, with the grim faces
of his ancestors looking down upon him
from the wall, Sir Guy paced to and fro
with hurried steps. The Angel of Mercy
was nearer to him than she had been for
years, and her whispers were distinctly
heard. Glory and fame were forgotten

The Knight, the Hermit,

by the knight-for self was forgotten.
He had killed St. Bertrand-but why ?
To add another leaf to his laurels as a
brave knight. But was this leaf worth
its cost-the broken heart of the fairest
and loveliest maiden in the land ?--nay,
more-the life-drops from that broken
heart ?
For the first time the flush of triumph
was chilled by a remembrance of what
the triumph had cost him. Then came
a shudder, as he thought of the lovely
widow who drooped in Arto Castle, and
of the wild pang that had snapped the
heart-strings of De Cressy's bride, when
she saw the battle-axe go,crashing into
her husband's brain.
As these sad images came up before
the knight, his pace grew more rapid,
and he clapsed his hands with a gesture
of agony.
"It is cruel glory wicked sport!" he

c' ;t
LCi i-, i :
-_i- :
r .










ir "i


c *:I
i; I



and the Man.

murmured. "Am I braver or better for
such cruel work ?"
Through the long night he paced the
hall of his castle; but with daydawn he
rode forth alone. The sun arose and
set; the seasons came and went; years
passed; but the knight returned not.

Far from the busy scenes of life dwelt
a pious recluse who, in prayer, fasting, and
various forms ot penance, sought to find
repose for his troubled conscience. His
food was pulse, and his drink the pure
water that went sparkling in the sunlight
past his hermit cell in the wilderness.
Now and then a traveller who had lost
his way, or an eager hunter in pursuit of
game, met this lonely man in his deep
seclusion. To such he spoke eloquently
of the vanities of life and of the wisdom
of those who, renouncing these vanities,

54 The Knight, the Hermit,

devote themselves to God; and they left
him, believing the hermit to be a wise
and happy man.
But they erred. Neither prayer nor
penance filled the aching void that was
in his bosom. If he were happy, it was
a happiness for which none need have
felt an envious wish; if he were wise, his
wisdom partook more of the selfishness
of this world than of the holy benevo-
lence of the next.
The day came and went; the seasons
changed ; years passed ; and still the her-
mit's prayers went up at morning, and the
setting sun looked upon his kneeling form.
His body was bent, though not with age;
his long hair whitened, but not with the
snows of many winters. Yet all availed
not. The solitary one found not in prayer
and penance that peace which passeth all
One night he dreamed in his cell that

and the Man.

the Angel of Mercy came to him, and
It is in vain-all in vain! Art thou
not a man to whom power has been given
to do good to thy fellow-man ? Thou
callest thyself God's servant; but where
is thy work ? I see it not. Where are
the hungry thou hast fed ?-the naked
thou hast clothed ?-the sick and the pri-
soner who have been visited by thee ?
They are not here in the wilderness !"
The angel departed, and the hermit
awoke. It was midnight. From the dark
sky beamed down myriads of beautiful
stars. The solemn woods were still as
death, and there was no sound on the air
save the clear music of the singing rill, as
it went on happily with its work, even in
the darkness.
"Where is my work ?" murmured the
hermit, as he stood with his hot brow un-
covered in the cool air. The stars are

The Knight, the Hermit,

moving in their courses; the trees are
spreading forth their branches and rising
to heaven; and the stream flows on to
the ocean; but I, superior to all these-
I, gifted with will, understanding, and
-active energies, am doing no work! Well
done, good and faithful servant!' those
blessed words cannot be said of me."
Morning came, and the hermit saw the
bee at its labour, the bird building its nest,
and the worm spinning its silken thread.
"And is there no work for me, the
noblest of all created things ?" said he.
The hermit knelt in prayer, but found
no utterance. Where was his work ? He
had none to show but evil work. He had
harmed his fellow-men-but where was
the good he had done ?
De Montfort, it is vain! there must
be charity as well as piety!"
Thus murmured the hermit as he arose
from his prostrate attitude.

and the Man.

When night came, the hermit's cell far
away in the deep untrodden forest, was

A fearful plague raged in a great city.
In the narrow streets where the poor were
crowded together, the hot breath of the
pestilence destroyed hundreds in a day.
Those not stricken fled, and left the suffer-
ing and the dying to their fate. Terror
extinguished all human sympathy.
In the midst of these dreadful scenes, a
man clad in plain garments-a stranger-
approached the plague-stricken city. The
flying inhabitants warned him of the peril
he was about to encounter, but he heeded
them not. He proceeded with a firm step
to the most infected regions.
In the first house that he entered he
found a young maiden alone and almost
in the agonies of death ; her feeble cry

The Knzigt, the Hermit,

was for water to slake her burning thirst.
He held to her lips a cool draught, of
which she drank eagerly; then he sat down
to watch by her side. In a little while
the fever began to abate, and the sufferer
slept. He lifted her in his arms and bore
her beyond the city walls, where the air
was purer and where there were persons
appointed to receive and minister to the
sick who were brought forth.
Again he went into the deadly atmo-
sphere among the sick and dying; and
he returned once more with a sleeping in-
fant that he had removed from the enfold-
ing arms of its dead mother. There was
a calm and holy smile upon the stranger's
lips as he looked into the sweet face of
the innocent child, and those who saw
that smile said in their hearts, "Verily,
he hath his reward."
For weeks the plague hovered with its
black wings over the devoted city, and

and the Alan.

during the whole time this kind stranger
passed from house to house, comforting
the dying, giving drink to such as were
almost mad with thirst, bearing forth in
his arms those for whom there was any
hope of life. But when the pestilence
that walketh in darkness and wasteth at
noonday" had left the city, he was no-
where to be found.
For years the castle of De Montfort
was without a lord. Its knightly owner
had departed, though to what far country
no one knew. At last he returned-not
on mailed charger, with corslet, casque,
and spear-a boastful knight, with hands
crimsoned by his brother's blood-nor as
a pious devotee from his cloister ; but as
a MAN, from the city where he had done
good deeds amid the dying and the dead.
He came to take possession of his stately
castle and his broad lands once more, in-
tending to use the gifts with which God

The Knight, the. Hermit,

had endowed him in making his fellow-
men wiser, better, and happier.
He had work to do, and he was faith-
ful in its performance. He was no longer
a knight-errant. seeking for adventure
wherever brute courage promised to give
him renown; he was no longer an idle
hermit, shrinking from his work in the
great harvest-fields of life; he was a man,
doing valiantly, among his fellow-men,
truly noble deeds-not deeds of blood,
but deeds of moral daring, in an age when
the real uses of life were despised.
And in these labours De Montfort
found peace from the reproaches of his
conscience. He went among his vassals,
and saw that they had comfortable dwell-
ings and good food. He no longer sum-
moned them to follow his banner to the
field, but trained them in gentle ways of
peace and kindness. Once only again
did he put on corslet and casque, and

and the Man.

that was in defence of his native land
against a foreign foe. But when the
French Dauphin had left the country,
and little King Henry 11. reigned, under
the guidance of the wise Protector Pem-
broke, he returned to his castle, rejoiced
to be again at peace.
And, in time, the noble knight found a
noble wife.
A neighboring Baron, the tried friend
of his family, lay dying, and sent for Sir
I am dying, my friend," he said, when
the knight stood beside his bed, "and I
leave an only child-my daughter Alinor
-who will inherit all my wealth, but who
will be a ward of the Crown. And you
know how such wards are made to marry
anyone the King or his Protector chooses,
whether with their own consent or with-
out. It i3 true that Pembroke is a noble
and honourable man; but he may die

The Knight, the Hermit,,

or lose his power; and, in any case, my
Alinor will be exposed to great peril,
young and helpless as she is. Will you
marry her, De Montfort, and give her
protection and love ?"
"" If the lady would wish it," said the
knight, ready always for self-sacrifice.
"She accepted the offer I made her of
your hand," replied the father. I knew
well you would not hesitate to console,
nor she to obey me. She shall come and
speak for herself."
The maiden came, weeping and trem-
bling. Sir Guy took her hand, and said,
"Lady, if you can love me, and be
happy as my wife, I am ready to devote
my life to you. But if you would rather
not marry me, speak frankly, and I will
be your loving and faithful brother."
Then the maiden murmured,
"The wife of the good Sir Guy de
Montfort mzzst be happy."

and the Man.

The dying father then sent for his
confessor, and at once, in his presence,
Guy de Montfort was married to his
child, and from that moment attended
on him, and nursed him as a son. His
cares were rewarded by the old Baron's
recovery; and Guy took a happy, not a
mourning, bride, home to his paternal
And Alinor proved indeed a helpmeet
for him. She was as good, as charitable,
and as religious as he was himself. They
had three children, two boys and a girl.
Sir Guy trained his sons after the ex-
perience of his own life, and they grew
up worthy of him; while his daughter
Isabel learned from her mother all house-
wifely and gentle virtues.
At a great age Sir Guy de Montfort
died, in the presence of his children and
grandchildren, teaching them, by many a
solemn word, the lesson of his life-"that

The Knight, the Hermit, and the fan.

true Manhood is shown by blessing and
helping our fellow-men."
May the day come," said the dying
warrior, when the reward of valour shall
be given for saving life,'not for destroy-
ing it; and may God alike defend our
England from having cowardly or in-
human sons!"